2003: Laurie Fine Verified Same Tape ESPN Buried

In 2003 ESPN received an audio tape from Bobby Davis, who alleged that it included the recorded voice of Bernie Fine’s wife.

ESPN buried tape that Laurie Fine confirmed in 2003 had her voice on it

(Laurie Fine verified voice on tape in’03. Where was World Wide Leader?)

In the tape, Laurie Fine acknowledged her husband’s sexual abuse of a child - Davis himself - on multiple occasions while also confirming that she thought there were more molestation victims who had been targeted by Bernie Fine.

On Nov. 17, 2011, ESPN first broke the news of the allegations against Fine by Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang, though ESPN did not acknowledge the existence of the audio tape until last Sunday. ESPN’s acknowledgement of the tape - and its contents - quickly led to Bernie Fine’s firing by Syracuse University. The revelations of the tape also produced a backtracking statement from Jim Boeheim, who had earlier cited his 48-year friendship with Fine in calling Davis and Lang “liars” who were “trying to get money.”

As part of a Q & A done with ESPN VP of Public Relations Josh Krulewitz about the network’s coverage of the story, ESPN Senior Vice President & Director of News Vince Doria justified not reporting the allegations made against Bernie Fine in 2003 - which included the audio tape in which Laurie Fine acknowledged her husband’s sexual abuse of a child - thusly:

“based on that tape which we had not generated; which we had no real knowledge of how it was made and Bobby Davis’s story – which was one person with no corroboration – we felt in 2003 that the material we had did not meet the standards for reporting the story.”

But Laurie did, in fact, “corroborate” the allegations made by Davis at that time - to the SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD: in 2003 confirm that it was indeed her voice on the tape to the SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD:

After we heard the tape, we approached Laurie Fine. She admitted to phone conversations with Davis.

The bedrock defense from ESPN’s Doria in not reporting the existence of the tape when ESPN broke the story on Nov. 17, 2011, was that he and his colleagues had previously been unable to confirm Laurie Fine’s voice on the tape.

When we had the audio in the past we had never been able to confirm that it was Laurie Fine. Part of it was we had no independent video of her and her voice – something we could look at and say, “Yes, that’s her and yes, that appears to be her voice.”

So why did it take eight years for ESPN to do what a local Syracuse outlet did immediately after receiving the tape?

Because ESPN never contacted Laurie Fine directly. Not in eight years. Not even after it finally broke the story two weeks ago!

The only attempt Doria reported this week that ESPN ever made to contact any member of the Fine family came after it broke the story in 2011 - and even then ESPN didn’t reach out to the Fines directly.

Doria:

At the same time we felt we really wanted to go to the Fines [in 2011 after ESPN broke the story]and present this evidence to them and give them the opportunity to respond in order to be as fair as possible. We tried on several occasions to contact Fine’s lawyer and the communications representative for the law firm got back to us and listened to our request where we told him we had some new information that we wanted to present to the Fines to get their side of the story and he promised to get back to us but never did.

If Vince Doria’s newsgathering organization did, at the very least, attempt to contact Laurie Fine or her husband directly it would now most certainly report that fact. It - and Doria - hasn’t.

While the Post-Standard also errored by not reporting the story in 2003 - or providing the tape to police at the time - at the very least it reached out to Laurie Fine directly who, “ … admitted to phone conversations with Davis, confirmed portions of the recording were accurate, suggested the tape had been doctored ...”

Not only did ESPN place children in peril after it did not report an audio tape of Laurie Fine acknowledging her husband’s molestation of a child - and more victims - to the police in 2003, ESPN showed gross journalistic negiligence by not trying to directly contact the Fines before deciding to bury the story at that time.


Add in ESPN’s wildly disingenuous “lack of corroboration” and “voice verification” defense for not publishing the story in 2003, and leaving out the tapes from its initial story 2011, and we are surely witnessing the darkest moment in sports journalism history.

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Audio: Boeheim’s Comments On Syracuse Radio

Tuesday afternoon Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim appeared on his weekly radio show in Syracuse on ESPN 97.7 FM with co-hosts Steve Infanti and Chris McManus.


During the five minute interview, Boeheim was not specifically asked about the situation involving former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, who is currently under investigation by Syracuse and Federal authorities following accusations that he molested multiple boys.

When asked during the show about preparation for Syracuse’s game tonight against Eastern Michigan amidst “distractions“, Boeheim said, “It’s the same as it is every week. The players have no distractions. They aren’t a part of anything. It’s stuff that happened a long time ago.

Boeheim was also not questioned today about the apologetic statement he released Sunday night through the school after previously calling Fine’s initial accusers liars” who were “trying to get money.”

When asked during his radio appearance today about the “emotions he was feeling“Boeheim said, “[the players] expect the coaches to be focused when they come to practice.”

Boeheim, who backtracked off his own initial accusations of Bobby Davis and Mike Lang after Fine was fired on Sunday, received a statement of support today from Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor.

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ESPN: Worldwide Leader in Endangering Children

Strong statement?


Watch.

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Why Didn’t ESPN Give Fine Tape To Authorities?

Today ESPN released excerpts of a tape-recorded phone conversation between the wife of Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine and a man who claims Fine repeatedly sexually molested him beginning when he was in the seventh grade.

Despite wife of Bernie Fine acknowledging abuse and saying there could be other victims, ESPN didnt turn taped phone call evidence over to authorities in 2003

(Fine acknowledgement of abuse not enough for ESPN to give tape to cops?)

The audio, recorded on Oct. 8, 2002, includes Fine accuser Bobby Davis, now 39, discussing his alleged molestation with Laurie Fine.

Throughout the call, Laurie Fine acknowledged the abuse - and her husband’s unwillingness to own up to what amounted to serious, criminal behavior.

Laurie Fine to Davis:

“I know everything that went on, you know. I know everything that went on with him … And you trusted somebody you shouldn’t have trusted …

“Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but he’s somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind.”

When talking about Bernie Fine’s unwillingness to give Davis $5,000 to help him pay off student loans, Bernie Fine’s accuser said to the wife of the Syracuse basketball coach during their 2002 phone call, “It’s not about the money.”

Laurie Fine then replied, “It’s about the d—. I know that. I’m just telling you for your own good, you’re better off just staying away from him.

Fine’s wife later said during the taped call that her husband wasn’t worried about the legal repercussions of his alleged sexual abuse of children because, “he thinks he’s above the law.

Also during the call, Davis asked Fine’s wife: “Do you think I’m the only one that he’s ever done that to?

Laurie Fine’s response to Davis: “No … I think there might have been others …

Today the Syracuse Post-Standard may have confirmed Laurie Fine’s suspicions about her husband’s further sexual abuse of children with a new report of a 23-year-old man now accusing Fine, on the record, of molesting him in a hotel room in 2002 during a Syracuse University basketball team road trip.

In its report today, ESPN justified not going public with the Davis allegations in 2003 - which include the taped phone call of Laurie Fine - thusly:

Davis first gave the tape to ESPN in 2003. At the time, ESPN did not report Davis’ accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story. After a second man said this month that he was also molested by Fine (that man is Mike Lang, Davis’ step brother), ESPN hired a voice-recognition expert who said the voice on the tape matches the voice of Laurie Fine.

ESPN also reported that after it broke its initial story of the accusations against Bernie Fine on Nov. 17, 2011, “Davis shared the tape with Syracuse police, one of several law-enforcement agencies who have opened an investigation into the case.

After the ESPN report today the SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, which previously reported that it was first contacted by Davis in 2003 about alleged Fine abuse, indicated that it was provided the tape as well:

Bobby Davis taped the 47-minute phone call with Laurie Fine, the coach’s wife for 26 years, on Oct. 8, 2002 and provided the tape to The Post-Standard shortly after. … After a six-month investigation, The Post-Standard did not publish a story about Davis’ allegations or the tape in 2002 because the newspaper could find no witnesses, enough corroborating evidence or a second accuser.

The Post-Standard, like ESPN, did not report today why it did not turn the tape over to authorities.

Pete Thamel of the NEW YORK TIMES reports Syracuse University indicated today that it was never made aware of the tape. The school recently reported it investigated the claims made by Davis in 2005.

