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T.O. and Ochocinco: A Match Made in…

Brace yourselves everyone. T.O. and Ochocinco are coming to a town near you. The 36-year-old Terrell Owens agreed to deal with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday. Win or lose, it should at least be as good HBO’s Hard Knocks.”

The question now is, of course, will this be a match made in heaven or hell? Well, that just depends on who you are and what week of the season it is. Right now it’s honeymoon time and Twitter accounts are aflutter with excitement over having the two reality stars on the same roster. By week eight, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cincinnati starts showing up on the midseason bust list and is more entertaining for self-destructive incidents than football.

At 36, T.O. is not half the player he once was, tallying the least productive season of his career since starting in the league with San Francisco. Optimists and Ohio sports fans looking to bounce back from LeBron can get excited for this, but with two personalities that big out on the flanks, the odds of this working are slim to none. Even if T.O. does not end up displaying the same character issues he offered in in Philadelphia and Dallas, career lows across the board are not going to make this a worthwhile signing for the Bengals.

I can only wish my most sincere good luck to QB Carson Palmer. The passing game was so poor for the Bengals that the guy actually campaigned for T.O. to sign with Cincinnati.

Soccer Player Gets 27-Game Suspension For Choking Referee During Match

Here at LBS, we often offer you the finest in athletes and managers getting carried away during competition. A manager gets upset, kicks dirt on home plate, says something unfavorable about the umpire’s mother, occasionally spits, and if you are lucky throws a chair. Usually when you look back it’s funny. But sometimes athletes cross the line.

Rangers soccer player Jose Pedroso clearly crossed that line when he earned himself a 27-game suspension for choking referee Marcelo Miranda during a match between Rangers football club and Concepcion in a Chilean league. And in the glorious internet age that we live in, video footage of the incident is, of course, on YouTube. Here’s the video of Jose Pedroso choking referee Marcelo Miranda:

If there is one rule that is universal across all sports, it is don’t touch the ref. I feel silly even writing this considering how obvious it is. 27 games is not long enough to sideline Pedroso, who according to the Associated Press later told Chilean newspaper La Tercera “I’m not the least bit sorry.” Surely any sports fan can, for example, compare this incident to the one that got Ron Artest suspended for 73 games and debate whether fighting a spectator or referee is more disgusting (tough call), but with comments like that the man clearly needs discipline more severe than, in his case, a mere 27 games.

By the way, Rangers lost 3-0, and Miranda did not file charges.

Sources:
Referee choker gets 27-match ban [FOXSports]
Video Credit: YouTube user [tyman921]

Tiger Needs to Win for His Video Game to Sell Again

According to a recent report from FOX Sports, sales of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 are down 68 percent from last year. Not surprised? That’s actually a more interesting statement than you may think. It’s no secret that Tiger has experienced his share of woes off the course—a tale of scandal that may continue to unravel in the coming months—but is that a complete explanation for the poor video game sales? I know that Tiger is not the picture of greatness we once thought him to be, but that doesn’t mean parents just throw in the towel and buy their kid Grand Theft Auto instead of a golf video game. Katherine Coulhart, an EA Sports publicist directly responsible for the Tiger Woods PGA game, had this explanation:

There are a number of factors that have contributed (to the decline in sales), but we believe the largest contributors are the slowing of the overall Wii software market and Tiger’s performance on the course.”

Tiger’s performance on the course is the reason people overwhelming have ignored the game. This is true. Now, as a publicist, Katherine does get paid to direct our attention away from Tiger’s real life problems and into video game land, but she does have a valid point. If Tiger were winning, I might think he had his life back in order, and then I would never think twice about buying his video game. More than anything, the video game is an interesting case study in the post-scandal Tiger brand and shows, at least in the short term, where EA Sports finds itself after sticking with Tiger. If and when Tiger starts winning again — and everyone expects him to start winning again — EA sports may look smarter than Gatorade and Accenture who dumped him as a spokesperson.

