A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

January 2010 Archives

First LeBron James takes Michael Jordan's jersey number. Now he's taking his commercial meme.

The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar and McDonald's Corp. have agreed to a multi-year endorsement deal. Financial terms of the contract aren't currently known, but James has already filmed his first ad with the company.

It's a remake of the classic "The Showdown" commercial, and it will air before the Super Bowl.

That spot featured Michael Jordan and Larry Bird playing a game of H-O-R-S-E for a Big Mac and fries. That's just how NBA players settled things back then.

Hey, the Bulls made it back to the .500 mark with a road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

Derrick Rose also turned in another tremendous addition to his highlight reel -- an ankle-breaking crossover dribble on Thabo Sefalosha en route to dipsy-doo lay-up.

You'll remember his YouTube-friendly dunk against Utah's Goran Dragic earlier this week drew a standing ovation online.

The second-year guard is averaging 26.3 points a game during the Bulls' current four-game winning streak if you like stats more than moving pictures.

WWE wrestlers Chris Jericho and Greg "Hurricane" Helms were arrested for reportedly being "extremely intoxicated" at a Kentucky Shell station around 5 a.m. this morning.

They were each released on $120 bail.

The duo was in town filming an episode of "Friday Night Smackdown" in Cincinnati.

A Kansas high school basketball coach who ruined his punk students' prank by nailing a blindfolded half-court shot will be going to the Final Four anyway.

Joel Branstrom was pulled on to the court by students at Olathe Northwest High School and told he'd win tickets to the Final Four in Indianapolis if he made the miraculous heave. Branstrom knew it was a lie, but still went along with it. The crowd, which planned on erupting when he missed it, erupted anyway when he made it.

As a consolation prize, Branstrom was rewarded with a $10 Chipotle gift card. The footage became an Internet sensation, leading to someone providing him tickets to Indianapolis.

Branstrom wouldn't talk about where they came from.

Judging by this interview, the former Kansas walk-on seems like a pretty cool guy. It's obvious why he was the funniest teacher to prank.

Nice to see him get what he earned, and the way the Jayhawks are playing this year, it could be a very memorable experience for the alum.

Go ahead, hate Tim Tebow.

Hate the hype machine that's anointed him as the second coming. Hate the around-the-clock coverage of his every move. Hate the fact that his shirtless picture rocketed to the top of Google Trends.

Go ahead, hate what he stands for.

Hate the overt Christianity. Hate any holier-than-thou perception he gives you. Hate the fact that he talks about things you don't want to hear football players talk about.

But don't spend a second of your time wringing your hands, hating the fact that he'll appear for thirty seconds during the oh-so-sacred Super Bowl.

Because when the former Florida Gators quarterback and aspiring NFL prospect appears during a commercial break of Super Bowl XLIV, it's only the next logical step in a progression that's been slower-developing than his throwing release.

paul-shirley.jpgPaul Shirley, who appeared in 18 games during his NBA career, has been let go by ESPN after posting his opinions on Haiti on another platform.

The long letter describes why he is declining to donate any money to the rebuilding efforts down there after the devastating earthquake.

Shirley prefaces his argument by saying that his views put him in a "minuscule minority." His point, condensed of course, is that he doesn't believe the money will be put to good use.
andre-dawson-expo.jpgIt looks like Andre Dawson will be going into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo.

Sorry, Cub fans.

Dawson texted that other paper in town last night, "Hall will issue a press release [Wednesday] announcing that I will go in as an Expo."

Guess that's that.

The Hawk spent the first 11 years of his career in Canada, where he won a Rookie of the Year award and hit 225 of his 438 career home runs.

But, it was here in Chicago where Dawson really became popular on the broader scale, fueled by his MVP season in 1987. He made the All-Star team in five of his six seasons while with the Cubs.

This news really only confirms what we already had been hearing.

At the end of the day it's hard to argue with the choice anyway.

It's time like these those super gawdy half-and-half hats would come in handy.
We're lucky enough to have a dispatch from Andy Aupperlee, a Seattle-based photographer and friend of the blog,  on the greatest of all American sports: beer pong.

He did the same thing for us last year. I openly wept with joy when he offered to do it again.

A veritable feast of pictures are after the jump.

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In what is starting to become a New Year's tradition, I traveled to Las Vegas on January 2nd to shoot the World Series of Beer Pong V. It being my second year on the job, I sort of knew what to expect, but I would have never guessed that Smashing Time would repeat as champions.

Ron and Pop defended their crown, giving official notice to the beer pong community that they are THE team to beat. While watching Smashing Time decimate the competition was enthralling, I also enjoyed getting to meet the 800+ other participants.

"The Jay Leno Show" sent a team and international representatives from Canada, Japan and Ireland were among the contenders. The event truly is a cross-section of life: DJs, frat boys, husbands and wives, teachers and even strippers make the trek to battle the world's best players. With the tournament in its fifth year, it is obvious that competitive beer pong is just starting to hit its stride.
greg-oden-picture.jpgGreg Oden, the hard-luck center of the Portland Trail Blazers apologized this evening for nude photographs that lit up the Internet earlier today.

Oden said the pictures were taken about 1 1/2 years ago with his cell phone and sent to a former girlfriend. A friend alerted the 21-year-old former No. 1 pick that they were being passed around the Web, prompting the admission.

"I would like to apologize to everybody: Portland, the fans, the organization," Oden told reporters at the Blazers practice facility. "It was very embarrassing."




Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that outfielder Xavier Nady has agreed to a one-year contract with the Cubs.

Nady, 31, hit .305 with 25 homers and 97 RBIs in 2008 while splitting time between the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. The .280 career hitter appeared in just seven games last year.

Thumbnail image for USA NFL OBAMA.jpgThe New Orleans Saints appear to have a very powerful ally in their corner as they prepare for their Super Bowl match-up with the Indianapolis Colts.

President Barack Obama tipped his rooting hand yesterday in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer.

"You know, I think both teams are terrific," he said. "I guess I am rooting a little bit for the Saints as the underdog, partly just because when I think about what's happened in New Orleans over the last several years and how much that team means to them. You know, I'm pretty sympathetic."
Not sure if this endorsement is good or bad for the Saints, but with two weeks of time to kill before the big game, we'll take any story line we can get here in Medialand.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade put on a show last night in Miami, and it was a bit of showing off that ultimately decided the game.

With his Heat up by one in the game's final seconds, Wade attempted a wraparound pass that James stole and parlayed into the game-winning free throws.

Wade had a chance to win with a jumper, but James' defensive efforts forced him into a difficult, unsuccessful try.

The drama capped a night of back-and-forth heroics between the superstars.

Wade scored 30 of his 32 points in the first half while James spread his 32 out a little more evenly.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade put on a show last night in Miami, and it was a bit of showing off that ultimately decided the game.

With his Heat up by one in the game's final seconds, Wade attempted a wraparound pass that James stole and parlayed into the game-winning free throws.

Wade had a chance to win with a jumper, but James' defensive efforts forced him into a difficult, unsuccessful try.

The drama capped a night of back-and-forth heroics between the superstars.

Wade scored 30 of his 32 points in the first half while James spread his 32 out a little more evenly.


President Obama poses Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher at the White House.

The First Hoops Fan was thrilled to invite the Los Angeles Lakers to the White House on Monday, even if he had to throw some Bulls props in the mix.

Obama said he was especially excited to meet Lakers' coach Phil Jackson, who has won 10 championships, though he didn't hesitate to point out that six of those victories were with Obama's hometown Bulls.

"You remember that," Obama joked with former Lakers all-star Magic Johnson, who was on the losing end of the Bulls 1991 victory.

The President also commended the Lakers players not only for their athletic achievements, but also their work off the court. The players held a fitness clinic for Washington-area school children Monday, and several players are donating money to relief efforts in Haiti.

The Lakers won their 15th title last season agains the Orlando Magic.

Thumbnail image for michigan-state-logo.jpgToday is a confusing day for those of us who really like Tom Izzo and simultaneously despise the proposed new logo for Michigan State athletics.

A few days after the online community of Spartans banded together in hatred for this new Nike-approved thing, the coach of the Big Ten-leading basketball team voiced his support for the new look.

"Of all the days, this would be the dumbest time to talk about it, except I'm so disappointed with our group of alums that are complaining about it that it's a great time to talk about it for two minutes," Izzo said when asked for his thoughts on the change. "It's a lot bigger than the team; it's a lot bigger than the program. It's about our athletic department and our university, which is way bigger than one game or one season.

"I have been mystified out of my mind over it. Not to make it bigger than it is, but to me, it's a small deal."

This seemingly puts Izzo in the very small minority who are OK with the much-less-intricate design.

4-8-03 Hein Cubs 4.jpg

Mr. Cub is doing his best Papa Bear impersonation - advising one of the kids to tell the truth.

Ernie Banks tells the Trib's Fred Mitchell that he wants to see Sammy Sosa pull a Mark McGwire: fess up, come clean and move on:

"I would say just what Mark McGwire did," Banks said. "Come clean with it. Explain it to them. ... Just say: 'This is what happened.' It is hard to do, to admit this. Just admit it and live with it and understand it. I am sure a lot of people will forgive him."

Sammy has always denied using anything heavier than Flintstones vitamins, but with the Cardinals' slugging first baseman admitting to juicing during the two stars' historic homer battle in 1998, the pressure continues to mount on Sosa to say he cheated, too.

But when you have Banks on your back, it takes the movement to a whole new level. The Hall-of-Famer is easily one of the iconic faces of the organization. If Sammy has something to tell the world, having Banks in his corner to help him through the media maelstrom is about as good a guardian angel as you can get.

"I will just explain it to him and how the people are," Banks said. "I don't think he really understood that. People are for you; they want to see you do well. They are forgiving people. We haven't won in over 100 years, so this audience here is pretty special."

Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas is in serious condition after he was shot in the head during an attack in a bar, according to Mexican authorities.

The 29-year-old goal-scorer was attacked while in the bathroom at a bar in the south of Mexico City.

The early report is that Cabanas is conscious, but has a heart problem doctors are working to rectify.

The Primera División de México side Club America star was expected to be with his national club at the World Cup in South Africa this summer.
minnesota-vikings.jpgThere's an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" -- which is not the worst half-hour sitcom out there -- where one of the characters (Marshall, a native of Minnesota) frequents a Vikings bar in New York City.

One of the gags is that every time someone brings up the 1999 NFC Championship game, the entire place yells "damn" and downs their beers to cope.

That was, of course, when Gary Anderson blew a game-winning field goal and the 15-1 Vikes lost to Atlanta in overtime.

With that in mind, one wonders what the patrons of that particular fictional bar will do when someone brings up the 2010 NFC Championship game -- assuming the place didn't get burned down following Brett Favre's silly interception at the end of regulation.
The brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is being charged with assault following the death of their 70-year-old father in Massachusetts Sunday.

Mark Kerrigan, 45, is expected to be arraigned today on one count of assault and battery on a person over 60, according to a report from the Boston Herald.

Nancy's mother, Brenda, told the Herald that her husband died of heart attack.

