Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss toughing it out, David Stern, A-Rod and, yet again, Lance Armstrong.
Bruce Arthur, Globe and Mail: My thumb is up to Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. After Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final he stood in the Bruins' dressing room and enumerated his injuries: broken rib, torn rib cartilage, torn muscles around his ribs and – by the way – he'd separated his shoulder at the beginning of the game. One thing he didn't tell us was that he'd been having a little bit of trouble breathing and went to the hospital and he had a small hole in his lung, either from the rib or from – and this is what worries me – the painkilling needle that allowed him to play. Now, we'll never know whether or not Bergeron would have gotten on a plane after Game 6 to play Game 7 had Boston held on, We don't know if he would have had a collapsed lung. We're not even talking about the fact that Jonathan Toews played through a concussion. Playing through injuries is amazing. It's incredible, it's laudable, but there's a line. Bergeron came very close to crossing it.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to David Stern, for the manner in which he handled his 30th and final NBA Draft. Stern smiled that comfortable, warm smile of his – the anti-Bettman – as he was booed incessantly by fans in Brooklyn and he seemed to take it all in and enjoy it. One time he even said “I can't hear you.” Stern handled himself so well that when it came time for him to introduce the last pick, he got a standing ovation. At an NBA Draft that was supposed to have no stars, to be a weak draft, the star of the night turned out to be the out-going Commissioner.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees for the on-going saga. This one started on Twitter – the world's most dangerous form of communication – on Tuesday when Rodriguez said: ‘great, I'm coming back.' Brian Cashman – the general manager said ‘shut up,' or words to that effect. Brian Cashman does work blue. The problem with Alex Rodriguez is not Alex Rodriguez, right now it's that the Yankees are terrible and they need Rodriguez and at some point this thing needs to get settled and he needs to get back to the Bronx and get healthy.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down, yet again, to Lance Armstrong, and yet again to cycling and its glamour event, the Tour de France. Armstrong rained on the tour's 100th parade this week by saying he's still the greatest of all time. Never mind the doping that allowed him to win seven titles, the doping that he considered "part of the sport, part of the job." Oprah was enough. Who wants to hear him give the same interview time and again? Not the Tour de France. But it and cycling's governing body should refrain from blasting Armstrong, as if he continues to ruin the reputation of a sport that deserves better. Don't Armstrong and cycling need to stop blaming each other and start blaming themselves? Or better still, they need to just keep quiet.