The Opening Pitch: Gilbert Arenas finally did something smart in all this scandal.
When he met with David Stern, Arenas himself put a year-long suspension on the table, complete with no whiff of an appeal from the union.
The real and/or perceived contrition did two things:
(1) It mitigated Stern's ability to suspend him into next season, if that was something Stern was inclined to consider. "Rest of the season" has enough of a harsh ring to it that Stern would look petty to extend it.
(2) It undercut the Wizards' ability to void his contract. Obviously, that will be influenced by the sentence Arenas receives in late March, but by keeping the union away from his suspension, he focuses its power on battling the void.
As a big Arenas fan and an even bigger Bullets/Wizards fan, this entire episode has been painful, but some kind of closure feels close. Per Deveney, I expect the team to come to some sort of settlement with Arenas. At that point he'll join the crazy pool of free agents next summer, with enough money in hand to join up, on the cheap, with any team he wants -- Lakers, Knicks, LeBron -- if that's what he wants to do.
Meanwhile, the Wizards will dismantle the rest of the team -- I'm almost happy to see Butler and Jamison get traded, because they deserve to win somewhere -- and accelerate the season that was lost well before the Arenas problem.
Everyone -- Arenas, Stern, Wizards, fans, media -- can now begin to move on.
Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl: He dropped only one snap and had his best practice yet. But the big story was Tebow being asked about his controversial Super Bowl ad, which is turning into THE sports story of the week:
"I definitely didn’t think it would have this much hype, this much buzz. I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe, and I’m never shy about that."
Even Sarah Palin is weighing in -- with analysis, which makes CBS's claims that the ad is not one of divisive issue advocacy ring pretty hollow.
Super Bowl Lead-Up: Check out Michael Tunison's Designed Rush.
NBA Rookie Challenge team named: The rookie team is highlighted by sensations Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings; the sophs feature Derrick Rose. (Nice to see 2nd-round steal DeJuan Blair get a spot.)
All-Star reserves will be named today, with plenty of usual suspects locks for the list: Bosh, Paul, Dirk. Durant will be a worthy 1st-time All-Star -- as would David Lee, who has earned it.
NBA Talking Points: Expect trade talk to heat up over the next few weeks. Amare is supposedly on the block -- more intriguing is the rumor of Kirk Hinrich to the Lakers.
Kurt Warner retiring? If so, he leaves as the most remarkable individual story in the history of the league -- from bag-boy and Arena League QB to Pro Football Hall of Famer.
What about Favre? No decision yet, says his brother. (Still undecided? No! You don't say!)
CBB Mania: New Mexico KOs BYU. Great game in the Mountain West between two teams that will end up in the NCAA Tournament. (Meanwhile: Vandy at Kentucky is going to be a fun one this weekend. The Dores beat Tennessee last night.)
MLB Hot Stove: The Johnny Damon Era in New York is over. The Yankees signed Randy Winn and won't possibly keep Damon, who leaves with the World Series ring -- and a memorable role in earning it -- he bolted Boston to seek in NYC.
Andre Dawson into Hall as Expo: Here's the thing -- he wanted to go in with a Cubs hat, and yet the Hall overruled him. I appreciate the Hall's interest in inducting another (perhaps the last) Expo player, but they are better served giving enshrinees their choice and using their energy purging the Hall voters of fools who don't see the Hall-worthiness of Tim Raines (who would gladly go in with an Expos hat on).
NFL Offseason: Is it me or is the list of available NFL free agents pretty underwhelming? When Jerome Harrison is your most intriguing name... (OK: Miles Austin. But does anyone expect Jerry Jones to let Austin go?)
CFB Recruiting: Lache Seastrunk, one of the highest-rated RBs in the country, signed with Oregon over Auburn. I guess he didn't notice the numbers of new Ducks backfield teammate LaMichael James, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
iPad Mania: The MLB app looks pretty cool -- and it has a lot of potential for magazines (Sporting News Today will look really good on it). I'm more intrigued by the ability to watch live video ... say, Red Zone Channel next fall? Now THAT is a killer app.
Gimmicks: BusinessWeek's list of the Top 100 most powerful athletes was sketchy enough with Tiger at No. 1 (it would have been more interesting if they had knocked him from the top), but -- and so many of you should prepare to roll your eyes -- I'm surprised that Tim Tebow didn't make the Top 100 at all. Perhaps the list was only athletes who competed at the pro level in 2009, but I'm not sure why, if the criteria is "power." Why would you not include amateur athletes, if they have more than enough qualifications to make the list -- like Tebow does? (Three words: Super Bowl ad.)
The Last Word: "I think if anything (the teams) like that I took a stand for what I believe. And if they don't, (the commercial) is something that would hesitate them from bringing me on, then it probably wouldn’t be a good fit for me in the first place, because I'm never going to deny what I believe in." -- Tim Tebow, on the Super Bowl ad.
Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff.
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.