Update, 5:15 p.m.: 790 The Zone station manager apologizes to the Gleason family and announced the termination of the radio announcers.
Update, 1:25 p.m.: 790 The Zone has suspended "Mayhem In The AM" members. From station manager Rick Mack:
We deeply regret the comments made by Mayhem In The AM this morning on 790 The Zone regarding former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason. 790 The Zone, Lincoln Financial Media, our sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support the unfortunate and offensive commentary concerning Mr. Gleason this morning. The members of the show involved with this incident have been suspended indefinitely pending further management review of their actions.
My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid.
— Nick Cellini (@NickCellini) June 17, 2013
The New Orleans Saints literally enshrined former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason for his blocked punt heard 'round the world against the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. In 2011, Gleason announced his battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and the forming of his Team Gleason foundation to fund research and raise awareness of the disease.
I guess Falcons fans are still bitter about a 7-year-old game. This morning, JW on TigerDroppings.com wrote that Atlanta morning zoo jockeys on 790 The Zone — the "flagship station" of the Falcons — "had a whole segment making fun of Steve Gleason and him talking through a computer."
The arse clowns from Mayhem in the AM did this 3 minute joke where they pretended that Steve Gleason called in and they asked him questions. Most of his responses were in the form of a knock knock joke and at one point he says he doesn't know if he will be alive next Thursday.
New Orleans City Park is getting a new 36-hole golf course — a miniature golf course. City Putt will have its grand opening May 24 across from the entrance to Storyland and the Botanical Gardens.
Of course, being in the Crescent City and Louisiana and all, it won't be your regular affair of creaky windmills and dodgy tunnel traps:
City Putt is a 36-hole mini golf complex with two courses: the Louisiana Course highlights cultural themes and cities from around the state; the New Orleans Course showcases streets and iconic themes from around the city, with signs detailing the city’s historic sites at each hole.
Greens fees (well, fake plastic greens fees) will be $8 (12 and under, $6), and a $4 upcharge will allow golfers to take on both courses. Mini-golfers will be able to play year-round (closed Mondays).
To RSVP for the grand opening or learn more, check out City Putt's Facebook page.
As my colleague, Gus Kattengell, noted yesterday: pretty much any defensive player the Saints chose with the 15th overall pick in the NFL Draft would have been an improvement on last year's historically bad defense. So New Orleans surprised no one by picking a defensive player and chose someone many consider to be the best safety in the draft, Kenny Vaccaro of the University of Texas.
Obviously, less than a day since he was drafted, it's impossible to tell what kind of impact Vaccaro will have on the Saints' secondary. Now, college football and Saints experts and die-hard fans can tell you all you need to know about Vaccaro's Longhorns career and what pundits are saying about his athleticism. But since all parties involved want this to be a long-term and prosperous relationship, it's appropriate we go a little deeper. So here are three facts about the Saints' new Safety.
1. He has over 40 tattoos, most of which are religious — Last season, some idiot wrote a ridiculous article about San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and his tattoos, once again proving that stereotypes die hard. Physically speaking, a glance at Vaccaro can remind you of the 49er's quarterback. Like Kaepernick, Vaccaro's arm tattoos are mostly about family and religion. Texassports.com reported that Vaccaro's tattoos "include a depiction of [Jesus] Christ reigning on earth through a sketch of Jesus holding the world together, the quote, "Walk by faith, not by sight," and the recognition of sin existing in the world by an image of the earth being broken open." Vaccaro's ink also references his mother and late father.
2. He has two connections to the Washington Redskins - Remember the Saints opening game last season? The one that proved to be Redskins' quarterback Robert Griffin III's coming out party and the first evidence that the Saints season was going to be a bad one? Yea, you'd be forgiven if Who Dats have blocked that one from memory. But while at the University of Texas, it's likely that Vaccaro was watching the game and rooting for Griffin. That's because they grew up together and have been friends for most of their lives. Now Vaccaro is playing for the team Griffin lit up for 320 passing yards last season.
Vaccaro's connection with Washington go even deeper. His uncle, A.J. Johnson, played on the 1992 Super Bowl Champion Redskins as a defensive back.
3. He's a prolific Instagrammer - Since joining the social picture site six months ago, Vaccaro has uploaded over 260 photos (and counting). The pictures range from memes to adorable shots of his son to humor and even an artsy piece or two. OK, it's not high art or a professional photographer's Instagram, but he's young and already has more photos online than any other Saints player. So there's that.
Start planning your Sundays and your prime times, New Orleans ...
Despite many New Orleans sports fans firmly planting their heads underground like defective Who Dat ostriches, deaf to anything other than football in the football-less months, the 2013 baseball season opens tonight. Amid the stirrings of the dozen matchups is a news item that hits, or strikes, or puns closer to home: the possible move of New Orleans' minor league heroes.
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane told MLB.com that he's considering some Triple A franchises for Houston, including the New Orleans Zephyrs. (Crane said the team would move to the suburbs in The Woodlands or Conroe, which could mean a new stadium and/or moving existing minor league teams.)
The Astros' current Triple A farm team is the Oklahoma City RedHawks, a deal that runs through 2014. Terrance Harris at NOLA.com reported that if they made the move, the Zephyrs would possibly have to break their lease with SMG that runs through Sept. 30, 2016.
Not just a good place to drink on a Thursday or catch mini Lady Gaga, Zephyr Field is the odd relative of New Orleans sports landmarks, a testament to America's pastime — "the shrine on Airline" — and one rich with history.
