Judge makes important ruling in Sandusky case

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Judge makes important ruling in Sandusky case

From Comcast SportsNetBELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) -- The judge in Jerry Sandusky's child-sex abuse case said Wednesday he may throw out parts of some defense subpoenas and that he wanted to swiftly resolve disagreements about defense access to background information on the accusers.Judge John Cleland said he planned to rule quickly on motions by several school districts and government agencies to quash subpoenas served by Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola.Cleland opened the hearing in Bellefonte by noting the "trial is approaching" for the former Penn State assistant football coach, a nod to the scheduled June 5 start of the trial.Earlier Wednesday, Amendola filed a motion seeking to delay the start of the trial, saying he needed more time to prepare Sandusky's defense and to go over material handed over to his team by state prosecutors. It was not apparent if Cleland would rule on that motion during the hearing.Amendola has made dozens of requests for records or other material, much of it background information on the accusers, including school transcripts, medical records going back to birth, Internet search histories, Facebook account details, employment-related documents and cellphone and Twitter records.Sandusky, 68, is confined to his State College home to await the start of his trial on 52 criminal counts involving 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky has denied the allegations.Cleland said Wednesday that several of the defense subpoenas used an incorrect standard and that he planned to quash only the "unsupportable parts" of the subpoenas.Amendola told the judge the defense is looking for "any evidence that these students suffered from behavioral issues, mental health issues, prior to their contact with The Second Mile or the defendant." Sandusky founded The Second Mile as a charity for at-risk youth and met many of his alleged victims there.Amendola said that "a number" of the accusers have criminal records and that he suspects prosecutors will try to argue the accusers' legal problems stem from the abuse they endured as children.Meanwhile, Sandusky's lawyers filed another motion asking that the complete transcripts of the grand jury that investigated Sandusky be released to him immediately.Amendola has made 50 requests for records or other material from the attorney general's office and has not received a response concerning the most recent 14 requests.In a separate motion, Amendola asked Cleland to direct prosecutors to provide paper copies of computer records he has been given, including phone records taken from the office of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.Amendola said in the delay request that the defense team needs more time to find and interview witnesses, and that pending criminal charges against two potential witnesses, Penn State administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, have made them unavailable as witnesses in June.Lawyers for Curley, the school's athletic director now on leave, and Schultz, the retired vice president who supervised campus police, have indicated their clients will invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to testify if called.School districts and government agencies have asked Cleland to throw out some of the subpoenas. Challenges have been filed by three central Pennsylvania school districts, two county child welfare agencies, Juniata College and three state agencies.It's not clear how many pretrial discovery conflicts still exist. Prosecutors on Monday filed a court document telling Cleland that much of the material sought by Sandusky has already been provided and that dozens of other requests are not subject to mandatory disclosure.The charges against Sandusky concern his relationships with boys he met through The Second Mile between 1994 and 2008. Prosecutors allege Sandusky groomed the boys for sexual abuse, offering gifts and access to the team in addition to companionship.At least some of the alleged abuse happened in the Penn State football team's facilities, prosecutors said. One of the alleged attacks was witnessed by former receivers coach Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant.The ensuing scandal led to the firing of Paterno and the ouster of university President Graham Spanier.

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.