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Rutgers abuse scandal roundup: Former Robert Morris player says Mike Rice used gay slur 04.09.13 at 12:01 pm ET
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A former Robert Morris basketball player told school officials that Mike Rice threw a basketball at a player “once or twice” and used a homophobic slur during his time at the university.

Last week, during an episode of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Rice’s physical and verbal abuse against his players at Rutgers became public knowledge. The day after the airing, Rice was fired. A former Rutgers staff member alleged that Rice also was involved in “coaches vs. players” brawls while coaching Robert Morris from 2007-10.

Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman said that an internal investigation did not reveal any evidence of the alleged fights. Coleman also said that one player, who left the program while Rice was at the helm, told school officials that the coach directed a gay slur at him and was involved in a shoving match with another during halftime of a game. The other player has denied having any improper contact with Rice.


Rutgers president Robert Barchi announced Monday that school officials are reviewing practice videos for all of the school’s sports teams to see if any other coach has engaged in similar behavior to Rice. The school also announced that it plans to hire a consultant to conduct an independent review of the situation.

During a town hall meeting on the school’s campus on Monday, Barchi said that he wants any instances of bullying or homophobic language to be reported immediately. Barchi acknowledged that he should have viewed the video of the abuse back in November, when it first surfaced, and that he would have fired Rice then.

Rice was not the only Rutgers employee to depart following the video’s release, as athletic director Tim Pernetti, an assistant basketball coach and the university’s top lawyer resigned last week.

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Read More: Chris Christie, Mike Rice, Tim Pernetti,
Report: Aaron Rodgers, Packers close to extension 03.28.13 at 11:18 am ET
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Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are getting closer to a long-term contract extension, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal is believed to be in the $25 million-peryear range, and would make the 2011 MVP the highest-paid player in NFL history.

Rodgers currently is under contract until 2014, after signing a six-year, $65 million deal in October 2008. Both the Packers and the Super Bowl XLV MVP have been very cautious in commenting on a proposed deal, but those familiar with the talks think a deal will be done during this offseason. Rodgers’ base salary in 2013 is $9.25 million, while he is set to make $10.5 million in 2014.

Three other Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks from this decade have recently cashed in with big deals. Joe Flacco (Ravens), Drew Brees (Saints) and Peyton Manning (Broncos) all have among the richest contracts in league history. Flacco’s deal is the richest in NFL history.

Rodgers’ new contract may surpass Flacco’s six-year, $120.6 million deal that he signed earlier this month after defeating the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Rodgers finished the 2012 season with 4,295 passing yards and 39 touchdowns, eighth and second in the NFL, respectively.

Read More: aaron rodgers, Joe Flacco,
Penn State sexual abuse documentarian John Ziegler on D&C: ‘I don’t believe that Joe Paterno had any knowledge of the 1998 investigation’ 03.26.13 at 1:21 pm ET
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Documentary writer and director John Ziegler checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss his recent three-plus-hour conversation with Jerry Sandusky at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institute.

Ziegler made multiple visits to Sandusky and came to the conclusion that if it was not for a certain New York Jets losing streak from nearly 15 years ago, the Penn State scandal may have never come out.

Said Ziegler: “I’ve concluded, that after my three and a half hours with Jerry Sandusky, that if the New York Jets had not lost their last three games in the 2000 season, there would be no Penn State scandal … If Al Groh doesn’t decide at the last second — he was coaching the Jets at that time — that because they lost the last three games to miss the playoffs, Jerry Sandusky was about to sign on the dotted line to be the head football coach at Virginia in December of 2000. I’m totally convinced that there’s corroborating evidence for that, but Jerry and I talked about this extensively. Apparently during his last interview, the interviewer gets called out of the room, Al Groh calls, that’s his alma mater, Virginia, he’s on the search committee for that job, and tells them, ‘Hey look, I think I’m out of the Jets, I want the job.’ All of a sudden the guy comes back, is cold to Sandusky and Sandusky’s wondering what the heck’s going on. The next day Al Groh gets the job; five weeks later is the [Mike] McQueary episode.”

