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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for July 23, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The NCAA takes "corrective and punitive" measures against Penn State.
  • Several Denver Broncos pay a hospital visit to Aurora, Colorado shooting victims.
  • 42-year-old Ernie Els won the British Open by one shot after Adam Scott bogeyed the last four holes.
  • Bradley Wiggins becomes the first British rider to win the Tour de France.
  • Back to reality. The Mets drop below .500 for the first time this season

2. Penn State Football Lives

Penn State's football program is not being shut down. For those who wanted the "death penalty" they will have to settle for significant "incarceration" instead. Heavy fines to the tune of $60 million, loss of scholarships and banishment from bowl games for four years. In addition all wins between 1998 and 2001 will be vacated, which means Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in NCAA history. There are those who will say that Penn State didn't receive "due process." Technically they are correct. But when Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty, and when Paterno and other university leaders covered it up, and when a report commissioned by the university itself is so damning, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

3. Not So Statuesque

Yes the Joe Paterno statue had to come down. Statues are for heroes and we now know that Paterno wasn't one. To leave the statue standing was an additional affront to the young men who were scarred by Jerry Sandusky. The statue is a lightning rod on campus, too much of a focal point. Now we can get down to the real issues of how Penn State is going to move forward, and not get stuck on symbolism.

4. Belly-Up

Once, OK. Twice, maybe. But three times? That's a trend. Ernie Els became the third major champ who uses a belly-putter. He follows Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson to the winner's circle. And so the day after Els' big win the rulers of golf say they're studying the issue. A decision will be made in months. They say it's a rules issue, not equipment. That players are somehow using a "crutch." Tiger Woods, for example, says the putter should be the shortest club in the bag. But any change wouldn't take effect until 2016. Perhaps Els' comment will come back to haunt. Last fall, when he switched to the long putter he said, "As long as it's legal, I'll keep cheating like the rest of them."

5. Now We Know

Didn't you always think that when Roger Clemens fired that bat in Mike Piazza's direction in the 2000 World Series it was some sort of 'roid rage? Well apparently Piazza thinks the same thing. He didn't come out and say it, but his wife gave him up. Check out this TMZ video. Yes the video is slightly uncomfortable to watch as Piazza seems quite uneasy. But it makes you wonder what other secrets athlete's wives would just love to spill.

Happy Birthday: Former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. 39.

Bonus Birthday: Monica Lewinsky. 39.

Today in Sports: Jackie Robinson becomes the first black player to be inducted in Cooperstown. 1962.

Bonus Event: A vendor named Charles Menches came up with the concept of an ice cream cone at the St. Louis World's Fair. 1904.

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