Autopsy Reveals Gatti May Have Hanged Himself

Despite the fact that police announced nearly immediately that Arturo Gatti was strangled to death by his wife last weekend, a report in a Brazilian newspaper claims that the circumstance of Gatti’s death are anything but clear. The JORNAL DE COMERCIO acquired an autospy report that indicates he very well could have killed himself while his wife slept, as she has contended all along.

Arturo Gatti

According to the findings in the report, Gatti’s injuries were consistent with someone who was “suspended and hanged,” indicating that he may have actually committed suicide. Gatti’s wife, Amanda Rodrigues, insists that she found him dead when she woke up in the apartment the couple was renting. Could the authorities really be getting this all wrong? Have we all been showing a little too much faith in the Brazilian justice system?

Read more…

Speed Read: Stay Off Of Tom Watson’s Lawn

While you snored loudly all snug in your bed last night (and I hear it really was annoying, I’d look into that if I were you), the British Open got underway in Turnberry, Scotland. And who’s the early leader? Not favorites Tiger Woods or Padaig Harrington … and neither is it Charles Howell III (“Gilligan! Drop that coconut!”). It’s Tom Watson, who will turn 60 in two months. Yes, a man who spends more time in the restroom than on the greens owned a clubhouse lead after a 5-under 65 in the first round (at least he was at 4 a.m. PST when I wrote this).

Tom Watson

Watson birdied the first hole and had another birdie on 3 to keep just ahead of Mark Calcavecchia and Lee Westwood, tied for second one stroke back. Watson, of course, won the “Duel in the Sun” over Jack Nicklaus in Turnberry’s first Open in 1977, and to demonstrate how long ago that was, Elvis Presley was still alive. So how great would it be to have Woods and Watson squaring off for the title 32 years later? This is why I like golf; in what other sport can an athlete who turned professional in 1971 still be a major factor? It’s like if Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn made this year’s All-Star team. Here’s the leaderboard, which I check every 15 minutes just so that I can quietly say to myself the words Briny Baird.” Whether you like golf or you don’t, it’s the only game being played today, my friends; unless you count elephant polo or falconry.

Woods had a later tee time and is currently 1-over after 17 holes, tied for 50th place. And he did just about as well at Wednesday’s ESPY Awards, as Michael Phelps ended Tiger’s five-year dominance as Best Male Athlete, taking that title as well as Best Record-Breaking Performance, Best Championship Performance and Best Male Olympian. Tim Tebow won the 2009 Best College Athlete Award, becoming the only two-time winner in the category. Afterward, ESPN announced that the trophy would be modeled in his image. Charles Barkley won for Stupidest DUI and Shortest Prison Stay, narrowly beating Donte Stallworth in the latter category.

She’s refusing to do any actual interviews, but Amanda Rodrigues, the wife of former boxing champion Arturo Gatti who is accused of his murder, has written a letter from prison proclaiming her innocence. So that should clear that up. Rodrigues, being held in the Brazilian city of Recife, said that she awoke Saturday morning in their rented apartment to find her husband dead. Excerpts:

“This is a pain that has become inexplicable and intolerable, this loss and this malicious accusation,” Rodrigues wrote. “I lost my husband!”

“I’m innocent and I know that this will be proven in a few days.”

“The people most important to my life, who know us, know the size of our love. What hurts me is knowing the suffering of my family and friends. What hurts me is to know that my husband will not be in my house waiting for my return.”

“Junior — soon mama will be at home!”

Facing slightly better odds than Rodrigues are my San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are both 10-2 with ERAs below 2.40, Jonathan “Dirty” Sanchez just threw the team’s first no-hitter since 1975, and Kung Fu Panda is destroying pitchers and thrilling the ladies. The Giants were 20-23 on May 24, but have gone 29-16 since to take the wild-card lead, trailing the Dodgers by seven in the NL West. But all is not well. Why? Because the Mohawk craze is sweeping the clubhouse.

Brian Wilson

Closer Brian Wilson initially sported the look, and pitching coach Dave Righetti briefly joined in with a faux version when he lost a bet to Wilson. Jonathan Sanchez followed Righetti’s lead after throwing a no-hitter Friday, while infielder Juan Uribe and reliever Sergio Romo went with the real thing.

Manager Bruce Bochy has vowed to be next if the upstart Giants — who come out of the All-Star break with the National League’s third-best record — put together 10 wins in a row. He doesn’t cherish the prospect.

“Can you imagine this thing shaved, with the size of my head?” the manager says, pointing to his famously prominent noggin.

Cute when the Tampa Bay Rays went through their Mohawk phase last season, but you’ll notice that none of them are wearing World Series rings — and where are they now in the standings? Please Giants, no adorable gimmicks, OK? If I see a cowbell at AT&T Park, I’m not responsible for what I may do next.

And now, links to ponder after ironing your bulletproof shirts:

  • Brett Favre says that he’ll make a final decision about playing for the Vikings by July 30, and Minnesota head coach Brad Childress has no problem with that. And Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Paul Hornung predicts that when Favre finally does join the Vikings, all will go well: “(Favre) ain’t going to win in Minnesota,” Hornung told revelers at a Wisconsin sports banquet on Tuesday. “I’ll bet on it.”
  • Hey I almost forgot; the Tour de France is also going on. Your Stage 11 winner on Wednesday was Britain’s Mark Cavendish, whom the French riders congratulated by charging that he taunted them with racial slurs. That’s a switch. How can we not love you, Tour de France? You’re the only sport that requires skin-tight pants and a map of the Alps.
  • Letterman: Sonia Sotomayor is getting more and more confident with each passing day of the confirmation hearings. Today she showed up wearing the yellow jersey.”
  • Apparently Steve McNair left no will, causing the wife of the slain ex-NFL quarterback to file an emergency petition in a Nashville court asking that she be allowed to oversee his estate. A judge granted the request. Mechelle McNair listed herself and her two sons, Tyler and Trenton McNair, as the heirs to the estate. McNair also has two other sons from a previous relationship.

  • Yes, I’m having a hard time believing that this girl caught this fish. Supposedly, 11-year-old Jessica Wanstall, who weighs 84 pounds, landed this catfish, which weighs 194 pounds, in the Ebro River in Northeast Spain. Not shown: Jessica’s 8-year-old brother Trevor, who was used as bait. And yes, after this picture was taken her dad threw it back: They were holding out for a really big catch.
  • The ratings are in: The MLB All-Star Game posted a 10.4/18 overnight rating in metered markets, down 5 percent from a 11.0/18 for the first nine innings of last year’s 15-inning game in New York. The pregame show drew an 8.3/15, also down slightly from last year’s 8.4/15. But the big news still seems to be President Obama’s ceremonial pitch, which FOX failed to show win its entirety. And when they finally did show it the following morning, they screwed that up as well.

  • But the real gem of that DAILY SHOW clip is above. Jon Stewart: “Actually [President Obama] was there to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the ballgame, much in the same way that in England, the Queen will throw the first punch at a soccer riot.”
  • A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry to three years in prison for running a drug ring in Montana and Colorado.

Who will win the British Open?

View Results

Speed Read: Pics Of Gatti’s Wife, Murder Weapons

We mentioned this weekend that former champion boxer Arturo Gatti’s wife Amanda Rodrigues was being held in connection with his death while the couple were on a second honeymoon. While it’s up to Brazilian prosecutors to file the actual murder charges, the police seem pretty sure that Rodrigues is guilty - sure enough to declare that it “technically impossible” for someone else to have been in the room when Gatti was killed, and as YOU BEEN BLINDED has visual evidence of, showcase the bloody strap and knife they say Rodrigues used to kill her husband.

Amanda Rodrigues

We’re also learning more about Rodrigues, like the fact that she’s a 23-year-old former stripper - in fact, they met at an “exotic” club in Brazil. (And I don’t want to know how “exotic” things can get in a Brazilian strip club - I just hope that jaguars aren’t involved.) And she had received a restraining order against him earlier this year that required him to stay 200 meters away from her and quit drinking.

Needless to say, while this is a tragedy, perhaps it’s not a shock. After all, Gatti’s sister is claiming that Rodrigues had planned to murder him and was only in it for the money. Meanwhile, Rodrigues’ lawyers are apparently going to claim that she is “too skinny” to have strangled Gatti to death. Which would make sense if they claim he was conscious when this happened, not passed out after a night of drinking (and possibly getting stabbed in the back of the head).

In less messy and horrific news, you may think the Home Run Derby is at best a pointless exhibition that tarnishes baseball by reducing it to its basest level (MASH BALL HARD) while ignoring the subtleties the make the game so enjoyable. You many even possibly consider it a major factor in the rise of the Steroid Era. Or, you might just enjoy seeing some of the game’s biggest names blast the living bejeezus out of the ball while drinking enough to ignore the infernal booth combo that is Chris Berman and Steve Phillips.

Prince Fielder

While last night’s edition at Busch Stadium didn’t have the transcendent moments of, say, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hitting rubber baseballs with Flubber cores out of Fenway Park, or Josh Hamilton hitting 500 home runs in one round, it was entertaining enough. And while the hometown crowd might have been disappointed with their hero Albert Pujols bowing out in the semifinals, they seemed to enjoy the show that Prince Fielder put on in winning the event.

Maybe the newly vegetarian Fielder was following Pujols’ lead from when the Cardinals slugger blew out the “i” in the “Big Mac Land” sign in the Busch Stadium outfield deck earlier this season - with his goal to bring the whole sign down to punish McDonald’s for their carnivore ways. No matter what the reason, Fielder had enough in the tank to hold off Nelson Cruz (again, I said “some” of the game’s biggest names) in the finals after bombing an event-best 503-foot blast in the semis.

