Thursday, August 12, 2010

Team Photo May Have Tipped Off Suits In Kansas

The NCAA thinks North Carolina football players Greg Little and Marvin Austin have been up to something they should not have been – like (allegedly) flying to California to see their buddy and former teammate who was drafted by the San Diego Chargers.

Then, like the irresponsible and broke college kids that they are, they (allegedly) let their buddy with the $8 million contract pay for their tickets.

And then…this is really SHOCKING, the two football players (allegedly)“worked out” (just like they typically do on about 325 days of the year) with their buddy who was also working out because…wait for it…he’s a football player.

Then they (allegedly) went to a party at his agents house...Awwww, no u diiiinn’t!

Evidently, the two were aware that such mundane activities as this are strictly verboten and they were sharing a good giggle over it during team pictures when Raleigh News & Observer photographer Robert Willet caught them in the act. In the photo above, Austin is clearly mocking the NCAA and its archaic (in some ancient romance language "archaic" actually means "dumb a**") rules while Little (#8) looks on smiling.

Austin and Little, two of the team's best players, have been practicing with the second-team while their eligibility status is being evaluated by the NCAA.

Today, UNC football coach Butch Davis confirmed associate head coach John Blake is involved in the NCAA's investigation into the football program.

Davis declined to talk about Blake's role in the investigation or Blake's relationship with agent Gary Wichard.

"I'm not talking about any of the things that have anything to do with [the NCAA] review," Davis said.

Asked if there was any question or concern about Blake's relationship with Wichard, an NFL agent who represents former UNC defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, Davis said: "No."

News Flash: Tennis Is All But Dead

Look, you had to see this coming.

Ever since John McEnroe stopped yelling at officials and puppy-dog innocent ball boys and girls big time tennis has been sliding head-long into the sporting consciousness’s crapper.

These days, the sport is burdened with women pros who are either the Williams sisters or grunting male tennis player imitators – some that look like nameless Russian weight lifters and others that look like nameless Russian supermodels. Not that there is anything wrong with Russians or supermodels.

On the men’s side, all the top players are married to supermodels and have the personalities of wood. Really boring wood. One guy wins all the tournaments, and the only guy that ever beats him looks like a Spanish supermodel. Yawn.

Roll this into the current model of pop culture where the sporting universe is currently OBSESSED with the length of our contests. It appears that if you are under forty you are either too busy or too important to spend more than two hours watching a sporting event unless its pro football (and you whine and cry that NFL games take too long, but the all-powerful marketers of Red Zone fame manage to keep you anyway!). Even then, the bitching reaches tornadic proportions if a replay extends the three-hour-plus broadcast by ninety more seconds.

Media wags wail that everything, including America’s pastime baseball, takes too long…we must increase the “pace of the game” they say over and over again.

(We say, bulls**t.)

But if that is the current countenance of our modern sports fan, tennis is in some deep kimchee.
The big event in England lasts two weeks – a damn far cry from two hours. This year, one match lasted two days…Who has time for that? (Like, really? Who really has two days to watch a tennis match?)

Apparently, no one at the networks or ESPN or Fox Sports or Yahoo or a couple million blogs not devoted to tennis or you, that’s who.

Like the once major sports of boxing and horse racing, tennis, too is struggling to regain its spot in the sports’ world hierarchy.

To make matters worse, the general malaise the sport is suffering is working its way into the grass roots fanbase – the local club and tournament players.

Back in early August in the home municipality of T.A.H. Worldwide Media LLC, two chaps named David Couk Jr. (at net below) and Mark Deckwitz (ballcap below) became the oldest doubles team to win the storied Fauquier County Tennis Tournament “A” division doubles. These two geezers are a combined 101-years-old!

(OK Jimmy Kimmel and YouTube fans here’s the obligatory inserted joke “Fauquier Tennis and Culpeper's too!”)

No crap, an affluent county in the heart of “horse country” just 50 miles from the capital of the Free World couldn’t muster up a couple of twenty-somethings home from representing their chosen institutions of higher learning in the classic cat gut sport to kick the pee livin’ snot out of these two old guys? And good on all us old guys everywhere!

Yes, it was a major upset as the winners knocked off higher seeded younger opponents all the while overcoming bum knees and other classic old guy aches and pains.

The championship match (6-4, 5-7, 7-6 [9-7]) lasted three hours! OMG! That’s longer then a World Cup soccer match, who can sit through such tedium? (Just kidding. No, seriously we can watch our homies play tennis as long as the match takes [read that: as long as the beer stays cold], but who can sit through a World Cup match besides Mr. Anderson and people from Europe and Latin America?)

Couk (50) is a local version of an “iron man” who has been a tennis star since his youth, and a college basketball and tennis player. He still regularly mixes it up with “A” leaguers on both courts. That said, he does remain a mediocre golfer.

