Soccer player's father abducted in Nigeria

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Soccer player's father abducted in Nigeria

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 15, 2011
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- The father of Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been abducted in Nigeria's restive central region, police said Monday. Plateau state police commissioner Dipo Ayeni told The Associated Press that Michael Obi disappeared from his home on Friday. Ayeni said he had no other details about the kidnapping. "We are still searching to find his location," Ayeni said. A spokesman for Nigeria's federal police command in Abuja, the country's capital, declined to comment. London-based Sport Entertainment & Media Group, John Obi Mikel's management company, said no ransom demand had been made. It said Chelsea was looking at "security issues" after the abduction. "Mikel was informed by his manager prior to the Stoke v Chelsea match & decided to play so as not to let down his team & family," the media group said on Twitter. John Obi Mikel has played with Chelsea since 2006. He previously played for Nigerian Premier League club Plateau United and on Nigeria's Under-20 squad. "We will give Mikel and his family our full support at this most difficult time," Chelsea said on its website. Nigeria, an oil-rich country of 150 million people, is almost evenly split between Muslims in the north and the predominantly Christian south. Plateau state, in Nigeria's fertile central belt, has seen thousands die in recent years in religious and ethnic violence rooted largely on political and economic issues. Mikel's family, from the Igbo tribe, are a minority in the area. Kidnappings in Plateau state are a rarity when compared to Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, where militants and criminal gangs often kidnap foreigners for ransom. Middle class Nigerian families also increasingly find themselves targeted in the country's east as well. The abduction comes after a Forbes magazine survey in June named Mikel as the seventh highest-paid African player in Europe. The magazine listed Mikel's salary as 5.8 million a year.

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”