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Danny Davis: Shaun White losing is good for snowboarding

Shaun-WhiteShaun White turned in a disappointing performance in the men’s halfpipe event at the Winter Olympics on Tuesday. The stage was set perfectly for the gold medal favorite, as he was the last boarder to ride in the final round. White’s score of 90.25 was not enough to earn a medal. Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov took home the gold.

While many Americans felt that White’s performance was a letdown, fellow US snowboarder Danny Davis saw it as a positive.

“You know it’s good for snowboarding, man,” Davis said, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. “The world knows now that there are other snowboarders besides Shaun. It’s great, man, because there are a bunch of good riders in our sport and they deserve some credit, too.”

Davis, who finished 10th after wiping out twice, also thought the judges did White a favor by giving him a high enough score to finish fourth.

“Well, fourth was a gift, first of all,” Davis said.

White failed to land one of his tricks, which usually makes it incredibly difficult to score above a 90. His name may have contributed to the score, but White is proud of what he has done for the sport of snowboarding.

“I think I have affected a lot of people,” he said. “People who had never seen the sport before … I always want to be more than just a snowboard. This is a big part of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am.”

White is to snowboarding as Tiger Woods is to golf. Golf was not nearly as popular among the younger generation before Tiger came along. Now, Woods is struggling to win tournaments because the people who grew up idolizing him are keeping pace with him on the course. White has grown the sport of snowboarding, which means he faces more competition now than ever. That was evident in Sochi.

LeBron James: I will be one of the top four players in NBA history

LeBron James trophiesLeBron James confidently believes that he will be one of the top four players in NBA history by the time he’s done with his career. He’s so confident about his place in history he says historians will have to make a place for him on the metaphorical “Mount Rushmore” of NBA greats.

NBA TV on Tuesday rolled out another promotional clip from LeBron’s interview with Steve Smith. The previous clip was LeBron admitting he had some doubts in his first season with the Miami Heat. In this one, LeBron was asked to name his Mount Rushmore.

LeBron put Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson on there, and then named Oscar Robertson as his fourth player. I’m pretty surprised he left Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain off the list, but that’s his call. Anyway, the good part isn’t who LeBron included on his list, but how he believes he fits in.

Smith asked if LeBron believes he’ll be up there with those players when his career is over.

“Yeah. Because I’m going to be one of the top four who’s ever played this game. For sure. If they don’t want me to have one of those top four spots, they better find another spot on there. Somebody gotta get bumped.”

When asked who he’d bump off the list, LeBron didn’t have an answer.

“That’s not for me to decide. That’s for the architects to decide.”

Again, I think it’s pretty tough to do a top four list and leave Wilt and Kareem off, but that’s all opinion. I do think LeBron is going to win at least two more championships and will undoubtedly have the resume to go down with the game’s greats when all is said and done.

Kent State wrestler Sam Wheeler suspended for homophobic Michael Sam tweets

Kent State wrestler Sam Wheeler was suspended indefinitely on Monday in the wake of a series of homophobic tweets he sent about Michael Sam. After Sam decided to publicly come out as gay on Sunday evening, Wheeler took to Twitter to remind everyone that opinions are sometimes best kept to yourself.

Wheeler has since deactivated his Twitter account, but KentWired.com shared a screenshot of some of the incredibly inappropriate comments he made.

Sam-Wheeler-Michael-Sam-tweets

Kent State acted quickly to suspend the sophomore, who is one of the better athletes on the team and has compiled a 26-5 record last season.

“On behalf of Kent State University, we consider these comments to be ignorant and not indicative of the beliefs held by our university community as a whole,” Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen said in a statement on Monday. “This is an educational opportunity for all of our student-athletes.”

Wheeler can think whatever he wants, but plastering it all over Twitter is just plain childish. Unfortunately, he’s not the only athlete who has said idiotic things about Sam. We’re glad there were immediate consequences for him.

H/T Thunder Treats via The Big Lead

Richard Petty: Danica Patrick will only win if she races by herself

danica-patrickSome would argue that it is only a matter of time before 31-year-old Danica Patrick becomes the first ever woman to win a NASCAR race. Patrick became the first woman to win the pole at Daytona last year and went on to finish eighth, which was the only top-10 finish of her career. Legendary stock car driver Richard Petty can’t envision it getting much better than that.

During an interview with Norris McDonald at the Canadian Motorsports Expo on Sunday, Petty was asked if he thinks Patrick will ever find herself celebrating on Victory Lane.

“(Only) if everybody else stayed home,” he said, via the Canadian website Wheels. “If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track. This is a female deal that’s driving her. There’s nothing wrong with that, because that’s good PR for me. More fans come out, people are more interested in it. She has helped to draw attention to the sport, which helps everybody in the sport.”

The 76-year-old Petty is a part owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, so any attention the sport receives can be seen as a positive for him. Petty’s son Kyle had even harsher criticism of Patrick last year when he called her a “marketing machine” but said she will never be a race car driver.

For whatever reason, the Pettys don’t seem to like or respect Danica. I’m sure those feelings are mutual.

Donte’ Stallworth gives great take on Michael Sam situation

Michael Sam MissouriFormer NFL wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth took to Twitter on Monday to share his thoughts on the Michael Sam situation. Since Sam decided to publicly come out as gay on Sunday night, many have questioned whether his open homosexuality would create a distraction for NFL teams or a problem in the locker room.

On Monday, Herm Edwards and his fellow ESPN analysts debated whether general managers, owners and coaches would be able to handle the media attention that might come with drafting Sam. Stallworth had a longwinded response in a series of Tweets that is worth reading.

[Read more...]

Seahawks fans’ noise caused safety on first play of Super Bowl

Seahawks Broncos safety

Seattle Seahawks fans have gained a well-deserved reputation for being some of the best and noisiest fans in the NFL. A lot of that has been attributed to the structure and design of CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks play their home games. But if you believe that C-Link Field is the sole reason for the Seahawks having a homefield advantage, you’re definitely not giving the fans enough credit.

Seahawks fans are so good that they traveled to the Super Bowl in New Jersey and made enough noise to cause the Denver Broncos to have a miscommunication that led to a safety on the first play of the game.

There were questions immediately after the game about what led to the safety. Broncos center Manny Ramirez initially blamed Peyton Manning before saying it was his fault.

Thanks to NFL Films’ “Sound FX,” we now know it was the fans that created the problem.

“I called the snap count, you didn’t hear me,” Manning told Ramirez as he was jogging off the field, as pointed out by Shutdown Corner.

“We gotta go to the silent count,” Manning said twice to offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

The reaction from head coach John Fox was an interesting one.

“Little louder than we thought, huh?” Fox said into his headset with a smile.

Fox didn’t seem to be worried and probably just figured that was one minor hitch they’d be able to overcome. Boy was he wrong.

Manning even seem unconcerned at that point in the game.

“I called the cadence,” Manning said with a chuckle. “Couldn’t hear anything.”

Manning then admitted that they should have started with a silent snap count.

The safety was obviously one of the most notable plays of the game because it’s so rare that you see a team — particularly as one as sharp as the Broncos — screw up that badly on the first play when they’ve had two weeks of preparation. The play also set the tone for a Seahawks blowout that Denver never saw coming.

If you watched the Sound FX video, you would have seen that the Broncos still were extremely confident, and almost arrogant, that early in the game. I’m sure the mood on the sidelines changed pretty quickly after they saw how stingy Seattle’s defense was.

Michael Sam had a boyfriend in college

Michael Sam interviewMichael Sam was confident enough to become the first high-level football player to come out as gay, so it’s not too surprising to learn that he was comfortable enough to have a boyfriend while in college.

Though Sam only officially came out to his Missouri football team last August, he says people around campus knew he was gay because he had a boyfriend and didn’t hide it.

“I actually dated someone in college,” Sam told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” in an interview. “I wasn’t hiding it, but I didn’t come out either. And people were just like, ‘OK, Michael Sam is gay.’ I wasn’t hiding my relationship with him, but finally coming out to the team made it official.”

Sam explained what it was like to have a boyfriend in college.

“It was new. It was different. I had never dated a guy before and it was my first time dating a guy. It felt right. I know what I want, I know that I can have a relationship now with a man. We went out in public, we had dinners together, movies, holding hands. I felt comfortable, it felt right. If someone has a problem with it, then they just have to deal with that.”

Sam was also asked in his interview with “Outside the Lines” what it’s like being a gay player in the locker room and whether that would be an issue like some heterosexual players believe. He says locker rooms are professional workplaces and that his sexuality shouldn’t be an issue.

“My teammates accepted me. We showered in the locker rooms together. There was never a problem. It’s a business workplace and we have to act professional. I’ve never been attracted to my teammates because I don’t want that problem. So (the guy) I had a relationship with wasn’t a football player. It was an athlete, but it wasn’t a football player because I didn’t want any problems in the locker room.

“Hopefully it will be the same like my locker room. It’s a workplace. I didn’t have any problems with any scrutiny in my locker room. If you’ve ever been in a Division I or pro locker room, it’s a business place, you want to act professional.”

Though Sam seems to be taking a mature and respectful approach to answering many of the questions about him fitting in in the locker room, there is one thing that bothers him.

“People will talk about the stereotype of gays being in the locker room. To me I think that it’s a little stereotyped that gays are predators. That’s very offensive.”

The good news for him is that it seems like only the minority of players view gay athletes as predators. It seems like many are accepting of someone who is gay, or at least will be indifferent, which would also help him blend in.