random ramblings fred riecke, gamblersdata

jermaine taylor

…Former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor was freed on $25,000 bond Wednesday after police detained the former middleweight champion in the shooting of his cousin at his suburban Little Rock, Arkansas, home. Taylor appeared via video from the Pulaski County jail for his initial court appearance Wednesday. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Taylor faces preliminary charges of domestic battery and aggravated assault in the late Tuesday shooting of Tyrone Hinton. Taylor didn’t speak when he left the jail accompanied by a bail bondsman. His attorney, Allison Allred of North Little Rock, didn’t immediately return an Associated Press call for comment. District Judge Wayne Gruber also granted a defense request for Taylor to travel out of state to train and compete in a bout against Sam Soliman in October. Taylor was arrested Tuesday night at his home in Maumelle, Arkansas. He was taken into custody, booked into the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility and charged with the two felonies — first-degree domestic battery and aggravated assault — Lt. Carl Minden, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, told ESPN.com. Hinton was in serious condition at a hospital after being shot multiple times, Minden said.

…The NFL is immediately implementing a sweeping domestic violence initiative under its personal conduct policy that calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban from the league for a second offense. The measures, announced in a letter from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to all team owners, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, apply to all NFL personnel. A six-game suspension would be without pay and the length of the penalty could increase in these cases: an employee was involved in a prior incident before joining the NFL; violence involving a weapon; choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman; or in the presence of a child. A second-time offender may petition for reinstatement after one year but there is no assurance the petition would be granted, the letter said. A league source told ESPN’s Andrew Brandt that discipline would be triggered by adjudication of a player’s case, such as a conviction or plea agreement. The policy is not retroactive, meaning all personnel have a clean slate, a league source told ESPN’s Mark Dominik. If a player commits a crime while in college or high school and then has a first offense while in the NFL, the player could be subject to a suspension harsher than six games.

…Add NFL domestic violence policy … Key Points to NFL Initiative are: Information from Roger Goodell’s letter to owners and ESPN sources on stepped-up punishment for abuse under NFL’s personal conduct policy:
• Policy applies to all incidents involving physical force, not just domestic violence
• Six-game suspension for first offense (could be longer under certain circumstances)
• Lifetime ban for second offense (can apply for reinstatement after one year)
• Policy applies to all NFL personnel, not just players
• Policy is not retroactive; everyone starts with clean slate
• Those identified as “at risk” for committing offenses offered counseling; refusal could affect future discipline
• Confidential counseling offered to all personnel and families

…The grass did it! Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Scott Van Slyke left Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over Arizona with what the team called a mild right ankle sprain, and he later blamed the Diamondbacks’ grass for the injury. “They’ve got bad grass here,” he said. Van Slyke said the ground gave way beneath his ankle as he planted to throw. Television replays showed that Van Slyke’s ankle bent to almost a 45-degree ankle, but he was able to walk off the field. “That side of my ankle’s loose, so I think it will be all right,” he said. “I think it just went further than it normally does.” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said X-rays were negative and that he didn’t expect Van Slyke to be out more than a few days. Van Slyke was hurt in the fourth inning when he planted his foot to throw the ball to the infield after Jordan Pacheco’s base hit. Van Slyke doubled over in pain for a moment, then got to his feet and walked off.

…San Francisco Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit has set a major league record by retiring 46 consecutive batters. Petit set down the first eight Colorado hitters he faced Thursday, setting the record by striking out Charlie Culberson and drawing a standing ovation at AT&T Park. That broke the mark held by Mark Buehrle with 45 in a row for the Chicago White Sox in 2009. The streak ended when the next batter, Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles, doubled to left field. Petit went on to pick up the win in a 4-1 victory over the Rockies. Petit’s string covered eight games, six of them in relief. The 29-year-old journeyman from Venezuela fell one out shy of a perfect game against Arizona last September. Petit made this start in place of struggling Tim Lincecum, who was recently sent to the bullpen.

…Peyton Manning’s visceral reaction to D.J. Swearinger’s concussion-inducing hit on Wes Welker came with a price. The Broncos quarterback was fined $8,268 for his actions in last Saturday’s preseason game. Manning’s hostility built over the week as the Broncos held joint practices with the Texans at Dove Valley. Swearinger instigated or waded into nearly every fight, including throwing a punch at receiver Demaryius Thomas. When Manning completed a 9-yard pass to Welker in the second quarter, Swearinger crashed into the receiver with a forearm shiver and shoulder. Welker exited with his third concussion in 10 months. On the next play, Manning completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders. As is his fashion, Manning jogged toward the end zone. He didn’t greet Sanders, but rather confronted Swearinger, yelling an expletive, according to the Texans defensive back. Manning said he reacted because of his concern for Welker, and didn’t deny using profanity.

…Browns All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon isn’t allowed to play in the Canadian Football League as long as he’s under contract with an NFL team. Gordon would like to play for the CFL’s Calgary Stampede this year while serving a season-long suspension from the NFL for violating its substance-abuse policy, a source familiar with the situation said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation. However, a CFL rule won’t let that happen. On Thursday, CFL spokesman Jamie Dykstra told the Beacon Journal no player under contract with an NFL team can play in the CFL. The Browns have Gordon under contract for two more seasons.

…Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Alan Branch has been arrested for drunken driving in upstate New York. State police say Branch was arrested at about 2 a.m. Saturday in the town of Cheektowaga after officers noticed Branch vomiting out the driver’s side door of his vehicle. Police say Branch failed a field sobriety test and had a blood-alcohol content of .14 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and released. He’s due back in court on Aug. 29. It wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer. Branch did not play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Buccaneers. The Bills announced Sunday that they have cut Branch.

…Fantasy Football may be legal under federal law but don’t tell that to the state of Kansas. Clearly, Fantasy Football is illegal there based on this statute: 21-6404 says “As with any other illegal gambling matter, if a fantasy sports league involves the elements of a prize, chance and consideration then it is an illegal ‘lottery’ prohibited by Kansas criminal law”. And, yes, you can be prosecuted in the state of Kansas for participating in Fantasy Sports whether it be Football, Baseball or anything else. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett says if you are paying to play, there’s a prize and you are taking a chance in the game, then you are subject to prosecution.

…Psychologists at Warwick University, in the United Kingdom have concluded that gamblers brains are similar to those of pigeons. Don’t fret gamblers. While the pigeon’s brain is considerably smaller than that of a human, they are actually highly intelligent birds (believe it or not) that can recognise all 26 letters of the alphabet as well as being able to conceptualise. Compared to the turkey, which will drown look up at the rain during a storm, the pigeon is like Einstein in the world of Columbidae. It’s not their intelligence that makes these birds comparable to gamblers, however. Instead, it is the risky decisions that gamblers make and the similar tendencies of greedy pigeons. “Both humans and pigeons were shown to be less risk averse for high rewards then they were for low rewards and this is linked to our past memories and experiences of making risky decisions,” said Dr. Elliot Ludvig, a psychologist at Warwick and lead author of the new study — published this week in the journal Biology Letters. “When people gamble, they often rely on past experiences with risk and rewards to make decisions,” Ludvig explained. “What we found in this study is that both pigeons used these past experiences in very similar ways to guide their future gambling decisions. “Birds are distantly related to humans, yet we still share the same basic psychology that drives risk-taking,” Ludvig said. “This may be due to a shared common ancestry or similar evolutionary pressures.”

…UFC president Dana White’s decision to remove a judge from his officiating duties at an event last weekend in Macau, China, was in breach of company protocol, the organization said in a statement. And White agreed. “I got a little crazy and I overstepped my bounds. I was wrong,” he said during an appearance in Mexico on Tuesday. The UFC has acknowledged that president Dana White was in breach of the organization’s protocol by removing judge Howard Hughes from an event last weekend. White broke regulatory protocol when he relieved Howard Hughes, a veteran judge with UFC experience, after Hughes turned in two scorecards with which White apparently did not agree. The UFC self-regulates many of its international events due to the absence of athletic commissions. This includes, among other things, the selection of officials and administering of fight-night drug testing. According to a UFC statement, White and all other UFC executives lack the authority to remove a judge in the middle of an event.

…The UFC intends to further its anti-doping effort as the lead promotion in mixed martial arts by implementing a random, out-of-competition drug-testing program later this year.
According to UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner, the promotion is in discussion with “four to five” independent drug-testing agencies and is hopeful to officially partner with one by the end of 2014. The end goal is unannounced, year-round blood and urine tests on the UFC’s stable of approximately 500 athletes using an independent sample collector. “We are meeting with different companies right now and we’re going to have out-of-competition testing,” Ratner told ESPN.com. “We’re not sure when it’s going to start, but we’re working on it right now. “Unannounced blood and urine is going to happen, hopefully in the next three or four months. When you’re talking about 500 fighters, there are a lot of logistics. Having fighters in foreign countries makes it tougher, but we’re coming up with a plan and (agencies) are making proposals to us in the next two weeks.”

…West Virginia is looking at potentially legalizing online gambling for those within its borders. According to the Charleston Daily Mail, the state’s lottery director told members of the Lottery Commission this week that officials met with casino firms in the state last month to discuss potentially having intrastate online gambling sometime in the future. Online lotto tickets, as well as other casino style games, could be in the pipeline. Another meeting to discuss the issue is set for late October, the report said.

…On Wednesday, it seemed like a certainty that Las Vegas will soon be getting a major professional sports franchise, thanks to two distinct, yet similar, developments. According to a report from The Province, a National Hockey League team could be coming to Sin City, as the NHL is looking to expand for the first time in 15 years. A separate article from USA Today reported on news that could land a Major League Soccer team in Glitter Gulch. According to The Province report: Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal, the only thing to be determined being which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City. […] And given how dead set against a team in the gambling haven [NHL commissioner Gary Bettman] was 10 years ago, this move into another player friendly state-tax-free zone represents a considerable about-face indeed.
According to the USA Today report: The city of Las Vegas, The Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports & Entertainment issued a press release on Tuesday outlining plans for a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Las Vegas. The plans are contingent on MLS approving a team in the city. Nevada, one of only four states in the country with legal sports betting and the only one of the four with full fledged sports books, has for decades been off limits to major professional sports franchises (NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL, MLS) due to the threat of game fixing and other forms of corruption.

…San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for the first nine games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. With the suspension of All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith becoming reality, the Niners’ once-vaunted defense might be more suspect than an offense that has struggled in the preseason.
The All-Pro’s suspension broke down into four games for violations of the substance abuse policy and five games for violations of the personal conduct policy, a league source told ESPN’s Ed Werder. Smith will be allowed to be in the team’s facility for meetings while under suspension, according to ESPN sources and multiple reports. He will be eligible to return to the 49ers’ active roster Nov. 10 following the team’s Nov. 9 game against New Orleans. “Our organization has known this decision would come, and we have prepared for it as a team,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement Friday. “Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the season ahead.”

…Michael Sam survived a round of cuts by the St. Louis Rams on Friday, sources confirmed to ESPN. The Rams cut 17 players as they try to trim their roster to 53 players by Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, and Sam was not among them, sources said. Michael Sam has made a strong case for a roster spot with the Rams, but so has Ethan Westbrooks, his chief competitor.
The team has five additional cuts to go before the deadline. News that Sam survived a round of cuts Friday was first reported by USA Today. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert, a sixth-round pick out of SMU, was among those cut Friday, sources confirmed. That leaves two QBs currently on the Rams’ active roster: Shaun Hill and Austin Davis. Sam was cut later in the week but may be signed to their [raactice squad.

…Jesus Montero will not play baseball again this season for the Seattle Mariners organization after a heated confrontation in the stands with a team scout during a minor league game in Boise, Idaho. Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said on Friday that the actions of Montero and cross-checker Butch Baccala were “unacceptable” and “embarrassing” for the club. Montero was being brought back to Seattle while Baccala was told to return to his home in the Bay Area and await internal discussions regarding discipline. Zduriencik made it clear Montero would not play again this year prior to Friday’s game against the Nationals. “He is not going to participate in anymore baseball the rest of the year with us,” Zduriencik said. “That’s just the way it is. It’s not going to happen.” The altercation occurred Thursday during Montero’s rehabilitation of an oblique injury with the team’s Class A Everett AquaSox affiliate. According to MiLB.com, Montero was coaching first base when Baccala yelled at him to hustle off the field at the conclusion of the inning. A game official said the scout then ordered an ice cream sandwich and had it sent to Montero in the dugout. Montero — who made news for reporting to spring training 40 pounds overweight this season — did not appreciate the gesture. He approached the stands with a baseball bat, screaming profanities, and threw the ice cream sandwich at Baccala. Montero had to be restrained by the team’s pitching coach, according to the game’s official scorer.

…Why are the Royals in first place in the AL Central heading into Labor Day weekend? Perhaps the sweet smell of success comes from a bottle. No, not that kind of bottle. A perfume bottle. Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez revealed this week that he wears women’s perfume when he plays. “I learned that from [teammate Alcides Escobar], because every time he plays, he uses Victoria’s Secret,” Perez told Kansas City TV station KSHB. “So one day I said, ‘Alcides, let me try it.’ In the first inning, the umpire says, ‘You smell good, Salvy.’ I said, ‘Thank you.’ And that game, I hit a ball and everything, so I started to use it every day. Now I use Victoria’s Secret every time.”

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