To his credit, our main man Jr., while not a racket-thower/screamer, does posses quite a bit more flamboyance than your average tennis pro. A favorite anecdote is about the time he once burned his rackets in his Richmond backyard after what he deemed to be a particularly egregious loss.

Nice, Jr. NICE!

His partner, Deckwitz played college tennis at Florida and Florida Atlantic.

“Those young guys we played were so much better athletes it blows your mind,” said Deckwitz demonstrating his age by saying “blows your mind” to a reporter. Evidently…the flashbacks and creaky body parts weren’t a factor as the winners demonstrated once again that experience trumps youth.

When it was all over, both players admitted to the local media that their next stop would likely be the massage table.

Fellas, all us old guys thank you and congratulate you.

Now, go throw a racket and yell at somebody!

Picture of the Da(l)y

John Daly hits his approach shot in the tenth fairway while wearing his University of Tennessee Court Jester Pants during the first round of the 92nd PGA Championship on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits on August 12, 2010 in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Some people call me a space cowboy,
Some call me the gangster of love,
I'm a joker,
I'm a smoker,
I'm a midnight toker,
I get my loving on the run.
Wooo Woooo!

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Pictures Of The Day

TIED FOR LEAD. Tiger Woods waits to play a shot on the tenth hole during the first round of the 92nd PGA Championship on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits on August 12, 2010 in Kohler, Wisconsin. Woods was tied for the lead after 5 holes at -3. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
BECAUSE WE LOVE THE TEAM NAMES. Jarryd Hayne of the Eels is tackled during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Parramatta Eels at WIN Jubilee Stadium. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac)
WHERE’S THE LOVE? Not only did Nats rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg get rocked by the Marlins when he returned from the two week DL on Tuesday, it also appears there were a large number of fans in attendance disguised as “empty seats.” Could have had something to do with the fact that the game time temp was close to 100 fun lovin’ degrees. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Things That Make You Go…


SUITS IN KANSAS INVESTIGATING UNC – A part of the NCAA's investigation into the University of North Carolina's football program has turned to associate head coach John Blake and his relationship with agent Gary Wichard, according to Wichard.

Reached by phone last week, Wichard - an NFL agent and longtime acquaintance of Blake's based in California - would not comment about his relationship with Blake because he said Blake is "involved" in the investigation at UNC.

The NCAA has launched investigations into allegations of impermissible contact between sports agents and college football players at several schools, including UNC. Last month, NCAA investigators interviewed Tar Heels senior defensive tackle Marvin Austin and senior wide receiver Greg Little. Investigators were back on UNC's campus last week.

To read more, click here.

SUITS IN KANSAS INVESTIGATING MIAMI – The U of M issued a statement Friday saying the investigation surrounds “impermissible text messages and telephone calls to prospective student-athletes."

The NCAA website says “schools cannot text prospective student-athletes at any time.” Texting was eliminated because of the potential cost to prospective student-athletes, the site said.
Past NCAA cases involving text messaging have typically led to schools either being placed on probation or imposing that penalty on themselves.

TOO MUCH INK – According the Gaston, NC Gazette, team spirit in the form of body art helped identify a man who pleaded guilty to drug charges in court last Thursday.

A “UNC” tattoo on Donald Shaun Black’s right cheek was used in the description a man gave police after being robbed during a drug deal gone bad on April 28, Assistant District Attorney Bill Stetzer told the judge.

Black, and his brother, Brendan Black, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell drugs.
Brendan Black pleaded guilty to an additional charge of malicious conduct. He yelled at police during the arrest, told them he had a gun and reached behind his back as if he was grabbing for a weapon. Officers subdued Black with a Taser gun but he still spit in the officers faces.

SPOILER ALERT…wait for it: Black said he had been drinking the day the incident occurred.

HEY, DAD, CAN YOU TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL NOW - Koral Wira, a Florida teenager is out in her dad’s boat for a nice day of fishing when a barracuda jumps out of the water and grab’s the girl’s arm. Naturally, she recoils and the barracuda ends up in the boat where her dad, a quick thinker, grabs the bait knife and stabs the offending piscatorial limb gnasher in the head.

Then dad takes a series of pictures of his daughter and her multiple wounds that will eventually require 55 stitches…Key word being “eventually.”

As you can see here, dad made Koral sit through some additional obligatory “wounded daughter, proud dad, dead fish” photos before taking her to the emergency room.

Nice, Mr. Wira, NICE!

To see the fish and the wound, click here.

THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZ-MOBYDICK –This one happened a while back, but it still deserves some additional cyberspace. While cruising about on a nice sunny day a whale smashes a sailboat. Talk about not looking where you’re going…

Evidently…Paloma Werner and Ralph Mothes, who operate the Cape Town Sailing Academy, were out and about in a 32-foot sail boat in Table Bay when a rare Southern Right whale came swimming right at them.

"I assumed it would go underneath the boat, but instead it sprang out of the sea," the 50-year-old Werner said.

