Wed, Jan 01, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Sports rings out year with some odd bounces

AP

The law found some players in curious spots, notably Kobe Bryant. The Lakers’ star became entangled in a lawsuit involving his mother. At issue was whether a New Jersey auction house could sell some of his memorabilia his mother offered for sale.

The parties settled, but there was this entry in court papers: “Mom, I never told you that you could have the memorabilia,” and Pamela Bryant responded: “Yes, but you never said you wanted it, either.”

Florida University linebacker Antonio Morrison was charged under one of the more obscure laws on the books — barking at a police dog. According to authorities, Morrison was walking by an open window of a police car. He decided to bark at the dog; the dog decided to bark back. A deputy arrested Morrison. The charges were dropped, and it was acknowledged a warning to the barking player would have been more appropriate.

Two Australian Rules football players thought they would have some good fun. Josh Caddy and Billie Smedts donned ski masks and broke into a teammate’s house. One problem: Caddy and Smedts were at the wrong address. Police, with guns drawn, soon arrested them.

A fourth-division Brazilian soccer club was tossed from the playoffs after its masseur jumped on the field. The masseur, Romildo da Silva, took his spot in the vacated goal and proceeded to make two key saves. Opposing players chased him off the field, and police arrested him for his own protection.

Nigerian soccer had its own mess. Two lower-league games that ended in scores of 79-0 and 67-0 were found to be fixed. Lifetime player bans and team suspensions followed.

Most athletes serve up boilerplate cliches in post-game comments, but some reveal perhaps more than they should.

Consider mixed martial arts fighter Nick Diaz. While discussing his loss in a title bout in Montreal, he talked about his financial situation.

“I just have to invest a little bit more, now that I have a little bit more money,” he said. “You know what? I’ve never paid taxes in my life. I’m probably going to jail.”

Sports promotions came in all sizes and tastes.

Kansas State lured fans to its women’s basketball opener by giving away 136kg of bacon.

The Florence Freedom, a Kentucky minor league baseball team, saw the Manti Te’o fictional girlfriend story as too good to pass up. It was offering a bobblehead of the “girlfriend.” The boxes, however, would be empty.

The minor league Lehigh Valley IronPigs enticed fans with a free funeral in a promotion the club said represented not outside-the-box thinking, but “inside the box.”

Sometimes, in sports, it is all about luck. It sure did not start out that way for Mark Mihal. With winter ending, the mortgage broker was looking forward to the year’s first round of golf.

He was playing in Waterloo, Illinois, outside St Louis, and doing well. However, while he was considering his next shot from the fairway of the 14th hole he plunged into a 5.5m sinkhole.

He was trapped in darkness and mud, and screaming. It took about 20 minutes before his friends could yank him out with a rope.

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