Category Archives: sports

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank prints full-page ad in today’s Baltimore Sun to clarify POTUS comments.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank prints full-page ad in today's Baltimore Sun to clarify POTUS comments.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank prints full-page ad in today’s Baltimore Sun to clarify POTUS comments; doesn’t mention Trump by name.

The ad, which states the company is “publicly opposing the travel ban,” appeared to be in response to comments Plank made earlier this month on CNBC, calling Trump “an asset to the country” and a “pro-business president.”

“To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country. People can really grab that opportunity. He wants to build things. He wants to make bold decisions and be really decisive,” Plank said in the interview.

The comments sparked a boycott by some against Under Armour, including criticism from celebrities such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Did the Saskatchewan Roughriders work out Jonny Manziel?

From Sportsnet

The Saskatchewan Roughriders find themselves at the centre of yet another controversy after a report from 3Down Nation alleged the team worked out former college and NFL star Johnny Manziel in January prior to the Senior Bowl.

Since Manziel is on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ negotiation list, a workout with the Riders would be a violation of CFL rules.

“We are investigating,” the league’s director of communications Paulo Senra said in a statement provided to Sportsnet. “The Riders tell us that they did not work out Manziel. So at this point, it appears the report is false. Should other evidence come to light, we will deal with it accordingly.”

Chris Jones, Saskatchewan’s head coach, GM and VP of football operations, denied the allegations with the following statement: “The Saskatchewan Roughriders have not held or attended a workout involving Johnny Manziel. With that, I will not be commenting further on the report.”

f the report turns out to be true, it’s unclear at this point what the possible punishment will be but this wouldn’t the first time the Riders have broken league rules. The team was fined and had its salary cap reduced during the 2016 season for practising with ineligible players.

I am going to believe Chris Jones on this but if it comes out the Riders did work out Manziel, I am not going to be surprised. 

How many more sickening Baylor details does college football need before it changes?

Speaking of Baylor

In truth, it’s not surprising.

Outrageous? Yes. Infuriating? Of course. But surprising? Nah.

Late Thursday night, just a day after college football’s biggest off-season holiday (National Signing Day), more ugly news about Baylor’s sexual assault scandal hit the Internet. The details were stomach churning: In a libel lawsuit filed by former director of operations Colin Shillinglaw, former head coach Art Briles and his assistants are accused of actively trying to protect players from discipline and law enforcement, creating a disciplinary “black hole” where a variety of offenses like assault, domestic violence, drug use and more magically “disappeared.”

Color me shocked. Or not.

Briles appeared on ESPN’s College GameDay this fall for in a sit-down interview with Tom Rinaldi, in which he apologized (for nothing specific) and choked back tears when asked what he would say to his deceased parents about the scandal and his subsequent firing. I’ve sat in Briles’s office and discussed the importance of second chances; he talked throughout his career about not casting the first stone and wanting to show others grace. Because of those conversations, I wanted to believe his tears that day were real.

What I see now is that this pathetic excuse for a man would stop at nothing to win. Granted, he had plenty of company: The lawsuit also details a meeting that Baylor alumni and donors had with regents, with alums and donors demanding to know more about why Briles and others were let go. When a regent explained that keeping Briles & Co. on staff would not uphold “the mission of the university,” one donor allegedly responded, “If you mention Baylor’s mission one more time, I’m going to throw up … I was promised a national championship.”

Sic em, Bears.

But my disgust right now is not with Briles or Baylor. As far as I’m concerned, Briles is a lost cause. He’s had multiple opportunities to come clean, to own his mistakes and come across as truly remorseful. He’s passed on all of them. No, my issue today is with Todd Graham, Tom Herman and Lane Kiffin.

During the football season, after interim coach Jim Grobe was plugged in at Baylor with Briles’s former assistants, multiple colleagues tried to tell me those assistants would have trouble finding jobs when the off-season and coaching carousel rolled around. I rolled my eyes at all of them. If I’ve learned anything from covering big-time athletics, it’s that people will turn their head or bury it in the stand when faced with horrific off-field events if it means a player or a coach can help them win (see Tyreek Hill and Joe Mixon for examples). Can you help someone win and/or make them money? If so, please sign on the dotted line.

