Monthly Archives: March 2012

Magic Johnson’s group buys the Dodgers

Frank McCourt, owner of the MLB Dodgers team in LA, was caught taking money from the organization and spending it on personal thing like multiple houses and much more. Frank McCourt was forced to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday March 27, 2012, and three different groups placed bids for the team. Magic Johnson, Mark Walter, and baseball executive Stan Kasten got together as one of the three groups and placed a $2 billion bid and now own the Dodgers. This is the highest amount to purchase a team in MLB history.

“I am truly honored to have partnered with such talented individuals and to be associated with the Dodgers organization. We look forward to building upon the legacy of the Dodgers and providing long-term stability to one of the most revered franchises in baseball,” said Walter.

Each member of this group have their own individual talents and responsibilities that help make this a great group. Johnson said that Stan Kasten is “the baseball man.” Mark Walter is said to be the controlling owner of the Dodgers. Johnson’s role will mostly be recruiting free agents with his talks and experience of winning. Johnson also plans to help bring back old Dodger fans as well as new ones. They also all plan to work together to bring this team back. Johnson said, “The Dodgers, it’s not that they need to be fixed, we need to just take them to the next level. People love this brand, they love the team, they love going to Dodger Stadium to watch a game. We just need to take them to the next level.”

The MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig believes that Magic Johnson is a good part of this group. Selig said, “I believe that a man of Magic’s remarkable stature and experience can play an integral role for one of the game’s most historic franchises, in a city where he is revered.”

Magic Johnson played for the LA Lakers for 13 years. During his NBA career Johnson won 5 championships, got 3 MVP awards. In 1991 Johnson was diagnosed HIV positive and retired. He moved on to be a great business man, and was also accepted into the NBA Hall of Fame.

Kobe Bryant, the current star of the LA Lakers, was asked how he felt about Magic Johnson being a part of the group that bought the Dodgers. Bryant said, “I’m happy for him. Everybody knows how well he’s loved in Los Angeles, and he’s started another chapter in his life, another chapter in his post-NBA career, rebuilding the Dodgers franchise.”

I believe this group will work well together to help the Dodgers get back to where they need to be. It was a good thing that Frank McCourt was forced to sell the team, but I don’t agree with the fact that he is not totally out of the picture. So far McCourt still owns part of the land (parking areas) around the arena, which will still bring him in profit. ESPNLosAndeles interviewed Walter who said, “What Frank does have is an economic interest in land, but we control the parking and all the fan experience and that’s of the utmost importance to us.” I feel that if McCourt caused the organization so much money that they went bankrupt and he was forced to sell, then he should have to sale it all. I don’t agree that McCournt should be allowed to own anything that brings in money from the team.

Resources:

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/22321/state-of-the-dodgers-crime-does-pay

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7747476/los-angeles-dodgers-sale-magic-johnson-praised-deal-dissected

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7745566/los-angeles-dodgers-selling-team-magic-johnson-group-2b

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Saints Bounty Scandal

The New Orleans Saints have been caught in a bounty scandal.

What is a bounty?

Well it is when players are offered something, most of the time money, to purposely hurt a player from the opposing team.

The New Orleans Saints were caught offering defensive players bonuses to purposely hurt players on other teams from the 2009 season to the 2011 season, this including the year they won the Super Bowl. The League has been working hard to make the NFL a safer game and bounty programs are just not allowed.  The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said,  “Let me be clear. There is no place in the NFL for deliberately seeking to injure another player, let alone offering a reward for doing so. Any form of bounty is incompatible with our commitment to create a culture of sportsmanship, fairness and safety. Programs of this kind have no place in our game, and we are determined that bounties will no longer be a part of the NFL.”

In 2010 the League suspected the Saints had a bounty program going on but the Saints lied about it and denied everything. A second investigation took place in 2011 but again the Saints denied it. In January 2012 a third investigation took place and this time the League found evidence and finally figured out the truth about the Saint’s bounty program. They discovered that the Saint’s players and defensive coordinator at the time, Gregg Williams who is now with the St. Louis Rams, donated money to a pool that would be given to the player who successfully injured players on other teams, mostly looking for “knock-outs” and “cart-offs”. There were even bounties put out for the injury of certain quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, and Cam Newton. The League found proof that in 2010 Jonathan Vilma, Saint’s defensive captain said he would give $10,000 to the player who knocked-out Brett Favre in the NFC championship game.

