Scuffles broke out and police were brought in to quell unrest that nearly turned into riots across the nation Friday following the release of Nike’s new Air Jordan basketball shoes—a retro model of one of the most popular Air Jordans ever made.
The mayhem stretched from Washington state to Georgia and was reminiscent of the violence that broke out 20 years ago in many cities as the shoes became popular targets for thieves. It also had a decidedly Black Friday feel as huge crowds of shoppers overwhelmed stores for a must-have item.
In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcenter mall. The crowd started gathering at four stores in the mall around midnight and had grown to more than 1,000 people by 4 a.m., when the stores opened, Tukwila Officer Mike Murphy said. He said it started as fighting and pushing among people in line and escalated over the next hour.
After boasting for the second straight day his team is better than the New York Giants, Ryan acknowledged Tuesday that he’s going to get hammered by critics if the Jets fall short to the Giants on Saturday in the Battle of New York at MetLife Stadium.
“I feel like I have to win this game because I put it out there, I want to be the better team in our city, there’s no doubt,” Ryan said, adding that if they lose, “it’s going to fall on one person, and that’s the way it should be. It’s coming right on top of me, and that’s fine. And when we win, it’ll be about the Jets.”
What if Sam Hurd had been supplying his Bears teammates with cocaine and marijuana? What if the five to 10 kilograms of coke and the 1,000 pounds of weed he allegedly wanted to purchase per week were also for his former Cowboys teammates and for pro players who make Dallas and Chicago their offseason homes?
What if Hurd was the Unofficial Drug Dealer of the NFL?
Then, friends, the Bears have a problem that will make Tank Johnson’s past criminal troubles look like a 911 call for a cat stuck in a tree.
It doesn’t take much of an imagination to get to a very uncomfortable place with Hurd and the Bears. They waived the receiver Friday, two days after his arrest on federal drug conspiracy charges. According to the criminal complaint against him, Hurd told an undercover agent that he and a partner already were selling about four kilograms of cocaine a week but needed more. The amount of cocaine and pot he wanted to buy weekly was worth about $700,000.
As The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond pointed out, teams that sign players to 10-year deals don’t always regret them. But a team signing a first baseman who will be 32 when he starts serving the contract has less chance of getting its money’s worth. That’s because most of a first baseman’s value derives from his bat — even for a good fielder like Pujols. He’ll have to continue to justify his worth with his offense, which is likely to decline.
Pjuols will have to deliver about 40 wins above replacement for the duration of the contract to justify its value, based on how teams value wins today and taking into account that a dollar he earns later in the deal is worth less than a dollar in 2012. But none of Pujols’s peers have been able to do that. I looked at the other 84 men to earn at least 15 wins above replacement by their age-31 season while playing at least three-quarters of their games at first base or designated hitter. None managed more than Lou Gehrig‘s 31.5 wins above replacement for the rest of his career, and that’s even with Gehrig’s career cut short by his eponymous disease. Only 10 players reached 20 WAR, and two out of three didn’t even provide 10 more wins above replacement.
NBA commissioner David Stern killed the New Orleans Hornets’ trade of Chris Paul after several owners complained about the league-owned team dealing the All-Star point guard to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Some owners pushed Stern to nullify the trade and that the Hornets be made to keep Paul on the roster for the foreseeable future, sources said. A chorus of owners were irate with the belief that the five-month lockout had happened largely to stop big-market teams from leveraging small-market teams for star players pending free agency.
Asked whether the team would remain in Jacksonville, the Illinois businessman said he couldn’t comment until the deal was approved — then offered a hint of what the answer would be.
“Hopefully the vote goes the way we’re expecting; I’ll be happy to elaborate on that, and (fans) will not be disappointed,” Khan said after meeting with the 10 owners on the committee at league headquarters.
Wayne Weaver announced last Tuesday that he had agreed to sell the franchise to Khan for a reported $760 million. The owners will vote Dec. 14 in Dallas.
The deal was reached about 3 a.m. Saturday, on the 149th day of the lockout, after a final 15-hour bargaining session at the law offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Midtown Manhattan.
Based on tentative agreements reached earlier, the deal is expected to be for 10 years, the longest such contract in the history of the National Basketball Association, with an option for either side to terminate it after six years. It includes a significant pay cut for players, along with shorter contracts, smaller raises and a more punitive tax system to rein in the top-spending teams.
Tim Tebow on Tuesday told “ESPN First Take” that he doesn’t pay attention to the lukewarm support from Denver Broncos chief of football operations John Elway and instead focuses on trying to get better as a quarterback.
Elway answered “no” on Monday when asked on his weekly radio show on 102.3 FM The Ticket in Denver if the Broncos were “any closer to feeling if you have your quarterback on this team?”
NBA Commissioner David Stern quickly discredited the players’ attempt to take legal action as a “charade” in an interview with ESPN, calling the move a tragedy that could lead the league into “the nuclear winter.” He was highly critical of the “badly misled” union that he said is bent on self-destruction.
“There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement,” Stern said in a statement issued by the league, “but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy.”
The point is that the players are facing a group of owners who are either representing or paying for the sins of teams that were purchased for way too much, and subsequently spent way, way too much on the Josh Childress’ of the world. As a result, those owners don’t care if there’s a season in 2011-12. They don’t care about their employees, and they don’t care about the workers that make a living tangentially through NBA basketball. And you can’t reason with that sort of lunacy.
All you can do is cede to it, if you want some of what you once had. Because negotiating only brought you this far.
If the players want to play, this really is the end of the line. It’s not the beginning of the end, the first step in some sort of magical, decertified journey that is going to lead back to a majority of the basketball related income in their pockets and sign-and-trades for all. No, this is it.
And we’re expecting NBA players, whose sense of perspective is skewed as badly as anyone’s, to recognize this. God help us all.
Shed no tears for Joe Paterno. Save your pity for the innocent boys who will grow up into tortured men, not JoePa.
Spare me the indignation over the Penn State Board of Trustees firing Paterno on Thursday night over the phone.
Had Paterno picked one up 13 years ago and called the most powerful law-enforcement official he knew in the state, not just the top campus cop, he might have saved innocent boys from an alleged pedophile — and quite likely his job, his school and his legacy.
Penn State removed Paterno from that job because, finally, somebody in Creepy Valley did the right thing. Somebody followed a conscience instead of a university handbook. That it came 13 years too late will haunt State College, Pa., forever. It will indelibly stain Paterno’s Hall of Fame tenure, as if that matters.
What isn’t questionable is the impact the ex-Auburn star has had on the Carolina Panthers (2-5). With seven games under his belt, Newton has surpassed all expectations by breaking records and leading an offense, which is ranked No. 5 in the NFL after experiencing a season of finishing near the bottom in several major categories.
Despite a losing record, Newton has brought hope and excitement to Carolina. He believes he could have played better in spite his excellent numbers. Moreover, he doesn’t take the credit for being fourth in passing yards (2,103) and second in rushing touchdowns (7) in the NFL.
He didn’t take credit for last week’s victory over the Washington Redskins, either.
Newton couldn’t do anything wrong against the Redskins. After throwing three interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons two weeks ago, Newton didn’t have a turnover and completed 18 of 23 passes for 256 yards and a 127.5 passer rating. He finished with a 127.5 passer rating and rushed for 59 yards on 10 carries.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera gave Newton the game ball for that performance. But Newton decided to give the ball to the offensive line.
After seven raucous and stirring games — when, as the end drew near, it became clear that there was no amount of runs, no dearth of outs that this club could not overcome, so much so that even a quick 2-0, top-of-the-first-inning deficit in Game 7 did not appear disconcerting — the St. Louis Cardinals are World Series champions, not only resurrected from the crypt to shock the devastated and disheartened Rangers and themselves, but also in spirit.
Following a marathon 15-hour negotiating session that concluded at 3 a.m. Thursday, officials from both the sides said there is a possibility that an 82-game schedule can be played if a new collective bargaining agreement is finalized within the next five to seven days.
“We’ll try to schedule as many games as possible if we can make a deal this week,” Stern, the NBA Commissioner, said early Thursday. “Until we have an overall deal we don’t have a deal on anything.”
The NFL trading deadline came and went without the Browns trading running back Peyton Hillis. Just as they said would happen.
But the hours leading up to the deadline extended the drama that has become Hillis’ second season with the Browns. Early in the afternoon, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the Browns “could be persuaded” to deal Hillis. Later Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer tweeted that the Browns have received “some inquiries” about Hillis, but told teams they weren’t interested.
When Dustin Byfuglien was arrested for operating a boat while intoxicated, the reactions varied around the NHL. Fans of Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets were embarrassed and disappointed by his actions, while other fans that couldn’t care less about Byfuglien laughed at his stupidity and the fact that he tipped the scales at nearly 290 pounds at the police station.
However, neither Byfuglien’s weight nor his stupidity of operating a boat while being under the influence is reason for the Jets organization and their fans to be worried.
Social activist Elliott Larsen once said, “Anger always comes from frustrated expectations.” And every Eagles fan woke up angry Monday morning — angry that their team gave up 21 unanswered points to lose to the 49ers; angry that their team is now 1-3 and in last place of the NFC East; and most of all angry that their team is not a “Dream Team.” Even Michael Vick proclaimed when asked how he felt after the game, “I’m frustrated.”
In fairness to the Eagles, this whole dream team nonsense was placed on them by their backup quarterback, Vince Young, not a player who actually plays. But the nickname stuck, in part because it was embraced by the Eagles organization. Could you imagine a new player signing with the Patriots, then proclaiming them the dream team? He might get cut the next day.
Memo to defensive coordinators everywhere: Forget what you’ve been led to believe. Tom Brady is human after all.
It certainly didn’t seem that way through the first two games of the season, when Brady put up numbers so stunning they almost looked cartoonish. He was on a pace to throw for nearly 8,000 yards in a league where no one has reached 6,000, and was hitting receivers in the end zone at a clip that even Brett Favre would admire.
That didn’t change much on Sunday in Buffalo, where Brady threw for four touchdowns – giving him 11 in three games – and 387 yards. What did change was he threw four passes into the arms of guys he wasn’t aiming for, matching in just one game his total for all of last season.
So far this season Stafford has been brilliant, throwing for 977 yards and nine touchdowns against just two interceptions through three games in leading the perennially hapless Lions to their first 3-0 start since 1980.
Stafford still has to prove he can play a full 16-game schedule, but it’s safe to say that he’s entered the realm of elite fantasy quarterbacks, especially when receiver Calvin Johnson is catching balls. Johnson has hauled in six of Stafford’s nine TD passes, and the two are becoming the best QB-receiver duo in the league.
We got to figure out what our identity is going to be,” said Manning, who completed 18 of 32 passes for 268 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception while also rushing for a score. “That could change each year. You got to see what we’re doing well, what’s working and what’s not working as well and figure out exactly what’s going to be our style.”Patience is not something the Giants can afford, even this early in the season.
Head coach Tom Coughlin was frustrated by the lack of execution on offense, which was 1 of 10 on third down and could not accumulate possessions in the second half resembling the eight-play, 85-yard drive in the second quarter that gave the Giants a 14-7 lead.
And with each week precious in the NFL, Coughlin wanted his offense to quickly discover that identity Manning said it needs.
There is no doubt he is the most important player to his team as far as affecting the odds,” said Jeff Sherman, the assistant manager at the Las Vegas Hilton’s sports book.
The Hilton moved the Colts’ Super Bowl odds to 25-1 from 15-1 because of Manning’s injury. The Colts are 9-point underdogs against the Houston Texans in their season-opener Sept. 11, a game that started with an even spread at the Hilton.
Since Manning became their quarterback in 1998, the Colts have won 10 or more games 11 of 13 seasons and won the Super Bowl in 2007.
“Peyton Manning is the only player in the NFL that would affect his team’s odds by more than a touchdown,” RJ Bell, founder and chief executive of Las Vegas-based handicapping information website Pregame.com, said in an e-mail.
Haley hasn’t been available to answer questions about Cassel’s status since immediately after the Green Bay game. At that time, he said, “He wanted to go back in. I thought the prudent thing was to be smart there.
“Unfortuntately, he got dinged up a little bit. I’m not overly concerned.”
The Chiefs lost tight end Tony Moeaki for the season because of a left knee injury in the loss to the Packers. Moeaki was also injured in the second quarter.
Normally, starters are removed from a team’s fourth and final preseason game by the end of the first quarter to protect them from injury. As a comparison, the Packers pulled their starters after each team had one possession Friday night.
He has started five playoff games in his career and won only two (the last win coming after the 2004 season). Compare that to Brady and Manning who have won 23 playoff games combined along with four Super Bowls. Vick’s career QB rating is 80.2 just behind such immortals as Ken O’Brien and Jeff George.
QB rating does not take into account running ability which is one of Vick’s strongest attributes, but Vick is 31-years-old and his legs are bound to slow down as he ages. Look at Randall Cunningham who Vick is often compared to and is second behind Vick in career rushing yards per game among quarterbacks. Cunningham averaged 42 yards a game rushing before his 30th birthday and less than 15 rushing yards per game in the 65 games after he turned 30.
If you’re wondering about the plight of that other inexperienced passer on the Broncos’ roster – how far and fast he has fallen in the eyes of his bosses – consider that at least some people in the organization believe that Tim Tebow is the fourth-best quarterback on the roster.
