2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • What do you think of people who end Anthem with Sioux instead of brave?

    Sun, January 30, 2011 by David Ramsey with 52 comments

    My father loved his country, and he loved his National Anthem. He grew up poor in East Texas and was able through hard work and good fortune to earn a comfortable living in Denver. He served in the Army in Japan immediately after World War II. Atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved him from being part of America’s invading forces.

    At every sporting event I ever attended with my father, he sang the National Anthem and he sang every word, right up to the last one.  That word is “brave,” and it’s a precious word.

    Saturday night, North Dakota fans invaded World Arena in force. These fans made more noise than Colorado College fans, which makes sense. They had plenty to cheer about in North Dakota’s 6-0 victory.

    They had fun. They made a lot of noise. And that’s all fine.

    But they began the night by shouting “home of the SIOUX” instead of “home of the brave.” Guess the actual words of the anthem aren’t quite good enough for North Dakota fans. And, I guess, in the land of free North Dakota fans can sing the anthem any way they want, even if this behavior offends and saddens those who care about our great country and its great anthem.

    Glad my dad wasn’t around to listen to his National Anthem polluted by the North Dakota shouters. Guess it’s just another one of those traditions UND fans cling to so fiercely.

    What do you think of this behavior by North Dakota fans?

    Let me know.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me:



  • Supporters of Fighting Sioux moniker always talk about Fighting Irish

    Fri, January 28, 2011 by David Ramsey with 21 comments

    And it makes no sense.

    I’ve heard over the years from several dozen supporters of North Dakota’s use of the Fighting Sioux  moniker, and nearly every time these supporters bring up this question:

    What about Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish?

    What about it?

    Has there ever been a serious protest by the Irish about Notre Dame’s nickname? (I’m a quarter Irish, on my mother’s side.) Will there ever be a serious protest by the Irish? Is there any controversy among the Irish about the nickname? Does this question brought up by supporters of the Fighting Sioux moniker have any relevence?

    Let me answer the questions:

    No. No.  No. And no.

    Please, let’s deal with reality. There is a controversy about the Fighting Sioux moniker. There have been protests.

    That’s why the Fighting Sioux moniker is headed to the dustbin of history. That’s why tonight’s visit by North Dakota’s hockey team to World Arena marks the final official visit of the Fighting Sioux.

  • Cutler’s title-game departure wasn’t the first; Elway took exit in 1992

    Wed, January 26, 2011 by David Ramsey with 7 comments

    Jay Cutler may never recover from his  departure from Sunday’s NFC title game against Green Bay. This is ridiculous. He suffered an injury to his left knee. He couldn’t play.

    But his exit opened the door for his critics, who are legion. Cutler, the NFL’s most unpopular player, has managed to irritate and alienate fans and opponents. He’s seen his heart questioned. This is cruel. This is illogical.

    This is reality.

    On Jan. 12, 1992, another quarterback left a conference title game.

    His name is John Elway.

    Elway suffered a severe thigh bruise early in the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Orchard Park. He played hurt for one quarter while struggling mightily. He completed one of six passes in the quarter and threw a pick-six interception to Buffalo’s Carlton Bailey. To add to his pain, Elway missed a tackle on Bailey’s romp to the end zone.

    As the fourth quarter began, Broncos coach Dan Reeves pulled Elway. Remember, Bears coach Lovie Smith pulled Cutler.

    Backup Broncos QB Gary Kubiak almost delivered an Elway imitation. Kubiak, who spent his entire career watching Elway from the bench, completed 11-of-12 passes for 136 yards and led the Broncos on an 85-yard drive for their only score. Kubiak might have completed the comeback if Steve Sewell had managed to hang on to the ball. Sewell’s late fumble ended the Broncos hopes. Denver lost, 10-7, ending its bid for its fourth trip to the Super Bowl since the 1986 season.

    “I wanted to keep playing until it was just too tight,” Elway said of his injury. “I didn’t have the heart to take myself out.”

    That was Reeves’ job.

