Adidas Money Men Go To Jail

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Evil Men Sentenced To Prison For Giving College Basketball Players Some Money

Photo: Bebeto Mathews, Seth Wenig (AP)

Former Adidas director of global sports marketing for basketball James Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code, and sports business manager Christian Dawkins were all sentenced to prison today for their roles in a college basketball corruption scandal that amounted to a few players and their families receiving a little extra cash.

Gatto will get nine months in prison, while Code and Dawkins will each get six, for the crimes of wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy. All three men are going to appeal their convictions, while Code and Dawkins are both set for another trial in April for alleged payments to assistant coaches at Arizona, USC, and Oklahoma State.Outstream Video00:0000:00

After the sentences were announced, U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami got hyperbolically moralistic about the fact that these guys would spend time behind bars:

“The sentences imposed today only begin to reflect the magnitude of the harm these defendants caused through a scheme that not only defrauded multiple public universities but upended the lives of young student-athletes and corrupted a game cherished by so many. Today’s sentences send a clear message to those who might be similarly tempted to corrupt collegiate athletics for their own personal gain that defrauding schools in connection with athletic scholarships is not just a rules violation but a crime, one that will result in a prison term.”

What exactly was the “magnitude of the harm?” Let’s recap:

  • Gatto, Code, and Dawkins helped funnel $100,000 to the father of Brian Bowen, a Louisville recruit, so Bowen would could commit to play at the Adidas-sponsored school.
  • Gatto and former Adidas consultant Thomas Gassnola (who is awaiting his own sentence) funneled $90,000 to Billy Preston’s family, and agreed to funnel money to the legal guardian of Silvio De Sousa, so both would commit to play for Adidas-sponsored Kansas.
  • Gatto and Gassnola helped funnel $40,000 from Adidas to the family of Dennis Smith Jr., so he wouldn’t de-commit from Adidas-sponsored NC State.

No doubt, some harm came out of these actions. Smith was fine, playing a year at NC State and then getting drafted ninth overall in 2017. But Bowen, who entered college a year later, never played for Louisville because the FBI investigative report revealed his family had taken payments. He transferred to South Carolina in January 2018, but eventually decided to go pro rather than follow NCAA regulations and sit out two semesters until January 2019. He now plays in Australia.

Preston fell under NCAA investigation over the “financial picture” of his vehicle after he was involved in a car accident in November 2017, and never played a regular season game for Kansas. He left school in January of 2018 as the investigation dragged on, and he’s in the NBA’s developmental league now.

De Sousa is still at Kansas, and played as a freshman. But the NCAA ruled that he would be forced to sit out the entirety of his 2018-19 and 2019-20 season, because of something he says he didn’t even know about.

So, yes, Khuzami is right that these payments “upended the lives of young student-athletes,” but in every case the harm was caused by the NCAA’s draconian punishments for accepting money that the players should have already been entitled to. Gatto, Code, and Dawkins are by no means noble men just for giving some folks cash, but what they’re really going to prison for is simply carrying out a basic tenant of capitalism: paying the people who will help them make more money.

By the way, absolutely no harm befell any of the programs affected by the payments. NC State, Kansas, and Louisville are all projected to make the NCAA Tournament this month.

Darren McFadden fell asleep in a Whataburger drive-through

According to McKinney (Tex.) police, via the Dallas Morning News, former Cowboys, Raiders and University of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden was arrested early Monday morning in the Dallas suburb and charged with driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. McFadden was discovered asleep in his car (I mean, who hasn’t done this?) by employees of a McKinney Whataburger just after midnight. He was arrested shortly after.

McFadden was released from police custody on personal recognizance after being booked just after 10 a.m Monday morning. Collin County arrest records show that McFadden, who does not have an attorney listed, was ordered by a court to install an ignition interlock device on his car.

De’Aaron Fox has some advice for everyone

Don’t jump with De’Aaron Fox – also don’t challenge him to a foot-race. You’ll lose both bets 100 out of 100 times. Far-be-it from me to blow smoke about a Kentucky guy, but dear Lord….the man is bionic and must be acknowledged publicly.

Normally Sacramento is where hoopers fade away, but before the brilliant spectrum of De’Aaron Fox’s timeline in Sacramento inevitably reduces to gray – please take a moment to watch a Kings game and appreciate the poetry in motion.

Corgis racing, cause you deserve it

The 2018 Corgi Cup finally has a crowned winner: “Napoleon” is officially the Usain Bolt of corgi racing.

If you’re unfamiliar – corgi racing is a ritualistic, Seattle-based display of athleticism and conviction by the most unlikely of creatures, the corgi dog. 

Monday night at halftime of the Seattle Seahawks croquet match-disguised as a football game, the corgis were let loose in a fashion that only the most prestigious olympic sprinters could truly appreciate.

The event even had corporate sponsorship, thanks Bud Light.

Like a true champion bread for athletic prowess, Napoleon shoulder-pushed his way to victory with no concern for his opponents toil and drudge or any regard for the laws of gravity.  

I hear Disney already has the rights to Napoleon’s story. 


World Magic Championships winning trick will make you cross-eyed

It’s rare to find a write-up about magic on this site…unless we’re talking about Magic Johnson or the illustrious career of the legendary Magic Man himself, Cal Naughton Jr.

Now ya see me, now ya don’t!

The International Federation of Magic Societies only holds its World Championships of Magic every three years, kinda like the Nobel Peace Prize or the Pulitzer Prize…except more difficult to win. Seriously, you think Gandhi or Robert Frost knew any good card tricks?


Close-up magician Eric Chien manages to squeeze so many impossible tricks into his World Championships of Magic-winning routine, that the 6-minute youtube video below will seem like a blink of an eye – leaving you desperate for more. 

Enjoy the rest of your life knowing that sorcerers and wizards are living amongst us all, nothing makes sense anymore. Time isn’t linear, space is vast and endless, up is down and left is now right. 

Should we talk about Derrick Rose yet?

Vintage D-Rose has risen in the land of no sun

Is it 2010?

If you concentrate hard enough, you can almost hear Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” faintly in the background (yes, that song is 8 years old) and everyone in a 5-foot vicinity discussing with vigor, theories for what really happened at the end of “Inception.”

 – Just for the record, the spinning top is the totem of Cobb’s dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), Leo’s totem is his wedding ring. Therefore, the whole scene means nothing in terms of his own reality. So, there ya go.

To everyone’s surprise, on Halloween, Derrick Rose costumed himself as a former MVP-level Derrick Rose, instead of the rickity-knee, walking boot ghost of an NBA point guard that we’ve seen repeatedly for the last 8 seasons. 

But on All Hallow’s Eve, the specter of what once was and could be again appeared before us. Check out this stat-line: 50 points on 19-31 shooting (61%), 4-7 from three-point (57%), 8-11 freethrows (72.7%), 4 rebounds, 6 assists and a +10 on the +/- scale. 

At first glance, this may have been 50-point explosion of a fluke game – but even so, can we take a moment to give some props for D-Rose’s single game career-high effort!

How is this possible? How has he never reached the 50-club previously?

How could a player who has never pinnacled the rare air of a 50-point game, pull this rabbit out of a hat at the age of 30 after three major knee surgeries, and being left behind to basketball-Narnia in the great white north? 

But this is just an outlier right? Or is D-Rose really back?

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

In the two games that followed the 50-point explosion, Rose only played 5 minutes total. A well-earned couple of nights off, I suppose. 

But, when Rose returned at full energy on Monday, November 5th – he picked up right where he left off. Facing the Clippers in LA, Rose went 8-20 from the field for 21 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Then, two nights later against the LA Lebrons, vintage D-Rose went off again for a smooth 31 points on 11-17 shooting with 7 three-pointers (single game, career-high), 3 rebounds, and 5 assists. 

Over the course of just more than a week, Rose is averaging 26.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.3 assists, shooting 57% from the field and a STAGGERING 65% from the three-point line!

“Me turning 30, it plays into learning who I am as a man, learning who my family is,” Rose said. “My mom is a worrier. She has faith, but she worries. The genetics, I think, rubbed off on me. When I was younger, I used to worry a lot. But I told myself, ‘All of this is out of my control anyway. Why am I frustrated with this, worried about that, when at the end of the day, I am happy and I believe in myself?’

“I never went in deep with it. I am like, ‘Man, I am not going to be like Mom.’ That was my goal. That is what ended up happening until I got perspective of the whole situation.”

“I am in year 11 now. I tore my ACL in my third year. Most guys would have been retired. Financially, I have saved my money. It’s all about the love. I still feel like I can hoop.”

– Derrick Rose 

The Rose has regained it’s full bloom, let’s take the time to enjoy the smell while we still have the opportunity to do so.  

JR Smith – still ballin

Really bro? Really?

According to ESPN, Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith will accept a deal that requires him to pay $600 to a fan after he tossed the fan’s cellphone into a New York City construction site in late July.

Smith was issued a desk ticket for misdemeanor criminal mischief as a result of the incident.

On July 26, a man told police that Smith grabbed his cellphone and threw it into a construction zone in Manhattan after the man tried to take a picture of Smith.

Spiro told reporters that Smith, 32, will pay $600 in restitution to the fan for his lost phone.

“We have reached dismissal in Cellphone-gate,” Spiro quipped to reporters.

Sounds like JR Smith is still taking bad shots and turning the ball over. 

though shalt not tatto my face on your nipple

Old-guy college kicker has NFL dreams

The 31-year old sophomore has a boot for a leg and an accent from the gods

For the Aussie-born 29-year old real estate developer, being stuck in a mental rut and wedding planning was only the tip of the iceberg towards a brand-new life that eventually landed him in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

His professional soccer career had stopped kicking, his job was no longer fulfilling, he was about to turn 30 – so what’s next?

Why not play college football? A sport he knew absolutely nothing about, but James Stefanou cares not for such petty quarrels, he just wanted to kick the hell out of something.

good-day mate

Two years later, Stefanou is a 31-year-old sophomore at Colorado and the football team’s starting field-goal kicker. Nearly 9,000 miles from his home of Melbourne, Australia, Stefanou is the oldest player in FBS, although, to him, age is merely a number.

“I might be 31,” Stefanou says in a thick Australian accent, “but I’m pretty young at heart. It doesn’t feel different at all for me. I’ve always been a little like that. You can call it immature if you’d like, but I just like being one of the boys.”

Sure, this is a fun college story, I mean the Aussie kicker regularly boots 60-year field goals in practice and is about a decade older than his teammates.

But is this just a fun story for James? Or is there more to this?

For James, this is far more than just a quick trip to the states for a few pints and a few laughs. He hopes to kick in the NFL someday, and it’s not that far-fetched of an idea.

“He can absolutely kick professionally,” says Nathan Chapman of Prokick Australia, the punting and kicking academy that groomed and helped place Stefanou at Colorado. “He’s got the ability to do it, but he’s got to put runs on the board. Sports are not always a fairy tale.” “He’s got a big enough leg, and he’s accurate,” Chapman adds. “So why wouldn’t he be given a chance?”

American football has only been a part of James’ life for a few years, but he’s no novice to professional sports or kicking spherically shaped objects around a plot of green grass.

Since childhood, he’s had a passion for soccer – he grew up a fan of Manchester United and as a player earned a spot on the Australia U19 team when he was just 17. He eventually played professionally for South Melbourne FC and Heidelberg United FC as a defender.

Groin injuries hampered his play, although Stefanou kept at it through his late 20s. Throughout the stints of rehab and comebacks, however, a familiar voice was always there, hoping to steer him in another direction.

Johnny Smith, who works with Chapman at Prokick Australia, was convinced Stefanou had a future in American football. Over the years, Stefanou would stop by Prokick and dabble with the idea of switching sports.

“We have a phrase in Prokick for the older guys,” Smith says. “Ticktock. Because time is the enemy … I finally asked him: ‘Are you gonna f–king do this or not? You need to take that God-given talent and put it in the arena, in the environment that it needs to be in.'”

In October of 2016, Stefanou began training with Prokick. What stuck out initially, according to his coaches, wasn’t necessarily his natural power but how much elevation he got on his kicks—making his field goals and point-after attempts nearly impossible to block.

Eventually, “Ticktock” was receiving interest from Maryland, Houston, Hawaii and Colorado. While Hawaii was intriguing, Stefanou worried “it would’ve been too much of a holiday all the time.”

After researching Colorado through Google, Stefanou was sold on the school and the city of Boulder. In July of 2017, two weeks after Laura and he were married, the two uprooted their lives and traveled nearly 9,000 miles to their new home.

“When he first got here, you could tell he was a talented athlete,” Colorado holder Josh Goldin says. “He just kicks the crap out of the ball. The noise it makes when it comes off his foot is something different. I’ve seen him hit from 65 yards in practice. He can really boot it.”

In his first season, Stefanou converted on 17 of 22 field goals (77.3 percent), including a 53-yarder, and made all 35 of his extra points. This year, Stefanou has connected on five of his seven field goals; he’s also hit all 20 of his extra points, making him a perfect 55-of-55 for his career.

it’s good

James seems to have a solid chance at an NFL spot at some point in his future, at the very least he’ll have an incredible story to tell when it’s all said-and-done.

He’s been playing football shorter than Trump has been in office, so I’d say the sky is the limit for this destroyer of footballs.

“People continuously ask: ‘How old are you? How old are you? Should you be playing college football? It doesn’t bother me,” Stefanou says. “Come beat me then. If you’re better than me, come beat me. “If you’re good enough, you’re good enough.”