Peterson, Murray speak out about their limited opportunities
“As a leader of the team. . .,” Adrian Peterson began, thereby establishing his right to try to exert influence on the Minnesota Vikings, their coaches and front office. “To finish with eight carries, it’s tough.” After the Vikings lost 38-7 to visiting Seattle, Peterson said, “We were outcoached in so many different ways.” Meanwhile, a similar message was coming from another disgruntled running back, Philadelphia’s DeMarco Murray. The difference was that Murray did an end-around and complained to the Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie. In Dallas, where Murray previously played, it was common for players to speak candidly with owner Jerry Jones, who tried to make himself part of the coaching staff. But in Philly, Murray has committed a major breach of protocol.
Fireballer Chapman investigated for domestic violence
Hoping to make up for the loss of All-Star starting pitcher Zack Greinke in free agency, the Los Angeles Dodgers attempted to trade for Cincinnati’s closer Aroldis Chapman, the hardest thrower in the major leagues, frequently exceeding 102 mph. But the deal fell through when the Dodgers learned that Chapman was under investigation for domestic violence. Yahoo Sports reported that more than a dozen police offers responded to the pitcher’s home in Davie, Fla., on Oct. 30. The case was closed due to conflicting stories and lack of cooperation from Chapman’s girlfriend, Cristina Barnea. Major League Baseball issued a statement saying, “We are aware of the situation and have commenced an investigation.” Chapman, 27, denied the allegations, though he did admit to firing a gun “several times.” Which is no problem in some regions of the USA. The righty is under contract with the Reds for next season, at $8 million salary, and is due to become a free agent after the 2016 World Series. Greinke will earn $208 million in a 6-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Miller says his cologne provoked spat with Rivers
Polling has indicated that women like for men to use cologne but that most men do not like cologne on other men. Thus, Von Miller, Pro Bowl linebacker of the Denver Broncos, said his cologne was what led to a postgame confrontation with San Diego QB Philip Rivers. ESPN quoted Miller: “I don’t think he was happy with the cologne I was wearing a lot of it and I was on him a lot at the end of the game. So everybody doesn’t like my smell.”
Between the Lines: Miller was not too subtly referring to the fact that he sacked Rivers twice during the game.
Harper contrasts Panthers with hard-partying Saints
Safety Roman Harper finds the Carolina Panthers’ culture much different from that of the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who won the Super Bowl. “The 2009 Saints embodied the party culture of New Orleans, and we embraced our role as celebrities in a small market,” Harper wrote for Sports Illustrated: The Monday Morning Quarterback. “In short, we partied very hard.” He said Saints coach Sean Payton encouraged players to seek individual achievement, whereas Panthers coach Ron Rivera emphasizes team over individuals. “Darren Sharper was openly campaigning for a Defensive Player of the Year award,” Harper recalled. “There was a focus on individuals, and it was a formula that worked for us.” He said Payton “breathed fire into the team, was able to motivate each individual in his own unique way and was a celebrity in his own right.”
Sarkisian sues USC for not recognizing alcoholism disability
Medical authorities generally regard alcoholism as a disease and a disability. With that in mind, Steve Sarkisian sued the University of Southern California for $30 million, claiming the school unfairly fired him as head football coach because of his “disability.” His attorney told TMZ that alcoholism is a disability under California state law. However, the law also provides that an employer can fire someone whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance. USC will argue that it has proof of Sarkisian being drunk at a booster event and during a game against Arizona State early in the season. The Los Angeles Times reported that Sarkisian claims he’s sober after undergoing rehabilitation and that he wants to resume coaching. It remains to be seen if suing his last employer will discourage other schools from hiring him.
Pitt’s preseason All-America Conner has cancer
A few months ago James Conner was looking forward to his junior year as a preseason All-America running back for the Pittsburgh Panthers. He was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate. But he’s missed most of the season with a torn knee ligament, and last week he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors said he has two “significant” tumors, in his chest and neck, but give him an 85% probability of survival. He began chemotherapy this week. Conner is suffering from the same type of cancer that former NFL running back Merril Hodge survived. “We’re going to fight, and we’re going to beat this thing,” Conner said. “I’m going to play football again.”