Commentary…Arenas’ practical joke backfiring on him and NBA

first_imgby Jim LitkeWhat apparently began as a practical joke would have turned out a lot funnier if only Gilbert Arenas brought a squirt gun to work instead of the real thing.Now there’s no laughing it off.The Wizards star is scheduled to meet with law-enforcement authorities to present his side of the story about a locker-room dispute with teammate Javaris Crittenton nearly two weeks ago. Not only does Washington, D.C., have some of the strictest handgun laws in the nation, but federal authorities are investigating as well. GILBERT ARENAS Yet even if Arenas’ legal headaches end there, he still could face a lengthy suspension from NBA commissioner David Stern and tempt the Wizards to invoke a morals clause in the standard NBA player contract and seek to void the remainder of a six-year, $111 million deal signed in 2008.“I know Gilbert is a good guy,” Pacers guard T.J. Ford said. “I don’t think, like he said in his statement, that he was trying to hurt anybody.”Probably not.But Arenas has already tarnished his image as one of pro basketball’s more entertaining and eccentric personalities, and put the league on the spot. The NBA’s gun culture is no more prevalent than that of other leagues, nor the population in general, yet every time an athlete gets caught with a weapon, the publicity feeds the public notion that officials are incapable of policing their players.That perception, in part, led to the NBA’s toughened antigun stance in the collective bargaining agreement, which bars league personnel from bringing weapons to league property, sites or charitable events.Arenas has already admitted bringing three unloaded firearms to the Verizon Center—to get them out of the house and away from his kids—and storing them in a locked container. According to Yahoo! Sports, he took them out of the container before a Dec. 21 practice and laid the guns on a chair, then told Crittenton to choose one and make good on a threat that stemmed from a card game on a late-night flight from Phoenix back to Washington two days earlier.As the game got more expensive, Crittenton joked about what could happen to people who didn’t honor their debts. Arenas has a well-deserved reputation as a prankster and laying out the guns apparently was his way of trying to diffuse any lingering tension between the two.Instead, the gesture enraged Crittenton. According to a New York Post report, Arenas and Crittenton wound up drawing guns on each other.“I can’t speak on that,” Arenas said Saturday. “But if you know me, you’ve been here, I’ve never did anything (involving) violence. Anything I do is funny—well, it’s funny to me.”Asked if the accounts of what happened have been blown out of proportion, Arenas laughed and said: “A little.”His standing with the Wizards was already shaky. Arenas missed almost two seasons because of knee surgery, and his problems with former coach Eddie Jordan have only exacerbated under new coach Flip Saunders. Arenas’ production barely justified his selfishness in seasons past, but he hardly resembles the scorer he was then.Teammates who tolerated Arenas once now find him frustrating.His defenders say the needling, as well as the need to laugh everything off, is Arenas’ way of coping—with insecurity, a tough childhood and being overlooked at the start of both his college and pro careers.“I’m a goof ball and that’s what I am, so even doing something like this, I’m going to make fun of it and that’s how I am,” Arenas said. “Some people say I’m not taking it serious, but why be depressed at home when I can just make myself laugh?”The problem with gunplay, though, is that it’s never funny and that a casual attitude toward violence only encourages more of the same. Arenas has already been suspended once, after pleading no contest to misdemeanor weapons and vehicle charges following a traffic stop in California 2003; he sat out Washington’s season opener in 2004.No matter how this latest incident is handled by authorities, Arenas should know better than to expect leniency this time around.Another former NBA player got off easy the first time he, too, was charged with a weapons violation, lecturing schoolkids and taking out ads in the local newspaper touting gun safety.His name is Jayson Williams. As you read this, he is scheduled to be retried on a reckless manslaughter charge in the shooting death of a limousine driver during a party at his home.(Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke@ap.org)last_img read more

Juve too strong for Porto

first_imgPORTO, Portugal (AP):Two second-half substitutes came on and quickly scored as Juventus beat FC Porto 2-0 yesterday after playing with an extra man for an hour in the Champions League Round-of-16 first leg.Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves broke through with goals in the 72nd and 74th minutes to give the Italian champions a commanding advantage.Porto’s Alex Telles was sent off in the 27th minute after a pair of rash fouls.Juventus hemmed Porto in their area and Pjaca scored five minutes after coming on.Alves was even quicker in finding the net two minutes after joining the game.Also yesterday, Sevilla beat Leicester 2-1 in Spain.Porto’s Telles was sent off after the left back cut down Stephan Lichtsteiner, just two minutes after a yellow card for his studs-first tackle on Juan Cuadrado’s heel.TEAM RESTRUCTUREPorto coach Nuno Espirito Santo took off striker Andre Silva, who has scored five goals in the competition this season, and restructured his defence with Miguel Layun.But Layun was at fault in Pjaca’s goal when he deflected Paulo Dybala’s pass to the Croatian midfielder inside the box.Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas had made an earlier save to frustrate Gonzalo Higuain, but the Spaniard could do nothing to stop Alves when he received a cross from Alex Sandro at close range.While the former Real Madrid goalkeeper had a busy night for the hosts, Casillas’ counterpart, Gianluigi Buffon, barely had to intervene at the Estadio do Dragao stadium. The two veteran goalkeepers embraced after the final whistle.Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci missed the match as punishment for his outburst aimed at coach Massimiliano Allegri. Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini were both back after the defenders recovered from thigh injuries.The second leg is in Turin on March 16.last_img read more

Ghanaian Vocational Teachers for Liberia Soon

first_imgAt least ten Ghanaian vocational teachers are scheduled to arrive in Liberia in September this year as part of a project to help build the capacity of Liberian technical and vocational teachers.The project, named JUMPSTART, is part of a Tripartite Arrangement between the governments of Ghana and Liberia on the one side and UNESCO on the other. The JUMPSTAR project will focus on training about 400 TVET teachers from four regions in Liberia in the areas of Adult Learning, Curriculum Development, Learner Assessment and Quality Assurance.Following a meeting with her Ghanaian counterpart John Mahama, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf commended the government and people of Ghana for their “practical support to the development of Liberian youths through technical skills development.” The Liberia leader said cooperation in such areas as education between the two countries is indicative of the possibilities that can be achieved when ECOWAS countries cooperate.For his part, President Mahama said Ghana and Liberia must continue to work together in capacity development and transfer of knowledge and experience. He cited the historic bonds between the two countries, adding that Liberia and Ghana share a lot of similarities.The TVET JUMPSTART project is derived from the National Policy on Technical & Vocational Education (TVET) and will expand to utilizing trainers from other African countries. Local TVET experts will also be hired to conduct training of the teachers alongside the foreign expatriates. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Ethnicity No Shield for Perpetrators of War Crimes’

first_imgLNBA president, Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongloe, admitted that the country’s prison facilities are violating the rights of people accused of committing crimes by not allowing them to be arraigned before a court with their legal representation.-Cllr. Gongloe says in response to Sen. PYJ’s political supportTough-talking human rights lawyer Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has refuted claims that the people of Nimba County are not in support of War Crimes Court in the country, even though some of them allegedly committed heinous atrocities against other Liberians during the 14-year civil unrest (1989-2003).Though Cllr. Gongloe sees the issue of a war crimes court from a general perspective, many of his kinsmen participated in the 14-year civil conflict due to suspected systematic killings of Gios and Manos (two major tribal groups) by state security forces before and during the civil war; something Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, a former fighter, has always used as an excuse for torturing and killing President Samuel Kanyon Doe under the glare of television cameras.While it is true that such tribal rift existed between the people of Grand Gedeh and Nimba counties, Gongloe said he does not support any form of killing while advocating for a genuine cause as a human rights lawyer.In a joint press conference with heads of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Monrovia on Tuesday, September 25, Cllr. Gongloe said there is no freedom or immunity for Nimbaians, including Senator Johnson, that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report recommended to a future war crimes court for investigation and prosecution.“I was once called by my own big brother, Senator Johnson, who questioned me as to whether I have referred to him as a killer. And to be very frank with you journalists, I told him that unless he has a different name or terminology for one who kills, I am certain that he deserves the title “killer,” because he has killed and ordered the killing of people during the war,” Gongloe said.He brushed aside any reason to be afraid for his life for continuing his advocacy for the establishment of a war crimes court in the country. “There is no reason why I should be afraid,” the learned lawyer said.“My love for this country, to which Nimba is a subdivision, is more important and above any love I have for anyone, any institution or a group of people who may appear to be my friends,” Gongloe added in his strongly worded opinion.He referred to the perpetrators of the war as cowards, and called on the public to support all effort geared towards bringing both the victims and those who inflicted the indelible scars on them to the point where the law would prevail.“Many times I hear people say we should forgive and forget about the ugly past, but to me, it sounds foolish. Meting justice against lawlessness and unorthodox actions committed by people against another group of people is a very unique way to move forward. No one should go unpunished,” he declared.Another concern of Cllr. Gongloe regarding the establishment of a war crimes court in the country is that the sooner it is done, the better opportunity it will present for pieces of evidence to be adduced.Affirming Cllr. Gongloe’s assertion of the need to do away with class or ethnicity as the quest for justice swells, the director of Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP), Hassan Bility, said inasmuch as he too is from Nimba, he will not stand with those who have inflicted suffering on innocent Liberians.He said the arrests of Jungle Jabbah, Thomas Woewiyu, and Kunti K, the latter being an erstwhile battlefield commander of the defunct United Liberation Movement (ULIMO) of Alhaji G.V. Kromah, were carried out based on the tips his organization provided to the United States and the French governments.Kunti K’s arrest followed a complaint filed in July by Civitas Maxima, a Switzerland-based human rights group that works in collaboration with the Liberia-based GJRP headed by Bility.“What is very important for this case is how it includes in a broader situation former war commanders or people that allegedly committed war crimes all over the world and how they are facing criminal charges. This is one more,” said Romain Wavre, legal associate with Civitas Maxima.“I believe that this will not stop; this is what the Liberian people want,” Wavre added.The TRC documented that ULIMO committed 11,500 atrocities beginning in Lofa County where they first launched the insurgency under the command of Alhaji G.V. Kromah.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Race claims, ‘spying’ dominate Korea, Sweden build-up

