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Friday, August 26, 2016

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Josh Freeman Hurt His Thumb at a Shooting Range

Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has endured a rough season, both on the field and off of it. A year after throwing for 25 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions, the third-year player is second in the league with 16 picks. His team already has a worse record (4-7) than it did last year (10-6). Things are so bad for Freeman, he’s even hurting himself when firing guns at a local shooting range.

The Tampa Tribune reported Tuesday that Freeman needed five stitches to repair a cut on his right thumb that occurred when there was an unexpected recoil. The incident happened on Halloween and the stitches were removed a week later.

Freeman already had sustained a serious thumb injury a week earlier in a loss to the Bears. They’ve lost all of their games since Freeman hurt his thumb (five in a row). The injury was termed a thumb sprain, and Freeman was playing with a protective wrap on his thumb for a few games (pictured), though he hasn’t used it the last two games.

NBA Players Who Signed with Chinese Teams Could Be Stuck There Until March

The NBA and NBA Players Association may have finally reached a labor agreement over the weekend, but that does not mean all players will be eligible to return to action on Christmas Day.  Remember a few months ago when it was made perfectly clear that the Chinese Basketball Association was only open to signing NBA free agents, not players under contract with NBA teams?  And remember how they said that any player who signed with a Chinese team would be obligated to finish out their contract and play overseas until the season concluded in March?  Now that a scheduled start date has been announced for the 2011-2012 NBA season, those stipulations have become a reality.

As Adrian Wojnarowski reminded us on Monday, players like J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, and Aaron Brooks who chose to sign with CBA teams during the lockout will remain obligated to fulfill their contracts before returning to America.

“They can play, get paid [in China] and return to the NBA in March,” one Chinese team official told Yahoo Sports!. “Or they can not get paid, and return to the NBA in March.”

“If they think that they’re going to make things difficult, not play, create problems, what’s going to happen is that the teams will not release their letters of clearance they’ll need to sign in the NBA,” another CBA official added. “There’s no way out.”

While this is troubling for the players and likely annoying that they can’t pursue a free agent contract with an NBA team over the next month, it was a risk they were willing to accept.  Rather than get a job coaching at the college level or playing pickup games at a prison, a handful of players chose to play in an actual organized league and make money doing so.  Unless the Chinese teams for some reason decide to be super generous and release them from their contracts, we’ll see the aforementioned players and a few others in March.

Deron Williams Has Jersey Retired by Turkish Team Besiktas After 12 Games

Deron Williams only played 12 games for Turkish team Besiktas, but that was enough for the franchise to retire his jersey.

Williams was the first NBA star to sign with a foreign team during the lockout, and he’s returning to the U.S. now that the labor dispute seems to have ended. Williams’ first two games with Besiktas came in the Eurocup where he did not play too well. As he grew more comfortable with the team, he became its assist leader and one of its top scorers.

D-Will averaged 19.7 points and 6.4 assists per game while shooting 54.9% in seven Turkish league games. His EuroChallenge numbers were spectacular — 33.7 points on 62.5% shooting in three games. His average was boosted by a 50-point game. The special performance probably was enough to convince the team to retire his jersey Tuesday. Here is a video of the ceremony:

All stats via EuroBasket.com, HT Tracking SI

NFL Says Players Are Allowed to Pee on the Sidelines, Just Cover it Up

Remember how we commended that Chargers trainer for coming up with the huge assist when San Diego kicker Nick Novak had to relieve himself on the sidelines?  It turns out we were right.  As long as someone like that guy is there to provide a makeshift curtain for you and make sure no small children walk away from the game asking their parents what that thing was, the NFL says feel free to tinkle away.

“When this occurs, the player has been shielded from public view and there have been no issues with it,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the NY Daily News. “If a player goes to the locker room, he may not be available when his team is counting on him to be on the field.”

There you have it.  The league has no policy about peeing on the bench, and they shouldn’t.  Considering Novak insisted he usually does that about “two or three times a game,” there is obviously an unspoken agreement between camera people and teams to keep that kind of thing off of live television.  That being said, the league is right to allow it.  As long as players continue to utilize the buddy system when they have to go potty, there’s no reason for them to stray too far from the pack should the pack need them.  As for number two: well, that could present a problem.

Mike Gundy: I Would Put Alabama Ahead of Oklahoma State in Rankings

With the way it stands, the BCS National Championship game is destined to be a rematch between LSU and Alabama. Assuming all of the relevant parties win out, it should be. LSU is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation and the only undefeated remaining. Alabama, who lost by three points in overtime to LSU on the road, can obviously make the strongest case of any one-loss team. Even Mike Gundy, whose Oklahoma State Cowboys are ranked third, can’t argue with that.

“If somebody sat me down and said (I) had to make a decision, with where we’re at right now, Alabama lost to what would be the No. 1 team in the country (LSU), and Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State,” Gundy explained Monday according to the Daily Oklahoman. “In our situation, if I was doing it fair, I don’t know how I could put us in front of (Alabama) right now.”

Gundy’s calm demeanor would seem to indicate that nobody in the room wrote something nasty about his quarterback or was wearing an Oklahoma shirt.  As College Football Talk pointed out, Oklahoma State has actually faced four teams in the top-25 of the most recent BCS standings and defeated all four of them.  Alabama, on the other hand, has faced only three teams currently ranked in the top-25 and lost to one of them.

Are we saying OSU is more qualified than Bama?  No.  Oklahoma State’s loss to Iowa State was a bad one whereas Alabama’s loss to LSU was as good a loss as a loss can be.  That being said, it would not be insane to make a case for the Cowboys — especially if you’re their head coach.

I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on here, don’t you? Gundy is afraid of the Honey Badger, and I can’t say I blame him.

Donald Trump’s Golf Course in Scotland Looks Insanely Challenging (Pictures)

I must admit I was not aware of this until today, but apparently the one and only Donald Trump is building a golf course in Scotland.  Naturally, the layout is exquisite.  That being said, as someone who plays golf looking at this I envision nothing but pure frustration.  Hit a good shot, or die is the best way to describe it.  Check out these pictures of Trump International Golf Links, courtesy of Geoff Shackelford.  Like those before us, we apologize for the bag pipes.

It’s no floating golf course in the Maldives, but it should certainly get the job done for the most avid golf enthusiast.  Most importantly, it’s so Trump.

Quiet clap to Devil Ball Golf for passing the pictures along.

Will Topless Basketball Still Give it a Go Despite NBA Lockout Ending?

Just when things were starting to get boring exciting, the NBA lockout had to go and end.  We had superstar players talking about heading overseas and others taking jobs coaching at the college level.  Things were quickly starting to get out of hand, but a popular line of gentleman’s clubs called Rick’s Cabaret had a plan that was supposed to spice things up: a topless basketball league.

According to the Courier Mail, a group of nightclub owners had planned to form a basketball league with topless dancers from their 23 different clubs.  A team from Miami and another from Minneapolis was scheduled to play a team from New York, with a complete schedule to be announced in January.  In addition, the coach of the New York team was reportedly a big-name former NBA player.

“People will be amazed when we tell them who our coach is, because he was one of the great players in the NBA,” a New York dancer (player?) named Gianna said. “The girls are really excited. We’re practically busting out of our tops. We plan to give him a really warm welcome on Tuesday.”

But alas, I digress.  With the NBA having announced it will resume game action on Christmas Day, will we still be treated to this special new phenomenon that has the potential to put the lingerie league to shame?  Something tells me there would still be a market for naked girls playing basketball, even with the NBA in session.  You know Dennis Rodman would gladly become a spokesman.

