West shrugged off the situation involving Wafer, saying one reason it got the publicity it did was because of the motorcycle incident. West reiterated his denial from the team’s September media day about Gloria James while talking further with FanHouse about the reports.
“Not at all,” West said about there not being any intimate relationship. “I feel sorry that this is a society we’re moving into. … Everyday society has taken the media out of your hands, and with the Twitters and being able to put things out to the world from your mobile phone. Who knows who makes this stuff up? It could have been a 14-year-old kid somewhere who threw that out, unfortunately.”
West expressed disappointment in the reports, and how they might have affected the James family.
“You’ve got to remember, this is just a game,” West said. “Some people are die-hard fans and they paint their face and it’s all great. But you got to do unto others as you have unto yourself. People say something about your mother and drag your mother through something like that and your family, you’d be ready to do something yourself. So it’s sad that happened. But, you know, they hated Jesus, too. You got to keep going. So I wish (LeBron James) much success down there (in Miami) with his family, and I got to keep going here.”
Less than a month ago, former Knicks president/head coach Isiah Thomas — presumably employed by FIU to do something besides make thoroughly insane public statements — openly fantasized about riding on a Knicks championship parade float someday. Weeks later, proving to be the worst self-editor this side of The Widow Cobain, Thomas tells the Chicago Sun-Times’ Rick Morrissey, “If there’s a person in America that has lived through the hell I had to grow up in and they’re still living, they should be smiling, too.” Yes, but then you’d remind such a person how much they paid Eddy Curry and Jerome James and unless they were totally fucking nuts, they’d stop smiling.
He does not like the beating his reputation has taken over what he simply refers to as ”the trial.” His struggles as the Knicks’ president and coach were nothing compared with the controversy tied to a 2007 sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders (above) against Thomas and Madison Square Garden.
”I couldn’t believe I was in the courtroom after everything I had gone through on the West Side — never having been in a courtroom there, escaping that sort of thing — and that at the zenith of your career, you find yourself in the courtroom,” he said. ”It was awful for me. It was awful for our family. It was awful for my wife and kids.”
To this day, Thomas steadfastly maintains his innocence and finds comfort in the fact that he wasn’t ordered to pay a dime toward the jury award. Others have called that semantics.
”The jury, I believe, found Madison Square Garden had a hostile work environment and that she was wrongfully terminated,” he said. ”Basically, the Garden and [Knicks owner] Jim Dolan were ordered to pay $11 million, and everyone else was found liable for contributing to a hostile work environment. I wasn’t ordered to pay anything.”
A year later, as if he needed another layer of darkness, he had to be taken to the hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills. It was not a suicide attempt, he said, but a response to stress. His daughter had been hospitalized hours before for an undisclosed medical issue. He had lost his Knicks job titles months earlier.
”I wanted to go to sleep, period,” he said. ”If anybody can’t understand the things that I was going through, where I was having a hard time sleeping, tell them to go through it and get a good night’s sleep. The intention wasn’t to do harm to myself. The intention was to get that day over and wake up the next day.”
Got that, great unwashed Titans fans? David Climber isn’t merely performing his professional duties while following that ingrate Vince Young, he’s putting his marriage on the line. Maybe the institution of marriage means as little to you folks as it did to Steve McNair, but there’s one football columnist willing to stand up for family and head coaching authority (especially a coach with a whopping 5 playoff wins in 15 years).
To wit, there’s only a handful of crimes you can commit that are so socially unacceptable, a combination of otherworldy throwing/scrambling skills aren’t enough to repair a public image. Drowning dogs is apparently, not one of them. Would Michael Vick’s story be any less inspirational if he were merely holding a clipboard for Kevin Kolb? Or if he was driving a DHL truck? I’m in agreement with ESPN.com’s Jeff MacGregor — while Vick deserves a second chance, he’s hardly the only person who ought to get a shot at turning his life around. That the Eagles QB was more likely to get one than most persons in America’s penal system is only a sign of the times if you believe commercial activity is a recent invention. The NFL and society will put up with an awful lot as long as you’re a viable commodity.
The team announced that Childress has been relieved of his duties and that defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has been named the interim coach and will serve in that capacity for the remainder of the season.
Childress, 54, signed a contract extension through 2013 last November but it was reported last week that the final year is the team™s option and that Wilf will have to pay Childress $6.6 million for 2011 and 2012.
Owner Zygi Wilf spent only a brief time in the Vikings locker room following Sunday™s loss and appeared livid as he departed. He refused to comment but NFL sources indicated he made the decision Sunday night that Childress would be fired.
On his twitter account, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie said he was riding to Winter Park with teammate Naufahu Tahi and that “we have no clue what the vibe is gonna be like.”
On Monday, the New York Mets will reportedly announce the hiring of 61-year-old Terry Collins (above) as their new manager, succeeding the deposed Jerry Manuel. Collins, who led Houston and Anaheim to five successive 2nd place finishes between 1994 and 1998, has been described as “high-strung”, “high-strung”, and most worryingly, “high-strung”. I’m pretty sure that veterans like Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran will respond well to Collins’ brand of constructive criticism (when have they ever shown a tendency to sulk?) and given Collins’ alleged track record in player development, it’s a wonder the Mets don’t want him to manage Buffalo and New York simultaneously. While this news may or may not represent a blow to the credibility of Dino Costa, please keep in mind that none of the other candidates for this position — including the vaunted “Final Four” that included Bob Melvin, Wally Backman or Chip Hale — can claim tenure as manager of the Chinese WBC squad on their resumes. When and if MLB institutes international play, Collins’ Mets will possess a pronounced competitive advantage over China’s professional teams. And for the plethora of Chinese free agents on the Mets radar in 2010 (or perhaps later, given the team’s financial constraints), what other MLB team would represent as attractive a destination?
Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg, a freshman at neighboring St. Mary’s College who had battled depression, apparently overdosed on prescription medication in her own room during the third week of classes in September. The player, meanwhile, has remained on the field.
More than two months later, Notre Dame refuses to publicly acknowledge the case, and what actions university officials have taken to investigate her allegation remain largely unknown.
Campus authorities did not tell the St. Joseph County Police Department investigating Seeberg’s death about her report of a sexual attack, county officials said. Nor did they refer the case to the county’s special victims unit, which was established to handle sex offenses, according to prosecutors.
Notre Dame police could have turned the case over to the county’s special victims unit, which is trained to handle sex-crime investigations. However, officials did not do so, and a campus police log shows the matter was assigned within the department.
A spokeswoman for St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said campus authorities have not asked the office to charge anyone in connection with the alleged sexual attack. She said she “couldn’t say” whether the office had been consulted on the case.
Seeberg was interviewed by Notre Dame police about the alleged attack, and a source said she provided two written statements and pointed out a player from his picture on a Notre Dame roster.
The Tribune is not identifying the football player because he has not been charged with a crime. He has not responded to e-mail messages seeking comment.
The university declined to make first-year coach Brian Kelly available for comment about the allegation against his player, saying any such incident “would be addressed institutionally, not by the football coach.”
I’ll say this much for Knicks free-agent acquisition C Timofey Mozgoz ; he’s clearly unafraid to draw a charge, end up on a poster or have the most popular Google search result for his name turn out to be Blake Griffin’s crotch in his face.
(at least one of these men would prefer a little less coverage from the blogosphere, thanks)
You’d think Former Islanders P.R. flack Chris Botta’s SNY-hosted NYI Point Blank would be something the team would fully embrace, given the paucity of traditional media coverage for one of the least popular professional sports franchises in the tri-state area (I’m leaving Hartford’s UFL squad out of this because I cannot remember their nickname). However, following what the Islanders apparently thought to be too much analysis of their dismissal of head coach Scott Gordon, Botta’s media credentials were revoked. That’s what you get for thinking outside of The Blog Box, folks. In the view of Hockey Independent’s BD Gallof, “ultimately, this will all backfire for the Isles (and perhaps the NHL.”
