On The Fly: Carter's Fall Guy Comments Unfortunate

The NFL created the rookie symposium to help prepare players for the challenges of being a professional athlete. The advice from Hall of Famer Cris Carter? Find a "fall guy" in your entourage who will take the blame when you do get into trouble. In a video from the 2014 symposium that was on the NFL's website until Sunday afternoon, Carter and Warren Sapp are seen talking to incoming rookies. Wearing his Hall of Fame sports jacket, Carter says to the group, "In case y'all not going to decide to do the right thing, if y'all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew." Later, Carter says the "fall guy" should know he's the one going to jail, but "we'll get him out." Sapp, the Ed McMahon to Carter's Johnny Carson, adds,"We'll get him out!" It should be noted that Sapp has a long history of legal trouble, including arrests this year for domestic violence and soliciting a prostitute. This is the guy offering advice to impressionable rookies. The NFL called Carter's remarks "unfortunate and inappropriate" in a statement. That's quite a league Mr. Goodell is running.

Best way for a college football coach to impress donors and alumni? Start by staying sober. Southern Cal coach Steve Sarkisian failed to clear that hurdle Saturday night, when he embarrassed himself at the annual "Salute to Troy" event. Sources told ESPN Sarkisian slurred his words, appeared drunk, used foul language and mocked other programs. USC's opponents "all suck," he reportedly said. And he was pulled from the stage and reprimanded by athletic director Pat Haden during the event. Quite a preseason rally for the Trojans. On Sunday, Sarkisian apologized in a statement and Haden said in the same statement that he talked to the coach and is "confident he heard my message loud and clear." The message? Drop the "Frank the Tank" schtick. … The Ohio State Buckeyes made history Sunday. For the first time since the Associated Press preseason rankings were first released in 1950, the No. 1 team is a unanimous pick. Ohio State received all 61 first-place votes, finishing ahead of TCU, Alabama, Baylor and Michigan Stage. No team has ever received more than 97 percent of the first-place votes before this year. The reigning national champions are bidding to become the 12th team to win consecutive AP titles since the poll debuted 79 years ago. They're also looking to become the first since USC in 2004 to finish the season No. 1 after starting the season No. 1.

It came down to one stride and the difference was .01 seconds. Usain Bolt passed Justin Gatlin in the 100-meter finals of the world championship Sunday in Beijing, barely finishing ahead of the American. And let's stress the word "barely." Bolt was trailing much of the race, but his final stride was the difference as he pushed himself forward and won by a hair. … The Green Bay Packers may be without Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson, who injured his knee in a preseason game Sunday. It's believed he has a torn ACL and could miss the season, all because he was playing in a meaningless exhibition game. Of course, the NFL make big money from those meaningless exhibition games. So there's that.

pdoyle@courant.com

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