Thursday, June 30, 2011

Plancher Jury Starts Deliberations

((ht: orlandosentinel))

The trial of a now deceased UCF Football player's family versus the University of Central Florida Athletic Association is beginning to wind down.

The trial, which in a somewhat interesting twist, was promised to be over in 3-weeks, is about to hit that magical 3-week mark. And the judge in the case is holding the attorneys for both sides to that timetable.

Wednesday's testimony included a "Medical Expert" and a Boston area "Hematologist". Both testified they did not believe Ereck Plancher's diagnosis of "Sickle Cell Trait" contributed to his death at a UCF Football practice in 2008.

That testimony contradicted the testimony of the Orange County Medical Examiner who said he believes the trait is exactly what caused Plancher's death. Testimony has also included debate as to whether or not there was water made available to players at practice as well.

The Plancher family is seeking damages from the UCFAA and this case should be over soon. Final testimony is scheduled for Thursday and the case could be sent to the jury by the end of the day.

Your re-cap, includes George O'Leary testifying, and is courtesy of our friends at the Orlando Sentinel the one Orlando media outlet that isn't all "Casey Anthony" all the time.


PM UPDATE: As of 1730HRS Thursday afternoon, the jury has started deliberations in the case. Steve Yerrid, the Plancher family attorney, told jurors during his closing argument the UCF Athletics Association failed to follow its own policies and do everything possible to save Plancher's life.

UCFAA attorney Kevin Taylor countered there is "no evidence based proof" sickle cell trait caused death.

More when we know more...

BREAKING: And We Have Lockout...

NBA Players Union chief Billy Hunter says owners are locking out their players eight-and-a-half hours early after failing to reach a new CBA.

In a three-hour meeting Thursday, the sides could not close the gap that remains between the two parties in their positions.

All league business is officially on hold, starting with the free agency period that would have opened Friday. The last lockout reduced the 1998-99 season to just a 50-game schedule, the only time the NBA missed games for a work stoppage.

Union executive committee member Matt Bonner says "we tried to avoid the lockout; unfortunately we couldn't reach a deal."

Earlier this week on "The Dan Patrick Show" Charles Barkley's gut feeling told him that the entire season would be lost...

Remember, this is what we were subjected to the last time this happened...

More when we know more...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Edward Rife (OSU tattoo guy) expected to plead in court today

Edward Rife
((ht: Columbus Dispatch))

Obviously, we'll update this story later in the day after he appears. But we wanted to let everyone know that the man at the center of the Ohio State "Tattoo-gate" problems is expected to plead guilty to drug trafficking charges in the U.S District Court in Columbus.

Edward Rife owns Fine Line Ink Tattoos, and his place in the public eye came after it was discovered he was selling signed memorabilia from Ohio State football players. Active OSU football players.

That revelation has sent the Ohio State football program and administration into an incredible tailspin. The active players involved were suspended for the 1st 5 games of 2011. The investigation eventually cost now former coach Jim Tressell his job.

You can read Tuesday mornings update from the Columbus Dispatch RIGHT HERE

Rife's plea will not have much of an impact on the NCAA investigation. The NCAA is looking at this incident along with many, many other issues that have cropped up since this all began last year.

The memorabilia that Rife has will be sold by the government if Rife can't come up with $50,000 he apparently agreed to fork over for it.

Check back frequently, we'll let you know what happened with this story later today.

Monday, June 27, 2011

BREAKING: Lorenzo Charles killed in Raleigh bus wreck

Lorenzo Charles
((ht: wralsportsfan))

Former NC State basketball standout Lorenzo Charles died in a bus accident on I-40 in Raleigh, according to Raleigh PD.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash. Raleigh experienced heavy rain and thunderstorms, but no word yet if weather or speed was a factor. Charles was the driver of the bus, heading to Durham to pick up passengers.

The bus was owned by Elite Coach, which is a limo, bus, and charter service located in Apex, NC. 

Here are some images from WRAL's Sky5 of the accident scene:

Charles is best known for completing Dereck Whittenburg's "alley-oop" to defeat Houston in the 1983 NCAA championship game.