Sources
Sales of Woods video game take a hit [FOXSports]

Michael Jordan Rips LeBron: I Would Not Have Teamed with Magic, Larry

Ever since Michael Jordan retired (for the last time), we have talked about finding the next MJ. If the next Michael Jordan wasn’t Vince Carter or Kobe Bryant, then the replacement was supposed to be LeBron James. LeBron aspired to have that label, wearing jersey number 23 and even suggesting the NBA should retire the number. We know how LeBron feels about MJ, but what does Michael Jordan think of LeBron James lately? Jordan served up some hatorade on LeBron with the following comments he made at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, via Bill Simmons and utvolsfan86 on Twitter:

First MJ says Kobe has more game than LeBron, and now this? For the Jordan fans out there, it’s really just great to read this. Not only does Jordan make a great point supporting his own legacy, but he does so at LeBron’s expense. And he’s totally right—the casual fan not from Cleveland rooted for LeBron, at least in part, because fans want to witness undisputed, pure greatness. So Jordan speaks for the fans who wanted to see LeBron beat Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, not play with them.

Sources:
Bill Simmons on Twitter
utvolsfan86 on Twitter

Headbutt Gets Mark Renshaw Disqualified From the Tour de France

Cyclist Mark Renshaw brought new meaning to the phrase “using your head” on Thursday during the 11th stage of the 2010 Tour de France. Watch the video from Versus TV carefully and you’ll notice Renshaw headbutt opponent Julian Dean to clear space for teammate Mark Cavendish, who soon after won the stage:

Quite the physical year at the Tour de France. At first glance it may seem like a subtle move, but the gesture got a now frustrated Renshaw disqualified from the tour. While fans of heavier contact sports may argue that this was a touch foul, you can’t just headbutt someone coming down the home stretch in the 11th stage at the Tour de France. This is not the rollerderby. As course director Jean-Francois Pescheux put it so eloquently, “This is cycling, it’s not wrestling.”

Sources:
Mark Renshaw Expelled From Tour de France For Headbutting Julian Dean (Video) [TotalProSports]
Video Credit: YouTube user VERSUSvsTV

New York Red Bull Lands Thierry Henry

At least New York City landed one of its coveted free agent targets this summer. The New York Red Bulls — who actually play at a new stadium in Harrison, NJ — announced Wednesday that French soccer legend Thierry Henry has agreed to a multi-year contract to come display his skills stateside of the Atlantic. Henry, who is expected to make his debut July 22 in an exhibition match against Premier League club Tottenham, had the following to say in an interview on the Red Bulls website:

“Some people might think I am going to go there for vacation – I do actually go there for vacation – but it won’t be for vacation this time. I’m a competitor and I don’t like to lose.”

There is no doubt that this is a good thing for the Red Bulls and MLS, both of whom will benefit from the publicity and star power that Henry commands. But lets not forget, the once crowned prince of the French national team is now 32 years old and landed in the MLS after being let go from Barcelona for lack of quality performance. So while the hype is now officially on, Red Bull fans better hope that Henry brings a few years of quality soccer rather than just a brief spectacle for the franchise.

Sources:
Thierry Henry joins New York Red Bulls [FOXSports]

David Stern Approves Heat Super Team

Whether you are among LeBron James‘ now seemingly loyal few, or air mailing your old “23″ jersey to Cleveland to be thrown on the bonfire, there’s no doubt that King James has come under some, I’ll say, deserved criticisms for the way his free agency culminated. On Monday, James found one carefully phrased criticism pointed in his direction from none other than NBA commisioner David Stern, who was content with LeBron’s choice, but called “The Decision” spectacle “ill-conceived.” While Stern may think otherwise, he chose wisely to say this:

Our players, having negotiated for the right to be free agents at some point in their career, are totally within their rights to seek employment with any other team. That’s something we agreed to. That’s something we embrace. That’s our system.”

Stern also took exception with the now infamous comic sans Dan Gilbert letter lambasting James for his “cowardly” abandonment of Cleveland, which resulted in a $100,000 fine for the franchise. So while it’s always interesting to try and guess what David Stern is actually thinking behind his often calculated remarks, there are really no surprises here. It’s no good to have your poster child turn heel like a WWE superstar and you can’t have owners running around town bashing their former players.

Sources:
Stern says Miami’s Big 3 acted within rights [AP/FOX Sports]