Lifestyle & Belief

Sports chatter: Louisiana asks NFL to ease up on Saints


The NFL suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for 1 season for his role in a bounty scandal that paid players for "knock-outs" and "cart-offs."


Thearon W. Henderson

Need to know:
They love their Saints in Louisiana, so much so that state lawmakers passed a motion, Monday, asking the NFL to reconsider hefty punishments levied on the team for its bounty scandal.

The motion passed 28-1 in the Senate on Monday.

There is “widespread public opinion throughout the state of Louisiana and beyond that the penalties imposed upon the Saints are too harsh and should be reconsidered,” the resolution said, according to The Associated Press.

The NFL suspended New Orleans coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season, and general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games, in relation to the bounty system. Assistant coaches, current and former players were also punished.

Players received extra cash for taking out or injuring opposing players. The league also fined the club $500,000.

Want to know:
Athletes, automobiles and alcohol don’t mix; just ask Donovan Bailey and Jermaine Pennant.

Toronto police stopped Bailey – the former fastest man on the planet – on March 28 and charged him with impaired driving.

This is the third brush with the law for Bailey, who set the 100-meter sprinting world record at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics with a time of 9.84 seconds.

In 1998, he paid a $200 fine for fleeing the scene of an accident in Sweden. Three years later, police clocked him going 200 km/h (124 mph) on a Toronto highway and fined him $975.

Bailey, 44, is in Jamaica promoting the Olympics with CBC TV. His next court appearance is set for June 11.

Pennant, who plays soccer for Stoke City in England, admitted being more than two times over the legal limit when police stopped him on April 29. His girlfriend dumped him earlier in the day, hours after the mother of his 20-month-old child skipped a planned meeting.

Then he couldn’t find a hotel in Manchester so he started to drive home before getting in a crash at 5:20 a.m. Trouble was, the 29-year-old Pennant was suspended from earlier infractions and didn’t have a license.

A judge sentenced him to eight weeks in jail, but suspended that sentence for a year. The good news in all of this? Police dropped assault charges against Pennant after a woman accused him of an assault that same night. 

Just because:
Donovan McNabb wants to play football again in the NFL, and he has a list of teams he’d be willing to join.

“A full list of 32,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

There are, of course, 32 teams in the league. To prove it, he’s lost 15 pounds and is working out with a private coach, George Whitfield, in San Diego.

Whitfield played a few seasons of arena league football before turning to coaching, and has worked out Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlesberger (during his suspension) and Carolina rookie Cam Newton (before the draft).

A 13-year veteran, McNabb received his release from the Minnesota Vikings to pursue other options. McNabb played in five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles over 11 seasons.

Dull but important:
European foreign ministers can’t decide if they should watch soccer in Ukraine, or boycott the Euro 2012 tournament.

The 27-nation group couldn’t reach a consensus about how to protest Ukraine’s treatment of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Many world leaders consider her seven-year prison sentence for abuses of power a miscarriage of justice.

Ukraine and Poland host Euro 2012 beginning next month, and some foreign politicians are saying they won’t attend unless Ukraine addresses Tymoshenko honestly.

“Making sure that justice is done and seen to be done is core to the values of the European Union,” EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton said, Reuters reported.

Strange but true:
Australia’s archery dads are taking cues from Texas cheerleading moms.

An 18-year-old Olympic hopeful told a courtroom in Sydney she was intimidated and bullied by the father of a competitor during recent competitions.

Odette Snazelle said Jonathan Barnard would stare at her intently, followed her and even blocked her from using the bathroom at competitions.

“I felt scared and intimidated and put off,” she told the Herald Sun. “I felt like I was being constantly watched and followed, and I couldn’t concentrate on my shooting.”

The family called police when Barnard twice pushed Snazelle’s mother “with his stomach.”

Snazelle received a restraining order against Barnard, whose daughter Elisa is one of Australia’s top archers.

Australia is likely to only send one archer, and Elisa Barnard has already qualified while Snazelle is hoping to next month in the US.

A judge asked the athletes to co-exist until June 8, when she will render a ruling.