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From time to time, TexSport Publications will post editorials on issues that are associated with the world of sport. These editorials are the opinions of the writer and in no way reflect the opinions and views of all the people who write or shoot photographs for this publications.

Marion Jones Pleads Guilty to Lying to Feds

By Robert H. Kelly (October 5, 2007)

Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to federal investigators about using steroids. The three-time Olympic gold medalist also announced her retirement from the sport. In grand jury testimony, Jones had adamantly defended herself against allegations of steroid use before the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where she won five medals.This humble reporter has followed Jones' career for a very long time, first observing her as a 17-year-old high school sprinter who made the Olympic team in 1992 as an alternate on the 4 X 100 sprint relay.Over the years, I have watched her blaze down the track and destroy all comers in the sprints. Before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, I remember watching her defend her the husband C.J. Hunter as he faced questions concerning his positive drug test prior to the Games.At that time, I began to have my doubts about Jones. Her body was one big muscle and I felt at the time she was on performance-enhancing drugs. As time went on, I became more and more convinced that she was on something, no matter how many drug tests she passed. During the BALCO investigation, the evidence that I read pointed to her involvement. I remember thinking during all of this that "she was protesting way too much."Well....now it all came to past today. She admitted that she did lie and was on performance-enhancing drugs in Sydney. She stated in a press conference that she did lie and she was retiring from track and field.WOW....an athlete that admitted she cheated. I wonder why did she that? Did the feds have something else on her and offered her a deal? We may never find out. But one thing is certain. She will be stripped of her Olympic and World Championships medals, her performances removed from the record books, and she will do some time in a 6 foot by 8 foot prison cell.This is all a shame. She had such a promising career and felt she needed to cheat to compete. I hope that she has learned a lesson that should have been drilled into her head at a young age. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."I wonder how long until Barry Bonds has the same fate?

TexSport Publications Top 25 Sports Movies of All Time 

(June 17, 2007) This list was compiled by the staff of TexSport Publications. Please feel free to agree or disagree by emailing texsportpub@aol.com.

We will post comments on our blog site http://texsportpub.blogspot.com.

  1. Rocky

  2. Hoosiers

  3. Miracle

  4. The Natural

  5. Bull Durham

  6. Caddyshack

  7. Raging Bull

  8. Field of Dreams

  9. Remember the Titans

10. Slap Shot

11. Bend it like Beckham

12. Chariots of Fire

13. Rudy

14. Jerry Mcguire

15. Brain’s Song

16. The Legend of Bagger Vance

17. The Longest Yard (1974)

18. The First Olympics: Athens, 1896

19. Olympia

20. The Bad News Bears

21. Seabiscuit

22. For the Love of the Game

23. Cobb

24. League of their Own

25. Angles in the Outfield (1994)

Flip Flops at the White House. A Good Idea?

By Robert Kelly (December 21, 2006)

Should a certain type of dress be expected for special occasions? Should a person be required to dress a particular way when an event is considered formal or semiformal? What would you wear on a visit to the White House?

I don’t mean your everyday tourist visit. I mean a formal, official meeting with the President of the United States.

It has become a tradition for the President of our country to invite members of various championship sports teams to the White House.

I don’t know when the tradition started, or which President started it. Honoring champions at the White House makes for a nice photo op and allows the athletes and coaches to receive recognition for a job well done.

However, a recent visit has raised the eyebrows of some.

The Northwestern University Women’s Lacrosse Team won the 2005 NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championships. Subsequently, they were invited to the White House to meet President George W. Bush and be honored for their achievement.

According to all reports, everything went well. Everyone had a great time, and the athletes and coaches were given an experience they would never forget.

As in any event, the participants stood for a photo. President Bush was in the middle of the group, surrounded by these fine, young women and their coaches.

The photo was sent out over the wire services, and that is when the questions started.

It seems that some of the young ladies chose to wear flip flops.

None of the ladies seemed to be dressed inappropriately. They all wore nice dresses, blouses and skirts, or pants and shirts.

The question that has been brought up and been asked by many; are flip flops acceptable footwear for a formal visit to the White House?

Do shoes really matter? Does an occasion dictate your selection of footwear? I would have to say that it does. I feel that certain events dictate the selection of footwear.

Would a man wear running shoes to his wedding? Would a woman wear house shoes to the opera? Would a person wear flip flops to a job interview with any major corporation?

The answer to all three of the above questions is a resounding “no.”

In today’s society, many things are just brushed off as unimportant. It is obvious to me that this issue does not rank up there with the War on Terror or the cost of a gallon on gas.

What it does bring to mind is what is acceptable in today’s society. Some have stated that flip flops are acceptable footwear for today’s youth. They view flip flops as comfortable, stylish, and as a fashion statement of their generation.

One of they young ladies was quoted in saying that the flip flops that were worn were not the cheap kind. They were brown, decorated with sequins and had a cost of about sixteen dollars.

All of this really doesn’t matter. The offending young ladies should have made a better choice of footwear. The coaching staff should have insured that the ladies were properly dressed. The university should have a dress code for athletes when they are representing their school.

I know many athletic teams, whether they are professional, college, high school or club, have dress and attire requirements when they are representing their organization.

I know of a long time high school swimming coach, who has coached swimmers at every level from novice to national champion. She always has a dress code for her athletes, be it at practice, competition, or travel.

She would tell her athletes they represented four entities: their coach, their team or school, their parents, and themselves.

Society has placed an unwise idea in the youth of today. Allowing them to believe that people shouldn’t judge them on their appearance and that they have the right to self expression with their choice of dress, will do more to hurt them in society then they will benefit.

People are judged on their appearance. Even if it is something as simple as wearing flip flops to the White House, people do judge you.

In reaction to the furor, some of the young ladies have said they will donate their flip flops to the White House, to be auctioned off to benefit a young fan who has brain cancer,

Whether they came to their senses about their inappropriate choice of footwear or are trying to make an unfortunate situation better is unclear. What is clear is they have thought about the issue and are trying to rectify the situation.

Perhaps the university’s athletic department will enact a policy concerning appropriate dress for their athletics teams.

Perhaps the coaches of these young women will enact a team policy concerning appropriate dress for their athletes and coaches.

Perhaps the young women involved will think about appropriate dress and footwear for activities and events they are involved in.

After all, this isn’t brain surgery. It is about some young people making a poor choice. They will all live through it, as we all will. I hope this will take them, along with many others, use common sense when it comes to appropriate dress and footwear.

IOC Drops Softball from the Olympic Games

By Robert Kelly (November, 21 2006)

When the announcement came out of the International Olympic Committee meetings in Singapore that softball and baseball were being eliminated from the Olympic program in 2012, many including myself, were stunned.

I could understand why baseball was eliminated. The fact that Olympic teams do not include the best players in the world was one of the major factors in that decision. Major League Baseball has no vested interest in the Olympics. Why should they? Participating in the Olympics would not give the teams, players, and owners any benefits that would be tangible. Could you see the owners deciding to shut down the season for a few weeks, to allow some of their best to participate? I think not!

I feel that Major League Baseball’s transparent drug policy might also have had something to do with it. Participation in the Olympic Games would require that all professional players submit to and pass year round, mandatory and random drug tests. The Players Union would never go for that.

My belief is “so what.” The Olympic didn’t need major league players. Participate with those that wanted to follow the IOC rules and wanted to play for the love of the game. But none of these statements mean anything now. Baseball is gone from the Olympcis.

However, none of this relates to softball, but some will try to tell you it does.

In the nine years since softball was included in the Olympic Games, I have never heard of a softball player testing positive for performance drugs. Softball is participated in over one hundred countries around the world. Girls are gravitating to the sport in record numbers. The sport is gaining in leaps and bounds at the local, national, and international level. In the past three Olympics, all games were sold out to record setting crowds.

Prior to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, I was in Columbus, Georgia for the 1995 Superball Classic. It was the first international softball tournament I had ever covered as a journalist. Not knowing what to expect, I arrived in Columbus, notepad and camera in hand, with the naiveté of a novice softball reporter. It didn’t take me long to realize that softball had gone big time, and this was not the softball that I knew about.

I remembered softball as the old slow-pitch variety of my youth. The games played in Columbus were the softball of the future. The girls were athletes, with the skills reviling many professional baseball players. However, that is where the resemblance ended.

It is very possible that members of the IOC thought of softball and baseball as the same sport. It is also possible that many of those same members had no idea what softball was. If they did lump the problems of Major League Baseball in with softball, there could be no greater crime.

The IOC has stated on numerous times their desire to increase the participation of females in the Games. So why did they eliminate one of the most popular team sports in the Games?  If any of the IOC members had ever picked up at bat, stepped up to the plate and faced the likes of Jennie Finch, Christa Williams, Lisa Fernandez, or even a Cat Osterman, they would know the love, intensity, and competitiveness that many feel for the sport. They would have understood that softball gives many young girls and women the chance to achieve their goals, and how their success on the diamond would carry over to their everyday and future lives.

The IOC really missed the boat on this decision. I wonder how many of those members would own up to their true votes. The IOC did not release the voting tallies or the outcome of the votes. I wonder why? If they truly cared about Olympic ideals, increasing female participation in the Games, or even had a sense of fair play, they would reinstate softball immediately.

Only time will tell if their decision was correct. I am sure with the passage of time, history will view their decision with the same disgust and disdain that it deserves.

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