The League knows for a fact that the Saints bounty program was put in place and ran by Gregg Williams. It is also known that Mickey Loomis the Saint’s General Manager, head coach Sean Peyton, assistant head coach Joe Vitt, and defensive captain Jonathan Vilma were all aware of this program.

After finding this information, Roger Goodell took action. On Wednesday March 21, 2012 he punished those in charge by doing the following:

  • Fined the Saints $500,000
  • Took away the Saints second round draft picks in the 2012-2013 NFL draft
  • Suspended Joe Vitt for the first 6 games of the 2012 regular season, and he will not be paid during this time
  • Suspended Mickey Loomis for the first 8 games of the 2012 regular season, and he will not be paid during this time
  • Suspended Sean Peyton for the 2012 season starting April 1st, and he will not get paid
  • Immediately Suspended Gregg Williams from the NFL. At the end of the 2012 season Roger Goodell will review Williams’s status and decided on whether or not to reinstate him.
  • Also, all that took part in the Saints bounty program will be required to help create programs that will help inform other players and coaches about the game and the rules and why they are important and must be followed.

Goodell said, “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.” Well he defiantly sent out a message to all the other teams in the NFL. Many feel that the punishments he gave were too harsh. No head coach has ever been suspended for more than one game. Goodell is determined to make the game of Football safer and he made a loud statement on Wednesday when he handed out the punishments for the Saints coaches that were in charge, and he is not done. The players involved will be next on the list.

In all honestly almost every team probably has something like this going on but it was the Saints that got caught. The commissioner has a goal to make the game safer so he had to set an example with this team. I am sure the message was heard by all, but I am not sure if this will completely stop it. I agree that it is just wrong for someone to intentionally try to severely injure another player. That is their life we are talking about, and if a player is hit in a certain way it could paralyze them, cause a concussion, or much more. I know that players are taking that risk by choosing the game as their profession, but to intentionally try to hurt someone in that way is just wrong. I hope coaches and players stop all bounties.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/peter_king/05/02/saints.players/index.html#ixzz1vSFyfQyb

Update: On April 5, 2012 Sean Pamphilon, a documentary filmmaker, released audio of one of Gregg Williams’s speech to the Saints defensive players. To hear a part of this audio play the video below, but please know THIS AUDIO CONTAINS BAD LANGUAGE.

Update: On May 2, 2012 Roger Goodell announced the suspension of four players:

  • Jonathan Vilma (linebacker) – one full season,
  • Anthony Hargrove (defensive tackle now for the Packers) –  eight games
  • Will Smith (defensive end) – four games
  • Scott Fujita (linebacker now for the Browns) – three games

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/topics/_/page/new-orleans-saints-bounty-scandal

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/32644/list-of-saints-penalties

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/32666/tom-bensons-biggest-challenge

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7718549/nfl-harsh-penalties-new-orleans-saints-ensure-elimination-bounty-systems

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d827c15b2/article/nfls-official-response-to-saints-bounty-program

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57403097/nfl-concerns-affect-decisions-about-bounty-penalty/

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7778005/gregg-williams-told-new-orleans-saints-hurt-san-francisco-49ers-speech

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/peter_king/05/02/saints.players/index.html

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Derek Fisher traded to Houston

37-year-old Derek Fisher, #2 for the LA Lakers, was traded on Thursday March 15, 2012 to the Houston Rockets with a first-round draft pick for Jordan Hill. The Rockets even agreed to pay the remaining 3.4 million on Derek’s contract. Derek had 48 hours to report to Houston but Houston and LA agreed upon an extension to 72 hours. Derek Fisher never showed up.