first_img0Shares0000South Korea’s coach Shin Tae-yong has an uphill task to repeat his country’s semi-final appearance in 2002 © AFP / Johannes EISELENIZNHIY NOVGOROD, Russian Federation, Jun 17 – South Korea’s coach Shin Tae-yong said Sunday he deliberately made his team wear different numbered shirts in recent friendlies to confuse World Cup opponents who cannot tell his players apart.He said all but star player Son Heung-min and captain Ki Sung-yueng were given different shirts in games against Bolivia and Senegal in Austria earlier this month to outwit anyone checking up on his team. The astonishing claim came just 24 hours before his side open their World Cup campaign against Sweden, a seemingly tame encounter which has been spiced up by claims of spying as well as the Korean coach’s shirt subterfuge.In his press conference, Swedish coach Janne Andersson was forced to apologise after it was claimed one of his scouts had been caught spying on Monday’s opponents at a closed training session in Austria.But the claim by his Korean opposite number added an extra layer of intrigue to the Group F clash.“All of the others played in numbers a little bit confusing, that’s why we switched the numbers,” Shin Tae-yong told reporters.“It’s very difficult for Westerners to distinguish between Asians, that’s why we did that.”The plan may have backfired on the Koreans though as they lost to Senegal 2-0, and drew with Bolivia 0-0 in their final warm-up games for Russia.Asked about claims that Sweden had spied on his team, Shin Tae-yong was calm, saying: “I don’t think that’s bad”, adding that all teams needed to know about their opponents.There have been counter-claims that the Koreans also spied on the Swedes in the run-up to Russia.The row centres on Swedish scout Lasse Jacobsson who reportedly covertly watching the Koreans prepare for the World Cup.Jacobsson had apparently rented a house in the town of Leogang, near Salzburg to ‘spy’ on Sweden’s first opponents.“He heard about a practice session, he didn’t understand that it was a closed session, he didn’t understand and he watched from a distance,” said Andersson, attempting to downplay the incident.“It’s very important we show respect to all our opponents in all circumstances… if someone could interpret it in another way we regret it.”He added: “It’s been made a mountain out of a molehill.”The claims reflect the growing realisation for both teams that Monday’s match is vital as they have been drawn against world champions Germany and Mexico in a tough-looking group.Andersson also said he had a full squad of players to choose from and pretty much knew which team he would pick, but refused to reveal more details.Skipper Andreas Granqvist said at the same press conference that the players could not wait to start the match.“I am really looking forward to this World Cup, we are raring to go, all of us,” he said.“We are looking forward to the match… we have had excellent preparations.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Three things Unai Emery must fix at Arsenal

