In a sign of gratitude to all those who’ve generously contributed to Haiti’s relief effort, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garçon floated the Haitian flag at the end of his team’s 31-17 win over the New York Jets in the AFC championship. Garçon and the Colts are en route to Miami, home to the largest Haitian-American diaspora in the United States.
Long before a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ripped through the Caribbean island’s impoverished capital, Garçon’s official Website proudly displayed a giant Haitian flag. Since Port-au-Prince was reduced to rubble, his site has become a magnet for Haitian-American sports fans who want to know how Garcon prepares for his first Super Bowl appearance as he tries to locate missing relatives in his parents’ homeland.
The story goes that shortly after baseball great Babe Ruth had settled into the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo while touring Japan in 1934, there was a knock on the door. He opened it to see a Japanese man in a kimono. ”Sign baseball,” the man said.
As soon as the Babe autographed that baseball, the man pulled another out of his kimono. Then another. And another. And another.
For the third straight year, the National Hockey League hit all the right notes at its annual outdoor extravaganza at one of baseball’s most revered shrines: Fenway Park. The Boston Bruins fought back to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime in front of nearly 40,000 fans.
“It was neat,” Boston defenseman Derek Morris said. “We were trying to yell and scream to each other, but you couldn’t hear yourself it was so loud. It was amazing. We wanted to win that game for the fans. It’s a fairy-tale ending. It was pretty special.”
A phone survey commissioned by the NFL last September reported that diagnosis rates of Alzheimer’s and other memory-related diseases among former players appeared to be much higher than in the population as a whole — five times the national rate for men aged 50 and above, and 19 times for men aged 30 to 49.
The NFL’s response was to point to the limitations of that telephone survey, saying its own study on the long-term effects of concussion would provide a much better picture, but facing growing criticism from outside experts, the players union and members of Congress, the League’s stance now appears to be somewhat different.
During his brief stint as a commentator on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pre-game show back in 2003, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign after making this controversial comment about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.”I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team,” Limbaugh said at the time.In his resignation letter Limbaugh said “my comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated. I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret.”In a league where almost three quarters of its players are African-Americans, including the head of the players’ union, Limbaugh’s attempt to become co-owner of the beleaguered St. Louis Rams, in his home state, has been met with swift opposition.According to ESPN, DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, has written an email to the association’s executive committee, detailing his opposition to Limbaugh’s bid. “I’ve spoken to the Commissioner (Roger Goodell) and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages. But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred.”Commissioner Roger Goodell has already cast doubt on Limbaugh’s viability as an NFL owner, saying that “divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about.” Goodell said that Rams representatives told owners at a recent meeting that they haven’t fully committed to selling the team, which is being shopped by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.UPDATE: Have decided to turn comments off. Sorry about that but felt the debate was generating more heat than light. poll by twiigs.com
(PHOTO CREDIT: Rush Limbaugh pictured in a file photo. REUTERS/Micah Walte)
In one of the most anticipated games of the season, in two rabidly partisan Midwestern states, Brett Favre has gone from beloved icon of the Green Bay Packers to leader of the hated Minnesota Vikings. The dislike reached Hatfield-McCoy proportions Monday night when Favre triumphed 30-23 over the team he proudly represented for sixteen years.According to the New York Times, the showdown attracted an average of 21.8 million viewers, the biggest audience in the history of cable television, exceeding the 18.6 million who watched the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game in September 2008 on ESPN.In an interview to ESPN, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Favre is the best quarterback in the NFC North. “[Favre] played really well,” Cutler said. “I think we kind of would have liked to have seen Green Bay beat him to even out the conference a little and give those guys a loss, but he played fabulous from start to finish. It was a good game.”These days, the aging Cajun plays with the allure of a fine French wine: the older he gets, the better he gets… at least early in the season. Favre who turns 40 on October 10th has a perfect 4-0 record, and his surgically repaired right arm seems to have new life.A medical team performed surgery on Favre’s biceps last May, cutting the partially torn tendon to alleviate the pain that prompted him to prematurely announce his retirement for a second year in a row before signing with the Vikings.Last year, Favre’s season with the New York Jets started well; in week four he threw six touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals, a personal best and one fewer than the NFL record. By week 12, the Jets had compiled an 8-3 record, including a win over the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans.However, the Jets lost four out of the last five games of the season including the final game against the Miami Dolphins, who had acquired Chad Pennington after he was released from the Jets to make room for Favre. In those five games Favre threw eight interceptions and only two touchdown passes, bringing his season total to twenty-two of each.In an interview Dr. Anthony Romeo, section head of shoulder and elbow surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said “Brett Favre’s probably going to get stronger and stronger as the season goes on,” “The chances for this deteriorating are far less.” poll by twiigs.com
If the broadcasting Gods had their way, this year’s World Series match up would feature the New York Yankees versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.Then again, the Yankees’ last championship in 2000, dubbed “the subway series by New Yorkers, was derided almost everywhere else as a contest between “payroll #1 (the Yankees) and payroll #2” (the Mets). Where did that leave smaller markets?Fans in Milwaukee, Kansas City, Oakland, Pittsburgh didn’t share the Big Apple’s excitement and the much-hyped series turned out to be the lowest-rated World Series in history, according to Fox Sports.This time, it would be Wall Street against Hollywood, two regions of the countrythat consistently sign high-priced free agents from the so-called “flyover states.”Last winter, the Yankees secured former Milwaukee Brewer pitcher C.C. Sabathia with a $161 million contract (over seven years). Then, former Toronto Blue Jay fire-baller A.J. Burnett was happy to take $82.5 million (over five years) from the Yankees.Finally, first-baseman Mark Teixeira got $180 million (over eight years) to relocate his family to Manhattan after stints with the Angels, Braves and Rangers.On the other side of the country, Joe Torre’s Dodgers spent $45 million (over two years) to retain left-fielder Manny Ramirez.Aside from the St. Louis Cardinals, all the other division leaders (Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Phillies and Dodgers) have payrolls exceeding $100 million. However, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told the Los Angeles Times that he doesn’t see any disparity in baseball.”I take great exception to that,” Selig said. “I think this year is an aberration. In the last five years, I think we’ve had as much competitive balance as we’ve ever had. Am I concerned that we’re back to where we were in the ’90s? We’re a long way from that.”I don’t think this year has discouraged me one bit. I know I’m right, to be frank with you.”Lew Wolff, the owner of the Oakland Athletics, said: “This is not a blip. I hope it’s an aberration, but I’m not sure it is. If it’s not, we’ll have to tweak the labor agreement.” poll by twiigs.com
Twenty years ago this week, Pete Rose received the harshest of all of baseball’s penalties: a lifetime ban for betting on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds, the team that brought him fame as a player and infamy as a manager.In return for his admission, MLB wouldn’t embarrass Rose by exposing its evidence against him.
