Just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder in sports crime - O.J. Simpson still hasn’t found his wife’s killer but we can’t be assured that Dirk Nowitzki’s baby momma didn’t have something to do with it - former NFL linebacker Eric Naposki is arrested for being the gunman who killed Newport Beach (Calif.) millionaire William McLaughlin. If you’re looking for more information on him, don’t check his former teams. The Patriots have already spiked his former alumni player page.
According to the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, Naposki — who was the paramour of McLaughlin’s girlfriend, Nanette Johnston — shot McLaughlin six times in an infamous 1994 slaying that sent shockwaves through the Southern California socialite circles and the medical aristocracy, since McLaughlin was the man who invented the process to separate plasma from blood.
Naturally, the case is being buried underneath all the Vick attention, but it’s a truly stunning turn of events. This is a cold case 15 years old, and suddenly dual arrests, one of which goes to a guy who played for both the Patriots and Colts in the late 1980s? Didn’t see that coming.
Then again, who saw the Magic win coming, either? After watching Cleveland breeze through its first two playoff series, sitting at home while waiting for the Celtics and Magic to finish beating each other up. When they finally returned to action on Wednesday, they jumped out to a lead, though that didn’t do anything to give them a win. No, instead, the Cavs dropped their first game of the playoffs, raising serious questions over whether the cast around LeBron James can keep up with Dwight Howard and a Magic team that looks more and more playoff tested.
Of course, the Game 1 win dampens some of the rampant speculation that the Eastern Conference Finals are rigged. It’s hard to say that the Cavs are set up for a cakewalk to the Finals when they win Game 1 on the road.
Now all those pregame concerns are being replaced with Orlando braggadocio, with at least one Orlando columnist claiming that the team turned Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena into “a mausoleum.” Ouch. It’ll be interesting to see how LeBron reacts to that.
Speaking of basketball, the Lakers are still in the playoffs, but they’re hardly the biggest basketball story going on in their own city. Ok, maybe they are the biggest story in L.A., but the Clippers are stealing some of their thunder, for good and bad reasons. First, they win the NBA Draft Lottery for the right to pick Blake Griffin. Then, less excitingly for fans of the red and blue (are any left?), is this incredibly damning portrait of owner Donald Sterling, who looks like a bigger and bigger racist with each article that gets published.
The most recent accusations were lobbed by ESPN The Magazine, which we tripped across via DEADSPIN, and they go into scary detail about his slumlording and overt racism in granting the right to live in his shantytowns. Here’s your gratuitous over-the-top pullquote, courtesy Mr. Sterling’s written records themselves (no one told him about this new invention called a “shredder”?)
When Sterling first bought the Ardmore, he remarked on its odor to Davenport. “That’s because of all the blacks in the building, they smell, they’r enot clean,” he said, accoding to Davenport’s testimony. “And it’s because of all the Mexicans taht just sit around and smoke and drink all day. He added: “So we have to get them out of here.” Shortly after, construction work caused a serious leak at the complex. When Davenport surveyed the damage, she found an elderly woman, Kandynce Jones, wading through several inches of water in Apartment 121. Jones was paralyzed on the right side and legally blind. She took medication for high blood pressure and to thin a clot in her leg. Still, she was remarkably cheerful, showing Davenport pictures of her children, even as some of her belongings floated around her.
Can’t David Stern steal back the top pick? I mean, top media market aside, is it really worth putting a talent like Blake Griffin in L.A. if it means helping Sterling make money? We’re certainly not sure it is.
Meanwhile, it was only a matter of time until the floodgates about Milton Bradley conspiracy theorists came out of the woodwork. Well, consider them here to stay, after two radio hosts on Chicago station THE SCORE debated whether Bradley was a good contributor for the Cubs. Not surprisingly, the takes of the two hosts were vastly different, though the boiled down to once major concern: Is Bradley a clubhouse cancer? Or is he just infairly maligned by the media?
The issue at heart is a legitimate one, since the media continues to trot out a ditribe about how Bradley brings only negatives to a team. According to analysis from MOUTHPIECE SPORTS, which we’ve always heard and read as well, Bradley is actually known as a terrific teammate, by Jake Peavy, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Theriot and, most recently, Bobby Scales.
That sure makes it seem like Bradley is the victim of unfair media criticism, though who really knows with a guy so volatile he rips an ACL while arguing a call at first base. Not third or home, first. Yet that in itself seems to prove that he’s got a lot more passion that he’s getting credit for, so we’re not sure what Matt Abbacatola was talking about. Do you?
- You thought you were tough? You got nothing on this 104-year-old golfer. Yes, 104. And he insisted on having a round. That, friends, is amazing.
- Evidently Larry King’s “Shattered Glass”-esque story about horse racing was only the latest episode in his career of lying about famous sporting events and moments. Paging you, Mr. Sandy Koufax.
- Is it possible that Tony Kornheiser is just a jerk? We all know that Joe Theismann hated him. Did Mike Tirico burn out on him, too?
- Speaking of Theismann, we’re sorry, but we can’t get enough of this whole Keyboard Cat fad, and if we don’t use this now, we’ll never get a chance to. Sure it’s macabre, but then there’s a cat! Playing a keyboard!
- SI decides hockey is just relevant enough to compile a list of the sports most rugged players. Thanks SI. Of course, it is a pretty solid list, considering the fact that Owen Nolan is near the top. That’s all we needed to know.
- Maybe the Coyotes won’t be allowed out of Phoenix after all. Just when Wayne Gretzky was starting to get a Jones for a really cold Canadian city …
- And then we had a new contender for worst contract language ever included: Kansas State is going to be on the hook for former coach Ron Prince through 2020. Seriously.
- The greatest thing YouTube has brought to us yet: The 1986 Dodgers in baseball boogie. It’s a 12 on the 1-10 unintentional comedy scale. We promise.
- And you thought the Rays were desperate to keep Joe Maddon around? Just check out what Japanese fans are doing for Bobby Valentine.
- How awful are the Nationals? They can’t even use a sausage-shooting cannon right. Wait, someone invented a sausage-shooting cannon?
- Why do the Pirates get to visit the White House? What next, the Milwaukee Bucks taking up Obama’s late afternoon tea time?
- No big surprise here: A health care provider doesn’t want to sponsor Manny Ramirez bobblehead night.
- And, just for good measure, the first triple play of the MLB season. If you had the Texas Rangers in your pool, congratulations. You probably got good money on them, too.