Milton Kent | WYPR

Milton Kent

Milton Kent hosted the weekly commentary Sports at Large from its creation in 2002 to its finale in July 2013. He has written about sports locally and nationally since 1988, covering the Baltimore Orioles, University of Maryland men's basketball, women's basketball and football, the Washington Wizards, the NBA, men's and women's college basketball and sports media for the Baltimore Sun and AOL Fanhouse.  He has covered the World Series, the American and National League Championship Series, the NFL playoffs, the NBA Finals and 17 NCAA men's and women's Final Fours. He currently teaches journalism at Morgan State University.

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Some things in life, and in sports, for that matter, make so much sense you wonder why no one thought of it before.

The reported move of Coppin State University to name Juan Dixon as its men’s basketball coach makes so much sense for both sides that some will no doubt ask, why didn’t this happen before?

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

One of the most intriguing questions of the NFL offseason has been is Colin Kaepernick being blackballed?

For most of the first six years of his career, Kaepernick was the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.

Baltimore football fans should remember that it was Kaepernick that got the Niners to within a drive of tying or winning the 2012 Super Bowl against the Ravens.

In the following season, Kaepernick helped lead San Francisco to the NFC championship game and a narrow loss to Seattle.

Kaepernick not only possesses a strong arm, but, at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he has a frame that makes him a dual threat, namely a quarterback who can run.

Christopher Paulin/flickr

There’s an old trick among sports executives and marketers that if your team is devoid of talent or hope for the coming season, you instead play up anniversaries or even facilities.

We’ll have an interesting indication of how good the Orioles brass think the team will be this year if they push the 25th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Seabamirum/flickr

If you’re a woman and you can handle a hockey stick, don’t wander far from your phone. You just might be getting a call to play for your country.

The women’s world championships, the international competition just below the Olympics in terms of prestige, takes place starting Thursday in Plymouth, Michigan.

The United States team, which has won the world championship seven times and won five Olympic medals over the last 17 years, should be a heavy favorite to do well in this year’s championships.

That is, if USA Hockey, the governing body for international hockey in this country, can find enough talented players to play.

Sarah Elbeshbishi/The Current

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, known in some circles as March Madness, officially launched last week to run through early April.

But, if you ask Je’Nan Hayes, March Madness didn’t wait for last Thursday to get started. It had already begun.

Hayes is a junior at Watkins Mill High School in Montgomery County. She’s a reserve on the school’s girls basketball team, which had a pretty successful 2017 season, getting all the way to the regional finals of the state tournament.

As the Watkins Mill school newspaper first reported, Hayes, who is Muslim and wears a hijab, a head covering used by female practitioners of the faith, had played in the Wolverines’ first 24 games.

AP Photo/David Goldman

One of the more attractive aspects of sports for many is the idea that in athletics, it’s actions that carry the day over words.

Every so often, however, an athlete’s words far outpace his on-field performance and force us to take stock of what’s been said and done.

Andre Iguodala is a reserve player with the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. He’s been a solid, if not spectacular player through his 13-year career, making an All-Star team once and winning a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team in London five years ago.

Alex Schierholtz/flickr

For three years now, the Ravens have been model citizens on the subject of domestic violence, assiduously avoiding any player who had a direct connection to inflicting hurt on a woman or child.

The video of former running back Ray Rice that surfaced in the spring of 2014 and the fallout that followed pretty much ensured that team owner Steve Bischiotti would be highly circumspect bordering on hostile about any player carrying that baggage.

But Bischiotti and his brain trust have a potentially significant challenge to their stance, namely a pressing need and a player with domestic violence issues who could fill that need.

Brandon Marshall, who was just released by the New York Jets, is a six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

There are few things more precious than the relationship between a boy and his mother.

It appears that relationship between Shaquille O’Neal and his mother, Lucille, may be enough to nip a bizarre feud in the bud.

"Ascendant" Baltimore

Feb 20, 2017
tedstake.monumentalsportsnetwork.com

Under the category of “It’s always nice to be wanted,” that was a really sweet civic kiss that Ted Leonsis threw at Charm City on the front of the local newspaper Sunday.

Leonsis, who owns the indoor sports teams in Washington and the arena they play in, called Baltimore "ascendant" in The Baltimore Sun, to explain why he bought two Arena Football League teams and placed one at Royal Farms Arena.

Indeed, Leonsis said that while people think it’s crazy for him to own both the Washington Valor and the Baltimore Brigade, he thinks the Brigade can stimulate Royal Farms Arena, create jobs and bring people into downtown.

wikipedia

Though we are both University of Maryland graduates, I don’t really know Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank. We’ve never met and we don’t travel in the same social circles, so I really shouldn’t presume to speak for him.

That said, I’m guessing Plank had no idea the proverbial hail storm he set off last week by paying a compliment to President Donald Trump.

Shawne Alston Twitter

Ever so quietly last week, the NCAA took a long, overdue baby step toward making things right for the chattel that keeps college sports in business, namely the players.

The organization that governs collegiate athletics in this country and 11 college conferences reached a tentative agreement in a class action lawsuit filed three years ago by a former West Virginia running back.

Baltimoreravens.com

The life of an NFL owner is an exclusive one. There are, after all, only 31 members, not including the Green Bay Packers, who are owned by that Wisconsin community.

It’s a life that includes the best restaurant tables in any city and a level of celebrity commensurate with one’s willingness to accept it.

