Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Similarly, the reason why so many athletes are arrested in South Florida or, like Michael Vick at MIA, detained but not arrested- is because of, in no particular order, that's where the sun, the fun and the women are. That's the list!
Honestly, it's not like they're going to be hanging out at the casinos in Hallandale Beach, though Dontrelle lives lives over at the Hard Rock Casino condos in Hollywood.
For comments of bemused and irritated Sun-Sentinel readers, see: http://www.topix.net/forum/source/south-florida-com/TJDRIPJA7BRU7VLDO
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Is South Beach too hot for athletes?
By Michael Cunningham
July 15, 2007
The South Beach wine-and-dine is a standard recruiting tool for South Florida teams trying to woo players.
But now some agents and Heat coach Pat Riley are telling their players to stay away from South Beach in light of recent athlete-police confrontations.
Since spring 2006, at least 11 athletes have been arrested in Miami Beach's famed party district. That includes the June 23 arrest of former Dolphins defensive tackle Fred Evans and the December DUI charge against Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis. (Evans and Willis have pleaded not guilty).
In eight of the 11 arrests, police allege the athletes failed to heed their orders. It's doubtful the player clashes with cops will stop athletes from enjoying the popular destination, but some of their advisers wish players would find another place to party.
"I cringe when I hear my clients are going down there," said agent Mark Bartelstein, who represents about 40 NBA players. He said he tells them to avoid South Beach because he believes in some cases police "mishandled and mistreated" athletes.
Heat coach and President Pat Riley also indirectly raised questions about the Miami Beach police. Riley immediately suspended guard Robert Hite after a DUI arrest in January but, after charges were dropped against Hite, Riley didn't discipline forward James Posey for the same charges in April.
In explaining the different approaches, Riley said he'd made a mistake with Hite and wouldn't decide on any discipline for Posey until he got the "real, real" facts. Police said Hite's blood-alcohol level was well below the legal limit when he was arrested.
Posey has said he wasn't drunk or driving.
"The police, they're watching, they know who's there and you're driving away and you're putting yourself in jeopardy," Riley said recently. "We talk to our guys more now than ever about it."Agent Chubby Wells' client, NBA center Dale Davis, scuffled with police and was arrested last year but later was acquitted by a jury. Wells said he's still considering filing a lawsuit over the incident.
"I am not saying that people don't do anything bad or that all cops are bad," Wells said. "These athletes travel all over ... and it doesn't happen over and over in those places."
Sgt. Bobby Hernandez, the Miami Beach police spokesman, says overzealous police aren't the reason for the string of athlete arrests. Instead, Hernandez said the unique layout of South Beach and the strict public nuisance laws can put athletes at odds with officers.
There's a better chance athletes will come into contact with police at South Beach as opposed to other hot spots, Hernandez said, because it's a relatively small area. Most of the action in South Beach is within a roughly 40-square block area.
Also, Hernandez said Miami Beach police arrest for minor offenses more than cops in other cities because many bars and nightclubs are near residential areas. So loud music, public drinking or blocking traffic can affect locals who don't wish to be part of the party.
"We're a beach community that has to maintain a balance between the residents and the partyers," Hernandez said. "One way to control that is enforcing laws that seem to be minor and go overlooked other places but that affect quality of life tremendously. ... We can't have people playing loud music in the middle of the street at 4 a.m."
It's under that kind of circumstance that athletes have quarreled with Miami Beach police in the past 15 months. Most of those police reports include allegations that athletes were arrested when they didn't follow police instructions.
In May 2006, police arrested then-NBA player Awvee Storey because they said he blocked traffic and wouldn't move when told. Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas was arrested after police said he approached them to question their handling of Storey and then wouldn't get back in his car when instructed.
Those arrests, as well as that of NFL player Santonio Holmes, came amid a police crackdown on revelers during the South Beach hip-hop party on Memorial Day Weekend. Prosecutors later dropped the charges against all three players, who made $250 donations to a police assistance fund.
In April, Posey was arrested after police said he failed to move his car from a traffic lane when instructed by an officer; his case is pending. Former Panthers goalie Ed Belfour's incident worsened when police said he refused to leave a popular club; he later agreed to a plea bargain.
Police say Evans, the former Dolphin, resisted after they ordered him to leave a taxi. Police arrested NFL player Dhani Jones when he allegedly wouldn't stop dancing in front of a club (a disorderly conduct charge was later dropped).
Thomas Julin, a First Amendment attorney in Miami, said citizens have a Constitutional right to question police action as long as they do not interfere with officers' efforts to maintain order.
"If the athlete is questioning the police and thinks they are being too rash, and is arrested just for that, you definitely have the potential that the officer is acting in violation of the person's rights," he said. "But it's unusual that the First Amendment comes into play in those kinds of arrests you see on [South Beach]."
Police said Davis, the NBA center, refused to leave a hotel when asked repeatedly, accused police of targeting him because he's black and then walked toward police in what they said was an "aggressive manner." Police shocked the 6-foot-11, 250-pound Davis with a stun gun and arrested him.
In December, a jury found Davis not guilty on counts of assault and resisting an officer without violence. Davis told the Associated Press "justice was served." Wells, his agent, said police were too aggressive."You really have to be careful there because people have their eye on you," Wells said in an interview.
Bartelstein, the agent for Storey and Posey, said he's "not trying to lay all the blame on the authorities, because people have to take responsibility," but his experience has shown police to be unfair to athletes."
I think there have been cases where athletes have done wrong but also a lot of cases where guys were taken advantage of," Bartelstein said.
That's not true, Sgt. Hernandez said, adding that police "don't discriminate on who gets arrested and who doesn't." He said, if anything, Miami Beach cops are tolerant of party people, but that circumstances like the time, place and manner in which they party dictate the police response.
Hernandez said the attitude of suspects toward police matters, too. His "no-brainer" advice for athletes and other visitors to South Beach is to do as told by police.
"You are not going to win that argument with a cop out on the street," he said. "You might win later on in court; you might find justice or maybe even win a lawsuit. But that night, you are not going to win."
Staff Writer Ira Winderman contributed to this report.
Michael Cunningham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Just got the good news this afternoon that D.J.White will continue the successful legacy of past Hoosier cagers representing the red, white and blue.
D.J. White To Play For Team USA in Pan American Games
July 17, 2007
Colorado Springs, Colo. - The official 12-member USA Pan American Games men's basketball team was announced Tuesday afternoon and Indiana senior forward D.J. White has made the final roster. The player selections were made after USA Basketball conducted five trials sessions between July 12-14 and four practices between July 15-17 at Haverford College (Pa.). White is the eighth Indiana basketball player to play in this event.
"It feels good to know that I will represent my country," White said. "It is a great honor. Now we can concentrate on getting to know each other on and off the court."
The USA Pan American Games squad will compete July 25-29 in the 2007 Pan American Games men's basketball competition. The United States has been placed in preliminary round Group A along with Argentina, Panama and Uruguay, and Group B consists of Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. opens preliminary play July 25 facing Uruguay (10 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time), then meets Panama on July 26 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time) and the U.S. closes out preliminary round action against Argentina on July 27 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time). Semifinals will be held on July 28 and the finals will be played July 29.
Selected for the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team roster were: Joey Dorsey (Memphis / Baltimore, Md.); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina / Wynnewood, Pa.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt / Kenner, La.); James Gist (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.); Roy Hibbert (Georgetown / Adelphi, Md.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon / Redmond, Ore.); ; Derrick Low (Washington State / Honolulu, Hawaii); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth / Fayetteville, N.C.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State / Grand Rapids, Mich.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova / Herndon, Va.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State / Beloit, Wis.); and White (Tuscaloosa, Ala.).
"This was difficult of a decision as any I've been involved in with USA Basketball. Every kid here could play on this team and we would be proud to take them to Brazil. We just had to decide do we want to play with some extra guards and some extra bigs and maybe not as many wings, and that's really what it came down to," stated USA and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.
