Could it be that Darren Sharper, the charismatic former NFL safety, was a serial rapist? As bizarre as that might seem, law enforcement officials around the country are painting an ugly picture of the former Pro Bowl player.NBC News reported that Sharper turned himself in to police late Thursday night in Los Angeles, after a warrant was issued for his arrest earlier in the day in New Orleans.An acquaintance of Sharper’s, Erik Nunez, also is facing two charges of aggravated rape in the incident, which police in Louisiana said occurred at an apartment on Sept. 23, 2013. Nunez was booked on two counts of rape Friday morning in New Orleans.Earlier this month, Sharper was charged with seven felonies in Los Angeles related to cases in which he is accused of drugging and raping two women he met at nightclubs. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.Sharper also is under investigation in sexual assault cases in Florida, Nevada and Arizona.If convicted in California, Sharper could face more than 30 years in state prison. If convicted of aggravated rape in Louisiana, both Sharper, 38, and Nunez, 26, would face life imprisonment.Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Green Bay Packers as a rookie and a second with the New Orleans Saints. He retired after the 2010 season, having played 14 years in the NFL, and is an analyst for NFL Network, which has suspended him indefinitely without pay.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. The Los Angeles Clippers announced Tuesday that All-Star forward Blake Griffin has sprained his MCL and could be out for two months. On this week’s show (Nov. 30, 2017), Neil, Chris and Kyle break down how this could affect the once-promising team and whether there’s any hope for the rest of the Clippers’ season. On Monday, the Memphis Grizzlies fired head coach David Fizdale after the team lost eight straight games. The news took the league by surprise, with many players and coaches speaking out against the firing. We take a look at why Fizdale was fired now and which other coaches might be in trouble. Plus, a small-sample-size segment on the Portland Trail Blazers.Here are links to what we discussed this week:Keep an eye on our 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.Over at The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor asked, “Where do the Grizzlies go from here?”Kyle took a look at the NBA’s best defenders. Embed Code By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner
The No. 19 Ohio State women’s lacrosse team faced the No. 18 Penn State Nittany Lions Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes fell to American Lacrosse Conference rivals Penn State, 18-12. But for the Buckeyes it was a tale of two halves. The Buckeyes jumped out to an early start in the first half as they were 9-6 with less than two minutes to go, with five unanswered goals. But the Nittany Lions also came out firing and over-shot OSU 17-15. But this did not overwhelm OSU goalie Annie Carruthers who had 11 saves in the game. “To prepare for a team like Penn State, we look at patterns they have when shooting and put more pressure on them,” Carruthers said. “I know I look a lot at where they shoot, and if they’ve been going for one spot, I overemphasize that.” Carruthers leads the ALC in saves per game with 12.2. Although PSU overshot the Buckeyes, OSU lead 9-7 at the half. Alayna Markwordt, Brittney Zerhusen and Gabby Capuzzi, went into halftime with two goals apiece. In the second half, the Nittany Lions came back with a purpose, as they took their first lead since early in the game, 13-10 with more than 19 minutes to play. OSU’s Jayme Beard’s goal at 17:38 was one of only three goals for the Buckeyes in the second half. Zerhusen had three goals in the game but still felt OSU didn’t get to the ball as often as it should have. “I think every year with Penn State it’s a tough battle, no matter how each of our seasons are going,” Zerhusen said. “When it comes down to it, you have to have possession of the ball. We just couldn’t get the possession off the draw. That was a definite game-changer that we’re going to have to work on.” At the end of the game, PSU overshot OSU 38-23, while OSU had 13 turnovers to PSU’s 11. “It was hard to come back when we didn’t have the ball on our sticks. It was frustrating because we did it in the first half,” Coach Sue Stimmel said. Ohio State will face Notre Dame Thursday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 5 p.m.
