Silverman: Follow the Pope – Sports Resignations That Should Happen
By Steve Silverman-
(CBS) The news emanating from the Vatican yesterday seemed to inspire a nation of papal critics who had opinions on Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign.
The 85-year-old pontiff gave reasons like “deteriorating mental and physical health” as the primary ones for leaving his office.
But you don’t have to be the head of the Catholic Church to resign. Here’s a list of the 10 resignations I would like to see. Nine of them are from the world of sports, but one so-called movie star needs to leave the business as well.
Devin Hester, return specialist – The Bears may have ruined Hester by letting him attempt to play receiver the last few years. He has lost much of his skills as a return man. His feelings were hurt when Lovie Smith was fired, but that’s life in the NFL. Hester may no longer be capable of the big returns that made him the NFL’s best at one point and it’s time for him to go.
Brian Urlacher, middle linebacker – This one hurts, but if you watched Urlacher play this season there is only one conclusion you could come to: he can no longer run. He is simply slow running up and down the field. He also can’t move laterally at all, and that’s a very important task when you play middle linebacker in the NFL.
Nate Robinson, guard – Robinson is a great guy and kids love his full wattage smile and the joy he seems to have when playing the game. He is capable of going on a hot-shooting run and turning a six-point lead into a 16-point margin. He is also capable of taking that lead and turning it into a 10-point deficit. His decision-making with the ball in his hands is often similar to that of an eighth-grade player. If you want turnovers, bad shot selection and mistakes , Robinson is your man.
Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner – Goodell botched the Saints’ “Bountygate” fiasco. He had his legs cut out from under him by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who rescinded the guts of the penalties that Goodell had issued. Goodell also is trying to figure out ways to make the game safer. He’s just fooling himself by thinking that getting rid of the kickoff will turn football into a “safe” game. The game is a series of collisions and car wrecks. It’s dangerous. Leave it alone.
Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner – This bum almost singlehandedly killed the NHL. Bettman understands business, but he doesn’t understand hockey. Not only did he want to beat the players in the recent CBA negotiations, he wanted to rub their faces in the mud. He has presided over three lockouts in his 20-year tenure. No other sports commissioner can make such a claim.
Neil Funk, Bulls TV broadcaster – Many Bulls fans seem to like this homer, but his bias and rants are growing tiresome. The Bulls never do anything wrong when Funk is announcing the game and the opponent is always doing something dirty and heinous. You want a professional call of the game? Go to TNT when they are broadcasting a Bulls’ game and you won’t have to put up with Funk’s nonsense.
Phil Simms, NFL analyst – Simms’ faults are well known. He really suffers when he is compared with other top-of-the-line analysts like Cris Collinsworth, Troy Aikman and Jon Gruden. The big problem is that Simms is easily confused by situations that many fans seem to understand. When asked by Jim Nantz if the Ravens were going to take a safety in the final seconds of the Super Bowl and allow the 49ers to cut a five-point lead to three, Simms said “I don’t think so.” Of course John Harbaugh took the safety and the game came to its conclusion on the punt that followed. Simms didn’t seem to get it until it was too late.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees – There are always complications, issues and back stories with A-Rod. That’s because he never tells the truth. He finds his name on a Florida anti-aging clinic’s client list. A-Rod’s career baseball numbers are glorious, but he couldn’t hit a loud foul in last year’s playoffs. Something’s rotten in Denmark, and in the Bronx as well.
Bud Selig, MLB commissioner – He has been behind the curve on just about every major issue in baseball during his run as commissioner. From steroids, to using the All-Star Game to determine home-field advantage in the World Series to instant replay, Selig is always late to the party.
Sean Penn, actor – The most overrated actor of his generation. The only time he ever showed range in his career was when he played ultimate stoner Jeff Spicoli in the classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That film was made just 31 years ago. Other than that, Penn plays the angry, tough guy. I am convinced that Penn is a tough guy and can handle himself with his fists. However, when he tries to play any other type of character, it’s a joke. Harvey Milk? No way. As Mickey Cohen in Gangster Squad, Penn’s just a caricature of himself. It’s time for him to go away.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman was with Pro Football Weekly for 10 years and his byline has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, NFL.com and The Sporting News. He is the author of four books, including Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football — The Top 60 Players of All-Time. Follow him on Twitter (@profootballboy) and read more of his CBS Chicago columns here.