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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

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Redskins reportedly interested in Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh Lions

The Washington Redskins have already broken the bank once for a coveted free agent defensive tackle, and they appear to be ready to do it again.

NBC Washington’s Dianna Marie Russini reports that the Skins are interested in Ndamukong Suh if the Lions do not re-sign the former No. 2 overall pick.

Suh is undoubtedly one of the biggest defensive forces in the league, capable of turning around an entire unit. He is poised to become the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Luckily Washington has about $25 million in cap space, which should be enough to sign him if they want.

Russini also says the Bucs, Jags and Raiders will be “hot” after Suh. Suh was said to be interested in signing with the Seahawks, but they likely will not have enough money for him. The Raiders were also said to be another potential match.

If Washington does get Suh, hopefully he will work out for them a lot better than Albert Haynesworth.

Chris Young strikes out against Yankees’ pitching machine

Chris Young Yankees

Chris Young suffered the ultimate embarrassment during a New York Yankees intrasquad game on Monday.

According to multiple Yankees beat reporters, Young was the only player to strike out during the intrasquad game. But there’s a catch: He struck out against the pitching machine!

The machine must have had its A+ stuff Monday, because it held A-Rod hitless in two at-bats.

I don’t know what to say for Young. If he can’t even make contact against a machine, how’s he supposed to handle a live pitcher who is mixing up multiple pitches and locations?

Young actually hit well with the Yankees after they picked him up at the end of the season, leading them to sign him to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Of course, strikeouts have always been an issue for Young. He fanned a career-worst 165 times in 2008 with the Diamondbacks, and he has averaged a strikeout every 3.9 at-bats throughout his career. Maybe he should ask the talented Matt Joyce for advice on hitting off pitching machines.

Darrelle Revis reportedly will hit free agent market

Darrelle Revis Patriots

The New England Patriots hold a $20 million option for Darrelle Revis this season, but the team is unlikely to pick it up, meaning Revis will become a free agent, according to a report.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said in an interview Monday with Colin Cowherd that Revis will become a free agent.

“Darrelle Revis has a clause in his contract that says he can’t be [franchise] tagged again. There’s a $20 million option bonus payment that would cause a $25 million cap number,” Schefter told Cowherd. “The bottom line is it would surprise me if New England picked that up. The chances are — not the chances are — it’s going to happen, Darrelle Revis is going to hit the market. He’ll be another coveted free agent.”

Just because Revis will become a free agent does not mean he will not return to the Pats. Revis has already made a ton of money during his time with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not to mention what he earned last season with New England. He may have enjoyed playing for a real winner and getting his first Super Bowl ring. He may feel that sacrificing a few million dollars is worth it to play for the perennial contender.

If Revis does not agree to a long-term deal with the Patriots — which is something the team wants — he will have plenty of suitors. The Jets have tons of cap space and would love to sign him. So would the Buffalo Bills, who now have Revis’ former coach Rex Ryan as their new head coach.

Between not franchise-tagging Devin McCourty and having Revis hit free agency, the next few weeks will be a tense period for Patriots fans, who no doubt want both players back.

H/T WEEI

Jordan Leopold traded to Wild after daughter writes heartbreaking letter

Jordan-Leopold

NHL journeyman Jordan Leopold was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Minnesota Wild on Monday. His 11-year-old daughter may have helped orchestrate the deal.

A member of Leopold family shared a hand-written letter with KFAN that Leopold’s daughter Jordyn wrote to the Wild during their losing streak in January. Parts of it were downright heartbreaking. Leopold, a Minnesota native, has chosen not to uproot his family since he has changed teams so many times throughout his career. This has apparently taken its toll on Jordyn, who just wants her dad to be able to work close to home.

“We are living in Minnesota right now and I am lost without my dad and so is my mom, my 2 sisters and my brother,” Jordyn wrote. “My dad is on a team with young guys and is very (lonely) and is not playing because the Jackets got him because they needed a D-man. It has been since November and we cannot take it anymore.”

Jordyn then pleaded with the Wild to “please, please, please ask the Jackets if you guys can get him.” Minnesota acquired Leopold for Justin Falk and a fifth-round pick just as the trade deadline was about to pass. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen implied that the letter played a role in the decision.

We have seen kids send some adorable letters to players and teams in the past, but this one might top the list. Sometimes we forget how tough it must be for kids of athletes to have their parents traveling all the time. We’re glad it worked out for the Leopold family.

