Monthly Archives: April 2017

Involved in yet another doping scandal

American sprinter Justin Gatlin, an Olympic gold medalist who has twice received doping bans, is being investigated by anti-doping authorities following a published report that said Gatlin and members of his immediate circle allegedly offered to supply banned substances to reporters posing as a film production crew.

The Telegraph report published Monday said the undercover reporters traveled to Gatlin’s Florida training camp and presented that they were making a film about athletics, and that they needed help training a male actor so he could get in shape.

According to the Telegraph report, Gatlin’s coach, Dennis Mitchell, and a sports agent named Robert Wagner “offered to supply and administer testosterone and human-growth hormone for an actor training for a film.” The report also said the drug products would come from an Austrian doctor. Wagner and Mitchell were secretly recorded stating that performance-enhancing drug use is still rampant in sports and they explained how athletes can avoid testing positive, according to the Telegraph report. Wagner also allegedly said that Gatlin had been using performance-enhancing drugs. Gatlin, according to the report, denied the claims in a statement and fired Mitchell, a former Olympic gold medalist.

“These allegations are very serious and strike at the heart of the integrity of athletics,” said Brett Clothier, the head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, an independent entity whose mission is to ensure clean sports competition. The AIU operates separately from the international governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The Telegraph report mirrors in some ways an Al-Jazeera documentary released two years ago, in which an athlete went undercover to expose alleged PED use in sports. That documentary, “The Dark Side,” featured secretly-recorded conversations with alleged dealers and, at least on one occasion, a professional baseball player admitting on camera to his use of banned substances.

“Investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers play a critical role in anti-doping efforts,” said USADA in a statement. “As with all investigations, we encourage individuals with information to come forward as an important tool to help protect clean athletes.”

Player evaluation Marc Ross as search for new GM begins

The Giants officially have begun the process to replace fired GM Jerry Reese with an internal candidate, interviewing Marc Ross for the vacancy on Monday.

Ross, the team’s VP of player evaluation, interviewed with team president John Mara and former general manager Ernie Accorsi, who is serving as a front-office consultant during the selection process.

Ross, 44, is the first person to interview for the opening after Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo were axed two weeks ago. Interim GM Kevin Abrams also is expected to formally interview this week, with former Carolina GM Dave Gettleman considered a leading candidate, for the position.

By interviewing Ross, the Giants have satisfied the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior front-office openings. The rule is named after Pittsburgh Steelers patriarch Dan Rooney, the chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee who helped facilitate its creation in 2002.

Ross in his 11th season with the Giants, the last five in his current position after spending a half-dozen years as the organization’s director of college scouting. He came to the Giants in 2007 from the Buffalo Bills, where he spent three seasons as a national college scout. His first NFL job was as a public relations training camp intern with the Giants in 1995. The Princeton grad, an All-Ivy league wide receiver in 1993 and 1994, was instrumental in the Giants’ drafting of contributors Evan Engram, Dalvin Tomlinson and Wayne Gallman in the first four rounds of this year’s draft, and also was on the collegiate staff when the Giants tabbed Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, Justin Pugh and Sterling Shepard.

Rookie quarterback Davis Webb was inactive behind Eli Manning and Geno Smith for the 14th straight game on Sunday against Philadelphia. Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo says for now he expects the depth chart at that position to remain the same this week in Arizona.

“We’ll talk about it. As we stand here right now, yes,” Spagnuolo said. “But, everything — I haven’t had a chance to talk with (offensive coordinator) Mike (Sullivan) about going forward for Arizona. Kind of really been today more on yesterday’s game.”

What Giancarlo Stanton trade to the Yankees means for his value

RotoExperts will be ramping up the Fantasy Baseball coverage as the Hot Stove season gets going with the upcoming Winter Meetings. Be sure to check in and get the Fantasy spin for all of the major trades and free agent signings.

For a look at the signing of Shohei Ohtani and the Dee Gordon trade, check out Tim McCullough’s Xpert Eye.

This article appears courtesy of

We should have known all along that Giancarlo Stanton would end up in a Yankees uniform. Oh sure, we all played along once it was announced that Stanton was officially on the block, speculating about all the different teams that could potentially afford to acquire the slugger. We looked at the seemingly bottomless coffers of the Dodgers, the Red Sox and their stated desire to bring in a power-hitter this winter, and a whole group of teams with the prospects to burn like the Cardinals, Giants, Astros, Cubs, Phillies, Rangers and Mets.

All it took for the Marlins to part with Stanton was veteran second baseman Starlin Castro, pitching prospect Jorge Guzman, infield prospect Jose Devers and a team willing to pay all but $30M of the $295M salary owed to Stanton over the next decade. The Yankees never blinked. They couldn’t resist adding MLB’s premiere slugger to create a modern-day murderer’s row. Make no mistake, the Yankees’ potential lineup for 2018 will be extremely difficult to pitch to.

Stanton hit 59 home runs in 2017, the first season since 2011 in which he was able to play more than 145 games, and just the third season in his eight-year career that he was able to play more than 123 games. Injuries have robbed us of the opportunity to see what he could do with a full complement of plate appearances until 2017. And since he’s just 28 years old as of November 8, Stanton is just entering what should be his prime years of production. Add in Yankee Stadium’s legendary short porch in right field and the opportunity to play a huge portion of his road games in the hitter-friendly stadiums of the American League East division, and we could see Stanton hit 60 or more home runs for several years, assuming he can stay healthy.

Stanton has been slotted as a late first round or early second round pick in some of the early mock drafts for 2018 Fantasy Baseball. The trade to the Yankees doesn’t really do much to move the needle, though. We’ve had a proliferation of home runs over the last couple of seasons and the net effect has caused a slight devaluation of power hitters. Some Fantasy owners may get a bit overexcited about Stanton and reach for him in the middle of the first round but there really isn’t any need to do that with plenty of home runs available throughout the draft.

Giants victimized on similar play earlier this season

The Giants were victimized by the same rule at least once earlier this season, so Eli Manning hardly was surprised while watching the ending of the Pittsburgh-New England game on Sunday.

The Steelers had a potential game-winning touchdown reversed and ruled an incomplete pass when it was determined that tight end Jesse James didn’t fully maintain possession of the ball as he went to the ground in the end zone, leading to a 27-24 victory for the Patriots.

“I had a feeling they were going to overturn that,” Manning said on Monday. “You hate it. When you’re watching it live, you don’t even think about that not being a catch. But when they run it down, and hey, when you go to the ground, you’ve got to finish with the ball in your hands.

“If it hits the ground, and there’s movement, I was like I think there’s enough evidence that they will reverse it. It is what it is. It’s called the same everywhere and those are the rules.”

Manning noted the Giants similarly had a touchdown reversed in a Week 3 loss in Philadelphia on Sept. 24, when Sterling Shepard got both feet down in the end zone but lost control of the ball when he hit the ground out of bounds.

“Sterling, yeah, same deal. Caught it, had two feet (in bounds), went to the ground, ball comes out, it’s going to be an incompletion,” Manning said. “I think it is clear what a catch is, especially when you’re going to the ground. You’ve got to control the ball the whole time.”

While the Steelers complained afterward, and many players and others around the league have railed against the rule, Manning isn’t calling for a rules change to be made by the NFL this offseason.

“I know the rules. Don’t be surprised. Whether they’re right or wrong, could be one way or the other, but in my mind, I guess, it’s being called the same everywhere. Those are the rules,” he said. “Coaches talk about it, players talk about it. There’s understanding that if you’re going to the ground, finish the catch. Don’t stop and celebrate too early, don’t assume anything. You’ve got to finish the play.

“Guys know it. Guys know when you’re going to the ground, in the end zone or whatever, you’ve got to finish the play. Especially if you’re going to the ground, you’ve got to hold onto it. Don’t assume it’s going to be a touchdown. Either don’t go to the ground or don’t let go of the ball.”

As for the final play of the Giants’ 34-29 loss to the Eagles, the 14-year veteran wasn’t up in arms over rookie tight end Evan Engram possibly being interfered with by Philly defensive back Corey Graham on the high 4th-and-11 throw.

“It could have been called, but I don’t think it was an obvious call,” Manning said. “They were kind of going back and forth, so, hey, we’ve gotta throw the ball a little lower and try to make the play. That’s football sometimes.