The truth is sexy ... and so are NFL Truths

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Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock writes about the sports world from every angle, including those other writers can't imagine or muster courage to address. His columns are humorous, thought-provoking, agenda-free, honest and unpredictable. E-mail him, follow his Twitter or become a fan of Jason Whitlock on Facebook.

An unfortunate repercussion of agreeing to appear in ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" was that I caught the flu bug after spending an entire day posing for nude pictures alongside tennis star Serena Williams, MMA combatant Gina Carano and surfer Claire Bevilacqua. That's why there were no NFL Truths last week. I was sick, recovering from what felt like H1N1. My attorney and FBI investigators are examining the possibility that ESPN executives sprayed germs in my dressing room or contaminated the banana hammock I used to cover myself between pictures. You wouldn't believe the extreme measures some people are willing to take to stop me from delivering you the Truth about the NFL each week. I'm back. And thanks to a shot of penicillin, The Truths return bigger, badder and better than ever. 10. If the NFL doesn't put an end to Deion "Master D" Sanders' mentoring service, Percy "Master P" Miller has every right to demand reinstatement as a sports agent. In my book, Master P did a better job representing Ricky Williams than Master D did advising Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant, Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson and Deangelo Hall. Not since Jim Jones led a flock of followers to Guyana has one religious con man been responsible for simultaneously misleading so many young people. Is there no limit to Deion's foolishness? Super agent Eugene Parker is taking most of the heat for Crabtree's pointless, ridiculous and counterproductive holdout from the 49ers. No way the Crabtree fiasco was a Parker brainchild. He's been representing high-level NFL players for 20 years, including Sanders, Rod Woodson, Larry Fitzgerald, Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Richard Seymour and Derrick Brooks. This thing smells like a Sanders concoction. Ever since Master D negotiated himself off the high-profile CBS studio show and onto the low-profile NFL Network studio show, he's been buddying up (mentoring/advising) to young NFL players as a way of remaining relevant. Just like his negotiations with CBS, his mentoring service has been a disaster. The clown suit Master D just put on Crabtree might never be topped. Not only did Master D play a role in convincing Crabtree he could get paid based on the word of Mel Kiper rather than the checkbook of an NFL owner, Master D capped it off by sending another 1990s has-been and financial idiot (MC Hammer) to Crabtree's contract surrender. Think about it. Crabtree had already made a complete ass out of himself and turned off the American football public with an irrational, greedy ploy IN THE MIDDLE OF A HISTORIC ECONOMIC CRISIS, but the involvement of Hammer ensured that comedians and late-night talk-show hosts had all the ammunition necessary to bury Crabtree. Crabtree is a joke. He looks like the most naive and dumb athlete since Forrest Gump quit playing college football. Master D owes Crabtree an apology. Sanders can apologize to Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant, too. After Bryant lied about visiting Sanders at his home, the NCAA ruled Bryant ineligible. Deion Sanders was one of my favorite athletes of all time. Loved to watch him shut down one half the field. Loved his flamboyance and personality. I enjoyed his work on CBS. He had a chance to be the Charles Barkley of football. Sanders blew it. He's turned into Master D, someone not humble enough to realize he made millions of dollars because God blessed him with Bob Hayes speed, not Johnnie Cochran's intellect. Roger Goodell needs to close Master D Mentoring. The D stands for destruction or dumb, not Deion. 9. Fixing the roughing-Tom Brady-penalty crisis is rather easy.
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As I did when I first addressed this problem at the beginning of the season, I'm not going to play the race card. I'm going to continue to ignore the fact that Donovan McNabb had a rib cracked while laying in the end zone and there was no penalty called, and I'm going to ignore the unpenalized illegal hits leveled against Off-The-Marcus Russell and David Garrard last week. This is not an issue driven by race. It's a star power issue, no different from the NBA officiating that protected Michael Jordan the second half of his career and gave Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat an NBA title. Refs pamper the big stars. Refs are humans just like you and me. They get caught up in Brady's fame. Ray "Avon Barksdale" Lewis and Ed "Stringer Bell" Reed had every right to blast the refs following the Patriots-Ravens game. There were two unwarranted roughing-the-Brady penalties that contributed to New England TD drives. One of the penalties occurred on third and nine and Brady threw incomplete. And the other occurred on second and 11 and Brady completed a 1-yard pass. The "hits" didn't justify a flag and they certainly didn't justify 15-yard penalties. Why do quarterbacks deserve more protection than a punter or a kicker? Why can't there be a 5-yard running-into-the-Brady call and a 15-yard roughing-the-Brady call? A hand accidently slapping a QB in the helmet isn't worthy of 15 yards. A defender falling down and grazing a QB's knee isn't worth 15 yards. And there needs to be a common-sense official placed in a television replay booth. He needs the authority to stop the game and review any and every 15-yard penalty. Look at the excessive-celebration penalty that ruined the Georgia-LSU college game. A common-sense ref in the booth could've stopped that. If you eliminated the TV timeouts after punts, kickoffs and timeouts primarily taken to stop the clock, a more active replay ref wouldn't