Outside Our Moat: A look at some stories of interest

USA TODAY Sports

We take a peak outside of our little universe at some of the more interesting stories going on right now.

The Big Lead wrote a report last week that ESPN TV co-hosts, Michael Smith and former NFL player Hugh Douglas "nearly came to blows" while attending a Sports Task Force party at the House of Blues in Orlando. Both were in town for the National Association of Black Journalists convention.

Jason McIntyre with The Big Lead wrote two days later.

Hugh Douglas was inebriated and threatened to beat up his colleague Michael Smith three times Friday night, a source who witnessed the altercation at the House of Blues in Orlando tells The Big Lead. According to the source, Douglas, who appears on Numbers Never Lie on ESPN with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, was trying to get on stage where the DJ was playing, and threatened to beat up Smith if he couldn’t help out. After the third threat, Smith tried to walk away, at which point Douglas grabbed Smith’s wrist and hurled two racial epithets at him, calling him an “Uncle Tom” and a “House N—-.” Smith, the witness says, turned around to protect himself, at which point onlookers rushed in to break it up.

John Koblin with Deadspin added that the night before the incident, there Douglas made a fool of himself, completely wasted (drunk).

As Hill was just about to finish speaking to the group of 100-plus, Douglas came up to her, and demanded the microphone, even though he wasn't scheduled to speak at the event. He might have been slurring, and he was certainly talking loud enough for others to hear it. Hill said no thanks. She apparently had to make some effort to keep the mic out of his hands. Douglas was not happy, and neither were Hill and Smith. This was embarrassing.

ESPN confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Douglas was let go.

***

File Robert Griffin III as another media-driven storyline. Griffin made the mistake of saying that he doesn't understand the plan that head coach Mike Shanahan has in place for the quarterback's rehabilitation. The mainstream sports media jumped on that comment like sharks in a pool of bloody water. It was to the point that Griffin needed to make a statement.

"I just needed to address something was said, or something that's been going along in the media since I had my press conference [Monday]. I just want everybody to know if there's any questions about if there's a rift between me and Coach [Mike Shanahan] or if there's a conflict, there is no conflict," Griffin said. "Coach is Coach. I'm the player. Coach has a plan and I'm abiding by that plan. I'm doing everything the coaches are asking me to do. I trust those guys. They want me to have a long career and that's what part of this plan is about.

Griffin's father isn't helping dissolve the story either.

"I will not tell Coach Shanahan how to do any part of his job," he says, "because he’s been doing this for a long time." But: "You tell a kid that you want him to be there for fourteen years, guess what? Historical data will tell you that the more he runs, the more subject he is to career injury," the elder Griffin said. "You name one quarterback out there that would rather run the football than throw the football and I’ll show you a loser."

The crew at Hogs Haven believes that Griffin's public campaign is actually hurting him.

In short, this strategy is misguided and woefully lacks an understanding of one of the core issues going into this season: Mike Shanahan HAS to be in charge of the situation, and HAS to be SEEN as in charge of the situation. Shanny got creamed by everyone for letting Griffin talk his way back onto the field last season. Don't we all remember the public relations nightmare that went down simultaneous to Griffin going down against the Seahawks?

***

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is under investigation for serious allegations that he has signed multiple autographs for money. Serious enough that there are questions whether Manziel will play another down for Texas A&M -- or at the very least, a snap this year.

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant stood up for Manziel this week.

“He should be able to sign as many autographs and make as much money as he wants, because it’s his name,” Bryant said, per Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram. “I feel like he’s the one who created it. He should be able to do whatever he feels as long as it’s legal and I don’t think there’s anything illegal about signing a picture of yourself and making money off himself.

Whether college players should be paid has been a long-standing debate for some time. An argument is made that college football brings so much revenue into the university that players should be given some compensation. According to ESPN, most major colleges earned a profit during the 2011-12 season, starting with Texas at $77.9 million.

Maybe it's not appropriate for colleges to pay players; at the very least some compensation could be earned on their own with autograph sessions or maybe even sponsorships. Either way, there's an agreeable argument being made from Bryant's point of view.

Also...

+ An excellent account of Titus Young on the MMQB. Young is the former Detroit Lions wide receiver who has had a terrible summer. Most recently he's failed to appear in court on multiple occasions.

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