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(Graphic by Johnny Hart/104.3 The Fan)
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Cheers and Jeers: A salute to a truly remarkable CSU Rams safety

(Graphic by Johnny Hart/104.3 The Fan)

CHEERS | CSU safety Joshua Griffin

Not many stories these days have the ability to truly flatten a reader, but CSU junior Joshua Griffin has one.

Griffin not only holds the distinction of being the oldest player in college football, but the safety walked on with the Rams following a decade in the Army.

The 33-year-old, who was featured in an ESPN profile on Veterans Day, went from fighting in real-life wars overseas in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to fulfilling his dream of battling it out on the collegiate gridiron.

Oh, and Griffin is still an active-duty staff sergeant.

His story is too important for a short blurb here, so give it a read. In the meantime, congrats on living out your dream Staff Sgt. Griffin, and please accept a hearty salute for your service to our country.

JEERS | Don Cherry and Avs center Nazem Kadri

It’s understandable for admirers of long-time institutions — as Don Cherry was on “Hockey Night in Canada” for decades — to try to rationalize poor behavior. But, Cherry’s latest rant, which landed him unemployed and the ire of many, isn’t excusable.

For those who haven’t heard, Cherry was fired after comments made on Remembrance Day — Canada’s equivalent of Veterans Day — viewed as a criticism of Toronto’s immigrant population.

Said Cherry: “You people … love our way of life, love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.”

At best, Cherry’s comments are misguided. At worst, they’re plainly racist and, as his former employer Sportsnet called it, “divisive.”

Asked about the incident during the team’s recent swing through Canada, Kadri excused Cherry’s comments as a misunderstanding of his intent.

“I know (Cherry), and I don’t think it came across like everyone is making it sound,” Kadri told the Denver Post. “I think with what he said, it was maybe just said incorrectly. People maybe took it out of context a little bit.”

Kadri explaining away Cherry’s comments — and he’s not alone — come off as misguided as well, though he did also praise the growing diversity of the NHL.

CHEERS | Avalanche goaltender Adam Werner

OK, so let’s just kind of ignore Thursday night in Edmonton, which wasn’t exactly pretty for Colorado Avalanche goalie Adam Werner (five goals against and a loss in his first NHL start).

Werner’s debut, however, was truly remarkable.

The 22-year-old Swede was called into action just 31 seconds into Tuesday’s tilt in Winnipeg after an injury to Pavel Fancouz — who was filling in for the injured Philipp Grubauer. And all he did was stand on his head to the tune of 40 saves and a (technically shared) shutout of the Jets.

That night, Werner became just the ninth NHL goaltender in more than a half-century to stop 40 shots in his first game.

Not too bad for a kid who signed an entry-level contract in May and was most recently playing for the Avs’ AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles.

JEERS | Philadelphia sports radio personality Spike Eskin

There are hot takes and then there’s this garbage.

Last week, ahead of the Denver Nuggets matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers at Pepsi Center, Spike Eskin of 94 WIP in Philly spewed onto Twitter one of the worst sports take in recent memory.

Eskin wrote: “Remember when watching tonight’s game that the home-court advantage in Denver is unfair and unreasonable considering the physical disadvantage that the visiting team has. Denver should not have any home games if we insist on giving them pro teams.”

Bruh, really? Is it too cold for NFL teams to play in Green Bay? How about too hot and humid for MLB teams in places like Atlanta or Texas or Arizona?

Perhaps Philadelphia shouldn’t have professional sports teams because, well, their citizens like to throw batteries at players and snowballs at Santa Claus.

C’mon man.

CHEERS | CU Buffaloes mascot Ralphie V

Retirement looks good on you, Ralphie.

On Tuesday, the University of Colorado announced that after a dozen seasons of leading the Buffs onto the field, the live buffalo mascot would sail off into the sunset.

In a release from the university, athletic director Rick George said, “Ralphie V has served the department and the university well. She has been a very special buffalo and has truly been adored by many. We hope she lives for many years to come and look forward to finding her successor.”

The only weird/sad part of this story is that Ralphie V wasn’t put out to pasture (metaphorically or, maybe, literally) for losing a step. Quite the contrary. She was too amped and inconsistent with her speed, causing the handling team to hold her back from leading the team out during the past two home games against USC and Stanford.

It’s no easy thing to, as a proud CSU graduate, congratulate a rival’s mascot. But here’s to you, Ralphie.

JEERS | Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph

A truly ugly scene played out late in the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers tilt on Thursday Night Football that will be discussed for some time and could potentially lead to record-breaking punishment from the NFL.

Amid a brawl toward the end of the game, Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett lost his mind in one of the most violent scenes played out on an NFL field. Garrett, after taking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to the ground, flipped his lid and decided to remove Rudolph’s.

Garrett then swung the helmet, striking Rudolph in the head in a way that would likely led to assault charged had it happened anywhere but a football game.

No doubt Garrett will face a suspension, which could extend through the end of the 2019 season. But he’s not the only one culpable.

While not at all equivalent to Garrett’s actions, Rudolph is responsible at least in part for the skirmish. Still frames of the television coverage show the Steelers quarterback trying to — first — remove Garrett’s helmet along with what appears to be kicking him and punching him in the groin area.

No, Rudolph’s actions do not merit Garett’s reaction. Absolutely not. But, he’s not blameless in this.

In the end, it’s a pretty dark black eye on the NFL.