Nigerian President Bans National Soccer Team From International Competition

While the glory of the 2010 World Cup competition resumes on Friday for the remaining eight nations, the fallout of defeat is emerging from those who made the early trip home. Namely, Nigeria. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has suspended the Nigerian national soccer team from international play for two years as a result of their poor performance in South Africa, as well as other recent failures. Nigeria finished at the bottom of group B, drawing with South Korea and losing to Argentina and Greece. Here is what Nigerian Sports Minister Ibrahim Isa had to say:

“The government has taken a decision we believe is in the interests of Nigeria that we should for now, withdraw from international competition because our football since 1996 seems not to be growing … The president Goodluck Jonathan has endorsed this decision and the Nigerian people are excited about it.

The Nigerian people are excited about having their national team suspended from competition? OK … And one slight potential problem: FIFA regulations prohibit national governments from interfering in the affairs of national football federations. FIFA officials have yet to act but Nigerian lawmakers have already attempted to intervene, passing a resolution calling on President Jonathan to rescind the ban. FIFA is currently reviewing the situation before it takes any action. Nigerian national team member Dickson Etuhu had this to add:

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Poll Says 8 Percent of Russians Think Their Team Can Win 2010 World Cup

Come on Russia, where’s your national pride?  Only eight percent of you think your nation’s team has a shot at winning the 2010 World Cup?  How are they supposed to win when they barely have any support?  Oh wait, maybe they aren’t going to win because they aren’t in the tournament and never were.  Apparently, that’s not enough to stop eight percent of the people who participated in a poll from thinking their boys have a chance to take home the trophy.

A survey conducted by Russia’s Levada Centre asked 1,600 Russian adults in 130 different cities who they thought the tourney favorite was and the results found that eight percent of Russians believe Russia can win the 2010 World Cup even though they never qualified.  When Russia was defeated by Slovenia in the qualifying stage before the Cup, Russians were stunned and disappointed.  Either the eight percent who said Russia could win it all have no interest in soccer, or they’ve blacked out the devastating loss they suffered a while back and still believe Russia is in the tournament.  The same results would probably show if they did this type of survey in a lot of other countries whose teams didn’t qualify for the World Cup, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the funniest news I’ve heard all day.

Absent Russia will win World Cup says 8 percent of nation [Yahoo! News]
Russian World Cup fans redefine the word optimism [Out of Bounds]

Chris Simms Arrested for DWB

Ah, what the heck.  We might as well continue with one of our main themes of the week — people within sports organizations getting caught doing dumb things.  I literally just finished posting about Georgia’s AD Damon Evans getting arrested for a DUI when I came across another bonehead.  Never heard of a DWB?  That’s because I made it up.  It stands for Driving While Baked.

According to the New York Post, Tennessee Titans quarterback Chris Simms was arrested early Thursday morning on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.  He was driving his Mercedes Benz through an NYPD Manhattan South Task Force checkpoint when cops smelled weed and said he had “red eyes, flushed face, and slurred speech.”  Maybe he was just overly tired and it was his friend’s car or he had let someone borrow it earlier that day?  Oh wait, Simms admitted to having just smoked in the car.  Nevermind.

Between Vince Young punching a guy in the face and getting arrested and now this from Simms, the Titans seem to be having a little trouble keeping their quarterbacks out of legal trouble.  I hope their court dates are spaced out so they don’t have an already pissed off Chris Johnson under center throwing passes to the first-team wide receivers when training camp opens.

Chris Simms arrested on driving while stoned charge [NY Post]
Chris Simms arrested for driving while impaired by marijuana [Pro Football Talk]

Latest DUI: Georgia AD Damon Evans

Allow me to start by once again reiterating that there’s nothing humorous about driving a vehicle while under the influence.  It’s actually kind of sad how obvious it is that these sports figures feel untouchable, resulting in them driving around in the condition we see Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans in to the right.  However, his mugshot could be one of the funniest I’ve ever seen.  Judging by his face, it was probably a good idea on his part to refuse the breathalyzer. We’ll have to wait for the traffic stop video to throw Evans into the competitive mix with the likes of Tony La Russa and Tom Lewand, but if his mugshot is any indication of his BAC he could give them a run for their money.

