Wednesday, June 26, 2013

27 players arrested since the Super Bowl, almost enough players to start a team!

As the helicopters hovered over Aaron Hernandez and another media stakeout camps on another football player's curb, it should be obvious that such scenes are going to be a constant companion of the NFL. The Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson and Michael Vick and Jovan Belcher stories will continue to repeat themselves because the game has become too high profile. Players are more famous, they feel bulletproof, old associates don't go away and new trouble attaches itself to new fame.
The most popular league in the country has a problem many of its own players don't know how to handle: How do you steer yourself away from the things that can take you down?

Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots (June 26): Arrested on murder charges for the alleged execution-style death of former associate Odin Lloyd.

Ausar Walcott, Cleveland Browns (June 26): Arrested for attempted murder after punching a man outside a club in New Jersey

Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles (June 12): Arrested for street racing and leading police on a high-speed chase

Pacman Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (June 11): Arrested on an assault charge for allegedly punching a woman outside a club in Cincinnati

Joe Morgan, New Orleans Saints (May 29): Arrested for DWI in Louisiana

Mike Goodson, New York Jets (May 17): Arrested on drug and gun charges in New Jersey

Titus Young, free agent (May 5, twice, and May 10): Arrested on suspicion of DUI, and then arrested again on the same day for trying to steal his own car from the tow yard. Arrested less than a week later for burglary

Armonty Bryant, Cleveland Browns (May 6): Arrested for DUI in Oklahoma

Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals (May 3): Arrested for aggravated assault after an alleged domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend

Claude Davis, New York Jets (May 2): Arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey

Cliff Harris, New York Jets (May 2): Arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey

Quentin Groves, Cleveland Browns (April 24): Arrested for solicitation in a prostitution sting in Ohio

Ronnell Lewis, Detroit Lions (April 23): Arrested for getting in a bar fight in Oklahoma

Rolando McClain, Baltimore Ravens (April 22): Arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Alabama

William Moore, Atlanta Falcons (April 18): Arrested for simple battery after allegedly grabbing a woman by the shoulder in Atlanta

Amari Spivey, Detroit Lions (March 27): Arrested for third-degree assault in an alleged domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend in Connecticut

Brandon Barden, Tennessee Titans (March 23): Arrested on suspicion of DUI after driving his car off the road in Georgia

Trumaine Johnson, St. Louis Rams (March 22): Arrested for misdemeanour DUI in Montana

Evan Rodriguez, Chicago Bears (March 21 and May 31): Arrested for resisting an officer in Miami (charged later dropped), and then for DUI, speeding and “improper lane usage”

Cody Grimm, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (March 10 and May 28): Arrested for public intoxication in Virginia twice

Quinton Carter, Denver Broncos (March 9): Arrested for allegedly cheating at craps at a Vegas casino, case dismissed

Javarris James, Arizona Cardinals (March 7): Arrested for failing to appear in court in Florida

J’Marcus Webb, Chicago Bears (Feb. 24): Arrested for marijuana possession in Illinois, charges dropped

Desmond Bryant, Cleveland Browns (Feb. 24): Arrested for criminal mischief in Miami

Al Netter, San Francisco 49ers (Feb. 22): Arrested for DUI in California

Da’Quan Bowers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Feb. 18): Arrested for having a gun in his luggage at LaGuardia Airport, charges later reduced to disorderly conduct

Michael Boley, New York Giants (Feb. 8): Arrested for child abuse in Alabama

St. Louis Cardinals draw Christian cross into pitcher’s mound at Busch Stadium

Does a symbol for Jesus Christ belong next to a rubber on a pitcher's mound inside of a Major League Baseball park? The St. Louis Cardinals apparently say, yes, it does.
In a bold but probably well-meaning affirmation of the Christian faith that many of the Cardinals players and coaches have, a groundskeeper at Busch frequently has drawn a cross — along with what is either an Ichthys or a No. 6 for the late Stan Musial — on the mound behind the rubber.
This has at least one fan — watching at home on TV — upset enough to write a complaining letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Riverfront Times, another St. Louis paper, also had heard from Michael Vines and took note of his objections.

