Line In the Sand: Week In Review

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By Ron Johnson

Yes, we are a week late and a dollar short, but the bonus of us is that we can go ham and any given time and still be damn good at what we do. After spending the week scouring the news and seeing what works and what doesn’t, plus meeting the newest writer of our Bleacher Brothers Family (Earl Jenkins, Jr. II), we get to revisit a few things that made headlines under the radar.

It also helps that as we are writing this that the NFL Hall of Fame Game is about to start.

Bronny James Shows He Has Heart

While LeBron James and I may never share a meal or a drink together, we do have one thing in common that we do mutually agree on: Being a father is the most important and fulfilling job one can have at this stage in our lives. So when a brush with tragedy hit a little too close to home, we mutually shared thoughts and prayers.

Last Monday morning, James’s highly touted USC freshman Bronny James lost consciousness during a workout at the Galen Center. He was later treated for cardiac arrest and was in stable condition after a brief stint in the ICU. An unfortunate stat that is catching on at USC happens to involve cardiac arrests among USC freshmen. Last summer, Trojan freshman Vince Iwuchukwu suffered a cardiac arrest and six months later found himself back on the court. The collapse of James brought many back to the situation involving Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin and the incident in Cincinnati.

Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire James family but most of all, Bronny James.

Zion Latest Contestant of FAFO

Zion Williamson

One would think the trade rumors would be enough to keep the focus on Zion Williamson who is slowly trying to get himself back on track. However, Zion is showing that with great power comes great responsibility…or the complete opposite of that in his case. Williamson is already involved in a heated situation pertaining to former adult film star Moriah Mills. Mills has threatened to go public with alleged sex tapes that include Williamson in them. Mills has also made public that she has multiple pro athletes bombarding her DMs (aka direct messages). It is rather intriguing since Williamson’s girlfriend Ahkeema had announced that the pair were expecting a baby girl. But that is not the only amount of madness going on in Camp Zion.

Ankr PBC, a company that specializes in ‘blockchain-related technologies utilized in finance in data storage,’ filed a lawsuit against Williamson and his parents for not paying back the remainder of $2 million dollar loan they made with them in September of 2021. In the lawsuit, the company alleges that they were trying to build a marketing relationship with Williamson by assisting with community events as well as providing a personal chef and physical trainer. The lawsuit also alleges that Williamson’s stepfather Lee Anderson had demanded $150,000 up-front, and when it was time to pay up, Anderson wrote a check for $25,000 that apparently bounced. Anderson did all this while constantly asking for extensions. It is safe to say, at least from this writer’s opinion, that sometimes family can be your biggest downfall. If Zion needs further proof, just ask the Jacksons, the Osmonds, even the Williams Sisters.

Verlander Comes Home, Max Trades Subways for Rodeos

On Trade Deadline Day, there were multiple names that made headlines, but Shohei Ohtani’s name was not one of them. Justin Verlander found himself returning back to the place where he won a championship as he was traded to Houston in hopes of getting the Astros back to visions of repeats dancing in their heads. Max Scherzer was another name brought into the conversation as he leaves the Mets for the greener prairies of the Texas Rangers. Just the rivalry alone between the Rangers and Astros is enough to get people’s attention, but now you add in Scherzer and Verlander facing off once again? Expect some fireworks down the stretch. 

The Mets held a fire sale as they sent Scherzer, Verlander, Tommy Pham and David Robertson to other teams. While the Mets were selling the farm, the St. Louis Cardinals made one significant move of their own as they sent RHP Jack Flaherty to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for a pair of prospects. And if you think I was kidding about the Dodgers, consider this: Tigers pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez invoked the 10-team no-trade clause in his contract to kill a trade with the Dodgers. Speculation is that Rodriguez just did not want to play for the Dodgers, and with the trade killed an hour before the deadline, the Dodgers were left searching for another arm to save their depleted rotation.

But Rodriguez made it clear: His family is happy in the Motor City. 

Big Ten Upping the Ante to…20?

With the Pac-12 finding out it is harder to keep teams than get them, the Big Ten is looking at this as an opportunity for massive expansion. In fact, the conference is moving to make it a double whammy by adding 20 in 2024. While the focus is on Oregon and Washington, Cal and Stanford has been discussed in some circles. But all this will be clearer once Arizona makes its decision. The Pac-12 is not only eyeing what happens with Arizona, but they are also looking at Arizona State and Utah.

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With Colorado rejoining the Big XII, it does appear that the Pac-12 is on life support. They will truly need some big names to entertain the thought of joining the conference if they want to keep it going. But at this point, it does appear that the dominoes are starting to fall down in the conference. But while it may have started with Colorado, it could all fall on the shoulders of the Wildcats. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask.

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