Georgia gives Falcons a tax break on stadium expenses
The taxpayers will be paying an even larger share of the costs for the Falcons’ new stadium.
Georgia has agreed to give the Falcons (and the Atlanta Braves, who are also building a new stadium) an exemption from paying sales tax when they buy building materials for the stadium. With an enormous project like the building of a stadium, that amounts to a tax break that could be in the tens of millions of dollars.
William Perry, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the decision to give tax breaks to sports teams is a bad deal for the average taxpayer.
“I don’t think that most people know that on top of the taxes collected for these facilities, that they aren’t paying sales taxes themselves,” Perry said. “It’s this kind of thing that causes the total public investment to keep going up and up.”
But the head of the state agency that oversees the building of the Falcons’ stadium says the risk of losing Georgia’s beloved NFL team makes it worth it for the public to contribute. And that’s really what it comes down to: If the taxpayers in Georgia won’t finance a stadium for the Falcons, the taxpayers somewhere else will. Until every municipality agrees to stop building stadiums for sports teams, the owners will keep taking the taxpayers’ money.
Chris Borland, who retired over concerns about head injuries, says he plans to pay back most of signing bonus
Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who announced his retirement from the NFL last week at age 24, says he plans to pay back most of the signing bonus he received from the team.
Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Borland said he would pay back three-fourths of the $617,436 signing bonus he received from the 49ers last year. That means he's giving up $463,077.
Borland signed a four-year deal with the 49ers after he was drafted 77th overall by the team last year.
Borland said he wasn't second-guessing his decision to part with the money.
"To play one year, it's not a cash grab as I've been accused of," he said "I'm paying back three-fourths of my signing bonus. I'm only taking the money I've earned."
Under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, the 49ers have the right to recover the signing bonus. The team hasn't said publicly whether they were planning to collect the money.
Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, who previously worked directly for the Browns, reports that the Browns are the front runners to be featured on the 2015 edition of HBO’s Hard Knocks.
The Browns fall within the scope of the teams that can be forced in 2015 to do Hard Knocks. Only teams with new head coaches, teams that have appeared in the playoffs the past two years, and teams that have appeared on the series in the past decade can be compelled to open their training camp to the NFL Films cameras and microphones.
This year, the teams that fall within that category are the Browns, Texans, Titans, Jaguars, Washington, Giants, Vikings, Buccaneers, and Rams.
Last year, the Falcons volunteered even though they weren’t one of the eight teams that could have been required to submit.
In 2010, Browns coach Mike Pettine worked for the Jets when the Jets became the darlings of Hard Knocks, with Rex Ryan’s antics winning plenty of Emmys for folks responsible for producing the show.
Pettine and the Browns declined the opportunity in 2014; “Let’s get through the first year,” the now-second-year coach said at the time.
The Panthers have worked the fringes of free agency, but they brought another name veteran in Saturday who could provide immediate help.
The 31-year-old Jennings was released by the Vikings, but would provide an immediate help for the Panthers, in that he’s a productive receiver on his own and experienced enough to help groom Kelvin Benjamin.
ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports that Bartolo Colon is expected to start for the Mets on Opening Day, April 6 in Washington against the Nationals. Jacob deGrom is expected to start the Mets’ home opener on April 13 against the Phillies.
Colon, who turns 42 in May, is in the final year of his two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets. He finished with a 4.09 ERA and a 151/30 K/BB ratio in 202 1/3 innings last season.
DeGrom, 26, broke out last season with a 2.69 ERA and a 144/43 K/BB ratio in 140 1/3 innings as a rookie.
Matt Harvey, returning from Tommy John surgery, is expected to make his 2015 season debut on April 9 against the Nationals. Despite the injury, it’s surprising the Mets aren’t giving him the start for either game.
Well, this is awesome. According to Bill Shakin of the Los Angeles Times, MLB has scheduled every game on the final day of the regular season to start at the same time. The idea with this new little wrinkle is to ramp up the drama leading into the playoffs:
“If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result,” said Tony Pettiti, MLB chief operating officer.
“If we do have games coming down to the wire, we want to make sure we maximize that day.”
In addition to all the drama, excitement, and nail-biting which will surely commence on that afternoon, it might also change how some teams approach things. The Pirates lost on the final day of the regular season last year, which clinched the NL Central for the Cardinals. The Cardinals had a later start and were able to scratch Adam Wainwright at the last minute and rest him for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. Teams won’t have the luxury to wait on decisions like that anymore. You’re going to have to go for it.
It’s hard to see a negative with this idea. If anything, the hardest part will be trying to keep up with everything that might be going on. Of course, that will be a fun problem to have for baseball fans. Bring on the chaos.
A college baseball player was kicked off his team for referring to Mo’Ne Davis as a “sl-t” on Twitter.
Joey Casselberry, who played at Bloomsburg University in Philadelphia, tweeted Friday in response to hearing that Disney was going to be making a movie about Davis’ life. He said “WHAT A JOKE. That sl-t got rocked by Nevada.”
After his tweet went viral, Casselberry tweeted Saturday to apologize for what he wrote.
“An example that one stupid tweet can ruin someone’s life and I couldn’t be more sorry about my actions last night. I please ask you to forgive me and truly understand that I am in no way shape or form a sexist and I am a huge fan of Mo’ne. She was quite an inspiration,” Casselberry tweeted before deactivating his account.
Casselberry is no longer listed on the school’s baseball roster. The school also issued a statement about the incident.
“Bloomsburg Univ is deeply saddened by what was written about Mo’ne Davis by one of our student-athletes. His words do not represent us.
“We take matter very seriously; addressed the issue with the student-athlete (who has been dismissed from team), coach, and the team.”
According to Charles Barkley, Cliff Alexander needs to keep up his strong play from the first half for Kansas:
Gilbert Arenas is in a beef with Steve Francis and responded to an apparent threat via Instagram Thursday in his typical humorous fashion.
Matters began when Franchise was dragged by his chain and beat up inside a club at a Houston rap show two weeks ago. Many people had a few laughs at the former baller being at a club at 38 years old and getting his behind whooped, but Franchise apparently didn’t find it so funny.
Let’s start with the two videos Arenas posted to mock Franchise in response to the news:
“Any NIGGA out there try this bull shit on ME…MEET me at the bathroom NIGGA so (i can just hand it too you )you know how hard it is too have sex with ur girl after gettn dragged thru a club???mannn imma give u this chain..call my insurance company say ive been robbed by EITHER a nigga with dreads or a Mexican…6months later i got back triple the vaule of what i paid..#smartniggasshit #steveF YO old ass should be watching #netflix like the rest of us becuz that BOOT to the chest look like it #HURTTTED” Arenas wrote on March 5.
He Arenas posted another video two days later: showing how to react when gettting jumped.
Word of Arenas mocking him must have gotten back to Francis, because Gil posted this note on Instagram (along with the photo seen at top) of himself issuing a challenge to the former Rockets baller.
“I just recieved a text saying (u have 2 hrs too remove those videos about #steve or we on yo head) so heres my reply back becuz im not a PUNK….you will have to get a round trip ticket from #maryland too #LAX which will cost you any where from 2k to $299 if u have a #buddypass on #southwest..then once u land you will have to get a #uber ALL the way to #calabasas in traffic…that will run u about $45…i carry no more then $25 and a debt card on me and im NOT gonna give u the code #lol…so once you finish whooping my ass,your profit gain is only $25…im sure after all the hard work u just put in,you will be thirsty..now u will have to make a stop too quench ur thirst..2large gatorades $1.98…now u have to drive back to #LAX ur #uber cost is high.. atleast over $110 plus tip..my $25 plus $85 of ur own money smdh…i know you will get hungry in the airport so thats another $15-30 bucks …from the look of things this is a bad investment for you…ass whoopings are suppose to be free…whooping my ass will cost u atleast $400.98 bucks…soooo technically..I WON..i whooped that ass financially and if u keep talking shit imma take my ass to #thousandoaks..that will cost yo goofy ass another $100 hahahahahahahaha take this LOST like a man..”
