Sports Editor’s Playbook, Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Patrick Newell

The Evening Sun March Madness Contest appears in today’s edition, as it did on Monday. Look the bracket over, and please read the opening line of the rules: “complete the entire bracket including the four games played before Thursday.”
The NCAA expanded its men’s bracket to 68 teams this year with four of the games serving as play-ins into designated seeds. Two of the games pair potential 16 seeds, while the other two games determine a number 11 and 12 seed.
As I said, these games will count giving our contest 67 total outcomes. A couple words of advice: It is in the best interest of any aspiring prognosticator to increase his or her odds at winning. By submitting an entry on Monday or Tuesday, you’re predicting games that have not been played. If you wait until Wednesday to drop your entry in the mail, you have two outcomes already decided and in the bank. Better yet, if you’re someone who likes to drop off your entry at the last minute on Thursday, you’ll have a 4-0 record before the tournament is in full swing.
If it is possible, take the freebies and increase your chance at winning our $75 prize.

- This is a “30 Seconds” call that will appeared in our print edition this week:

“I thought we fought a Civil War that made it illegal to own somebody? Slavery’s supposed to be over, so what is this nonsense I hear now that the boy wants to come out of retirement and go back in the NFL? The Giants own him? If we fought a war against that, and that’s in fact a law, how can the Giants own him? What’s up with that? Somebody explain that, how the Giants can say they own him and then turn around and say they don’t want him? That’s not right. Somebody please explain that. You can’t own anybody after the Civil War.”

Is this person serious?
Not knowing the tone of the caller’s voice, I cannot discern if this is an ill-fated attempt at facetious humor, or the person was making a straight-up statement, and really doesn’t understand the basics of contracts. I will address the latter of those two choices. I will not presume to understand the complexities of contract law, but I believe the man referenced in this message, Tiki Barber, was still under contract with the Giants. Barber retired from the NFL five years ago before completing his obligations as a player. The Giants still owned Barber’s playing rights, but waived them allowing Barber to become a free agent. Barber is 35 years old, his broadcast career didn’t pan out, and he cannot afford to pay his ex-wife her spousal and child support. So he’s looking to cash in on his past greatness. Barber had a lot of wear and tear on his body when he left the game, and is no surprise the Giants passed on the opportunity to take him back.
I hope this answer’s the anonymous caller’s question, and if this call was a thin attempt at humor, try again.