Sports by Brooks has come across a comical twist to this particular DUI arrest.  You know how when you go to a game there’s always some sort of player or coach on the video monitor as the messenger for a public service announcement to drink responsibility, not drive, behave, yada yada yada?  That guy for Georgia Bulldogs football happens to be none other than Damon Evans.  Check out the video of Damon Evans DUI prevention public service announcement:

Quality, quality stuff and a great find as usual from Brooks.

Video: Georgia Athletic Director Drunk Driving PSA [SPORTS by BROOKS]

Pedroia Finding Ways to Stay Sharp

Dustin Pedroia has to be the most committed little jockey I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching play.  You can say what you will about his arrogant attitude and obnoxious quips like, “Laser show…relax,” but the fact of the matter is no one has worked harder to get where they are than Pedroia has.  The 2008 American League MVP is listed at 5’9″.  Let’s just say I may or may not have a 5’6″ friend who once took a picture next to Pedroia and he may or may not have been the exact same height as him if not slightly taller.

Dustin’s the definition of a player who has had nothing handed to him and that’s reflected in the way he goes about his business.  On Wednesday, we got the chance to see his work ethic on display.  The Red Sox second baseman is reportedly going to be on the shelf for about six weeks with a broken foot.  Doctors have ordered him to not put any pressure on the foot while it heals, but somehow that hasn’t stopped him from participating in infield drills.  Take a look at this video of Dustin Pedroia taking ground balls from his knees with his foot in a boot and crutches at his side, courtesy of NESN:

Hobbling Dustin Pedroia Takes Grounders From His Knees Before Wednesday’s Game (Video) [NESN]

Luke Scott Injures Leg on Home Run Trot

It does not get more bittersweet than this: Orioles DH Luke Scott went back-to-back with Ty Wiggington in the 7th inning of Baltimore’s game with Oakland. The solo blast was Scott’s 12th of the season and it gave the O’s a 7-6 lead. Scott hit it to the left-center gap which is a deep part of the park. He wasn’t sure if the ball would clear the fence, so he was hustling around first to try for a double in case the ball stayed in the yard. Scott was really booking it around first and apparently pulled his hamstring rounding the base, making it difficult for him to finish circling.

“I am glad the ball went out, but this is frustrating. When I start feeling like this a lot of good things happen. But that’s life. You’ve got to dig down, get on my knees, say my prayers and God will give me the strength to get through it.”

Let’s hope he’ll be stroking it just as well when he does return from the DL. It’s a shame to go down like that especially when he was doing the right thing by hustling in case the ball didn’t get out. Far too often we see guys start pimping their home runs in the batters box and the ball hits off the wall, so at least Scott was trying. I would say this is a strange way to get hurt but this is baseball, and we’ve already seen our fair share of weird injuries in the sport.

Scott injures leg on go-ahead homer [MLB.com]
Photo Credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Lane Kiffin Will Take Your Jersey Number From You and Not Explain Why

USC head coach Lane Kiffin is about as popular in Knoxville as sunscreen in Alaska. After hiring the coach and giving him everything he wanted, including the highest paid staff in the country, Lane rewarded Tennessee by bolting for Southern California just 14 months into the job. Any surprise they want to name a sewage center after him?

Now that Lane is gone, some of his former players are continuing to pile on. Todd Campbell is a former Tennessee receiver who just graduated but left the program to pursue graduate school. He shared the following story with the Knoxville News Sentinel as relayed by Sporting News:

“I was not the biggest Lane Kiffin fan,” Campbell said.

The bad blood dates back to last summer, when Campbell was abruptly informed that his No. 11 jersey had been given to incoming freshman tailback Bryce Brown.

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