9:00 PM 14-year-old Jonathan Pitre, who suffers from a condition called Epidermolysis bullosa that causes painful blisters all over his body, was signed by the Ottawa Senators to a one-day contract as a team scout on Thursday.
8:30 PM The Deseret News profiles Nathan Honey, an American Fork (Utah) High School football player who has four brothers that suffer from muscular dystrophy: "I always dedicate my games to them. I always feel like I need to perform for them, even though they're not watching. I can feel them .... I carry that in my heart."
Les Bowen of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS reports from Eagles training camp this morning that head coach Andy Reid reportedly ordered a fan at the team’s practice to remove a Donovan McNabb Redskins jersey that he was wearing while standing on the sidelines.
The fan, Jim Devlin, was a friend of a guest of the team that had been granted sideline access.
Eagles fan Jim Devlin, of King of Prussia, was directed to remove the Donovan McNabb Redskins jersey that he was wearing on the Eagles sideline at training camp this morning by security.
Devlin said that security told him that coach Andy Reid wanted the jersey removed. A team spokesman said he was unaware whether the directive came from Reid.
Devlin was on the sideline, not in the stands, on a guest pass, provided by friend Frank Deutchki, of Schwenksville, who is with him. A team spokesman said guests with sideline passes are supposed to be screened at the gate.
Devlin was surprised but also really angry. He was curious what other fans’ reaction would be so he also wore the jersey to Sunday’s Phillies-Mets game.
Deutchki now has the jersey in a bag, with Devlin wearing a red T-shirt.
In Dave Chappelle’s timeless “Killin’ Them Softly” standup special, he describes his plan for avoiding assassination if he were ever elected President: get a Mexican vice president. It’s funny because it rings so true, that black people in high profile jobs who are subject to the whims and vagaries of public opinion often face added pressure and scrutiny - and rarely have a safety net when it comes to protecting themselves from the type of opposition that seems awfully similar to racism.
(Welcome to your worst nightmare, haters.)
To that end, we were a little confused by CBSSPORTS.COM’s recent column saying Michael Vick’s signing by the Eagles was something of either a warning shot or a slap in the face to Donovan McNabb. Considering the language of the deal makes it heavily likely that Vick won’t spend more than a season in Philadelphia, it seems more like Vick was, among other things, insurance for McNabb against his most virulent of haters. Like a, “oh, you hate McNabb for being black? Just wait till you see his backup!” situation.
Michael Vick was “presented” to Philadelphia fans at an Eagles press conference earlier today, as if there was any man in America right now less in need of an introduction. And I hope that Andy Reid didn’t try to open with a joke. “Hey, your momma’s so fat, when she stepped on the dog’s tail we had to change it’s name to Beaver. Thanks everybody! Enjoy the Snausages!” Nah, this is no laughing matter.
How are Eagles fans taking this? To paraphrase the great W.C. Fields, on the whole they would rather he not be in Philadelphia. Vick addressed the masses and hit all the right notes, said all the right things. But that changes nothing. While media types are more or less split on his arrival in the Rebel Capital, Joe Twelve-Pack is not having any of it. Eagles fans, and the local folks in general, are, as they say, royally pissed.
Sure, there will be Rachel Nichols following his every move at practice for a while, then everyone will get all excited when he breaks off a 14-yard run from the Wildcat formation in a preseason game. But then he’ll fade away for a while as he serves his suspension, and by the time he is eligible to play in week six or so, he’s just going to a backup who comes on for a gimmick play every once in a while.
Philly was one of a long list of teams that reportedly had no interest in Vick as he was seeking a new job. In fact, many theorized that he’d have to resort to signing with the new UFL to have a chance to play. After all, what NFL team was going to be willing to absorb the PR hit, be willing to wait out his suspension, and be able to actually use him? The Eagles seemed unlikely on all fronts. They’ve already got two decent backup quarterbacks in Kevin Kolb and A.J. Feeley.
(You know things don’t look good for this league when they’re disappointed that they didn’t get the dog killer.)
So why add Vick to a team that doesn’t really need him? Andy Reid talks about wanting to give the guy a second chance, and even mentions the plight of his own children as a factor in the decision. The Eagles did use DeSean Jackson in the Wildcat on occasion last year, so maybe they want to expand that facet of their offense. Maybe they’ll try to turn him into a receiver, kick returner, or both. But can he learn to do those things at an NFL level in a matter of weeks?
