PILING ON WHEN BUDDY'S DOWN

I will admit that Colangelo manages to exude a certain charm.
How else do you think he could prepare for the unloading of Charles Barkley, right out in the open, with no one catching on to his ploy?

Why else do you think Colangelo has acquired two forwards who play Barkley's position?

Are you naive enough to think that Colangelo paid big money to send the team's trainer, Robin Pound, to stay in Philadelphia to help Barkley actually work out?

If you believe that, then you will undoubtedly believe the fanciful tale that Barkley actually did work out diligently and is now in the best shape of his life.

If this is so, why did Paul Whataburger, the Suns coach, announce a week ago that no training sessions up in northern Arizona will be open to the press? Nor will any practice sessions during the season.

First of all, Whataburger fears that an out-of-shape Barkley will once again fall to the ground like Humpty Dumpty, and it will take a dozen trainers to lift him onto a gurney.

But I digress. We began today's essay by scolding about the treatment Buddy Ryan has been forced to endure.

This is no time to sing a sad song for Ryan. He has been in tight spots before. He knows how to get out of them.

One of the tenets of his coaching philosophy has been to instill in his players the certainty that everyone is against them. When you have your backs to the wall, as the Cardinals do now, the only way to save yourself is by fighting your hearts out.

That's precisely what I predict the Cardinals will do this Sunday. The interesting thing will be to see how most members of the local sports media work their way out of the corner in which they have painted themselves.

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