Sports Authority

Your Cheating Heart

It’s getting tough to hold an election without someone claiming the results are rigged or crooked or somehow fixed. But there’s an easy way for Sacramento citizens to tell whether elections are less than honest. Keep an eye on the athletes.

In our modern culture, no collection of humans knows more about cheating than athletes. Name a sport and you’ll find a cheater.

If county and state election officials start to hire athletes—or former athletes or coaches or trainers—and put them anywhere near the polling, counting and certification process, look out. Where athletes go, cheating follows.

The Blame Game

There’s one rule in professional sports honored by every player, coach and team owner. The rule is this: Never blame the fans.

In private, free to speak their minds under the sanctity of the locker room, players, coaches and owners joke contemptuously about fans. But such words must never be spoken in public.

There comes a time when rules should be broken. It’s time to hold Kings fans accountable for enabling an awful team. It’s time to blame the fans.

On The House

Every now and then someone who knows my history as a sportswriter asks if I can recommend a good sports bar. It’s a fair question. I love bars and am flattered when people remember amusing stories I wrote about the Kings when I covered the team 30 years ago.

But I’m not much help when it comes to modern sports bars. Public House Downtown at 16th and L streets is bright and friendly and has countless beer handles. Ink Eats and Drinks at 28th and N is excellent for lunch with a ballgame on TV because the bartenders know to keep the sound turned to zero. Nobody in a bar should be forced to hear sports announcers.

Whale Watching

Sacramento is preoccupied with whales. It’s an unhealthy obsession for a city without an ocean.

Ten years ago, Chris Lehane, adviser to Mayor Kevin Johnson, introduced the concept of whales to Sacramento. Lehane wasn’t speaking about waterborne mammals, which on rare occasions have detoured from migratory routes and toured the Sacramento River. He was talking about wealthy sports investors who swim in dollars—gamblers willing to bet on Sacramento.

Major Pain

A burst of optimism shot across the local sports scene this spring when the Oakland Athletics received a hunting license from Major League Baseball. The license means the A’s can “explore other markets,” team president Dave Kaval says.

First priority for Kaval is to build a $1 billion ballpark in Oakland near Jack London Square. Failing that, the A’s might follow their football cousins to Las Vegas. If Nevada taxpayers grow tired of financing temples for billionaire sports cartels, there’s always Portland, Nashville, Charlotte or Vancouver.

First Love

Nathaniel S. Colley died in 1992, but he’s having an excellent 2021. His home on Pleasant Drive in South Land Park has been declared a historic landmark, along with his office on S Street. A new school on Gerber Road is named for the civil rights attorney.

Tributes to Colley invariably mention his work to end housing discrimination and his status as the first African American lawyer to practice in Sacramento. That would be January 1949, when he was admitted to the California Bar. Six years later, he built his home at 5114 Pleasant Drive, integrating a whites-only neighborhood.

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