Sports News Weekly Clean-Up
Consequences of Phelps’ Bong Hit Photo
The AP reports that USA Swimming suspended Michael Phelps from competition and cut off financial support for three months after publication of a photo showing him hitting a bong. USA Swimming punished the Olympian to send a strong message about drug use. The organization felt this message was needed because Phelps is a role model and hero to so many children.
Additionally, Kellogg’s said it would not renew its sponsorship contract with Phelps because the photo of him smoking pot was not consistent with the image of Kellogg’s. Despite these two actions, Phelps has kept his other sponsors.
The photo, published in a London tabloid, showed Phelps partaking in the revelry at a University of South Carolina house party in November.
Beckham Wants to Leave Galaxy For AC Milan
This week, David Beckham told Grahame Jones of the L.A. Times that he wanted to continue playing in AC Milan. Beckham stated,” I enjoy playing here [AC Milan] and at the highest level.” He remarked that playing in Milan gives him a better chance to be on England’s 2011 World Cup team. Additionally, Beckham comment to the Telegraph that, “[i]t’s nothing against MLS and the football over there, because it’s a game that will grow. But it will take quite a few years.” The Galaxy has yet to comment on Beckham’s future. Apparently, Beckham has given up on his goal of popularizing soccer in the U.S. because the MLS players are not up to par with the rest of the world.
Beckham’s contract with AC Milan expires on March 9, 2009.
Bonds Pleads Not Guilty to Lying in Steroid Probe
On Thursday, Barry Bonds plead not guilty to charges that he lied to a grand jury investigating steroid use in sports. Bonds faces 10 counts of making false statements to grand jury and an obstruction of justice charge. If convicted, Bonds faces a sentence between probation and two years in prison. The trial is scheduled to begin on March 2nd.
On Thursday, the lawyers argued over what evidence should be included at the trial. This came after U.S. District Judge Susan Illston unsealed hundreds of documents that included positive drugs tests prosecutors linked to Bonds. There was a list of current and former players, such as Jason Giambi, who are scheduled to testify on the government’s behalf.
Patriots Franchise Matt Cassel
On Thursday, the Patriots placed the franchise tag on Matt Cassel. The franchise tag means Cassel will remain a free agent, but the Patriots can match any offer made by another team or allow him to sign with that team in exchange for two first-found draft picks. Teams are allowed to play the franchise tag on one player per season. The period in which a player can be given the franchise tag is February 5-19. If and when Cassel signs the deal, worth $14.65 million for 2009, he will be under contract with the Patriots. This is a pretty big pay raise considering Cassel was paid $520,000 last season.
Cassel is the fifth Patriot play to be designed a franchise player. The former franchise players included Adam Vinatieri in 2002 and 2005, Tebucky Jones in 2003 and Asante Samuel in 2007.
Britain Finalizes Plans for Anti-Doping Agency
In preparation for the 2012 Olympics, Britain finalized plans for a national anti-doping agency that with work with law enforcement bodies to catch doping athletes. The independent agency, “UK Anti-Doping” will begin operations by the end of the year, taking over the existing responsibilities of UK Sport. The organization will have a budget of 10.2 million for 2010- 2011.
Joe Buck To Host Sports Talk Show on HBO
Today, HBO Sports announced the hiring of Joe Buck as the host of a sports talk show starting this May. The program will utilize a town-hall format and air on a quarterly basis. This announcement followed the departure of Bob Costa to the MLB Network.