Ohio State’s fourth-ranked rushing defense will face perhaps its biggest challenge of the season Saturday night when it looks to slow Wisconsin’s solid ground game, which features bruising running back John Clay. With 692 rushing yards and nine touchdowns through the season’s first six games, Clay is Wisconsin’s most dangerous weapon and has played himself into Heisman consideration. At 248 pounds, he will be the biggest feature running back the Buckeyes have seen in quite some time. “He doesn’t even look like a running back. He’s a linebacker,” Cameron Heyward said at Tuesday’s weekly press conference. “He’s so explosive and you don’t even know it, but sometimes the team can be feeling down and he makes one big play and he can turn around the game.” Coach Jim Tressel said the defense must also be prepared for the Badgers’ other running back, James White, who counterbalances Clay’s power-running style with his speed. White, at a more standard 198 pounds, has rushed for 485 yards and eight touchdowns this season. “Obviously, John Clay is extraordinary, but you bring in that tempo-change guy and all of a sudden, he hits you with that different type look and I think it’s a great look,” Tressel said. Wisconsin averages nearly 241 rushing yards a game, good for 11th in the country, while the Buckeyes only allow an average of 78.7 yards on the ground. OSU’s defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 29 games. “I think (White) is a little more shifty, but he can be explosive as well,” Heyward said. “It’s going to be critical of us to contain both of them. It’s going to be a hard task and it’s not just going to be one guy, it’s going to take the whole team to just swarm to the ball.” Heyward said the OSU defense will have to remain disciplined and react well to play action. Clay has averaged more than 122 yards rushing in Badger wins, while only rushing for 80 yards in the team’s loss to Michigan State. Last year at Ohio Stadium, OSU held Clay to 59 yards on 20 carries in the Buckeyes’ 31-13 win. “They have tremendous team speed,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said on the Big Ten’s weekly conference call. “Some teams have fast linebackers or fast defensive backs. They have fast everything.” Tressel said that aside from being a good power-running team, Wisconsin’s offensive coaching staff has done a good job in being creative with its play calling. But just like any other Big Ten game, they both agree the contest will be won with line play up front. “I think all games are won on the offensive and defensive line,” Heyward said. “In the summer and spring we emphasized if we win every battle in the trenches, we’ll have a great chance of winning.”
At 6-foot-4-inches tall and 313 pounds, Bryant Browning doesn’t look like the typical scholar, but when he’s not opening running lanes or protecting the quarterback, he’s making the grade. A three-year starter on the offensive line, and one of six team captains, Browning has been named a semi-finalist for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy, commonly known as the Academic Heisman. “I’m definitely honored. It’s a very prestigious award,” Browning said. “I like the recognition that you worked hard till the end throughout your college career.” As a fifth-year marketing major and Big Ten All-Academic athlete, Browning’s education has always been very important to him. “When I first started playing sports my parents and grandparents always reminded me that school came first,” Browning said. “I had an older brother that always did well in school while he played sports, so I guess I always tried to follow behind him and always tried to keep my grades up and do the best I can.” The valedictorian of his graduating class, Browning played at Cleveland Glenville High School, where he was an All-State offensive lineman and helped lead Glenville to the regional finals in both his junior and senior years. With Glenville being known for producing high-caliber football players like Ted Ginn Jr. and Troy Smith, Browning was initially overshadowed by two of his high school teammates Ray Small and Robert Rose. “I don’t know, I feel that coming from Glenville we all have a lot of talent,” Browning said. “Personally I felt that if I came in to Ohio State with an open mind and was willing to work, that things were going to be fine.” Browning was redshirted his freshman year while Small and Rose saw early playing time. Though as time went on, Browning became a starter in his third year while Small and Rose never realized their full potential and fell out of the lime light. Having always won a Big Ten Championship and been undefeated against Michigan in his four years here, Browning still has a lot of unfinished business. “I want to win another Big Ten championship, beat Michigan again, and also go undefeated and win a national championship,” Browning said. “I had a taste of it my first couple years here, but never really got all the way through with it.” Browning said that his years at OSU have gone by too fast, and that he hopes he left a legacy here. “I guess if there’s one thing, I’d like to be remembered as a great teammate,” Browning said. “Someone who cared about the younger players and tried to teach them things whenever possible, a guy who you could always come to and count on when things weren’t going great for you.” After his playing days at OSU are over, Browning wants to try and play in the NFL, but says that if that doesn’t work out he may try to go to graduate school in marketing or law school. “I just hope to have a successful life in anything I try to do,” Browning said. “I just know that I have to be willing to work at it if I want things to turn out the right way.”
