Today in sports: Boston players are already grousing about the Bobby Valentine hire, a class-action concussion suit takes aim at the NCAA, and Ndamukong Suh's frozen steak endorsement is on thin ice.
- The Boston Red Sox decision to hire no-nonsense veteran manager Bobby Valentine to shake up the club's boozy, fried-chicken filled clubhouse apparently isn't sitting well with the players who occupy that boozy, fried-chicken filled clubhouse. ESPN's Buster Olney reports Red Sox players were "grumbling to each other, through texts and phone call" when Valentine was first mentioned as a possible candidate for the job last week. According to a source in the Boston clubhouse, a member of the team's front office assured an unnamed player last week that they "weren't going to hire Bobby Valentine or someone like that," which is exactly what they ended up doing. [ESPNBoston.com]
- The Big Ten Conference is having trouble selling out Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for its first-ever conference championship game Saturday between Michigan State and Wisconsin, but the league is denying it posted an ad on Craigslist searching for seat fillers for the game. We believe them, because who would hire seat fillers when a giant blue tarp could do an equally fine job. For those in the Indianapolis area this weekend who do want to see two top-15 college football teams play in a climate controlled dome, decent third deck seats are going for $10 a pop at the ticket resale Web site Stub Hub. The lesson, as always: Indianapolis is a nice place to visit, but don't schedule your conference championship games there, especially when Chicago is a viable alternative. [Indianapolis Star]
- The NFL is helping to pick up the tab for former players suffering from "postconcussion syndrome," but what about the college players who took shots to the head but never made it to the pros? If the plaintiffs in a new class action suit against the NCAA are successful, the NCAA would be ordered to arrange insurance coverage that would provide players with follow-up care after they leave the program. It would be funded by the $750 million in profits the NCAA brings in annually and supplemented by the money schools bring in from their TV contracts. The four plaintiffs likely won't get that kind of result, but the case will have significant ramifications when it comes to pinpointing where liability in sports injuries begins and ends. [The New York Times]
- Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh received a two-game suspension from the NFL for stomping on the forearm of a Green Packers last Thursday, and now it turns out he's also on double-secret probation with the good people at Omaha Steaks where he's a paid endorser. The mail order meat company didn't cut Suh loose, but did issue a statement saying pledging to "closely monitor and evaluate the situation and...take action accordingly, if we deem it necessary." So watch out for those Omaha Steaks predator drones, Ndamukong! [Detroit Free-Press]
- Three-sided soccer matches are the new big thing on the pitches of Madrid, and it's all because of a Danish artist, intellectual, and "Situationist" named Asger Jon, who wanted soccer to be a more communal game, free from what what he calls the "mythic bipolar structure of conventional football." Naturally, this requires a hexagonal field and nebulous, difficult-to-understand rules whereby any player becomes your teammate if you're on a breakaway and scoring isn't necessarily a good thing, and the goalies exchange books by Camus and Nietzsche before the game. It's all very European. [SI]