Bret Bielema takes away DL Tevin Beanum’s car after DUI

Bret Bielema Arkansas

Arkansas defensive lineman Tevin Beanum was arrested over the weekend for suspicion of driving while under the influence. He is likely going to lose his license, but he will have to appear before a judge first. Thanks to Bret Bielema, Beanum has already lost his car.

In order to return to the Razorbacks in the wake of his arrest, Beanum will have to fulfill certain university requirements. He will also have to follow Bielema’s rules.

“For instance, I’ve taken away his car,” Bielema said, per Eric W. Bolin of the Arkansas News Bureau. “It sounds simple. I think a lot of today’s problems can be solved by an old school way of thinking. So I picked up the phone and called his mom. We talked about different things. He has to go through the court system and obviously he’ll have ramifications. But I’ve basically banned the use of his car for any time other than when he’s coming over here or going to academics. His car is to remain parked.

“If he gets pulled over for running through a stoplight at 10:30 at night then he’s violated my rules and there’s going to be an even bigger consequence.”

Bielema may have had some sarcastic things to say recently about the rules Texas coach Charlie Strong has for his players, but that doesn’t mean the Arkansas coach holds his team to a lower standard.

Beanum might as well get used to not driving for a while.

H/T Dr. Saturday

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores: ‘We got a problem’

Nick-Young-Iggy-Azalea

As expected, Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young has come to the defense of his girlfriend, Iggy Azalea, in the wake of an insult that ESPN’s Robert Flores tossed her way on Monday morning.

For those who missed it, Flores said Iggy is “trying to kill hip-hop” during a lighthearted segment on SportsCenter. You can watch the video here. Young did not find it funny, and he stopped just short of threatening Flores in a Twitter rant on Monday afternoon.

Flores made the joke after mentioning the story Young told a few weeks ago about a dolphin in Mexico trying to kill him. It’s unclear if the shot at Iggy was something that was written by a SportsCenter producer or a remark that Flores came up with on his own.

If you saw the way Swaggy P jumped in to defend Iggy against Snoop Dogg’s criticism last year, you knew he wasn’t going to sit quietly while Flores ragged on his lady.

Tiger Woods not suspended for cheating, despite Dan Olsen’s claims

Tiger Woods sick

Tiger Woods has not been suspended from golf for using performance-enhancing drugs or unapproved equipment, despite what one former PGA golfer said during a radio interview last week.

Dan Olsen, a 48-year-old pro who last played on the PGA Tour at the 2011 PGA Championship, told 730AM The Game in Michigan on Friday that he heard from a reliable source that Woods has been suspended for a month.

“I heard he’s on a month’s suspension … it’s kind of a strong witness,” Olsen said, per Bob Harig of ESPN.com. “It’s a credible person who is telling me this.”

Olsen said he was told Tiger is using something other than testosterone and that he could “surpass Lance Armstrong with infamy” when his career comes to a close. Ty Votaw, the executive vice president of the PGA Tour, said there is no truth to what Olsen said.

“There is no truth whatsoever to these claims,” Votaw said Monday. “We categorically deny these allegations.”

Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg, echoed Votaw’s sentiments in a statement, calling Olsen’s claims “unsourced, unverified and completely ridiculous.”

When asked on Monday about his remarks, Olsen seemed to backpedal.

“Everything I said on that radio interview was only my opinion and not based on any first-hand knowledge or facts,” Olsen told Michael Collins of ESPN.com. “I want to make a full retraction to everything I said for the entire radio interview. And I apologize to Tiger, Nike, Phil (Mickelson), (commissioner) Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour.

“(Now) I’ll be looked at as just some crazy f— nobody making accusations about Tiger.”

Olsen said last week that he heard Woods has also been using a special golf ball that has been given to him by Nike that he would “almost bet hasn’t been tested.”

(more…)

Robert Flores: Iggy Azalea is trying to kill hip-hop (Video)

ESPN’s Robert Flores may find himself at the center of Iggy Azalea’s next Twitter assault.

On Monday morning, Flores took a pretty nasty shot at Azalea during a SportsCenter segment called “What Did We Learn?” The segment had to do with things that happened in the sports world during the month of February, and Flores brought up that crazy story Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young told a few weeks ago about a dolphin trying to kill him.

Either he was reading off a teleprompter, or Flores is not a big Iggy fan.

“We learned that, according to the Lakers’ Nick Young, a Dolphin recently tried to kill him,” Flores said. “So, Nick, while Dolphins are trying to kill you, you’re girlfriend is trying to kill hip-hop. Let’s call it even, OK?”

Nick-Young-Iggy-Azalea

Shots fired! Did Flores not catch the Twitter war between Iggy and Snoop Dogg that took place last year? As The Big Lead noted, Iggy is off Twitter at the moment while she works on her new album. Flores and company must have know that.

Did Coach K, Duke ignore Rasheed Sulaimon sexual assault allegations?

Rasheed Sulaimon

Former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon has reportedly been accused of sexually assaulting two female students, which could help explain why he was suddenly dismissed from the team roughly a month ago. Now, one of the most important questions will be whether coach Mike Krzyzewski should have given Sulaimon the boot last year.

A lengthy report that was published by The Duke Chronicle indicates that Coach K and his staff were made aware of the allegations against Sulaimon in March 2014. Yet, it wasn’t until Jan. 29, 2015 that Sulaimon was kicked off the team.

A week before Sulaimon was dismissed, Duke senior Lincoln Wensley, a former secretary in the Duke basketball office who now works in the Office of News and Communication, was made aware of the sexual assault allegations when he heard a fellow intern talking about “the next big Duke scandal.”

“We started texting that Wednesday night,” Wensley told The Chronicle. “She informed me that one of her friends had been raped by Rasheed Sulaimon. [She] was very upset and had known for some time about this because of the Common Ground retreat. She expressed an interest in taking action herself, but obviously [was] scared because of the power the men’s basketball team possesses on this campus.”

Wensley was still working in the basketball department at the time. The next day, he notified Duke basketball administrative assistant Laura Ann Howard that he knew of the allegations against Sulaimon and then quit his job. Wensley received a text message from deputy director of athletics Mike Cragg on Jan. 22 asking for an in-person conversation.

Wensley agreed to the meeting and the two met in Cragg’s office the same day. According to Wensley, Cragg began the conversation by advising him on how to better handle professional situations such as the one Wensley had with Howard.

But the conversation with Cragg did not end there.

“I wanted personally for the conversation to steer toward Coach K and Kevin White and I think he could sense that too,” Wensley said. “After advising me on my interactions with Laura Ann, he said that if I wanted to pursue further action on this issue that I would need to go through Student Conduct. And that Coach K had known and knew that Rasheed had these rumors swirling about him and that Kevin White had also known.”

Six days after Wensley’s conversation with Cragg, Sulaimon was kicked off the team. Coach K cited “recurring conduct issues” as the reason for the dismissal, but one has to wonder if Krzyzewski and company were concerned that the sexual assault allegations were about to go public.

While neither female student who accused Sulaimon wanted to take legal action (perhaps because they were familiar with this situation), The Chronicle notes that the university is obligated by Title IX to look into any allegations of sexual assault and investigate if it is deemed necessary.

Keep in mind that we have basically only heard Wensley’s side of the story, but Coach K could have some explaining to do going forward. Knowing about sexual assault allegations for a year without taking action seems like an awfully long time.

Report: Rasheed Sulaimon accused of sexual assault by two females

Rasheed Sulaimon

Roughly one month ago, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski shocked many of us when he announced that junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon had been dismissed from the team as a result of recurring conduct issues. The most serious of those issues may have been allegations of sexual assault.

The Duke Chronicle reports that Sulaimon was accused of sexual assault roughly a year ago and that the Blue Devils were made aware of the allegations as early as March 2014. Two female students reportedly accused Sulaimon of sexual assault during the 2013-2014 academic year. Neither filed formal complaints nor took legal action.

The first, according to The Chronicle, allegedly revealed during a large group session on campus last year that Sulaimon assaulted her. During a similar session the following semester, a second female student claimed Sulaimon had also sexually assaulted her.

The accusations surfaced during Common Ground meetings on the Durham campus. Common Ground is a four-day retreat in which students discuss issues involving race, gender, sexuality and socioeconomic status. A team psychologist was reportedly made aware of the allegations last March and the information was passed on to Coach K and his staff later that month.

“Nothing happened after months and months of talking about [the sexual assault allegations],” an anonymous affiliate of Common Ground told The Chronicle. “The University administration knew. Kevin White knew, Mike Cragg knew.”

The source added that the alleged victims were deterred from taking legal action after seeing how the Jameis Winston sexual assault case unfolded at Florida State. Duke’s basketball fan base is just as passionate as the Seminoles’ football following, and perhaps the Duke students were concerned about authorities reacting the way police have been accused of reacting early in the Winston investigation.

Coach K had never dismissed a player from his program before, and he could now face pressure from those who feel he should have kicked Sulaimon off the team when the allegations first surfaced.

Sulaimon was reportedly kicked out of practice on more than one occasion this season, so it is probably safe to assume that more than just sexual assault accusations factored into his dismissal. There will likely be much more to come.

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