    The lessons are obvious for Cutler:

    Image matters. How  you treat fans and opponents and teammates matters. Cutler has made himself into one of the biggest targets in sports with his “I’m-above-it-all” approach to life.

    No one questioned Elway’s heart. Everyone, it seems, questions Cutler’s heart.



  • Artest: Carmelo shouldn’t complain until fans start throwing cabbage

    Tue, January 25, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments


    Was talking with Ron Artest last Friday at Pepsi Center. Artest is one of NBA history’s most fascinating characters. Yes, he once started a riot in Detroit by running into the stands to attack a fan, but he’s also the rare NBA star who arrives at the arena every night fully prepared to attack the game.

    We were talking about the way Nuggets fans treated Carmelo Anthony last Wednesday night. Carmelo scored 35, outplayed Kevin Durant and carried the Nuggets to victory over Oklahoma City.

    And Nuggets fans booed him, and this was serious, high-volume booing.

    Artest seemed the natural player to discuss the booing. He is, after all, one of the most villified players in NBA history.

    Artest, as is his custom, did not exactly offer the typical response to my questioning. Let’s just say he spent a lot of time talking about food.

    Here goes:

    “Booing? That’s part of life. Sometimes you get booed, and  sometimes you go into a fast food restaurant and they don’t even put tomatoes on your cheeseburger, even if you want tomatoes. It’s just part of life.

    “I got tomatoes thrown at me before. Where? I don’t remember. And a whole thing of cabbage. Booing? That’s nothing. He should be happy he got booed instead of getting lettuce and tomatoes thrown at him.”

    Thanks, Ron.

    NEXT: Jay Cutler is not the first NFL quarterback to depart a conference championship game with a leg injury. John Elway once failed to finish a title game, too.

  • Sure, Cutler has his problems, but lack of toughness isn’t one of them

    Mon, January 24, 2011 by David Ramsey with 1 comment


    Jay Cutler would have played the entire game against the Packers if he had been physically able to play.

    But he wasn’t. He suffered an injured left knee. He tried to keep playing, and he lobbied the Bears coaching and medical staff to let him return to the field.

    They rejected his request.

    The idea that Cutler somehow exposed his lack of toughness is, well, insane. This idea has even been fueled by NFL players on Twitter. It seems Cutler does a poor job of endearing himself to just about everybody.

    This is a player who competes despite suffering from type 1 diabetes. This is a player who competed for the Broncos while he was suffering from untreated diabetes.

    Cutler is, no doubt, a knucklehead. He’s arrogant. He struggles to reach out to his fans and teammates. He’s 27 going on 13.

    But he’s plenty tough. Questioning his grit is cruel, misguided and, yes, insane.

    Yes, Cutler ranks among the NFL’s most infuriating players.

    But he also ranks among the toughest.

    Here’s a story from The New York Times that examines questions about Cutler:


    Here’s a look at Tweets from NFL players questioning Cutler’s toughness:


    And, I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me:


  • Colorado directs scorn on Carmelo, and he deserves it

    Thu, January 20, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments

    It was surreal.

    Carmelo Anthony had just led the Nuggets to victory over Oklahoma City. He had outplayed Kevin Durant. He had scored 35 points.

    And he was getting booed.

    As Anthony talked Wednesday to Altitude interviewer Maya Starks, he was standing on the edge of the court, where he had delivered one of the more impressive performances of his career.

    And he was listening to the loud, clear disapproval of Nuggets fans.

    Altitude takes a Soviet Union-style approach to covering the Nuggets. The coverage is utterly – and laughably – positive.

    So it was no surprise that Starks basically told those who were booing to shut up. She made this command politely, but that’s what she was doing.

    The fans would not be silenced. Starks and Carmelo kept talking, and the fans kept booing.

    Carmelo deserves the hostility. Wise fans can see what happened in Cleveland after LeBron abandoned the Cavs and what happened in Minnesota after Kevin Garnett departed for the Celtics. Those franchises are in a shambles.

    When Carmelo departs – and there’s no longer any if to this mess – the Nuggets will tumble.

    He better get used to getting booed by Nuggets fans.

    When he returns to Denver as an opponent, he will be booed until the very end of his career.

    In 2021, when Carmelo is a broken-down reserve, he will still be listening to loud, disappointed voices of Colorado fans.

    They will never forget.

  • Air Force treats everyone – even Troy Calhoun – the same at Clune Arena

    Tue, January 18, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Was talking with Troy Calhoun at halftime of Saturday’s Air Force-UNLV basketball game at Clune Arena.

    Calhoun is a near-millionaire. Calhoun revived Air Force’s football program.

    But rules are rules. Clune might be the most orderly basketball arena in our land or, come to think of it, in any land.

    We were standing in the wide aisle between the upper and lower sections at Clune, and ushers never let anyone stand there during games.

    Even if that anyone is Troy Calhoun.

    An usher politely asked us – commanded us, really – to move.

    Let me make this clear:

    I’m not complaining. I found the request funny, not irritating.

    And if you know Calhoun, you know what happened next.

    He immediately complied with the order.

  • Watching Cutler riding high just adds to the pain for Broncos fans

    Mon, January 17, 2011 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    Go ahead and admit it.

    It was painful to watch Jay Cutler launch that  perfect touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen. It was the first strike in the Chicago Bears easy victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

    And it was yet another strike to the heart of those Colorado residents who expected Cutler to fail in Chicago. And, yes, I am one of those residents.

    Cutler seemed too in love with his arm, too defiant of authority to ever find this level of success as an NFL quarterback.

    But he’s tamed his recklessness and is now the  offensive leader of a Bears team that has a tremendous chance to travel to the Super Bowl.

    The Broncos didn’t give Cutler away.

    But they didn’t get fair value in return.

    When Cutler left, I had  a feeling  he would wander around lost in the NFL.

    Now I have a different feeling.

    He’s going to torment Broncos fans for the next decade.

  • Cutler, the Colorado exile, examines a straight road to the Super Bowl

    Sun, January 16, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Jay Cutler is playing for his first winning team since high school. That’s an amazing statistic.

    Of course, Cutler is not the most popular figure in Colorado after his brief, controversial run through our state, although I have a feeling many residents’ view of Cutler has eased.

    Yes, Cutler couldn’t get along with Josh McDaniels, but nearly everyone, it turns out, struggled to get along with Josh McDaniels.

    Cutler now examines an inviting road to the Super Bowl. He must lead his Bears to victory over the 8-9 Seahawks and then win a home game against the Packers next week.

    Let’s face it.

    There will be great agony in Colorado if Cutler – the QB the Broncos tossed away – wins the Super Bowl. It will be just another addition of pain to the worst season in Broncos history.

    Monday: We’ll talk about  Cutler’s performance against the Seahawks.


  • John Fox talks about Tim Tebow

    Fri, January 14, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments

    ENGLEWOOD – New Broncos coach John Fox is impressed with Tim Tebow. He’s impressed with a few reservations, but he’s impressed.

    “I think he has a lot of work to do, and he knows it,” Fox said.

    Fox later explained that Tebow is still trying to learn the complexities of working behind center. Remember, Tebow spent nearly all of his college career taking snaps into the backfield as leader of Urban Meyer’s spread offense at Florida.

    Fox used the word “intangibles” to explain why he’s hopeful about Tebow. The word Tebow and “intangibles” seem to go together. His leadership and his enthusiasm have impressed virtually everyone.

    “The impressive thing about Tim Tebow is he’s not afraid to be great,” Fox said.

    Fox spent much of his introductory press conference talking about Tebow, and he ended his Tebow discussion with a quick story.

    Fox and Tebow sat down for dinner prior to the 2010 draft. Fox has been sitting through these dinners for 30 years, and he’s become accustomed  to the routine.

    Tebow brought a surprise to the table.

    Tebow tried to pay for the dinner.

    That was a first for Fox.

    “That impressed me,” he said.