We live in the age of the sports apology. Thanks to Twitter, iPhone pics, and hidden mics, it’s easier than ever for an athlete to screw up in broad daylight.
But the apology itself — “I’m sorry if anyone was offended” — has also become a thing. It is unleashed after any act, from a harmless end zone dance to a legitimately awful 9/11 tribute. When the apologies became as entertaining as the screw-ups, we decided it was time to do the Month in Sports Apologies. (Hat tip to Adam Hanft.)
I’m Sorry My End Zone Dance Included Both "Show Me the Money" and a Throat Slash
“I want to apologize to everyone for my selfish actions on Saturday ... ” Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon wrote. “That is not the way we do things at Alabama.”
In case you were busy getting so jacked for football that you passed out at 1:30, here's what you missed in sports last night:
Peyton Manning was at his best, throwing for an NFL record-tying seven touchdowns in the Broncos' 49-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens. "Yeah, but who has the biggest yacht?" asked monocle-and–top hat–wearing Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who signed an NFL-record $120.6 million contract in the offseason, while snacking out of a bucket of caviar. Flacco then blinked, allowing his monocle to fall to the ground, where it shattered. "Aww, crap, that was my dress monocle," whined Flacco, while bending over, which caused the top hat on his head to fall into a puddle of mud. "Gadzooks, my top hat," exclaimed Flacco before confessing, "guys, I don't even like caviar. And my yacht's hardly even a yacht. It's really just a big boat. Money isn't everything; why didn't anyone tell me?"
Stanislas Wawrinka dominated a woeful Andy Murray in a surprising 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 straight-set win over the tournament's reigning champion. A disheveled Murray, whose second serve was occasionally topping out at only 75 mph, asked after the match, "Does this mean I didn't win Wimbledon?" When told that of course it didn't, Murray smiled broadly, and added, "I thought not," before cranking up Van Halen's "Panama" on an old Sony boom box.
In case you were busy reconfronting traumatic memories related to seeing the movie Daredevil in theaters, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Los Angeles starter Clayton Kershaw's phenomenal season continued in Miami, as he threw eight scoreless innings and lowered his ERA to 1.72 in the Dodgers' 6-0 win over the Marlins. Of course, after the game Kershaw referred to the start as "terrible for the first couple of innings. I didn't have command," as his campaign to make everyone who is not Clayton Kershaw feel bad about themselves (The ME-WIN-F-BATs campaign) continued to gather steam.
Suspended Brewers slugger Ryan Braun published a lengthy apology in which he confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs during his 2011 MVP season. But after all the lies, how can we really be expected to believe this confession? Is there anything more suspicious than a man who said he is innocent of a crime suddenly reversing course and admitting his guilt? What does Ryan Braun really have to hide? Perhaps his innocence? Maybe? Eh? Ehhhhhhh? No? No? I'm hearing no. OK, moving on
Major League Baseball finally made its decision on the Biogenesis case, suspending Alex Rodriguez for 211 games and 12 other players for 50 games each. Which means...podcast time.
Yahoo's Jeff Passan joined Jonah Keri to discuss MLB’s drug suspensions, commissioner Bud Selig's attempt to ban Alex Rodriguez for life, the difference between the penalties for A-Rod and Ryan Braun and those given to other players, A-Rod's appeal, and the potential fallout from this case. Then attorney and NBC Hardball Talk baseball writer Craig Calcaterra chimes in with legal opinions. Does the A-Rod suspension set a precedent? Has the union been too lax in opposing MLB's suspensions for Rodriguez and Braun, given they go against what was codified in the Joint Drug Agreement? And what does this say about the value of the JDA, not to mention baseball's collective bargaining agreement?
Listen to this podcast here. Subscribe to Grantland Sports in iTunes.
I believe Alex Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs in violation of Major League Baseball rules. I believe this is wrong. I believe he should be suspended.
And I think that sucks. I don’t remember much of baseball before the sport’s culture became as much about drugs as the game itself. And now the twobest baseball players I’ve ever seen (pending the continued development of Mike Trout) have been eternally disgraced and are unwelcome in the game they helped make great, despite no failed drug tests between them.
On Monday afternoon news broke that Ryan Braun was accepting a suspension from Major League Baseball and will miss the rest of the season. It's the sort of news that doubles as a tornado siren for 1,000 different sportswriters jumping out with various hot takes, and now we're all talking about PEDs again.
This was the hottest take, I think:
Wow PEDs are quite the topic, lots of Qs 1 tweet will clear it up,yes #Iliftbro
>@MLB some action>none, I am LIFETIME drug free #playitclean
As for the news itself, I haven't cared about baseball since I was 13 years old. As someone who's not invested in the least, all I see is a sport that's been engulfed in this stupid crap for more than a decade. It seems like the only time baseball enters the larger sports conversation is when something like this happens.