I certainly think despite my thoughts on how Botta runs PB, it is a crime against him to pull his credentials. I personally think this is dangerous ground for not only new media, but the hockey teams who seek to punish. All it takes is a lawsuit to dictate legally how they can act than the NHL’s inability to draw up guidelines. For the NHL still has a vast schism between draconian naysayers and blog supporters.
So now the Isles put forth an action with no previous attempt to solve the issue. Mind-boggling, yet par for course. Once again they look silly and idiotic to the rest of the hockey world who still consider them a circus. Accountability, communication, problem solving, and poise seem lost to the brass that now resemble a pile-in to a clown car. They open Pandora’s box, pissing off a fanbase and losing much public support in another bout of poor timing having piggybacked the firing on their coach. All it takes is legal action to swath through the confusion and have hands forced league wide.
“The ESPN/ABC rocket ship that Michael Wilbon has been riding the past several years has finally left our orbit.” This was the Washington Post’s way of saying farewell to columnist Wilbon after 32 years at the newspaper, and while the departure of Kornheiser’s better half means more room for high quality content syndicated from the Bleacher Report, Wilpon himself seems to blame a combination of burnout and/or the aging process rather than any $trongarm edict on the part of ESPN, with the following comments taken from the Mike Wise radio show (and quoted by the Post’s Dan Steinberg) :
“You know, you get older, and I can’t do as much as I used to do,” he said. “I was thinking about this the other day. I was in Chicago for the weekend, basically for board meetings and the Northwestern football game, and John Wall played in Chicago against Derrick Rose. Now, there is no way, if I was in Chicago, I would have missed any Bulls game, but certainly not the first meeting between those two guys. Not in 30 years of being a Washington Post reporter and columnist.
“But I didn’t go the other night. Because I can’t do everything. I’d gone to a football game that day, I’d gone to a basketball game a couple nights earlier. Can’t do it all any more. And you know what? When you’re the columnist in that position, you should want to do it all, still. I have no doubt that the sports column is in damn good hands with the people that are doing it, including [Wise]. So that, I have no misgivings about. But it was pretty traumatic for me to leave.”
It could be a “PR disaster”, to use Mike Florio’s words, if anyone were paying attention. Woe is any United Football League player who signed up with the fledgling league hoping it would serve as a taxi squad of sorts to the NFL — a somewhat reasonable expectation to those of us who’ve heard some NFL club or another is considering taking a look at J.P. Losman or Daunte Culpepper (before thinking better of it, of course). As Fanhouse’s Tom Torrisi explained yesterday, the UFL’s biz model isn’t entirely removed from that of Major League Soccer.
Commissioner Michael Huyghue’s insistence that any UFL player signed to an NFL active roster could be subject to a $150,000 transfer fee could cause a player revolt, multiple sources told AOL FanHouse on Thursday.
According to two sources who asked not to be identified, players may refuse to take the field this weekend and some may even fake injuries in order to get out of playing.
“It will kill the league,” said one person who has intimate knowledge of the situation but spoke on the condition of anonymity. “There could be a walkout or a player might just tell the coach he has (an injury) and can’t play.”
“The players are pissed,” said one source, who added that some players were meeting Thursday night and deciding whether to play this weekend.
Players are under contract in the UFL until Feb. 1. To the UFL’s credit, having them under contract until then, and not the end of the UFL season “ which ends Nov. 27 — makes it somewhat obvious that there was going to be restrictions/policy if they wanted to end their contracts and go to the NFL.
“Think about it, the contracts would be through Nov. 27 if there was never a plan to enforce a transfer fee,” a UFL source who wished not to be identified told FanHouse.
Additionally, the UFL has made it clear with their actions that they did not want to be known as a feeder league to the NFL
Here are the official rule changes, per the Big Ten’s release:
1) All offensive plays will head toward the West end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.
2) All kickoffs will be kicked toward the East end zone.
3) After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the West end zone.
4) As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the West team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the West team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.
The problem? There’s not more than 6 feet of distance between the back of the eastern end zone and Wrigley’s ivy-covered brick walls. Given the couldn’t find sufficient padding in the entire city of Chicago, at what point, do you imagine, anyone considered whether or not Wrigley’s configuration was tenable for a normal football game?
