Today in sports: The Minnesota Vikings release Donovan McNabb, a Michigan State cheerleader is out of the hospital after a scary fall during last night's game against Florida State, and NBA players in China are stuck there until March.
- The Chinese Basketball Association is refusing to be a pal and let the NBA players who signed with Chinese teams out of their contracts, even though the NBA lockout is over and they want to go home. They could always escape under cover of darkness, like former Denver Nuggets forward J.R. Smith did two weeks ago when he slipped away to Beijing for medical treatment on his injured knee, but even if Aaron Brooks, Kenyon Martin or Wilson Chandler were to return to the states, they can't sign with an NBA team, since the league is a member of FIBA, basketball's governing body, and has to respect international contracts. Martin, a free agent who played for Denver last year, says through his agent that he doubts he'll ask out of his contract with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers. Why should he? He makes $60,000 a month and the team gives him a driver and a personal chef that he can hire and fire at will (he's already gone through "three or four"). Plus, the contracts the American players signed include "serious financial penalties" for bolting early. [The Wall Street Journal]
- The Minnesota Vikings have released quarterback Donovan McNabb. The former future Hall of Famer joined the team in the offseason after one disastrous season in Washington and ten good-but-stressful ones in Philadelphia. Strangely, he reportedly asked to be cut Sunday night, even though he was benched in favor of rookie Christian Ponder way back in October. McNabb's critics will likely see the delay as an extension of his questionable in-game clock management skills, while his supporters will praise him for hanging in this long as a backup on one of the worst teams in football. These are the arguments Donovan McNabb has been provoking since Bill Clinton was president. A league source says the Chicago Bears, McNabb's hometown team, and the Dallas Cowboys could put in a claim for the unclutch quarterback when he hits the waiver wire on Friday. [ESPN]
- In New York, there's talk that the Giants have quit on head coach Tom Coughlin. As Grantland's Bill Barnwell points out, this has become something of an annual tradition since Coughlin arrived in 2004. Every year, media types (not unreasonably) accuse the team of "no-show effort" and call Coughlin ""the coach whose team was most likely to quit on him this season." Yet he returned, year after year, to squint, shout, and put his hands on his hips and flex out his elbows in a peculiar way. But this current Giants team really seems to mean it. "Unless the Giants can compete with the Packers and sweep the Cowboys in their two remaining matchups to claim the NFC East title," warns Barnwell, "the Giants may not get a chance to quit on Coughlin in 2012." [Grantland]
- This is great news. Taylor Young, the Michigan State cheerleader who had to be carted off the court at the Breslin Center in Lansing Wednesday after falling off her partner's shoulders and landed hard on her face during a routine, has been released from the hospital and is apparently doing fine. Which is frankly miraculous, considering how hard she fell and how carefully the strapped her to a backboard and immobilized her head. [The Grand Rapids Press]