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Len Berman

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Top 5 Sports Stories

Posted: 05/ 3/2012 10:30 am

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for May 3, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker 43-year-old Junior Seau apparently committed suicide. He was found shot in the chest.
  • Four players are suspended ranging from three games to the entire season for the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
  • Poof, there goes the government's case? Tuesday Andy Pettitte testified that Roger Clemens told him he used HGH. Yesterday, Pettitte testified that he may have misunderstood the conversation.
  • Angels pitcher Jered Weaver throws a no-hitter against the Twins, 9-0 the final.
  • How about playing a doubleheader? The Rangers beat Washington in triple overtime 2-1 as they nearly played six full periods. The Rangers lead two games to one. Phoenix leads Nashville two games to one.
  • NBA: San Antonio leads Utah two games to zero, Indiana leads Orlando 2-1 while the Clippers and Memphis are tied at 1.
  • Fan friendliness. Magic Johnson says the cost of parking at Dodger Stadium will drop from $15 to 10.

2. Junior Seau
1969-2012


Junior Seau was headed to the Hall of Fame, now he'll get there posthumously. Out of USC, he starred with the Chargers before finishing up with the Patriots and Dolphins. Off the field he had problems. There were charges of domestic violence which led to his arrest and driving his car off a cliff after he was released. The question will be raised if Seau is the latest pro athlete to suffer brain injuries because of his contact sport? When former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson shot himself to death, he also shot himself in the chest. He wanted to preserve his brain for science. Did Seau do the same?

3. Crime and Punishment

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was hit the hardest, a one year suspension without pay. Three others received lesser suspensions. Vilma reportedly pledged his own money, $10,000 if a teammate knocked Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner out of a playoff game. None of the players "testified" and all are appealing. Said Vilma, "I intend to fight this injustice, to defend my reputation, to stand up for my team and my profession, and to send a clear signal to the commissioner that the process has failed." Of course the appeal will be heard by the same judge who meted out the punishment, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Will this wind up in court with the players union leading the fight? If it does, my money is on the NFL. Perhaps the union's efforts would have been better spent protecting the players who might have been maimed by "Bountygate" and working to assure it'll never happen again.

4. Eric LeGrand

Finally a feel-good story. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed free agent defensive tackle Eric LeGrand out of Rutgers. Yes, the same Eric LeGrand who was paralyzed during a game. His Rutgers coach was Greg Schiano who is now the coach of the Bucs. Schiano said. "Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class. This small gesture is the least we could do to recognize his character, spirit, and perseverance. The way Eric lives his life epitomizes what we are looking for in Buccaneer Men." Very cool.

5. What a Day

Somebody tweeted me asking if yesterday was June 17, 1994 all over again? That day, the hits kept coming: from the Rangers victory parade, to the Knicks and Rockets playing game 5 of the NBA finals, to Arnold Palmer playing his last round at a U.S. Open, to the O.J. white Bronco "chase." Yesterday's headlines never stopped either. Junior Seau, Bountygate, Eric LeGrand, the Rangers playing triple overtime, Jered Weaver's no-hitter. Did I mention they held the Kentucky Derby Draw? Bodemeister is the 4-1 favorite, in case you're interested. He's named after trainer Bob Baffert's son Bode. Too much information?

Happy Birthday: Giants place kicker Lawrence Tynes. 34.

Bonus Birthday: Frankie Valli of The Four Seasons. 78.

Today in Sports: A dark day for Brooklyn. Walter O'Malley agrees to move his team to Los Angeles after the season. 1957.

Bonus Event: Frankly, do you give a damn? 75 years ago today, Margaret Mitchell, wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her book Gone with the Wind. 1937.

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