12.28.07

Greg Oden’s Agent Denies Buying McFadden An Escalade

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 12:16 pm by

Would it have been so hard for Darren McFadden to have driven something a little less conspicuous until after the Cotton Bowl? From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Tom Murphy and Bob Holt.

A report by KARK-TV, Channel 4, in Little Rock claimed that Arkansas junior tailback Darren McFadden was present when sports agent Mike Conley recently purchased a Cadillac Escalade, which the station said was put in the name of McFadden™s mother, Mini Muhammad.University of Arkansas officials would not comment on the accuracy of the report.

œWe™re aware of the report, said Kevin Trainor, Arkansas associate athletic director for external affairs. œThe situation is under review. Muhammad, reached at her home in Little Rock, said neither she nor her son owned the Escalade.

œMike Conley hasn™t bought nothing, and it ain™t in my name, Muhammad said. œIt™s his stepmom™s, Ella McFadden™s. Really, the truck is on loan. Darren drove that down [to Dallas ] to see how he™d like it, and maybe he™d get one later.

œ They got that all wrong. Darren doesn™t have no truck. Conley, a former track and field All-American at Arkansas, told KARK on Thursday night that he was not at a car dealership with McFadden and that he hadn™t negotiated a deal.

œThat is 100 percent a lie, Conley told the station. œI would challenge anybody to say that I have ever been at a dealership with Darren McFadden. Though it is considered a foregone conclusion that McFadden will enter the NFL Draft as an underclassman this winter, he has yet to acknowledge that move.

Conley assures us McFadden does not own a truck, and from the looks of this photographic evidence, why would he need to buy one?

A&M Rooter Savaged For Saying What Everyone Else Was Thinking

Posted in Gridiron at 10:28 am by

All of a sudden, there’s a storyline for the Saturday’s Alamo Bowl. From the Dallas Morning News’ Brian Davis.


Texas A&M officials were left red-faced Thursday night when an unidentified Yell Leader joked that Penn State coach Joe Paterno “needed a casket” during a joint pep rally.

The Yell Leader, a male student cheerleader who organizes cheers at football games, was on stage during the pep rally when he grabbed the microphone and unleashed on Paterno, 81.

“Joe Paterno’s on his death bed! And someone needs to find him a casket!” the Yell Leader screamed. Stunned PSU fans started booing. The Yell Leaders quickly left the stage, and the pep rally continued.

A&M interim president Eddie Davis and athletic director Bill Byrne apologized to their Penn State counterparts, A&M spokesman Alan Cannon said.

The Patriot News’ David Jones writes, “the man at the mike had been telling a lengthy and convoluted fantasy story that was falling flat. Finally, PSU fans began booing and chanting ‘We are!…’ At that point, the flustered yell leader fired back with his insult.”

Indeed, sometimes desperate attempts to kick-start a failing monologue just make matters worse.

(UPDATE : video of the incident. Why, oh why must Rudy’s Barbeque be dragged into this?)

Like A Reverse Jeffrey Maier

Posted in Gridiron at 12:51 am by

Sure, everybody’s laughing after Texas dropped 52 points on Arizona State, but come next September, Chris Jessie might find his sideline pass has been replaced with a seat in the last row of DKR-Memorial’s section 124.

12.27.07

Isola : Mourning Marbury’s Taking Advantage Of The Knicks

Posted in Basketball at 7:06 pm by

On the same day Isiah Thomas and a Knicks executive issued contradictory statements regarding when and if G Stephon Marbury might return to the club, the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola opines “Marbury’s prolonged absence tells you everything you need to know about the state of the franchise.”

The organization acted appropriately in the days and weeks after Marbury™s father, Donald, passed away on Dec. 2. The fact that the entire team, including Thomas, showed up at the funeral is a tremendous gesture. They have been overly sensitive toward Marbury™s feelings to the point where they are now covering for him even though it is clear that Marbury should have rejoined the team long ago.

If Marbury wants to remain on bereavement leave indefinitely that™s fine. But it is about time that the Knicks tell the veteran point guard that he is no longer getting paid for each game he misses. The grieving process of a loved one never ends but eventually an employee has an obligation to return to work.

The fact that Marbury is at odds with Thomas doesn™t excuse him from abandoning his teammates and missing valuable time. Also, the timing of Marbury™s latest hiatus leaves him open for criticism.

He returned to practice two weeks ago saying he was ready to play again. The following day, Marbury didn™t start but played well in a blowout loss to Indiana.

The next day, he skipped practice and then recorded a DNP against Cleveland. Since that game, Marbury hasn™t attended a single practice and has missed three straight games. During his latest absence, Marbury found enough time to formally file a grievance through the player™s association to fight the fine the Knicks levied against him when Marbury left the team for 24 hours last month.

On the one hand, the Knicks are telling Marbury to take as much time as he needs and are still paying him while Marbury is fighting them over one game™s pay.