Rose protested his innocence for years, but eventually admitted to gambling on baseball games in his 2004 autobiography, “My Prison Without Bars“.
Former Philadelphia Phillies slugger and Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Schmidt wrote an opinion piece recently saying his former team mate is having to sell his autograph to make ends meet while steroid cheats are raking in millions of dollars.
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s prison sentence followed by house arrest for participating and bankrolling a dog-fighting operation officially ended on Monday July 20.It took exactly one night for Vick’s name to be once again embroiled in controversy. Vick’s Virginia-based lawyer Lawrence Woodward denied reports that his client spent his first night of freedom at a Virginia Beach strip club. “It is absolutely, categorically false,” Woodward said.Two dancers at the club, who identified themselves as Tropical and Tara, told reporters they saw Vick and NBA free agent Allen Iverson there Monday night.Throughout Vick’s legal ordeal, the NFL seemed content to toss all the controversy into the hands of the legal system. Now that Vick is out of the proverbial dog house, all eyes are on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.Shortly after regaining his freedom, Sports Illustrated and other media outlets, quoting anonymous sources, reported that Goodell and Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, secretly met in New Jersey.It was then reported that the NFL had granted Vick a conditional re-instatement that includes a four-game suspension. NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello quickly went on Twitter to announce that “despite what ESPN says, commish has made no decisions on MVick.”In a sport where careers are often cut short by injuries, at 29, this is probably Vick’s last opportunity to recoup some of his losses and write a new chapter on and off the fieldDespite being away from the sport in the prime of his once promising career, ProFootballTalk.com believes the first overall selection in the 2001 NFL draft is still a better quarterback than a dozen current starters, a list that includes Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton and David Garrard.While the Humane Society was keen to give Vick a second chance by hiring him as spokesperson to help eradicate dog-fighting, the NFL has been coy. However, barring a last-minute reversal, the league appears to be leaning toward allowing the gifted running, passing quarterback to sign with a team and participate in a training camp.Is Michael Vick an asset or a liability for NFL?
Although NFL training camps are still weeks away, each passing day brings new reports suggesting that Brett Favre is about to come out of retirement for a second time in as many years. The Vikings have openly admitted their interest and Favre has done the same.While the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers are trying to rebuild around younger quarterbacks, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be willing to throw a proverbial Hail Mary pass to an aging quarterback in the hopes he can take them to the Promised Land.During an appearance on HBO’s Joe Buck Live, his first since retiring from the New York Jets last February, the three-time NFL MVP said he had surgery a couple of weeks ago on his throwing arm. He said the doctor who performed the surgery on his biceps told him it would take four to five weeks to find out if the procedure was a success.As long as his right arm is healthy, it looks like Favre is coming back to the NFC where he’s spent almost his entire career. The Cajun may not be able to part the river that runs through the Twin Cities, but his eye-popping statistics cannot be overlooked so easily: he won Super Bowl XXXI, was voted Associated Press MVP three years in a row (last one shared with Barry Sanders), selected 10 times to play in the Pro Bowl and he holds NFL record for the most touchdown passes.Last year, Favre’s season with the Jets started well; in week four he threw six touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals, a personal best and one fewer than the NFL record. By week 12, the Jets had compiled an 8-3 record, including a win over the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans. However, the Jets lost four out of the last five games of the season including the final game against the Miami Dolphins, who had acquired Chad Pennington after he was released from the Jets to make room for Favre.In a recent interview, the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards, Jerry Rice didn’t show a lot of confidence in Favre. Rice said the stress of a 16-game season might be too much for a 39-year-old. “Brett is a competitor. But I know towards the latter part of my career, even though I still wanted to be out on that football field, it was like things became a little bit more difficult,” Rice told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Should Brett Favre come out of retirement…again?
PHOTO: New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre leaves the field after throwing an interception against the Miami Dolphins during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, December 28, 2008. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine