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#pounditFriday, April 16, 2021


Video appears to show Aaron Donald trying to break up fight

Aaron Donald

An attorney representing Aaron Donald said on Friday that the Los Angeles Rams star actually tried to help the man who accused him of assault, and video footage appears to support that claim.

A man named De Vincent Spriggs filed assault charges against Donald earlier this week after he says Donald attacked him outside a Pittsburgh nightclub early Sunday morning. Spriggs’ face was left badly injured following the incident.

Donald’s lawyer, Casey White, told media outlets on Friday that Donald actually saved Spriggs from further injury. White said police have reviewed video footage and agree that it does not show Donald assaulting Spriggs. You can see a portion of the video below, which appears to show Donald trying to break up the melee:

White acknowledged that Spriggs’ injuries came from people who acted in defense of Donald, as he says Spriggs previously swung a bottle at the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and hit him in the head. The lawyer also said five witnesses have confirmed that Donald did not attack Spriggs.

While the photo of Spriggs’ injuries shows he clearly was assaulted in some way, Donald appears to have a fairly strong case. It would not be a surprise if the charges against him are dismissed.

Photo: The 61st Contingency Response Wing/Flickr via CC-by-S.A. 2.0

Aaron Donald’s attorney shares much different side of alleged assault story

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald was accused of assaulting a man at a Pittsburgh bar over the weekend, but the attorney representing Donald says the victim in the attack should actually be thanking the Los Angeles Rams star.

A man named De Vincent Spriggs filed criminal assault charges against Donald on Monday after he claims Donald attacked him and injured him outside a nightclub early Sunday morning. Spriggs’ lawyer provided a photo that showed Spriggs’ face badly swollen, but Donald’s attorney says his client did not inflict the injuries.

Donald’s lawyer, Casey White, told 97.3 The Fan on Friday that the reigning Defensive Player of the Year actually saved Spriggs from further injury. White says the incident began after Spriggs began aggressively jabbing Donald in the back with his elbow at a party. Other people at the party took Spriggs outside, and he again encountered Donald and Donald’s brother when they were leaving. Donald says Spriggs began walking at him and yelling while holding something in his hand, which Donald initially thought was a gun. It turned out to be a bottle, which Donald says Spriggs swung at him.

A fight then broke out, and White says Donald tried to pull people away from Spriggs. The lawyer acknowledged that Spriggs’ injuries came from friends who came to Donald’s defense while Donald was restrained.

“Aaron then breaks free from the restraints … he then goes to the pile where this melee is taking place and he starts tearing people off, protecting Mr. Spriggs,” White said. “He actually saves Mr. Spriggs from further injury.”

White says there is video evidence that proves Donald did not attack Spriggs. Five witnesses also said Donald was not the aggressor. The attorney says police have the footage and contacted White on Friday morning to tell him they “agree thus far that there is no evidence from that video that shows Donald assaulting the victim.”

“There’s not much else left to do to be honest with you because he’s not assaulted by Aaron Donald, he’s actually saved by Aaron Donald,” White added. “Mr. Spriggs should write a thank you card to Aaron Donald.”

Even if Donald is not charged, the NFL will conduct its own investigation. He could face disciplinary action, depending upon what his role was in the incident.

Donald is widely considered the best defensive player in the NFL and has been named Defensive Player of the Year in three of the past four seasons. The 29-year-old was extremely emotional after the Rams lost to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, as you can see here.

Photo: The 61st Contingency Response Wing/Flickr via CC-by-S.A. 2.0

Packers passed on big addition due to Aaron Rodgers contract?

Aaron Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers have had a quiet offseason, but there’s some question over who’s to blame for that.

The Packers have limited themselves mostly to re-signing current players, including running back Aaron Jones. They have not made any major additions, though quarterback Aaron Rodgers might want them to.

NFL reporter Tyler Dunne said recently that he had heard talk that the Packers would have been willing to make the sort of big addition Rodgers would like. However, Rodgers’ refusal to restructure his contract has left them stuck, and they are instead facing the narrative that they are not trying hard enough to appease the quarterback.

This is in line with another report we heard recently. The organization definitely appears to be somewhat frustrated with the narrative that they’re the ones not doing enough when they can’t get Rodgers to give up enough money to allow the team to spend.

