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James Dolan reportedly banned Woody Allen from MSG VIP lounge

Woody AllenWoody Allen is no longer allowed inside a VIP suite in Madison Square Garden after declining a request to do some promotional work for MSG Network, according to a report.

The four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker, whose love affair with New York and the Knicks has been expressed throughout his movie career, has been a regular at “Suite 200″, which is the name of the VIP lounge celebrities hang out in before and during halftime of games. But the New York Post says Allen is no longer welcome in there after declining to do promotion for MSG Network or the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

The Post says MSG bought the rights to some of Allen’s movies and asked him to do some specials for them where he would talk about the movies or introduce them.

“Woody said he would not be comfortable doing that,” The Post quoted a source as saying. “He has never done that for any show or network. They then said that this was a ‘reciprocal arrangement’ and that if Woody couldn’t go on TV for them, he should not eat in their VIP restaurant anymore. Woody said fine and thanked them for the many years he had enjoyed the space there.”

Is anyone really surprised by this? Dolan is the same guy who has his head coach followed and who told his dance team to stop dancing because they were losing. He sounds like a real charmer.

I’d love to see Woody weave this storyline into one of his next movies, but I doubt he will. You know Larry David absolutely would if that happened to him.

Johnny Manziel will make NFL draft announcement before bowl game

Johnny ManzielJohnny Manziel will announce whether he plans to enter the 2014 NFL draft prior to Texas A&M’s bowl game, Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin said on Friday.

Sumlin told ESPN Radio’s “SVP & Russillo” that he hasn’t talked with Manziel about the quarterback’s plans, but he does have a timeline in mind.

“We haven’t had that conversation,” Sumlin told the hosts. “My job is to get him all the facts that we can get him. We’ll have that discussion after the Missouri game, certainly during the bowl preparation. I’m sure the announcement will be made at that time.”

A&M’s last regular-season game is next Nov. 30 at Missouri. Their first possible bowl game would be Dec. 30, though it’s likely they would play later than that.

It’s been expected since the offseason that Manziel would leave for the NFL after the season. His celebrity status made college life difficult, and Manziel struggled with NCAA rules when he allegedly was paid to sign autographs. Keep in mind though, that Manziel’s friends hinted that the quarterback might return to school. Of course, they could have just been messing with fans.

Though he has only played two college seasons, Manziel is draft-eligible because he redshirted his first season and has now been in college for three years. His size and character has given many teams reasons to be concerned, but we have little doubt the Heisman Trophy winner will be a first-round pick when he chooses to leave.

Andy Enfield jabs Steve Alford, Tim Floyd

Andy EnfieldAndy Enfield took some nice jabs at Steve Alford and Tim Floyd while speaking in front of USC Trojans boosters, according to some quotes shared in a Men’s Journal feature about the new USC coach.

Enfield is in his first year as head coach of the Trojans and is trying to build up the basketball program at a football school. The same way UCLA has to compete with USC’s tradition in football, Enfield has to compete with the Bruins’ tradition in basketball. But with Alford as the new head coach at UCLA, Enfield isn’t worried.

“I don’t worry about [UCLA],” Enfield told a group of USC boosters, per Men’s Journal. “I’ve made it to one Sweet Sixteen in two years, and he’s made it to one Sweet Sixteen in 18 years.”

That’s quite the zinger. It’s true, too. Alford’s only Sweet Sixteen appearance came when he was head coach at Southwest Missouri State, not even Iowa or New Mexico. Enfield reached the Sweet Sixteen at Florida Gulf Coast, which raised his profile and made him a candidate for many jobs.

Enfield got the USC job over several other candidates, including Floyd, who was the Trojans’ basketball coach until resigning in 2009. Floyd got in trouble for his star player OJ Mayo taking extra benefits, but he was considered for the Trojans’ vacancy.

Enfield zinged Floyd for being at UTEP now and for claiming that Enfield interfered with one of his recruits.

“Tim Floyd shows up every day at work and realizes he lives in El Paso, Texas,” said Enfield. “And he’s pissed off that he didn’t get the USC job two months ago. I told him, ‘Tim, if I could have all this power to somehow convince a family to do this, why the heck didn’t the kid come last spring, when I first got the job?'”

I liked this Enfield hire when it happened and like it even more now. USC is 4-1 under him but it’s too early to say how this will work out. I just know I love his attitude. Trojans fans just want him to back up all his talk.

Marshall Faulk: Kyle Shanahan would be fired if he had a different last name

Marshall-FaulkRobert Griffin III has taken a lot of criticism over the past week for the way he carried himself after the Washington Redskins lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. Earlier this week, Santana Moss said he would like to see Griffin take more responsibility for himself after RG3 said the Redskins were out-coached and pointed out that his receivers failed to get open. Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk has come to Griffin’s defense.

During Thursday night’s NFL Network pregame show, Faulk said he feels RG3 is not getting the help he needs as a quarterback who is only in his second NFL season.

“This bothers me in so many ways,” Faulk said, via DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg. “I mean, listen, you’re in the huddle with the quarterback. And let’s say the quarterback calls the wrong protection. There needs to be someone in that huddle to know, whoawhoawhoa wait wait wait, we can’t run that protection with that play. Someone needs to know that, to help him out.

“We’re treating RGIII as if he’s a seasoned veteran. This is year two. Not to mention, he didn’t play any preseason. And I’m not making excuses for him, but those type of things don’t make it to the media.”

Griffin reportedly called the wrong protection on the final play against the Redskins, which led to pressure from the Eagles’ defense and a brutal interception. Faulk also questioned head coach Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling.