While ESPN and the Post-Standard both have indicated why it did not publish the allegations made by Davis against Fine in 2003, it has not yet commented on why it did not turn over the audio tape to Syracuse law enforcement in 2003.

Considering it had possession of hard evidence of the wife of Bernie Fine acknowledging that he may have committed sexual abuse against children - and that authorities were unaware of Fine’s possible continuing criminal activity - ESPN and the Post-Standard not providing such evidence to law enforcement at the time is, at best, morally reprehensible.

At worst? Culpable.

Time will tell.

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Being Men Of Orange Can Oft Lead To Irregularity

Nothing to do with Linus Pauling or Jim Boeheim’s substitution patterns:

Syracuse Orangeman Irregular Double EE Tshirt

Next stop: Port-au-Prince.

Football Star Racks Up Offers, Criminal Charges

Remember Tebucky Jones? Of course you do; everybody remembers their first Tebucky. For the youngins, though, Jones played in the NFL for several seasons at safety, even winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots back in 2001.

Tebucky Jones Jr
(He’s a wide receiver? I thought guys only played receiver if they didn’t like to hit.)

These days, Jones is an assistant football coach at New Britain High School in Connecticut, where he attended high school. One of the players on that team is one Tebucky Jones, Jr., and surprise of surprises, they’re related. Like his father, Jones is a terrific athlete and gaining considerable attention from some D-I colleges, like UConn. One tiny problem, however, would be the holy smoking assload of charges Jones faces for a fight at school from May.

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Speed Read: Turkoglu Is Magic Man For Orlando

Even with the Orlando Magic leading the Boston Celtics by 17 midway through the fourth quarter in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, you may have had an uneasy feeling in your stomach that it was a big set-up to a massive, heartbreaking, Stan Van Gundy-firing collapse. Of course Boston was going to make a run - especially with Dwight Howard sitting with five fouls. The only question was how badly would the Magic collapse.

Dwight Howard

After all, they had blown a 14-point lead in Game 5 of the series, and almost let a 28-point cushion slip away in Game 1, so why not save the “best” for last? And sure enough, after Ray Allen hit a three-pointer with 4:12 to play, the Celtics had cut the lead to 12 and were poised to make something happen. So, of course, there was only one man the Magic could turn to in their hour of need.

Hedo Turkoglu eating pizza

That’s right, Mr. Pizza Man himself, Hedo Turkoglu. Maybe the grease on his fingers from his pregame meal of pizza put extra spin on the ball, but he was out of his mind in Game 7, especially when the Magic needed him most. He responded to Allen’s three-pointer with one of his own, and then hit a fallaway jumper on the next possession to get the lead back to 17. Maybe he’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and pizza is his spinach?

After that, it was time for the Celtics to pull Allen and Paul Pierce for a final round of applause, and bring in the scrubs. (Otherwise known as “Gabe Pruitt Time!”) As for the Magic, they haven’t been this far since the Shaq and Penny days, so you can excuse the people of Orlando if they don’t exactly act like they’ve been there before.

So the NBA didn’t get the Cavaliers vs. Celtics match-up they were craving, but their consolation prize is nice: the most dominant big man in the game (Dwight Howard) vs. the most dominant anything in the game (LeBron James). As for Bron-Bron and the Cavaliers, you can see that they were clearly concerned about who they would play:

Let’s see Van Gundy draw up a defense for that.

As the NBA’s reigning champs were dethroned, the current NFL champs get ready to enjoy one of their spoils on Thursday: the traditional meeting with the President in front of the White House. But NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison won’t be joining them. No, he doesn’t have a pressing personal emergency, and it’s not a political protest. His reason is a little more complex than that:

“This is how I feel — if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl. As far as I’m concerned, he [Obama] would’ve invited Arizona if they had won,” said Harrison.

So let me get this straight: Harrison is upset because he thinks that Barack Obama is playing favorites and only inviting the Steelers because they won the Super Bowl and not because he’s their biggest fan? Apparently he didn’t see the bitchin’ helmet tattoo that the President got before the playoffs, or the new paint modifications he made to Air Force One once he took office:

Modifications to Air Force One

Finally, the Stanley Cup playoffs started their conference finals on Sunday, and the Detroit Red Wings gave the upstart Chicago Blackhawks a welcome to big time hockey with a 5-2 thumping in Game 1 of their series. But the big story was almost something far darker, as the Blackhawks’ Adam Burish narrowly escaped a Richard Zednik/Clint Malarchuk moment when his neck was clipped by the skate of teammate Ben Eager.

Unlike the other two players, Burish only received a minor nick that didn’t require stitches. Still, he knows how lucky he was:

“I don’t know how my head was still connected there,” Burish said. “I saw his skate. It was like he did a figure skating move. He lifted his skate up and I just watched it go over my neck.”

If only they made some sort of device that could protect hockey players in case a blade happens to catch them in the neck. A “neck protector,” if you will. But I guess that’s just crazy talk.

  • THE STATE says South Carolina baseball player Casey Rihn allegedly learned the hard way why you don’t keep hitting the back of a police car with your hands when you are walking around drunk at 2 a.m.: you can wind up arrested after the cop in your car turns your face into Hamburger Helper on the ground.
  • Casey Rihn before and after

  • I guess that Usain Bolt’s OK after the foot surgery following his car crash: The AP says that in his first meet back in Manchester, England, he set the world record in the 150 meters at 14.35. Yeah, he even has the world record for a race no one runs now.
  • Walls? After you’ve been through the kind of hell Josh Hamilton has, walls are nothing. Actually, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that the wall was a pretty decent adversary for the Rangers’ outfielder, as he suffered a mild groin strain while making a game-saving catch against the Angels.
  • Dear Bruno Junqueira: Thanks for qualifying our car for the Indianapolis 500 - we really appreciate it. But we hope you don’t mind that we’re pulling you from the ride and replacing you with Alex Tagliani. It’s nothing personal - it’s just that he’s our main driver and all, and he failed to qualify. Best, Conquest Racing. P.S. Please return your driving suit to us by 5 p.m. or you lose the deposit.
  • Manchester United wrapped up the English Premier League crown this weekend, but the biggest story might be the plight of former soccer heavyweights Newcastle United. As the TELEGRAPH reports, their 1-0 loss to Fulham puts them on the edge of relegation to soccer’s minor leagues, as they need a win in their final game to stay in the EPL.
  • NFL fans who don’t get the NFL Network might finally be in luck: SI’s Peter King says that the league is closing in on a deal with Comcast to make the network available on the regular digital cable package. Finally, I won’t have to pay a premium for my daily dose of Rich Eisen.
  • TROY NUNES IS AN ABSOLUTE MAGICIAN sat down with new Syracuse football coach Doug Marrone for an interview, but not during breakfast if their arteries know what’s good for them. After all, Marrone claims that he once ate “42 pancakes with two sticks of butter…or a stick and half of butter…no, two sticks of butter and a thing and a half of maple syrup. I take pride in what I can eat.”
  • As if the Colorado Rockies didn’t have enough problems with the Pittsburgh Pirates taking two of three against them over the weekend, BUGS & CRANKS says that they even had to dodge bats kicked at them by the umps.
  • It was apparently “Dress Like A Banana Day” in San Francisco for the Giants’ game against the Mets, but THE SPORTS HERNIA says that Jon Miller was the only person in the ESPN broadcast booth to get the memo:
  • Jon Miller

  • What’s more American than baseball? The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER has an answer: beer and baseball. Since a local ordinance was changed allowing them to sell beer on Sundays, the minor league Charlotte Knights have seen attendance for Sunday home games go up by 30 percent.

NBA Finals: Who ya got?

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Speed Read: Sleazy Vick, Caylee Dolls Draw Suit

I think I’ve found the world’s worst person: his name is Jaime Salcedo, and he’s the owner of Showbiz Productions in Jacksonville, FL. He first made a name for himself by selling the “Vick Chew Toy,” which is not related to the one the St. Paul Saints gave away. In fact, if you read the fine print at the toy’s Web site, it’s not even Michael Vick at all. Crazy how someone could get that idea, right? Check out the promotional video for yourself:

So while the toy and it’s cutting-edge “dog material” might be an overpriced, one-note joke aimed at making a quick buck, it’s not really horrible. Now, creating a doll based on a toddler who was gruesomely killed by her mother, that would be hideous. Folks, let me introduce you to the “Sunshine Caylee Doll,” also a creation from the monstrous kitchens of Showbiz Productions, meant to be a “tribute” to slain Florida two-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Caylee doll

Of course, as Salcedo told Fox News, he wanted to be sensitive to Anthony’s memory, so he made sure the doll had little resemblance to her - even if it did play her favorite song “You Are My Sunshine” when you pressed its stomach. After all, making the doll look like Anthony would be “too morbid.