"I think it has been difficult for everybody on the team and even the coaching staff to really, really think like a team because we were all so concerned with the cuts. We became close, but everybody kind of felt like they had one foot out the door. Now I think everybody will feel `alright we're in this' and now we're going to go down there as a team, as a family, and were going to start building that now. We've got to learn who is going to play what spots, who's going to have what roles, and I think it will move quickly now that we know who the squad is."
Wright is being assisted on the USA bench by University of Alabama head mentor Mark Gottfried and Yale University head coach James Jones.
Ellington (2006 Nike Hoop Summit, 2005 Youth Development Festival Blue Team); Leunen (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); Reynolds (2005 Youth Development Festival White Team); and White (2004 Nike Hoop Summit and 2003 Youth Development Festival South Team) all possess previous USA Basketball experience.
Honors also are plentiful for the USA finalists. Collegeinsider.com named Maynor to its Mid-Major All-America Team, selected Hibbert for its Defensive All-America Team, and named Reynolds to its Freshmen All-America Team. Also, Reynolds collected Big East Rookie of the Year honors, while Dorsey earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year recognition from their respective conferences.
Named to their respective 2006-07 all-conference teams were: Dorsey (All-Conference USA first team); Hibbert (All-Big East first team); Low (All-Pacific-10 first team); Maynor (All-Colonial Athletic Association first team); Neitzel (All-Big Ten first team); Weaver (All-Pacific-10 first team); White (All-Big Ten second team); Foster (All-Southeastern honorable mention); Leunen (All-Pacific-10 honorable mention); and Reynolds (All-Big East honorable mention).
"It has been a good experience to play against the best players in the country on a daily basis," added White. "It has been an invaluable summer experience."
The USA roster features nine players who will be seniors in 2007-08, one who will be a junior and two who will be sophomores in 2007-08.
USA Pan American Games Team's training will continue through July 18 at Haverford College (Pa.), and July 19-21 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
USA Men In The Pan American Games
The Pan American Games, held every four years in the year prior to the Olympics and organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), is a multi-sport competition open to men and women representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Featuring a roster of collegians who competed primarily against older and more internationally experienced senior national teams, the USA men suffered three narrow defeats in five games to place fourth at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Americans have earned a medal in 12 of their 14 Pan Am Games appearances, including a record eight golds, as well as three silvers and one bronze.
The U.S. men currently own an 81-11 (.880 winning percentage) all-time mark at the Pan Am Games. Held since 1951, the USA dominated the first five Pan Am Games, earning five consecutive golds. At the 1971 Pan Ams, despite a record of 2-1 in the preliminary round, the USA did not advance to the medal round and for the first time in Pan American history did not win the gold medal. However, the United States rebounded for a 26-0 record over the next three Pan Am Games and captured its last Pan Am gold in 1983. The gold has eluded the U.S. in the past five Games, with the Americans earning three silvers (1987, 1995 and 1999), and a bronze medal (1991).
Hoosiers In The Pan American Games
Coach Bob Knight, 1979
Mike Woodson, 1979
Ray Tolbert, 1979
Isiah Thomas, 1979
Keith Smart, 1987
Dean Garrett, 1987
Damon Bailey, 1999
Todd Lindeman, 1999
D.J. White, 2007
The South Florida I Grew Up In
Excerpts from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:
In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...
"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly.
At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accomodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...
In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accomodated...
Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or otherwise superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and much-needed insight onto local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now, despite all the technological advances that have taken place since I grew-up in South Florida in the 1970's. On this blog, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger, disdain and laser-like attention primarily on the coastal cities of Aventura, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.
IF you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be in stultifying traffic, be paying higher-than-necessary taxes, and be continually musing about the chronic lack of any real accountability or transparency among not only elected govt. officials, but also of City, County and State employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, work-ethic mentality that citizens here deserve and are paying for.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the Perfect Storm of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and weather, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of chronic mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems again that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion. Instead the city government either closes their eyes and hopes you'll forget the problem, or kicks them -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, and not at all rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?"
Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time.
Someone who wanted questions answered in a honest and forthright fashion that citizens have the right to expect.
Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/