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Lance Armstrong, NBC take TV corruptness to the extreme

Wanna ace a take-home quiz?

Here we go: Name the most disgraced, discredited competitor in the history of the Tour de France?

Correct!

So it stood as small surprise that NBC/NBCSN last week designated Lance Armstrong as its long-distance hook-up guest analyst for its coverage of the Tour de France.

NBC was unable to pass on the inclusion of the most infamous drug cheat and liar in sports history. But TV’s value judgments are as corrupt as its hires attest.

TV now always holds a warm, welcoming place for the worst acts. And the epidemic of mass media social insanity in service to misanthropes doesn’t end.

Perhaps the biggest drug cheat and liar in MLB history, Alex Rodriguez, is now the face and voice of two national baseball networks, ESPN and Fox. Fox made extra room for him by dumping Pete Rose!

You helped corrupt college basketball and football programs to achieve fame and fortune as a coach? TV wants you! Urban Meyer is a Fox rookie, as if he’ll be asked to explain his disreputable, criminal laden football teams at Florida then Ohio State.

Remorseless head-breaking linebacker Ray Lewis made a cash settlement with the families of the victims of a double homicide after pleading to obstruction of justice in that still-unsolved case? First he was chased and signed by ESPN, then by Fox.

That Lewis couldn’t speak a cogent sentence was irrelevant. He had bad-guy appeal, even if only wishful.

And Turner TV’s Charles Barkley, admitted problem gambler who bolted on a $400,000 casino marker but later starred in ads for a get-’em-young gambling operation and who was nabbed for a DUI en route to be serviced by a prostitute, remains in demand by all networks to lecture on what’s wrong with America.

So welcome, Lance Armstrong! To the spoilers go the spoils!

No volleys in Wimbledon coverage by ESPN

By now we can gripe all we want. ESPN just doesn’t get it and never will.

Monday afternoon, here, Roger Federer was blowing out Matteo Berrettini, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 at Wimbledon. Yet, ESPN stayed with it because Federer is a star and ESPN would rather show “name” players than good matches.

Thus ESPN virtually ignored a match that begged to be seen: American Sam Querrey vs. American Tennys Sandgren — won by Querrey 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.

Reader Peter Wunsch: “Who did ESPN think was watching Wimbledon at 1:15 on a Monday afternoon if not tennis fans?”


Jim Bouton, dead last week at 80, seemed to enjoy pretending to not know that he didn’t know better by being naughty — sometimes too naughty.

Though “Ball Four” remains a classic, in the early 1970s, while a sports anchor for Ch. 2 News, Bouton and a crew covered the PSAL championship baseball game in Shea Stadium. When an argument broke out at home plate, Bouton hopped the nearby fence carrying his microphone and had his crew follow him to the plate.

As Bouton and Co. intruded into the scene, the late Jack Kriegsman — the scowling, physically imposing head of the PSAL (with soft-guy innards) — jumped in and threw Bouton out, threatening to knock him out.


What money can’t do, continued: Throughout Fox’s women’s World Cup coverage, the score/clock box was commercially sponsored, the corporate logos appearing just beneath. They included a recurring one for “Qatar Airways.”

Qatar Airways, like everything else in Qatar since 1851, is under the thumb of the Al Thani royal family dictatorship. The economy of Qatar is based on oil-rich land worked by slave-waged laborers, mostly immigrants.

Profits, as widely and regularly reported by Western democracies, have regularly been assigned to fuel and feed Islamic terrorism throughout the world.

Qatar has even been credibly linked to financing the 9/11 attacks in Manhattan, Washington and Pennsylvania.
And there I sat, watching the World Cup on American TV, sponsored by “Qatar Airways.”


What is right with this picture?

Current Knick Dennis Smith Jr., according to the NCAA, allegedly was recruited to North Carolina State for his one-and-done season with an illegal payment of $46,700 in look-away cash. Ho-hum.

Dennis Smith
Dennis SmithAnthony J Causi

Yet such recruits, so easily and expectedly on the take, now play in the NBA, which has entered the business of encouraging the nation to bet — and as much and as often as possible — on its games.

Best strategy for replay: Just be right

Conversation last week on SNY among Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez on when Mickey Callaway should use his replay challenge:

Should it be at first perceived opportunity, as Callaway chooses? Or save it for later in games in anticipation of critical moments?
Huh? Call me nuts, but why not use it when you’re convinced you’re right and the ump is wrong? If you’re right, you get another. It’s not knock gin or a philosophical question.

Not that the call will be reversed — it’s still just a second opinion of a first opinion — but always give yourself a reasonable shot. That’s the only “when” that should matter.


Reader Alan Pollack and I shared the same sensation last weekend:

Watching the Irish Open on Golf Channel, not once did we hear anyone in the gallery act like an attention-starved or drunken jerk. Not one, “Get in the hole!” or “You da man!”

And if there was anyone dressed for TV attention, he or she was ignored. American TV scours crowds in search of such jerks to showcase.

It has been said that all the love in the world won’t save a sinking ship: Last season, for the first time in MLB history, there were more strikeouts than hits — exactly seven more. This season that record will be obliterated. At the All-Star break, there were 255 more strikeouts than hits.

If ESPN and Fox don’t allow us to watch games that count without wrecking them with mindless, look-what-we-can-do excesses, why would anyone think they’d do better with what doesn’t count — ESPN’s Home Run Derby and Fox’s All-Star Game?

Figures ESPN, given its sense of sports, is now giving Vince McMahon’s pro wrestling the legit sports treatment.

Michael Kay’s throat surgery, according to the doctors at Mass General, went well. He’s home but has two-plus weeks of no swallowing — YES chowhound Paul O’Neill gets double portions — and monk-like silence.

Readers have asked why the U.S. women’s players wore black T-shirts — rather than red, white and blue — during their Manhattan victory parade and ceremonies. Why? Because they do as Nike orders.

Reader Gary Dye: “Our generation spent its energy creating and buying huge TVs to see everything in beautiful detail. Now I’m being pushed to watch everything on a 6-inch phone screen.”

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