Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the NBA Draft Lottery, the Redskins name, Donald Sterling, and fights in the playoffs.
Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star: My thumb is down to the NBA Draft Lottery, which once again rewarded one of the worst franchises in pro sports with another No. 1 pick. I'm talking about the Cleveland Oilers, I mean the Cleveland Cavaliers. Or, same thing. And same question: how many more Canadians have to suffer thanks to a dated draft model that rewards incompetence? Well, probably one more. Chances are good Cleveland will use the pick to select Canada's Andrew Wiggins next month. Third time in four years they'll pick No. 1. They've also got Canada's Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson in the lottery, Not to mention Kyrie Irving. And how've they been doing? They've averaged 26 wins the past three years. Hey, these are the guys who tanked for LeBron James and couldn't figure it out. The NBA needs to look hard at tank-proof alternatives to the lottery. They might not save the worst franchises from themselves, but they might save the best players from having to play for them.
Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press: My thumb is down to the Washington foot-draggers. It's down to the 50 senators who tried to make political hay out of this sad and tired situation after years of slurping martinis in luxury suites watching the football team not to be named here. Now they're offended? What changed? Certainly not their moral stance but only the winds of public opinion. It's down to the NFL, who pretends the use of a racial slur is ok because it's been used for so many years. Down to Daniel Snyder, who profits from said slur and ignores his own role in the spread of racism. NBA players were outraged when Donald Sterling's racism was laid bare. NFL players should take the opportunity to halt another affront. Demand change, NFLers. Rid your league of this slur and shame Snyder, Roger Goodell and the rest of the league's owners to enact change.
Steve Simmons, SUN Media: My thumb is up to Donald Sterling, yes up, to that old, disgraceful bigot who is barely hanging on to the Los Angeles Clippers, for apparently conceding defeat. Or what certainly seems from the outside like defeat. Far be it for the cloudy-minded Sterling to see clearly but ESPN has reported that Sterling has agreed to allow his wife, Shelly, to negotiate a sale of the team, which is exactly what the NBA wants. The quicker Sterling goes away, frankly, the better. The sooner the Clippers are sold, the happier NBA players will be. Should the team be sold for $1 billion, which is possible, the Sterling's would be taxed more than $328 million on the sale. It would be an expensive ending, but ending this is where the NBA wants to be.
Dave Naylor, TSN Radio 1050: My thumb is up to the New York Rangers' Derek Dorsett and the Montreal Canadiens' Brandon Prust for reminding us what we haven't been missing for most of these Stanley Cup Playoffs: fights. The tilt between Prust and Dorsett during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final was the first fight of the playoffs since Round 1 and the first since the calendar turned to May. In fact, there were 2,113 minutes of great playoff hockey played without a single fight. Which only proves that fighting is meaningless when it comes to winning hockey games, because if it was meaningful, coaches would send their players out do it more. When the games matter most. That would be the playoffs.