interfere with the flow of an NFL game or prevent it from concluding in three hours or less. 8. Michael Vick agreeing to do a reality TV show is the first significant sign that he still has no clue how to go about being a great NFL quarterback. Which network airs Brady's reality TV show? What time does Peyton Manning's reality show air? Oh, that's right, Brady and Manning don't do reality TV shows. If Vick's goal is to be an NFL starter and a top-flight NFL QB, why wouldn't he mimic the actions of Brady, Manning, McNabb, Drew Brees and the other quarterbacks at the top of the game? NFL quarterback is a full-time job, a full-time responsibility. Vick doesn't have a legitimate, mature interest in football. The NFL is a simply a tool for money and fame. Vick desires celebrity, a job with no real responsibility. I hope Andy Reid realizes this. There are a lot of football experts/idiots who are going to judge Reid on how effective he is in working Vick into the Philadelphia offense. Last week on "Inside the NFL," Warren Sapp let loose with some bogus logic that Kevin Kolb proved he could maintain a rhythm while Vick shuffled in and out of the lineup for Wildcat plays, and then Sapp insinuated McNabb would be inferior to Kolb if McNabb couldn't stay hot while sitting for Vick. There's too much focus on Vick. Philly has young playmakers -- DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin -- with potentially more upside than Vick, who looked terrible against the Chiefs. Andy Reid better spend the majority of his energy figuring out how to maximize production from Jackson, McCoy and Maclin rather than Philly's future reality TV star. I'm still rooting for Vick. But I'm still looking for proof he really wants to be an NFL quarterback. 7. It's comical watching everyone fall over themselves praising Josh McDaniels for Denver's 4-0 start when the Broncos' undefeated start is the No. 1 reason McDaniels should be ripped. Put Jay Cutler under center and the Broncos are a serious Super Bowl threat rather than a nice, first-quarter-of-the-season story. Kyle Orton ain't winning no Super Bowl. Not in this life. Not on this planet. McDaniels' mishandling of Cutler might've destroyed a Super Bowl team. That's the story. That mistake isn't water under the bridge. We don't forget about it because it happened in February. You can lose the Super Bowl in the offseason just as easily as you can by improperly using timeouts or calling the wrong plays. 6. Why is Dan Snyder's hiring of Sherm Lewis as "offensive consultant/head-coach-in-waiting" all that different from the Raiders employing bed-and-breakfast operator Tom Walsh as offensive coordinator during Art Shell's second tenure? I'm a huge Sherm Lewis fan. His son, Eric Lewis, the defensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan, is a friend of mine. I have a great deal of respect for the Lewis family. But Sherm hasn't been an NFL coach since 2004. Dan Snyder brought Joe Gibbs out of retirement trying to fix the Redskins. Now he's turning to a 67-year-old retired assistant coach. There's no reason to fire Jim Zorn during this season. You don't change coaches midseason and make Super Bowl runs. If Snyder wants to improve his Redskins, he might look around and see who the common denominators are in the losing -- Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, the executive vice president of football operations. Let's assume Snyder won't fire himself. Why not pull the trigger on Cerrato? Marty Schottenheimer canned Cerrato in 2001. Snyder, of course, fired Schottenheimer after the 2001 season and promptly rehired Cerrato. 5. In my effort to figure out why Off-The-Marcus Russell is the worst NFL quarterback in history, I discovered that he is part of a pattern of underachieving first-round draft picks from LSU. Fat, lazy and unmotivated might be an LSU character trait. In the past decade, nine Tigers have been tabbed in the first round of the draft -- defensive end Tyson Jackson, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, quarterback Off-The-Marcus Russell, safety LaRon Landry, receiver Dwayne Bowe, receiver Craig Davis, running back Joseph Addai, defensive end Marcus Spears and receiver Michael Clayton. Landry has been a good player for the Redskins, starting since he was a rookie. Injuries have ruined Davis' three-year stint in San Diego. And Addai had a nice start to his career in Indianapolis, but he's faded. Clayton and Spears are busts. Dorsey is on his way to bust status in Kansas City. Bowe is in Todd Haley's doghouse in KC and has had problems holding onto the ball throughout his career. You know how bad Russell is. And Jackson's early KC reviews are not good. Chiefs management is going out of its way to lower expectations for Jackson. You never know how a kid is going to react to being made an instant millionaire. Think twice before wasting your millions on an LSU product. 4. ESPN did not overhype Brett Favre's "Monday Night Football" clash with the Green Bay Packers. It's fashionable to bash the World Wide Leader for going overboard on Favre coverage. But the criticism is misguided this time. I was totally fascinated by Favre's revenge match with Ted Thompson and the Packers. And I knew Favre would not disappoint. When he's focused and motivated, he's the best QB to ever play the game. He just has trouble staying focused and motivated. His play is likely to slip for a couple of weeks. He's going to relax. But now we know what he's capable of, even at age 40. He can still be the best. His enthusiasm for the game causes his teammates to elevate their intensity. As much as his offseason indecision annoys, you can't deny watching the guy play makes it all worthwhile. He's a kid. What he accomplished Monday night validates every word of praise John Madden and Peter King ever heaped on Favre. 3. The Baltimore Ravens are the best team in football. Prop Joe Flacco is the real deal. Mark Clayton's fourth-down drop robbed Prop Joe of a fourth-quarter comeback over the Patriots. The Ravens are averaging 31 points. They can now win any style of football game.

