TIME remembrance

The Best Sports Writing of TIME’s Richard Corliss

TIME's late movie critic also wrote, beautifully, about the games

TIME movie critic Richard Corliss, who passed away on Thursday night, was also our best sportswriter. He only dabbled in sports professionally, but truly loved the games. Corliss was especially passionate about baseball, and his beloved A’s, whom he first started following as a boy in Philadelphia, when the team played at Connie Mack Stadium before moving west.

Corliss didn’t spend much time in our midtown offices; he was too busy attending screenings and writing, so prolifically, and so beautifully, at all hours. But on occasion, he’d pop by my desk and talk baseball. The sports talk show hosts on WFAN, the New York City radio station, really got him going. I’d always exit these conversations wondering how a man who was so productive, who had encyclopedic knowledge of so much, possibly found the time to focus on Joe Benigno.

Whenever Richard did write about sports, he brought the same lyricism and breadth that were staples of his film criticism. He’s a writing hero, word-for-word one of the best, if not the best, to ever work at TIME.

I wish I could write sentences like Richard. And I wish he was still here to talk baseball. We could have a nice chat these days about my Mets. But this year, I’ll be keeping special tabs, in my heart, on Richard’s A’s.

Here’s a sampling of his work in sports.

A Beautiful Season For Baseball: The Great Times and Bad Breaks of 2012
October 14, 2012

Corliss reflects on the first round of the 2012 baseball playoffs:

Upsets galore! Perennial losers vaulting to the top! All-stars benched and no-names turned into heroes! Games so close that anxious fans bite their nails down to the knuckle! One future Hall of Famer who breaks a 45-year-old record for batting supremacy, and another who breaks his ankle and must be carried off the field! Wild melodrama that obliges sportswriters to end every sentence fragment with an exclamation point!

Read the entire article here

A Film Critic On the World Cup – You Call That Football?
July 10, 2010

In the great soccer debate, I’m on both sides. As a fan of “American” sports, I confess that I don’t get soccer. The spectacle of alpha males running around, falling down, pretending to be hurt and, all in all, achieving very little — um, when I was in school, that was called recess.

Read the entire article here

Cat ‘N’ The Pat
February 2, 2004

Corliss previews the Super Bowl XXXVIII coaching matchup between Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and John Fox of the Carolina Panthers:

In pro football, the real game is on the sidelines. There the head coach paces, barking orders into his headset, congratulating or chastising a player, wearing a sociopath’s stern face as he silently prays he’ll be baptized by a tub of Gatorade in the final minute of a winning game. The coach is a chess demon, planning dozens of gambits that depend on whether his quarterback throws for a big gain or gets sacked. He is a video-game whiz kid, and the playing field is his Grand Theft Auto Vice City. He is a field marshal and, sometimes, a counselor—General Patton and Dr. Phil. The quarterback may be the glamour boy, but the coach is the star. The TV camera knows this: during a game it follows Bill Parcells, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, as avidly as if he were J. Lo with her back turned.

Read the entire article here

My Team: The Oakland A’s
October 10, 2003

Every true sports fan is a manic depressive. When our team wins, we’re in heaven; when they lose, we reach for a kitchen knife and stare meditatively at our radial artery. And there is usually more agony than ecstasy. Susan Sontag defined science fiction as “the imagination of disaster”; she might have been describing the mind of a sports fan. We try to live by the old Ukrainian proverb — “Expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed” — but for that ray of hope with which we lash ourselves each spring, then see glimmer turn to tumor as the season plods downward for six months.

Read the entire article here

The Summer Olympics: Gold Medal Grudges
September 11, 2000

A short history of the grudge match: The Hebrews invented it. Cain was the first winner, but God disqualified him on the grounds of poor sportsmanship. Abel was awarded the gold posthumously.

A longer history of the grudge match: The ancient Greeks invented games as a way of allowing men to fight one another without all that messy killing. Sport was literally a lifesaving idea: I hit you, you hit me, and an impartial observer determines who wins. (This became known as boxing.) I insult you, you trip me and the rest of the clan decides who played dirty better. (This became known as politics.)