Tiger Woods is one shot back of the lead after two rounds at the Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin Ohio. Woods followed up his Thursday round of 70, with a 3-under 69 Friday, trailing leader Rory Sabbatini by one stroke. The field was plagued with windy conditions throughout the day after a rain delay that exceeded 90 minutes. “I’m pleased with the wayI played today,” Woods said. “I missed a couple out there, but overall I knew in these conditions to shoot something in the 60s was going to be a pretty good effort.” Former world No. 1 player Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the tournament after shooting a 7-over 79 Friday. It’s his eighth career missed cut as a professional, matching the total from Wood’s career. “I don’t feel like the scores are actually reflecting how I’m hitting the ball,” McIlroy, who’s score of 150 was three shots over the cutline, said.”I was able to string nine good holes together yesterday. I just need to keep working on it and try and string 18 good holes together.” Spencer Levin and Scott Stallings are tied with Woods for second atop the leaderboard. Jim Furyk and Daniel Summerhays are currently two back of the lead at 4-under. Furyk said the dramatic change in weather between Thursday and Friday made the play difficult to adjust to. “It was perfect yesterday, and today was quite tough,” Furyk said. “I think it was good that we missed the rain in the morning, but we also probably got a lot more wind this afternoon.” Woods said the tournament is far from over though. “We’ve got a long way to go,” Woods, who has won the Memorial four times in his career, said. “Obviously, (a win) would be nice. But we’ve still got a half a golf tournament to play.”
Ohio State’s football team will be playing for a championship this year after all. Sort of. Despite NCAA sanctions that have barred the program from playing in the Big Ten Championship game and a postseason bowl, the Buckeyes are eligible to win the Leaders Division title and the trophy that comes with it. Big Ten Conference Scott Chipman confirmed that, “the team (or teams) that finish in first place in the Leaders Division will be considered the Leaders Division Champion and would receive a trophy.” Consequently, in a situation where OSU wins their division championship, the conference would officially recognize and reward the Buckeyes for such a feat. OSU, however, is still ineligible to actually play in the Big Ten Championship – even if they were to capture the Leaders Division crown. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said the development was news to him during a Wednesday press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. “Yeah, I don’t even – that’s the first I’ve heard something like that,” Meyer said. While Meyer, who won his debut at OSU against Miami (Ohio), 56-10, last Saturday, said there would be little talk of the matter inside the Buckeyes’ locker room, he did say it could serve potentially as motivation for the team later. “I think somewhere at the point in November or something, yeah, I think that’ll be interesting,” the first-year coach said. OSU is scheduled to play Central Florida Saturday at noon in Ohio Stadium.
While the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s game against No. 2 Michigan didn’t tip off until Sunday, some students started camping out as early as Friday morning. After all, it was the surest way to get the best seats possible, they said. “We got here at 1:30 in the morning to make sure we were here first,” said Marcus Otte, a first-year in exercise science. Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Members of the men’s team paid a visit to the students gathered outside the arena Saturday afternoon, and were given a box of Buckeye Donuts by freshman guard Amedeo Della Valle. The gathered students, who dubbed their tent city with a sign that read, “MATTARITAVILLE,” even took a photo with the men’s team. The team wasn’t the only group of people to take notice of the students, either. “A cop showed up around 10 a.m. (Friday) and asked us what we were here for too,” Otte said. The officer nor the rain showers that passed through campus Friday morning, were not enough cause for the students to pack up and head home, though. “The wind was blowing pretty hard this morning and all the water was going to my side of the tent,” said Benjamin Kleppel, a second-year in business. “I took my second tent out around 5 or 6 a.m. just so I wouldn’t get wet.” In fact, camping out is something that some of the students hope will become a regular occurrence. “My uncle works at Duke so I see those students camping out for every game and want to do it too,” said Jake Johnson, a second-year in business education. “I plan on pretty much doing it the second half of the season and for most of the weekend games.” Otte said employees of the Schottenstein Center were shocked to see students camping out two days prior to the game. “Some guy came out here because he didn’t believe it,” Otte said. “It’s my first game doing this, so I’m staying here the whole time and they better get used to it.” A security guard at the venue opened the building every two hours to let the students in so they could use the bathroom. Otte brought food with him. “I grabbed like five of these subs from campus before I came here today to stock up,” he said. “I know I’ll need it.” The group also set up a series of extension cords to the power outlets on the side of the building in order to charge their electronics and pump up air mattresses inside their tents. “It’s always fun to show support,” Kleppel said. “Even though we are not undefeated this year, we are still good, and it is a big game.”