H/T to SI Hot Clicks for passing the story along

Andres Nocioni Says Playing in the NBA is Nothing More Than a Job to Him

This is just a heads up for Philadelphia 76ers fans.  If you feel like Andres Nocioni is simply going through the motions every time he steps onto the basketball court, it’s probably because he is.  If he gives you the impression that he cares about the game as much as an office worker cares about their 9:00-5:00, 40-hour per week job, it’s because he probably does.  How do we know all this?  Because Nocioni basically said it after he won the Super 8 tournament in Argentina.

“It’s just that one must not forget what the essence of this sport is,” Nocioni said according to Hoops Hype. “As much as I play in another world, I like this. I’m very much a small-town man. I’m happy in this atmosphere, with people shouting and supporting us, with the respect showed by my teammates, playing with friends like Leo Gutiérrez and Sergio Hernández. I enjoyed this much more than I would winning an NBA title. I’m happy like this, here I play because I like it and I can feel it, there in the United States I play because it’s my job.”

In an era where fans are constantly complaining about overpaid athletes who don’t care, that probably isn’t the most encouraging thing to hear.  We commend Nocioni for the honesty, but fans want to hear that a player’s career goal is to win a title for their team and that playing for their team is about much more than just the money.  Clearly, Sixers fans aren’t going to get that from Andres.  What they will get is an emotionless six points per game off the bench.  Isn’t that enough?

Chest bump to I Am a GM for passing the quote along.

Sione Pouha: Stevie Johnson’s Airplane Celebration Disrespected 9/11 Victims

A lot has been made of Stevie Johnson distastefully mocking Plaxico Burress on Sunday and dropping two potential game-winning touchdowns.  Johnson deserves all the criticism he has gotten for all of that, but until recently not much had been said about the second half of Johnson’s touchdown celebration — when he mimicked a plane going to the ground.  At the time many believed it was the fake gunshot that drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but it wasn’t until Johnson went to the ground in celebration that the refs threw a flag.  Jets defensive tackle Sione Pouha thought the second half of Stevie’s showboating was just as disrespectful as the first.

“Us being from New York, we like to hold ourselves to some integrity, and that airplane thing, in my opinion, was kind of a dagger considering the circumstances of remembrance of what we just had on Sept. 11,’’ Pouha said according to the NY Post. “It was just unprofessional. We all stand for pride around here, and that’s a sacred moment for a lot of people and it’s a very sobering moment.”

Time to draw the line.  Yes, Johnson acted like an idiot in pretending to shoot himself in the leg and yes, he may have cost the Bills a win with his lack of concentration.  But he was not taking aim at anything that had to do with 9/11 when he imitated a plane going down.  In case Pouha has forgotten, the name of the team in New York that he plays for is the Jets, and has been for a long time.  Santonio Holmes, Burress, and some other Jet players often imitate an airplane after they score a touchdown.  Johnson was simply poking fun at that.  Saying he was being insensitive toward 9/11 victims is just a poor attempt at piling it on.

P. Diddy’s Son, Justin Combs, Commits to Coachless UCLA

P. Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, committed to play cornerback for UCLA late Monday night. Scout.com reporter Brandon Huffman tweeted the news, and the timing is interesting.

Why would Combs commit to the program now, the day it’s announced Rick Neuheisel was fired? My guess is that he really likes the school and wants to play for the Bruins, regardless of their coach. So why accept his outstanding offer? Maybe he understands that few other major programs were interested in him, and maybe he knew the next coach might not want him. Why not accept the offer while he still had a chance?

We covered Combs over the summer when he performed well at a tournament, resulting in interest from several schools. However, the only schools that had reportedly offered him were Illinois, UAB, Virginia, Wyoming, UAB, Tennessee Tech, and Middle Tennessee State. If those were your options, and you wanted to play in LA, wouldn’t you commit to the Bruins even if their program were transitioning? Makes sense to me.

UPDATE: Combs told Scout.com “I was silently committed to UCLA for awhile, but now was the time.

“I have faith in the program that everything will be ok. My love for UCLA is so strong. I trust and know that everything will work out.”

Photo via @Jdior_

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