Not only am I disappointed the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Stephen A. Smith has recused himself from discussions concerning the Eagles’ first round draft pick / Donovan McNabb’s choice of publicist, but where was Mr. Quite Frankly when the Houston Astros were allowing Roger Clemens to catch up on his golf game?

Terrell Owens looks pretty darn good today. So does Allen Iverson. Say what you will about their bravado, their penchant for trying to get their way, but they work under the same rules and regulations as their contemporaries. Neither had the audacity to contractually circumvent basic team etiquette – with league consent.

And never mind getting into what would have happened if they even had tried.

The fact that the Yankees surrendered a reported $28 million to a pitcher who is depreciating before our eyes is their business. If they want to give about $750,000 per start to a pitcher whose ERA was 4.35 and 3.91 in his last two seasons in New York, who gets bigger and better with age, who was last seen hobbling off the mound for the Houston Astros.


But when any pitcher is contractually allowed to show up only on the days he is scheduled to pitch, playing golf or showing up at movie premieres in between, marketing himself to the highest bidder while feigning retirement, then prepare for the day when Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera say, “Hey, what about me?”

If this had been football, basketball, boxing or hockey, the pundits would have been chirping.

They would have harped about the lack of respect today’s professional athlete has for the game, how these athletes should be more appreciative of the status they enjoy.

The thing is, baseball should have been the first in line. Commissioner Bud Selig should have stepped up to the plate and reminded the players’ union and the Yankees that while there isn’t a rule against such deals, they are highly inappropriate and in violation of professional ethics. Specifically when it comes to our national pastime.

Thing is, the pundits have been chirping. Though to give Smith credit for a change, the T.O./A.I. comparison isn’t so crazy. That pair of former Philly icons were regularly pilloried for being crap teammates, not to mention all the grief the Sultan Of Surly catches for having a giant recliner.