November 14, 2013
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) —It took about 24 hours for Kyle Williams to find a new job.
The wide receiver and return man was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, one day after his release from the San Francisco 49ers.
Williams’ agent, Wynn Silberman, said Williams would fly to Kansas City later Wednesday to join his new team and be reunited with former San Francisco teammate quarterback Alex Smith, who has led a turnaround for the franchise under coach Andy Reid.
“It’s interesting, certainly, with the Bay Area connection there and being reunited with Alex,” said Silberman, who was confident his client would land with a new team in short order.
The Chiefs (9-0) released wide receiver Chad Hall to clear roster room for Williams’ arrival. Williams had already changed his Twitter profile Wednesday to refer to himself as a “KC Chiefs WR” and posted a tweet that read only “Chiefs!”
“He was a good friend. Sad to see him go,” San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick said.
Williams missed the late run last season to the Super Bowl — a 34-31 loss to the Ravens — because of a serious knee injury that required surgery. He remained a key member of the team and was honored with the team’s Ed Block Courage Award.
“Kyle Williams, in his case, fought back from injury, rehab and a great testament to him,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “So, it’s tough. A really, really hard decision.”
The 25-year-old Williams, a native of nearby San Jose, has 12 catches for 113 yards and no touchdowns this season after starting as the No. 2 receiver opposite Anquan Boldin. Williams also had 12 punt returns for 61 yards and seven kickoff returns for 134 yards.
A sixth-round pick by the 49ers in 2010 out of Arizona State, Williams returned this season from a torn ACL in his left knee that required surgery and ended his 2012 season in late November.
Just when Williams was on a nice roll last year, he got hurt in a Nov. 25 win at New Orleans. He had 13 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown in the first 11 games of 2012.
Williams dedicated this season to former Sun Devils teammate Tyrice Thompson, who died Feb. 2 from injuries suffered when he was stabbed Jan. 27 while working at a Scottsdale, Ariz., nightclub. Williams added a No. 81 tattoo on his inner left forearm to honor Thompson.
Williams will long be remembered for his two costly fumbles in a 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game following the 2011 season. That included losing a fumble on a punt return in overtime that set up Lawrence Tynes’ winning field goal. Williams took responsibility for the mistake, but received death threats and was harassed on social media.
The 49ers gave him a fresh start last year.
In April 2012, a recording came out of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams instructing players in January to “put a lick” on Kyle Williams to see if he had lingering effects from a concussion he sustained in 2011. The NFC West champion 49ers beat Drew Brees and favored New Orleans 36-32 in the NFC divisional playoffs. Gregg Williams oversaw and contributed money to the illegal bounty fund for planned vicious hits on opponents.
Williams will be joining a Chiefs team off to a surprising 9-0 start despite an offense that has struggled to score points. The biggest reason for their ineffectiveness has been the passing game, where wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has been the only big-play option.
Bowe is now facing a possible suspension after he was arrested over the weekend for speeding and possession of marijuana. Bowe will play in Kansas City’s game Sunday at Denver.
The Chiefs have turned to the 49ers to address their dour wide receiver situation already this season. They claimed Hall when he was released by San Francisco in August, and then sent Jon Baldwin to the 49ers for A.J. Jenkins in a trade of disappointing former first-round picks.
None of the moves has worked, though. Hall had just one catch for nine yards while active for seven games, and Jenkins has one catch for six yards in nine games.
November 14, 2013
By Hazel Trice Edney
The chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a federation of more than 200 Black-owned newspapers, says the Washington Redskins’ team — under fire from a Richmond, Va. publisher — is in sync with the entire National Football League in its apparent oppressive treatment of Black businesses and consumers.
“It’s almost a slave mentality. They put us on the field and we entertain the master but we’re not reaping any benefits from the business side of it,” Campbell says. “It’s not just the Redskins. If you look around the country, the NFL as a whole pretty much neglects Black businesses and the Black community,” said Campbell, publisher of the Arizona Informant Newspaper.
He continued, “Here in Arizona, our Arizona Cardinals does zero with the Black community. Every now and then they might show up for a token Black event. But, I don’t see our African-American newspaper here in Phoenix or in Arizona being supported by the Arizona Cardinals. I believe if you called other newspapers that have [teams] in their markets, I don’t believe they’re doing much for them either. I believe the NFL as a whole takes the Black community for granted although we are their major product on the field.”
