A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

December 2009 Archives

Video turned up on YouTube that's apparently Adam James giving a brief tour of his holding pen, now infamous as the pit where former Texas Tech head footbal coach Mike Leach's career went to die.

It's a dark, grainy cell phone video that doesn't show much, but you get the idea that's it's a somewhat small tech closet and no great pace to spend three hours.

new0-year.JPGWe will be back in 2010. Hold on to your hats and party responsibly. 

Gun-slinging quarterback Jay Cutler has had a tough year. No doubt about it.

But for one shining moment in a frozen game under the lights of a national Monday Night Football stage, the maligned Bears QB of the future could say he out-dueled the king of the gun-slingers, Brett Favre, in the most entertaining game the Chicago squad played in a dismal 2009 season.

Following what is now an almost predictable Adrian Peterson fumble in overtime, Cutler wasted no time making the Vikings pay. He hit a streaking Devin Aromashodu down the sideline for a quick-strike touchdown to cap a 36-30 victory.

Who knows what this victory means in the long run - other than a thorn-in-the-playoff-seeding-side of Minnesota. In fact, maybe it's best not to think about all the baggage waiting to be unloaded at season's end and simply live in this very un-Bear-like moment of victory. Just ask Jay:

"It's good for the team, it's good for the morale of going out there and putting up points and answering the bell, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime when you have to do it," Cutler said.


Vinny Del Negro doesn't need to worry about the endless snow and bitter cold in Chicago. There's enough heat building around him to keep the embattled Bulls coach warm until spring.

The latest log on the firing fire comes from an ESPN report claiming that the Bulls have already decided to jettison Del Negro and are actively seeking out coaches for a mid-season termination. Barring that, the site reports he's definitely gone at season's end.

John Paxson, Gar Forman and Bennie the Bull all declined comment.

A huge turnaround for the underperforming Bulls could change the team's collective mind on Vinny's fate, but when you watch a young team with high expectations continue to struggle with fundamentals, heart, desire, etc., the future is not good from a coaching employment standpoint. Oh, then there's this:

urban-meyer-resign.JPGBig, bombshell news this afternoon as the University of Florida announced that football coach Urban Meyer is stepping down after the Gators' Sugar Bowl match-up with Cincinnati on Jan. 1.

The following is Meyer's announcement:

"I have given my heart and soul to coaching college football and mentoring young men for the last 24-plus years and I have dedicated most of my waking moments the last five years to the Gator football program," said Meyer. "I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to re-evaluate my priorities of faith and family."

"After consulting with my family, Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and my doctors, I believe it is in my best interest to step aside and focus on my health and family.

 "I'm proud to be a part of the Gainesville community and the Gator Nation and I plan to remain in Gainesville and involved with the University of Florida.

"I'm very appreciative for the opportunity I've had to be a part of a tremendous institution - from Dr. Machen to Jeremy Foley and the entire administrative staff at UF. I'm also very thankful for the chance to work with some of the best assistants in college football and coach some of the best college football players and watch them grow both on and off the field as people. I will cherish the relationships with them the most."
Meyer won two national championships in his five years at Florida and owns a .848 winning percentage while at Gainesville.
ron-artest-injury.JPGLos Angeles Lakers forward and rap enthusiast Ron Artest will likely be sidelined for tonight's game against the Sacramento Kings after taking a nasty spill at his home.

Artest tripped over a box and sustained injuries to his head and left elbow, according to a team release. The team reported that he is the proud new owner of stiches in both his head and elbow.

He did not travel with the Lakers to Sacramento.
Sad news from the world of NASCAR today as we find out Richard Childress Racing crew member Donald "DJ" Richardson has died of complications from the H1N1 virus.

Richardson, 37, spent last year as the a tire changer on Kevin Harvick's pit crew.

He'd endured a lengthy hospitalization for acute respiratory distress syndrome after contracting ther virus during a trip to Massachusetts over Thanksgiving.
Stan Van Gundy is playing the role of Scrooge this Christmas, but before you go all Little Timmy on him, he may have a point.

His Orlando Magic face the Boston Celtics today, but if it were up to him, his team would never play on Christmas again. He says he feels "sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game."

In addition to playing on Jesus' birthday, the Magic played on Thanksgiving and will have a game on New Year's Day.

"We get a little carried away with ourselves with sports thinking we're more important than everything else," he said.

The thought that Christmas should be bereft of professional basketball flies directly in the face of Mariah Carey's admission that all she needs on this special day is the NBA -- and many Americans are probably pretty excited about their all-day hoopfest -- but, it's worth considering.

Even though it's your day off from thinking.
ernie-harwell-free-press.jpgMerry Christmas, sports fans.

Today is a day when we put aside or cynicism and put on that altruistic red cap, ready to face the world head-on and make it a better place. We're armed with all the warm memories of the past and surrounded by the people who are important to us, God willing.

For a lot of Michiganders, the front page of the Detroit Free Press is delivering one of those people to the present-opening jamboree this morning: the incomparable Ernie Harwell.

I'll avoid the over-the-top claims about how much Harwell meant to be growing up, and instead highlight his importance to the state by saying I'm just one of millions who feel this way about him.

The former Detroit Tigers broadcaster was given six months to live in July, which unleashed a flurry of support from fans who had grown up listening to him. The newspaper allowed Harwell to say thanks in the form of a front-page greeting card.


No, we said shooting guard, Gilbert.

Washington Wizards standout Gilbert Arenas is in a bit of a spot after being caught storing firearms in his locker. Not really a good idea in general, particularly bad in the District of Columbia where gin ownership remains a controversial proposition after a zero-tolerance ban on firearms possession - even with a license - was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 as a violation of the Second Amendment.

The three-time All-Star is now a target of an NBA weapons probe.

Turns out Arenas was trying to do the right thing. He removed the guns from his home after the birth of his daughter, according to an interview in the Washington Times:

"I wouldn't have brought them to D.C. had I known the rules," Arenas said. "After my daughter was born, I was just like, I don't need these anymore. I don't want them around the kids. We are working with the league and the authorities."

The Wizards released a statement Thursday evening after the news leaked out, initially being reported by cbssports.com:

"The Washington Wizards have learned that Gilbert Arenas stored firearms in a locked container in his locker, unloaded and without ammunition," the Wizards' statement read. "The Wizards organization and Arenas promptly notified the local authorities and the NBA and are cooperating fully with law enforcement during its review of this matter and will have no further comment at this time."

It's not the first time Arenas has had weapons issues. He was suspended for Washington's season opener in 2004 because he failed to maintain proper registration of a handgun while living in California in 2003 when he played for the Golden State Warriors.

League rules allow for players to own guns, but in accordance with local laws and firearms are prohibited on team property.

Los Angeles Clippers guard Sebastian Telfair was suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount in 2006 after a loaded handgun registered to his girlfriend was found in his pillowcase aboard the team's plane when he was with Portland.

Yes, we're supporting blatant commercialization with this post, but who cares? It's Christmas - the official holiday of rampant commercialization.

Besides, these Nike spots playing up an old school rap battle between Santa Claus (an old school legend - KRS-One) and Blitzen (current Chicago hip hop legend Lupe Fiasco) with the help of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

The Blitzen challenges Santa to a game of hoops, talks a bunch of smack, then gets planted by the Jolly Old Elf. Pretty good stuff, really. Especially good to hear KRS1 again. This might be the best Christmas rap since Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis."

Anyway, Blitzen boasts about his game, telling Santa he'll spot him Kobe, LeBron and points anytime:

It all leads up to this epic rap and hoops battle on the courts, cause, you know, Santa won't be faded:

In 1947 Babe Ruth played Santa Claus for children stricken with polio in one of his final public appearances before passing away 8 months later, according to the YouTube description of this gem.

Pretty great footage.

joe-mcknight-usc.JPGUSC running back Joe McKnight has rejoined the Trojans after missing some practices leading up to the Emerald Bowl.

The recently embattled McKnight has yet to be cleared by the school for Saturday night's game against Boston College. They've been looking into his use of an SUV that doesn't belong to him.

McKnight was noticably absent for the Trojans' trip to San Francisco, but Pete Carroll says he arrived Wednesday night.

The junior had a team-high 1,014 rushing yards this year for a USC team that suffered through its worst season since 2001.
matthew-stafford-surgery.JPGAs someone who was crammed into Detroit Lions gear a few days after birth, I feel compelled to point out that we have a different standard about what is "magical."

Matthew Stafford leading the way to two wins a season after going winless actually qualifies.

Sad, I know.

Stafford's magical season is officially over now as coach Jim Schwartz announced he'd finish the season on injured reserve and have surgery on his right knee.

The procedure is just to "clean out some of the irritants and debris," according to Schwartz.

The rookie signal-caller started 10 games for the Lions this year, going 201-for-377 for 2,267 yards, 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He's been out since aggravating a seperated left shoulder Dec. 6 against Cincinnatti. 
Famed sportscaster George Michael, who paved the way for sports-highlight shows like "SportsCenter" died Thursday morning, according to a statement issued by his former employer, WRC-TV.

The 70-year-old Michael is best known for "The George Michael Sports Machine," a trendsetting show that ran from 1984-2007. Based out of Washington, D.C.,. he worked at the NBC affiliate from 1980 to 2007.
Thumbnail image for golf-digest.jpgThose of you who wait on pins and needles for Tiger Woods' monthly instructional column in Golf Digest will be disappointed to hear that the publication has decided to stop running them.

Woods will remain on the magazine's masthead as Playing Editor, but clearly won't be penning anything while he takes an indefinite leave from golf.

There's no word on if the magazine will continue to pay Tiger during the break.

Screen shot 2009-12-24 at 12.44.07 AM.png

Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen had a bad turnover Wednesday night.

No, not on the court. His Twitter account was hacked and some jokester posted a sexually explicit, NSFW message that went out to the lights-out shooting guard's followers.

Ray ended up having to change his account name - from @sugarray20, which ironically fit the fake message sent pretty well - to @greenrayn20.

Allen was understandably upset and said he may even have to close his account.

Screen shot 2009-12-24 at 12.59.41 AM.png

That would be a shame. The recent trend of athletes turning out in droves to be more accessible to fans has been refreshing. It brings some added fun to both fans and players that can interact a little more freely and makes games personal to follow again.

chan-ho-park-chad-kreuter.JPGThe old adage is to not loan money to your friends, because it just gets weird.

Apparently, it's not such a good idea for battery-mates to get in the loaning game either.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Chan Ho Park has filed a lawsuit against his former catcher Chad Kreuter for cash he claims he lent in 2005.

In the lawsuit, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, Park says he made the loan because Kreuter "had been a highly compensated Major League Baseball
player" and he assured Park that he "would have no difficulty paying [Park] back."

According to the suit, Kreuter signed a promissory note for the debt, but only made one payment for $290,000.

Now Park wants the remaining $170,000 plus interest and fees for the loan -- totaling $226,358.76.

No word if his awesome postseason beard was a ploy to curry favor with the court.


Rest easy, world. If you felt a sudden disturbance in the force, it had to be the shoes - and certainly not a lawsuit.

The new "Space Jam" Air Jordans - Air Jordan 11 (Air Jordan XI) Retro - are out a day early. Originally due to hit shelves the 24th, you can get Santa to get you your high top fix without any more wait.

