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Whatever happened to sportsmanship and class?

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An afternoon of watching the Eagles beat the Vikings at the Metrodome followed by dinner and lots of beer at the Minneapolis bar known as the Eagle :mrgreen: prevented me from actually seeing much of the New England Patriots' 52-7 destruction of the Washington Redskins yesterday. However, I was shocked to learn later that when the Pats were up 38-0 with just 11 minutes left in the game, not only was Tom Brady still in the game, but New England went for it on 4th-and-1 from the Washington 7, had Brady sneak for the first down and then throw another touchdown pass.

Even more shocking was that, in two separate Sportscenter segments, ESPN's Ron Jaworski and Tom Jackson both defended the Patriots, using the argument that if the Skins didn't want the Pats to run up the score they should have done something to stop them.

They're both wrong. With a 38-point lead with 11 minutes left, the Redskins would have had to score SIX times to get back in the game. Clearly this was never going to happen. There was absolutely no reason to go for the first down. Asked about it after the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick replied, ""What do you want us to do, kick a field goal?" Ummm, YES! Better yet, take Brady out of the game before that drive even started. Sooner or later in one of these games someone is going to take a cheap shot and end Brady's season, and won't the schadenfreude be flowing then?

This is yet another reason to hate the Patriots and their brilliant but miserable weasel of a head coach. As much as Tony Dungy's association with the anti-gay Indiana Family Institute disgusts me, I'll be rooting wicked hard for the Colts next week.

Meanwhile, there's the case of Alex Rodriguez. The megacontract he signed with Texas before the 2001 season (and before being traded to the New York Yankees in 2004) gave him until 10 days after the end of the World Series to opt out of it and become a free agent. Taking advantage of his huge 2007 season, and undoubtedly on the advice of agent Scott Boras, A-Rod has decided to walk away from the final three years of the contract and test the free agent waters. The Yankees have said that if Rodriguez opted out they would not negotiate a new deal with him. This may or may not prevent Boras from obtaining a new long-term deal averaging at least $30 million per year for his client.

That's all well and good, but the timing of the announcement -- while Game 4 of the World Series was still being played -- was ridiculous. Whether it was the agent or the player who thought the time was right the spotlight should have been kept on the Red Sox and Rockies, not on a player who, thanks in part to his own pitiful postseason performance, hasn't even appeared in a World Series game yet. -- Joe Guckin