Notebook > Sports

Road rage

Sports | There appear to be two sides to Denver QB Jake Plummer's recent traffic accident

Issue: "Bird flu," June 10, 2006

If you ask 47-year-old Denver resident Douglas Stone, Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is an out-of-control manic who threatened another man who inconvenienced him on the roadway. Not surprisingly, the NFL star has a nearly opposite memory of an April incident that has caused Mr. Plummer to take both a public-relations hit and a stern talking-to by his coach.

Mr. Stone and police allege that the Denver quarterback cut off the Denver motorist, then stopped, causing a confrontation in which Mr. Plummer kicked in the headlight of Mr. Stone's car before backing his SUV into the 47-year-old man's vehicle.

Mr. Plummer paints a different scene. The Denver quarterback admits he cut off Mr. Stone, but only because he was speeding along to get to a charity event where he planned to present a large donation. From there, Mr. Plummer says he waved, but that Mr. Stone bumped his car.

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So is he a road rager or a bleeding heart? Police issued a summons to Mr. Plummer for the incident.

Honeymoon is over

Just as the saying goes, when Indiana hired men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson away from the Oklahoma Sooners, it got more than the school bargained for. Unbeknownst to Hoosiers officials, Mr. Sampson drew attention from NCAA investigators during his final years as Oklahoma's head men's basketball coach. And while Indiana learned about possible NCAA sanctions against the then-OU coach when they began considering him for the job, officials didn't expect stiff penalties to come along with Mr. Sampson.

But that's exactly what will happen. The newly hired Hoosiers coach will be banned from making recruiting visits or phone calls after NCAA investigators discovered he had made more than 500 impermissible phone calls to recruits from 2000 to 2004 with the Sooners. "We knew that there could be further sanctions and we accept them," Indiana Athletic Director Rick Greenspan said. "While these sanctions do present an immediate challenge, we are excited about the future with Coach Sampson."

Some have speculated that the restrictions would hurt Indiana's next recruiting class so much that the Hoosiers may well simply fire the incoming coach and go in a different direction. Indiana officials, meanwhile, insist they will stick with the embattled coach.

Around the Horn

It's the basketball equivalent of facing knuckleballer Tim Wakefield one night and flamethrower Curt Schilling the next. When the Dallas Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Finals by defeating their arch-nemesis San Antonio Spurs, they did so by speeding up the game and scoring more than 100 points in each of their four victories. But facing Phoenix (a team built for speed), the Mavs will want to go in the complete opposite direction-to slow the game down. After a Game 1 win over Dallas, Phoenix was undefeated in their previous 18 games in which they scored over 115 points.

The confrontation is now famous: Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski barrels toward homeplate, guarded by Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett. Mr. Pierzynski, forgoing a slide, simply bulls into Mr. Barrett, dislodging the ball and scoring the run. But before he can get back to the dugout, the Cubs catcher grabs him and cold-cocks him in the jaw. That, says MLB, is a 10-game suspension for Mr. Barrett. On the other hand, an informal Sports Illustrated survey among active major leaguers revealed Mr. Pierzynski as the player other big leaguers most want to see beaned by a pitch. Does a right cross suffice?

Just another reason Steve Spurrier, the former Florida and current South Carolina coach, won't be coaching high-school football in Connecticut: suspensions for coaches who run up the score. The state's governing body for prep-school football adopted a measure that would suspend football coaches who run up the score and win by more than 50 points.

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