The shoe for "everyone," as Nike puts it, retails at $175. Clearly made for the masses - by tiny hands, so think of the kids when you're strapping them on.

Here's the press release from Nike:

Initially set to release on Christmas Eve as a special gift from Jordan to sneaker fans everywhere, the launch date for the Air Jordan Retro 11 has been moved a day up to December 23rd. This change will give everyone more opportunity to get their 11's before retailers close their doors early on Christmas Eve.

See? They are thinking of you, consumer person!

And, of course, some fun Memory Lane moments with the previous must-have kicks inspired by his baldness. Now when do the parachute pants and Michal Jackson zipper jackets come back to compliment the retro theme?

roy-halladay-note.jpgCanadians, who in a scientific study were rated as 234 percent nicer than us jerks down here in the United States, must have rubbed off on new Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay.

The former Cy Young winner bid farewell to his north-of-the-border friends in today's Toronto Sun with an understated thank-you note.

You guys catch that? He did it in a newspaper, so apparently our medium is still relevant. Take that haters!

The ad, which provoked an immediate wave of "class act" banter among fans on Twitter, includes the simple stationery header of "ROY HALLADAY" with the following letter beneath it:

"My wife Brandy, sons Braden and Ryan, and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, its incredible fans, and the City of Toronto.

"I feel blessed to have been part of the Blue Jays since 1995 and am extremely grateful for the opportunities it has provided. Throughout this past 15 years, there have been so many people within the organization that have made a wonderful and significant impact in my life, it would be impossible to name them all.

"I am sincerely grateful for the incredible support and compassion the Blue Jays fans have always shown me. I am in awe of your overwhelming passion and devotion.

"Toronto will forever have a special place in my heart.

"The memories will last a lifetime and so will my gratitude.

"Best regards,

Halladay was dealt to the Phillies last week after spending his entire career with Toronto, compiling a 148-76 record.
brian-kelly-notre-dame.JPGIn hypothetical news, new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said today that he would have stayed to coach the Cincinnati Bearcats in the national title game had they made it that far.

Kelly jumped ship to Irish before his old team takes on Florida in the Sugar Bowl, prompting many Bearcats players to express frustration that he'd leave them mid-year.

In case you've forgotten, Kelly's Cincinnati team was one just one second away from a likely bid in the title game when Texas' Colt McCoy flirted with disaster at the end of the Big 12 title game by almost holding onto the ball as time expired.

Things were pretty ugly for the Washington Redskins last night. Their offense was bad, their defense was bad and their special teams weren't special as they sustained a 45-12 drubbing at the hands of the New York Giants.

But perhaps the most embarrassing moment came when they tried to execute a fake field goal at the end of the first half while facing a 24-point deficit.

After the Redskins sent seven men in motion to the left side, Giants coach Tom Coughlin was forced to call a timeout because, well, they sent seven men in motion.

Still thinking that they were going to pull a fast one, Washington ran the play again. Holder Hunter Smith received the snap and threw up a prayer that was predictably intercepted.

I'm not a big X's and O's guy, but I think not having anyone to block for him hurt Smith's chances.

We'd all agree it was poorly executed and that it might not have been that well conceived. But, is this one of the worst trick plays you've ever seen?
carrie-underwood-engagement-ring.JPGOttawa Senators center Mike Fisher has inked Carrie Underwood (who is the newsroom's favorite American Idol based on a quick poll) to a lifetime contract as evidenced by Underwood's diamond engagement ring --  bling that was on display during the Senators game against the Boston Bruins last night.

"It's true. We're both obviously excited and very happy," Fisher, 29, said when asked about the engagement. "I'm not sure exactly when (the wedding will take place)."

The couple have been seen canoodling for over a year and were hooked up by friends after one of her concerts in Toronto. 


henry.jpgChad Ochocinco apparently has plans for the Cincinnati Bengals game against the San Diego Chargers today. Plans for some of his trademark showiness, the kind the NFL is tracking him for like he's carrying state secrets.

But unlike his usual showmanship and attention-grabbing antics, this time Ochocinco is doing something fairly noble. He wants to wear Chris Henry's jersey No. 15, according to reports, for the game as a memorial after his troubled teammate died this week in a bizarre incident with his fiancee.

The Uniform Police already have their sirens warmed up for this, most likely. But for once, Ochocinco won't have to bear the brunt of punishement, should it come, out of his own ample coffers.

According to George Atallah, Assistant Executive Director with the NFL Players Association, the union has Chad's back:

"NFLPA will cover any fine levied on Chad Ochocinco imposed by the league and match it with a gift to our Chris Henry memorial fund."

For it's part, the league that prohibits joy or fun in any way has yet to tender an opinion on what action it will take for a show of respect after the tragic death of a teammate. The NFL does have a history with coming down on this sort of thing, though. When Peyton Manning tried a less showy memorial for Johnny Unitas in 2002 after the legendary Colts QB died of a heart attack, the league clamped down with threats of a fine in the neighborhood of $25,000, so Manning backed off.

"Somebody's passed away. I don't want to create a controversy over it,'' Manning said. "I did talk to one of (Unitas') sons, Joe, last night. He said he thought that it would be great, he'd love it. But the league called Bill this morning and said absolutely not. It would result in a horrendous fine, so Bill just said that he would recommend that I don't do it.''

A similar situation occurred after Walter Payton passed away in 1999. Many players around the league wanted to pay some sort of tribute to the Hall-of-Famer, but were denied for the same reason: only the player's own team can have a show on the unifor, usually in the form of a patch or marking.

So Ochocinco has a loophole since Henry was a Bengal. But changing jerseys, especially for a player the NFL is just waiting to pounce on, may be pushing it. For his part, Ochocinco has yet to care much about the league's draconian rules.

In simpler times, when Kevin was still around and Jay Cutler was still a member of the Denver Broncos, optimism for Milton Bradley flowed through these Chicago streets like Molson through your one embarrassing uncle on Christmas Eve.

Oh, early-January boys, what you didn't know about the 2009 season.

The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets hooked up in the type of NBA action you can really sink your teeth into Friday night. No, really.

Serial tooth-loser Carl Landry and all-everything Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki were battling under the board when Houston Rockets Landry's mouth met Nowitzki's elbow and, well, nobody wins that battle, apparently. Nowitzki went sliding to the floor and immediately started checking his elbow, where he found a few of Landry's chopper embedded. And by few, I mean five teeth in total.

Oddly, this isn't the first time Landry has lost teeth in a game. In April of 2008 he lost a front tooth in a practice mishap with Dikembe Mutombo. He then had that replacement tooth bashed out by Carlos Boozer in a playoff game a few weeks later.

Nowitzki, for his part, gamely took his foul shots left-handed, then quickly committed a foul to get off the court for treatment.

Nowitzki is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Landry is, hopefully, shopping for a mouth guard.

If you want to pad your pocket while feeling a little dirty about yourself, might I suggest placing a bet pertaining to Tiger Woods' marital status.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, several sites are now accepting wagers as to if Woods and his wife Elin will divorce and how much the hypothetical settlement would be.

Classy, right?

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is getting in on the action. There you can place bets on a wide variety of Tiger-themed events, including which woman Woods will spend Christmas with.

So, that's where we are as a society.
john-calipari-bobby-knight.jpgA day after Bob Knight lobbed a very personal grenade at Kentucky coach John Calipari, the first-year Wildcats coach refused to add any fuel to the fire.

"I don't agree with what he says but it doesn't change how I feel about him," Calipari said.

Calipari also said he was surprised by comments Knight made Thursday night during a speech at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching," he said. "You see we've got a coach at Kentucky [John Calipari], who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that.

Anyone hoping for things to get testy, however, will be disappointed to know that Calipari still remains "a big fan" of Knight. Playing-nice enthusiasts, on the other hand, will love the taking-the-high-road approach.

"I get up to go to mass this morning and there's like 100 text messages and I'm like what in the world happened?" Calipari said. "And I get word and what I can tell you is I'm a big fan, respect him as a basketball coach, always have."
brandon-jennings-twitter.JPGMilwaukee Bucks rookie sensation Brandon Jennings has been fined $7,500 by the NBA for a tweet he posted after his team's double-overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last weekend.

His jubilant message of: "Back to 500. Yess!!! "500" means where doing good. Way to Play Hard Guys," certainly isn't controversial, but it came a little too soon after the game ended.

The NBA's social media policy states that players can't tweet until 45 minutes after the game ends. Jennings, it seems, didn't wait long enough.

runyan.jpgJon Runyan, who's been a standout offensive lineman in the NFL long enough that he has a Houston Oilers stint on his trading card, is calling it quits after this season. But whether he's trading up is a point for debate.

He wants to be a congressman. Specifically a 3rd District Republican Representative in New Jersey.

Runyan, currently plowing the way for LaDanian Thomlinson in San Diego, says concerns about federal spending are a big reason he wants to make a run for himself for a change. The 36-year-old lineman, who spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, announced last month that he would retire from football after this season.

Runyan is trying to throw a kickout on first-term Democrat John Adler.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone from San Diego on Friday, Runyan said a state assemblywoman called his wife to see if he would be interested in running for office. Runyan says he thought about politics a bit and, between that call and his growing concerns about federal spending, he says the time is right to seek office.

Runyan offered more of his views when he announced in November:

"I really believe it's not going in a positive direction right now. We're spending all sorts of money that we really don't have right now. Everything's going to be controlled by the government. hat's not what we need."

chris-henry-accident3.JPGA neighbor of Chris Henry's fiancee says that Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry begged her to stop the truck or he would kill himself just moments before his death.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have said that a domestic dispute lead to the fatal injuries Henry sustained when he fell off a moving pickup driven by Loleini Tonga Wednesday.

Tonga's neighbor, Lee Hardy, was perched on a 15-foot ladder cutting back some trees when he saw the yellow pickup "zooming" up the Tongas' gravel driveway just a few yards away. Hardy said a shirtless black man clung to the top and side of the truck while standing in the bed, begging her to stop the vehicle.

"He was banging on the top, on the doors, screaming at the lady, 'We need to talk,'" Hardy said. "He said, 'If you take off, I'm going to jump off the truck and kill myself.'"

Hardy said she stopped, hesitating at the end of the driveway, and took off.

Soon afterward, authorities received two calls alerting them of the incident, which ended just a half-mile from Tonga's family home. Police say she stopped immediately after he fell from the truck.

No charges have been filed in connection with the death.
Former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has been in discussions to become the next coach of the Washington Redskins, the Denver Post reports.

You'll remember yesterday the Redskins hired Bruce Allen to replace Vinny Cerrato, which most likely was the beginning of owner Daniel Snyder's housecleaning initiative.

At 4-9, coach Jim Zorn's future has been pretty foggy, and you couldn't blame Snyder for snatching up Shanahan, whose 14 years in Denver included two Super Bowl wins.
tiger-woods-new-york-post.jpgThe wordsmiths over at With Leather put together this collage of NY Post covers about the Tiger Woods scandal over the last month.

The New York Post featured Tiger Woods on its cover this morning, making it the 20th consecutive day that the golfer has been front and center.

Previously, the longest-running fixture on the front page was the 9/11 attacks.

In regards to news value, there's no doubt that the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil > a golfing superstar stepping out on his wife, so what does this tell us about our current media climate?

I'd get on my soapbox about this, but all it would be is hypocrisy. The story has been page-view candy for us, the company as a whole and anyone else with a keyboard and a microphone to the world's electronic ear.

It has everything: sex, money, a fall from grace, cocktail waitresses, constant unsubstantiated rumors and on and on. But, I'm sensing that people are finally getting tired of being assailed with it.

Right or wrong?
bob-knight-john-calipari.jpgYou cannot stop Bob Knight. You can only hope to contain him.

The often-cranky ESPN analyst was back in Indiana Thursday night to deliver a speech at the state's Hall of Fame. As could have been predicted, he said some things that are sure to ruffle a few feathers.

Among them is a criticism of Kentucky coach John Calipari.

"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching," he said. "You see we've got a coach at Kentucky [John Calipari], who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that.
Knight, who accumulated an NCAA Division I-record 902 wins during his coaching career, skipped his own induction into the Hall of Fame last month.

The revered coach was in town on a business, as he's scheduled to be an analyst on the network's broadcast of the Xavier-Butler game Saturday. And, like always, he didn't pull any punches.

Knight on television is great because he actually says what he is thinking. In a climate of always politically correct talking heads, he stands out because he's not afraid to call it like he sees it. And unlike others, you don't get the sense he's doing it just for the show.

Then again, there's probably a large contingent that wishes he'd stay in the shadows silently. Do you mind Knight taking a shot at Calipari or do you think it's warranted?

Royce White came to Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers squad as one of the most highly-touted recruits in the country at forward. He leaves it with nothing more than the hope of having the highest amount of pageviews for his video resignation.

White says he's leaving the Minnesota basketball team because of his legal troubles and the stress they are causing his family and the program.

White has been a suspension machine since heading to the University of Minnesota. First losing time - and doing time - for a theft and assault on a Mall of America security guard incident, and most recently for a dustup over accusations involving a stolen laptop on campus.

Seems that White has had enough, as he discusses in his video, and is leaving the team to concentrate on getting his life in order. Nobody can deny him that worthy goal, but the self broadcast is a little odd. Hopefully it all works out in the end.

Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi said that White hasn't informed anyone in his department about a decision.

White is currently indefinitely suspended from the team


Three Evanston Township High School students were charged with battery after allegedly battering a New Trier student Friday night after a contentious basketball game between the rivals at Northwestern University, leaving the teen with a broken nose and several facial lacerations.

Evanston Township High students Samuel Mendelson and Zachary Shiffrin were charged with misdemeanor battery and consumption of alcohol, while Gaberiel Seigel was charged with misdemeanor battery, according to Evanston Police Cmdr. James Pickett. All are 18-year-old Evanston residents.

The incident happened on Friday about 9:47 p.m. in the west parking lot of Northwestern University's Welsh-Ryan Arena, where New Trier had just defeated Evanston 54-50.

The offenders allegedly threw alcohol at the victim's car while beating on the vehicle, Pickett said. When they were told to stop by the victim and two other teens in the car, the offenders struck the victim in the face with a blunt object, dragged him out of the car and beat him with closed fists, Pickett said.

Once the 17-year-old victim's friends got out of the car, the offenders ran and police were notified. The offenders were detained and identified by the victim, Pickett said. He was treated at Evanston Hospital.

Evanston police continue to investigate, according to Pickett, who said police are still questioning others to see if anyone else was involved in the fight.


A Chicago Cub takes some batting practice at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz., in 2003.

Mesa has heard the Cubs silence on watch the team's Spring Training plans entail - and where they will eventually end up. And the Arizona home of the team is holding onto plans for batting cage upgrades until the future becomes a bit more clear.

Mesa is refusing to upgrade batting cages at a ballpark used by the Chicago Cubs unless the team enters more serious negotiations to keep spring training in the city. Mesa was about to sign off on about $684,000 for semi-enclosed batting cages at Fitch Park, but decided Thursday to hold off until top city officials meet with Cubs executives Friday in Chicago.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said he expected the Cubs would welcome improvements,, according to the East Valley Tribune, especially since the team has proclaimed Fitch and HoHoKam Park to be inadequate and outdated facilities.

"The silence that came out of Chicago and the Cubs was deafening," Smith said.

Smith says Mesa wants to know where it stands as the team considers leaving Arizona in light of a bid from Naples, Fla., to take the Cubs away.

The Cubs, for their part, are scheduled to make a decision on location in January.

YE Tiger Woods.jpg

How much is this worth on eBay?

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Got that perfect gift, fashionable yet sexy, for the significant other?

Well, if you're scrambling to fill the boxes under the tree, this could be your lucky day.

Rachel Uchitel, who spent loads of our precious time on Earth denying an affair with Tiger Woods, will now see some of her clothes hit the eBay auction block. And you thought this scandal had already hit rock bottom.

Here's the mysterious press release content, promising a future announcement on the sale brought to you by club owner JE Englebert about clothes acquired by some waitress and without much detail on the method of acquisition:


Outfit of Rachel Uchitel, the 1st alleged mistress Tiger Woods to be auctioned off !!

A New York City nightclub owner has the VIP Hostess outfit of Rachel Uchitel, the 1st alleged mistress of superstar golf player Tiger Woods. Club owner JE Englebert will announce a press conference soon showing off the garment and announcing his plan to auction it off on Ebay.com to donate the funds to a domestic abuse charity. "When Woods and his wife decided to go clubbing at 230am in the morning this turned into domestic abuse" "They apparently couldn't decide between using the wood (tree) or the iron (fire hydrant)" says Englebert. Englebert received the garments from one of his waitresses who want's to keep anonymous whom worked with Rachel at TAO Las Vegas where Rachel was a VIP hostesses. Reports state that Rachel Uchitel was offered hush money from the Woods camp to keep quiet about her affair in the amount, between $1 and $3 million dollars.

Oh, but it's all for charity? Well that makes it all better.

And how does one achieve the status of "1st mistress," anyway? Is it arbitrary? Alphabetical? Application-based? Tryouts?

Thumbnail image for phelpsvideogame.jpgIf any athlete understands the immense scrutiny that Tiger Woods is going through right now, it's Michael Phelps.

Remember, if you will, a time when the entire world was knocked off its axis when a photo of him holding a bong was posted online. In retrospect, that firestorm seems pretty minor compared with the one Tiger's found himself in.

At a "Duel in the Pool" event in Manchester, England, Phelps expressed sympathy for Woods and that he wishes the golfer and his family well.

Don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty sick of athletes around the globe being asked to weigh in on this topic.
Thumbnail image for chris-henry-accident.JPGPolice have released two 911 tapes in connection with the death of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry.

Listen to them here.

The first is from a woman who was behind the pickup truck he fell out of, sustaining fatal injuries.

"It's got a black man on it with no shirt on, and he's got his arm in a cast and black pants on," she told a dispatcher. "He's beating on the back of this truck window. ... I don't know if he's trying to break in or something. It just looks crazy. It's a girl driving it."

The next call comes a minute later, from an man who sees Henry "laying in the road" and "definitely unconscious."
Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco talked about the death of his teammate Chris Henry this morning, becoming understandably emotional.

Ochocinco said he and Henry "talked before every game" and spoke about the way the Henry was "doing everything right" leading up to yesterday's tragedy.

He also quoted passed some wisdom from his grandmother, saying: "You never really question the man upstairs on the decisions he makes because he never makes a mistake."

Thumbnail image for derrick-rose3.jpgDerrick Rose, who just recently was named Chicago's Sexiest Athlete, continues his ticker-tape parade of good-looking feel-goodery in the January issue of GQ, posing for some glamor photos.

To be clear, I think there is a diabolical plot to sell some of this year's hottest windbreakers driving the whole thing. The Bulls point guard's tattoos survived the airbrush in editing, a small victory for the inked-up everywhere.

A gaggle of images for your browsing after the jump.
washington-redskins-logo.JPGThe Washington Redskins, the only team that really matters to our own Craig Newman, have named Bruce Allen the new executive vice president of football operations and general manager.

Allen  is the son of former Redskins coach George Allen, who coached the team from 1971-1977.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity with one of the world's most successful sports franchises," Allen said in a statement released by the team. "I love everything about this assignment; I know what it means to be dedicated to the Redskins. I can't wait to get to work."
Allen replaces Vinny Cerrato, who stepped down from the position. The 53-year-old spent 2004-2008 as Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM, a stretch which included two division titles. He was a senior executive with the Oakland Raiders from 1996-2003.
The following video was uploaded to YoutTube on March 5, 2007. Why it's taken this long to be brought to my attention is a question I couldn't even begin to answer.

It seems that in the wake of the classic "Lazy Sunday" bit with Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg, two plucky Kentucky basketball fans -- Daniel Solzman and Bud Stross according to the big blue text at the end -- made a parody about their elite program.

Spoiler alert: They might not have made it  as either rappers or actors.

The Bill Keightley! .. Keightley! ... Keighltey followed by the kid reading his lyrics off the paper is just priceless.
chris-henry-accident.JPGCincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry has been involved in a car accident, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officials.

The police said in a statement that Henry was found in the road in Charlotte "apparently suffering life-threatening injuries."

Sources told the KY Post Henry was in North Carolina with his fiancee and police are saying he was involved in a domestic dispute with her. Henry apparently jumped in the back of a pick-up she was driving before eventually falling out of the truck.

Henry is currently on injured reserve with a dislocated forearm and has not played since Week 9.

The 26-year-old is in his fifth year in the league.
The Simms family's grip on high-profile quarterbacking positions just got a little tighter with the news that Matt, the son of NFL star Phil Simms and brother of Chris Sims, has signed a letter of intent to play football at Tennessee.

The 6-foot-3, 210 pounder comes to the Volunteers from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., signing on the first day junior college prospects are eligible, according to a report from ESPN's Bruce Feldman.

Simms completed 159 of his 269 passes for over 2,200 yards and 17 touchdowns in an injury-shortened 2009 season.
Despite what will prove to be a tumultuous month-plus at the end of 2009, Tiger Woods was selected as the Athlete of the Decade by members of the Associated Press.

His dominance on the golf course -- including 56 PGA Tour victories and 12 majors -- was enough to lift him past a field that included Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer and Michael Phelps.

The voting wasn't even close, with Woods pulling in 56 of the 142 votes.
It will come as no surprise to anyone brave enough to follow me on Twitter, but for some reason, I can't get enough of the "Jersey Shore" reality-television show on MTV.

And I'm not the only one.

It seems there's a whole slew of people out there coming up with their own Jersey Shore nickname. All the jibber-jabbering about fist pumping, tanning, getting drunk and fighting is good business for the show, which evidently is sending its "stars" out on the talk-show circuit.

Here is The Situation and Snooki hanging out with Conan last night. Spoiler alert: Conan was absolutely enthralled with The Situation.

So, this is where we are at as a society.

Drink it in, people.
erin-andrews-stalker.jpgErin Andrews was in a Los Angeles courtroom yesterday to talk about Michael Barrett, the Westmont insurance executive who plead guilty to taping her nude.

Andrews called Barrett a "predator" and said that he should "never see the light of day"

Andrews, 31, said Barrett's actions "have had a devastating impact on me, my family and my career."