And then there was poor Brandon Inge, who had been so excited to be a part of the Home Run Derby that he said it was bigger than actually making his first All-Star team. I’m guessing he didn’t feel the same way after becoming the first batter since Jason Bay in 2005 to take a donut in the first round - or as my friends used to call it, “Posting a Piazza” (named after Mike Piazza, who went 0-for-his career with blanks in 1993 and 1994).

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers might be ready to make a move that could either turn them into playoff contenders or…OK, let’s be honest, it’s not possible to ruin the Clippers, so what harm could come from Allen Iverson joining the team? Marcus Camby played with A.I. in Denver, and he’s on board with the idea, with PRO BASKETBALL NEWS saying that he’s willing to help recruit Iverson to the team. Even Eric Gordon is OK with it, even if that means losing playing time in a backcourt with Iverson and Baron Davis.

Allen Iverson

The one person not too hip on Allen Iverson right now in Los Angeles seems to be Ron Artest, whose opinion doesn’t matter too much since he’s now playing for the Lakers. Plus, he’s totally nuts. But his Tweet that Iverson is “missing more shots than Muhammad Ali with a sniper rifle” is pretty damned good.

Still, Iverson could provide the veteran leadership and role model that Blake Griffin could use as he establishes himself in the NBA - and he might be a force, based on his NBA Summer League debut of 27 points and 12 rebounds versus the Lakers yesterday. Except for that whole “practice” thing.

More sports news as you ponder if the Tour of Germany will get more interest now that a German brothel is offering discounts for bicyclists:

  • Have you seen Terrell Owens’ ad for his reality show where he’s “artfully” posing nude? EXAMINER.COM has, and it’s “tastefully” making me want to be sick.
  • Nude Terrell Owens

  • Hey kids, want to spend money to get football lessons from Andre Rison? After all, he told the ALTOONA MIRROR that he’ll spend the second day showing you his highlights so he can “really let them know, in my eyes, I was the best to ever play the game.” And parents, if you think Andre Rison is a good role model, I’m coming to your house with Child Protective Services.
  • As usual, more chaos coming from the Oakland Raiders: PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that they’ve cut sixth-round draft pick Stryker Sulak before even signing him to a contract, which a league source says he’s “never seen happen before.” Meanwhile, Raiders blog JUST BLOG BABY thinks that PFT is making a big deal out of nothing.
  • I didn’t mention the Celebrity Softball game that was part of the MLB All-Star festivities. I’ll just show you the final out, where Ashanti managed to make the type of play to end the game that makes coed softball a nightmare for most guys. She should consider herself lucky that Bob Knight didn’t piledrive her at first:

  • David Beckham swears that his spat with Landon Donovan is a thing of the past as Golden Balls returns to practice with the Los Angeles Galaxy. In related news, Landon Donovan was found dead in his Home Depot Center dressing room, with a six-inch stilleto heel in his eyeball as Victoria Beckham was seen leaving.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks want to thank GM Dale Tallon for putting together a team that got to the Western Conference finals this season - by giving him a severance check and making sure the door doesn’t hit his butt on the way out the door. Reports says that assistant GM Stan Bowman will replace him.
  • USA TODAY says that the NFL could lead the fight to stop Delaware from legalizing sports gambling. Looks like Dover’s shot at getting an expansion team just went out the window.
  • Former Tennessee Titans player and HS football coach Reed Diehl has pleaded guilty to defrauding nine people of more than $5 million in a fradulent loan program scam.
  • If anyone is interested in an 34-year-old quarterback who was never really that great in his prime, please call Brian Griese - he’s available after being cut by the Bucs.
  • Former MLBer Billy Koch has been arrested after a 2 a.m. altercation with his next-door neighbor. The ironic part? The neighbor had grabbed a baseball bat in an unsuccessful attempt to defend himself.

Which division-leading team at the All-Star break won’t make the playoffs?

View Results

Cops: Wife Strangled Arturo Gatti With Purse Strap

Brazilian police think they have pieced together the killing of former boxing champ Arturo Gatti, and according to THE TORONTO STAR, all signs point to his wife as his murderer. Authorities say there were plenty of inconsistencies in Amanda Rodrigues’ testimony during questioning and they’ve taken her into custody while preparing to file murder charges.

Arturo Gatti

Among the holes in her story: the fact that police believe Gatti was strangled to death with the strap of a purse, which was found with blood stains. Or that her and Gatti had fought and got drunk the night before, because they were allegedly jealous of each other and Gatti was upset with her choice of clothing. Or - and this is most damaging - how she spent 10 hours with him before realizing he was dead.

Read more…