The independent news organization of Duke University

Sometimes sports don't make sense

Often sport leaves us shaking our heads and wondering what certain athletes were thinking or how they accomplished a specific feat.

Take for example Shavlik Randolph, who left Duke a year early after averaging just 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in his college career, but still managed to earn an NBA contract.

Or how about, Houston Astro Roger Clemens, who is pitching the season of his life at the age of 43. In 15 of his 28 starts this season, he allowed two runs or less and didn’t earn a win, including six where he shut the other team out.

But although those are strange, these next two are just ridiculous:


Warrick Dunn

Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn runs a charity through his foundation called “Homes for the Holidays.” Inspired by his single mother, who died in the line of duty in 1993 and never realized her dream of buying her own home, Dunn provides single mothers with new fully-furnished houses. Dunn received the Walter Payton Award for NFL Man of the Year in February 2005, and by then had already set up 52 families with new homes.

So, where could this lead?

Dunn made some startling comments to the Associated Press Aug. 24.

“I’ve had some big games, but people don’t seem to care. All they say is, ‘He’s one of the great guys off the field.’ I can rush for 150, 160 yards in a game, and it doesn’t matter. That’s frustrating for me. On the field, I want people to understand I’m a vital part of the offense. They need me. My teammates understand that. I want the whole world to know.”

Whether the comments were driven by media coverage or by something else—perhaps locker room dynamics—they are just downright depressing. Hearing a great role model come out and ask the public to stop talking about his philanthropic deeds can’t be good for the image of sports, where culture is driven by thick necks and jock straps. A guy like Warrick Dunn should never come out and say things like that.

Michael Finley

It must be nice to be Michael Finley.

The veteran was waived by the Dallas Mavericks on Aug. 16, but life is good for the 32-year old. Finley will receive all of the $51.8 million from the three remaining years of his Dallas contract, and he also signed a brand new contract with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Aug. 31 for around $2.5 million a season.

The move comes in response to a one-time amnesty clause offered by the NBA to teams that are sick of paying too much luxury tax. For every dollar over the NBA salary cap, a team has to pay an extra dollar in tax. For the Mavericks, paying Finley to leave saves the team the $51.8M it would have to pay the NBA in taxes, since Dallas is well over the salary cap.

So a few lucky players, including the Sacramento Kings’ Doug Christie, will receive their entire salary and will also have the flexibility to sign with good teams for a lot of money. The minute Finley was cut he had the choice of playing with Shaq in Miami, returning to Phoenix where he used to star, or joining the reigning champions. Not bad for a crusty veteran coming off knee surgery.


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