Nuggets summer league team wears black headbands to honor Aurora shooting victims (Photo)

By now you’ve surely heard about the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., where a gunman opened fire on moviegoers early Friday during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Reports have the death toll at 12 with many more left wounded.

The Denver Nuggets’ summer league team paid tribute to those victims by wearing black headbands for their game against the Blazers in Las Vegas on Friday, as pictured above. Prior to the contest, a moment of silence was also held.

The suspect law enforcement has in custody has been identified as 24-year-old James Holmes.

Among the victims is budding sports reporter Jessica Ghawi.

Screencap via C.J. Fogler

Brett Lawrie goes all out to make catch, takes scary fall into camera well

Brett Lawrie against the Yankees on Wednesday showed people what Mike Trout meant when he said the Blue Jays third baseman plays “crazy hard.”

Lawrie equal parts scared and impressed those watching when he sacrificed his body leaping over a railing and tumbling some five feet into a camera well when trying to make a play on a Mark Teixeira foul ball skied toward the dugout. He didn’t make the catch. But still. “Good job, good effort!

No surprise, Lawrie came away limping and left the game, but it wasn’t so much slamming his body into the concrete floor as it was his leg banging on an adjacent railing on the way down. He’s listed as day-to-day with a bruised calf.

But seriously though, is Mark Teixeira trying to maim everybody in Yankee Stadium’s foul territory or something?

Chael Sonnen, Rampage Jackson trade hilarious trash talk

Back in October, when Chael Sonnen challenged Anderson Silva in front of the entire world, he upped the ante by throwing in a surprising “loser walks” wager.

“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck,” Sonnen said after manhandling Brian Stann at UFC 136, an event in which Silva was in attendance. “I’m calling you out Silva, but we’re upping the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.”

Silva agreed to the fight, although Sonnen later backed off on his offer. But one devastating Silva knee to the chest (face?) and a TKO loss later, Sonnen still remains part of UFC even though he’s reportedly considering retirement. However, Rampage Jackson is holding Sonnen to his word.

“He sucked … he should stick to his promise to leave the UFC,” Jackson told MMA Elite. “He should go somewhere where people like his interviews and love the way he is, the way he talks s**t on everybody. I can’t stand that boy. F*** Chael.”

Of course Sonnen found out about those remarks. And of course the arguably biggest s-talker in the history of UFC wasn’t going to bite his tongue. Here’s his awesome rebuttal (via MMA Mania):

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Sculptor Angelo Di Maria conflicted about his Joe Paterno statue coming down

The fate of the Joe Paterno statue outside of Beaver Stadium has been at the center of a firestorm of debate since last week’s release of the Freeh Report.

Now the person responsible for creating the statue has weighed in. Angelo Di Maria sculpted the seven-foot, 900-pound bronze statue, which was unveiled in 2001, and has mixed feelings on what should become of his work.

“I have to say, I can’t be so bold, because I’m the artist, that I want it (to stay) up,” Di Maria told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s what the public would expect me to think. I have to be clear with my conscience. I would go along with any just decision that is made. Not only am I compelled to take the side of the victims, but I consider also the feeling of the kids who went there (to Penn State), who have such a high regard for State College.”

Even though he said he’d support any decision, you have to understand why he might show some reluctance in tearing down the statue. After all, this is a piece of his art, and, regardless of your feelings for its subject, there’s obviously going to be some attachment to it. Di Maria is the second artist whose State College artwork has spiked in relevance in the last week.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees has said the statue will stay standing for now. A final decision on the statue’s fate reportedly will come within the next week to 10 days.

That hasn’t stopped some people from going to creative lengths to make their own threats.

H/T Dr. Saturday

Rob Gronkowski says he would support a gay teammate

Last week at the ESPYs, Rob Gronkowski was interviewed by Outsports and asked about how he’d react if a teammate of his came out as a homosexual. Initially, Gronk was uncomfortable with the question and respectfully declined to answer in fear of saying the wrong thing.

Fair enough. That’s his right. As we all know, Gronk, even if he means well, in the past has said some seemingly not-well-thought-out things. And who knows if the Patriots’ gag order on him had already gone into effect. But eventually, Gronkowski got past his fears and came back to the interviewer with his answer:

“If that’s how they are, that’s how they are,” Gronkowski said. “I mean, we’re teammates so, as long as he’s being a good teammate and being respectful and everything, that’s cool.”

Gronkowski is yet another NFLer who has said he’d be okay with having a gay teammate. It’s a growing list that unfortunately has its opponents.

But for all the grief (or adulation) we give Gronk for acting like a dumb meathead jock. The dude actually does some pretty admirable things. But of course nobody talks about them.

H/T Shutdown Corner
Photo: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Nationals send Ozzie Guillen autographed Bryce Harper bat as a joke

Ozzie Guillen‘s epic and pedantic fuss over the amount of pine tar on Bryce Harper‘s bat on Sunday was perhaps the highlight of the weekend. The Nationals accused Ozzie of trying to intimidate the 19-year-old Harper. Ozzie said Harper was being “unprofessional,” while seemingly becoming the first person to make a big stink over pine tar since Billy Martin. But, come Tuesday, everything was all forgiven, thanks in part to a prank that helped bring levity to the conflict.

Not too long after Ozzie made his fuss, the Nationals felt like getting under the Marlins’ skipper’s skin even more. Nats first baseman Adam LaRoche had Harper, without knowing LaRoche’s intentions, sign a bat for him, after which LaRoche inscribed, “To my hero, Ozzie, love you,” next to the autograph. The Nats then smeared pine tar all over the bat and had it delivered to Guillen.

If you thought Guillen flipped his lid in another one of his patented hissy fits, you’d be mistaken. He actually loved it.

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Atlanta residents don’t want their street renamed Cam Newton Drive

Cam Newton had an excellent rookie season last year. That came on the heels of leading Auburn to a national title during his lone year with the Tigers, a year in which he also won the Heisman. So, yeah, it’s been a good couple years for the Panthers quarterback.

Good enough, apparently, for Georgia’s Fulton County to consider naming a stretch of road outside of Atlanta after Newton. The proposal is to rename Scarborough Road in honor of Newton, who went to high school nearby and has family in the area. But the name change won’t happen if some unhappy residents already living on the would-be “Cam Newton Drive” got their way. From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

South Fulton Commissioner Bill Edwards said personal attacks on Newton’s family aren’t warranted, that he’s a Westlake High alumnus who “beat the odds,” and if residents don’t want Cam Newton Drive, the name will stay the same.

At a public forum last week, the chief complaints from residents included the cost of having to update all their records, Newton’s age (23) and how he got in trouble at both Florida and Auburn. Surprisingly, to our knowledge, the fact that Newton plays for a division rival to the Falcons was never even brought up.

H/T Deadspin
Photo: Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE