A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

February 2010 Archives

joe biden olympics.JPGA mentally ill man with a fake security pass was able to get within feet of Vice President Joe Biden during a security breach at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, according to a report from Canadian outlet CTV.

The 48-year-old British Columbia man fanagled through several layers of security inside the venue.

The man approached Biden, who was seated in a section reserved for dignitaries, but was intercepted by two female plainclothes Mounties.

"They described him to me as simply not fitting in," Royal Candian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer said.

"They approached him, determined that the accreditation he was carrying was forged or fake, confronted him and escorted him out one or two steps at which point he attempted to run and was taken into custody."

Mercer, who heads up the unit tasked with securing the Games, says members of his team were also providing security for the Vice President while he was in Vancouver taking in Olympic events.

Mercer says the man was not carrying a weapon and did not intend to harm Biden.
The disturbed man's pass was described as a crude attempt that appeared to be a laminated document he'd printed off the Internet. He will not face charges, according to police, and has instead been committed to a psychiatric facility.
Donte' Stallworth, whose contract with the Cleveland Browns was terminated last week, will sign on with the Baltimore Ravens, according to a report from ESPN. The one-year deal is reportedly worth $900,000 with another $300,000 in incentives.

Stallworth was reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goddell after serving a year-long suspension for killing a pedestrian in Florida while driving drunk. He spent 24 days in jail and settled out of court with the victim's family.


Kentucky's dramatic 81-75 overtime victory over Mississippi State last night was marred by an ugly incident before the final buzzer in which fans threw water bottles onto the court.

Official Mike Kitt and Wildcat freshman John Wall were almost hit with the projectiles, and the game was delayed while the mess was cleaned up.

The moronic behavior came after a great game -- one that featured a shorthanded Bulldogs team hanging tough with second-ranked Kentucky before running out of steam in overtime.

Wildcats' DeMarcus Cousins, who was subjected to all sorts of nasty phone calls and text messages after his cell phone number got out, responded with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

You'll recall that a Feb. 3 game between West Virginia and Pittsburgh was sullied by coin-throwing.

I have no idea what compels fans to throw things at players, but it's got to stop.

If you've ever wondered what ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose uses to manage his face, today was a big day for you.

The perfectly-mulleted one was asked on "First Take" how he manages to look so young in a predictably wacky and off-the-cuff moment.

The problem is that Melrose's answer was, to put it mildly, unpredictable.

"Chicken s---," he said.

A somewhat surprised host Jay Crawford tried to give Melrose a chance to clarify what he had to assume was a slip of the tongue.

"What's that," he asked.

Melrose, without a beat, said "chicken s---" again.

Dana Jacobson apologized for the naughty words later in the broadcast because Melrose was presumably employing his unsanitary beauty ritual somewhere else.

austin-box-arrested.jpgOklahoma linebacker Austin Box was arrested Saturday night in Oklahoma City when a police officer observed him urinating on bar stools.

The 21-year-old was booked on a complaint of disorderly conduct and later released.

An officer saw Box, a junior linebacker, standing below the entrance to Skky Bar on Mickey Mantle Drive about 2 a.m. Saturday, the report states. Box walked to a corner on a balcony near the entrance and urinated, police said.

Box told police he had been kicked out of the bar and "had to go," according to the report.
The Sooner was cited in March for a similar incident in which he was spotted urinating outside a restaurant.
Los Angeles Clippers center and blocked-shot enthusiast Marcus Camby will be dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for forward Travis Outlaw and guard Steve Blake, The Oregonian reports.

An agent for one of the players involved confirmed the trade to the paper.

The deal, which is expected to be finalized today, would give the Blazers a presence in the middle replacing the injured Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla.

Camby is a two-time member of the NBA All-Defensive team and took NBA defensive player of the year honors in 2006-2007.
hannah-teter-swimsuit.jpgHere is the natural order of things:

1. A female athlete poses for a sexed-up pictorial in a magazine

2. Said athlete gets criticized for the shoot

3. Athlete defends herself in the wake of the criticisms

Today's contestant in that game is U.S. snowboarder Hannah Teter, who talked with the press about her bikini-clad appearance in this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

"I was really amped up to do that because I don't believe in the criminalization of bodies and women having to be ashamed of their bodies," Teter told Reuters. "That's just so wrong."

Teter, who won a gold medal at the 2006 Games, has also made news recently for selling underwear to
support Doctors Without Borders.

She'll also find time to do some actual competing while defending her gold.
Far be it for me to tell everyone how to live their lives, but if one is going to propose at the world's most famous arena in front of a packed house, one should be pretty confident the answer is going to be "yes."

For some poor guy at Madison Square Garden yesterday, this advice is too little, too late. A star-crossed fan decided to pop the question during the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning game, with the help of the scoreboard.

A Valentine's Day tradition, no?

To say it didn't go as expected would be an understatement.



We're assuming this is real and not a stunt pulled off by two attention-crazy fans. If so, it's absolutely crippling millions of males who yearn to morph their two loves of sport and women into one gelatinous sphere of pleasure.

I've had the conversation about the in-game proposal with several women before, and my informal straw pole suggests this is not something that is looked on kindly. But gentlemen, if you insist on doing it, make sure you're going to get the right answer.

Or end up an unwitting Internet celebrity. 


When you're the Super Bowl MVP, you get the privilege of making the rounds on the talk-show circuit.  And as Drew Brees found out, sometimes you can get more than you bargained for.

Here is a clip of the New Orleans Saints quarterback greeting Oprah Winfrey, who proceeds to attempt to wipe the birthmark off of Brees' face. The episode aired apparently aired yesterday (got to admit I missed it).

The online buzz is beginning to crackle, with a lot of people wondering how Oprah could not have known what was going on. It's very plausible that she was just joking around, but it seems like an inappropriate joke if that's the case.
johnny-weir-fur.JPGColorful U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir says he is worried about his safety after receiving "very serious threats" from anti-fur activists.

Weir got the animal-rights activists all worked up when he wore white fox fur on his costume during the free skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

"I totally get the dirtiness of the fur industry and how terrible it is to animals. But it's not something that's the No. 1 priority in my life," Weir said after his wardrobe sparked fiercely-worded letters and threats. "There are humans dying everyday. There are thousands if not millions of homeless people in New York City. Look at what just happened in Haiti.

"I tend to focus my energy, if there is a cause, on humans. While that may be callous and bad of me, it's my choice."
He'd spoken about staying in a hotel over the Olympic village, but said that arranging security at a hotel would have been too difficult. Currently, he's staying in the village, sharing a suite with ice dancer Tanith Belbin.
olympic-torch-malfunction.jpgDespite some of the things I've previously said that could be construed as impugning the Winter Olympics, the human part of me took over during last night's Opening Ceremonies.

The gigantic coming together of people from all corners of the globe in a peaceful celebration of sport is a phenomenon that knocks loudly on the heart.

Tremendous television and spectacle all-around.

Everything went off with a hitch until that fateful moment when the time to light the Olympic cauldron came.

Then things got weird.
sean-sutton-mug-shot.jpgFormer Oklahoma State basketball coach Sean Sutton was arrested and accused of attempting to illegally obtain prescription painkillers from out of state Thursday night.

A spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs says Sutton tried to pick up a shipment using another person's name. He said the package in question contained about 40 pills, including the muscle-relaxing clonazepam and Adderall.

Sutton, 41, coached the Cowboys from 2006-2008 after serving as an assistant from 1993-2006. He's the son of the legendary Eddie Sutton.
Thumbnail image for ashley-cole-naked.JPGIt seems as though American athletes do not have the taking-naked-photos-of-yourself market cornered.

Ashley Cole, star footballer for Chelsea, is currently embroiled in an embarrassing scandal of his own after The Sun's report about a sexy exchange with a topless model.

Apparently, Sonia Wild, a model known for her impressive body of work, received shots of a nude Cole to her cell phone. The good sport that she is, she reciprocated with steamy pics of her own.

Cole says he wasn't the man who sent the risque material. According to him, he had given the sending phone away to a friend -- and evidently not a friend who can keep secrets.

A source close to Cole explains, ""He took the images on an unregistered pay-as-you-go phone then didn't manage to delete them when he gave it away to a mate. To say he's horrified to discover the pictures were sent to a model is an understatement."

The 29-year-old defender is currently nursing a broken ankle that could keep him out of the World Cup. Before you feel too sorry for him, let me point out he is married to Cheryl Cole.
The man who facilitated incalculable cliche college laze in the quad has passed away.

Walter Frederick Morrison, who was credited with inventing the Frisbee, died Thursday at the age of 90.

This knowledge replaced my earlier assumption that the Frisbee was invented after a 1885 Hill Valley confrontation between Marty McFly and Biff in which McFly used one to knock a gun out of the villian's hands.

Frisbee...farout! sound bite

Morrison's revolutionary aerodynamic disc was inspired after he'd played with a metal cake pan on a California beach. If only everyone of us could stumble on ideas like that.

Simple brilliance.

Originally called the "Pluto Platter," Morrision's contraption has gone on to sell hundreds of millions of units after he dealt the rights to Wham-o in 1957.
roy-williams-apologizes.jpgNorth Carolina coach Roy Williams apologized Thursday for comments he made about Haiti earlier in the week that led to some trouble.

"Our massage therapist told me, 'You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you're having is a disappointment.'" Williams had said. "I told her that depends on what chair you're sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it's my life."

Williams clarification yesterday read, "On February 1st at my weekly radio show I made a comment about a colleague telling me that Haiti was a catastrophe and we were just having a difficult season," Williams said in a statement. "I said that does put basketball in perspective. However, Tuesday, at a press conference, I referenced her comment again but I neglected to say that it puts basketball in perspective. In no way am I equating the tragedy in Haiti with basketball. I'm sorry that my statement at the press conference made it seem like I was comparing the two. The people of Haiti are suffering through unimaginably difficult times. I know very well that we are just playing a game."

Clearly, Williams understands that the two can't really be equated -- or at least one would hope. To me, it seems he was just trying to stress how important coaching the Tar Heels is to him and how hard their recent struggles have hit him.

There's nothing wrong with that, but you'd hope someone in that visible of a position would have a better filter.
frank-thomas.JPGFormer White Sox slugger Frank Thomas has decided to retire, according to a report from MLB.com.

A press conference is expected to be scheduled tomorrow morning in Chicago.

Thomas, 41, played for the White Sox from 1990-2005 and split the rest of his career between the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics. He did not play last season, but served as an analyst for select games on Comcast.

With his retirement, Thomas will become eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. His impressive resume includes 521 career home runs, which places him 18th on the all-time list. The five-time All-Star will also retire with a career batting average of .301.

anotnio-pierce.JPGThe New York Giants have released linebacker Antonio Pierce, who was a vital cog in their Super-Bowl-winning machine three years ago.

Pierce's 2009 season ended early with a trip to the injured reserve list on Nov. 30 with a bulging desk in his neck.

A defensive captain, the 31-year-old led the team in tackles in three of the five seasons he was with the club.

He was also involved in the infamous Plaxico Burress case after accompanying the wide receiver to a nightclub the night he accidentally shot himself. Pierce testified to a grand jury that he'd driven Burress to the hospital after the incident.

"I appreciate everything the Giants organization has done for me," Pierce said after his release hit the news. "I told both Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese when I sat in front of them that I have no animosity, I have no anger. It's nowhere near that kind of situation. You might not agree with everything that's said, but you understand how the game is. It comes and goes."
Adam Griffin, son of the two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie, will follow his father's lead and play his college football for Ohio State.
 
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back, defensive back and kick returner led his Columbus high school to a state title game last year. Rivals.com has him listed as a two-star recruit.
 
The elder Griffin played for the Buckeyes from 1972-1975, winning the nation's highest honor in his last two seasons. He holds school records in yards and attempts.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino is evidently interested in taking over the woeful New Jersey Nets, according to a report from the New York Daily News.

Sources close to Pitino told the paper that the coach has reached out to Nets brass recently, expressing his desire to take over for Kiki Vanderweghe when the position becomes available in April.

Pitino's camp and the team aren't exactly confirming any of this is happening, but a high-ranking team official says the 57-year-old is "very interested" in the job. The same official adds that all the interest is of the one-way variety.

The Nets' season record currently sits at 4-47.
syracuse-timeout.jpgLast night's rematch of the epic six-overtime Big East Tournament thriller between Syracuse and UConn was not without its share of intrigue ... and controversy.

The Huskies stormed back late to tie the game at 65 with under a minute left, before the Orange's Andy Rautins bricked a three-pointer. Then, things got complicated.

Syracuse corralled the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Scoop Jardine, who could have held on for the last shot of regulation. Instead, he inexplicably took the ball hard to the rack, getting blocked and turning it over in the process.

But the officials somehow awarded Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim a timeout, negating the whole play.
evander-candi-holyfield.jpgCandi Holyfield, the wife of boxing great Evander, has filed a order of protection against her husband.

The case, filed last week in a Georgia court, involves "a family violence .. protective order."

Court documents include accusations against the 47-year-old Holyfield, including claims that he choked, hit and threw a bottle of water at her. This all allegedly took place in front of the couple's children when a discussion about the home heating situation went awry.

"He got up and turned the light on and started looking at my face and told me he was sorry, that he knew he shouldn't have done that," Candi Holyfield stated in the petition.

The incident allegedly began because the heat was cut off in the couple's home, and Candi Holyfield attempted to discuss it with her husband.

"He told me that I was only thinking about myself," Candi Holyfield stated. "He started telling me that I needed to start putting God first in my life."

The Holyfields wed in 2003 and have two children together.

Are you aware, sports fans, that we are on the precipice of a monumental, worldwide sporting event?

Yeah, it sort of snuck up on me too.

But no one would blame you if you didn't have Friday, the day the Winter Olympics begin in Vancouver, circled on your desktop calendar long ago. In fact, it probably makes you part of a majority of people who ho-hum this jamboree of frozen athletics.

One could make an argument that compared to its much sexier Summer counterpart, the cold-weather Games are a distant second -- and that the difference between gold and silver is stark.

steven-jackson.jpgSt. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson won't face criminal charges after police investigated allegations that he assaulted his then-nine-months-pregnant girlfriend.

Investigators found insufficient evidence that the 26-year-old football player attacked Supriya Harris.

"Our investigation is complete," said Las Vegas police Officer Barbara , a department spokeswoman. "I don't think the time passage was a factor here. We contacted the victim, the accused and witnesses. There's insufficient evidence to go forward with the case."

Copies of the complaint from Harris were plastered all over the Internet and included allegations that Jackson had thrown her to the ground repeatedly and flung her against a door.

Jackson issued a statement calling these charges "untrue" and "hurtful."


Good morning, sports fans/nerds.

We're beginning to learn that when something transcendent happens in football, a certain sect of people will fire up the ol' Tecmo machine and come up with a video tribute.

Why should Tracy Porters' 74-yard, Super Bowl-clinching interception return be any different?

Here it is in all its 16-bit glory.

Still can't tell whether to blame electronic Petyon Manning or electronic Reggie Wayne. 
george-hill-naked.jpgThe San Antonio Spurs' George Hill became the second NBA player within a month to apologize for nude pictures that popped up on the Internet.

 "A year ago I made a mistake and take full responsibility for my actions. I have matured and learned from this episode," Hill said through a statement released by the team.

You'll recall that it was not long ago that we had Portland Trail Blazers big man Greg Oden apologizing for similar photos that he had sent to his girlfriend. After seeing what Hill sent (and it's really not that hard if you're interested), it seems like this was a similar situation. Cell phone, self-taken, the whole deal.

Again, if you're a celebrity, don't take pictures of your privates and send them electronically. It will come back to bite you. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.

It'd be nice of this was the last one, but something makes me think it won't be.


Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees was on "The Late Show" with David Letterman last night to bask in the glory of bringing the Lombardi trophy to New Orleans.

Brees sat down with the Indiana-born Letterman, who he was pulling for the Colts, but swooned over Brees' moment with young son Baylen.

You're not alone, Dave. You're not alone.

Brees said that he's undefeated in games Baylen has attended.

Letterman's Top Ten list dealt with the Colts' excuses for losing, so it would appear the gap-toothed host has made his peace with the loss.


The top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks continued their dominant season with a road laugher over Texas last night, which will allow them to have a hearty laugh the preceding blooper.

Guard Brady Morningstar was at the line, trying to ice the game when he had a bit of trouble hanging on to the ball.

"The ball was wet," Morningstar told the Lawrence Journal-World. "It slipped on the way up. I was so confused. I could have caught it and came down with it, but I'd have stepped on the line. I tried to shoot a little jump shot so I didn't cross the line."

"I looked pretty stupid there," he added. "We laughed about it in the locker room just now."
Yep, quite possibly the ugliest free-throw miss of all time. Even worse considering that Morningstar was selected by Jayhhawks coach Bill Self to shoot for Cole Aldrich, who was disqualified before he could shoot his freebies.
kendra-wilkinson-crying-super-bowl.jpgPictures of a very emotional Kendra Wilkinson leaving the Super Bowl crying have been making the rounds on the Internet, prompting the E! reality star and wife of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Hank Baskett to offer an explanation.

Wilkinson explained via twitter, "I wasn't cryin cuz of the damn game it's cuz the paparazzi have no soul. they wouldn't leave me n family alone!!!! we asked them to stop cuz of the baby n they were way too close n they didn't care at allllllll"
Her husband, of course, was unable to recover the New Orleans Saints' onside kick to begin the second half -- a play that proved crucial.



The former Playboy Playmate told the Associated Press before that the game that she was extremely nervous. Turns out it was for good reason.
brooklyn-decker-sports-illustrated.jpgNow that the Lombardi trophy is sleeping tight with the New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton, we can turn our collective thoughts to something that really matters.

That's right, babes in bikinis and weekly periodicals.

Brooklyn Decker, wife of tennis star Andy Roddick, has been unveiled as the 2010 Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl. The announcement was made on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Monday.

The gorgeous 22-year-old has been married to Roddick since April. She will join a hallowed cover club that includes Bar Rafaeli, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum.

This Decker-related news is much, much better for the public than the embarrassing koala incident that befell her and her husband in Australia recently.

No. 44 stepped up his game beyond politics and took on the far more important responsibility of broadcasting college basketball.

President Obama, the hoops fan in chief, joined Vern Lunquist and Clark Kellogg for a few minutes of analysis in the Duke-Georgetown game and brought his humor and some nifty broadcasting ability to the table.

And, for the record, he says he can work to the right, but prefers moving to his left.

You run into to so many people who say, "Oh, I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials."

And that's fine. They get out of the four-hour hypefest exactly what they want to get out of it.

But, I always feel like they are missing out, because so many of us love the football and the commercials. How can we possibly explain our level of excitement and euphoria to someone only looking forward to the interludes?

With that in mind, let me offer my unsolicited opinion on the night's best ad.

It was, without a doubt in my mind, the Google spot.

If you somehow missed it, here it is in all its sappy glory.

s-CARRIE-PREJEAN-KYLE-BOLLER-large.jpgSt. Louis Rams quarterback Kyle Boller has inked beauty queen and scandal enthusiast Carrie Prejean to a lifetime contract.

E! News tells us that Boller popped the engagement question to Prejean in San Diego.

The two began dating in July, during Prejean's tumultuous rise to fame.

He is 28 and she's 22.
Fired ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips appeared on the "Today Show" this morning to talk about his sex addiction.

Phillips, speaking publicly for the first time since leaving Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services clinic in Hattiesburg, Miss., said he wanted to take ownership of his mistakes.

The former New York Mets general manager was dismissed from the worldwide leader in October after details of his affair with young staffer Brooke Hundley surfaced.

Phillips said he'd realized two months earlier that he had sex-addiction issues.

"I recognized in August, I needed help," he said. "I started calling facilities."

"I couldn't stop myself from doing the things I was doing, even knowing the consequences," he added.
washington-snow.JPGThe Snowmaggedon weather has forced the Atlanta Hawks-Washington Wizards game in D.C. to be postponed.

Neither team was able to fly into Washington after their Friday games, according to the league.

