Brandon Roy Walking Out On The Anthem: Cool?

The PORTLAND OREGONIAN’s John Canzano, the designated s-stirrer in the Portland media, had a recent piece on Brandon Roy not being present on the floor for the Blazers when the national anthem goes off.

Mo Cheeks helps girl with anthem. Brandon Roy not around for Blazers anthem

(Ironic that Mo’s anthem save happened on Roy’s home court)

For two seasons now, Roy leaves the court before “The Star Spangled Banner” is performed. He waits out of sight, in the arena tunnel, and has a quiet moment of prayer while his teammates stand and honor America together.

Something about that feels troubling. And this is only partly about patriotism.

Roy is the Blazers captain, and leader, and two-time All Star. And the Blazers are busy preaching unity, and trying to find one vision right up until the moment Roy detaches and leaves his team standing on the court without him. And while I understand his desire to have a personal moment to gather his thoughts, I think there is ample time for a meditative moment in the hours leading to the game and I worry that the statement he’s making is one of individualism.

What would the fallout be if Roy’s teammates decided to join their leader in the tunnel? What if Roy weren’t from Seattle, but rather, from Spain, like Rudy Fernandez? What of respect, and heritage, and ceremony? What of team unity and leadership when the ball isn’t in your hands?

With the local reputation Canzano brings to the piece, Portlanders may be more likely to dismiss his argument out of hand. But I think he’s got a valid point, especially considering Canzano’s crafting of the column.

Should Brandon Roy be on the floor for the national anthem?

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Speed Read: Clarett Stops Early Release Request

Since the NFL — indeed, the world — is not yet ready for Michael Vick and Maurice Clarett trying to catch on with a team at the same time, the latter is going to stay in prison. For now. Clarett, the former Ohio State running back who led the Buckeyes to a national championship in 2003, has withdrawn a request for early release from prison that would have allowed him, he said, to pursue an NFL career.

Maurice Clarett

For someone who hasn’t played a meaningful down of football since his freshman year in college, Clarett has spent an alarming amount of time in the public consciousness. He’s hung out with Los Angeles rap stars, been drafted in the NFL, been involved with drug running and the Israeli mob, and was even the subject of a case ultimately decided by U.S. Court of Appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor. Even though he’s only 25, he’s seemingly been everywhere and lived two lifetimes — sort of an evil Forrest Gump.

Although he’s now locked up, we have not forgotten about Maurice Clarett. One reason is that he’s blogging from lockup — or at least we’re led to believe that he is. Clarett isn’t allowed Internet access in prison, but he phones in his writings to a relative, who then posts them on a blog entitled The Mind of Maurice Clarett; a sort of orange jumpsuit poetry jam in which he dwells on his feelings more than the day-to-day details of life behind bars (which has led some to believe that he’s not even the one writing it). There’s no entry so far on his decision to withdraw his request for a pardon by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien opposed Clarett’s request for pardon, saying his conduct off the playing field did not warrant special consideration.

“My observation was then and is now he had no chance of obtaining clemency under the statute or by action of the governor so it’s probably wise” that he withdrew the request, O’Brien said.

Clarett hasn’t played football since 2005, when he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round — a surprise move after an unimpressive NFL combine performance in which he was dubbed “Slo Mo” by the media.

Maurice Clarett game simulation

He’s serving 7 1/2 years at the Toledo Correctional Institution after being convicted in 2006 of aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon, a chain of events that ended with his arrest while wearing a bulletproof vest with four weapons in his car, less than a mile from one of the robbery victims. He must serve at least 3½ years of that sentence, and although he pulled his request for early release, he still becomes eligible for judicial release in March of 2010.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Clarett was on top of the world, rushing for 1,237 yards (a school record for a freshman) and scoring 18 touchdowns in helping lead Ohio State to a 14-0 record in 2002-03. The season culminated with Clarett scoring the winning touchdown against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. But he was released from Ohio State for a variety of NCAA rules violations, then migrated to Los Angeles, where he hung out with rap stars, and began spiraling more and more out of control. He eventually tested the NFL’s eligibility rules in an attempt to enter the 2004 draft — an initially successful challenge that was overturned by United States Court of Appeals judge Sotomayor.

So Clarett has lost his latest battle to return to the free world, but has never lost his struggle to remain in the public eye. And I suppose that it’s good that we hear from him from time to time. If for nothing else, his presence serves as a cautionary tale.

“I’m a man and I struggle. I’m not speaking of anything specific. I’m just talking in general,” he wrote in his latest blog entry, dated Aug. 3.

“Depression comes and depression goes. Inspiring thoughts come and they flee as fast as they come. Sometimes my spirit is in balance and at others it runs wild. I’m not afraid. I just get a little confused at times. I know which way is up and I know how to identify a weasel from a mile away. I know who I love and I know why I love them. I don’t claim to be omniscient but I do claim to be a survivor of the urban circumstances and experiences. … I’m Youngstown’s own.”

Tiger Woods

We now lighten the mood and bring you back to the 18th hole at the Buick Open, where MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reopens the Tiger Woods Fartgate investigation. If you haven’t seen, and thus heard, the infamous video of Woods allegedly farting while sizing up a shot during the tournament, you’re in luck, because Olbermann has rescued the footage from the abyss.

You can see/hear it here.

More interesting than the alleged emission itself — which now that I hear it sounds more like a Whoopee Cushion — is the fact that the PGA pulled all YouTube evidence of the video off the web moments after it happened. Folks, that’s the really hilarious part. Don’t make me come back here and explain this again.

Olbermann:

“Tiger broke 70 yesterday, perhaps after breaking something else. We can’t say for sure that it was The Tiger that roared … he might have had one of those Leslie Nielsen machines, or maybe John Daly stepped on a duck.”

If there was a second farter on the grassy knoll, kudos to him. Because that was some excellent timing.

Maxim's David Ortiz email account

We mentioned this briefly on Tuesday, but I feel that MAXIM’S take on David Ortiz’s Gmail inbox needs further scrutiny. It appeared Monday on their site and immediately won the Internets, delighting us with sample emails such as:

Erin Adrews: I know an ace PR guy

Crate and Barrel: Fall is right around the corner! …

Alyssa Milano: Offer still stands — Bj, Hj, whatever you …

And the always hilarious:

C.C. Sabathia: FW: Red Lobster All-You-Can-Eat sampi!

And speaking of that fine magazine, let’s dive into this morning’s links, as we ponder why a 12-year-old boy would tell his mother that his subscription to ELECTRONIC GAMING had been somehow switched to MAXIM.

  • The Reading Phillies set an attendance record on Wednesday for Pedro Martinez’s rehab start, in which he pitched decently, earning the win in an 8-4 victory over Trenton. Martinez struck out 10 of the first 17 batters he faced, finishing with 11 strikeouts over six innings. He gave up four runs, three earned. Fun fact: It was his first win at the AA level since 1991.
  • So you’ve taken the summer off to visit every Major League Baseball park? That’s become somewhat of a cliche, don’t you think? The Taviano family of Columbus, Ohio has invented the new hotness: Visiting 52 zoos in 52 weeks. Marla Taviano, her husband and three daughters began their 22,000-mile quest last August, and ended it on Saturday at their hometown Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. That’s a lot of monkeys.