Campbell was responding to questions pertaining to a conflict between NNPA member Ray Boone, editor/publisher of the award-winning Richmond Free Press, and the Richmond-based Washington Redskins Training Camp, which is partially owned by Bon Secours Health System.
In a letter to NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock and CC’d to Campbell, Boone states that the team contracted no business with Black-owned or locally owned businesses at its first Richmond training camp between July 25 and August 16. That includes the failure to advertise in the Black-owned Richmond Free Press while advertising with the White-owned conservative daily, the Richmond Times Dispatch which has a history of pro-segregation leadership. The conflict is steeped in an age-old battle constantly waged by Black newspapers, which are historic targets for advertising discrimination.
While Bon Secours placed paid advertisements for the training camp in the Times Dispatch, the Free Press was sent press releases, Boone said in an interview.
Brock, who has served as NAACP chair since 2010, is vice president for advocacy and government relations for the Bon Secours Health System, Inc., in Marriottsville, Md. Boone believes her corporate position has caused her to compromise her stance for economic justice in the Richmond case.
“Bon Secours, along with Mayor Dwight C. Jones and the Washington team, blatantly denied, contrary to the Mayor’s pledge, black businesses and other local businesses the opportunity to receive vendor contracts inside the training camp,” Boone wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to Brock. “Characteristic of Richmond government and big businesses, this Bon Secours decision disgracefully enhanced Richmond’s shameful reputation as ‘The Capital of Poverty,’ with 25 percent of Richmond’s population suffering in poverty.”
When Brock had not responded to his letter for more than a month, Boone followed up with a Nov. 1 email pointing out, “This raises the unavoidable question of whether Bon Secours is restricting you from living up to your responsibility to honor the NAACP mission?”
He continued, “In the interest of fairness and the image of the NAACP, I respectfully suggest that you break your silence.”
Brock responded to Boone by email that same day, stating, “The matter you reference in your letter is local in nature and should be handled directly by the Richmond Branch NAACP and Salim Khalfani at the Virginia State Conference NAACP. I have forwarded your correspondence to them and shared the information with the leadership of Bon Secours Health System in Richmond.”
In an email, responding to a question from the Trice Edney News Wire this week, Brock said that she had not publically commented on Boone’s complaint because it is a local issue.
Brock’s email said she had “also discussed the matter in detail with” Campbell, who is serving his second term as NNPA chairman. At a Sept. 17 reception in D.C., Campbell, Boone and other NNPA publishers praised Brock for her leadership and gave her an award for social justice.
While Campbell verbally blistered the NFL, including the Redskins, he balanced his response by saying he agrees with Brock that the issue in Boone’s case is local since the economic decisions appear to have been made by the mayor and Bon Secours’ Richmond entities.
“At the end of the day, I think [the criticism of her] is unfair just because she works for Bon Secours. That’s her day job. We all volunteer at some time with the NAACP,” Campbell says, referring to Brock’s volunteer chairmanship. “While we want to see Mr. Boone and his publication get what it deserves and more so; that is definitely a local issue.”
Boone, who recently announced he has stopped using the term “Redskins” in the Richmond Free Press because it is “racist”, argues that the Redskins’ and Bon Secours’ exclusion of Black businesses underscores and illustrates the team’s mentality under the controversial name, which is receiving growing national pressure for change.
In her email to the Trice Edney News Wire, Brock also clarified that the NAACP has long stood against the Redskins name because of its roots in racism. “The NAACP passed a resolution more than ten years ago against racial slurs being used as mascots. In the last few months the NAACP signed on letters with the Oneida Tribe, based in Washington and the National Coalition on American Tribes especially in support of their efforts to change the Redskins name,” she wrote.
Neither Mayor Dwight C. Jones; nor Virginia NAACP President King Salim Khalfani could be reached for comment by deadline. Bon Secours representatives did not return repeated phone calls.
Meanwhile, Boone, a recipient of the State NAACP's Oliver W. Hill Freedom Fighter Award, remains focused on his quest for economic justice, promising Brock “fairness and balance” in upcoming coverage of her leadership positions with the NAACP and Bon Secours.
Such economic battles have been hard fought in Richmond and in Black and grassroots communities across the nation. Former Richmond City Councilman Chuck Richardson, known for his historic advocacy for Black businesses and contractors, recalls researching Washington Redskins’ racism as far back as 1961. That’s when he wrote a research paper in junior high school about the team and how the Redskins was “the last professional football team to allow Blacks to play for them,” he said in an interview. “This harkens back to that painful time. It hurt then and I would have thought that a greater degree of change might have occurred, but the mentality still exists. It seems so much has changed and yet so much remains the same.”
