Wednesday, November 21, 2018 Medina 31°
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Sports

Rick-o-chet: Lobbing, hobbing, sobbing...

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Fit to be tied over the NFL’s stupid rules and inconsistent and overly influential officiating, so let’s get a few things off our chest with a Rick-o-chet around the world of sports:

Now that the Browns have guaranteed they won’t go 0-16, I feel the need to point out 0-0-16 is still in play. …

How many (old) people immediately thought of former Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee, who in 1992 called a tie with Michigan a great victory, after the Browns-Steelers game? …

I’m all for player safety, but how was Myles Garrett’s hit on Ben Roethlisberger a penalty? Apparently, you now have to tackle 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterbacks softly. …

That was one of many plays on Sunday that left me shaking my head in regards to the officials, who have way too big of an impact on the outcome of games. …

It got so bad that later that evening, while watching the Bears-Packers game, I hit the “up” button twice on my remote. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I found myself watching the “talent” portion of the Miss America pageant. …

Tyrod Taylor is what he’s always been, folks: He doesn’t make many turnovers, but he doesn’t make many plays, either. …

Then again, it’s hard to make plays when you’re afraid to throw the ball down the middle of the field. …

For weeks, Hue Jackson told us Josh Gordon wouldn’t start the opener because other players had put in more work during training camp. Then out trots Gordon for the Browns’ first offensive play, the explanation being it was due to a personnel package. Methinks it looked like offensive coordinator Todd Haley defying his head coach. …

Speaking of Haley, Sunday was far from his best day calling plays. …

On a positive note, the Browns are at least a competitive team this season. That said, I’m sticking with my preseason prediction of five wins. …

But enough about the No Fun League. It’s time to turn our attention to Serena Williams, who once again acted like a petulant child when things didn’t go her way at the U.S. Open. …

Before we delve into that, though, let’s first give Williams credit for the way she handled herself during the on-court trophy presentation after losing the women’s singles final to Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Williams was all class at that point, doing her absolute best to make sure a visibly shaken Osaka, who played sensational tennis while beating her idol, got the credit she so richly deserved. …

Unfortunately, Williams’ behavior during the match guaranteed that wouldn’t happen. …

But again, before we delve into that, the rule that prevents off-court coaching is archaic and asinine. Everybody does it. If you don’t want coaches to use hand signals, don’t seat them right next to the court, for crying out loud. Better yet, just abolish the stupid rule, because when a player repeatedly looks toward his or her coach, the worse that player is likely playing. …

That said, there’s no excuse for Williams’ boorish behavior later in the match. Keep in mind, too, that this is the same player who once threatened to shove a tennis ball down the throat of a line judge and previously called a chair umpire a “loser” and a “hater.” …

And that’s just looking back at her U.S. Open behavior, people. …

She’s destroyed rackets, like she did Saturday, on numerous other occasions as well. …

Also, keep in mind that Williams was still very much in the second set when her meltdown reached its zenith. Serving at 3-3, she was broken, fair and square, then tore into the chair umpire and anyone else who would listen during the changeover, eventually resulting in a game penalty. …

(The first infraction, in this case coaching, is a warning. The second, in this case destroying her racket, is a point penalty. The third and each subsequent infraction is a game penalty.) …

When Williams continued to complain and complain and complain — she went so far as to call the chair umpire a “thief” and demand an apology — she was issued a game penalty, putting Osaka up 5-3. Never mind that Osaka had served phenomenally well throughout the match and likely would have held anyway. …

It was at that moment, after her serve was broken at 3-3, that Williams realized she was going to lose. …

I mean, after Williams held serve to make it 5-4, Osaka promptly served out the match to become the first Japanese player, male or female, to win a Grand Slam singles event. …

Again, to Williams’ credit, she was extremely gracious in her on-court interview at the awards ceremony, but she started whining all over again when talking to the media afterward. …

While I will say there’s truth to her complaint that male players aren’t disciplined as quickly as female players, her claim to be sticking up for the rights of all women is downright laughable. If that were the case, she’d have been doing so for 10 or 15 years now. …

Plus, the solution isn’t to allow the women to act worse. It’s to discipline the men more often. …

Williams is the greatest female player of all time, but don’t let her smile and soft voice fool you. In this instance, she was advocating for Serena Williams and Serena Williams only. …

If she wants to be taken seriously as an advocate for all female players, let’s see what she does — if anything — going forward. …

OK, I feel better now. …

Till next time!

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.
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