Sports Beat, 12-14-07

--Kevin Roderick notes that the Dodgers were one of the teams most implicated in the Mitchell Report. However none of the players listed are current Dodgers, and virtually all of the allegations came before Frank McCourt took control of the team. Still, former Yankees assistant strength coach Brian McNamee is one of the major sources in the report, and some are wondering if this tarnishes the Yankee championships won under Joe Torre. I don't think it does, but another perfectly reasonable question to ask is what Torre (now the Dodgers manager) might have known about McNamee supplying his own players with HGH. McNamee was on Torre's staff, although it's very conceivable that he wanted to hide this practice from his boss.

Former Yankee Dave Justice vehemently denied the accusations against him in the Mitchell Report today on ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd Show. He sounded sincere and fairly convincing. Justice claims that McNamee did give him HGH to rehab a groin injury, but that he refused to use the substance because he doesn't like needles. He claims he probably would have used it if it came in pill form.

Justice called on more players in the report to answer allegations, and come forward to deny them if untrue. I'm somewhat surprised by the lack of response from most of the 86 players named in the report. Many have witheld comments for legal reasons. Others are waiting for a cue from the players association. Roger Clemens did have his lawyer issue a denial. But former Dodger FP Santangelo was one person who spoke out.

Santangelo said the report inaccurately claims he took the steroid Deca-Durabolin. Instead, he says that he used HGH.

"I don't know where that came from," said Santangelo, now a radio talk show host in Sacramento. "I never did any of that.

"But I did growth hormones. I was at a point of my career when I took it twice because I panicked. I didn't want my career to end. I can't justify it and say it was right, because cheating is wrong, but I admit, I did it." (Sacramento Bee)

In the meantime, the NL West just got more difficult for the Dodgers as the Arizona Diamondbacks traded for All-Star pitcher Dan Haren.

--The Los Angeles Daily News reports that UCLA will interview Ravens offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel for their head coaching position, and that interview may have taken place today. Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach John Harbaugh (brother of Jim) will also reportedly be interviewed.

Neuheisel seems like he'd be a good fit for the Bruins. He's an alum who quarterbacked them to a Rose Bowl win. He's very smart. And he had success as a college head coach at both Washington and Colorado. He also has a charisma and energy that rivals Pete Carroll. The obvious drawbacks though are the numerous allegations of NCAA violations against Neuheisel regarding recruiting and an NCAA betting pool (he was cleared on the latter). It's also known that Norm Chow and DeWayne Walker have interviewed for the job. As I said last week, UCLA would be fortunate to hire Chow or Walker, but I also think Neuheisel would be a great choice assuming he's learned his from his mistakes in the past. I don't know much about Harbaugh. Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach is also a possibility, and there are some rumors swirling around Hawaii head coach June Jones. Additionally, former Auburn head coach Terry Bowden is reportedly interested and UCLA may talk to BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall (ironic, since UCLA plays BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl).

--The Lakers did what they needed to last night, defeating the San Antonio Spurs 102-97. If a team can't beat the Spurs without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, then they never will.

--USC nearly upset Stanford in the Final Four of the NCAA Women's Volleyball tournament, but fell 16-14 in the final game.

December 14, 2007 4:17 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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