Author Archives: Kent Sterling

NFL mandate for coaches to wear masks is an optical illusion

Net result of Frank Reich and Jon Gruden’s mask behavior for the NFL and public – $350,00 for the NFL and no lives saved.

NFL coaches being forced to wear masks on the sidelines during games is absurd, but they do it because it is expensive not to.

A week after five NFL coaches were dinged to the tune of $100K apiece and their teams clipped for a quarter-mil each for mask violations, it seems the league bought compliance among coaches who decided covering both their mouths and noses served their best interest.

It didn’t help anyone else – and may have hurt the cause for wearing a mask.

I have nothing against masks.  At the very least, they make people in grocery stores more comfortable.  That’s enough for me to happily wear one.  Sure, it’s a pain in the ass to return to my car after I get to the door of every building I need to enter only to remember I forgot my mask, but that’s a small inconvenience if it keeps shoppers from fearing me as a potential killer.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

But I am deadset against deceit as a tool in making the point that masks are a vital part of the fight against COVID.  Coaches being coerced through threat of lost wealth to wear a mask motivates distrust.  The truth should suffice – always.

Colts coach Frank Reich was asked last week whether he believes this mask mandate is about optics.  “To say it’s optics obviously could be taken as more of a negative statement,” he told us.  “But the NFL has a huge platform. So, optics is important at some level. We’re trying to set an example for our country so I respect the fact that the league is really running a tight ship on this stuff, with the testing.”

That’s a very polite and accommodating answer from a very polite and accommodating guy.  Reich would never attack the NFL’s protocol, but he sure didn’t say he believes lives are less at risk because he is wearing a mask during games after being tested daily while among players who are also tested daily.

If wearing a mask during games protects players and coaches, why aren’t coaches required to wear them during practices?  Reich didn’t say that either.  I’m guessing the result of such a statement would be another onerous mandate from the NFL.

We also see news reporters wearing masks while knowing they are socially distant from humanity.  There are photos/videos of their photogs not wearing masks, so we are left to infer the masked reporters are complying with a mandate to communicate by example with an audience trying to figure out whether a mask will make them safer.

Through better than a half-century of overt dishonesty from our government, we have adopted skepticism as a national mood.  Optics do not help instill confidence in a cynical public for the need to wear masks.  In fact, for a significant portion of Americans, they cause a further erosion of trust.

An assumption of American stupidity is driving decisions to enhance optics over science, which ironically makes people targeted by the optics feel smart for doubting science.  How about a simple appeal for compassion if science doesn’t compel compliance?

I wear a mask, but it has nothing to do with Reich, Jon Gruden, or Ryan Pace wearing one on the sidelines.  It’s also not motivated nor validated by local and national news performers wearing one.  It’s about compassion for people who are legitimately terrified of contracting COVID and adding their names to the more than 200,000 who have lost their lives at least in part because of the virus.

Let’s start the argument to wear masks there and allow coaches to follow science.

Battle 4 Atlantis was cancelled, not relocated to Sioux Falls, SD, as was cruelly reported

Two weeks ago, terror gripped the college basketball programs at Creighton, Duke, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, West Virginia, Wichita State and Memphis.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported the Battle 4 Atlantis was being cruelly shifted from the idyllic resort in The Bahamas to the tundra of South Dakota.  I relayed that information as I bought what Rothstein was selling in this tweet:

Happily for the players, coaches, administrators, and fans of those eight august universities, the event was cancelled, not relocated.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

Maybe organizers of the event decided the unpleasantness of the new normal was enough for student-athletes to accommodate without a late November trip to a state utterly devoid of both visitors and reasons to visit outside the May-September window.  Maybe Rothstein had a bad dream or had his Twitter account hacked.  Whatever the reason for the report and cancellation, the Battle 4 Atlantis will not become the Battle 4 Sioux Falls.

Inside Indiana Sports NOW! #Colts coordinators Sirianni and Eberflus talk #Bears, injuries, & Rivers vs. Foles

Purdue bounces 13 student-athletes, and I love it!

Mitch Daniels is smart enough to know that a harsh consequence can be the best thing that can happen for a college student.

My Man Mitch!

Stupidity must have a consequence, or it will be repeated.  Purdue president Mitch Daniels clearly believes in that axiom.  Because he does, 13 student-athletes were suspended from the university yesterday.

THAT’S education!

When Daniels enacted the Protect Purdue Pledge, he meant business.  Violate its terms, and the result is adios, goodbye, and don’t let the door hit you on the ass as you leave West Lafayette, as long as the appeal process doesn’t provide unchecked forgiveness.

The 13 students-athletes who were identified at a dorm party broke rules protecting the Purdue community from COVID-19, and so they have until tomorrow to either pack a bag or appeal the penalty.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

None of the student-athletes are members of the football or men’s and women’s basketball teams, so there is no worry for fans excited by the prospect of the upcoming seasons.  It would be interesting to see if Purdue has the stones to send Sasha Stefanovic, Trevion Williams, Rondale Moore, or David Bell home if they were caught at a party, but that’s not the point today.

About the suspensions, Daniels said, “The fact that this episode involved student-athletes can make no difference. At Purdue, we have one set of rules for everyone.”  THAT’S the point!  Irresponsible and stupid actions must have a consequence, even for the often pampered student-athlete population at Big 10 schools like Purdue.

In August, 36 students were suspended for attending a similar party.  They appealed the suspension and remained in school.  It will be interesting to see the results of the appeals that will surely be filed by these students.  At some point, Boiler Up will need to mean Boiler Out, if the Protect Purdue Pledge is to mean anything.

Dopey college students – no offense, I was my status as one once – need to learn that irresponsibility has a personal cost or students will continue to make irresponsible choices.

Good for Purdue – assuming My Man Mitch holds the line on the suspensions.

Breakfast with Kent – Colts Pittman OUT; Pacers Vic wants OUT; Doc Rivers might be IN; 13 Boilers OUT!

Colts receiver Michael Pittman out after surgery for Compartment Syndrome

Pittman has been good for the Colts so far this season, but not irreplaceable – which is good because he will need to be replaced four at least four-to-six weeks.


Colts coach Frank Reich told the media a few moments ago that previous reports of a healthy roster exiting Lucas Oil Stadium following their 36-7 decimation of the New York Jets were premature.  Michael Pittman, Jr, is going to be out for awhile following surgery for Compartment Syndrome in his lower leg.

If you are like me, you are wondering just what Compartment Syndrome is.  Well, I looked it up and found out.  It’s marked by pressure – usually due to injury-related swelling – that causes a restriction of blood flow to areas at and beneath the injury.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

It sounds pretty innocuous, but after-effects can include necrosis, amputation, renal failure, and death.  Corrective surgery allows blood flow to resume and the tissue to heal.

The positive news for Pittman and fans is that this is not a ligament injury.  As long as the surgery came quickly and there is no permanent damage to muscle or nerves, Pittman should be able to get back on the field as soon as the incision sites heal.  Typical recovery for performance takes four-to-six weeks.

Three games into his career, Pittman has nine catches for 73 yards.  He’s not emerged as a key contributor yet, but given the previous week’s injury to Parris Campbell, the receiver position is getting a little thin.  Let’s hope Zach Pascal, Maurice Fountain, Dezmon Patmon, and Ashton Dulin are ready for some bonus activity.

The Bears will be waiting for the Colts – regardless of which Colts are healthy.

If Victor Oladipo wants out of Indiana, Pacers moving him for a valuable piece will be tough

Is Victor saying “NO!” or “GO!” Who knows, but Kevin Pritchard’s ability to move him depends entirely upon the prognosis of his knee, and that is at best a guess.

Reports insist Victor Oladipo wants out of Indiana.

Not so fast, Victor.  If the reports are true, they discount a serious factor in his ability to exit prior to becoming a free agent next offseason – he has very little trade value.  If Pacers president Kevin Pritchard was motivated to grant Victor’s supposed wish, it seems unlikely in the extreme he could get value back to offload a $21 million final year of his contract.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

The rule of wheeling and dealing is buy low, sell high.  Oladipo’s value is low – really low.

Kooks on Twitter have turned to various website trade machines to find deals that would be within the salary cap rules for the Pacers and teams with whom they negotiate.  Here are a few of the deals that are being proposed:

  • Pacers send Oladipo and Myles Turner to the Celtics.  In return, they receive Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Carsen Edwards, and a 1st rounder (#14).
  • Pacers send Oladipo to the Bucks for Eric Bledsoe, Donte DiVincenzo, and the Bucks 1st round pick that they received from the Pacers in the Brogdon trade (#24).
  • This one gets complicated – Pacers send Victor Oladipo and T.J. Warren to the Nets and Myles Turner to the Pelicans.  The Pelicans send Jrue Holiday to the Pacers.  The Nets send Taurean Prince, Jarrett Allen and two second rounders to the Pacers, and a lottery protected 2021 1st round pick to the Pelicans.
  • There is a completely insane five-team deal that involves the exit of Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, and T.J. Leaf.  The Pacers would receive Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker.  James Harden goes to the 76ers in this one too.

One of three results must occur in Pacers trades proposed by wing nuts – they either involve a player who grew up in Indianapolis (Hayward, Eric Gordon, Mike Coney, Jeff Teague, etc…), played college ball in our state (Edwards, Oladipo, O.G. Anunoby, Caleb Swanigan, etc…), or bring the third Holiday brother to town.

Hayward is not just a Hoosier by birth and a Butler grad as well, he has a terrible contract (a 2020-2021 player option worth just north of $34 million) the Celtic would like to shed.  That makes him very popular in the relentless torrent of deals college students propose on Twitter.

If Oladipo were still an all-star caliber player – or projected to be one in the future – the Pacers might be able to swing the same kind of sweet return they netted for Paul George – ironically the trade that brought Oladipo to Indy.