Here's what Cardinals beat reporter Derrick Goold wrote about the decorated mound in Sunday's P-D:

Several times this season the Cardinals starter has gone to the mound to find subtle symbols scratched on its backside, near the rubber spikes used to scrub off dirt. “They’ve been there every time for me,” ace Adam Wainwright said. To the left of the spikes is a Christian cross and just below it is a looped figure. It’s a “6” for Stan Musial, the Cardinals great who died in January. A member of the grounds crew puts the symbols on the mound for most home games.
So it's not a Jesus Fish! As Vines has noted, the symbols have been drawn when pitchers other than Wainwright have taken the mound. And it's not just players who advertise their faith: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny says that "Jesus Christ is at the center of my life."
Good for him, really, but the St. Louis Cardinals might be getting carried away with the "Saint" in St. Louis. (Hey, and maybe the "Cardinals" part, too, now that you mention it.) Religious references are not uncommon in a heavily Catholic city like St. Louis, but you won't (or shouldn't) find the cross on, say, the Arch. Of course, that's public land. Busch Stadium might be privately owned, but it didn't get built without tax breaks. Legally, as Vines points out, that gives the public "skin in the game." And not everybody in the public is a Christian like Adam Wainwright and Mike Matheny.
Hypothetically going beyond the legal boundaries of church and state, it's awfully presumptuous and ignorant of the Cardinals to draw any religious symbol on the mound. It's not really their mound, or anybody's mound, after all. Jews use that mound. Muslims (might) use that mound. Hindus and Sikhs. Hypothetically, Zoroastrians would use that mound. Diests use that mound. People with no god use that mound. Should the Cardinals really have to be reminded that not everyone is their religion?
Wear a cross around your neck. Hang one in the dugout — maybe — if nobody on the team objects. But the mound is neutral turf and should remain as such.
A message was left with Major League Baseball to get the league's opinion on this. If they respond, we'll update the post.

Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder and five other gun-related charges on Wednesday, as the prosecutor in court said Hernandez orchestrated Odin Lloyd's "execution."
Hernandez had been questioned in the killing of Lloyd, an associate of Hernandez who was found dead near Hernandez's house. Much of the case was laid out in court as the prosecutor asked the judge that Hernandez be held without bail – a request that was granted.

Some of the details are quite brutal:

Hernandez was transported by police to his arraignment at Attleboro District Court and arrived at the courthouse just before 2 p.m. Eastern. He was mostly expressionless as he heard the charges read in the courtroom, and didn't change expression as he heard the prosecutor outline the case against him. That included the prosecutor saying there was surveillance video of Hernandez with a gun the night Lloyd was shot. The prosecutor asked that Hernandez be held without bail, and despite Hernandez's lawyer Michael Fee's argument that Hernandez is not a risk to flee, the judge ordered Hernandez be held without bail.
Multiple reports said Lloyd's family was in the courtroom for Hernandez's arraignment.
Lloyd's body was found on June 17 near Hernandez's house. Police have investigated in and around Hernandez's house since then.
The prosecutor offered many details of the case against Hernandez. Hernandez was seen with Lloyd at 2:30 a.m. the morning he was found dead, according to the Boston Globe's Wesley Lowery, one of the reporters in the courtroom. Hernandez's phone included texts to Lloyd and two friends the night of the murder. According to Lowery, the prosecutor said police have Hernandez on tape with a firearm saying "you can't trust anyone anymore" before picking up Lloyd.

The prosecutor said in court that Hernandez is shown on video walking through his house with a gun in his hand, then Hernandez walks to the basement and the surveillance video turns off. There were six-to-eight hours of video missing after that.

On Wednesday morning before 9 a.m., police showed up at Hernandez's house and put him in handcuffs after he answered the door, then walked him to a police car and took him into custody.
Less than two hours after Hernandez was arrested, the Patriots cut him.
Peter Wilson of tweeted this picture of Aaron Hernandez arriving for his arraignment (@PetesWire …
Aaron Hernandez in court, shortly after he was charged with murder ( live video screen capture) - source Frank Schwab | Shutdown Corner

Denard Robinson gets unique roster designation

He hasn't played a down in the NFL, but Denard Robinson has already made a tiny bit of history.
Robinson's new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, has listed him on their roster not as a running back, tight end, wide receiver or quarterback, but as an "OW."
What does that stand for? "Offensive Weapon," the Jaguars told Yahoo! Sports, a nickname the former Michigan quarterback started calling himself in the lead-up to the NFL draft. Translation: Robinson can play any offensive position (other than lineman), and he hopes to do so.
That even includes kick returner, which he'll do for the first time in his football career starting in the fall.

Robinson certainly isn't the first NFL player to play a variety of positions. Kordell Stewart was known as "Slash" because he was a quarterback "slash" running back. Deion Sanders caught passes and defended them. And those are just two examples. Antwaan Randle-El, like Robinson, starred as a mobile quarterback in the Big 10 and went on to play a key role with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers as a receiver. Robinson would certainly like to follow that career arc.
The "OW" designation actually has a mirror in fantasy football, where some leagues have a "flex" position that allows running backs, wide receivers and tight ends (but not quarterbacks). So Robinson might get some extra interest from fantasy players this year, even if he's playing for a team that's not expected to make the playoffs.
Will Robinson be a trendsetter? It's possible. The NFL craves speed and versatility, and the Florida native has both. It's a copycat league, so maybe there will be other OWs on future rosters. And even if he only plays a small part in the Jaguars' offense this season, Robinson can call himself the greatest who ever played at his position.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Heads up! LeBron James, Heat duck to avoid overpasses during championship parade (Video)

Fans packed the streets of downtown Miami on Monday to fete the Miami Heat during a parade celebrating the back-to-back NBA champions that wound its way from SW 8th Street up to U.S. 1, across the Miami River, and all the way up Biscayne Boulevard to the AmericanAirlines Arena. Heat players, coaches, staff, family members and friends packed cars, flatbed trucks and buses to celebrate with fans, headlined by the champions themselves atop double-decker buses from which they greeted and cheered along with their adoring public.

There was just one small logistical problem, born of three discrete facts:

1. Double-decker buses are very tall and are open on top;
2. Eleven of the 15 players on the Heat roster stand at least 6-foot-8, including regular-season and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James;
3. The parade route included multiple overpasses.
Think fast, y'all:

8-year-old girl has unbelievable dribbling skills

Some may recognize her from her videos as a 7-year-old prodigy. Now she's one year older, and even faster.

Ravens Diss on Miami Heat Backfires!

Everyone's had some issues with the Miami Heat fans throughout the playoffs (life lesson: never leave a game early, especially when you have LeBron James and one of the game's best clutch shooters on your team and it's totally likely that you're going to make some miraculous comeback).
But even this random shot from the Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter account seems a bit out of nowhere: 
Baltimore Ravens         @Ravens
sure knows how to throw a party!!!
Though hilarious.
But, according to the Associated Press, an estimated 400,000 fans lined the sweltering streets of Miami for the parade on Monday. When the Ravens won the Super Bowl, 200,000 lined the streets, according to reports.

NBA TV Runs Spurs Championship Commercial

The San Antonio Spurs fell one victory short of capturing the fifth NBA Championship in franchise history. Someone forgot to alert NBA TV, who accidentally aired a commercial offering an assortment of Spurs championship gear.
The jerseys, the towels, the hats.  According to this ad, “everything the Spurs wore during their on-court celebration” is now available.
The ad only ran once, but that was enough for dozens of people to record it and post it….right before they headed off to the Spurs victory parade. C'mon Man!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rugby Player With the Most Vicious Hit of the Decade [Painful Video and Gif]

We have been breathlessly covering rugby for months now. Every other day, another amazing hit shows up online. The latest comes from Ruslan Casey, a student at St. Paul’s Collegiate, a secondary school in New Zealand. Casey, who appears to be a ginger, comes out of nowhere to absolutely destroy an opponent in the open field. Most of the great rugby hits we see are head-on collisions. This one? This is a blindside hit that features some brutal shoulder into the ribs violence.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Take a look at LeBron James’ NBA Finals MVP-worthy performance, in GIF form

San Antonio’s goal in the 2013 NBA Finals, was clear. LeBron James was not going to be allowed to utilize his all-world talents driving to the hole, finishing near the rim and creating for others. If the Spurs were going to go down, it would be after James beat them from the outside – taking the sort of low-efficiency, long range shots that San Antonio has long preferred its opponents to attempt.
For a while, it worked; James was discredited as playing “passive” basketball by many outlets, watching as lesser lights like Danny Green shifted the Finals narrative. By the time Game 7 rolled around, though, James had sussed things out. He knew that, despite the relatively low shooting percentages those long jumpers usually splashed in with, he was amongst the league’s best from the outside all season.
"Don't abandon what you've done all year," LeBron claims he told himself prior to the 2012-13 season’s final showing. "If it's there, take it."
And make it, as you can see in the above Game 7 GIF from Drew Sheppard (@DShep25).

