Say What?

NFL to charge performers at the Super Bowl?

Big-name entertainers have long been willing to play the Super Bowl halftime for free, but now the NFL says free is giving them too much.  The league wants performers to pay to appear on its vaunted stage. This strikes many observers as excessively greedy.  And perhaps not smart business.  What controls does the NFL have on content if it receives money for whatever goes?  Jason Whitlock (ESPN’s PTI) warns“They’d better be careful.  . . . There could be wardrobe malfunctions.”


Jets corner AWOL from game, thinks he ‘acted appropriately’

New York Jets starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson was a no-show for Friday’s preseason game.  He ate his pregame meal with the team and then disappeared without giving an explanation.  The next day, his agent called the team to say the player was dealing with “personal problems” but that he was physically fine.  It wasn’t until Sunday that Patterson met with general manager John Idzik, who was not pleased when the player showed no remorse for not informing the coaching staff about his planned absence.  However, Patterson insisted, “The reports about me going AWOL are totally false.” He claimed he told a team official he would miss the game.  Said Idzik:  “Obviously Dimitri felt he acted appropriately.”

Idzik thought his actions utterly inappropriate and suspended the player “indefinitely.”  However, media observers say the team soon will welcome him back because the secondary is a wreck.  Rookie corner Dexter McDougle, who was battling Patterson for the start, is out for the season with a knee injury.  The featured corner, erratic Dee Milliner (last year’s first-round pick) has a sprained ankle and is questionable for the season opener.  Starting free safety Antonio Allen is also shaky, with a concussion suffered in Friday night’s game.  Although Patterson, 31, has been a below-average starter in the NFL, the Jets signed him to a one-year contract at $3 mil, in desperation upon losing Antonio Cromartie to free agency.


Redskins will have a new name within two years

NFL Insider Peter King predicts the Washington Redskins will change their name “within a year or two.”  Appearing on ESPN’s PTI, he said, “There’s too much blowback on this.  . . . People in the league office would like for Dan Snyder to at least have a dialogue about changing the name.” 

TV announcers Phil Simms and Tony Dungy are considering treating “Redskins” like a curse word and refusing to say it.


Emmit says Cowboys’ problem is lack of balance

He’s hardly an unbiased source, being the NFL’s all-time rushing leader, but Emmitt Smith thinks the reason his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, are in a three-year 8-8 rut is their refusal to run the ball enough to take pressure off QB Tony Romo.  “They need to be balanced,” Smith said in an interview with the Amarillo Globe-News.  “They probably don’t run the football more than 20 times a game.  And that’s going to be dispersed amongst various people.  That’s not the number they need to be targeting.”  He said running the football “comes with a commitment from the offensive coordinators, and there are plenty of them on the staff.” 


Puig tries to score from second on a double play

In a game against the New York Mets, the L.A. Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig attempted to score from second base on a 5-4-3 double play.  Needless to say, it became a 5-4-3 triple play, as Puig was thrown out easily at home.  Mets manager Terry Collins, whose team won 11-3, said: “We were just happy to have the double play.  The extra out was extra special for us.” 

Puig, who was born in Cuba and does not speak much English, did not speak to the media about this event.  But his manager, Don Mattingly, did not hold back:  “The disappointing thing is, I think that same exact play happened before, and you want guys to learn from their mistakes.”


Tourette’s doesn’t stop Tim Howard as TV commentator

Team USA goaltender Tim Howard has written a book (The Keeper, to be published by HarperCollins in December), in which he details his battle with Tourette’s Syndrome.  He told Yahoo Sports:  “You know, we don’t all curse.  I do on the field, unfortunately, to get my point across, but it’s not because of my condition.”  He described his condition as “involuntary motor tics, or twitches . . . blinking, clearing my throat, different muscles tensing in different body parts.”

Howard, 35, starred in the World Cup (stopping 16 of 17 shots by Belgium) and is now playing soccer for Evanston in the English Premier League.  He also has agreed to a multiyear deal to be a commentator for NBC Sports Group, which broadcasts the Premier League to the U.S.  He has been ridiculed by English tabloids and by fans at games, but he has never complained about their insensitivity. 


Liverpool welcomes troubled Balotelli as ‘calculated risk’

The Liverpool Reds signed Italian striker Mario Balotelli to a contract worth about $25 million even though he was dismissed four times for alarming incidents while playing for Manchester City in 2010-2013.  His misdeeds included throwing a dart at a Man City youth team player, scuffling with his coach on the practice field, and setting off fireworks in his bathroom, causing a curtain to catch fire and sending smoke billowing through his house.  Reds manager Brendan Rodgers called the acquisition of the 24-year-old “a calculated risk.”  But he took the risk because Balotelli scored 30 goals in the 80 games he played for Manchester and led the team to its first Premier League title in 44 years.


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