A police report states that the two men were arguing and pushing each other before the elder man fell back.

The report says Mark put his hands "around his father's neck" and accused him of "faking it" when he fell. He also had to be subdued by pepper spray and appeared intoxicated, according to the report.

The argument was apparently about use of the family's telephone.

APTOPIX NFC Championship Fo.jpg

The Watch is officially on. Brett Favre is doing his now annual retirement song and dance.

Favre, who spent the NFC Championship game getting pounded into the turf courtesy of the Super Bowl-bound New Orleans Saints, tells ESPN's Ed Werder he's leaning toward ending his career. Again. For now.

In fact, the 40-year-old, who said after his valiant, but losing effort in the Louisiana Superdome Sunday night that he felt more like 49, said he's "highly unlikely" to come back. If true - and until the middle of training camp, nothing is certain - Favre will end a brilliant career on an interception at the end of regulation.

Of course, the man's probably too beat up to get into his Wranglers by himself, so this declaration may end up meaning very little, as Favre retirement announcements often do. So Vikings owner Zygi Wilf would be well-advised to keep the corporate jet available and coach Brad Childress should have his Escalade gassed up for the trip to the airport.

And all NFL fans need to come to grips with the beginning of the Favre Watch season, which runs through mid-summer. Maybe we can make a drinking game out of it or something.


The Dallas Morning News reports today that steroids trafficker David Jacobs told the paper he supplied Michael Vick with performance-enhancing drugs when Vick was a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

Jacobs, who committed suicide in 2008, was sharing information with the NFL about steroids users until his death.

The News did not release this information because authorities wouldn't confirm that Vick was part of their investigation. Recently, word broke that the feds had quizzed Vick on the matter, thus giving the paper cause to run the story.

Derrick Rose posterized Phoenix Suns Goran Dragic with a two-handed tomahawk dunk in the Bulls' somewhat surprising road win last evening.

"I didn't know he was gonna jump at first," Rose said. "I was just gonna go up and dunk it. I guess I pulled it back and put it in."

Yes, yes you did, Derrick.

This is, without question, the best dunk of Rose's young career, but it one of the all-time greats?

Some Bulls think so.

"That just bumped somebody out of the top-10 greatest dunks ever," Bulls guard John Salmons said. "Whoever was 10 is out."

Carlos Zambrano and Ozzie Guillen -- as seen in this older commercial -- have an on-screen chemistry that is understandable in any language.

Crosstown rivals Carlos Zambrano and Ozzie Guillen have teamed up to star in a soft drink commercial airing in their native Venezuela.

The ad, which is shown during breaks of Venezuelan Winter League baseball games, shows Zambrano arguing with an umpire and getting ejected. He then apparently tosses the baseball in disgust.

It's like that role was specifically tailored for him.

The Cubs right-hander is then joined by Guillen and fellow countryman Bobby Abreu of the Los Angeles Angels, who all enjoy a laugh.

Considering the off-season weight loss Zambrano debuted at the Cubs Convention, he's opting for the diet soda.

While Zambrano's acting chops probably won't win him any awards, his performance on the mound has drawn Guillen's admiration.

"Zambrano, to me, is one of the best pitchers in the game," Guillen said before his White Sox faced his co-star in a game last season. "And I love, love the way he handles himself on the field. Many people say he's crazy, he's out of his mind. I love that, I like that attitude. Baseball needs people like that."
The Oakland Athletics have lost prospect Grant Desme.

Not to another team, but to priesthood.

The 2009 Arizona Fall League MVP has announced he's retiring from baseball to lead a life more pious.

The outfielder is considered one of the best in the A's organization. He hit .288 with 31 homers, 89 RBIs and 40 stolen bases last season with Kane County and Stockton.

Um, above is reportedly a song that Prince penned to serve as the Minnesota Vikings' fight song.

The Minneapolis resident, who was on hand for Sunday's purple-and-gold thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys, said he hadn't been to the Metrodome for a game in ages.

Something weird happened after the diminutive one's visit.

It is Prince, after all.

"I saw the future, he said.

There you have it. In the future, music will sound like this.

In his second-to-last show on NBC, Conan O'Brien continued his quest to spend all of the network's money with the help of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

Or a horse stand-in, as many have pointed out. Look, if I could identify horses by sight, I wouldn't be stuck in this dead-end newspaper job.

The red-haired one said the horse, which was wearing a mink snuggie, was watching restricted Super Bowl coverage -- all at a cost of $4.8 million to his least favorite network.

But, sharp eyes on the internet have pointed out that the horse was actually looking at a USFL game.

I'm not so sure Mine That Bird knew the difference. Or the horse pretending to be Mine That Bird. Whatever.

Tremendous equine acting, however.

Coco's last show is tonight. Stay strong, America.
Thumbnail image for sean-salisbury-deadspin.jpgFormer NFL quarterback and ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury has admitted to taking cellphone pictures of his genitals and showing them around.

The 46-year-old was suspended by the network after the 2006 incident for then-undisclosed reasons. His admission comes after long-running speculation in the blogoshpere about his conduct, which spiraled into a contentious back-and-forth with Deadspin.

"I was ashamed, and I didn't want to say anything," says Salisbury, who was an NFL quarterback for eight years and an NFL analyst for 12. "I thought it would go away and let my ego get in the way. Since then, I've beat myself up about it more than 10 baseball bats could. A stupid mistake can cost you, and this has really cost me. I should have been having this conversation a long time ago."

Salisbury said that the cellphone incident wasn't specifically cited when his contract wasn't renewed by the worldwide leader in 2008.
michigan-state-logo.jpgIs this ridiculous thing on the right the new face of Michigan State?

UPDATE: It looks like the widespread panic about this may be a little premature, according to a follow-up post on this same subject.

Those of you who hold on to and value traditions understand what it's like when someone messes with those things you've held dear.

That's exactly what a bunch of Michigan State alums and backers are going through right now in the wake of the news the school's logo might be undergoing a transformation.

The classic Spartans gladiator helmet will get a makeover this spring, according to Heather Swain, Assistant Vice President for University Relations, and the school will make an official announcement in April.

The reported new design is, in a word, awful.


Poor Rex Grossman has suffered another loss in Chicago. The former Bears quarterback sold his his Trump Tower condo for close to a $700,000 loss.

Grossman purchased the two-bedroom unit in September 2008 for $2.681 million. The current Houston Texan backup QB has reduced the price of the 3,437-square-foot condo a couple of times, but finally had to settle for the bargain-basement price of $2 million.

The unit includes two bedrooms, four bathrooms, a den and a 17-by-12-foot "Media Room" -- a perfect spot for reviewing game film, according to Chicago Real Estate Daily, reporting on the deal when Grossman closed.


Bears running back Matt Forte had post-season arthroscopic surgery on his left knee within the last couple of weeks, reports the Chicago Tribune. Forte, who struggled for yards in the lost '09 campaign, had an MRI at season's end on the same knee.

Forte has been been battling a hamstring issue since last summer - including an MRI after s sprain in Week 3 after spraining the hamstring in the Bears 25-19 win in Seattle against the Seahawks.

The Forte situation piles on top of the already injury-plagued Bears running back corps. Northern Illinois product Garrett Wolfe had shoulder surgery two weeks and and Kevin Jones continues to rehab torn ligaments in his left ankle. Adrian Peterson missed several weeks mid-season. Without a high-up draft spot going into 2010, it's beginning to look troublesome on offense for the Bears and the 2009 season isn't even done yet.

An Italian television station has apologized for an ill-conceived prank in which a female presenter made it her business to grab David Beckham's business.

Elena Di Cicocci, who is the host of "Le Iene" on Italia Uno, went in for the kill while the soccer enthusiast was answering questions from a throng of reporters. She did all this while wearing yellow gloves, as if she was unclogging a sink or something.

"Le Iene" translates to "The Hyenas," so I'm guessing there's a good amount of hijinx set afoot with each episode.

As you might imagine, Becks wasn't too thrilled with the stunt and was whisked away by security into a nearby hotel.
Thumbnail image for miguel-cabrera-scratches.jpgDetroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera has spent three months undergoing alcohol abuse treatment in Miami, he revealed this morning.
 Cabrera, who was involved in a booze-fueled domestic disturbance at the tail end of last season, said he hasn't had a drink since beginning counseling.
 "When you've got problems," said Cabrera, "you can't hide."
 "As a ballplayer, you do something like that and you have a problem," Cabrera said. "I want to play a lot of years and right now I feel comfortable. I feel great."

The training will continue with the same doctor during spring training and the regular season.
For now, it looks like all of the "is Wade Phillips safe" chatter can be put on hold.
 ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys have signed the coach to a three-year contract extension that runs through 2012.
 The club had an option for next year, and has apparently decided to tack on two years to the end -- perhaps to end some of that lame-duck gossip.
Phillips won the first playoff game of his head-coaching career when Dallas crushed the Philadelphia Eagles, but then saw his team get dismantled by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
In three years under Phillips, the Cowboys are 33-15 in the regular season and have won two NFC East titles.
glen-davis.jpgBoston Celtics forward Glen Davis may be looking at a fine or a suspension after yelling an expletive at a heckler during last night's road loss to the Detroit Pistons.

The fan repeatedly called Big Baby "fat boy" and encouraged him to lose some weight. Bonus points for creativity were not awarded.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers called Davis' behavior "unacceptable."

"I'm upset that we lost, people call me names, but that's part of the game. If you win the game, it keeps a lot of people quiet," Rivers said.

Both the Boston radio and television broadcasts picked up Davis' swear.
gillian-cooke-bobsled-pants.jpgThis is our first bobsled-related post. I don't even have to look that one up to verify.

The video of British bobsled rider Gillian Cooke splitting her pants at this week's World Championships in Switzerland is sweeping the world.

And why wouldn't it?

It's just so perfectly low-brow. So perfectly plucked from an episode of "America's Funniest Home Videos." And pretty darn funny.

Just before shoving off, Cooke is vigorously thrusting back and forth when her skin-tight suit erupts open right down the middle of her backside. She doesn't seem to notice, and she takes off with teammate Nicola Minichiello.

The duo was able to pilot their sleigh to a seventh-place finish and are expected at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next month.

Hope she's ready to talk about it by then.
Brock-Lesnar-100209.jpgUltimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar finally weighed in on the Canadian health care system yesterday in press conference announcing his return to fighting after a bout with diverticulitis.

Lesnar described his harrowing illness, which reportedly struck him while hunting in Manitoba, and the subsequent quality of care he received north of the border.

"I love Canada," said Lesnar. "Some of the best people and best hunting in the world, but I wasn't in the right facility."

"They couldn't do nothing for me," he added. "It was like I was in a Third World country, I just looked at my wife and she saved my life and I had to get out of there."

That wife? Why, it's former WWE wrestling superstar Sable.

Of course it is.
Who would have possibly thought that a basketball league only for white people would cause any trouble?

Apparently not the All-American Basketball League, which announced in a news release that it hopes to kick off it's inaugural season this summer in the Southeast.

"Only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league," it read in part.

Don "Moose" Lewis, the league's commissioner, says that the reason for the exclusion isn't racially motivated.

"There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," he said. "I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas' indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans' dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

"Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."
Again, he claims this isn't racism.

Battle it out in the comments. 
A bizarre moment in the Purdue-Illinois game last night reminded us all of the importance of double-checking stuff, crossing T's and dotting I's.

It seems whomever on the Boilermakers' staff charged with writing John Hart's name in the official scoresheet dropped the ball.

So, when Hart made his first bucket of the game, Purdue was slapped with a technical foul, much to the dismay of a flummoxed Matt Painter.

Hart and Purdue would get the last laugh, however, in the form of an 84-78 victory. The redshirt freshman erupted for 14 points in 18 minutes after coming in averaging a shade over a point a game. That's the kind of production that not even the scorekeeper remembers.

Michael Jordan showed up on Jay Leno's primetime television program last night to answer a few softball questions from the one-time "Tonight Show" host.

It was entertainment perfectly suited for that time slot right before the nightly local news.

The unquestioned highlight was when Leno asked MJ if he could still dunk.

Jordan's incredulous retort: "Can I still dunk, are you stupid? Yeah, I can still dunk. I'm old, I'm not lame."

Jordan then called Leno's question dumb, but it all appeared to be in good fun.


Get ready for the Internet to explode again: A journalist, author and recovering sex addict himself is reporting that Tiger Woods IS seeking out treatment for sex addiction.

Benoit Denizet-Lewis reports that a source with knowledge of the golfer's treatment has confirmed Woods is at Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Miss., according to a story at nydailynews.com.

"We mock or it we say it's not a real addiction," said the journalist and regular New York Times Magazine contributor. "But it's very much the real deal."

The rumors about Woods seeking treatment have been percolating for several weeks as the maelstrom of Woodsgate quieted down just a bit. This is sure to spin the frenzy machine back into full gear - in addition to the Daily News, ESPN already started picking up on the story Tuesday afternoon.

Denizet-Lewis, who also contributes to the sports blog Deadspin, says that rehab for sex addiction is no different that any other addiction treatment course. He says Woods will have to sign a celibacy agreement - no masturbation, even - and will be enrolled in 12-step programs, art therapy and a most-likely cringe-inducing bought of raw truth.

"He'll do like everyone else - get up early, eat the same food and go through the same emotions. ... It's a really intense experience," Denizet-Lewis tells the Daily News.

Now, surely everyone is just gonna lay back and let the man recover in peace, right?

rex-ryan-diet.JPGAs even the casual football viewer has probably noticed, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is a large man.

An article today from the New York Post offers the smoking gun evidence as to why that is.

He eats 7,000 calories a day.

The somewhere-around-350-pound Ryan set out the season determined to lose some of his girth, but it hasn't gone to plan. Yes, 7,000 calories a day tends to cripple a diet.

The paper goes on to describe his post-game celebratory dinners with his wife and reveals that his love of Mexican food is so strong, his assistant coaches have begun calling it "Rexican."

Oh, he also likes beer.

It should be pointed out that Ryan's diet is meager compared to the one Michael Phelps was on (12,000 calories a day), but then again, Phelps was a world-class athlete.

His Jets face Indianapolis Sunday for a trip to the Super Bowl.

Get your snacks ready.

chan gailey.JPGBuffalo Bills loyalists hoping the team would bring in a big-name coach to help the team break a decade-long playoff drought may be disappointed to hear that the hiring of Chan Gailey seems imminent.

The former Dallas Cowboys and Georgia Tech coach will reportedly be named as the new guy in Buffalo, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Gailey led the Cowboys to the playoffs in both 1998 and 1999, but failed to win a game.

He comes with a high recommendation from former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who planned to name Gailey his assistant head coach if he had returned.

I've never had reason to attend a hockey game at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

That all changed this morning, when this ridiculous video was brought to my attention. Apparently, this is the pre-game introduction played at the Carlson Center before the Nanooks get their skate on.

If you've ever decried the lack of polar-bears-nuking-the-world videos in this world, your day has come.

If it doesn't get you pumped up, you need to check your pulse. If it does, stay tuned for road-trip-to-Alaska details.
vincent-jackson.JPGSan Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who we last saw catching seven passes and kicking challenge flags in his team's loss to the New York Jets Sunday, was evidently pulled over by police and handcuffed while en route to the game.

San Diego Police Department spokesman Gary Hassen confirmed the officer pulled over Jackson's vehicle as he was heading to the team's Murphy Canyon-area facility early Sunday morning because he was playing loud music. The officer reported Jackson's vehicle tags were expired and learned Jackson was driving on a suspended license, which is a misdemeanor.

According to Hassen, Jackson was taken out of his vehicle and handcuffed for a short period of time. With the choice to take Jackson to jail or cite him, the officer cited the wide receiver and impounded his vehicle, Hassen said.
Jackson has been convicted once and charged a second time with driving under the influence.
In news that should surprise no one, former major-leaguer Jose Offerman has been banned for life from the Dominican Winter Baseball League after attempting to punch an umpire.

Offerman, the interim manager of the Licey Tigers, threw a nasty right hook to American umpire Daniel Reyburn's face Saturday after coming out to argue an ejection. Reyburn hit the deck and Offerman was escorted away.

The umpiring crew has subsequently resigned and left the country.

Sadly, Offerman has been at the center of an on-field violence scandal before. In 2007, he hit a minor-league catcher in the head with a bat during a game.


President Obama shakes hands with Dikembe Mutombo at the 'Let Freedom Ring' concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Monday. (AP Photo)

It's always nice when you can point to a "pro athlete does good" story. And when the President of the United States helps to honor your humanitarian achievements, you've clearly done plenty of good.

The good guy athlete in this case is former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, who starred in the pivot for several teams in 18 seasons on the court, but clearly knew how to use his success for the best. Mutombo was honored Monday night for the work done through the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve health, literacy and lives in his native Congo.

"You never know what direction your life will take you or ... what road you will travel, but your chances of success are certainly greater with an education than without one," Mutombo said as he accepted the Coach John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award during an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Mutombo said he sold fruit and vegetables for about $1 a day in order to pay his school fee in Congo before coming to Georgetown university, where he briefly studied medicine before coach Thompson persuaded him to hit the hardwood. He still ended up with dual degrees in linguistics and diplomacy.

Mutombo's namesake foundation works combat childhood diseases in Congo. It also opened a hospital in Kinshasa, which has served more than 25,000 patients.

President Barack Obama praised Mutombo (real name Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo) for giving back to his nation's people and honoring King's legacy of service. Obama said the 18-year NBA veteran was attacking problems in Africa in "with the same ferocity with which he used to block shots in the NBA."

It's not the first time a president has honored the renowned shot blocker. President George W. Bush singled him out during the 2007 State of the Union address for his accomplishments and recent U.S. citizenship:

Mutombo played for six NBA teams, was the league's top defensive player four times and was selected for eight All-Star games during his career.

The blast chamber of the Internet is buzzing over a barely perceptible slip of the tongue that Mike & Mike in the Morning co-host Mike Greenberg made Monday morning.

The popular ESPN sports talk show with Mike Golic kicked off with an uncomfortable mistake coming out of a commercial break. Greenberg seems to say "Martin Luther Coon, Jr." before quickly correcting to "King, Jr." The reaction has been everything from "racist!" to "tongue-tied." And there seems to be a rising call for Greenberg to address the slip.

Is this poorly timed much ado about nothing? Does Greenberg owe an explanation, or apology even? Or do you think it was an intentional racial jibe?

UPDATE: Reaction from Greenberg

Greenberg has released the following statement, clarifying the accidental nature about his comment:

I just came home from the Knicks game and found out about the mess that was created by my garbling a sentence on our show this morning; I apologize for not addressing it sooner.

And I'm sorry that my talking too fast - and slurring my words - might have given people who don't know our show the wrong impression about us, and about me.

I feel horrible about that, because nothing could be further away from who I am and what our show is about.

I would never say anything like that, not in public, or in private, or in the silence of my own mind, and neither would anyone associated with our show, and I'm very sorry that my stumble this morning gave so many people the opposite impression.

Action in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is, no doubt, usually highly competitive and hard-hitting, being deep in the heart of hockey-mad Canada. Hockey itself is a tough sport with lots of speed and lots of contact. But this is something else.

In this video Quebec Remparts defenceman Mikael Tam is hit in the head with an elbow by Team Canada's world junior captain Patrice Cormier and immediately hits the ice in convulsions. Cormier was ejected, but Tam suffered a broken jaw, brain damaged and continues to convulse as he's wheeled off the ice to the hospital. The 18-year-old also lost "many" teeth, according to Canadian press reports, which also say Tam remains in the hospital with brain trauma, but could be released as soon as Tuesday.

The elbow check is apparently not a new move for Cormier.

Remparts coach Patrick Roy filed a complaint with the Quebec Provincial Police, who are now investigating the incident and collecting testimony.

The league has yet to rule on a punishment for what was clearly a late hit and cheap shot. Cormier, a forward for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies who had only been with the team for three games following a trade, has not been heard from publicly.

Curt Schilling is a polarizing figure.

Some love him, some hate him and many wish he'd just shut his yap.

The point is, he's been called a lot of names, but certainly not a Yankee fan.

But Martha Coakley, a Massachusetts Democratic candidate for the Senate, referred to former Red Sox Curt Schilling as just that in a radio interview.

Schilling is backing Coakley's competition, Scott Brown. He loves the politik, as you might recall.

The bloody-sock enthusiast pointed out the ridiculousness over on his blog.

"I've been called a lot of things", he pens.  "But never, and I mean never, could anyone ever make the mistake of calling me a Yankee fan. Well, check that, if you didn't know what the hell is going on in your own state, maybe you could."

mike-tyson-golden-globe.jpgIf you want proof that we live in an unpredictable world, look no farther than the fact that Mike Tyson won a Golden Globe last night.

Tyson, of course, starred in the uber-funny "The Hangover," where we learned never to steal his pet tiger -- no matter how wasted.

It should be pointed out that the booze-fueled romp wasn't the boxer's first foray onto the silver screen.

His previous acting credits include such gems as "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles", "Rocky Balboa" and "Play to the Bone."

American soccer was dealt a blow yesterday when Clint Dempsey left an English Premier League game with a serious knee injury.

The forward, who plays for Fulham, is expected to miss an extended period of time.

"Clint will be scanned tomorrow, but we feel it might be a posterior cruciate knee ligament, which would be very bad for us and he would be out for a while," Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said. "It's a concern up front because Clint Dempsey is very useful for us."

U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman said the U.S. Soccer Federation training staff had been in contact with Dempsey, and the severity of the injury will not been known until after an MRI exam determines the exact ligament hurt and whether there is other damage.

The U.S.' World Cup opener is June 12 against England. They are already expected to be without Charlie Davies and Oguchi Onyewu won't return until the spring.

keith-brooking.jpgComfortably leading 27-3 with less than two minutes to play, the Minnesota Vikings opted to go for it on fourth down from the Cowboys' 11-yard line.

