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#pounditSaturday, August 13, 2022

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Internet sleuth argues Kyler Murray plays worse on big video game weekends

Kyler Murray in shoulder pads

Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Houston Texans in the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kyler Murray is known for being a gamer both on and off the field. The Arizona Cardinals star is a big fan of video games, and many believe that is why the team wanted a clause in Murray’s new contract to assure that the star quarterback is working hard enough. One internet sleuth has taken that to the next level.

Someone supposedly conducted a statistical analysis that shows how Murray plays on weekends where the popular “Call of Duty” video game offers what are known as “Double XP” events. “XP” stands for experience points and is basically the game’s ranking system. According to the analysis, Murray plays worse on weekends where “Call of Duty” offers XP bonuses.

The implication is that Murray spends too much time playing “Call of Duty” those weekends and his play suffers because of it.

This sounds a lot like the time a Reddit user put together a statistical analysis arguing that James Harden plays worse in cities that are known for having a big strip club scene. Both theories are equal parts farfetched and insanely fun.

The clause in Murray’s contract stated that he had to put in four hours of independent study per week during the season. That language has since been removed after it became the biggest story of the offseason.

Lawsuit reveals major bombshell about Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson gives a thumbs up

May 23, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson gives a thumbs up to the fans while walking on the 2nd hole fairway during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson was among the golfers who were suspended by the PGA Tour back in June after he took part in the first LIV Golf event, but it turns out he had already been banned by the Tour for months at that point.

A group of LIV golfers filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday. One of the claims made in the suit is that Mickelson was suspended by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on March 22 for “attempting to recruit players to join [LIV Golf],” among other supposed violations. The suspension was supposed to be for two months, but Mickelson was not granted reinstatement when he applied for it on June 20.

According to the lawsuit, the Tour told Mickelson he was banned through at least March 31, 2023 when he first applied for reinstatement. The suspension was then extended through March 31, 2024 after the 52-year-old took part in the LIV Golf event in Portland on June 30.

Mickelson stepped away from golf voluntarily earlier this year. He apologized after he was criticized for some of his comments about working with the Saudi-backed LIV league. He was then suspended along with his fellow golfers when the PGA Tour made its initial ruling in June. However, this is the first we have heard about Mickelson or anyone else being banned for a minimum of nearly two years.

LIV golfers file antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson in golf gear

May 22, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson reacts on the first green during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

A group of LIV golfers is taking major action against the PGA Tour in a bid to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs beginning next week.

Eleven members of LIV Golf, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday, according to Louise Radnofsky and Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal. Three of the plaintiffs — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones — are seeking a temporary restraining order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that would allow them to take part in next week’s FedEx Cup event, which all three had qualified for prior to their defections to LIV.

The Tour is reportedly expected to respond by defending its practices and arguing that the plaintiffs do not face a real emergency, had been aware of the situation for some time, and would be costing other golfers opportunities by insisting on their participation.

This does not come as a surprise, as LIV had indicated for some time that legal proceedings were an inevitability if the PGA Tour followed through on excluding LIV golfers from major events. Once the Tour followed through on that threat by suspending all defectors, this was only a matter of time.

The controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit has attracted a number of top players, partly by offering substantially more money and more luxurious accommodations to those who join. The Tour has responded by attempting to block any defectors from participating in Tour events and established majors.

Dodgers icon Vin Scully dies at age 94

Vin Scully holds a mic

Oct 25, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers former broadcaster Vin Scully before game two of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Legendary sports announcer and longtime voice of the Dodgers Vin Scully has died at the age of 94.

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the news about Scully on Tuesday.

The Dodgers changed their Twitter background to a photo of Scully and changed their Twitter icon to an image of a microphone and “VIN” written above it.

Scully began broadcasting with the Dodgers in 1950 when they were in Brooklyn. He was only 22 years old at the time. He continued as an announcer for the Dodgers all the way until 2016, when he retired at the age of 88.

Scully’s 67 years with the team is the longest ever tenure by a broadcaster with a single team. He and Tommy Lasorda, who spent 69 years with the Dodgers, became the longtime faces of the franchise. They also doubled as ambassadors for the game of baseball.

Not only was Scully the longtime broadcaster of the Dodgers, but he also called games nationally for NBC and CBS Radio. He announced golf, football and tennis on various TV networks during his broadcasting prime.

Even as he aged into his late-80s, Scully still called a game as well as few others. He was a glorious storyteller, adding a mixture of humor and history. He also had incredible timing that he developed over his decades as a broadcaster.

Scully called sports with grace and class, and his voice and tones were unbelievably pleasant.

He was known for beginning Dodgers telecasts with his signature phrase, “it’s time for Dodger baseball,” and for wishing viewers a “very pleasant good afternoon, wherever you may be.”

When he signed off in 2016 for the final time, these were Scully’s last words:

“You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart that I’ve always needed you more than you’ve ever needed me, and I’ll miss our time together more than I can say. But you know what? There will be a new day and eventually a new year. And when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, rest assured, once again it will be ‘time for Dodger baseball. So this is Vin Scully wishing you a very pleasant good afternoon, wherever you may be.”

Like millions of others throughout the years, I grew up listening to Vin call Dodgers games. Nobody did it better. I’ll never forget how smooth and pleasant he was as an announcer, and I’ll always fondly remember his annual history lessons, especially on June 6 when he would share stories about D-Day.

Vin was the best.

Dolphins hit with huge penalties for tampering with Tom Brady, Sean Payton

Stephen Ross in a jacket

Sep 26, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross reacts during the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have been hit with a series of penalties for violating the integrity of the game and tampering, the NFL announced Tuesday.

The league announced that the Dolphins have been stripped of their 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick over tampering violations that commissioner Roger Goodell said were “of unprecedented scope and severity.” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was also suspended through Oct. 17. banned from league meetings until 2023, and fined $1.5 million.

An investigation by the league found that the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games in 2019. However, owner Stephen Ross frequently made comments about prioritizing draft position over the team’s record to senior executives, which led then-coach Brian Flores to express concerns to management. Once Flores did so, the NFL said Ross stopped making the remarks.

The most damning findings, however, involved multiple tampering violations over several years involving both Tom Brady and Sean Payton. The NFL said the Dolphins had “impermissible communications” with Brady dating back to 2019, when he was still a member of the Patriots. This happened again in 2021, with the Dolphins discussing a potential executive role with Brady and his agent, which also included the possibility of playing for the team. Ross was directly involved in these discussions, according to the investigation.

The league also revealed that the Dolphins had spoken with Payton in January about becoming the team’s head coach without receiving permission from the New Orleans Saints. These discussions took place just before Payton stepped down as coach of the Saints, and before New Orleans officially denied the Dolphins’ request to speak to Payton.

The NFL investigation essentially confirms numerous stories claiming that the Dolphins had tried to recruit Brady multiple times in some high-ranking role, and also tried to make Payton head coach earlier this year.

The investigation did not confirm the most significant allegations made by Flores, and that one widely-reported comment was made in jest. The ultimate finding there is that while the Dolphins certainly prioritized draft position, they did not intentionally tank.

Report: 3 teams are finalists for Juan Soto trade

Juan Soto smiling in the dugout

Jun 11, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) stands in the dugout during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto appears likely to land with one of three teams by the end of the day Tuesday, according to a report.

The Washington Nationals are increasingly likely to trade the star outfielder to one of three finalists, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. The San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Dodgers are the teams still in the mix.

Though there was widespread speculation about some other teams, including the Yankees and Mets, the rumor mill has clearly settled around these three. The Padres and Cardinals have been frequently linked to Soto since it was clear the Nationals were willing to trade him. The Dodgers appear to have become more interested recently.

The 23-year-old Soto is available, albeit for a huge prospect haul. That price seems to be giving at least one team problems. However, it’s likely someone will give in on the price to get Soto before the day is out.

Judge forcing Deshaun Watson to make 1 major massage change

Deshaun Watson at the Pro Bowl

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson (4) during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The former federal judge who served as the disciplinary officer in the Deshaun Watson case is telling the quarterback to make one major change.

Former judge Sue L. Robinson on Monday shared her recommended punishment for Watson. She is calling for a 6-game suspension for the Cleveland Browns quarterback. Robinson found that Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy “in three different ways: non-violent sexual assault; posing a danger to safety and well-being of another; undermining the integrity of the NFL.” Robinson determined her discipline based on the testimony of the four alleged victims who spoke with the NFL.

