Sports stars are worthy of recognition for their efforts in 2017. Not all of them for good reasons though.
Here are my sporting saints and sinners from the last 12 months, excluding footballers who we covered last week.
Saints: Ex-Peterborough Town player Dawid Malan for his Ashes exploits, Jimmy Anderson for reaching 500 Test wickets, Alastair Cook for showing David Warner how to celebrate a big score with grace and humility, Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and the rest of the brilliant Sky commentary team whose stock has risen even further during the current Ashes series thanks to BT bunglers with verbal diarrhea like Geoff Boycott and Graeme Swann.
Sinners: Those who bankroll local clubs enabling them to pay mercenaries rather than play kids, the counties who have already started hiring Australian Test players for next summer to give them a chance to acclimitise before the next Ashes series, those trying to enforce four-day Test matches on us, the ECB for trying to foist a domestic T20 event on a public more than happy with what they see now.
Saints: Sergio Garcia for winning his first major, Justin Rose for losing to Garcia after a gripping final round battle for the Masters so graciously.
Sinners: Rory McIlroy who hasn’t evolved as quickly as Jordan Speith despite being far more naturally talented, Daily Mail golf writer Derek Lawrenson who is obsessed with McIlroy.
Saints: Roger Federer & Rafa Nadal are still sheer class. Serena Williams for winning while pregnant.
Sinners: All those male players unable to knock the veterans off their perch proving a lack of depth in the mens’ game contrary to perceived wisdom.
Saints: England and coach Eddie Jones who were scandalously overlooked at BBC’s dreadful SPOTY celebrations despite one defeat in two years. Owen Farrell for his nerveless kicking for the Lions in New Zealand.
Sinners: Those responsible for organising the Rugby League World Cup. It took far too long to reach a final that was all too predictable, and all too dull as it turned out.
Saints: Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko for the fight of the year, one conducted with dignity and respect.
Sinners: David Haye and Tony Bellew for an overhyped, low quality fight conducted with no dignity or respect. Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather for the same.
Sinners: Pretty much anyone involved in this tawdry sport at the highest level, particularly evasive Team Sky officials.