NFLPA, Vilma make more legal moves in bounty case (Yahoo! Sports)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of three players suspended in connection with the bounty investigation, calling Commissioner Roger Goodell ”incurably and evidently biased.” The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New Orleans on Thursday, said Goodell violated the labor agreement by showing he had determined Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita participated in a bounty system before serving as an arbitrator at their hearing. The NFL said the action is an ”improper attempt to litigate” and said there is ”no basis for asking a federal court to put its judgment in place of the procedures agreed upon with the NFLPA in collective bargaining.” ”These procedures have been in place, and have served the game and players well, for many decades,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press. The lawsuit asks a judge to set aside earlier arbitration rulings and order a new arbitrator to preside over the matter. The suit comes two days after Goodell denied appeals by four players. The other player, Jonathan Vilma, has sued the NFL and Goodell separately. Vilma is suspended for a season, Hargrove for eight games, Smith four and Fujita three. ”A seminal question for this court is whether the NFL collective bargaining agreement … granted the commissioner, when serving as an arbitrator, the authority to disregard the essence of the parties’ agreement, to conduct proceedings that are fundamentally unfair, and to act with evident bias and without jurisdiction,” the lawsuit states. ”The answer, under governing case law, is clearly ‘no.”’ In the lawsuit, the players, as they have in the past, ”categorically” deny participating in any kind of ”bounty” program designed to injure fellow players, adding the NFLPA would never defend such behavior. ”The investigation and arbitration process that the Commissioner’s public relations machinery touted as ‘thorough and fair’ has, in reality, been a sham,” the lawsuit stated. The lawsuit said the NFL violated the labor agreement by refusing to provide the players with access to ”critical documents or witnesses, or anything resembling the fairness mandated by the CBA and governing industrial due process law.” The suit also states that the players were subject to arbitration before an arbiter in Goodell, who had ”launched a public campaign defending the punishments he intended to arbitrate, rendering him incurably and evidently biased.” The lawsuit also reiterates a claim that the CBA requires many of the ”pay-for-performance” conduct outlined in the NFL’s bounty investigation to be handled by a system arbitrator and not the commissioner, who has ”improperly usurped” control over that process. The NFL has argued that the bounty matter falls under conduct detrimental to the league, which the commissioner has authority to punish. Two arbitration rulings so far have ruled in the NFL’s favor on that matter, but the NFLPA lawsuit says the NFL’s handling of the bounty matter amounts to a ”rare case” in which the arbitrator’s rulings should be set aside.
Hernandez, not Welker, could be Patriots’ biggest receiver contract challenge
Hybrid players like Aaron Hernandez create contractual headaches for NFL teams. (Getty Images) The contract standoff between Wes Welker and the New England Patriots has gone on for months now. The Pats franchised their all-time slot receiver, who led the NFL in receptions three of the last five seasons, guaranteeing him $9.515 million for the 2012 season. But as it is with every player saddled with a one-year guarantee, Welker wants more years and more security. Whether he’s earned it or not is up for debate — some would say that Welker should enjoy the benefits of catching passes from Tom Brady and shine it on, while others might say that New England’s offense (and Brady by proxy) didn’t really blow up until Welker came on board before the 2007 season. And both sides have a legitimate point. One thing’s for sure — Welker has been the only bastion of security for Brady in a half-decade of receiver roulette. Less established is third-year tight end Aaron Hernandez, taken in the fourth round of a 2010 NFL Draft that proved to be a historic haul at the position for Bill Belichick’s Pats. Not only did they get the athletic and productive Hernandez for a relative pittance in retrospect, but they also took Rob Gronkowski in the second round that season — and Gronkowski is putting together an early career that may have him talked about as one of the NFL’s best ever when all is said and done. The Patriots responded appropriately after Gronk’s legendary 2011 season, in which he set a single-season touchdown record for tight ends and proved to be just about uncoverable in every game. Throw in his Pro Bowl-level blocking, and the six-year, $54 million extension (the biggest contract ever given to a tight end) could be an absolute steal over the next few years. [Also: Vikings RB Adrian Peterson arrested for resisting arrest in Houston] Hernandez is a bit more of a wild card. Like Jermichael Finley, Jimmy Graham, Dallas Clark, and Kellen Winslow, he’s much more likely to line up in the flex position or in the slot and act in a schematic sense like the new wave of “big receivers” than any sort of traditional tight end. His numbers haven’t matched Gronk’s, but if you include Hernandez’s outstanding postseason, he caught 98 passes for 1,098 yards and 9 touchdowns in the Patriots’ full 19-game season. In many offenses, Hernandez wouldn’t just be the best tight end – he’d be his quarterback’s primary target. And as Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reports, that could make things very interesting when the 2013 season is over and it’s time to decide when to do with Hernandez and his future with the team. Finley’s agent, Blake Baratz, told Bedard that his recent go-round with the Green Bay Packers about Finley’s future with that team was heavily informed by his client’s receiver-ish tendencies. The Packers signed Finley to a two-year, $15 million contract before things accelerated to arbitration. “I could see an arbitrator looking at it a lot of different ways,” Baratz told Bedard. “The team is going to argue it doesn’t matter where the guy lines up and what he does, he’s a tight end. Our argument was, when you make an argument on where they are lining up, what kind of stance they’re in, whether they’re running routes and the percentages that Jermichael was doing that. To me, that’s no different than if Wes Welker is in the slot or [Packers receiver] James Jones is in the slot [...] [...]“The team’s going to say he was a tight end in college, he sits in the tight end meeting room, and he’s a tight end in the media guide, and on websites he’s a tight end. That’s all great, but our argument was what’s the definition of a tight end? To us, [that] says he plays tight to the end, which is the traditional definition. I think the Packers believed enough that there was going to be a sound argument there. I think that’s part of the reason they were going to do a deal, otherwise they would have franchised him and been done with it.” Jimmy Graham (80) will also benefit from the current TE/WR perception schism. (Getty Images) The Patriots and Packers won’t be the only teams affected by this. The New Orleans Saints don’t want to hear this right now, given everything else they have going on, but whoever’s throwing passes for them a couple of years from now will very much want Jimmy Graham on board when his deal runs out after the 2013 season, and Graham is that same kind of hybrid player. According to stats gathered by Bedard from Football Outsiders, Graham had the third-highest number of snaps last season in which he lined up as a wide receiver (not even in the slot.) Finley led the NFL with 152 snaps, Hernandez was next with 123, and Graham finished third with 78. More and more, as offenses develop and diversify, you’re going to have tight ends playing out of their positions as much as they embrace the traditional roles — potentially pushing them into new financial brackets. “When we broke it down every single snap, Jermichael was close,” Baratz said. “It was maybe 53 percent off the line in a two-point stance vs. like 47 percent on the line. If Aaron’s hardly ever in a two-point stance, I think he has a very sound argument.” And he won’t be the last. Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:• Y! news: Souvenir baseball expected to cover school debt• Final Olympic Team USA roster features three Oklahoma City Thunder players• Roger Federer beats Andy Murray for seventh Wimbledon men’s singles title
Ex-Ga. back Crowell to Ala. State after arrest (Yahoo! Sports)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Former Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell has enrolled at Alabama State and is expected to play for the Hornets this season. Georgia coach Mark Richt dismissed Crowell last Friday after the sophomore was arrested on felony weapons charges. Police said they found a gun in his vehicle when he was stopped at a vehicle checkpoint on the Georgia campus at about 2:20 a.m. Police say he faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon on school property. Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow says the Football Championship Subdivision school ”actively researched Isaiah both as a person as well as an athlete.” He says school officials ”also believe in helping young people” and that Crowell has learned from his mistakes. Crowell rushed for 850 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman for the Bulldogs after arriving as one of the nation’s most heralded running back prospects out of Carver High School in Columbus, Ga. He was the Associated Press SEC freshman of the year and a three-time league player of the week. He and two of his teammates were suspended for the New Mexico State game after failing a drug test.
Betting-RSS February Round Up
Written by Betting-RSS admin on 01 March 2012. Hello guys, I will start by writing the stats and then I will talk about them. February 201233 WON / 2 VOID / 27 LOST Staked 203 / Returned 242.09 Yield 19.25% / ROI 119.25 Total P/L 39.09 Spreadsheet After January with only 37 picks cames February with a little more championships that started and it is visible also in the number of picks which doubled and also in the profit which doubled also. It was a clumsy start in February but we built up the profit on the way and if it weren’t for the past weekend and these 2-3 days the profit would have been around 45 Unit but let’s not be greedy, 19.25% yield from 62 picks it is something to brag about and it is a good achievement. As you might already know the table tennis tipster thingy is dead and gone. And he is also gone with 1800 EUR debt to me which I hope I can take care of as I know where he leaves. It is a pitty that there are not so many people that you could trust these days. Let me make now the arithmetics to show the profit in EUR for 25 EUR/UNIT, 50 EUR/UNIT and 100 EUR/UNIT(which is also the marker for my staking system). 25 EUR/UNIT -> 977.25 EURO Profit 50 EUR/UNIT -> 1954.5 EURO Profit 100 EUR/UNIT -> 3909 EURO Profit For march we can expect the number of picks to get even bigger and hope the profit will go in the same direction. Catch the first days of march! 5 places available to complete the list. You can read all about the prices and what you will receive HERE.If you have any questions please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Serena tops defending champ Kvitova at Wimbledon (Yahoo! Sports)
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams reached her eighth Wimbledon semifinal by knocking out defending champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets with another commanding serving performance on Tuesday. Playing underneath the closed roof on Centre Court while rain halted play elsewhere at the All England Club, Williams hit 13 aces – including three in the last game – to beat the fourth-seeded Czech 6-3, 7-5. Kvitova was on an 11-match winning streak at Wimbledon and had not lost here since Williams beat her in the 2010 semifinals en route to her fourth title. ”She’s been playing so well on grass,” Williams said. ”I had absolutely nothing to lose.” The American four-time champion seized control by breaking Kvitova for a 4-2 lead in the first set and then never gave her opponent a chance to get back in the match. She saved a set point when trailing 5-4 in the second with a hard serve down the middle that Kvitova could return only into the net. That was the only break point the defending champion earned, as Williams won 86 percent of the points on her first serve. Kvitova then led 30-0 in the next game but made four straight mistakes – including netting an easy forehand on break point – to give Williams the opening she needed. Williams, who hit a Wimbledon-record 23 aces in a fourth-round win over Zheng Jie of China, is trying to become the first woman over 30 to win a Grand Slam title since Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990. Outside Centre Court, it was a start-and-stop day at Wimbledon, as showers continued to cause headaches for organizers. Play was delayed for about 30 minutes on the outside courts in the morning, although Andy Murray and Florian Mayer found enough time between the showers to wrap up suspended matches and reach the quarterfinals. David Ferrer also advanced in the first match on Centre Court, where organizers again came under scrutiny for their use of the retractable roof. Their decision to open and then close it caused the start of Ferrer’s match against Juan Martin del Potro to be delayed by about 40 minutes. Murray made the last eight for the fifth straight year by beating the 16th-seeded Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-2, 6-3, while Mayer ousted Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. American qualifier Brian Baker’s remarkable run ended with a 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss to 27th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. Rain had prevented five of the men’s fourth-round matches from being completed on Monday. The weather continued to cause headaches as the start of play on outside courts was delayed for about 30 minutes because of light showers. When matches started, they were quickly halted again for another rain delay of about an hour. ”We stopped, obviously, a lot,” Murray said. ”You’re always a little bit edgy when you come out after a rain delay when you have the momentum with you. You stop, and then you come back out, and it feels a bit like you start from scratch again. I needed to serve well today and I got a lot of free points that helped me out.” Play on Centre Court didn’t even have time to start at all before the rain came. Organizers had closed the roof because of earlier showers in the morning but then decided to open it during a dry spell just before Ferrer’s match against del Potro. When the showers resumed, they promptly had to close it again and keep the players waiting. When the match began, Ferrer needed less than two hours to beat del Potro 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. Another rain delay then forced the suspension of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s match against Mardy Fish, with the fifth-seeded Frenchman leading 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 4-2. Murray’s match was halted on Monday with the Briton leading 3-1, 40-0 in the second set. He had time to play one point on Court 1 – clinching that game – before rain started falling again. One game later, the match was suspended once more. After the second resumption, there was another slight break early in the third set as the players remained in their chairs for about five minutes under umbrellas as officials waited for a light shower to subside. The Briton’s victory never looked in doubt, though, and he served out the match to love when the Croat netted a backhand. Murray will next play Ferrer as he tries to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936 – a task that looks easier after Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the second round last week. The 126th-ranked Baker was trying to become the third American qualifier to reach the quarterfinals at the All England Club. He was playing in Wimbledon’s main draw for the first time after being off the tour for more than five years because of a series of operations, one on his right elbow. He was ranked 458th at the start of 2012 but now will rise inside the top 100. On Monday, top-ranked Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Mikhail Youzhny were the only men to complete their round of 16 matches.
