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Thursday, August 21, 2014
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Published: Friday, 2/14/2014

SPORTS COMMENTARY

Browns, UT still looking for answers

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

Yo, Answer Man in the house! Hugs and kisses on Valentine’s Day. OK, you know how this works; you ask ’em, Answer answers ’em. Who’s first? You in the dog mask, get us started.

Hey, Answer Dude, are the Browns ready to take off? I mean, the Three Stooges are out the door. Could next season be ours?

Relax, Rover. With the Browns it’s always about next season, until the next season arrives. And the executive stooge is still around. To his credit, Jimmy Haslam realized he couldn’t leave such an important and numerically deep draft in the hands of the other two.

He said nice things about both CEO Joe Banner and GM Mike Lombardi, but you might notice he opted to streamline the operation and move on without them. These were not resignations or retirements.

He also blamed the media for the team’s “dysfunctional” perception. Right, it’s our fault.

OK, who’s next? Ah, the lady in the nice new Rockets sweatshirt; jumping on the bandwagon, eh?

Uh, I don’t play any instrument.

Go ahead with your question, dear.

OK, Mr. Man. I’m so excited UT won Wednesday night without Justin Drummond. But do you think a one-game suspension was enough?

Those decisions are above Answer’s pay grade. But I’ve always thought there are three stages of driving drunk — not getting caught, getting caught, and getting dead. Justin reached “only” Stage 2, and in that regard he was lucky.

UT’s staff thinks he’s a good guy above and beyond his ability to score and rebound, so I’m guessing coach Tod Kowalczyk felt a very public and well-reported suspension would catch Drummond’s attention.

Does the punishment fit the crime? Probably not, to answer your question, but we can all hope this did the job and Justin got the message.

Yo, A.M. Did the Yankees push Derek Jeter to announce 2014 would be his final year?

Answer wonders what you’d blow on a breathalyzer. Jeter is a pinstripe legend and would be a Yankee as long as he wanted. There was always third base or the DH slot waiting if/​when diminished skills started to hurt the team at shortstop.

He’s all class — no press conference, no media leaks, no made-for-TV announcement, just a letter to fans on his Facebook page. He played through arguably the most slimy modern era in his sport without a hint of suspicion. There was never any other scandal or controversy. He’s a first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame.

Trust me, Answer has no love for the Yankees. Never has. But respecting Jeter and the way he plays the game is a no-brainer.

Next?

I don’t know about an openly gay guy playing in the NFL. Michael Sam is gonna regret his announcement come draft day, don’t you think, Answer Man?

Maybe. I hope not. Generational change has made “coming out” far less of a big deal. But this is nonetheless big. NFL locker rooms are still bastions of testosterone, not all of it used for good. What has the Missouri star done, by comparison to those criminals in the NFL, that’s so bad?

Look, Answer doesn’t get the gay world, but I get that they are a part of our world. Everybody’s different.

Some NFL team is going to realize that and get a pretty good player. Of course, Answer wouldn’t assign him a locker next to, say, Richie Incognito.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.



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