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Golden: Big 12 media days is missing a huge star this week

Cedric Golden
Austin American-Statesman
Texas running back Bijan Robinson will join teammate Keondre Coburn at Big 12 media days in Arlington on Thursday. Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, a Heisman Trophy preseason favorite, is not scheduled to attend.
  • OU quarterback will be notably absent from Big 12 Media Days.
  • Bijan Robinson and Keondre Coburn will represent Texas
  • Why Novak Djokovic is the GOAT
  • Sha'Carri Richardson's Olympic dream will have to wait

College football players are getting paid and with the greenbacks starting to flow in thanks to the new NIL laws, schedules are bound to be affected.

With Big 12 media days coming up Wednesday in Arlington, the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy will not be there. Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, for whatever reason, will remain in Norman. Yes, the same Spencer Rattler who is the current odds-on favorite to become the third Sooners quarterback to capture the Heisman in the last five years. 

OU teammates Jeremiah Hall and Nik Bonitto will make the trip to AT&T Stadium and surely do a fine job of representing the program, but Rattler’s absence is a story unto itself.

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Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler will not be among the stars scheduled to attend Big 12 media days in Arlington this week. And the Sooners aren't saying why.

Neither head coach Lincoln Riley nor the Oklahoma athletic department offered up an explanation as to why Rattler won’t be there, but it’s unfortunate fans won’t get to feast their eyes on the next great OU quarterback, especially with the news that Texas and Iowa State are sending their biggest names in running backs Bijan Robinson and Breece Hall.

Robinson, who will be appearing with teammate Keondre "Snacks" Coburn, has his own social media following and a deal with online video service Cameo — a personalized video from Bijan is going for $100 — and will surely benefit from the preseason exposure he'll get at Jerry World on Thursday.

Rattler will miss out on an opportunity to expand a growing brand that includes an Instagram/Twitter following of more than 400,000. His website is selling ballcaps, T-shirts and masks featuring his snazzy snake-like logo while he’s also available to deliver personalized online video messages via Cameo for $125.

It’s the new world we live in and players are taking full advantage. Good for them because it’s been a long time coming.

But what of media days? Only the people at OU know why Rattler won’t be joining us, but the hope is NIL had nothing to do with the decision. The hope is he didn't decline because of more pressing business opportunities or that the Sooners just wanted to cut down on all of that preseason spotlight.

Media days are a rite of passage every summer, sharing preseason billing with your magazine of choice and yes, the American-Statesman’s Top 25 preseason poll as events that make these dog days of summer much easier to count off en route to the season opener.

Can't wait to see which players take the opportunity to mention any business partnerships they're involved in or if they have been forbidden from doing so by their coaches.

Either way, we’ll miss Spencer. By the way, the website is there if you want to get a good look at him (and spend a little coin if you’re so inclined).

Opinion:The argument is over, Novak Djokovic is the greatest men's tennis player in history

Novak Djokovic kisses the winner's trophy after he defeated Matteo Berrettini in the men's singles final at Wimbledon on Sunday. Djokovic tied contemporaries Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with his 20th major title. He will go for the calendar grand slam at the U.S. Open this fall.

Novak is no 'Djoke': Novak Djokovic had always been the third wheel when discussions arose regarding tennis' present Big Three of himself, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but he is about to run headlong into the top spot after winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.

Each has 20 majors, but Djokovic can set himself apart if he wins the upcoming U.S. Open this fall. No man has won all four majors in a single year — aka a calendar slam —  since the legendary Rod Laver pulled it off for the second time in 1969.

Even if he falls short of the goal, Djokovic gets my GOAT vote because he has proven himself to be so proficient on all surfaces. Nadal's 13 French Opens are encompassed in his 105-3 record at Roland Garros while no one in this next generation will come close to Federer's eight titles on the grass at Wimbledon.

A win at Flushing Meadows would be one for the ages, literally, because he would surpass Federer and Nadal, who are 39 and 35, respectively and battling chronic injuries at this late stage in their careers.

"I've always kind of believed that I could play my best tennis in Grand Slams and give myself a good chance to win any slam really on any surface because I know what I'm capable of," Djokovic told reporters Sunday. "I know I have a very complete game that has proven to be successful on all surfaces in the past."

His 20-10 record in Grand Slam finals stands up to Federer (20-11) and Nadal (20-8), and Djokovic gets points for being the lone guy in the group to win each major twice.  

While younger players like Canada's Denis Shapovalov and Russia's Daniil Medvedev showed they have the goods to take over the top spot once the Big Three take their leave, the 34-year-old Dkoker has at least three more majors in him before he hangs it up.

His next major, whether it's in September or some time in 2022, will put him in a class all by himself.

Sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson poses with the U.S. flag after winning the women's 100-meter run during the U.S. Olympic trials last month. Richardson, however, was not named to the Olympic team roster after testing positive for marijuana.

Richardson's woes: The idea of 11,000 world athletes heading to the Olympics in Tokyo with universally clean bloodstreams is laughable at best.

When USA Track and Field announced its Olympic roster, sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was not included after testing positive for marijuana. Richardson's 30-day weed suspension will be up before the 400-meter relay, but USATF decided she should stay home for The Games. No 100. No relay. No Olympics.

This is where it gets complicated. The use of recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, meaning more than 141 million people in our country can use it with no problem from the authorities, including folks in Oregon, where Richardson says she used the drug to cope with the shocking news of her biological mother dying.

With that said, it's a banned substance and Richardson exercised horrible judgment. She should be running, but her decision — tragic circumstances notwithstanding — cost her a chance to make history.

More:Simone Biles, Ginny Fuchs and more Olympians talk about prioritizing mental health

Mark Henry event: Wrestling legend Mark Henry, who recently signed with the AEW promotion after a Hall of Fame career with the WWE, is bringing his new gig to Austin. The popular AEW Dynamite show is coming to the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on Wednesday and Henry, now an expert analyst, coach and mentor to young wrestlers at the promotion, will join wrestler "Absolute" Ricky Starks in visiting with youngsters at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, located on 6648 Ed Bluestein Blvd., on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

Henry told me he and Starks will give away T-shirts and tickets at the meet-and-greet.