More info as it becomes available...

DEVELOPING: Russell Wilson to make his "decision" today

Russell Wilson
Former NC State quarterback and NCAA record-holder Russell Wilson will be making his decision - baseball vs. football - today, according to Adam Rittenburg at the Four-Letter.

"I have to make a decision on what I’m going to do, and I hope to do that no later than July 1," Wilson told the Asheville Citizen-Times. "[Auburn and Wisconsin] are the two schools I’m looking at, but I was contacted by a lot of schools."

Some are asking how can Wilson transfer from NC State and play for anyone? Well, Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien and the University granted Wilson a release from the program, so that he could play his final year of eligibility at another school. Since he graduated last month - after only three years, I might add - NCAA rules state that he can sign on somewhere else and can play football immediately.

The downside about Wilson leaving baseball to play football - he'd have to pay back a significant portion of his $250,000 signing bonus from the Asheville Tourists. The Tourists are the Colorado Rockies' farm club that Wilson currently plays for, and is hitting .221 with 82 strikeouts in 181-at bats.

Facebook is spreading the decision news as well. NCSU's "Pack Pride" announced this morning that "QB Russell Wilson will announce his decision today on ESPN College Football Live. ESPN CFL will have his first interview to ask him all about it! 3:30 ET ESPN."

I'm sure Brother Jon will be happy if Wilson chooses the Tigers.

If you're unfamiliar with Wilson, check out these highlights:

More later...

Video surfaces in Stow beating


Video has now surfaced showing a confrontation between San Francisco Giants fan Brian Stow, who was brutally beaten after watching the L.A Dodgers home opener on March 31st and an un-identified Dodger fan during the game.

The video, which seems to have been shot on a cellphone isn't incredibly clear and the audio is in Spanish, but you can see Stow and the Dodger fan, who doesn't appear to be Giovanni Ramirez the guy ID'd by LAPD as the main suspect in the beating. Ramirez has repeatedly said he wasn't at the game.

Stow, who was beaten so badly that he's been in and out of a coma since the incident is in a San Francisco hospital in serious condition.

The video the moment not embeddable, so you'll have to click on the link HERE, in order to see it.

DEVELOPING: Dodgers file for bankruptcy--UPDATED

((ht: richard sandomir))

UPDATED:10:10 am est--Per L.A Times--McCourt has told the L.A Times he's lined up $150 million of interim financing to keep the team through bankruptcy proceedings.

You can read the teams entire statement via L.A Times by clicking on the link HERE

The battle between Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball has now been elevated. McCourt, the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has put in paperwork declaring the Dodgers bankrupt.

This is, for the most part, a legal tactic by McCourt to stave off the league from taking over and selling his team. Though that scenario is inevitable.

McCourt is trying to get Fox TV to complete the contract offered just a week or so ago and rejected by the MLB. That deal would've given McCourt enough money to slog through most, if not all of the season.

McCourt has been barely able to make payroll this season and MLB has already placed an advisor with the team to begin the transition to a new owner. But McCourt has fought it all the way saying he still wants the team. However, between his nasty, expensive divorce from now former wife Jamie and his other financial issues, McCourt just flat out doesn't have the financing to continue running a professional sports franchise.

Oh by the way, just Sunday, Steve Sobroff, an L.A civic leader, hired to help make Dodger Stadium a better place for fans and help the team in the community, quit after 2 months on the job.

More on Sobroff from RIGHT HERE

We suspect this will, in due time play itself out, but it make the once proud, standout, Major League Baseball franchise look awfully small. We feel for the players and staff, and the team has definitely suffered both on and off the field.

Brother Phil

MetLife interested in putting name on Meadowlands: Who says insurance isn't profitable?

New Meadowlands Stadium
((ht: sportsbusinessjournal))

This is why we don't buy the whole "We have to give big companies more tax breaks to hire people argument". And yeah, it's a bit of a political statement, but you've got a prime example right here in front of you.

