TheBottom10.com takes note each week of lowlights and lowlifes in the world of sports at all levels.
Here's the dishonor roll for the week ending Feb. 26, 2011:
(10) OccidentalYou've bottomed out when you lose to a team that's been losing with convincing consistency since 1985.
Cal Tech scored its first conference victory in more than 26 years Tuesday, defeating Occidental in its season finale 46-45. It ended a run of 310 consecutive conference losses since last winning on Jan. 23, 1985 vs. La Verne.
Cal Tech, noted far more for academics than athletics, had lost 207 straight games before shredding Bard College in 2007. In short, that's not the team you want to be losing to. Ever.
(9) Team spiritIt will be a tad difficult for John O'Connor to recruit players wherever he coaches next -- and that won't be at Holy Family University in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office announced Thursday there will be no charges filed against the coach, who on Feb. 11 is alleged to have elbowed player Matt Kravchuk during practice. It resulted in a bloody news and bruised lip for Kravchuk. O'Connor was removed as coach.
In a joint TV appearance by coach and player, O'Connor repeatedly characterized the incident as "an accident." Unfortunately for him, it was all captured on video. The elbow plainly wasn't an accident, nor was the kick after Kravchuk fell to the floor.
Rather rightfully, Kravchuk has refused to accept O'Connor's apology.
(8) Dwight HowardWith respect to the Celtics item below, maybe Part 2 of Boston's plan involves having Dwight Howard change his address to Massachusetts over the summer. It makes sense, because Howard's rip job this week seemed to consist of about 15 percent motivation of his mates and 85 percent greasing the skids for an escape from Orlando ASAP.
"We've been talking for a long time all we seem to do is talk," Howard said after a loss to Sacramento. "You guys know what the difference is. You watch the games. If guys don't want to play, they need to sit down. We can't just have guys or anybody out there not playing hard. We're professional athletes. This is what we do for a living. If you can't go out there and go hard for two hours, then you shouldn't be playing."
Maybe Howard gave his teammates the speech in private is recent weeks and was upset because the message didn't get through. But putting it out there for public consumption now makes it pretty tough for management.
Either Howard has to go or 14 of his teammates have to go. Howard might be more valuable than all of the 14 put together, but it's a hell of a lot easier to offload one body than it is to get rid of eight or 10 if you don't mind going 37-45 for the next few years.
(7) The Carmelo hatersYeah, of course Carmelo Anthony forced the Denver Nuggets into a trade. But at least he was upfront about his intentions.
Anthony had been spinning his wheels out west for years and wanted to play in New York. He could have waited until after this season to announce as much to the team and left them high and dry by becoming a free agent.
Waiting had risks, however, since there could be a new collective bargaining agreement in place that might cost members of the free-agent class money. A ton of money.
Going to the Knicks now assured the talented forward that he'll get his money. It also assured the Nuggets of far more return on their investment than they would have gotten if Anthony had waited until the summer to walk away.
(6) The Celtics tradeI'm not an NBA expert and I don't attempt to play one on the Internet.
But what Boston did this week doesn't make sense as a stand-alone move. The Celtics presumably will unveil Part 2 of their plan at a future date, but for now they've handed the Orlando Magic a clearer path to advance in the postseason.
The Celtics ditched Kendrick Perkins, one of the very few bigs who could tussle with Magic star Dwight Howard on any given night even is he's incapable of scoring much. Dealing Perkins (sore knee and all) to Oklahoma City will require Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal to perform better than they are capable of playing if the Celtics and Magic meet up in the postseason.
What previously looked like "Boston in six" to pundits will probably be "Orlando in seven."
(5) Por favor?Miguel Cabrera's apology upon arriving at Tigers camp a week late following his arrest rang hollow. For all practical purposes, the slugger continues to refuse to believe -- or at least admit -- that he is an alcoholic.
Cabrera and the team danced around questions as to why it wouldn't be better for their $100 million slugger to check in to a rehabilitation center for a month or so to get back onto the right track. (BTW, that $100 million may in no small part be the answer.)
The best part of the farce was that Cabrera’s apology was delivered almost entirely in Spanish (translated by assistant GM Al Avila) to a media contingent that was decidedly English-speaking. Are we to infer that Cabrera has logged eight major-league seasons and his grasp of English -- beyond, "Bartender, make this one a double" -- is so weak that he has to speak in Spanish?
Please reassure me he at least had the courtesy to sign the guest book on the way over the border.
(4) Jim CalhounThe part that I don't get is this: If Jim Calhoun's action (or his lack of it in terms of running a tight ship) was awful enough to merit an NCAA suspension, then why doesn't the sanction begin immediately?
I'll leave the rest of the hammering at the inexplicably sainted UConn men's basketball coach to Flip Bondy of the New York Daily News. Bondy nailed it:: "The state university doesn't care much what people think of its ethical or academic standards, as long as the men's basketball team wins games and produces giant revenue streams."
The fact that UConn handed Calhoun a new five-year contract in the midst of the investigation is disgusting, especially when two assistants were pushed out the door.
(3) Loose lipsLook, I get that the Super Bowl is over, training camp doesn't start until July and it's possible the impending lockout could leave up with no real football until late October or later.
But people need to contain themselves. Example No. 1:
Former St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers exec Tony Softli, now a radio analyst, gave this explanation of why some people might be backing away from QB Ryan Mallett: "Heavy rumors of drug use and possible addiction kept him from coming out for the 2010 draft. His inconsistency in leading his team to victory or making poor decisions at the most vital time of the game really sends up a red flag. Character and drug use issues are starting to rear their ugly head."
I have no idea whatsoever what sort of personal issues -- if any -- Mallett has. But for someone who works in the media to throw that out there without Mallett having made the police blotter for anything more than a public intoxication bust two years ago is shocking.
(2) Overreacting“I see myself as an entertainer/icon,” Auburn QB Cam Newton said during a media conference call related to his endorsement deal with Under Armor. Critics called him arrogant, immature and presumptuous.
Here's what I took away from the statement and the general public reaction to it: Arrogance, immaturity and presumptiveness are traits of a lot of talented college athletes. Kudos to Newton for picking them all up in just one year of major-college ball. It takes many of his peers three or four years to get to that level.
There are some things to dislike about the kid. This manufactured controversy isn't one of them.
(1) The mutinyYou or I decline to go to work and we get fired. It used to be we'd just get written up and be informed that our punishment was to run the office's annual United Way drive. But now that there are six candidates out there for every job opening, it's more likely to mean adios, amigo.
It's hard to tell if this was a case of just one disgruntled employee (Richard Hamilton) swaying some of his teammates or if just about the whole team hates coach John Kuester.
Conventional wisdom says its easier to ditch one guy (the coach) than half the roster. And maybe Kuester deserves to go. But Friday's boycott of the shootaround embarrassed the Detroit Pitons organization and should have embarrassed the players themselves.
There's been back-tracking since with regards to who didn't and didn't have legit excuses. But when you're 20 games out of the Central Division lead, my best advice is to show up for practice regardless of who the coach is.