[Thanks to all our live-chatters today. We do it every Wednesday from noon to 1. Click HERE to join us then or to post questions any time. Also, follow along at Twitter.com/gregcote. Note: Our Udonis Haslem/pot-bust poll is still accepting your votes in blog post directly below this].
THE DEATH OF WOMEN'S SPORTS: A new study of gender in televised sports by Southern Cal's Center for Feminist Research finds that women's sports are being shown on TV less than at any point in the past 20 years. The center's Michael Messner calls it "simply intolerable." I call it "simply understandable." Women's sports that should be staples, such as the WNBA and LPGA, are stagnant and struggling. The latest attempt at women's professional soccer has folded. And TV is the great, inarguable barometer: It's all about the ratings. Women's Olympic sports such as figure skating, the WTA (women's tennis) and to some degree women's major-college basketball are consistently the only female sports that draw interest (ratings). You can debate the moral ethics of Title IX, but you can't argue facts such as TV ratings or this, as an example: the NBA attendance share relative to the WNBA was 92.3 percent last season. Title IX gives women's sports a free pass, a fair chance, but women need to earn their place on TV by providing a product that is attractive. At the root of this is the reality that the WNBA and women's golf simply are not sports that enough people (men or women) care to watch. But that's just my take. What's yours? Take a dip in our poll and weigh in.
FAVRE RETURNING STEEPENS DOLPHINS' CLIMB: Looks like quarterback Brett Favre will return to the Minnesota Vikings instead of retiring, thanks in part to a $3.5 million bribe raise. The biggest impact of that is to the Green Bay Packers, whose path to a division title adds a huge roadblock. But Miami takes a hit, too. Dolphins are at Minnesota in Week 2 and will go there now as a considerably bigger underdog. The Vikes would have pretty good even with Tarvaris Jackson. With Favre they're a top-five squad and a Super Bowl contender.
GOTTA LOVE THE MEDIA: Talking about today's headline, 'No hand-wringing needed about [Brandon] Marshall drops.' I am not singling out the writer because we all do it; I've done it. Essentially we write "no need to panic" but in devoting coverage to the subject we lend credence to and in effect contribute to the panic. It's mindful of the annual barrage of Super Bowl columns bemoaning the excess while contributing to it. Marshall continues the least of your worries, Dolfans. Now if you'd like to start worrying about the rash of injuries (the latest to guard Nate Garner), then I think you're on to something!
YET MORE LEBRON: Click here for excerpts from GQ's September cover story on LeBron James in which he mentions maybe ending his career back in Cleveland, if Cavs fans would have him. That should be fine. We'll allow it. Don't be greedy, Heat fans. Five years of LBJ and a few championships should sate us well.
LET'S GET ALL POLITICAL!: I know, I know. "That's inappropriate for a sports blog!" I can hear you now. I stretch the bounds of the blog partly for the hell of it, but largely because I give sports fans and my readers credit for having a brain beyond games. So I say this:
1. DR. LAURA: I don't listen to Dr. Laura Schlessinger's syndicated radio show but have explored the issue of her using the N-word on the air and basically being forced into retirement for it. Click here for an audio and transcript of what she said. In context, she used the word in reference to how black comics say "n--, n--, n--" all the time, with impunity. (She might have added black rappers). It strikes me the firestorm is much ado about very little. But there's a lesson here: Apparently it is that White Folk may not use the N-word even when quoting Black Folk using the N-word.
2. GROUND ZERO MOSQUE: I guess we have to define the boundaries of what constitutes Sacred Ground, considering the mosque site is a couple of blocks from where the World Trade Centers went down, in an area that used to be a Burlington Coat Factory. Anybody else think it's strange that in this case a prayer center seems less fitting for Sacred Ground than a coat factory?
3. ROD BLAGOJEVICH: A jury convicted the disgraced Illinois governor on only one of 24 corruption counts. Who knew the O.J. Jury was still together?
Don't even get me started on Jeff Greene.
SHAQ VS. TYSON GAY: Click here for the full episode of the Shaq Vs. reality show when he races 60 meters against Tyson Gay. Well, except that Tyson is running 60 meters and Shaq only 30. There is a word for that type of head start. I think the word is "cheating."
HIP-HOP MONEY-MAKERS: Forbes list the top 20 hip-hop profiteers and the top 10 is Jay-Z, Diddy, Akon, Lil Wayne and Dr. Dre, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. Did you ever notice that all Forbes seems to do now is rank people by how much money they make.
Click back. Be adding updates and more new stuff to this post later...