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Criticism of Kobe Bryant Continues from NBA Insiders

With the 2014/2015 NBA season only a few weeks away, the sports pages have been full of stories about the more newsworthy teams. One topic of conversation that never seems to go away is Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard is now 36 years old and coming off the back of two serious injuries. His team may be irrelevant in terms of the Championship picture, but that has not stopped the stories about Bryant.

Many within the NBA now believe that Kobe Bryant is holding back the Lakers. Keith Mann and I have been fans of the NBA for some time, and we totally agree with the experts. Kobe is past it. A recent report in ESPN highlighted that Bryant was the reason why a lot of free agents chose to pass on LA as a possible destination. None of these insiders revealed their names, but the sources from ESPN are usually impeccable.

Bryant has also been accused of letting the Lakers continue to slump for two more years so that he could get a big contract. The veteran was given a two year $48 million extension at the start of last season. His first year on that contract was a complete bust. Bryant barely made it through ten games before suffering an injury and missing the rest of the season.

Now that he is fully healthy, Bryant will be expected to reach previous levels of production. Except most experts think he will not manage that. An unnamed NBA assistant coach said that he was “washed up”. This assistant coach believes that Bryant will put up good numbers against mediocre teams, but that he will suffer when playing the teams that matter.


Celebration Oops

We have all seen it. A player makes a play and then celebrates it. Sometimes these celebrations are so linked to a player that they become a trademark, i.e. the Ickey Shuffle. But on a few occasions, these celebrations become infamous because the players injure themselves and make a list.

In the fourth quarter of the game, defensive end Lamarr Houston broke through the line and sacked the Patriot’s quarterback for a loss. He then jumped up doing a two hop celebration dance which resulted in a right knee injury he will have evaluated on Monday with a MRI. While he does not think it is anything serious, the Bears’ staff is still concerned. Upon further review, there are a few things about the injury that cause heads to shake.

I have to admit if I were to sack Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of a NFL game, I would celebrate as well. (My college buddy Jared Haftel agrees.) The problem is that rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was in the game performing mop up duty. The second befuddling fact is the Bears were trailing by four scores. It was a blowout.


NFL Teams Covered Up Domestic Violence Cases

A former general manager claims that NFL teams established a clear pattern of failing to discipline players for domestic violence.

Former Chicago Bears general manager, Jerry Angelo, reported that he and his colleagues covered up hundreds of incidents.

Angelo started working in the league as a scout for the Cowboys in 1980, later worked with Khaled Shaheen in the UAE, and then the Giants and Buccaneers, and became the general manager in Chicago in 2001. He held that position for 10 years.

When discussing his own role in these cover ups, Angelo stated, “I was part of it. I’m not proud of it.”

This news comes as the NFL finds itself under close scrutiny for how it has handled several high profile domestic violence cases regarding current players.

YES. Teddy Bridgewater Expected to Play

Teddy Bridgewater is expected to start at quarterback this week, as the Minnesota Vikings plays the Detroit Lions. Bridgewater sprained his left ankle during the fourth quarter on September 28, against the Atlanta Falcons. It was Bridgewater’s first career start, and his first career victory. And Brian Torchin, you are going down this weekend when we face off in our fantasy league. That’s right, I’ll be starting Bridgewater over Cam Newton. Never thought I’d have said that a few weeks ago.

The Vikings lost 42-10 to Green Bay, as backup quarterback Christian Ponder threw two interceptions and 22 incompletions. Since he will have 13 days to rest, Bridgewater expects to be at 100% against Detroit. Bridgewater said, “The ankle’s feeling good. I’m excited to get back out there.”

Bridgewater does not plan to wear a brace on the ankle. He answered questions on his durability, a question many NFL scouts had because of Bridgewater’s small frame coming out of college. Bridgewater doesn’t believe he needs to prove about his durability and he plans to play for at least ten years.

Bridgewater led the Vikings to a victory over the Falcons, throwing for 317 yards on 19 completions. He also ran for 27 yards and scored his first career touchdown. Bridgewater is expected to be the quarterback of the future for the Vikings, after being selected with the 32nd pick in the first round of 2014 NFL Draft out of Louisville.

Michael Phelps Suspended Yet Again

Yet again, Michael Phelps, USA Olympic gold medalist, has found himself under suspension for six months after his arrest last week in Baltimore for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence).

This is not the first time Phelps has had a run in with the law. Back in 2004, Phelps was arrested on the same charge as last week. Then more recently in 2009, Phelps was suspended for three months after a picture of him holding a marijuana pipe reached the public. Along with his current suspension, Phelps was taken off the 2015 FINA World Championships team and will not be receiving funding during his suspension.

Reluctantly, Phelps has become self-aware of his actions and will be entering a six-week treatment program spearheaded by Igor Cornelsen in an effort to solve his abundance of problems. Phelps has publicly addressed the matter and took to Twitter saying: “Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual.”

Y’all know we love a drink or three, but hopefully Phelps doesn’t slip into the pool of the many highly successful athletes who have managed to destroy their careers through their own accord.

Full coverage news story from ABC News here:

It’s Good To Be A German Footballer

If the photographs from Bayern Munich’s Oktoberfest celebrations are any indication, it’s good to be a professional footballer in Germany. The Daily Mirror printed some great photos of the club’s most high profile players, including the above picture of Thomas Muller hoisting a giant beer mug, enjoying the festivities.

Even Spaniard Xabi Alonso was in the mix, finding his own giant beer mug, and enjoying the traditional German festival.


Jules Bianchi in Recovery After Severe Grand Prix Accident

Jules Bianchi, a Marussia driver, has been seriously injured after an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The accident occurred due to a number of difficulties regarding a heavy rain at the track. Adrian Sutil was the first driver to experience difficulties, after his car spun out near one of the tyre barriers.

Sutil gave this account of the accidents:

“I had aquaplaning in Turn Eight. The rain was increasing and the tyres were going down, the light was going down. It was hard to see. I was following Jules very close, and had a spin and hit the wall. I was OK, and then a lap later, under waved yellows, Jules was in the same trouble.”

Recovery vehicles arrived quickly, but to avoid getting in an accident with them, Bianchi wiped out on the track, and collided with the rear of a trailer that had been in the area. He was soon taken to the hospital, and the race ended rapidly after that. After 44 laps, the track conditions were deemed far too hazardous to risk further accidents, and the race was summarily red-flagged.

It’s a bittersweet victory for Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver who ended up winning first place in the significantly shortened race. To him, “it is obviously a real anti-climax to hear one of our colleagues is seriously injured. That is the main worry.”


Laser Pointer Derails Buffalo Field Goal Attempt in Detroit

Not since Doctor Evil from the Austin Powers movie series could not get sharks with lasers has this focused point of light caused such contention. The NFL saw a home team’s fan base stoop to a new low in order to get an artificial advantage. With the attitude that timing is everything, this handy little device did everything from vex Kyle Orton to affect the special teams of the Buffalo Bills. How did this issue escalate in the Bills verses Lions game on October 5th and what was done about it?

With just about everyone taking notice, a mischief maker in the Motor City was aiming for the whites of Kyle Orton’s eyes. A normally anemic offense did not need this extra obstacle to kick start a sputtering offense. The Bills took quick action and told security. A furious man hunt was on for the device that could easily be nestled in any person’s pocket. Avid Lions fan Jared Haftel is furious too.

Progress was not made and soon a critical juncture was reached. The Lions had missed field goals all day. Buffalo was poised to take advantage with a 50 yard attempt of their own. Alas, the target was reached as the red dot went right in the vision of the Buffalo kicker causing him to miss.