McCombs: 2013 shaping up to be unlucky for sports fans if January is any indication

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McCombs: 2013 shaping up to be unlucky for sports fans if January is any indication

By MIKE McCOMBS
mmccombs@islandpacket.com
Published Monday, February 4, 2013   |  793 Words  |  

If you're a sports fan in general, 2013 hasn't started out as a year to remember.

First there was the BCS Championship.

A ballyhooed matchup between the two most storied programs in college football, Notre Dame and Alabama. The big game everyone was waiting for. Right?

Wrong. Insert your favorite French army joke here. Notre Dame was worse. Division I playoffs can't come soon enough.

Rock bottom for the Irish, right? Nope.

You'd have to be a producer for an MTV reality show to come up with something more ridiculous than the Manti Te'o scandal.

All-American linebacker and kid loses his grandmother and girlfriend within a day of each other, plays on, leads Notre Dame to the BCS Championship and finishes second in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Only problem, it's not true. The girlfriend who was injured in a car wreck and, as a result, found out she had cancer and who participated in epically long phone conversations with Te'o, ... well, it turns out she was a guy from California.

After the hoaxer told his story to Dr. Phil -- don't worry, we'll get to Oprah soon -- it appears Te'o wasn't in on the deal. Just really, really naive. Really? Wow.

(As an aside, if I were Te'o, I'd jump at the chance to claim I was a part of the hoax. Say he made up the story to get attention. It's wrong, but I can understand it. But carrying on a year-plus relationship with a guy pretending to be a girl and not knowing it? I'd almost rather be dishonest than that dumb.)

So let's get to dishonest. Lance Armstrong. After years of bullying and belittling anyone who dared accuse him of cheating, the disgraced seven-time Tour de France stealer admitted to hard-hitting journalist Oprah Winfrey that he doped during every Tour win.

But he claimed he looked up cheating in the dictionary and he didn't think it described what he did. Huh? OK. Go back to my comments on Te'o. Maybe dumb is better than dishonest.

Doping? Doping? Did someone say doping?

Or maybe I just thought I heard the word as I was perusing the list of players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

Nobody. That's who the Baseball Writers Association of America saw fit to elect in the first year a number of legends with links to steroid use were on the ballot. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa -- none of them sniffed the 75 percent they needed to get in. And because the writers refused to vote in any "clean" players who had the numbers to get in -- Craig Biggio and Fred McGriff are the two who come to my mind -- they only magnified the steroid issue that is going to continue to confront baseball for the next two decades.

(If the writers really valued character the way they claim when deciding who's Hall worthy and who's not, Dale Murphy and McGriff would already be in.)

So, I think I've covered everything up to Sunday's big game, right? Well, wait, no.

San Francicso 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver had something to say about the potential of gays in the locker room during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, and it wasn't nice. And it blew up. It resulted in an apology. And sensitivity training.

But if Culliver thought he had withstood the worst, he was wrong. His performance in Sunday night's Super Bowl ended that notion. He was repeatedly beaten like a dirty rug, once for a touchdown that could have been the difference in one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory, won by the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31.

And that brings us to Ray Lewis. I have been able to ignore most of the chatter about his potential use of some sort of deer antler extract, an illegal supplement, in his rehab for a torn muscle in his arm.

However, I have never been able to ignore Lewis' role in the death, or at least the cover-up of the identities of the killers, of two men after the 2000 Super Bowl.

But there was Lewis, on the stage with CBS' Jim Nantz after Sunday's win in his final career game.

"If God is for you, who can be against you?" Lewis told Nantz.

I'm sure the families of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker, the two men stabbed to death that January night in Atlanta. would love to talk to Lewis about that.