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MSR’s Random Sports Thoughts, Vol. 4

At the very least, you can credit DeSean Jackson’s honesty – and shrewdness – for his latest comments.

The Cal alum recently told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that, with a big contract on the line, he didn’t give it his all in 2011. He didn’t want to risk injury that would easily cost him millions or, worst-case scenario, his job with Philadelphia altogether.

I’m sure he has every right to be proud of that, yes?

His candor has had a lot of negative reaction – after all, admitting to not giving an all-out effort is considered a cardinal sin, in the eyes of sports fans – they are cheating their team, and the sport, by not giving their all, when others with half their talent are giving 110%.

Do I think that way? Well, I wouldn’t think that a star player not playing to the best of their abilities on purpose is akin to putting bounties out on opposing players, but I wouldn’t like it.

However, just something to think about: Jackson may be a star wide receiver, but he’s also 5’10 and 175 lbs – tiny, compared to other elite WRs. If he has to take his foot off the gas, in order to protect all he has – his healthy, relatively “puny” body – for money that usually isn’t guaranteed to professional football players in the first place, I can’t necessarily blame him.

Now, I think it was foolish to admit it. But doing it? That’s a choice only the player can make – and live with.

Speaking of former Pac-12 alum, former Stanford QB Andrew Luck made his second preseason start against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. After an impressive debut performance a week ago, he didn’t look as good against a stout defensive team like Pittsburgh’s.

However, I want to judge a young player by his positives. And, despite throwing two bad interceptions – one leading to a pick-six by CB Ike Taylor – Luck showed resolve by making up for those mistakes; both times, he led his offense down the field on subsequent drives for TDs.

Luck will make mistakes during his rookie season. How he reacts will dictate how good he can be.

For a QB’s second start, you have to admit, that’s fairly impressive, even for a preseason game. I’m not crowning Luck a Hall of Famer or anything – but I am saying that it’s definitely a good sign.

I’m still scratching my head about the recent news that former Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens is coming back to play baseball for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Independent Atlantic League.

At the age of 50, this makes even all of Brett Favre’s comebacks a little less ludicrous.

I am only perplexed because he’s not coming back to necessarily prove anything, and the fact that he may still have competitive juices in his system is amazing, considering all of the scrutiny he has been through these past five years since he’s played in the major leagues. However, I won’t say that he should stay home, or that he will embarrass himself.

Because, maybe he will; but at least he’s going at a last hurrah at America’s pastime – I can only assume – on his own terms.

First of all, I just want to say congratulations to former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore for being the first women ever invited to be members of Augusta National.

Notorious for being one of the nation’s last “All-Boys’ Clubs” in Americana, one of the most exclusive golf clubs has opened their doors to women for the first time in their 80-year history. While some will laud the club for finally dropping the archaic “No Women” club policy, others proclaim this as a great day for women’s equality, and others still questioning what took Augusta National, and chairman Billy Payne, so long to allow women into their private club.

All I’m asking is: Why now?

The timing just seems so random to me. Was it some casual epiphany by Payne to start inviting women? An arbitrary, unknown 80-year ban on women at Augusta, perhaps, that recently dissolved? Maybe it was a way to safe face for the perceived sins of men like Hootie Johnson, who upheld their stance on a female-free membership.

While the story is self-evident in its significance, its timing makes no reasonable sense to me, which is so perplexing, it amazingly almost loses some of its luster.

Speaking of randomness, it seems that Maria Sharapova has a bit of a sweet tooth – so much so, that she has started up her own candy company.

No, I’m not making this up: The company, “Sugarpova” – go ahead and chuckle … I’ll wait – took the young tennis icon 18 months to develop, and looks to profit as a venture outside of sport, and as a means of keeping with her brand after her time in professional tennis has ended.

I told you I wasn’t making this up.

Despite its oddity at face value, the move to candy actually makes sense for Sharapova: after all, look at companies like Godiva, Ghirardelli and Lindt. The surprisingly high profitability of candy companies, combined with the Sharapova brand, and the extremely attractive novelty of the idea, makes for a highly interesting venture.

Hell, I’m game – line me up for some Sugarpova candy.

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