Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 2:46 pm

Caldwell on Irsay tweet: 'Obviously accurate'

Posted by Will Brinson

It continues to remain very odd that NFL-related conversation is about Peyton Manning missing time (and Jim Irsay tweeting) but that's today's world. And Peyton is going to miss time -- at least the first week of the season and, according to Irsay, he could be out 'awhile.'

Coach Jim Caldwell was asked about Irsay's slippery thumbs on Thursday and he confirmed the accuracy of said tweets.

"It’s obviously accurate or he wouldn’t have tweeted it," Caldwell said, per Phillip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star. "But nevertheless, just in terms of what kind of time frame we’re talking about, I think [Irsay] also stated he’s not quite certain of the time frame. None of us really know at this point in time. It’s a little bit in flux this week. But I do think we’re going to have maybe a little bit more clarity here shortly."

Shortly? Awhile? Ah, the NFL must be back if personnel men are speaking in the vaguest of terms about injuries. But, seriously coach, when are we going to find out? Like, perhaps by the end of the week?

"Hopefully yeah, I would anticipate that yes sir," Caldwell said. "As soon as we get [the news about Peyton], if that's this afternoon or if that's this evening or if it's tomorrow, we'll get it out immediately."

All of that -- ahem -- excitement over the possibility of getting news perhaps maybe some time in the near future doesn't really help. In fact, it only lends more credence to CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman's earlier report today that he's heard the Colts are preparing to deal with Manning missing either a half a season and that Manning didn't undergo a recent surgery as was rumored.

The Colts don't know he'll miss the year, one has to assume, because he's not on injured reserve. And maybe they really don't know anything -- Jay Glazer of FOXSports reported earlier that Manning could have additional surgery later this week.

"While I'm hearing Manning hasn't had surgery yet, I wouldn't be surprised if he has it before the weekend!" Glazer tweeted on Thursday. In a follow-up question from one of his followers about whether said hypothetical surgery would put Manning out for the season, Glazer wrote that he is "not hearing it will."

Let's take all of these factors and put them together: the owner of the Colts is preparing his fans for a long(ish) amount of time without Manning. The team's president ruled Manning out by midweek in a major rivalry game. The coach of the team does not have a clue about when he'll find out if Manning can play. And Manning could have more surgery soon but probably won't miss the entire season.

So, the lesson, as always: no one knows anything. Oh, and also: Peyton will be back in Week 9, win six games down the stretch and take the Colts to the playoffs.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 9:44 am

Colts owner Irsay: Peyton's 'out for awhile'

Posted by Will Brinson

Alright, let's start with the bad news on Peyton Manning first: he is most definitely going to miss Sunday's game against the Texans, and there is no guarantee that he'll be back by Week 2. Or, well, for "awhile."

How long is that? Well, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman is hearing that it could mean as much as "a large swath" which is somewhere between a half- and full season of missed time for Manning.

"Awhile" -- for now -- is simply the terminology that Colts owner Jim Irsay is throwing around Twitter, tweeting early Thursday morning to excitedly celebrate the beginning of football ... and potentially break the hearts of many an Indy football fan all at once.

"NFL Season opens 2nite!We had a good practice yesterday and r guys r fired up 4 the season," Irsay tweeted Thursday morning. "#18's out for awhile,but compete,we will/BELIEVE"

Emphasis mine there, obviously, and you can apply your own [sic]'s. But the point is that "out for awhile" can't be good news for Colts fans, especially when you factor how open and upfront Irsay and the front office are being about Peyton's injury.

They're notoriously secretive about things like this, and if we're seeing Peyton ruled out on Wednesday, well, he's pretty messed up and things aren't exactly in great shape.

As for some rumors that floated Wednesday about a third surgery earlier in the week, Irsay denied those on Twitter late in the evening Wednesday.

"Peyton didn't have a medical procedure last sunday,we'll have more info 2 add clarity 2 situation soon," Indy's owner tweeted.

So there's that. Unless "surgery" isn't a "medical procedure" and it may not even matter given that what's important here is a) Peyton's health and b) his timeline for recovery.

If it's half a season or -- heaven forbid -- a full season, well, Indy may resemble the chorus to Steely Dan's "Fire in the Hole" by the time the Super Bowl is played there in February: nothing left to burn and nowhere left to run.

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 9:16 am

LeBron James takes to Twitter to defend Tim Tebow

Posted by Will Brinson

On Wednesday, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge came a bit unhinged on Twitter (and then later on television) in ranting against the ability of Tim Tebow to play quarterback. He said some things that wiil -- should Tebow become a successful NFL quarterback -- probably come back and haunt him in the form of spliced-up highlight reels.

For the moment, he simply has to deal with millions of people complaining about him on Twitter. That group of folks include Miami Heat forward and NBA superstar LeBron James.

"Listened to Merril Hoge today on SC and he was just blasting Tebow," LeBron tweeted on Wednesday night. "The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in."

"Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played," LeBron added shortly after the initial tweet. "How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!"

Well, one of the reasons Hoge went 'naners on Tebow is probably explained not just in LeBron's tweets but this very post: attention. As an analyst, Hoge wants people talking about him and right now, they certainly are.

I don't have beef with Hoge's ranting for the reasons that LeBron does -- it's Hoge's job to get on television and provide analysis of current NFL players, regardless of whether or not he was "all world" when he played.

My beef is that he's basically taking a no-risk proposition on Tebow. What are the odds that Tebow becomes successful this year? Pretty low -- he's on a franchise in transition with a coach who only likes veteran quarterbacks and a "traditional" quarterback running the show. He's still got lots of transition before he's ready to actually play in the NFL.

In fact, Kyle Orton would need to suffer a serious injury -- and Tebow would need to make serious strides -- in order for Hoge to get torched on this argument any time in the near future.

And in that sense, LeBron is right, because Hoge's approach (which drew/is drawing a TON of attention) could have been calmer, more professional and, actually, much nicer.

Perhaps he just hates unorthodox quarterbacks. As you can tell from the second link from the top, Hoge isn't a big fan of Vince Young. He's been proven right over the long run on VY, but man-oh-man did Young torch him for a while.

Hoge's rant rallied support behind Young the last time around. As he continues to inexplicably crusade against Tebow, you can expect the former Gator to -- somehow -- continue to become even more popular.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:05 pm

Rashard Mendenhall sues Champion over 9/11 tweets

Posted by Will Brinson

Rashard Mendenhall created one of the offseason's biggest controversies when he tweeted some stuff about 9/11 following Osama Bin Laden's death. The tweets got fans all stirred up, drew some remarks from teammates and got him fired as an endorser of Champion.

In response, Mendenhall is -- per CNBC's Darren Rovell -- suing Hanesbrand, the parent company of Champion in North Carolina District Court.

“This case involves the core question of whether an athlete employed as a celebrity endorser loses the right to express opinions simply because the company whose products he endorses might disagree with some (but not all) of those opinions,” the suit reads.

In all likelihood, this won't work like a normal "wrongful termination" case -- Mendenhall had a clause in his Champion contract that, per Rovell, allows them to fire him if Mendenhall "commits or is arrested for any crime or becomes involved in any situation or occurrence tending to bring Mendenhall into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or tending to shock, insult or offend the majority of the consuming public.”  

The problem here for Mendenhall is that because he's dealing with an issue like 9/11, he'll have an uphill battle to prove that the majority of the consuming public wasn't offended by his comments, particularly given the storm of media coverage it generated.

Additionally, he's seeking monetary damages for his termination, which probably won't play well in the media, despite what his attorneys claim.

"Although the lawsuit seeks damages, this case is truly not about the money," Mendenhall's lawyer Stephen Thompson told Rovell. "In this age of widespread social media, Rashard believes (whether an athlete can be fired for his or her opinions) is an important question for all athletes who serve as celebrity spokespersons, and he intends to pursue this lawsuit to vindicate his rights and those of other athletes caught in this situation."

Perhaps the biggest problem is the resulting image hit that Mendenhall could suffer. Even though he's defending a basic American tenant -- free speech -- he's going to remind everyone in the country exactly why he got fired in the first place; it's unlikely that the general public's stance has changed on his statements since then.

