When the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens visited the White House on Wednesday, one of their key players did not attend.
Matt Birk, who has since retired, said he boycotted the trip because he did not agree with President Obama's support of Planned Parenthood.
The former Minnesota Vikings center told KFAN (100.3 FM) Radio on Thursday that "I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, 'God bless Planned Parenthood.'
"Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement and I just felt like I couldn't deal with that. I couldn't endorse that in any way."
Obama concluded a speech to Planned Parenthood's convention in April by saying, "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America."
During the NFL season, Birk wrote an opinion piece for the Star Tribune in opposition to same-sex marriage, which has since been legalized in Minnesota.
Birk, 36, went to high school at Cretin Derham Hall before graduating from Harvard. He was drafted by the Vikings in 1998 and played 11 seasons for the Vikings before signing with Baltimore in 2009. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in January.
Birk, a six-time Pro Bowler, and his wife have six children.
It's widely known the Twins have some promising young stars presumably in the making. Through the wonders of Twitter and YouTube we catch onto 19-year-old Byron Buxton flying around the bases after moon-shot, walk-off home runs in Cedar Rapids. And Miguel Sano turning hard on a fastball and depositing it into the seats. And big 6-7 Alex Meyer nearing triple digits from the mound.
These "big three" prospects are noted by CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman in a recent post on the site. They're the core reason one National League general manager told the former Newsday and Sports Illustrated writer that the Twins have "the best farm system in baseball."
Too strong? Maybe. But what little secret is left about these prospects won't be kept under wraps for long if more national exposure comes their way.
In the meantime, please enjoy this clip of Buxton mashing a walk-off grand slam earlier this month
Former Alaska-Anchorage hockey coach Dave Shyiak has been accused of violently striking a player with his stick during a 2011 practice.
According to the Alaska Daily News, ex-Seawolves winger Mickey Spencer sent a letter to the University of Alaska president, Patrick Gamble, and detailed the incident. The university has launched an investigation.
Spencer said Shyiak took a baseball-style swing at Nick Haddad and struck Haddad across the thigh.
"He tomahawked, lumber-jacked -- whatever you want to call it -- him across the thigh on his (hockey) pants,'' Spencer said. "We knew this wasn't a small deal, it's kind of a big deal. I've seen a coach break a stick over a goalpost or the glass because he's [mad] about something, but I've never seen one take out his anger on a player.''
But Haddad downplayed the incident today, according to this Associated Press story:
Haddad says in a Wednesday email to The Associated Press that the university investigation into the incident is "ridiculous" and should end immediately. In his email, Haddad says Shyiak did strike him with a hockey stick, but it sounded worse than it was. They exchanged words, and Haddad was sent off the ice. He says they spoke the next day and resolved all differences, and that he hasn't thought about the incident since.
Shyiak was fired in March after eight losing seasons.
His lawyer, Kevin Fitzgerald, said: "He confirms he did strike Nick's knee pads with his stick. It wasn't an assault. It was, in essence, an attempt to get Nick's attention. It wasn't designed to injure Nick. It didn't cause any injury. Nick didn't report to the trainer, didn't suffer an injury, didn't go to the hospital.''
Spencer also alleged Shyiak told the team not to discuss the incident.
You've got some time before the draft to read a bit more about Manti Te'o, right?
Vanity Fair has this profile on the Notre Dame linebacker, who is said to be in the sights of the Vikings in tonight's first round. And, surprise surprise, there's a lot about the fictional girlfriend.
Reaction to No. 1 Indiana falling at Minnesota on Tuesday night was what you might expect in the Hoosier State.
Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star had a nice little roundup today from media types in Louisville and Michigan in addition to takes from CBS Sports and NBC Sports. They're worth a read if kneejerk reactions interest you at all. It seems a team falling from a projected No. 1 seed to a No. 2 in the NCAA Tournament is the end of the world.
So what happened through the view of red-colored lenses?
Star writer Terry Hutchens pointed out in his postgame video report that Indiana's big men plain "just didn't show up" at Williams Arena.
Indiana fans saw what Gophers fans (and everybody else for that matter) saw: Cody Zeller was not Cody Zeller. Particularly after Zeller's early-game slam dunk attempt was monster-blocked by Trevor Mbakwe (described as Mbakwe being "possessed" on ESPN) . Of course, the play sent IU fans into a tizzy, because in their minds Mbakwe "fouled Zeller into the third row" and he was given "the Shaq treatment" all game long.
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