But Salcedo wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t a heartless slime trying to make money exploiting dead toddlers and mangled dogs. He was also a philanthropist, pledging to donate portions of the sales of the Vick Chew Toy to local animal shelters and $5,000 from the sales of the Sunshine Caylee Doll to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Well, Salcedo did make a donation to that last group: for a grand total of $10. And it seems evident that no donations were made to local animal shelters from sales of the Vick doll. So not only was Salcedo making money off of products in horrible taste, but he was pulling a big grift by using charity donations that never happened to support sales.

Finally, someone is doing something about it: the JACKSONVILLE TIMES-UNION says the Florida Attorney General’s office is suing Salcedo for $20,000 for making false advertising claims, and seeking an injunction against further sales of the dolls. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said that using a respected organization such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a front makes things even more reprehensible:

“Any company that intentionally misleads innocent consumers to believe they are contributing to worthy charitable causes is absolutely reprehensible,” he said. “It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain.”

Of course, when you consider that Salcedo himself estimates that he sold at least 200,000 Michael Vick dolls at $7.77 each (grossing more than $1,500,000), a $20,000 fine feels like a slap on the wrist. I know times are tough, but the people of Jacksonville can’t band together and find the time and money to get the supplies needed for a good old fashioned tar and feathering? I’ll even chip in and by the first barrel of tar.

Crowds at the Masters

Meanwhile, there wasn’t much going wrong on Thursday during the first round of The Masters, unless you consider the appalling traffic. Despite assurances by government officials that the kinks that led to significant traffic snarls at the beginning of the week had been worked out, the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE says that traffic was even worse for the opening round, leading to headaches such as a local doctor having to run three-quarters of a mile to make a speaking engagement at the course.

At least it was perfect weather for a run, and also for shooting a low score: it was the second-lowest scoring first round in tournament history. The Day One leader is Chad Campbell, who set a tournament record with birdies on his first five holes and flirted with history before back-to-back closing bogies left him at 65, one stroke ahead of Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk.

How crazy was the scoring on Thursday? If Phil Mickelson had shot 73 in last year’s first round, he would have been tied for 29th, five shots off the lead. Instead, he starts today tied for 51st, looking at an eight shot deficit. Even the over-50 crowd was getting into the scoring act: Larry Mize sits in a tie for fourth after a 67, while the group at 70 includes Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer.

Also firing a two-under: Tiger Woods, who probably could have been near the top of the leaderboard if one of five or six putts go in instead of burning the lip of the cup. The other main contender we previewed yesterday, Padraig Harrington, also had a quietbut efficient round, going one lower than Woods. Even Gary Player, in his final Masters, shot a respectable 78. In fact, every player broke 80 except for New Zealander Michael Campbell, who must feel great that even Craig Stadler’s portly butt beat him by three shots.

Finally, Andrew Bynum’s comeback from a knee injury might not be on par (get it?) with Tiger Woods’, but it couldn’t come at a better time for the Los Angeles Lakers. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that Bynum looked comfortable and healthy in his return after missing 32 games from a torn MCL, racking up 16 points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes as the Lakers blew past the Nuggets, 116-102. Which begs the question: Could his injury actually have been a break for the Lakers, as their center is now rested and not worn down by the rigors of a long regular season?