Ziegler, whose documentary “Framing Paterno” was recently released, also discussed what he thought Paterno really knew and, more importantly, didn’t know regarding the investigations into Sandusky’s actions in the late 1990s.

“People are misunderstanding what the most important conversation in this entire situation was,” Ziegler said, adding: “The key conversation was actually when the athletic director went to Sandusky and said, ‘OK, what was this all about? We have this report that you did something inappropriate with a kid in the shower.’ That’s where the information that I’ve been able to [get] from this interview is critical, because I have the actual statement from the boy in the shower, made ironically on the day [Joe] Paterno was fired, as a 24-year-old married sergeant in the marine corps, proactively coming forward with his mother with him, to say, ‘Look, I’m the boy in the shower, McQueary is lying. Nothing happened.’ ”

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Read More: Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, John Ziegler,
Yankees GM Brian Cashman: ‘It’s a possibility’ Derek Jeter misses opener 03.21.13 at 12:42 pm ET
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You can add Derek Jeter to the extensive list of injured Yankees who might miss Opening Day. The Yankees will open their 2013 season on April 1 in the Bronx vs. the Red Sox. Jon Lester and CC Sabathia are the expected starters for opening day.

Jeter missed his second consecutive spring training game Wednesday, due to inflammation in his surgically repaired left ankle. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who is dealing with an injury of his own, said that there is a chance that the 13-time All-Star could begin the season on the disabled list.

“At this stage, I just don’t know, so all I can do is acknowledge it’s a possibility,” Cashman said.

The 38-year-old shortstop broke his ankle during the 2012 ALCS against the Tigers, in which the Yankees were defeated 4-0. Jeter recently received an anti-inflammatory injection in his ankle.

“We’ve got to do what’s right for him,” Cashman said. “Whatever’s right for him will be right for us. I’m not saying he’s going to be DL’ed, but I can’t tell you it won’t be. I don’t think it’s anything serious, I just think it’s a timing issue.”

Jeter played in his first spring training game on March 9 against the Braves, and has appeared in five total games. He was removed from the lineup Tuesday against the Phillies for “precautionary” reasons because his ankle felt stiff.

The future Hall-of-Famer led the American League in hits last season with 216, while also posting a .316 batting average, 15 homers and 58 runs batted in.

“The doctor said, basically, you can experience a lot of different things along the pathway, so it’s not a surprise,” Cashman said. “His rehab has gone extremely well, but obviously after the back to back, it barked a little bit. He’s going to have ups and downs in the early portion of it, but eventually at some point he’ll be past this. We’ve just got to make sure we take the right steps so it’s eventually behind him.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter
Knicks F Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver in blowout loss, re-aggravates knee injury 03.14.13 at 9:46 am ET
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Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony‘s return to the Pepsi Center in Denver on Wednesday night was rough in more than one way. The Knicks were blown out by the Nuggets, 117-94, and Anthony scored only nine points before being removed from the game early in the third quarter. He appears to have re-aggravated his right knee injury, and will be returning to New York to get it drained while the rest of the team travels to Portland.

“I’m going to get it drained, get the fluid out. Get to the bottom of it quick, so I can get back on the court,” Anthony said.

This was Anthony’s first game at the Pepsi Center in more than two years. He heard boos throughout the game, in the same arena he called home for the first eight seasons of his career.

Anthony missed three games last week with the lingering knee injury, before returning on Monday in another blowout loss, this one at the hands of the Warriors. The Knicks have lost three of their last four, after winning five out of six.

“I was always concerned,” Anthony said. “I was being naive to myself, saying OK. Trying to psyche myself out, ‘I can do it. I can do it.’ But there comes a point where you’ve got to figure it out and get to the bottom of it and move on.”

The host Nuggets dominated all game long, leading by as many as 34 points. This was their 10th straight win, and 14th consecutive victory at home. While Anthony was nowhere to be seen throughout the fourth quarter, fans could be heard chanting, “Where is Melo?”

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler, Wilson Chandler
Ex-Knick Renaldo Balkman gets lifetime ban from Philippine Basketball Association 03.12.13 at 10:02 am ET
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Former NBA player Renaldo Balkman has been banned from the Philippine Basketball Association for life, as PBA commissioner Chito Salud made the decision on Monday. Balkman, who was playing for the Petron Blaze Boosters, had a 45-minute meeting with Salud, and after Salud consulted with Petron team officials, he made the decision. Balkman also will be fined 250,000 Philippine pesos (about $6,143).

During a game for Petron, Balkman bumped two referees, pushed an assistant coach, threw one teammate aside, and grabbed another teammate by the throat. This came following what Balkman believed to be a missed foul call.

Balkman spent six years in the NBA, playing for the Knicks and Nuggets.

According to a statement announcing the decision, Salud thought the lifetime ban was justified for “initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron teammates and superiors,” which showed “a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ballclub, the league, the fans and his host country.”

Following the game, Balkman apologized on his Twitter account and through a publicist’s statement, but it was not enough to avoid the lifetime ban. Balkman averaged 25.0 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.7 blocks in seven games with Petron.

Read More: Renaldo Balkman,
Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving to miss month, possibly rest of season with shoulder sprain 03.12.13 at 9:27 am ET
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One of the most exciting young players in the NBA, Kyrie Irving, could miss the next month, and possibly the rest of the season due to a sprained left shoulder.

The latest injury for the second-year Cavaliers guard occurred during Sunday night’s loss to the Raptors. Irving collided with Toronto forward Jonas Valanciunas while trying to drive the baseline, slammed his shoulder into Valanciunas, and was knocked out of bounds. Irving has missed a total of 29 games so far from injuries in his first two NBA seasons.

X-rays following the game were negative, but an MRI taken on Monday in Cleveland showed a left AC (acromioclavicular) sprain. While the injury likely would only keep Irving out for three or four weeks, with the Cavaliers out of the playoff picture, they are likely to sit their star for the remainder of this season.

“We just have to wait and see what happens,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “I don’t want to speculate and say, ‘Hey, if he can get back he’ll get back. If he can’t, he can’t.’ We’re just going to have to wait until it’s completely healed and go from there.”

Various injuries have plagued Irving during his first two NBA seasons, including a broken finger and a hyperextended knee this season. Last year, Irving missed 15 total games due to a concussion and later a sprained right shoulder.

“He’s still very young and his body hasn’t fully developed,” Scott said. “I’m just not that concerned about it, to be honest with you. All the injuries that he has gotten have been legitimate injuries. It’s not something that keeps recurring over and over again.

“From just what I saw last night with the little hip check, it was just an unfortunate foul that hit him right on the spot.”

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Read More: Anderson Varejao, byron scott, Kyrie Irving,
Michael McCann on D&C: Lance Armstrong ‘could lose all’ of his fortune 03.07.13 at 10:30 am ET
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Sports Illustrated legal analyst and writer Michael McCann talked with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning about his recent three-hour meeting with Lance Armstrong.

McCann flew to Austin, Texas, to meet Armstrong at his home and discuss the ongoing legal situations facing the former cyclist who had his record seven Tour De France titles stripped.

“I think [he wanted to meet] just to talk about his life,” McCann said. “I’m a different voice. I’m somebody who doesn’t work for him. I’m somebody who he knows about his career and that he could talk to me and I agreed that it would be mostly off the record, and because of that I felt that he could trust me in that regard. He also, I think, expected that I would be able to write about him in a way that wasn’t slanted against him. But he also knew that because my job is really to be as fair as possible, I will criticize him, and I think my piece reflects that.”