As one highly knowledgeable member of the organization told me Monday, “If everything was totally equal, and this were a competition based only on performance at this camp, Tebow would probably be the fourth-string guy. Kyle [Orton] is far and away the best, and Tebow’s way behind [Brady] Quinn, too. And I’m telling you, Adam Weber is flat-out better right now.”
After telling GQ magazine that he didn’t want to come to Philadelphia to be a third-string quarterback following his release from federal prison two years ago, Vick clarified his remarks late Thursday after he threw three interceptions in a 24-14 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I wanted to be with (coach Andy Reid),” Vick said. “I knew that I was going to have to sit, but I knew it was going to pay great dividends for me. I couldn’t see it at the time, but that goes to show how much I know because of how things worked out. I’m glad to be an Eagle and hopefully I will be for a long time.”
Think about the most resonant athlete food commercials of all time. What comes to mind? “Mean Joe” Greene’s Coke commercial is an obvious one. Gruff, tough, persistent, touching — it hits all the right emotions, the soft spots that cause typical American males to fight back tears at the end of Rocky movies — the ones that make them gulp after slow-motion end-zone passes or stealing-home scenes in the run-of-the-mill sports movies. Then there are the clever commercials, the ones like the Bird versus Jordan game of horse that just hit exactly the right tone. When you think about it, athlete food commercials are an art form… really.
The Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers square off Thursday evening in a preseason opener at San Diego. The Seahawks are a team that struggled to a 7-9 record but stumbled into the playoffs while the Chargers once again got hot late but just missed a playoff spot at 9-7.
The Seahawks made a lot of changes in the offseason, with the most notable being the departure of longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. His departure resulted in the Seahawks signing Tarvaris Jackson who enters the preseason as the number one quarterback on the depth chart. Jackson had some ups and downs in Minnesota and will look to justify Pete Carroll’s excitement.
At his heaviest, at least according to that scale, Jasper weighed 448 pounds, and Hand was frank with him: At that weight, he had no future in the NFL.
“Matt Hand made a deal with me initially saying they wanted me under 400 pounds,” Jasper said. “All of the other scouts that came through, they were telling me that I had to be 320, 310; they were giving me unrealistic goals to reach. Finally I heard, ‘Get down to 400, see if you can get to 400.’ So that was a mark. I set it, attacked it, and got down to 400.”
Some local officials privately said they could see Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who also owns 45 percent of the Barclays Center, potentially acquiring the Islanders to add 44-60 dates per year to help fill the arena.
A Prokhorov spokeswoman, however, said the Russian billionaire “has no interest in buying another sports team at this time.”
The arena currently is projected to host about 200 events annually, including Nets games.
Queens, Kansas City, Mo., Suffolk County and Canada have also been rumored as potential landing spots for the Islanders.
Jed Hoyer, the second year General Manager, moved contracts and got two more tremendous young minor league pitching prospects.Owner Jeff Moorad’s miniscule payroll got smaller by the shedding of two more contracts.
Mike Adams, who resurrected his career from the scrap pile, goes to Texas, currently in first place, and will have the chance to save games in a pennant race.
Ryan Ludwick, his disappointing one-year stay in San Diego over, goes to a hitter-friendly park, and will have two months to show he can still hit, after earning nearly $6 million with the Padres, while striking out much more than hitting balls out of the park.
Somewhat lost in the unsatisfying way the Atlanta Braves-Pittsburgh Pirates game endedearly Wednesday morning was the fact the best catcher in baseball — certainly he’s No. 1 in fantasy by a healthy margin this season — was forced to leave early with a strained left oblique. Brian McCann is pretty good, folks; he leads all catcher-eligible players in home runs and is second in RBIs and batting average to Victor Martinez!
I’m no doctor, but a strained oblique is obviously a big deal for anyone attempting to hit a baseball, and it’s a hindrance to playing catcher as well, but the Braves believe this is a short-term injury, one that shouldn’t cost McCann more than three weeks of playing time. Of course, there’s always a chance the problem lingers.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb(notes) will play for a different team for the third straight year, pending the final details in a trade that will send the six-time Pro Bowler from the Washington Redskins to the Minnesota Vikings. Word is that the Vikings would send a sixth-round pick in 2012 and a conditional pick in 2013 to the nation’s capitol for McNabb’s services.
This month, Vick was re-signed as a pitchman by Nike (he was merely receiving products from them upon returning to the NFL) and has inked a deal with MusclePharm. In June, Vick got back in the promotions business in a smaller way when he signed to help promote a helmet padding system created by Unequal Technologies.
While Vick is still a long way from being the marketing dynamo he was earlier in his career, what’s happening is at least very surprising to those in the marketing business.
