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Saturday, May 30, 2015

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FIFA officials arrested in Switzerland, will be extradited to US on corruption charges

FIFA meeting

Multiple FIFA officials were arrested at a hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday and will be extradited to the US to face charges of corruption, The New York Times reports.

The officials were in Zurich for their annual meeting. FIFA was expected to re-elect Sepp Blatter as president for a fifth term at the meeting, but this shake-up may change that. Blatter was not at the hotel and is not expected to be arrested, according to the NY Daily News. Recent reports have said he will not set foot in the US for fear of being arrested.

FIFA is the international organization that oversees soccer, the most popular sport in the world. It is an organization that has been accused of corruption for years, including officials and voters accepting bribes and kickbacks concerning events such as the World Cup.

The Times says the officials will face charges of “include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.”

“We’re struck by just how long this went on for and how it touched nearly every part of what FIFA did,” a law enforcement official told The Times. “It just seemed to permeate every element of the federation and was just their way of doing business. It seems like this corruption was institutionalized.”

In charging the officials, he US Justice Department is using the same authority it employs when bringing cases against international terrorists. All the law requires is a loose connection to the US, such as the use of US banks or ISPs.

FIFA has averaged nearly $1.5 billion in revenue each of the past four years. There is a lack of transparency within the organization and accusations of widespread corruption described as “institutionalized.”

Below are a few photos of the roundup:

David Blatt gives LeBron James special message (Video)

TNT microphones caught a beautiful message Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt shared with LeBron James towards the end of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.

With a sweep of the Atlanta Hawks ensured and the Cavs on their way to the NBA Finals, Blatt reflected on how much LeBron meant to Cleveland and congratulated him for coming home and leading the team to the Finals. He then told LeBron that he deserved the success he’s achieved.

“What you did for the team, for this city coming back, you deserve it,” Blatt said.

James seemed to really appreciate the message and even wanted to give a special handshake to his coach who was too busy finishing coaching and left his star player hanging:

Given how ugly things were between the two parties earlier in the season, it’s really impressive to see how far they’ve come. LeBron even had his arm around his coach.

LeBron James David Blatt

Before the Cavs can celebrate too much, they now likely will have to worry about the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.

LeBron James goes Air Jordan in Game 4 dunk vs. Hawks (Video)

LeBron James added another dunk to his ever-impressive highlight reel with a sensational jam against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night.

James got a steal in the first quarter, based to teammate Iman Shumpert, and then Shump gave it right back to LeBron, who was off to the races. James took flight a step inside the free throw line and soared to the rim for a powerful dunk that got everyone on their feet.

LeBron James dunk

Whether you compare it to Dr. J or Michael Jordan, that certainly was up there. This is definitely my favorite LeBron dunk since the one where he jumped OVER John Lucas.

Also see:
LeBron’s dunk on Jason Terry
– LeBron dunks on Paul Millsap
LeBron throws down alley-oop from Norris Cole

Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe Bryant

Shaq Kobe

Shaq and Kobe did not get along despite their eight seasons together on the LA Lakers that included winning three championships.

Both Shaq and Kobe are Hall of Famers and among the best players ever, so their massive egos led to regular clashes. Their time together as teammates ended when the Lakers traded Shaq to the Heat and chose the younger Bryant as their cornerstone.

We know things got ugly between them such as prior to the 2003-2004 season when they fought in the media, but now we’re hearing just how bad things got.

In an oral history of the ’03-’04 team that lost to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, Lakers PR man John Black talked about the relationship between the Lakers stars and says Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe.

Mostly it was Shaq and Kobe didn’t like each other, but it didn’t affect them on the court. They would say something about the other, on or off the record, but it didn’t become confrontational more than two or three times over the eight years. When Kobe gave the statement to Jim Gray where he went off calling Shaq fat and lazy, that was one of the times. There was one really bad one, early on. Brian Shaw had to pull them apart. Shaq threatened to murder Kobe.

Well dang, that’s pretty serious. Shaq has been accused of hiring hitmen in the past, so we wouldn’t put something like this past him.

What was a big part of the conflict between Kobe and Shaq? Kobe thought Shaq was too lazy and didn’t work hard enough. It probably also upset him that Shaq played a “clown role” on the team, as Phil Jackson said. Kobe called out Shaq for having women on the road and that didn’t sit well with many around the league. It’s no wonder Shaq wanted to kill him.

For more reading on the subject, you will enjoy LBS’ interview with Gary Payton, who was the point guard on that Lakers superteam.

Colin Kaepernick makes insensitive post about Houston floods

Colin Kaepernick hat backwards

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a cringe-worthy lapse in judgment on Tuesday when he made an Instagram post about the deadly floods that have been affecting the Houston area.

Kaepernick shared a photo of cars submerged in water and made a reference to a hashtag that he has been using to talk himself up. He quickly deleted the post, but not before Josh Sanchez of CampusSports.net captured a screenshot:

Colin-Kaepernick-Houston-flood

Here’s what the caption said if you can’t make it out:

“I warned you the #7tormsComing!!! #Houston #prayersup.”

The Niners travel to Houston for their preseason opener on Aug. 15. Kaepernick followed up with a tweet:

The Houston floods killed as many as five people over the weekend and at least a dozen more were still missing as of Tuesday. It’s truly incredible that Kaepernick hit the send button on that post — even if it was only up for a few minutes — without realizing how idiotic it was. He really should stick to defending opposing quarterbacks on Twitter if he wants to create controversy.

