By PATRICK SLACK
After the opening week of April brought us the joy of the Masters, Final Four and opening week of the Major League Baseball season, this past week unfortunately highlighted part of the gloomier side of sports.
NBA stars ask for Olympics pay
Gone are the days of simply being proud to represent your country, apparently, as NBA star Ray Allen suggested he wouldn’t play on Team USA in the next Olympics since players aren’t paid.
Miami Heat standout Dwayne Wade initially agreed before trying to tapdance his way back from those statements.
Is it a challenge to give up a summer for a sport that already has a condensed offseason?
But it’s also an event that occurs just once every four years.
The argument that players help generate revenue by helping sell jerseys is true, but it’s also just as true that playing on these teams help promote the sport, which in turn allows NBA players to rake in even more absurd contracts.
Bottom line, athletes making $20 million a year shouldn’t ever complain about not making enough money, especially for what was originally intended to be an amateur event.
NHL playoff thuggery
I haven’t seen much of the NHL playoffs, but from the little I have, it has involved a number of ugly skirmishes that have little to do with the game.
While new information continues to become public about the effects of concussions suffered in the NHL, you would think the powers that be would try to cut needless fighting from the sport.
However, for a sport that is becoming more and more of a regional game, hockey appears to cling to the belief that casual fans won’t be interested in coming to games if fights are taken away.
That may be true for some, but for plenty they just look like a bunch of clowns.
The Vikings don’t appear to be drumming up much interest in the No. 3 pick, an understandable if unfortunate predicament given that there are two elite players in the draft and then a tier of four evenly regarded players.
Had the Vikes lost in Week 16 last season to Washington, it would have had the second pick and a chance to either grab a potential franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III, or if it believes Christian Ponder is still that guy, trade down and be in a position to fill several needs.
One bright spot for Minnesota basketball fans is the possibility of the Utah Jazz making the playoffs.
If Utah makes the playoffs, the Timberwolves will get its first-round pick in a fairly deep draft, but if the Jazz miss out it is lottery protected.
The Jazz currently find themselves a game and a half out of the eighth and final spot in the West, but finish with four of five at home.
For a team with a 21-8 home mark, it could just sneak in and give the Wolves, who do not hold the rights to their own pick this season, a chance to add a decent prospect come June.