first_imgMesut Ozil’s diffident personality and alarming habit of drifting to the periphery of matches proved a major problem for Wenger. Emery must decide whether he can drag more committed and consistent displays from the German playmaker. The 29-year-old signed a new £300,000 ($400,000) per-week three-year contract in January as Arsenal scrambled to hold on to one of their stars following Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United. But the former Real Madrid midfielder continued to provide only occasional glimpses of the talent that persuaded Wenger to pay £42 million for him in 2013. Early reports suggest Emery, having reviewed video of Arsenal this season, may not have much faith in Ozil, preferring to build around the more robust Aaron Ramsey instead. With the gifted Henrikh Mkhitaryan already in place at the Emirates Stadium, Ozil should be on notice that his performances must improve if the World Cup winner is to avoid being swept away by Arsenal’s new broom.Plug Arsenal’s leaky defenceWenger neglected Arsenal’s defence in his final years at the Emirates and Emery inherits a ramshackle unit that crumbles at the first sign of pressure. They conceded 51 league goals this season — more than any other side in the top seven and only five fewer than bottom of the table West Bromwich Albion. Although Arsenal’s back four were let down by Wenger’s failure to drill his midfielders to properly protect them, they still made enough mistakes of their own to leave the demanding Emery surely convinced that new recruits are the only solution. Renowned for providing players with video analysis of their own performances, Emery will have enough material to fill an entire hard drive as he surveys footage of the leaky Arsenal defence over the past 10 months. With Laurent Koscielny set to miss the start of the season after ankle surgery, Emery will not want to be left with error-prone pair Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding as his first-choice centre-backs. The Gunners have already been linked with Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, while inconsistent Arsenal full-backs Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac could also do with a few of Emery’s rigorous defensive tutorials.Unite Aubameyang and LacazettePierre-Emerick Aubameyang made a blistering start to life with Arsenal following his club record £56 million move from Dortmund in January as the Gabon forward netted 10 times in 13 league games. Aubameyang’s impact was all the more striking given the travails of the man he usurped in the starting line-up. Although he scored 17 times in 39 appearances in all competitions, Alexandre Lacazette endured an underwhelming first season after his £46 million switch from Lyon. Where Aubameyang’s pace, movement and predatory instincts made an instant impact on a moribund Arsenal team, France international Lacazette allowed himself to be bullied out of games far too often. Now Emery will have to chose whether he wants to start with both in his attack. If not, it seems certain Aubameyang would lead the line, consigning Lacazette to the bench. Lacazette can point to a slightly more potent finish to the season as a sign he is beginning to adapt to the physical nature of English football. But, significantly, Aubameyang already has a strong connection with former Dortmund team-mate Mkhitaryan, who is likely to be tasked with supplying the chances for Arsenal’s strikers.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Unai Emery is Arsenal’s first new manager in 22 years © AFP/File / CHRISTOPHE SIMONLONDON, United Kingdom, May 23 – Unai Emery was appointed as Arsenal’s first new manager in 22 years on Wednesday. Here are three things the Spaniard must deal with to ensure a smooth transition from the Arsene Wenger era:Solve the Ozil conundrumlast_img read more

Russia’s Cheryshev cleared of wrongdoing by anti-doping agency

first_imgCheryshev, 27, shared a letter from Spain’s anti-doping agency on his official Twitter account which said that “an investigation was carried out and closed after no signs of irregular conduct were found.”Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for the agency confirmed they sent the letter.Cheryshev, who scored four goals in five World Cup games for Russia as they reached the quarter finals, had denied any wrongdoing. His father said his statements had been twisted by reporters.Without a medical exemption, the use of growth hormones is considered doping and is punishable with a ban of up to four years.Cheryshev joined Valencia in August on a season-long loan from Villarreal.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Russian World Cup revelation Denis Cheryshev has been cleared of doping by Spanish authorities © AFP/File / GABRIEL BOUYSMADRID, Spain, Sep 13 – Spain’s anti-doping agency said Thursday it has closed its probe into Valencia’s Russian striker Denis Cheryshev, one of the revelations of the 2018 World Cup, after it found no evidence he used a banned substance.The investigation stemmed from an interview which the player’s father, Dmitri Cheryshev, gave to Russian publication Sport Weekend in June 2017 in which he said his son had received growth hormone injections when he played at Spanish side Villarreal.last_img read more

