Nobody talked, and backed up, a better game than Muhammad Ali. This Associated Press picture today from Ennis, Ireland, shows the magnetism he still possesses. Ali was visiting the home of some ancestors. Even in Ireland, he turned out a massive crowd.
Ali’s great-grandfather, Abe Grady, sailed from Ennis to the U.S. in the 1860s and settled in Kentucky, where he married a freed slave. One of their grandchildren was Ali’s mother. [Read the story here]
CALIPARI HAULS OFF: So John Calipari wants to haul off and hit somebody. Here’s the segment from a piece on Calipari by Yahoo’s! Jason King:
One minute on Wednesday, Calipari said he didn’t pay attention to the barbs. The next, he discussed how painful the situation has been for his family. His angst was evident when asked about the way he’s been portrayed by the media.
“There’s [one] guy I don’t like,” Calipari said. “I know he’s a scoundrel. If I keep reading it, I’m going to punch him right in his mouth if I see him. So I’m better [off] not reading it.”
First off, I don’t want to make too much of this. He’s just trying to be edgy, maybe even joking. Because, you know, anybody who really has the juice to punch a guy doesn’t mind naming names. Let’s face it. Whoever the guy is that Calipari’s talking about, undoubtedly, puts his name out there and his opinion.
But beyond that, people ask how I feel about covering Calipari. I tell them, I’m excited about it. I haven’t had much interaction with him, and that’s something I regret. It’s been a hectic summer all around. But I’ve found that you can get along with just about anyone if you’re fair to them. Calipari is allowing unprecedented access to UK practices this year. At least, that was the plan. We’ll see how things go since the latest round of negative press in the wake of the Memphis violations.
Regardless, UK is going to be more interesting to cover than at any time since I returned to The C-J, and that’s going to be fun.
RODRIGUEZ GETS CLOCKED: Rich Rodriguez is under fire for alleged violations of the 20-hour rule at Michigan. In other news, Nick Saban reportedly broke the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit in Birmingham and Joe Paterno ripped one of those tags off the pillow that are not to be removed “under penalty of law.”
Even if this is a violation in Ann Arbor, it’s a secondary. Nobody follows the 20-hour rule. I would guess that most players at elite programs put in more like 40 hours.
The rule was instituted by the NCAA to give athletes more time for their studies. Funny, the NCAA doesn’t care about their studies when they’re allowing games to be played at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Rodriguez’s bigger problem is that he’s disliked enough in Michigan that former players would talk about this. It confirms a suspiscion I had about him, that he might have trouble being accepted as “one of us” by the Michigan faithful.
ESPN HAS NAMED the Dave Matthews Band the official band of ESPN’s 2009 College Football Coverage. Official band? Come on. But, in keeping with the spirit, I would like to name Phoenix the official band of The Courier-Journal’s 2009 College Football Coverage. Take that, worldwide leader.
NOT-SO-RANDOM ALI QUOTE: After being stripped of the heavyweight championship, Ali was asked about what he thought of whoever would be heavyweight champion next . . .
Let the man that wins go to the backwoods of Georgia and Alabama or to Sweden or Africa. Let him stick his head in an elementary school; let him walk back down an alley at night. Let him stop under a street lamp where some small boys are playing and let him say, “What’s my name?” And see what they really say. Everybody knows me and knows I am the champion.