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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Critics Blitz Whenever They See a Weakness

September 20, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Skip Bayless of the Chicago Tribune is critical of former UCLA quarterback Cade McNown, now playing for the 0-3 Chicago Bears:

"What McNown does best is launch prayers. But now he's losing his faith and feel for gunslinging, which can happen to 6-foot sidearmers against veteran defenses. . . .

Another first-round draft choice, Oakland Raider kicker Sebastian Janikowski, is also taking his lumps from the media. This from Bud Geracie of the San Jose Mercury News after the Raiders' 33-24 loss to Denver on Sunday:

"After making him the highest-drafted kicker in two decades, the Raiders have watched the Polish Rifle turn into some kind of joke. Janikowski has missed more field goals (3) than he has made (2), and his longest came from 24 yards."

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Trivia time: When did UCLA last have an unbeaten season in football?

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Sydney scene: Bob Kravitz in the Indianapolis Star, writing from Sydney: "You know what the 'Olympic Experience' is? It's overcrowded rooms, questionable security, lousy cafeteria food and hanging out with steroid-addled Bulgarian weightlifters.

"The fact is, there are two Olympics these days. There are the Olympics for the elite pros--the hoopsters, the track athletes and some of the swimmers--and there are the Olympics for the kayakers and triathletes and all those people who engage in those backyard picnic sports."

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Go to Canada now: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times, on the delayed telecasts of the Olympics: "We live in a time when instant communication is possible throughout the world. Yet the network [NBC] whose millions are the Olympics' biggest source of income can recoup its investment only by not doing the one thing television does best: Let us watch history as it is being made.

"Canadian television, on the other hand, spends far less money in rights fees so it can afford to show the Games live. Go figure."

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Confused: Nick Canepa in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "The time difference between the United States and Australia had me discombobulated for a while, but I thought the Olympics' closing ceremonies were terrific."

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More confusion: Paola Boivin in the Arizona Republic: "In keeping with NBC's approach to covering the Olympics, we'd like to offer this juicy tidbit: Mark Spitz won his seventh gold!"

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Did you know? Some weird facts about Australian wildlife:

* The giant native cockroaches of northern Australia are sometimes kept as pets.

* The "demon duck of doom" and related flightless flesh-eating birds are possibly the largest birds that ever lived.

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Hello, John: Former tennis star John McEnroe continues to criticize the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.

"What they have achieved is great, but they have no respect for anybody in the game," McEnroe wrote in a column for The Sunday Telegraph in England. "Enough is enough. Would it kill them to say hello to people in the locker room ?"

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Looking back: On this day in 1988, Michael Jordan signed an eight-year, $25-million contract with the Chicago Bulls. He was worth more in his final season in 1998, getting a contract reportedly worth $35 million.

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Trivia answer: 1954, when the Bruins were 9-0 and won the United Press International national championship.

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And finally: Keyshawn Johnson, former New York Jet now with Tampa Bay, once dismissed Jet receiver Wayne Chrebet as a "mascot." But he says now that he has no beef with his former teammate.

"You're trying to compare a flashlight to a star. Flashlights only last so long: A star is in the sky forever. He's not even close to me, and anyone who knows football knows that."

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