  • Not sure what level of Little League the above video is from, but you can bet that Scott Boras has it playing on an endless loop in his office as you read this. As you can see, Jason Moody hits five home runs, including hitting for the home run cycle (watch the catcher, who is not amused). And in yet another example of this, a West Virginia Little Leaguer also hit for the home run cycle. Eli Canterbury, 12, of Barboursville, went 4-for-4 with four homers — solo, two-run and  three-run homers, and a grand slam in his final at-bat — as Canterbury’s Barboursville District I All-Stars beat East Huntington 19-1. No Major League player has ever hit for the homer cycle; the only time it’s happened in pro ball was by Tyrone Horne of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers in a 13-4 win over the San Antonio Missions on July 27, 1998.
  • The Denver Broncos are one of the several NFL teams who prohibit players or personnel from using Twitter, but you’d never know it by listening to head coach Josh McDaniels. “I don’t really have a Twitter policy,” McDaniels said. “I don’t know what it means; I don’t know what it is. I don’t know MyFace, Spacebook, Facebook stuff. I don’t know what that is either.”
  • Now let’s check in on your Chicago Cubs, who are locked in a death struggle with the Cardinals atop the NL Central. So surely when the Reds trotted out 32-year-old right-hander Justin Lehr on Wednesday — who was making only his second big league start — the Cubs would take advantage. D’oh! Lehr pitched a shutout, 4-0, as the Reds broke an eight-game losing streak.
  • Koren Robinson has had a troubled career; run off the tracks due to dropped passes, drinking and a run-in with the cops. The former Seahawk, Viking and Packer may be playing for the Orlando Tuskers of the UFL this season. Robinson was the ninth pick overall in the 2001 draft, the year that the Falcons chose a young man named Michael Vick with the No. 1 pick.
  • Brandon Roy’s five-year contract extension will likely keep him in Portland for the rest of his career, and since he was born in Seattle, that’s OK. Roy has agreed in principle to the deal, with the fifth year, ending in 2015, as an option. Pending salary cap issues, it could be worth more than $80 million, the second-richest in Portland’s history.
  • Who would have thought four years ago that Eli Manning would be making more money than Peyton Manning? Or Cooper Manning, for that matter? With his new $97.5 million contract, Eli will be making about $15.3 million annually, to Peyton’s $14.17 million.

Should Eli Manning be the highest-paid player in the NFL?

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Speed Read: Oregon Sports Teams End Year Up

The conventional wisdom is that the Pac-10 was having an exceedingly down year. In fact, that’s probably the main reason that USC was left out of the National Championship discussion: their one loss against a Pac-10 school was far worse than a loss to an SEC or Big 12 team.

Oregon celebrates versus Oklahoma State

So what do we make of Oregon’s 42-31 victory over Oklahoma State in last night’s Holiday Bowl? Yes, the Ducks featured an explosive offense, which you would expect from an Oregon team and is apparently mandatory to play in the Holiday Bowl. But the story was their defense in the second half, which put the clamps on the Cowboys’ star QB Zac Robinson.

How physical were they? DR. SATURDAY has some video evidence from YouTube of just one of the many big hits Robinson took in the second half:

It was just a big day all around for Oregon sports teams. Along with the Ducks winning the Holiday Bowl, the Portland Trail Blazers did the improbable on Tuesday night, taking out the defending champion Boston Celtics 91-86 without the services of injured All-Star guard Brandon Roy.

Trail Blazers vs Celtics

Keeping in mind it might be foolish for the Celtics to start panicking now - they are still 28-5 - but they have lost three of four. Oh hell, where the fun of having a sense of perspective: between this, the Patriots missing the playoffs and the Red Sox getting rejected by Mark Teixeira, let’s start wildly speculating about the end of the Boston sports dynasty.

Other sports news that happened as you prepare to get your drank on tonight:

Who will you be counting down to the New Year with?

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Speed Read: Cutler Spoils Brady Quinn’s Debut

Thank God we finally have Brady Quinn’s first start out of the way so we don’t have to listen to the speculation every week about when he’s going to get a shot and see that stupid NFL draft footage anymore. Why do so many people care? I mean, great, he played pretty well for Notre Dame against Navy and Stanford but got killed in every big game. Way to go, bud, I guess doing all that and playing absolutely no NFL football is good enough to get yourself a Fathead.

Brady Quinn

(Uh, dude, you know he voted for McCain, right?)

Brady did, however, have the Browns in good position to win last night, leading the Broncos 23-13 after three quarters. But Jay Cutler finally lived up to his own hype and got it done in the fourth quarter, like a certain other Bronco quarterback did a couple of times in Cleveland. (See, aren’t these Cutler-Elway comparisons just ridiculous?) Denver scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and won the game 34-30. Cutler threw for 447 yards in the game, and Quinn put up a respectable 239 yards with two touchdowns. The game was viewed by approximately 39 fans on the NFL Network, and 17 people on a choppy SopCast feed from Denmark.

Speaking of football games nobody could watch, #10 Utah rallied from an early 10-0 deficit and beat #11 TCU 13-10 last night in a game that was on some channel called CBS College Sports. Never did I think I’d actually be complaining that a game wasn’t on Versus. Since this channel isn’t part of my DirecTV package, I assume that it ended in exciting fashion. Actually, there’s proof that it ended in exciting fashion (and a Dan Fouts sighting!).

Dan Fouts

(”I used to be on Monday Night Football and now I’m calling Mountain West games on some station that 4% of the country gets.”)

Over on ESPN, Virginia Tech took care of Maryland 23-13, plunging the ACC into even more mediocrity. Freshman Darren Evans set a school record with 253 rushing yards. One of the odd BCS rules out there is that a non-BCS team can actually automatically qualify for a BCS game if they finish in the top 16 AND finish ahead of the winner of one of the BCS conferences. And never has this been more possible with the top ACC being currently ranked 19th (North Carolina) and all 12 teams in the league sitting with at least two conference losses. So just because Utah or Boise State loses a game or you think Ball State is too far down to make it, it’s still very likely that we’ll be seeing one of these teams on Fox in January.

There was a spectacular ending in the NBA last night in Portland that most of you on the East Coast probably missed. With the Rockets trailing the Blazers 98-96 with 1.9 seconds left in overtime, Yao Ming hit an 18-foot baseline jumper while he was being hacked to tie the game. He then made the free throw to give the Rockets a 99-98 lead. But Brandon Roy swished a rainbow 30-footer as time expired to give the Blazers a crazy 101-99 win. Check out the video:

• DEREK HAIL says that the Eagles’  Hank Baskett proposed to Girl Next Door Kendra Wilkinson at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle this past weekend.  I suppose I’m required by law to post a picture of her now:

Kendra Wilkinson

• Some dude is claiming to have made five holes-in-one in a week. No, it’s not Kim Jong-Il, it’s some guy in Illinois. The DAILY HERALD is buying it, but I’m a bit skeptical.

• Our favorite Indian pitchers, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, finally had their tryout yesterday. The ARIZONA REPUBLIC’s Jim Walsh has the details. In short, a lot of scouts think they deserve a shot, but nobody thinks it should be their team that gives it to them.

• The SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE quotes Padres GM Kevin Towers as saying that Jake Peavy’s “train has left the station,” which means the ‘07 Cy Young winner is going to be traded soon. He also has a full no-trade clause.

• The Raider players are finally starting to speak out about all the insanity going on around them, and are telling it to David White of the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE.

• The University of Oregon is debuting a baseball team this season. And you know what that means — ridiculous Nike uniforms!

Oregon baseball uniforms

The lines in the gray pinstripe uniforms are not actually solid lines — they’re the complete text of the university fight song.

• The Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. fight this Saturday isn’t really captivating boxing fans. BOXING NEWS says it’s because the fight is such a mismatch in Calzaghe’s favor.

• The Brewers just picked up Mike Cameron’s option, but that’s not going to prevent them from shopping him to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy, says MLB TRADE RUMORS.

• CNN says that some British guy claims baseball was invented in his country because Jane Austen referenced it in a book.  C’mon, let us have this one, England.

Charlie Weis is lucky to still have a knee, according to an AP report (via ESPN). He tore his ACL, MCL, PCL, GCL, and Florida State League. He also broke his femur. How is he supporting his body on that thing?

How many of the last 7 games will the Browns win with Brady Quinn at quarterback?

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Bill Conlin’s Already Got Rascal Flatts Loaded Up

SI NBA writer Marty Burns (via SBD) reports that the Portland Trail Blazers recently sent out a special edition iPod nano or “iRoys” to “60 or so ’select national and local media’ members.”

iRoy iPod

With the move, the club was looking to buy coverage promote Portland guard Brandon Roy for the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.

Burns, who is returning the iPod (Hello eBay!), writes that the gift “wasn’t intended to influence the media,” as the fans pick the All-Star Game starters, while coaches select the reserves.

Yeah, and a sudden surge in media pieces on Roy wouldn’t influence the fans?