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Friday, May 25, 2018

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Lance Armstrong ordered to pay $10 million to insurance company

Lance ArmstrongAn arbitration panel in Texas voted 2-1 against Lance Armstrong and awarded $10 million to SCA Promotions, a sports insurance company that helped contribute to the cyclist’s downfall.

SCA Promotions paid Armstrong bonuses in 2002 and 2003 for winning the Tour de France, but they withheld his bonus in 2004 amid speculation he cheated. Armstrong sued as a result and the two sides went to arbitration in 2005. They settled in 2006 with SCA being ordered to pay $7.5 million. At the time, Armstrong denied cheating, which is why SCA settled.

In the face of mounting evidence against him, Armstrong finally admitted to Oprah in 2013 that he did cheat, leading many companies, including SCA, to pursue claims against him. The result is that SCA won the latest arbitration case and filed a motion to have a court order Armstrong to pay the award as a final judgment, USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer reports.

“We are very pleased with this result,” SCA’s president and founder Bob Hamman said in a statement via USA Today. “It is hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong’s web of lies caused SCA but this is a good first start towards repairing that damage.”

Armstrong tried to have the case blocked but appealed to the Texas Supreme Court unsuccessfully. SCA noted in its legal filing that it believes Armstrong will not pay the $10 million award.

In addition to this case, Armstrong was also recently in headlines for hitting two parked cars and letting his girlfriend take the blame.

Bucks, Larry Sanders discussing buyout

Larry SandersThe Milwaukee Bucks and center Larry Sanders are discussing a buyout of his contract, according to a report.

ESPN’s Marc Stein says the two sides have begun talks about a buyout from Sanders’ 4-year, $44 million contract signed in 2013.

Sanders served a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy and will not be playing for Milwaukee in the future. He has played in just 27 games this season after playing in 23 games the season before.

There have been questions about whether Sanders even wants to play basketball anymore, though he said those rumors were false.

Sanders’ best season came in 2012-2013 when he averaged 27.3 minutes, 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game, all career-high marks. That season helped him earn his contract extension, which he hasn’t lived up to since.

Bill Clinton tweets Dikembe Mutombo for blocking his view during all-star game

bill-clinton-nba-all-star-game

The west defeated the east 163-158 in the highest scoring all-star game in NBA history on Sunday. Russell Westbrook put on a show, taking home MVP honors. Pau and Marc Gasol became the first brothers to start against each other in the game’s history. It was a spectacle to be seen in New York City.

Among those on hand to take in the evening was former president Bill Clinton. While Clinton was fortunate to have really good seats, his view was temporarily blocked by one of the best defensive players in NBA history. The 42nd president had a tough time seeing about the massive figure that is Dikembe Mutombo. So, Clinton decided to let him know about it.

“Dikembe @officialmutombo – DOWN IN FRONT!! #NBAAllStarNYC” Clinton wrote via his Twitter account along with including the above photo.

The two were seen sharing a laugh courtside during the game and Clinton gave us all a reason to do the same thanks to his sense of humor and use of social media.

Photo via: Twitter/billclinton

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Amar’e Stoudemire reportedly leaning towards signing with Mavericks

amare-stoudemire-hand-hanging-off

Amar’e Stoudemire reportedly is leaning towards signing with the Dallas Mavericks.

Stoudemire and the New York Knicks reached a buyout on his contract, making him a free agent once he clears waivers. The Clippers, Suns and Spurs were said to be showing interest, but it sounds like the Mavs are the front-runners.

Here is what ESPN New York’s Ian Begley reported Monday:

Stoudemire, 32, has been plagued by injuries though he has been somewhat productive in a limited role. He is averaging 12 points and 6.8 rebounds over 36 games this season.

Pregnant Kentucky fan paints belly like basketball

pregnant-kentucky-fan-painted-belly

Few college basketball programs have a fan base like the University of Kentucky. From Drake to Ashley Judd, Wildcat fans are a proud bunch and always willing to show their allegiance. One woman took advantage of her being pregnant to display her love for Kentucky hoops.

If your belly is larger than normal, what better way to confirm your status as a Kentucky fan than by painting it to look like basketball and showing it off for all to see. Of course, the famous “UK” and paw print are present. Add the t-shirt and signs hanging from the doorknobs and we have a woman who is a bona fide member of Big Blue Nation.

H/T The Big Lead
Photo via: Twitter/Ginadawn1

Bills interested in signing Josh McCown

Josh McCown

The Buffalo Bills have interest in signing Josh McCown and are meeting with the free agent quarterback on Monday.

McCown was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, one year after the team signed him as a free agent. He played poorly in 11 games for Tampa Bay, throwing for just 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, compared to the 13:1 ratio he posted the season before with the Chicago Bears, which made him a coveted target last season.

The Bills are looking to add competition at the quarterback position for E.J. Manuel, who will be entering his third season. The former first-round draft pick was benched last season for Kyle Orton, who was signed after the season began. Orton retired, leaving just Manuel and Jeff Tuel on the roster at quarterback for the Bills.

McCown isn’t the answer, and neither is Manuel. You have to wonder what new head coach Rex Ryan was thinking when he took this job; the Bills have a great defense, but quarterback is a disaster just like it was with the Jets. The Bills need to draft a quarterback because none of the guys they have on the roster are taking them beyond the first round of the playoffs.

Browns player wishes team drafted Teddy Bridgewater instead

Johnny Manziel tape Browns

Some Cleveland Browns players have their doubts about Johnny Manziel, and one even recalled thinking last season that he wished the team had drafted Teddy Bridgewater instead.

The Browns selected Manziel at No. 22 overall in the draft last year, while Bridgewater was taken 32nd by the Minnesota Vikings and was named QB of the NFL’s All-Rookie team after a fairly successful debut campaign.

“Think about where we’d be now if we had drafted Teddy Bridgewater,” a Browns player recalled thinking last season, via Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman.

Freeman writes in his column that many teammates were dissatisfied with Manziel’s work ethic (which is nothing new), but what’s almost worse is that many question whether he even has the talent to be a successful NFL quarterback. See, the talent has always been thought to be there with Manziel, and the question was whether or not he would work hard enough. But if it turns out he doesn’t have enough talent, then he’s never going to reach competent levels because he does not work hard enough to improve to at least average levels. One issue for Manziel was his accuracy, which was described as poor in practice.

Manziel chose to enter rehab to clean up his life, which was a good first step. The next would be focusing on his football career and practicing hard all year-round, otherwise he will likely go down as one of the biggest busts in the league. But keep in mind one thing: despite teammates knocking Manziel, there are some who still believe in him.

Broncos ‘definitely’ want Peyton Manning back

peyton-manning-broncos

Peyton Manning took some time after the NFL season ended to think about his future and decide whether or not he wants to play again next season. Manning is turning 39 next month and was limited by a quad injury in the later portion of the season. He ultimately told the Broncos that he wants to come back, but the question then became whether or not Denver wanted him back. It sounds like they do.

Writing in his “The Monday Morning Quarterback” column, Peter King says the Broncos “definitely” want Manning back next season.

I think the Broncos definitely want Manning back for 2015. Take that to the bank. John Elway knows Denver’s best chance to go deep in the playoffs in 2015 is with Manning at quarterback. Elway and the Broncos might quietly rattle some sabers about lowering Manning’s salary in 2015.

Perhaps all the reports about the Broncos being undecided on Manning’s future have to do with trying to get leverage for the QB to take a pay cut so he doesn’t count as much against the salary cap (he’s set to earn $19 million next season and count for $21.5 million against the cap). Though he had the quad injury and was not the same at the end of last season, Manning was still one of the best quarterbacks in the league the first part of the season. The Broncos have to be more confident in having him over backup Brock Osweiler leading the team.

Jameis Winston fat photo totally overblown

Jameis Winston fat

A photo of Jameis Winston appearing to be overweight circulated on Twitter Saturday, but the reaction to the photo was totally overblown.

The photo is posted above and shows Winston with a belly hanging out over his shorts.

Of course, most people missed that had something tight around his waist that bunched all his weight and made him look fat. Winston is not the fittest athlete, but judging his body based on that photo is not fair.

Here is what he actually looks like:

Again, he is not a ripped quarterback like Brady Quinn or Colin Kaepernick, but he certainly is nothing like JaMarcus Russell, which had people concerned.

“The photo of Jameis was taken in early-mid January,” Winston’s QB coach George Whitfield told The Big Lead. “If people are saying he looks out of shape – well, did they notice he had the leash tight around his waist? That may have had something to do with it. Jameis is in shape and doing great. Anyone saying he’s out of shape, they can check him out at the Combine this week.”

He might not be able to bench press 300 pounds, but he definitely is not out of shape. We’ll see how he does at the combine, too.

Kevin Durant not a fan of the media, just talks because he has to

Kevin Durant

The days of the politically correct athlete may be dying as players are now feeling more and more empowered. Kevin Durant is a perfect example of this change.

Durant says he used to give all the answers to the media that they wanted to hear and that he was coached to say, but he says he is through with that. On Friday, Durant said the media had too much power in selecting postseason awards. On Sunday he went off on the media even more.

“You guys really don’t know (expletive),” Durant said via Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. “To be honest, man, I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to. So I really don’t care. Y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write. You’re going to love us one day and hate us the next. That’s a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with y’all.”

Durant’s answers can be the result of a few things. For one, the All-Star Game has so many credentialed reporters, it really is an uncontrolled environment filled with people who do not know what they are doing. That means lots of inexperienced, dumb reporters are asking questions. It’s no wonder athletes would get frustrated. Two, Durant is probably realizing that he does not have to play by the rules anymore and that he can really be true to himself. If he wants to state his opinion, he is going to now. Lastly, he is probably frustrated overall. He is frustrated he hasn’t won a championship yet, he is frustrated that injuries have slowed him, and he is frustrated with questions about whether or not he is a deserving All-Star.

This quote from Durant is really telling.

“I’m 26 years old so I’m in my mid-20s, almost to 30,” Durant said via Mayberry. “My first few years in the league I was just finding myself. I think most of the time I reacted based off of what everybody else wanted and how they viewed me as a person. And I’m just learning to be myself and not worry about what anybody says. I’m going to make mistakes. I just want to show kids out here that athletes, entertainers, whoever, so-called celebrities, we aren’t robots. We go through emotions. We go through feelings. And I’m just trying to express mine and trying to help people along the way. But I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m just this guy that got programmed to say the right stuff all the time and politically correct answers. I’m done with that. I’m just trying to be me and continue to grow as a man.”

Between LeBron expressing his feelings, controlling his contracts, and people like Marshawn Lynch refusing to play by the media’s rules, we are seeing a changing landscape in this regard. Though I still believe Durant will brighten up once he starts having more success on the court again.

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