Rodgers has his own reasons for standing firm on his contract, as do the Packers. A restructure likely locks Green Bay into keeping Rodgers into 2022. Rodgers knows that, and he sees the team’s refusal to do so as an admission that they’re not prepared to tie themselves to him beyond 2021. That’s why he’s been dropping quotes like this one, and it’s created an awkward standoff between the two sides that seems destined to end with the status quo prevailing into the regular season.

LaMarcus Aldridge announces retirement from NBA over heart issue

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge was considered a key addition for the Brooklyn Nets last month as they continue to load up for a championship run, but the veteran big man has surprisingly decided to call it a career.

Aldridge announced his retirement in a statement on Thursday. He revealed that he played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat during Brooklyn’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and called it “one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced.” The 35-year-old says he has since felt better but that the episode made him realize he needs to focus on his family and health.

You can read the full statement below:

Aldridge averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game between the Nets and San Antonio Spurs this season, so he was still capable of contributing. He was pursued by multiple teams before he signed with Brooklyn after his Spurs buyout. He played 26.0 minutes per game in five contests with the Nets, which shows that they considered him an important part of their rotation.

Aldridge finishes his career with seven All-Star appearances, the most recent of which came in 2019.

Carlos Rodon throws no-hitter after losing perfect game in 9th

Carlos Rodon no-hitter

Carlos Rodon was nearly perfect on Wednesday night but settled for a pretty awesome accomplishment anyway: a no-hitter.

The 28-year-old southpaw struck out seven and only allowed one baserunner in the White Sox’s 8-0 win over the Cleveland Indians. He threw 114 pitches, 75 for strikes. He was all over the strike zone and used a mix of off-speed pitches to keep the Indians hitters off balance. He also got help with many hard-hit balls going straight to his defenders.

Rodon was in pursuit of the 24th perfecto in MLB history and first since Felix Hernandez did it in 2012. To start the ninth was Josh Naylor, who grounded weakly to first base. Jose Abreu beat Naylor to the bag for the out in a very close play.

The next batter was Roberto Perez, whom Rodon hit on the foot with a breaking ball. Rodon seemed chapped that Perez didn’t get out of the way on the pitch, costing the pitcher a perfect game. But he didn’t lose focus. He struck out Yu Chang next and then Jordan Luplow hit a scorching grounder to third and was thrown out for the final out of the game.

Rodon’s no-hitter was the 20th in White Sox history. It comes five days after Joe Musgrove threw the first no-hitter in Padres history. Rodon’s no-hitter also comes less than a year after Lucas Giolito threw one last season.

Rodon was the No. 3 overall pick by the White Sox in 2014. He never quite lived up to that draft status, as he battled injuries and never threw more than 165 innings in a season. He also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019. But Rodon seems to be back to full strength and has not allowed a run in two starts this season.

Aaron Donald facing assault charge after allegedly attacking man

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald has been accused of attacking a man and badly injuring him, and the Los Angeles Rams star is facing criminal charges for the alleged incident.

A man named De Vincent Spriggs says he was struck in the face by Donald in the early hours of April 11, according to KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. Attorney Todd Hollis, who represents Spriggs, said he planned to file criminal charges against the reigning Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday morning.

Hollis provided a photo that showed Spriggs’ face with his eye swollen completely shut. He says the photo was taken after Spriggs was attacked by Donald.

Hollis told Mick Stinelli of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the incident took place following an altercation at an after-hours nightclub in Pittsburgh. The attorney said Spriggs suffered a concussion and other injuries.

Donald has ties to the Pittsburgh area, as he grew up there and played college football at the University of Pittsburgh.

Donald is widely considered the best defensive player in the NFL and has been named Defensive Player of the Year in three of the past four seasons. He was extremely emotional after the Rams lost to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, as you can see here.

Both police and the NFL will likely investigate the assault allegations. Donald could face disciplinary action from the NFL regardless of what happens with the charges that are filed.

Photo: The 61st Contingency Response Wing/Flickr via CC-by-S.A. 2.0

Video: Timberwolves rookie has no clue who Alex Rodriguez is

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is one of the best-known baseball players of the last 25 years, but one Minnesota Timberwolves player has never heard of him.

Anthony Edwards, who was the No. 1 pick by the Timberwolves in last year’s draft, was asked about A-Rod buying the team. He was asked whether he was a fan of Rodriguez and seemed clueless about why he would be asked that question.

“I don’t know who that is,” Edwards said. “I know he’s going to be our owner, but I don’t know nothing about baseball.”

