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Lookin' for Trouble

One of the things that has always bugged me about Minnesota sports coverage--aside from the homerism made popular by Grandpa Sports--and, I guess, sports coverage in general, is for pundits to spout off about things they clearly know nothing about.  This trait is especially noticable when discussing "troubled" athletes.  Witness this chucklehead from the St. Cloud Times :

What they should do: Draft Stanford center Brook Lopez, who would give the Wolves a big, athletic presence in the middle and allow Al Jefferson to play power forward, his natural position.

What they shouldn't do: Draft USC guard O.J. Mayo, who has J.R. Rider written all over him. A Rider-type goofball is exactly what a young team doesn't need, particularly one that already has a few questionable psyches (Rashad McCants comes immediately to mind).

It should also be noted that these 2 paragraphs are contained in an article entitiled "Wolves need to avoid a mistake."  You don't say.  The Times also carried a story in the Health section entitled "People need to drink water."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Dave DeLand has never met or spoken to OJ Mayo.  I'm going to extend as much journalmalism to this post as Mr. DeLand does to his Mayo column and float a guess that the reason why he wrote that Mayo is a "Rider-type goofball" is because he read something about Mayo that included the words "agent," "money," and "scandal."  I'm not exactly sure how the St. Cloud Times Sports Editor covers the gap between an allegation where all of the facts have not yet surfaced and a psychological declaration of a "questionable psyche," but I'm probably unable to grasp this device on the account that I am nothing more than a dirty blogger. 

To cap it off, his actual reasoning concerning Brook Lopez is...well, what other "big, athletic" presences can you think of in the draft that would allow Al Jefferson to play power forward, his natural position?  I myself am partial to David Padgett and Devon Hardin.  Here's some more DeLand-esque journalmalism for Big Dave: you sir, are a crackhead. 

What Wolves fans should do: Read on-line coverage at the Rake, MinnPost, TWolvesBlog, and (inserting shameless self-promotion...) Canis Hoopus.

What Wolves fans shouldn't do: Read anything by possible crackhead Dave DeLand. 

And people wonder why newspapers are tanking. 

I almost forgot.  The best part about the article is that DeLand follows up his Wolves-related nonsense with this:

Matt Birk skipped the Minnesota Vikings' Organized Team Activities this week, primarily because he's miffed about the team's reticence to extend his contract. And this could turn into a problem.

It doesn't send a good message to Vikings veterans when Zygi Wilf will give Jared Allen a record-breaking contract before he plays a game in Minnesota, but won't give an extension to Birk, a six-time Pro Bowl selection.

Birk is also a leader and a good citizen on a team not exactly noted for its stellar citizenship. If you won't take care of a guy like that, who will you take care of?

Now, I may be off a bit on this because I think football is the devil and the NFL is a cheating-filled cesspool of pure evil, but according to a quick Google search I've found out that Birk is an aging offensive lineman with a history of injuries.  He is currently under contact but refuses to participate in something called an OTA until he gets an extension.  Sounds like a questionable psyche to me.  Then again, he's white and from Harvard so maybe not. 
Crackhead continues: 
The Vikings should extend Birk's contract for a couple of years, even if they might not have him that long. It's the smart thing to do from a public relations standpoint — and this team can use any scrap of good PR it can get. 
Ah yes, the team that is virtually unavoidable (believe me, I've tried)  from the front page to the comics needs the good PR.  Do you know what KFAN's Power Trip Morning Show spent about an hour on the morning after the NBA lotto and KG's 1st game in the conference finals?  Fielding calls from fans who wanted to talk about their least favorite Viking of all time.  Yes, the team that frickin' runs the Minnesota professional sports scene needs any scrap of good PR it can get. 
Again: I think this man needs to lay off the crack. 

Finally, the OJ Mayo = JR Rider thing has picked up steam here in the past few days.  I've seen it in comments on the Wolves blogs and in papers like the above-mentioned St. Cloud Times and the Mankato Free Press.  It's pretty pathetic, as the people it's coming from clearly know absolutely nothing about the young man.