NFL punishes Saints coaches, GM for bounty program

NFL punishes Saints coaches, GM for bounty program - Bent Corner
The NFL has doled out the punishments pertaining to the bounty program the New Orleans Saints had in place that rewarded players for injuring opposing players. Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, has been suspended without pay indefinitely. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for a year. The suspension will cost Payton $7.5 million in lost salary. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was given an eight-game suspension, while assistant head coach Joe Vitt was given a six-game suspension.

The Saints organization was also fined $500,00 and will lose their 2012 and 2013 second-round draft picks.

It’s unclear who will be running things for the Saints while these suspensions are being served. They would be in a better situation if they just fired Loomis and Payton and hired a new general manager and head coach. I imagine they would still be on the hook for their salaries, but that’s what lawyers are for. Considering the damage these men have done to the Saints, it could be easily argued that early termination for more than justified.

By administering such severe punishments, it’s clear NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t fooling around here. Now he needs to look at a few other organizations who have had similar bounty systems in place, for instance, the Baltimore Ravens. Goodell is smoking crack if he thinks paying players to hurt opposing players is solely a New Orleans thing.

It’s not.

Winchester City Council says no to Hagerstown Suns

Looks like the Hagerstown Suns will be staying in Hagerstown at least a bit longer. The plan to build a stadium in Winchester, Virginia was killed Tuesday night by the Winchester City Council. They voted 8-0 against a proposal to transfer city land to an economic development agency for the purpose of building a minor league stadium.

No stadium, no minor league baseball team.

The Hagerstown Suns currently play baseball in Municipal Stadium, an 80-year-old eye-sore in dire need of an upgrade. Mayor Robert E. Bruchey wants to build a new ballpark in downtown Hagerstown, in an area with no parking, one-way streets, and a plethora of bail-bondsmen and section eight housing. The new ballpark would require the building of a multi-level parking garage in which fans would then pay for the privilege to park in.

Who doesn’t love to pay to park when attending a minor league baseball game?

I’m against the building of a new ballpark. I think it makes much more economic sense to put money into upgrading the existing ballpark then spending money on a new one. Not only would it be much more cost-effective, it would not result in yet another abandoned piece of commercial property in the city of Hagerstown. We already have too many empty buildings rotting, we don’t need to add a ballpark to the mix.

Ever wonder why e-books cost the same no matter where you buy them?

As an owner of an iPad, when I want to purchase an e-book, I can either buy it from the Apple iTunes store and read it on Apple’s iBooks app, or I can buy it on Amazon and have it wirelessly delivered to my iPad and read it on the Kindle app. I quickly learned it didn’t matter much where I purchased an e-book, Apple or Amazon, it cost the same. I wondered why this was the case.

It seemed like a strange coincidence that both Apple and Amazon would charge the same price for the same e-book. It turns out, I’m not the only one to think this was a weird coincidence these two retailers of e-books would just happen to always change the same price.

The Justice Department is planning on suing Apple and five publishers for price-fixing.

The Justice Department is a lot like the Justice League, except of course nobody in the Justice Department wears a cape or is vulnerable to a chunk of Kryptonite. Other than that, the two entities are just the same.

Evidently some guy named Steve Jobs struck a deal with at least five book publishers that took pricing for e-books out of the hands of the retailer, Amazon and Apple, and instead made setting the price the sole responsibly of the publisher. Also under Jobs’ plan, retailers were forbidden to charge less than the suggested retail price of an e-book. Retailers of physical books pay roughly half-price of the suggested retail price and are then free to then sell the book for whatever they wish. Jobs struck a deal with the publishers that retailers of e-books would make a flat 30% commission of every e-book sold.

Though I didn’t attend law school, I do watch Judge Judy. This pricing scheme seems a lot like price-fixing to me.

U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers

Ralph McQuarrie 1929 – 2012

Artist Ralph McQuarrie, the man responsible for much of the look of the original Star Wars trilogy, died yesterday in the Berkeley, California home. He was 82.

McQuarrie was originally a technical illustrator for Boeing. His prior work and training in aviation undoubtedly contributed greatly to his style.

In 2007, Hasbro released a special series of action figures based on the concept art of Ralph McQuarrie. The figures were released with the regular figures that year and featured different card art and logos. The photo on the right features McQuarrie’s original concept of Chewbacca. It’s also a special Ultimate Galactic Hunt version. The figure is the same, but the Star Wars logo is in gold and it featured a special golden coin. The Ultimate Galactic Hunt figures were fancier and harder to find then the regular Star Wars figures in 2007.

New Orleans Saints paid players to injure opponents

An investigation by the NFL reveled that the New Orleans Saints maintained a bounty system that paid players up to $50,000 for game-ending injuries to opposing players. The program was in place for three seasons, including the year the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl.

The bounty system was maintained by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, with the backing of head coach Sean Payton.

The NFL said between 22 to 27 players took part in the bounty system. Players were paid a premium for injuring an opposing player to the extent that he had to be carted-off the field on a stretcher, referred to as “cart-offs.”

The NFL has yet to hand out penalties for the program, but I’m sure that will soon. My only wish is that criminal charges could be levied against everyone involved. If nothing else, I would think a player who accepted $50,000 for purposely injuring an opponent could be investigated for tax evasion. Something tells me any player stupid enough to participate in this is also stupid enough to not declare the money as income.

It’s how the federal government took down Al Capone. It would be nice if the same technique could also be used to rid the NFL of its thugs.

Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension overturned

Ryan Braun FedEx
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is a very lucky man. Last year he won the National League’s MVP award even though Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers had a better season. Last December, Major League Baseball announced Braun would be facing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for synthetic testosterone. Braun announced he was going to dispute the decision, but considering the fact that no baseball player has ever prevailed when challenging a failed drug test, his chances at getting the drug test thrown out seemed highly unlikely.

It was announced yesterday that Braun’s failed drug test was overturned by a three-person arbitration panel. The panel voted 2-1 to throw out the failed drug test, not because it was in error, but because of a chain-of-custody technicality.

Rules state that when a urine sample is collected, the collector is to take it immediately to FedEx for shipment to the MLB testing lab in Montreal. The collector, believing that FedEx was already closed, took the sample home and stored it in his refrigerator for two days. It was then shipped to the lab where it tested positive.

Even through the seal on the sample bottle was intact, two of the three arbitrators decided that because the sample wasn’t taken directly to FedEx as the rules require, the test was invalid.

Instead of sitting out the first fifty games of the season, Braun will be allowed to start the season with the rest of his teammates. Not because he’s innocent of using a performance enhancing drug, but because of a technicality.