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Monday, February 20, 2017

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Charlotte QB Kevin Olsen arrested on rape charges

Kevin Olsen

Kevin Olsen, the quarterback at UNC Charlotte and younger brother of Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, has been arrested on rape charges.

Reports say Olsen has been charged with 2nd degree forcible rape, cyberstalking, assault on a female, and 2nd degree force sex offense.

He has been suspended from all football activities.

Here is a statement from the school about the matter:

“The University administration has been in close communication with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department regarding its arrest of student-athlete Kevin Olsen Sunday afternoon.

The allegations in this incident took place off campus. This incident occurred a week after a separate, unrelated case of alleged on-campus sexual assault involving acquaintances.

Olsen has been suspended from Charlotte Athletics, and the University is reviewing the case consistent with its disciplinary procedures.

Due to the ongoing CMPD investigation and federal protections on student information, the University will have no further comment on the investigation at this time.”

Greg Olsen had no comment on his brother’s arrest and asked for privacy.

Olsen passed for 842 yards and six touchdowns last season for the 49ers. He was essentially kicked off the team at his first two college stops — Miami and then Towson State — before going to a JC and then arriving at Charlotte.

Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant team up for sweet give-and-go (Video)

Kevin Durant Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant teamed up for a nice give-and-go at the All-Star Game on Sunday, proving that whatever bad blood exists between them off the court does not spill onto it — at least during exhibitions.

Midway during the first quarter of the All-Star Game, Westbrook passed to Durant, who then fed the ball back to Russ for a nice alley-oop dunk:

What the video doesn’t show is that after the alley-oop, Westbrook appeared to give a pat on the butt to Durant when they got back on defense.

Guess that despite everything, they can play nicely on the court when they’re teammates.

And the rest of their Western Conference teammates loved it:

Russell Westbrook warms up apart from teammates at All-Star Game

Russell Westbrook

There’s Russell Westbrook, and then there’s everybody else.

Westbrook is known for having a strong personality and marching to the beat of his own drum. Those personality traits appeared to be on display during pregame warmups for Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.

According to reporters in attendance who captured both photo and video evidence, the Oklahoma City Thunder star warmed up on one basket, separate from the rest of his Western Conference All-Star teammates.

James Harden later joined him:

Westbrook is in an interesting situation because of the tension between him and ex-Thunder teammate Kevin Durant. He may feel somewhat outnumbered as the Golden State Warriors have four All-Stars including KD, as well as head coach Steve Kerr leading the West squad.

It’s no surprise the lockers for Durant and Westbrook were far apart as seen here.

Report: Pelicans making almost everyone available for trade, asked about Paul George

The New Orleans Pelicans are aggressively trying to find another superstar to go with Anthony Davis.

According to Justin Verrier of ESPN, the Pelicans are making pretty much everyone but Davis available in trade talks. That includes No. 1 pick Buddy Hield, and as part of that process, they’ve discussed adding Paul George as well as DeMarcus Cousins.

The Cousins talks were previously reported, but it’s interesting that the Pelicans aren’t limiting themselves. George would be an impact acquisition who would offer a dangerous alternative to Davis. They seem to be shooting for a big complementary piece either way, though such a huge trade may be difficult to pull off in the middle of the season. It’ll be even harder given that it sounds like the Pacers are motivated to make trades that will allow them to keep George long-term.

Mike Trout admits Angels’ struggles are ‘frustrating’

Mike Trout

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim boast the best player in baseball, but the team has made the playoffs in just one of Mike Trout’s five MLB seasons.

After a 74-88 season in 2016, Trout admitted that the team’s repeated failure to make the playoffs has grown frustrating for him.

“It’s frustrating, for sure,” Trout said, via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today. “You want to get to the playoffs. It’s fun. You’ve seen the World Series last year. You want to be in that atmosphere.”

The Angels have added players such as Cameron Maybin and Danny Espinosa to try to get the team back to the playoffs, and those moves have been met with Trout’s approval.

“Cam’s obviously fast,” Trout said. “I got to see him play when he was with Detroit. He brings a lot to the table. Last year we were trying to fill some holes in left field. … It’s going to be fun. The outfield’s going to be fast.”

As long as the Angels have Trout, they can’t be totally written off. Their new additions are fine, and their possible closer has lost some weight, but they’ve got a ways to go to get back to the playoffs.

Kings reportedly engaging in trade talks for DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins said this week that he wants to remain with the Sacramento Kings for the long haul, but it appears the feeling may not be mutual.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported on Sunday that the Kings have been engaging in trade talks for Cousins.