Read the entire article here

Baseball: Dream Of Fields
August 22, 1994

Corliss imagines that the 1994 baseball strike ends quickly:

Fans packed the stadiums on the first day of the “second season.” Atlantans heralded the return of Greg Maddux by ringing the pitcher’s mound with roses; the Montreal faithful threw small packets of money (Canadian money, but still . . .) toward their low-paid, first-place stars; and a few of Philadelphia’s famously cranky spectators actually applauded their own team. In Kansas City, Vince Coleman was greeted with affectionate firecrackers; Cleveland stalwarts shied welcome-back corked bats at Albert Belle.

Read the entire article here

Going, Going, Not Quite Gone
June 13, 1994

Corliss explains baseball’s offensive explosion

This spring, baseball has been bustin’ out all over. Home runs have increased 26% over last year; runs batted in are up 11%. And a cluster of young stars threatens to smash offensive records set when George Burns was still in Little League. Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. is on a pace to hit 65-plus homers. So is Frank Thomas, the Chicago White Sox’s baby-faced behemoth. Thomas scored 59 runs by June 1, a record, and Toronto’s Joe Carter set an April standard for rbi’s. Even pencil-necked pipsqueaks are crushing the ball.

Read entire article here

Not Again!
November 22, 1993

Corliss writes on Notre Dame’s 31-24 win over Florida State.

If Rodney Dangerfield had 109 heads and weighed 11 tons, he would be the Florida State University football team. F.S.U. has won 10 games or more six years in a row; it is undefeated in its past 11 bowl games; it gobbles up most opponents like Homer Simpson at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Yet for years the Seminole team had the reputation of a pigskin bridesmaid because it somehow managed to find a way to lose to those cross-state behemoths at the University of Miami. Even the F.S.U. press book repeats the phrase “can’t win the Big One,” like a mantra. It’s meant ironically but still reveals an open psychic wound.

Read the entire article here

The Last Shall Be First
October 28, 1991

In the American League championship, the Twins shrugged off Toronto in a five-game series that for most TV viewers was overshadowed by a sorrier sporting spectacle on Capitol Hill: the Senators vs. the dodger. Truth to tell, the AL snoozathon didn’t need the Clarence Thomas hearings to upstage it; a church social could have done the job. Here, after all, were two teams from above the timber line playing in domed stadiums of spaceship sterility on synthetic carpets that made the games look like Brobdingnagian billiards. Only one contest was close all the way. Only one rooting interest tickled fans’ fancies: seeing the Twins earn their spot in baseball’s unlikeliest finale.

Read the entire article here

Just Like In The Movies
February 26, 1990

Corliss on Buster Douglas’ upset of Mike Tyson

Two rounds later, Douglas returned the punishment, and then some, to Tyson: an uppercut followed by a sturdy combination that felled the champ. Another slow count could not save Tyson. He rose to all fours, grabbed for his mouthpiece and pathetically placed its end between his teeth, like a dazed dog with an old toy.

Read the entire article here

TIME Baseball

The 12 Craziest Foods Sold at MLB Ballpark This Year

Hit the concession stands at MLB ballparks this year, and you’ll find Fried S’mOreo, 8,000-calorie burgers, and many more delights

It’s the great American pastime: gorging on obscenely unhealthy food.

Over recent Major League Baseball seasons, over-the-top ballpark foods have become their own attraction. These bombastic new recruits of the concession stands are often riffs on ballpark classics like the hot dog and hamburger, but they’re jacked up and deep fried into stunt food territory.

They can also cost $25 or more a pop — and still sell. One report has the Texas Rangers moving nearly 20,000 of their first $26 creation in 2012. And now, a look at some foods that may knock you out in the park.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Dog

This season, the Wilmington Blue Rocks partnered with Krispy Kreme to unleash a hot dog with a glazed doughnut bun, which can be topped with bacon and raspberry jelly if you please. The MiLB team left the naming of this creation up to the fans, and whoever made the best suggestion won a prize package, including throwing the first pitch on opening night.

Diamondbacks D-Bat Dog

Here we have an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon, and if that’s not filling enough, it also comes with fries. The whole shebang goes for $25 at the MLB team’s Chase Field.

