Friday, February 28, 2014

2-year-old, $60 million Texas high school stadium closed for 'extensive cracking': Report

A $60 million Texas high school football stadium that got national attention for its perceived extravagance and excessive price tag will be shut down indefinitely just 18 months after its opening, school district officials said Thursday.

Eagle Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Allen will be closed until at least June for an examination of "extensive cracking" in the structural concrete of the stadium's concourse which officials have called "unacceptable." 

The closure will likely affect home games at the stadium this fall, the district said.

School officials said the cracked areas — possibly caused by weather and shifting soil — have been covered by tarps.

Built in 2012 as part of a $120 million bond issue, Eagle Stadium rivals some college stadiums. It seats 18,000 people and sports a 38-foot-wide video board.

The stadium's opening was a moment of pride for the community of Allen and its taxpayers, a fast-growing Dallas suburb that has become home to a high school football powerhouse. The Eagles won the Class 5A Division I state championship last year.

District officials defended the cost — a budget-busting figure even in football-crazy Texas, home to hundreds of schools playing under the "Friday Night Lights" — by calling the stadium an investment for generations of future Eagles fans and a much-needed upgrade from the district's previous 35-year-old field.

There's no word on where the funds to repair the damage will come from.

Chris Bosh wants to be a masked hero like LeBron James (PHOTO)

Miami Heat center Chris Bosh had some fun with LeBron James' carbon fiber protective mask that he wore in the Heat's blowout victory over the New York Knicks Thursday night.

Bosh grabbed LeBron's mask and added a cape before posting this photo on Instagram with the caption saying he's Batman.

Hate to break it to you Chris. You're not even Robin on your own team.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Jeff Gordon gets revenge on cynical reporter with wild police chase prank (VIDEO)

About a year ago, Travis Okulski wrote a post calling a Pepsi video in which NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon did a crazy test drive with a used car salesman fake. Just about everyone else thought most of it was fake too, but it was the New Jersey native's story for Jalopnik that really stuck in Gordon's exhaust pipe.

Well, Gordon finally got his revenge big time —after he disguised himself as an ex-con cab driver who was able to pick up Okulski in North Carolina and give him a ride he'll never forget. 

Watch the journalist scream for his life as Gordon speeds, spins and fishtails during a phony police chase until Gordon mercifully reveals the hilarious prank.

Okulski is a believer now.

Sean Avery joining ‘Dancing with the Stars’: Report

Sean Avery is joining the cast of “Dancing with the Stars,” according to Page Six of The New York Post.

The former NHL goon and fashionista has been spotted working out in preparation for the show at the New York studio of Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer Tracy Anderson, sources told the gossip site.

The move will be Avery’s latest career change after working at high-fashion ad agency Lipman, which ran out of cash and closed last year.

Sources said the well-travelled NHL player recently posted a video of himself online showing off some Anderson-inspired dance moves to Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” but the video was taken down.

“DWTS” recently replaced host Brooke Burke-Charvet with sports reporter Erin Andrews.

Other contestants rumored to be joining the spring season include B-listers NeNe Leakes and Candace Cameron.

Season 18 kicks off on March 17.

Luis Suarez to help adidas unveil world's first knitted soccer shoes (PHOTO)

Premier League superstar Luis Suarez is hoping that a new style of adidas shoes will put an end to his mini scoring slump.

Suarez will team up with the athletic apparel giant to unveil their new Samba primeknit limited edition soccer shoes that "combines the comfort and responsiveness of playing barefoot with the protection of a traditional design." Suarez will have the honor of testing them out in a game situation.

The innovative design of the boot has an upper part that is knitted from heel-to-toe using the Samba colors of green, pink, blue and orange, providing a lighter second-skin fit that retains the strength of a conventional shoe. 

Just like the booties grandma used to purl.

The Liverpool striker, who is the Premier League's top scorer with 23 goals, will be the only player to wear them when they officially launch next month.

And he will debut them in one of the biggest games of the season when Liverpool takes on Manchester United at Old Trafford on March 16.

The 27-year-old Suarez has not scored since January 28, when he notched a goal in the 4-0 win over Everton — and the goalless run now stretches to five games.

Only 150 pairs of the $360 shoes have been made and are certain to be snapped up immediately when they go on sale 24 hours later, on March 17.

Russian skier still paralyzed from waist down after breaking spine in Sochi

The 23-year-old Komissarova crashed and dislocated her spine on Feb. 15 during a training run. She fractured the 12th dorsal vertebrae, located in her lower back. During emergency surgery that lasted more than six hours, a metal rod was implanted into her spine. At the time, doctors did not give a prognosis, but listed her condition as "grave but stable."

