Exposing a hack

Will the real clown please stand up? (Hint: he works for Yahoo)

Clown column, bro. What were you thinking? Getty Images.

When news broke that the University of Houston was parting ways with Head Coach Major Applewhite, Yahoo Sports! Pete Thamel wrote a scathing article calling UH's big 3 of Chancellor Renu Khator, Regent Chairman Tilman Fertitta, and Athletic Director Chris Pezman "Houston's clown triumvirate" which is "being cackled at around college sports."

You can read it here.

Or not.

Quite frankly it's a hatchet piece not worthy of your time. Forget the inaccuracies and the ridiculous pot shots taken at the big 3 that missed their marks, the level of disrespect is infuriating. Who the hell is Pete Thamel? A middling college sports writer calling accomplished administrators at a major university "clowns" and "puppets" who are "the definitive embarrassment of college sports" that "everyone in college sports" is laughing at is laughable in itself.

I wasn't aware that Pete Thamel spoke for everyone in college sports. He had one quote from a "Big 12 source" and if I were a betting man I'd wager that was the only person he spoke to on this subject. Of course I don't know this just as he doesn't know everyone in college sports but since it's OK to make wild assumptions on a previously well respected website we can do it here as well.

Dr. Khator, Tilman Fertitta and Chris Pezman don't need me to defend them, but they're too classy to fire back at an intellectual inferior. What these people have done in their lives is amazing and for Pete Thamel to belittle them is comical.

DOCTOR Khator, BILLIONAIRE Fertitta, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Pezman. They're all successful and excellent at what they do.

I'm pretty sure none of the other presidents are "rolling their eyes" at Dr. Khator. Hey Pete, let's ask them what they think of a woman who sits on no less than a dozen boards ranging from Homeland Security to The Texas Medical Center. Let's ask them if they're impressed that she has guided The University of Houston from 502nd on the Forbes Top Colleges list in 2008 to 330 in 2018. U.S. News & World Report ranks UH #171 which is ahead of Texas Tech and West Virginia (a couple of those Big 12 schools that are "laughing" at her).

Tilman Fertitta probably laughed at your comment on how vain he was to call into a radio show to give the hosts the low-down on how a coaching search went. You added "(Yes, he actually did that.)" which is something that many A.D.'s and general managers and regent chairmen do after a coach is hired. (Yes, they actually do that).

We often joke that UH is Fertitta U. which is no different than T. Boone Pickens U. (Oklahoma St.) or Phil Knight U. (Oregon).

When you donate $20 million to build a basketball facility for your university, you are beloved and your opinion holds a great amount of weight. Oh and he's the chairman of the board of regents. He makes major decisions like the hiring and firing of the football coach. It's his job.

But I'm positive that that billionaire isn't losing any sleep over what Pete Thamel thinks of him. He's too busy buying professional teams, casinos, restaurants and hotels to worry about some petty sports writer.

And Chris Pezman is busy building winners. I know it's not how Pete Thamel wanted it done but oh well. Pete has the luxury to sit back and collect his check. Chris Pezman doesn't. Unfortunately ticket sales with Major Applewhite at the helm were lagging and public confidence was down, especially after a 70-14 shellacking at the hands of Army. Not Alabama. Not Clemson. Army.

I think Major is a fine coach. Did he have enough time to get it done? Probably not but the bar is high at UH. Kevin Sumlin finished third and first in his division in his first two years. Tom Herman won a New Year's Day Bowl and beat Oklahoma in his two. Yes, you have to win at UH. There's no reason not to, not with the foundation they have built.

Thamel even criticized the three for waiting until Jan. 1 to make the move to Dana Holgorsen. By waiting they saved $1.5 million. Dana's buyout went from $2.5 million to one million as the calendar turned. Thamel called it some type of GroupOn move. That's about as stupid as anything I've ever read. If they didn't wait a week to save $1.5 million it would have been moronic. They are very smart people but that didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out.

It seems Thamel has some disdain for the university trying to better itself by aspiring to be in the Big 12. Maybe they'll get there. Maybe they won't. That they are striving to be there though is not something that should be criticized. That "clown triumvirate" he referred to all came from relatively meager beginnings. What made them successful? They don't settle for good. They always want to be great. They think and act big. Nothing short of that is good enough. It's why they are hugely successful and not a website sports writer.

I have no dog in this fight. I know Tilman a little bit but Dr. Khator and Chris Pezman wouldn't know me from Adam. That a guy who's probably never met any of them would take uninformed pot shots from the cheap seats is why athletes and administrators don't trust us. People probably bought what Pete Thamel was selling that day and that's a shame because the only clown in all of this writes for Yahoo Sports!

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J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans all-time leader in sacks (96.0), is entering his ninth season with the franchise ahead of what will certainly be an anomaly year for the NFL. Due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, there is serious doubt that the NFL will be able to play a full 16-game schedule, while others express their concern with the league's inability to play any form of football come the fall of 2020.

There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the league this coming season, which is becoming a theme for Watt's future in Houston.

The 31-year-old defensive end has two years remaining on his six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in September of 2014. But as he prepares to embark on another year with the Texans through Zoom meetings with his teammates, a new contract is not on Watt's priority list.

"No, I don't think that's necessary," Watt told Houston reporters on Wednesday. "I fully understand and respect the situation that I'm in at the moment, and what's happened in the past few years, so I'm not gonna sit here and demand anything. I think if I went back and asked for an extension or more money, I think that would be the wrong move. I am just going out there to prove my worth and to help this team win games."

As of now, it is unsure what the future holds for Watt's career with the Texans. Should management re-sign the three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner (2012, 2014 & 2015), the question becomes: How much is Watt worth as he enters the twilight of his career? It's the subject that will be the driving force when discussing Watt's future with the team, and the segment that sparked a trade rumor of his departure to the Chicago Bears.

Although his on-field production remains extremely valuable, Watt has had a difficult time trying to stay healthy. Since 2016, he has missed 32 out of a possible 64 games due to an abundance of injuries. In 2019, Watt missed half of the season after suffering a torn pectoral during the Texans' 27-24 victory over the then-Oakland Raiders.

"My goal for every season is to do whatever possible to help this team win, and number one, that means staying healthy," he said. "You have to be on the field in order to help the team win, and then it is to play at the peak physical level I am capable of. It is just making sure I am in the best possible shape to perform that way."

Contract and injuries aside, the five-time Pro-Bowler is excited about his opportunity to play under new defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver. During his introductory press conference two weeks ago, Weaver said Watt will remain the focal point for the Texans' defense in 2020, but acknowledged getting the future Hall of Famer through 16 games remains a hurdle.

After four seasons serving as Houston's defensive line coach, the Texans promoted Weaver to defensive coordinator in January to replace Romeo Crennel.

"I love [Anthony] Weaver... I think that he has a great mixture of knowledge of the game, experience, but also personality to be able to handle the players in the room," Watt said. "To be able to inject some fun and excitement into meetings, practice and everything, all while bringing the knowledge necessary to run a good defense."

Under the guidance of a new defensive coordinator, Weaver may be just the coach to help Watt rekindle the potential that made him an All-Pro defensive end. Regardless of the uncertainties surrounding his future at the conclusion of his contract, Watt is hoping he will have the opportunity to finish his career where it started — in Houston.

"That is a goal of mine, and this city [Houston] has been incredible to me since I got here," Watt said. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I certainly hope that's the case."

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