One of the teams the Kings had discussions with is the New Orleans Pelicans.

Cousins said in an interview this week that he is “very happy” in Sacramento and hopes to sign an extension. He would be eligible to sign a five-year extension worth up to $219 million this summer.

Cousins recently served a one-game suspension for picking up his 16th technical of the season, the most recent of which got him ejected from a game against the Chicago Bulls. He has had several blowups after games (including this infamous meltdown), and he recently decided to take a break from social media. Cousins is clearly frustrated, and it’s possible the team is feeling that frustration too after dealing with his antics for years.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook have lockers far apart at All-Star Game (Video)

Whoever set up the locker layout in the Western Conference All-Star dressing room doesn’t seem interested in forcing awkward interactions between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

NBATV’s Tas Melas shared a video from the locker room showing Durant and Westbrook’s lockers on opposite sides of the spacious area.

Needless to say, these two won’t have to encounter each other unless they want to – or unless Steve Kerr puts them on the floor together. That said, the Western Conference coach isn’t holding his breath for them to make nice. It seems a pretty safe bet that the two will stay out of each other’s way as much as they possibly can.

Report: Tony Romo willing to restructure contract to facilitate trade to contender

Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has no interest in playing for a rebuilding team in 2017, and he is reportedly willing to rework his contract if it helps assure that does not happen.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Romo is open to “massaging” his current contract in order to to provide salary cap relief for a contending team that might be willing to trade for him. Romo’s base salary for 2017 is a reasonable $14 million, but his salary cap hits for the next three seasons average around $25 million. Finding a way to get that number down might help facilitate a deal.

La Canfora adds that the Cowboys are still hoping to get a third-round pick for Romo rather than releasing him outright. However, the expectation remains that Jerry Jones would not trade Romo to a team he does not want to play for. Being released would obviously be ideal for Romo in terms of flexibility, but you can understand while Dallas wants to get something in return for him. That said, they don’t exactly have much leverage, as teams know they can’t keep Romo.

Romo reportedly has four teams on his wish list, so the Cowboys will likely start there.

Lonzo Ball’s father thinks his son is already better than Stephen Curry

We all know there are some parents of young athletes out there who are very bullish on their children’s skills. LaVar Ball goes above and beyond that.

Ball, the father of UCLA freshman sensation Lonzo Ball, told Pac-12 Network that as far as he’s concerned, Lonzo is already better than reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

“I have the upmost confidence in what my boy is doing,” LaVar Ball said, via Andrew Holleran of College Spun. “I’m going to tell you right now, he’s better than Stephen Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.”

What would happen, in all likelihood, is UCLA would instantly become the unquestioned best team in college basketball and the Golden State Warriors would suffer mightily as a talented but raw 19-year-old discovers that the NBA is a lot tougher than his father seems to think it is, but we won’t let facts get in the way of a good quote. Lonzo will certainly never be lacking in belief if his confidence is anything like his father’s.

Interestingly, it’s another son of Ball’s whose skills have gained Curry’s attention. We wonder how LaVar thinks his other son would fare in the NBA.

Cedric Benson arrested for drunk driving

Cedric Benson mugshot

Former Texas Longhorns running back Cedric Benson was arrested for drunk driving Saturday morning, according to the Austin American Statesman.

Benson was reportedly pulled over for speeding and making an “improper turn” and lane change without signaling while driving in Austin early in the morning. The Statesman says he refused a field sobriety test and balance test.

These notes from the affidavit make it seem like Benson was pretty uncooperative and tried to play the football player card. From The Statesman:

According to the affidavit, Benson refused field sobriety tests, and when the officer asked Benson to recite the alphabet, Benson “stated he couldn’t do that because he played 8 years in the NFL” and also claimed he was unable to count to any number higher than 3.

Benson was pulled over at a 7-Eleven store parking lot and tried to go inside the store. His eyes were said to be glassy, “he was swaying, his speech was mumbled and he smelled of alcohol,” per the report.

Benson was pulled over around 2:47 a.m. and was eventually booked into jail, though he is no longer in custody.

The former Texas star was the No. 4 overall draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 2005 and also played for the Bengals and Packers. He has a long history of alcohol-related incidents.

He was arrested in 2008 for drunken boating and resisting arrest. He was also arrested that year for DWI. He also was arrested in 2010 and 2011 for assaults. Benson was also arrested in late 2014 for public intoxication.

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