My top teams are: 1. Ravens; 2. Patriots; 3. Saints; 4. Giants; 5. Colts. And I'm still picking the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. How is that? Because by the end of the season, I expect the Eagles to be the best team. McNabb will be healthy and he'll have the most weapons he's had in his career. 2. Many of you have noticed that I haven't written about my Ball State Football Cardinals this year after I pimped them all of 2008. Last year's Cardinals ran the table during the regular season, finishing 12-0 and ranked in the top 15 before choking in the MAC Championship and folding in the GMAC Bowl. This year's Cardinals are 0-5, losing to powerhouses such as North Texas, New Hampshire and Army. I'm not a fair-weather fan. I'm pissed out of my mind because I saw this 2009 disaster coming when the Ball State administration elevated our self-promoting, loudmouthed, arrogant offensive coordinator (Stan Parrish) to head coach. One of my former teammates calls Parrish Ball State's Tiny Charlie Weis. I prefer to call Parrish our White Ronny Thompson, the arrogant, self-promoting, doing-Ball State-a-favor basketball coach who made our hoops program a national disgrace. I'm not sure, given Ball State's modest schedule, Parrish can pull off a 12-0-to-0-12 miracle, but he's going to give it his best shot. Parrish, the former Kansas State head coach, is winless in his last 33 games as a head coach. How does a man with his résumé convince a school president he would be a better option than making a legitimate bid to retain an alumnus (Brady Hoke) who put the football program on the map as a player in 1978 and as head coach in 2008? I could write a book explaining this. But for now let's just say the president (Jo Ann Gora) and athletics director (Tom Collins) at my school have an intense love affair with self-promoting, arrogant, doing-Ball State-a-favor coaches. Gora and Collins simply repeated the same mistake they made when they hired Ronny Thompson. 1. I'm proud of Terrell Owens for not taking the bait thrown to him by the Buffalo media. I hope T.O. continues to avoid criticizing Trent Edwards and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. It's a sign that Owens might finally be maturing and learning how to be a good teammate. You can e-mail Jason at or find him on Facebook at

Tagged: Brett Favre, Glenn Dorsey, Kevin Kolb, Joseph Addai, Bears, Bills, Bengals, Ricky Williams, Broncos, Terrell Owens, LaRon Landry, Colts, Raiders, Chiefs, David Garrard, Dolphins, Vikings, Tyson Jackson, Saints, Mark Clayton, Eagles, Tank Johnson, Redskins, Jaguars, Ravens, Richard Seymour, Cardinals, DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick, Michael Crabtree, Donovan McNabb, LeSean McCoy, Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning, Dwayne Bowe, Larry Fitzgerald, Jim Jones, Derrick Brooks, Drew Brees, Jeremy Maclin, Joe Flacco, Marcus Spears, Curtis Martin, Trent Edwards

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