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Week in Sports: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Is a comeback in the works for Michael Phelps?

Is a comeback in the works for Michael Phelps?

The Good

Michael Phelps considering a comeback:

Well, he’s not not considering a comeback. That’s all we know for sure at this point.

This week a local NBC affiliate in Florida reported, rather nonchalantly, that American swimmer Michael Phelps is quietly training for a comeback at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Phelps, who you may recall, definitively announced his retirement after the 2012 Olympics in London.

A three paragraph blurb about the potential return of the most dominant Olympian of all time—ya know…no big deal.

Phelps was pretty definitive about his retirement after the London games, so it could have been a serious case of journalistic reaching. Except that Phelps certainly didn’t deny the story, opting to play it coy instead.

Frankly, it looks someone is getting sick and tired of Ryan Lochte, the dumber and less talented version of Phelps, getting all the attention these days.

David Beckham’s tearful retirement:

Earlier this week English footballer, and global phenomenon, David Beckham announced his retirement after two decades in professional soccer. He may not have gone out at the top of his game, but he certainly went out on top.

The reaction was overwhelmingly positive and many fans, friends, and one-time opponents spent the week reflecting on his amazing career and immeasurable contribution to the sport. And it truly is immeasurable.

Becks’ was emotional himself, essentially describing his entire life as a “fantasy.” He also reflected on the 115 games he played for the English national team, a record for a non-goalkeeper, which he described as one of his greatest achievements.

On Saturday Beckham played his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain. He cried. His teammates cried. And the applause in the stadium was befitting the loss of a legend.

Sorry Orb, Oxbow has a funnier name.  Hence, he wins.

Sorry Orb, Oxbow has a funnier name.
Hence, he wins.

The Bad

Triple Crown hopes dashed, as usual:

You may recall that the Kentucky Derby took place recently. There were many celebrities in attendance, mint juleps were consumed en masse, and silly hats dominated the day.

Oh, and also there was a horse named Orb that won the race.

For some reason, like making him the favorite was the only way to make anyone care a lick about the next race, the fact that Orb won the Derby in come-from-behind fashion made him the favorite at the Preakness Stakes two weeks later.

Which is odd, considering the fact that he was behind at all should have precluded him from being the favorite at the Preakness. Sure it was a dramatic finish, but it proved Orb was obviously a slow starter. Not usually a desirable quality in a race horse.

And how often do slow starters come-from-behind in two consecutive races to win in such a thrilling fashion? I’m no horse racing expert, because I hate it, but I’d say never…to almost never. That sound about right.

Oxbow dethroned Orb and derailed any hope of a Triple Crown this year, the most overhyped event and/or title in all of professional sports. The silver lining? We can all stop pretending we care about whatever the next event is.

Cristiano Ronaldo ejected as Madrid loses final:

Real Madrid last won the coveted Copa del Rey in 2011 and something tells me that being the runner up in 2013 isn’t going to do much to ease their pain. This week they faced off against Atletico Madrid and lost the match by a score of 2-1.

Although, that wasn’t all they lost in the process. In one of the most important games of the season for Real Madrid, if not the single most important, their superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t even on the field when it ended.

Both Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho were ejected from the game, with Ronaldo’s coming via a red card in the 114th minute of extra time for an altercation with an opponent.

Ronaldo’s night at Bernabé started on a much better note than it finished. The famously bronzed and manscaped forward scored the opening goal just 14 minutes into the match. He ended it with a deliberate kick to someone’s head.

Denis Lebedev's eyeball was the real loser in that fight.

Denis Lebedev’s eyeball was the real loser in that fight.

The Ugly

Boxer Denis Lebedev loses, his eye loses worse:

Boxing is an ugly sport, that’s just the long and short of it. It consists of nothing more than two able-bodied human beings beating the hell out of each other, the winner being decided by the one left less bruised and beaten. Or, simply, the last man standing.

It’s really quite primal and, unlike football, pretty easy to understand. There are also relatively few surprises, considering most high profile bouts are scheduled in a deliberate effort to keep the more high profile fighter…more high profile.

Or unbeaten. Looking at you, Floyd Mayeather jr.

Aside from the occasional cannibalistic ear chomp, boxing has become pretty predictable. Although, a grizzled WBA title bout between Guillermo Jones and Denis Lebedev in Moscow over the weekend really bucked that trend—in it’s own special way.

Guillermo won. Ledbedev lost. Sounds cut and dry, but it really wasn’t. Ledbedev, the person, may have been officially defeated. But it was his eye that really lost. That thing entered the ring as an eyeball, but it left as a softball.

UFC fighter Nate Diaz suspended for gay slur:

If you think that trash talking has gotten out of control in some sports, they’ve got nothing on UFC. Some fighters keep it in check, managing to trash talk their opponents without completely crossing the line. Nate Diaz is not one of those fighters.

The recent news that fighter Pat Healy was docked his bonus pay for testing positive for marijuana triggered a less than savory response from Diaz via Twitter. What a positive drug test has to do with being the “biggest fag in the world” is beyond me.

It’s beyond most people. The LGBT community was, understandably, offended. The UFC was also offended, who issued a statement condemning Diaz’s comments and made it clear that they were “in no way reflective” of the organization.

Diaz was definitely suspended for his hateful tweet pending further investigation, but UFC president Dana White said he could also face an additional fine and/or be released from the organization.

Which is what likely prompted Diaz to delete the tweet. According to his manager, he never intended to offend “homosexuals,” but rather used the word as a synonym for “punk” or “bitch.”

Hmm. Glad that’s all cleared up!

To pee, or not to pee: That is the question.

To pee, or not to pee: That is the question.

And The Awesome!

The Eagles’ Evan Mathis sends a message to the IRS:

The message Philadelphia Eagles‘ guard Evan Mathis was sending to the IRS with the photo he recently posted to Instagram was pretty clear: “Don’t pee on me.”

Apparently Mathis is been less than pleased about the recent reports alleging the IRS has been targeting specific groups for purely political reasons since the 2012 campaign. As if the IRS could have been anymore hated by the general public.

The details of the scandal are still coming to light, but the mind of Mathis has already been made up. He tagged the Instagram photo “Audit this.” Not that his message needed any clarification, but it was much appreciated.

And if you think there are any half-hearted apologizes in the pipeline—think again. Mathis is anything but contrite about the incident and an “I’m sorry” is not in the future. That much he’s made clear.

Which you just have to respect. Ruffling feathers is fine, if you’re willing to own up to it. Issuing half-hearted apologies typed up by your agent, as nothing more than a hollow attempt at damage control, is not.

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