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Patriot haze

Sports blotter: "Salt in the wound" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  March 5, 2008


Weed to know
It’s a bad time to be a Pats fan. First we have to deal with Eli Manning — with that I’ve-just-been-whacked-with-a-pine-plank look on his face — being America’s new media megadarling.

Now there are two straight weed busts for an NFL franchise that has avoided this sort of thing for a long time. Not that there’s anything particularly objectionable about the odd weed arrest; frankly, it’s an utter waste of taxpayer money to have police searching grown men on the way into concerts for the world’s most harmless recreational drug.

And let’s face it, there’s nothing in the world sillier than the NFL — a league in which most of the players have to pump their bodies full of an astounding array of illegal substances just to maintain their massive physiques, off-the-charts pain tolerances, and pit-bull aggression levels — being concerned with their charges baking out and listening to some tunes.

Enter Kevin Faulk, the uber-valuable running back who was supposed to be the X-factor in the inevitable Patriots Super Bowl win that turned out to be not so inevitable after all. Faulk was nailed February 22 with “four hand-rolled cigars” of marijuana. When he was busted, Faulk was on his way to see a Lil Wayne rap concert in his home state of Louisiana, where he was once arrested in a crowd-scene misunderstanding following the Pats’ first Super Bowl victory. Faulk was issued a citation after trying to enter the Cajundome in Lafayette with the blunts.

The Faulk bust comes just weeks after reserve defensive back Willie Andrews was caught in Lowell with three baggies of weed. Andrews was charged with possession and driving an unregistered motor vehicle, just one day after the team returned from the Super Bowl.

There is a dark vibe surrounding the Patriots all of a sudden. Close your eyes, New England. It may get worse from here. In the meantime, one-half point to Faulk — the half-point being for adding to our collective Pats misery this winter.

Frog rocker
Weird news from the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that always has more than its fair share of extracurricular oddities. It seems the club has released infielder Scott Spiezio (he of the two World Series rings, with Anaheim in 2002 and the Cards in ‘06) after details surfaced about an incident that took place on December 30.

Spiezio was in California when he plunged headlong into a doubleheader of sports-crime clichés: a one-car crash, followed by a leaving-the-scene beef. After exiting a Newport Beach bar, Spiezio drove his 2004 BMW into a fence, then jumped out and headed to a friend’s nearby condo. According to reports, the friend attempted to clean Spiezio up, but the ballplayer threw up in the guy’s room. When the guy commented on the mess, Spiezio allegedly went apeshit, assaulting the man and causing “significant injuries.” The whole incident was kept under wraps for some time, and it wasn’t until the beginning of spring training that the Cards found out about an arrest warrant and took action.

Spiezio sat out a month this past year to deal with a substance-abuse problem. The Cards were probably somewhat quicker to cut ties with him in the wake of the alcohol-related death of pitcher Josh Hancock in 2007. The DUI arrest of manager Tony LaRussa and the HGH scandal involving famed Yips sufferer/inspirational-comeback story Rick Ankiel probably didn’t help.

Pace yourself
Poor Larry Bird. Every time he wakes up in the morning, he must turn on his Bearcat to see which of his players ended up in bracelets the night before.

The Pacers have had innumerable scandals in recent years, including charges involving Stephen Jackson firing his gun five times into the air (after a parking lot fracas outside a strip club), a weed bust involving Shawne Williams, bar-brawl arrests of Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels (in which Tinsley allegedly threatened to kill a club manager after braining him on the side of the head) . . . the list goes on and on.

Now there is perhaps the worst of them all — Williams was held out of a game this past week after police arrested Gary Bohanon, a/k/a Roosevelt Rollins, when he exited Williams’s house. Bohanon, who had been with Williams when the latter was busted for his weed rap this past September, was wanted by the US Marshals as a fugitive from a first-degree murder-arrest warrant, issued after one Ronald Moore was gunned down on October 17, 2007, in Tennessee. Information reached authorities that Bohanon might be at Williams’s house, so they kept the hoopster under surveillance and finally caught their man.

Yikes, harboring a murder fugitive. The exasperated Bird commented: “We’ve got to be very clear about this — we don’t want our players hanging around with murderers.”

There are no charges against Williams as of yet, but stay tuned. In the meantime, give him 50 points, and give our old friend from French Lick your sympathies.

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