Say What?

Giants lost their best pass rusher over headphone issue

The New York Giants’ No. 1 weakness this season, besides red-zone stupidity, is a weak pass rush.  So it seemed strange that they’d cut the player who had three of the team’s 15 sacks: Damontre Moore.  Turns out head coach Tom Coughlin said no Moore after the 23-year-old defensive end made a locker-room scene over being left out of a free distribution of the popular cool-blue Beats by Dre headphones.  By the time Moore learned that star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had left a pile of these headphones as Christmas presents to teammates and coaches, they were all gone.  Some players had grabbed more than one set, and Moore was so upset over their greed that he scuffled with his linemate, Cullen Jenkins.  The Beats brawl was not an isolated incident but the last straw.  There had been previous annoying behavior by Moore, several fines and not enough run defense.


Texans’ guard blasts Trump, calls Islam ‘a peaceful religion’

Houston Texans left guard Oday Aboushi, a Palestinian-American born in Brooklyn, objects to presidential candidate Donald Trump proposing to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.  Aboushi told ESPN’s Tania Ganguli: “To have someone as close-minded as that running such a big country and having a lot of people’s freedom and opportunity for jobs and things like that in his hands, it is definitely alarming.”   He insisted that Islam, as practiced by most of its adherents, “is a very peaceful religion, a very giving religion.  The people who use it as a cover for their actions – that’s cowardice.”

Between the Lines:  So those who perpetrate terrorism in the name of Mohammad are actually killing for other reasons?  Like what?  But it’s interesting how perceptions of Islam have changed since the ‘70s.  Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar embraced its peaceful sentiments, contrasting it to Christianity with its millions of followers endorsing the bombing and burning of Asian villages.


PGA to remove Trump’s Doral course from its tour?

Donald Trump and the sports world collide again, with the PGA Tour trying to distance itself from this most polarizing of politicians.  Because Trump owns the National Doral Golf Course in Miami, the PGA is considering removing from the tour one of the most spectacular venues, with its Blue Monster 18th hole.  The course has hosted the PGA Tour for 53 years, and it will continue with the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March 2016.  But the PGA issued a statement saying it will not commit beyond next year because of anti-Muslim rhetoric by Trump.  “Mr. Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment for the game of golf.”


Mets coach lost an eye for the team, can’t get his job back

Tom Signore was at a ballpark in Tacoma early in the 2014 season, about to coach a bullpen session with a hot prospect named Jacob deGrom, when someone threw a ball in an area where none were supposed to be thrown.   An errant throw struck Signore in the right eye, causing him to lose all sight in it.  He could not work the rest of the year as he struggled with concussion symptoms.  Now, at 53, he told ESPN he’s ready to work again but the Mets refuse to re-hire him.  Their human resources department told him his contract expired October 31, 2015 and that the ballclub has decided to “go in a different direction.”  Signore’s view: “I think I deserve a better explanation, because I gave up an eye for the organization.  I know I can do my job.”  He said general manager Sandy Alderson “has been fantastic” on the baseball operations side but that human resources is blocking his return.

Between the Lines: Mets should rename that department “Inhumane Resources.”  Signore said the real issue is fear of litigation.  But is this likely to reduce the probability of a lawsuit?


Washington Dust-up: accused abuser is ‘a heck of a guy’

Dusty Baker hoped to make a favorable first impression as the new manager of the Washington Nationals when he spoke to the media at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville.  Unfortunately, he stirred a storm of antipathy by saying a pitcher he befriended, Aroldis Chapman, accused of – though not charged with – domestic violence, “is a heck of a guy.”  Baker said he didn’t believe the police reports of Chapman’s girlfriend Cristina Barnea claiming he “choked” her at his home in Davie, Fla., on Oct. 30.  Acting unconcerned that the 27-year-old closer had done anything improper in provoking an MLB investigation, Baker sounded anything but concerned about a woman being endangered.  He said, “I got a buddy at home that’s being abused by his wife.  . . .  Abusers don’t always have pants on.”  The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell observed that “in a county that can find a way to divide itself on almost any issue along partisan political lines, domestic violence is one of the few serious national problems on which almost everyone agrees.”  Baker tried to clarify his position on domestic violence by saying, “We gotta stop it big time.”  But in adding that he’s hoping Chapman is innocent, he sounded more interested in a friend escaping punishment than in serving justice.


Ravens’ kicker Tucker gets standing O for his voice

Baltimore Ravens placekicker Justin Tucker received a standing ovation for singing “Ave Maria” at a recent concert in Baltimore’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  Tucker’s rich baritone has attracted such a following that extra seats had to be added for his appearance.   The placekicker appeared in tux with the Concert Artists of Baltimore.  All revenues for the event went to Catholic Charities.  Tucker sang opera in college and he’s been featured in some television commercials.  “It’s way more nerve-wracking to sing in front of a group of people, because, frankly, that’s not my element,” Tucker said.  “Kicking a ball in front of tens of thousands of people in a   stadium is totally my comfort zone.”


Honduran soccer star murdered in suspected gang attack

Arnold Peralta, 26-year-old star midfielder for the Honduran national team, died when shot 18 times at a parking lot at a shopping mall in his home town of La Ceiba, on the Caribbean coast.  Gang members are suspected of the crime, since the player’s cousin, Bayron Jusue Peralta, was murdered in June, presumably by a gang.  Honduras has one of the world’s highest homicide rates and is plagued by gang violence.


Larry Brown says he could fix the Sixers ‘in 5 minutes’

While serving a 9-game suspension by the NCAA, SMU coach Larry Brown offered his opinion of the almost winless Philadelphia 76ers.  “I’m sick about what’s going on there,” Brown told John Marks of Sheridan Hoops.  “I don’t want to get on them when they’re struggling, but they don’t have any veteran leadership.  I want to help.  I could straighten it out in five minutes.  I wish they’d get Allen (Iverson) involved.  All those young kids worship him.”

Comments will post after a short period for review