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I might offend you, but… 

Classic New York sportswriter and syndicated columnist Jimmy Cannon used to write a potpourri piece under the headline, "Nobody asked me, but.... " His observations were sharp and often visionary. For instance he wrote in 1968, nobody asked me, but "all football has to do is play its games, and the baseball owners will chase their public to them with their ignorant greed." Today, the NFL is America's preeminent sports league with a new $8 billion TV contract, and baseball is second or third.

Cannon used "nobody asked me, but..." to rattle off one-liners about sports and anything else that interested him. It was a tasteful way to convey his thinking without insulting his readers if they disagreed. Unfortunately, in today's era of in-your-face media, nothing is more gauche than being tasteful. So I've updated Cannon's concept with, "I might offend you, but..." And if I manage to offend you, that's too bad.

I might offend you, but...

Reggie White's sudden death of a heart attack at 43 seems unusual, and I'm sure that his 17-year pro football career didn't help his health much, yet his passing should remind all athletes that no one is immortal.

Pay attention, Barry Bonds.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue called White a gentle warrior, yet I bet no NFL coach ever asked his players to "go out there on the football field and be gentle warriors."

Bills vice president of communications Scott Berchtold chided me last summer for writing "negative stuff," yet given that the Bills might make the playoffs after I held funeral services for them in October, I must take a little credit for motivating them to rise from the dead.

Even though the Steelers don't need to win Sunday in Buffalo, longtime Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher would probably love knocking out of the playoff picture his good ol' pal Tom Donahoe, whom he defeated in a bitterly personal Steelers power struggle in January 2000.

Heck, Cowher might even love knocking out Donahoe, too.

Ex-players should never serve as color commentators for their old team's games on a supposedly unbiased television football broadcast.

Current TV sports journalists should never appear in advertisements promoting third-party products of any kind.

Pure print journalists are typically the most informed media representatives and the most faithful to journalistic standards and ethics, yet they're typically the lowest-paid of their media brethren, so they must be the most foolish too.

If you have a product you want me to endorse, by the way, I'm listening.

The Fast Ferry is the kind of hard-luck tale that makes Rochesterians dislike their city, yet the Chicago Cubs have been a hard-luck tale since 1908 and their fans still love them.

Rochesterians might have been the forefathers of boorish fan behavior, according to former NBA star George Mikan, who recently told a St. Paul Pioneer Press writer that when he played for the Minneapolis Lakers in the late '40s and '50s, a Rochester Royals fan once threw a four-to-five-inch knife at him that missed and stuck in the floor.

Speaking of boorish behavior, there's never been a better time to viciously assault someone in the workplace: Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi broke Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore's neck during a March 8 game and was recently sentenced to just a one-year probation and 80 hours of community service after a guilty plea in Canadian court.

Bertuzzi must be a gentle warrior because you just don't break some guy's neck and get probation and community service.

A reason people complain more about pro athletes' salaries than top Hollywood actors' salaries (even though actors' earnings dwarf what most athletes earn) is because athletes often look like Eminem and 50 Cent, instead of Tom Hanks and Will Smith.

Amerks 20-year-old winger Thomas Vanek leads AHL rookie scorers with 14 goals and scores 17 percent of the times he shoots, so he should take 30 shots a game and score five goals a game.

Two Super Bowl titles make the difference between Bill Parcells, the Dallas coach who rides his players hard yet is regarded as a genius, and Tom Coughlin, the Giants and former RIT football coach who rides his players hard yet is regarded as the biggest buffoon who ever lived --- at least by his current players and the New York-area media.

Mike Doser will be a Thursday Night Roundtable guest on Bob Matthews' WHAM 1180 AM sports radio program, Thursday, December 30, from 7 to 8 p.m.

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