Donnerstag, 30. Juni 2011

Grant: Rangers considering bringing back Chris Davis


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Tennessee and Lane Kiffin: The Hate Continues to Grow

If you have read just about any article that advocates Lane Kiffin,USC, the Pac-12, or just the West Coast in general you will find many pieces of well articulated verbiage that explains how Lane Kiffin might have been wrong, but now that he is home and enfolded in the warm embrace of the Trojans that everything will be forgiven. He is the prodigal son returned, sure he committed a few violations what's the big deal? It happened at Tennessee, so who cares?

So what did happen?

Well, Kiffin was hired into a program with the full understanding that he was putting together a very high paid staff including his father that would pretty much engulf other SEC teams in terms of experience and expertise. It was okay though, when you are investing in the future you break out the checkbook. What do you do when you prepare for the future? Well, you allow your investment to grow. You don't go out and invest in anything else, that's for sure.

Oops, off course. Oh yeah, then in the process of building a program you start off a tenure by estranging literally everyone affiliated or associated with the SEC. What else, hmmm? Oh yeah. You stick your foot in your mouth by accusing a nationally renowned championship coach on TV. Hey don't broadcast that! Oops too late. Damn you ESPN!

Now what? How about we start recruiting our first class with less than scrupulous methods. Everybody does it. Shhhh. It' not like we'll lose a national title or anything. We'll just report the little stuff to keep the Infractions Committee happy. Hey those are pretty girls. Hey there pretty thing, ever been to South Carolina? You got a nice dress right?

All right let's play some football. Man our roster is going to suck out loud next year wish I wasn't here. Okay I'm bored. Layla don't unpack the china.

Well, it was Hamilton's fault for hiring do we blame Hamilton, Kiffin, or the program itself?

It's silly not to assume that Kiffin advocates of any species won't come to his rescue. After all he was the golden child for many years under his mentor Pete Carroll where he did nothing but good in his role as recruiting and offensive coordinator for USC....or did he? There is also no dispute that he put together some of the finest recruiting classes in the previous decade, but at what cost?

There is no denying that Kiffin is a talented coach, or he would not have progressed as far as he has. But, there is also no denying that some rules are made to be broken. Just ask Reggie Bush or the 2004 BCS Champions.

Or yet still you could ask Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton, who recently resigned from his post amidst the NCAA allegations. Now, granted you could argue that Bruce Pearl also played a part in this, but on the heels of Pearl's infractions alone Hamilton would not be resigning.

So, poor little Tennessee what's the matter? You don't have to vacate a title or a Heisman trophy winner so quit complaining. What did your little school really lose?

Well for one, they lost time. Time to recruit more players. Seeing as how these other players were recruited to play for Kiffin and not under the University banner under which they were promised. Hey Ed, make sure you got all my boys on speed dial. When do classes start again? Which kid is backing out? Ahh don't worry we got that position covered, oops not here....on the other campus WINK WINK.

Uh Lane, we're going to lose a lot of people next year and all of those recruits are needed more than ever. By the way, you're further tarnishing our image so don't do anything crazy like telling them not to go to classes. Okay? Ed you got all of those numbers right? Dad you still like palm trees right? Layla get Knox's diaper bag.

The second thing is reputation. Kiffin people at this point are saying Boo freaking hoo! We lost a national championship! Well, that may be true but at least you didn't have to scramble in the middle of the night for coaches and recruits to save an entire program.

Again who do you blame? Here is a little story that I think fits the situation.


The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "I can not help it....I am a scorpion"  

-Origin unknown


Now, the allegations are quite clear: Lane Kiffin did not monitor the program as he should have. But are we to really, really believe that he had no knowledge whatsoever of what his staff was doing? Come on.

They do it in the military all the time. The subordinates do their commanding officer's bidding but the chain of command doesn't like it. So, the underlings shoulder the blame so that their general can save face, but still accomplishes what he set out to do. And the lieutenants get a piece of ribbon and a quick promotion, However there is usually a sergeant or two that's left behind to get David Reaves. Now even if you're a Trojan you can surely admit that leaving behind his wife's own brother is rather scorpion-ish.

Whether you believe or not, the Vols may drown; and if the Vols go down, then so be it. It is only fair should another school suffer the same punishment. But, if Tennessee should drown in the NCAA allegations for failing to promote an atmosphere where the rules are followed...then so should Lane Kiffin. After all, however short of a tenure it might have been he was on the frog's back.

Whatever respect might have existed between schools is gone now, and in it's place is an aura of loathing. Let's embrace that and move on.


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Revealing the Big East league opponents

The Big East sent a record 11 teams to the NCAA tournament in March and it wasn't by accident. The conference's scheduling strategy of projecting which teams should play each other twice certainly didn't hurt the team power ratings.

The league is entering its final season of the current scheduling format, which consists of 18 conference games with 16 teams playing three of those squads twice and the other 12 once. When TCU joins the Big East in 2012-13, the 17-team league will still play 18 conference games but the breakdown calls for teams to play two opponents twice and the other 14 once.

There's a method to the madness. The Big East sought out a specially designed software program to help with the scheduling matrix. The hope was that there was more of an equitable home and road split. Because make no mistake: How the Big East decides who plays who twice can ultimately be a deciding factor on Selection Sunday.

Individual teams will announce their overall Big East home/road schedules sometime today, but the league has finalized the matchups. Next for the Big East will be figuring out dates since there are so many arena conflicts with the NBA, NHL and minor league hockey. South Florida gives the Big East another headache with the Bulls playing next season in the St. Pete Times Forum -- home of the Tampa Bay Lightning -- due to renovations at the Sun Dome.

The Big East has used a coach’s vote to determine a tier system for scheduling. Previously, the conference broke it down by three tiers, sometimes four. This year, the Big East went to five tiers.

Officials from the conference weren’t at liberty to hand out the exact tiers, but an analysis of the schedules shows that at least six Big East teams must have been projected in the first or second tier with Louisville, Connecticut, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Marquette and Villanova appearing to have the toughest slate of three home-and-home series.

