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Josh Gordon appeal denied, one-year suspension upheld

Josh GordonCleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended for the entire 2014 season. The suspension ruling was officially upheld on Wednesday after a long appeal process.

“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,” Gordon said in a statement. “I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn’t exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff.”

Gordon had maintained that he failed his most recent drug test because of second-hand marijuana smoke. His attorneys also argued that a significant flaw in the NFL’s testing process resulted in Gordon testing positive. That argument is broken down in more detail here.

Gordon was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season after testing positive for using codeine syrup as a recreational drug. He was then placed in the NFL’s Stage III drug program and has since had to pass 10 drug tests per month. The 23-year-old was also arrested for driving while under the influence in July, two months after his failed marijuana test.

Josh Shaw mentioned in burglary report; injuries result of incident with girlfriend

Josh Shaw USC

Josh Shaw’s name was mentioned in a burglary report taken nearby the USC campus in downtown Los Angeles, according to a report from TMZ, and another report says his injuries stemmed from an incident with his girlfriend.

Shaw, a senior cornerback and team captain, suffered two sprained ankles on Saturday night and told USC the injuries occurred when he jumped off a second-floor balcony at an apartment complex in Palmdale to save a 7-year-old nephew who was drowning in a swimming pool. USC, which publicized the story on its website, began investigating the story Tuesday after receiving phone calls contradicting Shaw’s account.

Palmdale police told Larry Brown Sports they reviewed all records from 2:00 p.m.-on Saturday and did not see Shaw’s name mentioned in any incident, while LAPD similarly did not find records of anything involving Shaw.

“We’ve got no record of us having a run in with him. That’s not to say something didn’t happen. We have no record of anything happening.”

But a report from TMZ contradicts that.

TMZ says someone called police to report a suspicious person “shimmying” down the side of a building in downtown LA, nearby the USC campus. That tipster gave police a description of the suspicious person. Police went to the building and spoke to a woman who lives in the building. The woman they spoke to said the description of the suspicious person seemed to match a description of Shaw, whom she identified as her boyfriend.

The police decided to record the phone call as a burglary report even though nothing was reported as stolen. Police later spoke to Shaw, who denied ever being at the building.

One Twitter rumor was that Shaw was involved in a domestic incident and jumped off the third floor to avoid police. Based on this report, it’s possible Shaw had an incident with his girlfriend, jumped off the third floor, and was “shimmying” down the side of the building as the witness said.

The LA Daily News’ Scott Wolf also reports that Shaw’s injury stemmed from an incident involving his girlfriend.

Pete Rose screwed up his reinstatement plan from Bud Selig

Pete Rose jacket

Pete Rose had a reinstatement plan set up for him by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, but a book he put out in March derailed those plans, so says Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

Schmidt, who has lobbied for his former teammate many times in the past, wrote a column for the Associated Press Sunday in which he argued for Rose’s reinstatement by Major League Baseball. Schmidt defends Rose, argues that a bad entourage got to the Hit King regarding the gambling, and ultimately says he wants Rose’s name to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot.

One thing to come out of Schmidt’s column that I previously was not aware of is that Selig actually had a reinstatement plan for Rose that was ruined when Charlie Hustle put out a recent book.

From Schdmit’s column:

Following Pete’s apologetic admittance to gambling after 14 years of denial, Commissioner Selig seemed in a cooperative and forgiving mood, actually helping to map out an itinerary for Pete’s possible reinstatement.

Over the following few months, things went sour, as did the commissioner’s attitude.

Pete’s penchant for bad decisions and relationships, plus a need for money, caused a premature book release in New York, which conflicted with the Hall of Fame election news conference. This was a direct hit to baseball and couldn’t have come at a worse time for Pete.

Commissioner Selig never returned to this issue with the same attitude he had that day in Milwaukee, and the Rose case file hasn’t been opened since.

I’m trying to piece together the timeline laid out by Schmidt here. The publication date of the recent Rose book, “Pete Rose an American Dilemma,” is March 11, 2014. The first review I saw for it was Jan. 12, 2014. The results of the 2014 Hall of Fame class voting were announced on Jan. 8, 2014. Seems like Rose had his book reviewed around the same time the Hall of Fame class was announced.

We don’t know all the details of the situation between Selig and Rose. Selig recently said he still has five months to think about reinstating Rose before his tenure as MLB commissioner ends. It seems like he is more than open to the possibility of reinstating Rose, but Pete just can’t get out of his own way. For younger fans, I imagine this is not too dissimilar from working with Jose Canseco, who we all know can be extremely flaky. I still bet Selig reinstates Rose for his last act as commissioner.

Kobe sent LeBron a great text message in 2010

Kobe Bryant LeBron James

Kobe Bryant’s incredibly competitive spirit was on full display in a text message he sent LeBron James during the infamous summer of 2010.

The summer of 2010 was the one where LeBron left Cleveland for Miami to form a Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Prior to James announcing his decision, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the MVP’s future.

Would he stay in Cleveland? Would he go to the Knicks? Would he consider the Lakers? The Heat weren’t even in the picture according to most insiders.

Regardless of where LeBron chose to go, Kobe had a warning for him.

According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, Kobe sent the following awesome text to LeBron that summer:

“Go ahead and get another MVP, if you want. And find the city you want to live in. But we’re going to win the championship. Don’t worry about it.”

Does it get more Kobe Bryant than that?

[Also see: Kobe and LeBron trade trash talk on Christmas 2010]

Despite his bravado, Bryant couldn’t have been more wrong about the message he sent LeBron.

Though the Lakers had just won the title — their second in a row (LeBron won NBA MVP both seasons) — James led his Heat to the NBA Finals each of the next four seasons. The Mavs won the title the next season, and then LeBron got his rings — two in a row — before the Spurs ending that streak in June. The Lakers haven’t been back to the Finals since Kobe sent that message.

[Related: Kobe tells LeBron one ring is not enough]

I’m not a Kobe fan, but you have to admire his competitive spirit. That guy is oozing with confidence and belief in himself and his teammates. His drive, desire and will to win have helped him win five NBA titles.

That story about the text message came as part of a cool article Ding wrote on “untold stories” about Kobe. I suggest you check out the entire thing for more nice Kobe stories.

Floyd Mayweather reading radio promos didn’t go well (Audio)

Floyd Mayweather honey coffeeRemember Thursday when 50 Cent had some fun with former best buddy Floyd Mayweather Jr. by challenging the boxer to read a page of Harry Potter? The rapper said he would donate big money to charity — $750,000 — if Floyd could read a page of the book without struggling. Now we know why he said that.

A show called “The Breakfast Club” on Power 105.1 FM realized that they had some audio of Floyd reading and played it on Friday. The audio shows Mayweather trying to read some promos/liners for the station.

Based on listening to the audio, Floyd really struggles to read the liner and has to start and stop multiple times. It sounds like he has a very low reading level and/or might have a learning disability.

Keep in mind a few things — Mayweather grew up with a boxing education and probably did not have much of an emphasis on schooling. His mother was a drug addict, his aunt died from AIDS due to drugs and his dad went to prison after being caught smuggling drugs. Floyd dropped out of high school to focus on boxing.

“I knew that I was going to have to try to take care of my mom and I made the decision that school wasn’t that important at the time and I was going to have to box to earn a living,” Mayweather told the New York Daily News in 2007.

Mayweather may struggle to read, and that can be a source of humor for many people because it’s one area where we can proclaim we’re better than the wealthy world champion boxer, but don’t let this audio fool you into thinking that Floyd is a dummy. He’s not the smartest guy, but he sure is one heck of a businessman. He’s a very sharp businessman.

Maybe being embarrassed by his inability to read will lead Floyd to work on his education when he’s done boxing.

H/T Jocks and Stiletto Jill

Neil Everett angry with ESPN over lack of Jason Bitsko death coverage (Video)

ESPN on-air personality Neil Everett took a very brief but very blatant shot at his employer during Thursday morning’s edition of SportsCenter. Everett was clearly upset over the lack of coverage ESPN gave to Jason Bitsko, the 21-year-old Kent State football player who was found dead in his off-campus apartment on Wednesday.

Bitsko, who received an award during this year’s spring game for “exemplifying hard work and dedication,” passed away from an undetermined medical condition. His death has already had a huge impact on the Kent State community, but ESPN dedicated just 30 seconds of coverage to Bitsko. This did not sit well with Everett.

“You know, guys like Bitsko don’t get headlines,” Everett quipped. “Those go to (Johnny) Manziel not starting in Cleveland and (Braxton) Miller unable to play in Ohio.

Point taken. Everett has been with ESPN for nearly 15 years, but I’m sure the World Wide Leader is not going to appreciate him basically bashing the network to its own audience. That doesn’t mean he was wrong.

Neil-Everett-Jason-Bitsko

Video via Cork Gaines

Steelers RBs LeGarrette Blount and Le’Veon Bell arrested together for weed

LeGarrette Blount Le'Veon Bell

LeGarrette Blount and Le’Veon Bell are such good teammates they even get arrested together.

Blount, who was signed in the offseason by the Steelers, and Bell, who was a second-round pick of the team in 2013, were stopped after a cop on a motorcycle smelled weed coming from their car.

The officer found a 20-gram bag of marijuana in the car. Both players were charged with misdemeanor possession, while Bell was also charged with DUI.

Last week, Bell talked about his close relationship with Blount. The two were described as “virtually inseparable” during training camp.

“I’m a guy who likes being around that type of personality. I’m an emotional guy, too,” Bell told Pittsburgh reproter Dejan Kovasevic. “It’s kind of crazy, but from the first day he got here, we just kind of jelled. We’re kind of the same. We’re both outgoing. We both joke a lot. And he’s really emotional about the game, same way I am. I’m telling you, man, I’m glad he’s here.”

He omitted the part about them being smoking buddies, too.