Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Blotter

Photo courtesy of Sporting News

A quick modification as to contents of the blotter: though this section will predominantly deal with legal issues, I'll occasionally broaden the scope when interesting stories come along that involve teams or players violating league rules, since though these situations don't necessarily involve the court system, they still have the basic premise of a law being broken.

Leading things off isn't technically a matter for the courts to decide, but it's still an interesting accusation involving sports and rule-breaking. The Titans have asked the NFL to look into the contract Albert Haynesworth signed with the Redskins after agreeing to terms with Danny Snyder just five hours into the free agency period. The best part of the story comes near the bottom, though: A quote from Haynesworth about the process.

"All I know is the Redskins called my agent at 11:04 p.m. Nashville time and they started negotiating then,'' Haynesworth said last month. "They weren't anywhere close in the first couple of hours and then they got serious. Chad worked the deal then and it worked out." (emphasis added by Chimpanzee Rodeo)

Let's think about that statement for a moment in light of the contract Haynesworth agreed to, a seven-year, $100 million deal that included a league-record $41 million in guaranteed dollars. Taking into account Haynesworth being the acknowledged big fish on the market, and the Redskins propensity to overpay to get stars through free agency and trades, I can only imagine what the Skins opening offer actually was. DeAngelo Hall received a six-year deal for $54 million from Washington, and Haynesworth is seen as among the most dominant defensive players in the league, so the initial offer must have been well north of that figure. But remember, Haynesworth refers to the Skins' initial offerings not being "anywhere close." So with the economy in the tank, Detroit imploding on itself and our entire banking system going through the equivalent of a financial forest fire, just how much money did Albert scoff at? Seven years and $80 million? $85 million?

I typically side close to 100 percent with the players when negotiating with owners across all sports, and particularly football, where players have the shortest careers, least leverage and worts union among the major sports. In truth, Haynesworth probably won't make even close to the $100 mil figure, as injuries/age/performance will inevitably lead the Redskins to cut him before he finishes the deal (though the $41 mil guarunteed should cushion that hardship.) But Haynesworth's comment just sort of illustrates how different athletes are from the normal person. Just something to think about.

Next up, Donte' Stallworth is being charged with DUI manslaughter, and if convicted could face up to 15 years in prison. Stallworth killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes while driving with a blood alcohol level of .126, above the legal limit of .08. Meanwhile, Joba Chamberlain pled guilty to a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol level of .138 back in October. Though the date of the stories is coincidental, it serves to illustrate what a serious issue drunk driving is, and just goes to show it can have very real, immediate consequences.

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