The biggest Oregon Duck fan I know -- perhaps the most intense quacker backer on the planet -- sent me a text the other day.
It read: "Do you think the Ducks will return to the Rose Bowl next year or star in a remake of ‘The Longest Yard?'"
In case you haven't seen "The Longest Yard," it's a movie about convicts who play football in prison. And the Ducks, well, they've had a bit of trouble with the law lately.
Duck fans are not known for having a sense of humor when it comes to negative sentiment surrounding their beloved team. So when a serious Duck fan is making jokes about the football program, you know things are really bad.
Either that, or he finally listened to his friends and joined Ducks Anonymous.
There has been a lot press regarding the legal problems of Oregon athletes in recent months. In September, LeGarrette Blount was suspended for punching a Boise State player after the Ducks lost their season opener.
In January, Rob Beard was charged with misdemeanor assault after ending up unconscious following a fight. Mike Bowlin and Matt Simms, also involved in the incident, were kicked off the team.
Jamere Holland was booted from the team for racist Facebook remarks and for violating team rules. Kiko Alonso was suspended for the 2010 season following a DUI charge. LaMichael James was suspended for the season opener after being given 24 months of probation for physically harassing his ex-girlfriend.
And Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli pleaded guilty to burglary charges in March and was suspended by head coach Chip Kelly for all of next season.
There was outrage toward Kelly and UO for losing control of players. But these young men are just that - men. They are adults making their own choices off the football field and should be held accountable for their actions. Blaming the coach or the school is ludicrous.
However, since Masoli was suspended for entire season, it's equally ridiculous for him to keep his scholarship and practice with the team. If Kelly plans for him to stay in shape all year and then use his final year of eligibility to come back as the starting quarterback, what does that say to the players who are competing to become the Ducks' QB this fall?
Even if Masoli returns the following year as a running back, that doesn't change the fact that the school will shell out thousands of dollars for his "education" in the next two years. Masoli should be cut from the team and his scholarship revoked.
I don't blame Kelly or the University of Oregon for the trouble these young men have caused. But I was disappointed when Kelly reinstated Blount after eight games, and I'm disappointed he's keeping Masoli around.
- - - -
What is going on with Volkswagen? Once again, the German automotive manufacturer is trying to influence the way Americans think.
Remember the ad campaign from about 20 years ago that intended to make "fahrvergnugen" a household word? Volkswagen wanted to link "fahrvergnugen" -- which translates roughly to "pleasure of driving" -- to owning a Volkswagen.
It worked, in a way. In our family, my brothers and I had kids in diapers about that time, and when we got together you would hear conversations like this:
"Hey, the baby needs to be changed!"
"OK, is the diaper just wet, or is it a fahrvergnugen?"
Now, in 2010, Volkswagen is trying to force upon us a game called "Punch Dub."
Oh no, VW, you can't do this. Nobody is going to replace "Slug Bug" with "Punch Dub." It doesn't even rhyme. Punch Dub? Are you kidding me? Volkswagen is hoping that because Americans shorten VW to V-Dub, that we will not even notice the transition.
Give me a break. Slug Bug is a time-honored past time. It even has a set of rules accepted everywhere.
Our family Slug Bug games became so rough that we switched to keeping score instead of hitting each other. You could play the first to 20 points wins, or you could play the highest score on a designated trip wins.
One year while driving around looking at Christmas lights in Ashland, Ore., I was playing the game against my daughter and two nieces. There are a lot of VW bugs in Ashland. My brother was driving and, in a move that can only be interpreted as an apology for all the times he hit me when we were kids, drove by a used VW car lot (on my side of the van).
I scored 17 points for a come-from-behind victory.
Some Slug Bug purists won't even accept a VW Vanagon as a reason to get slugged. Only VW Beetles will do. Although, some areas of the country have a rule that a VW van is worth two points. For years, we wouldn't even allow the new Beetles into the game.
Now we're being inundated with commercials that show Volkswagen sales people getting punched in the arm every time they show a VW Routan or CC. In one commercial, a security officer watching a closed-circuit video is punched by his partner. The guy who gets hit says, "That's not a Volkswagen!" and then is disappointed when the vehicle gets close enough to see the VW emblem.
His partner hits him twice -- "two for doubting."
Nobody is going to play your lame Punch Dub game, Volkswagen. Give it up. Even in your own ads, we can't tell your new cars apart from any other imports. Slug Bug works because the cars are unique.
I'm just saying, if a VW Tiguan drives by and I get punched, I'm pressing assault charges.
But if I'm going to be in Eugene anytime soon to play Slug Bug, I want LeGarrette Blount on my side.
Janine Manny is a freelance sportswriter for The Daily News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org