McCann initially came into contact with Armstrong when Armstrong started following him on Twitter. McCann eventually suggested meeting with Armstrong, but not without some hesitation.

“I was concerned about a couple of things,” McCann said. “One is that this whole thing was a hoax. Manti Te’o, all of that. I was going to fly down there and it was going to be no one, or somebody saying ‘We’ve got you.’ … I thought, look, if that’s true, so what? People go on business trips all the time and don’t get business. In that regard, going down to Austin for a flight and coming back isn’t the end of the world. So I didn’t think that was such a big deal.

“But I was worried that this was going to be some type of PR vehicle to express his views about everything. But I wasn’t as worried about that as the conversation went on because I did ask him some questions that I think that were relatively tough. Some of his answers were believable, others I think have to be checked out.”

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Read More: Lance Armstrong, Michael McCann,
NFL to investigate questions about sexuality during combine 02.28.13 at 11:52 am ET
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The NFL has said that it will investigate whether or not questions asked of Colorado tight end Nick Kasa during the combine violated any laws or league policies banning employers from inquiring about a possible employee’s sexual orientation.

Kasa talked on ESPN Radio in Denver about how team officials at the combine were asking inappropriate questions. He has not identified who asked him the questions.

Said Kasa: “[Teams] ask you, like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ ‘Are you married?’ ‘Do you like girls?’ ”

Kasa also gave a radio interview to Dan Patrick on Wednesday and said he didn’t think it “was really a serious question.”

This possible violation comes roughly a month after 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver said that he would not welcome a gay teammate. He later apologized for the comments.

An NFL statement read: “Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”

NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith said in a statement: “I know that the NFL agrees that these types of questions violate the law, our CBA and player rights. I hope that they will seek out information as to what teams have engaged in this type of discrimination and we should then discuss appropriate discipline.”

Read More: Nick Kasa,
Kevin Youkilis on PEDs: ‘I never even thought about it’ 02.28.13 at 10:39 am ET
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During his nine major league seasons (8½ with the Red Sox), Kevin Youkilis said he’s never been tempted to use performance-enhancing drugs.

“I never even thought about it,” he said from Yankees spring training (via the New York Daily News). “I was always secure with myself. I was just trying to make it to the major leagues, and if I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it. I take more pride in the fact that I’ve done what I’ve done without all that stuff.

“I’ve always been of the mindset that you have to be secure within yourself about about what you’ve done in your career. You have to live with what you do for the rest of your life. You have to live with it. I know I’ve been clean my whole life, and I feel fortunate that I never felt like I had to go that route.”

Youkilis signed a one-year deal with the Yankees to fill in for injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has admitted past steroid use and this year was linked to a reputed PED-peddler in South Florida. Youkilis also played in Boston with Manny Ramirez, who has been suspended twice by Major League Baseball since departing the Sox.

“If guys are going to cheat, they’re going to cheat,” Youkilis said. “They’re also going to get caught now more than ever. Some guys believe in stricter rules, some believe that what’s working is working. I never really think about it other than when guys get caught. It’s crazy to think guys are still trying to get away with it, because the testing is unbelievable.”

Seven players were suspended last year, which Youkilis said shows that the league is having success monitoring the situation.

“With the testing now, if you do it, you’€™re getting caught,” Youkilis said. “If you think about how many guys are in the big leagues, that’€™s a very small percentage. Less than 1 percent? That’€™s not bad. I don’€™t think any sport will ever be 100 percent clean. It’€™s life. Everywhere you go, there’€™s a flaw. If less than 1 percent are doing it, that’€™s a great thing.

Youkilis expressed no anger toward offenders, although he said he doesn’t like the lack of honesty after they’ve been caught.

“It never bothered me that other guys were taking it,” Youkilis said. “The only thing that bothered me is when people deny it over and over, then finally come out and say they did it. We live in a forgiving society. If you come out and say you made a mistake, so be it.”

Read More: alex rodriguez, David Ortiz, kevin youkilis, Manny Ramirez