Ten days later, she updated her condition on Instagram.

"I do not feel my body lower than my belly button," she posted from her hospital bed. "But I am strong and I know that someday I will definitely be on my feet again."

Russian president Vladimir Putin visited the skier following the operation to give the courageous athlete his best wishes in person.

During the competition, six skiers race against each other in loosely packed bunches. The accident occurred during practice on a series of jumps near the top of the course and Komissarova fell while exiting the third jump.

Komissarova, who won silver in a World Cup medal in ski cross in 2012, was the face of Russian Freestyle Skiing leading up to Sochi.

The skier — who posed in sexy lingerie shoot before the Games— is ranked 33rd in the current World Cup standings and recovered from a leg injury last year to qualify for the Olympics.

Aaron Hernandez gets 30 days in isolation for 'beating up' handcuffed inmate: Report

On Tuesday, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was involved in an altercation with another inmate in the Bristol County Jail.  On Wednesday, Hernandez landed in isolation for 30 days as a result of the incident.

According to, Hernandez will spend 23 hours per day in a cell located in a more restricted area of the facility.  When he leaves the cell, he’ll be required to wear handcuffs and leg shackles.

Tuesday's brief fight took place around noon in a common area of the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, where only one inmate is supposed to be out of his cell at a time. Hernandez exited his cell without handcuffs and encountered the other inmate, who was wearing handcuffs.

It's unclear which inmate was the aggressor. Jail staff interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance video to figure out what happened 

“We’re investigating it now to find out why two inmates would have been out at the same time in that unit,” Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told  “I’m not happy that there may have been a breakdown in our system and our protocols.”

Neither Hernandez nor his victim required medical attention, Hodgson said.

Hernandez, who has been jailed without bail pending trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd, and the other inmate had been taunting each other in the days leading up to the altercation.

Brewers #BallparkPup Hank takes part in his first Sausage Race (VIDEO)

Last week, the Brewers discovered a lost puppy hanging around their Spring Training facility and welcomed him into the team's family as their unofficial mascot.

On Wednesday, that stray puppy (nicknamed Hank) dressed in a tiny hot dog suit and took part in his very first running of the famous Brewers Sausage Race.

For now, Hank will be practicing his sprinting in Spring Training before making the move to Miller Park.

Hopefully, the cute little pooch will only keep nipping at the sausages' heels and not gnaw on the giant Snausages legs.

Everyone together... Awwww.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Referees flee court to safety at girls' basketball game (VIDEO)

A girls' high school basketball game ended in confusion and controversy after the three referees ran off the court following a highly contested decision at the end of the game.

With a place in the state championships at stake, Celina trailed Argyle by just one point with 4.8 seconds left in the Texas 3A Girls' Region II final, when the bizarre incident took place.

Celina's Kynese Davis ran up the court and heaved a final three-point shot, but was grabbed by an opponent and fell to the court.

The whistle blew for what many, including both groups of players, believed was a foul — meaning Celina would have three free shots and an easy chance to win.

But as the Argyle players appeared to prepare for defeat, the three referees ran off to the side of the court and signaled the end of the game, much to the outrage of Celina players, coaches and fans.

At the end of the game Celina principal Bill Hemby asked for an explanation but the referees refused to comment to a tournament representative, leaving coaches unable to explain exactly what had just happened, reported

Video from the game suggests the referee puts his arm up for a foul, while the footage shows time was not up on the clock.

School officials complained to the University Interscholastic League (UIL) and asked for the opportunity to shoot the three free throws.

The UIL however has said a protest based on the referee's decision "will not be considered."

A UIL spokesman later said: "The call made by the officials at the end of the Argyle vs Celina girls basketball 3A regional championship final was a judgment call.

That explanation wasn't good enough for his dejected team, said Celina coach Jordan Davis.

"To walk into that locker room and not be able to give them an explanation of what happened and some type of closure, that's probably one of the hardest things I've ever done," he said.

Brad Richards announces engagement to model Rechelle Jenkins

Brad Richards had a lot to smile about while hosting his second annual "Wines of the World" charity event in midtown Manhattan Monday night.

The New York Rangers' veteran center arrived at the Stone Rose Lounge with Australian-born model Rechelle Jenkins on his arm and announced the two now are engaged.

Richards proposed during the Olympic break while on vacation in the Bahamas, and Jenkins had the shiny new hardware on her left hand Monday night to prove it. Richards popped the question while walking on the beach. The happy couple already live together in Manhattan.

