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Volume 24 No. 156
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They Said What? Controversial Statements Made By Sports Figures In '12

There was no shortage of comments from sports personalities this year that made us do a double take. Below are some of the more memorable quotes from '12 that had us scratching our heads.

CUBAN MISSLE CRISIS: The Marlins hoped Ozzie Guillen would help make a splash for them as they moved to a new ballpark in Miami, but he immediately alienated the area's Cuban community with comments on Fidel Castro. After saying to Time magazine, “I love Fidel Castro,” Guillen became the object of fan protests at the team’s new venue in Little Havana. He tried to backtrack and explain what he meant, but the damage already had been done. The team suspended him for five games, and the incident probably served as one of the reasons he was fired in September.

YOU TAKE THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD? Notre Dame will play for the BCS National Championship next month, but Allen Pinkett, the school’s football radio analyst, said prior to the season-opener that the Irish needed to recruit more "bad citizens" in order to be successful. The comments unsurprisingly went over poorly with the Notre Dame fan base, and school AD Jack Swarbrick said he “could not disagree more” with the assertion. Pinkett was suspended for the team’s first three games.

BELIEF SYSTEM: Tim Thomas chose not to visit the White House when the Bruins were honored for winning the '11 Stanley Cup, citing his beliefs that the federal government “has grown out of control, threatening the rights, liberties, and property of the people.” Thomas, who has made several political statements during his career, tried to explain that his snub was not due to politics or party affiliations. The Bruins did not suspend the Conn Smythe winner, but they did withhold him from a charity appearance in the immediate aftermath.

Costas' remarks on gun control were highly criticized
for coming at halftime of "SNF"

HALFTIME SHOW: Following the murder-suicide involving Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher, NBC’s Bob Costas used his weekly “SNF” halftime essay to address the tragedy and the gun culture in the U.S. Costas’ comments caused an immediate reaction on social media, as many viewers believed that was the wrong forum for a discussion on the issue. Costas defended his statement by saying, "What I was talking about here … was a gun culture. I never mentioned the Second Amendment.I never used the words ‘gun control.’”

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY: In the week leading up to UFC 149, fans inCalgary and on social media sites were blasting UFC President Dana White forwhat was perceived as a poor fight card. White spent the week before the showdefending the lineup, but when the event drew boos from the crowd after threestraight fights lumbered to decisions, White was not shy about sharing hisdispleasure. He said, “We can count on one hand how many shows suck. (Saturday) is one more finger on that hand.”

HE SAID WHAT? Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith have caused many heads to turn with what they have said on ESPN’s“First Take,” but Rob Parker questioning the “blackness” of Redskins QB Robert Griffin III turned into headline news. Parker was suspended for asking whether the ’11 Heisman Trophy winner is a “brother or is he a cornball brother.” ESPN President John Skipper noted that debate shows like “First Take” are “not journalism,” something Parker’s comments certainly seemed to validate.

THE LADIES’ MAN: Headlines followed U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte for his exploits both in and out of the pool during theLondon Games. However, it was Lochte’s mom that caused people to scratch their heads when she said the Gold Medalist onlyhas time for “one-night stands.” Lochte tried to clear up the faux pas by saying, “What she meant is that I’m not in a relationshipso I don’t go on dates. It’s not that negative part.”

RIGHT OR WRONG: Woody Johnson was a large supporter of Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House, and the Jets ownermade his priorities known when he stated he would rather see Romney win the November election than the Jets have a winningseason. The remarks caused a slight furor in N.Y., with SportsNet N.Y.’s Marc Malusis saying, “You own a professional teamin order to win championships. … The idea that it's not first at the top of the priority list to me would drive me crazy if I was a Jetfan!”