Saturday, May 26, 2018
Sports

NASCAR's Tony Stewart should sit out season

Worst decision

Driver Tony Stewart will be back behind the wheel tonight at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Atlanta. It's his first time competing since the sprint car he was driving at a dirt track in upstate New York struck and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9.

I think Stewart is making a mistake. He should sit out the rest of the season.

There is never going to be a perfect time to come back. But this unfortunate event is now a part of Stewart's legacy. Not just today, but years from now, I think it will look bad to remember that Stewart sat out only three races after Ward's death. Sitting out the "remainder of the season'' seems more respectful.

It's unlikely we will ever know what happened that night, whether it was a complete accident or whether Stewart meant to buzz his car close to Ward, who had gotten out of his car to confront Stewart. But even if Stewart believes in his heart of hearts that he did nothing wrong and Ward's death was the result of an accident, Stewart still needs to walk away for the season — out of respect for Ward and Ward's loved ones. Nothing, including Stewart's desire to go back to normalcy, means as much as that.

Sitting out the rest of 2014 would not be a form of self-punishment, but completely about respecting Ward's passing.

Best decision

Finally, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gets it.

He completely stumbled when he gave Ravens running back Ray Rice a measly two-game suspension for punching out his then-fiancee. Then Goodell defiantly tried to defend that ridiculous decision.

Well, following his worst moment as commissioner, he came back with his best moment by announcing stiffer penalties for domestic violence: a likely six-game suspension for a first offense and lifetime ban for a second offense.

The best part was Goodell admitted he bungled the Rice punishment. After putting his arrogance on display for most of his time as commissioner, it was good to see Goodell finally show humility by acknowledging that he had messed up.

Newest show

Bright House Sports Network will air a live postgame show after each Bucs game this season. It will be hosted by Rock Riley and former Buc Jeff Carlson. The show will include the live news conference of coach Lovie Smith, as well as interviews with Bucs players and calls from fans. Shows following home games will last an hour and originate from the field at Raymond James Stadium. Road games will have a half-hour show coming from BHSN's studios in Pinellas Park.

Media tidbits

• Keith Olbermann's show on ESPN2 is switching from late nights to 5 p.m. Olbermann will be followed by Outside the Lines at 5:30. Interesting that the two shows will go up against the juggernaut of ESPN's "Happy Hour,'' which features Around the Horn at 5 p.m. and Pardon the Interruption at 5:30. The switch will be made on Sept. 8.

CBS Sports Network will air a weekly show called We Need to Talk, a sports version of The View with an all-female cast. The hourlong show will debut on Sept. 30 and air each Tuesday at 10 p.m. The panelists will include veteran broadcasters Lesley Visser, Dana Jacobson, Amy Trask, Allie LaForce and Tracy Wolfson. It's a great cast. I'm just not sure who the target audience is. I'm not crazy about the title either.

• The Little League World Series averaged 1.72 million viewers on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, making it the most-watched LLWS ever. Championship weekend — which includes the world title game, the U.S. championship and the international championship — averaged 4.163 million viewers — the most since 2002.

Three things that popped into my head

1 You know the Rays are having a bad season when you try to think of their most disappointing player and you easily come up with about seven or eight legitimate candidates.

2 The NFL should be embarrassed to charge full price for the fourth preseason games.

3 ESPN's John Anderson made a great point. Considering all the problems Southern Cal has gone through in recent years, including the past few days, the Trojans have gone from one of the great programs in college football to "clown college.''

tom jones' two cents

   
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