It’s hard to believe that Edwards, who plays a professional sport, would be so clueless about Rodriguez. What’s arguably even worse is the amount of disrespect and apathy shown by Edwards.

The news about Rodriguez buying the team was reported on Saturday. Edwards couldn’t even be bothered to look into who the team’s new owners would be? That’s pathetic. Then again, this is the same guy who said he wasn’t really into basketball, and the same guy who brought Popeye’s to a press conference. He just operates on a different planet, apparently. Or maybe he will claim he was just trolling us all.

Could Patriots trade up in draft for this QB?

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots will likely select a quarterback at some point during this year’s NFL Draft, and many believe it will be in the first round. At least one analyst is predicting they will make a big splash at the position by doing something Bill Belichick almost never does.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the Patriots selecting former Ohio State star Justin Fields with the 10th overall pick. New England currently has the 15th pick, so moving up to No. 10 would involve a trade with the Dallas Cowboys. Kiper explained his rationale during Tuesday’s edition of “Get Up!”

“When you’re in a division with Josh Allen and Tua (Tagovailoa) and Zach Wilson, you have to go get somebody like Justin Fields, who I think is the second-best quarterback in this draft. … We know the top three are locked in, then it becomes Trey Lance or Justin Fields for the fourth spot,” Kiper said. “If it is Trey Lance, and that’s the consensus I hear when I made calls over the weekend, then Justin Fields is available.”

Kiper said New England would then become “front and center” in the Fields discussion. Washington and the Chicago Bears are two other teams that could look to trade up, but they are scheduled to pick after the Patriots at the moment.

If you look at the draft board as it currently stands, the Denver Broncos at No. 9 are the only team between the Patriots and the fourth overall pick that would consider drafting a QB. That means it is legitimately possible that New England will have a shot at either Lance or Fields, assuming first three QBs taken are Trevor Lawrence, Wilson and Mac Jones. Either way, Belichick has some paths to a top-four or top-five QB if he chooses to take them.

The Patriots still reportedly have their eye on a trade for one veteran quarterback, but addressing the position in the draft may be their best option.

Ben Simmons issues warning for Brooklyn Nets

Ben Simmons

The Brooklyn Nets have been viewed by many as the team to beat in the NBA with their big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, but Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons does not seem all that concerned about them.

The Sixers claimed sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with their win over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. Simmons was asked about Philly’s upcoming game against the Nets on Wednesday and whether the two teams have a budding rivalry. He downplayed it and said the 76ers are more focused on the reigning champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Rivalry? I mean if they keep that same team, definitely, but it’s going to be hard to do that,” Simmons said, via Rich Hofmann of The Athletic. “We’re going for the past champs — the Lakers. They were the ones that won the championship so you got to give respect to them. Obviously Brooklyn has a lot of talent, but at the end of the day, there’s only one ball and you got to play defense.”

Simmons prides himself on his defense and said winning Defensive Player of the Year is a goal of his this season. The Sixers currently rank seventh in the NBA with 108.3 points allowed per game. The Lakers are second with 105.9, and Anthony Davis is the biggest reason for that. Brooklyn has allowed 114.4 points per game and ranks 24th in the NBA, so Simmons has a point.

The Nets are obviously capable of lighting up the scoreboard, but defense becomes more important in the postseason. Harden’s defense has been mocked so ruthlessly in the past that people have even made compilation lowlight videos. He and his teammates would be wise to use Simmons’ comments as motivation.

Reggie Miller has great comment on whether he would join a superteam

Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller spent his entire career with the Indiana Pacers and wouldn’t dream of playing elsewhere.

Miller was one of three former stars interviewed by ESPN’s Nick Friedell for a story on Steph Curry, who has spent his entire career with the Warriors. The other former players interviewed for the story were Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks) and Jerry West (Lakers) who spent their entire careers with one team.

In the interview, Friedell asked the men whether they would have considered playing elsewhere or if they were recruited by another star. Miller had a great response.

“No. And if Michael Jordan ever would have called me and tried to sway me to come to Chicago, I would have told him to go f— himself! ‘I’ll be coming to see you on I-65 or whatever that highway is there. I’ll be down to see you,'” Miller told Friedell. “I never came close to going anywhere else.”

That’s awesome. How many players these days would say something like that? Many of today’s guys would demand a trade the day they were asked to team up with a star. And if they didn’t, they would get asked what’s wrong with them.

Plus, you know Reggie could never team with MJ after some of their trash talk.