None of that seems important right now, as most of the attention will be focused on the moral implications of signing a guy who just got out of prison two weeks ago for killing dogs. The PHILLY INQUIRER’s John Gonzalezsums up the struggle, and gives a very reasonable argument in favor of giving Vick another chance:
If you’ve already dug in and joined the anti-Vick camp, I won’t blame you or try to change your mind. People love dogs. I’m one of them. I’m a sucker for just about any animal, but the ones that roll over and play fetch and slobber all over me - even when I’m not at my best (which is most of the time) - are by far my favorite. What Vick did to those dogs was cruel and terrible and indefensible.
But I’m not going to kill the Eagles for signing him, and I’m not going to attack Vick or ascribe some pejorative label to the guy. I don’t know the man. I don’t know why he got involved with dogfighting. But I do know that he went to prison, and he lost his job, and he’s been beaten up quite a bit over the last two years. He’s been beaten up almost endlessly. And for good reason. Don’t get it twisted, he deserved his punishment - all of it. But after doing his time and losing almost everything he’d worked so hard to achieve, hasn’t he paid the price required of someone looking to purchase a second chance?
Ultimately, I think NFL fans will be OK with Vick. Everything he’s said and done recently indicates that he’s remorseful about what he did and that he’s committed to rebuilding his image. But for now, even the fans in Philly are split on this – a poll on PHILLY.COM shows that they are about 53-47 against signing Vick.
Ironically, Landon didn’t pick up the illness in Mexico, where the latest epidemic of the ol’ H1N1 originated. Instead, he got it from two staff members of the L.A. Galaxy, Donovan’s MLS team. The L.A. TIMES reports that the staff members picked it up during the Galaxy’s match with the New England Revolution in Foxboro. That’s right, Pats fans. Swine flu is just stewing in your stadium. Good luck with that, Brady.
(”So, if there’s swine flu on Bernard Pollard’s helmet…”)
Donovan admits that he felt crappy during Wednesday’s game, but chalked it up to the elevation and poor air quality in Mexico City. He is unlikely to play in the Galaxy’s home game tomorrow against Seattle, and more unlikely to ever come within 25 feet of David Beckham the rest of this season (which isn’t much of a change — he just has a medical reason now).
I suppose it’s shouldn’t be surprising if we hear of athletes starting to come down with the virus. MLB pitcher Vicente Padilla came down with it a couple of weeks ago, and as many as 1 million people nationwide have probably been infected at some point. While there is little danger of any serious repercussions (Donovan is sick, but nothing beyond your average flu bug), it could be devastating to a team if multiple players were to suffer from the illness at the same time. NFL teams in particular need to be careful, or at least plan on catching it the week they play the Lions.
• Quentin Richardson has been traded — for the fourth time this offseason. The T-Wolves sent him to Miami yesterday for Mark Blount. That means he has now been swapped for Darko Milicic, Zach Randolph, Sebastian Telfair, Mark Madsen, and now Blount. That’s a lot of headcases and one terrible dancer.
• The DAILY MAIL has a story today about Kirsty Gallacher, girlfriend of rugby player Paul Sampson, daughter of golfer Bernard Gallacher, and former Sky Sports personality. Just wanted to establish a sports-related reason to run this photo:
When the cops come to your house, it doesn’t look good when they find you physically holding down a woman who is screaming and crying while trying to break free. Especially if she then proceeds to go to the kitchen and starts “coughing and spitting up blood.” I don’t know if Roger Mayweather tried the “hey guys…this isn’t what it looks like” move, hoping that the cops would think it’s a wacky mix-up like you would see on “Three’s Company.” But if he did - it didn’t work.
According to the police report, St. Vil claimed that Mayweather was unhappy with her continuing to live in the house and had begun harrassing her, which Lock corroborated by saying that Mayweather had been “bothering her at the residence, as well as following her to her new gym.” (Side note: I’m guessing that if you roll over on your trainer to the cops, you’ll be doing some extra roadwork next training session.)
It all apparently came to a head on Sunday afternoon. While Lock was at church (which St. Vil says is no coincidence), Mayweather allegedly tried to forcibly remove St. Vil from the house. When she refused and tried to go to her room, police say Mayweather started punching her in the ribs and then choked her until she nearly lost consciousness. St. Vil said was able to free herself by grabbing a lamp and delivering a lead right straight to Mayweather’s head, which is right about when the cops showed up.