The league will announce the official list Thursday afternoon, but has learned of the scheduling breakdown in advance. Here are the repeat opponents for the 2011-12 season, along with list from last year:

Cincinnati: Villanova, Marquette, St. John’s
My preseason top 25: 19
Last season: DePaul, Georgetown, St. John’s
Finish: 26-9, 11-7 (NCAA)

Connecticut: Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Syracuse
My preseason top 25: No. 6
Last season: Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame
Finish: 32-9, 9-9 (NCAA)

DePaul: Louisville, St. John’s, Seton Hall
Last season: Cincinnati, South Florida, West Virginia
Finish: 7-24, 1-17

Georgetown: Marquette, Providence, St. John’s
Last season: Cincinnati, St. John’s, Syracuse
Finish: 21-11, 10-8 (NCAA)

Louisville: Pitt, Syracuse, DePaul
My preseason top 25: No. 9
Last season: Connecticut, Providence, West Virginia
Finish: 25-10, 12-6 (NCAA)

Marquette: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Villanova
My preseason top 25: No. 13
Last season: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Seton Hall
Finish: 22-15, 9-9 (NCAA)

Notre Dame: Connecticut, Rutgers, West Virginia
Last season: Connecticut, Marquette, St. John’s
Finish: 27-7, 14-4 (NCAA)

Pittsburgh: Louisville, South Florida, West Virginia
My preseason top 25: No. 17
Last season: South Florida, Villanova, West Virginia
Finish: 28-6, 15-3 (NCAA)

Providence: Georgetown, South Florida, Syracuse
Last season: Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida
Finish: 15-17, 4-14

Rutgers: Notre Dame, Seton Hall, West Virginia
Last season: Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova
Finish: 15-17, 5-13

St. John’s: Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgetown
Last season: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Notre Dame
Finish: 21-12, 12-6 (NCAA)

Seton Hall: Connecticut, DePaul, Rutgers
Last season: Marquette, Rutgers, Syracuse
Finish: 13-18, 7-11

South Florida: Pitt, Providence, Villanova
Last season: DePaul, Pitt, Providence
Finish: 10-23, 3-15

Syracuse: Connecticut, Providence, Louisville
My preseason top 25: No. 4
Last season: Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova
Finish: 27-8, 12-6 (NCAA)

Villanova: Marquette, South Florida, Cincinnati
Last season: Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse
Finish: 21-12, 9-9

West Virginia: Pitt, Notre Dame, Rutgers
Last season: DePaul, Louisville, Pitt
Finish: 21-12, 11-7 (NCAA)

A few initial observations:

-- The Big East was able to avoid having any team play the same three teams it played twice last season.

-- Syracuse has one of the toughest schedules, with four games against Connecticut and Louisville. Cincinnati and Marquette might be next with the teams playing each other twice, and then the Bearcats playing Villanova and St. John’s twice while Marquette has to play Villanova and Georgetown twice. The Hoyas are rebuilding but will still be formidable in league play. Villanova has to play Marquette and Cincinnati twice each.

-- Connecticut, a possible favorite, might have caught a break. Syracuse home and away will be tough tests. But getting Notre Dame, which lost quite a bit, led by Big East player of the year Ben Hansbrough, will not be as daunting this season. Seton Hall is likely to be a second-division team.

-- The Big East did make life a bit tougher for projected lower-level teams South Florida and DePaul. The Bulls will have to play four games against projected NCAA teams Villanova and Pitt. The Blue Demons have four against Louisville and St. John's.

-- Pitt’s schedule was fair with Louisville being a projected title contender and Notre Dame and West Virginia being fellow retooling teams.

-- If Georgetown is a bubble team in March, it will help playing Marquette twice and possibly St. John’s. Sleeper Rutgers has winnable games against Notre Dame, Seton Hall and West Virginia. St. John’s, which has a loaded nonconference schedule with road games at Kentucky and Duke, will have at least one projected NCAA team in Cincinnati, an unknown against Georgetown and a likely lower-level team DePaul.

-- The Big East did a fair and equitable job in selecting the repeat games. And if you’re a fan of Cincinnati or Marquette, take solace in knowing the league must consider your team to be a conference contender this season.


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Back to the Internet 'stone ages' for the NBA

Derrick Rose
AP Photo/Jim Prisching
One thing Derrick Rose won't find on the Bulls' website during a lockout: himself.

Take a spin today through the NBA's digital space and you'll encounter the usual stuff.

There's a menacing Kevin Garnett atop the Celtics' site, with an image of Rajon Rondo on the right margin alongside a pitch to "Get Your Tickets Now" for the 2011-12 season.

Scroll down the Clippers' main page and you'll find a catalog of videos featuring Blake Griffin doing Blake Griffin things.

At the Heat's site, you'll see an archive that contains Couper Moorhead's "Prized Possession" features, which include game footage to break down crucial plays.

David Stern has said that if negotiations progress between now and Thursday, there's a possibility the deadline for the current collective bargaining agreement could be extended. "We know how to stop the clock if we're close," Stern said.

Does it really matter if there's an extension of the CBA in July or a lockout? After all, there aren't any games nor do players get paid during this summer.

But for the guys who are in charge of those team websites and, the pending deadline is a huge deal.

That's because the moment the clock strikes midnight on the current CBA, all those images and videos of NBA players have to disappear off NBA-owned digital properties. Depending on how you interpret "fair use," the prohibition could include the mere mention of a player's name on an NBA-owned site, though different teams have different interpretations of this particular stipulation.

Over the past few weeks, NBA website administrators and support staff have endured two-hour conference calls and countless planning sessions to figure out how to eliminate all these photos, highlights, articles and promotional features from the sites.

There are additional gray areas that are still up for discussion: What about a photo of a Lakers fan wearing a No. 24 Kobe Bryant jersey? What about a retrospective feature on the John Stockton-Karl Malone Jazz teams? Do tweets from the team's official Twitter feed that mention a player and/or link to an image need to be deleted? How about Facebook posts?

Nobody seems to know for certain the definitive answers to these questions and the criteria seem to be arbitrary. According to more than one team website staffer, the cutoff for images of retired players right now stands at 1992-93 -- Shaquille O'Neal's first season in the league. And social media is an area they're still grappling with as the deadline approaches.

However strict the boundaries, overhauling the architecture of these sites is a painstaking process that has a lot of talented web people around the league very stressed out.�The NBA has built and furnished each team with a website "wire frame" that will take the place of the existing, much more sophisticated site. The wire frame is a rudimentary version of the site, without a lot of the snazzy technology we've grown accustomed to seeing. As a result, each of the 30 team sites will look virtually identical.

“We're going back to the stone ages of the Internet," said one team website administrator. "It's all going to be very dumbed down.”

In the meantime, staffers are going through thousands upon thousands of subpages, looking for any representations or mentions of NBA players.

What happens to all the old content? It gets put on a shelf. Webmasters will take the pre-lockout website and redirect it to an address that we’ll never find.

So if we're not going to be treated to Griffin dunks and Derrick Rose crossovers and Dirk Nowitzki one-leggers, what will we be able to find at team websites come the lockout?

Lots of dancers, mascots and charity events.

But be careful! If an article on the Christmas food bank event includes a shot of Kevin Durant in a Santa hat, you can forget about it. �And if Josh Smith happens to be standing in the margin of a photo of Harry the Hawk, that picture might be off-limits too.

It's no secret that team websites are far more about promoting the team than they are about providing the fan with hard news about basketball. That presents a major complication for those in charge of marketing the teams. How much can write about Clutch the Bear before fans tune out and go elsewhere for their Rockets fix?

"Content is going to be a major problem if we can't mention a player," said a team website administrator.

This dynamic poses a difficult problem for the digital marketing staff, as well. When teams approach companies with sponsorship contract offers, they promise a certain number of page views and impressions. For example, in a typical July or August, that number might be a couple of million page views from fans hungry for trade rumors and news from NBA Summer League. If traffic to the team's site is dramatically reduced -- which is inevitable if the only content on the site revolves around the dance team or a mascot �-- teams will have to answer to some very unhappy sponsors.

The only winners out of this whole ordeal?

Dunking gorillas, arena choreographers -- and rival media outlets.


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College Football 77 in 77: #68 Duke Blue Devils

When it comes to Duke Blue Devils college football, there is no equivalent of: the Cameron Crazies, Krzyzewskiville, slapping the floor when you get back on defense, the Tobacco Road rivalry or the tradition of ACC championships. To call this place a college basketball school is to say that Kim Kardashian has “a bit of [...]


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Red Sox release Mike Cameron


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Meeting may determine if lockout begins (AP)

Representatives for NBA players and owners have arrived for a meeting that could determine if there is a lockout. The sides started their meeting about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. They remain far apart on nearly every important issue, and owners could lock out the players if a deal is not reached by the end of the day.


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Mittwoch, 29. Juni 2011

NFL Lockout: Show of Unity by Goodell and Smith Nothing More Than a Sham

Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith Take Brief Break From Negotiations To Meet With Rookies

Amidst ongoing negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement in Minneapolis, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players' Association head DeMaurice Smith decided to take a break from all the yelling and shouting across tables in smoke-filled rooms and, instead, opt for a half-day of sunshine and relative relaxation in Sarasota, Florida, where they spoke to 155 of the league's incoming rookies.

Of course, most of the questions fielded by the two concerned the current lockout, which is now in its fourth month, and when the 2011 season might begin, which is of particular import to rookies who have yet to earn a single dime for their professional play.

Goodell sounded confident in his remarks to the giddy young gridironers, telling them:

?We were taking a break (from negotiations) because we felt it was important to be down here with the players...This is an important few days. We?re going to get back to work.?

MUST READ: Top Potential Free Agents At Every Position

From there, Goodell and Smith climbed into the back of an SUV, held hands and engaged in a quick back-and-forth of mutual appreciation...that is, until the doors closed and the two returned to verbal fisticuffs.

Okay, so maybe things didn't go down quite that way, but at least the two representatives were able to save face for a bit in front of hundreds of curious onlookers, prospective players and media types alike.

At this point, the success or failure of the negotiations between the players and the owners will likely come down to whatever rapport Smith and Goodell can stitch together over the next few days during scheduled talks in Minneapolis. With fewer cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, Smith and Goodell might very well be able to hammer out the terms of a deal in much the same way that former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the late Gene Upshaw once did when they were the parties responsible.


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Passan: Padres prospect Donovan Tate suspended 50 games for second positive test for "drug of abuse"


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NHL Power Rankings: Each Franchise's Most Hated Player

I'm going to try and make this a little less traditional than your usual "most hated players" article.  Because they are mildly predictable and everyone knows who is going to be on the slides for at least half of the teams.

And there is no fun in that—in knowing that Jarkko Ruutu is going to be the representative of the Ducks, Sean Avery for the Rangers, and so on.

So I'm going to look at "hated" from a bit of a different standpoint.  I'm going to pick the guy on each team that other fans love to boo and dislike for various other reasons.  Players like Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton draw just as much, if not more irritation, than some of their dirty counterparts.

When a team loses, who is their go-to goat.  Who is the constant in trade rumors and speculation.

We're looking for players that drive fans nuts.  Both opposing and hometown.  Who do people love to rip on during playoff runs and question during regular season slumps?  So without further delay, here are my picks for every team's most hated on player.

Begin Slideshow


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Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Updates on Hunt for Gervinho for June 29th

Arsenal Transfer News Ponders Latest Updates On Gervinho Contract Talks

Arsenal have been in the market for a new striker since this summer's transfer window first opened. The Gunners' lack of consistent scoring punch from their front line was well-documented last season, particularly when Robin van Persie was hurt, forcing Arsene Wenger to try and find a solution. 

