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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Musselman nothing but a home run for Hogs

by Wally Hall | July 7, 2022 at 2:25 a.m.

Eric Musselman had a dream come true this week when he threw out the first pitch at a San Diego Padres game with the Seattle Mariners.

A lifelong Padres fan who played basketball at the University of San Diego, Musselman threw what was likely a strike, depending on who the umpire would have been.

Musselman is a good athlete, so the pitch wasn't a surprise.

It seemed as natural to him as pitching the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball program.

Musselman may be one of the youngest 57-year-old coaches in America.

All Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson had to do to promote their program was win. These days with social media everywhere, it takes much more.

Musselman is proving to be a master at getting positive attention for his program with hilarious videos and insightful comments.

Plus, he is winning.

The Razorbacks are 73-28 overall under Musselman and 33-20 in SEC play. In his three seasons, the Razorbacks have advanced to the Elite Eight twice.

. . .

It is 11 days until media from all over the country descend on Atlanta for SEC Football Media Days.

It is the most widely covered media days in the country with north of 1,000 media credentials approved and usually the first of the summer.

Arkansas is the leadoff team on the third day, Wednesday, meaning a really early flight out of Fayetteville for Sam Pittman, players and administrators.

The moderator for the four-day event will once again be Arkansas associate athletic director Kevin Trainor, who does a great job of keeping the news conferences moving.

While there may be some discussion about expansion and name, image and likeness, the main subject for every coach will be his team because every coach is undefeated for this event.

The only shocker would be if the media voted anyone other than Alabama to win the West and Georgia the East, which isn't going to happen.

. . .

Brittney Griner has been a big debate on social media.

The 6-9 star of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury is in a Russian prison, and like much of the world wants to get back to the United States of America.

Her arrest in February for possession of a narcotic -- hashish oil -- that is illegal in Russia has led her to writing a letter to President Joe Biden, who has since spoken with Griner's wife and assured her that he is doing everything in his power to get her released.

What ignited the debate on social media was that in 2020 Griner protested the playing of the national anthem before a game and said it had no place at basketball games.

That protest was in America. It is the national anthem.

Some people obviously feel an American game like basketball being played on American soil is the perfect place for America's national anthem, and that they don't care if Griner ever gets to come back.

While yours truly likes the national anthem at games and stands when it is played, it seems living in a Russian jail for almost five months is enough time for her crime.

Lessons have been learned.

Not even great athletes are above the law, especially on foreign soil.

Griner played overseas to supplement her $221,000 a year salary, although she is reported to be worth $17 million thanks in part to an endorsement contract with Nike.

Griner has played on the U.S. Olympic team and helped it win the gold medal in 2016.

It has been reported that Russia would like to trade her for an arms trafficker who is serving 25 years in the U.S.

Griner apparently has become a political pawn, and no matter how this works out, it will be controversial.

Print Headline: Musselman nothing but a home run for Hogs


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