People around the league were slightly surprised by the outright release of Chris Chambers by the San Diego Chargers earlier this week. While the veteran receiver’s production was down significantly, releases in the middle of a season don’t happen that often, and the whispers were that there had to be something more going on.
(It’s a pretty woman’s mugshot. In the middle of a sports story. That’s never, ever a good sign.)
Boy howdy, was there ever. The woman shown above is one Stacey Saunders, a San Diego woman who, according to the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, has allegedly been intent on ruining Chris Chambers’ family for the past few months. In police reports and divorce proceedings, Chambers and his soon-to-be ex-wife claim that after a brief affair with Chambers, Saunders has been harassing him and his wife over the phone and via text message, to the point that it led to a divorce and disrupted his ability to perform on the field. So off you go, sir.
If this sounds all a bit familiar, well, it should.
One of the stranger aspects of the Dirk Nowitzki/Cristal Taylor saga - aside from the fact that she was engaged to an NBA player until he ran a background check on her and found more red flags than Tienanmen Square - has been the media’s willingness to accept her claims, even as she’s being held on suspicion of fraud.
(Smile, Dirk! But not like that, please. Never like that.)
So when, for example, Taylor claimed to be pregnant, there were plenty of tuts and moans to go around when Nowitzki essentially washed his hands of her. See the POST, HUFFINGTON, for example. The actual foolish behavior, though, would be having taken Taylor at her word.
You remember Cristal Taylor — Dirk Nowitzki’s ex-fiance, who says that she’s pregnant with his child — yeah, that one. She was sentenced to five years in prison this morning in a court in St. Charles, Missouri, on a 12-year-old forgery and theft case.
It’s never a good sign in a relationship when the man you want to marry (allegedly) hires investigators and turns you in, having you arrested in his own house. That happened in May, and now the 38-year-old St. Louis-area native is going to the Graybar Hotel for a number of transgressions, mostly forgery and writing bad checks.
Two Game 6 classics in one night? An OT winner from the Caps that guarantees an Ovie-Crosby grudge match on Wednesday night? A 12-goal outburst in front of an insane crowd at the United Center that cemented the Blackhawks’ return to relevance once and for all? Sorry NBA, Monday night was owned by the NHL.
First, in Pittsburgh, Dave Steckel’s sweet tip-in of Brooks Laich’s wrister from the point 6:22 into OT saved the Capitals’ season and silenced an Igloo crowd that was ready to celebrate a return trip to the conference finals.
Sidney Crosby’s tying goal with just over four minutes left in regulation gave the Penguins the momentum back after blowing a lead earlier in the period. But in the end, Marc-Andre Fleury was just a little too shaky. He only stopped 19 of 24 shots on the night while his Washington counterpart Simeon Varlamov outplayed him yet again, turning aside 38 of 42. The NEW YORK TIMES sums it all up better than I can:
Five one-goal decisions in six games, three overtimes and 41 goals, with Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby striking for 13 and assisting on 10 others. The Capitals and the Penguins have played a marvelous Eastern Conference semifinal series, and after Washington’s 5-4 overtime victory Monday, it will continue, fittingly, to Game 7 at Verizon Center on Wednesday.
As recently as two seasons ago, the Hawks were a failing franchise that could barely fill half of the United Center. Now, there isn’t a tougher ticket in town and the team went over the million mark in attendance for the season last night. As if all this isn’t enough, they’re likely going to be facing the Detroit Red Wings in the next round (provided the Wings can win one of two against Anaheim). And, I’m just going to throw it out there now: if they do play the Wings, I’m saying there’s a 50% chance that at least one fan is going to die in an incident directly related to that series. I’ve been to regular season games between those teams at the UC that have seen near riots in the 300 level. I’ve heard Hawks fans start a rousing “De-troit sucks” chant during a game against the L.A. Kings. They’ve been waiting for this for years.
Oh yeah, the NBA playoffs were on the schedule last night, too. The LeBrons finally put the Atlanta Hawks out of their misery with a ho-hum 84-74 win to wrap up another sweep. It actually was a pretty close game, and guys like Delonte West and Mo Williams stepped up with big contributions down the stretch to hold off a scrappy Atlanta squad that just didn’t have enough healthy guys to compete. The Cavs are 8-0 in the playoffs, with all of the wins coming by double digits.
In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki had 44 points (one for every alias used by his fianceé), including 19 in the fourth quarter, as the Mavs shook off a crapload of technical fouls and stayed alive with a 119-117 win over the Nuggets. Dallas trailed by 10 at halftime and for much of the second half as well, but finally took the lead on a Dirk jumper with less than three minutes left. Nowitzki’s heroics overshadowed Carmelo Anthony’s 41 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 steals. Denver’s still up 3-1 and doesn’t look all that beatable at home against the Mavs, so don’t look for this one to be coming back to Dallas.
• At this point, I think the possibility of getting taunted on YouTube would be more of a deterrent than a yellow card for taking a ridiculous dive in soccer. West Ham’s David di Michele boned a breakaway against Liverpool on Saturday so bad that he had to act like someone tripped him, and nobody was buying it (he needs to attend the Drogba School of Diving). THE SPOILER has the video.
• Randy Johnson gave up three homers in five innings but did enough to earn his 298th career win. If he can squeeze two more out of his arm before it falls off, he may just be the last pitcher to ever reach that mark. (Do you see CC Sabathia winning 15 games a year until 2022? Me neither)
• The silly scheme to keep Rachel Alexandra from running in the Preakness Stakes has been squashed, and the filly will run with the big boys on Saturday. Incidentally, Rachel Nichols‘ maiden name was Alexander, so expect Rachel Alexandra to start following around a horse named Brett Favra sometime next week.
Today’s headlines have been dominated by Manny, but there’s some weird stuff brewing down in Dallas, where a woman who is reportedly Dirk Nowitzki’s pregnant fiancée has been arrested on fraud charges. Cristal Taylor, who has used at least eight aliases while racking up what appears to be a number of bills that she had no intention of paying, was picked up by Dallas police at Nowitzki’s house on Wednesday morning on an outstanding warrant.
(Clearly, you can see why Dirk was so captivated by this woman)
And it appears that Dirk may have been involved in turning her in. Sources told CBS 11 in Dallas that a private investigator hired by Nowitzki accompanied the arresting officers, along with lawyers who were serving an eviction notice to her (she had been living at Dirk’s house for more than a year). She’s reportedly still in prison needing $20,000 to get bailed out, which is chump change for Dirk. But it doesn’t sound like he’s going to show up.
Reality used to be a friend of Ron Artest’s. However, it was long before the public met the kid from St. John’s a decade ago. For example, no one would be surprised to find out the new Gatorade/Tiger Woods cartoons seem like mini-documentaries to the Tru Warier because he has secretly considered himself the NBA’s Dr. Doolittle for years.
Apparently, this is the first time in Artest’s storied violent past that he remembered a pick-up game where tempers flared and one player snapped the leg off a nearby table and threw it with enough force to pierce the heart of another. By the way, Violet Palmer would only call a flagrant one on that.
One expert on keeping it real is Skip to My Lou himself, Rafer Alston. Eddie House’s yipping dog act (which is only the third-most irritating version on this Celtics squad) wormed its way under the skin of the boy from Queens, causing this rather understandable reaction:
The head slap will probably take the Orlando Magic’s only nominal point guard out of an upcoming game, a rather unappealing proposition after the 112-94 posterior-kicking administed by the Celtics last night. Ron Artest would like to know what reality would eject him for chattering with Kobe Bryant about his flailing elbows while a head smack only earns double techs.
(”No, man… I was just asking if you saw ‘House’ last night. Why so sensitive?”)
And maybe one of those aliases once killed a man with a table leg from 20 feet. Hey, it’s no stranger than knowing Ron Artest took the Houston Rockets to a plane of existence Tracy McGrady never could: the second round.