Premier League Player Stabbed, May Lose A Leg

The “football” season is off to a rousing start in England, but a horrifying incident on Saturday morning has put a bit of a damper on things. West Ham United defender Calum Davenport and his mother, Kim, were attacked outside of their home, with both being stabbed several times.

Calum Davenport

The 26-year-old defender’s legs were targeted in the attack, and reports are saying that he may need to have a leg amputated. His soccer career, obviously, is almost certainly over. It’s just another horrible break for a guy who missed a lot of time in 2008 with a neck fracture suffered during a game.

Even more unsettling is that the situation highlights a major problem in British society — knife crimes. Yup, the Brits have the strictest gun laws in the world so everyone just runs around trying to Ginsu each other up instead. And it’s starting to get out of control.

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Speed Read: Another Violent Day in LA’s Paradise

The baseball day in Los Angeles started on a solemn note Monday when the Dodgers held two moments of silence for fallen comrades in arms during Chavez Ravine’s opening day Monday (before a third passed later in the day).

Dodger Stadium tributes to Nick Adenhart and Harry Kalas

(Pictures from 710 AM ESPN’s Beto Duran)

By the end of the game (an 11-1 pounderation of the San Francisco Giants, who could not devise a hacky time travel solution with the USS Enterprise despite the cross-promotional gold), the area around Dodger Stadium hosted numerous instances of disrespect to human life through stabbings, gun-waving, fights involving dozens of people, and the stray auto accident.

Of course, we would never draw a correlation between the drop in beer prices at Dodger Stadium and violence around the ballpark. After all, fan-on-fan violence is still seemingly less likely than vendor-on-vendor violence or security-on-fan violence. The relative safety of MLB.com’s At Bat iPhone app is looking better all the time, especially now that it works occasionally.

Another object d’mocktastery best safely seen from a distance that works only occasionally: Isiah Thomas. He’s apparently found a reason to leave the house as Florida International University has shown interest in hiring him as their basketball head coach.

Isiah Thomas suit

(”Look! Look up at that paragraph! It says that someone wants me!  Do you see that?”)

FIU has found a certain comfort level with losing (five straight seasons) and could certainly use the limelight brought by a famous coach. Perhaps Isiah’s excited because he thinks he can ply his trade in a different country unfamiliar with his sordid past. (That’s what the “International” stands for, right?)

Another gentleman of leisure being paid by an NBA team to go away but still looking for a new home will also have to find a new place of leisure as well. At least two of Detroit’s casinos (current count: 439280410) have reportedly tossed Allen Iverson out on his ear for “boorish behavior”, including bodyguard-related scuffling, pouting after a loss, and being generally churlish.

Allen Iverson golfs

(There’s always golf to ruin one’s forced retirement)

So kudos to the MGM Casino and the Greektown Casino for standing up to Allen Iverson’s shenanigans after he’s left town and will likely never return unless absolutely forced to by contract. Also, way to leak the information once the coast is clear.

We once spotted AI in the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, taking over a section of  the open-air lounge and bar to play cards in the late afternoon with his buddies. He did not order from the bar; instead, he had the bellboy bring his crew a beat-up old cooler filled with their own special reserve.

We did not get a chance to see his favorite drink, but we bet he could get it for 25% less this season at Dodger Stadium. Better bring the bodyguards to carry the overflow.

And now our riot police-approved hail of rubber bullets reinforced by the near-certainty there are relatively few industries interested in “boy whisperers”

Which team is the best in all baseball after one week?

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Elton John Concert To Fund English Soccer Team

Sir Elton John is best known for helping craft a handful of the most memorable melodies of the past 30 years. Well, he’s known for that and the world’s most flamboyant collection of sunglasses. Now, for the second time, John has stepped in with significant investment in the soccer team he grew up rooting for, English Championship side Watford. The difference is that this time, instead of bankrolling the team out of his own pocket, he’s proposing funding the team’s summer transfer targets by holding a concert at the team’s stadium.

elton john

(Watford’s new strike force, brought to you by this guy.)

According to the WATFORD OBSERVER,  John pitched the idea after being re-named “Honorary Life President” of the Watford Hornets on his 62nd birthday last week, and he immediately pitched the concert idea as a way to re-create an incredibly successful — and similar — idea from 2005, when John hosted a gig at the team’s Vicarage Road ground and helped raise a whopping $2 million+. Now, instead of using the money to help fund the team’s stadium advances, John explicity wants the money to go toward signing new players.

It’s a bit like Jon Bon Jovi holding a concert to raise money for the Phillies to sign a new free agent pitcher. It’s the kind of thing we just haven’t seen before, and you’d have to say that Elton John is just about the last person you’d think would usher in a trend in sports funding.

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Soccer Star Robinho Accused Of Sexual Assault

Brazilian soccer superstar Robinho, who plays for Manchester City in the English Premier League, is in the starting lineup for his club’s game tonight against Newcastle. That may not sound all that remarkable, until you learn that dude was having to get bailed out of jail this morning.

Robinho

Robinho has been accused of sexual assault by an 18-year-old woman stemming from an incident at a nighclub in Leeds on January 14th. Last week, before being charged of anything, he took off from City’s training trip to the Canary Islands and returned home to Brazil for a week, saying he had some sort of family issue. He’s not the first soccer player to be accused of sexual misconduct in England, but if he’s found guilty he would be the first to get in any sort of actual trouble.

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English Teen Snubs West Ham Deal For His Sax

Admit it, when you were in elementary school — heck, probably when you were in middle school, too — you hoped and dreamed that you’d be a professional athlete. You probably thought you had a chance, too. Well, this British teenager was living your dream, working his way up through the West Ham academy system to the verge of a professional debut. Except he didn’t take it, because he’d rather play the saxophone.

Really.

tyler rix westham
(Bad choice, kid. Haven’t you ever seen “Green Street Hooligans”?)

The sassy young Brit in question is 16-year-old Tyler Rix, who turned heads on the BBC2 reality show “Classical Star”. Think “American Idol” with brass and keys. Even more impressive is the fact that he did so while still training at West Ham. But when he was offered a guaranteed $1.5 million contract by Universal Music Group, he decided to take the music money rather than play the odds on a much, much bigger payday with West Ham.

Seems crazy, doesn’t it? And, more significantly, why isn’t Rix trying to do both? Why not be both a musician and an athlete if you can pull it off? Clearly he had been, and more athletes than we’d like to remember have failed miserably chasing the same dream. So why in God’s name is he pulling out?

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Al Jazeera Bidding For English Soccer, Legitimacy

Muslim TV network AL JAZEERA is probably best known for being the primary source of videotaped leaks from Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaida and other jihadist groups. But while Americans were preoccupied with the network’s political coverage, the Qatar-based company has stealthily built up a solid sports network five years ago, with a portfolio that now includes the Middle East broadcasting rights for Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and, starting next fall, the UEFA Champions League.

osama bin laden al jazeera
(AL JAZEERA is best known for breaking news on this guy, but Cristiano Ronaldo could overshadow him within 12 months. That’s not a joke at all, it’s big news.)

Well, now the Muslim network is apparently readying for their biggest bid for sports legitimacy of all - by planning to acquire the rights to the English Premier League.

According to BLOOMBERG NEWS, a contract between Al Jazeera & the EPL would run from 2009 through 2012. Though the EPL’s Mideast rights are currently held by Sumner Redstone’s pay-tier SHOWTIME ARABIA, there are plenty of reasons to believe that AL JAZEERA’s intentions are legitimate and significant … and that a successful bid for the English top-flight’s rights could completely change the way the network is viewed across the world, which could have deep socio-political effects in countries as far and wide as the U.S.

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Brawl Between Brits, MLS Fans At Soccer Friendly

Yesterday the Columbus Crew of the MLS and West Ham of the English Premiere League took the pitch in Columbus, OH (the same Ohio that also hosted the open wheel racing catfight between Danica Patrick and Milka Duno on Saturday) for an exhibition friendly.

Columbus Crew West Ham Fight

Things escalated quickly when the *always-friendly* West Ham fans found themselves in the Northeast corner of Crew Stadium, where the Crew’s rowdiest fans usually sit.

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Want to Play Soccer in England? Speak English!

All English Premier League players immigrating from outside England must speak “basic-user standard” English, as covered in a new points-based immigration system for all migrant workers undertaken by Great Britain yesterday. Concerns about foreign labor taking jobs from the English have spurred the immigration rules changes.

Incoming workers must be able to express themselves in The Queen’s English “using familiar everyday expressions, and be able to discuss basic personal details”. We hope, for the sake of the players, they will be able to argue that the expressions should be job-specific. That will allow the migrant footballers to get by with such common phrases as:

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Ronaldo’s Heel Puts A Stop To This Foolishness

If you’re one of those people that doesn’t get hung up on sports that don’t feature a lot of offense, you can appreciate the athleticism of an athlete like Ronaldo of Man U.

And even if you are, you’ll appreciate this goal that he scored last night.

(Video after the jump.) Read more…

England Loses The American Revolution, Again

CNN.com reports today that English Premier League squad Fulham has signed U.S. National Team player Eddie Johnson to a 3-year contract.

Johnson joins fellow Americans Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra, Kasey Keller and Clint Dempsey on the squad (yes, Fulham now boasts the highest number of Americans on any EPL roster).

Fulham 19th out of 20 teams in EPL Standings

With that in mind, take a wild guess where Fulham is in the standings.