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So I guess what we're saying here is, the Todd Bozeman era wasn't necessarily what the Cal athletic department and its fans had in mind. Nor, you could argue, was it what Jelani Gardner's father had in mind. "What I feel, honestly, is relief," said Cal athletic director John Kasser, after his basketball program was placed on three years' probation and received a one-year ban from the NCAA postseason tournament. The penalties were for infractions racked up during Bozeman's stormy tenure as head coach. And when Kasser cites relief, let's go to whatever length necessary not to confuse it with (a) elation, (b) success or even (c) closure. The unhappy truth is, it won't be over for a while. Brutal kicker to the Bozeman story: Coach gets turned in by a dad to whom he paid $30,000 under the table, because the dad, Tom Gardner, was unhappy with son Jelani's playing time. And what was your first hint that Tom Gardner might be a problem for your program, coach? Would it have been, oh, I don't know . . . the point at which he accepted the $30,000?
Shawn Kemp, or at least his agent-spokesman Tony Dutt, says Kemp wants a one-on-one meeting with Sonics owner Barry Ackerley. This is what I wish Ackerley would tell him: "Let me tell you something, Shawn, I've made my share of mistakes since I bought this team from Sam Schulman.
To you, "NYPD Blue" is a gritty police drama with some coarse language and occasional bare bottoms. Maybe you like it and watch it, maybe not. It shouldn't be surprising that your federal government has a different take on "NYPD Blue."
Now that NBC's announced that it will start "interactive" programming later this summer, you just know an annoyingly catchy promotion's not far behind. "Must-click TV"? "Talk-back TV"? "Trivial Pursuit TV"? Whatever it is, it'll be "new to you," even if what NBC and its partner Wink Communications are offering isn't completely interactive.
Rate NBC TV-G - for guts. The No. 1-rated network should be roundly applauded for standing alone in opposition to the latest thickheaded scheme to further rate TV programming for levels of sexual content (S), violence (V), "vulgar" language (L), "suggestive" dialogue (D) and "fantasy" violence (FV) on children's shows. This is on top of the existing TV-Y to TV-M system, by which NBC will still abide. While rival, fainthearted networks settled for another First Amendment-endangering plea bargain, NBC in effect is going to trial this fall amid clear indications that Congress will try to single it out for reprisals.
When TV pictures were sent back live from the lunar surface in 1969, I was a 15-year-old kid watching with my dad. The images were black-and-white and grainier than moon dust, and our dinky 19-inch TV didn't help much. Regardless, I was amazed and so was just about everyone else on the planet. Since last Friday, when the first pictures were televised live from the surface of Mars, I've been transfixed by images relayed from that planet to this one. I scour the cable news networks, evening newscasts and morning news shows looking for the latest panoramic pictures from Pathfinder and listening for the latest reports from the robot rover Sojourner. I've been thrilled by the so-called Twin Peaks, and know the Martian rocks well enough to distinguish between Barnacle Bill and Yogi. For me, the major difference between watching the moon and Mars on TV is that this time I'm the dad, watching with my 13-year-old kid - and this time, the kid couldn't care less. You'd think a young teen in the late '90s would be more, not less, impressed by images from outer space. The technology of NASA has been upgraded immeasurably in the intervening 28 years, and so has mine.
Hypocrisy is to boxing what linen is to the Ku Klux Klan, pardon the comparison. On second thought, don't. The difference between a bite to the ear and a punch to the face is not as distinct as, oh, a bite to the ear and a kiss on the mouth, which I also have seen in the ring and also have found disturbingly out of place.