The charity event benefits his Brad Richards Foundation, which support families with children in need, and the lounge was packed with supporters of Richards’ cause, including several of his Ranger teammates.

The festivities included the auctioning of select New York sports memorabilia, most of it autographed, highlighted by a signed Wayne Gretzky jersey and also a one-of-a-kind canvas photo of Henrik Lundqvist posing during January’s Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium next to Babe Ruth’s plaque in Monument Park.

Sadly, this probably means we won't be seeing Olivia Munn hanging around Madison Square Garden as the Rangers' good luck charm anymore.

Well ... just once more.

Adam Dunn invited to Academy Awards for role behind 'Dallas Buyers Club': Report

No one will ever confuse Adam Dunn with George Clooney as a box office attraction, but when comes to producing hits outside the batter's box, the White Sox slugger is suddenly in the same class as the film star.

The White Sox designated hitter has an invite to Sunday’s Academy Awards, a reward for his role in the production company behind “Dallas Buyers Club,” the film that scored a Best Actor nomination for Matthew McConaughey.

“Realistically, how many times do you get to do something like this,” Dunn asked. “I got to do some pretty cool stuff in my life, but this would be one of them.”

The 6-foot-6, 285 pound Dunn told the that the one thing that’s giving him pause about attending the Oscars is that with only 27 days left in spring training after Sunday’s awards show in Los Angeles, he’s not sure if he wants to take a day off.

“I don’t even think it’s a big deal,” he said of using his one allotted day off. “If it’s remotely an issue at all then it’s not worth it to me.”

In addition to being an investor in Texas-based Truth Entertainment (started by his friend, ex-Blue Jays minor leaguer Joe Newcomb), Dunn also played a bit role in the Best Picture-nominated film — which led to a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Jared Leto and another for Best Original Screenplay, among other categories. Dunn played bartender Neddie Jay in the movie.

Dunn — whose baseball career is similar to most Hollywood players — plenty of home runs (440) but with a fair share of strikeouts (2,220), too — was still undecided Monday about whether he would attend the red carpet extravaganza, although he already had the backing of his manager.

“How many people get a chance to do that and actually be a part of it, not just go just to go, but be a part of something that has a chance to do something special,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura told CSNChicago. “Even the next day, I’d rather have him not worry about the next day and have him catch up after that … I’m not worried about precedence either because the next time somebody has something to do with the Oscars, we’ll deal with it.”

Deron Williams: 'Not bringing my gun to New York City'

Deron Williams may be a gun owner but the Brooklyn Nets point guard claims he doesn't —and won't — keep a firearm in his posh Manhattan home.

“I got my license to carry in like 26 states, but I’m not bringing my gun to New York City,” Williams said before the Nets practiced on Tuesday and before they traveled up the coast for Wednesday night’s game with the Trail Blazers. “I know better than that.”

Felton, the Knicks’ starting point guard, was charged Tuesday with criminal possession of a weapon in the second, third and fourth-degrees.

Williams, who is originally from Dallas and has another home in Salt Lake City — places where gun laws are more lax — is well aware that New York has among the strictest state laws on gun control in the country.

“It’s a tough situation,” Williams said. “I wish the best for Ray. I know Ray well. That’s tough for him.”

Williams and Felton have a lengthy history between themselves too — going back to being high-school point guards in the same recruiting class in 2002.

Apparently D-Will has better common sense.

4-foot-1 player celebrates birthday by scoring for his high school basketball team (VIDEO)

Seth Kraft had a birthday to remember on Saturday when he starred in his Montana high school’s senior nights basketball game and even scored a basket to cap a victory over their local rivals.

Oh yeah. Kraft is a haircut over four-foot tall.

At 4ft 1in, Kraft wasn't a regular starter for the team, but his passion for the game led him to be the boys basketball student-manager and student-coach for the Laurel High School's varsity team for the past four years.

In appreciation of all his hard work and dedication to the team, coach Pat Hansen decided to play him in Saturday’s game against local Montana rivals Billings Senior — and he came up big.

Spud Webb has nothing on this guy.

Before the big game, Kraft lead his teammates onto the courtby breaking through a sign held by the cheerleaders with this message: "Seth, you never fall short of amazing us."

"I will steal the ball if I have the chance," Kraft boasted to the Billings Gazette before the game.

"I’m not going to take it easy on them. It’ll be great if I score, but it’s OK if I don’t. I’ll be successful tonight if I make an impact, even a small one."

And, after missing his first shot, Seth scored a bucket before his two-minutes of game time were forever etched on the scorecard.

Fans from both schools filled the gym with a loud ovation for Seth’s first — and only — career points as Laurel won 75-66.

Way to go Seth — and the players from both sides.

Kansas State player high-fives invisible teammates between free throws (VIDEO)

Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu was at the line for a couple of technical free throws against Texas Tech Tuesday night, so there were no teammates on the lines to high-five between shots. That didn't stop Iwundu from looking for a little love anyway.

Maybe Iwwundu's imaginary teammates can get together with Tom Brady's real pals and high-five each other.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Raymond Felton arrested, charged with felony weapons possession: Report

New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton was arrested early Tuesday morning on three counts of criminal possession of a weapon, according to a New York Police Department spokesman.

Felton was charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a firearm, which are felonies, and fourth-degree possession of a firearm, which is a misdemeanor, after his estranged wife's lawyer dumped his gun off with cops, sources said.

The 29-year-old Felton is slated to appear in criminal court in Manhattan later Tuesday morning.

The struggling Knicks guard was cuffed when he turned himself in for questioning at the 20th precinct in Manhattan at about 12:50 a.m., just hours after the Knicks latest loss to the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. The eight-year NBA veteran in his second stint with the Knicks, scored eight points and had seven assists in Monday night's loss.

Felton surrendered after a lawyer for his wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, brought a Belgian pistol — an FNH 5.7x28-mm. — that reportedly belonged to the NBA player, sources said.

His 26-year-old wife — a Cornell University grad who is now studying at Fordham University School of Law — filed for divorce from Felton after the couple married just 19 months ago and, according to a police source, was uncomfortable that the handgun was being kept in the home.

"She had knowledge that the gun was there," the source said. "She said she didn't want the gun there anymore."

Felton has played poorly this season, and the Knicks unsuccessfully tried to trade him prior to the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

Felton faces New York City's strict gun possession laws. In 2009, former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was sentenced to two years in prison after accepting a plea deal on a firearm charge following an incident in which he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound when his gun accidentally went off in a Manhattan nightclub.

Jared Dudley destoys fan's beer in courtside collision (VIDEO)

Jared Dudley made a bit of a mess on Monday night during the Los Angeles Clippers match-up with the New Orleans Pelicans when he collided with a fan and knocked the beer from his cup onto a courtside seat.

In a last ditch attempt to keep the ball from going out, Dudley managed to get to the ball and keep it in-bounds — which is more than can be said for the fan and his 16 ounces of beer.

Lucky the game was in New Orleans or that drenched vacant seat would have had some celebrity sitting in it.

After being dried with a towel and checked to see if he was ok, the fan looked like he was ready for Mardi Gras.

Sochi stray dogs one step closer to new U.S. homes (PHOTOS)

American Gus Kenworthy seemed to make more headlines in Sochi for his efforts to give homes to some adorable stray dogs rather than his silver medal in ski slopestyle. 

Not only has Kenworthy managed to rescue four puppies, but he has also made the arrangements to bring the puppies' mother to the United States as well.

Now it looks like a lot more Sochi stray dogs will find homes in America and around the world due to Kenworthy's public efforts.

And celebrities are following suit.

After the U.S. athletes brought dogs home with them from the Olympic Games, former “Bachelorette” star Ali Fedotowsky returned from Sochi, where she was an Olympic correspondent for E! News, with two stray pups.

She was met Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport by actress Katherine Heigl, who is teaming up with Fedotowsky to find homes for the two Sochi strays.

St.  Louis Blues captain David Backes and his wife also rescued two of the thousands of stray dogs that were all around Sochi. And brought them back first class.

The new American citizens will remain contained for a two-to-four week quarantine process before they can be adopted out.

Fedotowsky said she received some “criticism” for bringing strays back from Russia when there are so many dogs in America in need of homes. But she told KABC, “If you saw what I saw every day in Sochi, you would have brought back one too.”

Adidas sexualized World Cup T-shirts get slammed: Report

No if, ands or “butts” about it, Brazilians love their soccer … and their ladies' bumbums as well.

Now, in tribute to Brazil's two biggest passions and in advance of the World Cup, adidas is marketing a pair of tee shirts that play off stereotypes of oversexed Brazilians — and getting criticized for it.

A couple of months before the country begins hosting the soccer tournament in June, the sports equipment giant, has released a pair of tee shirts inspired by Brazil’s reputation for sexiness, reported The Huffington Post

One offending shirt features an image of heart that appears to double as a woman’s behind with a thong, while another depicts a thin-waisted woman with a full-figured rear against a Rio de Janeiro backdrop and the words “Looking to Score.”

The “Looking to Score” message presumably refers to both soccer goals and having sex with Brazilian women.

The head of the Brazilian Tourism Board Flávio Dino blasted the shirts in comments to the local press, saying they would encourage illegal activity.

“We don’t accept that the World Cup be used for illegal practices, like so-called sexual tourism,” Dino told Brazilian news agency O Globo. “We ask that Adidas put a stop to the sale of these products… Brazil has harsh laws to deal with sexual abuse and the police will act on these cases in the national territory.”

The quest to find the best bottom in Brazil has become tradition and happens every November in the Miss Bumbum contest. Miss Bumbum has a huge following in the country and around the world. The titleholders often go on to become national celebrities.

Its new counterpart, Miss Butt World Cup aims to find the Brazilian beauty with the best behind before the first goal is scored.

Adidas did not immediately return a request for comment.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dirk Nowitzki gets the bounce at buzzer to beat Knicks (VIDEO)

Things only keep getting worse for the New York Knicks. Just when the they battled back against the Dallas Mavericks and  Carmelo Anthony tied the game at 108, Dirk Nowitzki forces a shot that bounces four feet above the rim and, while the buzzer sounds, miraculously drops in for the winner.

The Knicks had blown big leads in their last two games, giving away a 14-point advantage at Orlando and a 17-point cushion at Atlanta, collapses that coach Mike Woodson called "mind-boggling."

He'll call this one heartbreaking.

Anthony finished the game with 44 points while Nowitzki had 15 and the winner for the Mavs' third straight victory.

Erin Andrews named as new 'Dancing with the Stars' co-host: Report

A little more than a day after the B-list celebrity dance competition dumped longtime co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet, it was reported on Sunday that the Fox Sports reporter will take over the job.

The 35-year-old Andrews was a contestant with dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy on DWTS back in 2010.

The cast for Season 18 will be revealed on March 4 on Good Morning America, with the season premiere on March 17. And the producers can use all the help they can get.

Over the past few seasons, the celebrity dancing competition has experienced a decrease in viewership. Last November, "Dancing With the Stars" had its lowest season finale ever.

Maybe she can get Richard Sherman to appear.

Infamous Clemens-Piazza broken World Series bat gets $47,800 at auction

The broken bat that Roger Clemens infamously threw in the direction of Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series was auctioned this weekend for $47,800.

The winning bidder asked to remain anonymous, a Heritage Auctions spokesman said Sunday. The auction house initially expected the bat to go for around $10,000, reports Newsday.

Former Yankees strength coach Jeff Mangold, who sold the Subway Series bat, said in an interview this month that he noticed immediately after that World Series Game 2 ended that Piazza's broken bat was headed for the trash and thought it was too meaningful to be thrown away.

So Mangold said he took it home and quietly displayed it in his office for 13 years.

He said the broken barrel of Piazza's Mizuno Pro bat still has the old Yankee Stadium dirt stuck in its end because, after Clemens threw it toward Piazza, the bat took a few bounces before getting stuck in the grass.

"I've had it for 13 years, mainly in the office here at the house," said Mangold of the memento. "It's time for it to move on."

Mangold was the strength coach for the Yankees from 1984-88 and again from 1998-2006, and for the Mets from 1993-96. He said he's done Google searches over the years to see if anyone ever wondered about the bat's whereabouts.

"There was no mention of it, just no mention of it at all," Mangold said of the symbolic piece of wood. "Just a handful of friends of mine know about it. I wasn't out to show it off or anything. It was just something that was known among our family. Very strange, for all these years, nobody ever mentioned. The Hall of Fame never inquired about it. No one did."


Floyd Mayweather celebrates 37th birthday in style (VIDEO)

Floyd Mayweather gave his millions of Twitter followers an insight — surprise — into his extravagant 37th birthday celebrations over the weekend with a selfie on board a private jet with friends and his security team.

Money, who has reportedly split from girlfriend Shantel Jackson, was surrounded by just as many lady friends as burly bodyguards before and during a Lakers game.

His Twitter post said, "Taking my team to the Lakers game on the 737 BBJ private jet. I don't just talk about it I live it" with this video:

The eight-time undefeated world title holder was due to fight Amir Khan on May 3 but it looks like he'll be squaring off against Argentine Marcos Maidana instead.

Until then, live the dream.

Thomas Robinson destroys Corey Brewer's dunk attempt (VIDEO)

During the Portland Trail Blazers' comeback victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves — where they erased an 18-point deficit — Thomas Robinson made the most of his minutes off the bench. 

First and foremost, he helped keep All-Star Kevin Love in check, but his biggest highlight of the game came in the fourth quarter when the Blazers were pulling away.

Corey Brewer came down on a fast break and looked to embarrass Robinson with a dunk. Brewer went up for the slam, only to have the much taller T-Rob swat it away. 

The Blazers took the loose ball the other way and Will Barton finished the play with an emphatic alley-oop.

Robinson finished the game with a career-high 18 rebounds and 14 points in 33 minutes.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Russia pokes fun at itself by recreating 'malfunctioning' fifth ring at closing ceremony (GIF)

Remember that embarrassing malfunction during the Sochi opening ceremonies when five giant snowflakes transformed into a glowing set of four Olympic rings and a dud? Well, the Russians remembered it too, and at Sunday’s closing ceremonies, decided to poke fun at themselves by recreating the widely ridiculed start to the Winter Games.

During the choreographed routine Sunday night, performers wearing sparkly get-ups moved into formation to create a giant set of Olympic rings — but deliberately left one ring as a small, disconnected circle — an inside nod to that original technical failure — before it bursts into the final fifth ring to rousing cheers

Filled with pride after a spectacular showing at the costliest Olympics ever, Russia celebrated 17 days of sports and global unity on Sunday night with a farewell show that handed off the Winter Games to their next host, Pyeongyang in South Korea.

And they did it with a sense of humor.

Thieves destroy Cory Lidle statue for its valuable metal

Thieves destroyed a statue of former Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle in California last week in an attempt to steal the bronze and copper it’s made of, said police.

The 8-foot-tall memorial — worth about $100,000 — was unveiled outside a West Covina park in 2007 in honor of Lidle — a former NYC resident who died in 2006 when his plane crashed into an East Side Manhattan high-rise.

Police say the thieves drilled into the monument and sent it toppling to the ground before stripping it of the valuable metal.

The vandalism was discovered by employees of the West Covina Big League Dream Park.

The crooks couldn’t steal the statue but did take three metal plaques, valued at about $7,000.

Spelling bee runs out of words for finalists after 66 rounds

A battle between two elementary school students has turned into an old school, bare-knuckled slugfest — only with schoolbooks and bare-boned pronunciations.

The spelling bee competition at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library started Saturday morning and, after 66 rounds, hasn't been decided because officials ran out of words.

The standoff between Highland Park fifth grader Sophia Hoffman and Frontier School of Innovation seventh-grader Kush Sharma will resume March 8 at a library location to be determined. The winner gets a ticket to Washington, D.C., in May for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The pair matched each other word for word, round after round until —  after almost six hours of "Can you use it in a sentence?" —  officials didn’t want to pull more words from the dictionary in the middle of the bee. They reasoned that one speller might get a really tough word and the other a relatively easy one and it wouldn’t have been fair.

Plus, said bee coordinator Mary Olive Thompson, “about 2 o’clock, I think we were all really tired.”

Twenty-five students started Saturday’s championship event. After 19 rounds, only Hoffman and Sharma were still standing. Last year’s bee ended after 21 rounds.

The two spelling heavyweights better start training because the next round will be tougher. They won’t be working off the Scripps-approved list of 300 words. The words could come from anywhere in the 1,664-page dictionary.

Lightweights — like myself — will stick with Spell Check.

Canadian bobsled team flips over and finishes race upside down (VIDEO)

Members of Canada's four-man bobsled team were fortunate to walk away uninjured after a wild crash during the second run of the event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi Saturday.

The Canada 3 sled lifted off the track before turning over on its side as it entered a corner and slid down the Sanki Sliding Center track out of control.

Fortunately, pilot Justin Kripps and team members Jesse Lumsden, Cody Sorensen and Ben Coakwell escaped serious injury and were able to walk away from the crash scene after the sled crossed the finish line upside down.

The Canadian team had decided to change line-ups ahead of the race in order to give Kripps the most powerful team, but that decision was literally turned on its head.

Since the sled passed the finish line, the crew was able to compete Sunday — where they bounced back with the 10th fastest time in the event.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

American-born Vic Wild wins second gold medal for Russia

Snowboarder Vic Wild took home two gold medals in Sochi this week. The native of Wild Salmon, Washington, completed a historic sweep of the Olympic snowboard parallel slalom Saturday — only he did it for Russia rather than Team USA. 

American by birth, Russian by marriage and by choice, Wild swept both events to give his adopted country a boost in the medals count.

Had Wild competed here for the United States, the 27-year-old would have been the most successful American athlete at these Olympics.

Wild edged Zan Kosir of Slovenia by 0.11 seconds in Saturday's parallel slalom final to win his second gold medal of the games.

The victory capped a remarkable four days for Wild, who is married to Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina and earlier won gold in parallel giant slalom.

Wild’s Wednesday triumph might have meant more since he took home his first gold medal just minutes after his Russian wife won a bronze. 

"He deserves it, he's worked so hard," said Zavarzina. "He's so far from his home town and he had to switch countries.

"He has to deal with the Russian mentality, with stuff he's not used to, working with people who don't understand him most of the time," she said. "I'm very happy. I'm going to cry right now."

The two snowboarding friends became romantically involved in 2009 before getting married nearly three years ago. Wild saw it as a chance not only to be with the woman he loves, but also to become a member of a supportive Russian snowboarding team looking to win big in Sochi.

Frustrated by what he saw as a lack of funding from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association, Wild moved to Moscow and has blossomed after switching nationalities.

"Russia is the country that's given me the opportunity to win a medal. If I was still riding for the USA, I'd be back home with perhaps some mediocre job doing something mediocre," Wild said after winning his first gold medal earlier this week.

Chris Christie stiffs winner in fantasy football league: Report

It sounds like Chris Christie is more into backing up his Hudson River crossings than backing up his bets.

The embattled New Jersey governor — along with a group of deadbeat celebrities — stiffed the winner of their fantasy football league by not paying their entry fees, reported Page Six of The New York Post.

Christie was a member of a fantasy league associated with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton’s WFAN show, “Boomer & Carton,” along with celebrity players including comic and sports host Jay Mohr, “Entourage” star Kevin Connolly, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, actor Robert Wuhl and Broadway star Constantine Maroulis, sources told the gossip site.

But when it came time to pay up at the end of the season, many of the losing celebs, including Christie, were slower than rush hour on the George Washington Bridge. 

“The buy-in was $500,” a source explained of the way the league worked. “The season goes till the Super Bowl. So as the season goes along, when each celeb player gets knocked out in the playoffs, the player puts in the money.”

When the season ended this year, the winner of the pool was “Rock of Ages” star Maroulis. But the majority of his fellow players never anted up the money they owed into the winner’s pool, and he got stiffed, sources said.

“Constantine was supposed to win $6,000,” said a source. “But he got, like, $2,000. The only famous guy who paid up was Connolly. The rest of the eclectic group, including Christie, didn’t pay up. There were 12 players in their pool.”

Christie’s spokesman and reps for the other players did not return requests for comment.

A rep for “Boomer & Carton” told Page Six: “It was a fun wager amongst friends, and a good time was had by all.”

The guv can always blame the delay on traffic.

Tyson Chandler blocks own dunk with head (GIF)

In what must be the defining moment of the New York Knicks disastrous season, Tyson Chandler nullified his own reverse dunk by blocking it inside the basket with his head. 

During one of those rare games where neither bottom-dwelling team deserved to win the 58-minute long contest, it was Chandler's comical goof inside Amway Center Friday night that got the most cheers.

And to add insult to the epic fail, Chandler was called for an infraction on the play.

The play-by-play on described it as "Chandler Turnover: Offensive Goaltending (1 TO).

The Magic rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to defeat the Knicks, 129-121, in double overtime.

NFL to consider 15-yard penalty for use of N-word: Report

Recent racial slurs from Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper, in the locker room and a public setting respectively, have tested the limits of the NFL policy on tolerance off the field. But a radical rule change— which one group is proposing to the league — will penalize players for the use of the N-word on the playing field as well

The new penalty, which will be automatic 15-yards if a player uses the N-word, is set to be introduced during the league’s owner’s meetings in March, according to a CBS Sports report.

John Wooten, who heads up the Fritz Pollard Alliance which pays attention to diversity in the NFL, says he expects the NFL’s competition committee to suggest creating a rule penalizing players who use the offensive word on the field during play — where it is apparently prevalent.

The rule would also include the potential for players to get ejected from the game, if they use the word a second time.

Wooten, who was at the NFL Combine on Friday, said he wants to completely erase the word from being used in the NFL.

"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we're trying to do,” he said. "We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere."

Wooten spoke about his desire to completely eradicate the word from NFL workplaces at the Fritz Pollard event during the combine, wanting it to be fineable and policed throughout team facilities. He received a standing ovation according to those in attendance. Wooten said he will continue being vigilant about this with the NFL office and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The NFL has yet to comment on Wooten’s idea, but he remains extremely hopeful the rule will be passed because “there is too much disrespect in the game”.

Just wondering if this will lead to penalties for other offensive terms like the F-word or Redskins? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Teenager arrested for posting threatening tweets to Knicks owner James Dolan: Report

One disturbed fan from Staten Island just might be taking the New York Knicks disastrous season a little too personally— or maybe the recent hike in his cable bill.