In case you were out floating down a river for hours on end, only to remember that you left your car upstream and now it's dark and you think you just heard a coyote, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run home run to power another Dodgers comeback, as Los Angeles stayed hot with a 10-9 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Dodgers are proving that the classic underdog story is true: You can never count a team out, no matter how far down in the standings it may fall early in the year. A team as unlikely to win as the Dodgers can always surge back over the course of a 162-game season, using nothing but grit, verve, and gumption to overpower its rivals and wend its way back to an unexpected placement atop the NL West standings. An island of misfits like L.A.'s collection of broken toys may have been written off by everyone from the bums of the bleachers to the national prognosticators, but this club wouldn't let themselves be written off. No siree bob. Not these Dodgers. So when you look up "team of destiny" in the dictionary of your local library this week, scrawl in "2013 Dodgers" in permanent ink. Because these bootstrap pullers ain't going anywhere.
Dustin Pedroia celebrated a new $100 million deal with an RBI as his Boston Red Sox beat Roberto Hernandez and the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-2. Of course this Roberto Hernandez is not former relief pitcher Roberto Hernandez, but is in fact former starting pitcher Fausto Carmona, who is only formerly Carmona and remains a starter, yet must be relieved to no longer be forced to conceal his identity, though one does wonder whether he is starting to regret the bargain he made in order to become a professional starter, as it likely called into stark relief the sacrifices he made in order to start his career.
Major League Baseball suspended Ryan Braun for the rest of the 2013 season, crossing the league's most wanted PED user off its target list and serving notice to other players implicated in the ongoing Biogenesis case that more suspensions are likely coming soon.
Braun's 65-game suspension closes the book on a pursuit that took nearly two years for MLB to complete. (Listen to today's podcast with ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and FanGraphs writer/former attorney Wendy Thurm for more insight on the case.) Braun underwent a drug test in the fall of 2011 and tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. Facing a 50-game suspension for that offense, Braun appealed the case and won. Arbitrator Shyam Das overturned the would-be suspension, after Braun and his attorneys argued the collection of his urine samples didn't follow protocol. That ruling set off a chain reaction that took until Monday to resolve.
In the return of the Jonah Keri Podcast, we talk to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick about Ryan Braun's suspension for PED use and what it could mean for other teams with implicated players. We then cover Matt Garza's trade to the Rangers and how the Cubs fared with their prospect haul.
Then, Wendy Thurm of FanGraphs joins the show to discuss the legal fallout from the Braun suspension, MLB's approach to the case, and what kind of precedents might've been set with the Braun ruling.
In case you were busy giving birth to an heir to a throne (hey, Kate, what's up?) here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
If your favorite sports news is depressing drug suspension news, well, you're in luck, because Denver Broncos' defensive superstar Von Miller is reportedly facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Good for you, person who likes depressing news. Today is a great day to say about your favorite professional athlete, with a smug shake of the head, that "Everybody's doing it, it's just a matter of time until they're all caught." Me? I'm going to continue to live in denial, and will be literally burying my head in sand and living off nothing but hermit crab meat until this case is overturned as it inevitably, rightly, and irrevocably will be. Moving on, forever, surely …
Oh, we're not moving on? No? OK. Brewers star and former NL MVP Ryan Braun has accepted a 65-game suspension for his violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs both due to his role in the Biogenesis scandal and for previous statements related to his rescinded suspension before the 2012 season. Guys, you know that we here at About Last Night are all about fostering debate with regards to the biggest sports stories of the day, and this is no exception. I mean, are we really sure that Braun is guilty here? Really? What evidence do we really have? We have a positive test that was overturned because of improper handling. Stricken from the record. Then he have his name written down on paper at a Florida anti-aging clinic. Everything about those words is too sketchy to be believed. Anti-aging clinic? Florida? Handwritten notes? Come on. Handwritten notes? Seriously? What year is this? And finally we have a confession. But do we really know that no one has entered Braun's dreams, planted the idea of taking steroids deep within his subconscious, tricking his now conscious mind into believing that, despite a lifetime of clean living, he has used illegal performance-enhancing drugs? Do we really know? And if we think we know, can we really be sure that our knowledge wasn't planted in our minds by dream invaders out to take control of our family's massive wealth in a Braun-related scheme so convoluted that it is totally impossible to comprehend? Can we really be sure? Really? Checkmate.
Sometime after the All-Star break, Major League Baseball plans to suspend Ryan Braun along with as many as 20 other players accused of performance-enhancing drug use, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported Tuesday.
The report highlights the latest chapter in MLB's quest to take down Braun and others implicated in the ongoing investigation into Miami's Biogenesis clinic and its former proprietor, Tony Bosch. The Miami New Times first reported on the story in January. OTL’s own previous digging revealed the scope of baseball's investigation, MLB's attempts to suspend Braun and Alex Rodriguez for longer than the typical first-time offense would typically mandate, and Bosch's cooperation. The only morsel of new news this week is that MLB now seems to have a timetable for its targeted suspensions — though a cynic could argue that "sometime after next week's All-Star break" is an awfully open-ended estimate.
In case you were busy dancing like everyone was watching, because they are, and you should dance like they are unless you want to look like a fool, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
Powered by a hat trick from Chris Wondolowski, the U.S. men's national soccer team hammered Belize, 6-1, in the opening match of their Gold Cup campaign. The Gold Cup, of course, is the biennial opportunity for teams of footballing prospectors from around North and Central America to quest for the lost city of El Dorado, with the winning country (Mexico in the last two competitions) allowed to plunder the city if it completes a series of culminating athletic challenges. While the early competitions are all based around soccer, the final challenge allows the winning nation's two most powerful explorers to enter the temple of El Dorado. After being given instructions by a talking rock, the two men must grab one of the city's famed artifacts in three minutes, while eluding the pursuits of temple guards. Of course, this final challenge is impossible and no team has ever succeeded, as the city of El Dorado itself languishes under the dictatorial control of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Adrian Beltre smashed two home runs off of Zach Britton as the Texas Rangers grabbed Game 2 of their series against the Baltimore Orioles with an 8-4 win at Camden Yards. "I hate those colonial wankers," Beltre said after the game. "That's why I only play hard for [Rangers manager Ron] Washington, and will do everything I can to destroy Britton, or at least get him back on to his own soil."
Major League Baseball has reportedly compelled former Biogenesis proprietor Tony Bosch to testify in the league's case against roughly 20 players accused of performance-enhancing drug use. The list of accused players includes Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, and Jhonny Peralta.
The report from ESPN's Outside the Lines marks the latest development in a scandal first reported by the Miami New Times in January. The New Times wrote that Rodriguez, Cabrera, Colon, and Yasmani Grandal headed the list of players who allegedly bought PEDs from Biogenesis. All four of those players had either admitted to using PEDs in the past (Rodriguez) or been suspended for PED use (Cabrera, Colon, and Grandal) when the report came out. Two other major league players not previously linked to PED use, Gio Gonzalez and Cruz, were also named in the report.
In case you were out living your own sports dreams by eating pretzels like Jason Alexander circa '94, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
The Los Angeles Kings once again showed that Staples Center is a fortress, extending their unbeaten home playoff record with a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks to narrow Chicago's Western Conference finals lead to 2-1. "Man, it's harder to win there than it is at a Staples," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game. "I mean, you go in, and the prices are way higher than you'd find online, but it's like, I need index cards today and where the hell else can you get index cards? Then you end up wandering down an aisle and remembering that your wife told you the router was on the fritz, so you go to pick up a new one, but all the models are weird and overpriced. Then you get up to the counter, and boom, Jonathan Quick rejects your credit card. So you go to shoplift some highlighters. Which, and trust me on this one, only makes things worse."
Oklahoma avenged its defeat in last year's Women's College World Series by completing its sweep of the Tennessee Volunteers with a 4-0 series-clinching win. Oklahoma became the first WCWS champion to finish first in the nation in ERA and scoring, putting it in the conversation about the greatest women's college softball teams of all time. Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops differed in his assessment, however, saying, "Last year's model was definitely better; it's always better when you make it to the finals and lose. Builds character. Shows true greatness."
In case you were out just driving, man, just hitting the open road, here's what you missed in sports Tuesday.
The Houston Rockets tied the NBA record for 3-pointers but were denied the record outright after a flurry of ejections marred the end of their 140-109 win over the Golden State Warriors. Houston point guard Jeremy Lin, who led the way for the Rockets with 28 points and nine assists, said after the game, "It was total Linsanity out there, huh?" before pausing dramatically for effect. "I mean, I've seen some things in my day, but that was totally Linsane." Lin then paused again, before admitting, "Guys, I have a lot of T-shirts to move, so if you could remind people of Linsanity, that would be really great. My cousin is all like, 'Get these boxes out of my garage,' and I'm like, 'Whatever, Tom. You said I could leave them in there as long as I needed,' and he's all like, 'Yeah, but I thought they'd be gone in a week,' and I was all like, 'Yeah, me, too.'"