“Let’s not forget, RG3 is a franchise quarterback, and he needs to be treated like a franchise quarterback,” Faulk said. “And if that means the plays that are being called are not to his liking? Guess what you do. You call the plays that he likes, because he has to run those plays.

“Let’s just say that that guy’s first name was Kyle, and he didn’t have a last name. He’d be fired.”

My opinion? Everyone is right. There are plenty of things wrong with the Redskins, including but not limited to Griffin’s unwillingness to take responsibility, his slow recovery from a second ACL surgery, and the Shanahans’ stubbornness. The best thing the team can do at this point is stop playing the blame game.

Michael Vick: Nick Foles should remain Eagles’ starter

Nick-Foles-EaglesThe Philadelphia Eagles have been a better team with Nick Foles as their starting quarterback this season. Over the past seven games in which he has appeared, Foles has thrown 16 touchdowns and not a single interception. He has successfully put to rest any speculation about a quarterback controversy when Michael Vick is healthy again. Even Vick himself realizes that.

“In all honesty, in all fairness, how can you take a guy out of the game who’s been playing so well?” Vick said Thursday during his weekly appearance on 94 WIP radio, via CSNPhilly.com’s Reuben Frank. “I’ve been in this stage before, and I know what it’s like. I understand the position that this team is in, and the one thing I never want to do is be a distraction or put our team or our coaches in a position where they feel like they’re not doing the right thing or I feel like they’re not doing the right thing.”

Foles has made the decision easy. Many people — myself included — thought Chip Kelly’s offense would be better suited for a running quarterback like Vick. Instead, Foles has proven to be far more effective with his accuracy and ability to connect on the deep ball to DeSean Jackson. The incredible play of LeSean McCoy has also helped open things up.

“I thought Nick went out and put on a great performance against the Redskins,” Vick said. “He went out and did everything the coaches asked him to do, and that’s what you want in a must-win game, and that’s what the magnitude of that game was.

“He can potentially be a starter in this league for a long time. It’s just about timing, as of right now. As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s going to continue to build that case.”

The Eagles have a bye this week, which gives Vick more time to get healthy. It won’t matter, as Foles is in no danger of losing his job against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. Remember all that stuff Marcus Vick said on Twitter when the Eagles struggled against the Dallas Cowboys last month? That was merely a blip on the radar, and Marcus is still an idiot.

Fritz Pollard Alliance wants to end N-word use in NFL

Fritz PollardThe Fritz Pollard Alliance is calling on the NFL to end all use of the N-word by players on the field.

The issue of players using the N-word has received attention recently because of separate events involving Washington Redskins OL Trent Williams and Miami Dolphins OL Richie Incognito.

Williams complained on Sunday that referee Roy Ellison cursed at him during the game. But Williams has been accused of dropping an F-bomb and N-bomb on Ellison to elicit the response. Williams denied doing so.

Incognito is being accused of directing the slur at Jonathan Martin, whom he’s being accused of bullying.

Fritz Pollard was the first African-American coach in the NFL, and the organization has been instrumental encouraging the league to adopt policies such as the Rooney Rule that encourages the hiring of minority candidates.

In response to the aforementioned incidents, the alliance’s director and chair sent a statement calling for the end of the N-word in the NFL. Here is the statement sent by Harry Carson and John Wooten.

“As former players (along with thousands of others) who have worked hard in different eras of the game to leave proud legacies for those who follow us, we are appalled and extremely disappointed to learn that the worst and most derogatory word ever spoken in our country is being used during games as well as casually in the locker room,” the statement reads, per ESPN.

“We are not asking players to point fingers or to report who said what when. We are simply asking that you respect the dignity of your teammates, fellow players, officials, coaches, fans, and yourselves. Most importantly, we ask that you respect every man who has worn the uniform but especially those men who helped make the National Football League what it is today and have made it possible for you to follow in their footsteps.”

The statement mentions former players who were called that name in a derogatory fashion.

Per ESPN, the Alliance has called for the league to eject and fine players who use the word on the field.

Peter Gammons compares Alex Rodriguez to Boston Marathon bombers (Audio)

Peter-GammonsPeter Gammons is one of the most respected media personalities in baseball, but he made a comment on Thursday that he likely already regrets. When discussing the Alex Rodriguez saga with ESPN Radio’s Mike Lupica, Gammons referenced the Boston Marathon bombings.

“I’ve had people with the Yankees say this to me, he is just — he wants to blow up the world. You know, he’s like the marathon bombers,” he said, according to CBS Boston. “It’s just, he’s going to get them.”

Gammons made the remark in response to a question about what Rodriguez is looking to accomplish by storming out of his arbitration hearing and launching an attack on Bud Selig’s credibility. It is unclear if the 68-year-old was saying people with the Yankees have compared A-Rod to the Marathon bombers or if he was making the comparison himself. Either way, it was in poor taste. Here’s the audio, courtesy of Awful Announcing:

The point Gammons was trying to make is that A-Rod is determined to take down Selig and Major League Baseball. The problem is we’re talking about sports. The alleged Marathon bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers, killed three spectators during the Boston Marathon, inured 250 others and later murdered a police officer.

If Gammons came up with the comparison on his own, he made a huge mistake. If it was someone else’s thought that he was simply passing along, that is still a very regrettable lapse in judgment. Expect some sort of apology before the end of the day.

UPDATE: As expected, Gammons has issued several apologies on Twitter. One of them looked like this: