Speed Read: T.O. Lobbies, Tweets For Mike Vick

When SbB held its first 30-day moratorium poll this past week, I was somewhat disappointed that there could be only one winner. And while the actual choice (who shall not be named) was fine enough, it meant that we were still going to have to talk about what Terrell Owens is doing.

TO and Michael Vick

And that, today, is apparently suggesting that Roger Goodell go spend some time in prison so that he knows what Michael Vick has been through. This in response to the idea floating around that Goodell plans to suspend Vick for four games as a condition for returning to the league. Ray Ratto thinks T.O. might have some ulterior motives, but that he appears to be genuine in his support for Vick. Now, about the suspension…well, I can’t put it nearly as eloquently as T.O. can (via FANHOUSE):

“I don’t think it’s really fair for him to be suspended four more games. That’s almost like kicking a dead horse in the ground.”

Well said, sir.

He’s also using Twitter to try and round up support for Vick, hoping that a groundswell of public sentiment will sway Goodell. I mean, it’s just like that whole thing over in Iran.

Oddly, T.O. has a bit of a point. Vick’s livelihood was taken away while he was in prison, so why would Goodell feel the need to tack on a token suspension that is the same length as one for a first violation of the league’s drug policy? I mean, if he really considered the prison time as separate from the league’s punishment, then you would think the suspension would be harsher, like a year or something. Otherwise, isn’t being out of the league for two years and going bankrupt serving the same purpose? I don’t think Goodell has to give him four games off to prove that the NFL doesn’t approve of dogfighters. I think that’s pretty well understood, considering you get in trouble for wearing your socks wrong in that league.

Michael Vick chased by dog

Don’t be fooled by that 5-0 win by Mexico over the U.S. in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final yesterday at Giants Stadium. The Americans have been playing this entire tournament with a second-tier squad made up mostly of players with little international experience. The Mexicans, meanwhile, put a much better team out on the field, as was shown by their dominance throughout the tournament. And, while it was sad to see the U.S. team fall apart, the way Mexico dismantled our guys in the second half was quite a thing to watch (the game was scoreless at halftime). Get ready for goooooooooooools-a-plenty:

The U.S. was somewhat fortunate to advance this far, struggling to a tie with powerhouse Haiti and needing extra time to beat Panama. So a loss was to be expected, though the magnitude was larger than anyone thought. It’s the worst loss for the U.S. since 1985. Perhaps it was for the best that it was only on in English on the tiny Fox Soccer Channel.

If anything, this was a moral boost for the Mexicans going into the huge showdown on August 12th between the two countries in World Cup qualifying in Mexico City. None of the players the U.S. used yesterday are likely to play in that game, while a couple of Mexico’s players will probably see action. But I can’t imagine that this game is really going to have much impact on the qualifier. The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS’ Filip Bondy seems to think that the credibility the U.S. earned in games against Spain and Brazil is diminished by this result, but anyone who follows the sport closely (ie. everyone in the world besides Americans) knows that the U.S. lineup was a shell of the team that made waves in South Africa.

The NEW YORK TIMES seems to have grasped this, and notes that all of the goodwill Mexico earned yesterday could be lost if they can’t beat the Americans in August. The U.S. is 0-22-1 all-time in Mexico, but a win by the Americans would be devastating to the hosts, who are fourth in the qualifying group (only the top three automatically make the World Cup). The U.S. is currently in second place behind Costa Rica.

Mexico gold cup

• The Ravens were stunned by Derrick Mason’s retirement, so they went out and signed Drew Bennett to replace him. Bennett lasted all of two days before deciding to retire yesterday. You just aren’t meant to have wide receivers, Baltimore.

• Wait, who’s in first place in the NL Central? Oh yeah, it’s the team the Phillies are going to sweep in the first round in October.

Keith Olbermann says that Sparky Anderson and Pete Rose spoke for the first time in 20 years on Saturday in Cooperstown. Rose shows up every year to sign memorabilia on HOF weekend.

Sparky Anderson Pete Rose

• Ladbrokes is offering 100-1 odds that one of Roger Federer’s twin daughters will win Wimbledon by the age of 25. They’re five days old.

Dinara Safina: Really good at winning tournaments nobody cares about.

Lou Holtz took a Notre Dame alumni team over to Japan, where he coached them to a 19-3 win over the Japanese national team. No word on whether or not “Dr. Lou” made an appearance on Japanese television.

• MENTAL FLOSS challenges you to pick which hat 14 Hall of Famers wore to their induction.

Dwyane Wade is tweeting to Lamar Odom, trying to coax him down to Miami. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that a bag of Jolly Ranchers will do the trick.

candy

• A cricket player was struck by lightning in Brooklyn yesterday afternoon during a match. He’s listed in serious condition. The ghost of Gil Hodges has been brought in for questioning.

• Massive rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan met yesterday in, of all places, Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. In other news, the Giants and Jets will play each other this year in Reykjavik.

• French president Nicolas Sarkozy can’t stand the heat. Literally. He collapsed while jogging yesterday in Paris, but he’s going to be just fine. Which means we can run this picture of his wife without any guilt:

Carla Bruni Sarkozy

 

What do you think of a rumored 4-game suspension for Michael Vick?

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New AC Milan Motto: ‘Wait For Me In The Big Bed’

It’s official: European sports owners have a lot more fun than their counterparts in the U.S. Of course this is Silvo Berlusconi, who is also the Italian Prime Minister, and by all accounts has more fun than just about anyone. Berlusconi also owns seven-time UEFA Champions League soccer power AC Milan, and to put that in perspective for Americans, pretend that Jerry Jones is also just been elected President. Yikes (shivers).

Lucia Rossini, Barbara Monteecle

But unlike Nancy Pelosi or even John Ensign, Mr. Berlusconi is currently being accused of fielding a team of a different nature in his Roman mansion — that of a bevy of high-paid ladies of the evening. An Italian newspaper is reporting that prosecutors are preparing to question 30 young women who have been allegedly procured as prostitutes for parties at Berlusconi’s home. Read more…

Groupies Bet $30,000 On Bedding David Beckham

Victoria Beckham will be pressuring her husband to stay in MLS, once she gets a load of this. A pack of Italian groupies have a $30,000 pot to go to the first of them who sleeps with David Beckham.

David Beckham

So while Becks is on loan with AC Milan and Posh is 6,000 miles away in Los Angeles, a group of women are on the prowl in the Milan clubs for the top prize in their profession. And also some money.

Pics of a typical night out for Beckham in Milan, after the jump.

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Speed Read: LeBron’s Turn To Shred The Knicks

You have to give Mike D’Antoni credit for trying something innovative, even if it didn’t work out. For the second straight game, the New York Knicks rolled out their “Box and Zero” defense, which essentially challenges the other team’s best player to beat them by refusing to cover him under any circumstances. But just like against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Monday night, somehow it didn’t work out against the Cavaliers either.

LeBron James vs Knicks

Actually, I’m not sure what defense D’Antoni had his team running the last two games, but “none” comes to mind: a game after giving up 61 points to Bryant, the Knicks did the impossible: made another superstar have an even more incredible performance, as LeBron James scored 52 points in the Cavaliers’ 107-102 victory and became the first NBA player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to score 50+ points as part of a triple-double.

LeBron James vs Knicks

James also joined Michael Jordan as the only players to have multiple 50 points games in the new Madison Square Garden. Any time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Kareem and Jordan, you are doing something right. And did I mention that this was the tail end of a back-to-back? And that the Cavaliers were without three of their players due to injury and illness?

And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t get any easier for the Knicks. Their next opponent to come into the Garden? The Boston Celtics on Friday night. I can’t imagine what Kevin Garnett could possibly do to upstage Kobe and LeBron - perhaps pick Nate Robinson up and slam him through the basket while clutching the ball?

Raiders running back Justin Fargas wasn’t breaking any records last night, unless it was “Stupidest Appearance in a Hip-Hop Video.” Because if you are an NFL player, and you know the league is on the warpath about its image and substance abuse, I would think that appearing in a video with someone called “Yukman” as he smokes a blunt that would make Cheech & Chong quiver in their tie-dyes isn’t such a great idea.

But PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that’s exactly what Fargas did. And honestly, are we shocked by this? Not that an NFL player would be so brazen about assoicating with potheads, but that it would be Fargas. I mean, his dad was Huggy Bear, for crying out loud.  Just look at his dad:

Antonio Fargas

Being shocked that his son is involved with marijuana is like being shocked that one of Bob Marley’s kids has a taste for the ganja. The video is up at WORLD STAR HIP HOP: go grab some Fritos and see it yourself.

While you pick the seeds out of your buds, here’s some more sports wackness from last night:

What was the single greatest performance at the new Madison Square Garden?

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Speed Read: Even In Sports, It’s All About Obama

Let’s face it: For the next four years, the most important man in the free world will be Barack Obama. Yes, it sounds like Osama, and his middle name is Hussein, but as of slightly past noon today, he’ll be the president of the United States. So it shouldn’t be a shock to any of us that prominent athletes are jumping on the unstoppable Obama gravy train, taking advantage of the best ticket in town right now — single seats at the inauguration are going for upwards of $20,000 at the moment — and whether they played a role in getting him elected or not, they’re all happy to celebrate a moment in history.

Barack Obama

As we reported right here last week, Tiger Woods was first to get in on the action, speaking at the free “We Are One” concert extravaganza put on by HBO on Sunday in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It should come as no surprise that El Tigre spent most of his comments genuflecting upon his own childhood and his father’s military background, but that was still a positive contribution to an important day, and one small step toward a more politically relevant best golfer in history. Still, the best line of all came from the crowd. If you listen to the background chatter, there are isolated exclamations of “Fore!” in the video below.

That’s more than we can say for Dexter Manley, who’s hopping on this Obama bandwagon awful late. The legendary Redskins star voted for Obama, but that’s the first Democratic vote he’s cast in his entire life.

dexter manley barack obama poster
(This is all an odd joke. Dexter Manley actually did vote for Obama.)

