Second Thoughts: Urban scrambles as societal change applies pressure

I took Jill to Milano’s on Brown Street last week and listened to some great live music on the patio. If you’re looking for a good date night, Dan and Bill will be there for a couple more Thursdays. It’s not exactly 40s at 4 in the UD Ghetto, but it’s a good time.

Sports have changed a lot in the last 25 years. Lacrosse is a thing, athletes embarrass themselves daily on Twitter and coaches no longer can take cover behind the good ol' boys network. Urban Meyer is finding this out the hard way. He might survive this current dust-up and coach again if he indeed followed proper channels in the aftermath of Zach Smith's legal troubles in 2015. Or he could pay a heavy price for his loyalty to Earle Bruce, Smith's grandfather.

»RELATED: Meyer releases statement regard handling of domestic violence allegations

»RELATED: Former OSU assistant Zach Smith speaks out on firing

Meyer looks like a hypocrite now, much like Jim Tressel did before his fall from grace. THE OSU coach talks about respecting women, never hitting them, etc. But he flat-out lied at Big Ten media days and now he’s in damage-control mode. Years ago an incident like this would’ve been swept under the rug. Not now. Did Meyer not notice what happened at Penn State and Michigan State? Or even at his own university, which is dealing with decades-old allegations concerning a creepy doctor?

»TIMELINE: What led to Ohio State placing Meyer on administrative leave

Coaches can shrug off such incidents and quote Vince Lombardi at their own peril, but the “I’m only here to talk about football” line won’t cut it anymore. Meyer is 73-8 with the Buckeyes. He’ll probably get a chance to win No. 74, but this bizarre case could derail a promising season before it begins.

NFL training camps are in session, which means Le'Veon Bell is holding out and everyone wants to talk about the national anthem (stick to your guns, Jerry Jones). It's not too early to make some predictions, so here are a few: Colts QB Andrew Luck will have a tough time coming back from shoulder surgery; Tom Brady will look his age and the Patriots won't win it all; the Browns will win more games than the Bengals.

I like the moves they’ve made in Cleveland. If Baker Mayfield can avoid being a distraction, the Browns have a legitimate shot at winning six or seven games this season, setting up a run for the Super Bowl in … whoa, I’m getting a little carried away.

The Reds didn't trade pitcher Matt Harvey before last week's trade deadline, which means nobody wanted him or they're betting he'll be a more valuable trade chip later this season. They did trade Adam Duvall, a once-promising slugger who has trouble getting hits. I guess this means Billy Hamilton is here to stay. Hamilton was batting .229 entering the weekend – 25 points better than Duvall.

»RELATED: 2017 Reds first-round pick Greene out for season

Trending up: Little League World Series. Homer Bailey. Tiger vs. Phil. The LLWS will be upon us soon, the sites and sounds of Williamsport taking us back to a time when baseball was just a game, not a business. This is one of my favorite events on the sports calendar, even though the all-star team I played for when I was 12 quickly was knocked out of the South Dakota state tournament. Did you know: Former Red Todd Frazier's Toms River (N.J.) team won it all 20 years ago.

Trending down: This column. Johnny Cueto. Chipotle. This is the last edition of Second Thoughts, a column I've written for about a dozen years in the DDN. I greatly appreciate your feedback and support through the years. Many of you have written nice notes; soccer fans, not so much. Anyway, it's time to move on. Maybe I'll bump into you at a UD-Wright State game. I might reinvent this column in the coming months, but for now here's an old-school – 30 –

Knucklehead Hall of Fame

They’re inducting some new guys into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, so I think it’s a good time to introduce the Knucklehead Hall of Fame’s inaugural class. First, Plaxico Burress. The former wide receiver is one of my favorite knuckleheads for many reasons, including the time he snuck a gun into a nightclub and shot himself in the leg. What a dope. We also honor Ryan Lochte, who nearly triggered an international incident at the Rio Olympics by lying to police after a drunken night on the town. Rounding out our first class of knuckleheads is Pacman Jones. His list of shenanigans could fill this entire page. The Bengals released him a few months ago, but they’ll probably bring him back.

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