Today in sports: Bobby Petrino is a masterless coaching samurai once more, Drew Brees wants his money, and a pretty white horse might win the Kentucky Derby.
You won't have Bobby Petrino to say fair and accurate things about anymore. The University of Arkansas fired the successful but somewhat scandal-plagued football coach last night, 11 days after he was involved in a serious motorcycle crash, which was followed by a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to cover-up his affair with Jessica Dorrell, a 25-year-old former Arkansas volleyball player he once gave $20,000 to (as a gift!) and, on March 28, hired to be the football program's "student-athlete development coordinator." (There were 159 other applicants.) But wait, there's more unseemliness: a source tells ESPN's Mark Schlabach that "at one point" Dorrell was engaged to Josh Morgan, Arkansas's director of swimming and diving operations. The wedding was scheduled for June 8. Petrino's highwayman reputation was cemented in 2003 when he was the coach at Louisville and interviewed in secret for the still-occupied Auburn job, then denied it until the Louisville Courier-Journal confronted him with flight records of a private jet registered to an Auburn booster. (The ensuing fallout caused Auburn's president and athletic director to resign.) In 2007, he left the Atlanta Falcons for Arkansas after just 13 games. He informed Falcons players by putting a four-sentence form letter in their lockers during an off day. In a devastating and ironic and perfect bit of symmetry, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long informed Petrino he was being dismissed — with cause — Tuesday afternoon via letter. [SI.com]
The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees were in the middle of increasingly prickly contract talks when Bountygate became a big, scandalous thing. Now Brees wants to get cracking again on that longterm extension, while management still needs to find a coach before the start of offseason workouts on Monday, which probably should take priority. Brees has responded by giving a slew of pointed non-quotes to reporters where he says everything will be fine, everything will be fine, but then refuses to say whether he'll sign his franchise tender, which he has to do in order to participate in offseason workouts. Why do they have to do this? Clearly he's not going to sign it. Why repeat, "We're working towards a long-term deal." Of course you are. Everyone knows this. But what about the thing you have to do so you won't miss any practice time with your teammates and new playcaller? At least say "No comment" or something quarterback-y like "That's an issue, we'll address when it's time, but not before." Don't just restate what you'd like to be doing, if you were actually doing it, rather than twisting in the wind. You're better than that, Drew Brees. [The Los Angeles Times]
A white horse named Hansen is going to be one of top contenders in this year's Kentucky Derby. The New York Times is very, very excited about this, both because Hansen is a great horse — "[E]very race is like a work of performance art" — and he's white. This is very unusual. "White as a classification is rare," the paper explains. "[A]ccording to the Jockey Club, 131 thoroughbreds have been registered as such. White is a genetic mutation. Gray horses usually have a base color like chestnut or black that turns gray, but white horses have pink skin." And what a beautiful genetic mutation he is! "He is the color of alabaster," swoons Ryan Goldberg, "a striking white vision set against the bays, browns and chestnuts he has left behind in all but one race." Between the galloping ghost — we like that more than Hansen — and
Barbaro II Union Rags, also much beloved by the Times, this year's Triple Crown already has two more characters we care about than Luck did. [The New York Times]
Nike and Reebok have settled their legal fight over those grey market Tim Tebow Jets jerseys Reebok churned out last month before Nike's licensing deal with the NFL kicked in. The settlement requires Reebok to "buy back from retailers any Tebow apparel it manufactured after its licensing deal with NFL Players Inc. to use players' names and numbers expired at the end of February," which seems reasonable. The settlement also bars Reebok from producing any more green-and-white Tebow swag going forward. That's very good news for New York's unlicensed t-shirt artisans. Less competition. [AP]
Workers who are building a World Cup stadium in Sao Paulo have rejected another offer by management and will continue their now two-week-old long strike. Construction projects for the 2014 tournament are already way behind schedule, but the (kind of) good news is that the stadium is Castelao where the strike is happening is apparently the closest facility to completion, nearly 60 percent done. Seven of the 12 other facilities aren't even halfway finished. [AP]