The shirtlessness, the gold chains, the giant belt buckle, the scar on the arm. Is this the weirdest photo of a Heisman winner ever taken?:
You can counter with Johnny Football counting bank in a casino, but let’s be honest, that picture was more controversial than weird. However, I do have to admit the dude with Scott Stapp hair hovering over the proceedings is a little unsettling:
Also in the running is Billy Cannon’s dead-eyed “I’m gonna grab those boobs” pic that graced his 1968 Topps football card. Sorry, I couldn’t find the mugshot from when he was thrown in jail 15 years later:
Getting away from the theme but every bit as shocking is the the winner for “Least Likely To Be Caught Wearing a T-Shirt Depicting a Heisman Winner.” That goes to Morrissey, who was spotted wearing the gem below. Panic on the streets of Columbus, indeed:
Here’s one that blew my mind, it’s Gino Toretta in a Lions uniform. When the hell did that happen?:
Speaking of which, Charlie Ward played for the Rockets? Apparently I don’t pay attention for shit:
Of course the Oscar Gamble-ness of Billy Sims’s hair will always peg out the Blessed Meter:
As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans another ballistic missile launch to further his saber rattling ways I’m sure his technology will be traced back to the School of Engineering at Auburn University. Only Auburn could support such a madman.
There are rumors that Casey Anthony is pregnant again. If so, the father has to be a big time Auburn football booster, there can be no other culprit capable of lying down with such evil.
At some point, the Auburn football program became the root cause of all that is wrong in this world. Hell, I’m stunned that police detectives across the nation haven’t started referring to a homicide as a “War Eagle.”
Taking the spoon from Thayer Evans and getting a turn at stirring the pot now is Selena Roberts, who yesterday alleged that, well, Auburn football is evil and bad and corrupt and must be destroyed. You know, in the same way that those Duke lacrosse players she took to task were evil and bad and corrupt and had to be destroyed.
Oh, you’re unfamiliar with her work on the Duke story? Here’s Jason Whitlock providing a summation from back in May of 2009:
Not long ago, sports writer Selena Roberts compared the Duke lacrosse players to gang members and career criminals.
She claimed that the players’ unwillingness to confess to or snitch about a rape (that did not happen) was the equivalent of drug dealers and gang members promoting antisnitching campaigns.
When since-disgraced district attorney Mike Nifong whipped up a media posse to rain justice on the drunken, male college students, Roberts jumped on the fastest, most influential horse, using her New York Times column to convict the players and the culture of privilege that created them.
Proven inaccurate, Roberts never wrote a retraction for the columns that contributed to the public lynching of Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and David Evans. (Kansas City Star)
Now that we’ve established her track record, I’m sure some will take me to task for, in true homer fashion, shifting the focus from the subject and over to the messenger. Fair enough, but when the messenger’s been vilified by her own colleagues in the past for shotty reporting, I think that becomes mighty pertinent.
But let’s shift back from the messenger to the subject. The Roberts piece, found here, is initially presented as a look into the case of Mike McNeil. Two years ago, four Auburn football players — McNeil, Antonio Goodwin, Dakota Mosley and Shaun Kitchens — were arrested and charged with armed robbery. More details can be found here.
McNeil’s contention is that he’s innocent of the charges for which he’s going to trial for next week, and he’s most definitely just that: innocent until proven guilty. Here’s Roberts providing more back story:
On April 8, more than two years later, Mike McNeil is scheduled to go to trial for armed robbery. If convicted, he could face 21 years to life in prison. For two years, Mike has maintained he is innocent of all charges. He has declined plea deals that would allow him to serve three years, even after the first of the four accused players, Antonio Goodwin, was in court last spring and found guilty. Goodwin was sentenced to 15 straight years and is serving his sentence at Kirby Correctional Facility in Montgomery, Ala. “To show you how innocent he is, Mike is willing to go to trial because he says he didn’t do it,” says Ben Hand, who recently was dismissed as McNeil’s attorney after the family formally complained that he had a conflict of interest. “Mike McNeil didn’t rob anyone.” (roopstigo.com)
Later in her piece, Roberts writes the following:
In the darkness of that early morning, the dashboard video of an Auburn city police car reveals grainy images of four players — one white male, three black males —being asked to emerge from a silver Chrysler 300 on a dirt road. The car owner was McNeil but Mosley was in the driver’s seat. (roopstigo.com)
She later touches on the statements given by the robbery victims:
Over the next three hours, the players were taken to a holding cell while the victims gave differing statements: It was a robbery with three masked men and three semi-automatic pistols or three men and one gun; it was a robbery with three men who left out the back door or left out the front; it was a robbery with one victim running to the bathroom with a gun pointed at her or one victim running by herself to a bedroom. (roopstigo.com)
Here is Roberts providing McNeil’s side of the story:
He stated to police that he believed he left his house to go with Mosley, Kitchens and Goodwin to get something to eat. “Dakota said he wanted to drive to see if a friend of his was home,” Mike stated. “Dakota told me that his friend had some money and that he was going to get the money.” McNeil said he realized Goodwin went into the trailer with a “fake gun” and, after a few minutes, went inside the trailer with a black T-shirt over his face and saw “Antonio was holding a gun down by his side” and told Kitchens to “come on.” (roopstigo.com)
The part about Mosley driving is what gives me pause because that runs contrary to what Goodwin testified to in his own trial:
According to his testimony, read this afternoon, Antonio Goodwin admitted he was present for the March 2011 armed robbery of a mobile home in Conway Acres.
