Good Morning (8-28-12)

Dez Bryant is paying for his security detail

From Pro Football Talk:

As it turns out, Dez Bryant will be picking up the tab for his babysitters.

The Rules of 88 require Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant to, among other things, have round-the-clock security, via a three-man rotating crew.  As we pointed out earlier today, the arrangement could violate the labor deal in two ways.  As it relates to the league, the arrangement could run afoul of the salary cap.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells PFT that, if the Cowboys are paying for the security detail, it would indeed be a problem.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Cowboys aren’t paying.  Instead, Dez will be footing the bill.

While the approach insulates the Cowboys from scrutiny under the cap rules (they’ve already been down that road this year), it highlights the possibility that the arrangement infringes on the player’s rights under the labor deal.  Not only are the Cowboys imposing rules that go beyond the limits of the CBA, but they also are forcing Bryant to foot the bill for it.

Yes, Bryant could have said no.  But the point is that he arguably never should have been forced to answer the question at all.

It remains to be seen whether the NFLPA pursues the issue on behalf of Bryant.  Owner Jerry Jones ultimately may not care.  The goal is to get Dez in line.  If the NFLPA fights the Cowboys on this point, the union will come off trying to excuse or enable a guy whose behavior arguably justifies special measures to keep him in line.

So let me get this straight: The Cowboys could be in trouble for having to have a force of baby-sitters watch some player who can’t control what he does, and keep his butt on the right path? Brilliant.

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Troy Aikman’s Ex Wife Rhonda Arrested for Public Intoxication

You have to be pretty wasted on a Monday afternoon to get arrested for Public Intoxication, but the former Mrs. Troy Aikman was getting her swerve on.

Troy Aikman’s ex-wife was arrested in Collin County, Texas for being drunk in public earlier today … TMZ has learned.

According to the Murphy Police Department, 43-year-old Rhonda Aikman was arrested on August 27 for public intoxication … a low level misdemeanor.

Rhonda was hauled to a nearby jail, where bond was set at $269.00. She has since been released.

No word if Jerry Jones will put her on a noon curfew.

 

 

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Mark Cuban On Being A Regular Fan And Why Twitter Is Overrated In Gauging Sentiment

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a lot of money. Unless you’re one of the 545 people in the world ahead of him on Forbes’ “The World’s Billionaires List,” he has more money than you.

But Cuban has a message to those below him on the financial totem pole. When it comes to being a fan, he is just like anyone else.

Cuban does not spend Mavericks games tucked away in a skybox sipping martinis in a suit with other members of corporate America. He has made it a point in his 12-plus years as an NBA owner to sit with the people. Cuban typically attends Dallas games in a courtside seat wearing a Mavs T-shirt and jeans.

“I’ve been a Mavs fan, a sports fan, my entire life,” says Cuban, whose net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion. “I just didn’t think that because I bought the team I should change who I am or change how I act.”

Cuban resonates with fans for a variety of reasons. His clothing and seats of choice are two ways he connects with the crowd, but he has one other recognizable trait fans relate to: His emotion.

Cuban is one of only a handful of owners in the history of sports (Jerry Jones and the late George Steinbrenner are two prominent others) who puts his passion on display in front of his team, the fans and the media.

“I’m crazy at a Mavs game now,” he says. “You should have seen what I was like before I bought the team. I was out of mind. The whole logic, I guess if you want to call it that, is what’s the beauty of going to a sporting event or watching a sporting event. It’s one of the few times we get to let out all of our aggression, so during the game, you can see me getting all wild, involved in the game and all excitable.”

Away from arenas and stadiums, Cuban insists he does not live with the same emotion he exemplifies courtside. While the public image may be of Cuban as a wild man, he says he is a tame person.

“We lose, it might take me a little bit of time to calm down,” he says. “If we win, might take me a little bit of time to calm down, but once that’s past, then it’s past. Outside of the games, you’re going to find me pretty mellow and laid back.”

Beyond the Mavericks, Cuban is a junkie of other major sports. A Pittsburgh native, Cuban sticks to his Steelers, Pirates and Penguins allegiances. After living in Dallas for most of his adult life, he has also adopted the Cowboys, Rangers and Stars.

“I’m hardcore sports across the board,” Cuban says. “I love to watch. I love to go to games. None of them compare to the Mavs obviously.”

Because he is a native of one city and a long-time resident of another, even the most die-hard sports fans might be willing to accept his split loyalties. But Cuban’s father does not fit that list. He still bleeds black and yellow and does not show any signs of changing.

“My dad’s 86 years old and he just doesn’t like the idea I could root for a Dallas team against a Pittsburgh team,” Cuban says. “Fortunately, Pittsburgh doesn’t have an NBA team, so I’m safe there.”

Another way Cuban connects with fans and his players is through his feelings on the media. Cuban is never afraid to speak his mind to the press. An example of this came on the morning after Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June when Cuban appeared on ESPN’s First Take. While sitting next to the notoriously outspoken Skip Bayless, Cuban did not hold back his feelings about the journalist’s credibility. Cuban attacked him for a lack of facts in his reporting, putting Bayless on the defensive. The Bayless bombardment was seen as a long overdue action that needed to be taken by someone with power in the sports world.

Cuban has an idea of why the sports media world makes accusations without a proper factual basis. The culprit: Twitter.

“I think it really has become an outlet for fans who are very, very vocal and emotional and excited and it’s really, really easy to have Twitter courage,” Cuban says. “A lot of people go on Twitter and explain whatever it is they want to explain with 140 characters and I think media look to fan responses there and to a less extent as other social media and takes it as gospel and I think that’s far from the truth.”

Cuban believes sportswriters do not have the proper sample size of fans when using Twitter as a gauge. Although the Twitter world has grown rapidly the past three years, the vast majority of American sports fans are still living without it.

“We make a huge mistake in media of looking at Twitter as the barometer for the typical fan when it’s not. I think 7 percent of the U.S. is on Twitter … ,” he says. “I think more fans are disconnected from Twitter and just into their teams and enjoy going to the games and enjoy rooting for their teams because it’s fun.”

Cuban will be looking to make Mavericks fans, himself included, happy when the 2012-13 NBA season rolls around in a couple months. He feels the team has brought in a good group of additions, Elton Brand, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman and Darren Collison to name a few, who can help Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs contend for a second NBA title in three years.

The owner’s strategy is as simple as it comes: “Hopefully we’ll score more points than the other team.”

 

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‘Locked in’ Adrian Beltre rips Rays for three hits, four RBI in Rangers’ win

Adrian Beltre extended his hot seven-game streak into another week.

Beltre was 3 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs, including driving in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning, to lead the Texas Rangers to a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Elvis Andrus scored on Beltre’s single to give the AL West leaders a series-opening win. Nelson Cruz also homered and Mike Olt added an RBI for Texas.

Derek Holland (9-6) got the win, giving up five runs — three earned — on six hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Beltre, who was selected AL player of the week after a three-homer game and another in which he hit for the cycle, is hitting .385 with six homers and 13 RBIs in his last eight games.

“He’s locked in,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We need everything he’s giving us right now. He’s one of the guys in our lineup that makes it work.”

Relievers Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams, and closer Joe Nathan struck out six of the nine hitters they faced in working perfect seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Nathan earned his 23rd consecutive save opportunity and 26th this season.

Tampa Bay ace David Price (16-5) snapped a stretch of 12 consecutive quality starts in which he had pitched at least seven innings. The lefty, who entered with a majors-low 2.28 ERA and tied for the league lead for victories, didn’t make it to the fifth, giving up six runs on 10 hits in four innings.

In eight career regular-season starts against the Rangers, Price is 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA. In four starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, his ERA is 10.26.

“I didn’t feel like I was throwing the ball any different than I was during the stretch where I’ve been successful,” Price said. “It’s Texas, they’re a good-hitting team, and they’re feeling it right now.”

The Rangers continually jumped on first-pitch fastballs.

“We were trying to look for a pitch we could handle,” said Beltre, noting that Price likes to get ahead of hitters. “He comes after hitters, so we were ready.”

The Rays entered with the AL’s best road record (35-27), but found they were no match for Beltre.

Beltre, who reached base a fourth time with a walk in the seventh, and Cruz had back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the second to erase a 2-0 deficit — the first time Price has allowed consecutive homers in his career.

Olt’s groundout to shortstop Ben Zobrist drove in the Rangers’ third run.

Beltre’s double with no outs in the third scored Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton to make the score 5-3. Price was able to limit the damage by retiring the next three hitters on two groundouts and a strikeout of Geovany Soto.

Over his last 65 games, Beltre is hitting .332 with 15 homers, 14 doubles and 44 RBIs.

“I don’t know,” Beltre said when asked if he’s ever had a streak like the past eight games. “Probably. I don’t keep track. Right now, I feel good. I feel comfortable, and have confidence offensively.”

B.J. Upton’s run-scoring triple and Zobrist’s RBI single tied the score at 5-all in the fifth.

An error led to two unearned runs for the Rays in the first inning.

Upton reached base on a fielding miscue by Andrus at short, who then dropped a potential double play relay on the next hitter, Ben Zobrist, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

Evan Longoria, who was 2 for 4, then took a 3-2 pitch deep off the left-field foul pole for a home run.

“We screwed up the first inning,” Washington said, “but the offenses wouldn’t stop.”

The Rays’ Nos. 5-9 hitters went 0 for 18 with eight strikeouts.

Notes: With the home run and a single, Longoria is hitting .435 (10 for 23) lifetime against Rangers starter Holland. … Beltre has had 25 or more home runs in seven seasons. … Price led the major leagues in ERA and tied for most wins entering Monday’s game. In the last 50 years, only eight pitchers Sandy Koufax (1963, ’65-66), Jim Palmer (1975), Ron Guidry (1978), Dwight Gooden (1985), Bret Saberhagen (1989), Greg Maddux (1995), Pedro Martinez (1999) and Johan Santana (2006) have finished the season leading the majors in both categories — and all have won the Cy Young.

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Have a great day everyone!

About Lew Patton

Just an old guy that loves sports and the internets.
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