Soccer reporter sees El Salvador in bribery tug-of-war
You never have to wait long for the next soccer scandal, but USA Today’s Martin Rogers suggested one with an unusual twist. Players for El Salvador’s national team produced surreptitiously recorded audio evidence that they were promised up to $3,000 by Salvadoran businessman Ricardo Padilla if they would beat Canada in last Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying round. Rogers considered the question of why players would be offered bribes to win. He points out there was little incentive otherwise, since El Salvador already was eliminated from advancing. But Honduras was still in contention and would benefit from its Central American neighbor upsetting Canada. Rogers speculates that “perhaps Padilla was a front man for Honduran interests desperate to see their country take a step closer to the World Cup. If so, did those Honduran interests really fear that the El Salvador players could be bought off by the other side – effectively paid off by a pro-Canada backer?” Whatever incentives they had, they weren’t enough for the Salvadorans, who lost 3-1 to Canada. But because Honduras played to a 0-0 draw with Mexico, Canada lost its chance to play for the World Cup in Russia.
Goodell once shoved him, Pereira writes
When Mike Pereira was head of NFL officials 15 years ago, he had an intense argument with Roger Goodell, who was then the top assistant to Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Pereira, who now works for Fox as a replay analyst, writes in his recently released autobiography, Upon Further Review, that Goodell “was in front of my office, with others present; he was so frustrated . . . that he gave me a hard shove into my door . . . Officiating is a firestorm, and we all know Roger. He’s not the calmest guy in the world. . . ”
Kaepernick fires back at Dilfer for ‘ridiculous comments’
Colin Kaepernick, protest-minded QB of the San Francisco 49ers, is now protesting the criticism he’s received from QB-turned-ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who accused him of “tearing at the fabric of the team.” When Dilfer spoke of “a backup quarterback whose job is keep quiet and sit in the shadows,” Kaepernick responded: “That’s one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve heard. You are telling me that my position as backup QB and being quiet is more important than people’s lives. I would ask him to really have a conversation with the families of people that have been murdered and see if he still feels that way.” By sitting or kneeling when the national anthem is played before NFL games, Kaepernick has been demonstrating against trigger-happy policemen shooting young black men. Players from his own team and others have joined him in this movement.
Switzer writes in opposition of ‘puppy mills’
Barry Switzer, former head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners and, later, the Dallas Cowboys, is one of the leaders in the “No on 777” campaign to oppose a “right to farm” bill that, if passed by voter referendum in November, will allow people in the Sooner State to operate “puppy farms” which, Switzer wrote in a Tulsa World column, “are atrocities where neglect, disease and abuse is rampant. . . . Animals are caged 24-7, and some live their entire lives in wire cages, never once touching or rolling in the grass.”
Saban erupts at Kiffen for calling play that results in fumble
Alabama’s 38-10 victory over Western Kentucky gave no pleasure to coach Nick Saban, who lashed out at his offensive coordinator Lane Kiffen in a sideline display at the end of the game. With 2:10 left in the game and the Crimson Tide up by 35 points, Saban was expecting Kiffen to call conventional dive plays. But Kiffen called an exotic running play that resulted in a fumble. After the game, Saban said his animated conversation with Kiffen was “an ass-chewing.” He added, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in a win. Ever.”
Dear Coach Saban: Relax. This early in the season, it doesn’t matter whether you beat the Hilltoppers by 28 or 35 or 65. Any sort of comfortable win will not be considered a negative by the Playoff committee.
Blown call at end of game costs Oklahoma State a victory
The Central Michigan Chippewas scored the biggest upset of what was derisively called “Cupcake Weekend” when they edged 22nd-ranked Oklahoma State 30-27. But slightly tainting the achievement is that the game-winning Hail Mary lateral play happened only because officials failed to follow the rulebook. When Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph was called for intentional grounding on fourth down with no time left in the game, the officials handed the ball to Central Michigan, thinking that a game cannot end on a penalty. But the referee admitted after the game that his crew had erred, that an untimed play is not supposed to be awarded when the penalty includes a loss of down, as this one did. It was too late to correct the outcome.
Yanks’ Sanchez hits sacrifice fly on intentional-walk pitch
Rookie Gary Sanchez is a major force in the resurgence of the New York Yankees. He tied a big-league record with his 13th home run in his first 35 games. But his most amazing feat was a long sacrifice fly on a pitch that was supposed to lead to an intentional walk. Tampa Bay’s Enny Romero was trying to walk Sanchez in Saturday’s eighth inning, with runners on second and third bases and nobody out. But the 23-year-old catcher from the Dominican Republic swung at the 52 mph pitch and drove it 400 feet to center field, easily scoring Brett Gardner in a 5-1 victory by the Yankees. “I knew they were going to walk me,” Sanchez said. “At the same time I wanted to be ready just in case I could swing on a pitch.”