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NFL players don't believe the numbers

Fast food for thought

The NFL owners never should have approved a collective bargaining agreement tied to revenue sharing if they're adamantly against putting all the figures on the table.

"We're not going to open our books and just let people go on a fishing expedition," Houston Texans owner Bob McNair is quoted in USA Today. "The NBA did it, and all they've done year after year is the union's come back and said, 'We don't believe the numbers.' It's like, 'Because it doesn't say what I want it to say, I don't believe it.' "

Doubtless there's truth in McNair's take. Trust runs shallow in such matters. But can you blame the players for wanting to see for themselves whether anything's being swept out of sight? How many salesmen work on commission while blind to the price of the product?

* I have the answer to the Sabres' home-ice woes: Paint the team logo in front of the nets. Envision that the opposition consists of media members treading on "sacred" ground. That ought to make 'em sufficiently surly.

* And just so we're clear, there's no touching the masthead while turning the pages of The Buffalo News.

* It's hard to work up any sympathy for fired Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who showed blatant disregard for NCAA rules when he entertained high school juniors at his home and then lied about it to investigators. Pearl should have known better. That was NCAA Compliance 101. And if by some chance he was ignorant, a phone call would have set him straight. Every Division I school has compliance experts on staff. A few times a year an inquiry made to a Big 4 school will result in a response of, "Let me check with compliance first."

Pearl could have contrived a better defense, like Ohio State's Jim Tressel.

* I see that Jerry Sullivan's enamored with the Virginia Commonwealth story. He'd like them all the more if he had them advancing to the Sweet Sixteen, like I did. I had Richmond, too. But I have Sully to thank. I took it to heart when he wrote before the tourney, "You'll never embarrass yourself by taking all the high seeds. But what's the fun in that?" Then again, that philosophy also had me riding Oakland and Utah State.

* I love when TV analysts say there's no need to expand March Madness by noting all the realistic title contenders are included in a tournament intended to crown a national champion.

Are they serious? The intent is to make money. And Priority No. 2 is making sure most of that money ends up in the hands of teams in the BCS conferences.

* By the way, it's no different in the women's game. Marist nearly knocked off Duke to advance to the Sweet 16. In a game played in Durham, N.C. Were the Blue Devils spotted a 10-0 lead, too?

* A Chinese official wants to implement bone-age analysis to prevent the country's Olympic hopefuls from doctoring their birth certificates. Isn't that excessive? Did they take it literally when the rest of the world said it had a bone to pick with the Chinese gymnasts?

* Some people think pitchers and catchers reporting means winter's almost behind us. Here's my indicator: UB opens spring football today. And that's followed closely by: "Did you hear they're hitting balls at (name any WNY golf course)?"

* The lengthy suspension the NHL dealt Matt Cooke impacts the Pittsburgh Penguins more extensively than one might first imagine. Cooke's 48th in the league in plus-minus. He's tied for seventh in short-handed goals. Last year he had four goals and six points in 13 playoff games. He's not a goon in the traditional sense, which is why the Pens are determined to teach him restraint.


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