You probably don't need to be reminded that Minnesota wide receiver A.J. Barker left the team in a dispute over how his ankle injury was being handled and his treatment by coach Jerry Kill -- or the 4,000-word letter to Kill that he posted on the web.
New York Times reporter Tim Rohan (a former startribune.com Vikings blogger) cited Barker's case as one in a number of examples of coaching walking the line between behavior that is judged as tough discipline as opposed to abusive, and how coaches no longer have the absolute authority that at one time appeared to come with their position.
"This season, Idaho State suspended its football coach, Mike Kramer, for one game for shoving a player to the ground in practice. Last month, Morehead State suspended the men’s basketball coach Sean Woods for one game for pushing and berating a player during a game. On Thursday, Rutgers suspended the men’s basketball’s coach Mike Rice for three games and fined him $50,000 for behavior in practice.
"At Washington State, the star receiver Marquess Wilson quit the football team, alleging that Coach Mike Leach and his staff had intimidated and humiliated players. The university said Wednesday that it had concluded an internal review and determined there had been no wrongdoing by the coaching staff
Among those interviewed in the story is Rick Aberman, a sports psychologist who met with both Kill and Barker. He told Rohan: “This is a new challenge for coaches It may be the one thing that may drive coaches out of the business, because everything’s public.”
You can read the entire story here.
As you might imagine, reaction in the Badger State to the report Bret Bielema took the head football job at Arkansas came fast and furious Tuesday afternoon. A quick read through message boards and comment streams associated with stories here, here and here run the gamut.
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson didn't think anything illegal was going on, but head coach Jim Schwartz and some of his players weren't happy with the Vikings' defensive tactics during Sunday's game.
Meanwhile, Lions fans weren't too thrilled with the play of their team in the 34-24 Vikings victory.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reported that, on two occasions after catching passes, "Johnson took shots to the head -- one, by safety Harrison Smith and another by linebacker Jasper Brinkley. He ducked out of the way of a couple other flying tackle attempts. Remember, it was against the Vikings in Week 4 that Johnson suffered a stinger on a helmet-to-helmet hit by linebacker Chad Greenway."
Schwartz told the News: "They hit him in the head twice. Only one (Brinkley) got flagged."
Johnson, who caught 12 passes for 207 yards, didn't think there was intent to injure.
You can read his response here.
About the hits to the head, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said he didn't know if the Vikings were targeting Johnson's head. "Calvin is a tough guy and he stayed in and made some big plays. But there is no place for that in this league."
While you're reading, you should go down to the comments at the bottom of the page. Lions fans talking about Stafford and his receivers (other than Johnson) sound a little bit like many Vikings fans talking about Christian Ponder and his receivers (other than Percy Harvin).
Without the ESPN girlfriend thing, of course.
From nbcmiami.com: "Former Miami Hurricanes All-American Bryant McKinnie owes the father of rapping superstar Trick Daddy $375,000 for bills run up at South Florida strip clubs, a new lawsuit says. The rapper’s father, Charles (Pop) Young, filed the lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court Monday afternoon. Young says that McKinnie, who is currently an offensive lineman for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, racked up big bills at the strip clubs between February 2009 and September 2010, borrowing the money from him."
Here's the story from the Miami TV station.
The former Vikings lineman, released last season when he showed up at training camp weighing a bunch more than coach Leslie Frazier wanted, is a big deal in Miami -- owing to his college career at the University of Miami.
McKinnie denied the allegation, essentially saying that Young was trying to shake down a moneymaker. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, McKinnie said: "I got no papers, I was never served. I just called my lawyer about this because this is a bogus story. I just read the article. He was working at those places and he's tried to borrow money from me. People can put anything out there. What strip club gives you a $375,000 tab?"
Upload doesn't want to know the answer to that last question.
According to the Sun, McKinnie took a $1 million pay cut this season -- from $3.2 million to $2.2 million -- with the chance to get the million back if he plays 50 percent of the Ravens' offensive snaps -- a task that made difficult by the fact that he isn't a starter right now. McKinnie already is having some of his salary garnished as settlement in a lawsuit over a $4.5 million loan he took out during the NFL lockout.
Here's the entire Sun story.
Midweek football returns to downtown Minneapolis tonight.
Quarterback Christian Ponder is ready
Coach Leslie Frazier is ready
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