In addition to calling for a six-game suspension for Watson, Robinson says the team for whom Watson plays must have a role in his future message/therapy sessions.

Robinson’s ruling tells Watson to limit his massages to club-directed sessions and club-approved therapists for the duration of his career.

Watson developed a pattern of seeking massages from women whom he often contacted through social media. He then allegedly put many of them in uncomfortable positions by trying to receive sexual activity from the women.

Watson has since settled most of the sexual misconduct lawsuits he faced. He was investigated by two grand juries in Texas but not charged.

Though not formally disciplined last season, Watson did not play at all in 2021 while with the Texans. Now he is scheduled to be suspended the first six games of 2022 unless the NFL appeals Robinson’s decision. The league has three days to appeal.

Deshaun Watson gets six-game suspension from NFL

Deshaun Watson at a press conference

Mar 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks with the media during a press conference at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

An independent arbitrator has recommended a six-game suspension for Deshaun Watson over sexual assault allegations.

Arbitrator Sue L. Robinson ruled that Watson should be suspended six games for violations of the league’s personal conduct policy. The Cleveland Browns quarterback will not face any additional fine, but will be required to receive massages from team-approved masseuses only.

The NFL does have the right to appeal the length of the suspension. It is unclear if it will do so, but according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, it had been seeking an indefinite suspension.

Previous reports indicated that Watson would aggressively fight an indefinite suspension.

As things stand, Watson will play the majority of games in 2022 and will also be clear to take part in the playoffs, should the Browns make it that far. From the player’s perspective, this is an outcome he and his camp should be very pleased by.

Watson was accused of inappropriate behavior during massages by 24 masseuses who filed civil suits against the quarterback. The vast majority of Watson’s accusers have settled out of court. The NFL narrowed its focus to five of those cases when considering potential discipline for Watson.

NFLPA hints they are expecting short suspension for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The NFLPA dropped a hint on Sunday night that they are expecting a small punishment for Deshaun Watson.

Former federal judge Sue Robinson was appointed the disciplinary officer for the Watson matter. Robinson reportedly told both the NFL and NFLPA that her decision about the discipline will come on Monday.

Ahead of the anticipated announcement, the NFLPA issued a statement. Their statement calls for both sides to accept Robinson’s decision.

“In advance of Judge Robinson’s decision, we wanted to reiterate the facts of this proceeding,” the statement began. “First, we have fully cooperated with every NFL inquiry and provided the NFL with the most comprehensive set of information for any personal conduct policy investigation. A former Federal Judge – appointed jointly by the NFLPA and NFL – held a full and fair hearing, has read thousands of pages of investigative documents and reviewed arguments from both sides impartially.

“Every player, owner, business partner and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legitimate and will not be tarnished based on the whims of the League office. This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.”

That seems very much like a strong, preemptive strike by the NFLPA.

Why would they aggressively come out and tell the NFL to accept Robinson’s penalty if they didn’t have a hint that it was going to be very favorable to the Browns quarterback? Both sides have the opportunity to appeal Robinson’s decision to the commissioner, which explains why the NFLPA wants the league to accept the discipline.

Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that there are some expectations the suspension will be between 2-8 games.

NBA legend Bill Russell dead at 88

Bill Russell giving a speech

Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; NBA legend Bill Russell speaks during a special tribute to him during the 2014 NBA All-Star Game Legends Brunch at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NBA icon Bill Russell died Sunday at the age of 88, his family announced.

In a statement posted on social media, Russell’s family said the Boston Celtics icon died peacefully Sunday at the age of 88 with his wife Jeannine by his side. Details regarding a memorial service will be announced “soon.”

Russell is regarded as one of the finest basketball players ever and one of the sport’s greatest winners. He won 11 NBA titles with the Celtics, two of which came in a player-coach role. He also won two NCAA championships with San Francisco in 1955 and 1956. He did some broadcasting work following his playing career, but was best known for his social activism after his retirement from the sport. He also had a good sense of humor judging by his “comeback attempt” a little over a year ago.

The NBA recognized Russell as a member of the league’s 75th Anniversary team last year. The NBA Finals MVP award is also named after him.