They could have kicked the field goal.

The game was effectively over.

By keeping their offensive unit on the field, it seemed to imply they were content to run the ball, either to pick up the game's final first down or turn the ball over to Dallas in poor field position.

Instead, Brett Favre executed a play-action pass to perfection, hooking up with a diving Visanthe Shiancoe in the end zone to extend the lead to 30 points.

A jubilant Favre jumped for joy and the Minnesota faithful went crazy.

But Dallas Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking took umbrage, racing over to Favre and the Vikings sideline to share his opinion of what he thought of his perceived lack of sportsmanship.

"I thought it was totally classless and disrespectful," Brooking said. "This is the NFL, that's not what this is about. I don't think there's a place for that ... I was looking for [Vikings coach Brad] Childress. I didn't think it was right, but they've got to see us next year. They've got to see us. You better believe I'll have that one circled on the calendar, but I say that, we get paid to stop them. I don't care what's called, but sometimes I don't think there was much class in that decision to do what he did."

Does Brooking have a point here? Should Minnesota kept it on the ground or does he need to be mad at his own unit for not making the play?
Big day for Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. Biiiiiiiiig day.

First, they dismantled the Dallas Cowboys 34-3 to advance to the NFC Championship. Then, and perhaps more importantly, they got to sing the song that's sweeping the nation.

That's right, we're talking about "Pants on the Ground."

For those of you who have been actively avoiding the Internet or your annoying co-worker Brad -- whose prone to pop culture trends -- here's the "American Idol" footage that started all this craze.

I warn you, it will be in your head ... forever.

Everyone is up in arms about former major-league infielder Jose Offerman hauling off and throwing a punch at an umpire during a Dominican winter league game Saturday night.

Consider me unimpressed.

I mean, this is the guy who charged the mound during a 2007 minor-league game and hit the pitcher with his bat.

Offerman, who manages the Licey Tigers, appeared to strike first base umpire Daniel Rayburn in the face or neck after a heated nose-to-nose discussion. Rayburn took a fall to the ground and Offerman was detained by stadium security.

The former All-Star came out on the field after the home plate umpire had ejected Ronny Paulino for arguing balls and strikes, but ended up getting into it with Rayburn.

Now, I've looked at this video several times, and it really doesn't look like Offerman makes contact with Rayburn. I can't imagine why he would take a flop like that that, but the fact remains, you can't be throwing haymakers at umpires.

011710adams.jpgGaines Adams, the defensive end the Bears acquired for a second-round draft pick from Tampa Bay this season, died this morning at 26.

Adams, according to reports in The Greenville News, was pronounced dead at the emergency room of Self Regional Hospital in Greenwood, S.C. according to County Coroner James T. Coursey.

Adams, 26, was a standout player at Clemson at defensive end, and was the fourth player chosen in the 2007 National Football League draft by the Buccaneers. He was traded from Tampa Bay to the Chicago Bears in October, though didn't find much playing time with the struggling defensive unit.

An autopsy is planned by Anderson County officials and the cause of death is cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart - natural causes.

In four years in the league, Adams, a native of South Carolina, recorded 13.5 sacks in 29 games.

Former Tampa Bay coach and current "Monday Night Football analyst tells the Sun-Times that Adams was a good teammate and well-liked:

"He was a great kid, a hard worker who always had a smile on his face. I don't know anybody who didn't like Gaines Adams. He was a great teammate, just a stand-up guy, a class act."

The tragic news comes less than 24 hours after fellow Bears defensive lineman Dusty Dvoracek was arrested in relation to a bar brawl in Oklahoma.

dvoracek.pngOKBlitz is reporting that former Oklahoma Sooner and oft-injured Bears defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek was arrested following some sort of bar-fueled dust-up in Norman, Okla.

Dvoracek was charged with public intoxication, assault and battery and interfering with an official process, according to the report, at Seven47.

Dvoracek played 13 games in four years for the Bears after being the definition of an injury-prone player. He missed all of the 2009 campaign after tearing his ACL during the preseason, and has ended each year of his NFL career on injured reserve.

If the charges are true, this is the most hitting he's done in a while.

Everyone and their brother predicted this Saints-Cardinals game would be a defense-optional shootout, and the home team is doing its best to prove us all right.

After a downright silly touchdown run by Reggie Bush, the Saints broke out the trickery in the form of a 44-yard flea flicker to Devery Henderson for a score.

Running back Pierre Thomas took the handoff from Drew Brees and immediately flipped it back to him. Brees then threw a strike to a streaking Henderson to give the Saints a 28-14 lead.

Arizona would have been better served to employ the Tecmo Super Bowl strategy where you crush the quarterback on any running play just in case.
New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush turned in a spectacular 46-yard touchdown run to give his team a 21-7 lead in the first quarter against Arizona.

Bush's ridiculous jaunt featured broken tackles, jukes, jives and a very impressive burst of speed to outrun the secondary.

Enough words, here is the video.


Weekends in the fall and winter mean one thing - football. NFL football.

By season's end, we're blessed with up to four days a week of hard-core football action, served up in three-hour bursts of smashmouth glory.

Or, at least it's three hours at a clip for the armchair quarterbacks. But according to the Wall Street Journal, your average NFL game doesn't even offer up a quarter hour of actual action - only 11 minutes of game play when all is said and done.

According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes.

In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there's barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.

So what do the networks do with the other 174 minutes in a typical broadcast? Not surprisingly, commercials take up about an hour. As many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of the total air time, excluding commercials, is spent on shots of players huddling, standing at the line of scrimmage or just generally milling about between snaps. In the four broadcasts The Journal studied, injured players got six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players. While the network announcers showed up on screen for just 30 seconds, shots of the head coaches and referees took up about 7% of the average show.

So while you're gorging on NFL playoffs - and lots of heart-healthy snacks, of course - keep in mind that you really do have to hurry through your bathroom breaks so you don't miss a moment of action. There are so few moments to miss, it turns out.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cubs-milton-bradley-chicago.jpgMilton Bradley, who was jettisoned out of town last month after one very disappointing season with the Cubs, is being sued by his landlord for $44,100 in back rent, late fees and interest.

Our bulldog reporter Lisa Donovan has the story:

Bradley apparently signed a lease for a posh 24th-floor Park Hyatt condo on the Magnificent Mile at the beginning of the season, but walked out on his $15,000-a-month lease in the fall.

Bradley was sent a letter demanding the owed money, but has yet to cut a check.

The amount of money sought is just over the per-game amount the right fielder was paid by the Cubs last season.

During his tenure here, Bradley said that writers, fans and even waiters didn't like him.

Guess you can add landlords to that list.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for gilbert-arenas-gun.jpgOn the same day Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was in a courtroom pleading guilty on felony gun charges, athletic-wear enthusiasts Adidas announced it was ending its relationship with him.

"In response to Gilbert Arenas' guilty plea to felony charges, Adidas has terminated its agreement with the athlete effective immediately," spokeswoman Stephanie Von Allmen said in a statement Friday. "Beyond this statement we have no further comment at this time.

Arenas, who has been suspended indefinitely without pay by NBA Commissioner David Stern, had been with the company since 2003. Adidas, which also endorses Tracy McGrady and Dwight Howard, had previously said it was "evaluating" its relationship with Arenas.
Deuce McAllister is back with the New Orleans Saints for the the team's playoff run, according to coach Sean Payton.

The 31-year-old running back practiced at the team's headquarters and could be activated for tomorrow's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

McAllister was waived by the Saints after last season, but has been working out and rehabbing a knee injury.

His 55 total touchdowns make him the franchise's all-time leader.

Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas got up close and personal with TNT's broadcast team of Doug Collins and Kevin Harlan last night when he dove into press row chasing a loose ball.

Thomas scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds in 17 minutes of action, but it was his sacrifice of the body that was the unquestioned highlight of his night.

Big road win for the Bulls and a big week for TNT's Kevin Harlan. He was portrayed on "Saturday Night Live" in a sketch with Charles Barkley and now he's been caught on camera scurrying away from a large, careening man.
Thumbnail image for chad-ochocinco-ponho-sombrero.JPGCincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco was named to the AFC Pro Bowl team today as a replacement for injured Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.

The honor comes after the often-verbose pass-catching and Twitter enthusiast was shut down by Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis two straight weeks.

Ochocinco hauled in 72 catches for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

Immediately after being named to the team, Ochocinco challenged Titans running back Chris Johnson to a footrace.

"Bruh im going to the pro bowl with you, you want to race for game checks, loser gives the money to those n HAITI n need," Ochocinco said.

Johnson, as of now, has yet to agree to this idea. He is, however, pointing out he's a lot faster than his challenger.

Still, that hasn't stopped the Twitter train from Ochocinco's mobile device. He told ESPN analyst Adam Schefter that the race was on, for what that's worth.
Washinton Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas has been charged with carrying a pistol without a license outside home or business, according to the Washington Post.

The charge, a felony, stems from a Christmas Eve incident with teammate Javaris Crittenton in which the duo allegedly pulled guns on each other in the Wizards locker room.

Arenas was suspended indefinitely without pay by NBA commissioner David Stern on Jan. 6.
You've probably seen this before, but in honor of Pat Robertson lighting up the internet with his controversial comments about the destruction in Haiti, we'll trot it back out here.

Robertson famously claimed he could leg press 2,000 pounds. Impressive for anyone. Even more impressive for a man of advancing age.

This Slate article is just one of many out there that chip away at this claim.

Very entertaining, indeed.

Imagine if he had the strength to not voice cringe-inducing opinions in the wake of a catastrophic event. That would be most impressive.

Talk amongst yourself.
South Florida has hired Skip Holtz to replace Jim Leavitt as football coach, according to a report from Fanhouse.

Holtz, the son of legendary coach and ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, went 38-27 in four years at East Carolina and led the Pirates to four bowl games. He also served as Connecticut's coach from 1994-1998.

Leavitt was fired on Jan. 8 after an investigation into allegations he grabbed and struck a player during halftime of a Nov. 21 game.
john-lucas-lebron-james.jpgRemember the hype surrounding LeBron James when he was in high school?

It was a palpable thing, and as time has passed, proved to be more than justified.

Well, it seems as though the Cleveland Cavaliers bought into it. So much so that their former coach is now saying that the team deliberately tanked in order to get the young phenom.

In an interview with Fanhouse, John Lucas says, "They trade all our guys away and we go real young, and the goal was to get LeBron and also to sell the team,'' Lucas said in an interview with FanHouse. "I didn't have a chance. ... You can't fault the Cavaliers for wanting to get LeBron. It was hard to get free agents to come there.''

Lucas' Cavs finished the 2002-2003 season with a record of 17-65, bad enough to snag the first overall pick in the draft, where they selected James.

It's a claim then-principal owner Gordon Gund strongly disputes.

Gund strongly denied in an interview with FanHouse the Cavaliers had a strategy to get James by losing games in 2002-03.

