Top 5 Interviews January 19th-23rd

1. Jamie Dukes on The DA Show

Former NFL player and current analyst on the Pats and Deflate Gate:
“My opinion is if you get caught, pay the piper. Pay the piper. If they were (guilty), hammer them.”

2. Trent Green on Gio And Jones

CBS NFL analyst on the Patriots potential penalty:
“I think it’s going to be huge.”

3. Steve Beuerlein on The DA Show

NFL on CBS analyst on chances of Peyton Manning coming back:
“It’ll be surprising to me if both sides agree that the best thing for the Broncos is for Peyton Manning to come back.”

4. Warren Moon on After Hours With Amy Lawrence

Seahawks radio analyst on the deflating of footballs:
“I think this happens all the time in football.”

5. Chris Sheridan on Tiki And Tierney NBA insider on the Bulls struggles:
“There’s a lot of vets on that team that feel that Tom Thibodeau is pounding them into the ground.”

Source: CBS Sports

John Feinstein Blog: Dr. King Overcame A Lot More

When I was growing up, I had a vague awareness of the fact that my father had been in the army during World War II and he had some kind of medal for an incident that occurred when he was stationed on the island of Saipan in 1945. He never volunteered any information about what had happened and I never pushed him on it because it was clearly not something he wanted to talk about.

Near the end of his life, I decided it was important for me to know. He was dying of pancreatic cancer and was home, with hospice care. His mind was as sharp as it had ever been ,  so, sitting in his bedroom one night, I asked him to please tell me about what had happened.

1The story was actually not complicated: He and three others had been returning to camp one morning from night patrol. Suddenly, they were being shot at–by a sniper, one of many on the island. Two of my father’s companions went down instantly, both dead. A third was also hit. The only on e not hit –by nothing more than freakish luck- – was my dad. He grabbed the wounded man and pulled, pushed, carried him to safety. It took three more days  for his unit   to finally  find and   kill the sniper.

My dad’s medal was for saving the man who was wounded.

“Okay?” he said when he finished . “Can we talk about something else now?”

I tell the story because I learned something that night, something that all of us tend to forget: those who have been through war often don’t want to talk about it. Those who have not been through war can’t possibly understand what it feels like.

On Monday, the Seattle Seahawks posted a tweet with a photo of Russell Wilson crying after his team had come from behind to beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime to reach the Super Bowl. The caption on the photo–on Martin Luther King Day–was, “We Shall Overcome.”

Talk about not understanding.

The Seahawks pulled the tweet soon after it was posted and apologized for somehow comparing a football game to what Martin Luther King and those he worked with went through in the 1960s. Which reminded me of my father and of the movie, ‘Selma.’

If you have not  done so   ye t,  go and see it. To begin with, it’s a good movie–well written, well acted, well directed. More important than that, even though it is certainly not an exact historical depiction of what happened in Alabama almost 5 0 years ago, it should make all of us  stop and   think about what King and those marchers accomplished and what they faced .  it should  also  remind us that none of us  who did not  liv e through that march,  can possibly understand how they felt.

What’s even more important–and more frightening–is how little has truly changed. Laws have changed but a lot of attitudes have not. When Richard Sherman went on his postgame rant a year ago after the Seahawks had beaten the 49ers, he was instantly labelled–by some–as ‘a thug.’ Sherman, as most people now understand, is one of the brightest and most thoughtful athletes in the NFL. You can agree or disagree with his point – of – view but if your knee-jerk reaction to him is that he’s “a thug,” because he trash-talks on occasion then you’ve never been in an NFL locker room. Or ANY locker room for that matter.

If Sherman didn’t have dreadlocks would he have been labelled a thug? I doubt it.

The reaction to five African-American members of the St. Louis Rams running onto the field with their arms up-in-the-air in a “don’t-shoot,” pose after there was no indictment in Michael Brown’s death is another example of how close we still live to 1965. Much of the white media–especially the older white media–thought it was  flat out wrong or an  embarrassment that the five Rams had expressed a political point – o f- view. The reaction was similar when many athletes, including Kobie Bryant and LeBron James, chose to wear “I Can’t Breathe,” shirts in response to the non-indictment in the choking death  on Staten Island last summer  of Eric Garner.

