Dan Wetzel

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Dan Wetzel is an award-winning sportswriter, author and screenwriter. He has covered all levels of basketball as well as college football, the NFL, MLB and NHL. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • Daniel Snyder's fight over Washington's nickname is a lost cause

    Eventually the nickname and logo of Washington's NFL franchise is headed to the dustbin of history, where future generations will look back in bafflement that it was ever allowed.

    This is undeniable.

    You can support the name and logo all you want. You can decry the excesses of political correctness (no "Dukes of Hazzard"?) You can find a Native American cloaked in an RG3 jersey in an attempt to prove your point. That's fine. This column isn't about trying to change anyone's opinion because too many opinions have already changed that it doesn't matter. Daniel Snyder (AP) Daniel Snyder (AP)

    You can hum the fight song in your sleep and still realize that the die is cast here. It's just a matter of time. That's just being practical.

    Last year, team owner Daniel Snyder declared the nickname and logo would never change. That was last year though. This year is this year and the winds of change have swept swiftly across the nation.

    Last year no one would have predicted South Carolina politicians would vote in a bipartisan manner

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  • Roger Goodell and Tom Brady, the NFL commissioner and the league's four-time Super Bowl quarterback, meet face-to-face in Manhattan on Tuesday morning. They will arrive with lawyers, teams of them.

    Officially, Goodell is the judge and Brady is the convict seeking appellate relief from a four-game suspension and loss of about $1.8 million in salary for what the NFL deemed was his role in the deflation of footballs used in January's AFC championship game.

    The fact the NFL never really proved the balls were actually, you know, deflated is just one reason this is like no other case in sports and why this is far more than trying to sort out the facts in a story with so few of them. NFL commish Roger Goodell will decide whether to uphold Tom Brady's four-game suspension. (AP) NFL commish Roger Goodell will decide whether to uphold Tom Brady's four-game suspension. (AP)

    From the start, this has been built on the twin pillars of suspicion and perception, each side assuming the worst in each other's actions. It's been fueled by spin, speculation and media leaks, including the NFL allowing a story to run wild of trumped up allegations against Brady that was both extremely

    Read More »from In deflate-gate appeal, Tom Brady and Roger Goodell are locked in a battle for reps that likely can't be fully recovered
  • Browns' Mike Pettine has remedy to overcome 'Johnny Football' drama and team in-fighting

    BEREA, Ohio – It was probably naïve that Mike Pettine thought he could get away from football, but there he was in the summer of 1988, trying to do just that.

    He'd literally grown up around the game. His father, Mike Sr., was a legendary coach of Central Bucks West, the high school powerhouse in Pennsylvania, where he won 326 games and four state titles. Son played for dad, then eventually at the University of Virginia but the goal was to use a business degree to avoid the family business.

    A job underwriting life insurance for Prudential near the Pettine's hometown of Doylestown came along right after graduation and that's where things were headed – until late summer hit. Mike Pettine went 7-9 in his rookie season as head coach of the Browns. (AP) Mike Pettine went 7-9 in his rookie season as head coach of the Browns. (AP)

    "I was going through withdrawal, like something was missing," Pettine said. "Whether it was the smell of cut grass in August or the warm nights under the lights, all of that stuff just flows back to you. It was just something I was drawn back to."

    Pettine signed up for a flex shift that sprung him from work at 3

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  • LeBron gave it all he had, but in the end it's just another tale of Cleveland sorrow

    CLEVELAND – Stuffed in the corner of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room, LeBron James sat alone, wearing nothing but oversized gym shorts and a white towel draped over his face.

    His hands rested on top of his head. Each knee was wrapped in ice. Each foot sat in a bucket of freezing water.

    He wanted a chance to think. Other than a couple brief hugs from his teammates, everyone obliged.

    It should surprise no one that James was beaten down – physically, mentally, emotionally and, most painfully, on the scoreboard 105-97 in Game 6 of these NBA Finals, losing the series 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors, who were outside, in his house, spraying champagne.

    He’d hauled an undermanned team here, deep into June, six games into the Finals, like few, if any, ever had. It wasn’t enough.

    “If I could have given more, I would have given it,” he said later.

    [More NBA Finals coverage: Stephen Curry leads Warriors to NBA title his way]

    There were 40-point games and 50-minute nights and triple-doubles

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  • Stephen Curry leads Warriors to NBA title his way

    CLEVELAND – Throughout his entire basketball life Stephen Curry has been told what he was and what he couldn’t be: too small, too slight, too one-dimensional, too much a product of small schools to ever make it in the big time, NCAA or NBA.

    And throughout it all, he shrugged his thin shoulders and cut his own path.

    So it should be no surprise that here in the NBA Finals, here staring across from the greatest force of nature in the game, it was all the same … including the response.

    Curry ignored early series cries of not being aggressive enough, physical enough, just, well, not LeBron enough, to stay the course, let his game come to him and eventually deliver in MVP fashion. In the end, he didn't get a single Finals MVP vote, but this doesn't occur without him and everyone in the organization will tell you that.

    He scored 25 points and dished eight assists here Tuesday as Golden State defeated Cleveland 105-97 and closed out the franchise’s first NBA championship in four decades. His

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  • Win or lose, LeBron James is the MVP of the NBA Finals: 'I'm the best player in the world'

    OAKLAND, Calif. – This felt like the last stand of LeBron James, the last stand of these Cleveland Cavaliers or at least that's how LeBron appeared to be approaching it – now or never, even if, technically, it wasn't.

    Two and a half hours before tip of Game 5 of these NBA Finals and there LeBron was, getting up extra jumpers on the Oracle Arena floor, a significant departure from routine. He might not have done that five times all season, a Cleveland source said.

    At the opening tip, there was LeBron, ball in his hands on nearly every possession, everything running through him, passes, rebounds, shots, play calls, everything, the star trying to will this raggedy supporting cast to make it happen. And at the end – 40 points, 11 assists and 14 rebounds later – there was LeBron, seated dejectedly on the bench, the scoreboard reading Golden State 104, Cleveland 91, so out of hand he was pulled to rest for future battles. LeBron James' triple-double wasn't enough to save the Cavs from a second straight double-digit Finals defeat. (AFP) LeBron James' triple-double wasn't enough to save the Cavs from a second straight double-digit Finals defeat. (AFP)

    He finally rose slowly and walked off the court even as the final

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  • Weight of carrying Cavs taking its toll on LeBron James

    CLEVELAND – The King had been hit across the arm, causing him to stumble and fumble into a row of courtside cameramen, where head eventually met metal. Now there was a hushed crowd and cops pushing folks and a white towel collecting LeBron James’ red blood.

    It wasn’t a dirty play by any stretch of the imagination. It was a purposeful one though.

    Andrew Bogut had noted that Cleveland was playing an East Coast style in this series, and that, he promised, was fine by him; LeBron wasn’t going to get to the rim so easy. For all the flash and flare of Golden State, it has some Warriors too, guys not happy about being not just outplayed, but out-toughed by the Cavs.

    So here was LeBron, trying to stop the bleeding off his own dome and up on the scoreboard where Golden State had already collected a lead it would never relinquish.

    Here was LeBron, watching everything he and the Cavs had clawed and fought for, everything they had willed and won in this series, disappear all at once.

    Golden State

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  • LeBron James cooking up something special in these NBA Finals

    CLEVELAND – After racking up 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to lead his Cleveland Cavaliers to a 96-91 victory and a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals, LeBron James went home, turned on the television and flipped over to the Food Network.

    “I watched ‘Chopped,’” LeBron said Wednesday.

    For the uninitiated, “Chopped” is a cooking game show in which professional chefs – and sometimes amateurs or celebrities – are handed a basket of disparate and often obscure ingredients and told to cook, in a brief segment of time, an appetizer, main course and dessert. It tests creativity, on-the-fly game planning and sheer will to win. Intimidation is sometimes used. Facing pressure is a critical skill.

    The goal isn’t really to cook anything great, just something better than the other guy.

    If the episode James watched was the one airing live at around 2 a.m. EST on the Food Network (as opposed to on demand), then, according to a network spokesperson, it was a rerun from 2013 called “Wasted.”

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  • Stephen Curry needs to resemble the league MVP before it's too late

    CLEVELAND – The scratch was noticeable, a long red mark running right across Stephen Curry’s neck, from his left side to under his chin. It looked like it might have been multiple scratches, actually, swipe after swipe at him.

    As far as wounds were concerned, it wasn’t much, especially inside the Golden State locker room. Ice packs and wraps were everywhere after Cleveland’s 96-91 Game 3 victory here Tuesday, giving the Cavs a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals. It was no different across the way with the Cavs.

    The markings were symbolic, not significant.

    This here is a battle, though, a battle for the Finals, a battle for how an MVP should play, a battle for Stephen Curry and his Warriors against a LeBron James team that is proudly clawing and scraping and finding a way.

    “It’s East-style basketball right now, lot of grabbing and holding,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said. “It’s physical. We’re trying to get adjusted to that in a way. It’s tough.”

    Cleveland’s tough. Golden State

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  • Standing tall after The Decision, a familiar gut punch staggers Cleveland faithful again

    CLEVELAND – Four years ago, fans of karma and the Cavaliers alike descended on Flannery's Pub downtown here. It has a big wooden bar, a deep whiskey shelf and a view of Quicken Loans Arena out the front windows. They came that June night to root for a team not based in Cleveland win the NBA championship, allowing them to witness a player playing for a team not based in Cleveland, lose.

    It was a slice of quintessential local fandom.

    So, too, unfortunately, was Thursday night: same bar, same view of the Q, everything else different. As a Cavalier, LeBron James is 0-5 in the NBA Finals. (Getty Images) As a Cavalier, LeBron James is 0-5 in the NBA Finals. (Getty Images)

    LeBron James, who they once mocked, once laughed at, once celebrated his comeuppance when his first year with the Miami Heat ended with a Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks, was the prodigal son hero.

    "For6given," read the T-shirts. "The Kingdom Restored."

    The Cavs were back in the Finals. The city's famed championship drought, stretching back to the 1964 Browns, was being threatened. Cleveland led Golden State for much of the game. Across the bars and

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Pagination

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