Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Commish Top 5

There are five finalists for the NFL’s top job: Roger Goodell, Cheif Operating Officer of the NFL and second in command, Gregg Levy, the NFL’s outside counsel, Frederick Nance, a lawyer from Cleveland, Robert L. Reynolds, vice president and Cheif Operating Officer of Fidelity Investments, and Mayo A. Shattuck III, CEO of Constellation Energy.

Goodell is the favorite, with Levy being a not so close second:

The closest is the 47-year-old Goodell, who remains a clear favorite — as he has been for the last five years or so, or since he was appointed chief operating officer, the No. 2 job to Tagliabue. Goodell, son of a former U.S. senator from New York, began his NFL career in 1982 as an intern in the league office, interned with the New York Jets for a year, and then returned to the league. He was appointed chief operating officer in 2001.

The other with an NFL background is Gregg Levy, who holds the same job Tagliabue held when he became commissioner — the league’s outside counsel. Because he is known by most of the owners, he is considered the most likely challenger.

Notably, none of the candidates have ever run a team, coached, or played in the league, although Reynolds has officiated at the college level. Nance was instrumental in bringing a team back to Cleveland and in getting their new stadium built.

Then, of course, there is this tidbit:

Shattuck’s contact with the NFL: His wife, Molly, who is 39, made the Baltimore Ravens’ cheerleading squad for the second straight year this season.

Now that is an interesting connection.

The new commissioner will likely be selected during the owner’s meetings taking place between August 7-9.


Women turn on ref in soccer brawl

From the

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will today investigate ugly scenes involving North Korean players after they lost their Women’s Asian Cup semi-final in Adelaide last night.

Trouble erupted deep in stoppage time when North Korean players thought they had equalised against China but the goal was disallowed for an off-side infringement.

Play continued but at the final whistle, and as the Chinese started to celebrate their 1-0 win, frustrations among the North Koreans boiled over with four or five surrounding Italian referee Anna De Toni and one appearing to push her.

Television footage also showed a player seemingly aiming a kick which missed De Toni as she and her assistants were escorted from the ground by security guards.

Korean players were also seen throwing plastic bottles which had been thrown onto the ground.

The AFC will scrutinise film of the post-match clash today and is expected to impose tough penalties.

As GI in Korea said, who of the fans in attendance would have thought it. They went to a soccer game and a Tae Kwon Do match broke out.

What this will do for China-North Korea relations and the five-way talks is anyone’s guess. Kim il-Jong may demand a rematch.


Pittsnogle signed by Boston Celtics

BOSTON — Free agent Kevin Pittsnogle signed a two-year deal with the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

Pittsnogle, a 6-foot-11 center who is West Virginia’s career 3-point leader, was passed over in June’s NBA draft along with Mountaineers teammate Mike Gansey. Both played for the Miami Heat in a summer league, and Gansey signed a two-year deal with the Heat.

Nice to see members of that West Virginia team getting work in the NBA. With some molding, I think Pittsnogle could be pretty good. However, I know next to nothing about basketball, so who knows. If he does turn out to be a force in Boston, we will once again get to tell people that they have been Pittsnogled, which will be totally worth it.



Corey Pavin sets PGA 9-hole scoring record

From AP-

MILWAUKEE – Corey Pavin set the PGA’s scoring record for nine holes when he shot a 26 on the front at the U.S. Bank Championship on Thursday.

Pavin, who was 8 under at the turn, broke the mark of four other players who had shot a 27 through the first nine holes, including Andy North and Robert Gamez, both participating in the tournament at the par-70 Brown Deer Park Golf Course.

Mike Souchak (1955), North (1975), Billy Mayfair (2001) and Gamez (2004) all equaled the mark, but Mayfair and Gamez both made the turn at 9 under.

Pavin birdied the first six holes, then needed two putts at the par-3 seventh after pushing his ball past the hole. He rebounded with birdies on Nos. 8 and 9, first by hitting a firm putt that dropped in the center of the cup, and then watching his putt on the ninth slow to a near stop before falling in.

Pavin hit just two of six fairways in regulation, but needed only 10 putts to get through the first nine holes.

Note- Andy North’s 27 was shot at the En Joie CC. Since making the turn, Corey has shot even par for the next four holes. This about eliminates any chance of a run at a 59, the lowest 18-hole score in PGA history.

I’ve always liked Corey. Not a big man or big hitter, he got alot out of his golf game from 1984-96. The 1995 US Open Champ, Corey has only won one of his 14 career victories since then and the last was in 1996. Pavin also won the 1986 US Bank/Greater Milwaukee Open.


Tour de France Winner Floyd Landis Flunks Drug Test

Tour de France winner Floyd Landishas failed his drug test.

Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its Web site. The statement came a day after cycling’s world governing body said an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.


UPDATE: More information is coming now.

Floyd Landis Doper Floyd Landis of the US checks the clock as he crosses the finish to place second of the 7th stage of the 93rd Tour de France cycling race, a 52-kilometer (32.3-mile) individual time trial between Saint-Gregoire and Rennes, western France, in this Saturday, July 8, 2006 file photo. Tour de France winner Landis failed to show up for a one day race in Denmark on Thursday July 27, 2006 a day after missing a scheduled event in the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Christian Hartmann) The Swiss-based Phonak said in a statement on it Web site that it was notified by the UCI Wednesday that Landis’ sample showed “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone” when he was tested after stage 17 of the race last Thursday. “The team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result,” the statement said. Phonak said Landis would ask for analysis of his backup “B” sample “to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake.”

Landis has been suspended pending the results. If the second sample confirms the initial finding, he will be fired from the team, Phonak said.

Landis won the Tour de France on Sunday, keeping the title in U.S. hands for the eighth straight year. Lance Armstrong, long dogged by doping whispers and reports that he has vehemently denied, won the previous seven.

Speculation that Landis may have tested positive had spread earlier Thursday after he failed to show up for a one-day race in Denmark on Thursday. A day earlier, he missed a scheduled event in the Netherlands. On the eve of the Tour’s start, nine riders — including pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso — were ousted, implicated in a Spanish doping investigation. The names of Ullrich and Basso turned up on a list of 56 cyclists who allegedly had contact with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who’s at the center of the Spanish doping probe.

While I hope this is indeed a false positive, it doesn’t look good for Landis. Let alone his sport. While it’s true that American team sports have long been dogged by steroids suspicions, there hasn’t been anything like this since the testing era began.



Reynolds Fired for Sexual Harassment

Baseball analyst Harold Reynolds tells the NY Post he did get axed by ESPN for sexual harassment:

“This was a total misunderstanding,” Reynolds told The Post. “My goal is to sit down and get back. To be honest with you, I gave a woman a hug and I felt like it was misinterpreted.”

That must have been some hug.


Charles Barkley May Run for Alabama Governor in 2010

NBA legend Charles Barkley has told an approving crowd in his home state that he is seriously considering running for governor of Alabama in 2010.

Charles Barkley, declaring himself a Democrat, said Tuesday he is seriously considering a run for governor of Alabama, maybe as early as 2010. The Leeds native and former Auburn University and NBA basketball star has teased for years about pursuing the state’s highest office, but he told about 900 public school board members from across the Southeast that he’s moving toward a decision on the matter. “Alabama, that’s my home. I’m thinking about running for governor; they need the help,” Barkley said as the crowd laughed. “If it wasn’t for Arkansas and Mississippi, we’d be dead last in everything. I think we can do better.”


While Barkley said he has been mulling a run for governor for years, he believes he will soon reach a place in his life where he will stop thinking about it and start doing it.


He discounted speculation that he considers himself a Republican. “What I’ve said is I’m rich like a Republican. But I’m not one,” Barkley said. In the hour-long talk to a meeting of the Southern Regional Conference of the National School Boards Association, hosted by the Alabama Association of School Boards, Barkley reeled off one-liners that had the crowd alternately laughing and groaning.

I’ll believe it when I see it; he’s been saying the same thing for years. It’s news, though, that he now considers himself a Democrat. He’s been known to consort with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and otherwise has certainly given the impression that he’s a Republican.



Retired Nascar Driver Benny Parsons has lung cancer

From AP-

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former NASCAR champion Benny Parsons has been diagnosed with lung cancer and began chemotherapy treatments Wednesday.

Parsons, the 1973 Cup champion and currently a NASCAR commentator on NBC and TNT, was diagnosed two weeks ago after he had trouble breathing.


The 65-year-old Parsons will undergo chemotherapy three days a week for three weeks, and also will receive radiation five days a week. He’s seeing Dr. Steven Limenpani, who treated NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick during his battle with leukemia in the early 1990s.


Parsons, chosen as one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998, made 526 starts from 1964 until his 1988 retirement. He won 21 races, including the 1975 Daytona 500, and 20 poles.

He also had 283 top 10 finishes, led at least one lap in 192 races and finished no lower than fifth in the points from 1972 to 1980 while earning more than $4 million.

I remember the 75 Daytona 500. A David Pearson spinout on the back stretch will less than 10 laps left put Benny in the lead. Parsons finished 3rd the next year when another spinout or collission involving Pearson and Richard Petty occured only feet from the finish line. Pearson getting a push got across the line just in time.

Good luck Benny and get well.


No horse sense

What this jockey did was cruel and dumb plus uncalled for. Horses aren’t terribly smart animals, but cruelty is never the right answer. It can also backfire, as it did for the groom who took care of a horse my father owner many years ago. Fast Clip was acting up, and the groom hit across the nose with a horse bridle. Later that same night, Clip bit off two of Ralph’s fingers.

LONDON — Jockey Paul O’Neill apologized yesterday for head-butting his horse at a race last weekend.

The Horseracing Regulatory Authority is holding an inquiry after reviewing TV footage of the incident at the Stratford races Sunday.

“I would just like to say to the public that I’m very sorry they had to see such a thing,” O’Neill said in a statement. “I’ve never done it before and it will never happen again.”

TV replays showed the horse, City Affair, being unruly in the parade ring, ultimately throwing O’Neill. The jockey got to his feet and grabbed the reins, before lowering the butt of his helmet into the horse’s nose.

“When I got to the start he headed straight for a car with me, stopped five feet from the car, whipped round and dropped me,” O’Neill said. “I landed on my feet but a bit awkwardly for my knee.

“I was a little bit angry then but I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m glad to say the horse is OK.”

City Affair went on to finish fourth in the two-mile event.


Harold Reynolds Fired by ESPN

Baseball analyst Harold Reynolds was fired by ESPN. The network did not give a reason. A source of The Big Lead weblog says it had to do with a sexual harassment complaint:

Over the weekend, Reynolds allegedly took a PA for a meal at Outback Steakhouse. Afterward, he hugged her in a way that may have been deemed inappropriate. Apparently, the PA felt weirded out, and decided to file a complaint.

Deadspin has a source that says the firing had to do with how ESPN would treat Alex Rodriguez.

Expect more details to emerge. As the Deadspin writer put it, “And the longer ESPN pretends like nothing happened, like they’re a corner shop with three employees, believing this stuff can possibly remain private, the more talk there will be.”


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