The Michael Brown death was a ‘h e-said/he-said,’ story ,  one in which different witnesses gave different versions of what happened on that night in Ferguson, Missouri.  Garner’s death was caught on videotape. His last words were, “I Can’t Breathe.” Thus, the T-shirts.

Again, the reaction of many to the T-shirts was outrage. One white radio talk show host wondered how someone as wealthy as Bryant had the right to be disturbed about Garner’s death –or the lack of an indictment in the case.  Apparently, once you reach a certain tax bracket–especially if you’re African-American– you give up your right to make political statements.

After the Garner non-indictment, p rotesters formed on both sides and, sadly, much of it broke down along racial lines. Then came the horrific shootings of two New York City police officers. When New York’s two NFL head coaches, Tom Coughlin and Rex Ryan wore ‘NYPD,’ hats on the sidelines a week after the shootings, there were very few objections. Even the NFL, with all its rules on wearing licensed gear with the proper logos, kept its collective mouth shut for once.

Which was the right thing to do. Coughlin and Ryan were showing support for two men who died brutally and senselessly. Most people applauded them for doing so. But they weren’t doing anything different than the athletes who put their hands up or wore the T-shirts were doing. They were recognizing a tragedy. And yet, none of those in the media who had rushed so quickly to judgment on the African-American athletes, insisting that politics shouldn’t be part of sports, said anything about Coughlin and Ryan.

One of the arguments made against the Rams and, to a lesser degree those who wore the ‘I can’t breathe,’ T-shirts was that they should not have used their public platform while representing their teams to show their support for the two men who died. No one seemed to have a problem with Coughlin and Ryan doing exactly the same thing.

ALL of them had the right to do what they did. But there’s clearly a double-standard in jockworld about who can make a political statement and who can’t. And on what topics.

All of this took place in 2014–not 1965. While it’s true that we no longer have governors standing in doorways to try to prevent African-American students from attending a state university and poll taxes have been done away with and schools have been de-segregated–legally anyway–there’s little doubting the racial divide that still exists in this country.

When I pointed out in a ‘CBS Sports Minute,’ a week ago that the New York Jets hiring of Todd Bowles as their coach meant there were now all of five African-Americans among the 32 coaches in the NFL, I received a number of angry tweets and notes saying that I was a racist –anti-white, apparently.  I never even got around to the fact that there’s ONE African American managing in the major leagues right now.

The irony is this: many white people are angered and outraged by the fact that black people–or white people like me– point out in equalities that still exist in our country. You see, that’s the problem: they can’t possibly understand what Dr. King went through 50 years ago or what many African-Americans are still going through today. To be fair, a lot of African-American athletes who complain about ‘not getting respect,’ in the media as if that’s some horrible burden, don’t understand it either.

The Seahawks overcame five turnovers on Sunday. That’s it. They won a football game. That’s it.

What Dr. King (and all those who marched with him from Selma to Montgomery) overcame was a lot more significant and frightening than overcoming five turnovers. For his efforts, Dr. King was shot and killed at the age of 39.

THAT is what we should always remember.

Source: CBS Sports

Top 5 Interviews January 12th-16th

1. Brady Quinn on After Hours With Amy Lawrence

FOX Sports analyst on the Packers chances of winning in Seattle:
“So I think the Packers are going to struggle mightily going into that game.”

2. Jason La Canfora on Gio And Jones

CBS Sports NFL insider on whether Peyton Manning will be back:
“I don’t think he’ll be back.”

3. Rich Gannon on Tiki And Tierney

CBS Sports NFL analyst on the Raiders hiring Jack Del Rio:
“I think he’s going to get the keys to the car.”

4. Bob Ryan on Ferrall On The Bench

Boston Globe columnist on the Patriots win over the Ravens:
“I think this is going to send the Patriots into their next game and the rest of the season with even more confidence.”

5. Jimmer Fredette on Ferrall On The Bench

New Orleans Pelicans guard on the season:
“We need to keep pushing, but we were really happy with our win.”

Source: CBS Sports

John Feinstein Blog: Peyton’s Always Done The Right Thing

My wife, Christine, is the person who sends out tweets on my behalf. (@JFeinsteinbooks). She does this for two reasons. The first is my remarkable lack of competence when it comes to the cyber world. The second is that she doesn’t trust me with a send button at my fingertips. “You’ll get fired from every job you have,” she says–no doubt accurately.