A shooter kills a would-be robber in self-defense while waiting in line to buy LeBron James’ signature shoes

LeBron James during Thursday's Game 7 (Getty Images)
Greedy shoe companies making select sneakers needlessly exclusive paired together with consumer exuberance, desperation, and American gun culture on Saturday long enough to cost one would-be alleged robber his life. Shoppers waiting in line to purchase the latest incarnation of LeBron James'  signature shoe outside Atlanta were being harassed by a reported pickpocket until one patron decided to pull a gun out and shoot the as-yet unidentified man in what is being considered a move motivated by self-defense.
Wayne Washington at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story:
Witnesses told one man in line outside Wish, a clothing and shoe store on Moreland Avenue, pulled out a gun and shot the would-be robber.
The shooter then got back in line, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Police have not charged anyone and for now consider the shooting to be self-defense. No additional information was being released Sunday morning, said Officer John Chafee, an Atlanta Police Department spokesman.
Only 22 pairs of the sneakers were available, but that didn’t stop nearly 50 shoppers from lining up hours before the store opened. The shooting took place at 5:30, five hours before Wish opened its doors to LeBron’s fans.
One witness says the deceased got what he deserved. From the Journal-Constitution:
“He [the shooter] really stood up for all of us,” said Taylor White, who told Channel 2 that he was in line when the shooting happened. “I salute the homie that did that.”
Here is a picture of the shoes, retailing at $180, which caused the line, the panic, and the incident:
(Courtesy LeBron James' shoe sponsor)

Miami Heat run up $100K champagne tab at post-Game 7 bash, club owner comps them again

By Dan Devine: The Heat drank on the house after winning Game 7. (Seth Browarnik/
After LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the world champion Miami Heat — including owner Micky Arison, team president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra — cut loose at the Miami nightclub Story following their Game 7 win over the San Antonio Spurs, there was no question that the back-to-back-championship celebration would be a big, loud, colorful, bottle-popping spectacle. The only real question was whether the victors would top the $200,000 bar tab they rolled up at LIV in June 2012 after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder for their first NBA championship.

[Y! Sports Shop: Buy Miami Heat championship merchandise]
The answer, it seems, is no. According to's Darren Rovell, the team only managed to ring up a paltry $100,000 in champagne cost. (File this under "acting like you've been there before," I guess.)
While still obviously staggeringly high, the halved bar tab is sort of surprising considering, for the second straight year, the owner of the club hosting the party ensured that the Heat didn't actually have to pay for their drinks. More from Rovell:
[Club owner] David Grutman [...] said the players ordered 100 bottles of Dom Perignon and three 3-liter bottles of champagne. Grutman said the club sells the standard 750-milliliter bottles of Dom Perignon for $850 each and the club sells 3-liter bottles, called Jeroboams, for $5,000.
"I'm not going to charge the Heat," Grutman said of the $100,000 value of comped alcohol.
Well, that's nice of you, Mr. Grutman!

As a couple of readers have noted, the six-figure retail price tag likely represents something closer to $10,000 in actual outlay by the bar itself, given the markup on stuff like top-shelf booze. And while that's still quite a chunk of change, there's value in Grutman doing whatever he can to treat high-rollers like the Heat like kings to make sure they speak kindly of Story and LIV. You've got to spend money to make money, as the saying goes, and I'm betting a Story packed with non-comped fans, partiers and onlookers did a fairly bustling business on Thursday night and Friday morning. (Plus, if you didn't know what Story was before, now you do, which is worth something, right?)
While the Heat's (at least) $100,000 bar bill didn't top last year's model, it does fall in the ballpark of the bash Mark Cuban threw after his Dallas Mavericks beat the Heat in six games to win the 2011 NBA title. After that game, the Mavs' owner and his championship squad rolled through LIV and started splashing cash, with Dirk Nowitzki and company taking down a massive bottle of Ace of Spades that, by itself, cost nearly six figures. And as Rovell notes, Grutman didn't comp these Heat-beating guests:
LIV charged Cuban $90,000 for a 15-liter bottle of Arnaud de Brignac champagne, also known as Ace of Spades. Cuban didn't seem to mind; he still left a 22 percent tip.
"We were in the back because his credit card was denied," Grutman recalled. "So he called up the people at the Centurion Card and said, 'This is Mark Cuban. We just won the championship. Can I please spend some money?'"
Grutman said the purchase by the billionaire then was authorized.
Cuban later said the expense, and the $20,000 tip, was "worth every penny." As, I'm sure, was the Heat's $100,000-plus night at Story, for all involved.
Now that we've nailed down the Heat's party bar tab, just one mystery remains — how much did Shane Battier drop at Denny's? If it's anything less than $100,000, I'm going to be so bummed out.