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Covering the Spread (COLUMN)

Opinion, insight into the world of sports

May 2, 2012
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor ( , Salem News

Roger Goodell can't have it both ways. The NFL commissioner has been adamant about his desire to increase the NFL regular season from 16 to 18 games, but he can't use concussions and ever-increasing fines for hits deemed illegal as a cover for upping the regular season. He's trying to make football safer, but is a hypocrite for lobbying for two more games which would undoubtedly cut down careers for numerous NFL players. While Goodell is trying to send a message, I think the only one that's coming across is the league wants to make more money.

Football is a brutal sport, and while I can't condone players using a bounty system to knock out other players, there's not an NFL fan or player for that matter who wouldn't be happy if the star player of their favorite team's opposition suddenly was knocked out of the game. You don't think Browns fans would rejoice at the thought of Ben Roethlisberger tearing an ACL? Let's be real here.

The NFL is in danger of alienating the athletes who make the sport so special. Goodell didn't get booed every single instance he appeared on the stage for the NFL draft just because.

He got booed for wanting his cake and eating it, too.

The commissioner wants things safer, sure, but the motive is simple. Safer conditions would allow him to lobby for two more regular season games and vastly increase NFL revenue.

Goodell needs to stop confusing morals with ethics. No one is buying what he's selling.


Floyd Mayweather is scared. Let him say whatever he wants about Manny Pacquiao juicing, something only he contests. He's scared. He wants nothing to do with Pacquiao because he knows he'll get lit up like a bonfire on the fourth of July.

Mayweather will fight Miguel Cotto Saturday night, and he'll probably win. But because he's worried about Pacquiao bashing in his head as a result of his supposed steroid use, we're never going to see the fight we want to see.

Nevermind Pacquiao saying he'd take multiple drug tests leading up to and even right before the fight if it were to ever happen .

Mayweather will continue to run, and the more he does, the more tainted his career becomes. Once upon a time there was such a thing as facing your fears.

Mayweather just keeps making excuses.


Jake "The Bull" Giuriceo fought arguably his most impressive fight Saturday at Mountaineer. Giruiceo won again by unanimous decision. While he's 16-0-1 he's won by knockout just three times leading to speculation over whether or not he has the pop in his punch to ever truly contend for a world title. He hit opponent Juan Santiago with everything but the kitchen sink and he's out-boxed practically everyone he's faced.

Giuriceo has come a long way, and power isn't going to elude him moving forward. Santiago made Saturday's fight deceiving because he can take a brick to the head and still stand. If Giuriceo keeps looking as good as he did Saturday, the knockouts will come. And if they don't, he'll continue to outbox opponents on his way to a title shot. Whether he can get over that last hurdle and become the Mahoning Valley's new king of the ring remains to be seen, but he's never not been on the right track to achieving it.


Switching gears to local high school sports, West Branch's application deadline for a new boys varsity basketball coach has come and gone. The committee deciding on the Warriors' next coach will be headed up by new athletic director and former head coach Bob McCosky. McCosky led the Warriors to a regional runner-up appearance in 1992 when the team went 22-3 - the best mark in the history of the school.

He also coached West Branch to 10 of it's 22 winning seasons in the school's history dating back to 1961.

The Salem News should have the applicants for the job highlighted in our Friday edition.

'til next time ...

E-mail B.J. Lisko at



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