The Sports Business Journal is reporting Monday morning that MetLife insurance is probably going to purchase naming rights to the New Meadowlands Stadium. At a price somewhere near $17-$18 million a year.

And it doesn't even top the list of naming rights fees.

The deal, would put their name on the stadium where the New York Giants and the New York Jets play their football games in (hopefully). And according to the report; the deal isn't official "Yet".

Read more from the Sports Business Journal RIGHT HERE

While we don't begrudge stadium owners for seeking out these deals, we just have a really hard time with the "Big Businesses" who plead poverty and say they aren't making "Enough" profit, yet can spend $15-$20 million a year to have their name attached to a stadium. And yes, advertising executives say that it is still a value for the exposure, but we find that very hard to believe. Do you really think anyone goes to a game at a stadium named after a product and buy the product because they have their name on the stadium?

No, we thought so.

There are banks, other insurance companies and several really large businesses with their names attached to stadium. It's nice to know Citi Bank was in major financial distress like other banks just a couple years ago, but could afford a $20 million dollar naming rights fee on the New York Mets Stadium.

We know, yeah, owners need the rights fees to pay off their palaces, we get that. We're just saying first, take a longer look before trying to replace your palace on the public's dime and two if you are a business that claims it is in financial distress, don't fritter away money on stadium naming rights and then go lay a bunch of people off...or tell us you are poor.

Enough soapbox...

Brother Phil

Your NFL Lockout Update: Shopping Thursday Pkg. (Rich vs. Rich--Day 6,112)

NFL Commish Roger Goodell
((ht: Sports Business Journal))

If anyone thinks that an agreement in the NFL Lockout isn't near, this should cool their jets. The Sports Business Journal is reporting Monday morning the league has been heavily shopping an early season 8-game Thursday night game package.

And they want it to start soon.

The deal would only run for the 1st half of the season. The NFL Network has a deal in place to do Thursday games for the 2nd half of the year.

The new package could be worth up to $700 million a year...something the "Allegedly" cash strapped owners and league say they desperately need. The SBJ says Turner Sports and Comcast are the leaders in the clubhouse for the deal.

Read the entire story from the Sports Business Journal RIGHT HERE

We knew that this deal was in play during negotiations with the players, so it isn't a shocker. For fans, we suspect, it would be an exciting thought. It would give them another night of football on TV early in the fall. We know the players..and coaches aren't incredibly enamored with Thursday games, though they do like when they are over and it is 10 days before the next game.

Trust us when we say this will happen. And yes, it is a pre-cursor to a labor deal getting done. They wouldn't be talking about this unless both the players and the owners thought that football would be played...and played soon. So make room on your DVR's folks, you may have one more thing you'll have to record.

For those into such things, here's the NFL Networks Thursday Night theme:

Brother Phil

T.O. blows out knee...Could he finally be done?

Terrell Owens
((ht: espn/mortensen))

Could it be? The legend is his own mind, Terrell Owens, done with football? It's possible.

The reason, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Owens recently had ACL surgery after blowing out his knee. His sources are a bit conflicting though, one saying he did it taping a reality show for that bastion of quality TV, VH-1 and the other source saying he did it during a work out.

Owens mouthpiece, Drew Rosenhaus hasn't issued a statement to confirm or deny this, but both of Mort's sources agree he had the surgery. The sources also say, with rehab, if he so chose, Owens could possibly come back and play by the end of November this year.

Read the story RIGHT HERE

T.O is second only to Jerry Rice in all-time receiving yards and has had a fairly successful career despite his issues with ego. He was reasonably successful in 2010 with the Cincinnati Bengals, catching 72 passes, but there were questions as always about his commitment to the team. They didn't ask him back.

We're betting you'll see him at least make an effort to get back on the football field after he recovers, eventually, someone will take a flyer on him and if it is at a reduced price, he could be worth it. Yes, we know, nobody would touch him other than the Bengals in 2010, but we think as a late season rental, he could potentially have something to offer a team in need. But that's it. He won't play in 2012.

Here's a somewhat crappy dub of last years premiere episode of "The T.O Show" for those interested:

Brother Phil