“This was not my idea. Mike (McNeil) came and picked me up tonight. I was going to chill and do normal stuff,” began Goodwin’s testimony, which was read aloud by Jude Hackett, the lead detective for the case.
Evidence including a Hi-Point .45 pistol, a BB gun pistol, four black T-shirts, five leather gloves and a black jacket were retrieved from the suspects’ vehicle in the early hours of March 11, 2010, and were introduced to the jury this afternoon.
Goodwin was present in the vehicle—a Chrysler 300 rental—along with fellow defendants Mike McNeil, Shaun Kitchens and Dakota Mosley when police officers, responding to a burglary report, pulled them over and arrested them.
Auburn detective Dentry Perkins said he was called at home to come examine and photograph the scene. After receiving signed consent by McNeil, who rented the car, Perkins and Hackett inspected the vehicle to retrieve evidence. (The Auburn Plainsman)
So McNeil picked up Goodwin? Or did Mosley drive? It might not be a curious point to others but it’s a curious point to me. We definitely know that Mosley drove AWAY from the trailer in question, there’s video evidence of that. And while the victims (who were probably scared to death at the time) gave somewhat conflicting statements, they seem to agree on one thing: three robbers entered the trailer.
That would lead me to believe that the driver, who McNeil told Roberts was Mosley, probably drove to the trailer and then away from it after the deed was done. Heck, the wheelman doesn’t do the robbing, we all saw that in “Heat.” So if Mosley drove, that would seem to indicate that Goodwin, Kitchens and McNeil were the three that entered the residence. That’s if you believe the victims in the case.
However, I’m not here to try and untangle the legal mess that McNeil finds himself in because this is by no means a West Memphis 3 case. What I’m more concerned about in the Roberts article isn’t what McNeil had to say about the robbery, it’s what he had to say about the Auburn football program he was a part of.
The agenda that Roberts has going into the article is clear from its title: “Auburn’s Tainted Title: Victims, Violations and Vendettas for Glory.” If she really is going to bat for McNeil and feels that he is being wrongly accused, couldn’t she have atleast invoked his name in the title?
Her contempt for Auburn shows through in her characterization of the school and its surroundings in the article:
The university tentacles reach everywhere as the leading employer in Lee County. Chris Hughes, the judge who is scheduled to sit on the bench at Mike’s trial next week, is an Auburn University alumnus. According to his website, he once worked at the university coliseum and his sister is an Auburn University professor. The school is a massive construction zone these days thanks to public funding and the largesse of wealthy alumni, many of whom sit in luxury boxes at Jordan-Hare Stadium, seating capacity 87,451. (roopstigo.com)
“Tentacles?” Really? Selena, you went to Auburn, it’s a smallish but growing town in East Alabama. Of course it’s the leading employer in the off-the-beaten-path Lee County, sorry that Chase Bank or Cisco didn’t see fit to put their corporate headquarters there.
And that last sentence just DRIPS with contempt, especially “…thanks to public funding and the largesse of wealthy alumni…” Yup, the combination of public funding, wealthy alumni and a big stadium with luxury boxes can’t be found anywhere else, not in Baton Rouge, Athens, Gainesville, Tuscaloosa, Knoxville, Columbus, Austin, Norman or a couple dozen other places. This unholy cabal exists only in Auburn.
McNeil levies several charges against Auburn including academic fraud, payments to players and, probably most surprising of all, racism. Roberts reached out to other Auburn players as well including former Tiger wide receiver Darvin Adams:
Receiver Darvin Adams, a star player with NFL dreams and a family to support, wrestled with whether to turn pro after the championship season. He discussed his plans with teammates and told them how much pressure he was under by Auburn coaches to stay. McNeil and Blanc say Auburn coaches offered Adams several thousand dollars to stay for his senior year. “It was sugar-coated in a way,” says Adams, who confirmed he was offered financial incentives, but declined to detail the exact amount. “It was like, we’ll do this and that for you. But I’d rather do things the right way. I am happy I didn’t say yes to that stuff. That’s what I’d tell kids.” Adams turned pro but went undrafted, a result, one NFL scout says, was due to negative reports on him from Auburn coaches. (roopstigo.com)
Sounds like McNeil isn’t the only former Auburn player with an ax to grind. You mean to tell me that NFL scouts, who are backed up by mountains of cash that’s used to prod, poke and Wonderlic test players to death, will simply listen to a college coach the way Boston College listened to AmPipe’s Coach Nickerson when he blackballed that knucklehead Stefen Djordjevic?
Well, the Panthers did in fact take the plunge on Adams, who (like MANY players) was signed on as an undrafted free agent in 2010. They put him on the practice squad and eventually cut him, and now Adams is toiling in the CFL. I guess Adams would be coming off a Pro Bowl appearance had his former Auburn coaches talked him up more.
Roberts also talked to former Auburn defensive tackle Mike Blanc, who she also quoted as saying some less than flattering things about the program he once toiled for. But there’s one hitch to that: Blanc says that Roberts misquoted him. He spoke to the AuburnSports.com staff last night and provided the following:
“It sounds to me like she got a lot of this information from Mike. Anybody she interviewed, she basically said they all agreed with what Mike said. We all know Mike. That’s the only reason we conducted interviews with her. We were told it was just to try to put some light on Mike’s situation. It was basically asking us stuff about his character, what kind of character he is. I was like: Hey, Mike’s a great guy, good father, those are the things I was saying. It wasn’t stuff like: Hey, I’ve been told that this guys received this or this guy’s grade was changed. I don’t have fact on that. I can’t speak about things I don’t have facts on.” (AuburnSports.com)
The most ridiculous accusation that McNeil makes in the article is the following gem:
McNeil recalls having a difficult day at practice in 2007 and then-defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, calling him into his office. “I had no clue what it was about because I’d never directly asked him for anything,” says McNeil. “He slid about $400 over to me. He went into a drawer and gave me money and said, ‘Is this enough? Is this good?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m good.’” Muschamp, now the head football coach at the University of Florida, denied the payment through a spokesperson. (roopstigo.com)
The following tweet helps to sum up my reaction to that:
Beyond that, this exchange supposedly occurred at Auburn, the school where Pat Dye was brought down because Eric Ramsey taped conversations in Dye’s office. I’m supposed to believe that Muschamp had a drawer full of cash at that very same school that he used for the purpose of cheering up players? Give me a break.
What the Roberts article reveals the most about both its writer and its primary interviewee is not any revelation about Auburn. Instead, it shows a mind boggling lack of accountability on both sides.
The fixation on Auburn as the poster child for all that is wrong in college sports is getting borderline strange to me. Even Miami’s current issues with the NCAA have generated more criticism at the governing body’s investigatory practices than for the school itself. And this is a place where its players actually took pride in their lawlessness:
But while the masses sympathize with poor, innocent Miami for being the victim of a witch hunt, Auburn gets drug through the mud again by a writer whose motives have proven to be less than pure. Oh well, someone has to wear the black hat I guess.
Florida-based artist Angelo Cane came up with the masterpiece below, which will be signed by its batshit nuts subject (Kyle Turley) and auctioned off at a pre-Super Bowl party. All benefits from the auction will go to Gridiron Greats. I thought only a camera could capture the sheer lunacy of Turley, but Cane proved me wrong:
Every once in a while you come across something that makes you see the world in a whole new light. With that being said I present to you one of the greatest highlight reels you will ever see, period:
The more you’re humiliated in practice, the harder you play. At no college basketball program is that phrase taken more seriously than at Rutgers. Unfortunately for the school’s current coach, Mike Rice, he’s gotten into hot water for taking that tradition to an extreme. Late last week he was suspended for three games and fined $50,000, and I’ll let the Newark Star-Ledger provide the details as to why:
The decision, which was announced early this afternoon via press release from athletic director Tim Pernetti, followed an internal investigation that revealed abusive, profane language used by Rice toward his players and an incident during his first or second season in which Rice threw basketballs at some players’ heads during practice, according to multiple people with knowledge of the findings and the video evidence presented to Rice. (Newark Star-Ledger)
Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t all basketball coaches supposed to use abusive and profane language toward their players? As for the throwing balls at some players’ heads, I’m once again going to side with Rice based on the fact that he wasn’t throwing hardware:
C’mon, Rutgers, enough with the righteous indignation. We all know what goes on at your practice facilities and it’s not all scrimmaging and inside/outside drills. Let’s go all the way back to 1997, when then-Rutgers coach Kevin Bannon decided a little in-practice nudity might be a good motivational tool:
Three young men who say Rutgers basketball coach Kevin Bannon made them run naked after they lost a free-throw shooting contest sued the school and the coach on Tuesday, charging civil rights violations.
The contest came at the end of a practice in December 1997, with an article of clothing forfeited for each missed shot, but the men maintain they expected it would stop at undershorts.
“Well, I thought it was funny when we were taking free throws … but no one was laughing at the end,” said Earl Johnson Jr., who was a sophomore point guard at the time. “We didn’t want to do it.”
The lawsuit contends Bannon rigged the contest against players recruited by his predecessor, Robert Wenzel, including Johnson and 7-foot center Josh Sankes. Other players could skip rounds or replace clothing, according to the lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in New Brunswick, where Rutgers is based.
Bannon coerced the losers, including two student managers, to run the wind sprints by threatening grueling drills for the entire squad the next day, said the men’s lawyer, Richard M. Winograd. (cnnsi.com)
The above referenced article failed to mention whether or not Coach Bannon was violently masturbating while each article of practice gear was being removed. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t coached college basketball since being fired by Rutgers in 2001.
And just for the record, nude wind sprints are most definitely BAD NAKED: