In 2002, a 16 year-old named Brian Banks was on top of the world. He was a top football prospect who had committed to play for the USC Trojans. Then one day a fellow classmate named Wanetta Gibson accused him of rape. Despite claims that he had raped the girl with no condom on, the rape kit showed that none of his ejaculate was present, and a simple walk through the school would prove to anyone with half a brain that the story being told was impossible. Unfortunately, Brian followed the advice of his (apparently terrible) attorney and accepted a plea deal to serve 5 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit in order to avoid a possible 41 year maximum sentence. As part of the deal he entered a “No Contest” plea to one count of forcible rape.
About a year ago, the accuser contacted Brian on Facebook. He asked her if she would meet with him and a private investigator. She agreed, and when they met, their conversation was recorded. Wanetta Gibson is on tape saying that she was not raped but didn’t come forward because her family needed the $1.5 million they won in the lawsuit against the school district over the rape. Because of this terrible lie, Brian spent 5 years in jail and 5 years as a registered sex offender who had to wear a GPS monitoring anklet. No one would give him a job, and he lived with friends and relatives just to survive. He lost his opportunity to go to USC, and by extension, he’d seemingly lost his future. Then something wonderful happened.
Last week (after lots of hard work by the California Innocence Project) his conviction was overturned. Brian is a truly free man again and no longer has to register as a sex offender or be monitored, and it turns out he never gave up on his NFL dreams. Brian has bee working hard to keep in top shape, and now three NFL teams are going to let him try out. He’ll try out with the Seattle Seahawks on June 7th and is also reportedly trying out with the Chiefs and Redskins. On top of all that, Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall has publicly offered him a job with the organization if the football thing doesn’t work out.
On a side note, we all know the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. When this woman brought up these fake charges, she wasn’t just flushing Brian’s life down the toilet. She was also making it so real allegations of rape will be taken a little less seriously by the general public. With enough false accusations like this, that slow erosion could do serious damage to the American justice system, so don’t falsely accuse people of anything. The consequences are much more serious and much more widespread than you could ever imagine.
I’m very sorry to post this news, but Junior Seau has died. Multiple reports indicate that it appears to have been a suicide. He was 43.
Seau was a legend in Southern California. Like so many of us here, he was the son of immigrants who came to America to give their children the kind of opportunities that allow a person to explore his or her full potential. Junior didn’t disappoint. An All-American at Oceanside High School, Seau went to USC where he would become the first in an epic series linebackers to come out of the university. In 1990, Seau was picked fifth in the first round of the NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Fans loved him right away. He would spend 13 years with the team and spent three years with the Dolphins before retiring in 2006. He came out of retirement just four days later and spent the remainder of his NFL career with the New England Patriots, retiring for the last time in 2010.
By all accounts, Junior was a great guy who loved his fans as much as they love him. The work he did for his community will have a lasting impact, improving the lives of many for years to come. He will be missed.
When Bountygate first broke, I said the Saints were going to get punished in way that makes the repercussions over Spygate look like a slap on the wrist. I was wrong. They make the punishment for Spygate look like winning the lottery, and they haven’t even gotten to the players yet. Details about the penalties handed down below the fold.
It’s official. Peyton Manning has gone from Colt to Bronco. The cost of a 4-time league MVP with a questionable neck? $96 million for five years with the team and a plan to retire at the end of those five years. Interestingly enough, Denver had to bring the number 18 out of retirement to give it to Manning. The number had been retired in honor Denver’s first quarterback, Frank Tripucka. Apparently, Mr. Tripucka was happy to let Manning wear his old number.
While nothing is official yet, it seems Peyton Manning will be signing with the Denver Broncos. Several news outlets are reporting that Manning told his agent to work out a deal with the team.
Expect an official announcement soon.
Today Peyton Manning was released from his contract with the Indianapolis Colts after 14 years with the team. On July 30, 2011, the Colts signed Manning to a 5 year, $90 million contract. Because of cervical fusion surgery in September of last year, the third operation on his neck in 19 months, Manning sat out for the 2011 season while the Colts went 2-14. The price for that season? About $26 million if you count the signing bonus for his contract, his base salary and a roster bonus. Indianapolis would have had to pay him an additional $28 million option bonus if he had remained with the Colts through the end of today. Read More…
It recently came out that the New Orleans Saints defense has been putting bounties on players from opposing teams. For instance, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma allegedly offered a $10,000 bonus to any player that knocked Brett Favre out of the January 2010 NFC playoff game that put the Saints up against the Vikings. Then Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, is also alleged to have offered these kinds of payoffs. I can’t say I was shocked by the news. Even in my lone year of football experience, big hits were rewarded. Whoever got the “big hit of the week” was rewarded with a t-shirt that said so. Of course, my experience was very different for two reasons: no individual was being singled out as a target and none of us were playing as paid professionals. But is it really so surprising that incentives would carry over to more elite levels of play? Not really, but that doesn’t make it okay. It’s also important to consider the degree of the offense. $1,000 to a special teams guy for the biggest hit of the week is one thing, but $10,000 to anyone who knocks a specific player out of the game implies that players are knowingly being paid to injure that individual. That can’t be tolerated. Behavior likes this puts people’s bodies, livelihoods and sometimes lives at risk.
The question is this: Are we really going to pretend that it’s just the Saints who are doing this? Regardless of what the answer is, you can expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hand out a punishment that makes the consequences New England faced for Spygate look like a slap on the wrist.
Naturally, I watched this year’s Super Bowl streaming online, so I missed the big, fancy Super Bowl ads. Instead, I just saw commercials for an action movie I won’t see and a commercial telling me to watch Chevy Super Bowl commercials on YouTube. It was a strange marketing experience in itself and got stranger this morning when I reentered the real world and saw the reaction to a bunch of stuff I hadn’t seen.
The most absurd reactions seem to have been generated by a Chrysler commercial called “Half-Time in America”. The ad stars and is narrated by Republican Actor, Director, Former Mayor, Critic of the Auto Bailouts and Herman Cain Supporter Clint Eastwood. Video and full post here.
Those of us who wanted to see a Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh Super Bowl had that dream blown to hell on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers lost to the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens lost to the New England Patriots. Aside form being bummed out because we don’t get a Super Harbowl, the only West Coast team has been knocked out. Even worse, this is the third time this season that I’ve had to root for the Pats, and it’s the damned Super Bowl. Oh well, at least I can stream it.
Nothing that bugs me about Tim Tebow is actually Tim Tebow’s fault. Tebow himself is always very gracious in his interviews and gives the credit for Broncos’ victories to his team and the coaches. Still, I have to admit, I did get pretty sick of hearing about him. That’s the media’s fault, really. They found a player that people wanted to talk about,and then they never shut up about him.
Thankfully, I never pay much attention to sports over the holidays because I’m too
drunk busy, so I got a much needed break from Tebow-mania. Then came the Wildcard match-up between Denver and Pittsburgh, a game that made me wish there was a way for both teams to lose. Lucky for those of use who didn’t much care about the outcome of the game, a bet was made between the mayors of Denver and Pittsburgh. If the Broncos had lost, Mayor Hancock of Denver would have had to wear a Steelers jersey and a Terrible Towel at a public event, but since the Steelers lost, Pittsburgh’s Mayor Ravenstahl had to wear a Broncos jersey in front of a Pittsburgh landmark and do the Tebow.
As for the 3:16 references, sometimes a number is just a number.