The latest on the shootings outside Candlestick Park

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The latest on the shootings outside Candlestick Park

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 22, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland and the NFL called for an end to acts of violence at sporting events, after two men were shot and wounded following a San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders preseason game. Investigators Sunday looked for suspects and interviewed witnesses to the violence the night before in the parking lot at Candlestick Park after the matchup. Motives for the shootings -- including whether they were influenced by emotions surrounding a game involving fiercely rival teams -- weren't known. But the shootings evoked memories of another recent disturbing act of post-game violence involving two rival California pro sports teams -- the near-fatal beating this spring of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium. In Saturday's attacks, a 24-year-old man, who reportedly was wearing a "F--- the Niners" T-shirt, was shot several times in the stomach. Police said he managed to stumble to stadium security for help despite the severe injuries. He remained hospitalized in serious condition Sunday. A second victim, a 20-year-old man, was treated for less serious wounds in a separate shooting, also after the game. Sgt. Mike Andraychak said no arrests have been made and that police are looking for "a person of interest" connected to at least one of the shootings. He would not specify which shooting. Apart from the shootings, a third victim, a 26-year-old man, was also hospitalized in serious condition Sunday after he was knocked unconscious in a stadium bathroom during the game. That attack appeared unrelated to the other two, police said. The victims' names have not been released as the violent spree overshadowed the 49ers' 17-3 victory over the Raiders. The crimes prompted San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to issue a joint statement saying that violence at stadiums in both cities will not be tolerated. "The incidents ... are completely unacceptable and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the mayors said. "Fans come to our stadiums to enjoy an afternoon of football, not to be subjected to intimidation or violence. These games are family events and the types of images we witnessed last night have no place in our arenas." NFL spokesman Greg Aiello echoed similar comments, saying "we deplore the activities of a handful of fans at last night's game and pledge our full support to Mayors Lee and Quan and to state and local law enforcement agencies." 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who once was a coach in the Raiders organization, said he was saddened to hear about the violence. "I didn't know anything was going on during the game. I wasn't aware of that," Harbaugh said. "I feel bad for the people who got injured and the people who had to see that, for those who had to witness it." The team said that "these kinds of events are disquieting to everyone in the Bay Area community. We are working to assist the San Francisco Police Department in any way possible to understand how and why this happened." Raiders CEO Amy Trask said in a statement that "the incidents at last night's game are not acceptable to the Raiders or to any National Football League team and our thoughts are with all affected." Head Coach Hue Jackson also shared his desire for a safe fan-friendly environment "where we wish that people come out and enjoy a game and hopefully that those things don't happen." On Saturday, Sgt. Frank Harrell said the man shot wearing the T-shirt drove his truck to a gate and stumbled to stadium security. A second man shot before that in the parking lot and had superficial face injuries, Harrell said. He said the two shootings were being treated separately "but we believe they are related." The attacks come nearly five months after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten by two men in Los Angeles Dodgers gear outside Dodger Stadium after the archrivals' season opener in Los Angeles. Two men charged in the beating, Louie Sanchez, 28, and Marvin Norwood, 30, have pleaded not guilty. Stow, 42, a Santa Cruz paramedic, suffered severe brain injuries and remains hospitalized in serious condition. That attack drew widespread attention and focusing the spotlight on security at Dodger Stadium, and the intense rivalry among Dodgers and Giants fans. Christian End, an assistant professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, who specializes in sports fan behavior, said there are several factors for unruliness at sporting events -- including the magnitude of the game, if it is between arch rivals, adrenaline and alcohol. There's also "deindividuation," when fans supporting a particular team adopt a group mentality and may become uncivil. "The anonymity of large crowds can afford some fans the opportunity to act in a way that they typically wouldn't because there's less accountability and less fear of repercussion," End said. End said violence between fans of opposing teams can typically begin with light banter, followed by "one-upping" each other with statistics or other chatter that could draw a crowd. "Then it could be taken up a notch where the fun aspect is gone and it just escalates," End said. End said he doesn't believe fan violence has increased in the last 10 years but may appear that way partially due to new technology at hand. "There are more cameras covering games and more fans using their smartphones," End said. "Any acts of aggression have a higher probability of being captured and being shown over the Internet and on television. "It would give the impression that, Boy, fans are engaging in all of this aggressive behavior.' But you have to remember that a vast majority of them are not."

Haggerty: Bruins motto is don't just do something, stand there!

Haggerty: Bruins motto is don't just do something, stand there!

After back-to-back, soul-crushing losses earlier this week, the Bruins responded by doing pretty much what they've done over the last couple of seasons:

Nothing.

Claude Julien was not relieved of his duties -- as many expected after the Bruins blew a couple of three-goal leads in a shootout loss in Detroit on Wednesday night -- and there was no big shakeup for a reeling hockey club that certainly feels like it needs it.

Instead the Bruins will host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night after going through a “nothing-to-see-here, everything-is-fine” morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, then go to Pittsburgh for a Sunday afternoon matinee against a Penguins team that’s playing some pretty good hockey.

Maybe the Bruins will play better than they did in taking one out of a possible four points against two of the worst teams in the East -- the Islanders and Red Wings -- and perhaps that will tamp down some of the unrest among those that closely follow this organization.

But the fact is, the Bruins front office doing nothing in the face of stunning underperformance from its hockey club is the furthest thing from courage, bravery or doing the right thing.

This is the third straight year we've seen no-shows and a startling lack of emotional engagement from a team that collapsed down the stretch and missed the postseason in each of the last two seasons, and is now in a position where it may not even be in the playoff hunt at the end of this one. To sit still as it happens again feels, to this humble hockey writer, like willful indifference in the face of the obvious: Something is broken with the Bruins.

There's no single big trade that can fix it, not with the Coyotes and Avalanche as the only true sellers. And a Bruins management group with the true best interests of the hockey club in mind would look at the 'seller' option, dealing away some of the core pieces and starting a true rebuild around Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and the young players under team control that are beginning to filter into the NHL level.

But it doesn’t feel like this current B’s front office, or the ownership group, has the appetite for that, and instead wants to retool on the fly while also attempting to compete for the playoffs. That’s a delicate balance and it’s one that has caused the Red Wings to go sideways this season, putting them in danger of missing the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1990-91.

That’s the same Red Wings team, incidentally, that somehow came back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 against the Bruins on Wednesday.

With a trade unlikely, the easiest way to a short-term spark continues to be a change with the head coach. Everybody knows Claude Julien has been the best coach in the modern Bruins era, and he’ll forever be loved and cherished in the Boston area for helping win the Stanley Cup in 2011. But the jarring comments from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand about the team not being ready to play, and collectively taking the Isles too lightly, can’t be ignored.

It feels like things are altogether too comfortable in the Bruins dressing room, and that can be a byproduct of the same coach with the same core group of players for the last 10 years. The sense here is that the Bruins need a short term butt-kicker who'd come in and challenge some Bruins veterans who haven’t been challenged enough in recent years, and will bring an edge to a group that’s look satisfied and happy lately while insulated with big-money contracts and no-movement clauses.

That kind of move could give the Bruins enough of a nudge to get them into the playoffs this season, and help ease the rebuilding pain until Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Zach Senyshyn and the next wave of Bruins prospects are ready to blossom.  

Instead the fancy-stats brigade will tell you that the Bruins are automatically going to turn things around because of the incredibly slim premise that it’s all based on shooting percentage, and Bruin apologists will tell you that the roster simply isn’t good enough right now. So riding it out with Julien is the right move because he's the MacGyver-like chewing gum that’s holding it all together right now.

Sorry, but many are not buying this Bruins-approved message.

They have two-thirds of the best forward line from the World Cup of Hockey in Bergeron and Marchand. They have a legitimate No. 1 goalie in Tuukka Rask. They have experienced, proven winners in David Krejci, David Backes and Zdeno Chara. They have bright, young talents in David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo. And they're about to get passed by the Senators and Maple Leafs in the playoff race once those other teams catch up to Boston in games played. Nobody can make the straight-faced claim that Toronto or Ottawa is superior to the Bruins in the overall talent department.

The Bruins are underachieving this season, and some players have been truly disappointing in big spots.

The simple truth is that Julien isn’t getting the most out of them. They settle for perimeter shots far too much in the offensive zone, which plays into the poor team shooting percentage, and they take opponents lightly far too often for a hockey club in the NHL’s middle class.

Those kinds of traits fall back on the coach, and, unfortunately, replacing Julien is the most readily available card for Bruins management to play when they finally begin feeling the desperation and urgency that’s been missing too much this season.

Perhaps some of it is a fear of removing a popular, accomplished figure like Julien, and then watching him have success somewhere else. Perhaps some of it is a hesitancy to turn things over to assistants Joe Sacco and Bruce Cassidy at such a delicate point in time this season. Perhaps some of it is that one of the few real alternatives the Bruins are facing would be general manager Don Sweeney or team president Cam Neely actually manning the bench as Julien’s replacement if they fired the head coach, a maneuver that hasn’t been seen with the Bruins since the Harry Sinden days when Mike O’Connell went to the bench in 2002-03 after firing Robbie Ftorek.

Whatever the reason, the Bruins still haven’t seen enough to decide that something needs to change with this group sputtering along to another playoff DNQ. The fans are decrying it while holding their hefty season-ticket package bills in their hands, the clear-eyed observer sees it without question, and there’s no doubt some hard-working Bruins players are hoping for it behind the scenes on a ship that’s taking on water.

But nothing of significance is going to change with this Bruins team until they make a change, and that’s something they continue to avoid.

Pro Football Talk: Ex-Patriot Jamie Collins close to re-signing with Browns

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Pro Football Talk: Ex-Patriot Jamie Collins close to re-signing with Browns

The Browns are close to finalizing a multi-year contract with former Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins, CBS Sports reported Thursday.

The report said “significant progress” has been made between the sides and that the deal will be done by the weekend.

Click here for the complete story.