Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weasels of the Week: Melky Cabrera & Juan Nunez and the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Last week, we awarded now-suspended San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera a Dunce Cap for letting his team down by drawing a season-ending 50 game ban for violating the Major League Baseball drug policies. Now, it's come out in the wash that Cabrera wasn't exactly forthcoming with his admission.

On Sunday, the New York Daily News reported that Cabrera, in conjunction with some nothing happening jabroni named Juan Nunez, on the books as a consultant to Cabrera's agents, Seth & Sam Levinson, concocted a convoluted scam to try to reverse the result of his test. A dummy website, fake drugs, not much in the way of brains. Cabrera, who started his career with the Yankees before embarking on a vagabond journey that took him to Atlanta & Kansas City the last two years before going to San Francisco, was looking at a bigger free agent score.

Now, ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe, a former Cy Young winner with the Chicago Cubs, is calling for Cabrera to be served with a lifetime ban. You'd think today's ballplayers would understand that MLB has had to take a harder line on performance enhancing drugs, largely because commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig has had his head in the sand on the subject for so long before being forced into action, and would finally, once and for all, forsake the lures of easy riches. Nuh-uh. Before these guys start counting their money, they'd better check themselves in the mirror.

Meanwhile, thanks to feature article on comedy legend Jerry Lewis in Time Magazine, we send a bag of Weasel ears to the current administration of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Maybe it's a year late, considering that Lewis, who has devoted much of his career to raising awareness of MD in all of its forms, was dismissed as honorary national chairman a year ago, and the annual Labor Day telethon was downsized from 21 1/2 hours down to a mere 6 last year. This year's edition, ticketed for September 2, is being chopped in half, down to a paltry 3 hours. What purpose does that serve?

If television ratings have been down in recent years, especially after last year's event, I would understand, but MDA's hierarchy is keeping things close to the vest. The three hour format makes the telethon more palatable for networks looking for something to fill time before the start of the fall season, which would be a switch from the telethon being syndicated ever since it began in the mid-60's. I just don't get it.

It also begs to ask if the business model used for telethons such as MDA's is now obsolete. United Cerebral Palsy tried to copy MDA's formula with a national, star-studded telethon back in 1979, but that was a Saturday-Sunday affair, and it lasted only a few years before the national format was discontinued and the regional telethons resumed as before. Should the affiliated stations making up MDA's "Love Network" start producing their own, shorter telethons? It would seem to me that this is the direction they're being pointed to, but we don't know that for sure.

In this writer's opinion, MDA is doing a disservice to the millions of MD patients they've served over the years, and to the public who have supported them. That earns them the Weasel ears. End of story.

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