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Fall guys

As summer winds down, sports crime picks back up
By MATT TAIBBI  |  September 2, 2009

CHEAPSKATE: Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane fought with a cabbie over 20 cents. Now he's in for a $125 fine.
No shortage of sports-crime activity this week — in fact, it's been an extremely busy time, so much so that it's worth a bullet-point to get to some of the developments in brief:

• Hockey star/dick-brain Patrick Kane and his Neanderthal goon cousin James pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for beating up a taxi driver in an argument over 20 cents. The charge got knocked down to a non-criminal violation from the original misdemeanor, which is good news for the Kanes. They ended up paying $125 and having to apologize. Maybe this is just me, but if I were a judge who spent most of his time sending broke fatherless kids to jail for real time on drug offenses, I would put these two spoiled rich brats to the wall.

• It wasn't a good week for former New York Knicks chief Isiah Thomas's draft picks. Well, I guess it's never a good week for Isiah Thomas draft picks, but this week was, er, less good than most, as Renaldo Balkman and Nate Robinson got arrested. Balkman got pulled over for a DUI in Temple Terrace, Florida. Interestingly, when Thomas drafted the unknown Balkman in the first round a few years back (to the utter surprise of the entire human race), he described him as a "Rodman type." Turns out that's at least half true.

• Meanwhile, Robinson got busted in the Bronx. Cops originally pulled him over because they suspected him of driving without wearing a seat belt (read: he was black and had a nice car), but they ran his plate and found out he had a suspended license. According to his own tweeted account, Robinson then made sports-crime history by being, I believe, the first athlete ever to tweet a play-by-play of his arrest. "Cops pulled me over cuz my windows were 2 dark (but my windows were down) lol how funny is that," he wrote, seeming cheery at first. Some time later, he's angrier. "I am still pulled over and its been 35 min they have me sit in my truck like i dnt have s#* 2 do lol." Robinson apparently blasted music when the cop left to go run his plate, and kept singing when the policeman returned. Robinson then pulled a Ty Law and tried to bigfoot his way out of the bust, saying, "Well, I'm Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks." To which the policeman replied, "Okay, Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks, you're under arrest." Technically, Robinson is not a Knick at all — he's a restricted free agent who is painfully without a deal very late in the off-season. Nothing like a big pile of bad New York Post stories to beef up your bargaining position.

• Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy managed to land himself back behind bars just two months after being released to a halfway house. The loudmouth degenerate gambler failed to show up for his court-mandated job at a beverage company in Sarasota, Florida. Donaghy's lawyer claims his client had permission to skip work in order to go to a health club to exercise a sore knee. The court wasn't impressed and threw him back in jail anyway.

• Dirk Nowitzki paramour/future babymama Cristal Taylor was sentenced for at least part of her crimes this week. The career con woman, check kiter, and credit-card scammer — who shacked up with Nowitzki and was carrying his child in anticipation of marriage — just got five years in prison in Missouri for fleeing her probation responsibilities. She still has Texas charges to deal with related to skipping out on a $10,000 dental bill.

• Though times are tough all over, the city of Baltimore apparently has the budget to hire fashion police. This came to light this week when cops arrested Ravens rookie linebacker Tony Fein, apparently for being black and wearing a sweatshirt. The Iraq War vet (he served three years in the army after his time at Ole Miss) was originally stopped on "suspicion of handing a weapon" to a friend; it turned out to be a cell phone. A scuffle ensued and Fein was arrested. The police later said that Fein's sweatshirt — which read "F Troop, 9th Cavalry, Ft. Hood, Texas" — was not "weather-appropriate."

Matt Taibbi can be reached

Related: Magic man, Smear tactics, Bonds away, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Sports, Criminal Sentencing and Punishment, Cristal Taylor,  More more >
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  •   AMERICA'S SCAM  |  September 09, 2009
    What a year for former New England Patriots and the criminal-justice system!
  •   FALL GUYS  |  September 02, 2009
    No shortage of sports-crime activity this week — in fact, it's been an extremely busy time, so much so that it's worth a bullet-point to get to some of the developments in brief.
  •   SMEAR TACTICS  |  August 26, 2009
    In the world of sports crime, there are two kinds of arrests. In the first, an athlete causes a public scene in some way, the police come, and the athlete is eventually squeezed into the back of a cruiser and taken away. The other kind of crime happens outside of public view.
  •   MAGIC MAN  |  August 19, 2009
    Magic mushrooms may make for amusing Eminem lyrics, but are not and never have been a strong theme in the ongoing sports-crime story.
  •   GOING STREAKING  |  August 12, 2009
    It has been an unusually quiet week or so in sports crime, which is perhaps not unexpected, since this is the one time of year when the most arrest-prone class of athletes in America — NFL players — are sequestered in training camps and usually too dog-tired from two-a-days and running suicides to bother to punch out bar skanks or kick in police cruiser windows.

 See all articles by: MATT TAIBBI

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