Star Olympian expelled following drunken brawl

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Star Olympian expelled following drunken brawl

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, August 5, 2011

BEIJING (AP) -- China's most decorated Winter Olympics athlete, Wang Meng, has been expelled from the national team for a drunken brawl with an official, throwing the successful short track speed skating program into disarray. Wang went out drinking and failed to return to the team hotel before a curfew, China's sports governing body said in a statement released late Thursday. When she was confronted by team manager Wang Chunlu, she punched her, it said. The 26-year-old Wang was expelled from the national team and banned from international competitions because her conduct "has violated the team's disciplines and jeopardized the sport's image," China's General Administration of Sport said in the statement. Wang, who won three gold medals at the Vancouver Games last year, and one gold, a silver and a bronze at Turin, Italy, in the 2006 Olympic Games, had been suspended since the incident during a summer training camp in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao on July 24. China's General Administration of Sport said male speed skater Liu Xianwei, who also assaulted the team manager and damaged hotel property, has been expelled. The other four squad members -- Zhou Yang, Liu Qiuhong, Han Jialiang and Liang Wenhao -- were allowed to keep training with the national team. China's Xinhua news agency reported that Wang accidentally cut her hands on glass and needed dozens of stitches after the incident. In a video posted on the website of China News Service, an angry Wang, her arms in bandages, was shown amid a throng of reporters at the Winter Sports Management Center on Thursday night. It was unclear what she had been asked, but Wang was shown insisting that she be quoted verbatim on TV and threatening to hold a news conference if she wasn't quoted in full. "Can you not report the voice from the heart of an ordinary person?" she said. "I am no longer an athlete. I have been expelled." State-run broadcaster CCTV later showed Wang apologizing to reporters. "This event, in any case, has caused negative effects to society," she said. "I ought to apologize to the Chinese people. So many skating lovers like me and support me. What I did was wrong." Wang is a product of China's highly competitive sports system where promising athletes are intensively trained from a young age in government-run sports schools. Zhou Yang got in trouble last year for failing to thank her country and the Chinese government after her gold medal win at the Vancouver Olympics. Instead, she thanked her coach and teammates and said she would "help my parents have a better life." Li Yan, chief coach of China's short track skating team, told CCTV that expelling Wang doesn't solve deeper problems within the squad. "In one year, the Chinese short-track skating team, having performed so well and gained four Olympic medals and great success, has turned into a negative example. It definitely needs deep reflection," she said. Xinhua said Wang is famous for her fiery temper and it is not the first time she has landed in trouble. She was expelled from the national team for six months in 2007 after criticizing her coach's tactics at the Asian Winter Games, Xinhua said. In June, Wang and her teammates reportedly clashed with security guards who accused them of making too much noise during a night out in the southwestern Chinese city of Lijiang. That led to the 10 p.m. curfew being imposed during last month's summer training camp.

WR Brandon Marshall provides player's perspective to owners on Day 2 of meetings

WR Brandon Marshall provides player's perspective to owners on Day 2 of meetings

PHOENIX - When league owners, coaches and executives come together for the NFL's annual meetings, those meetings are often devoid of those who have the biggest say in making the product what it is. 

The guys who play.

Brandon Marshall, newly-acquired wide receiver of the Giants, had an opportunity to provide the meetings with a player's perspective on Monday morning. 

The focus, he told reporters after addressing owners, was to highlight the importance of continuing to foster stronger relationships between the league and its players. 

It seemed to go over well, judging by a tweet sent out from Niners owner Jed York. 

"I think it's important for us to continue to do things like we did last year giving the players more of a voice," Marshall said. "You saw the campaign during Week 13 last year, My Cause My Cleats. That was super successful. It gave the world and our fans and the NFL the opportunity to see that we are people,  we're not just gladiators. It humanized us. 

"It not only gave people outside of the game that opportunity to see who we really were but also people in the game like owners, executives and even players. . .We want to continue to do more of that. If we want our game to continue to be on this track that it's on, being super successful, as far as being a pillar in the community, then we need to make sure that our relationships between players and owners is healthy."

Day 2 of the owners meetings will be highlighted by a decision on the fate of the Raiders franchise. The team is expected to have enough support from owners around the league to uproot and head to Las Vegas. 

Around midday in Phoenix, Patriots owner Robert Kraft is expected to speak to reporters about league affairs as well as his team's offseason activity. 

Jaylen Brown steps away from social media to prepare for playoffs

Jaylen Brown steps away from social media to prepare for playoffs

BOSTON –  Like most of the NBA’s Millennials, Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown is active on social media.

But if you holla at him on Twitter or Instagram these days, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back anytime soon.
 
That’s because Brown is stepping away from the social media game to better focus on his first postseason journey with the Celtics, which begins next month.
 
Brown said he isn’t the only player inside the Celtics locker room who has pledged to do things differently leading up to the playoffs.
 
More than anything, the changes Brown speaks of are symbolic to illustrate the need for everyone to make sacrifices critical for a team’s success.
 
“I’ve paid attention to that, how a lot of guys are making the sacrifices necessary to add to this team,” Brown said. “Some guys are only drinking water. Some guys are cutting out cursing or other aspects. Some guys have some personal stuff...Everybody is putting themselves in that mind frame to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.”
 
He added that taking a step back from social media was just one of a handful of changes he has made leading up to the playoffs.
 
“Some are personal, but some, just being a lot more focused and more locked in, eliminating distractions,” Brown told CSNNE.com. “This generation, we’re so social media dependent. So just eliminating that, filling that in with other stuff whether it’s gym time or film or just time to yourself instead of it being so predicated on the cell phone.”
 
Brown understands the battle Boston (48-26) is in for the top spot in the East heading into the playoffs and how important getting that would be to this team.
 
“It means a lot, especially being a rookie from my perspective, being on a team that’s number one seed in the East and being a contributor.” Brown said. “What more could you ask for, coming in to the league, coming into the NBA. It’s been great for me. It’s been a blessing.”
 
While Brown has had his share of ups and downs as a rookie, there’s no ignoring the fact that he’s progressing at a brisk rate.

“Offensively, I’m getting a little more comfortable scoring the ball; mid-range game, I’m developing,” he said. “Defensively, being in the right spot at the right time, stuff like that. I’ve come a long way and I still have a long way to go.”