August 30, 2012

By JEFF LATZKE

Associated Press

 

Supporters of an Oklahoma State basketball player convicted of sexually assaulting two women at a party say he’s a victim of misidentification in a case with no physical evidence.

One of the women says she’s infuriated by the people who are “blindly” supporting Darrell Williams “without knowing the facts of what happened that night.”

Now a judge is considering whether to give him a new trial. Judge Phillip Corley delayed Williams’ sentencing on Friday August 24 so he can consider a defense motion claiming that new evidence had been found. The defense motion says the new evidence could have impeached a witness and changed the outcome of the trial.

A jury found Williams guilty last month of sexual battery and two counts of rape by instrumentation, all felonies, and recommended one-year prison sentences for each of the rape counts. Williams was also acquitted of two additional counts of rape by instrumentation.

The judge’s decision last Friday was a glimmer of hope celebrated by his family and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who came to Stillwater to speak on Williams’ behalf and draw attention to a case he believes to be flawed.

“If there is another trial, it will be more transparent — more people watching it in the courtroom and from around the nation,” Jackson said outside the courthouse.

Williams’ attorneys have cast doubt on the case from the outset, arguing that there was no physical evidence, such as a rape kit or DNA, and neither of the accusers suffered any injuries or had their clothes damaged.

It’s not clear what new evidence defense attorneys have. Williams’ attorneys, Cheryl Ramsey and Willie Baker, declined comment, and Jackson said the judge was keeping it under seal. Prosecutor Jill Tontz and Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford have both said they will not comment until after the sentencing.

Corley set a Sept. 14 hearing on the defense motion. In the meantime, Williams will remain in the Payne County Jail.

Williams enrolled at Oklahoma State in Stillwater — a town tucked away on the high prairie — after his brother was shot to death on Chicago’s South Side in 2009. His family hoped the move would keep him out of danger. Armed with big dreams and a knack for the game, Williams made the most of his time at OSU, leading the team in rebounding and averaging more than 7 points a game in 2010.

That all changed at an off-campus party after a home game in December 2010.

As Williams has been in jail awaiting sentencing, several websites and Facebook pages have popped up in support of him, along with an online petition urging the judge to suspend his sentence.

One of Williams’ accusers blasted some of his supporters who believe race played a role in his conviction or that she and the other victim had something to gain by coming forward. Williams is black, while his accusers and 11 of the 12 jurors are white.

“That’s ignorance for people to say this is a race thing,” she said in an interview earlier this week. “It’s not about race; it’s about rape. He raped two girls.”

The AP typically does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Williams’ lawyers claim their client passed two lie-detector tests conducted by a State Bureau of Investigation examiner that were not admitted into evidence. They also contend the identification process — which involved the women picking Williams out of an Oklahoma State team photograph at the police station — was improper.

Jackson and members of Williams’ family, including his mother, were allowed to visit with him in jail after the hearing.

“I was glad to see my son. He had that big smile like he always did,” Williams’ mother, Alice Williams, said. “It was a good day.”

Jackson said Williams enrolled in classes at Oklahoma State last Friday. School spokesman Gary Shutt confirmed that Williams was signing up for classes and said he would have to work with a faculty member to arrange how he would do his coursework while he’s incarcerated.

A pre-sentencing report filed in court showed that Williams had a 2.7 grade-point average after the spring semester and had completed 88 credit hours. Jackson said Williams intends to graduate in December.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 23, 2012

By Kenneth Miller

LA Watts Times Columnist

[Editor’s note: Ken Miller is an award winning veteran journalist who spent 30 years writing for the L.A. Sentinel and has been a popular guest on local sports talk radio for several years. This is the first edition of his weekly sports column.]

My main man, boxing promoter Don King celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday August 20 and this week I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the friendship that I had with the ‘Only in America’ man.

While his famed spiked hair is losing its pointing crowns, and his gait has been slowed tremendously by aging legs that have to carrying a belly of pork barbeque and soul food, his mind is as sharp as ever.

I first met DK in 1992 and while sitting in his Wilshire Blvd. condominium the first video of the Rodney King beating was revealed.

Personally, I didn’t think it was such a big deal at the time because I had witnessed brothers getting clubbed by the po-po many times, but the wisdom of King saw that this was a watershed moment in African American history.

King stopped what he was doing and then contemplated what he should personally do.

“Man, I think I need to reach out to the brother and offer some help,” he thought.

“But if I did they would ridicule the f--- outta me and say that I am doing it for selfish promotional reasons.”

So, like many of us who were rendered powerless by the now infamous video, King did nothing, but hope and pray that justice would be served.

Eventually it was served, but Rodney King’s brush with the law ill afforded him with money and fame. He died broke earlier this year with his infamy intact.

During the same day King was being accused by then LSU basketball coach Dale Brown of tampering and trying to recruit a young man-child basketball star named Shaquille O’Neal.

Brown was threatening DK with lawsuits and his reputation would be scorned.

He pleaded with anyone in the room to put a stop to this. Just happened that I met Dale Brown through the recruitment of Crenshaw star John Williams and I was able to get the matter squashed.

Brown had promised me a scholarship to LSU if JW had went there, but he never fulfilled the promise. Like most college basketball coaches: worthless as a used car salesman.

In subsequent years I took my first trip out of the U.S. courtesy of DK when he brought me to Mexico to witness the epic Julio Ceasar Chavez in Azteca Stadium in front of 132,000.

There would be other moments like when I brought him Tony Tucker after he had been out of the ring and addicted to drugs for more than two years and DK gave him three shots at the heavyweight world title of which he won zero.

Then there were the Tyson times when the dough was really rolling, and even during the most difficult time of my life DK stood up for me.

I remember a time when he was almost brought down to tears when the press ridiculed him so bad.

“I have a family and I have kids and grandchildren! Don’t they give a damn?”

Most people reflect on many of the negative aspects of DK’s professional and public persona, but get closer and there is a soft and cuddly side to him.

Now, I am not going to tell you that he doesn’t love money.

But, he lost close to a million in profits when a local street agent ran off with a deal he made for former Clippers bum Benoit Benjamin.

He could have represented both Venus and Serena Williams, but turned it down and instead quietly supported the family without reservation.

DK bought the tennis-playing girls their first soul food meal from Maes on Crenshaw Blvd back in the day.

The first clothes they wore in a public tennis match were oversized DK T-shirts and black tennis skirts he bought.

Now, the headquarters at DKP is quiet on most days. The only buzz in the office is his.

His stable of fighters has diminished to a fraction of a few.

The bold face 72 pt. font headlines, a distant memory.

A year ago, he lost his best friend when his wife Henrietta passed.

She was the only person who could ever check him, and she might be the only person that he fully ever respected.

He took a jab at Mayweather to get back on top of the boxing game, but haters be damned he came up short.

Far from finished, but also far from his humble beginnings and mega paydays of years gone by.

I spoke with DK on his birthday and sang a song to him. We laughed and joked about the good ol days and remembered some sad ones.

His beak just as sharp as yester-year.

He was on his way to Ohio to visit the gravesite of his wife.

“I’m going to have a talk with Henri,” he said.

Just like it used to be, but this time his best friend can only listen…

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 16, 2012

 

By Kenneth Miller

 

LA Watts Times Correspondent

 

 

 

From Watts to South Central, Inglewood, to Hawthorne and beyond, Lakers fans are rejoicing in the acquisition of superstar big man Dwight Howard joining the storied local basketball franchise.

 

It is one of those moments that sort of transcends your normal sports story. Not as important as the Martin Luther King assassination or the presidential election of Barack Obama, but you remember where you were when you heard about it.

 

I was sitting in Fridays on La Tijera waiting to be seated when the noise erupted. The Olympics were on the television screen and some obscure divers were in the pool, but it was all about Dwight.

 

“We Got Him!” Laker fans are not your normal breed. They don’t recognize the word pessimistic in the dictionary. They are always going to win the NBA championship. They actually HATE every other team in the league and the Celtics even more.

 

Winning 16 NBA championships and playing in 31 Finals will have that impact on you. Jerry, Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Elgin, Magic, Phil, Chick, Pat, it is an association that is THE ASSOCIATION.

 

So, here’s hoping that Dwight Howard realizes what he’s getting into by being traded to the Lakers from the Orlando Magic.

 

Laker fans are glad to know that you have been enjoying the shopping in Beverly Hills, the beaches in Malibu, the clubs in Hollywood and the adulation that has been rushed upon you.

 

They were thrilled to see you smiling at the introductory presser while mocking Kobe and embracing the opportunity of winning a championship.

 

They will be ecstatic when you put that Lakers uniform on for the first time whether it be in December or January.

 

These fans are not really even tripping about your next contract with the Lakers after the season is over… That is if you don’t win a championship.

 

You see, Dwight, as young as you are and as talented as you are, this whole big deal is just really about one small thing. A CHAMPIONSHIP!

 

The Lakers are like the Yankees in baseball, they realize that going to the playoffs and finishing in the conference finals as you did in Orlando is not good enough here.

 

Being an NBA All Star six consecutive years and three times Defensive Player of the Year are nice accolades, but pale in comparison to what the big prize is here.

 

Shaquille O’Neal understood that and no matter how much he despised Kobe he didn’t allow for it to get in the way of him winning three NBA championships here.

 

We know how hard it was for you to accept the path that Shaq took to title town, but what options did you really have? New Jersey? Oh we swept them in the Finals in their only shot. Houston? You mean our stepchildren in the West?

 

Listen carefully, Dwight! We are not concerned about your baby momma drama and three kids out of wedlock, it’s clear you are not the choirboy I first met when you were in high school and your Christian values have been challenged.

 

However, we gave up the future of our franchise Andrew Bynum because we believe that you are better.

 

Fact is your numbers indicate that you are an absolute MONSTER.

 

That is why the rest of the NBA is crying foul, questioning the integrity of the league because the Lakers are now such an overwhelming favorite to win the NBA championship next year.

 

There will be no stage and dancing to the tune of “Not ONE, Not TWO…” This is about 17, 18, 19 20.

 

I am sure you get the drift.

 

So,  here  is to inform you that city officials have already been contacted as to the exact route of the parade next June, a half million  invitations will go out in the mail and the seat at the front of the bus is all yours…

 

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 23, 2012

By ANDREW SELIGMAN Associated Press

 

Michael and Magic versus Kobe and LeBron?

Sounds like a dream match up, and it could be coming to a video game console near you.

With USA Basketball and 2K Sports forming a partnership, fans can see what happens when the amazing 1992 Dream Team goes up against this year’s Olympic gold medal winner once NBA 2K13 hits the shelves this fall.

Never mind that it’s not quite the real thing, more fuel is about to be added to the debate. Not that there really is a debate in Michael Jordan’s mind.

“We’ll never know, but let’s talk about it,” Jordan said on a conference call. “I know Kobe (Bryant) said some things early on and I responded to those. The ’92 Dream Team, I felt, was a more well-rounded basketball team.”

It’s hard to argue, considering the 1992 Dream Team had Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird leading a group that is widely considered the greatest collection of talent ever assembled. That team included 11 future Hall of Famers, won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points en route to the gold medal and never was challenged the way this year’s team was by Spain in the gold medal game, with the Americans squeezing out a 107-100 victory.

Then again, that’s a testament to the global growth of the sport that the 1992 team spurred, leading to an influx of foreign talent in the NBA.

The ’92 team boasted arguably the greatest player of all time in Jordan and greatest point guard in Magic Johnson, not to mention Larry Bird and dominant centers in Patrick Ewing and David Robinson. If the most recent group had a weakness, it was in the middle, with Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Blake Griffin sitting out with injuries. Throw in the fact that Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose missed the games, too, and the Americans weren't quite fully loaded.

Still, they brought plenty of ammunition to London, with LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Bryant leading the way. And even with some stars missing, there still was talk that this year’s team could be as good as the one that stormed through Barcelona two decades earlier. Bryant fueled the debate when he told reporters during training in Las Vegas they could take a game from the 1992 team if they met in their primes.

Even though Bryant didn’t say the current stars would win a series, the comment drew sharp replies from members of the 1992 team. Jordan told The Associated Press back then that he “absolutely laughed” and said there’s “no comparison” which team is better.

This time, he wasn’t quite as blunt.

“I just felt like we had enough size that we could contend with the 2012 team,” Jordan said. “I think one of the things the 2012 team lacked was size. We probably would have attacked them from inside and outside, and our defense would have been pretty much solidified with the shot-blockers as well as perimeter defensive players.

“I think those guys were much more athletic than maybe we were at that particular point, but I would like to think we were a little bit smarter and well-groomed about playing at that level of basketball. Honestly, I don’t think we would have had problems with them as much as they probably would have had (with us). I think our team would have been a lot better in terms of all-around basketball.”

There’s no way to know for sure, of course. There’s no time machine that can transport the 1992 team to today or the 2012 team back 20 years, so the video game might be the next best thing. If nothing else, it’ll give the debate another platform once the game is released on Oct. 2.

The idea of seeing Jordan going against Kobe or James should intrigue fans, even if they’re the ones at the controls and the players are in graphic form. Right?

The numbers indicate they would. Jason Argent, 2K Sports’ vice president of marketing, said he didn’t have the online statistics but the company sold about 5.5 million units of the 2K11 game, and another 4 million units for the 2K12 game, which was impacted by last season’s NBA lockout lockout.

Even so, the company wasn’t planning to include the 1992 and 2012 U.S. teams.

He said Jay-Z provided the push.

The rapper and part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets is serving as the game’s executive producer, and he insisted in a meeting that those Olympic teams be included. He also helped get Charles Barkley to sign on and be included.

“He put in a call to Charles, himself, and helped us work an agreement to use him in the game,” Argent said.

One player who won’t be represented in the game is Scottie Pippen. Argent said they simply couldn’t reach an agreement.

As for which team was better — 1992 or 2012? Jordan thinks it’s just beginning.

“The only way it can end is to lace them back up and play against them in 2012, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Jordan said, laughing. “Just let the debate begin.”

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

 August 16, 2012

By Kenneth Miller

 

[Editor’s note: Ken Miller is an award winning veteran journalist who spent 30 years writing for the L.A. Sentinel and has been a popular guest on local sports talk radio for several years. This is the first edition of his weekly sports column.]

 

Yo! Miller from the Bottoms here, spitin’ some sporty as you would from your twitter box or Facebook page.

 

The thoughts and dialect are not abject narratives from your college professor or prep English teacher, in fact I am not sure where d’ hell they come from since I never had access to either.

 

Finally, the Brits have told the world to go home so that now they can count them pounds and digest the finest body parts of the pig.

 

I am not quite sure that I was watching the Olympics or the Outerlimits. Most of the action I checked out was so late at night the results were already known and because London is a clear eight hours ahead of us what I assumed was primetime was pastime.

 

Clearly, the big winner of the games was lil Gabby Douglas whom many ignorant Black folk were so consumed with her hair style they totally missed out on her history making double gold medal efforts.

 

After Gabby had won the all around title, I didn’t quite understand why she was competing in the same events again for individual medals. It seemed a bit redundant to me. Sort of like winning the Super Bowl or NBA title and then saying, I think I’ll go back and play against the No. 8 seed.

 

Gabby’s mom had filed for bankruptcy to support her darling teenage child and I’ve read that her father is a just a sperm donor, so it will be 16-year old Gabby in a true rags to riches saga now being the breadwinner of the family.

 

I haven’t had Corn Flakes in a long time, but now that Gabby is on the box I might just see if they still taste the same with bananas and sugar.

 

Who cares if this Olympic team could have beat the Dream Team? All Laker fans should be concerned with is their superstar shooter being a sidebar on an Olympic Gold medal winning team where all of the most prominent stars are younger than 30.

 

It’s almost as if Kobe Bryant is already a shadow of himself, celebrating every three as if it were his last. Can anybody name more than a handful of the players that this team played against? Poor Nigeria…

 

Did Oscar De la Hoya and Golden Boy think they were going to keep eating all of those free meals off Money Mayweather as his rent-a-promoter?

 

The only question I have is what took so long for Mayweather and his filthy rich rapper homey Fitty to come to their senses and began reaping all of the financial benefits from the cash cow in the sport of boxing.

 

My main man DK kicked in a half mil to Money to try and secure a deal, only to be left contemplating a lawsuit to get it back. Now he too is on the outside looking in at what could be the new kids on the promoting block.

 

Finally, flags in the hood should be at half mass this week in memory of the late Chad Johnson or Ocho Cinco who was buried as a professional football player this week and as a celebrity husband.

 

I am sure that you heard of our boy getting caught by his non-Black wife of a month in a half with a sleeve of rubbers in the trunk of the car.

 

Instead of soothing his VH1 basketball wives cast member by lying and saying one of the other boys on the team left them there, Chad decided to go WWF and head butted her.

 

She ran from the car into a neighbors house called the po-po, he was arrested with a case of domestic violence, or the OJ Law. The Dolphins dump him the next day. The wife flees and says he needs help and now Chad ain’t got no money or no honey.

 

Then he sends out this lame statement about how he is going to focus on his NFL career. Chad wake up! It’s over. You can’t play football and you can’t play your wife. If a desperate team does pick you up the Boy Wonder Commish’ll immediately suspend you!

 

Until next week! Holla!!!

 

Follow me on twitter @kokenz

 

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

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