"You don't try to get the No. 1 pick,'' Gund said. "That's why the lottery was designed. To not allow that. We had a young team that we were developing. ... We did not tank the season. ... To lose to get LeBron James, we would never do that. I wouldn't do that. I couldn't do that."
tigertourney.jpgToday's Tiger Woods rumor comes from The Sun, a British tabloid that seems out to give us all the salacious soccer-star and buxom-lady news that's fit to print.

They put the troubled golfer at a six-day-a-week sex-addiction clinic in Cape Town, South Africa.

Johnny Graaff, boss of Cape Town's exclusive Montrose Place clinic, said yesterday he could neither confirm nor deny Tiger was there.
That's not exactly a smoking gun, but for what it's worth, celebrity spotters apparently saw him at the Cape Town airport, according to the report.

When have so-called celebrity spotters ever steered us astray?

Another report, this one from People, says Woods checked into a similar facility in Wickenburg, Ariz., sometime around the holidays.

Woods hasn't been seen since the mistress scandal erupted, but as you can see, it hasn't stopped the widespread speculation as to his whereabouts.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Corey Brewer had his half-court prayer at the end of regulation answered last night against the Houston Rockets.

Trailing by three in the final seconds, Brewer's buzzer-beater found the bottom of the net, forcing overtime.

The Rockets would eventually prevail 120-114 after three extra periods as Brewer and Minnesota fell to 8-32 on the year.

On the bright side, Timberwolves' Al Jefferson was able to rack up 26 points and 26 rebounds and Brewer gets his second Sports Pros(e) mention.
phillip-fulmer.JPGAs Tennessee scrambles to fill the coaching vacancy created when Lane Kiffin bolted for the USC job, several members of the school's board of trustees have contacted former Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer about returning to Knoxville.

The board is trying to bring Fulmer back as athletic director, or even as head football coach, according to a report from ESPN.

Fulmer was fired in 2008 after 17 years with the school that saw him go 152-52 and win a national championship.

Lane Kiffin's last press conference before leaving Tennessee was exactly like his tenure there.

Brief and mediocre.

Kiffin repeatedly made mention of the length of time he'd been in Knoxville -- 14 months -- in a hastily thrown together good-bye to the orange-and-white faithful.

He took no questions from press before disappearing out the door and on to his new coaching digs at Southern California.

But, I won't question his class.


Because you can't google anything today without accidentally finding someone who will.

Still, if this is your final statement to a fan base you promised the world to, you have to know it's going to be heavily scrutinized. Why not then talk about how you're going to take your dream job and you're sorry for hanging the Volunteers out to dry? Seems like if you're not going to say anything of value, you shouldn't say anything at all.
Touchdown and push-up enthusiast Herschel Walker is "serious" about jumping into mixed martial arts, and will step into that arena on Jan. 30.

That's when he'll face Greg Nagy as part of the Strikeforce card to be held in Sunrise, Fla.

The 47-year-old Walker won the 1982 Heisman Trophy and holds a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Walker is also famous for his workout regimes, and although it's not quite what it once was, it will probably make you feel like a bloated slug.

He's eating only one meal a day, as usual -- no red meat, as usual -- and getting through on "three or four hours" of sleep, as usual. His once-famous workout routine consisting of what he said was once 5,000 push ups and 5,000 sit-ups per day is all the way down to 1,500 push-ups and 2,500 sit-ups on heaviest daily duty.
You sold on the running back succeeding or is it going to get ugly for him?
caster-semenya.jpgCaster Semenya's coach says the 800-meter world champion is free to compete internationally despite an ongoing gender investigation

Michael Seme says he does not have details but learned from Semenya's lawyers that she can compete. Her lawyer, Greg Nott, was not immediately available to comment.

However, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies says "we are still in the same position as before - no official IAAF comment until we have finished the inquiry."

Davies said he couldn't say how long the inquiry will take.

Hours before the 800 final, the IAAF said it had ordered gender tests to be conducted because of Semenya's muscular build and rapid improvement in times. Her future as a runner has been in doubt since.

News just continues to pour in tonight.

The Memphis Grizzlies-Los Angeles Clippers game in Memphis was halted and the entire FedEx Forum evacuated after a fire alarm was triggered in the third quarter.

This didn't stop bearded wonder Baron Davis from making a free-throw amid the hubbub. What concentration!

Pete Pranica, the Grizzlies television play-by-play man reports that the arena has been deemed safe to play and the teams and fans who didn't go home are headed back for more basketball.

The initial word is that a water pipe burst on a lower level, setting the alarm off.
In a surprise move, USC has agreed to bring in Tennessee's Lane Kiffin in as its new football coach.

Kiffin returns to Southern California after one year in Knoxville. He worked under the departed Pete Carroll for six seasons on the offensive side of the football.

We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC," Trojans athletic director Mike Garrett said. "I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us, and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I'm confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect."

It took all of one day for the Trojans to fill the vacancy. There was some talk of Kiffin being the guy who would be taking the reins, but many believed that he wouldn't be willing to leave Tennessee this soon.

In all, the 34-year-old Kiffin spent nine years on the Trojans' staff.

I'd imagine the Tennessee message boards are going to be experiencing some server problems this evening.
Thumbnail image for glandorf2.jpgColt McCoy is making an honest woman out of Rachel Glandorf, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The Texas Longhorns quarterback proposed to his girlfriend Monday night in true romantic fashion.

He brought her to Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and flashed "Will You Marry Me" on the giant scoreboard.

This just bleeds America.

Glandorf, who you may recognize from some previous posts with little-to-no news value, is a bit of a kindred spirit of ours. In addition to her love of McCoy, she seems to have a love of journalism, as evidenced by the following work.

brittny.jpgBrittny Gastineau has reached another life milestone. Reality show star. Model. Reconciled half-sister.

The abandoned daughter of former New York Sack Exchange standout Mark Gastineau finally got to meet Killian Marcus Gastineau, the until-now secret son her dad fathered when he ran off with Brigitte Nielsen in the 1980s - before she took up with Flavor Flav, of course.

People.com has a bunch of detail on the heartwarming meeting that clearly has really impacted Brittny's life for good:

"It was very weird and surreal," says Brittny, who hasn't been in touch with her father for several years. "I didn't cry. I'm too tough to cry. But we hugged, we talked about old stories. He said he watched Gastineau Girls in Italy, so he knew what I looked like.

I asked him a million questions, but he doesn't speak English. He's really cute. He's like 6',5", blonde. He looks exactly like Brigitte."

Another precious moment born of reality TV - and a philandering sports star. Sigh.

The New York Jets were without Braylon Edwards today as the wide receiver made a scheduled court appearance in Cleveland.

Edwards plead not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge back in November after being accused of punching a friend of LeBron James outside of a nightclub in October.

Two days later, he was traded to the Jets.

Edwards expected to participate in the team's preparation after his return later today.
Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson was awarded Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors this morning for his tremendous 2009 season.

The versatile Woodson tied for a league-high nine interceptions and spearheaded a Packers defensive unit that ranked second in overall defense.

Woodson received 28 votes to double that of his closest competition, New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.
joe-rollino.jpegNo one is immortal.

Not even a man who once reportedly lifted 475 pounds with his teeth.

Joe Rollino, who amazed the world with his remarkable feats of strength, died Monday after being struck by a minivan in his Brooklyn neighborhood.

He was 104. And still going strong.

The sinewy Rollino, who at the peak of his career stood 5-foot-5 and weighed between 125 and 150 pounds, once raised 635 pounds with one finger, moved 3,200 with his back and bit down on quarters to bend them with his thumb, according to the New York Times.

Known as "Kid Dundee" in his boxing days, Rollino was a lifelong vegetarian who ate oatmeal every morning and would swim in the ocean year-round.

In short, he was one tough son of a gun.
bob-knight-mcgwire.JPGFor some reason, ESPN has been trotting legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight out to provide analysis on baseball in recent days.

Knight is a close personal friend of St. Louis Cardinals coach Tony La Russa and a somewhat entertaining human being, but other than that, I can't imagine why he's being given a mouthpiece to discuss baseball.

Yesterday, the "Baseball Tonight" gang had Knight on to talk about Mark McGwire's steroid confession.

As you might expect from a close friend of Tony La Russa, ol' Bob wasn't too quick to impugn the slugger.

"I have a different approach to performance-enhancing drugs than a lot of people do," Knight said. "My question is: Who decides what can be used and what can't be used?"

Fair enough question, but then Knight really lost it.

"Gatorade is a performance-enhancing substance. It replaces electrolytes in the human body that are used up during extreme exercise, so I've always had a real skeptical approach to all of this performance-enhancing stuff."

There's absolutely no way that Knight can't see a difference between Gatorade and steroids, is there? He's just playing the role of cranky contrarian, right? Please tell me that's all this is.

Knight went on to say that McGwire should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer and that he got bad advice before his infamous Capitol Hill appearance.

Anyone out there care to defend Knight or ESPN's decision to have him on a baseball-related show please step forward.

The three most important words today in Southern California are Jack Del Rio.

The Jacksonville Jaguars coach and former USC star has been sent a contact offer to become the school's lead man, replacing the departed Pete Carroll.

Del Rio is still under contract with the Jaguars and if he is fired the team will have to buy out the rest of his contract, which is estimated at more than $15 million. If he resigns, he gets zip.

In seven seasons in Jacksonville, Del Rio is 58-57 and has reached the postseason twice. He has no collegiate coaching experience, but was the MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl while with the Trojans. Perhaps most importantly, he fits the bill of a defensive specialist, something the school has made it known would be important in its search.
Today's mid-afternoon salacious news item of little-to-no public value is of Olivia Namath's arrest on drug charges in Florida.

The 19-year-old daughter of the New York Jets great faces charges of possession of liquor by a person under 21 and two counts of possession of marijuana, including possession with the intent to sell.

Authorities in Jupiter stopped her on a routine traffic stop and probed deeper smelling that the car smelled of marijuana. They then found packages of marijuana, along with rum and beer bottles.

No comment from Joe yet.


Left to right: John McDonough, Stan Bowman, Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky and Rocky Wirtz at an event at United Center to announce new players, Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky. (Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times)

Yes, the Blackhawks are in the midst of a short cold patch, but they're still the hottest team in town. And President John McDonough is seeing the benefits of success.

McDonough, in the third year of a five-year contract got an extension Monday through 2016. The man who helped bring the Blackhawks back to TV - and who helped make the Cubs a household brand name - will continue to improve momentum for the once moribund Original Six team.

"(McDonough's) commitment, insight and guidance have led the organization to record attendance, unprecedented season ticket sales, new sponsorships and partnerships with WGN Radio and WGN-TV," team owner Rocky Wirtz said in a memo Monday to executives of Wirtz Corp., which owns the Blackhawks and other businesses.

"Recently we sent a message that we were serious about the future and about winning the Stanley Cup by signing a key group of players to long-term contracts," Mr. Wirtz wrote in the memo. "Having a front office second to none will be critical to that success."

Cubs Jenkins Maddux basebal.jpg

Greg Maddux is a Cub again. No, he won't be pitching, but he will be helping general manager Jim Hendry figure out what to do with his pitchers.

Maddux is about to be announced as a special assistant to Hendry, helping the embattled GM with player development. Maddux will be a season-long presence for player evaluation.

Maddux's will help Spring Training instruction for, as well as scouting during the season.

Maddux will reportedly be available anytime to Hendry during the season to evaluate minor-leagues and give the GM input on trades, free agent signeings and other player moves.

Maddux has always been touted as one of the smartest players in the game and his impact on young pitchers is second-to-none. But does he have enough mojo to turn the Cubs system around?

Meant to get to this earlier, but late is better than never.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb couldn't have been too pleased with his teams abysmal performance in Saturday's playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but he sure had some fun before the game.

Here he is rocking and aggressive air guitar and getting all up in a Cowboys fans face.

derek-jeter-minka-kelly.jpgNew York Yankees shortstop and making-other-guys-jealous enthusiast Derek Jeter is finally settling down.

The longtime captain will marry "Friday Night Lights" actress Minka Kelly on Nov. 5, according to a report from the New York Post.

The glorious union of souls will supposedly take place an the lavish Long Island Oheka Castle.

We know this because the Post sent a reporter posed as a bride-to-be and slyly looked at the venue's date book. Pulitzer, here they come.

If Jeter does tie the knot with Kelly, it will be the end of an long and illustrious run as Manhattan's most prominent bachelor.

But, before you rush out and look at the couple's registry, know that there is some skepticism regarding this gossip.
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Shaquiile O'Neal stumbled into the crowd after trying to finish an alley-oop during the first half of last night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Once there, he did the only sensible thing.

He hugged and kissed a Baldwin brother.

This time, it was Daniel who got the Big Aristotle's X's and O's.

I'm sure there is a reason Daniel Baldwin is sitting behind the basket at a Trail Blazers game, and a reason he and Shaq know each other.

Yet, it didn't make it any less surprising live.
The bad news for Texas Longhorns coach Mack Brown?

His team lost the BCS title game to Alabama Thursday night.

The good news?

He got to talk to President Barack Obama.

Like the rest of us, the president was apparently disappointed that Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was able to play. He told Brown as much during a phone call today.

He's a real man of the people, after all.

Obama congratulated Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban on Friday.
steve-weatherford.JPGNew York Jets punter Steve Weatherford, then of the Illini, in healthier times.

When you get to the playoffs in the NFL, it's generally assumed that every player on the roster is going to play through anything they can play through.

After all, it's win or go home. There's no tomorrow. It's time to put up or shut up.

All those cliches.

That's what makes New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford's absence so puzzling.

Weatherford is out of today's game against the Cincinnati Bengals with an illness, and Jets placekicker Jay Feely has assumed the punting duties.

Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk reports that Weatherford was seen running on the sidelines in sweatpants.

Despite being questionable with a hamstring injury last week, Weatherford played in last week's regular season game against the Bengals.

It will be interesting to find out exactly what's going on with all this.
Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville will replace ousted Mike Leach as Texas Tech's football coach, according to a report from ESPN's Ivan Maisel.

A news conference is reportedly scheduled for Sunday and Tuberville's family is flying to the Lubbock area tonight, according to a source.

Tuberville brings with him a 110-60 career record in stints at Ole Miss and Auburn, including a perfect 13-0 season with the Tigers in 2004.
chris-johnson-mvp.JPGIndianapolis Colts quarterback and champion of subtle commercial humor Peyton Manning won his record fourth NFL MVP award today.

In all honesty, it's probably the right choice, but it wouldn't be a subjective award without a little bit of online controversy. And the fact that Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson received zero first-place votes is providing it.

The second-year stud rushed for 2,006 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns for his team, in one of the more impressive years for a running back in recent memory.

It brings up that old question of what "most valuable" really means. Is it the best player on the best team? The most outstanding player on a "good" team? The player most valuable to his specific team.

While Johnson has none of these answers for us, he did provide some levity with a tweet this morning that read, "Do any body got payton address I got to go get my award."

Clearly Manning can't be the MVP if the league's premier players don't even know how to spell to his first name.

Do you think Johnson should have gotten some love from the voters or did the Titans' lackluster season eliminate him from consideration?
Former NFL quarterback and card-carrying member of the "U" Bernie Kosar's stuff will be soon be available for the taking.

A U.S. Bankruptcy judge Wednesday ordered that Kosar's bankruptcy case be turned into a liquidation.

That means that his assets will be sold by a court-appointed trustee and the proceeds distributed to his creditors. The 46-year-old listed $9.2 million in assets and $18.9 million is debt in court documents filed in September and he filed for bankruptcy protection in June.
marshawn-lynch.JPGThe following is an actual story that just moved across the wire. It's pretty far-fetched, but given some of the recent events in the sporting world, I'll believe anything about now.

Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch reportedly has been accused of stealing $20 from a police officer's wife.

The incident allegedly happened at a TGI Friday's on Dec. 7 when Lynch approached two women and another member of the Buffalo Bills and snatched a $20 bill out of the married woman's hand before refusing to give it back.

That is not the type of behavior exhibited by the fun-loving patrons on the TGI Friday's commercials at all.

Lynch then allegedly threatened the women with the old "Do you know who I am? There's going to be consequences" routine.

There are some other bizarre details, including how a $20 bill was shipped to the victim by police after a complaint was filed, which you can read about over at the Buffalo News.

The running back is currently on three years probation for a misdemeanor gun possession charge in Los Angeles.

Anything I could say would just take away from this, so let's get right to it.

It's a statement from former Bulls star Scottie Pippen on a movie he appeared in called "Midgets vs. Mascots" with Gary Coleman and deals with what Pippen refers to as "misunderstandings" about the picture.

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Scottie Pippen, a seven-time NBA All-Star and a member of six NBA title teams, today issued the following statement regarding his role in the movie "Midgets vs. Mascots":

"Given the recent controversy surrounding Gary Coleman, the fact that I've been repeatedly asked questions about my small part in the movie 'Midgets vs. Mascots,' and a related video posted online which shows me being assaulted by a group of Little People, I want to clear up any misunderstandings.

"In 2008, I agreed to play a cameo role in a movie titled 'A Tribute to Big Red' (now titled 'Midgets vs. Mascots'). My role was scripted, and the first two scenes went off without any problems. During the third scene, I was told that four Little People, along with actor Gary Coleman, were going to become angry with something I said and storm off as the scene ends. Instead, they basically attacked me, with Gary Coleman apparently climbing on a chair behind me to hit me over the head with a phone (twice).

"A short fight ensued before I heard the film's director yell 'cut.' As I recall, some of the Little People were laughing as the director explained that the scene was 'sort of like an episode of the TV show Punk'd.' At that point, I left quickly without a clear understanding of what was going on.

"As for the Little Person who claims he was injured in the attack, I really don't think I caused the injury or can be held to blame. To the best of my knowledge, there is no action being taken against me, nor am I pursuing any action. For the record, I have never seen the movie and, in hindsight, wish I'd not been involved with it. I simply wanted to make clear my role and position as I understand the movie is coming out soon. I will not be answering any further questions regarding the film."
The University of South Florida has fired football coach Jim Leavitt, according to a report from Fanhouse.

Leavitt, the only coach the Bulls have had in the 13-year history of the program, was accused of grabbing sophomore walk-on Joel Miller by the throat during halftime of a Nov. 21 game against Lousiville. Leavitt also allegedly struck Miller in the face twice in that incident.

If this is indeed the reason for the termination, it would be the third college coach to lose his spot for abuse-related matters in the past month (Kansas' Mark Mangino and Texas Tech's Mike Leach).

Not all Bulls players are for this move, it would appear.

"I speak for most of the team (except) a couple of bitter players: We want Coach Leavitt and that's what we're sticking by," safety Jerrell Young told the St. Petersburg Times.  "I dont think he did anything to cost him his job."
bcs-streaker.jpgBecause no championship would be complete without some unpredictability,  a streaker interrupted play during the BCS championship game  -- giving the Rose Bowl crowd a laugh and us a chance to judge his ridiculous outfit.

Early in the third quarter, a man in a skin-tight yellow top and black underwear raced onto the field. Viewers at home had to settle for Brent Musburger calling him an idiot, but those lucky enough to be at the game were privy to an advertisement for a porn Web site on his back and a Howard Stern logo on his backside.

He also evidently tried a cartwheel at some point, but this would suggest it wasn't so graceful.


Alabama won its first national title since 1992 by holding off a late Texas rally in a 37-21 victory that was a little closer than the final score might suggest in the BCS title game.

Running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson each rushed for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns apiece, but it was a play by defensive tackle just before halftime that was the ultimate game-winner.

Trailing 17-6 and with quarterback Colt McCoy in the locker room with an injury, Longhorns coach Mack Brown called a controversial timeout to set up what turned out to be a disastrous shovel pass.

Reserve quarterback Garrett Gilbert's flip was deflected and corralled by the beefy Marcell Dareus, who rumbled, bumbled and stumbled into the end zone to give the Tide a three-possession lead.

OK, maybe it was a little more athletic than that.

Dareus was also responsible for knocking McCoy out of the game when he brought him down on an option keeper early in the first quarter.
All-Everything Texas Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy was forced to leave the BCS Championship Game in the first quarter after taking a hit on the first quarter.

McCoy was hurt on the Longhorns' fifth offensive play, when he was tackled at the line on an option keeper.

ABC has reported that he will not return.

McCoy's injury resulted in Texas turning the keys to the offense over to true freshman Garrett Gilbert.

It hasn't gone well without him. Sixteen of the 22 offensive plays the Gilbert-led unit has run have resulted in gains of one yard or less.

Gilbert also had a shuffle pass intercepted and returned by Alabama's Marcel Dareus as the Crimson Tide lead 24-6 at the half.
The old saying tells us all good things have to come to an end.

File Gilbert Arenas' Twitter account into that category.

The Washington Wizards guard, who was suspended indefinitely without pay by the NBA yesterday, has deleted the 140-character window into his soul.

That's right, @gilbertarenas is no more.

You'll recall that Arenas maintained a very jocular demeanor on his page as the investigation into his Dec. 24 confrontation with Javaris Crittenton played out. Many think his somewhat glib nature contributed to NBA commissioner David Stern's decision to send him away from the game.
jevan-snead.JPGJevan Snead, Ole Miss' junior quarterback, is reportedly leaning toward turning pro, according to ESPN's Chris Low.

According to the report, Snead has conferred with Rebels coach Houston Nutt twice in the past two days and is expected to make his ultimate decision later today.

The quarterback has a big-time arm, but is coming off a lackluster year in which he threw a SEC-high 20 interceptons.

An quick Web search seems to reveal that experts think this would not be the best decision for Snead to make. But then again, experts have been wrong before.
elaine-spottswood-pic.jpgIf we are to believe the Scene in the Tropics blog over at the Miami Herald (and what kind of world would it be if we can't), then Alex Rodriguez has rebounded from his split with actress Kate Hudson quite nicely.

The sleuths down there -- probably because they aren't so busy trudging through snow and mush -- say the New York Yankees slugger has been spotted with 25-year-old Elaine Spottswood on his arm.