On Tuesday, as she read through the responses to my recent tweets and ‘CBS Sports Minutes,’–most of them suggesting I should be locked in a room with no outside contact with the world ever again (those were the nice ones)–she said, “Most of your stuff lately has been pretty sarcastic.”

I thought about it for a while and realized she’s right. There are reasons for this. I’m sarcastic by nature, a trait I have unfortunately passed on to my children–especially my teen-aged daughter. If I ask her if she wants to go out and get something to eat, her answer is usually something like, “No dad, I don’t ever want to eat again. Starving is just fine.” That’s usually followed by a rant about how unfair it is that her choices at that moment are to starve or be seen in public with me. It’s a close call.

The weather is also part of it. I just get worn out this time of year by cold and snow. Making the New Year’s turn in the direction of spring helps, but there’s really no letup in sight and Chris is in a lousy mood this morning because about seven snowflakes fell last night and there’s a two-hour school delay this morning. It isn’t that she doesn’t love Jane, our 4-year-old, but she can’t get anything done until she goes to school. Come to think of it, Jane just walked in here wanting to know if I could play, ‘Frozen,’ with her. I’ll be back after a few rounds of, ‘Let it Go.’

….It’s 30 minutes later. My throat’s a little sore. Moving on…

The other reason for my recent outburst of sarcasm is something completely out of my control: the general state of the world I live in–jockworld. How can one NOT be sarcastic about the ridiculous whitewash that was the Mueller Report? I mean, seriously, four months to tell us the NFL didn’t handle the Ray Rice situation well? Next Mr. Mueller will tell us that Adrian Peterson shouldn’t be father of the year.

A LOT of people were upset with me for making fun of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his continuing role as a Jerry Jones groupie. Some think I made fun of Christie because he’s a Republican. Others chimed in with the tired, “stick to sports,” complaint. For the record, I’d make fun of ANY politician, especially one with presidential aspirations, who behaved like that. Second, WHERE was Christie when this behavior took place? AT A FOOTBALL GAME.

I do get tired of the fact that people like Dan Snyder are let off the hook non-stop by the local media here in Washington and by the braying of TV people, locally and nationally, who are told to see-no-evil and promote all their, ‘partners.’

I’m not excusing my sarcasm, just trying to explain it. Today though, I’m going to write about someone who I think has been criticized TOO much during his career and is now going through another round of that lovely game called, ‘He can’t win the big one.’

That person is Peyton Manning, who has ‘only,’ won one Super Bowl. I’m not going to get into numbers here. Manning doesn’t really need me to defend him on any level. Everyone has to live with at least ONE black mark on their record, no matter how remarkable their career might have been. It can be within the lines or outside the lines. I believe Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer who ever played the game–with all due respect to Jack Nicklaus. But Woods’ legacy will always be sullied by the way he’s treated people–most importantly his wife and, more importantly, his children, who will have to live with knowing what their father did when they get older.

Michael Jordan was the most breath-taking basketball player I’ve ever seen but his post-basketball life has mostly been about selfishness and his anger that he can’t be Michael Jordan anymore. Bob Knight stood for all the right things in college sports AND was one of the four greatest basketball coaches of all time. He’s a bitter old man these days, demoted by ESPN to doing their No. 8 game on a given day, only a few years after the network hired him and tried to make him into a media star.

The list goes on–and, for the record, I’m on it too. My life is littered with screw-ups. I just haven’t lived it in the same spotlight others have. I’m also fortunate enough to have a wife who tells me when I screw up, sometimes–not always–in time to keep me from doing a professional cliff-dive.

But Peyton Manning? If the worst thing you can say about him is that he should have won more Super Bowls, well, that’s a pretty damn good legacy. Have you ever heard anyone–teammate, foe, media member or fan–say anything bad about who he is as a human being? It isn’t just that he never, ever ducks a question, win or lose, it’s that no one can ever remember him snapping at a question.

