Friday, December 31, 2004

Matt, Your Act Is Getting Old, Good Luck in the NFL

I’m kind of glad Matt Roth will be playing his last football game for Iowa tomorrow.

Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of his act.

One day, his picture is in the local paper, and he’s stiffing a fan in Orlando, Fla., who wanted him to autograph a football helmet.

The next day, the local paper carries a story that says Roth used the middle fingers of both hands to flip off Louisiana State – Iowa’s opponent in the Capital One Bowl – in front of 10,000 to 15,000 Hawkeye fans.

While doing the flipping, Roth said, “I’ve got two words for LSU.”

I guess he wasn’t saying, “We’re No. 1!”

The person who wrote the photo caption said Roth didn’t sign the helmet because the fan couldn’t identify Nile Kinnick, Iowa’s 1939 Heisman Trophy winner and the player for whom the stadium in Iowa City is named.

Hell, I’ll bet there are plenty of guys who play football for Iowa now who don’t know if Kinnick was a standout Hawkeye player, a former Iowa coach or a physics professor.

I couldn’t tell how old the fan was who didn’t get Roth’s autograph. It looked like a young fan, but I hope it was an old fan.

The old fan might understand someone like Roth. A young one probably won’t.

And, as for Roth flipping off LSU in front of thousands of Iowa fans, then later apologizing for it [probably after being told to do so by pissed-off school officials], well…… have a nice career in the NFL, Matt.

I think Hawkeye football will somehow survive without you.


My sympathy to Mike Henderson’s family. Mike was a wonderful human being and a tireless worker.

We’ll all miss him.

"Mike Henderson was one of a kind," Harold Yeglin, a retired sports copy editor at the local paper, wrote me in an e-mail today. "He and Chuck Burdick will be talking over old times up there in the great press box in the sky."

Burdick, who covered high school and college sports for the local paper, died a number of years ago.

A memorial service and visitation for Henderson, the longtime Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union facts and figures man, has been scheduled for Monday at the Drake Knapp Center.

Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be a program beginning at 5 p.m;

A memorial fund has been established in memory of Mike. Contributions may be made to the Mike Henderson Scholarship Fund, in care of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.


Man, how times change.

I can't imagine this happening now, although maybe it should once in a while.

In the AP story that talked about the death, at 64, of former Ohio State all-America fullback Bob Ferguson, it was mentioned that his 1961 Buckeye team turned down a Rose Bowl invitation because administrators at the university thought it was becoming known as simply a football school.

Minnesota went in Ohio State's place, and wound up beating UCLA, 21-3.

I wonder what those administrators would say about Ohio State, Maurice Clarett and the rest of that football scandal going on in Columbus now.

Woody Hayes was Ohio State's coach in 1961, and the 220-pound Ferguson was a star in ol' Woody's "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" offense. Ferguson ran for 2,162 yards in 1959, 1960 and 1961.

He scored 26 touchdowns, including four against Michigan in 1961, when the Buckeyes won, 50-20, to climax an 8-0-1 season. Ferguson was the Heisman Trophy runnerup that season.

Ferguson died Thursday in Columbus of complications from diabetes.


I haven’t seen “Meet the Fockers” yet.

I probably won’t, either. I’m sure it’s going to be a hit at the box office without my help.

However, I have seen “Phantom of the Opera” and I liked it.

And I plan to see “The Aviator.”

Maybe I’ll like that movie, too.


Perhaps you remember Daniel P. Finney – who was known as Dan Finney when he worked for the local paper.

I wrote about him a few days ago. Finney then was employed as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

But he made the mistake of taking potshots at his bosses while writing under a phony name in a “blog” – or web-based column.

The Post-Dispatch suspended Finney, and now he has resigned.

“The blog contained unflattering remarks about Finney’s employer and story subjects,” Ben Westhoff wrote in the Riverfront Times.

“Finney’s hard drive was seized on Dec. 16, and he was suspended around the same time,” Westhoff wrote. “Apparently, the St. Louis Newspaper Guild then entered into discussion with Post brass about Finney’s fate. A week later, he resigned. Neither the Post nor Finney would discuss the details of the resignation, but Finney says that the paper did not pressure him.

“’I was an honorable person, and I observed church and state,’ Finney says. ‘I would have never used company equipment to write that blog or to conduct any personal business.’

’I think he made a very courageous decision to resign,’ says Post director of industrial relations Mike Hammett……I hope he finds another opportunity in journalism someplace.’”

Westhoff said Finney’s blog was “written under the pseudonym Roland H. Thompson and included the topics of his articles before they appeared in the paper.

“’As a journalist, it was a kid’s mistake,’ says Finney, ‘and I’m old enough to know better, and I regret it.’”


This obviously won’t go down as a Happy New Year for Daniel P. Finney or his pal Roland H. Thompson, but let me say those words – Happy New Year – to everyone, even the guy who e-mailed me the other day to wonder why I “never have anything positive to say about the Clones” and that I should **** myself.

I still think that’s physically impossible.

And, no, I’m not saying it’s impossible to write something positive about the Clones.

Vol. 4, No. 293
Dec. 31, 2004