There’s also the matter of the undermanned Knicks wasting a roster spot. If Marbury were waived, suspended or placed on a some kind of mental fatigue DL, surely there’s another point guard in the D-League, CBA, West 4th Street, etc. who could provide valuable minutes?

FFF On Keith Hernandez, Cartoon Figure

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 6:47 pm by

Greg of Faith & Fear In Flushing, no doubt wishing a beloved Mets icon wasn’t turning in to Jerry Remy Hank Kingsley, can’t believe Keith Hernandez is a spokesperson for Coin Galleries Of Oyster Bay.

On one hand, it wasn’t a surprising endorsement since I had seen him in a local cable ad for the same establishment. On the other hand, I nearly dropped my groceries when I saw it. What the fudge was the great Keith Hernandez doing shilling for some coin store? It instantly brought to mind the time in 1982 my father told me heard something on the news about Mark Gastineau autographing pumpkins on Jericho Turnpike to make a few bucks before Halloween during the NFL players’ strike.

Keith Hernandez should not be doing anything that reminds anybody of Mark Gastineau. But he does. He endorses Coin Galleries of Oyster Bay (now with 2 locations to serve you!). He broadcasts other people’s dates alongside Clyde Frazier. He recently popped up on eBay offering a signed Keith Hernandez jersey as a bonus if you were high bidder on a Mercedes from a Palm Beach-area dealership. I assume he is compensated in satisfactory fashion by Long Island’s Largest Rare Coin Store just as he is by Just For Men Haircolor, just as he probably gets a break on a car in Florida.

If you see him in these gigs, let alone his analyst role on SNY, Keith Hernandez comes off as something of a cartoon figure (and not just because he has been animated as a cartoon figure by the very same network). He has very much become Crazy Keith, tittering over names like Jon Coutlangus and Pete LaCock, roaming tangents regarding wine and lollipops and generally playing the cranky, kooky uncle card that ex-ballplayers have been known to play in front of a camera or behind a microphone.

It was an article of faith circa 1986 that you shouldn’t get up to buy a hot dog if you knew Darryl Strawberry was coming to bat in the bottom of the inning. Well, you couldn’t leave your seat for any of the Met seasons in which Keith Hernandez was in his prime. You had to watch him work a count, jaw at his pitcher, confront his catcher, bear down on a bunter, give a quote. It is not hometown bias that leads me to say that Keith Hernandez was the most fascinating player I ever saw.

That’s my Keith Hernandez, my Mex. The one on TV and in the Pennysaver, Crazy Keith? He’s somebody else as far as I can tell.

Hernandez turned 54 last October. I think he’s entitled to a) earn a living and b) play the clown as often as he likes. I can understand why an admirer of Keith’s would flinch at some of the commercial activity he’s involved with, but that’s exactly the sort of work a part time broadcaster might need to avoid autographing pumpkins by the side of the road. Unless and until Mex turns to reality TV, his legacy is largely safe.

Whoop De Damn Update : Derrick Coleman, Benevolent Sneaker Pimp

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 4:44 pm by

The Detroit News’ Santiago Esparza on Derrick Coleman’s noble efforts to improve commercial activity in his hometown.

Coleman has purchased land on Linwood between Clairmount and Taylor and hopes to acquire more to Gladstone. He is building a pizza shop, cellular phone store and upscale barber shop to accompany the ultra hip Snyx Sneaker Studio built in a strip mall this year dubbed Coleman’s Corner.

Next year he has plans for a farmer’s market, laundromat and dry cleaner across from the strip mall.

“People here have to go outside the city to spend their money,” Coleman said. “Hopefully in two or three years we won’t have to go across Eight Mile to get the things we need.”

City officials praise Coleman’s investment — which he has made without any tax breaks typically requested by companies moving back to the city — and say they hope it pushes other retailers to return. A recent city-sponsored report estimates that city residents spend roughly $1.7 billion outside Detroit every year.

His neighbors do everything from sell sneakers to paint walls to clear snow and even manage shops. Coleman said it is part of his efforts to get people living in the area to change their way of thinking.

“We are talking about setting a standard for what we do in the neighborhood,” Coleman said. “It is all about changing the perception of where we are and where we are going.”

Coleman wants his neighbors to expect quality products, good service and clean shops. Coleman said everything from crime to economics to dropout rates are impacted by the mindset of people in the area who do not yet believe the neighborhood can be better.

“It is a standard we accept,” Coleman said. “That has to change.”

To that end, Coleman has no bars or steel sheets to cover windows and doors at his businesses, unlike many other businesses, gas stations and shops in the neighborhood, because he said it makes people think the business is unsafe. Shoppers don’t have to pay clerks through bullet-resistant plastic windows and visitors are warmly greeted.

Coleman’s work is genuinely inspiring, and I remain hopeful other prominent ex-Nets will soon do their part to give something back to the community.  Marcus Williams’ laptop repair center? A chain of John Calipari Mexican takeaways? How much longer need we await the opening of Jayson Williams’ rifle range?

Knicks Fans, This Guy Might Look Familiar

Posted in Basketball at 3:10 pm by

Trevor Ariza, ladies and gentlemen. Surplus to Isiah Thomas’ requirements and traded along with Penny Haraway’s expiring contract for that final piece of the puzzle, Stevie Franchise.

Sports’ Most Unabashed Trash-Talkers, Updated

Posted in Gridiron at 12:18 pm by

5) Chad Johnson
4) Muhammad Ali
3) Michael Jordan
2) Gary Payton

1) Philip Rivers

Seriously, while I’m fully in favor of Denver doing whatever they need to do to fashion solidarity as they search for that elusive 7th win, there is something mildly weird about this much bravado on the part of the Bolts, given all the weeping and finger-pointing that ensued after they were bounced by the Patriots last January.

MSG Settles Another Sex Pest Case

Posted in Hockey, The Law at 2:25 am by

You know, the one having zilch to do with Isiah Thomas. Though if Glen Sather asks you over to his place to watch the director’s cut of “Love & A Zamboni”, you’re still better off turning him down. From the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir :

Rather than defend itself against sexual harassment again, Madison Square Garden on Wednesday settled a lawsuit filed three years ago by the former captain of the Rangers™ cheerleading squad, the Rangers City Skaters.

No details of the settlement were provided by the Garden or the former cheerleading captain, Courtney Prince, who sued the Garden and two Rangers employees in October 2004. She accused the Garden of sexual harassment and of retaliation, because it fired her and tried to smear her reputation.

The Garden and Prince™s lawyer, Kathleen Peratis, issued nearly identical statements. œWe resolved this matter with no admission of wrongdoing on any part, each said while offering no further comment.

Fred Nance, a sports law expert who is a regional managing partner for Squire Sanders, a Cleveland-based law firm, said: œThey™ve gotten the right idea now, by resolving things like this and getting out ahead of them. It certainly gets the issue off the front pages and out from under the microscope, as long as there aren™t more allegations of this type of conduct.

A psychiatrist hired by the Garden said Prince had a bipolar personality that was apt to have been manic and hypersexual at the time of the bar incident.

In her court documents, Prince said that she showed no unusual symptoms when the psychiatrist examined her and that his diagnosis was derived from comments made by 10 skaters in unsworn affidavits. Two of the skaters later said in affidavits that they had been coerced into signing the earlier statements.

Eddie Sutton’s (Below The Legal Limit) Drive For 800 Wins Continues

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 12:03 am by

Several years before Eddie Sutton’s career at Oklahoma State ended in a booze-stankin’ resignation and handover to his son Sean, something terrible happened to him. It’s hard to say, with any degree of certainty, what it actually was. But the formerly vital-looking — if obviously hard-living — man seemingly lost all the collagen from his body and physically crumpled sometime during his late 60s, and spent the rest of his OSU career looking like a wrinkly plastic bag filled with whiskey.

Sutton kept coaching, and his team kept winning for awhile, but he himself simply went slack, and hung wrinkly inside his suits on the sideline like something that had been improperly stored. It was almost merciful when the obviously rather-undone Sutton finally stepped down after the 2006 season in the wake of a crash and DUI arrest so egregious that it had even Bob “Don’t Do This To Me” Huggins shaking his head. During his spare time, Sutton crafted an exclusive CSTB podcast, did some hunting and fishing and…holy shit, really? The University of San Francisco? Okay, if you say so, Janie McCauley of the Associated Press:

Sutton is coming out of retirement to replace Jessie Evans as San Francisco’s basketball coach and will have his shot at 800 victories after all. USF announced Wednesday night that Evans was taking “a leave of absence” for the rest of the season and that the 71-year-old Sutton would lead the Dons (4-8) on an interim basis.

Sutton’s first chance for win No. 799 will be Friday night at Weber State.

“It’s very important,” Sutton said of winning 800 games. “I had a chance earlier this year to take a Division I job and didn’t think I wanted to do it. From a selfish standpoint, it is something I’m excited about.

…(USF AD Debra) Gore-Mann said she or someone from her staff would be traveling with the team regularly in the near future to “lend my support to the student-athletes and to assist interim coach Sutton in any way I can.”

Sutton retired as Oklahoma State’s coach after the 2005-06 season. He has 798 victories in 36 seasons as a Division I coach at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State.

When his victories at Tulsa Central High School and the College of Southern Idaho are included, Sutton won exactly 1,000 games before retiring from coaching in May 2006.

His retirement came about three months after a drunken driving accident caused him to miss the Cowboys’ final 10 games of the 2005-06 season. Sutton pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated drunken driving and two other charges following the February 2006 car accident.

“I’ve thought about that and I would say it probably does (enter into this decision). I certainly didn’t want to end my coaching career the way it ended here,” Sutton said, speaking from an athletic office at Oklahoma State.

He called his drinking problems a “thing of the past.”