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Sunday, March 26, 2017

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Rory McIlroy may skip Olympics to avoid Ireland/Great Britain controversy

Golf is returning to the Olympic Games in 2016, and many expect Rory McIlroy to be one of the sport’s top competitors on the world stage. The problem is McIlroy does not know which country he would represent. The 23-year-old hails from Northern Ireland, a country that does not have an Olympic team. Geographically, it would make sense for McIlroy to represent either Great Britain or Ireland. But he doesn’t want to offend anyone.

“I just think being from where we’re from, we’re placed in a very difficult position,” McIlroy said in a new BBC documentary. “I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. If I could and there was a Northern Irish team I’d play for Northern Ireland.”

In fact, McIlroy hasn’t ruled out the possibility of skipping the event altogether if he can’t make up his mind.

“Play for one side or the other – or not play at all because I may upset too many people,” he explained. “Those are my three options I’m considering very carefully. … People tune in to watch me play on TV and feel like they are connected to me in some way. I don’t want to do repay them for their support with something they don’t want me to do.”

Golf fans are certainly hoping McIlroy decides to participate. If he has to, he should flip a coin on live television or something so the fans know his decision was completely random. Having the world’s best golfer say “no thanks” would be a tough way for the sport to make its Olympic return.

H/T Golf Channel

Jerry Brown autopsy shows that his blood alcohol level was below the legal limit

Jerry-Brown-stickerWhile there is nothing an autopsy can reveal that would bring Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown back to life, it can help us raise awareness by learning from the mistakes others have made. As you know, Brown was killed in a car accident last month. His teammate, Josh Brent, was driving the car and has been charged with intoxication manslaughter. Brent’s blood alcohol content was reportedly twice the legal limit at the time of the crash.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Brown’s autopsy revealed that his blood alcohol level was actually below the legal limit of 0.08 at the time of the accident. The reading from fluid in Brown’s eye showed that his BAC was 0.079, while the reading directly from his blood showed it was 0.056.

Hindsight will not change what happened, but perhaps Brown should have been the one driving the car that night. It’s a lapse in judgment that Brent, his family and Brown’s family will have to live with, but hopefully we can all learn something from it. There’s no shame in taking the keys from your friend. There’s even less shame in calling a cab.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Rex Ryan appears to have a tattoo of his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey

Rex Ryan was recently photographed catching some rays by the pool with his shirt off while vacationing in the Bahamas. I know what you’re thinking, but give the guy a break. He’s lost a ton of weight so he has nothing to be ashamed of — except maybe the tattoo he has on his right arm of what appears to be his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey.

While our initial reaction when we heard the rumor was that this has to be some sort of photoshop job, we’re confident that is not the case since the photo was taken by NY Daily News photographer Andrew Theodorakis. Also, I don’t think there’s anyone in the world clever enough to make something like that up. And to top it all off, we already know Rex has one ridiculous tattoo.

ESPN’s Rachel Nichols shared the photo on Twitter:

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Charles Barkley: Fans shouldn’t be allowed to vote for All-Star game

Fan voting for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game is underway, and Charles Barkley is disgusted with some of the results thus far. Because of the way things are going, Barkley believes the fans should no longer decide who the starters for the All-Star game will be in the future. In particular, he’s baffled that Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett are receiving so many votes.

“I don’t think the fans should ever vote because they just vote for their favorite players,” Barkley told WMSF-FM in South Florida earlier this week, via FOX Sports’ Chris Tomasson. “I’m a big Kevin Garnett fan. But there’s no way in the world he should be starting the All-Star game right now. And the same way with Dwight Howard. Those fans who have penciled those two guys in (to) start… that’s a travesty to be honest. I like Dwight Howard but he ain’t played like no All-Star this year and Kevin Garnett (the same).”

K.G. and Dwight are having rough seasons. Garnett, who is 36 years old and at the tail end of his career, is showing his age. He is averaging 14.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, which certainly aren’t All-Star numbers. Howard has yet to find his groove with the Lakers, as he’s averaging 17.3 points and 11.9 rebounds — his lowest totals in seven years.

While you could still argue that Howard is one of the best centers in the league and doesn’t have much competition (an argument Shaq lives off of), the All-Star format has changed this season. Fans can now vote for three forwards and two guards and omit a center if they so choose, meaning they don’t have to vote for Howard at all.

At the end of the day, the outcome of the All-Star Game is meaningless. Like the MLB, the NBA cares more about keeping fans involved and making them a part of the process than it does about whether or not the best players are chosen. That’s part of the business end of professional sports.

H/T SI Tracking Blog
Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Nick Saban uses Michael Jordan quote to inspire Alabama

Nick Saban, Nick Saban AlabamaWhat does a wildly successful college football coach like Nick Saban, who has won three national championships and has a chance for a fourth, use to motivate his football team? The inspiring words of one of the best athletes of all time — Michael Jordan, of course.

Saban has Bama playing in the BCS National Championship Game for the second year in a row. In order to keep his team focused for the title game, he shared a quote from Jordan, who was not satisfied with winning just one championship.

“We show our team a video of Michael Jordan talking about making the game-winning shot,” Saban said, via ESPN. “It doesn’t matter how many game-winning shots he’s made in the past. The only one that matters is the one he’s about to take.

“That’s the whole deal. Can you focus on the next shot? You’re so zeroed in on the next shot that you don’t have time to think about the other ones. You really don’t.”

Jordan of course finished with six NBA championships and is considered to be the best player of all time. Saban is up there among the best college coaches of all time.

Saban is often asked how he remains motivated despite having so much success. His answer is simple — he tries to forgot about what’s happened in the past and always thinks about the future, just like the MJ quote. As Saban says, it’s human nature to be satisfied, but he won’t allow that for himself. In other words, he’s a machine just like we all figured. We’ll see on Monday how well he managed to get his team focused for this title game. I’m expecting him to take home his fourth championship, and what would be his third in the last four seasons.

Phil Jackson finally gives Jeanie Buss engagement ring (Picture)

jeanie-buss-ring

It looks like Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss are finally engaged after over 12 years of dating.

Buss, who is the Vice President of Business Operations for the Lakers, tweeted a photo Thursday of the large diamond ring Jackson gave her.

“Twitter family – Phil finally gave me that ring I wanted!” she tweeted.

Jackson, 67, and Buss, 51, began dating shortly after Phil became head coach of the Lakers in 1999 (a Los Angeles Daily News article dated Nov. 14, 2000 identifies Buss as Jackson’s girlfriend). The couple remained together throughout Jackson’s two head coaching stints with the team.

Jackson frequently would call Buss his “companion” when asked about their relationship. After being divorced twice, there were no signs he planned to marry again. It looks like he has finally changed his mind.

What adds intrigue to the apparent engagement is that Jackson’s proposal comes shortly after the Lakers chose to hire Mike D’Antoni instead of him as their head coach two months ago. Whatever feelings Jackson held toward the organization clearly did not stop him from proposing. Congratulations to the two.

Photo credit: Twitter/Jeanie Buss

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Stephen Jackson sprains ankle falling on waitress serving Mayor Bloomberg (Video)

stephen-jacksonStephen Jackson had to leave Thursday’s Spurs-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden after spraining his ankle falling on a waitress who was serving Mayor Bloomberg. We’re not even joking.

The injury occurred late in the first quarter of the game after Jackson attempted a 3-point shot from the corner. As Jackson was backing up while tracking his shot, he stumbled over a waitress who was crouched down to serve Bloomberg.

Adding insult to literal injury, Jackson missed the shot. He was 0-for-2 in his three minutes of action before leaving the game with a sprained right ankle.

Surprisingly, this sort of thing happens during NBA games more than you would think.

Video via The Point Forward

Terrell Owens was reportedly ordered to work at Goodwill for missing child support

Terrell-Owens-Goodwill

The issues Terrell Owens has had with child support over the past couple of years have been well documented. When you take into account the fact that it was once believed T.O. could face jail time over missed child support payments, the eight hours of community service he was ordered to complete last month are nothing shy of a cakewalk.

According to court documents that were obtained by TMZ, Owens was ordered to work at a Goodwill store in Studio City, Cali. for falling behind in child support payments to one of the mothers of his children, Kimberly Floyd. His volunteer referral form showed that he completed eight hours of work between Dec. 27 and Dec. 28.

Folding hand-me-downs sure beats being behind bars.

H/T Black Sports Online

Amar’e Stoudemire: No one ever taught me how to play defense

One of the main reasons the New York Knicks have been successful this season is their vast improvement on defense. They have allowed 97.5 points per game, which ranks near the middle of the pack in the NBA. Much of their improvement has come with Amar’e Stoudemire out nursing a knee injury. The Knicks have cooled off a bit as of late, but many wonder if Stoudemire’s return will help or hinder their growth.

Stoudemire has always been considered an above-average player offensively, but defense has never been been his strong suit. Accoring to Amar’e, that’s because no one before Mike Woodson ever worked with him on it. Considering Stoudemire played almost his entire career under Mike D’Antoni with the Phoenix Suns and in New York, I guess it would be fair to view that as a shot at his former coach.

“I think having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help,” Stoudemire said Wednesday according to the NY Daily News. “I’ve never been taught defense in my whole career. So to now have a coach who actually teaches defense and teaches strategies and knows positioning and posture and how to guard different plays, it’s going to be helpful.”

The Knicks’ defense began improving when they acquired Tyson Chandler, so it’s more likely that the improvement happened in spite of Stoudemire — not because of him. About a month ago, Stoudemire said he would be willing to accept a bench role when he finished recovering from knee surgery. He returned on New Year’s Day and scored six points off the bench. It appears he will stay there for at least the immediate future.

“I’m taking it as a challenge,” Stoudemire said. “I’m going to accept the challenge. And I’m going to try to improve as a player.”

The Knicks are currently 21-10 and in first place in the Atlantic Division, but they have scored more than 100 points only twice in their last eight games. Stoudemire’s return may not help the team defensively, but they aren’t exactly lighting it up on offense. While many fans would have been happy trading him when New York began the season looking like the NBA’s best team, they might welcome the boost he provides on offense down the stretch.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Florida LB Darrin Kitchens stays on field to sing alma mater by himself (Picture)

Darrin-Kitchens-Florida-alma-mater

Every time Florida wins, the team stays out on the field to sing the alma mater with the band. On Wednesday night, the Gators suffered a shocking loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. The players and coaches were understandably disappointed after losing a BCS game that almost everyone assumed they would win, but junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens was in no mood to sulk.

As you can see from the photo above that Whitney Holtzman passed along, Kitchens remained on the field after the loss to sing the alma mater with the school band. He was the only player who remained. Dr. Saturday pointed out that Kitchens did not play a snap in the game.

While it was tough not to root for the Cardinals after hearing some of the things that analysts and experts were saying about them, you have to admire the gesture from Kitchens. After all, the Florida fans who made the trip to New Orleans had to endure the loss as well.

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