She told the court she is now routinely subjected to crude remarks by stadium crowds when she is on the job.

Barrett's plea is expected to mean that he'll spend only 27 months in prison, even though the maximum penalty is five years. Andrews naturally wants the harshest sentence possible.

"I am a victim of this sexual predator. I would like to see him immediately put in prison for as long as possible," Andrews, 31, told the judge.

She said she fears for her safety as long as he's free.

"I have nightmares," she told the court.

"I walk in crowds and I see him in my peripheral vision. When I'm alone in my house, I have fears that he's going to walk inside and hurt me.

"I don't know him. I've never met him. I don't know why he chose me."

The sentencing is set for Feb. 22.

butch-jones.jpgIt looks like the University of Cincinnati will tapping into the the rich coaching pipeline in aptly-named Mt. Pleasant, Mich. again.

Three years after the Bearcats coaxed current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly from the Central Michigan Chippewas, they're expected to announce they've done the same with Butch Jones.

Jones' squad is enjoying their first ever national ranking and headed to the GMAC Bowl. During his tenure, Central Michigan has a 27-13 record and has reached bowl games in the last three seasons. Prior to those, they'd reached three bowls in the program's first 32 years.
Thumbnail image for erin-andrews.jpgESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews is expected to be in a Los Angeles courtroom today when the man accused of filming her nude enters what is predicted to be a guilty plea.

Illinois insurance executive Michael David Barrett is expected to plea guilty to stalking. Prosecutors have agreed to go after a 27-month prison sentence, but he faces a punishment of up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Andrews' counsel, Marshall Grossman, says she may call for a tougher sentence.

The hearing is set for this afternoon.
Add "multitasking" to the long list of things Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James does well.

He can score, rebound, dish out the rock and get a snack in all at the same time.

He proved it Sunday night when he stumbled into the Oklahoma City crowd after completing a layup to grab a french fry from unsuspecting Thunder fan.

Saw a few comments online about how cocky a movie this was, but come on. The kid is going to remember it his whole life and there's clearly nothing mean-spirited about having some fun with the crowd.
stephen-colbert-sports-illustrated.jpgThe latest issue of "Sports Illustrated" features Comedy Central funnyman Stephen Colbert in an Olympic speedskating uniform.

That's no joke.

The issue, which hits newsstands Wednesday, is devoted to sports media.

As you may remember, Colbert led a movement that resulted in Colbert Nation becoming the official primary sponsor of U.S. Speedskating after raising more than $250,000 from fans.

It will be interesting to see if the so-called "Sports Illustrated curse" extends into the television field.
In what could prove to be even more trouble for Tiger Woods, a Canadian doctor who treated him is suspected of providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs, according to a report from the New York Times.

Dr. Anthony Galea, who has also treated Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and NFL players, was found with Actovegin and human growth hormone at the U.S.-Canada border last September.

It's illegal to use, sell or import Actovegin in the U.S.

The Times reported Galea visited Woods at his home four times in February and March for post-surgery treatment.

Galea also told the newspaper that "it would be impossible" for investigators to have found anything linking his athletes to performance-enhancing drugs and denied any wrongdoing.

Mark Steinberg, Woods agent, apparently asked that this article take an indefinite leave of absence from print, saying, "I would really ask that you guys don't write this? If Tiger is NOT implicated, and won't be, let's please give the kid a break."
Hideki-Matsui-001.jpgIf the White Sox' wish list did include left-handed hitting Hideki Matsui, it appears they won't be getting him.

The New York Times' Tyler Kepner reports that Matsui has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

The report sites a team official that says the two parties came to an agreement earlier today. ESPN's Buster Olney says the deal is worth $6.5 million.

Matsui hit .292 in seven years with the Yankees.
The gossips tonight bring us the sad news of the breakup of New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and actress Kate Hudson.

The power couple have apparently decided to part ways, a Hudson pal confirmed to US Weekly.

Just last week, Hudson was grilled about the relationship by David Letterman, which brought on a bevy of nervous laughter. At the Dec. 4 London premiere of "Nine", Hudson's new flick, the duo seemed in good spirits.

But, alas, love is a fickle beast.

Hudson began dating Rodriguez in May and was front and center as he broke his trend of October slumping to lead the Yankees to their 27th World Series title.

The Yankees hope his new hitting muse is out there somewhere.

Since neither camp gave an official confirmation that they were an item, we may never get official confirmation that they've split.

Since it's Monday, you hate work and you're looking for a diversion, here is some footage that I'll surely never live down.

Stepped out on the pea-green turf of Soldier Field yesterday to give some hasty, knee-jerk reactions to the Bears' loss to the Packers. If you're wondering why it seems slightly repetitive, that's because "Rock" from "Rudy" came out and chased me off the field, yelling that no 5-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing kid deserved to be out there.

Go ahead, let me have it.
tag-heuer-tiger-woods-publicity1.jpgIt seems Tiger Woods has at least one sponsor who has his back.

Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer said it will continue its association with the golfer, even in the wake of all the nasty headlines he's been garnering.

"We will continue," the company spokeswoman, Mariam Sylla, told the Associated Press. "He's the best in his domain. We respect his performance in the sport." She added that Woods's personal life is "not our business".
Ahhhh, the Swiss and their crazy, antiquated world views.

Woods and Tag Heuer have been teaming up to sell timepieces since 2002.

The announcement comes just a day after Accenture cut ties with Tiger and a few after Gilette said it was phasing him out.
The 2000 Bears are off the hook for allowing Terrell Owens to bring in 20 catches during a 17-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

And by off the hook, I mean they'll never have to worry about going down in the record books as the team one single receiver had his way with the most flagrantly. Let's be honest, allowing 20 receptions is never OK.

But, Denver Broncos' Brandon Marshall caught a new record 21 receptions yesterday in a 28-16 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. This was all allowed by a combination of Marshall's freakish skills, a lackluster effort from Colts cornerback Tim Jennings and a mysterious muse dressed in orange.

You know you had a big game when the highlight package accompanying it is 5 minutes, 45 seconds long.

After getting off to a rocky start with new coach Josh McDaniels, Marshall has found his stride and now has to be considered one of the finest wideouts in the game. His enormous game yesterday brought his season reception total to 86 and boosted him over 1,000 yards.

gill.jpgTurner Gill is about to be named as head coach of Kansas football, according to a report at Yahoo! Sports, though University of Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel told The Buffalo News he had no information about Gill taking the Kansas job.

Gill takes over the Jayhawks despite finishing 5-7 at Buffalo in 2009, his third losing season in four years at the Mid American Conference school. His overall mark is set at 20-30.

Gill has apparently edged out the likes of hot coaching prospect Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, among others.

The new head Jayhawk never played in the NFL, but was a on his way to stardom in the Canadian Football League when he was forced to retire at 23 from concussions. He was a standout baseball player in high school and was drafted at shortstop by the Chicago White Sox.

Gill will be joining his daughter, a sophomore cheerleader, at Kansas.

Ndamukong Suh.JPGNdamukong Suh could become the first player ever to exclusively play defense and win the Heisman Trophy tonight in New York.

The Nebraska defensive lineman will be seated by fellow finalist Tim Tebow, who has been lauded as an all-around great humanitarian by the media to the point of nausea.

But Suh is no slouch in the do-goodery department. He reported a Dallas student who threatened on Facebook to shoot a classmate, Dallas police said.

Suh saw the threat on his Facebook fan page and alerted Lincoln police, who got on the phone with Dallas authorities.

Luckily, the threat to be not credible.

Still, sharp eye by Suh to spot the potential problem.
Freshman phenom John Wall delivered another jaw-dropping moment in the first half of the Kentucky-Indiana game this afternoon when he threw down a left-handed dunk over a helpless Hoosier defender. Here is the grainy, hastily-posted-to-YouTube video.

Wall, the prize recruit who has been wowing us all -- including LeBron James -- has now had three nationally televised games in eight days.

Safe to say he's making the best of them.

pat-the-patriot-patriot-mascot.jpgIs nothing sacred?

One of the men that plays the New England Patriots' mascot was arrested in a prostitution sting in Rhode Island.

Law enforcement sources told NBC 10 one of the johns who tried to pay for sex with a prostitute was 47-year-old Robert Sormanti of Warwick. He is one of several people who plays the Pat the Patriot mascot.

"The Pat Patriot mascot costume is worn by multiple people, each of whom are held responsible and accountable for their actions. The individual in question has been suspended. The mascot responsibilities will continue to be fulfilled by others," said a statement from the team.

Shame on you, Pat the Patriot. I'm sure if your costume allowed facial expressions you'd be sporting a look of embarrassment right about now.

One wonders what kind of punishment Patriots coach Bill Belichick would dole out if the cartoonish mascot fell under his umbrella of management, especially since he's sending players home for being a few minutes late for practice.

Good morning, sports fans. Here is a clip of Minnesota Timberwolves' Corey Brewer throwing down a ridiculous dunk over Los Angeles Lakers' Derek Fisher last night.

Drink it in.

Looks like it may have been a charge, but at the end of the day, it didn't matter. Fisher's Lakers prevailed 104-92 at the Staples Center.

For the first time in a long time, there aren't 345 football games on today. Go get some holiday shopping done in time for tonight's Heisman presentation.
Tiger Woods has released the following statement on his Web site in which he announces he'll be taking an "indefinite" leave from golf in order to focus on saving his family.

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.

Woods' troubles began after a Nov. 27 car accident and have spiraled into a tabloid-friendly, wildly personal tale of infidelity played out on the public stage.

Just yesterday, we discussed Rick Reilly's recommendation that Woods do just what he announced he intends to do.

Comments-wise, a vast majority disagreed with this idea, but it looks like the golfer is planning on leaving the links in leiu of repairing what has to be a fractured realtionship with his wife Elin.

Thumbnail image for terrell-owens-glasses-hat.jpgBuffalo Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens is not always the model teammate, but from now on, everything he does will be model behavior.

That's because the often verbose pass-catching enthusiast signed a contract with the Wilhelmina Agency this week. Owens said he was approached by the firm, which was founded by former supermodel Wilhelmina Cooper and has offices in the model-friendly cities of Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

Seeking to capitalize on Owens' popularity, the agency will represent him in future endorsements and sponsorship deals in the fashion and personal care industries.

"Well, I'm always putting my hands in and feeding into something," Owens said. "When you've got some good looks like myself, you've got to take full advantage of it."

Owens got another bit of good off-the-field news recently when VH1 decided to pick up his reality show for a second season.

All is not peachy for the symmetrically-faced one, however. Owens' Bills are 4-8 on the year.


Kendra Wilkinson, very soon-to-be-mom.

UPDATE, 1 a.m. Friday: Kendra Wilson and Hank Baskett welcome a new Baskett, son Hank IV, according to US Magazine.

Hank Baskett IV, who weighed 9 lbs 5 oz, was born via C-section early Friday morning in Indianapolis.

"Mother and baby are doing well," a source tells Us. "Kendra and Hank are very happy."

Former Playboy model Wilkinson and current Indianapolis Colt Baskett got their early Christmas present after a lenghty labor. The reality TV diva went into labor in an Indianapolis hospital late last night, several sites are reporting, with the couple's first child. Hank Baskett IV wasn't expected until Christmas Day, but nobody wants a Christmas birthday - fewer gifts and all.