Spottswood is apparently a member of a prominent Key West family that has dealings in real estate, timesharing, marinas, hospitality, broadcasting and banking.
Los Angeles Clippers announcer Michael Smith is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges stemming from an alleged theft of $735,000 from a development deal gone bad.

According to prosecutors, Smith persuaded his friend, a retired school teacher with an inoperable brain tumor, to put up his paid-off Dana Point home in January 2008 as collateral for a $735,000 loan, so Smith and business partner Bruce Furst could develop land in Dana Point. Prosecutors said the pair lied and said the loan was safe and would be 100 percent guaranteed.
In November, Smith and fellow Fox Sports Prime Ticket broadcaster Ralph Lawler were suspended one game for making off-color comments about Iranian-born Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi.
A Philadelphia Eagles employee apologized for video showing him spitting on the star at midfield of Cowboys Stadium.

Eagles Web site editor Dave Spadaro posted the offending video on the team's page as part of something he calls "Spudcam," which in this case was a walking tour of Jerry Jones' new castle.

The waterworks come out at the :56 mark of the video.

Spadaro said he acted unprofessionally.

No argument there, but is it really that big of a deal?
Iowa quaterback Ricky Stanzi is not afraid his love for his country, as evidenced by his interview with Fox Sports' Chris Myers after the Hawkeyes' Orange Bowl win Tuesday night.

To be fair to Stanzi, Myers did phrase that question about the Big Ten getting no respect pretty awkwardly. Plus, America is great. After all, where else could play-by-play announcers make jokes about terrorism on the air and get away with it?
artie-lange.jpgHoward Stern sidekick and "Beer League" star Artie Lange was hospitalized this weekend after a suicide attempt at his Hoboken apartment, according to the New York Post.

Sources tell the paper the bulbous funnyman stabbed himself nine times, including three deep wounds.

A bloodied Lange was discovered by his mother Saturday morning.

The 42-year-old has battled addiction in the past and has been absent from Stern's show on Sirius radio for over a month.
act_javaris_crittenton.jpgMere hours after NBA commissioner David Stern suspended Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas indefinitely without pay, the Washington Post reports this alarming new detail about the altercation between the star and Javaris Crittenton.

According to two first-hand accounts of the confrontation, Crittenton responded to Arenas's action -- which included laying the four unloaded weapons in Crittenton's cubicle with a note that read, "Pick One" -- by brandishing his own firearm, loading a clip of ammunition into the gun and cocking the weapon.

Two of the five people in the room that morning, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Arenas had originally not disclosed Crittenton's action to protect the little-used guard from prosecution and had told Crittenton he would assume full responsibility for the actions of both players that day.

The Post reports that Crittenton denied these accounts via text message and his agent declined to comment.

If this is indeed the correct chain of events, shouldn't Crittenton be subjected to any even more severe punishment than Arenas?

Seems like a no-brainer to me.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that recently ousted Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has agreed to become the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs.

His source says an announcement will come within the next 24 to 48 hours.

This would mean a reunion between Weis and Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, who spent time together as assistants for the New York Jets.

"Charlie's a guy I have a great amount of respect for as a coach," Haley said Wednesday at his final news conference of the season. "He's a coach that system-wise, I would say we're as close as you can be. Charlie's a guy I consider a friend and I've talked to throughout the year, no different from some of the other guys I lean on for things and advice."

The rumor mill had Weis interested in filling the same position with the Bears, but it looks like that's not going to happen now.

terryglenn.jpgTwo-time Bill Parcells punching dummy Terry Glenn has added to his arrest record after a Tuesday night auto theft bust in Dallas.

Dallas-Ft.. Worth Airport Police report say Glenn rented a 2009 Chevrolet Suburban from National Rent A Car in November and had yet to return the truck. He was booked and released Tuesday night.

In all, the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver has been arrested four times. The first was in 2001, after accusations of assaulting the mother of his then 5-year-old son. The second came in 2005, again for public intoxication. The third time was January of 2009 when Glenn was busted after reports he had been seen wandering naked through the halls of an Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel outside Dallas.

Glenn faced a number of charges for that incident, including public intoxication and possession of marijuana, reports CBSNews.

Glenn was a Cowboys wide receiver from 2003 to 2007 and led the team in 2005 with 132 catches, almost 2,200 yards and 13 touchdowns. Glenn also played for the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers before playing for the Cowboys in his 12-year career.

The Cowbell Girl from Monday night's Fiesta Bowl is, in fact, visually impaired, according to a statement from Boise State's Blue Thunder Marching Band.

A ten-second clip of the unnamed student playing the cowbell spread like internet wildfire, with many poking fun of her.

Although I didn't originally say anything mean-spirited, it was brought to my attention that she was visually impaired, something we now know is a fact.

Again, I'm only posting this because she's become such an internet celebrity -- something she clearly didn't ask for.

So, here's the statement, and let's put all the joking to rest for good.

The Blue Thunder Marching Band is very proud of all of our students.

It is unfortunate that the image of one of our musicians has been unfavorable treated by popular media and many internet sources.

This is particularly distasteful considering that the young lady in question is also highly visually impaired, and it this impairment that seems to be the source for her undesired popularity.

We greatly appreciate the many supporters and upstanding media outlets who have helped disseminate accurate information in this sensitive matter in the past 48 hours. We understand that the privilege of appearing on national television includes the potential for criticism along with praise, but this is not what this student signed-up for when joining the band.

Please accept that she has asked that her name not be disclosed, and as of now she is not planning on making any statement on the matter. Thank you.
Thumbnail image for gilbert-arenas-gun.jpgWashington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas has been suspended indefinitely and without pay, effective immediately, as the NBA looks into the incident involving guns in the team locker room.

NBA commissioner David Stern deemed Arenas "unfit" to take the court for the organization.

On Monday, Arenas admitted to bringing guns to the Verizon Center and bringing them out in a "misguided effort to play a joke."

According to reports, the star and teammate Javaris Crittenton draw weapons on each other on Christmas Eve in an argument that stemmed from a card game.

Although admitting his mistake, Arenas has been extremely active and provocative on his Twitter. We will see if that continues.

Below is Stern's statement:

"The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us. I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation involving the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department, and the consideration of this matter by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia. For the same reason, I directed the Wizards to refrain from taking any action.

Wizards personnel continue to be interviewed by law enforcement authorities, some are scheduled for appearance before the grand jury and the investigation is proceeding with the intensity that one would expect for such a serious incident.

"Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game. Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police announced that the fiancee of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry would not be charged in connection with his death.

Loleini Tonga was arguing with Henry before she attempted to drive away as he hung onto the back of her pickup.

Police said there is no evidence that she drove recklessly or with excessive speed during the fatal incident.

Henry also allegedly threatened to kill himself moments before falling.

charles-rogers-arrested.JPGFormer Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers was arrested again Tuesday after passing out a Mexican restaurant from drinking too much, police confirmed.

Employees at the On the Border restaurant in Novi (it's lovely) were unable to rouse Rogers awake after he fell asleep in his seat at 3:15 p.m. He was rushed to the hospital as employees were concerned he may have suffered a heart attack.

Rogers was arrested on suspicion of failing to fulfill his probation in a Sobriety Court program.

The onetime Michigan State standout has had a litany of legal issues since 2003, when he was drafted with the second overall pick.
andy-roddick-koala-sex.jpgAndy Roddick was upstaged by a couple of amorous koalas yesterday during a trip to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane (Australia).

The first-serve enthusiast was there with his wife, Brooklyn Decker, checking out the local wildlife when cameras caught a couple of very in-love koalas expressing that love in a very primal way.

I thought about embedding the video, but then I'd break my streak of never using the subject line "Policy on Koala Sex Footage" in an e-mail to my superiors.

Interested humans can just check it out here.

Roddick, for his part, seemed to get a kick out of the whole thing as he provided the link and news on his Twitter page.
brandon-jennings-hair.jpgMilwaukee Bucks rookie sensation Brandon Jennings debuted his new high-top fade during a 96-78 thrashing of the New Jersey Nets last night, effortlessly blending the past and future of the NBA together.

The brand new 'do is attracting a lot of attention and Kid N' Play googling, but it's nothing Jennings hasn't done before. Back when he was a wide-eyed high schooler who figured out he could make more money in Europe than in college, he had the same thing going on.

Jennings is averaging 19 points and 5.9 assists per contest this year, if you care about silly on-the-court things like that.


This will likely be something closer to the pitter-patter of big feet. Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and wife Ye Li are expecting a baby, their first, according to reports.

Yao checks in at 7'6", but the wife is no slouch at 6'2". So this kid is gonna pop out the size of a science-fiction creation.

Yao has been helping manage his old team, the Shanghai Sharks, while out with a foot injury. Thus the time for baby making.


Former Blackhawks star Chris Chelios was hit with a DUI charge following a late December traffic stop in west suburban Westmont, police said Tuesday.

Christos K. Chelios, 47, of Bloomfield, Mich., was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol after a Dec. 28 traffic stop, according to Westmont police. He was also ticketed for speeding and improper lane usage.

Police stopped a pickup driven by Chelios at 4:12 a.m. as he was traveling east on Ogden Avenue near Blackhawk Drive, police said.

The pickup was towed from the scene and Chelios was taken to the Westmont Police Dept., where he posted $300 -- 10 percent of a $3,000 bond -- and was released, police said.

A blood alcohol level was not available, police said Tuesday, due to his pending court appearance. Chelios will appear at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton on Feb. 1 on the charge.

Chelios racked up 185 goals, 763 assists and 2,891 penalty minutes as a defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens (1983-90), Blackhawks (1990-99) and Detroit Red Wings (1999-09). He currently plays with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.
Los Angeles Angeles play-by-play announcer Rory Markas has died at the age of 54.

Markas has called games for the team since 2002, and was the soundtrack to the Angels' World Seires win that season.

He had returned to the booth last season after suffering a blood clot in his brain in November 2008.
nba-jam-wii.jpgFor many of us, life peaked around the time we were regularly playing NBA Jam multiple hours a day.

There was nothing like the combination of high-flying dunks, catchphrases, push-down steals and Chris Mullins' haircut. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a dirty liar.

The arcade-ish two-on-two basketball title enjoyed it's peak popularity in the 16-bit era, when Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were the windows to the world. It was a simpler time, one where my father told my brother and I if he heard "THE STEAL, THE STEAL" again, he'd make sure we'd never be able to play with an unlocked Bill Clinton again.

This morning, I'm happy to share the news that the classic Midway game is making a comeback on the Wii, according to ESPN's Jon Robinson.

Boom-shaka-laka! Things are heating up.
jayson-williams-crash.JPGFormer NBA player Jayson Williams was hospitalized after crashing his SUV into a tree at a northbound exist of the FDR Drive in Manhattan this morning.

Although Williams hasn't been charged, the New York Police Department said it appeared he had been drinking.

The former New Jersey Nets big man pulled the old switch-over-to-the-passenger-seat after the crash, and told police he wasn't driving, according to witnesses.