  • A few weeks ago, we told you about the Fifth-Third, a 4,800 calorie, four-pound burger that is the new entry at the concession stands at West Michigan Whitecaps games. CNBC says that the gut-buster made its debut last night, with 107 of them being sold. Of the 32 people who tried to eat the whole thing, 17 were successful. Lord, I don’t want to know what the toilets looked like around the seventh inning stretch.
  • darren rovell fifth third burger

    (CNBC’s Darren Rovell ponders the glory of the Fifth Third Burger)

  • LOCKDOWN CORNER says that former Green Bay Packers lineman Syd Kitson is trying to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly city somewhere in Florida. In true Green Bay style, everything is either powered by sharp cheddar cheese, or the light shining off of the still-brilliant aura of Brett Favre.
  • Syracuse basketball looks to take a bit hit next year, as the AUBURN CITIZEN says that Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris will all enter their names into the NBA Draft. Also looking to flee for the pro game: UCLA’s Jrue Holiday, Wake Forest’s James Johnson and Miami’s Dwayne Collins.
  • Speaking of drafts, about the only thing the WNBA does right is take advantage of the one-week period right after the NCAA title game when people still remember that women’s basketball exists to hold their draft. The No. 1 pick? Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry, to the Atlanta Dream.
  • Remember the kerfuffle caused when Teresa Earnhardt refused to let her stepson Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his No. 8 with him when he left DEI to go to Hendrick Motorsports? I guess karma really is a … you know. FOX SPORTS says the No. 8 car will be permanently parked, as DEI has had to shut down operations on Aric Almirola’s team because of a lack of sponsors.
  • The person I would least expect to be in a Twitter controversy is Joe Paterno, who probably thinks that’s what happens when your pacemaker gets to close to a microwave. But ESPN.COM says his son Jay might have inadvertantly spilled the beans that the Big Ten is banning night games in November, meaning the Penn St./Ohio St. tilt will be played in the afternoon.
  • Yesterday’s least-surprising arrest had to be that of volatile former NBA guard Vernon Maxwell. The GAINESVILLE SUN says he was arrested in Florida Wednesday morning and charged with a probation violation stemming from failure to pay child support.
  • BALL DON’T LIE has the gripping story not coming to Broadway next fall: “Nellieball: The Musical.” Much like Don Nelson’s teams, it starts off promising but runs out of steam by the final act and falls apart.
  • Last time we heard about Nebraska tight end Hunter Teafatiller, he was having a party thrown in his “honor” as he was preparing to go to jail on a DUI charge. I guess it’s time to make another keg run in Lincoln, because the AP says he’s been arrested again, this time for driving on a suspended license.
  • Dan Hawkins wants you to know that not only is Colorado football not intramurals, brother, but it’s not a place for your cell phones and cameras. The COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE says the school has closed practices because of too much information floating around the Internet.

Which 2008 cellar dwellar has the best chance to be this year’s Tampa Bay Rays?

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ND Endures Snowballs From Fans In ‘Cuse Loss

Just when it looked like Notre Dame would scrape out a respectable season and end up with a bid to an above-average bowl simply by beating Syracuse, they helped keep some mid-level SEC school’s dream of the Cotton Bowl alive by giving in to a complete fourth quarter capitulation to the Big East’s most feeble offense. Final score? Syracuse 24, Notre Dame 23. If Charlie Weis‘ seat wasn’t hot already, it’s burning up those 44-inch-waisted khakis now.

gregrobinson
(This man is a coaching failure. And he beat Notre Dame. Makes sense.)

To their credit, Notre Dame’s fans took things into their own hands, pelting Fighting Irish players with snowballs as they sit on the bench. The fans also had the good taste to pelt an NBC cameraman with snowballs, while they were at it. After all, who needs leis when you’ve got airborne precipitation missles?

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Another Marinovich’s Future Goes Up In Smoke

We’re all aware of Todd Marinovich’s passion for pot, his jonesin’ for joints, his making tracks for marijuana. Well, the smoking apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as younger brother Mikhail also enjoys lighting up. But the mini-Marinovich would rather do it legally - and make a tidy profit from it.

Mikhail Marinovich hookah

THE WIZ OF ODDS reports that Mikhail has started a smoking lounge in Syracuse. The Orange DE (L) has teamed up with teammate Niko Rechul (R) to open up Hollywood Hookah, a place where central New York Staters can enjoy a puff or two from those tall bottles they swear aren’t just giant-sized bongs.

But Mik & Nik’s new establishment isn’t just some hokey hookah hole in the wall. It’s got quite the spread for Syracuse smokers:

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