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The Oaks Comes and Goes, but the Wildcats are Eternal

Well, as usual, my wife and I had our own little Kentucky Oaks party at our house, including adult beverages and on-line wagering.

How did I do?  They say pictures are worth a thousand words, so ...

As you can see, my horse zigged when she should have zagged, and forgot that you're only supposed to make left turns in American horse racing.  Oh, well.

But Rags to Riches was much the best, and deserved the victory.  I have seldom seen a filly quite so dominant, and she didn't even seem to notice the muddy conditions.  Kudos to her connections for an outstanding Kentucky Oaks.  The Courier-Journal has comprehensive coverage of the Oaks and today's Derby.

Of course, the Kentucky and Louisville coaches are both at Churchill Downs this weekend, and Rick Bozich has some insights on both of their thoughts this morning.

So what's going on the the world of Kentucky basketball this morning?  Truly, not much at all.  There is no word from Hamga, Patterson, Sanchez or Lucas, although rumors are utterly rampant on The Cats Pause.  I won't trade in them because I have no idea if any are worth more than a nanosecond of consideration.  If you are interested to read them, you know where to go.

I'll be keeping an eye out for things today, but Derby is simply going to dominate and we are having guests over to the house, so I doubt if much will be forthcoming unless something enormous breaks.  But ASoB will be watching, as always.

In a follow-on to my commentary about the recent University of Pennsylvania study regarding racial bias in NBA officiating, NBA Commissioner David Stern launches into an indignant scolding of the New York Times' coverage of the research, and even takes a couple of shots at the researchers themselves.

As much as I would like to believe Stern when he says that racism, "doesn't exist in the NBA", we have to part ways on that comment.  I would agree with the proposition that the racism that does (because it simply must -- we are talking about human beings here) exist is fairly trifling in its scope and impact, but there is no way to justify such a sweeping, definitive declaration.  The research that the Wharton School has done, even if taken uncritically and at face value, appears to demonstrate no return to antebellum thinking by NBA officials, white or minority.

I don't object to Stern being critical of the study, except for the fact that he offered no substantive criticism.  Instead, he engaged in a politician's absolutism, to his detriment and that of the Association.  He doesn't have to accept the study uncritically, but for God's sake, Dave, give the researchers the credit they are due as academicians an rebut them on the merits.  Anytime someone declaims scholarly work, it is unquestionably incumbent upon them to offer more than platitudes.

Stern's criticism of the New York Times is at least somewhat closer to the mark, as it does appear that the paper left out several salient facts in their reporting, and in all honesty appears to be biased toward the researcher's conclusions.  That comes as no particular surprise to me, but Stern should have done more here, as well.  Just to say something that boils down to, "the Times article sux" is just not worthy of a man in David Stern's position.

Where's the beef, Dave?

In other news, CSTV has this article on the current status of the mock draft.  This article takes a look at likely team positions in the draft and the players they might choose.

CSTV also has a story on the Duke lacrosse debacle, and a book the former lacrosse coach, Mike Pressler, has written.  I have seen this story for several days now, and it is definitely worth a few words.

The thing that bothers me is that it appears that the coach was little more than an innocent bystander in this entire affair, and yet somehow, the Duke administration decided that he deserved to be freed up for other opportunities.  How did they reach this conclusion?  According to the former coach, the Duke AD, Joe Alleva, told him essentially that the truth was irrelevant.

Irrelevant?  Well.  I can think of nothing that will outrage the American public more, and rightly so, than forcing a man to sacrifice his reputation and livelihood for what was essentially a falsehood.  The charges against the Duke lacrosse team have been dropped and furthermore, in an extremely rare occurance, the players have been actually exonerated by the charging authorities.

Perhaps Duke aught to "sacrifice" their AD now on the altar of public relations.  I'm sure after this book comes out, some within the administration will want to do just that.  But as the old saying goes, "Two wrongs don't make a right".

So what can be done?  Really, the Duke administration should demonstrate to the public by a series of statements and/or other public utterances that it understands its failure to defend the standards of the university and, more importantly, the standards of human decency.  The rush to judgment in this fiasco wasn't Duke's fault, but they compounded the damage by failing to display any courage whatsoever in the face of a facially flawed prosecution.

The great question after any person is falsely accused of a crime, or in coach Pressler's case, a failure to control his charges, is, "How do I get my reputation back?"  This book is Pressler's first step in rehabilitating his image.  Duke should help him do so.