November 07, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Aldon Smith believes he is on the path to being sober for good.
Part of the process for the San Francisco 49ers’ All-Pro linebacker to rejoin the team following a five-week stint in rehab included a verbal commitment to the NFL that he would stay out of trouble and keep clean.
“I think any time we could all look into our lives and find something we need to work on,” Smith said Tuesday, seemingly relaxed. “I’ve taken my time and I've done that.”
A clean-cut Smith — hair trimmed from his previous long, curly cut — returned to the 49ers’ locker room after his long absence and five missed games to cheers from teammates who chanted his first name. Everybody knows what he means to this franchise and defense — and the 49ers are hopeful he is as healthy as he looks and ready to return to the field as soon as Sunday’s home game with Carolina.
“I’m getting there. Every day’s just a step closer to getting to where I want to be,” Smith said at his locker after practice. “I’ve gotten a lot of support, from my family, friends, organization, teammates and everything. And it really says a lot that people care about me outside the field and they care about me as a person.”
Smith had been on an indefinite paid leave of absence before being activated to the 53-man roster Thursday, two days after he turned himself in to Santa Clara County authorities on weapons charges. He met last Wednesday with team officials.
The fearsome pass-rusher is in shape despite a couple of extra pounds gained during his stint at an in-patient treatment center for substance abuse. He was at a facility outside California, he said, while declining to offer further details. He said he returned to the Bay Area on Oct. 28 after entering rehab in late September — and he was away for his 24th birthday Sept. 25.
Defensive teammate and fellow linebacker Patrick Willis is among those who sent periodic text messages to Smith during his time away.
“Aldon has been a guy since he came in who has been very productive for our defense, has been a playmaker for our defense,” Willis said. “To get him back is a good thing, then, too, with his absence we were able to develop some depth with some of the other guys. It’s really going to be a strong point for us. When you have a guy such as Aldon with his talent, the biggest thing we can do for him is just let him know we’re here for him, let him know that we’re his teammates, but the main thing is just let him grow on his own.”
Smith played in a 27-7 home loss to the Colts on Sept. 22 and had five tackles just two days after he was arrested and jailed on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. He apologized for his behavior after the game then later announced he would leave for treatment.
San Francisco (6-2) has won five straight games in impressive fashion without him.
Also in September, Smith and former teammate Delanie Walker were named in a lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court by a Northern California man who said he was shot at a party at Smith’s house on June 29, 2012.
Smith, selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft out of Missouri, had previously been arrested on suspicion of DUI in January 2012 in Miami shortly after the 49ers lost in the NFC championship game.
Now, Smith is moving forward. He’s thrilled to be reunited with not only his team but also his 10-month-old son, Aulis.
“He looks good, man,” running back Frank Gore said. “I’m a big fan of Aldon, a young guy who has the potential to be one of the best at the position. I’m happy he’s back with the family. I know he can help our team, so that’s great.”
While Smith is scheduled for court appearances each of the next two Tuesdays, he expects to be in practice.
Smith was charged Oct. 9 with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from that party at his home in June 2012.
“Of course, I didn’t want to be away from the sport I love. But it was good for me to get away and get my mind together and work, like I say, just to get to the positive spot I need to be at,” he said. “I caught some of the games, some that were broadcast over there. So I was able to keep up with the guys and chime in here and there and wish them good luck.”
Smith had a franchise-record 19½ sacks last season for the NFC champions. He has 4½ sacks and 18 tackles over three games in 2013.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time, getting back here, being around the guys and just getting my life back at home,” Smith said.
Also Tuesday, leading 2012 wideout Michael Crabtree was cleared to resume practicing following May surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon. The 49ers now have three weeks to activate him.
By Kenneth D. Miller
Assistant Managing Editor
By all accounts, Miami Dolphins second year lineman Jonathan Martin was the total opposite of teammate Richie Incognito, who the Dolphins suspended this week indefinitely because of racially charged allegations.
Martin, a second round draft pick out of Stanford University where he played for African American coach, David Shaw, was a redshirt sophomore All-American for the Cardinal.
Prior to choosing the Cardinal, he was a standout football star for Harvard Westlake, a local prestigious private school recognized for its academic excellence and athletic success.