Sometimes you want to shake him. You want to tell him, "Junior, you've got the world on a string. You're universally recognized as the best player in baseball. You're rich beyond your wildest dreams. You've got it all. Why don't you relax and enjoy it?" Sometimes when Ken Griffey Jr. makes the kinds of statements he's made the past fortnight, you just want to tell him to stop his whining. When he says the fans of Seattle take him for granted, you feel like rolling your eyes and saying, "You've got to be kidding me." It seems as if he can't be happy unless he's unhappy. But sometimes we forget that, despite the talent and the accomplishments and the record-setting All-Star votes, Griffey is a sensitive soul. He bruises easily. He takes criticism to heart. This is a guy who called me up from the All-Star Game in Toronto in 1991 and talked for 2-1/2 hours about a column I wrote that asked whether he wanted to be great or merely good. And whether you want to believe it or not, despite the Hit It Here Nike commercials and the All Star Cafe lifestyle, he is a guy who cares what Seattle's fans think of him. "No. 1, if I didn't care about Seattle, I would have been gone by now," Griffey said after Tuesday's 3-1 American League All-Star victory. "If I didn't care about the people of Seattle, why would I have donated $50,000 to the Boys and Girls Club? I could have done that anywhere in the United States, but I chose to do it there. "I pay out of pocket thousands of dollars for those kids to come to ballgames and that goes unnoticed because I don't want people to think that I do things for publicity. I do a lot of things that people don't see because that's me." He turns to the promotional section. "Do you see one night for me?" he asks. "We have them for Joey (Cora) and Alex (Rodriguez). We have (Jay) Buhner Buzz Cut Night. I'd like a night. "If I'm supposed to be the best player in baseball, how come my own team doesn't have a giveaway night? There's nothing." The ballplayer who appears to have everything would like a Photo Ball Night. He would like the Mariners to give away posters or baseballs with his name or picture on them. He would like the Mariners to come to him and suggest it. If it sounds like he's being petulant, he isn't. This is Junior without the swagger. Junior being painfully honest and painfully sensitive. The best player in baseball would like to be told he's loved. "Is that so hard to believe?" he said. "There's ways of showing it. I know my dad loves me because he tells me. I'm human just like everybody else. People think just because we make all this money and drive nice cars that we don't get our feelings hurt. Things that people say do hurt." Maybe the city wants him to look as if he's having fun. Show the kind of emotion on the baseball field that the old Shawn Kemp showed on the basketball court. Only twice can I remember Griffey letting loose on the field. He pumped his fist wildly after hitting the game-winning home run against the Yankees at the start of the Mariners' 1995 playoff run. And he rolled around in the dirt, like a kid, after he scored the series-winning run in Game 5 against the Yankees. "We can't go around yelling and screaming after we do something, or we'll get a fastball in the ear flap," Griffey said. "They see basketball players dunking and yelling. They see football players taking off their helmets and dancing in front of the cameras. We can't do that." I try to stay focused and stay at an even level no matter what I do." What does Griffey want? What will make him happier? "I don't want people to think that if I don't do something that is projected, like hit 60 home runs, then I didn't have a good year," he said. "But I think some people have already set that up for me. "I would like the fans to take me for me and not what everybody, the so-called experts and people like that, think I should be. If I don't hit 61 home runs that's OK with me. I want a ring. I want something at the end of the year that says we did something. "I think the ring would change people's thinking."
Clip and save: Mike Tyson will fight next year, in October or November, against Evander Holyfield. In Las Vegas. Make your reservations now. Oh, that's right, Mike Tyson was . ... dumda-dum-dum: BANNED FROM BOXING.
I've never seen "Braveheart," but I've seen the clips, and that's enough to know that "Roar" is "Braveheart: The Series." You know, a lot of guys waving their fists and crude weapons in the air and yelling "Arghhhhhh." Or in this case, "Roar!" Genuflecting to "Excalibur,"' with suggestions of "Xena: Warrior Princess" and a nod to "Beauty and the Beast," "Star Wars," "Robin Hood," you name it, "Roar" comes charging onto Fox on Monday.
1. Randy Johnson brings his All-Star heat. Photo by Associated Press 2. Larry Walker keeps his All-Star cool. Photo by Associated Press
In one of its recent editions, NBC's "Dateline" aired a report on telemarketing scams that bleed the elderly of their life savings. Three days later, ABC's "PrimeTime Live" aired a repeat of a similar story. Duplication on newsmagazines is nothing new, but it's a situation that could be even more commonplace as the prime-time newsmag landscape grows more crowded. Come this fall, the four major broadcast networks will offer 10 hours of prime-time news programs.
If you think making movies is easy, I've got a screenplay about swampland in New Jersey that I'd like to sell you. It is not just a matter of putting together the right actors with the right director and the right script. It is a lot more complicated than that. Movie-making is, after all, a business, and there are countless details that must be attended to to keep this business going.
Tiger Woods adds another trophy to this gallery, winning the Western Open. Golf roundup/C2. Photo by Associated Press
Around here, we stand up and applaud when a network says, "This is super goofy and more than a little cheesy, but what the hell, let's go for it!" So, here's a hearty slap on the back to the USA Network. Forget plot twists and beautifully rendered dialog. These folks have thrown in the summer towel and said, "Our people are babes. Watch us."
Most guys try to play their way out of a slump. Not Tiger Woods. This is how he prepared for his "comeback" on the PGA Tour: He fished. He sat around the house.
Mike Tyson, right, pounds Evander Holyfield in the face. Photo by Associated Press
There is no way to take the street out of Mike Tyson. He began his career as a thug. Saturday night, he may have ended it by behaving the same way. With his desperation mounting and the clock running out in the third round of his heavyweight title rematch, Tyson bit Evander Holyfield, first on the right ear and then on the left. Slow to react the first time, referee Mills Lane disqualified him soon after the second.
You know how long it has been since Mike Tyson was Iron Mike Tyson? You know how long it's been since Tyson walked into a boxing ring, in the best shape he could be in, with his skills razor sharp, and took out a worthy opponent? Nine years, that's how long.
Nick at Nite and TV Land executives recently got together with the editors of TV Guide to debate and identify what they felt were television's "100 Greatest Episodes of All Time." It's an exercise that invites comparison and argument - and, boy, do we have an argument. Some of their selections wouldn't even break into a legitimate top-1,000 list.