You know it's a joyous day when Hugh Hefner is dropping you love on Twitter:

"I send my love to Kendra, Hank and the baby on this memorable day."


As if President Obama weren't having enough issues lately, Afghanistan escalation, dropping public opinion numbers, the Nobel Peace Prize, etc., Now comes the left field oddity he probably never could have predicted: Tiger Woods.

The January Golf Digest cover story, 10 Tips Obama can Take From Tiger, was written over the summer and the issue went to press in November before Tiger's world fell apart, but it's still sure to be fodder for late-night jokes for a time.

An interesting quote from the issue:

"Woods is a good role model ... because he has always been able to pull himself together after setbacks. Woods never does anything that would make himself look ridiculous."

The idea was that Obama could take a page from the master tactician's golf game in dealing with adversity. Let's just all hop that the extreme crisis management Tiger's working on right now isn't a skill the president has to put into use anytime soon.

Tiger Woods is lucky that ESPN's Rick Reilly is on the clock, ready and willing to dole out the sage advice that will help the troubled golfer put all of this messiness behind him.

In an appearance on the worldwide leader, Reilly said that Woods needs to visit Oprah, forget golf for a while and purge himself of anyone that his wife doesn't trust -- including his caddy.

Host Jay Harris seemed a little surprised at the columnist's take, pointing out that most experts think the sooner Tiger gets back winning tournaments, the sooner he'll be right again -- or as close to right as he can get after all this.

"When your house is on fire, you don't go play the Buick Open, you don't go play the Masters," Reilly responded. "He'll have plenty of Masters to go. He's got to really concentrate on winning back the trust of his wife, his family, his sponsors and his fans."

In addition, he pushed for the golfer to call all of his sponsors and freeze any endorsement deals until Woods think's he's "the kind of person worthy of your company."

What do you guys think of all these suggestions? Hasn't Tiger already apologized, stated he wanted his privacy and to move on? Wouldn't staying away from the game and missing the Masters just make things worse?

It's pretty obvious that his world is spinning out of control at an alarming rate. Say what you want about him bringing it upon himself, but it's a fact. And in times like these, people are apt to hang on to the one constant in their lives. For Woods, that's playing golf in the public eye. So how would completely abandoning the thing that makes the most sense to him give him balance?
tim-thomas-dennys.jpgNBA journeyman Tim Thomas, whose travels include a stop with the Bulls, was allegedly involved in a brawl at a Dallas Denny's restaurant early Wednesday morning.

Damien Pettie, 29, told police he approached Thomas and a group of people at a Denny's 24-hour restaurant at about 3 am on Wednesday and said, "Hey, what's up?" to the player.

Thomas responded by swearing at Pettie and using racial and gay slurs, according to the police report.

Pettie swore back, and told police that at that point he was hit in the face by someone in Thomas' party.

"Then all parties within both groups began to throw chairs, knock over tables and fight each other," the report said.

 Seems like a very rational chain of events, considering how tempers can flare when your Grand Slam breakfast is taking too long.

Thomas' current team, the Mavericks, say the incident is being overblown and Thomas was not involved.

"What I can tell you is that Tim was not involved,'' President of basketball operations / general manager Donnie Nelson said. "He's 30 years old with a wife and kids. When the situation started to escalate, he left the property immediately."

Rich Harden's career post-Cubs is going South. All the way to Texas, that is.

ESPN's Buster Olney has the Canadian right-hander signing a one-year deal - pending a physical, which is no slam dunk here - for smewhere in the $7 to $8 million range.

Harden was one of those Cubs moves that was easy to get excited about when he came over in 2008 from Oakland one day after the Milwaukee Brewers added C.C. Sabathia. Great fastball. Ridiculous changeup - one of the filthiest in baseball. And a strikeout pitcher mentality that fit in with the staff of a team riding pitching to the postseason.

But. (Isn't there always a but with big Cubs moves?

But he just couldn't stay healthy, especially for a guy you look to to be a workhorse, staff ace-type.

On and healthy? Unhittable at times. But seldom on and healthy.

But now he looks to get a fresh start in a warm climate, perhaps just what a tender arm needs to goose a career.

Because it's fun when someone takes three minutes out of a broadcast to eviscerate another person, here's a clip of Sam Rubin of KTLA laying into celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. Apparently Hilton stormed off the set of Rubin's show yesterday and demanded an apology.

Whatever, no one probably cares, but here's Rubin dishing out some pretty harsh words.

 Do not cross this man. Do not cross him ... ever. His neatly-parted hair belies the fire laying beneath the surface.

derek-jeter-gordon-beckham.JPGIt's no secret that the ladies love New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

Currently affixed to the arm of "Friday Night Lights" star Minka Kelly, the captain has racked up a pretty impressive list of love interests during his time in Manhattan.  And it seems that some girls are willing to try anything to get an audience with Mr. Jeter.

This includes trying to piggyback on a food delivery to his apartment, causing a scene in the lobby and crying to the doorman that you're his No. 1 fan.

A hostess from Nino's Positano at 47th and Second invited herself along on a food run to Jeter's pad Sunday night because she wanted to meet the Sportsman of the Year, who is a regular costumer of the eatery.

After grabbing the food from the deliveryman, she tried in vain to get access to Jeter's place, causing a brouhaha in the lobby as other building tenants look on.

It turns out that the plan didn't work so well for the self-described superfan.

Nino himself (not a New Yorker, but the Daily News paints him as a big shot) evidently fired the hostess when he learned of the behavior.

"I'll take Jeter over that bimbo any day," he said.
kiffinlane3.jpgThe NCAA is investigating whether the University of Tennessee committed any recruiting violations by allegedly unleashing an army of pretty girls to potential recruits' games, according to a report from the New York Times.

This issue puts Volunteers coach Lane Kiffin in the spotlight again. Since taking over as coach, the university has committed at least six secondary NCAA violations.

This time, it's the alleged use of "hostesses" that has captured the attention of the powers-that-be. The group is responsible for hosting potential students on visits -- including athletes--  something far from unique to Tennessee. It's how they're going about it that's causing the alleged problem.

It was not clear whether the university sent the hostesses to visit the football players, the newspaper (New York Times) reported.

In one case, hostesses traveled nearly 200 miles to attend a football game at James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, S.C., one of the nation's best high school football programs, where at least three potential Tennessee recruits were playing, according to the report.

Marcus Lattimore, a running back who had made an unofficial visit to Tennessee but was not interested in attending the school, said the hostesses brought signs, including one that read, "Come to Tennessee," according to the report.

Two of Lattimore's high school teammates, Brandon Willis and Corey Miller, have orally committed to Tennessee. Lattimore said the hostesses were "real pretty, real nice and just real cool" and thinks they had "a lot" of influence in his teammates making oral commitments, according to the report.

"I haven't seen no other schools do that," Lattimore said, according to the report. "It's crazy."
Then, Lattimore clinches it.

"You don't want to go to a college where they ain't pretty."

No, no you don't, Marcus.

Again, all of this is very speculative, but one wonders if these hostesses would make the 200-mile trip to a high school football game if they weren't asked to. Those things tend to take place on Friday nights, when many college students find better -- and less constructive -- things to do.

Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton confirmed the school was being investigated, but declined comment on the allegations.

Do you think this is being blown out of proportion or another Kiffin-related problem for the orange and white?
tom-brady-gisele-bundchen-wedding.jpgPower couple and gene-pool titans Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen have reportedly welcomed a baby boy into their family.

Sources tell People magazine that the 29-year-old supermodel gave birth to a future quarterback, but details of where and when we not released.

The couple was married in Los Angeles in February. Brady has a two-year-old son from a previous relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan.

Congratulations to them both, but this little guy is going to have a lot to live up to -- what with the perfectly-shaped mom and Super Bowl-winning old man. I guess if it ever gets too much for him, he can remember that everyone goes through an, um, awkward stage.
chad-ochocinco-ponho-sombrero.JPGAn NFL source says Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has been fined $30,000 for donning a sombrero and poncho after a touchdown reception Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

In a letter the NFL sent this week to Ochocinco, the league wrote, "During the second quarter of the Bengals qame, you were observed gesturing for, and then wearing, a decorative poncho and sombrero in the bench area. ...

"Compounding your violation is the fact that your actions were premeditated and deliberate. Prior to the game on your publicly accessible Twitter account, you posted the following: '@adam_schefter what I've planned for today will get me fined when I score but it's so worth it.'"
Ochocinco was also slapped with a $20,000 fine for a stunt with a dollar bill last month during a replay challenge in which he "fake bribed" an official.

Brandt Andersen.jpgWe've heard a lot of apologies lately, from David Letterman to Tiger Woods to Brian Urlacher. Some of the recent mea culpas have been good. Others average.

None, however, are worse than the one offered by Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen in the wake of a botched marketing ploy that came to a head last night.

It started back in September, when Andersen suggested that Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell settle a long-running war of words with a game of 21 during halftime of one of his team's games. He offered $100,000 to the charity winning party's choice.

After Andersen extended the invited the primaries, he waited. Not hearing from Jordan, he did the only sensible thing: he just assumed that the former Bulls star would be there. After all, Jordan didn't explicitly say that he wouldn't be there.

I know when I ask girls out to dinner and they don't respond to show up at the restaurant anyway. They'll show, I tell myself....

Flash forward to last night, when 7,500 people showed up to see an NBA Development Leauge game expecting to see His Airness -- perhaps fueled by rumors furthered by another brilliantly deceptive move by Andersen. Trying to capitalize on what he calls "viral media," the owner sent a Jordan lookalike out around town.

You know what happened next. Seventy-five hundred unhappy people realized that the 6-foot-1 dude trotting out on the court wasn't Jordan at all. Tempers flared, and many felt misled by the stunt.

Can you blame them?
peter-gammons-espn.JPGHall of Fame baseball journalist Peter Gammons is leaving ESPN after this week's winter meetings.

Gammons has been an ESPN reporter and analyst for 20 years and started his reporting career for the Boston Globe in 1969.

"My decision to leave ESPN and move on at this point in my life has been conflicted," Gammons said in a statement on the network's Web site. "I owe a great deal of my professional life to ESPN, having spent more than half of my 40 years in journalism working for the network, and the choice to move on was made with nothing but the strongest feelings for the people with whom I worked. ESPN gave me a great deal more than I gave it, and will always be a huge part of who I am.

After being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, Gammons suffered a brain aneurysm the following year, but returned to the air.

An accomplished musician, Gammons released a CD in 2006 entitled "Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old."
gatorade-tnfeat.jpgGatorade officials have confirmed that the subline "Gatorade Tiger Focus" will be discontinued.

They say that the decision has nothing to do with the firestorm surrounding the world's best golfer, but rather is part of a strategy designed months ago.

In a statement to CNBC, the hydration specialists said, "We decided several months ago to discontinue Gatorade Tiger Focus along with some other products to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010. We hope to share more about our 2010 plans soon."

The Tiger-themed drink was introduced nationwide in March of 2008. Before we jump aboard the cynicism train, industry trade publication Beverage Digest reported that the line would be discontinued Nov. 25, two days before Woods' fateful wreck.