H/T Deadspin

50 Cent’s boxing company files for bankruptcy

50-cent-boxing-promotion-company1

50 Cent’s boxing promotional company has filed for bankruptcy, but that does not mean the rapper is exiting the business.

According to TMZ, legal papers show 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut court on May 25. 50 Cent’s company recently put on a fight card in Connecticut on May 15. The papers showed the company had debts of between $100-500K.

An attorney for the company says this is part of a strategy to reorganize the business as a stronger corporation.

While it’s clear 50’s company isn’t taking off the way he envisioned, I don’t think this means he is done. Some companies file for bankruptcy as a strategy to have debts reorganized. This is probably his way of trying to hit the reset button.

50 Cent has been a boxing fan his whole life and used to be best friends with Floyd Mayweather, whose promotional company is thriving. In 2012, Fiddy signed boxers like Andre Dirrell and James Kirkland. Though his company may be in trouble, we doubt Fiddy’s overall finances are hurting, especially if he really placed that $1.6 million bet on Mayweather over Manny Pacquiao.

Joe Horn: Roger Goodell is the devil

Joe Horn BBQ sauce

Former NFL receiver Joe Horn is no fan of Roger Goodell, which isn’t too surprising given that that seems to be the popular public sentiment. But Horn had harsher words for the league commissioner than most.

In an interview with The Football Girl, Horn spoke negatively about Goodell and called him “the devil.”

“I don’t like what Roger Goodell is doing. He has so much power that he can almost shut people down. I just don’t like him. And I don’t like that on draft day these kids don’t know that they’re hugging the devil. I hate to see kids that are lost and then happy but they really don’t know that the man they’re hugging will rip their throat apart. If he has an opportunity to take money from them, or there’s a situation where they’re guilty before they go to court, he’ll rip them apart. And there’s nothing no one can do about it. If the owners are happy with Roger Goodell, the fans, the media, no one can take his job from him. I hate it.”

Horn is upset with the owners for appointing him commissioner and didn’t really have an answer for the players agreeing to terms that gives Goodell as much power as he has.

Keep in mind that Horn used to get into trouble during his playing days and was fined $30,000 for pulling out a cell phone during a game as a touchdown celebration. He also sued the league over head injuries, so he has a lot against them. But would most people disagree with him about Goodell having too much power? Probably not.

Photo: Joe Horn’s BBQ sauce

Buck Showalter takes shot at Dan Jennings over bullpen management

Giancarlo-Stanton-Dan-Jennings

The Miami Marlins have gone 2-6 since general manager Dan Jennings took over as the team’s field manager, and already there have been some questions about decisions he has made.

The Marlins beat the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday to snap an eight-game losing streak and had a pool party to celebrate. Miami ended up taking two of three from the O’s, but Buck Showalter wasn’t impressed with the way his counterpart managed.

“They used what, three guys three days in a row out of the bullpen to get it done?” Showalter said after Sunday’s loss, via Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald. “We’ll see how that works down the road.”

It’s unusual for a manager to criticize an opponent after losing a series, but Showalter apparently feels that Jennings is overusing his bullpen arms. And he isn’t the only opponent to share his opinion. Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale also pointed out what he perceived to be some oversights by Jennings last week.

In a recent interview with former general manager Jim Bowden, Hale was critical of the way Jennings appointed himself as manager.

“I think it’s frustrating in a way for guys who’ve done it,” Hale replied when asked by Bowden about his thoughts on the hiring of Jennings. “I’ve said this before: When you finish playing or get into Major League Baseball on the minor-league level, you say, ‘OK, what do I want to do? OK, I want to manage in the big leagues. What do I have to do? I’m going to bust my hump coaching and teaching and become the best manager at the minor-league level that I can, then get to the big leagues.’ It’s not looking like that track is going to be the way anymore.”

Jennings has no managing experience and hasn’t coached a baseball team in 30 years. No one would be surprised if this turns into more of a circus before the season ends.

Ruben Amaro Jr. rips Phillies fans: ‘They don’t understand the game’

Ruben Amaro JrThe Philadelphia Phillies are once again one of the worst teams in baseball, and their general manager has apparently grown tired of the fans for getting on his case about it.

When asked on Monday if the team is planning to trade any of its veterans and potentially bring up pitching prospects Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin, Ruben Amaro Jr. was quick to point out that the Phillies are not going to rush either player. He then expressed frustration with the fans.

“They don’t understand the game,” Amaro said, per Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “They don’t understand the process. There’s a process. And then they bitch and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That’s the truth.”

Amaro’s overall point was that the team will not be making rash decisions during what is sure to be a third consecutive losing season. However, it is pretty rare for front office executives — especially ones in demanding cities like Philadelphia — to call out fans like that.

On Tuesday, Amaro backpedaled a bit during an interview with Howard Eskin on the 94WIP Morning Show.

“I didn’t say they don’t understand,” he explained. “Some fans don’t understand, it’s not all Philadelphia fans. That was not the purpose of it. It is some fans who think that bringing Efflin and Nola, for instance, to the major leagues at this time is the right thing for the organization. It’s those fans that really quite, don’t know — or bringing young minor league players to the major leagues before it’s time for them to really be ready to reap the benefits of being in the Major League. It’s those fans that really don’t understand.”

Amaro has been known to say things in the heat of the moment that he regrets — just ask Ryan Howard. He should know by now that the fans are not going to stop complaining until the Phillies start winning games. If Amaro can’t handle that, he’s working in the wrong city.

H/T Big League Stew

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