Clearly, the whale had a different plan as it shot into the air and landed on the boat.
Mothes, who was piloting the boat, ducked behind the wheel as the whale thrashed around on the deck and destroyed their mast, before finally slipping back into the water.

The moment was photographed by a tourist from Botswana, who was aboard a nearby boat.

SPOILER ALERT…wait for it: "They have very poor eyesight and obviously if they're breaching visibility is very poor,” Werner said.

Several blogs reported that the whale “had been drinking the day the incident occurred.”

NICE DOOYike, former Heisman Trophy winner turned Broncos rookie Tim Tebow really, really wants his new teammates to like him and not begrudge him his ridiculous contract.

So, Tebow willingly let himself be hazed and have the top of his head shaved so he now resembles Friar Tuck.

“I think all the rookies had a good time with it,” Tebow told the AP. “It was something to give everybody a laugh, something also to build chemistry.”

SPOILER ALERT…wait for it: Several blogs reported that Tebow “had NOT been drinking the day the incident occurred.” (Photos of Tebow via Trendytykes at Flickr)

BET THE JINX? - Last time we looked (about a week ago) the Boise State Broncos were a 2.5 point favorite over the Virginia Tech Hokies for their Labor Day game at Fed Ex Field.

Since then, SI has put the Broncs on the cover…

Blind-In-One Eye Filly Channeling Dead Owner’s Wife Wins On Racing’s Biggest Stage

Get the screen play started...

Tim Snyder is a lifelong "racetracker" whose done about every job there is around horses. When he bought a horse which he later named Lisa's Booby Trap, he had a station wagon and a dog. He paid $4,500 for the filly - putting $2,000 down and promising the balance when she won a race.

She was big and lanky and couldn't outrun a fat man uphill. Lisa's Booby Trap wouldn't change leads and Snyder in a show of very good horsemanship figured out why. She was hitting her ankle with her other hoof when she tried the maneuver that is critical to successful racing. Snyder somehow figured putting a hind horseshoe on her front hoof would change her way of moving just enough to create some clearance. He was right.

Last Friday, Lisa’s Booby Trap kept her perfect record intact when she won the $70,000 Loudonville Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. We call that "much improved."

Bet down to the 3-2 favorite in the field of five, Lisa’s Booby Trap got off a step slowly and settled in behind the pack. Making a four-wide move on the turn, she closed steadily and drew clear to win by six lengths with a final time of 1:09.64.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, other than the modest price tag and the rags to riches story in the "Sport of Kings," Lisa’s Booby Trap is named for Snyder's late wife who died of cancer in 2003.

“His late wife told him that she wanted to come back as a racehorse, and here she is, living vicariously through Lisa’s Booby Trap,” said winning jockey Kent Desormeaux. “As far as we believe, she’s inside – they have the same heart, and she’s carrying this horse.”

Oh, and she's blind in one eye...

After Snyder solved the lead/ankle problem, Lisa’s Booby Trap made her first start at Finger Lakes in upstate New York on May 24, leading from gate to wire and winning by 17 ¾ lengths. She then wired a pair of Finger Lakes allowances by a combined margin of 19 lengths, setting herself up for a start at Saratoga.

Following those three spectacular victories, Snyder was criticized in cyberspace when it was revealed that he turned down as much as $500,000 for the filly. The standard approach in a business dependent on such poorly designed fragile creatures as racehorses is always “take the money.”

Snyder did not, telling the New York Times, “I’m having way too much fun with this horse to sell her. More fun than the money could bring me. She’s not for sale, not at any price. Everybody told me to take the money and run. That’s not me.”

Lisa’s Booby Trap’s career earning now stand at $75,000 and counting.

(Photos courtesy of the New York Racing Association via Flickr)

Pictures Of The Day

DOUBLE GOLD, JERRY! – A rainbow arches across the sky as rain showers move away before pregame warm up between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on August 7, 2010 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)
FIRST WHO DATS – New Orleans Saints quarterback and National Football League MVP Drew Brees (L) presents U.S. President Barack Obama (R) with a Saints jersey during a reception for the 2010 National Football League Super Bowl champions at the White House August 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)
HALL OF FAME HOG -Former Washington Redskin Russ Grimm poses with his bust during the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium on August 7, 2010 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)
COWABUNGA, DUDE – Brett Simpson performs a frontside air during the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing on August 6, 2010 in Huntington Beach, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)
SURFING IN ENGLAND? – Why, yes! Antonio Bortoletto from South Africa competes in the Association of Surfing Professionals Relentless Boardmasters 5 Star Event on Fistral beach on August 5, 2010 in Newquay, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe)
NICE SOCKS – Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia returns a shot to Sam Querrey of the USA during day 3 of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center on August 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. Evidently, Tipsarevic thought he was at Wimbeldon when he was getting dressed, but by the time he got to his feet he remembered he wasn’t…could have been the heat and humidity that tipped him off. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

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