My own (microfractured) knee-jerk tendency to yell “Sam Bowie” each time poor Greg Oden suffers another physical setback aside, the Banged-Up Buckeye’s recent misadventures are as tragic as things can get (when you’re still guaranteed millions of dollars). That said, who amongst us would dare speculate whether or not Oden gives a hoot that his hoops career is in tatters? Who else but the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey, who along with holding Portland somewhat accountable for Oden’s condition, uses a fairly dusty, hard to substantiate story about the ailing center to…well, what, exactly? Smear a guy who might require a miracle to ever become a top-flight pro?
A couple of NBA players who have known Oden since the 2005 ABCD camp offer a different perspective on his injuries. One thinks the 7-footer’s knee problems are interconnected — but concedes they’re probably not linked to a July ’07 tonsillectomy or a July ’06 right wrist repair — and stem from the Blazers’ insistence he bulk-up starting from the day he was drafted.
“He got too big, too huge and too fast. His frame and legs couldn’t handle that extra weight,” one player theorizes.
Then again, you can’t ignore a sixth grade hip surgery that left one of Oden’s legs shorter than the other, resulting in his unusual gait which is often mistaken for a limp.
“He bulked up and everything changed,” reiterated one player.
Who knows, maybe deep down, consciously or subconsciously, maybe Oden isn’t as torn up as all of us think at the distinct possibility he may have peaked in the sandbox and be forced to retire?
I throw that out there because one of the above players says he remembers shooting around one morning with Oden at that ’05 ABCD Camp and being stunned when Greg declared: “I just want to get a house in Vermont with my family and be left alone.”
While some of believe Derek Jeter eventually re-upping with the Yankees is a foregone conclusion — and one that might well reduce The Captain to the World’s Highest Paid Mascot by the 3rd year of the deal—— the Baltimore Sun’s Ron Fritz argues, “what better way to end years of futility than signing one of the all-time great leaders and winners in the sport?” Indeed, why don’t the Orioles pursue Tom Brady and Michael Jordan while they’re at it? (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory and Repoz)
Sure, he’s 36 and will turn 37 during the 2011 season. But he’s durable, playing at least 150 games the past seven seasons. His batting average fell from .334 to .270 and his home run total dropped by eight to just 10. But he drove in 67 runs and won a Gold Glove. He’s no Cesar Izturis defensively, but he’s solid and his hitting numbers crush those of Izturis.
Jeter also would bring five World Series titles, command respect in the locker room and show a young Orioles team how to play the game. The future Hall of Famer is 74 hits from 3,000. If there is one thing the Orioles do well, it’s milestone ceremonies.
If the Yankees are willing to let Jeter test the free-agency market, then the Orioles should be there with an offer, somewhere in the four-year, $60 million range. Really, whatever it takes. Ask Cal Ripken Jr. to help recruit him. And then, because you have a shortstop who does more than hit singles, you can maybe re-sign Ty Wigginton to play third or first and still be able to spend decent money for another corner infielder.
It would be a PR disaster for the Yankees, it would hurt them on the field and maybe, just maybe, his signing would send a signal to other free agents that Baltimore is a great place to play.
As Manny Pacquiao continues to capture titles in weight classes that haven’t even been invented yet, Bernard Hoplins tells Fanhouse’s Len Satterfield that Pacquiao’s achievements are somewhat diminished by ducking an entire race.
“Maybe I’m biased because I’m black, but I think that this is what is said at people’s homes and around the dinner table among black boxing fans and fighters. Most of them won’t say it [in public] because they’re not being real and they don’t have the balls to say it,” said Hopkins, a 45-year-old future Hall of Famer and a multi-division champion.
“But I do think that a fighter like the Ray Leonards or anyone like that would beat a guy [like Pacquiao] if they come with their game,” said Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 knockouts), who will challenge WBC light heavyweight king Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 KOs) on Dec. 18 on Showtime.
“Listen, this ain’t a racial thing, but then again, maybe it is,” said Hopkins. “But the style that is embedded in most of us black fighters, that style could be a problem to any other style of fighting.”