Fortunately, the club has been linked to Ivorian striker Gervinho for most of the summer. The 24-year-old Lille star expressed an overwhelming desire to come to Emirates earlier this month, but perplexingly, the Gunners hadn't made him an offer. 

According to a report from Mirror Football, that may have changed. The newspaper reported today that the Ivorian star was flying to London today to finish up negotiations between the two sides on the deal.

The move is rumoured to be costing the Gunners somewhere between �10.5 and �12 million, but given the Ivorian's excellent scoring touch, he should prove well worth the cash. He gives the Gunners some size up front (which was sorely lacking last season), as well as having more of a nose for goal than either Maraoune Chamakh or Nicklas Bendtner. 

On top of that, the 24-year-old is just beginning to enter the prime of his career, meaning the Gunners figure to enjoy his goal-scoring touch at the front of their attack for quite some time. 

To be honest, it's surprising that Arsenal have waited this long to start the negotiation process with Gervinho and Lille (and it's unclear whether the Gunners have actually made a bid to the French club at this point), given the fact that we've known the player had an active interest in coming to London for over a week now with no activity from Arsenal. 

The Gunners aren't racing anyone to sign Gervinho; the race has waned, and they are so far out in front that no one is likely to swoop in and grab the Ivorian, although if they wait too long, he could decide to stay in France. 

In the end, though, expect to see a deal get done here within the week or so, as the Gunners look to bolster their striker corps once and for all. 


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TNA's Best Performer Who Spent Less Than a Year with Company (CvC 2.0)

In 2002, TNA Wrestling was born and when it began, it started out with weekly pay per views to build a fan base and revenue.

To help build its reputation, founder Jeff Jarrett brought in some of his friends from the WWE that weren't a part of the company's new plan and a division of brand-new guys whose showcase of talent would finally be seen beyond the walls of a bingo hall or state fair.

Jarrett would do everything he could to be a viable competition against his former boss and now nemesis Vince McMahon. But McMahon had something very crucial that Jarrett didn't: money.

With little money, TNA had to rely on a revolving door of big names to help boost its popularity. A lot of big names came and went, some only lasting a year or less. This was due to either money issues,  politics or sometimes even death.

One man arrived in October 2002 and had his last televised match in December of that same year, he fought Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Title and lost due to interference by Vince Russo.

Its sad that this man's fantastic career would come to an end in a TNA ring and have that outcome be his last one seen on TV. His final match would come months later in January vs. David Flair, son of legendary Ric Flair.

Less than a month later, he would be found dead in a hotel room in Florida, cause of death, "acute cocaine intoxication." Curt Hennig, known better as Mr. Perfect, passed away at the young age of 44.

Curt Hennig began his wrestling career in 1979 wrestling in Wisconsin, Colorado and Western Canada, in only three years he would already find himself with what would end up being a common situation, he had gold around his waist.

His first title being one half of the NWA Tag Team Champions, he would hold these titles three different times with three different partners while with NWA.

From 1984 to 1988 Curt would compete with the AWA and have amazing matches against the likes of The Road Warriors, "Mr. Electricity" Steve Regal (not WWE's William Regal) and Nick Bockwinkel. Finally in 1988 he would have his last AWA match in which he would lose the AWA World Heavyweight Championship to none other than Jerry "The King" Lawler. 

Hennig would then make his debut with the then WWF and his gimmick of Mr. Pefect began, he competed at Survivor Series on Andre The Giant's team and faced a team lead by Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Between 1988 and 1991 Mr. Perfect would take part in five Saturday Night Main Events and three Wrestlemanias.

Two main things stood out in Mr. Perfect's career with the WWE, his video that he made showing him being perfect at every sport and his two runs as the Intercontinental Champion totaling 406 days.

Curt Hennig only held the title two times and is considered one of the greatest IC Champions ever, he was master of the Perfect-Plex and the genius who perfected the cocky walk to the ring. Who can ever forget his tossing of the towel behind his back or spitting his gum into the air and then swatting it away?

Mr. Perfect wasn't just a wrestler back in the day he was one of the pioneers of being a 'Superstar.' The attitude, the skills, the pandering to the camera every match he had was an event regardless if it was against Bret Hart or Koko B. Ware.

After his run with WWE, he would do as most guys in his group did, he went over to WCW. While there,  he however wasn't just another name on the long roster of WWF ship jumpers. 

Mr. Perfect, being the perfect guy that he is would do something no one else had ever done, he was a part of the Four Horsemen and then later the nWo: two of the most famous, legendary factions ever in wrestling, and Curt Hennig managed to be a part of both.

He stayed with WCW until 2000 when his contract ran out, in his time there he had matches against Randy Savage, The Big Show, Goldberg, Ric Flair and Diamond Dallas Page: a veritable who's who of wrestling greats.

Hennig would find himself back on the independent scene for a bit wrestling on the occasion, with the likes of  Brutus Beefcake and even professional basketball star Dennis Rodman. Despite being in his 40s he was in great shape and in 2002 was a mystery entry into the Royal Rumble.

He entered at No. 25 and when he got to the ring the only people in there at the time were Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H.

After Perfect entered, he was followed by Kurt Angle, The Big Show, Kane, RVD and Booker T a grouping of WWE champions in the ring with a guy who hadn't been there in over five years, and he held his own.

In fact he did better than that, he survived to the bottom three where he was eliminated by Triple H who went on to win the match after eliminating Kurt Angle.

Perfect's performance was so...perfect the WWE offered him a longer contract rather than what was supposed to have been a one-night showing. He even went on to have one more Wrestlemania match in March 2002, however he left the company due to the infamous "Plane Trip from Hell."

This was a situation in May 2002 where fights between JBL and Michael Hayes broke out as well as Hennig trying to instigate a fight with Brock Lesnar. It was said that Hennig was shooting shaving cream at everyone and even poured some on a sleeping Big Show.

After the incident Curt Hennig was released from his contract with the WWE. If the wellness policy had exited then as it does today, maybe Hennig would have recieved some help and not found dead only nine months later.

