Today in sports: more fallout from the NBA blockbuster trade that wasn't, Fox is a strange position when it comes to the trying to get the Los Angeles Dodgers TV rights, and Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy's dad has harsh words for the way the team treated his head injury last night.
- Few things in sports are as entertaining as a proposed NBA blockbuster trade that collapses in full public view. Seen from that perspective, commissioner David Stern's decision last night to put the kibosh on a proposed three-team trade that would have sent star New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers made for a most agreeable evening on Twitter. The fact that a tight-knit band of small market owners can force the NBA league office to reject a trade because they think it's unfair raises all sorts of troubling questions about the competitive future of the league and makes the league's new collective bargaining agreement look like a farce, since ostensibly it was designed to give clubs like the Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers the ability to retain their star players. What's even more insane, as The Nation's Dave Zirin points out, is that this trade wasn't unfair. Zirin explains the set-up: "[Paul's] contract ends at year's end and is looking to leave small market New Orleans. The Hornets General Manager Dell Demps has been trying to trade Paul so they don’t lose him for nothing in free agency." Everyone knows this, so Demps doesn't have any leverage. The best he can hope for is a deal that gets him 80 cents against the dollar. And that's about what he would have received if the trade went through. New Orleans would have come away with the expiring contract of Lakers forward Lamar Odom, double-double machine Luis Scola, a promising young Slovenian swingman named Doran Gragic, and veteran small forward Kevin Martin, who has one of pro basketball's ugliest jump shots, but still managed to average more than 23 points per game last season. No superstars, but it would have been a nice haul, and given Paul's stated desire to play in New York, there was no guarantee he'd resign with Los Angeles next summer. Just as NBA conspiracy theorists suspected, shadowy puppetmasters are controlling the league . And they don't even follow pro basketball. [The Nation]
- A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware ruled that the Los Angeles Dodgers can sell the cable TV rights to the club's games along with the franchise at auction next month. That's bad news for Fox Sports, which thought it had a deal for the club's games through the end of next year. This puts Fox in the odd position of preparing an appeal to block the sale of the TV rights, while also preparing to make a bid for the rights when they hit the auction block in five weeks. On that score, they'll have competition. According to The Los Angeles Times, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, AT&T and Verizon are all interested in acquiring the broadcast rights. [The Los Angeles Times]
- The Cleveland Browns looked slow, dispirited, and poorly coached during last night's 14-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and now the father of starting quarterback Colt McCoy is taking on head coach Pat Shurmur for putting his son back into the game after he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Steelers linebacker James Harrison in the fourth quarter. Brad McCoy, a longtime junior high coach, told Cleveland Plain-Dealer Browns beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot this morning:
"I talked to Colt this morning and he said 'dad, I don't know what happened.'...He never should've gone back in the game. He was basically out (cold) after the hit. You could tell by the ridigity of his body as he was laying there. There were a lot of easy symptoms that should've told them he had a concussion. He was nauseated and he didn't know who he was. From what I could see, they didn't test him for a concussion on the sidelines."
McCoy was especially upset at Browns coach Shurmur for saying his son was "fine" to reenter the game during his post-game press conference.
"After the game, the (public relations staff) made sure Colt's interview was brief and he couldn't face the lights in his press conference. The TV lights and the Stadium lights were killing him. Why would you say he was fine? That makes it even worse....[Wide receiver] Josh Cribbs suffered a groin injury earlier in the game and he was out for the rest of the game. Colt takes a severe hit like that and he's back in the game a play later? If he took another blow to the head, we could've been talking about his career here."
Shurmur will speak to the media -- and, by extension, all helicopter parents with children currently on the 53-man roster -- this afternoon. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
- Penn State is no longer going to "license the name, likeness or image of former coach Joe Paterno" on university merchandise. But at least they're disavowing their former coach slowly, while also allowing for a maximum profitability window. Rather than recall the existing "Penn State-Paterno merchandise" or buy it back from merchants, they're giving stores two months to run through the remainder of their supplies. Just long enough to be bought and given as holiday gag gifts. [AP]