CENTER LINE - Bonds*, betting and bullets in Baghdad sports scene a mess

It happens in every community throughout Ohio and most of the country. If you look or listen hard enough Thursday morning, you'll know what I'm talking about. As we prepare for festival time in Huron County beginning this week with celebrations at St. Paul, North Fairfield, Berlin Heights and Plymouth the sights and sounds of high school football season will pop up early Thursday morning.
bigjoe
Jul 25, 2010

It happens in every community throughout Ohio and most of the country. If you look or listen hard enough Thursday morning, you'll know what I'm talking about.

As we prepare for festival time in Huron County beginning this week with celebrations at St. Paul, North Fairfield, Berlin Heights and Plymouth the sights and sounds of high school football season will pop up early Thursday morning.

That means high school football season kicks off just three weeks from Friday night. Give me a good high school football game or volleyball match and I'm happy.

With the state of affairs among the pro, college and international ranks, high school sports look better and better each day.

Sports news these days reeks with scandal, corruption and flat-out cheating.

Here are a few examples:

* * *

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Nike Inc. said Friday it suspended its contract with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and will pull goods with his name off the shelves at stores the company owns. And that's the least of Vick's problems. Vick has been linked to dog fighting at his home in Virginia. Monday afternoon one of Vick's buddies pleaded guilty and it appears he is going to turn on the quarterback.

* * *

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) For months, Barry Bonds has deflected all the questions about his pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record.

It was too premature. He still had a long way before hitting No. 755.

Now that he's only one swing from tying the Hammer, there's no dodging talk of the hallowed mark.

The San Francisco star dogged by steroid accusations hit a soaring drive for his 754th home run Friday night. Hammerin' Hank, he's right behind you now.

Bonds is ready to break the biggest record in any sport and the only thing most people can think about is performance-enhancing drugs. Many suggest putting an asterisk by his name in the record book.

* * *

NEW YORK (AP) The FBI is investigating allegations veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy influenced the outcome of games he and associates bet on, law enforcement officials said last week.

The investigation concerns whether Donaghy made calls affecting the point spread in contests he officiated and on which he wagered thousands of dollars the past two seasons. A federal grand jury in Brooklyn has been reviewing the case, and it could be concluded within the next few weeks.

* * *

PARIS (AP) Alberto Contador won the doping-scarred Tour de France on Sunday, a new, young and unlikely winner for the three-week race shaken to its core by scandals.

The 24-year-old rider for the American Discovery Channel team was the youngest champion since Jan Ullrich of Germany in 1997. He also was the first Spaniard to win the crown since the last of Miguel Indurain's five titles in 1995.

Contador had seemed destined for second place until the Tour was hit by a bombshell just five days from the finish: the ouster of race leader Michael Rasmussen. His Rabobank team accused the Dane of having lied about his whereabouts before the Tour to evade doping controls.

Last year's winner, Floyd Landis, could not defend his title because of doping allegations and a "positive false" drug test. He has written a book defending himself.

There also is talk of kicking cycling out of the Olympics because it is such a mess.

* * *

And, finally, my favorite:

BAGHDAG (AP) Tens of thousands of Iraqis poured into the streets Sunday to celebrate Iraq's 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia and Aisan Cup title. And how did they celebrate? They shot guns into the sky and at least four people were killed by falling bullets.

Aren't we fighting over there to get guns off the streets?

Just wondering.