August 02, 2012

By GENARO C. ARMAS Associated Press

 

Star tailback Silas Redd is bolting Penn State for Southern California.

The 1,200-yard rusher opted Tuesday July 31 to leave a Nittany Lions program facing heavy NCAA sanctions handed down because of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Among the penalties was a four-year postseason ban.

The NCAA gave Penn State players the option to transfer immediately and play for another school this year. Redd visited USC over the weekend and heard coach Lane Kiffin’s pitch to be a key cog for a Trojans team expected to be highly ranked and contend for the Pac-12 title.

Redd is the second player to leave Penn State since the sanctions were announced July 23. The other was backup safety Tim Buckley, who joined North Carolina State on July 30.

“We welcome Silas Redd to the Trojan Family,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. “He is an outstanding student and athlete.”

“At USC, we’ve seen both sides of this issue, having lost a number of players to transfer due to our NCAA sanctions in 2010. But Lane Kiffin and his coaches would not be doing their job if they did not try to improve our team every single day. There is a specific need here for a player like Silas Redd, so Lane and our coaches recruited him within the guidelines set up in this instance by the NCAA.”

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and his staff have been working hard to keep the team together despite the sanctions, but Redd was his best offensive player. Backup Bill Belton is a converted wideout.

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August 02, 2012

By TOM CANAVAN Associated Press 

 

Projected starting cornerback Terrell Thomas has re-injured his surgically repaired right knee and his status for the New York Giants' season is uncertain.

Thomas was sent to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York Monday after reporting that he had swelling in his right knee. An MRI and an examination by Dr. Russell Warren showed that the five-year veteran suffered another injury to the knee involving the ACL.

He tore his ACL for the second time in a preseason game last season and missed the Giants' Super Bowl season. He slipped in practice recently while covering receiver Domenik Hixon and that seems to be when he re-injured it.

Ronnie Barnes, the Giants senior vice president of medical services, said that Thomas probably would have arthroscopic surgery to determine the extent of the new injury. Thomas plans to consult with California-based surgeon Dr. Arthur Ting, who performed the ACL reconstruction in September.

 

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August 02, 2012

By Kenneth Miller

LA Watts Times Correspondent

 

It has been 25 years since the late Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis made the infamous statement those Blacks lacked the buoyancy to become good swimmers during a televised Nightline interview with Ted Koppel on ABC in 1987.

 

African American Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones nearly drowned of a water slide incident at the age of five, two years after Campanis raciest quote which led to ouster from baseball and brought about national embarrassment to the Dodgers which had introduced us to the man who broke baseball’s color barrier---Jackie Robinson.

 

Twenty-three years after Jones near fatal incident, the Bronx, and NY native was chuckling about the incident as he was preparing for the 100 meter free style at the London Olympics.

 

“I almost drowned and now I am an Olympic swimmer,” Jones said laughing. “I can definitely appreciate the irony.”

 

That childhood incident subsequently led Jones to swimming lessons. He became a member of the Metro Express swim club in West Orange, New Jersey at the Jewish Community Center after the family moved to New Jersey from the Bronx.

 

Eventually he would switch teams and swam for the Jersey Gators Swim Club in Cranford.

 

Following his youth experience he attended North Carolina State University where he swam for the Wolfpack and also participated on the diving team from 2003-2006.

 

His 6’5, 210 stature suggest he could have excelled as either of shooting guard in basketball or tight end or linebacker in football, but undeterred by his incident at the Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Pennsylvania he became a swimmer.

 

His ironic twist of fate is what makes Jones success on the world stage of the Olympics all the more fascinating.

 

Jones is not just splashing in the pool he is a world record holder in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay (long course and it was Jones who maintained his  advantage in the event that propelled the United States men to a silver medal in London.

 

He was also responsible for an Olympic gold in Beijing four years ago in the same event.

 

Although he failed to qualify in the individual freestyle in London, the future is bright for the 28- year old who has a sponsorship  deal with  Nike, signed after he burst upon the scene shortly after set the meet record for the 50 meter freestyle at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in 2006.

 

“I love being on relays, but being in an individual event just means so much more,” he added.

 

Jones’ coaches say that he has always been fast, but he has never put it altogether at the right time. Coaches say his skills are tremendous and he is essential to the U.S. Team.

 

He is only the second African American to hold or share a world record in swimming since Anthony Ervin. He is also only the third Black to make the U.S. Olympic team since Ervin and Maritza Correia.

