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Sports Watching & Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports Watching and WonderingPete Carroll has left The Trojan Nation to take a more lucrative position as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football league. Many loyal Trojan fans are distraught, and they are very concerned about the future of the football team. Not to worry, it will survive. Please allow me to share a bit of history with you. When I was a student at USC, John McKay was the head football coach.

He developed the team into a national powerhouse. There were a number of superstars who played for him. Among them are current Athletic Director Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Ricky Bell, Marcus Allen, and the like. McKay was king of the Campus, and he had a reserved booth at Julie's, a landmark restaurant and hang out near USC. Under his leadership, the Trojans were one tough football team. Each team featured a tough defense, and an outstanding running back. The quarterback could pass a little, if it was needed, but mainly his job was to give the ball to the tailback and to manage the game.

McKay shocked and broke the hearts of the Trojan faithful, when he resigned as head coach, to take a similar position with the newly formed Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL.It was a decision that he would later regret. In the first year of their existence, the Buccaneers did not win a single game. I believe their record was 0-14. McKay was miserable; he and his team became a national laughingstock. Comedians make fun of him and them, the way they do now with the Clippers.

Will the same fate befall Pete Carroll? If history is any guide, the answer is probably yes.

Most of the college coaches who go to the NFL do not do well. That list includes John McKay, Barry Switzer, Nick Saban, and Mike Riley. For most of them, after a year or two in the NFL, they screamed and ran back to the safety of college campuses. I did not expect Carroll to do well at USC, when he was hired. I was pleased to learn that I had been wrong about him. However, he has already had two chances in the NFL, and neither was successful. I do not think that he will succeed this time either. He is one of the best talent recruiters in the history of college football. USC probably had enough talent to field three separate winning teams. He had so many talented players that they could simply overwhelm their opponents, and they did. His teams did win a high percentage of their games, even though they were undisciplined and they received many penalties. They lacked the grit and determination of a team like the Crimson Tide of Alabama.

Most of the successful head coaches in the NFL are tough guys. Unlike college students on scholarships, these are grown men who have guaranteed contracts. They will challenge the authority of the head coach at every turn. I may be underestimating Carroll, but I do not think that he is tough enough to be successful as a head coach in the NFL. I underestimated him, when he took the job at USC, so I could be wrong. For those who live and die with the Trojans, the sky is not falling, and the world is not coming to an end. This crisis will soon pass, and there will be championship games at the Coliseum.

I don't know about you, but I want Tiger Woods to come back. I do understand that he is undergoing a tremendous amount of emotional turmoil, which he caused by his marital infidelities. However, at this point, I'm also concerned that he may have injuries to his face, and that he may not want to be photographed or seen in public, until he looks like his old self. I am also hopeful that his family will stay together, since that could be the best outcome of a bad situation. At some point, he will have to get on with his life and the sooner the better.

NBA basketball star Gilbert Arenas is one of those wealthy athletes who have chosen not to grow up. He has a contract that pays him $16 million annually, and it is guaranteed for five years. This alone, without the income from endorsements, should provide him with a very comfortable living. In effect, he has won the lottery. However, for some reason, which is bereft of any human understanding, he brought pistols into the locker room of the Washington Wizards. This is a violation not only of the laws of Washington DC, but also of the rules and regulations of the NBA. The NBA has suspended him indefinitely, and that means that he will not be paid the $9 million that he was scheduled to receive for the rest of the season. In addition, some of his sponsors have canceled their contracts with him. With good behavior, he will likely be reinstated, so that he can play in the NBA next season. Except, there is a possibility that he might be required to do some time in prison. He says that he likes to have fun, but I suspect that he is not laughing, since this incident figures to cost him about $20 million. There is a long history of wealthy athletes getting themselves into trouble because they have purchased handguns and rifles. Whether they want them for sport, or in the belief that they provide them with security, they cause more trouble than they're worth. Today's athletes are earning substantial sums of money that can provide financial stability for them and their families. All they have to do is to obey the law, and to not destroy themselves. That ought to be easy.

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