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jason Worilds has gone from having NFL teams pounding on his door, urging him to take their tens of millions of dollars to play for them, to perhaps literally knocking on doors to convert others to his religion.
He gave up football for faith.
Worilds, 27, abruptly announced his retirement early Wednesday morning on Twitter, and Steelers sources say they were told it is to devote his time to working for his religion, the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
He informed the Steelers of his retirement in a phone call Tuesday, the day he became an unrestricted free agent and one of the top linebackers available for any team to sign. The Steelers were hoping to lure him back with a multiyear contract after they paid him nearly $10 million in 2014. His 7½ sacks tied for the team lead in 2014 from his outside linebacker position.
Worilds could no be reached for further comment, nor did his agents return phone calls.
Had Worilds stayed with football, there was a good chance he might have signed as a free agent with another team. But had he signed a big contract elsewhere, the Steelers would have reaped a compensatory draft pick in 2016 for the loss, possibly in the third or fourth round. Now, they will get nothing.
Worilds turned down a chance to earn a contract that would have averaged $7 million-$8 million annually with guaranteed earnings of between $14 million and $16 million. Baltimore’s Pernell McPhee received a five-year, $40 million contract from Chicago with $16 million guaranteed, and Philadelphia re-signed Brandon Graham to a four-year, $26 million contract with $14 million guaranteed. Both are outside linebackers.
#Redskins are signing CB Chris Culliver to a 4-year deal, source said. Another top corner off the board.
One of the top-rated free agents left in the Class of 2015 has caught the eye of the Raiders.
PFT’s Mike Florio confirms the Raiders have interest in Hardy, who is on the commissioner’s exempt list stemming from domestic violence charges that were dismissed in February after he was found guilty in an earlier bench trial. The NFL has ruled that Hardy can sign with a club, though more discipline is possible.
The 26-year-old Hardy emerged as one of the NFL’s top pass rushers in 2012 and 2013, notching a combined 26 sacks in that span. However, he played in just one game a season ago before being placed on paid leave.
Several teams, including the Panthers, are known to not be interested in Hardy. But the Raiders appear to at least be looking into him.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, strong mutual interests exists between Spiller and the New Orleans Saints.
Spiller would be a great fit in the New Orleans offense, possibly filling the role that remains as a practical matter vacant after the 2014 trade of Darren Sproles to the Eagles.
The question becomes money. With $4 million per year invested in Mark Ingram, will that much or more go to Spiller?
If/when a deal is done, that will be the most interesting aspect of the Spiller joining the Saints. As noted last Saturday, the role envisioned for Spiller will dictate his compensation — which means that his compensation will shed plenty of light on his anticipated role.
The NFL is in the midst of negotiations for an intriguing rights deal that is only tangentially related to football. The league is shopping a 90-minute documentary on the making of the Super Bowl halftime show to its network partners for a late April showing.
It might not be the “Thursday Night Football” package, but league executives have engaged CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC in discussions. NFL Network holds the rights to re-air the documentary after it airs with one of the league’s broadcast partners.
The documentary, which is rife with coverage of Katy Perry preparing for the show, is part of the NFL’s effort to broaden its appeal beyond football fans.
The Super Bowl’s halftime show has proved to be an even bigger TV draw than the game itself. In 2014, 115.3 million viewers watched Bruno Marsand the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Fox. Last month, 118.5 million viewers tuned into NBC to watch Perry, Missy Elliott and Lenny Kravitz.
Producers started shooting footage for the Perry documentary in October, with the singer’s first creative meeting. The crew used seven cameras and came up with around 100 hours of material that will be edited into 72 minutes. Semiao remarked that producers were given more access than he was expecting. For example, a trailer from the documentary shows Perry pacing in a bathroom at University of Phoenix Stadium, waiting for the first half to end so she can begin her performance.
Unless you have been living without TV for the past few weeks, there is no way you have not seen the promos of the upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 special on Christian Laettner set to air Sunday night. The film is called “I Hate Christian Laettner,” which seems like a negative title, but it’s actually supposed to be a movie that will portray him in a positive light. That will be much different from the last time Laettner’s name came up on an ESPN Films production.
One of the takeaways from the 2011 Jalen Rose-produced “The Fab Five” documentary was how much disdain that Michigan squad had for the Duke basketball program, culture, coach, and players. In one clip, Jimmy King is seen describing Laettner as a “b-tch,” whle Rose says he thought Laettner was a p—y.
During an interview with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo this week to promote his 30 for 30 program, Laettner showed how bothered he was by what the former Michigan players had to say about him.
“Hey, me and my buddy can make a movie too and badmouth as many people as we want, too. And I was surprised that ESPN let them do that. … I was disappointed in that. That’s not what life is about. But maybe someone told Jalen we want to make a provocative movie and start saying Laettner’s a b-tch and Laettner’s a p—y. I guess that’s what life is about. I don’t appreciate it and I don’t like it, but it’s something I won’t ever do,” Laettner said in the interview.
We can understand why Laettner would be bothered by the Fab Five documentary; nobody wants to hear people calling them names in that way. That’s exactly why Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley fired back at Rose and company. And on Sunday, Laettner will have his chance to portray himself the way he likes when his film comes out.
Kyrie Irving's 57 points are * The most scored by a LeBron James' teammate * The most scored against a Gregg Popovich-coached team.
Most 50-point Games Before 23rd Birthday NBA History Rick Barry 7 LeBron James 3 Kyrie Irving 2
More than 100 players are scheduled to attend the inaugural NFL Veteran Combine March 22 in Arizona, where free agents hope to catch the attention of the league's 32 teams.
The NFL will conduct its inaugural NFL Veteran Combine on March 22 at the Arizona Cardinals Practice Facility in Tempe, Ariz. Players will be tested and evaluated by experienced NFL scouting personnel. Measurements, combine results, and videos of the workouts will be compiled and shared electronically with all 32 NFL clubs.
Free agents planning to attend range from veteran players who have been starters in the NFL to players who are one year out of college with no regular-season experience.
“Combines have long provided draft eligible players with the forum needed to showcase their skills to NFL teams,” says NFL Director of Football Development Matt Birk. “The NFL Veteran Combine will give veteran free agents a similar opportunity to work out in front of club personnel in a streamlined process.”
The NFL Veteran Combine will serve to consolidate individual veteran free agent tryouts to one location, streamlining the process for NFL teams and participating players. Invited free agents will have the opportunity to perform position-specific and timed drills in front of scouts from all 32 NFL clubs.
NFL Media will provide fans with coverage of the Veteran Combine across all platforms including NFL Network, NFL.com, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and NFL Now. NFL Network will air a one-hour special on the Veteran Combine at 8:00 PM ET on Sunday, March 22. Fans also may get updates from across the NFL's official social media channels. For more information on the Veteran Combine, visit NFL.com.
This event is part of the NFL Combine Series under the NFL Football Development platform.
Position groups will work out at the following times (all times local):
Here's a list of 2015 NFL Veteran Combine participants (subject to change):
I will give you an early look here at some of my confidential stories that will come up during the show today. Good stuff here.
If you have a story that you think should make the confidential one day email me at email@example.com or tweet me @realmattlanta
Where are the world's great marketing minds being molded?
Why it's Las Vegas strip clubs, of course.
Deja Vu Showgirls marketing director Megan Swartz is going the extra mile to entice the winner of the May 2match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand. In a note directed to "Mr. Mayweather & Mr. Pacquiao" on the club website, she's offering the winner couch dances for life, in addition to a $500,000 bottle of Dom Perignon.
But that's not all.
Swartz is also ponying up four strippers who've offered to tattoo the winner's name on their bodies, a specialty drink creation to be christened either "Mayweather Mayhem" or "Pacquiao Punch-Out," a topless boxing match at the club in he winner's honor and a life-sized portrait of the winner and assembled strippers that'll be displayed in the club lobby for posterity.
"Good luck gentlemen," Swartz said in closing. "See you after the fight at the Vu."
Only in Vegas.
San Francisco 49ers fullback Bruce Miler was arrested on a domestic violence charge.
He was arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor battery of a spouse or cohabitant.
He hasn’t been formally charged yet, but the case was referred to prosecutors.
The 49ers said they’re “aware of the matter involving Bruce Miller. We were disappointed to learn of these reports and will do our due diligence in collecting all relevant information.”
Considering the potential danger, this is good news:
Chris Bosh should be back playing basketball next season.
Bosh is out for the rest of this season after doctors discovered blood clots on his lungs. He has been undergoing treatment, and the Heat doctors released this statement on Monday.
Chris Bosh will be re-evaluated this month, and if cleared, may begin regular exercise at that time with plans to start strength training next month. He is scheduled to resume full basketball activities in September.
NBA training camps usually open in early October. Based on other athletes who have had this same condition — such as the Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao — this should not impact Bosh’s game when he does return.
Bosh was having an All-Star season, averaging 21.1 points and seven rebounds a game. The Heat have struggled since he went down.
Speaking to the media Monday, Bosh said he was never afraid and always thought he’d be back on the court, as reported by Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
“I knew I was going to play basketball again,” he said….
“I’m making sure that I stay patient and not getting too ahead of myself,” he said. “I’ve come to appreciate everything about basketball. It’s something that I love and will love forever.”
For now he’s just home, spending more time with his family and trying to get healthy, he said
The Braves have made a contract offer to Cuban free agent Hector Olivera, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Reports suggested yesterday that Atlanta was paying plenty of attention to Olivera, though how much the team is willing to spend remains in question. He is 29 years old
In the aggregate, it remains unclear whether Atlanta’s rather well-publicized pursuit of Olivera means that the team will challenge at the top of the market for his services or whether it will instead provide only a landing spot if Olivera’s price tag falls. It probably will not take long to find out: Olivera had been expected to sign shortly after being declared a free agent (which occurred late Friday night), and with Opening Day less than a month away will surely not be far off from a decision.
As MLBTR’s Steve Adams explained yesterday, Olivera looks to be a short-term fit at second and long-term option at third for Atlanta, which figures to give top prospect Jose Peraza a shot at they keystone before long. The club has dealt away talent this offseason but also brought in several veterans as it attempts to reshape its roster without undergoing a full rebuild.
What the price for Olivera will be is highly debatable. Olivera’s representatives have said they expect a deal worth $70MM or more, and Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons has heard from multiple executives that such a price tag is possible. However, in the linked piece above, McDaniel is exceptionally skeptical that the price will reach such heights, pegging Olivera for something south of $50MM.
Concerns over Olivera’s health are well documented, as he reportedly has had blood clot issues that give scouts pause and may or may not have damage to his UCL, giving further reason for trepidation. Olivera’s camp shot down the UCL rumors almost immediately, but if the damage is there, it will almost certainly be revealed on a physical.g the point at which he will be Major League ready, and he is widely believed to be the heir apparent at second base. Of course, the Braves could always move Olivera to third base when Peraza is ready, thereby supplanting Chris Johnson, who struggled greatly in 2014. Having “too much” talent at a position is a problem that any club would be glad to have.
If a pact with Olivera is ultimately reached, it would represent the second significant, “win-now” type of free agent investment for Atlanta this winter, as Nick Markakis was signed to a four-year, $44MM deal in late 2014. But, the rest of Atlanta’s moves have looked the part of a rebuilding club. The Braves have traded Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, Jordan Walden and David Carpenterfor prospects while bringing in several veteran relievers and starters on low-cost Major League deals (Jason Grilli, Jim Johnson) or on minor league pacts with invites to Major League Spring Training (Wandy Rodriguez, Eric Stults, Chien-Ming Wang, Jose Veras).
Olivera is a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 pro seasons in Cuba and is believed by many scouts to be capable of stepping into an MLB lineup in short order and delivering strong OBP marks with 15- to 20-homer power.
The Philadelphia Phillies are projected to be one of the worst teams in baseball this season and the one player that gave the team some hope for a better future just got hurt and may never play again.
Starting pitcher Cliff Lee felt pain in his pitching elbow and is now bracing for the possibility that he will need surgery that would likely end his season and possibly his career according to CSNPhilly.com.
If Lee does need surgery, it is a disaster for the Phillies. Not only would the Phillies lose one of their best players, they also lose their best hope for making a trade that would return some decent prospects to rebuild around.
According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, the Phillies had recently told at least one other team that they would look to trade Lee if he was healthy, even before the season started. Now, even if Lee doesn't need surgery teams will almost certainly be scared off this development
With Lee and teammate Ryan Howard, the Phillies now have a potential 100-loss team with two $25 million players nobody wants. That's not a good start to the season and it is only March.
Dak Prescott is recovering from facial lacerations after he and two teammates were assaulted during a rap concert Monday while on spring break in Panama City.
The family of the Mississippi State quarterback told The Clarion-Ledgerthat his injuries are minor and he would be fine. Prescott was reportedly hit in the head with a beer bottle when a group of men approached him and teammates Torrey Dale and Damian Williams while attending a concert for rap artist Waka Flocka.
Injuries to Dale and Williams also were reportedly minor.
Mississippi State spokesman Bill Martin confirmed details of the incident to Yahoo Sports, saying also that Prescott, Dale and Williams would be okay.
The three were vacationing this weekin Panama City while on spring break.
Panama City police told ESPN they are looking into the assault but that the incident was never reported to police. No arrests were made.
The babysitter for Aaron Hernandez’s family testified at the former tight end’s murder trial on Monday that Hernandez tried to hook up with her two days before the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Jennifer Fortier, 28, said in a Bristol County court that she and a friend were out in Boston one night in June 2013 when they coincidentally came across Hernandez, Lloyd and Hernandez’s barber. Hernandez convinced the two to get into his car and they drove to his “flophouse” apartment.
Fortier says she was telling Hernandez to drive her to his car but he took them to the apartment instead, where he made a move.
“I pushed him away,” Fortier said of how she responded via Yahoo Sports. “I told him, ‘I’m your Nanny. I can’t do this.’ … He understood and said it was OK.”
Fortier was the nanny for the daughter of Hernandez and his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins. Two days later she babysat for the family and was paid $250 for four hours, which was much more than her customary amount of $20 per hour.
Outside of how this points out that Hernandez was unfaithful to his fiancee, it is uncertain how this might affect the trial. Jenkins has tried to hide evidenceand lied to a grand jury to help her fiance, which she might have mixed feelings about now that she has more information. The only other big development is that Fornier’s testimony reinforces the notion that Hernandez and Lloyd were friends.
Jason Heyward becomes the latest in a long line of Atlanta athletes who have exited our wonderful city way before any of us would have ever expected. We should almost be used to it. Some have left in hand cuffs. Some left because their talent left them quickly. Some drank themselves out of Atlanta. Some didn't fit the brand. Here is a sad reminder of what I am talking about.
The 10 Atlanta athletes who were gone way too soon...All for a variety of different reasons.
Adam Wainright ( Never even got here)
The entire Atlanta Thrashers Franchise
And now Jason Heyward
1 - I want Antone Smith to get more touches and get them now!
2 - I want Todd Gurley to have a shot to play for a national title.
3 - I want more from the Ga. Tech- UGA game than just state bragging rights.
4 - I want the Braves to convince another team that BJ Upton has something left and is a bargain at $15 mill a year. (good luck)
5 - I want the Hawks to matter locally for more than just one week in late April.
6 - I want Tech or Georgia to make the NCAA Tourney in the next decade.
7 - I want Ted Turner to buy the Hawks and Braves again.
I don't think I'm asking for much.
1 - Congrats to Bobby Cox on his HOF entry. Well deserved. Just think he might be considered the greatest of all time if the Braves won titles in 1991, 1996, ect.
2 - I can't wait to see a healthy Julio Jones running around and catching balls in 2014.
3 - The Hawks are on track for a 42 win season...oy
4 - I think the Braves might surprise with a big move at the WInter Meetings
5 - Bowl season bores me...I wish i still gambled on games