Simba hit Mbao on penalties, clinch Bronze

first_img0Shares0000Simba SC’s Hassan Dilunga tries to find a way past Mbao FC players in their SportPesa Cup play-off match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on January 27, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluDAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Jan 27 – Zambian Clatous Chama scored the winning penalty as last year’s finalists Simba SC beat Mwanza-based Mbao 5-3 on spot-match spot kicks at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam to clinch the bronze medal at the 2019 SportPesa Cup in Tanzania.The game had to go the full length to penalties after a barren stalemate in regulation time and Chama who came on as a second half sub scored the fifth Kick for Simba just after Mbao’s Ratesh Kotecha had skied his effort. Simba had scored the first four through Emmanuel Okwi, Nicholas Gyan, Serge Pascal Wawa and keeper Deogratius Munishi.Mbao had scored through Said Khamis, Babilas Chitembe and Vincent Philipo.On the balance of chances, Simba should have comfortably won the game in regulation time but were too wasteful.In the opening 10 minutes of the game, Wekundu Wa Msimbazi dominated proceedings with Sadney Urikhob having most of the opportunities infront of goal. He twice shot on target but in both instances, he shot too close to the keeper.In the ninth minute of the game, he had perhaps the best chance when Rashid Juma’s cross found him at the edge of the box but he took too many twists inside the box and his eventual shot was weak.Shiza Kichuya also had a chance wen Urikhob turned provider cutting back the ball for him, but the midfielder’s effort was saved by the impressive Mbao keeper Metacha Mnata.Meddie Kagere was a tightly marked man for Simba and he rarely found space to run in as the Mbao defense kept him closely guarded. He only managed one shot, but couldn’t find its way on target.In the second half, Simba coach Patrick Aussems made changes including bringing on Emmanuel Okwi for Kagere while Clatous Chama also came in for Kichuya.Okwi brought some excitement in attack with his pace and came close after 12 minutes when his first time volley off a Rashid Juma cross went against the crossbar, Mnata well beaten. 0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Newcastle manager reveals training ground scare

first_img Newcastle manager Steve McLaren reveals club feared Siem de Jong would lose sight after training ground incident 1 Luckless Newcastle midfielder Siem de Jong feared he could lose the sight in one eye after a freak training ground accident.The 26-year-old Holland international was rushed to hospital with blood pouring from the eye after a training ground accident on Wednesday, and there were genuine fears that he had suffered permanent damage.However, while he faces up to two weeks on the sidelines, a relieved De Jong has been told he should make a full recovery.Head coach Steve McClaren, who was attending the memorial service for former Magpies goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek at the time, said: “It was just in training and he accidentally got poked in the eye.“He went down screaming, so they said ‘Let’s have a look at your eye’ and there was blood pouring from it. He wears contact lenses, and one of the contacts had come out and gone into his eye.”Asked if there was a fear de Jong could have been blinded, McClaren replied: “Yes, yes, a massive danger, a big danger. He was rushed to hospital.“I was just back from the memorial and I got a call saying there’d been an accident in training, so I was thinking, ‘Which one?’, and it was Siem.“But by the time I got back, he was here (at the training ground) and the doc said, ‘It’s not too bad – but it looks bad’.“I’ve seen him this morning and it looks a lot better. Fortunately, the doctor says [it needs] probably a week or two to settle down, so he’s very lucky.”The accident is the latest misfortune to hit de Jong, who has made just 22 appearances, only seven of them starts, for the club he joined from Ajax during the summer of 2014.His fitness problems to date include a collapsed lung – the second of his career – which sidelined him for two months last season.last_img read more

Former Tottenham midfielder set to be on the move again this summer

first_img Benjamin Stambouli is set to leave Schalke this summer 1 Former Tottenham midfielder Benjamin Stambouli has been placed on the transfer list by Bundesliga side Schalke.The 26-year-old, who made 38 appearances in all competitions last season, has been deemed surplus to requirements by new manager Domenico Tedesco and is set to leave the Veltins Arena, according to L’Equipe.Stambouli spent the 2014/15 season at White Hart Lane before joining Paris Saint-Germain for £6m.Schalke are hopeful of recouping around £8m for the French midfielder, who they signed from PSG last summer.Stambouli is expected to return to France in time for next season in an attempt to rebuild his career, following a disastrous move to the Bundesliga.last_img