Poutine Dog

Last year, the MLB’s Detroit Tigers Comerica Park (the same park that brought baseball fans the half-bacon, half-beef 50/50 Burger), presented a new $7 offering that’s like a hot dog wearing disco fries, but done in the style of their Canadian neighbors. They also offered three other messy dog styles: one topped with bacon, egg and cheese, one with pork and beans, and one with Coney Island chili and cole slaw.

The Walk Off

This one is not a hot dog, but still a tubular meat and worthy of mention. Dempsey’s Brew Pub at the Baltimore Orioles’ stomping ground Camden Yards introduced The Walk Off ($16) in 2013, consisting of an Old Bay Roma sausage on a pretzel roll topped with Dempsey’s house-made Old Bay crab dip.

Funnel Dog

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ Arvest Ballpark began selling this funnel cake-ensconced dog on a stick in 2008 for a price that now seems quaint: $3.50. “Sometimes the best ideas happen by accident,” the MiLB team’s general manager Eric Edelstein said at the time. “This is one of those stories, and I’m confident you won’t see this concoction anywhere else other than Arvest Ballpark.” Little did he know where ballpark dogs would go after that.

Baseball’s Best Burger

For $5, the minor league team Gateway Grizzlies’ GCS Ballpark serves Baseball’s Best Burger, a variant on the Luther Burger. This version is a deep-fried Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughtnut used as a hamburger bun, with an Angus beef patty topped with cheddar cheese and bacon. The Grizzlies have also offered Philly Cheesesteak Nachos.

Last season, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tropicana Stadium presented the Fan Vs. Food challenge, offering a pair of tickets to anyone who could put away their $30 four-pound burger…plus one pound of fries. The burger had eight 8oz patties, 32 slices of bacon, and at least eight slices of cheese. Sports Illustrated estimated the burger at 8320 calories, and that’s without counting the fries.

The Fifth Third Burger

The minor league West Michigan Whitecaps’ Fifth Third Ballpark offers this pile of food, weighing in at more than four pounds. The $20 Fifth Third Burger has five one-third-pound burgers (making five thirds of a pound), a cup of chili, five slices of American cheese, salsa, nacho cheese, Fritos, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and jalapenos. Anyone who can consume this bomb of 4,800-plus calories and nearly 300 grams of fat in one shot wins a T-shirt. The ballpark also sells the Baco, a bacon-encased taco.

StrasBurger

In 2012, Washington Nationals’ Nationals Park debuted the $59 StrasBurger, a monstrous eight pound beef burger with secret sauce, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickle chips, served with a side of fries and a pitcher of soda. One dietician estimated it at 8,000-10,000 calories and 600-700 grams of fat.

Fried S’mOreo

New this season for Texas Rangers fans is this marshmallow flanked by Oreos on a skewer, breaded in graham crackers and deep fried, then drizzled with chocolate sauce ($8) and the park is also selling deep-fried battered corn on the cob, bacon cotton candy, and bacon beer. If this lineup seems especially dastardly, it’s because when it comes to attention-grabbing, artery-jamming concession items, the Texas Rangers have been around the bases a few times before.

In fact, they should be named MVP of stadium stunt food. In 2012, they introduced the Boomstick ($26), which is two feet (one pound) of hot dog topped with chili, cheese, and onions (which you can get “Totally Rossome” for $32 topped with brisket, pico, sour cream, and Doritos), followed by the one-pound Beltre Buster burger topped in half a pound of bacon ($26). In 2014 came the Tanaco two-foot beef and chicken taco($26), the two-foot Kaboom Kabob ($13), and the Choomongous two-foot Korean beef sandwich ($26).

Pulled Pork Parfait

Last year, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park rolled out the Pulled Pork Parfait. This $7 creation consists of layers of mashed potatoes alternating with layers of pulled pork, and topped with gravy and chives. For $13, Miller Park also offers The Beast, a turducken-esque bratwurst stuffed with a hot dog, wrapped in bacon, topped with sauerkraut and onions, and served on a pretzel roll.

The Closer

The pub and restaurant at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park serves this triple-decker grilled cheese with nine cheeses and candied bacon, granny smith apple slices, and leek compote. The $14 sandwich, named for former Pirate Jason Grilli, is really a stack of three grilled cheeses, with different cheese pairings in each one.

Bigger Better Burger Bloody Mary

Combining two classic ways to cure a hangover (greasy food and hair of the dog), this $18 beverage was offered at the Twins’ Target Field last year. It featured a bacon double cheeseburger slider as garnish, among other garnishes like cheese cubes and the more traditional pickles and celery.

This post originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Boxing

10 Observations From Floyd Mayweather’s Training Camp

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Media Workout
Alex Menendez—Getty Images Floyd Mayweather Jr. works out with his uncle Roger Mayweather at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas on April 14, 2015

LAS VEGAS – Ten observations from Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s training camp in preparation for his May 2 fight against Manny Pacquiao.

1. Mayweather loves to FaceTime. It’s his preferred method of communication. He FaceTimed with Stephen Espinoza from Pacquiao’s hotel suite in the middle of negotiations. He also FaceTimed with four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, with an assist from the Showtime broadcaster Jim Gray, who does a radio show with Brady during the NFL season. This happened, oddly, twice.

“Brady, my guy!” Mayweather shouted during one commercial shoot, the one where he walks toward Pacquiao that has been playing on endless loop. (Quick aside: the boxers filmed that commercial separately, much to Mayweather’s chagrin. He had wanted, well, a little face time with his opponent. They saw each other at the initial press conference and that was it.)

“Defense wins championships!” Mayweather said to small-screen Brady, who, of course, is an offensive player.

Another aside: Brady is expected to attend the fight. We’re told he appealed directly to Leslie Moonves, president of CBS.

2. Mayweather can read, contrary to reports that surfaced before his rematch last September against Marcos Maidana. (He won, by unanimous decision.)

At the commercial shoot, Mayweather read a series of promos. “Hi Puerto Rico, I’m Floyd Mayweather,” and stuff like that. Granted, it wasn’t Hemingway, but it was reading nonetheless.

This was not lost on Mayweather. “Come on now!” he shouted to no one in particular. “You know I can’t read!”

3. Pacquiao’s dog is named Pacman. That’s one of the boxer’s nicknames, too.

There’s now a Ms. Pac-Man video game in the lobby of the Mayweather Boxing Club.

Speaking of, Mayweather renovated the gym before he started training for Pacquiao. He added a clubhouse in the back, near the locker room, complete with two black leather couches, two refrigerators and a flat-screen television. He had the walls repainted. And he added signage, TMT, or The Money Team, splashed everywhere in sight.

There’s also a painting in the locker room of Mayweather smashing Pacquiao’s face into pieces. That was a birthday gift from Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics guard and one of Mayweather’s best friends. He had the Art Mobb, a company based in Los Angeles, put the painting together. “It was tough to come up with something,” Thomas said. “What do you get someone who has everything?”

It’s worth mentioning that Mayweather gave Thomas a $200,000 Bentley earlier this year.

4. Mayweather’s friends and associates all have very specific jobs. Some of the jobs are normal, or normal for someone like Mayweather. Like: his personal assistant carries a backpack filled with cell phone chargers, lip balm and whatever cash Mayweather needs to place bets on NBA basketball games. Some of the jobs are stranger. Like: there’s a guy who picks up Mayweather’s underwear when he finishes a workout. And then there is Nate Jones, a former Olympic heavyweight, whose sole job as it relates to Mayweather is to wear a chest protector and be punched repeatedly in the stomach.

During one workout, as the Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino looked on, Jones grimaced through a series of heavy blows. He says that sometimes he pees blood, which he chalks up to an occupational hazard. “Thatta boy, Nate!” someone shouted from the crowd.

“What the hell is Duke doing with all them black players?” Mayweather asked Pitino between sit-ups, as the coach stifled a smile.

“Is that why they win they won the championship?” Mayweather asked.

“There are a million motherf–king Plumlee brothers,” he said later.

5. On one recent training day, some 18 Ferraris rallied from Los Angeles to the gym to show support for Mayweather. Obi Okeke, one of two Mayweather car guys, organized the rally. Okeke runs Fusion Luxury Motors, and he has sold Floyd 39 cars, including a red Ferrari Enzo that Okeke procured in Abu Dhabi and shipped to the United States. He said there are only 400 of those cars made in the world, and only 111 in the United States, and those numbers don’t count the cars that have been crashed (see this video of the comedian Eddie Griffin on YouTube.)

Okeke has sold cars to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jessica Simpson and Brittney Spears, among others. But no one quite like Mayweather.

“He calls me in the middle of the night, whenever,” Okeke said. “He called me once at 3 a.m. and said, I need a Bugatti in 12 hours in my driveway. I found a way to get it done.”

“This is the real Fast and Furious,” said someone in the crowd.

6. Mayweather’s uncle, Roger, remains in camp. But he’s struggling with diabetes, and his eyesight is deteriorating. He still does mitt work with his nephew most training days, and he’s in the gym most every day, also doing mitt work.

Speaking of Roger, a former world champion boxer in his own right, and of the familiarity in both camps, he once sparred with Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer. Roach noticed the 5-year-old that accompanied his uncle to the gym – Floyd Jr. He already flashed the talent that would make him an unbeaten world champion. “I mean, he was born to fight,” Roach says.

As for their sparring session, “I chased him for four rounds,” Roach says. “He never hit me once. So the next day, he says, you want to spar again? I said, no, I already ran this morning.

“I don’t like Roger too much,” Roach said. “But Floyd always called me Mr. Roach.”

7. Maybe true. Maybe not. But someone in Mayweather’s camp tells us that Macy Gray’s assistant called five times in a single day to lobby for Gray to sing the national anthem at the fight.

8. Floyd Mayweather Sr., the boxer’s rhyme-spewing dad, now has his own publicist. Not that he needs one. He considers all microphones friends.

Someone asked him recently to describe Pacquiao’s biggest flaw. “Getting into the ring with Floyd,” he answered.

9. For this camp, Mayweather still allows around one hundred to two hundred guests to watch him train. But they are not allowed to take pictures or video with their cell phones, which is a new development. This rule is strictly enforced.

There’s a sign on the door.

No cell phones

While Floyd Mayweather is training leave your phone in your car

No videos

No pictures

No texting

No phone calls

Violators will be asked to leave the premises and will not be allowed to return

For emphasis, there is also a picture of a cell phone with an X through it.

10. It’s too early to tell how much this means, but those close to Mayweather insist that he will fight Pacquiao once and only once. “No way they do a rematch,” one person close to Mayweather told us. “No. Way.”

Mayweather, of course, has about $150 million reasons to fight Pacquiao again.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

Read next: Tickets for Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight to Go on Sale

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TIME India

A Documentary on Cricket Demigod Sachin Tendulkar Is in the Works

Red Carpet Studio - 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards - Shanghai
Ian Walton—Getty Images/Laureus Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar attends the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards at Shanghai Grand Theatre on April 15, 2015, in Shanghai

The sporting legend turned 42 on Friday

Fans and well-wishers of Sachin Tendulkar (there are literally billions of them) were devastated when the legendary Indian cricketer announced his retirement from the sport two years ago. But as India’s “god of cricket” turns 42 on Friday, his supporters around the world have something to look forward to.

Tendulkar is busy shooting a documentary feature on his life, and a photograph released by Indian news channel CNN-IBN shows him deep in conversation with the film’s British director James Erskine next to a trunk of his most treasured possessions.

Producers of the film, which was announced earlier this year, are reportedly targeting a 2016 release on big screens. The film does not have a title yet, but some of Tendulkar’s 9.08 million Twitter followers might get to decide that.

TIME Basketball

WNBA Player Brittney Griner Arrested for Assault and Disorderly Conduct

Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury speaks with the media in Phoenix on Sep. 7, 2014.
Barry Gossage—Getty Images Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury speaks with the media in Phoenix on Sep. 7, 2014.

Griner's faincee Glory Johnson was also arrested on same charges

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was arrested on Wednesday on charges of assault and disorderly conduct, according to records from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Griner, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA draft, was taken into custody and booked into Maricopa County Jail.

Tulsa Shock forward Glory Johnson, who is Griner’s fiancee, was also arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct.

Griner averaged 15.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game last season for Phoenix en route to a second straight All-Star selection. She helped the Mercury win the WNBA title in 2014, when the team swept the Chicago Sky.

The former Baylor star averaged 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.0 blocks in two WNBA finals games last season.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Baseball

Bonds’ Obstruction Conviction Thrown Out by Appeals Court

Bonds claimed he didn't know substances he used were steroids

(NEW YORK) — Barry Bonds has been cleared legally after 11 1/2 years in court. His reputation remains tainted in the mind of many baseball fans.

A federal court of appeals threw out the career home run leader’s obstruction of justice conviction on Wednesday, ruling 10-1 that his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was not material to the government’s investigation into illegal steroids distribution.

“Today’s news is something that I have long hoped for,” Bonds said in a statement. “I am humbled and truly thankful for the outcome as well as the opportunity our judicial system affords to all individuals to seek justice.”

Now 50, Bonds said “I am excited about what the future holds for me as I embark on the next chapter.”

Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s long-standing career record of 755 homers in 2007, finished that season with 762 and was indicted that December for his testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, when he answered a question about injections by saying he was “a celebrity child.”

He was convicted of the obstruction charge in 2011, and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the conviction in 2013.

But the larger group, which listened to arguments from prosecutors and Bonds’ lawyers last September, concluded there was insufficient evidence his initial evasive answer was material to the grand jury’s probe.

“The most one can say about this statement is that it was non-responsive and thereby impeded the investigation to a small degree by wasting the grand jury’s time and trying the prosecutors’ patience,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote. “Real-life witness examinations, unlike those in movies and on television, invariably are littered with non-responsive and irrelevant answers.”

Jessica Wolfram, one of the jurors who convicted Bonds following the three-week trial and four days of deliberations, said she couldn’t help but feel the decade-long prosecution was “all a waste, all for nothing.”

“Just a waste of money, having the whole trial and jury,” she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

In testifying before the grand jury, Bonds claimed he didn’t realize substances he used were illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The appellate judges based their decision on legal issues involving witness testimony, not the underlying facts.

Despite holding the career and season home run marks — he hit a single-year record 73 in 2001 — Bonds has been denied entry into baseball’s Hall of Fame by baseball writers. He appeared on 36.8 percent of ballots this year, less than half the 75 percent needed.

“I think sadly his reputation has been tarnished, not because of the indictment or the reversal, but because of all the PED use,” former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent said. “I think the public has made up its mind.”

Roger Clemens, whose pitching feats were as accomplished as Bonds’ batting achievements, also has been denied Hall entry. Clemens was acquitted in 2012 of criminal charges he lied to Congress when he denied using PEDs.

Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, called the decision “almost meaningless for the real issue, which is whether he used performance-enhancing drugs to cheat the fans of baseball.”

“I think at the end of the day America knows the truth and who the real home run record holder is, who did it the right way, and it’s obviously not Barry Bonds,” he said.

Following the trial that opened in March 2011, a jury deadlocked on three counts charging Bonds with making false statements when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from personal trainer Greg Anderson and denied receiving injections from Anderson or his associates.

Bonds was convicted for his response when he was asked whether Anderson ever gave him “anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with.”

“That’s what keeps our friendship,” Bonds said. “I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see.”

Judges divided on their rationale, issuing four separate opinions to reverse the conviction and one to uphold it. The appeals court barred a retrial, citing a prohibition on double jeopardy.

Kozinski, writing for himself and four other judges, was concerned the obstruction statute, “stretched to its limits … poses a significant hazard for everyone involved in our system of justice, because so much of what the adversary process calls for could be construed as obstruction.”

Wolfram remembered there being some confusion among the jurors over the fact that Bonds did answer the question later in his grand jury testimony. Bonds did not testify at the trial.

Judge Johnnie B. Rawlinson, the only member of the court to back prosecutors, wrote an opinion filled with baseball references that began “there is no joy in this dissenting judge,” added the judges who sided with Bonds “have struck out” and concluded “I cry foul.”

The government could ask the 11-judge panel to reconsider Wednesday’s decision or could request that all 29 judges on the 9th Circuit rehear the case — which has never happened since the court began using the “limited en banc” panels in 1980.

Prosecutors also could petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.

“I could not be more happy that Barry Bonds finally gets to move on with his life,” BALCO founder Victor Conte said. “Let’s hope the prosecutors choose not to waste any more resources on what has been nothing more than a frivolous trophy-hunt and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars.”

A seven-time NL MVP and the son of three-time All-Star Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds earned $192.8 million from the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants during a professional career from 1985-07 and could afford a legal team that outnumbered the government’s 13-5 in the court room.

He was sentenced in 2011 by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to 30 days of home confinement, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service in youth-related activities and a $4,000 fine. He already has served the home confinement.

Illston declared a mistrial on the three other counts, and the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco dismissed those charges in August 2011. The U.S. attorney’s office declined comment on the decision.

“I think the 10-1 vote indicates that it was a farce,” said Bonds’ appellate lawyer, Dennis Riordan. “The greatest impact is the damage it undid. We had a panel opinion that said if you’re asked a question on page 78 and you digress before you answer it directly on page 81, you’re a federal felon.”

In 2009 and ’10, the 9th Circuit ruled federal agents illegally seized urine samples and testing records of major league players, with Kozinski saying it “was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government.” The 9th Circuit three-judge panel ruled in 2010 the government could not present positive urine samples at Bonds’ trial because Anderson refused to testify and there was no witness to authenticate the evidence.

 

TIME Boxing

Tickets for Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight to Go on Sale

BOX-US-PACQUIAO-MAYWEATHER
Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr, left, and Manny Pacquiao gesture during a press conference on March 11, 2015 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Tickets are reported to cost between $1,500 and $7,500

The May 2 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was made official on Wednesday after Top Rank, Mayweather Promotions and the MGM Grand came to an agreement to resolve multiple issues associated with the fight, according to Yahoo Sports.

The parties had been trying to iron out an agreement on several issues, including ticket allocation, credentials and other aspects of the much-hyped fight. The promoters and the MGM Grand, where the fight will take place, had not yet signed a contract, even though the fight was agreed to in February.

Now that the parties have reached an accord, tickets for the fight will be made available to the public. Tickets will cost as much as $7,500 and as little as $1,500, according to Yahoo Sports.

“We resolved all of the issues and now we’re waiting for the paperwork,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told Yahoo Sports. “I said on the call that if what we agreed upon is in the paperwork we receive, we will sign it and the tickets will be released.”

BISHOP: Mayweather’s new training device

The fight is likely to be the richest bout in boxing history, with both Mayweather and Pacquiao each expected to bring in more than $100 million. Tickets will be required for the weigh-in before the fight, with each costing $10 and proceeds going to charity.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Football

NFL Suspends Cowboys Player Greg Hardy for 10 Games

Greg Hardy on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Grant Halverson—Getty Images Greg Hardy on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Suspension follows NFL investigation of whether he violated its personal conduct policy

The NFL has suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy for 10 games without pay, the league announced Wednesday.

The suspension comes after the NFL investigated whether Hardy violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Hardy is able to appeal the decision within three days.

Last year, while Hardy was a member of the Carolina Panthers, the defensive end was found guilty by a judge in a bench trial of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. The charges were dismissed in February after Holder failed to appear in court and could not be found by prosecutors, who said she received a settlement from Hardy.

Hardy only played one game in 2014, as he spent most of the season on the commissioner’s exempt list.

Despite the possibility that the NFL would issue a suspension, the Cowboys signed Hardy to a one-year deal worth up to $13 million in March. The 10-game suspension means that Hardy’s first game as a Cowboy would come against the Panthers, his former team.

A North Carolina judge ruled earlier this month that the NFL could view photos submitted as evidence in the case as part of the league’s investigation.

On Tuesday, Hardy filed a petition to expunge domestic charges against him.

In 2013, Hardy had his best season in the NFL, recording 15 sacks and 40 tackles en route to Pro Bowl honors.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME

Judge OKs 65-Year Deal Over NFL Concussions That Could Cost $1B

Christopher Seeger, Shawn Wooden
Matt Rourke—AP Co-lead players' lawyer Christopher Seeger, left, and client former NFL player Shawn Wooden speak with members of the media after a hearing on the proposed NFL concussion settlement, Nov. 19, 2014, outside of the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia.

(PHILADELPHIA) — A federal judge has approved a plan to resolve thousands of NFL concussion lawsuits that could cost the league $1 billion over 65 years.

The NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia someday. The settlement approved Wednesday by a federal judge in Philadelphia would pay them about $190,000 on average.

The awards could reach $1 million to $5 million for those diagnosed in their 30s and 40s with Parkinson’s disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, or for deaths involving chronic brain trauma.

The league has been dogged for years by complaints that it long hid the risks of repeated concussions in order to return players to the field.

Players’ lawyers have argued that the settlement will help families get needed financial awards or medical testing that might take years if the case went to trial.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody approved the deal after twice sending it back to lawyers over concerns the fund might run out. The negotiators did not increase the original $765 million plan, but agreed to remove that number as the cap.

The deal means the NFL may never have to disclose what it knew when about the risks and treatment of concussions.

The league’s top lawyer said Brody’s approval “powerfully underscores the fairness and propriety” of the settlement.

“Retirees and their families will be eligible for prompt and substantial benefits and will avoid years of costly litigation that — as Judge Brody’s comprehensive opinion makes clear — would have an uncertain prospect of success,” NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said in a statement.

The total NFL payouts over 65 years, including interest and $112 million sought for lawyer fees, is expected to be more than $1 billion.

Critics contend the NFL is getting off lightly given annual revenues of about $10 billion. But plaintiffs would have first had to fight their way into court — instead of getting booted to NFL mediation under their players’ contracts — to prevail.

“From a business point of view, (the NFL has) … avoided what may have been the biggest risk to their continued prosperity,” said Andrew Brandt, director of the sports law program at Villanova University law school.

“Removing this as a threat is extraordinary,” he said.

The NFL lawsuits, and similar suits filed later against the NHL, the NCAA and others, has fostered debate, discussion and safety reforms about sports concussions. Yet the NFL games seem to be as wildly popular as ever.

“I know people talk about, it’s dangerous, and mothers won’t let their sons play football. But I don’t see that. I don’t see that at all,” Brandt said.

About 200 NFL retirees or their families have rejected the settlement and plan to sue the league individually. They include the family of Junior Seau, the popular Pro Bowler who killed himself at his San Diego-area home in 2012 after several years of increasingly erratic behavior. An autopsy showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Brody most recently asked for several tweaks, including partial credit for time played in NFL Europe and other developmental leagues, to broaden the settlement. Negotiators quickly agreed to her suggestions.

She rejected other complaints raised at a November hearing, including those who say the agreement does not cover future deaths from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that can only be diagnosed after death, or contemplate the day when it might be diagnosed in the living.

Others oppose the award reductions for older men and those who played fewer than five years in the league.

“Although objectors insist that there must be compensation for CTE, the NFL parties were unwilling to settle claims based solely on a (diagnosis) … rather than on manifest neurocognitive deficits,” the lead negotiators wrote in a March court filing urging Brody to approve the deal. “Many of the behavioral and mood conditions claimed to be associated with CTE are prevalent within the general public.”

TIME Football

Tim Tebow’s Contract With Eagles Includes No Guaranteed Money

Tim Tebow speaks during a television broadcast in Atlanta on Dec. 5, 2014.
Brynn Anderson—AP Tim Tebow speaks during a television broadcast in Atlanta on Dec. 5, 2014.

It includes only the "typical, one-year, $660,000 deal"

Tim Tebow’s contract with the Philadelphia Eagles includes no guaranteed money, USA Today reports.

The deal, signed Monday, offers a $660,000 base salary, the minimum available to a three-year veteran. It includes an injury split that would drop the quarterback’s salary to $388,000 if he is placed on injured reserve, according to USA Today.

It’s a typical, one-year, $660,000 deal — paid in weekly installments of $38,824 during the season if Tebow makes the team — that comes without a signing bonus or other guaranteed money, according to contract details obtained by USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday.

Tebow, 27, last played for the New York Jets in 2012. He signed with the New England Patriots in June, 2013 but was cut before the season. He spent last season working for ESPN and SEC Network as a college football analyst.

In 2011, Tebow quarterbacked the Denver Broncos to the playoffs and fired a game-winning pass to Demaryius Thomas in the team’s first-round win over the Steelers. He completed only 46.5 percent of his passes on the season.

The Eagles currently have four quarterbacks on their roster in addition to Tebow: Sam Bradford, Matt Barkley, Mark Sanchez and G.J. Kinne.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

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