Sorry don't make the buttercup shine
Apologizing after you make a mistake is good, but apologizing for making a mistake when you knew what you were doing was wrong and were hoping no one would notice is motherfuckery of the highest order
I always hated Cam Neely.
I didn't have a specific reason why, and still don’t. He was a great player with the Boston Bruins and seemed to be a good enough teammate, but I guess since I've been a Fuck Boston kind of guy since day one, I never really needed a reason.
Suffice it to say, I have one now.
Neely, the current Bruins president, made the mistake of trying to sign Mitchell Miller, a prospect who was previously drafted by the Arizona Coyotes (and whose selection was subsequently rescinded) because Miller was convicted of bullying a classmate in some really brutal and dehumanizing ways. (We won’t get into the details here as they're all public knowledge, but a word of warning: don’t go reading up on the incidents in question if you just ate.)
It wasn't until the NHL stepped in and declared Miller ineligible and some of his own players voiced their opposition that Neely backtracked and apologized, admitting that he'd made a mistake. His (very weak) explanation was that he changed tack once he had received “new information.” The new information he is received appears to be the fact that Miller's bullying was not a one-off incident like Neely claims to have thought, rather a pattern of disturbing and vicious behaviour that went on for years — even after he and his victim were no longer at school together. Thing is, this information has been readily available on the internet for years and would have been discovered through minimal vetting, so we’re calling bullshit on that excuse. The whole situation is even more troubling and tone-deaf considering it was made by the president of the team that retired Willie O’Ree’s jersey earlier this year.
Neely also offered up the rationale that he felt that Miller deserved a second chance. Some might call what Neely was offering Miller a second chance. We call it mediocre white guys looking out for each other, a rather pervasive phenomenon in most professional sports — but especially in hockey.
It's great that this wrong-headed roster move has been reversed and that the right thing was done for (eventually) the right reasons. I hope the next time somebody needs to be declared double secret ineligible, it doesn't take such an obviously egregious case as Miller's for similar action to be taken. For what it’s worth, it seems as though the powers that be are really good at recognizing the really obvious “he screamed the N-word” type of racism, but not so great at seeing (or wanting to see, and deal with) the damage wrought by less overt forms of racism.
We didn’t explicitly mention it, but last week’s questions were all related to awards and trophies and the people who have won them. This week's questions are about who hasn't won awards.
Former NHL ‘94 great (and off-ice douchecanoe) Jeremy Roenick never won an individual award over the course of his career. What trophy did he come the closest to winning, with regards to how he placed in the voting tally?
One of the following NBA players has never made an All-NBA first, second, or third team: Kyle Lowry, Donovan Mitchell, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, Victor Oladipo. Who’s the odd man out?
One of the following present or former NFL quarterbacks never made a Pro Bowl: Trent Green, Elvis Grbac, Vinny Testaverde, Jon Kitna, Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme, Jake Plummer. Whomst is the QB in question?
One of the following sluggers never won a Home Run Derby at the annual All-Star Game: Todd Frazier, Ryne Sandberg, Tino Martinez, Bobby Abreu, Fred McGriff, Juan Gonzalez. Who is it?
Answers from last week’s issue
St. Louis Cardinals 3B Nolan Arenado just won his tenth consecutive Gold Glove for his fielding excellence at the hot corner. Who was the last third baseman to win an NL Gold Glove before Arenado’s reign of terror?
The artist formerly known as Chase Headley was the last nonrenado winner back in 2012.
Bonus MLB question: With his tenth win, Arenado joined Mike Schmidt and Brooks Robinson as the only 3B to win ten or more Gold Gloves. At other positions, 13 other players have won 10+ Gold Gloves: two pitchers, two catchers, one first baseman, one second baseman, two shortstops, and six outfielders. Name ten of those players.
The list: (P) Jim Kaat, Greg Maddux; (C) Johnny Bench, Iván Rodríguez; (1B) Keith Hernández; (2B) Roberto Alomar; (SS) Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel; (OF) Roberto Clemente, Ken Griffey Jr, Andruw Jones, Al Kaline, Willie Mays, Ichiro Suzuki.
How many Heisman Trophy winners have been enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame since completely unhinged Senate candidate Herschel Walker won the award in 1982?
Three Heisman winners who copped the trophy after Walker are in the Hall: Tim Brown, Barry Sanders, and Charles Woodson. (If you included the Canadian Handegg Hall of Fame, that number would go up to four, because Doug Flutie was a very good Lion, Stampeder, and Argo.)
Bonus handegg question: Since 2000, how many Heisman Trophy winners have not played in the NFL?
Two Heisman winners did not play in the NFL. 2001 winner Eric Crouch was drafted but never played, and 2003 winner Jason White was only the third Heisman winner to go undrafted.
Since the NBA started awarding Defensive Player of the Year (1982-83), seven DPOY winners have averaged 5+ assists per game in their DPOY season. Who are they?
Alvin Robertson (1986 winner, 5.5 APG), Michael Jordan (1988, 5.9), Gary Payton (1996, 7.5), Joakim Noah (2014, 5.4), Draymond Green (2017, 7.0), Giannis Antetokounmpo (2020, 5.6 APG), and Marcus Smart (2022, 5.9) are the droids we were looking for.
Bonus NBA question: How many Most Improved Player Award winners are in the Hall of Fame? (The NBA started awarding MIP in 1985-86.)
There is only one MIP winner in the Hall of Fame, it's 2001 winner Tracy McGrady who won it during his first season as an Orlando Magic.
Who is the last goaltender under 6’ to win the Vézina Trophy?
Tim Thomas (not to be confused for the 6'10" power forward Tim Thomas) is 5'11", and presumably was when he won the second of his Vézina trophies in 2011.
Bonus NHL question: Since the 1998-99 season, when Dominik Hašek won the Vézina and recorded a 1.87 GAA, what Vézina Trophy-winning goaltenders had a GAA below 2.00 in their award-winning season?
Henrik Lundqvist (2012, 1.97), Carey Price (2015, 1.96), and Marc-André Fleury (2021, 1.98) managed a sub-2.00 GAA in their trophy-winning seasons.
Many thanks to Chris Olave for being named his name and to you for being named your name, unless your name is Sepp Blatter and/or Michel Platini because the upcoming World Cup is is bathed in the blood of numerous human rights atrocities and/or acts of minor or major corruption. It is absolutely shameful that the beautiful game and the world’s greatest sporting tournament is so regularly sullied by the ugliness of the people who call the shots.
Until next week, be the Ezequiel Carrera you wish to see in the world.