- Created on 17 October 2013
Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears catches a touchdown pass against the New York Giants on October 10, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. | Getty
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall says he has been fined $10,500 by the NFL for wearing green football shoes in the Oct. 10 game against the New York Giants.
Marshall had said before last Thursday's game he was wearing the shoes to attract attention to Mental Health Awareness Week. Marshall has been treated for a personality disorder in the past.
Marshall posted the league letter informing him of the fine on Twitter and wrote: "Football is my platform not my purpose. This fine is nothing compared to the conversation started & awareness raised."
Marshall said he had planned to match any fine with a donation to his foundation, which supports mental health awareness. He said he also plans to auction off the shoes and donate the proceeds to charity.
- Created on 17 October 2013
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose controls the ball during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Chicago on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The Bulls won 96-81. (AP Photo / /Nam Y. Huh)
CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrick Rose scored 22 points in his long-awaited return to the United Center court to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 96-81 preseason victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
The way Rose was dominating, it was hard to believe nearly 18 months had passed since he suited up for a game in this arena. The explosiveness was back after he spent last season recovering from knee surgery, and when he wasn't finishing drives, the former MVP was hitting his free throws.
He got a thunderous ovation during the pregame introductions and proceeded to put on a show, scoring 18 in the first half. He had the crowd chanting "MVP! MVP!" at the end of the second quarter after he froze Peyton Siva with a wicked crossover and flipped the ball in off the glass with his body contorted before burying the free throw to complete the three-point play.
Rose hit 6 of 9 shots and was 9 for 10 on free throws over 22 minutes after missing the previous game against Washington in Rio de Janeiro because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.
Carlos Boozer added 10 points and 11 rebounds. Joakim Noah had two points and eight rebounds after missing the first three preseason games because of a strained right groin.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Detroit with 18 points, but this night was all about Rose.
He hadn't played at the United Center since April 28, 2012, when the Bulls' worst nightmare unfolded near the end of a playoff-opening victory over Philadelphia. There was Rose coming to a jump stop and crumbling to the floor with about 1:20 left in a game that was out of reach, a torn anterior cruciate ligament ending his season and sending top-seeded Chicago to a first-round exit.
His recovery became a running soap opera last season, and it only escalated after he returned to practice in midseason.
Should he return? Should he sit out the season?
Rose and the Bulls never publicly ruled out a return, so the debate raged on. His image took a hit in some corners as the Bulls clawed their way through injuries and illnesses on the way to 45 wins and a second-round playoff exit, but none of that seemed to matter on Wednesday.
When the PA announcer bellowed before the game, "From Chicago! No. 1, Derrick Rose!" a deafening roar echoed through the arena. There was a loud cheer when Rose caught an outlet pass from Boozer after a miss by Detroit's Andre Drummond on the game's first shot, and they were screaming again moments later when Rose scored off a feed from Noah. He added a neat layup, pumping in midair and drawing a few "oohs" and "ahs" from the crowd," and scored eight points before heading to the sideline with 3:59 left in the first quarter.
- Created on 16 October 2013
Shayanna Jenkins, girlfriend of Aaron Hernandez entered the court room in Attleboro, Mass. on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. | Getty
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The girlfriend of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a perjury charge for allegedly lying to a Massachusetts grand jury, including about disposing of evidence in the murder case against him.
Shayanna Jenkins was released on personal recognizance during her arraignment in Fall River Superior Court on a single perjury count. Prosecutors had sought $5,000 cash bail.
In August, Jenkins lied to the grand jury hearing evidence in the case, including about where she threw out a box Hernandez asked her to "get rid of" in the aftermath of Odin Lloyd's killing, Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg said.
Jenkins initially invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, but was later granted immunity for her testimony, Bomberg said.
Hernandez, 23, has pleaded not guilty to the June murder of Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player from Boston who was dating Jenkins' sister. He is being held without bail.
In court Tuesday, Bomberg said that the day after Lloyd was killed, Jenkins retrieved the box from the basement of the home she shared with Hernandez in North Attleborough, Mass., put it in a trash bag, covered it with baby clothes and drove away with it. Jenkins repeatedly told grand jurors she threw the box in a Dumpster but couldn't recall where, according to Bomberg.
Bomberg did not say what is believed to have been in the box. Hernandez associate Carlos Ortiz, who is charged as an accessory in the case, has told investigators that Hernandez put firearms in a box in his basement after the killing, according to court records. Prosecutors have said the murder weapon has not been found.
Defense attorney Janice Bassil said Jenkins answered every question asked of her before the grand jury and that prosecutors were overreaching with the perjury charge. She said there is no evidence Jenkins lied and that prosecutors sought the indictment simply because they didn't believe her. She called lead prosecutor William McCauley's questioning of Jenkins "extremely aggressive" and heavy-handed.
Bassil described the relationship between Jenkins and Hernandez, who have a young child together, as one of "don't ask, don't tell." Bassil had no further comment outside court.
The perjury charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.
Prosecutors have asked the judge assigned to the Hernandez case, Susan Garsh, to recuse herself, saying she and the McCauley have a "well-known and publicly documented history of antagonism" stemming from a 2010 murder trial he argued before her.
McCauley won a conviction in that case but was quoted in the press as criticizing Garsh, saying she had unfairly limited or excluded evidence and exhibited antagonism. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Monday.
