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Archive for Sunday, August 28, 2011

Commentary: Excuse me, all the alibis don’t add up

August 28, 2011

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If nothing else, you have to give North Korea credit for being creative. Not that the country had much choice after five of its players tested positive for steroids at the Women’s World Cup this summer.

As excuses go, it was world class material. The players, North Korean officials insisted, had done nothing more than engage in some traditional musk deer gland therapy as part of their preparations for the tournament.

After being struck by lightning, that is.

Unfortunately, the people running World Cup had apparently heard that one before. On Thursday they suspended the players for up to 18 months, and banned North Korea from the 2015 tournament.

Some excuses are believable. Others simply aren’t.

Forget North Korea for a moment, and study this whopper from closer to home. It comes from Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas, who said this week that he was sleeping when a car driven by a teammate was pulled over earlier this summer and the officer who made the stop thought he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car.

Sleeping. While cornerback Cliff Harris was behind the wheel, cruising at 118 mph down Interstate 5.

Here’s a tip: Get all your cash and head for Vegas right now. Put it on Oregon to win the national championship. If Thomas is cool enough to sleep in a car going 118 mph, not much will rattle him on the field.

Last summer Thomas was in a car when then-quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was stopped for a traffic violation and marijuana was found in his car.

It doesn’t seem to bother Oregon coach Chip Kelly. He understands how it is when a student with little money needs a ride.

“I’m not punishing someone for being a passenger,” Kelly said.

Excuses. We all have them. Sometimes, as is the case in Miami these days, they’re all the same.

The president of the university has weighed in. So have former coaches, administrators and even some players.

None of them, it seems, had any idea that players were being provided with cash and prostitutes, or engaged in wild parties at Miami’s finest strip clubs. As for convicted con man Nevin Shapiro? Never heard of him.

And what about the excuse Lakers forward Ron Artest had to give friends for postponing a barbecue he was planning to celebrate his name change? Artest was all set to become Metta World Peace on Friday until a Los Angeles court commissioner delayed ruling on his name change petition.

Turns out Peace, er, Artest, had some outstanding traffic warrants to clear up before giving up his old moniker. Both the name change and barbeque had to be put on hold.

Which means the world will be without Metta World Peace for at least a few more weeks. And that’s a shame.

Even the North Koreans would agree there’s no excuse for that.

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