That’s why Graham, Herman and Kiffin hired former Baylor assistants to work with them at Arizona State, Texas and Florida Atlantic, respectively. Graham hired former defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, a man who bragged to Baylor fans that Sam Ukwuachu was expected to be eligible for the 2015 season and would add depth to the Bears’ defense. In August 2015, Ukwuachu was found guilty of raping a former Baylor soccer player. That doesn’t make Bennett untouchable though? Arizona State needs out of the Pac-12 South cellar, and he can probably help them improve on a defense that gave up a conference-worst 520.5 yards per game in 2016.

The sad part about college athletics is that it isn’t about sports and the students at all, it is about boosters and donors thinking they are a apart of a winning team.  They are the ones that need the glory and the attention and the need to be a part of the “winning” team.   The reason this happens is not for the sake of winning, it is for the sake of keeping millionaires and billionaires happy so they keep giving more and more to the university and feel good about themselves when “coach” recognizes them at a dinner.  It’s really pathetic when you consider that every year women are asked to have sex with young boys who they are recruiting, other women are raped, assaulted, and later covered up to keep the machine going.

Baylor rocked by wave after wave of ugly allegations

Baylor at one time had aspirations of being the evangelical equal of Harvard University.  Then it lured into big time college sports.  It became successful and wealthy from it and recruited players based on their 40 yard dash time, not their character.  There were rapes and cover-ups from the coaching staff.

School regents had released few details behind the investigation that led to the firing of Briles, the ouster of former President Ken Starr and the eventual resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw, who is now at Liberty University.

The lack of details drew fierce criticism from students, alumni and donors, including Bears for Leadership Reform, a group that includes several prominent Baylor donors and Briles supporters, notably Drayton McLane, whose names adorns the Baylor’s new $250 million football stadium.

The regents’ court filing Thursday said they had no choice but to reveal some of the details of what they found.

”There is no question that the Regents, after a long, self-imposed silence, had to respond with truthful statements, to correct the record in an attempt to end the widespread misinformation,” the filing said.

Some of the lawsuits against Baylor were filed by students who alleged the school ignored them or bullied them into silence. One woman who said she was attacked accused Baylor of creating a ”hunting ground for sexual predators.” Other women claim the school used its student conduct code, which prohibits drug and alcohol use and premarital sex, to pressure them into dropping claims of abuse .

The school reached settlements with two women who had not sued but reported being gang-raped by football players. It has battled others, but the lawsuit alleging more than 50 attacks by football players was a stunning escalation beyond the 17 previously acknowledged by Baylor regents.

Bears for Leadership Reform demanded more details Friday, a day after the court filing revealed detailed allegations against Briles.

”We are shocked and appalled by the information in this court filing, and the fact that the regents, with full knowledge of this information, reportedly paid Art Briles and others millions of dollars in severance is deeply troubling,” said group leader John Eddie Williams.

”Full transparency, not an ongoing dribble of select information, is what the Baylor family wants and deserves,” Williams said.

Baylor faces broader questions of possible sanctions from the NCAA or the Big 12.

NCAA and Big 12 officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday, but conference officials have previously asked Baylor for a ”full accounting” of the school’s investigation.

Baylor academics have been put on notice as well.

The Southern Association of College and Schools, a leading university-accrediting body, has said it will closely monitor Baylor in 2017 on standards for student support services, institutional control of athletics and whether the campus is a safe and secure environment.

Break Free

When Filmakademie student Eugen Merher created his Adidas spec ad “Break Free,” he knew he had something special on his hands. Unfortunately, Adidas’ communications department never got back to him; now they get to watch his ad take off without them.

Break Free by Eugen Merher

The spot is set in a rather unlovely care home for the elderly. One of the residents is a former marathon runner who seems broken by the daily grind of his monotonous existence.

One day, he comes across his old running shoes and decides to take them for a spin. This kind of activity is strictly “not authorized” by the home.  While the staff in the home try to crush his ongoing bids for freedom, his fellow residents are in his corner.

Watch the video up top to see a beautiful piece of visual storytelling. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to get out there and create something special.

Gary Kubiak is stepping down in Denver

You can read the story from Yahoo! Sports

In a bit of a surprising development, Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak has reportedly will step down from his post because of health concerns after Sunday’s game.

Less than two years after taking his dream job to coach for his close friend, Broncos general manager John Elway, and less than a year after beating the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl, Kubiak will pass the baton, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

In his short, brilliant run as the head coach for the team he spent the majority of his playing career, Kubiak compiled a 20-11 record heading into the season finale and won Super Bowl 50.

It’s believed that Kubiak, 55, would be stepping down following Sunday’s Week 17 game against the Oakland Raiders. Schefter reported that Kubiak would be finalizing his plans next week.

I like Gary Kubiak as a player.  I liked him as an offensive coordinator.  I liked him Houston as the head coach of the Texans and I liked him as the coach of the Denver Broncos.  I hate to see him leave as a coach but as someone wrote, he has made millions in the game and football is taking a toll on his health.  I assume he will step away for the game and become a studio analysis for a network where the hours are far less and the stress is non-existent.

I hope he enjoys his retirement, his place in Broncos lore, and his next stage in a career that will also probably pay him very well.

The mess that is Huskie Athletics

CBC points out the obvious that recruiting someone to replace Brian Towriss is going to be really hard.

Sumarah expects a nationwide search to replace Towriss, but isn’t sure how candidates will respond. He said any serious contender will want to speak first with Towriss before accepting the job.

“I think you’d kind of like to know what occurred, for sure,” he said about the resignation, which Towriss called a “mutually acceptable agreement” in the statement.

“You don’t want to walk into a hornet’s nest as a coach. I mean, the biggest thing a coach can have and get is support. You want to know you’re getting backing from the university.”

That backing is in question.  Cam Hutchison said it best in this column at the Saskatoon Express.

When it was announced the University of Saskatchewan had formed a Huskie Athletics advisory board of trustees, my first thought was Brian Towriss would no longer be the football coach.

I am confident in saying at least one person on the 11-person board wanted Towriss out.

With a six-to-five split between members of the public and employees of the university on the board, I fear Huskie Athletics is now being run by a citizen or a small group of them. It is the first board of its type in Canada. I find that interesting in itself.

Members of the board are David Dube, Diane Jones Konihowski, Tom Anselmi, David Sutherland, Shelley Brown and Ken Juba. U of S representatives are Patti McDougall, Greg Fowler, Debra Pozega Osburn, Chad London and Peta Bonham-Smith.

U of S president Peter Stoicheff appointed Dube as the first chair of the advisory board. Dube is a businessperson, philanthropist, member of the U of S board of governors and long-time supporter of Huskie Athletics.

Dube has sunk a lot of money into the football program. He is responsible for some of the special uniforms the team wears and funds game-day promotions. They have become spectacular events. I am sure Towriss loved being part of them.

Dube made it clear when the board of trustees was announced that change was long overdue at the U of S.

“Do you have the same cellphone as you had 20 years ago? I doubt it,” Dube said. “I’m sure you don’t fly in a 100-year-old airplane, or a 100-year-old car. This was a 100-year-old governance model.”

And you don’t play football for a 60-year-old coach who has been in the job for 33 years, apparently.

The advisory board, which reports to Stoicheff, was scheduled to begin its work last month.

Not long after it grabbed the reins, Huskies athletic director Basil Hughton announced his retirement. Last week, an emotional Towriss stepped in front of the media to announce he was stepping down after those 33 years as head coach. There is a pattern here.

I don’t get out of the office nearly enough for news conferences. I didn’t want to miss this one because I had a feeling the announcement was going to pertain to Towriss’ future with a program. Was he going to be fired?

I had one question prepared: “What was the role of the advisory board in making this decision?”

Right off the hop, an emotional Towriss announced he was stepping down. A month earlier, Towriss told The StarPhoenix he would be back in 2017 unless someone thought otherwise.

Clearly, someone or a group of someones thought otherwise.

I changed my question.

“Was the decision yours, Brian?”

He stumbled, but toed the company line.

I had a phone call when I returned to the office, confirming what I suspected. A tweet from an insider, since deleted, said people are being naïve if they believed Towriss was leaving of his own volition.

The boosters have been given the U of S Huskies.  It’s as simple as that.  The Huskies are not an athletic department of the University, they are a play thing of wealthy donors.  Have fun recruiting someone to fill that position.

An NFL Sunday with Benny from the Bronx

This is a beautiful story about the NFL embracing the passion of a true fan.

The 2011 NFL lockout had already dragged on for four and a half months, when, in late July, there was finally some hope: the owners had approved a proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement. Sensing the end was nearing, Roger Goodell spent the weekend hammering out the final details with the players in New York. Both sides worked late into Sunday night, and before Goodell left the city in the wee hours of Monday morning, the two sides reached a general agreement to end the work stoppage.

It was a triumphant moment for the NFL and for Goodell himself. As his car snaked through Manhattan and the Bronx, heading to his home in Westchester County, the commissioner had to tell someone right away.

So he called Benny from the Bronx.

To anyone who listens to sports talk radio in the New York City area, Benny needs no introduction. He’s a regular WFAN caller with a thick Bronx accent and an unrivaled enthusiasm for all things NFL, especially his beloved Packers. Goodell had recently been introduced to Benny by Peter King, the editor-in-chief of The MMQB.

Benny had read King’s stories in Sports Illustrated for years, dating back to when Benny spent nearly a decade in and out of psychiatric care for obsessive-compulsive disorder and bulimia. For a while, with no TV, reading King’s stories had been Benny’s only connection to the football world. Benny wrote King a letter one day out of the blue, telling him all this, and they formed a bond over football. King gave Goodell Benny’s number and urged him to call, because, he told commissioner, no one loves the NFL more than Benny from the Bronx.

Benny loved the NFL so much, in fact, that the lockout hit him very hard. For those four and a half months, he didn’t want to leave his house. He didn’t want to see anyone. He thought he’d never see his beloved NFL again. Suicidal thoughts crept back in.

Then, one day in July, Benny woke up to a late-night message on his answering machine from Roger Goodell, telling him the lockout was over and everything would be all right.

Benny dialed Peter King.

He called,” Benny said, stammering and panting with excitement. “He called. HE CALLED!”

How Tiger Woods Life Unravelled

A great longread from ESPN on what went wrong with Tiger Woods.

If Tiger was looking for something, it was seemingly lots of different things, finding pieces in a rotating cast of people. He and Rachel Uchitel bonded over their mutual grief. His fresh wounds from losing Earl helped him understand her scars from her father’s cocaine overdose when she was 15, and her fiancé’s death in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. The broken parts of themselves fit together, according to her best friend, Tim Bitici. Sometimes Rachel stayed with Tiger for days, Bitici says. Nobody ever seemed to ask Tiger where he was or what he was doing. Bitici went with Rachel down to Orlando to visit Tiger, who put them up in a condo near his house. When he came over, he walked in and closed all the blinds. Then he sat between Tim and Rachel on the couch and they all watched Chelsea Lately.

“This makes me so happy,” Tiger said, according to Bitici.

Many of these relationships had that odd domestic quality, which got mostly ignored in favor of the tabloid splash of threesomes. Tiger once met Jaimee Grubbs in a hotel room, she told a magazine, and instead of getting right down to business, they watched a Tom Hanks movie and cuddled. Cori Rist remembered breakfast in bed. “It was very normal and traditional in a sense,” she says. “He was trying to push that whole image and lifestyle away just to have something real. Even if it’s just for a night.”

The real issue may be that he is an introvert and can’t function as a superstar.

“Frankly, the real Tiger Woods isn’t that marketable,” a friend says. “There isn’t a lot of money to be made off a guy who just wants to be left alone to read a book. Or left alone to play fetch with his dog. Or left alone to play with his kids. Or left alone to lift weights. Or left alone to play a video game. Do you see a trend? Tiger was a natural introvert, and the financial interest for him to be extroverted really drove a wedge in his personality. Being a celebrity changed him and he struggled with that — and he struggled with the fact that he struggled with that.”

Tiger uses well-rehearsed set pieces as standard icebreakers — things that get trotted out again and again. Famously, in front of a GQ reporter in 1997, he told a joke that ended on a punch line about a black guy taking off a condom. He told the same joke in 2006 to a SEAL at a Navy shooting range and to a woman at Butter, a New York nightclub. Talk to enough people who’ve met him and it starts to seem like he’s doing an impersonation of what he thinks a superstar athlete is supposed to be. Once he bought a Porsche Carrera GT, similar to the one driven by many celebrities, but one of the first times he got behind the wheel, the powerful car got away from him, spinning off into the grass near his house. He took it back to the dealership.