The name Mr. Perfect will always be one that is spoken with high praise in the wrestling world, after he had passed Curt was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his friend and professional baseball player Wade Boggs; his family accepted at the induction ceremony and appeared the next night at Wrestlemania.

Currently Curt's son Joseph Hennig or known to WWE fans Michael McGillicutty is a part of the WWE roster, one-half of the tag team champions and member of the new Nexus. He carries on his fathers tradition of wrestling, being cocky and being a champion.

Joe is new to the WWE and has a lot of years hopefully in front of him, but he has a long way before he can do what his father did, and thats make Perfection look easy.

His run in TNA is probably one of the shortest and its reason for ending one of the most tragic.

There is no doubt that the amazing, legendary Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig is by far the greatest person to have ever graced the ring of TNA and left before we were ready to say goodbye.


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FIFA Women's World Cup 2011: Canada Vs. France, Germany Vs. Nigeria, Group A


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TrueHoop TV: Charles Jenkins on draft day


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Dienstag, 28. Juni 2011

Players, owners to meet again Thursday (AP)

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23:  NBA Commissioner David Stern announces that the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Kyrie Irving from Duke with the #1 overall pick in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Representatives for NBA players and owners will meet Thursday, hours before the collective bargaining agreement expires, and Commissioner David Stern says that's still enough time for a deal. Owners did not vote to authorize a lockout during their meeting Tuesday, but have given the labor relations committee the go-ahead to do whatever is necessary.


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NBA Rumors: Warriors Shopping Longtime Center Andris Biedrins

NBA Rumors See Warriors Giving Up Hope on Center Andris Biedrins

Of all the spindly, paper-thin big men the Golden State Warriors have drafted throughout the years, Andris Biedrins was the best of them all,

Of course, this isn't saying much.

And after his second straight disappointing season after averaging 11.2 rebounds in 2008-2009, the Warriors appear to be growing tired of their former No. 11 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

MUST READ: NBA: 50 Bold Predictions for the Offseason

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob recently told Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News that the Houston Rockets had made an offer for Biedrins.

Said Lacob:

"However, we don't feel compelled to necessarily deal him ... Having said that, he has not performed to the level that he used to. If we got offered a great deal, like anybody else on the team, we'd have to consider it."

Previous reports had the Rockets offering Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill for Biedrins, which is why it's no surprise no deal has been struck yet.

While Thabeet and Hill haven't offered much in their NBA careers, Biedrins still has the ability to average over 10 rebounds per game. He's also still just 25 years old.

The Warriors don't want to trade Biedrins just for the sake of it, but even a decent offer appears it would be enough to see Biedrins sent packing.

-Ryan Rudnansky


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Terrelle Pryor Working With QB Coach George Whitfield, A La Cam Newton


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Conversing with White Sox Legend Ron Kittle at BP Crosstown Cup

This week marks the height of summer festival season. In most major cities across North America, prominent street fairs and concert series are being held. In Chicago, BP featured the city?s largest baseball at the Taste of Chicago June 24th-26th. As the entire city focuses on the BP Crosstown Cup, the annual head-to-head interleague series [...]


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Rockets pick up option on G Dragic (AP)

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 13: Aaron Brooks #0 of the Phoenix Suns shoots against the San Antonio Spurs in an NBA game played on April 13, 2011 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets have picked up the team option for next season on backup point guard Goran Dragic. The 6-foot-3 Dragic joined the Rockets at the trade deadline last February in the deal that sent Aaron Brooks to Phoenix. Dragic played in 22 games, averaging 7.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.


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Insanely funny Lebron/Heat spoof


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Chicago White Sox: Time to Find a Spot in the Lineup for Dayan Viciedo's Bat

The Chicago White Sox have several players struggling with the bat right now.  Meanwhile, prospect Dayan Viciedo is an offensive juggernaut at Tripe-A Charlotte and appears to have a future as a big-league outfielder.

It would appear that this would add up to a call-up with the White Sox.  However, manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams are using different calculators.

The 2011 season has seen DH Adam Dunn struggle to keep his average above the .170 mark and Juan Pierre well under his career average.  It would seem that the White Sox have little to lose by giving the hard-hitting Cuban an extended shot with the club.

Viciedo is currently leading the International League with 55 RBI in 75 games.  In that stretch, he has hit 12 home runs on the way to a .330 batting average.  By all accounts, the guy is also playing well in left and seems to have finally found a position after stints at third and first base.

The White Sox started him in Charlotte this spring to turn him into an outfielder.  It looks as if he is well on his way to becoming one.

So why the resistance to having him patrol the outfield at U.S. Cellular Field?

I've been pretty vocal against Viciedo coming up to fill a gap at third or DH or be a twice-a-week reserve.  My stance on Viciedo is that his future is in the outfield and should be getting regular work out there.  However, if his bat can help the club and he is adjusting well in left, there is no reason that his development can't continue with steady time in Chicago.

Pierre is not part of the future on the South Side.  He's a speed guy who hasn't been able to get on base consistently.  He also hasn't been effective when he's been on the base paths.

Viciedo would have Alex Rios, a very good defender, next to him in center field.  He could DH on occasion.  He may not crush major-league pitching like he has in the minors, but he did hit .308 with 5 dingers in 106 plate appearances last fall with the White Sox.

If Viciedo can be a .280 hitter with some power in his bat, giving fans a preview of next season should be in order.  Unfortunately, the manager and GM do not seem to be on the same page.

Williams tossed Guillen under the bus Monday in an interview with Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune.  Even as he defended the decision not to bring the 22-year-old slugger in place of Pierre, who Guillen defends in both words and actions, Williams suggested that Viciedo is "playing his (butt) off offensively and defensively".

He then told van Dyck that the club has faith in the current roster, even the train wreck that has been Dunn's pathetic first half.