Freshman running back Dontre Wilson answers questions during Ohio State’s football media day August 11.Going into the 2007 BCS National Championship game, Ohio State was undefeated, the consensus No. 1 team in America and heavily favored to beat Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators for college football’s ultimate prize.Coming out of the title game the Buckeyes were outmatched, overpowered and more than anything else, slow, losing to the Gators 41-14.A longtime weakness of the Big Ten has been its inability to match the speed of teams from the SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12.Since Meyer’s return to his home state of Ohio to head the OSU football program, speed has become a focus of the No. 2 ranked Buckeyes in fall camp.Young players like freshman running back Dontre Wilson have been the talk of Columbus since practices started, showing off blazing speed that Meyer thinks this incoming freshman class can add to an already quick team.“Well the ‘06 team did that at Florida. The ‘06 team injected a bunch of speed and playmakers into that 2006 team. I see very similar qualities,” Meyer said. “You look again and you see what number that is and I feel like same way on offense. I feel a little bit of a jolt that’s really going to help us.”At an OSU Media Day, Wilson said he was in a new situation coming into a team and not being the fastest player on the field.“I don’t know, I could probably say that right now about (Bradley) Roby. I don’t know me and him haven’t raced or anything like that yet,” Wilson said of who he thought was the fastest on the team. “I’ve been pretty much one of the fastest players on each of the teams I’ve played on.”Junior wide receiver Evan Spencer was a big part of the offense last season, finishing fourth on the team in both receptions and yards, but has seen a vast improvement in the team’s second year under Meyer’s system.Spencer said he’s confident the team knows its playbook so far.“We’ve still got a lot of tricks up our sleeve and a lot of concepts that we didn’t put in, but in terms of the base core stuff that we’ve got in, everybody’s got it down (pat) and that’s what’s helping us play fast,” he said.Spencer said speed is going to be a big part of his team’s success this year.“Team speed is going to help us win games. I welcome all the speed that we can get, (it will) help us win as many games as possible.”An aspect of Meyer’s system at Florida that the offense did not given much attention last season was the H-Back role, played by a speedy player who has the ability to line up at running back or receiver. The position was made famous by Percy Harvin in his time with the Gators.Redshirt senior running back Jordan Hall was expected to fill the position in 2012, but a freak injury sustained prior to the season coupled with a injuring his right knee during OSU’s 17-16 victory at Michigan State forced him to sit out of all but three games. His return in 2013 should add to an already potent offense.“It’s a lot faster, our tempo’s faster, everything’s clicking,” Hall said. “Everyone knows what they’re doing and that’s when everyone is playing at their best. It’s going to be a fast offense with fast players.”The players aren’t the only ones seeing a difference so far this fall, as the coaches are taking note of the team’s growth in speed.Running backs coach Stan Drayton said he’s excited to open up the playbook more this season and take advantage of a faster group of players.“Urban and I had a conversation about this a few days ago, just in passing. We feel like given the talent we have now we can finally get this thing clicking on all cylinders,” Drayton said. “We’ve got speed, we’ve got some depth at some critical positions right now from a skills standpoint on offense and we’ve got a quarterback that is very knowledgeable of what it is we’re asking him to do.”Meyer is excited for the team to show off its speed in the season opener against Buffalo Aug. 31.“We’re faster. I hope you see that in three weeks. We’re a faster team,” Meyer said.
The Buckeyes line up prior to taking the field for warmups before the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Oct. 14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State benefitted from four top-10 teams losing in Week 7, with the Buckeyes moving up three spots to No. 6 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll following their 56-14 victory at Nebraska Saturday night.Ohio State’s next opponent, Penn State in Week 9, elevated to No. 2 in the country following its bye week. Wisconsin joined the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes in the top 10 as the Badgers were ranked No. 5 following a win against Purdue Saturday.Michigan and Michigan State are ranked 18th and 19th after securing victories at Indiana and Minnesota, respectively. Ohio State matches up with the Spartans on Nov. 11 and heads to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on the Wolverines in a season-ending game on Nov. 25.No. 2 Clemson, No. 5 Washington and No. 8 Washington State all lost to unranked opponents on the road last week and dropped to No. 6, 12 and 15, respectively.Alabama remained No. 1 in the country, receiving all first-place votes. Georgia moved from No. 4 to No. 3 due to Clemson’s loss. TCU is ranked fourth to round out the top five. Miami (Fl.), Oklahoma and Oklahoma State moved into the top 10.AP PollAlabama (61)Penn StateGeorgiaTCUWisconsin Ohio State Clemson Miami (Fl.)Oklahoma Oklahoma State USCWashington Notre Dame Virginia TechWashington State South FloridaNorth Carolina State Michigan State MichiganUCFAuburn StanfordWest VirginiaLSUMemphis