So where does this leave everyone? For Roger Mayweather, it leaves him in a lot of trouble. It also casts doubts on Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s scheduled comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in September - with what appears to be both criminal and civil cases pending, can Roger Mayweather actually prepare his nephew for the fight? Even for the three-ring circus that is the Mayweather family, this is pretty ridiculous.
Also ridiculous: that Cristiano Ronaldo can blow off women who look like his former girlfriend Nereida Gallardo and who enjoy taking topless pictures of themselves making out with other hot women in nightclub bathrooms. And just blow off, but publicly humiliate her with tabloid photographers capturing everything.
According to the DAILY MAIL, Gallardo happened to spot Ronaldo going into a nightclub in Majorca while he was on vacation. She tried to get his attention, but she was “tackled by a security guard as she made a beeline for the 24-year-old sportsman and promptly whisked away” while Ronaldo treated her like a ghost.
Then again, she did tell reporters after they split that he was “a vain mummy’s boy, who waxed his chest,” so anyone who has ever run into a crazy ex while out can relate to Ronaldo’s dilemma. Then again, most of us don’t have teams of beefy security guards to help us out.
Finally, in some positive news: Maria Sharapova is back in action, which is a good thing. She easily beat Jarmila Groth in the early rounds of the L.A. Women’s Tennis Championships, her first tournament back since surgery on her right shoulder ten months ago. But somehow, that wasn’t the big news story of the day. Because there was a catfight brewing, and it was about it go off!
OK, not really. But defending champion Dinara Safina spent most of the day defending her world No. 1 ranking after Serena Williams had earlier questioned how Safina - who has never won a major - could be ranked No. 1 by saying sarcastically “Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1, she won Rome and Madrid.” However, anyone expecting a battle royal to break out had to be disappointed, as Safina “just answered questions pleasantly” when asked about the comments. Apparently someone doesn’t understand how PR works.
Suspected first-round bust Darrius Heyward-Bey is at Oakland Raiders training camp, and he’s acting…well, exactly like a first-round bust would, dropping passes and basically reaffirming the notion that Al Davis has gone from eccentric to “pouring castor oil into a bowl of Froot Loops and then dumping them on his head while singing ‘Strangers in the Night’” crazy.
Remember how we mentioned yesterday that Andy Reid’s notorious training camps had already claimed two Eagles players with “minor” injuries? Turns out one of them wasn’t so minor, as starting LB and leading tackler from 2008 Stewart Bradley is out for the season after tearing his right ACL. Meanwhile, Reid has invented some controversy with the media for - gasp! - trying to find out about the injury.
PUCK DADDY compares the Phoenix Coyotes’ ownership trial unfavorably to an episode of “Night Court.” I can see his point, since this trial does not involve Markie Post’s breasts. But then again, Mel Torme is nowhere to be seen.
Clete Thomas said he didn’t know what to do when he hit a walk-off homer to lift the Tigers over the Orioles 6-5 on Monday night. Here’s a hint: running the bases so we could go home would be nice.
The Eagles and first-round draft pick Jeremy Maclin finally seal the deal, inking a five-year contract worth $15.5 million. If I were him, I’d stay away from Andy Reid’s Bataan Death March and hold out a few more weeks.
I guess with all the trade deadline rumors about deals that did or didn’t happen, it’s kind of easy to overlook the most important thing in baseball: the standings. Because the story no one seems to be talking about is the fact that the best records in each league belong to teams in Southern California, setting up a real possibility of the first-ever Freeway Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the…let’s just call them the Angels.
Both teams looked the part of World Series contenders on Sunday. In Atlanta, the Dodgers used a three-run homer by Matt Kempto pound the Braves 9-1; meanwhile, the Angels hammered the Twins 13-4 to complete a three-game road sweep where they scored 35 runs. And while not everything is 100 percent for either team (Chad Billingsley left his start early with cramps during the Dodgers’ win, while Vladimir Guerrero suddenly turned 150 years old this season for the Angels), there’s at least a strong possibility of an all-LA (kinda, sorta) World Series.
