Say What?

Lane Johnson blames union for PED suspension

When Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson tested positive for PEDs – for the second time in his career – he set up a likely 10-game suspension. And he blamed the NFL Players Association for the mistake. He admitted the first time he knowingly ingested a banned substance. But since then, he insisted, “every substance I’ve taken has been approved by the Aegis Shield app, which the NFLPA gives us. . . . The supplement industry is not regulated, so you do not know what’s in it. . . . The NFLPA does not stand up for players. They don’t check the supplements.”

NotepadDear Lane: You’re correct that (thanks to a law concocted by Sen. Orrin Hatch) the supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA. Supplements are classified as neither food nor drugs. Thus, many bottles contain chemicals not listed on the label that are banned by the NFL. It’s buyer beware.


Larry David says he could be NFL offensive coordinator

Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, thinks his talents go far beyond comedy. His creativity, he contends, would make him a success as a strategist in the NFL. He said, “I’m positive I could be an offensive coordinator.” Appearing on the Dan Patrick Show, he said, “Give me one season to shadow an offensive coordinator, and I know I could do it.” He intends to visit the New York Jets’ training camp in preseason, and he has some advice for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: “That beard really bothers me. . . . Imagine Mickey Mantle with a full beard like that. It would have changed my entire childhood.”

NotepadDear Larry: With your extraordinary versatility, why stop at the NFL? You should run for president.


Tebow training for a baseball career

Repeatedly rejected by the NFL, former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick Tim Tebow is turning his sites to baseball. He’s been working out in Arizona with former Yankees catcher Chad Moeller, who told the New York Daily News: “He’s giving up a lot of different things to go after this.” Tebow is 29, a lelft-handed-hitting and lefty-throwing outfielder. He’s 6-2, 260 pounds, and Moeller said, “He’s going to be a power hitter. . . . He can drive the ball the other way very well and hits it very hard. He has good plate discipline.” His arm, which was his downfall in pro football, could be better suited to baseball. “His arm is major-league average,” Moeller said, adding that Tebow is fast enough to track down fly balls. “I’ve seen him go back on balls, come in on balls and make diving catches.”

NotepadDear Tim: Baseball is never as easy as it looks. If an athlete as talented as Michael Jordan couldn’t switch from basketball to baseball, it’s doubtful you can do it. Better to stay with what you do best: TV football analysis.


Hope Solo calls Swedish soccer team ‘a bunch of cowards’

After losing in Olympic quarter-finals to Sweden, Hope Solo, star goaltender of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, called the winners “a bunch of cowards.” Her criticism centered on the defensive style of play employed by Sweden in a 1-1 game that was decided by a penalty shootout. “Sweden dropped off, they didn’t want to open play,” she said. “They didn’t want to pass the ball. . . . I don’t think they’re going to make it very far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.” Team USA had won three consecutive gold medals and was undefeated in its previous 18 matches.

NotepadBetween the Lines: She was trying to mask anger with herself for failing to stop three of four kicks in overtime. She was assailed by shouts of “Zika!” throughout her brief Olympic run after she posted a photo of herself with face and arms protected and holding a can of bug spray.


Messi reverses retirement from international soccer

Lionel Messi, who ranks with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s greatest soccer player, has rescinded his retirement from Argentina’s national team. “There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved in Argentine football,” he said, “but I prefer to work from within and not criticize.” Messi, 29, quit his national team when it lost to Chile in the Copa America final in June, when he missed a penalty kick in the tie-breaking shootout.

NotepadBetween the Lines: Messi’s response to personal and team failure in international competition was similar to that of Hope Solo, as reported above.


Egyptian Olympian refuses to shake hands with Israeli

President Jimmy Carter secured peace between Israel and Egypt three decades ago, but the Olympics revealed that bitterness remains in this international rivalry. After losing to Israeli Or Sasson, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehabi refused an offer of the traditional post-match handshake, even though he was urged by officials to bow to the winner, as is customary in the sport. American coach Jimmy Pedro told the New York Times: “It is especially disrespectful considering it was a clean throw and a fair match.”



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