Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the marriage of Hope Solo, the soccer goal heard 'round the world, the American League MVP award, and the NFL game experience in Buffalo.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to Hope Solo, the magazine-cover-friendly goalkeeper for the U.S. women's soccer team, who married former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens this week. It's hard to judge what's in someone's heart, but it's not as hard to judge Stevens, whose football ability has led to a free ride that nonetheless includes assault convictions, DUI's, and rape charges that were settled in civil court. He was arrested, and released, on charges of assaulting Solo the night before their wedding. It's up to you who you marry, but Solo is a hero in the eyes of so many young women, and this - this is just sad. And now, if your daughter asks about her, all you can say is this: athletes aren't role models.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up for Zlatan Ibrahimovic's shot seen 'round the world. After already having pumped in three goals against England in a friendly, the Swedish star scored on a bicycle-kick lob from 30 metres. Ibrahimovic's audacious shot was immediately labeled the goal of the century although with another 87 years to go, we probably should hold that thought. Maybe this was the greatest goal in soccer history, but that's beside the point. The point is this: it is a goal like Ibrahimovic's, with its veneer of genius, that probably made you a sports fan in the first place. And a goal like this is why you are still a sports fan.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is down to the old school-new school ongoing statistical debate in baseball which seemed to take the luster off Miguel Cabrera's selection as Most Valuable Player in the American League. It appears those who favour the newer stats like OPS and WAR - and we don't have time for an explanation of them here - felt that Angels rookie Mike Trout was the proper choice for MVP. Trout had a marvelous season, winning the Rookie of the Year and finishing second in the MVP voting. Cabrera had a marvelous season, winning the Triple Crown for the first time in 45 years. Baseball should relish in the excellent achievements of both Cabrera and Trout rather than bicker in the background about which stats from which era mean more.
Dave Hodge, TSN: I was all set to say "thumbs up" to an entirely positive experience I had at Thursday night's NFL game in Buffalo - everywhere I looked, Bills fans were loving the fact that the game was on national television - that the weather was ideal - that their team was better than at least one division foe - the arch-rival Miami Dolphins. To a visitor from Toronto, they seemed to be advertising the fact that the proper way to see a Bills game was this way - at Ralph Wilson Stadium--and not at next month's game at the Rogers Centre. But a policeman directing pre-game traffic sounded an ominous warning when he shook his head and called it his worst game of the season - a night game. And you knew what he meant.
It was later revealed that an intoxicated fan ejected at halftime was found dead in a creek near the stadium - a reminder of the culture of drunkenness that still pervades the game-day experience. A sad reminder, indeed.