Members of said club are also subject to hero worship in a town. People take football seriously and the owner of a team is thought in some circles to be the keeper of a sacred flame, a monarch of sorts, if you will.

David Modell, who died two weeks ago of lung cancer, got as close to that throne as one can get.

G/flickr

The San Antonio Spurs scored a splashy win over the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers on the road Saturday night on national television. It was the kind of victory that could give the Spurs a big, psychological edge should the two teams meet in June in the league finals. But it was San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich who scored the biggest win Saturday, a triumph for free speech, just before the game with the Cavaliers.

Karen Mallonee/flickr

Are you a glass half-full or half-empty person?

If you’re an Orioles fan, your answer to that question based off the news of last week, may be determined by whether you take a long or short term view.

Joe Mixon and the Tape

Jan 9, 2017
Ervins Strauhmanis/flickr

In the coming NFL offseason, talent evaluators from all 32 teams, including the Ravens, will spend hundreds of hours watching game tapes. They’ll try to find the potential draftee who can make their team better in the short and long term.

Yet the most impactful tape of a prospective NFL player will have footage that has nothing to do with football action.

Joe Mixon is passing up his senior season at the University of Oklahoma to be a professional and there are reports that he’s one of the best running backs coming out of college. But all those reports, his workouts and his highlight tapes and their potential bearing on Mixon’s chance to make a roster pale in comparison to the footage of him punching a woman in the face in July 2014.

Jeff Weese/flickr

John Harbaugh deserves one more chance as the Ravens’ head coach.

Admittedly, that was not the first thought that rolled through my mind in the immediate wake of Sunday’s 27-10 season-ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, a performance that was the dictionary definition of the word desultory.

Maybe it’s the spirit of the holiday, all that “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men” stuff that has gotten to me.

Maybe it’s too much Southern Comfort vanilla spice egg nog, though it’s the kind without the whiskey.

Whatever it is, I find myself actually feeling a little compassion for a Duke University men’s basketball player.

Wakey-leaks

Dec 19, 2016
Amy Meredith/flickr

If you’re looking for some over-the-top moments that violate the collective sense of propriety for how athletics should be conducted, college football really is the gift that keeps on giving.

When Orioles fans recall the great moments of the 2015 season, at least they'll have the weekend.  The Birds swept a three-game series, keeping the hated Yankees from clinching home field for Tuesday's wild card game.  But even those fleeting moments of glory couldn't lessen the pain of knowing that, unlike last season or the 2012 season, the Orioles would not be playing past Sunday.  And unlike the last three campaigns, 2015 will end with the Orioles failing to garner a winning record.

We’re just past Labor Day and with its passing comes the unofficial end of the summer.

And the end of this summer marks the end of arguably the most visible year for women in sports in decades, if not ever.

Notice that I didn’t say the best year. Women have been having great sporting years for, well, years, setting records, winning Olympic gold medals and conquering heretofore unclimbed mountains.

For any number of reasons, baseball remains the one sport where comparisons between players of different generations can’t be dismissed out of hand.

The one thing about baseball that has not changed for the better over the years is in the quality of announcers. The men who call the game today simply aren’t as good as their predecessors.

The labor union has taken a tremendous beating over the last 30 or so years, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the sporting realm.

By comparison to the baseball union, which has historically been strong, the NFL Players Association has seemed ineffective and weak.

It’s late August already, and while attention among sports fans in much of the country has turned toward the impending NFL season, there are almost as many who eagerly await the start of college football. One of those places is in Waco, Texas, where the Baylor faithful hope this will be the season their Bears lead them to the promised land of a national championship.

As teams begin to report to training camp this week, I continue to find myself in a bit of a quandary over how a sport whose leadership shows such a continued indifference over how the public perceives it much less how it treats its players can still thrive.

University of Maryland president Wallace Loh has proposed to break with tradition once again, by allowing the sale of beer and wine to the general public at the football and basketball arenas on campus beginning in the fall.

Know how you hear about the launch of a new product or the opening of a big summer blockbuster movie…and your reaction is a big yawn. 

That’s largely the feeling from this corner over last week’s news that executives of soccer’s international governing body were arrested on corruption charges.

I guess I’m supposed to be upset or at least concerned that 14 FIFA officials were indicted on charges of bribery, money-laundering and racketeering involving tens of millions of dollars over the past two decades.

If your interest runs deeper than touchdowns, tackles and fantasy stats, you have to admit that loving the NFL of late feels rather unsavory. Just last week, a league-authorized investigation found probable cause that support staff of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots may have altered the size of the footballs that were used during playoff games. And it may have happened with the knowledge and/or instruction of their heartthrob quarterback Tom Brady.

For the last seven decades, it’s been baseball, more than our other major sports, that has led the way in terms of its connection to the broader American social fabric. And nowhere was that association on greater display than last week during the unrest that rocked Baltimore to its core.

Ah, the first week of April in Baltimore, a time when the senses are stirred anew by the smell of freshly mown grass on the Camden Yards diamond and the sound of bat hitting ball, along with the sight of piles of nervously bitten fingernails.

By this time next week, the 2014-15 college basketball season will be but a memory. And with the Maryland men’s advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010, that memory is a pleasant one. But, over the weekend, the Terps and coach Mark Turgeon got news that could make next season tip way past pleasant all the way to delirious.

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