LA Soccer Radio Host Quits Due To Death Threats

If there are more potentially violent, disagreeable sports fans on the face of the planet than those of Liverpool FC, I hope that they are on our side when aliens from “District 9″ invade. They will be our first line of defense. And we can pay them in beer! Anyway, radio host Steven Cohen isn’t laughing about it, after death threats from those British soccer fans caused him to end his popular, Los Angeles-based soccer show.

Steven Cohen

Cohen, host of World Soccer Daily, says that he and his stepdaughters have received death threats, some via the girls’ Facebook accounts, sent by Liverpool supporters. The All Red fans (a few of whom are pictured above) are angry because of remarks Cohen made concerning the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, where 96 Liverpool fans died when one end of Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, became overcrowded.

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Miami Caliente Holds Hot Lingerie Football Tryouts

• Tryouts were held for the Lingerie Football League’s Miami Caliente, and some of the resulting scenes were, dare I say, en fuego:

Miami Caliente lingerie football

Mark Cuban uses his blog to apologize to Kenyon Martin’s mom. But if you think the Mavs-Nuggets rivalry has cooled off, just ask LaLa Vasquez.

• The Dodgers know what women want - their own online radio broadcast!

• The Blackhawks scalp the Canucks, while the Caps force a Game 7.

• A slimmer Jessica Simpson sings at Sea World, much to PETA’s chargin.

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Soccer Host Comments Make Liverpool Fans Livid

Despite the best efforts of MLS, it seems that soccer still takes a back seat in the sports consciousness of your average American fan. So it’s a bit strange to see that a huge furor among footie fans has been caused by comments from an L.A.-based radio host.

Steven Cohen soccer radio host

Steven Cohen is the British-born host of “World Soccer Daily”, a show on Sirius/XM satellite radio that’s one of the few, if not only, soccer-specific programs on radio. On a recent broadcast, Cohen discussed the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death by too many fans packing the stadium in Sheffield. And based on his comments about the tragedy, many Liverpool supporters want to see Steven silenced - permanently.

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Speed Read: ESPN Pulls Its Punches With WWE

If you’ve watched ESPN for more than five minutes this week, you know that last night was the season premiere of “E:60″, ESPN’s version of “60 Minutes,” and the featured story was a “rare, behind-the-scenes” look at the WWE and a profile of Vince McMahon. Jeremy Schaap was sent out to watch as the organization prepared for Wrestlemania.

Vince McMahon at Chris Benoit special on Raw

The choice of reporters makes sense - McMahon is notoriously volatile with cable TV reporters and diminutive hosts alike, while Schaap is best known for not being as good as his Dad (in the opinion of Bobby Knight). And because of the controversy which always surrounds the WWE, there were a litany of hard-hitting questions that Schaap could have asked - questions that other reporters either didn’t know to ask or wouldn’t.

So what was the end result? If you guessed “a 13 minute long sloppy wet kiss to Vince McMahon from your friends at ESPN,” you win an autographed 8 x 10 of Mean Gene Okerlund. Because what Schaap and the E:60 crew put together was - at best - shockingly lax reporting bordering on the type of fawning, hands-off “journalism” you would expect from “Access Hollywood.”

Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself, and pay attention to all the times Schaap completely whiffs on asking a tough question, or when he does, how it’s set up as the perfect softball for McMahon to nail over the fence. I would suggest making a drinking game of it, but this is a morning post and I don’t want people to get too plastered to go to work today.

Apparently in ESPN’s world, Owen Hart’s death never happened, and the XFL was just a figment of my imagination. And even the “tough issues” they touched on were either brushed over or poorly handled.

For example, let’s look at the segment on Chris Benoit. First off, Schaap mentions McMahon’s federal steroids trial and his own admission of steroid use, but never actually asks him a question about it. And he doesn’t follow up on the WWE’s “Wellness Policy” - which has been highly criticized in the industry - other than to say “why do you need one at all?” and give McMahon a perfect opportunity to play the role of the caring boss who only wants the best for his employees.

Of course, getting sidetracked into steroid talk overlooks significant issues in the Benoit case, like how much Benoit’s history of multiple concussions might have rattled his brain to the point of no return, or how the WWE’s insane travel schedules with almost no time off can crack anyone. (They did briefly mention the WWE’s treatment of wrestlers as “contractors”, but again they didn’t ask McMahon directly about it, or any of his current roster.)

Which makes me wonder: just how much did ESPN have to give up in order to get the “exclusive” access to the WWE? It sure seemed like there was a whole list of questions that were off-limits, or at least not fully explored. I think the level of “exclusive” access ESPN received is best summed up by the fact that they were kicked out of the weekly WWE production meeting midway through because they were hitting on something Vince McMahon didn’t want to share.

But I’m sure that Schaap would argue the point tooth and nail with me…except that I read this interview with him about his profile of the WWE, and he basically admits that this was a softball piece:

I think our interview is very different and it revealed a different side of him. I didn’t go into it and put him on the defensive. We asked him the tough questions - you have to ask him the tough questions and he addressed them but he didn’t get defensive or angry as you’ve seen him in previous interviews because he understood we were approaching it from a perspective of giving him a chance and treated him with the respect that you would treat Paul Tagliabue or Roger Goodell now or Gary Bettman or George Steinbrenner. I’ve seen George Steinbrenner interviewed over the years many times - not recently of course because he has not been well - but George Steinbrenner is a guy who, with all due respect, is a felon. A guy who was kicked twice out of major league baseball, once for committing federal felonies, once for hiring a known extortionist and ex-con to dig up dirt on his best player Dave Winfield and yet, have you ever hear anybody interview George Steinbrenner on TV or in a press conference or any situation as rudely as sometimes Vince McMahon has been treated?

Good lord…sounds to me like Schaap is angling for a spot as a guest ring announcer at next year’s Wrestlemania. Have fun with that. Simply embarrassing - someone wake the ESPN Ombudsperson from her slumber and have her try to explain this to me.

Knee injuries in girls

Also needing to do a better job of explaining things: sports medicine expert Dr. Robin West, who was interviewed by the NBC Nightly News for a look at the rise of knee injuries among young athletes (surprise - they are being pushed too hard too soon by overbearing parents). In a Web exclusive, Dr. West talks about why female athletes are especially at risk for ACL injuries, and why menstruation might be a factor. Or not.

This is about as confusing as Newt Gingrich trying to explain why women can’t serve on the front lines in the military because they get “infections” once a month. So having a period makes athletes more susceptible to knee injuries? Got it. And goes a long way to explain so much about Tom Brady. ZING!

(Also, I question giving anything the title “Knees: The Achilles Heel of Girls’ Sports.” Wouldn’t the Achilles heel be the Achilles heel of girls sports? Unless women don’t have an Achilles heel - let me check my copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and get back to you.)

Lastly, the computer the NFL uses to create its schedules - which I suspect has a computing power somewhere between the evil machine from “War Games” and Hal from “2001″ - finally spit something out last night for the rest of us to ponder. Among the teams cursing the results, according to THE SPORTING NEWS, are the Bucs, Panthers and Dolphins, while somehow the Steelers wound up with a relatively pothole-free schedule. Go ahead and start the conspiracy theories now.

Other stories that happened last night as you tried to come up with a worse way to die than being crushed by a palm tree:

  • It looks like TBS has found its baseball version of Charles Barkley, as they have announced the signing of David Wells as studio analyst for their MLB coverage. Much like Barkley, he’s fat, frequently in trouble and has a loud mouth. I’m sure he’ll mesh well with Cal Ripken.
  • david wells dodgers

  • You might remember a few weeks ago when members of the Oregon basketball team were accused of some Duck-on-duck crimes. The EUGENE REGISTER-GUARD reports that as punishment for shooting at ducks at a local park, head coach Ernie Kent has ordered the players to work at a local humane society.
  • The SPOKESMAN-REVIEW says that Washington State might be done with football players Romeo Pellum and Micheal Willis, after they were arrested early Saturday morning on separate driving charges (suspended license and DUI, respectively). At least they were able to save head coach Paul Wulff having to drive over to the jail twice to pick them up - how thoughtful.
  • According to the AP, Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam threatened to “cut off the head” of the leader of the Korean Football Association in a recent interview, which sort of irritated the Koreans. I can’t imagine why.
  • Speaking of soccer, Chelsea and Liverpool had one of the craziest games in recent memory yesterday during the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, with the game ending in a 4-4 draw and Chelsea advancing on a 7-5 aggregate. The LOS ANGELES TIMES has the blow-by-blow.
  • Don’t really know much about Masters champion and now two-time major winner Angel Cabrera? This piece in the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE will change that, and give you a new appreciation of just where he’s come from - he’s no silver spoon, well-bred golfer.
  • New Jersey has just built a new state-of-the-art arena for the Devils and also upgrading the Meadowland’s Izod Center, the home of the Nets which is just eight miles away. As the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER notes, some people are wondering if this money could be put to slightly better use.
  • Apparently in Wisconsin, you can’t have junior hockey without booze, which is why the JANESVILLE GAZETTE says that Janesville City Council had to vote to allow the local ice rink to sell alcohol. The City Council did need to look up wine coolers online as part of their debate, making me wonder what self-respecting drunk hockey dad would be caught dead with a wine cooler?
  • The Mets opened Citi Field in ignomious fashion, with a 6-5 loss to the Padres. So it’s probably for the best that, as NEWSDAY reports, many fans weren’t able to see the game thanks to “obstructed view” seats.
  • Least surprising story of the baseball season so far: MLB.COM says Nomar Garciaparra left the Oakland A’s game against the Red Sox after one inning with soreness in his calf muscle.

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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”

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British Hottie Can’t Stop Banging Soccer Players

See that fine-looking young lady down there? Of course you do, you stared at her for a good 20 seconds before you even started reading the article. Anyway, that lovely young lass is Danielle Lloyd, she’s a 24-year-old ex-Miss England, now she’s (obviously) a model, and she’s had more soccer balls fly at her than Kasey Keller.

Danielle Lloyd Sport Relief

(How do you spell sport relief? D-A-N-I-E-L-L-E.)

Lloyd’s latest conquest is Liverpool’s Ryan Babel, a 21-year-old striker. Yeah, I haven’t heard of him either. He would be the sixth soccer player Dani has been linked with, which NEWS OF THE WORLD helpfully details for us after the break:

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Nude Model + Soccer Player + Cemetery = Love

I do tend to do more international stories on weekends, but it’s still weird that this is not only my second soccer post in two hours, but my second Liverpool post in two hours. But trust me: this tale of modern athlete love is a good one.

Amii Grove

(You’d rather I run a photo of the soccer player?)

Jermaine Pennant is a winger for Liverpool, perhaps best known for wearing an electronic ankle bracelet during a game while he was on probation for drunk driving. Now he should best be known for MySpace stalking a topless model, breaking up with her after she saw CCTV footage of him cheating on her, then proposing to her at her newly-dead brother’s grave. WTF. (More pics, of course, after the jump.)

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Soccer Match Far Too Exciting For Fan To Survive

We all know British soccer fans take their sports a little too seriously. But we wonder why happiness over a team’s performance would lead one to commit assault or property damage. (Unless we’re Philadelphians; then we don’t need to wonder).

Soccer Babes

(No, it wasn’t this photo and a heart attack that killed him.)

But I think there’s something universally touching about a man so excited over a gamewinning goal that he leaps out of his chair so fast that he falls, hits his head, and dies. (I had to link to two stories on this since the integrity of two British tabloids is equal to one normal newspaper.)
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Athletes, Coach Fill Diapers and Soil Whole Team

Verbal protest has a long tradition in Western civilization. Speaking truth to power continues to seduce young people, empowering them to rail against perceived injustices across the world.

Baby Fan With Chelios Sign

At some point, though, college ends and you realize change doesn’t come from dragging homemade signs through protest marches to pick up women. (Different goal. Noble but different.)

(When you want to scream and cry, you must zip it)

Not everyone, though. The following charmers spent the last few days decrying the cruel treatment they suffered at the hands of the mean-spirited referees. Thanks to their snit fits at just the wrong time, each of their teams suffered mightily. However, now we all know about the mistreatment that life has thrust upon them and can, like, give them a hug or something.

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Blog-A-Roni: Bird Poop On Head Good Luck Charm

• The LONDON GUARDIAN has the poop on Barnsley’s coach getting a lucky omen before his team’s big upset over Liverpool: “I left the team hotel for a walk in the town centre, and as I was talking a bird shat right on my head.”

Bird pooping on kid's head

• RANDBALL crunches the numbers & debunks the myth that only 5 NHL teams are below .500.

• Based on his recent clownish behavior, BLEACHER REPORT’s satirical story on Terrelle Pryor joining the Ringling Bros. Circus doesn’t seem so silly.

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