In one week, the last two days, stories in the LA Times of all places, where you’d expect them to hold out on this kind of junk. There they were.

Floyd Mayweather defeating ‘Big Show’ at WWE’s Wrestlemania 24. The next day, Jason Taylor and his debut on Dancing With The Stars. What’s next? Danica Patrick, Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen in a midnight road race into Malibu Canyon on ABC?

Yeah, I could see it coming, a little faster than I’d expected, like watching a Roger Clemens fastball zinging at you with that buzz of spinning laces, thumping into the catcher’s mitt. But it still shocks me, jocks and sports pages selling out.

Mayweather must be heartbroken, 27 years old and nobody to fight him. Just another best pound-for-pound that nobody loves. Twenty million dollars to fight a seven foot monster in the wrestling arena probably looked good to young Floyd. Can’t say I wouldn’t do it.

Jason Taylor, at 33 and near the end of his pro football career, has every right to try and extend his popularity. The ever expanding market for celebrity based television can probably make room for another good looking ex-jock. Tiki Barber, Ahmad Rashad, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason all have passable talent, enough to survive on television networks that deliver drivel. No harm there.

But keep the circus acts off the sports pages. Mayweather, Taylor, these stories don’t belong up there next to opening day baseball coverage and the final four. I’m all for creating a special section at the back of the sports pages, just covering strip club arrests, drug and steroid abuse, track stars racing horses and cars, and college football spring practice in the SEC.

Maybe I should be happy that Taylor wasn’t caught in a lap dance and instead caught a national audience with his own dance moves, I don’t know.

Sports Pages were designed, I’m sure I learned this in high school journalism, for the specific purpose of delineating the distinction between legitimate news, the kind that sends countries off to wars and elects presidents, and the sporting kind. Entertainment sections cover movies and music and gossip. Never the twain shall meet, someone said who’s advice I respect.

Yeah, I’m old school, old period, call me what you want. The new school is saying if it pops up on a screen somewhere, a video screen, a computer screen, an Ipod or a cell phone it’s already legitimate and who cares. If it entertains us and holds our attention for more than five seconds, let it be. It used to be fifteen minutes, but that was twentieth century. The Medium, IS, The Message, oh shut up…that’s so analog.

So this is the digitization of American media. Twenty four hours a day and nothing to program. So we take whatever celebrity we can, mix and match with some catchy location background, put the pieces back together like a digital puzzle and everyone comes out with a television career, with no attachment to previous achievement or history. Take a celeb and paste them up on the screen on a digitized background; Barry Bonds climbs Everest! Roger Clemens throwing poison darts at charging rhinos on the savannah…Jose Canseco cliff diving in Acapulco (we wish).

Remember when Jesse Owens raced against horses?

I still consider him one of America’s greatest heroes, sports or otherwise. He sold out. He had to. Had no choice. Today’s heroes? They have no excuse. And the sports pages have no excuse for covering it. Throw those bones to the entertainment editors, the gossip columnists. Do they even have those anymore? Oh, they’re entire twenty-four networks themselves?

There you go.

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