Maybe he gets back to what he was – maybe.  No one knows whether a 29-year-old with a surgically repaired quad tendon can return to 100%.  That injury for a player his age is virtually without precedent.  What is known is that Oladipo was a shell of himself in his return during bubble play.  He shot erratically and couldn’t get the corner on 34-year-old Goran Dragic.  His defense was ridiculous as well, but it was hard to tell whether Oladipo was compromised at that end because of physical limitations or utter indifference to his task.

Oladipo believes he will be back 100%, but when he guarantees a full return, he sounds like I did when my dad asked whether I was ready for an exam in junior high.  I always expressed great confidence, “I’m ready – going to ace it!”  If I came home with a C, Dad rolled his eyes.  I find myself rolling my eyes at Oladipo quite a bit these days.

Here’s some easy math; Victor Oladipo – explosiveness = an affable karaoke singer.  The only sane general managers lining up to acquire a year’s worth of Oladipo with a $21 million price tag will have their own expensive damaged goods they are looking to peddle.

Oladipo might just have to swallow hard and continue to toil for fans who once adored him.  That would make for an unpleasant and weird few months at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, if reports of his wanderlust are accurate.  Indiana residents tend to chafe at the notion that their state is not the equal of others, and the last noise the Pacers want in their newly refurbished Bankers Life Fieldhouse is the echo of loud boos.

This promises to be a fascinating offseason for so many reasons – an uncertain draft class, an uncertain financial future, and the continued iconization of marginal players like post-injury Oladipo.

The Pacers have a lot of decisions to make over the next two or three months.  The first is who their new coach will be, but that won’t be the most important.

Breakfast with Kent – Colts fans! DON’T book tickets to Tampa for Super Bowl LV yet!

Breakfast with Kent – Colts dominate – Good, Bad, and Ugly for the game; Cubs bats ready? Do Pacers covet Billups?

Nine takeaways from Colts dominating 36-7 win against hapless Jets

Lot of empty seats and social distancing at Lucas Oil Stadium for a Colts win.

The Colts beat a horrifyingly bad Jets team this evening 36-7, and so their record runs to a respectable 2-1.

What can we take away from the three hours of drama free football we enjoyed/endured this afternoon?

#9 – Frank Gore is a hell of a professional.  At 37, while playing for the worst team in the NFL, Gore ran hard for four quarters.  His 57 yards on 15 carries won’t make his hall of fame highlight reel, but if there was ever a question how much Gore loves football (and there wasn’t), it’s gone now.  The postgame hugs with former Colts teammates speak to the respect he enjoys in the league.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

#8 – 7,500 fans seem a short number for safe attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium.  There were broad expanses of empty seats throughout the stadium.  I’m no epidemiologist, but social distancing is very possible with more people in the seats.

#7 – The Jets are wretched in every phase.  The Colts offense enjoyed an easy day.  Philip Rivers was the kind of good he needs to be for the Colts to win games.  He threw no picks for the first time in a Colts uniform, and served as a very efficient game manager.  Rivers completed 17-21 for 217, one TD and zero interceptions.  It wasn’t all dink and dunk, but he took no risks because he didn’t have to.  Clean Philip will be a winning Philip.

#6 – High scoring defense helps!  The Colts defense still has flaws, but scoring 16 points (two pick sixes and and safety) highlighted a very nice day.  It’s hard to imagine a competent defense not having a good day against the weaponless Jets, but that’s not the Colts fault.  Teams can only play the opponents they are assigned.  Never apologize for winning!

#5 – Colts have a good shot at finishing the first quarter of the season 3-1, and that is always the goal in season quadrants.  Next week, the Colts travel to Chicago to battle the worst 3-0 team in the history of the NFL, and should be able to hop home with the win.  The Bears are coming off wins against the Lions, Giants, and Falcons, – teams that have combined for exactly zero wins this season (although the Lions are threatening to get their first W in Arizona as I write).

#4 – Injury free week!  The last thing teams want in a blowout win is a late injury that changes the depth chart moving forward.  Maybe someone got dinged today, but none were evident in the immediate aftermath of the game.  There is nothing more important in the NFL that health, and after losing Marlon Mack, Malik Hooker, and Parris Campbell in the first two games, the Colts were getting thin.  This injury free contest gives them a needed breather from scouring the waiver wire to plug holes.

#3 – Xavier Rhodes might blow a coverage now and then, but his two picks today were huge.  One saved the Colts from allowing a TD and he scored on the other.

#2 – Colts receivers will all be on a balanced diet throughout the season.  Rivers and backup Jacoby Brissett hit six different receivers between two and four times.  This team does not have an alpha dog that will catch 10 balls regularly, but they do have a bunch who can help more the sticks.  In some ways, it makes the Colts tougher to defend.

 #1 – I am right a lot.  I told anyone listening on Friday morning that a Colts cover (-11 1/2) coupled with the under (44 1/2) was a very good investment.  It was.  I predicted the score as 31-7.  Got very close!  Happens quite a bit.