Presumably, Hopkins is referring to Floyd Mayweather, who as we all know, is quite eager to battle Manny just as soon as the Congressman from the Philippines to accept 5% of the purse while fighting in handcuffs. And a dress. Until such a match can be made, however, there’s no better way for Pacquiao to silence such criticism than by scheduling a bout against Ray Leonard (age 54).
At this point, the likelihood of Blazers C Greg Oden playing as many career minutes as Sam Bowie seems like a very poor bet. Earlier this evening, The Oregonian reported Oden would undergo his second microfracture surgery in 3 seasons.
Oden will undergo surgery Friday on his left knee, the one which suffered a fractured patella last Dec. 5 in a game against Houston at the Rose Garden. He will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season. Since being drafted with the first pick of the 2007 NBA draft, Oden has missed 176 games due to injury and has played in 82 games.
Dr. Richard Steadman will perform the surgery Friday with assistance from Trail Blazers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Don Roberts at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo.
The team said in a release tonight that a recent MRI showed damaged cartilage to the surface of his femur, and his current injury is unrelated to the fractured left patella. Oden previously underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee Sept. 13,
Warriors owner Joe Lacob defended his decision to make his son the first hire of the new regime, saying Tuesday that Kirk Lacob (above) is “incredibly qualified and capable.”
“Forget titles. They don’t mean anything,” Joe Lacob said. “He’ll be working on statistical things, things he’s very good at. Looking at analysis. Helping with the draft.”
The younger Lacob is not completely new to the NBA. He interned with the Boston Celtics in 2007, working in community and media relations, while his father was a minority owner of the team.
Kirk Lacob was recruited by some Division III schools after averaging 7.7 points and 2.7 assists as a senior at Atherton’s Menlo School. Instead, he decided to attend Stanford, where he tried to walk on.
“It didn’t work out,” Joe Lacob said. “He wasn’t really a Pac-10 basketball player, but he started Stanford club basketball.”
It’s quite a resume and if nothing else, it should increase speculation that Jerry Ferrara or Bobbito Garcia are in line to replace Donnie Walsh when or if the Knicks’ club president is deemed physically incapable of continuing.
On Tuesday, Esquire’s Scott Raab was denied media credentials by the Miami Heat’s head of media relations, Tim Donovan. Raab was informed by Donovan, “you are no longer welcome at our building.” It’s a fascinating way to deal with LeBron James’ critics, though surely Donovan is aware if such a policy was extended to those disparaging Chris Bosh, the Heat would risk playing to empty arena.
I suspect that Tim objected to something I wrote yesterday. I referred to LeBron James as the Whore of Akron ” maybe that was it. Or maybe Tim doesn’t think much of Herman Melville, which wouldn’t shock me at all. Tim is severe, unsmiling, more of a Nathaniel Hawthorne fan.
But I can’t blame Mr. Donovan, because it shouldn’t be his job to credential me. I’m writing about LeBron James and the Miami Heat as a guy from Cleveland. I don’t think the good folks in the Cavs media-relations office would credential a Miami writer who referred to Anderson Varejao as the Colatina Cocksman. Not that I think Tim Donovan’s doing the right thing; I think he is just doing what he gets paid to do.
I’m more interested in the first part of Tim Donovan’s e-mail: “You are no longer welcome at our building.” The Heat play Wednesday and Friday; I plan to attend both games as a civilian with a ticket in hand ” God knows there are plenty of tickets to be had ” and it’s probably too late to buy a LeBron James mask. If I’m lucky, I might be the first fan in NBA history to be tossed out of an arena for writing.
Gillingham F.C. are precariously close to the cellar of League Two, and while their success over the past decade, “was unprecedented in the club’s existence”, admits When Saturday Comes’ Chris Lynham, chairman Paul Scally deserves considerable scorn for their recent slide.