That fact notwithstanding, how do you think Tiger's advertising empire will be impacted going forward? My gut feeling would be a domino effect will occur, where if one endorser pulls out, many will follow. It seems like no one wants to be the first to do so.

But then again, we live in a forgiving world, so maybe all of this won't have as big an impact as I think it will on Woods' legacy-public perception.
Former "Today Show" anchor and host of "Real Sports" host Bryant Gumbel announced he's recovering from cancer surgery and treatment while co-hosting "Live With Regis and Kelly" this morning.

The 61-year-old said a malignant tumor and part of his lung were removed two months ago. Gumbel kept his condition under wraps, but told Ripa backstage to explain why he couldn't participate in a dancing segment of the show.

john-daly-weight-loss.JPGColorful golfer John Daly has been watching what he eats and getting his cardio in lately. The once-chubby athlete -- yeah, athlete -- has lost 115 pounds and figures that a movie about his slimming-down could be in the works.

And he's already done some thinking about the casting, both for the svelte Daly and the not-so-svelte Daly. He shared his thoughts at a Monday press conference in Australia.

"I just saw Matt Damon, how he swung a golf club, and I thought if I ever made a movie, I want him to be me," Daly said. "The tough part is who would play me at 290 pounds. Now Kevin James, he's my bud, but he'd be good."

When asked what the main storyline might be, he said: "It would just be the life, it would be the whole thing. the guts of it all."

"The problem is who is going to play all the ex-wives?" added Daly, who has four ex-wives, to laughter.
The 43-year-old had lap-band surgery in February, a scene we hope the movie doesn't get too graphic with.
clausen.jpgNotre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen will forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft, according to ESPN's Tom Friend.

Clausen is expected to announce his decision at a 2 p.m. press conference.

"After the season, in talking to my parents and obviously Coach Weis, I jut feel it's the right time,'' Clausen told ESPN.com Monday. "Coach Weis told me whether he was going to be here or not be here, it was time for me to go. He thought I've improved so much since I came to Notre Dame. So, I'm taking his advice, and I'm going to head out.''
The 22-year-old has thrown for 60 touchdowns and 8,148 yards during his three years at the South Bend university.

Many believe that his departure would make star wide receiver Golden Tate's jump to the NFL a sure thing, emptying the cupboard even more for whomever the Irish's next coach will be.
The Veterans Committee has voted manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey into baseball's Hall of Fame.

The duo will be enshrined on July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Herzog managed in the bigs from 1973-1990 and won the 1982 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Harvey was a 31-year National League umpire who hung up his clicker in 1992.
Our Bulls guy John Jackson today writes that the injury-plagued squad is lacking hunger and energy.

One could point to their 7-11 record, the fact that they've lost seven of their last eight or the two straight blowout losses as proof.

But perhaps more telling is what happened late in Saturday night's stinker against the Toronto Raptors.

The Bulls let Raptors guard Jarrett Jack tie his shoes while holding the ball during game action without even batting a collective eyelash.

To be fair, it seems that Luol Deng didn't realize what was going on while he was looking for a screen. And there's also something to be said about good sportsmanship. But that aside, it just looks bad and a little apathetic, doesn't it?

For those of you foolishly pining for the days when Rex Grossman would be a world-beater for the Chicago Bears as this year's unit bumbles its way though the season, a slight jog for your defective memory.

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub separated his left shoulder on the first play of a 23-18 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.

After getting sacked by Derrick Harvey, Schaub stayed on the ground as trainers rushed onto the field. Schaub eventually walked off without any help, but spent just a few minutes on the bench before heading to the locker room for tests.

Enter Rex - as only Rex can.

Grossman threw an interception on his second attempt and finished 3 of 9 for 33 yards before the Texans decided it would be better to drag their banged-up franchise quarterback back onto the field after falling behind 17-0.

With all the ex-Bears busts flourishing throughout the league, it's kinda heartening to see that Rex will always be the same.

Though the Texans fans have yet to learn their lesson. Busy calling for head coach Gary Kubiak's head, they clearly have been too busy to study history and trends - at least that's the impression you get from this comment on a running game blog for the Houston Chronicle that reported Grossman's entry into the game:


They'll learn. And if you know a Texans fan, do them a favor and offer up some education.

You'll have to head here for the full interview videos.

Former NBA referee and gambling enthusiast Tim Donaghy is out of prison after 11 months for a mob-fueled gambling scheme that rocked the league. And, of course, he's made a beeline for TV, ostensibly to explain away why he did it and how it never affected the outcome of games.

Donaghy sat down with Bob Simon on "60 Minutes" in an attempt to clear the air, if not his name. And while admitting to being highly successful - Donaghy and the FBI say he won his bets as much as 80 percent of the time - he never threw a game, he says:

"Because the FBI did a thorough investigation, and even the NBA concluded that I did not fix games in the NBA," Donaghy said.

"He said, 'Knowing the information that I had, I didn't have to do anything on the court to pick a winner. I could pick a winner 80 percent of the time just knowing what I knew an hour before the game,'" Special Agent Philip Scala said. "And watching the tapes we could see that there was never something outlandish where you could see he called a foul or he omitted a foul because he wanted to see a certain team win. We never saw that."

The NBA's investigation came to the same surprising conclusion: "It seems plausible to us that Donaghy may not have manipulated games... We are unable to contradict the government's conclusion."

"I tried to put it out of my mind. And I think that that I was able to do that," Donaghy said.

Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson sustained what looked to be a very serious leg injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's game against the Arizona Cardinals. 

While trying to tackle Cardinals running back Tim Hightower, Henderson collided with teammate Jamarca Sanford, flipping over before laying on the ground in obvious pain. He was carted off and NBC's replay suggested that the prognosis will not be good.

Henderson is a seven-year veteran out of Maryland and entered Sunday's game with 73 tackles on the year.

Predictably, "Saturday Night Live" took on all the Tiger Woods messiness during last night's show hosted by my not-so-secret crush Blake Lively.

The alleged womanizer is portrayed getting in deeper trouble with wife Elin after a series of press conferences. And by trouble, we mean the kind that lands you in the hospital.

Not exactly side-splitting stuff, but pretty funny if you ask me -- especially Jason Sudeikis' Wolf Blitzer impression.

The New Orleans Saints remained undefeated today after an improbable 33-30 comeback win in overtime against the Washington Redskins.

Drew Brees and Co. moved to 12-0 on the strength of several -- deep breath here -- lucky plays, including Redskins placekicker Shaun Suisham's blown 23-yard field goal in the waning moments of regulation.

There was also a shanked punt from Saints punter Thomas Morstead that turned into a 26-yard gain after it doinked off a Redskins player and an overtime review of a fumble that set up the game-winning field goal.

But, perphaps the most strange and fortuitous was the touchdown scored by Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem.

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Here's the descriptive prose, if you're more into that type of thing.

Facing third-and-26 at the Redskins 44, Brees backpedalled under pressure and threw a desperation pass deep over the middle toward Jeremy Shockey in triple coverage. Kareem Moore dived over Shockey's back to make an interception, rolled over, got up and ran 14 yards before Meachem simply took the ball away from an upright Moore and started running down the sideline -- high-stepping 44 yards for the team's ninth return touchdown of the season, tying the game at 17 with 22 seconds left in the first half.
No word yet on how noted Redskins fan and Sports Pros(e) writer Craig Newman is doing, but we're all hoping for the best.
pete-carroll-charlie-weis.jpgUSC coach Pete Carroll is denying allegations in a post that featured quotes attributed to departed Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis.

IrishIllustrated.com Senior Editor Tim Prister's question-and-answer session with Weis contained the following exchange, one that definitely raises eyebrows.

Q: Is it frustrating to you Pete Carroll, for example, portrayed in one way...
CW: Let me ask you this question: You guys know about things that go on in different places. Was I living with a grad student in Malibu, or was I living with my wife in my house? You could bet that if I were living with a grad student here in South Bend, it would be national news. He's doing it in Malibu and it's not national news. What's the difference? I don't understand. Why is it okay for one guy to do things like that, but for me, I'm scrutinized when I swear. I'm sorry for swearing; absolve my sins.
While not coming right out and saying it, one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to see Weis is implying that Carroll lives with a grad student -- or once did.

Carroll is married, has three children in addition to a grandchild.

The Trojan coach is not pleased that Weis would levy these claims on his way out.

"It's untrue, it's irresponsible, and it's incredible he'd be talking about me like that," Carroll said of Weis.

UPDATE (12:36 p.m.): The Los Angeles Times reports that Weis said his comments were taken totally out of context:

Early this morning, Weis contacted The Times and said he was having a "totally subjective" conversation with several reporters that was an aside to the formal interview. During that conversation, Weis said, he was speaking about Internet rumors and how they adversely affect the lives of coaches and their families.
After a frustrating couple of hours combing the Web for an embeddable video of Fresno State's ridiculous game-winning touchdown against Illinois this afternoon, I present this Zapruder-like footage.

Bulldogs offensive lineman Devan Cunningham corralled a two-point conversion with two seconds left to give his team a 53-52 victory over the Illini.

The junior guard said giddily after the game that he'd received a boatload of texts regarding his surprise reception.

And now, he'll get the viral video treatment.

The loss dropped Illinois to 3-9 and will surely leave a gross taste in their mouths during the offeseaon.
Bears tattoo head.jpgRemember this summer when we here in Chicago were chomping at the bit for the arrival of Jay Cutler? When hopes were high, the weather was warm and Brian Urlacher was healthy?

It seems like a long time ago.

The Bears now sit at a disappointing 4-7 headed into tomorrow's game against the St. Louis Rams. Cutler has been a bust through those 11 games. The weather is crummy and Brian Urlacher is making news for his off-field comments and not his play.

Perhaps we need to revist what has been the highlight of the Bears' year.

Ruben Brown web.jpgBY DAVE NEWBART

There might not be a more down-to-earth future NFL Hall-of-Famer than Ruben Brown. Brown, who played four seasons for the Bears and helped push them to the Super Bowl, has moved back to Buffalo, where he played nine great seasons for the Bills. But he's still well-loved among Bears fans and players and gets back to town frequently - primarily for Ruben Brown's Motorcycle Run, a charity ride that raises cash for the Salvation Army.
tim-tebow-john-16-33.JPGIt's always interesting to see which Bible verse devout Christian and Heisman-enthusiast Tim Tebow chooses to inscribe on his eye black.

Today, the Florida Gators quarterback has gone with John 16:33 for the SEC Championship Game against Alabama.

It reads:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will
have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Thus far, the Crimson Tide offense has overcome the Gators' defense in building an early 9-0 lead in Atlanta.
Kentucky Wildcats' freshman phenom John Wall had his coming-out party on national television this afternoon as he helped his fifth-ranked team to a home win over North Carolina, 68-66.

Wall scored 16 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 7 assists -- just the kind of performance that showed why he was such a highly-touted recruit. He missed some time in the second half due to a cramping issue, but was able to return and help the Wildcats stave off a Tar Heel rally.
bernard-berrian-speeding.JPGA common thread among the skill position players on the Minnesota Vikings appears to be that they like to drive fast.

Just two days after All-Everything running back Adrian Peterson was cited for going 109 mph in a 55 mph zone, wide receiver Bernard Berrian was ticketed for doing 104 mph in a 60 mph zone.

