Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

Sept 21 - Oct 5, 2005
Issue #84

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
Why is it OK for the press to lie?
Allan Uthman

Banana Republicans
3rd World, US-style
Shawn Ewald

Drowning Reality
Truth not a Major Factor in New Orleans
Kit Smith
Of Pandas & Morons
Truth vs. Myth in PA
Jeff Dean
Star Wars
The Sequel & the Reality
Bob Fitrakis

Play the Blame Game!
Match the Stupid Quote!
Roberts Confirmation Maze

Buffalo in Briefs
The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime
Matt Taibbi
Wide Right
Bills Football
Ronnie Roscoe
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
[sic] - Letters
 Cover Page

Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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The Sports Blotter - by Matt Taibbi



Early September is traditionally a quiet month for football crime — both college and pro players are generally too busy watching game film to be driving pickup trucks into old folks' homes, shooting people outside the local IHOP, throwing their pregnant wives down flights of stairs, or indeed indulging in any of those celebrated springtime recreations. In fact, though no studies have been done to prove it, it seems likely that the first two weeks of football season are the very safest weeks of the year in the U.S. — there's probably never a better time to accost a stripper in an Atlanta parking lot than early September.

But the NBA is a different story. September and early October are traditionally the high-danger months for the NBA. These are those slow months before the start of the regular season when Allen Iverson throws a Newport News barbecue, when Qyntel Woods buys a new dog, when Paul Pierce strolls into the Buzz and asks a girl at Made Men's table to dance. Basketball has a very long crime season — despite the long schedule, there's far too much down time to really keep the players out of trouble during any time except the playoffs — but all the same the month before training camp will always be the worst time, as players look to get their last partying in before the two-a-days begin.

Last year at this time, Gary Payton was being arraigned for a DUI, while journeyman Rodney White was becoming the first NBA player to be arrested by a Secret Service agent after the latter spotted White shooting randomly into the air, Wild-West style, in a Washington, DC ghetto.

This year, yet another NBA player fell into the trap of staying out past his bedtime in a gun-rich landscape. The culprit in this case was Tony Allen, the second-year player for the Boston Celtics, who last week was described as a "person of interest" in the Chicago-area shooting of a loudmouth named Marktwain Johnson.

Allen is one of a large class of Celtics youngsters who make up perhaps the most dynamic young roster in the league. The Danny Ainge youth movement up in Boston has mostly been hailed around the league as a smashing success, with the on-court performance of players like Allen, Delonte West, Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins leaving many observers to speculate that the Celtics will once again be a powerhouse team sometime later in this decade. However, there have been indications throughout that Ainge's Green Teen plan has been a lot more problematic behind the scenes than has been revealed publicly. At the conclusion of last season, Ainge and coach Doc Rivers vowed to institute a new "code of conduct" for the team, with Ainge going so far as to say the team needed to learn how to, among other things, "respect ball boys [and] respect airline pilots." Ainge's public statements on the subject of team behavior conjures images of off-court Celtics doing whip-its in charter aircraft and giving late-night wedgies to TSA personnel in rural FBOs after road losses... the team even went so far as to propose a dress code, which suggests that high school levels of incivility are a team concern.

Most of this has remained under the surface, however, until now. The Allen incident essentially involved a player staying out too late and running with the wrong people. According to press reports, Allen had a run-in some months ago with Johnson, who is some kind of street figure in the South Side of Chicago. At that run-in, the two men reportedly argued about how much money Allen made. Fast forward a month or so: Allen shows up at 3:30 a.m. at a party for former high school teammate Will Bynum, who's just signed a contract to be a teammate of Allen's on the Celtics. Johnson is there; Allen spots him, and all hell breaks loose. According to Johnson's attorney, Allen upon spotting Johnson pointed and said, "Fuck him up!" Allen's attorney denies this, but in any case, at the end of all of this, Johnson ends up being shot twice in the left side and left arm. No one accuses Allen of being the shooter, although one man claims Allen punched him and broke his eye socket. Allen was reportedly seen running away from the scene.

Police immediately requested an interview with Allen, but the latter declined. He will likely be picked up after the Celtics play the Chicago Bulls in a preseason game on October 15. Whether he will be arrested or charged remains to be seen. In the meantime, stay tuned for more NBA news later this month. It's almost inevitable...




It didn't involve an NBA player, but another basketball player managed to work his way into the Blotter this week.

Jamaal Harris is less a sports figure than a figure from sportscrime lore. He is one of those timeless figures whose name will forever be linked to a bizarre sports arrest — like Cody the police horse, the only police animal ever to be assaulted by a major college basketball player (Cincinnati's Art Long), or Mark Paul, the 300-pound flunky roommate of former New England Patriot Kenyatta Jones, who became famous when Jones threw bioling water on him as he sat on the toilet.

Harris, a onetime Cleveland-area high school basketball legend, is famous for being one of the two stick-up men in the bizarre robbery of Cleveland Indians ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia. Harris was originally arrested in 2002 after he and an accomplice (former Ohio Mr. Basketball Damon Stringer) held up Sabathia at gunpoint outside the WISH nightclub and robbed the giant left-hander of a $60,000 Rolex, over $20,000 in platinum jewelry, and some $3,000 in cash. Police described the incident as a "crime of drunken opportunity," a phrase that seems more to describe a sports marriage than a robbery. Whatever the motive, it was certainly one of the weirder sports crimes of all time— one celebrated athlete robbing another at gunpoint.

In any case, Harris was released this year, and appeared to have his life back on track— he was slated to be the star player of a new ABA franchise called the Lake Erie Rockers. But he is back in jail again this week, after allegedly testing positive for marijuana. According to news reports, Harris submitted an "improperly diluted" urine sample, and a judge will rule next week on whether or not Harris violated his parole. Sabathia, in the middle of a pennant race, has refused comment.

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