And, of course, he's suing an ex-employer and someone who signed him to an endorsement contract. That's never good for business, particularly if you're trying to find future endorsers.

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 7:22 pm

PETA sends Dockett a letter about his alligator

Posted by Will Brinson

Darnell Dockett's been a darling of sports bloggers during the last few football-starved weeks.

Not only did he live-tweet getting pulled over by the police, but he recently went out and purchased a baby alligator named "NINO."

This went over spectacularly with those of us desperate for interesting NFL stories. But it didn't go over too well with the wonderful folks at animal-rights group PETA.

And they wrote Dockett a letter.

Dear Mr. Dockett,

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was alerted this week to media reports indicating that you recently purchased a baby American alligator from the Florida Everglades and that you intend to keep him as a captive pet. Please know that Florida heavily regulates the keeping of alligators and that it's unlawful to keep an alligator as a pet anywhere in the state of Arizona without a special permit. These prohibitive laws and regulations exist because, in addition to posing a threat to public safety, wild animals suffer greatly in captivity.

Alligators in the wild roam freely with members of their own kind, travel long distances, and thrive in the rivers and lakes that they call home. When confined, wild animals will exhibit neurotic and self-destructive behaviors because of extreme boredom, stress, and frustration at being unable to engage in natural behaviors. Keeping an alligator as a pet is simply unfair to the animal. It also poses grave dangers to you and others. By their very nature, these animals are unpredictable and can inflict serious harm. Reptiles are also common carriers of salmonella. You would be held liable for any damage, injuries, or illnesses caused by the alligator.

Respectfully, we ask that you carefully consider this information. Please know that we stand ready to help find a suitable habitat for this animal. May we please hear that you will do the right thing?


Michelle Cho

PETA does stuff like this pretty much any time a famous person gets near an animal; they're always looking for free publicity, and they usually pull off publicity stunts that are whacked out enough to warrant writing about. (Like the time they tried to get Phish to change their name to "Sea Kittens" in order to avoid harming actual fish, sigh.)

And they might have a point here, because alligators are wild animals and don't deserve to be all cooped up in a fancy house or be fed really nice food -- Dockett already said no snakes, only "Ruth Chris and Bob Evans pancakes!" -- or cared for by a personal "alligator butler" that Docket will probably hire.

No one deserves that terrible fate.

Gracias to Doug Farrar of Shutdown Corner for forwarding the letter.

Posted on: June 27, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 2:59 pm

Dockett gets pulled by cops, live tweets it all

Posted by Will Brinson

Donovan McNabb recently said that athletes should stay off of Twitter. There's some logic to his thought process (see: the Rashard Mendenhall-9/11 public relations nightmare that recently unfolded) but, ultimately, Twitter is fantastic because it allows athletes to interact with fans.

Or, if you prefer, live-tweet what happens when they're pulled over by the cops and refuse to allow the men in blue to search their vehicle, as the case was with Darnell Dockett (who made our Top 10 must-follow NFL Twitter accounts last year) on Monday afternoon.

"I don't know why the police always messing w/me I'm never gonna let them search my car with out a search warrant!" Dockett exclaimed about 1:00 PM EST on Twitter. "No matter what!"

He then went on a rant while -- apparently -- pulled over on the side of the road, waiting for the cops to return with a search warrant. To the expletive-washed blockquote machine!
Police sitting here waiting on back up cuz I told them YOU NOT SEARCHING MY CAR! PERIOD! & now I'm sitting here! Owell I aint got [expletive] 2 do!"

There R 3police cars and they are talking! I don't see A search warrant they won't see inside this escalade! I got all day hope they don't!

Police said "do you mind if we look around in your Vehicle?" I said I sure DO! He said "I'm gonna call back up" I said u wanna use my phone?

I think they (POLICE) going to get a search warrant cuz they sitting here looking like fools waiting on something!

These COPS really think I'm stupid they playing good cop bad cop! BOY STOOOOP! I'm not falling for that! NO SIR YOU WILL NOT LOOK IN MY CAR!

This cop just ask me how tall R u & where R U from! I'm bout to ask him can I go across the street to POPEYS while we sitting here waiting!

I been sitting here for a HOUR 1cop by the driver window, 2talking at the car! And the 1by the window being friendly! Like wtf?

I asked the cop why he pulled me over he said I was speeding I said [CAPITALIZED BOVINE EXPLETIVE]! But give me the ticket that's when he asked to search my car!

So you gonna lie and say I'm speeding then you wanna search my car! Get the [expletive] ouutta here! Better go get a warrant *turns up radio*

OK so now I think they letting me Go cop just brought my DL's and registration! Yeah I'm bout to be out this MOFO!
So, yeah, this is still playing out in "real time" on the Internet.

And it's probably going to end awesomely one way or another, either with Dockett getting in some kind of trouble and tweeting all the way to jail, or with Dockett posting the officers' badge numbers on Twitter.

Regardless, it's pretty clear that McNabb was wrong about the power of social media.

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Posted on: May 14, 2011 5:30 pm

Mendenhall kind of claims he learned a lesson

Posted by Will Brinson

It's unlikely that we'll grow tired of talking about Rashard Mendenhall on Twitter. That's mainly because he keeps tweeting, of course.

Like, on Saturday, when Mendenhall seemed to start off on an apology tangent (or a "here's what I've learned" tangent at least), when he decided to veer in a similar "outside the box" Twitter rant.

"I've learned more these last few weeks than some people will ever even attempt to learn their whole lives," Mendenhall tweeted. "Conventional wisdom is the new Jolly Roger."

What? Conventional wisdom is a pirate ship? That sounds like an Anchorman quote.

I kid, of course -- Mendenhall is making reference to the use of "Jolly Roger" to mean "poison" or "a hazard." In which case, he's actually making a fairly provocative statement, only he's doing it in an intelligent way. (Which is quite different than what he did the first time.)

The point Mendenhall's trying to make is that he wants people to "think."

That's all well and good, and anyone who says they don't want professional athletes to think and to have opinions about worldly topics is playing too much into a stereotype.

But it doesn't change the fact that Mendenhall still needs to do that himself before he decides to pass along an opinion in a shortened medium like Twitter that doesn't provide much room for explanation.

If he really has learned his lesson, he'll remember that next time around.

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Posted on: May 9, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 2:51 pm

Should Steelers ban players from social media?

Posted by Will Brinson

In the wake of Rashard Mendenhall's cringe-worthy Osama Bin Laden moment on Twitter, there's probably a contingent of people who think that the Mendenhall should probably run anything he's firing out onto the Internet by someone in the PR department.

Mark Madden of the Beaver County Times wants to take things a step further, though, and have the Steelers keep everyone on the team off of social media.

"When the NFL labor dispute ends, the Steelers should: Bar players from social networking," Madden wrote on Sunday. "No Twitter, no Facebook, nothing of the sort. No tangible good can come from it. Only stupidity."

Madden also wrote that the Steelers should "order Mendenhall to apologize."

Though I'm not sure what Mendenhall should apologize for -- "My bad for having an opinion, exercising my First Amendment rights and then not apologizing enough in my original apology, you guys!" -- it's the first point that bothers me more.

As I said last week, Twitter doesn't make people do stupid things -- people make people do stupid things. If someone wants to say something dumb, they can do it in a press conference, they can do it the radio, they can do it on a blog or they could take the time to actually scrawl it out in crayon on a sidewalk.

There's no shortage of mediums for people to get across whatever message they want to get across. Do Twitter and Facebook offer a more easily accessible venue? Sure they do. It's why they're popular.

But this isn't some evil Internet message board, created by trolls and maintained by pantsless bloggers, and hellbent on bringing down society.

It's a modern-day form of communication, and just because a few bad apples aren't mature enough to figure out that saying something stupid on Twitter or Facebook will get your message sent around the world almost as fast as you can post it, then that's a bigger reflection of an individual's own problem with self-control than it is a reflection of "all social media is evil."

Social media, in today's world, is part of an overall brand reflection -- if you can't be smart enough to leverage that, then there are bigger issues at hand than players owning Twitter accounts.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com