The club’s once-in-our-history position at the turn of the century was largely achieved by Scally’s drive, commitment, bottle, inspiration “ call it what you like. Many others played important roles but he was at the helm and he took the plaudits. This status has since been frittered away and Scally (above) has overseen the mess. He admitted in his recent programme notes that in terms of divisional status the club has come full circle under his reign and that could be interpreted as a failure. The club is undoubtedly bigger than in 1995, with vastly improved facilities and a more substantial fanbase of season-ticket holders.
Scally rightly points out that there were no willing takers when he invested his £1 to take the club out of administration, and that he’ll be gone as soon as a suitable buyer announces itself. Yet he chooses to gloss over the soaring debt of around £12 million run up during his tenure, which has been reduced to a more manageable level by the sale of the stadium to Priestfield Developments Ltd, wholly owned by Paul Scally. He asked that any flak should be directed at him rather than the team and management, yet when that flak became audible above 2,500 Dover fans cavorting in the away end, he reacted in a traditionally defensive and childish manner. He’s in a no-lose position financially due to the ground ownership, yet he still polarises the supporters “ a more united and radical following than Gillingham’s would surely have held him accountable.
OK, well, he’s probably richer. The advent of Twitter has ushered in a whole new era of pro athlete accessibility, and leave it to Cards hurler Brad Penny to prove he’s every bit as prickly as LeBron James or Gavin Rossdale.
Should Brad possess the maturity to simply take whatever abuse he receives from strangers and move on to the next plate of lasagna? Fuck no, what kind of a pussy passes up a chance to get into a diss battle on Twitter? The only thing more predictable fun than Penny being further ridiculed would be if someone gave him shit for tweeting instead of doing laps, pitching winter ball, finding a cure for cancer, etc. You know, all of the things someone dissing a grade-Z celeb on Twitter would be doing themselves if they could just stay away from the computer for 5 minutes.
In all seriousness, Penny’s fair game, as is anyone wishing to laugh at his apology for an MIA 2010 season. The only person with a right to be offended in all of this is poor Mark Mulder.
Allen Iverson’s already been the subject of one “30 On 30″ documentary ; his attempts at a career revival in Istanbul are surely worth a 31st film. I can’t decide, however, who I’d like better as a narrator, Stephen A. Smith or Danny McBride.
There’s a Facebook group encouraging William Clay Ford (above) to sell the Detroit Lions. There’s a petition, too. Heck, there’s even a Bleacher Report editorial from 2008 encouraging the City Of Detroit to purchase the club (presumably the suggestion fell on deaf ears). Being an actual resident of Planet Earth, Ty of The Lions In Winter is far from impressed with such efforts.
First, they™ll have to find an owner to sell it to”and if that owner™s last name is not Illitch or DeVos (or maybe Karmanos or Penske), be prepared for the team to leave town for good. Presuming, though, there™s a Motor City-friendly ownership group ready to buy, then what? They™ll have deeper pockets, or a freer hand in signing checks? Ford is already tops in that department. They™ll bring in a GM who™ll do more to fix the roster than Martin Mayhew has, faster? No way; what GM could? They™ll give total operational control”and a Brinks truck full of money”to a big-name out-of-work coach? As I type this, the Redskins are proving that™s far from a surefire play. They™ll rebuild the roster again, in some other leadership staff™s image? Impossible, given the contracts involved. If you think the owner is currently what™s wrong with the franchise, let me ask you: what would a different owner do differently, and how would that fix what went wrong on Sunday? If you™re honest, you™ll say that you don™t know, and you don™t care”you just want heads to roll.
Look, I know you™re furious. I know you™re crushed. I know how bitterly it stings that after all this, the results are are still more theoretical than tangible. But going postal because the Lions mailed it in against an 0-8 team and got stamped œinsufficient postage? It™d be illogical, irrational, and”reality check”ineffective. Shouting from the rooftops that you are œsick of losing, even though you aren™t even playing in the games? Save your breath. Taking it to the streets to show the world that you are going to œDO something about it? Unless you have some run-blocking talents you can take to the field, you won™t be DOing any good. Call me a coward, call me a traitor, call me a scab, call me part of the problem . . . but I™m sipping cider by the little blue fire with my friends, while you™re carpet-bombing the Internet trying to convince your fellow fans to turn their backs on the team.