Morning Link Dump - 03/16/11
Obligatory Sports Babe
This morning we'll go with Abigail Clancy, the English model who, according to The Spoiler, had Tottenham striker Peter Crouch's baby yesterday. Well... and presumably her own as well. (Oh, and hey, apparently the picture here is from FHM. Hard to tell, I know.)
Quote of the Day
"Really? Snell retired at 29 after being sent down by Cards. Does he know how lucky he is? Know how many guys who had to retire because of injury would kill to be in his shoes? Myself included!" - Former Major League pitcher-- and the key to Toronto's 1993 trade for Rickey Henderson-- Steve Karsay, over a pair of tweets directed at ESPN's Buster Olney, reflecting on the sudden retirement of Ian Snell, who chose retirement over triple-A.
A Barcelona Doping Scandal?
"A Pandora’s Box was opened in Spanish football on Monday regarding allegations of doping apparently made by Real Madrid and aired by radio station Cadena COPE," says a surprising post from 101 Great Goals. "According to Radio Cadena Cope, Real Madrid have requested that the Spanish Football Federation 'reinforce their anti-doping control with Barcelona,' as an allusion was made to the Catalan club’s success and their dealing with 'dubious doctors.'
"A link was also extrapolated between the infamous Eufemiano Fuentes and Valencia’s two Liga titles (02, 04). Fuentes is a controversial doctor who has been implicated in investigations into doping in Spanish athletics and cycling. He was recently appointed head doctor at third division club Universidad de Las Palmas.
"Barcelona issued an official statement on Monday denying any illegal practices and asking for 'immediate rectification' from Cadena COPE. The statement added that Barca are considering legal action 'in order to defend the club’s honour, alongside that of its coaching staff, players and medical staff.' "
The Changing Relationship Between Teams and Media
"When the University of Iowa named a new basketball coach last year, reporters around the state scrambled to get the story. Several staked out a local airport and hung around campus hoping to snag an interview with the new man, Fran McCaffery. No dice, university officials said — McCaffery and his team weren’t giving interviews," writes Paul Farhi of the Washington Post.
"For sports journalists these days, the playing field isn’t always level. As the Iowa incident suggests, teams and leagues can break their own news, over and around the independent news media that cover them. Professional and big-time college teams aren’t just news sources now; they’re in the news business, too, with their own radio, TV and Internet operations.
"At the same time, teams and leagues have imposed an increasing array of restrictions on news organizations limiting how and what they can report. The trend has even trickled down to the high school level, with some state athletic associations signing 'exclusive' TV and media contracts that prevent independent journalists from certain kinds of reporting.
"In an earlier age, teams welcomed coverage as free publicity. Now, in an age when technology permits almost anyone to broadcast text, photos and videos instantly, some are far more wary of reporters, viewing them as info-competitors."
David Stern's NBA?
"The commissioner’s office will never escape this truth: In so many ways, Donald Sterling has carried out the NBA ownership vision of David Stern," begins Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports in an explosive story on the NBA's commissioner. "Bully and mistreat your employees.
"Treat the front office and coaches like necessary evils with bare minimum salaries and staffing.
"Stern has long preached that coaches are too expensive, scouts too plentiful and perhaps no one has heeded the commissioner’s words like the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner. He has a history of hiring them cheap, and refusing to honor contracts. The NBA has a history of letting it go without protests.
"Yes, Stern’s silence and inaction on Sterling’s despicable behavior has to be considered as some level of approval. Now, Kim Hughes tells the story to the Racine (Wis.) Journal-Times about how Sterling didn’t pay for his prostate cancer surgery as a Clippers assistant coach several years ago. Clippers players contributed much of the $70,000 needed to take care of the costs that weren’t covered by Hughes’ medical insurance.
"And once Sterling fires those coaches and scouts, he often stops paying the balance of their contracts. He dares them to sue. Some can, and do. Some can’t afford the legal fight and end up settling for pennies on the dollar.
"This happened with scouts Scott Wissel and Jerry Holloway a year ago. They made less than six figures a year, and the Clippers simply stopped paying them. Essentially, Sterling was telling them, 'The season’s over, and so what if your deal runs October to October. It’s April, get lost and we aren’t paying you.'
"Eventually, Holloway won a settlement, and Wissel had to fight more than a year to get part of his money. Where was the league office? Where was Stern’s indignity?"
Quote of the Day II
"I don't think we've got your attention. You clearly don't understand what we're saying, and we're not hearing what you're saying. So I guess we're going to have to show you to get your attention." - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, according to Sports Illustrated, speaking to NFLPA representatives during labour negotiations as the lockout deadline approached.
Jeff Klein of the New York Times' Slap Shot hockey blog wonders just what the hell it means that "the feasibility of broadening the rule [against head contact] will be examined by a special committee headed by the league vice president Brendan Shanahan — who promptly shot down the idea."
Remember Ashley Vickers, the Dorchester defender who was red carded last week for a too-violent tackle... against a streaker! According to Who Ate All The Pies, his red card has now-- mercifully-- been rescinded.
As the world finds itself in the depths of Charlie Sheen fatigue, the Cleveland Free Press reports that the Cleveland Indians are considering inviting the Major League star to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day in two weeks. Always cutting edge, that Cleveland...
The Slanch Report relays the story of soccer player Anton Hysén, 20-year-old son of Swedish legend (?) Glenn Hysén, has come out of the closet. Good for him.
Puck Daddy has a lengthy, interesting chat with former NHL star Pavel Bure.
Scary news for Barcelona defender Eric Abidal yesterday, as reports surfaced that he required surgery for a liver tumor. Here's an incredible moment of his from the weekend (via Who Ate All The Pies), before the diagnosis, as he does everything he can to make a pass against Sevilla. Now that's using your... ahhh, never mind, just have a look...