Today in sports: Fox's fake newspaper 'headlines' are unmasked, David Wright's having another frustrating season, and ailing NFL players turn to stem cell tourism.
- When Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported Sunday afternoon that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning traveled to Europe earlier this month to undergo a non-FDA approved stem cell treatment on his neck in an unsuccesful attempt to avoid his third neck surgery in 19 months, we had no idea it would be the start of a trend among ailing NFL players. But yesterday, the Korea Times reported that former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens had arrived in Seoul to begin a three-day session at the Chaum Anti-Aging Center, where he was going to receive treatment for a torn ACL and have "stem cells collected as part of the treatment," his doctor at the clinic confirmed. The downside to stem cell tourism is that it's expensive, frequently doesn't work, and puts patients at risk for infection in fly-by-night foreign clinics. Which didn't stop GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Perry, who in July received an infusion of fat-derived stem cells during an operation to fuse his spine and cure his back pain, even though the procedure pit him at risk for cancer and blood clots, according to doctors. Dr. Lawrence Goldstein, director of the University of California-San Diego Stem Cell Program, tells ABC News that he's not aware of stem cells successfully being used to treat “any sort of spinal issue," which obviously didn't deter Manning and Perry. [Fox Sports and Korea Times and Boston Globe]
- In the fourth quarter of the Chicago Bears 30-12 opening day win over the Atlanta Falcons, Fox ran a mini-montage of three newspaper headlines that questioned Cutler's toughness after he left last January's NFC championship game at halftime with a knee injury, including "Cutler Lacks Courage" and "Cutler No Leader." At the time, they looked less like the layout of real newspaper headlines and more like a front page that a word processing program using '"newspaper" template would generate, but announcer Daryl Johnston proclaimed to viewers that they just saw "actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago." That was a mistake. The Chicago Tribune searched every newspaper in Illinois for those headlines and came up with nothing. Then they widened the net to include every newspaper in the country. Also nothing. When Fox spokesman Dan Bell responded to the paper's inquiries late last week, he admitted the "the wrong word was used" by Johnston, and that the feature was an attempt "to capture the overall sentiment nationwide" after the NFC championship game. The result, he conceded, was "misleading." Although considering the way Cutler and the Bears got blown out Sunday by the New Orleans Saints, some Illinois paper might think about trotting out those headlines if they lose this week at home against Green Bay. [Chicago Tribune via Poynter]
- It seems like every year baseball fans have to read about the suffocating pressure facing New York Mets third baseman David Wright, a decent enough player who has the misfortune of making $14 million a season and playing in front of fans and members of the media in New York who are convinced he's a star. The New York Times is kinder than most today, praising Wright "the tireless worker, the true company man...punching the clock, playing out the string" and largely forgiving "a long arc of frustrations wrought from the last half-decade," since he's become a "a revered figure in the clubhouse, and though he is not a vocal and passionate motivator of his teammates, he is unequivocally their leader." It's a reflection on the Mets no-good, very bad last seven years that it's not a problem he's on-pace to have his worst season as a professional. [The New York Times]
- Turkey's soccer association has approved a rule change banning men over the age of 12 from attending matches of teams sanctioned for unruly fan behavior. Club Fenerbache handed out 27,000 free tickets to women and kids for today's match against Manisaspor in Instanbul. According to the Associated Press account, the game "kicked off with Fenerbahce and Manisaspor players hurling flowers at the spectators." Fenerbache's violations stemmed from an incident in July where fans stormed the field during a friendly matchy against Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk. (They also beat up journalists who criticized the federation for initiating a match-fixing investigation involving a rival club.) Team president Aziz Yildirim was one of 30 suspects detained in the case. [Associated Press]