Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Security Aside, 9/11 Has Little Effect on Sports

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Security Aside, 9/11 Has Little Effect on Sports

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

At 8:46 a.m. today, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews and ESPN Classic will have a moment of silence, with a text message appearing over the image of a waving flag.

At 8:47 a.m., ESPN and the rest of the sports world will return to your regularly scheduled programming, which could include talk about a ref throwing a flag in Cleveland, big-league arrests, Little League lawsuits, Steve Spurrier's mouth, Jerry Jones' face, Jill Arrington's tank top, Phil Mickelson's cleavage . . .

Boo-ya!

Sept. 11 changed this country. No question. It changed business, security, travel, politics, movies and music. But did it really change sports?

Sure, it changed the stock market.

But what about the jock market?

On a personal level, certainly. It changed Arizona safety Pat Tillman so much that he walked away from an NFL contract and enlisted in the Army. But what about the sports world he left behind?

One year ago, the stadiums went dark. The parking lots remained empty. For one week, there were no big-time sports. Instead, we huddled around our TVs, watching an instant replay that made our stomachs turn and our eyes well up.

Remember what we said then?

When the games returned, things would be different. We would keep in mind that these are just games and the people who play them are just athletes. We would be careful how we used the words "hero" and "war."

We would keep things in perspective.

Now stop and think about the past 365 days.

Twenty-five days after Sept. 11, Barry Bonds hit his 73rd home run. The ball now sits in a safety deposit box, part of an ugly legal battle between two fans. And that doesn't even qualify as the most absurd memorabilia story of the past year -- that goes to the $10,000 paid for of a piece of gum chewed by Luis Gonzalez. …

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