And as a baseball fan living in Los Angeles, here’s my feeling on this: I hope to God this doesn’t happen. The first reason is selfish: I have to drive past Dodger Stadium every day for work - it’s almost impossible for a Tuesday night game against Florida, so I can’t imagine what a World Series game against the Angels would be like. A 30-minute commute turning into a two-hour nightmare? No thanks.
But more importantly, I’d have to hear weeks of coverage about the series as if it’s a real, heated rivalry. Which would make my head explode, because it just isn’t. This isn’t Red Sox vs. Yankees, with real, palpable hatred. Or even Yankees vs. Mets or Cubs vs. White Sox, both of which are city rivalries with loads of class, race and societal baggage (in that who you root for speaks volumes about who you are and where you came from).
Dodgers vs. Angels has none of this. People root for one or the other based on which ballpark was closer to them growing up. (Fortunately, the area that is equidistant from Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium is the mini-mall and warehouse-filled patch of nothingness called Norwalk.) If Dodger fans think about the Angels at all, it’s with a dismissive chuckle. Meanwhile, Angels fans will quickly point out who has the last World Series title while secretly grimacing at the whole “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” fiasco.
If you’re a big NFL fan near Troy, NY tonight, you might want to check out some minor-league baseball as the Tri-Cities ValleyCats take on the Oneonta Tigers. Why? Because SI’s Peter King is going to be throwing out the first pitch and hanging out with fans to talk about the upcoming season, along with a host of NFL experts including NFL.COM’s Adam Schefter, Sporting News’ Albert Breer, NY Giants radio voice Bob Papa and Redskins lineman Ross Tucker.
The CHICAGO TRIBUNE breathlessly reports that Jay Cutlercompleted his first 12 passes during 7-on-7 drills at camp yesterday. Although to be fair, Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman probably couldn’t complete 12 passes back and forth to each other.
Formula One driver Jensen Button spent part of his break from racing competing in the London Triathlon, where he set a personal best. I would have spent the time watching his girlfriend Jessica Michibata giving her personal best while modeling bikinis on a beach in Japan.
Letdown City: the rally car racing final at the X Games gets stopped halfway through when Travis Pastrana wrecks his car, handing the win to former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack. To celebrate, Brack knocked back a tall glass of ice cold Red Bull and milk.
I guess you could say that the Red Sox’s trade for Victor Martinez has paid some early dividends: he went 5-for-6 in Boston’s 18-10 win over Baltimore. Too bad Clay Buchholz is still not very good at pitching to big league hitters.
Any player coming to Eagles training camp for the first time should know one thing: Andy Reid is trying to kill you. Well, maybe not, and it’s probably foolish to compare what NFL players go through at Philadelphia’s two-week camp at Lehigh to what Bear Bryant’s “Junction Boys” endured at Texas A&M. But after reading this story about the Eagles’ training camp in the DELAWARE COURIER-POST, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want any part of it.
Basically, Reid will have none of this “safety” talk or “trying not to get starters injured.” While other coaches eschew contact drills, Reid thrives on them, working his team in full contact drills with pads. And as other coaches have moved practices to the evenings in the aftermath of Korey Stringer’s death, Reid has barely nudged, with his only concession being to move the morning practices up 15 minutes while keeping the afternoon drills smack in the middle of the day.
The hot buzz over the weekend, even though it seems utterly insane and it came from someone serving in Iraq, was that Brett Favre had already signed with the Minnesota Vikings and that the team was just waiting for the right time to announce it.
(”Hi, guys. Please allow me to address this rumor by flying 2,000 miles away for a week. Toodles!”)
So naturally, if that’s true, Vikings head coach Brad Childress is monitoring the situation closely from his office in Minneapolis, right? He wouldn’t be, oh, I don’t know, finding the second-farthest state in the union from Minnesota and hiding there, right? No?
A sex scandal involving underage teens and the Green Bay Packers? Before you start jumping to conclusions, this story doesn’t involve Mark Chmura - the patron saint of Wisconsin-based underage sex - but it’s just about as bad. Michael Philbin, 18, is the son of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, and he pleaded no contest to having “non-consensual sex” with two girls who had been drinking heavily at a party he threw at his parent’s house while he was out of town.
It sounds like the dark side of a John Hughes movie, but it gets worse, as the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL notes. His punishment for the crimes? Six months in jail, which will be served concurrently and means that with good behavior he could be out in as little as four months. Glad to see that justice truly has been served after someone takes advantage of a drunk woman at a party against her will.