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.

The National Enquirer publishes photos of Whitney Houston in casket

The National Enquirer, the grocery store check-out newspaper of record, has photos of Whitney Houston in her coffin. The picture was taken at a funeral home in New Jersey. One of the images graces this week’s cover.

Some are pretending to be outraged by this. They say that the picture is in bad taste and crosses a line, whatever that means. Of course it’s in bad taste. It’s a photo of a dead body in a golden casket. The photo’s not what’s in bad taste, it’s the act of dressing up a corpse and making a spectacle of it that’s in bad taste. It’s morbid and tacky.

A corpse is something to be disposed of, not something to decorate and display like an expensive dress-up doll.

This isn’t the first time the National Enquirer has done something like this. They posted a similar picture when Elvis Presley died and it sold about a bazillion copies. They also posted a picture of Michael Jackson in a casket.

When I die, I want to be placed in a cardboard box and shoved in an incinerator, like a frozen hamburger in the broiler at Burger King.

Hagerstown Suns plan to move to Virginia

hagerstown-sunsLooks like the days of Hagerstown having a professional baseball team are numbered. The company that owns the Suns, Hagerstown Baseball LLC, has signed a letter of intent that it plans to move to Winchester, Virginia.

The Suns are a single-A minor league team for the Washington Nationals.

The Suns want a new stadium. I guess they’ve finally realized they will not get a new stadium until they leave Hagerstown.

Municipal Stadium, the 80-year old ballpark the Suns call home, is a dump. It has been for years. It was in bad shape when I first moved here in 1994 and it’s improved very little since. The outfield isn’t even level. A giant light pole fell down last year.

As a resident of Hagerstown, Memorial Stadium is embarrassing. Nobody should blame the Suns for leaving town. The only question should be why it took this long.