Contador Tests Positive for Banned Substance

Stop the presses, another Tour de France winner has tested positive for a banned substance.  Spaniard Alberto Contador, who won his third Tour de France this past July, has been notified by the International Cycling Union that both his A and B urine samples on July 21 tested positive for a “very small concentration” of clenbuterol via a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab in Cologne, Germany.  According to the UCI statement, Contador has been “formally and provisionally suspended.”

Contador’s publicist, Jacinto Vidarte, said in his statement that Contador was notified of the failed test on August 24, and has said that the cyclist insists food poisoning is the reason for his test results, siting “experts consulted” that have agreed that this is the result of contaminated meat.  At a news conference Thursday, Contador called the UCI’s suspension “a true mistake”, and said the contaminated meat was brought across the border from Spain to France during a rest day on the Tour.  Contador said he ate the meat on July 20 and July 21.

If Contador is stripped of his title, he would become the second cyclist in the history of the Tour de France to have it taken away.  American Floyd Landis was the first in 2006.  Landis, who denied taking performance-enhancing drugs for years, finally admitted this past spring that he had indeed taken illegal drugs and accused fellow cyclist Lance Armstrong of systematic drug use as well.  Armstrong has been accused of drug use since winning his 7th straight Tour de France in 2005.

Clenbuterol, a drug used most often to treat asthma, has been found in athletes before.  In 2008, American Swimmer Jessica Hardy withdrew from the Olympic team after testing positive for the substance.  More recently, Italian cyclist Alessandro Colo and Chinese rider Li Fuyu were suspended for testing positive for the drug.

If Contador’s positive test is upheld, he could be subject to a mandatory two-year ban from cycling.

Posted in Cycling | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Donovan McNabb hasn’t learned anything

Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb (that still sounds weird) makes his anticipated return to Philadelphia this Sunday to take on the Eagles and resurgent QB Michael Vick.

McNabb, who was traded to the Redskins on April 4th for a 2nd round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and 3rd or 4th round pick in the 2011 draft, will be returning to the city where he had spent his previous 11 seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Eagles with the 2nd overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.  In his 11 seasons, McNabb make six Pro Bowls and led the team to eight playoff appearances and one Super Bowl appearance.  Despite his success, he was often criticized by fans in Philadelphia for being soft, injury-prone, and too laid-back.

McNabb, making his weekly radio appearance on Washington’s ESPN 980, said that the positive results in 11 seasons should outweigh his appearance in a Redskins uniform.  “No matter what the situation is right now, that I’m with a different team and obviously it’s kind of a rival, and it wasn’t my choice,” but the whole deal about it was 11 years. It was a successful 11 years. And you had a lot of great times, a lot of great moments, a lot of exciting plays. Obviously, some down times, but you have that in the NFL. But there’s more exciting things that happened in 11 years.”

While McNabb thinks he’ll get some cheers, recent history shows that might not be the case.  Fans in Green Bay gave Brett Favre a mixed reaction last year upon his return to Lambeau Field as a member of the rival Minnesota Vikings, despite being the Packers QB for 16 seasons, earning 3 MVP awards and leading the Packers to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XXXI.

If Favre’s success in Green Bay can’t outweigh the circumstances of his return to Lambeau Field, what makes Donovan McNabb think he’ll receive cheers upon his return to the much tougher fan base of Philadelphia?

What do you expect in terms of fan reaction to McNabb this Sunday?  Cheers, boos, or a mixed bag?  Make your predictions in the comments section.

Posted in NFL | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Evan Longoria and David Price Are Not Happy

The Tampa Bay Rays lost last night at home to the Baltimore Orioles 4-0, missing a 2nd consecutive chance to clinch a playoff berth in front of a crowd of 12,446, the fourth lowest attendance mark of the season.  The real story from last night occurred after the game was over, when Evan Longoria and David Price called out the fans, or lack thereof, at Tropicana Field.

Longoria voiced his displeasure in his post game interview, saying “We only had like 15,000 fans out there. In 2008, when we clinched, this place was packed. We played 155 games this season and it’s kind of like what else do you have to do to draw fans in this place. It’s actually embarrassing for us.”  Longoria continued later, saying “It doesn’t have any bearing on the effort we bring to the table every day.  But we’re talking about a team in a playoff hunt with the opportunity to clinch. You could at least get 30,000 in here to cheer you onto it.  Again, it’s disheartening. It’s something I’ve been wanting to say for a long time. It’s not a jab at the fans. It’s not a kick below the belt. Obviously, you want to bring a championship to Tampa and we’d like for more than 12,000 to 15,000 to know about it.”

Longoria was backed up by David Price, the team’s staff ace, who echoed Longoria’s sentiments in a late-night tweet that read: “Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands….embarrassing”

Price later apologized for his tweet, writing, “If I offended anyone I apologize I did not think it was gonna turn into this…” but the fact of the matter is that words have been spoken, and cannot be taken back.  Are Longoria and Price wrong?  No.  Are they the right people to call out the fans?  I think so.  Will their statements bring in fans?  We’ll see.  Most writers are criticizing the pair this morning, most notably ESPN writer Buster Olney in his morning column (ESPN Insider access required).  I love Olney’s articles, but disagree with him here.  Think of the alternative to what happened.  Silence certainly won’t change the attendance record.  Also, if any player has the power to make change down there it’s Evan Longoria.  Kudos to him for speaking up.  It might not make a difference in the attendance numbers or fan support, but it’s an attempt.  And what’s the downside?  10,000 fans show up instead of 12,000?

Posted in MLB | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the NFL, 0-3 starts will not be tolerated

It happens all too often.  An NFL team, off to an unacceptable start, picks a sacrificial lamb and fires them in an attempt to send a message to players, coaches, and fans that failure will not be tolerated.  Today NFL fans were treated to not one but two such moves, as the San Fransisco 49ers fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and the Buffalo Bills released former starting QB Trent Edwards.

Raye’s dismissal comes one day after head coach Mike Singletary stated he would be the offensive coordinator for the rest of the season.  The 49ers are last in the NFC West, in a season where they were picked by many to win the division.  Their offense has been the main culprit, as they rank 20th in total offense scoring 12.7 points-per-game, 31st in the NFL.

Edwards recently lost his starting QB job to perennial backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who led the offense to 374 yards and 30 points against New England yesterday in a 38-30 loss. Edwards started the first two games of the season, going 0-2 and bringing his career record as a starter to 14-18.  He had played poorly this season, throwing for only 241 yards, with one touchdown, two interceptions, and seven sacks taken.

49ers quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson will take over play-calling for the team in the wake of Raye’s firing.  QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will continue to start at QB for the Bills, who plan to replace Edwards on the roster with OT Levi Brown, who the team recently released this summer.

Posted in NFL | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ahhh It’s Rookie Hazing Time Again

We’re in the home stretch of MLB’s regular season, and for some teams, that means it’s time to ratchet up the intensity for a pennant race or give some much-needed rest to players that are hurting.  For every team though, it’s time to haze the rookies.

One selected hazing technique employed by several teams involves costumes, including the Boston Red Sox.  Some of the rookies that dressed in a uniform other than their gamedays included Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson, Daniel Nava, and Yamaico Navarro.

Check out a few pictures below, and if you’d like, you can check out some video here, compliments of NESN.

Posted in MLB | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment