The Sports Blotter

by Matt Taibbi



Correct way to leverage your team to redo your already outrageous contract: pick off Peyton Manning three times in the AFC Championship game.

Incorrect way to leverage your team to not trade your ungrateful, money-grubbing ass a week before the NFL draft: get in a foot race with Miami Beach cops after you've been pulled over for a lane violation in your phat new 2004 Rolls Royce.

In a story that harkens back to the good old New England sportscrime days of Terry Glenn, New England Patriots star cornerback Ty Law was busted last weekend in a bizarre incident that will surely involve still more sordid revelations in the upcoming weeks. The story simply makes too little sense on its face right now to stand as it is; something else must surely be behind it.

According to police reports, Law was driving in the South Beach section of Miami late on Friday night (actually early Saturday morning) when he was pulled over for a lane violation. When police approached his brand-new Rolls, Law for some reason sped off, leading police on another chase. Caught the second time, Law was pulled out of the car and then, when he was told to turn around and put his hands behind him, took off and led police on a foot race through the nightclub district of South Beach. Law has always had just average speed for a corner, but his apprehension on foot by police officers recalls similar embarrassing incidents involving NFL speedsters, in particular the notorious Florida State incident when now-Bengals wide receiver Peter Warrick—timed at 4.4 in the draft combine—was chased down on foot from behind by a female patrolwoman in Tallahassee.

In any case, when finally apprehended, Law reportedly told police officers, "Don't touch me—I'm a professional athlete!" They ignored him and booked him for two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest without violence.

There is no explanation as of yet as to why Law, by all accounts not insane, would try to outrun police. His agent, the loathsome Carl Poston, claims that Law was treated roughly by police, who among other things allegedly threw his wallet in his face. But it would seem possible that Ty had to ditch something on his person.

Law has been in trouble before. In 2000, he was stopped on the U.S.-Canadian border after a game against the Bills and several Ecstasy pills were found in his possession. Though The Beast has nothing against Ecstasy, so long as you remember to drink water while you take it, Law must be judged harshly for this particular incident, as he offered one of the lamest excuses in the history of sportscrime to squirm out of that one: he said the pills belonged to his cousin. The Boston media, normally the most brutal in the nation, went easy on Law after that one: after all, he is one of the best corners in the game.

This offseason the gregarious Law has spent a lot of time in the headlines, doing a nationwide media tour to demand a new contract in light of his stellar performance last season. His Willie Beamen act was so convincing that at times it seemed like Oliver Stone scripted the whole thing. He called Pats coach Bill Belichick a "liar" and said he no longer wanted to be a Patriot. He may now get his wish, as the likelihood that he will be traded this weekend has shot up enormously.


Then there is the Mike Danton story. The Beast hesitates to make too much light of this one because it just seems too darn sad. But it appears that the notorious trash-talking enforcer for the St. Louis Blues may have tried to have a man killed because he was threatening to go public about Danton's sexual preference.

Danton was born Mike Jefferson and was known by that name in the early years of his career, which began as a ninth round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He changed his name to Danton after becoming estranged from his family, who had provided him with what by all accounts was an unusually rough childhood, even by hockey standards. In the NHL he was known as an extremely hot-headed player who was very creative with his obscenities on the ice and who logged a lot of penalty minutes; he had 141 with St. Louis this year. But no one could have foreseen this thing...

By now most sports fans will have read the story. Danton allegedly told a female friend, one 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer, that a "hit man" was coming down from Canada to kill him and asked her if she knew anyone who would be willing to kill him for $10,000. One would think there would be better places to turn than a 19 year-old girl to find a hit man, but that is the way it played out. Wolfmeyer then contacted a man described as a "cooperating witness" to the FBI, and Danton was roped in by the authorities.

Later, the FBI taped a phone call between Danton and the putative victim in which the latter confronted Danton and asked him why he wanted him killed. In the call, Danton sobbed that he was afraid the man was "going to leave him."

Danton's agent, Dave Frost, revealed to reporters that Danton had spoken to him a week ago and said that he was having emotional problems and needed professional help. Danton, Frost said, "had things he needed to get off his chest and needed help to do so."

Danton was arrested last Friday night in San Jose after the Blues were eliminated from the playoffs by the Sharks. He has returned to the St. Louis area to face charges. His accomplice, Wolfmeyer, has also been charged in the case.



In a strange footnote to the sports pages, two of the key players in one of the most celebrated terrorism trials in U.S. history were reunited this week in the case of a former football star turned weapons dealer.

In Buffalo last week, federal judge William Skretny sentenced Nigel Bostic to seven years for gun trafficking. Bostic allegedly sold some 236 guns in Buffalo illegally over the past few years.

Bostic, 33, was once a highly-regarded running back prospect who was given a football scholarship to Oklahoma State. He never got on the field for the Cowboys, but he was slated to be the next star running back in a program that produced such greats as Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas. But his football career was ended after a felony drug arrest in 1992.

The case is unusual because Bostic's attorney, James Harrington, was the same attorney who represented suspected al-Qaeda terrorist Sahim Alwan in the notorious "Lackawanna Six" sleeper cell case last year. Skretny was the judge in that proceeding. One of New York's most notorious hanging judges, Skretny imposed twice the usual sentence for Bostic's charges. He also gave the maximum to Alwan.

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© 2004 The Beast