Moto GP: Assen Preview
Despite some concerns over Cal Crutchlow’s health the British Grand Prix went off beautifully, with the Tech 3 man even defying a serious ankle injury to finish sixth after starting on the back row. Jorge Lorenzo once again demonstrated his unquestionable class to win the race from fourth, followed home by the Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, in that order. This leaves Yamaha’s Spaniard on 140 points, 25 points clear of Stoner going to Assen, with Pedrosa back in third with 101. Last year Ben Spies took the victory at Assen, but twelve months on the Yamaha rider is nowhere near as confident as he was then. BetFred have 16/1 on Spies getting a win, with BWin having him at 2/1 for a top three finish but he’ll do well to achieve that. With a seat at Honda already open for next year, there is speculation that Yamaha may take advantage of the chaos and look to replace the struggling American, so Spies will be determined to pick up the pace. Who knows, maybe the memories from 2011 will inspire him to an unlikely win. Lorenzo is 15/8 with VictorChandler to stick his Yamaha on pole, and they have him as 5/4 favourite to cross the stripe first. After his victory at Silverstone you’d think twice betting against the Spaniard, and the slight drop in focus from Stoner has only emphasised the fact that the best motorcycle rider in the world is on a Yamaha. Stoner is 13/8 favourite for pole with VictorChandler, but only 9/4 with PaddyPower to win the race, which may be down to the ease with which Lorenzo passed him around the halfway stage of the British Grand Prix and the Australian’s struggle to preserve his tyres. Steve Parrish seemed pretty impressed with Cal Crutchlow’s decision to ride on a broken ankle, saying it would only enhance his standing with the likes of Honda and Yamaha, both of whom may have seats available come the summer, and it would be great to see a Brit getting a big factory ride. At 20/1 with PaddyPower for the win but only 2/1 with BWin for a podium, Cal is expected to continue his good form here today, but I’d be more tempted by BWin’s 5/2 on his team-mate, Andrea Dovizioso putting himself in the top three. Without the boost of home support it will be tough for Cal to overcome the pain like he did at Silverstone, and Dovi is very quick at the moment. PaddyPower have Pedrosa at 5/1 for pole with BlueSquare making him 6/1 for the win but the diminutive Spaniard seems to really struggle with getting past his team leader, Casey Stoner, never mind championship leader Lorenzo. One thing we know is that Dani has the talent to win this race if the opportunity presents itself, but he needs the chance. Other notables include Valentino Rossi, 33/1 with BetFred for the win and 5/1 with BWin for the podium, and BlueSquare 100/1 shot Alvaro Bautista (6’s for the podium, BWin). Image Credit: Rich Jaques Related Articles:Moto GP: Catalunya Moto GP Update Premiership Preview 2008/09 – A preview of the 2008/2009 Premier League season Jerez MotoGP Odds Bahrain GP Preview and Qualifying