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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

They Got in Their Licks Before U.S. Made Its Kicks

July 12, 1999|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Amid the countless falling-all-over-themselves positive tributes from the media about the Women's World Cup and the success of the U.S. team, comes word that not every journalist is flowing with praise. Surprising, huh?

So, in the interest of reporting both sides of a story, comes the cynical viewpoint.

"If the United States wins, Mia Hamm and friends will collect $12,500," Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune wrote before Saturday's victory over China in the championship game at the Rose Bowl. "Compare that with the U.S. men's team that pocketed an astounding $35,000 each for losing all three first-round games, including the stinker to Iran.

"That's way unfair. Women deserve equal pay for equal boredom."

And from his colleague, TV columnist Ed Sherman: "What does it mean that ESPN averages 2.3 million women's viewers for its NFL games and 1.6 million women tuned in to the U.S.-Brazil World Cup semifinal? It means that even though Mia Hamm and Co. are a good story, their game is still soccer [no letters, please]."

Same here. We're only the messenger.

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Trivia time: Name the only Division I football program with at least 100 victories this decade?

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Motley crew: From Vito Stellino of the Baltimore Sun: "It's unusual for a Hall of Fame running back to be underrated, but Marion Motley, who died . . . [June 27] at age 79, probably belongs in that category.

"He should be on the short list of the greatest backs, but he tends to be overlooked because his best years were in the late 1940s in the All-America Football Conference.

"He also was a pioneer, one of four blacks in professional football in 1946, the year pro football ended its informal ban on blacks that started after the 1933 season."

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Add Motley: "Dad thought Marion was the greatest back he ever coached," said Cincinnati Bengal President Mike Brown, son of the legendary Paul Brown. "He said Jim Brown was the greatest runner, but that Marion was the complete package. He was a great blocker and, in a pinch, his greatest linebacker."

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Hello? Mr. Ripley: Blackie Sherrod of the Dallas Morning News writes that "Folklore has John Elway once throwing a football 96 yards. Now comes story that Josh Booty, the former baseballer reverting to Louisiana State football, stood on LSU Stadium's 20-yard line and threw the thing out of [the] stadium into parking lot, measuring 106 yards. [And then he rode off on Babe, his blue ox?]"

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Trivia answer: Marshall, with 101, although the Thundering Herd competed in Division I-AA until the 1997 season.

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And finally: In a shocking development, violence broke out in New York City.

When the Mets and Yankees clashed Saturday at Shea Stadium in an interleague game, so did their fans. It got so bad during an afternoon when police issued 93 summonses for violations along the lines of disorderly conduct and drinking in public, but made no arrests, that players left the dugout to watch brawls that broke out in the upper deck.

Said Met catcher Mike Piazza: "There were a couple of good fights out there."

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