Fisher started his NBA career as a LA Laker in 1996. He played for the Lakers until 2004 when he became a Warrior in Golden State. He was in Golden State for 2 years then spent 1 year in Utah. After that Derek went back to LA and has been there ever since. But last Thursday the LA Lakers traded Fisher to Houston, but Derek never went to Houston. The trade was unexpected and I am sure had to be hurtful for Fisher. The general manager for the Lakers, Mitch Kupchak had stated that Fisher was not given a heads up about the trade, or that he was even being considered for one. During Houston’s game Saturday night Derek was a no-show. Kevin McHale, Rocket’s head coach said, “I haven’t seen Derek yet. I have not talked to him.” Derek had till late afternoon on Sunday to report to his new team.

Sunday night Derek Fisher’s business manager, Jamie Wior released a statement confirming that the Houston Rockets and Derek Fisher agreed upon a buyout.

“After much discussion and expressing their desire to welcome Derek to their team this season as well as the 2012-2013 season, the Houston Rockets and Derek have negotiated a buyout. Derek’s desire to win a sixth championship is what drives him and will continue to drive him as he moves forward. We thank the Houston Rockets front office for their interest, time and their absolute professionalism. There will be no further comment at this time.”

What is a buyout? Well many compare it to a divorce. Basically it is when the team and the play under contract decide to split up. When this happens, the team must pay the player the remaining salary of their contract. Then the player is placed on waivers and teams are given 48 hours to claim him.

In this situation the Rockets would be expected to pay the 3.4 million to Fisher, but according to The Houston Chronicle Fisher gave up the 3.4 million and will not require Houston to pay it. I guess that is the least he can do.

So where will Derek end up that will help him get that 6th championship? Miami? Oklahoma? Boston? In my personal opinion, I believe the teams that have a chance at winning the title this year are Oklahoma or Miami.

UPDATE: On Wednesday March 21, 2012 Derek Fisher signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the rest of the season. When Derek joined the team he picked a different number to wear on his jersey. He decided to go with the number 37, his age. After mentioning how others in the NBA saw his age as a bad thing, Derek said, “So I just wanted to send a message that the Thunder organization and I see it (his age) as a positive that I’m a guy that can still help a team be successful and compete for a championship at the age of 37.” Good choice by Derek Fisher. Now Derek just has to back up his decisions and fight for that 6th championship.

Resources:

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/derek_fisher/career_stats.html

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7702195/point-guard-derek-fisher-not-yet-houston-rockets

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7706447/derek-fisher-houston-rockets-finalizing-buyout-according-source

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/derek-fisher-bought-wants-win-sixth-ring-where-152901429.html

http://www.derekfisher2.com/news/comment-regarding-trade/2012/03/18

http://www.nba.com/2012/news/03/19/fisher-buyout.ap/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt2

https://webfiles.uci.edu/lcoon/cbafaq/salarycap.htm#Q62

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7719497/derek-fisher-signs-oklahoma-city-thunder-uniform-wednesday-night

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Peyton Manning Free Agent

Peyton Manning, the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, sat out the whole 2011 season due to nerve damage. With this injury Peyton had to get multiple neck surgeries. He had two surgeries on his neck to fix the pinched nerve, but when those did not work Peyton had a fusion done in September 2011. Peyton’s injury, though it was neck related, caused his right arm to become weak, making it tough to be a quarterback. Peyton still looked to play in the 2012 season. On February 2, 2012 Peyton was cleared by his doctor Robert Watkins to play football again.

Peyton Manning was a very good quarterback. Before the injury Peyton Manning won the MVP (most valuable player) award 4 times. This award is presented to 1 NFL player at the end of each season. He also did some amazing things as the Cults quarterback; Peyton broke all the Cult’s quarterback records, made it to the playoffs 11 times as a Colt and won 1 Super Bowl for his team. Still Indianapolis decided to release Peyton, and informed him of this on Wednesday March 7, 2012. Peyton Manning was extremely sad to part with his team he had played with for 14 years. The owner of the Colts, Jim Irsay said, “As a franchise, where we are right now with the salary cap, where we are rebuilding, we’re definitely a few years away. I want to see him come back and play great, there is no question about it. Just like in 2001 when he was completely healthy and everything else and we didn’t have everything to surround him. I want that opportunity for him as well to succeed at the end of his career.” This makes it sound like the Colts released him because they did not have the money to pay him the amount that he is worth, and/or did not have the right surrounding players for Peyton. I can’t help but think the Colts might not have been willing to take a chance on Peyton with not knowing if he will make a full recovery at his age of 35, 36 on March 24, 2012.

Once Payton was released many teams became interested in him including the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans,  San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, and New York Jets. Payton Manning has already worked out with Denver, San Francisco, and Tennessee. These three teams seem to be the ones Peyton is going to choose between.

People in each of the cities are doing what they can to help get Peyton Manning to come play for their team. For example, there is a restaurant chain in Tennessee, where Peyton attended college at the University of Tennessee, that will give Peyton free pancakes if he decides to sign with the Titans. It is said that Peyton will make his decision sometime this week.

UPDATE: Today, Monday March 19, 2012 Peyton Manning decides he wants to play for the Denver Broncos. He has informed Tennessee, and New York, his agent and of course Denver.

Resources:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-colts-manning

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8277b4ef/article/doctors-say-peyton-mannings-injury-risk-is-very-low

http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/tag/_/name/colts-release-peyton-manning

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7653897/sources-indianapolis-colts-part-peyton-manning-wednesday

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/sports/football/nfl-football-roundup.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/18/peyton-manning-chase-no-r_n_1357141.html

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7709195/barring-snag-peyton-manning-picks-denver-broncos-sources-say

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Dwight Howard is staying in Orlando

Dwight Howard has a decision to make. Orlando? New Jersey? Or somewhere else?

Howard, #12 for the Orlando Magic, will be a free agent this summer and he has a lot of options. He has shown interest in staying in Orlando, going to the Los Angelas Lakers, going to the New Jersey Nets, or going to the Dallas Mavericks. It seems that the New Jersey Nets are his top pick. Howard has spent lots of time talking about one team, then another, back to another, and then another making it really hard to get an idea of what he is really planning on doing this summer, or if change will happen sooner with a trade before the deadline.

With all this back and forth talk from Howard, the Orlando Magic was not willing to wait for this summer and allow Howard to leave the team high and dry. Orlando planned to trade Howard if he did not want to stay with the team. The trade deadline for the NBA is today, Thursday March 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm ET. Early Wednesday Howard had talked to a few teammates and the Magic organization that he planned on staying with the team the rest of this season and next till his contract is up. Howard’s contract ends after the 2012-2013 season but he is allowed to opted out after this season and become a free agent this summer, if he wishes. After hearing this, the Orlando Magic still planned to trade Howard unless he agreed to sign, waiving his early termination option (ETO). If Howard signed this he would not be to opting out of his contract this summer and will not be a free agent till possibly the summer of 2013.

When it came time to sign, Howard would not do it because he “didn’t fully understand the ramifications.” I do not know how a player could not fully understand what he/she is saying they will do. Sounds to me like Howard was just stalling and hoping this would get him through the trade deadline so he could stay with the team and then be a free agent this summer. Howard stated that he said he planned to stay because he heard about being traded and did not want that. Dwight Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan said, “Dwight has chosen not to waive his ETO under pressure from the team that he might be traded.” Wednesday before the Magic vs. Spurs game Howard had talked with the Magic’s owner Rich DeVos, and Magic’s CEO Alex Martins and explained to them that he did not plan on signing anything. While talking about the calls Fegan said, “Dwight expressed once again on a call today with the DeVos family and Alex Martins that he very much desires to pursue a championship this year with the Magic. Dwight also expressed that he had no intention of leaving the Magic high and dry at the end of the season.”

Then this morning on Thursday March 15, 2012 the day of the trade deadline the news game that Dwight Howard has changed his mind once again and planned to sign a waive of his ETO. Evidently after the game last night Howard had another extensive conversation with Rich DeVos and many others with the Magic organization. This call was said to last about 11 hours and at 3:00am Howard said he was ready to sign. Howard was advised to go home and get some sleep before signing and that is just what he did. Then when he got up he signed to waive his ETO. Howard said, “I apologize for this circus I have caused to the fans of our city. They didn’t deserve none of this. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I will do whatever I can to make this right and do what I was put in Orlando to do.”

I do not believe this is the best move for Howard. I think it would have been great to see him play with Deren Williams on the New Jersey, soon to be Brooklyn, Nets. Now that Howard has decided to stay in Orlando for another year it will be interesting to see what Williams decides to do. Originally many believed Howard and Williams were going to play together in New Jersey next year. Now that Howard is not going to be a free agent this summer will Williams stay in New Jersey? Will he go to Orlando? Will he go to Dallas? We will have to see what this summer brings. Personally I hope this brings Williams to Dallas.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7689569/dwight-howard-orlando-magic-tells-team-stay-2012-13-sources-say

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7688201/orlando-magic-dwight-howard-not-give-option-season-end

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NY Knicks Get New Coach

The New York Knicks have a new head coach.

Mike Woodson (right) & Mike D'Antoni (left)

Mike D’Antoni resigned as head coach of the Knicks Wednesday March 14, 2012. Many believe Mike was not doing a great job at making Carmelo Anthonio play to the best of his ability, but the general manager for the Knicks, Glen Grunwald said, “I think it was our whole team not playing up to where we thought they could be and I know Mike was as frustrated as anyone about that and that’s what led him to that decision, that maybe there needs to be a new approach and look at it.” Mike believed that him leaving would be best for the team.The New York Knicks started this season with the thought of being one of the best teams. The Knicks felt they had a great team with two superstars, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler who was a champion this past season, and a few other great players like Baron Davis; but they were wrong. The team started the season off struggling with a losing record of 9 wins and 15 loses (9-15) before Carmelo Anthony went out with an injury. While he was hurt Lin got his time to shine as the point guard and took the team to 7 wins and 1 lose (7-1), turning the Knick’s record into 16-16. Then Carmelo returned and the team began to struggle again losing 8 of the next 10 games. The record was then 18-24.

Just before Mike resigned there were rumors going around that Carmelo Anthony was looking to be traded. Many fans and media began to believe that Carmelo had something against the coach and wanted to be traded, but Carmelo said, “I don’t know where that came from. I’m tired of hearing it. It came out this morning from I guess an anonymous source. I’m tired of anonymous sources.” People were also saying that Carmelo did not like the way coach Mike D’Antoni did things, but Anthony said, “I support Mike 100 percent regardless of what is going on, as far as us losing basketball games.” Anthony continued, “We all need each other right now and this is the best time to come together and stick with one another. … There’s a lot of things being said out there about Mike, about myself, and it’s just a bunch of nonsense right now. So we’ve got to stick together. We’re not going to do it without one another.”

Then after Wednesday morning’s shoot around came the surprising news of Mike D’Antoni’s decision. The organization quickly found assistant Mike Woodson to take the job. Mike Woodson used to be the coach of the Atlanta Hawks and was hired over the summer as one of the assistant coaches for the Knicks. He stepped right up and took control. That night the Knicks had to play the Portland Trailblazors, whose record at the time was 20-22, which was only a little better than the Knicks record. Woodson coached the team to a 121-79 win. A very high scoring game for the Knicks, who also kept the opposing team to a lower score which means they probably played pretty good defense. This job is only temporary for Coach Woodson. At the end of the season he will be evaluated and the Knicks organization will make the decision to keep him as head coach or go in a different direction.

Update: Knicks have won three more games, two against the Indiana Pacers and one against the Toranto Raptors. Coach Woodson’s record with the New York Knicks is now 4-0. It looks like the Knicks new coach, Mike Woodson is doing great with the team. The Knicks are finally starting to look like the team people thought they would be.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/7686638/new-york-knicks-coach-mike-dantoni-resigns

http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/7685755/new-york-knicks-carmelo-anthony-denies-desire-trade-rift-coach

http://www.nba.com/knicks/schedule/

http://espn.go.com/nba/coaches/_/id/75/mike-woodson

http://www.nba.com/blazers/schedule/

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