The team was founded in 1993 — the first professional baseball team in the city since the New Orleans Pelicans, which played from 1887 to 1960 (with a short-lived revival as a farm team to the St. Louis Cardinals in the '70s). The then-Denver Zephyrs first played at the University of New Orleans, and in 1997, the team moved into their own (nearly $30 million) stadium on Airline Drive. In 2008, the team became the Triple A affiliate of the Miami Marlins (which incidentally smoked them in an exhibition game shutout last weekend). In 2011, the team introduced the "fleur de Z" logo.
Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo announced a long list of supporters co-signing a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting marriage equality and challenging California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.
In a statement, former New Orleans Saint Scott Fujita said, "Football is a macho sport, but we've found many players to be accepting. We hope to create an environment where a player who is gay will be treated like any other teammate."
Among the co-signing supporters for the "Athletes' Brief" are Saints linebacker Scott Shanle, as well as former Saints players Steve Gleason, David Kopay and Kawika Mitchell. Other supporters include Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, WNBA coaches and players, university athletic directors and others. Kluwe, Ayanbadejo and Fujita are Ambassadors for Athlete Ally, an organization aiming to end homophobia in sports — you can read the organization's brief in full here.
The brief's introduction includes the following:
The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA, at the league level, team level, and individual level, are finally speaking out against homophobia and intolerance of LBGTQ individuals. More and more of us realize that using demeaning slur words like “faggot,” “queer,” and “gay” can have serious, negative consequences. ... Not necessarily consequences for us. Instead, consequences for the children and adults who look up to us as role models and leaders. Consequences for children and adults who mimic our behavior when they interact with others. And consequences that can be severe, long-lasting, and not infrequently lead to suicide and other serious harm.
Read the brief's full introduction below the jump.
Anyone not up to date on the world of freestyle motocross may be surprised to see what is taking over the New Orleans Arena this weekend. Nuclear Cowboyz ("the only high octane-fueled freestyle motocross touring production in North America," according to their press release) will bring their part-WWE, part-X-Games-style narrative stunt show to New Orleans for the first time.
The world of freestyle motocross is still in its relative infancy compared to other motorsports and, at first glance, you could dismiss Nuclear Cowboyz as sideshow. Their promo video sells itself heavily to a younger audience and there's no doubt that anyone under the age of 16 will be dazzled by the combination of aerial stunts with pyrotechnics and laser-light show. But anyone with even a flimsy grasp of physics can appreciate the athletic skill and fearlessness of the show's team of riders.
Yes, there is a story about two futuristic motocross tribes that engage in battle and combat (at least, according to this video) but really that's secondary to the fact that the performers are actually world-class athletes. Among the cast are Mike Mason - who won a gold medal in an X-Games event where he had to out-race and out-trick an opponent - and Japanese rider Taka Higashino - who won a gold-medal in a more traditional motocross event seen below:
The tour also features the young Colten Moore, another X-Games Gold Medalist who is perhaps as famous for a personal tragedy as he is for his competitive achievements. It was just two months ago that Colten's brother, Caleb Moore, died after a crash during a Winter X-Games freestyle snowmobile event. Colten Moore, it should be noted, is no stranger to dangerous crashes. Recent history certainly puts safety into the spotlight at events like the X-Games and exhibitions like the one this weekend at the New Orleans Arena. But you'd be amiss to look over the fact that Caleb Moore had become dedicated to his craft and had forgone drinking and partying in order to win a gold medal in a sport with far lower mortality rate than traditional motorsports.
The key thing to remember is that this weekend's show is an exhibition, not a competition. So the tricks that the riders will only be pulling off tricks they know they can land every single time. That being said, just because it's seems easy for them to do it doesn't make back-flipping over 50-foot gaps - sometimes on fire - any less incredible.
The Nuclear Cowboyz perform March 8 and 9 at the New Orleans Arena, shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through TicketMaster.
Which leads us to the letters page of the Post this morning, where a reader complains "The political-correctness police have started their ritual" and goes on to wonder:
Are there no more important issues these days? There are many NFL team names that may offend thin-skinned and hypersensitive people: Do atheists hate the Saints?
Weigh in here, atheists. Chime in, New Orleans Secular Humanist Association. Do you hate the Saints? (And we're not talking about last season's defense, but the team as a whole.)
New Orleans will have nearly 14 months to prepare for the arrival of WRESTLEMANIA XXX (imagine that phrase in some awesomely '80s heavy-metal font, please), which will erupt in the Superdome on Apr. 6, 2014.
At The World's Loudest Press Conference this morning, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and tourism officials welcomed World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (better known as the WWE) for what they said was an event that would bring 125,000 participants to the city for one week next spring. WWE impresario Vince McMahon called it "a perfect tag team of WWE and New Orleans."
On hand were Rita Benson Leblanc, New Orleans Saints owner/vice-chairman; Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; Jay Cicero, CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation (who said before the event that he was "just getting over" the Super Bowl); Alan Freeman, Superdome general manager; councilwoman Jackie Clarkson and other local dignitaries.
But it was the WWE that brought the pizzazz, with wrestlers/entertainers Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena; WWE cheerleaders "The Funkadactyls"; and rapper Brodus Clay ("From his hizzle planet funk standing at a funktastic 6 feet 8 inches tall..."). Pictures and more under the jump.
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