For almost a year, the Women's Tennis Association has been aware that there would be problems getting Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer into the United Arab Emirates for a tournament this week.
And for almost a year, the WTA closed its eyes and hoped the problem would go away.
Instead, the tournament went on without Peer being allowed to enter the country -- a player caught up in the kind of politics that have nothing to do with her sport -- while the WTA shrugged its shoulders and its players demonstrated that they can play the game without any kind of backbone at all.
Once Peer was banned, the WTA should have cancelled the tournament. And failing that, the players should have stood up for one of their own and made the WTA take a stance. The new WTA motto could well be: Tennis without balls.
What's bothersome is that this nasty slight was accepted and few even challenged the premise. We wonder: Had one of the Williams sisters been banned from entering a country because of the colour of her skin, what might have the reaction been in and out of tennis?
THIS AND THAT
Some Mats Sundin retrospective: Sundin's greatest assets as a Leaf were his durability and offensive consistency. The numbers always were good, never great. The tiny number of games missed in 13 years was his greatest calling card ... One myth that gets twisted over time -- Sundin had no one to play with in Toronto. Well, yes, he did play far too many games with Jonas Hoglund, which was like asking Ginger Rogers to dance with Fred Flintstone, but he also played with Gary Roberts, Steve Thomas, Mike Gartner, and Alexander Mogilny. That isn't all bad ... One more Sundin truth: His agent contacted the Rangers and Montreal in a last-ditch effort to avoid signing in Vancouver. When neither responded, he moved West ... The Leafs dilemma with the surprising Dominic Moore is this: If they believe he will play at this high a level from now on, they want to re-sign him. But if they aren't sure this is real, they may attempt to trade him while his value is as high as it ever will be. First, they're going to make a contract offer and see where the negotiations go from there. If they can sign him at a price they like, they will invest in Moore ... A reason to worry about Justin Pogge: Outside of late-developer Tim Thomas, who spent 10 years outside the NHL, name another great NHL goalie who struggled through three AHL season and became important later?
HEAR AND THERE
At first glance, if the Ottawa Senators had to give up a first-round pick for Chris Campoli, and the Montreal Canadiens had to give up a second and third for Matthieu Schneider, what's Tomas Kaberle or Pavel Kubina worth at the trade deadline? But upon review, the Sens gave up a late first-round pick for Campoli and a rental player in Mike Comrie, who has long been a Bryan Murray favourite. In fact, when Murray was running the Ducks in Anaheim, he tried to get Comrie from Phoenix in exchange for Corey Perry, who had yet to play an NHL game ... If Comrie can bring that kind of price, what's a top-six rental forward like Nik Antropov worth? Antropov can legitimately play with the best forwards on any team. Comrie can't ... And the word on Kubina: There's not much interest out there ... There are 10 shopping days left to the NHL trade deadline and the market remains soft, general managers will tell you. Mostly available: Middle of the road players on bad contracts. Everybody is trying to get rid of their bad long-term deals, contracts that extend beyond 2010 when the salary cap is expected to drop significantly.
SCENE AND HEARD
Bryan Colangelo maintains he likes this Raptors team. Question is: Why? ... The game Friday night in New York was just about the least watchable piece of Raptors entertainment in their rather undistinguished history ... Shawn Marion must appreciate what he doesn't have in Steve Nash every time he looks for a pass and Jose Calderon isn't moving the ball to the open forward. And we wonder: Is Calderon the guard to play the up-tempo style Colangelo desires? ...The World Baseball Classic is an absolute wreck if players such as Vernon Wells are pulling out because they can't afford the insurance. Issues such as those should have been negotiated and finalized by both major league baseball and the Players' Association long ago. Wells, for the record, is due an $8.5-million US bonus on March 1 to go along with his $1.5 million salary this season with the Blue Jays. One of these years, he may justify the $126 million the Jays will be paying him ... It's just me, but every time I watch Jake Voskuhl play, I'm thinking Kevin Kunnert ... So the basketball executives of the Sacramento Kings are sitting around and one of them says: "You know, we could really use Will Solomon." Honest, how do these kind of deals get made?
AND ANOTHER THING
The Montreal Canadiens' new motto: 100 years, 100 controversies .... Really, does anyone address difficulty with more composure and more confidence than Bob Gainey? ... So who goes first, Randy Carlyle or Chris Pronger in Anaheim? Word is, the two can't live together anymore ... When Adam Rita was interviewing coaches for the Argos job, he sent them game films and asked for opinions. Consensus among the interviewed: The Argos needed a middle linebacker. Rita went out and got a good one in Zeke Moreno ... Can't believe the amateur boxing people are honestly talking about women's boxing in the Olympics: There's not nearly the depth in the sport to consider it yet for the Summer Games ... Tom Glavine is pitching for the Atlanta Braves. Ken Griffey Jr. is hitting for the Seattle Mariners. Next thing you know, Tim Raines will be running the bases for the Montreal Expos ... Born this day: Sid Abel and Charles O. Finley. Happy birthday to Pat LaFontaine (44), Vijay Singh (46), Julius Erving (59) and the VanArsdale twins (66) ... And hey, whatever became of Darcy Tucker?