The Cubs dropped a 7-5 decision Sunday to the Florida Marlins, and let’s be clear about one thing: the loss was the Cubs’ own fault.
They fell to 20 games under .500 at 38-58 largely because they couldn’t get a quality start out of pitcher Randy Wells and because their offense went from the second inning until two outs in the eighth between basehits.
But that didn’t stop Quade or his troops from taking off on second-base umpire Lance Barrett for an apparent blown call on a pickoff play in Florida’s 3-run eighth inning that gave the Marlins a 7-4 lead.
Kerry Wood had just put runners on with two outs on a hit batter and a walk. With Emilio Bonifacio at the plate, Wood wheeled and threw to second in an attempt to pick off pinch runner Brett Hayes.
The throw looked to shortstop Starlin Castro looked to have Hayes, but Barrett called him safe. Quade did not argue, but Wood kicked up a minor fuss.
Bonifacio then reached on an infield single before Wood issued a bases-loaded walk and a 2-run single.
Barring any last-minute snags, NFL owners and players are on a path that could lead to a new collective bargaining agreement this week.
While the end to the four-month owners’ lockout is not a done deal, substantial progress was made late in the week and indications are that ownership may vote to ratify the new labor contract at their league meetings Thursday in Atlanta, a person with knowledge of the talks told USA TODAY on Saturday.
Years of investigation, research and preparation were put in jeopardy Thursday when the government made a key error in the Roger Clemens perjury trial and Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial.
Just weeks from a verdict that would have either set Clemens free, or, as Walton said in the courtroom Thursday, sent him to prison, the questions on everyone’s mind are:
How badly did the government screw it up? And what happens next?
As the shock of the judge’s ruling subsided, legal experts raised the possibility of several different outcomes, ranging from a dismissal on the grounds of double jeopardy (not likely, most say) to a plea agreement between the government and Clemens (more likely Friday than it was Thursday, in the wake of Walton’s pointed message to Clemens that he would most definitely be going to jail should he be convicted).
James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers said some crazy stuff about Roger Goodell.
James Harrison sounds like someone who's flown over the cuckoo's nest.
From The Washington Post
Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article.
The 2008 AP Defensive Player of the Year hasn’t been shy about ripping the league after he was docked $100,000 for illegal hits last season. In the August issue of Men’s Journal, his rants against Goodell reach another level of wrath.
“If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it,” Harrison told the magazine. “I hate him and will never respect him.”
His other descriptions of the commissioner include an anti-gay slur, “stupid,” “puppet” and “dictator.”
Jeter’s 3,000th hit has its own campaign that has been titled ”DJ3K,” and everyone is trying to cash in on it. DJ3K has been turned into a logo that will be branded on merchandise for fans, everything from shirts to cellphone skins to bobbleheads. One popular New York sporting goods store, Modell’s, has said it will stay open past its closing time as long as fans continue shopping.
Another way DJ3K is cashing in is with the dirt on the field. After the game, a groundskeeper will scoop up five gallons of dirt from the batter’s box and shortstop’s patch into a bucket. This will be the dirt that is under Jeter’s feet as he makes his 3,000th hit. That dirt will be used in key chains, disks framed with photographs and other limited memorabilia for sale.
“He obviously said something to David,” Red Sox starter Josh Beckett said after Ortiz and Gregg attempted to throw a few haymakers, neither connecting. “David’s not the type of guy — something had to have set him off. I don’t know what it could’ve been.”
Both players are almost certain to receive suspensions. Ortiz didn’t make himself available for comment, but Gregg did. Turns out, he wasn’t happy with Ortiz’ etiquette.
“It is 3-0, they are up seven, and I think there are some ethics to this game and guidelines that you have to stay within,” Gregg said. “Run. You hit a lazy fly ball, you have to run the bases. And apparently, he didn’t like me telling him that stuff and he came out there. If he thinks there’s something wrong with me saying that, then he has other things he has to check out in this game.”
Clearly, the Rangers’ front office decided that Brad Richards was indeed worth the risk. The immediate benefits to this Rangers team are obvious. Richards has scored at least 20 goals in 9 of his 10 NHL seasons. He has posted at least 25 power play points in 8 of his 10 seasons. He will fit an immediate need both in the #1 center slot, and quarterbacking the power play. He has a Stanley Cup ring and a Conn Smythe trophy to his credit, from his days with current Rangers’ coach John Tortorella.
The contract he signed is a nine year contract worth $58.5 million. The deal takes him until he turns, avoiding the ‘Kovalchuk’-rule cap restrictions that come with contracts that take a player past 40 years of age.