Bubba Smith dies aged 66

Bubba Smith, who won Super Bowl in 1971 and became famous for his role as Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movies has died aged 66. The larger-than-life actor and sportsman was found in his LA home one Wednesday.

The cause of death was not determined immediately, but the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said in a statement: “There is no indication of anything other than natural death.”

Smith’s former Michigan State teammate Gene Washington told the Detroit Free Press: “I had no idea that he was even ill or that anything could be wrong. It’s incredibly sad, because Bubba was such a larger-than-life figure. Nothing surprised you with Bubba.”

Bubba Smith was a larger-than-life celebrity

Bubba Smith was 6’7” tall and weighed in at 300lbs. He was born in Texas under the name of Charles Aaron Smith and acquired his name in through his fierce defensive play on the field at Michigan State University. He went on to play for the Baltimore Colts in 1967, Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers. He retired from the sport in 1976.

His acting career began as small roles in shows like Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels. He was also the face of Miller Lite Beer in its 70s and 80s commercials – a lucrative job he eventually decided to quite because he was himself teetotal. He fell into his prolific role of florist-turned-cop Moses in Police Academy in 1984.

Although information on Smith’s survivors is not available. he will be missed by many, including his good friend Gene Washington, who grew up amid the same racial prejudices Smith faced.

“If it wasn’t for Bubba, I never would have gotten to Michigan State. His father (Willie Ray Smith) was his football coach and he told (Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty) that he should recruit me as well,” said Washington.

[adsense]The pair competed against each other, playing for exclusively black high schools. Smith was rejected from his preferred choice- University of Texas – on the basis of his skin colour. In a 2008 HBO documentary Breaking the Huddle, Smith said he could never understand why the university did not take him on. He said this only served to push him harder to make the school and Texans regret their attitudes.

Michigan State would of course be forever appreciative of their Southern brethren’s intolerance.

“He was quite simply one of the greatest football players ever,” says Washington.

Click here to read more about NFL legend George Blanda, who passed away at the age of 83, and our coverage about Bronco Denver player Kenny Mckinley who was found dead at home and NFL star Julius Peppers

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NFL sued for concealing concussion risks

As many as 75 former players have filed a lawsuit against the organisation, claiming it intentionally concealed the harmful effects of game-related concussions for 90 years.

The papers, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court and obtained by TMZ, cite the players and their wives claiming, “The NFL knew as early as the 1920’s of the harmful effects on a player’s brain of concussions; however, until June of 2010 they concealed these facts from coaches, trainers, players and the public.”

The NFL is being sued by former players

According to the suit, the league commissioned a survey in 1994 named “NFL Committee on MIld Traumatic Brain Injury” and published a report in 2004, the conclusion of which was that there was “no evidence of worsening injury or chronic cumulative effects” from receiving multiple concussions.

The allegation is that the NFL did not admit that concussions could lead to dementia, CTE, memory loss and related ailments later in life until June 2010. All of the players in the suit claim they sufffered injuries as a result of multiple concussions.

NFL helmets manufacturer Riddell is also a defendant and the league is additionally being sued for fraud, negligence and failure to warn. The parties filing the suit are seeking unspecified damages. Among them are former wide receiver for the Dolphins, Mark Duper, and former running backs for the Giants Otis Anderson and Rodney Hampton.

[adsense]“We have not seen the complaint but would vigorously contest any claims of this kind,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in response to reports of the lawsuit.

Click here to read more about how to spot the signs of concussion, whether NFL star Julius Peppers is at risk of Alzheimer’s and how Eric LeGrand was left paralyzed by horror injury.

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Danny Wuerffel struck down by Guillain-Barre syndrome

Washington Redskins’ quarterback, Danny Wuerffel, has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder characterized by the immune system attacking the nervous system in response to a gastrointestinal or respiratory infection, usually appearing a few days or weeks after the virus has presented itself. Occasionally, it is thought that vaccinations or undergoing surgery can also act as a trigger for the disorder.

The first symptoms of the debilitating disorder are weakness and an abnormal tingling sensation in the legs that soon spread to the upper body. Normal reflexes are lost (eg knee jerk) as the signals travelling along nerve endings are too slow.  In a typical case the symptoms increase with intensity until the muscles are unable to be used at all, and can, the most severe cases leading to complete paralysis. At that stage their condition is considered life threatening and the patient will require immediate hospitalization and the use of respiratory equipment to assist with breathing or other machines to assist with bodily functioning.

Nerve damage is affecting Danny Wuerffel

With its sudden onset, the disorder can be devastating. The patient will generally reach their weakest point within two to three weeks after the initial diagnosis. Recovery can take place within a few weeks up to several years.

“It puts life into perspective, doesn’t it?” Wuerffel said.

The 37-year-old is expected to recover and has received a lot of support, including from his college coach (Steve Spurrier) and former Florida coach, Urban Meyer, alongside Will Muschamp – current Gators’ coach.

Danny Wuerffel is expected to recover from Guillain-Barre syndrome

“It reminds of when I was playing and people were cheering and pulling for you,” he says.

Most sufferers recover from the illness although some still experience weakness. A rare few are less lucky.

Basketball coach, Mike Sutton, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré in 2005 and following a long period of hospitalization, now walks with a cane.

“Most people recover fully, I was one of the unlucky ones,” Sutton said. “The statistics are in Danny’s favor. The hardest part right now is they can’t tell him when he is going to start getting better. It sounds like it’s not getting worse, and that’s the key. I had a really bad case. He was a professional athlete, so that obviously helps him.”

Share your thoughts on Danny Wuerffel and Guillain-Barre syndrome by leaving a comment.

Read about other NFL stars like Julius Peppers; Peyton Manning; George Blanda; Patrick Chung and Eric LeGrand.

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American Idol makes Americans idle

Even more newsworthy than inconsequential earthquakes and tsunamis in countries most of us have never been to, and more important than Joe Pavelski scoring yet another career-defining goal – something monumental enough to drive Neanderthal men-kind everywhere to wave their dicks around and vociferate in the street, is the female equivalent of football – contrived reality TV talent contests like American Idol; programs devised to transform nobodies into lowly celebrities and to lull viewers into a false sense of community.

American Idol contestant Paul McDonald has sadly been eliminated from the show, just a week after its followers received the upsetting news that Pia Toscano – a favorite of the show, had also been prematurely ejaculated.

Talent shows aren’t so bad I guess. Mindless rubbish yes, but they keep generic women happy whilst their generic men-folk watch football and drool (who said they can’t multi-task?) or tinker with themselves in their sheds.

Just good-natured fun, you say. It’s only sport/television. What could be more inoffensive than that? It gives people a sense of community. It means they can form sides and pledge allegiance to them; a bit like war.

American Idol is the Fourth Reich

This is exactly how society would be had the Nazis won the Second World War.

The problem I have with these programs is their formulaic nature. There’s the ritual humiliation of the absurdly bad, the fat, the congenitally ugly or the possibly, completely insane – who they probably extract from the local sanitarium, ply them with ecstasy for breakfast, wash that down with flaming Absynthe and then roll them downhill in an iron barrel, while angry monkeys bang its sides with wooden spoons, for about twenty minutes before they’re due to go on.

And then; there they go, making complete asses of themselves on television for the whole nation to see. It’s fine to laugh at them, in fact we’re encouraged to do so by production companies who edit them to make them appear even more ridiculous. “Ha ha ha – let’s all laugh at the stupid people,” which is fine; it’s accepted because we’re all doing it.

Then there’s the ones with a modicum of talent, and we’re allowed to pity them because they are generally fairly sane and inoffensive looking, “oh but they have had sad lives.”

Then the dreadful circumstances of their dreary yet traumatic lives unravels: the poverty, the cancer, the psychotic episodes, the inflamed labia, the myopia; how they’d been dreaming of this moment since they were born into white trash, the progeny of sociopathic alcoholics with poor taste in interior design. Everything so repugnantly saccharine and buttered upon us so thickly that we would consider self harming if it didn’t mean actually moving our bloated cadavers from our couches.

We should pity her, she's had it tough. American Idol makes winners of us all.

These are the ones we are encouraged to support. The episodes are edited in such a way that we feel for these contestants; like they’re one of us. Not the talentless funny looking clowns who failed the auditions. No.

This is the equivalent of laughing at a cripple and then sympathising with Angelina Jolie because she was bullied at school (for having lips like a smacked squid).

This is allowing innocent people to be publicly bullied by television; and we sit back and enjoy it because we can; because it’s what keeps us from asking difficult questions about what’s really happening in the world.

Then there are the enthusiastically exploited wannabes desperate to shake free from their dowdy lives, quit working at the bank/factory/laundromat and be persecuted by paparazzi so they can publish photographs of them not wearing any knickers, even if they have to remove them later, using Photoshop.

They tart them up like uncomfortable corpses wearing more make-up than the structure of their plain features can legally handle, squeeze them into highly flammable clothes and make their hair so big, it’s visible from space. And that’s the boys.

Then there’s the jury, a line up of the irksome, the bad haired, and the patronising, quibbling over a bunch of interchangeable wannabes. The tarty judge with blow dried features; the avuncular and unctuous benefactor – an ambassador for smugness; and the rebarbatively sadistic one that everyone hates because they have the gall to be honest on a TV program, despite being the only reason people keep coming back in the first place.

[adsense]The jury deliver unnatural lines like they are auditioning for a walk on part in Pricks in Space and probably don’t even sit through the tedious acts – only appearing to watch them thanks to the teenage insomniac in the editing suite, making it seem that way. The choreographed disagreements and walkouts employed to increase viewer figures, the media frenzy and the bullshit.

News space is taken up in papers and on news programs; minor celebrities discuss in explicit detail which acts deserve to win or lose; people behave like they actually care.

Then the winners squeal, the losers bawl, or is it the other way around. Someone gets a record deal because they can sing a famous song quite well, although they have no discernible star quality whatsoever.

And then the same thing happens again with the next series: same format, same formulas, same audience, same couch, different year.

This isn’t light entertainment, it’s television light on entertainment and it not only belittles the participants but it insults its viewers and wastes their lives.

Football and television have been used to pacify the masses since their inception. It is a given that young boys, most of the world over, will be indoctrinated into the ‘beautiful game’ whilst the umbilical cord is still unwinding. Worse still, almost everyone these days just wants to be famous because television has made them believe it’s easy.

There is something medieval about these forms of entertainment. If we’re progressing as a species, surely we should have gone beyond throwing people to the lions or the ridiculous modern day jousting and bravado that occurs in sports stadiums everywhere.

Sport has long been associated with violence; and television encourages apathy. Do we really want to get to the end of our lives and say, “Well, I sure watched a lot of television?” Or, “I spent a large portion of my life watching men kick a ball around in a big garden, wearing knickers?”

Aren’t we intelligent enough to have better things to do now?

Feel free to leave a comment suggesting better ways to spend our time than watching pituitary retards on television.

Read about other horrendous reality shows like Bridalplasty, Raising Sextuplets, Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, Heidi Montag’s unnamed rubbish and the that started the decline of decent entertainment – Big Brother.

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NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and wife welcome twins

The sport star and his wife have always made an effort to keep their private life out of the limelight, and they managed to do a good job of it too, with a lid being kept on her pregnancy until just a few weeks ago. Even the news of the birth of their twins on 31 March was kept hush hush for several days.

The first-time parents — married for ten years — have a double bundle of joy to add to their family, although they have yet to confirm the birth of their daughter and son. “We value our privacy and would appreciate you not putting this in the paper or online,” Ashley Manning, 31, wrote in an email to The Indianapolis Star.

A source close to the new parents, however, didn’t hold back and told Radar online: “It is true, it is happy news for them.” According to several websites the tiny tots have been named Marshall Williams Manning and Mosley Thompson Manning.

Things are set to continue looking up for the 2007 Super Bowl winner: In addition to becoming a father, 35-year-old Peyton will most likely soon be adding Hall of Famer to his impressive sporting resume.

Read here about the late NFL players Geroge Blanda and Don Meredith.

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Christina Aguilera seeks forgiveness for national anthem gaffe at Super Bowl XLV

Poor old NFL. They worked so hard to try and get things right this year, hiring the Black Eyed Peas to wow the fans at half time, adding legendary guitarist Slash and rap mogul Usher to the bill for good measure; and then comes along former dirty girl, Christina Aguilera to belt out the national anthem in her typical lung-busting style.

How could anything go wrong with such a great bunch of professionals on board? One way could be to get your lyrics for the national anthem from wikipedia.

Today Christina Aguilera has sought forgiveness for her major gaffe during the performance last night, as she sang the wrong words. After a small investigation into the source of her words, it turns out she used wikipedia to source and learn them. It just about proves the usefulness of wikipedia as a propaganda tool and changer of history, and definitely shows that the site can not be trusted for valid information.

So much for professionalism then, but in truth, there is no real harm done. For those who follow Aguilera and like her talent, their opinion won’t change, while for those who dislike or have no feelings towards her, all she has done is affirmed their feelings.

[adsense]There’s a lesson in there for everyone though, and it’s not just that we shouldn’t trust wikipedia. There will always be hiccups in everything, and while the NFL have tried their utmost to make sure the Super Bowl XLV was perfect, only a few minor flaws occurred. If fans came away complaining about Aguilera’s slip up then they missed the point of the occasion, and by doing so have tarnished a great game between two NFL giants; won deservedly by the Green Bay Packers.

Aguilera is human just like the rest of us, and as such is flawed like the rest of us. At least she had the balls to get up there and sing for her country, so if she got a few words wrong because some idiot put the wrong lyrics on a useless website, then so be it.

No harm done.

Let us know your thoughts on Aguilera’s slip up; has she insulted America or was it an honest mistake? Leave a comment.

Read about other Super Bowl stuff like the Black Eyed Peas half time spot, VW and Audi Adverts, the Groupon adverts, as well as the big chill before the game.

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Black Eyed Peas to ease ‘Nipplegate’ into Super Bowl half-time history

After the 2004 fiasco surrounding Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, the NFL has take strident measures to ensure there won’t be another ‘Nipplegate.’

The world still hasn’t forgotten the moment J.T. ripped part of Janet’s bustier away to reveal a heavily pierced nipple that sent family viewers and broadcasters into a frenzy over standards and decency.

Whatever lay behind the controversy is now well forgotten, and after five years of mediocre, has-beens; epitomised by The Who last year who showed that the decades since their halcyon days has been a little unkind, the NFL have taken a gamble on the Black Eyed Peas in an effort to bring hipper entertainment to a delicate audience.

Despite their singles including such risqué titles as ‘my humps’ and ‘let’s get retarded’, the organisers feel that they are a safe bet to entertain and inspire the audiences at home and in the park.

“We’ve taken great pains to ensure that nothing that would be unsuitable for a mass audience would occur,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “We write it into their contracts that they would be liable if anything is not suitable for that mass audience.”

After ‘Nipplegate’ the NFL took production matters into their own hands, relieving MTV of their duties; but sadly their ensuing choices of pension rockers Tom Petty, Bruce Springstein, Paul McCartney, Prince and The Who did little to inspire a nation that wanted some life to keep the entertainment momentum going.

“That was such a big deal, and they got way overly cautious,” said Andy Greene, associate editor at RollingStone.com.

“For the first time, the show was completely trashed. People were saying, ‘I’m sick of the fossils!’ ” He added.

In response to their viewers the NFL have taken a safe gamble on the Black Eyed Peas, who have assured the producers they’ve made the right choice.

“We’re not a risqué group,” will.i.am told The Post. “Unlike Janet, neither Fergie or I have ever appeared nude on an album cover or a magazine cover. Janet’s a great act; she’s a great talent, and she felt a need to do that. That’s not us.”

[adsense]“This is a good way for the league to look like it’s broadening its appeal with a hip-hop group. Everything about them is so carefully, commercially crafted for mass appeal,” said Jack Dickey, editor of Deadspin. “Their songs are vague and positive. Someone once described their music as ‘songs for bar mitzvahs.’ ”

The Peas will allegedly be joined by former Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist, Slash, along with Usher. Both are chalked up as ‘surprise’ guests.

Christina Aguilera will also make an appearance to sing the national anthem. Whether she’ll behave herself or not is another matter. Dirty.

Share your thoughts on the Black Eyed Peas joining in the NFL celebrations. Tell us if you think they’re a good or bad choice by leaving a comment.

Read more about the Super Bowl build up like the VW and Audi commercials, whether snow might affect the game, and take a look at NFL legends Marcus Dupree, George Blanda and Don Meredith.

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Don Meredith, NFL player and commentator passes away at 72

Few people can claim to have such a profound effect on their chosen career after they retire but Don Meredith, an all-pro quarterback made more impact on American Football after he finished playing.  The NFL legend passed away on Sunday at a Santa Fe hospital, New Mexico at the age of 72.

Meredith, who was nicknamed “Dandy Don,” was one of the original line up on the Monday Night Football broadcast when it first aired on ABC back in 1970.

In those days NFL games were rarely televised as it was believed that the female orientated television of that era put women in control of the remote (if you could afford a TV with a remote at that time),  which meant most broadcasters thought the notion would fail.  Of course it was rare to have multi-television households then too.

However, the three man broadcast team of Meredith, Howard Cosell and originally Keith Jackson who was replaced after the first year by Frank Gifford transformed the world of sports coverage forever.

Cosell, who was once a New York lawyer, and Meredith a former Dallas Cowboys star, delivered great entertainment through their commentary and drew audiences of fans and non-fans alike. Their success was immortalised in a 1988 book entitled, “Monday Night Mayhem.

Meredith moved away from Monday Night Football in 1984, although the series is still running, now on ESPN, as it has for the past 40 years where it began on ABC, of which both channels are owned by Disney.

Before his television work and commentary skills, Meredith started out in the game playing college football for Southern Methodist University and after that he spent eight years with the Dallas Cowboys. He also managed three Pro-Bowls, but the high point of his playing career came in 1966 when he made League’s Player of the Year.

As yet no cause of death has been given, but Meredith will certainly be missed by NFL fans.

Please share your thoughts on Don Meredith’s passing, or pay tribute by leaving a comment.

Read about other NFL related stars such as George Blanda, Tony Romo, Patrick Chung and Julius Peppers.

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Marcus Dupree – The best that never was

Last night the world was given a glimpse into the life of Marcus Dupree courtesy of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. The channel has put together 30 documentaries made by various film makers which follow the lives of sports stars and athletes who have transformed and inspired the world of sport.

You could be forgiven for not knowing who Marcus Dupree is, one of the most highly recruited high school football players ever, he was fortunate that his school dropped segregation and his was one of the first classes to enjoy twelve years of mixed race education.

Dupree was so heavily recruited that a book called The Courting Of Marcus Dupree was written about him by Willie Morris. Following on from that, The Best That Never Was, directed by Jonathon Hock, tells the story of Marcus Dupree.

His footballing began in earnest back in 1978 when he played for the Philadelphia High School Tornadoes until 1981. He finished his high school football career having accumulated 5,284 rushing yards with an 8.3-yards-per-carry average which led him to be recruited by just about every major football program in the country.

He has been described as the perfect running back as he had the size, speed, acceleration, agility and strength to drive forward. Perfect attributes indeed but sadly his body was unable to cope with the rigorous demands he made of it and the injuries began to mount.

Dupree was picked up in 1990 by the LA Rams as an undrafted free agent and he played for them until the pre-season of 1993. It’s a sad story in truth of a man who could have had it all were it not for the injuries that blighted his playing days, but, he has always been talked about as the greatest player that never made it.

Read about other sports stars whose careers have been blighted by injury including Shalane Flanagan, Haile Gebrselassie, Lance Armstrong, Clayton Treska and Kenny McKinley.

Please share your thoughts on this article by leaving a comment.

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Junior Seau drives SUV off a cliff

Current NFL free agent Junior Seau apparently fell asleep while at the wheel and subsequently left the road where his vehicle plummeted down a steep embankment.  Emergency services took Seau to hospital in San Diego where he was treated for shock and minor injuries.

The accident occurred on Monday.  Police had arrested Junior Seau the previous day on a charge of spousal abuse with injury.

Carlsbad, Calif, police Lt. Kelly Cain told the associated press that the 12-time Pro Bowler’s white Cadillac SUV came to a halt on the beach about 100 feet below the roadside, and that it wasn’t a sheer cliff, but was a significant, rough incline.

Seau’s 25-year-old live-in girlfriend informed authorities that Seau had assaulted her during an argument Sunday night at his home in Oceanside. She suffered minor injuries but didn’t require any serious medical treatment.

He was arrested upon his return home, posted bail and was released from the San Diego County jail in Vista.

Junior Seau created the Seau Foundation which raises money for drug awareness, college scholarships and to tackle child abuse.  Richard Doan, a spokesperson for the Seau foundation said, “At this point we think he’s fine, there are no injuries but he seems to be a little shaken up.”

It is not thought that Seau had been using any illegal substances.

Read about Eric LeGrand’s paralysis, Patrick Chung, Julius Peppers and Kenny McKinley.

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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