Apparently, no one else was in the car. It doesn't work so well when that happens.

Williams is scheduled to be retried on the reckless manslaughter count that produced a deadlocked jury in 2004, which stemmed out of fatal shooting of his then-driver in 2002.

It wasn't as dramatic as the Statue of Liberty play from 2007's OT Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma State, but this latest bit of trickery in the No. 6 Broncos' bag was no less amazing.

Boise State's fourth quarter fake punt on fourth-and-nine picked up 29 yards and led to the game-winning drive in their 17-10 Fiesta Bowl win over No. 4 TCU to preserve a perfect 14-0 season.

Punter Kyle Brotzman hit Kyle Efaw for 20 yards with a defender in his face to carry the day. Brotzman also had a perfect punt to the TCU one-yard line to help seal the game with less than 2 minutes left.

And about that 2007 win:

Currently, there are 13 minutes left in the Fiesta Bowl and it is tied 10-10. Surely, something exciting will happen and a hero will emerge.

But no player will be able to hold a candle to the undisputed star of this battle of unbeatens.

That's right, we're talking about Cowbell Girl.

We may never know her name, but for approximately 10 seconds of on-air time, this Boise State band member reignited America's love of the cowbell.

Stand aside, Christopher Walken, there's a new sheriff in town.

Initially, I remarked on her apparent lack of enthusiasm for the cameras, but it's been brought to my attention by some jubilant -- and angry at the same time -- Boise backers that she's visually impaired. So, it looks like I'll be going directly to hell.

If that's the case, it's an even better, even more enduring image.

Play on, Cowbell Girl. Play on. 
casey-johnson-tila-tequila.jpgCasey Johnson, a 30-year old heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune and daughter of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, was found dead Monday morning, according to multiple online reports.

Johnson recently made tabloid news with her reported engagement to reality star Tila Tequila.

People has the following background:

An openly gay socialite, Johnson had a knack for attracting paparazzi - and trouble. A nasty fight with ex-girlfriend Courtenay Semel, daughter of former Yahoo chief Terry Semel, reportedly resulted in Johnson's hair catching on fire last October. Then in November, she was arrested for allegedly breaking into another former girlfriend's house.

In December, Tequila announced the pair were engaged. "Tonight, my beautiful girlfriend has just asked me to marry her and check out this rock," the lingerie-wearing Tequila said in an Internet video. "Bam! That is a 17-carat diamond ring from my baby."
A Los Angeles police sergeant confirmed the death to the aforementioned magazine.

Tonight's Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Texas Christian features two undefeated teams that won't be playing for the national championship.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know this makes a lot of people all cranky and forgetful of their holiday cheer.

That's why Playoff PAC is here.

They're responsible for this ad, which will appear in the Boise State and TCU's markets. The political-action group is hell-bent on getting a playoff in the college game, and judging from their spot, are giant fans of taped radio interviews.

The game starts in 28 minutes. Get your nachos ready.
After meeting with law enforcement officials today, Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas admitted to bringing unloaded guns out from his locker in a "misguided effort to play a joke."

They do call it gunplay, after all.

Arenas admitted that what he did was a mistake and was wrong and no realizes there's no such thing as joking when it comes to guns.

Also today, Agent Zero re-iterated his claim that he brought four unloaded weapons to the Verizon Center in order to keep them away from his children at home.
bears-ad-chicago.jpgA day after completing a lackluster 7-9 season with a win over woeful Detroit, the Chicago Bears apologized to fans with ads in both our paper and the Tribune.

OK, maybe technically it's a thank-you note, but it kind of reads like an apology. And I know lots of you out there would prefer if it were an apology note.

"In a season where we did not perform at our best, we are further humbled by the fact that our fans stepped up and did their part," the ad said in part. "You played your role in the team perfectly.

Aww, that's nice. That ought to wash the putrid taste of a third straight playoff-less season right out of the collective mouth of Bear backers.
tiger-woods-vanity-fair.jpgVanity Fair is plastering a shirtless Tiger Woods on the cover of its February issue.

The photos were taken by the incomparable Annie Leibovitz before the mistress scandal erupted and the cover story is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning Buzz Bissinger.

"Tiger is an intensely competitive athlete--and quite serious about his sport," Leibovitz says of the candid photos. "I wanted to reveal that in these photos. And to show his incredible focus and dedication."
Today is Black Monday for coaches, which is the NFL equivalent of the day after homecoming where everyone dumps their date.

And just like the high school cafeteria, there's a surplus of gossip surrounding it all.

For instance, Fox Sports is reporting that the entire Buffalo Bills coaching staff -- including interim coach Perry Fewell -- has been fired.

Fewell, however, is expected to interview for the permanent head coaching position today.

The rumor mill has the team interested in bringing in former Steelers legend Bill Cowher, although ESPN football guru Adam Schefter indicated he doesn't believe the strong-jawed one will coach in 2010 on "SportsCenter" this morning.

Fox News' Brit Hume has obviously spent some time worrying about the ultimate fate of Tiger Woods' soul.

He apparently felt compelled to share his concerns with a national audience Sunday.

"The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith," Hume said. "He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger is, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Remember, that's a newsman offering advice to the beleaguered golfer, not a religious pundit. Hume is a senior political analyst, so why is he doing his Bible-thumping on one of the station's news programs?

Chandler Parsons hit a 65-foot prayer at the buzzer to lift the Florida Gators to a stunning 62-61 road win over North Carolina State Sunday.

Parsons corralled a missed free throw with 2.6 seconds left, took two dribbles and let his buzzer-beater loose.

No one was as surprised as the 6-foot-9 reserve forward when his desperation heave hit nothing but net.

"I'd be lying if I felt that it looked good going in or I felt that I had it," Parsons said. "I was trying to make sure that I got it off in time."

Gators coach Billy Donovan did his best Dr. Ian Malcolm after the game -- finding beauty in the chaos.

"It was one of those shots where there was nothing diagrammed, there was no play," Donovan said. "It was just a guy who took the ball, and you talk about strange things happening. If the ball bounced anywhere except where it bounced, maybe a different guy shoots it."

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Edwin Encarnacion was released today from a Miami hospital after suffering facial injuries caused by a firework mishap.

Encarnacion sustained first- and second-degree burns to his forehead and right side of his face when his New Year's Eve firework display in his native Domincan Republic went awry.

Luckily, the injuries were minor in nature. Encarnacion said he's been advised by doctors to stay out of the sun for a week.

In 85 games with Cincinnati and Toronto last season, Encarnacion hit .225 with 13 homers and 39 RBIs.
hayden-panetteire-wladimir-klitschko.jpgHere is a picture of "Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere with boxing juggernaut Wladimir Klitschko in Miami.

There really isn't any tangible news to report here, except the two look be quite friendly -- and it only makes sense a knockout enthusiast would be drawn to a knockout.

Klitschko is the current holder of the IBF, WBO and IBO titles. He could beat up my dad and your dad combined.

There is no less than a 17-inch height difference between the two, but couples have worked through bigger problems -- if there is indeed anything going on betwixt them.

I think that's enough text for me to just post the photo now, right?

Los Angeles Lakers megastar Kobe Bryant ushered in 2010 with a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer last night against the Sacramento Kings.

So, not much has changed.

Bryant's heroics capped a 20-point comeback for the purple-and-gold ones.

It's his third buzzer-beater of the season. Twenty-eight days ago he made an off-balance bank shot to beat the Miami Heat and he nailed a shot at the final horn against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 16.
Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane was named to the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team today, the only member of the team to receive the honor.

Kane has tallied 17 goals and 28 assists this season.

Dustin Byfuglien, another hopeful, was not one of the 23 players chosen to represent the U.S. in Vancouver next month. He was among 34 players invited to a summer orientation camp for prospective players.
capital-one-turf.jpgTo say that the field conditions for today's Capital One Bowl between Penn State and LSU were terrible would be an understatement.

A driving rainstorm at the beginning of the game overwhelmed the sod, making it look like a bunch of kids had turfed Old Man Sutter's yard by doing donuts in their cars.

Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions emerged victorious with a 19-17 come-from-behind win to give the legendary coach his 24th bowl win.

After the game, PSU coach Jay Paterno snapped this picture of the field, proving just how sloppy it was out there.

LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell was apparently not a fan of the muck and mire.

"That was by far the worst field condistions I've ever seen in my life," he said. "For them to say this is the best bowl outside the BCS, I would expect to play on the best field outside the BCS."
Tennessee basketball players Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins were arrested Friday after a traffic stop and now face drugs and weapons charges, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Smith is a senior and the starting power forward for the 14th-ranked Volunteers and Tatum has started this season as well.

"We take these matters very seriously," UT coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement released by UT. "We are still gathering information. Once the appropriate authorities have provided us with all of the facts, we will act accordingly."

Tennessee is coming off a Thursday night win over rival Memphis.
chris-peterson-boise-state.JPGBoise State has rewarded coach Chris Peterson with a five-year contract through 2014, the school announced today.

Peterson, who has compiled a 48-4 record in four seasons at Boise State, will lead his sixth-ranked Broncos against third-ranked TCU Monday night in the Fiesta Bowl.

Financial terms of the deal were not revealed and athletic director Gene Bleymaier said some details were still being worked out.
In what is easily the most awkward moment of the decade thus far -- no matter what you did late last night -- we present for your consideration ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso attempting to shake a blind youngster's hand.

Oh yeah, he's also wearing an oversized Oregon Duck head.

The Denver Post reports that Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be benched for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Josh McDaniels said Marshall doesn't want to play because of a slight hamstring pull.

The loss of the pass-catching enthusiast will be huge for a Broncos team feverishly fighting for a playoff spot.

Marhsall's season began under a cloud of controversy with McDaniels, but he's rebounded to haul in 101 passes and 10 touchdowns on the year. He also set an NFL record with 21 receptions in a Week 14 loss to Indianapolis.
gerald-laird-fight.JPGDetroit Tigers fans who found themselves losing patience with catcher Gerald Laird as he slugged his way through a .225 2009 campaign will be interested to know that the 30-year-old backstop was arrested following a brawl at the Phoenix Suns-Boston Celtics game Wednesday.

Laird and his 22-year-old brother Brandon -- an infield prospect with the New York Yankees -- were allegedly involved in a rhubarb in the lounge area of U.S. Airways Center in which the brothers Laird apparently assaulted the security guards.

Can't we just have an NBA game without incident, people?
gilbert-arenas-gun.jpgWashington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton spent a portion of their Christmas Eve night drawing guns on each other over a gambling debt, according to a report from the New York Post.

An anonymous source says Crittenton became angry at Arenas for refusing to make good on a debt. Naturally, this caused Arenas to draw his weapon on Crittenton, who also reached for a gun.

Arenas denied ever pulling a gun, but the team announced on Dec. 24 that the star guard had stored unloaded firearms in his locker room.

Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld declined to comment. "It's in the hands of [Washington] authorities," said Grunfeld, a former star Knicks player and president. "We're going to get to the bottom of this, if there is a bottom to this."

You'll remember that the Washington franchise changed its name from the Bullets in 1997.