Floyd Mayweather: Jailhouse Wimp?

AP Photo

Floyd Mayweather has served 13 days of an 87-day sentence for misdemeanor domestic battery in solitary confinement in a Las Vegas jail cell. For his own safety, prison officials say. But already the undefeated five-time champion is going stir crazy.

Or maybe he thinks we are.

Mayweather’s attorney have filed an “emergency” motion asking that the boxer be either moved into the general inmate or (wink) allowed to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

Their reasoning? Mayweather is suffering from ‘deconditioning.” (Is that even a word?)

In other words, he’s getting fat. So what’s the emergency? Well, his lawyers say, he’s become so “deconditioned” in 13 days that it threatens his career. It may cause “not just huge financial harm,” the lawyers wrote, “but huge emotional harm if he is not able to pursue his boxing career due to the deconditioning he has suffered.”

If Justice of the Peace Melissa Sargosa, who said she’d rule on the motion later this week, falls for this it’ll be as big a travesty as, well, pretty much everything else in boxing.

First and foremost, deconditioning?! When I was Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Fitness we regularly talked about publishing a story called The Prison Workout because inmates tend to be in outrageous shape. Lack of time to workout is certainly not an excuse, and prisons typically have pretty damn good weight equipment.

Now, this jail apparent does not have a tricked-out weight room (why didn’t “Money” think of donating the cash to have one constructed prior to his incarceration?). Mayweather reportedly get to spend 3o minutes twice every day outside his 7 x 12 cell in a “barren” rec room, his lawyers say.

That’s plenty of time for a good “deconditioning-fixing” workout. For instance:

The Mayweather Solitary Workout

200 push ups (do 50, rest ten seconds, do 50, rest…)

3 minutes shadow boxing

500 sit ups (100, rest, 100, rest, …)

3 minutes shadow boxing

150 tricep dips (using bed post)

3 minutes shadow boxing

100 Russian twists

3 minutes shadow boxing

5 minute plank

3 minute shadow boxing

200 push ups

If Mayweather does that every morning and evening, it’s certainly reverse the “deconditioning” he’s endured.

Now, let’s say he has turned into Kevin James, to say Mayweather could never fight again is ludicrous. Many people who haven’t worked out in years have gotten into the best shape of their lives by following a disciplined and rigorous training program and committing to healthy eating.

Mayweather’s lawyers are also concerned that jail is making their client mad, and that he wouldn’t be able to “dissipate [it} through the usual means of exercising and training.

Dude, try yoga.

I’ve got no problem with Mayweather trying to get out of solitary – though all it would take is one fellow inmate deciding to earn his tough bonafides by taking out “Money” Mayweather to perhaps his a serious end to the boxer’s career.

But getting out altogether (even to an apartment, rather than his over-the-top Las Vegas home, as his lawyers offered) would be more than a travesty; it would be an insult to every victim of domestic violence.

Work it out, Floyd. Work it out.

 

 

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Some Stud Move

Frankly, I don’t think horse racing is a sport. It exists solely to drive the sordid breeding and betting industries.

Not that I’ll Have Another should have “sucked it up” and raced in the Belmont Stakes–though if he were a human “athlete,” he certainly would have been pressured to do so. Can you imagine if LeBron decided to sit out Game 7 of the NBA Finals because of, well, anything short of a dangling limb.

But when his trainer says the horse’s team unanimously decided racing “wasn’t worth it,” it’s hard not to think was a double-meaning lurking behind those words.

It certainly wasn’t worth risking the zillions in stud fees I’ll Have Another’s owners would have lost had the potential sire pulled up lame (or worse).

In fact, one of his offspring should be named Not Worth It.

Hey, Oil Can: Jackie Didn’t Kill the Negro Leagues, “Integration” Did–Along with Much of Black America

Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd always had balls. Even when he wasn’t on crack. The former Boston Red Sox pitcher was one of the game’s most “colorful” figures–and that was before he revealed in his new book that he smoked cocaine before games and once ran “right down the street to the crack house” upon hearing that he would not be starting in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

Today, Boyd is sober but still throwing ’em high and hard. His latest brushback, revealed today in the Boston Globe, is aimed at American icon Jackie Robinson. Boyd essentially blames Robinson for the demise of the Negro Leagues, which Boyd laments.

Asked by ESPN’s Buster Olney what he might say to Jackie Robinson if he were to meet him in the afterlife, Boyd kicked high and let it fly. “I’m not real thankful to Jackie at all because I’m me – my style of baseball, the way I played it in the major league transpired from the Negro leagues,” he said. “So that’s why people found that I was a hot dog or I was flamboyant.”

Interesting thought. And in truth, this is not the first time I heard it expressed–although others don’t single out Jackie. Many owners and players and others led to the “demise” of the Negro Leagues, which ultimately fell as Major League Baseball, which had barred black players, began signing the most talented Negro players, one-by-one, team-by-team.

Negro America cheered the most. Finally!, we roared (or our parents, did.) Indeed the Brooklyn (soon to be Los Angeles) Dodgers, which signed Robinson, became Negro America’s team. My folks almost disowned me when I chose the St. Louis Cardinals as my team of choice–in large part because of its three Negro stars, Curt Flood, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.

The real, hard truth is the Negro Leagues befell the same fate as many other black institutions from America’s era of segregation–from major insurance corporations to local black-owned grocery stores, restaurants and movie theaters. Many slowly disappeared as integration began to unfold, as barriers fell in schools, on buses, in restaurants, in department stores.

My hometown, Tulsa, Okla., is known as the place where “Black Wall Street” thrived throughout much of the 20th Century. It was a bastion of Negro commerce (we even owned the bus system) with nearly 200 Negro-owned businesses, including by dad’s store, Kyle’s Sundry.

It was created because whites in the area when the railroad was being built erroneously believed land hard by the tracks wouldn’t be very valuable, so they forced blacks to stay “on the other side” of the tracks. Greenwood Avenue, the 125th Street of “Black Wall Street,” ended to the south at the tracks and was the primary thoroughfare for the myriad Negro enterprises that sprang forth.

When I was a young child, Negros were not allowed to cross the tracks without good reason. Yeah, they could shop at some of the major department stores, but I distinctly remember my mother being forced to put tissues in a hat before trying it on–something white shoppers did not have to do.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the culmination of an effort to end segregation nationwide, led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, essentially spelled the death knell for “Black Wall Street” and other Negro institutions.

Instead of going to Betty’s Chat & Chew for Sunday dinner, we went to the Piccadilly cafeteria downtown.

Instead of going to a movie at the Rex Theater, we went to theater that had once been “whites only.”

And we cheered for Negro players across baseball’s major leagues.

Jackie Robinson didn’t kill the Negro Leagues any more than Martin Luther King, Jr. killed “Black Wall Street.”

But still, it’s sad that they are gone.

Plenty of Shared Blame (And just Bad Luck) NBA Injuries

It’s hard to believe it mere coincidence that so many high-profile players this season–Rickey Rubio, Kevin Love, Jeremy Lin and, of course, Derrick Rose–have gone down with significant injuries in this post-lockout compressed season.

Playing an average of four game per week, common sense says the unusual wear and tear, combined with the lack of a training camp are the culprits. And those are the by-product of the greed that lead the NBA and the players’ union to seek to recover as much of its lost revenue as possible after bickering for months over how to split the millions the league generates each season.

Yet as likely to blame is the lack of recovery time, says at least one orthopedic surgeon, Dr, Riley Williams of the New York Hospital for Special Surgery and team doctor for the New Jersey Nets. Check him out in this video. That last of down time may have lead not only to the high-profile injuries but an unprecedented number of muscle strains throughout the season, something that rarely reaches the headlines.

No matter who’s to blame, the 2011-12 season will likely go down as perhaps the costliest in league history, with the toll not truly known until we see how well the fallen stars recover. Or don’t

My Five Greatest ‘Jersey Nets!

They’ll close the doors, turn out the lights, pack their bags and head out of town tonight.

The Nets will leave New Jersey, closing out the team’s 36-year stay in the land across the Hudson, and head for Brooklyn, N.Y. and an intriguing future.

I covered the Nets for several seasons in the early 80s, starting in 1981, the team’s first season at the Meadowlands (They now play in Corey Booker’s Neighborhood, Newark).

Interestingly–and to me, fittingly–the franchise ends its Joisey run with the Philadelphia 76ers, the team against whom the Nets had their greatest triumph. At the end of the 1983-84 season, the Nets upset the defending champion 76ers in the first round of the playoffs, winning a deciding Game 5 (it was 3 of 5 then) after Doctor J had promised a Game 5 win, saying, “You can mail in the stats.”

That team was led by Buck Williams, Mike Gminski, Otis Birdsong and coached by Stan Albeck. Today, the nostalgic folks at NJ.com are allowing readers to pick their all-time New Jersey Nets team (meaning only players who played with the franchise while it was in the state; hence, no Doctor J.

Here’s mine:

Buck Williams (the foundation, maybe my all-time great NJ Net)
Jason Kidd (at his peak)
Bernard King (imagine if they’d kept him)
Darrel Dawkins (he called me Big Scoop)
Jayson Williams (yep, him…this is about on-the-court)

I loved a few other guys, but eliminated them for various reasons–including the late great Drazen Petrovic (just didn’t play long enough), Deron Williams (not enough team success), Michael Ray Richarson (close), Suuuper John Williamson (close, as well) and Vince Carter (stellar dunker who never bought into team concept).

No surprise, Jayson Williams was not invited to tonight’s closing festivities. Understandable. Just last week, he was released from prison after serving his time in the death of chauffeur years ago and the ugly aftermath. It was just too soon to bring him back.

Metta World Peace Out!


Ron Artest worked hard to overcome. Now, Metta World Peace has undone it all.

I don’t think Peace intended to club Oklahoma City’s James Harden. But after feeling as if justice was not served on his own behalf in the first half today against the Thunder, I believe he intended to club somebody.

And for that, Peace will (or should) be out for awhile.

By this time Monday, I expect Stu Jackson to announce that Peace is suspended for as much as 10 games. That’s right. Ten.

Now, I could also see him getting a mere five game suspension–with the league giving him credit for “good behavior” since that ugly, going-in-the-stands thing.

Five games would take him into the first round of the playoffs. Gievn his past, I’m not sure Stu will think that’s just enough.

Peace should miss no’ ‘money time.

And that can only happen if Peace is suspended for double digits.

Fortunately, Harden appears to have survived the clubbing. The Thunder reported that he passed league-manded concussion tests, and he was apparently available for the second half of the thrilling Lakers-Thunder game. And that could help Peace’s cause.

But Peace did what he did. And considering his past, he will (and should) be suspended for a considerable period of time–time that matters.

One Man’s Negro is Another Man’s ——?

Suarez and Evra during their not-so-"friendly" encounter.

I’m not well versed enough in European soccer to tell you much of anything about Patrice Evra, a talented Frenchman who plays fullback for Manchester United, or Liverpool’s Luis Suarez of Uruguay, the team’s most dangerous forwards.

Both men represented their countries in last year’s World Cup. They even faced off in a friendly that resulted in a 0-0 tie. (Evra captained the French squad until he was stripped of it after leading a controversial player revolt that became the hallmark of the team’s much-chronicled meltdown.)

On October 15, the two men crossed shins once again at a Premier League friendly and this time it wasn’t very, well, friendly at all.

Suarez was recently suspended for eight games for, in part, using the term “negro” (or the Spanish equivalent) during an on-the-field confrontation during that game.

That was revealed in a 155-page report conducted by an independent commission that detailed the whos, hows and, most important, the whys regarding what led to the suspension.

Suffice it to say that it came down to how the word was used rather than the use of the word itself.

Suarez contented that the term was not a disparaging one in Uruguay, and that may be true.

But Evra contended that Suarez used the term to punctuate sentences in which he said he would kick Evra and that he “doesn’t talk to” black players.

I’m in no position to say whether authorities over-reacted to the incident. But I applaud them for addressing it in a way that acknowledges the brewing trend of racists taunts that have come to characterize European soccer in recent months.

The penalty was almost certainly, in part, a reaction to the growing sense that European soccer, while still where the game is played better than anywhere else in the world, had become soft on racism.

There’s not only no place for that in sports (on any continent) but as the game continues to try and establish a foothold in the U.S., and as a global marketing power, many corporations will be reluctant to associate themselves with a sport won’t embrace all cultures.

Hottest Seat in the NFL? Hey, Jim Caldwell, Take a Load Off…

Most of the participants–peripheral or not–are pretty clear about their desires.

If you’re a fan of the Indianapolis Colts, you want the Colts to lose on New Year’s Day to the Jacksonville Jaguars. That way you’ll lock up what many feel is the next great once-in-a-generation QB, Stanford’s Andrew Luck.

If you’re a Colts player, you want to win. Period. That was never more clear than last night when the Colts came back to defeat the bound-for-the-playoffs Houston Texans 19-16 for their second win of the season. To players, Luck has nothing to do with it. These guys are playing for their suppers.

And then there’s Jim Caldwell, the Colts head coach.

Like any coach, he’d like nothing better than to coach a team with a great (or at least potentially great) quarterback. And Luck’s that guy. Lose and you ensure yourself of going from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck, with just a little bit of Dan Orlovsky.

Win?

Beating the Jags would put Luck in play, with the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams also in the running for the top pick.

And should the Colts lose Luck to one of those team, well, that New Year’s Day win in Jacksonville might go down in infamy in Colts lore.

That said, a Colts win might also allow Caldwell to keep his job.

Might being the operative word.

Had the Colts run the table–or more appropriately, had the table run over them–Caldwell would have almost certainly been fired. Though his record was a sterling 24-8 coming into this season, the stink of 0-16 (along with the still-bitter memory of the Colts failing to “go for” undefeated in 2009, Caldwell’s first season; and losing to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV, where the general consensus was that he was outcoached) would have been too much to survive.

That said, owner Jim Irsay doesn’t seem to be the type who over-reacts to short-term aberrations. After all, he paid Manning his full $26 million for this season, even though he didn’t play a down. And he looks to be willing to pay the 35-year-old Future Hall of Famer his $28 million option in March (which would) engage the final four years of his current five-year, $90 million-contract), even though he’s coming off a neck injury that would make his comeback a damn-near a miracle.

It wouldn’t have surprised me if Irsay had retained Caldwell, even if the Colts had gone oh-for’11. Especially since the team would be selecting Luck, giving the coach the kind of gem he should have the chance to coach after enduring this kind of hell.

It also wouldn’t have surprised me if Caldwell had been canned. In fact, he reportedly expected to be fired if the Colts had gone 0-16. It’s the nature of the business–win or go to the television studio.

But the Colts won’t go winless. In fact, they’re one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Okay, not really but after all they’ve been through the deserve to stick their chests out a bit.

But right now I’m not sure if Caldwell feels he’s done enough to save his job. More important, does Irsay believe his head coach deserves at least another year on the sideline?

A victory on New Year’s Day might be enough to help Caldwell retain his headset–but it also might cost him and the franchise dearly.

To paraphrase Dirty Harry: How Lucky you feelin’, Jim?

I Hate MVP Predictions…But Here’s Mine!

I hate it when sports prognosticators pick post-season award winners before the first national anthem’s been sung.

Too much happens between the first play of the season and the last that has a profound impact on individual performances. But more important, these predictions influence voters–creating a leader-in-the-clubhouse or it’s-this-guy’s-turn mentality that becomes hard to beat.

Occasionally, though, it does. In the Heisman race, it seems early “front-runner” (at least in the minds of the prognosticators) Andrew Luck of Stanford was victimized by the hype surrounding him and failed to live up to the high expectations placed upon him. The eventual winner, Robert Griffin III of Baylor, meanwhile, was a virtual preseason unknown who emerged from the abyss of zero expectations and dazzled voters with his exciting play.

Now…

All that said, I’m going to predict the MVP for the upcoming NBA mini-season: Chris Paul.

Of course, a lot can happen between Christmas Day and the end of the regular season (playoffs aren’t factored into post-season awards) but already the near-consensus best point guard in the league, is showing that he will likely transform the long-moribund Clippers in the best team in Los Angeles (at least until Dwight Howard takes up residency there).

Paul had 17 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in just three quarters in his Clipper debut last night against the Lakers. More important, the Clips crushed the Lakers 114-95.

Yes, it was preseason.

Yes, the Lakers still have the best player in Los Angeles in Kobe Bryant.

But Paul (along with the additions of Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups, and the holder of that young cat who dunk over cars) has already shown these ain’t your Daddy’s sorry Clips.

They will march stride-for-stride with the Lakers this season, if not run them off their own Staples Center floor.

And Paul will own LA this season – beating out the seemingly consensus preseason-front runner Kevin Durant.

Love you, Kevin but sorry, your Luck will run out, too.

Great Win, Colts! Or Bad Luck…?

Good for the Colts.

No team should go oh-fer. No matter how bad they may be (and the Colts were never considered one of the NFL’s bad teams), no team deserves that fate. Players are professional, and most of them had pride. Winning the Super Bowl is tough, but every team should at least one game.

Indianapolis finally got it’s win–defeating the mediocre (7-7) Tennessee Titans today, 27-13.

Good for them, but did it hurt them in the long-range, big-picture Andrew Luck derby?

There’s been some “debate” over whether the Stanford quarterback (full disclosure: I’m a Cardinal alum and though Luck should have won the Heisman) should still be the No. 1 pick. But that debate doesn’t include anyone in the NFL, where Luck remains the hands-down No. 1.

All that said, did the Colts, in winning, lose their grip on the young man many believe to be the game’s next once-in-a-generation franchise QB?

Let’s see:

The Colts two remaining games are against Houston and Jacksonville. Both are winnable, given the Texans having clinched the playoffs and that the Jaguars, well, stink. But let’s say the Clots go 1-1, giving them two wins for the season.

There are two other two-win teams–St. Louis and Minnesota.

The Rams will lose their final two games. Write it down. In ink. They play Pittsburgh and San Francisco. So the Rams will finish with two wins.

The Vikings finish the season against Washington and Chicago. They should win at least one of them but could lost both. Just for the fun of it, let’s say they do lose both and finish with two wins, as well.

Now, I’m not going to go through the various Matrix-like machinations that could deliniate the various tie-break scenarios. For the sake of sanity let’s just assume all finish 2-14.

If the Rams Pick, No. 1, they’re not likely to choose Luck because they already have a talented young QB in Sam Bradford, who’s only in his second year. Or would they? How much would Bradford be worth on the trade market–to teams like Kansas City, Seattle or Washington. GIven how woeful the Rams have been I would not be surprised if they hit reset and start over with Luck.

The Vikings? Please. They’d pick Luck faster than Mel Kiper could comb his hair.

So good for the Colts. But until today it seemed clear that the franchise had its heir to Peyton Manning.

Now? Well, it should make the last two weeks of the season very interesting.