Today in sports: England's national soccer team coach quit in messy and public fashion, Brandon Jacobs sort-of apologizes to Gisele Bündchen, and a drug-using Rafael Nadal puppet causes outrage in Spain.
England's national soccer team -- which always seems to be going through some crisis -- is going through a crisis. This one, involving the English Football Association's decision to strip John Terry of his captain title after he yelled a racial slur in an English Premier League game, prompted manager Fabio Capello to resign in protest yesterday. The Italian media is already full of vague talk about a conspiracy to oust Capello, which probably won't be helped by Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to come out and say that Capello was wrong to insist on Terry remaining captain. Meanwhile, Reuters UK is remembering Capello as a weird, mumbly outsider who never understood English football culture, while also fretting about not having his leadership for the upcoming European Football Championships. [The Guardian]
The Spanish tennis federation is engaged in a hilarious spat with French television station Canal Plus. At issue: a skit that aired Monday on the puppet program Les Guignols in which shows-- and this is according to The New York Times -- "a [Rafael] Nadal-like puppet urinating into his car’s gas tank before speeding off." At which point a message flashed on the screen: "Spanish athletes: they don't win by chance." This comes on the heels of Spain's Alberto Contador being stripped of his Tour de France title, so the country is a little sensitive about doping allegations, even those made on puppet shows. How to right such a wrong? Well, Spain's tennis federation is going to sue Canal Plus for illegally using its logo. So, think twice before you imply a puppet that Rafael Nadal is juicing. [The New York Times]
Next year's NHL Winter Classic will be held at Michigan Stadium and feature the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. If you want to watch outdoor professional hockey on New Year's Day, consider your dance card filled. Truthfully, we're somewhat numb to the thrill of outdoor pro hockey now we've seen four years running, but the folks at the University of Michigan have to be pleased. The NHL is paying a whopping $3 million to rent the Big House for six weeks. $3 million! This could be why people sometimes wonder if the league is going to make it. [Detroit Free Press]
New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has apologized for saying that Gisele Bündchen should "stay cute and shut up." The apology only covered the "shut up" portion of the remarks, since Jacobs -- like Larry David --subscribes to the theory that people should be able to say whatever they want, as long as it's complimentary. Call us cynical, but we still think Jacobs will find a way to write a quickie, post-Super Bowl memoir called Stay Cute and Shut Up. [ESPN]
Speaking of Bündchen, Jason Gay of The Wall Street Journal has a crazy theory that maybe she loves the guy "in the irrational way that people who are in love love each other." As we said, crazy, but at least hear the man out. [The Wall Street Journal]
On the Jeremy Lin front, he annihilated the Washington Wizards last night, while the NBA announced today that the league's TV partners in the Philippines, China, and Taiwan have added Knicks games to their February programming slates. Considering the sorry state of the NBA's efforts to establish its brand in China, this is a particularly nice piece of timing. [AP]