According to reports, Minnesota State Patrol nabbed Berrian on Interstate 694. The state trooper -- who didn't recognize the wideout -- characterized him as "polite" and "cooperative."

That's nice.

Authorities in Minnesota seem to be using the high-profile stops as a public-service announcement to other speeders -- the thought being: if members of the division-leading Vikes can get busted, so can you, Joe Blow.

"It is a little bit odd, but on the other hand, I like the publicity about it, because it sort of tells people here are the ramifications, first of all," Capt. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol said, according to WCCO-TV. "And you're going to get caught."
Ohio State's Evan Turner took a nasty fall after a dunk attempt during the Buckeyes' game against Eastern Michigan.

He was taken to the Ohio State University Medical Center for X-rays of his lower back.

A team spokesman said Turner was able to walk on his own while leaving the arena.

The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 20.6 points and 12.9 rebounds this year and already has two triple-double.

Update: The Associated Press reports that Turner broke a vertebrae and will miss eight weeks.

The stodgy parents from "Footloose" were right.

Dancing just ain't no good for anyone.

Especially in the NBA.

The morning after the heated exchange between Bulls' Joakim Noah and LeBron James, we are left to find the words to describe a spat brought about by a difference of opinion as it pertains to dancing.

We're still talking about sports here, in case you're confused.

Midway through the fourth quarter, and with the game clearly in hand for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the two had a verbal battle over all the jukin' and jivin'.

As James went to the free-throw line, Bulls center Joakim Noah had seen enough. He essentially yelled from the bench that there was a fine line between celebrating and showing up a team, and James was crossing it.

Ric Bucher seems to know exactly what Noah said, which will not win him any Sportsman of the Year awards.

Noah's complaint may have merit. The Cavs are owners of some of the most convuluted and complicated celebratary routines out there. If you're old-school or an Andy Rooney-type, you probably hate it all.

Then again, James may have a point when he says, 'It's nothing against the Bulls, it's nothing against Joakim or any of those guys,'' he said. ''It's not something that's new. We have fun, and we love to play the game of basketball. It's nothing about showboating; that's not what we do. I think he was frustrated by the way he played, maybe, as an individual, didn't help his team win.''

Did Noah have a right to get in No. 23's face, or should he have kept his mouth shut? Furthermore, how do we feel about all the dancing and carrying-on? Does it have a place or would you like to see less?
rich-rodriguez-hurricane-katrina.JPGUniversity of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez's team lost seven of their final eight games and missed out on a bowl for a second straight year. Add that to an August report and subsequent investigation that the second-year coach and his staff had a habit of exceeding NCAA time restrictions on practices and workouts, and you have a tumultuous year.

So tumultuous, in fact, that Rodriguez used the following analogy at a speech in lovely Livonia last night:

"It's really kind of ironic that the New Orleans Saints overcame the hurricane a few years back," Rodriguez said, referring to Hurricane Katrina, which damaged large sections of the Gulf Coast in 2005. "I used to live and coach in New Orleans for a couple years, and I know how devastated that city is and how they overcome and rebuild the stadium and rebuild the program.

"And we've had a few hurricanes of our own. We had a big hurricane in August, and it kind of hit us like a ton of bricks. But you had 120 young men and a bunch of people on the staff that said this is not going to tear our program apart.

Probably not the best comparison he could have drawn, but surely he didn't mean to offend anyone. But, you never know how these things are going to play out in our world.

Harmless lapse or blatantly offensive?
mark-sanchez-hurt-slide.jpgThe good news for the New York Jets from last night?

They beat the Buffalo Bills 19-13 in Toronto to move to 6-6 and keep their playoff hopes afloat.

The bad news?

For the second time in five days, rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez injured one of his knees.

Sanchez limped off in the third quarter in didn't return after diving headfirst on an 8-yard run.

Jets coach Rex Ryan, for one, was a little disappointed that the 23-year-old didn't slide on the play. After all, he was treated to a private lesson on the subject this week by Yankees manager Joe Giriardi.

"He's got to understand I don't care about the first down," Ryan said. "I care about him." He added, "I never want him diving forward. I thought we were clear on that."

Sanchez said in the heat of the moment that he just lunged for the first down, and he knew he would take heat from Ryan for doing it. Ryan said that if Girardi were watching, he would have called Sanchez a "knucklehead."

"He's our knucklehead and we love him," Ryan said. "But man, oh, man."

This morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the quarterback has a sprained PCL, and will be able to play in the Jets' Dec. 13 game if he's able to handle the pain.

golf-digest-barack-obama-tiger-woods.jpgIn things-that-are-ironic news, the January issue of Golf Digest features a cover story titled "10 Tips Obama can take from Tiger." The main art is a focused Barack Obama and a very willing-to-give-advice Tiger Woods on a golf course together.

Obviously, the periodical went to print way before all the crashing, speculating and past-digging.

The article focuses on how the president should embrace the golf industry due to the game's positive impact on the economy.

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer writes the following as one of the short essays that accompanies the piece:

"Woods is a good role model -- not because he would make a good president (he wouldn't and neither would Phil Mickelson or anyone else who has spent his working life traveling between driving ranges on private jets), but because he is such a complete master of his talents and ambitions, and because he has always been able to pull himself together after setbacks that would have ruined the rounds, or even the careers, of lesser players."
Guess we'll see how accurate that statement is in the coming weeks/months/years.

If the trade rumor mill is to be believed, Bulls fans may not have Tyrus Thomas to kick around much anymore.

Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Bulls are shopping Thomas and Jerome James for New York Knicks forward Al Harrington.

The Bulls have been chatting up teams while the enigmatic Thomas rehabs an arm injury. The report, citing league sources, says talks have been ongoing for several days between Bulls GM Gar Forman and Knicks president Donnie Walsh, who has been reluctant to move Harrington.

"Nothing is imminent, but both sides would like to figure out a way to do this," one league executive briefed on the talks reportedly said.

Harrington's scoring and $10.2 million expiring contract have piqued the Bulls' interest. The talented, but often frustrating Thomas, 23, was the fourth pick in the 2006 draft. He finished last season with 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds. But he also adds a $13 million cap hold to the Bulls roster after this season.

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni nearly got a chance to coach Thomas in 2008 when he was the odds favorite to take over Bulls coaching duties before them team decided on Vinny Del Negro.

serena-espnmag.jpgSerena Williams can't catch a break lately.

Williams was fined a record $82,500 Nov. 30 for making a boob of herself in a threat-filled U.S. Open tirade and could be suspended from that tournament if she has another "major offense" at any Grand Slam in the next two years.

Probably seemed like a good idea to head off to Barbados to chill out a bit before blowing her top again. Until she, you know, blew her top again. Serena has fallen victim to the celebrity curse: caught on camera mid wardrobe malfunction.

If you need to ogle her athletic form, the NSFW photo can be found here. Let your own conscious be the guide.

Luckily, the only outburst on this day would be of the swimsuit variety. The London Daily Mail reports that the fiery 28-year-old kept her temper in check and merely laughed off the double fault with friends.

Auburn Tennessee Andrews Fo.jpg

The Erin Andrews peephole case against Michael Barrett has taken another turn for the weird. The FBI served warrants to Google and Yahoo on Wednesday over what may be yet another naked woman video, possibly on a Flickr account of Barrett's.

One of the items they want Yahoo to turn over is a video of another naked woman that was posted in June to Flickr.com by a user.

Authorities believe the Flickr account belongs to 48-year-old Michael Barrett, who pleaded not guilty last month to interstate stalking. Flickr is owned by Yahoo.

Barrett pleaded guilty in November to charges of interstate stalking over the now infamous hotel room nude scene.

Pacquiao Cotto Boxing.jpg

Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao after Pacquiao beat Miguel Cotto in November. (AP)

More issues around Manny Pacquiao's camp as the feared Filipino continues to weigh the Floyd Mayweather bout being kicked around possibly for March 13. Pacman's trainer, Freddie Roach, has been sued for assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress.

In a report on TMZ, the incident apparently occurred between Roach and boxing writer Alex Vidal:

According to a lawsuit just filed in L.A. County Superior Court, Freddie Roach became enraged at Wildcard Gym Boxing Club in L.A., after coming face-to-face with Alex Vidal -- a boxing writer who penned a story titled, "Sick Roach Misses Conception's Last Workout (oddly unavailable online)."

Roach -- who suffers from Parkinson's disease -- allegedly challenged Vidal, claiming "he was not sick and that he only went to a clinic." Vidal says he apologized and said he was merely quoting a statement from boxer Bernabe Conception's manager.

Roach allegedly went on a tirade, pushing Vidal "roughly" in the left shoulder, and yelled, "The next time you write about it, I will kill you."

Vidal is suing for the ever popular "unspecified damages.

Now, if we could just get to that fight in the ring.

Emergency crews have rescued two workers who fell from a roof area at Cowboys Stadium onto a lower level while performing maintenance. Arlington Police said one worker has a broken leg and the other suffered a back injury.

Neither injury is thought to be life-threatening.

The workers were working on the top hatch of the $1.2 billion retractable-roof stadium when they apparently slipped around 7 a.m. local time. Rescuers used ladders and repelling ropes to bring them to safety about an hour later.
elf-threatens-santa.jpgDecember is now three days old, so it's time to get into the spirit, right?

'Tis the season to hang your stockings, drink your eggnog, sing your carols and ... threaten a mall Santa while dressed like an elf?

A metro Atlanta shopping mall was evacuated Wednesday night after a man dressed as an elf allegedly told the mall Santa that he was carrying dynamite.

But when the GBI bomb squad examined three packages left near Santa, the incident was declared a ho-ho-hoax.

The bad elf, William C. Caldwell III, was being held without bond Thursday in the Clayton County Jail, charged with having hoax devices, making terroristic threats, false imprisonment, simple assault, reckless conduct, disorderly conduct and false public alarm.

The 45-year-old Caldwell apparently waited patiently in line to get his picture taken with Santa and then twice declared that he was in possession of explosive materials. Authorities quickly detained the 5-foot, 108-pound workshop-helper-wannabe.

Police said that despite his attire, Caldwell had no connection with the mall's holiday presentation.

New_Jersey_Nets.jpgThe New Jersey Nets set an NBA record by losing their 18th straight game to begin the season after falling to the Dallas Mavericks last night. Previously, the 1988-89 Miami Heat and 1999 Los Angeles Clippers had dropped their first 17 contests.


The Nets did it in style, too, giving up 77 first-half points -- including 49 in the second quarter to the Mavs -- in front of a sparse, paper-bag-wearing crowd.

Simply put, nothing is going right for them.

Kiki Vanderweghe, the team's general manager, has replaced Lawrence Frank on the sidelines, they've been plagued with injury and after injury, Chris Douglas-Roberts had swine flu and part owner Jay-Z only sings about Manhattan anymore.

Next, they'll seek to avoid setting the league's all-time losing streak record, which is 23 games.

Imagine having freakishly athletic 300-pounders charging at you, hellbent on inflicting bodily harm on your quarterback.

Such is the life of a collegiate offensive lineman.

It sounds quite stressful.

Perhaps that's why Florida State's Zebrie Sanders treated himself to a little break during Saturday's loss to the rival Florida Gators.

Watch Sanders as he diligently maintains his ground, motionless as his quarterback tries to scramble out of trouble in the face of a Gators' blitz on a play in the third quarter.

To be fair, it does look like the center snaps the ball a bit early. But that doesn't fully explain Sanders' pillar-of-salt impression.

While promoter Bob Arum continues to work with Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines to come to terms on the heavily anticipated bout with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., it seems the pound-for-pound most feared man in boxing is passing his time in stride.

Pacquiao has earned a reputation as the man where Mexican fighters go to die. As his dominance has grown, he's bested Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Mexican-Americans Oscar de la Hoya and Chicago's own David Diaz. If that weren't enough, now he takes on Richie Valens with this karaoke take on "La Bamba," caught at TMZ.

Of course, the seven-time champion and Filipino national hero hasn't just been singing as the Mayweather booking develops. He's also in the midst of his second run for Congress. filed his candidacy to represent the southern province of Sarangani under his own People's Champ Movement, the local Commission on Elections office said. He'll run against Roy Chiongbian, brother of the incumbent who due to term limits can't seek re-election.

In a country that literally shuts down when Pacquiao fights, it's a wonder he lost the first time.

And about Pacquiao-Mayweather? March 13 is the date everyone's circling after Roy Jones' stunning loss in Australia to Danny Green as the Vegas date is now open.


Norman Rockwell's "The Dugout," courtesy Christie's Images Ltd., 2009

Finally, a sleepy scene from the Cubs dugout ends with a positive. Sadly, this is not a reference to the current batch of North Siders and their aging caretaker, Lou Piniella.

New York auction house Christie's spun off the Norman Rockwell painting "The Dugout" Wednesday in an auction worth a nifty $662,500 - plus some fees that are hardly worth mentioning on top of that pile of dough.

Here's what Christie's had to say on the work:

The Dugout is exemplary of Rockwell's ability to imbue his work with narrative and capture the essence and character of the people that he depicted. In the present work he adeptly captures the anxiety tinged focus of the player who is next at bat, while his teammates' glum facial expressions and body positions reveal that the game is not going in their favor. Rockwell masterfully captures the energy of the crowd behind the players, as the highly developed individuals cheer fervently.

In discussing his career, Rockwell commented, "I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. And perhaps, therefore, this is one function of the illustrator. He can show what has become so familiar that it is no longer noticed. The illustrator thus becomes a chronicler of his time." (as quoted in Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, p. xii) With The Dugout Rockwell succeeds not only in chronicling his time, but also in capturing the nostalgia associated with baseball. This masterwork brought a national pastime home to houses across America and continues to do so for today's viewer.

Though much like the actual Cubs, this was a bit of a disappointment. The piece was expected to fetch $700,000 - $1,000,000. Art imitating life yet again.


Whatchugonna do, brother, when you finally rid yourself of your pain of an ex-wife? If you're Hulk Hogan and the 24-inch pythons, you certainly don't get scared out of marrying again.

TMZ ran into the Hulkster and his girlfriend of a couple years, Jennifer McDaniel - you know, the one who looks like his daughter, Brooke, at LAX and he seemed to be a Hulkamaniac for the lucky lady, who was sporting a giant diamond.

The feeling must be mutual. McDaniel has "Terry," Hulk's real name, tattooed on her right wrist - the left hand is saved for the rock.

This whirlwind of romance comes just four months after Hulk finished a bitter divorce to his ex, Linda Bollea. Either he's punch drunk and has forgotten that fresh Hell or hope springs eternal, brother.

"Check that left hand out," Hogan, 56, told TMZ.com. "That could be the new Mrs. Hogan."

Sadly, while looking for that video, this unfortunate link was also uncovered at TMZ - Hulk pantsing Ric Flair during a bout in Australia Thanksgiving week. Yes, there's a picture if you really need to see the hidden parts of the Nature Boy.

Thumbnail image for ron_artest_bulls.jpgIn an interview in the Dec. 7 issue of Sporting News, Ron Artest admits to drinking during games while he was a member of the Bulls.

Artest, who played in Chicago from 1999-2002 says, "I used to drink Hennessy ... at halftime. I (kept it) in my locker. I'd just walk to the liquor store (near the stadium) and get it.

The 30-year-old forward has long been as known for his eccentric nature as for his superb defensive skills. In 2004, he was suspended for 73 games for brawling in the stands during a game in Detroit.

Drinking hard alcohol during halftime is possibly even more confusing behavior, considering the physical exertion it takes to hustle up and down the court.

Not exactly something you want to do after enjoying an 80-proof refreshment.

Artest says part of the reason for the drinking was because the Bulls were losing so often.

Thumbnail image for tigerelin.jpgTiger Woods has released the following on his Web site:

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.

mark-sanchez-jets-titans-22d713a73c1e4128_large.jpgNew York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez -- as talented and good-looking as he may be -- seems to have a flaw.

Somehow, he's gotten this far in life not knowing how to slide.

After tweaking his knee on an awkward attempt Sunday, coach Rex Ryan did the only logical thing to get help for his young franchise signal-caller.

He called the world-champion New York Yankees and asked if anyone would be able to show Sanchez the ins and outs of getting down.

Next thing you know, manager Joe Girardi is imparting his wisdom at the Jets' practice facility.

Girardi had to work around the brace on Sanchez's left leg.

"We tried to help him learn how to slide on the other leg," Girardi said. "It's not an easy thing to do."

Sanchez said Girardi taught him how to "hook" the leg because "you don't want to hook that leg into the ground because it might get stuck.

Sanchez seemed to appreciate the one-on-one attention from the champ.

"It meant a lot to me personally for him to come out, take time out of his schedule . . . to help me out with something like sliding," Sanchez said. "There's nobody better to get coaching from than him, especially in this area.

"I've never really been a slider. In baseball, I slid head first. In football, I've done the same thing, or tried to get out of bounds or throw the ball away."

allen-iverson-hands-spread.jpgIf you, dear reader, are an Allen Iverson fan and were beside yourself over his retirement from the NBA, today brings forth very exciting news that will bring you back to the living.

He's baaaaaaaack.

Yes, after announcing last week he was hanging up his sneakers, the 10-time All-Star has agreed to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Iverson returns to the team where he spent parts of 11 seasons and served as the face of the franchise. This comes after an ill-fated stint with the Memphis Grizzlies, which came after an equally ill-fated stint with the Detroit Pistons.

The 34-year-old's production has dropped off greatly, which could be a factor in the ill-fated nature of his previous two stops. Once one of the premiere scorers in the game, Iverson managed only 17.4 points a contest last year in Detroit.

The Sixers are currently floundering with a 5-13 record.
US Weekly has released a voicemail, allegedly from Tiger Woods to Jaimee Grubbs, in which the golfer allegedly pleads with the cocktail waitress to change her voicemail greeting because his wife may be calling in the near future.

It's important to note that the Associated Press has been unable able to identify the caller as Woods.

(Sorry about the autoplay)

"Hey, it's Tiger," the man says in the voicemail, "I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. So if you can, please take your name off that. Just have it as a number on the voicemail. You got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."

The magazine reports that the date of the call was Nov. 24, four days before the crash that sparked all of the Woods-related revelations.
We're not 100 percent sure what to make of the following video, which allegedly aired on Chinese television. It seems to be a re-enactment of the whole Tiger Woods incident, only with all kinds of liberties taken.

But, it's pretty amazing. Please do enjoy.

mark-dell.jpgEight Michigan State football players have been suspended from the team pending the results of a police investigation into a Nov. 22 fight on the East Lansing campus.

B.J. Cunningham, Mark Dell, Ashton Leggett, Chris L. Rucker, Fred Smith, Brynden Trawick, Ishmyl Johnson and Jamiihr Williams have been suspended for violation of team rules, according to a release form Spartans coach Mark Dantonio.

Brent Mitchell, a 20-year-old MSU junior claims he was injured in the fight and that 15 to 20 football players were involved in the melee.

Two other Spartans, Glenn Winston and Roderick Jenrette, were dismissed from the football program last week.
jaimee-grubbs.jpgTMZ reports that a reality-show veteran claims she had a 31-month affair with Tiger Woods -- and has a voicemail recording and plenty of text messages to prove it.

Jaimee Grubbs allegedly met Woods in Las Vegas in April 2007 when she was a 21-year-old cocktail waitress. According to TMZ's report, in tomorrow's US Weekly Grubbs says she had 20 sexual encounters with Woods, is in possession of racy texts and has a November 24 voicemail from the golfer suggesting his wife might be on to the alleged hanky-panky.

Up until now, Grubbs' claim to fame was being on VH1's "Tool Academy."

Legit or not, the news is yet another blow to Woods' public image, which has taken a heavy beating since news of his single-car accident broke on Friday afternoon.
In news that will have Craig Newman even less productive at work than usual, the Boston Red Sox are toying with the idea of moving one-time American League MVP Pedroia over to shortstop.

Pedroia, the Sox' current second-sacker, was an All-American shortstop at Arizona State and keeps himself sharp by taking ground balls on the left side of the infield during the season. Perhaps of equal importance: he wants to do it.

"They've put it out there and I've told them I'm all for it. I can do it. I can't wait for [Terry Francona] to call me and ask, 'can you do it?' I can do it. I really want to do it."
Boston's shortstop search began after the departure of Alex Gonzalez, and the team believes it may be easier to sign an everyday second baseman. Pedroia got a shot at the position during spring training in 2006, but didn't impress manager Terry Francona enough with his play there to make the idea stick.
carlos_dunlap.jpgFour days before the SEC championship game, Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap was arrested for drunk driving Tuesday morning in Gainesville.

His status for the top-ranked Gators' game against second-ranked Alabama Saturday is now extremely questionable. Coach Urban Meyer is not expected to comment on the arrest until after today's practice.

Dunlap, the MVP of last year's national championship game, was found asleep at the wheel at an intersection, according to Gainesville police.

GPD spokesman Keith Kameg said officers responded to a reckless driving call and found a red 2000 Chrysler stopped at a green light at an intersection near 200 SW 34th St. in Gainesville at 3:25 a.m. ET. The car did not move after the traffic lights changed several times. When police approached the car, Dunlap was slumped over in the driver's seat.

Kameg said the driver's side window was cracked and officer Robert Rogers was able to awaken Dunlap, though Dunlap "would only open his eyes momentarily and then fall back asleep."

Dunlap is tied for the team lead with seven quarterback sacks and would potentially be a first-round pick if he leaves for the NFL after this year.

marion-jones-basketball.jpgMarion Jones, the disgraced track star who admitted to using steroids before winning three gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics, is eyeing a comeback as a professional basketball player.

Jones spent six months in jail for lying to federal agents in an investigation that involved the BALCO drug ring. She's been training with San Antonio Silver Stars assistant coaches Sandy Brondello and Olaf Lange in hopes of regaining the form that helped her lead North Carolina to the 1996 NCAA championship.

That, coincidentally, was the last time Jones played organized ball -- although she was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in 2003.

At 34 and away from the game for so long, it's tough to say exactly what type of impact she would have if an WNBA team took a chance on her.

Kevin Blackistone provides a human touch to the story over at AOL, chronicling Jones' ongoing quest for redemption.