There can’t have been a more frustrating day in his career than the 43-8 loss the Broncos suffered in last February’s Super Bowl. Everyone in a Denver uniform was humiliated that day but, naturally, the brunt of it fell on the superstar. After the game, Manning stood underneath the stands at whatever the stadium in the meadowlands is called (yeah, I’m pretty mean about using corporate names in addition to my sarcasm) and answered question after question.

Some athletes are delighted to answer questions when they win and nowhere to be found or snappish when they lose. Few in sports look at Rudyard Kipling’s two imposters the same. Bill Belichick does–he’s always cranky. And Manning does. He understands that the media has a job to do, regardless of the outcome of the game. He isn’t the only one by any stretch. Joe Torre was always that way and so are Tom Watson, Roger Federer, Doc Rivers and Mike Krzyzewski–to cherry-pick names from different sports. John Thompson, the former Georgetown coach was BETTER in defeat because he’d never duck the media and he would vent after a loss in a way he never did after a win. The same was true of John McEnroe.

 Manning is always honest and modest. He blames himself for losses, usually spread the credit after wins. It isn’t a coincidence that he does more TV commercials than anyone alive. People LIKE the guy–and with good reason. He has used his fame to quietly do as much, if not more, charity work than any athlete who’s ever lived. Unlike most in jockworld who turn every good deed into a media event, Manning only ‘comes out,’ with what he’s done when a charity tells him it will help the charity if he does.

Dean Smith once said that one should never be proud of doing the right thing, one should just do the right thing. Peyton Manning has always done the right thing and never once taken a bow for it.

To me, sarcastic and cynical as I am, that’s a legacy far more important than ‘only,’ winning one Super Bowl. Bravo, Peyton. Bravo.

Source: CBS Sports

Top 5 Interviews January 5th-9th

1. Kurt Warner on Tiki and Tierney

Former NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP on Colin Kaepernick:
“He’s gotten by on athleticism, and he’s had some great moments and had some great games.”

2. Steve Beuerlein on After Hours With Amy Lawrence

CBS Sports NFL analyst on the Cowboys taking on the Packers:
“As great as the Cowboys defense has been playing this year, they haven’t been faced with a challenge like this.”

3. Orlando Scandrick on The Doug Gottlieb Show

Dallas Cowboys cornerback on the flag being picked up in Dallas:
“From what I’ve seen, I didn’t think Anthony Hitchens made contact with him.”

4. London Fletcher on Gio and Jones

CBS Sports NFL analyst on where Mike Shanahan may end up:
“I really like him going to San Francisco or Chicago.”

5. Brent Axe on The DA Show Orange insider and former Bills Radio voice on Doug Marrone:
“(The Bills are) trying to say, ‘You know what? We’re going to make that more difficult for you.’”

Source: CBS Sports

John Feinstein Blog: Writers Should Keep Voting For Hall Of Fame

There’s been a lot of whining about the baseball Hall of Fame the past few years. A lot of it has come from people who don’t understand why a bunch of sportswriters hold the keys to Cooperstown. Here’s why: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. Those were the four guys who absolutely should have been voted into the Hall of Fame this year and they are the four guys who will be inducted in July.

Most of the time, the writers get it right.

Can you make a case for Mike Piazza, who finished with just under 70 percent of the vote–leaving him a tad shy of the 75 percent required for induction? Of course you can. I’m a lifelong Mets fan and I’d love to see Piazza go in. He will–probably within the next two years. In all likelihood, Jeff Bagwell will get in too.

To me, as a former voter (The Washington Post stopped allowing writers to vote for any Hall of Fame several years ago) there were three levels at which I considered a player who merited serious consideration for the Hall:

  1. The no-brainer. Those are guys whose numbers didn’t even have to be studied. You  just knew the minute you saw their name on the ballot you were voting for them. Johnson and Martinez fit that category this year. There’s no list of the great pitchers in history that wouldn’t include the two of them.
  2. The, ‘yeah, I think so but let me double-check his numbers,’ candidate. That would be Smoltz and Biggio–who I would have voted for the first year he was eligible. Smoltz won more than 200 games and save more than 100. He went from dominating starter to dominating closer to very solid starter. If there’s ANY doubt, check his postseason numbers. Game, set, match. Biggio had more than 3,000 hits–that alone should make him automatic. No player in history with 3,000 hits didn’t make the Hall. Beyond that, he was a very good defensive player who started as a catcher, moved to second base and also played the outfield. Recently, I heard a radio talk-show host say that shouldn’t matter (it should because he played all the positions well) because, ‘heck, there are utility guys who do that.’ None of those utility guys had 3,000 hits. Case closed.
  3. The, ‘let me give this some serious thought,’ guy. Piazza, to me, is somewhere between that and category 2. Bagwell is more a category three guy: very good numbers: 429 homers, almost 1,500 RBI and 2,314 hits plus, very good defense. Very good numbers but automatic Hall of Fame numbers? No. There are other guys I looked at closely when I was a voter who I decided to vote for:  One was Jack Morris, whose postseason record put him in as far as I was concerned. The other one will surprise you: Steve Garvey. His regular season numbers were borderline Hall of Fame but his postseason numbers were out of sight. And, he was a superb first baseman.

Category three guys sometimes get in very late: Bert Blyleven and Jim Rice come to mind. I’m glad they got in, especially Blyleven whose numbers were underrated in my mind. Not only did he win 283 games, he had SIXTY shutouts. Just by comparison, Tom Glavine–a category one guy–had 57 complete games in his career. It isn’t like Blyleven pitched in the 1920s either. He was one generation prior to Glavine. Then again, I believe Tommy John and Jim Kaat, who both fell just short of 300 wins, should also be in–especially Kaat, who was arguably the best fielding pitcher in the history of the game.

Getting back though to the original argument: Should writers control the Hall of Fame vote? The answer’s yes because, even though we all have our biases, I have never met a writer who didn’t take his vote seriously; didn’t do his homework before voting and didn’t try–TRY–to keep his biases out of his final decision-making. Eddie Murray was a category 1 guy who treated writers with absolute disdain throughout his career. He went in on the first ballot–as he should have–even though very few writers liked dealing with him. Rice was also media-unfriendly but he got in, admittedly late. Just as admittedly, he was a category 3 guy, if only because of injuries. Don Mattingly, who almost no one has ever disliked, isn’t getting in because injuries simply cut his career too short to be a Hall of Famer.

What’s more, if there’s a glaring omission, there’s backup: veterans committees–who are frequently harder graders than the writers–who vote on managers and oldtimers who might have been missed. Gil Hodges should have gone in years ago. If he was borderline as a player–which he was–what he did as manager of the Mets should have gotten him in with the veterans committee. That’s THEIR bad.

Now, the question of the cheaters. I heard another radio talk show host screaming on Tuesday that ALL the cheaters should go in. “You can’t take away MY era of baseball,” he bleated. First of all, if anyone took away HIS era, it was the cheaters. They tainted and damaged the game and, in most cases, did so without regret and–often–without ever admitting their guilt. Mark McGwire came out because he wanted to work in baseball again. Those who defend Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on the grounds that they’ve never been ‘proven,’ guilty should remember two things: this isn’t a court of law where you have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because your freedom is in jeopardy. It is a Hall of Fame which is a rare privilege granted to those who made the sport better. Second–and most important–the notion that guys like Bonds and Clemens would have been Hall of Famers without steroids (no doubt they would have) is irrelevant. They DAMAGED the sport. All the cheaters did. You don’t put someone in a Hall of Fame who damaged the sport. It is also worth remembering that Pete Rose denied he bet on baseball for 20 years. Then, when he had a book to sell, he finally fessed up. These guys lie until the truth becomes good for business.

There’s also the notion that EVERYONE was cheating so we should let everyone off the hook.  Everyone WASN’T cheating. Best guess, made by former players I know is that, at the height of the era, about 25 percent of players were using regularly. That means three-of-four players weren’t cheating.

If the Hall of Fame vote were left to guys like the radio bleater or fans or even ex-players, the cheaters would probably all get in. No one is saying the writers are perfect–how in the world did Carlos Delgado get less than 5 percent of the vote this year?–or they always get it exactly right. But, for many years now, they’ve come as close as anyone ever will to opening the doors for those who deserve to walk through and closing them to those who shouldn’t.

The cheaters all made huge money while they were playing. They deserve some kind of penalty for what they did to the sport. Baseball purgatory is just about right.

John Feinstein’s most recent book is, “The Walk-on,” a mystery set in the world of high school football. His most recent non-fiction book, ‘Where Nobody Knows Your Name,–Life in Baseball’s Minor Leagues,’–will be published in paperback next month. 

Source: CBS Sports

CBS Sports Radio’s Best Of 2014

Corby Davidson on Ferrall On The Bench

The Ticket in Dallas radio host has a couple words for Michael Irvin.

Kenny Perry on The Doug Gottlieb Show

PGA golfer doesn’t agree with Tiger Woods’ decision.

Shaq on The Morning Show

Shaq had to tell the rest of the league who was boss.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on The Morning Show

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer: “No one was able to guard me.”

Paul Finebaum on The DA Show

“Winston wears it badly.”

Source: CBS Sports

Top 5 Interviews December 15th-19th

1. Gary Andersen on The Doug Gottlieb Show

Oregon State head coach on Mike Riley leaving:
“I just didn’t think Coach (Mike) Riley was gong to leave. I thought he was going to be a lifer here.”

2. Bart Scott on Tiki and Tierney

CBS NFL Today analyst on what teammates think of Jay Cutler:
“Well, from all indications that I get, I think that a lot of people don’t like him as a teammate; they tolerate him.”

3. Ken Berger on Tiki and Tierney

CBS Sports senior NBA writer on taking Duncan or Kobe:
“I think Duncan. You probably have to (say Duncan). That’s close. If you put a gun to my head, I might have to say Duncan.”

4. Ike Taylor on The Doug Gottlieb Show

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback on their strength of schedule:
“Throughout our history, over the last 15 years – and I hate to say this – but we always don’t do (well) against (losing) teams.”

5. Jon Rothstein on Tiki and Tierney

CBS Sports college basketball analyst on how good Kentucky is:
“So I think the ceiling for Kentucky isn’t even close to being reached from what we’ve seen so far through 11 games.”

Source: CBS Sports

Top 5 Interviews December 8th-12th

1. Shaquille O’Neal on Tiki and Tierney

NBA legend and NBA TV analyst on his career:
“I had to say I was the best, even though I wasn’t the best. But I had to say it, especially when you go up against those guys.”

2. Jerry Rice on Tiki and Tierney

NFL legend on the 49ers offense:
“I don’t think this offense suits Colin Kaepernick.”

3. Charles Davis on The John Feinstein Show

FOX Sports analyst on Ohio State making the playoff: 
“Let’s say Notre Dame got left out of that. Texas. We’re talking Ohio State. Pick a brand-name team. I really believe people would be screaming and yelling about Ohio State.”

4. Brian Jones on Tiki and Tierney

MoJo Show co-host on why Ohio State got in the playoff:
“They have that iconic brand. I’ve been saying for weeks that if they win out, they’re going to get (in) because they have that brand recognition.”

5. Mike Tolbert on The MoJo Show

Carolina Panthers running back on hearing Cam Newton got into accident:
“But I think the team was pretty shaken up by hearing all the rumors that happened on Twitter and things like that.”

Source: CBS Sports

Top 5 Interviews December 1st-5th

1. Rick Neuheisel On The MoJo Show

Former UCLA head coach and current Pac-12 Network analyst on UCLA playing Stanford:
“I think it’s a tremendous mistake for UCLA to play a conference game after they played USC.”

2. Pete Prisco On The Morning Show

CBS Sports NFL columnist on playing Johnny Manziel:
“I’ll be honest with you: I would have played Manziel from the start.”

3. C.J. Anderson On The Doug Gottlieb Show

Denver Broncos running back on his style of running:
“I just try to run nasty, get my pads down low and finish runs forward. I just try to be the best I can be. That’s how I look at it.”

4. Bruce Feldman On The MoJo Show senior college football columnist on Ohio State QB Cardale Jones:
“He’s matured a lot over the last couple years. I think it’s unrealistic to expect him to be as efficient and as precise as J.T. Barrett is. J.T. Barrett’s intangibles are off the chart.”

5. Jeff Garcia On The MoJo Show

Former NFL QB on the growth of Mark Sanchez:
“The one thing about Mark I was able to see firsthand was his work ethic, his dedication to learning the mental side of the game. So I didn’t think there was any doubt that he wouldn’t pick up on what he had to do on the mental side.”

Source: CBS Sports

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