Burress, Shaq, Leach top "Freaky" File
We see a lot of crazy things digging through documents here at The File. That's why we're holding our first annual Freaky File Awards just in time for Halloween. Print and staple these docs to your shirt and you can masquerade as some of the looniest people, places and things in sports. It's fun for the kids and money-saving, too! So without further ado, the envelopes please ...
Scariest sports fan
It's hard to imagine how much booze had previously been too much for Timothy Cassidy when he went to the New York Mets home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007. But the 300-pound fan found a new bottom in the upper decks, getting so blasted that he tumbled on 57-year-old lawyer Ellen Massey and broke her neck. According to this lawsuit, Cassidy was berating fans just before his tipsy tumble by saying, "Why aren't you cheering for the Mets? I'll kick your (expletive) ass!" Massey was in court on Oct. 15, arguing that Shea Stadium's employees were to blame for her injuries because they should have known when to cut Cassidy off. A Mets lawyer countered that Cassidy didn't stand out in the "rowdy, boisterous crowd." Oh, boy, welcome to Queens.
Weirdest allegation against Shaq
When Shawn Darling, an ex-con who once worked for O'Neal, accused the Big Man of planting porn pix on his computer to frame him, plenty of eyes rolled. (Really, Shawn? Really?) But a second suit filed by one of O'Neal's alleged mistresses, Vanessa Lopez, also claims O'Neal has a propensity for electronic eavesdropping. In this September suit, Lopez alleges that after she ended their affair, Shaq began harassing her and "proceeded to hack into Lopez's text messages and voice mails without Lopez's knowledge or consent using some extremely sophisticated software." Well, that gives the term "Hack-a-Shaq" a whole new meaning now doesn't it?
Strangest mascot gravesite
Two things we like: Dogs and Georgia. But combine them with a dead mascot and you get the weirdest gravesite in the SEC. When the English bulldog known as UGA VII woke up feeling ill last fall, he didn't make it to the end of the day. In just his second year as the team's mascot, he popped off from a heart attack with a 16-7 record. Grieving Bulldogs fans buried him next to his father (yes, UGA VI) by the bushes at Sanford Stadium. Fortunately, the feel-good days are back. His successor -- UGA VIII -- made his debut on Oct. 16 and helped Georgia shut out Vanderbilt 43-0.
Freakiest fight between a university and its ex-coach
There's nothing remarkable about bad blood between a program and its ex-coach. (See: Bobby Knight.) But ever since Mike Leach got run out of Lubbock, Texas Tech has been raising the ante on him with unusual ferocity. Leach insists that he never ordered concussed sophomore wide receiver Adam James to stand in an electrical closet, telling the New York Times, "He was never locked anywhere. At no point was he locked anywhere." But Texas Tech isn't letting it go. In a recent motion to get Leach's wrongful termination suit dismissed, it quotes Leach as telling a trainer to put James' "f---ing p--sy -ss in a place so dark that the only way he knows he has a d--k is to reach down and touch it."
Pat McAfee was so happy with his four punts for a 46.8 yard average in the Indianapolis Colts' squeaker win against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 17 that he decided to get an early jump on Halloween a few days later by prowling around downtown at 4:47 a.m. shirtless, soaking wet and apparently imitating Frankenstein's monster by trying to get into a woman's locked car. In this arrest report for public intoxication, the responding officer notes, "I asked Mr. McAfee how much he had to drink." His response: "A lot 'cause I'm drunk." (Listen here to see what he looked like from the stalkee's view.)
Angriest transgender golfer
We can understand why Lana Lawless, who set the world record for long drive play by hitting a 254-yard shot in 2008, would want to sue the LPGA and Long Drivers of America after getting banned from its 2010 tournament. After all, the ex-cop who had a sex change operation in 2005 says that she "felt like a female since birth and has had gender reassignment surgery to harmonize her anatomy with her feelings." Now she's taking action against the tournament and its sponsors.
Best invisible man imitation
Brian Hartline is happy to talk about his role as a key part of the Miami Dolphins' offense, but the one route he's staying mum about is the one that his Ford pickup took on July 3. As this accident report shows, Hartline's pickup veered off I-595 while going 65 mph and hit an Escalade legally parked on the shoulder. The wideout wasn't at the scene when the cops arrived and refused to talk with them until nearly a month later. Huddled negotiations failed to shed light on his whereabouts that morning but yielded the charge of failing to report a crash as the owner of a motor vehicle and a $115 fine.
Battiest basketball ream-out
How much does it take to get fired at Tennessee? Judging from this letter that basketball coach Bruce Pearl got from men's athletic director Michael Hamilton on Sept. 9, all it takes is illegally hosting recruits at your summer barbecue, making 34 of 96 recruiting calls that the NCAA deems impermissible and pumping your assistants for information about their NCAA interviews before you meet with an investigator yourself. Oh wait. That's not enough to get you fired. So never mind the memo line in the letter, "Notice of termination." Tennessee is negotiating a brand new contract with Pearl that's only $1.5 million less than the old one that was due to pay him $12.5 million over the next four years.
Most haunting mistake
Plaxico Burress, a.k.a. New York State Inmate 09R3260, learned the hard way that correction officers don't have the same sense of humor as football coaches when he wanted to call his lawyer one morning last November. Burress lied about having permission from his prison counselor, only to get caught and written up for misbehavior. That came back to haunt him when he applied for work release in January, and again in August. He was denied both times, leaving him ineligible again until next June 6, the date he'll be up for full release, assuming he gets time off for good behavior.
Thankfully, there wasn't a lot of competition for this award. But Matthew "Pukemon" Clemmens had it in the, uh, bag. On April 14, the 21-year-old literally got spitting mad at a Phillies-Nationals game when a 15-year-old girl told him to stop cursing and acting like a boor. His response? He spit at her and her dad, an off-duty cop. When guards were called, Clemmens put two fingers down his own throat and heaved in their general direction. As this police report notes, Clemmens was charged with assault for "making himself vomit on complainant's daughter and punching complainant 4-5 times" when the dad tried to shield his daughter. In June, a judge sentenced Clemmens to up to three months in jail and 30 hours of community service cleaning bathrooms at Citizens Bank Park, saying he'd humiliated his family and tarnished the city's reputation. Costume hint: Use rubber slime.
The File is also reported by "Diabolical" Dale Brauner and "Wicked" Bill Weisbrod.