Three others face charges in the case. Ernest Wallace and Ortiz, who prosecutors say were with Hernandez and Lloyd in a car on the night Lloyd was killed, have been charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact.
Wallace has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $500,000 bail. Ortiz is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.
Hernandez's cousin, Tanya Singleton, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact and criminal contempt. Prosecutors say she refused to testify before the grand jury even though she was offered immunity.
Hernandez has also been linked to an investigation into a 2012 double homicide in Boston. While investigating Lloyd's death, police found a sport utility vehicle rented in Hernandez's name at the home of Hernandez's uncle in Bristol, Conn., that was wanted in connection with those killings.
- Created on 14 October 2013
MIAMI (AP) — Nearly six years ago, All-Pro safety Sean Taylor was at home nursing an injury instead of taking the field with his Washington Redskins teammates for a road game at Tampa. Unfortunately, a group of young men from southwest Florida apparently didn't know that.
Prosecutors say the suspects drove across the state intending to burglarize Taylor's Miami-area home, confident he wouldn't be there. When the 6-foot-2, 230-pound player — well known as a ferocious hitter — confronted them with a machete early on Nov. 26, 2007, Eric Rivera Jr. allegedly fired two shots. One missed. The other hit Taylor in the upper leg, causing massive blood loss that led to his death a day later at age 24.
Finally, after numerous delays, jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday for Rivera's first-degree murder trial. Because Rivera, now 23, was only 17 at the time of the crime, he faces life in prison instead of the death penalty if convicted. Jury selection is expected to take about four days.
Four other people were also charged in the case. One of them, Venjah Hunte, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and burglary charges and is expected to testify against Rivera. The other three are scheduled to go to trial later on lesser charges. Hunte's plea deal calls for a 29-year prison term instead of life.
Although Taylor had some run-ins with the law and been fined several times by the NFL for various rules violations, his future seemed extremely bright before he was killed. The son of Florida City Police Chief Pedro Taylor and an All-American player at the University of Miami, the Redskins drafted Taylor with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft and he signed an $18 million contract.
Taylor quickly became a starter and was nicknamed "Meast" by teammates — a combination of man and beast — because of his hard-hitting style. He was named to the Pro Bowl after the 2006 season and was also very popular among Redskins players and fans. One of his best friends, wide receiver Santana Moss, said he still says "a little prayer" for Taylor every time he takes the field.
"I have a few people that have passed away in my life as friends that have meant something to me, and I'm always constantly speaking to them. That's just something I do. He's one of those guys," Moss said.
The Redskins contributed $500,000 to a fund for Taylor's young daughter after he died and, in the first game after his slaying, the team's defense took the field against Buffalo with only 10 players on the first play — leaving Taylor's free safety position vacant to honor him. Fans at that game got towels bearing his number, 21.
To many fans, players and others connected with both the Redskins and the "U'' at Miami, it was heartbreaking to see such a talented player's life and career cut short so brutally.
"He was a young man who was learning quickly how to be a great human being, and, to me, he was the best football player I've ever seen in person," said former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, a nine-year veteran who now does broadcasts for the team. "He was the most physical, the most gifted, the hardest-working guy that I've been around, and it was such an unfortunate thing."
Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, now a NASCAR racing team owner, said Taylor began to mature and take a leadership role on the team after the birth of his daughter.
"It wound up being a true tragedy and it had a huge effect on all of us," Gibbs said of Taylor's killing. "He was one of those guys that with the way he played and his persona the way he was, he was a natural leader. You could see guys look to him from a leadership standpoint."
The fatal attempted burglary was not the first time there was a break-in at Taylor's home.
Police say someone pried open a window a few days earlier, on Nov. 17, and rifled through a desk and other belongings. No one was home that time, and it's not clear exactly what, if anything, was taken.
Then came the weekend after Thanksgiving with the Redskins playing the Buccaneers that Sunday. Taylor was given permission to stay home with a knee injury, along with his girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, and their 18-month-old daughter, also named Jackie.
Police say two of the men charged had connections to Taylor: Jason Scott Mitchell had cut Taylor's lawn and an older cousin of suspect Charles Wardlow had dated Taylor's sister. Family members also said Mitchell had recently been at a birthday party at Taylor's house, where Taylor was known to keep large amounts of cash.
Miami-Dade County's former police director, Robert Parker, said the defendants were surprised to find Taylor home early that Monday morning.
"They were certainly not looking to go there and kill anyone," Parker said. "They were expecting a residence that was not occupied."
Authorities say they have obtained confessions from at least some of the suspects, all from the Fort Myers area, but pretrial hearings on whether those statements will be allowed in Rivera's trial were closed by Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy. The judge also imposed a gag order on prosecutors and defense attorneys in hopes of limiting pretrial news media coverage that could make jury selection difficult.
The murder weapon has never been found. Prosecutors say it was thrown into the Everglades after the slaying while the group drove home across Alligator Alley.
There have already been at least seven previous trial dates set for Rivera. Cooley, for one, said it's time for justice to be done.
"Breaking into someone's home, into their personal safety blanket and shooting them in that environment is the most heinous, unthinkable crime that could have happened to a guy like Sean. It's despicable," Cooley said.