Martin hails from a proud family of esteemed intellect. His father, Gus Martin, is a Harvard University graduate and professor at Cal State Dominguez. His mother, Jane, is also a Harvard graduate and a corporate lawyer for Toyota.
In fact, as many as nine of his relatives graduated from the elite Ivy League school.
Incognito on the other hand was a troubled collegiate player at Nebraska who was suspended in his second year from the team, but reinstated.
Respected former NFL coach turned analyst, Tony Dungy recalled that Incognito was listed on the Colts draft board as DNDC (Do Not Draft Character issues), but the St. Louis rams ignored that label and made him the 81st player selected in 2005 in the 3rd round.
Incognito is considered one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, but has played for three teams during his nine-year career.
However, this week, the names of both Martin and Incognito are inescapably linked because of an alleged hazing incident that went way too far.
Although Martin in his second year should not have been the subject of an NFL ritual of rookie hazing, its has been reported that he was targeted by Incognito who went so far as to leave messages on his cell phone informing him that he wanted to defecate in his mouth, would slap his mother and rained the dreaded N word epithet on numerous occasions.
INCOGNITO TRANSCRIPT: “Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you.” This was recorded in 2013 when Martin was drafted.
The apparent straw that broke the camel’s back for Martin came when teammates asked him to join them for lunch and when he sat down to eat with them, they all got up and left.
In disgust Martin slammed his food tray on the table and left and has not returned to the team. He has not returned and has not yet been placed on the physically unable to perform list. He has sought counseling according to his representatives.
Incognito’s future in the league is in peril after a former player, Bart Scott, said that none of what is being reported and said about Incognito surprises him.
“I want to see [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell step up and talk about player conduct and protecting the shield — this guy needs to be out of this league,” Scott said on the Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco show on ESPN 98.7 FM. “He needs to be gone. No one would miss him, anyway. Trust me."
The former Jets and Ravens linebacker lit into the Dolphins guard Monday for his alleged bullying of Martin.
“It doesn’t surprise me one bit. He’s a fake tough guy. He’s a guy that suffers from mood swings, if you know what I mean. That’s something we’ve always known,” said Scott, who competed against Incognito during his career. “One of the dirtiest players, if not the dirtiest player I’ve ever played against.”
In stark contrast, New York Giants player Antrel Rolle, who is Black, partially blamed Martin.
“Was Richie Incognito wrong? Absolutely. But I think the other guy is just as much to blame as Richie, because he allowed it to happen. At this level, you’re a man. You’re not a little boy. You're not a freshman in college. You’re a man,” Rolle said.
In addition, the National Football League Players Association is carefully monitoring the situation because it represents both players, Incognito who is white and Martin who is Black.
More than 50 percent of the players in the NFL are African Americans and the fraternity is very tight knit as demonstrated by the response of Rolle and the lack thereof others who have not even bothered to come out in support of the 24-year old Martin.
Few disagree that Incognito’s behavior was racially motivated, the second and most powerful incident the NFL has faced this year. During the preseason, Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Riley Cooper, used the N-word towards a Black at a summer concert.
However, what has not been reported may be a block buster story that may or may not ever come out.
What was the off-the-field relationship with Incognito and Martin? Why would Incognito risk his entire career in the NFL and raking in millions after having combated drug and alcohol abuse in this manner?
Why didn’t Martin retaliate immediately, either via phone or in person?
Martin was allegedly bullied into paying $15,000 for a Las Vegas trip for veteran players and after doing so, did attend the trip himself.
What sort of counseling did Martin require?
There will come a day when Incognito will have more to say and perhaps Martin will come out and speak, but one thing is certain, there is much more to this story that what we have read and heard!
October 31, 2013
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Say goodbye, A.I. Allen Iverson officially retired from the NBA on Wednesday, ending a 15-year career during which he won the 2001 MVP award and four scoring titles. Iverson retired in Philadelphia where he had his greatest successes and led the franchise to the 2001 NBA finals.
Iverson says he’ll be a Sixer “until the day I die.”
The 6-foot guard had not played in an NBA game since Feb. 20, 2010, and had a brief pro stint in Turkey. He also played for Denver, Detroit and Memphis. Iverson scored 24,368 points and was an 11-time All-Star.
Former Georgetown coach John Thompson and former Sixers great Julius Erving were in attendance for the ceremony.
Iverson says he always thought retirement would be a “tragic” day. But he says he’s happy in his personal life and at peace with his decision.
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