If Viciedo is going to sit on the bench while Guillen goes with his veterans, it doesn't make sense for him to be called up.  At the same time, Guillen has to know that with just five games separating Chicago from the first place Tigers in the AL Central, it's time to get on a run.

Could the addition of Viciedo's bat spark such a run for the White Sox? 

Nothing is guaranteed, but it may be time to find out.


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St. Louis Blues 2011 NHL Draft Picks

  2011 St. Louis Blues NHL Draft Picks   The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is completed, and all seven rounds are in the books.� Before we look ahead to free agency in the National Hockey League, let’s take a look at a team by team synopsis of all of this year’s draft picks.� Find out [...]


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Columbus Blue Jackets 2011 Draft Picks

2011 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Draft Picks   The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is completed, and all seven rounds are in the books.� Before we look ahead to free agency in the National Hockey League, let’s take a look at a team by team synopsis of all of this year’s draft picks.� Find out who [...]


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Boston Celtics Daily Links 6/26


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Detroit Red Wings 2011 Draft Picks

2011 Detroit Red Wings Draft Picks   The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is completed, and all seven rounds are in the books.� Before we look ahead to free agency in the National Hockey League, let’s take a look at a team by team synopsis of all of this year’s draft picks.� Find out who they [...]


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Bobcats give Cunningham qualifying offer (AP)

FILE - In this March 26, 2011, file photo, Charlotte Bobcats ' Stephen Jackson points to the crowd in the final seconds of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Charlotte, N.C. The Bobcats have agreed to send Jackson to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team trade, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday, June 23, 2011 on condition of anonymity.

The Charlotte Bobcats made a one-year qualifying offer worth nearly $1 million to Dante Cunningham on Monday that makes the reserve forward a restricted free agent. The move came less than two months after Cunningham was charged with possession of marijuana following a traffic stop in suburban Philadelphia in which police said they also found a pellet gun in violation of a local ordinance.


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Montag, 27. Juni 2011

Dana White: "Nate Marquardt Has to Man Up"

The reasoning behind Nate Marquardt's failure to pass his required medical examinations is shrouded with more mystery than a Sherlock Holmes novel.

A day after firing the former middleweight contender, UFC President Dana White sounded off on the UFC on Versus 4 pre-fight show.

He stated that he was upset with Marquardt for not addressing the issues handed down to him by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission (PSAC).

According to White and the PSAC, they are legally bound from releasing details on the situation, and it's completely up to Marquardt whether or not he wants to explain the situation to the fans.

"Pennsylvania laws are unfortunate that the commission can't come out and announce medical records or medical situations with fighters, but I think it's pretty clear to the fans and everybody else that I'm pretty disgusted with Nate Marquardt. He's been cut from the UFC. He won't fight in the UFC ever again," White told Ariel Helwani of

"Bottom line is, what Nate Marquardt's thing is, it's bad enough to be cut from the UFC."

While White has his issues with Marquardt, he believes that the fans have a right to know why the former title contender failed to pass his medical examinations. The ball is in Marquardt's court. If anything, White hopes Marquardt will 'man up' and come clean about the situation.

"Nate Marquardt's gonna have to man up and come out and tell the world why he didn't pass his medicals." said White. "When he does that, I think everybody is going to understand why he was cut from the UFC."


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Draft parties go bad when going undrafted

Willie Reed and Greg Smith were early entries in the NBA draft and confident enough that they would be among the 60 selections that they each hosted draft parties and invited media members to cover the event.

They ultimately went undrafted, and that can really kill the mood of a party quickly.

For Reed, the former Saint Louis forward, getting drafted was going to be an uphill climb after he missed his junior season while being suspended. Family, friends and former coaches gathered at a restaurant in his native Kansas City hoping to hear his name get called, and it didn't work out that way, according to the Kansas City Star.
Before the big night, Reed was told to expect being selected in the second round, between the No. 45 and 60 picks. This both delighted and distressed Reed as he openly expressed his thoughts on his Twitter feed; an emotional timeline of nerves and excitement starting with high hopes: "7 hours til #2011NBADraft. *Deep Breathe* …"

Then an hour before the draft, Reed Sr. said the family received the warning from his son’s agent, Todd Ramasar. The reality: brace yourselves for a change of plans.

"(Ramasar) basically said be prepared not to hear his name called," Reed Sr. said.

For Smith, the talented center who left Fresno State after his sophomore season, the party at his uncle's house went quiet as big man after big man kept getting drafted in the second round, according to the Fresno Bee.
The draft was whittling to its end. Gloom was setting in. Smith's girlfriend and small daughter sat next to him. Seven picks remained.

With six picks left, [uncle Stephen] Shelley whispered in Smith's ear. As the 56th selection was announced, Smith began to make his way upstairs. Shelley trailed.

The sound of a closing door followed. The draft had shut Smith out.

For every dream that came true during the draft, depressing scenes like these quietly unfolded across the nation for the players who weren't taken. They can perhaps find comfort in the form of riches made overseas and the freedom to choose where to sign, but it's likely they won't soon forget how going undrafted felt last night.


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WWE Raw Roulette: Kane Defeats CM Punk by Count Out

CM Punk vs. Kane
Kane tosses Punk to ringside right away and drops him on the crowd barrier then takes him back inside while a LOUD "CM Punk" chant erupts.  Think the smarks are on to his act?  Kane hits a dropkick to the face for two and delivers a side slam for a near fall.  Punk kicks Kane in the head to break and lays in a beating in the corner. 

Kane decides to stop selling and hits a big boot but gets caught heading up top and Punk tries for a superplex.  Kane manages to thwart that and dump him to the mat, so Punk says "enough of this crap" and takes a talk for the count out.
Winner by Count Out: Kane

-Cole tries to justify the crappy finish by saying Punk doesn't want to get hurt.  That's fine and all but why didn't Punk get his spots in?  He got a couple kicks and punches but was otherwise cannon fodder for Kane.  Remember Vince, this isn't 1999 and Kane isn't the one you're pushing *.


Kerry Wood Francisco Cervelli Chad Moeller Jorge Posada Lance Berkman Reegie Corona

Sporcle Quiz of the Evening -- 2000s Home Run Leaders (sort of)


Chris Bosh Mario Chalmers Dwayne Wade Brian Wilson Eli Whiteside Mike Fontenot

Insanely funny Lebron/Heat spoof


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Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Check-In (6-27-11)

If you?re not one of those baseball nerds who follows every single thing going on in the Milwaukee Brewers Organization, don?t worry, because The Sports Bank?s Nick Grays has you covered with what happened in the past week and what?s going on in the future. And if you are one of those nerds, feel free [...]


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MLB: Detroit Tigers and Five Dark Horse Teams to Watch out for This Season

There are a few obvious favorites this season in the MLB, most notably the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.  They may have the best records in the MLB, but there are other teams making noise. There are some teams that are good but few are realizing it.

Dark horses, for instance.

In this article, I'll tell you who I think other teams should watch out for. I'll list my reasons as to why I would pick these teams. You can comment below and tell me your opinion on the matter.

Begin Slideshow


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15 Shots of NFL Greats of the '60s Playing at Wrigley Field

The Chicago Bears played a long time at Wrigley Field, from 1921 through 1970, and many of the greats played there. I was on the sidelines as a photographer during the 1960s when some classic matchups took place in the Friendly Confines. 

Here are some of my favorite photographs from my book Pro Football at Wrigley Field.

If you ever attended a football game at Wrigley, you will enjoy the book as it brings back the memories.

Lead photo: George Halas and Vince Lombardi before a Bears/Packers game.

Begin Slideshow


Phil Hughes Damaso Marte Mariano Rivera Kerry Wood Francisco Cervelli Chad Moeller

Lists of Fury: Five biggest draft surprises

It's the day after the draft. For me, that means sitting at my desk, staring at my computer screen, and wondering if what I saw unfold last night is really how things went down. In other words, I'm still processing all this.

You know what else the Draft Day Plus 1 means? Listicles. Lots and lots of listicles.

You know what I always say: If you can't beat them -- if you can't think of a similarly efficient content delivery format that doesn't rely so heavily on lists, basically -- join them. Without further ado, here's one of a few college hoops-inclined looks at last night's action. First up: The five biggest surprises of the 2011 NBA draft.

1. Iman Shumpert drafted No. 17 overall by the New York Knicks: It's almost like Isiah Thomas never left the Knicks front office. Thing is? If Zeke did one thing well as a general manager, it was find value in the NBA draft. And the Knicks' recent draft history, even under Thomas's successor Donnie Walsh, isn't totally worthy of ridicule. So maybe the Shumpert pick, which the Knicks made just a few spots removed from the lottery Thursday night, will end up looking like a brilliant one. Maybe. From what we know right now -- and what we know is that Shumpert was a thoroughly mediocre college basketball player who impressed scouts with individual workouts and athletic measurements -- there were plenty of good reasons for New York fans to boo so lustily after their first-round pick.

2. Cory Joseph drafted No. 29 overall by the San Antonio Spurs: Remember when Joseph was merely testing the draft waters? And we all thought there was no way he would possibly stay in the draft? Remember when he did stay in the draft, and we all wondered what in tarnation -- I'm bringing "tarnation" back, y'all -- Joseph was thinking? He might not even be drafted? Why not come back to Texas for a year and make a run again next spring? Why rush this? Apparently, Joseph knew better than we did. Not only was the Longhorns guard drafted, he landed a guaranteed contract with the San Antonio Spurs, who savvily cleared room in their backcourt by trading George Hill to the Pacers for the rights to Kawhi Leonard. If Joseph plays well, he has a chance to be a rotation player on one of the smartest, best-run and most well-coached franchises in professional sports. In other words: jackpot.

3. Jereme Richmond goes undrafted: When Richmond announced his decision to leave Illinois after a so-so freshman season, the explanations made some sense: Richmond wasn't happy at Illinois, he was reportedly struggling to get along with coaches and teammates, his academics were (again, reportedly) a cause for concern, and besides, while he may not have been ready for the NBA just yet, at least he had the sort of first-round talent that didn't make his one-and-done decision look totally foolish.

Alas, for every Cory Joseph there are 10 Jereme Richmonds, players that should have either a) stayed in school or b) been sure that they could handle the rigors of the draft workout process. Richmond did neither, and for his trouble, he was never selected on draft night. Despite the rumors of poor workouts and bad interviews, Richmond didn't lose that first-round talent; it was a surprise to see him go undrafted. Now, Richmond will have to convince an NBA team he's worth bringing in as an undrafted free agent. If the talented but troubled forward needed a wake-up call, well, here it is.

4. Josh Harrellson takes his jorts to the big city: Drafting Shumpert at No. 17 was arguably the second-most surprising move the Knicks made Thursday night. In the second round, looking to draft a proven low-post banger, the Knicks went with ... Kentucky's Josh Harrellson? Hey, Jorts just got drafted! All right, Jorts!

Many believed Harrellson would go undrafted, and the fact that he was even a contender for a late second-round pick is a testament to how much the bulky big man improved during his senior season. A year ago, this would have been unthinkable. Even now, the notion of watching Harrellson don the Knicks' timeless uniforms and take the floor in Madison Square Garden ... well, who saw that one coming?

5. Is Josh Selby the steal of the draft? Maybe I'm the only one who thinks NBA scouts and general managers were too wary of Selby's unproductive freshman season. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks his struggles had just as much to do with ineligibility and nagging injuries and a senior-laden Kansas backcourt as any lack of talent on Selby's part. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks that small sample size doesn't necessarily outweigh the massive talent Selby displayed as a high schooler, when he was arguably the best player in the country.

In other words, maybe I'm the only one that was surprised by just how far Selby fell Thursday night. Once considered a mid-to-late first round pick, Selby dropped all the way to the Grizzlies in the second half of the second round, when he was drafted No. 49 overall. I'm not sure how many minutes Selby is going to be able to carve out in the Grizzlies' backcourt, but he was undeniably the most purely talented player selected anywhere near this late in the proceedings. (Harrellson went four picks ahead of him. Jorts!) Now the athletic guard is all upside and no risk for the Grizzlies, who won't have to guarantee his contract and can give him time to figure out the NBA life as a developing reserve on a playoff contender. Why didn't someone roll these dice 15 picks earlier?


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Just Wait Till Next Year's Draft


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Imploding Roofonomics: Why the Minnesota Vikings Need an Open Air Stadium

The Vikings' stadium saga nears its climax, with LA looming on the horizon and empty wallets at home.  The state, the team, and Ramsey County are a few hundred million dollars short of funding for their bloated proposal—a few hundred million dollars that are easily within grasp if they simply find the foresight to scrap the roof.

Boosters who favor a "multipurpose" stadium capable of hosting events "year round" inevitably tout the economic impact of the Superbowl.  The $200 million dollar cost of a roof is offset in their minds by the promised $400 million dollar economic impact of hosting the NFL's flagship event.  After all, 400 million is a larger number than 200 million...

But that's 400 million apples and 200 million oranges.

Economic impact is "sales impact."  That simply means an increase in the total amount of sales made in the state and county as a result of the event.  "Sales impact" is desirable because sales are subject to taxation, so the state gets a return on its investment.  Naturally, economic/sales impact can not be used as a fair counterbalance to cost.  It's only the tax income created by "economic impact" that truly returns on the investment of tax dollars.

Assuming an average of an eight percent tax rate on sales in the Twin Cities, and generously accepting an inflated figure of $400 million in economic impact from hosting the Superbowl, the state would see an income of $32 million dollars before subtracting expenses.  This isn't much compared against the $200 million price tag, particularly when you consider that the stadium would see no more than one Superbowl and a pair of Final Fours in its lifetime.

To go in the opposite direction, we can use the term "negative economic impact" to describe the cost of the roof in terms similar to those used by the NFL.  "Negative economic impact" would represent the amount of sales that had to take place to generate the tax revenue required to build a roof in the first place.  Sticking with an eight percent tax rate, we get a "negative economic impact" of $2.5 billion for the roof.  THIS is a number that can be fairly compared against the "economic impact" figures thrown around by event boosters.

Not only are the initial costs of modern stadium roofs prohibitively expensive, but they're "costs that keep on costing."  Adding a roof to a new stadium would increase annual upkeep costs by an estimated $6 million per year.  Yikes.

How about 30 years from now, when NFL seating standards will undoubtedly have changed?  If the team needs to expand from 70,000 to 80,000 seats to remain competitive, an open air stadium can be expanded.  A roofed stadium can only be demolished and rebuilt for several times the cost.

The wasteful demand for a roof is short sighted, does not increase the value of the project, and is likely to sink the proposal.  If the Vikings are to stay in Minnesota, it's time to trim the fat. 

It's time for open air football.


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Death of a Childhood Hero: The Tragic Tale of WWE Star Chris Benoit.

Here's some irony for you: Despite the fact that I'm a sports journalist, I didn't get into sports until late in my childhood.

In fact, the first sport I finally took interest in was professional wrestling during the Summer of 2004. The combination of storytelling and bloody violence blew my then 12 year-old mind away. However, amongst all the larger-than-life grapplers was a seemingly regular guy I admired from the second I first saw him in action: Chris Benoit.

Yes, that Chris Benoit.

I remember being fascinated by the fact that in a sport dominated by flamboyancy and eccentricity, Benoit was a blue-collar "Average Joe." No gimmicks, no flashy entrance, no fooling around. Just an ordinary man who had an extraordinary job.

For the next two and a half years, Benoit was my idol. I watched eagerly as he defeated foes using his devastating "Diving Headbutt" or made them submit with his legendary "Crippler Crossface." To me, he was a god; he could do no wrong.

And then came those fateful days in June of 2007.

Benoit, along with his wife, Nancy, and son, Daniel, had been found dead in their Georgia home. For one moment, it looked to be a freak accident, perhaps some foul play. But then the truth came out: Chris Benoit had murdered his wife and kid, before killing himself.

I couldn't believe it. I actually refused to believe it. For me, it wasn't a 40 year old man with an 80 year old brain that had slaughtered his entire family. It was Superman.

The media had a field day with it. "Another wrestler dying of steroid use. Seen it a million times, we'll see it a million more."

The first victim was seven year old Daniel, a small kid who was thought to have Fragile X Syndrome, a developmental disorder that stunts size. One of the domestic disputes in the household was Benoit injecting Daniel with growth hormones (his own size may have played a role: although billed at six foot even, Benoit likely only stood five nine.) Benoit strangled him and placed a Bible near his corpse.

Benoit's wife Nancy, a former valet and wrestler known as "Woman", was also killed by asphyxiation. A Bible was also placed near her deceased body. Benoit than completed his killing by hanging himself with a weight bench.

But why would a man who seemed like an everyday guy mindlessly murder his family?

The most common theory was, of course, steroids, which to this day continues to plague the sport. Others believed that too many shots to the head had transformed a good-natured man into a psychopathic killer. He wasn't going to live to be 80, sure, but has doing what he loved led him to destroying everything he loved?

Benoit was treated as a monster, everything from being fodder for a joke by Jimmy Kimmel during a roast for Flavor Flav to having his entire existence being retconned by World Wrestling Entertainment. The man who had brought fans to their feet for almost 20 years was now a posthumous pariah. His fans, feeling betrayed, spoke out against him with hatred.

"I can't believe I ever cheered for that scumbag."

But four years after an unforgiven act, I can't help but recall the fond memories I had watching Benoit wrestle. I always see him choking out Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 20 rather than choking out his wife until she helplessly died.

Chris Benoit, the man, was a deplorable waste of space. Chris Benoit, the wrestler, will always be one of my heroes.

And with pro wrestling being a world that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, that doesn't seem weird.




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