 

Rare company indeed, but even more remarkable considering he only took up the sport to prevent his fear of a child incident.

 

Campanis aside, it’s safe to say he not only has buoyancy to be a good swimmer, but the courage and talent to demonstrate that he is one of the best in all of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August 02, 2012

Associated Press

  

The Green Bay Packers top the first-ever AP Pro32 NFL power rankings, a new pro football version of the AP Top 25 college football and basketball polls.

 

Once the NFL season starts, the AP Pro32 rankings will be updated weekly.

 

Green Bay is followed by New England and the New York Giants. Indianapolis is projected as the worst team in the NFL heading into the 2012 season.

 

The Packers, coming off a 15-1 record but without a championship, received 374 points from a panel of 12 sports writers and broadcasters who regularly cover the league. The Packers got five first-place votes, as did the Giants, who beat Green Bay on their way to a Super Bowl win over the Patriots last season.

 

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August 02, 2012

By Kenneth Miller

 

LA Watts Times Correspondent

 

 

From the moment she was a pint size three year-old toddler and her sister Arielle taught her how to do a cartwheel, Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Douglas wanted more. So on her own she began doing cartwheels on one hand.

 

Douglas participates in a sport that is not just void of African Americans; it rarely attracts them because from an economic standpoint in many instances it’s not feasible.

 

Gymnastics is one of those elite individual sports that require a lot of time and a whole lot of money, but if you are really good as Douglas has proven to be you can push your way onto the Olympic stage.

 

Douglas, born in Virginia Beach, VA, didn’t just qualify for the London Olympics, but she has taken the Olympics and sport by storm leading the American women team to a team gold medal on Tuesday and qualifying in the all around category.

 

It was only the second time in Olympic history that American women had captured team gold. Douglas is the first African American to share such honors.

 

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won its first gold medal since 1996

 

Atlanta Games, and thanks in large part to the girl they call ‘Flying Squirrel’ the 2012 team is in the history books again.

 

After reigning world champion Jordyn Weiber of was knocked out of the finals for the all-around title two days earlier by Douglas, Gabby then turned her attention to the team finals and as usual was dynamic and courageous posting an eye popping 15.966.

 

Again she bested Wieber who had set the tone by earning 15.933 points.

 

Douglas qualified at the U.S. Olympic trials on June 28 through July 1 and thus joined the ranks of other African-American Olympic gymnasts, including Dominique Dawes and Betty Okino, who won, along with their U.S. teammates, the Olympic Team Bronze medal in 1992, and Tasha Schwikert, who joined Dawes on the U.S. team in 2000.

 

Now, Douglas aims to win an individual medal in the sport, which would make her the first black woman to do so since Dawes' bronze-medal win in 1996.

 

She will have her opportunity when she competes for the all around title, a competition she nearly won at the USA gymnastics national championships in St. Louis.

 

On the greatest stage of all she is inspired to regain her winning ways at the London Olympics.

 

The road to the Olympics has been a challenging one.

 

This daughter of Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins had to move from her family in 2012 to West Des Moines, Iowa so that she could receive the essential training to be an elite gymnast.

 

It was in Iowa where she trained with 2008 Olympic coach Liang Chow to hone her gifted skills. She lives with a host family, but the separation from home and family has been a difficult adjustment for her.

 

Douglas had demonstrated early on that she would be special, winning the 2004 State Championship title in Virginia.

 

Gabby, as she is affectionately called, burst onto the nation scene in 2012 at the Nastia Liukin SuperGirl Cup in Massachusetts where she finished fourth in the all around.

 

From there it was onto Chicago where she placed third on the balance beam, 6th on the vault and 9th in the all around junior division.

 

She then went on to the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships and captured a silver medal on balance beam, placed fourth all-around and on vault, and tied for eighth on floor exercise.

 

Douglas competed at in the 2010 Pan American Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico where she won the uneven bars crown, and she also won a share of the U.S. team gold medal.

 

She has competed at the world famous Madison Square Garden and soon will be a household name after her monumental achievements at the London Olympics.

 

Gabby’s accomplishments at the London Olympics might be greater than any African American Olympian, including the highly decorated USA men basketball team.

 

That glowing smile, those elegant and graceful moves in a sport that is placed on a shelf for too many to reach. She didn’t just get there, but is soon to be standing alone with an Olympic medal draped around her neck for the world to see.

 

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