A would-be-record 2 1/2 feet has been predicted for the area, which of course would make for treacherous travel for anyone coming to the arena anyway.  For evidence, look at the Villanova-Georgetown game currently taking place. The highly anticipated matchup between two Top-10 teams has drawn a sparse crowd due to the conditions.


We're a mere 29 hours from the Super Bowl's kickoff.

It can not come soon enough, because it looks like those covering the Big Game in Miami have completely exhausted their pregame angles.

Evidence: this story about Jessica Alba that moved on the Super Bowl wire.

It seems the beautiful young actress is not flattered by the reports that a Chinese woman is having plastic surgery to look more like Alba. This is apparently a (misguided) attempt to win her lover back.

"If somebody loves you, they'll love you no matter what," Alba, who is in town for the game, said.

No word yet any crazed Colts fan going under the knife to look like Peyton Manning.


Derrick Rose momentarily defied the laws of physics last night when he somehow hauled in an alley-oop from John Salmons and threw down another highlight dunk.

Rose previously authored this disgusting two-handed tomahawk slam against the Utah Jazz.

Sadly, it only counted as two points for the Bulls, who fell to the Atlanta Hawks.

Let me be the one to take credit for the campaign: let's get this guy in the dunk contest next year.
Indiana broadcaster and former Hooiser basketball player Todd Leary has been arrested in connection with a big-money real estate title scheme.

The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reports that the 39-year-old Leary faces 17 felony charges.

Leary once worked for former title insurance broker Joseph Garretson, who pleaded guilty this week in Allen Superior Court to conversion or misappropriation of title insurance escrow funds, corrupt business influence and unlawful loan origination activities in a scheme that court documents say totaled $2.7 million in losses.
Leary played in Bloomington from 1989-94 and was part of the Hooisers' 1992 Final Four run. He now does the color for radio broadcasts.

Court documents reveal that Leary's former teammate, Brain Evans, cooperated with investigators to help uncover the scheme.
jimmy-johnson-extenze.JPGSilver-haired "Fox NFL Sunday" host Jimmy Johnson has signed on as a pitchman for ExtenZe male-enhancement supplement, according to Advertising Age.

Johnson is evidently an "unabashed user" of the product, whose Web site promises "having a larger penis and enjoying a more fulfilling sex life is possible and attainable."

It's so nice to have something to look forward to. You know, if you need that kind of thing.

The pun-filled ads will surely become a favorite of late-night viewers with their mind in the gutter.
 
"Most men want to perform the best they can in just about everything," Mr. Johnson says in one spot. "Isn't that why we buy the biggest and best of everything?" He signs off with the tagline: "Go long with ExtenZe. I do."

Brilliant. 
jimmy-johnson-extenze.JPGSilver-haired "Fox NFL Sunday" host Jimmy Johnson has signed on as a pitchman for ExtenZe male-enhancement supplement, according to Advertising Age.

Johnson is evidently an "unabashed user" of the product, whose Web site promises "having a larger penis and enjoying a more fulfilling sex life is possible and attainable."

It's so nice to have something to look forward to. You know, if you need that kind of thing.

The pun-filled ads will surely become a favorite of late-night viewers with their mind in the gutter.
 
"Most men want to perform the best they can in just about everything," Mr. Johnson says in one spot. "Isn't that why we buy the biggest and best of everything?" He signs off with the tagline: "Go long with ExtenZe. I do."

Brilliant. 
michael-irvin-rape.JPGA woman who claims she was raped by Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin has filed a civil lawsuit against him in Miami.

No criminal charges had been filed, but the Broward State Attorney's Office are looking into the case. They are expected to reach a conclusion sometime next week.

The woman alleges Irvin and another man held her down and raped her during a July 2007 encounter.

Irvin's lawyer says the accusations are "totally untrue" and essentially an extortion attempt. He says the extent of Irvin's contact with the woman was limited to "perhaps, meeting her."
National Signing Day on Wednesday was a jamboree of educated guesses, with colleges across the country crossing fingers and praying that their prospects pan out. It's all about trying to decipher how stud high-schoolers will assimilate to the college game.

Or, in Lane Kiffin and USC's case, how a 13-year-old will.

Kiffin's crew received a verbal commitment from the barely-teenaged David Sills on Thursday.

And, according to his personal coach Steve Clarkson, it's not such a crazy or premature move.

"His skill set is off the chart," Clarkson said. "I've never seen anyone at his age do what he's been able to do."

EMBED-JaMarcus Russell's Bling Holding Back His Game - Watch more free videos

Here we have TNT's NBA guys Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins talking about Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell's jewelry selection during a recent telecast.

They seem a little put off by it.

"If he spent as much time in the film room as he did at the jewelry store, he'd be a much better quarterback," Harlan opined.

Collins, for his part, seems legitimately flabbergasted that a millionaire athlete would wear such items.

Not 100 percent sure why what Russell chooses to spend his money on is any of their concern, but at least we know have their takes on the bling.
giants-stadium-demolition.JPGYeah, sorta swamped around here today. You'll have to settle for this AP story on the sad end of Giants Stadium.

The demolition of Giants Stadium got started Thursday when a giant metal claw attached to a crane started taking bites out of the cement helix at one of the four gates around the 34-year-old facility.

Clouds of dust drifted in the air as concrete and rebar poked through areas where the concrete was ripped away.

The $10 million-plus demolition project will take about four months with the seats and sod being sold as memorabilia. Much of the concrete is being used to fill a 14-foot hole where the field is currently located.

About a dozen construction workers at the adjacent new stadium that will be home to the Giants and Jets watched the demolition from an open landing, some taking pictures with cell phones.

The beginning of the end for the stadium that played host to more than 1,600 events and had more than 70 million people pass through its turnstiles was lonely.
indy-schools-delay.JPGIndianapolis Public Schools have altered its plans to delay school for two hours on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl, after state officials said this wasn't such a great idea.

Instead, all the round-faced boys and girls of Indy will get to come in an hour later. Classes will then run a half-hour later than usual.

The Peyton Manning-like audible over the schedule is an attempt to avoid a repeat of the day after the Colts' 2007 Super Bowl victory, when a whole boatload of bus drivers called in sick.

To be fair, I'm sure there were a fair amount of Bears fans struggling the next morning as well. But this is the city that works, after all.


Planned Parenthood has released a response to the controversial Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad in which his mother is expected to talk about her decision to not have an abortion. That spot, backed by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, has drawn the ire of women's groups.

The Planned Parenthood commercial features former Minnesota Viking Sean James and Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner. The duo talk about how they respect Mrs. Tebow's decision, but are looking forward to the day when "every woman's decision about her health and her family will be respected."
drew-brees-madden.jpgSad or otherwise, many people in this crazy world turn to the Madden video game franchise when nothing else seems to make sense.

Keep that in mind as we tell you that the good people over at EA Sports have simulated Sunday's Super Bowl. And despite the fact that Drew Brees led the fake Saints past the fake Colts, 35-31, in the electronic fantasy land, they'll still play the game in real life.

You know, for the purists.

The simulation had Brees throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns to take MVP honors. It also had a Reggie Bush taking a punt back for a touchdown.

Before you scoff away the results, consider the fact that EA Sports has correctly picked the Super Bowl winner in five of the last six seasons.


The Backyard Brawl almost turned into a real-life brouhaha.

Pitt assistant coach Tom Herrion appeared to be hit with a coin thrown from the stands during West Virginia's 70-51 victory over the Panthers. After the game, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins was seen asking Herrion about the visible bruise underneath his eye.

Earlier, play was delayed after several items were thrown on the court. Huggins grabbed a courtside microphone and told the crowd to not be stupid.

It was a message they couldn't seem to grasp.

Don't throw things, people. Don't throw things.
Thumbnail image for justin-verlander-tigers.jpgThe Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander have reportedly come to a five-year, $80 million contract.

The hard-throwing right-hander won a career-high 19 games last season while leading the majors in strikeouts, innings and starts.

Verlander, 26, has a no-hitter under his belt and won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2006. His outstanding 2009 campaign came a year after tying for the most losses in the Majors.

The deal is expected to be announced Thursday and will mean the two parties will avoid arbitration. Verlander was eligible to become a free agent in 2001.
kyle-eckel-saints.JPGAnd here is the Super Bowl angle that will defer some of the intense media attention away from Dwight Freeney's right ankle.

CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel writes today about New Orleans Saints fullback Kyle Eckel, a former standout at Navy who is, obviously, playing in Sunday's big game instead of fulfilling his military obligation.

Doyel wants to know why.

Spoiler alert: he has no solid answers -- due large in part to the fact that Eckel is staying mum.

Still, a pretty interesting and complex read.
tom-watson-tiger-woods.jpgOne of golf's elder statesmen is saying that Tiger Woods has to clean up his act in order to make a truly successful comeback to the game.

Tom Watson spoke about Woods' eventual return to the links, saying that the embattled golfer needs to show some humility to the public.

The sixty-year-old Watson echoed many of the same sentiments others have expressed about Woods needing to win back his family and the public, but also took him to task for his on-course behavior.

"I feel that he has not carried the same stature that other great players that have come along like Jack [Nicklaus], Arnold [Palmer], Byron Nelson, the Hogans, in the sense that there was language and club throwing on the golf course," Watson said. "You can grant that of a young person that has not been out here for a while. But I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown."
It's fine advice, but I can't be the only one sick of hearing every golfer other than Tiger weigh in on Tiger. Eventually, the actual golf is going to have to become the story, right?
Former U.S. Soccer coach Steve Sampson said he dumped John Harkes from the 1998 World Cup team because he was having an affair with teammate Eric Wynalda's wife.

This revelation broke 11 years of silence from the former head man, who was heavily criticized for his decision.

Wynalda said brought up the situation on "Fox Football Fone-In" because of the current English soccer scandal involving John Terry and Wayne Bridge.

"There's a lot of similarities between what happened to us in '98 and what's happening now to England," Wynalda told the AP. "It's an unfortunate time for England, because I know how that can affect a team firsthand. Obviously, we all know how we did in the World Cup in '98."
Sampson said he was relieved to have the sordid details of the pre-World Cup drama come to light because it may help explain the U.S.' last-place finish.
nfl_plaxico-giants-shot-nightclub_burress_580.jpgIncarcerated former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress is vowing to return to the NFL when his two-year prison sentence for violating state gun laws is up.

In an interview with Bill Cowher that will air on Super Bowl Sunday, Burress talks about his desire to make it back to the bigs.

He's working out four times a week, relying heavily on push-ups and sit-ups.

At least one solid football mind is taking him seriously.

"He looked me in the eye. I believe he was sincere," Cowher said. "I think I know him well enough to know that ...

"He admittedly blames no one except himself. He's had a lot of time to reflect. He's had great, unwavering support from his wife. ... It's been an eye-awakening situation for him. He had a daughter born when he was in prison. It's very sobering to be in there. When you walk through the door, and you listen to him talk, you can see it's very genuine."

Burress is set to be released from prison in July 2011.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for gilbert-arenas-gun.jpgSuspended Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas takes to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to offer some thoughts on guns, role models and making fun of "inaccurate media reports"

In a very somber prose -- which differs greatly from his normal blog fare -- Arenas addresses his recent problems with NBA Commissioner David Stern, the league, teammates and authorities.

I have done a number of things wrong recently. I violated D.C. gun laws and the NBA's ban on firearms on league property, and I damaged the image of the NBA and its players. I reacted badly to the aftermath and made fun of inaccurate media reports, which looked as though I was making light of a serious situation. And I gave Commissioner David Stern good reason to suspend me from the game, which put my teammates in a tough position and let down our fans and Mrs. Irene Pollin, the widow of longtime Wizards owner Abe Pollin.

I understand the importance of teaching nonviolence to kids in today's world. Guns and violence are serious problems, not joking matters -- a lesson that's been brought home to me over the past few weeks. I thought about this when I pleaded guilty as charged in court and when I accepted my NBA suspension without challenge.
He goes on to talk about what hurt the most was letting the kids down and so on. Do you think this will do anything to curry favor in the court of public opinion, or is it way too little way too late?