Johnny Giamella — a 19-year-old son of a New York City cop — threatened the life of James Dolan, the owner of Madison Square Garden, the Knicks, the Rangers and cable TV giant Cablevision in several posts to his Twitter account, reported  the New York Daily News.

“James Dolan, it’s officially time to die,” Giamella allegedly tweeted. That was followed by the tweet, “Death to James Dolan,” police said.

Giamella also posted  pictures of himself holding a gun to the camera and a sharp metal object to his neck.

And in a bizarre photo, a naked Giamella is seen holding a gun over his penis, according to a criminal complaint.

Reached at the family’s home, Giamella’s mother declined to comment.

Dolan’s security chief noticed the alarming postings and reported them to police, the complaint says.

Giamella was charged harassment.

Tom Coughlin, Giants agree to one-year contract extension: Report

Some New York Giants fans might have been holding their breath waiting to see what direction the team was headed going into the final year of Tom Coughlin's contract.

Although it wasn't much of a surprise, now they won't have to get Big Blue in the face after the Giants head coach and the organization have agreed to a one-year contract extension — giving the two-time Super Bowl skipper a little extra security.

Coughlin was set to enter the final year of his deal after ten years at the helm. The team typically does not allow coaches to go into a lame-duck situation, and securing the extra year on his contract was among the team's priorities this offseason.

Negotiations began shortly after the Super Bowl.

"The Giants have always done that," Coughlin said. "That's the way it has been indicated to me. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it to be honest with you. We've got a lot of work going on in our business, as you know. I had great confidence that it would happen. And it did."

The move gives the 67-year-old Coughlin as much security as any of his assistant coaches or coordinators. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo signed a two-year deal in January.

Coughlin said a bigger extension was not brought up or proposed by ownership.

Curry floater, O’Neal block keys to dramatic Golden State win over Rockets (VIDEOS)

The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors thrilled fans with a finish that included Stephen Curry hitting a floater over Dwight Howard and off the glass to send the game to overtime.

Then in overtime, with 30 seconds to go and Golden State up one, Jermaine O’Neal preserved the win by blocking a Chandler Parsons dunk.

Golden State went on to win 102-99, snapping Houston’s eight-game win streak.

Side-by-side comparison of Sotnikova, Kim routines lets you judge outcome for yourself (VIDEO)

Check out this side-by-side comparison of Yuna Kim and Adelina Sotnikova with graphical evaluation charts from the controversial ladies' free skate program on Thursday.

In this fascinating video from NBC Olympics, you can see their free skate programs in sync with scores backing up their moves. The video is easily the best way to consider the debated outcome — as both figure skaters rack up “points” as they go. 

As subjective as these competitions can be, the side-by-side video might make the arguments that judging these events isn't very easy and both the Russian and South Korean skaters put together spectacular performances.

Judge for yourself.


Mystery of sad Detroit Lions fan on downtown billboard solved: PHOTO

It must be difficult being a Detroit Lions fan for the past half century or so and kind of mean when someone uses your face on a giant billboard to publicly ridicule that diehard loyalty — but it's downright funny when that someone with the warped sense of humor is your own dad.

As it turns out, the giant billboard featuring the downtrodden Lions fan that popped up in downtown Detroit last month was the work of the poor guy's own father.

Steve Vlahakis purchased the enormous billboard so he could put a larger-than-life picture of his son, 23-year-old Niko Vlahakis, on view — just a couple blocks from Niko's work.

Niko first found out about it from a friend in Arizona who saw a photo of the billboard — featuring the downcast face of himself decked out in Lions gear — on Twitter.

"When I first saw it, I was shocked. After a long day at work and getting a beer, I turned the corner and was speechless," he told The Huffington Post. "I definitely needed another beer after that. ...Every day when I come to work I have to see myself."

He initially had no idea who put up the billboard. When he eventually called his dad, the elder Vlahakis burst out laughing.

The father said he and some friends leased the billboard space from CBS Outdoors and it was not sponsored by the NFL team.

Niko's image — which became a popular meme — was captured by ESPN during the Dec. 16 game against the Ravens before Justin Tucker kicked a 61-yard field goal to defeat the Lions 18-16 in the final minute. 

"I had a great time until (Matt) Stafford threw an interception in the third," said the younger Vlahakis, who attended the game as a last-minute surprise from his father. "Once he threw that interception, I'm just sitting there a sad Lions fan, shaking my head. No words could explain it. You can see it on my face."

That face will be upon the billboard through the end of February.