That shouldn’t be surprising, considering the fact that Manley was practically an unofficial drug czar for the Reagan administration in the ’80s. Yet you wouldn’t know it from this quote Manley gave to THE WASHINGTON POST’s Dan Steinberg:

“I think it’s a divine thing,” Manley said. “I think it’s divine. It’s the way God wanted it. This is bigger than political stuff. As Sam Cooke said, ‘Change is Gonna Come.’ Change HAS come, but it’s not gonna happen in one administration. It’s gonna take many administrations. It’s easy to put people in office, but it’s difficult to change attitudes, and people here must change attitudes, because it’s a new America.”

So there you go. Evidently it’s ok to be a major backer of multiple Republican administrations, then flip the script as soon as it’s politically expedient to do so. Or maybe he’s legitimately changed. Whichever, Manley’s transformation has brought about some significant action, even if it’s only for one man.

And just as the Tiger Woods-Dexter Manley regression was a step down on the influence ladder, so too is Dexter Manley to Philadelphia 76ers point guard Andre Miller. Despite not voting in the last presidential election, Miller is making a full day of the inauguration and all its assorted festivities. Here’s the full synopsis from the DELAWARE COUNTY TIMES:

Miller, who didn’t vote in the November election, is off to Washington, D.C., to see President-elect Barack Obama sworn in as the first black president of the United States. The tickets came through a contact at the University of Utah. He plans to make a full day of it, too, from the swearing in, to the celebrations. … “I think I’m supposed to be going to a Hillary Clinton function, like a night function, like a formal dinner or something,” Miller said. “I’m not sure yet. I’ll find out more.” … Miller said he has followed politics for a long time, even if he doesn’t actively participate. But he finds this occasion truly special.

Also worth noting on the Miller front: He’s buddies with extremely elderly Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Yup, another politically expedient athlete. What a shock.There’s little doubt that both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were Obama backers last November. That didn’t mean they had to get along when facing off last night though. Kobe’s crew got the best of the matchup, but it wasn’t primarily because of No. 8 No. 24 himself. Instead, Pau Gasol’s 22 points and both Sasha Vujacic and Andrew Bynum’s 14 points apiece helped make up for Bryant struggling through a dislocated ring finger. We use the term “struggling” liberally, since he still scored a whopping 20 points while adding 12 assists.

Oh, that LeBron guy? He chipped in 23 points and nine rebounds, though he suffered through yet another really poor shooting night (9-of-25). Do Cleveland fans have to start worrying about a Bron-Bron slump? Maybe, though games like last night against almost any team except the Lakers will still probably yield a win. It’s worth noting. Also worth noting: You’ll probably get something more from Brooks about this puppy a little later today. We hear he had good seats.

Caca may be Spanish for poop, but Kaka has become the Brazilian embodiment of the Portugese phrase for brilliant. Still, there’s something that seems less than brilliant about turning down the opportunity to earn $150,000 a week. That’s exactly what the Brazilian who openly claims he belongs to Jesus did yesterday, turning down a massive transfer bid by British side Manchester City because, quite frankly, he really didn’t want to play for a mediocre team.

kaka milan
(Kaka: What belongs to Jesus will stay in Milan.)

In the sum total of sports, this should be a great, borderline heartwarming story. But it also seems like a crazy one, too. Kaka not only turned down a massive weekly salary to stay in Italy, he also cost his team, A.C. Milan, some $150 million in the process. That is an unbelievable boatload of cash in a recession, particularly when your club is owned by the country’s president who may or may not have mortgaged a lot of his wealth to fund a re-election campaign. Good luck getting that back, Meeeelan.

Which athlete is most likely to make a TV cameo appearance during today’s inauguration?

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Wife Victoria Blocks Beckham’s Boobiful Interview

In a bid to keep his good standing with the English National Team, David Beckham has blown off the L.A. Galaxy for AC Milan, which will hold an introductory news conference for Beckham tomorrow.

David Beckham Ilaria D'Amico bikini photo

The original plan though wasn’t for a free-for-all presser. The Italian team was counting on having Beckham sit for an one-on-one interview with an Italian sports presenter named Ilaria D’Amico.

Ilaria D'Amico Bikini Photos

But the LONDON DAILY MAIL reports that once Beckham’s wife Victoria got wind of the plan, she spiked the interview after “doing research on the internet” about the stunning, leggy brunette. (Yeah, that’s a healthy relationship.)

Ilaria D'Amico Bikini Photos

Some of what Vic undoubtedly found after the jump. Read more…

The Becks In L.A. Thing May Have Run Its Course

Has David Beckham outlived his usefulness in America? The L.A. Galaxy’s season is over so there’s not necessarily a need for him here, so Becks has been “loaned” to European club AC Milan for what is thought to be at least two months.

Beckham car

It’s one of those odd quirks of soccer, which allows players to be sent elsewhere for a rental fee, sometimes within the same league during the same season. MLS still seems to be banking on Beckham’s marketability in America, but there’s no doubt that his appearances in league games lost a little luster this season. It certainly doesn’t help that his team sucks. But it may not be a great sign that he’s already heading back to Europe, and that the Galaxy and MLS find it perhaps necessary to rent him out to help offset his ridiculous salary.

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