Deflategate resolved? Brady was ‘probably’ involved
The long-anticipated Ted Wells report on Deflategate is in, and while couched in legalize that avoids a definitive conclusion, it states that “it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the NFL Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate attempt to circumvent those rules.” While coach Bill Belichick is not implicated, QB Tom Brady is cited as being the impetus behind actions by Patriots equipment personnel in deflating all 11 of the game balls used in the AFC Championship Game that vaulted the Patriots to the Super Bowl, which they won against Seattle. Wells wrote: “It was more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities . . .” The NFL is reportedly considering suspending Brady for at least one game.
Pacquiao impaired by shoulder injury, seeks rematch
After his loss by unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao disclosed that he suffered a torn rotator cuff several weeks earlier and considered postponing the “Fight of the Century.” For failing to disclose the injury before at least $100 million was wagered, he faces a possible fine from the Nevada Athletic Commission, which noted that the day before the bout he checked “No” in a questionnaire asking if he had a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, a class-action suit was filed against Pacquiao by fans seeking refunds for pay-per-view. Pacquiao will undergo surgery, but after that he wants a rematch, according to his associate Bob Arum. It’s widely assumed Pacquiao, who said he thought he beat Mayweather, also will put his hat in a different ring and seek the presidency of the Philippines. Chavit Singson, a close friend and political adviser, told USA Today that he’s discouraging Pacquiao from running. “Better to be a kingmaker than a king,” he said. Despite the Pac-Man’s enormous popularity, his political foes say he hasn’t distinguished himself in six years as a congressman, that he attended only four days of legislative sessions last year.
LeSean McCoy accuses Chip Kelly of racism
In an interview with ESPN.com, LeSean McCoy, former Pro Bowl running back of the Philadelphia Eagles who was traded to Buffalo, said of Eagles coach Chip Kelly: “You see how fast he got rid of all the good players – especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That’s the truth. There’s a reason.” He stopped short of calling Kelly a racist, but not far short. The larger truth may be that Kelly doesn’t tolerate anyone defying him, black or white. Consider how he’s treating his white Pro Bowl guard, Evan Mathis. Asked if he was considering trading Mathis, Kelly told the Philadelphia News: “Evan’s been available for two years now, and we’ve never had an offer for him.” Kelly is miffed that Mathis is not participating in voluntary team activities while seeking an extension of a contract that pays him $11.5 million over the next two seasons. At 33 he’s unlikely to receive that sort of pay in the future.
Between the Lines: Kelly is basically saying, “We don’t want him and nobody else does either.” Looks like it’s going to be an interesting training camp.
A-Rod catches Mays but is denied $6 million bonus
The New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez has a contract that provides for a $6 million bonus if he ties Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. But when A-Rod matched Mays at No. 660, the Yanks announced they were yanking the bonus. The club’s position is that the player is so tainted by drug controversies that it cannot market his achievements. “We have the right, but not the obligation (to pay the bonus),” said general manager Brian Cashman, “and that’s it.” But it surely is not the end of it. The Players Association is expected to file a grievance. For his part, Rodriguez is keeping his sentiments private. “Family business,” he kept repeating as reporters tried to pry a reaction from him. “I’m just happy to be playing baseball.”
Sheen advises rehabbing Josh Hamilton: ‘Have a drink’
Charlie Sheen, whose acting career was set back by alcohol and drug issues, tweeted this helpful message to Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers outfielder whose baseball career has been threatened by addictions to drugs and alcohol: “Have a drink and go hit some bombs.”
Rockets fire digital communications director for tasteless tweet
The Houston Rockets fired Chad Shanks as digital communications manager for his poor taste in celebrating their elimination of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Playoffs. He posted a picture of a pistol pointing at a horse’s head, representing the Mavs’ mascot. The accompanying message said: “Shhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.” Shanks tweeted the next day: “I did my best to make the account the best in the NBA by pushing the envelope, but pushed too far for some and for that I apologize.”
Between the Lines: Shanks may not have known that the wife of Rockets owner Les Alexander is an animal rights activist and might not see the humor in a horse being shot.
Orioles play in an empty stadium as riots go on
When the Baltimore Orioles played the Chicago White Sox last Wednesday, no fans were allowed into the Camden Yards ballpark because management feared violence. Rioting had taken place outside the stadium and in other areas of Baltimore as people protested the mysterious death of a 25-year-old African-American, Freddie Gray, who was in police custody. This was the first time a major league game has banned fans from attending. The empty-house game, won by Baltimore 8-2, was played in 2 hours, 10 minutes – almost an hour faster than most MLB contests. It makes you wonder if players typically delay the action because they’re preening for the fans.
Lindsey Vonn tired of golf, tired of Tiger
What at first seemed like a promising romantic relationship – World Cup skier Lindsey Vonn and pro golf star Tiger Woods – has ended after three years. “Unfortunately, we lead very hectic lives and are both competing in demanding sports,” Woods said in a prepared statement. “It’s difficult to spend time together.” Vonn’s sport requires more training and conditioning than Tiger’s, and she did not feel her time was well spent traipsing around the course with him. “Five hours,” she lamented, “that’s a long time.”
Canadiens’ Brandon Proust says he was cursed by ref
Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Proust said that in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoff series with Tampa Bay referee Brad Watson screamed obscenities at him: “He called me a piece of you-know-what, a mother-f-er, a coward. . . . That’s the ref he is. He tried to play God.” The Toronto Sun quoted a retired ref, Kerry Fraser, saying that because he went public with that comment, Proust, who had 31 penalty minutes in the game, can expect quite a few more, that he is a marked man.