K-State Q&A: Barry Brown, lavender uniforms and the Cartier Diarra effect

My favorite story about Kansas State’s lavender basketball uniforms is, oddly, from a game in which the Wildcats chose not to wear them. The year was 2010 and a K-State basketball team led by Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente was about to play Kansas in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament. The morning of the game, I chatted with then assistant coach Matt Figger (now at Austin Peay) at the team hotel in Kansas City. He said the Wildcats had a special surprise for the Jayhawks. They lost both regular-season meetings, wearing white at home and black on the road. But they were going to win at Sprint Center wearing lavender. Figger was very excited about this and advised me to begin crafting a lead paragraph for that night’s game story that paid homage to the uniform choice. Back then, K-State still wore lavender jerseys every once in a while. I seem to recall the Wildcats wearing them against Fort Hays State that season. So the team had the uniforms around. It’s not like the special throwback lavenders K-State will wear against TCU on Saturday that required two years of planning. They were ready to go ... But they never made it onto the arena floor. Along the way, someone decided the two-tone uniform wasn’t the best idea for a nationally televised game with a trophy at stake, and the Wildcats decided to wear black. Figger didn’t want to talk about it afterward. He just shook his head. K-State lost that game 72-64. Would lavender uniforms made a difference? Probably not. But we’ll never know. K-State fans will get to see the lavenders return this weekend. If things go well and the Wildcats beat the Horned Frogs, they shouldn’t be afraid to wear them in future games, especially at the Big 12 Tournament. Now, onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them! If you got to design a 4 uniform wardrobe for the KSU MBBasketCats what would it be? For me:pic.twitter.com/gNl7hYD2tk— scottwildcat (@scottwildcat) Continue Reading

Waiting for his time to come: WKU’s Taywan Taylor prepares for NFL call

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Damn, he's fast.That's the first thing you think when you see Taywan Taylor on the football field, running routes for an NFL assistant receivers coach on a misty Thursday morning at Western Kentucky's L.T. Smith Stadium.Taylor's leopard-print cleats, acquired at the NFL combine, blur into a streak of orange as the wide receiver stutter-steps in place, pivots right and takes off. Less than three seconds later the football is in his hands, having been plucked from the air and nestled safely in the crook of his right elbow.The impression is only solidified when you watch Taylor on game film, beating cornerbacks on fade routes and sprinting through double coverage in the red zone. That's what dozens of scouts will be critiquing as they decide Taylor's fate in the 2017 NFL draft.Taylor was "destined" for the NFL, according to his brother. But Taylor's perspective, although equally hopeful, is more so rooted in humility and self-reliance."I definitely believe if you have a dream and you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything," he said. "I've always dreamed of playing in the NBA or NFL, I worked hard at it and now things are starting to unfold in my favor."Taylor doesn't sit back and wait for fate to sweep him in the right direction. He runs toward it.***Step inside Taylor's childhood bedroom in the basement of his parents' Pleasure Ridge Park neighborhood home and you'd think he had died. NFL Combine 2017: Taywan Taylor runs 4.50 40-yard dash More: Who is Taywan Taylor? The red-painted room is a shrine to Taylor's athletic accomplishments. A 6-foot tall lighted trophy case sits in one corner against the back wall, crammed with medals, cups and plaques.Taylor's homecoming king crown and a photo of him and his girlfriend, Jordan, rest on a bookshelf in the adjacent corner. Half of the carpeted floor between them is blanketed with glossy photos, newspaper articles and Continue Reading

Brace yourselves: NFL’s Color Rush uniforms are back in 2017

NFL Color Rush uniforms are back for 2017.The Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens have all worn the NFL Color Rush jerseys on Thursday Night Football this season. PHOTOS:  See each NFL team's Color Rush uniform for the 2016 seasonNext up? The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in Week 9's Thursday Night Football game. The official Thursday Night Football games have the Color Rush uniforms.  RELATED:  Why the Arizona Cardinals didn't wear their Color Rush uniform NFL COLOR RUSH:  What teams wore on Thursday Night Football in 2016QB: NFL Color Rush uniform 'ugly as hell' | PHOTOS: Each team's uniformNot everyone is excited about having Color Rush games return.In March, the Washington Redskins submitted a proposal to the NFL that would allow teams to get out of wearing the special uniforms on Thursday Night Football citing them as "garish."However, the Redskins withdrew their proposal before a vote could take place.Eight teams first wore the special uniforms in 2015, but the NFL and Nike unveiled uniforms for all 32 teams in September of last year.The league described the uniforms, which were worn exclusively in connection with the Thursday Night Football games last year, in a release:"Comprising full-color head-to-toe look, each club’s Color Rush uniform takes inspiration from both its current and historic uniform colors and designs, combined with progressive innovation that will set the tone for the future of the game and light up Thursday Night Football."One hundred percent of the NFL’s proceeds from the sale of Color Rush jerseys go directly to the NFL Foundation to fund health, safety and wellness programs for youth Continue Reading

Jets turn back clock vs. Tennessee, have eyes set on 3-0

What does fear sound like?Darrelle Revis heard it last Sunday when Tom Brady walked on the field with 1:48 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Patriots 90 yards from a game-tying touchdown. Revis detected an uneasy feeling among the 78,000 at the Meadowlands, where the stadium-shaking noise - present all afternoon - had been replaced by a cover-your-eyes, cross-your-fingers vibe."You started sensing some doubt in the fourth quarter, that Brady was going to drive the ball down the field and score a touchdown," the Jets' star cornerback said. "They were remembering the Comeback Brady days."Or, more likely, the Choking Jets days. Considering the franchise history, skepticism is understandable.The Jets are 2-0, one of the hottest stories in the NFL, but it's fair to wonder if this is just the start of another tease, a hope-raising journey destined to end with heartbreak. They took care of Brady like never before, and they get another chance to address the "Are-they-for-real?" question today against the Titans, whose 0-2 start is as stunning as the Jets' 2-0."I'm sure some people are (doubting us)," Revis said. "We just have to prove those people wrong."The Titans, who won a league-best 13 games last season, are in desperation mode, and the question is whether the Jets can match that intensity. They played their first two games with a relentless, in-your-face attitude, and it would be typical Jets if they suffer a major letdown after beating up Brady, who went pretty much nowhere on that final drive last weekend.In that sense, this is a new challenge for Rex Ryan: The first game he's expected to win."We're not just some team that shows up every now and then," said Ryan, insisting there will be no post-Patriots hangover. "We're going to show up every week. And for somebody to beat us, they're going to have to earn it."Ryan's tough talk notwithstanding, there are some troubling signs. The locker room was more subdued than last week, with far less bravado, and there was a Continue Reading

With a passion for soccer and food, Amos Zereoue is not your typical former NFL player

As a bracing wind blows beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, a black man in a white jersey barrels toward goal, a big-biceped blur on the banks of the East River. He is the size of a small tractor, with the speed of a Porsche, the same combination that drove his seven-year career as an NFL running back. Amos Zereoue was born in the west African nation of the Ivory Coast, and raised in the Long Island town of Hempstead. His previous teams were the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots. His current team is the Central Park Rangers of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League, one of the premier amateur leagues in the country. The 5-8, 212-pound Zereoue doesn't take on outsized linemen and run into end zones for big paychecks anymore. He takes on regular-sized defenders and scores goals, and not only does he do it for free; he has to pay the club's $320 annual fee in order to play. Soccer is Zereoue's first sporting love, the game he grew up with in Africa. After a 20-year intermission, he's come full athletic circle, and is relishing it with a born-again fervor. "I get more excited when I score a goal now than I did when I scored a touchdown playing football," Zereoue says. He pauses and smiles. "I've gone from playing in front of 100,000 people to playing in front of 10 people, and I probably get more nervous before games now." With the 2010 World Cup coming to South Africa in six months, the world's most popular sport is poised to stage its quadrennial drama - an event that will play out before hundreds of millions of fans around the globe, no small number of them right here in the five boroughs, home to a teeming, multinational soccer culture that will be riveted by the action on the pitches of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in the city of Port Elizabeth. Nobody will be rooting harder than the 33-year-old Zereoue, whose fervent hope is to get to South Africa as a corporate spokesman or goodwill ambassador. Continue Reading

Manning Rules? Give them a rest as NFL needs to keep healthy players on the field

The Colts might have been justified in employing "The Manning Rules" (which Peyton's facial expression and body language clearly indicated he didn't endorse) last week against the Jets if the only ramification was that it blew up their undefeated season. Then the arrogance of Colts president Bill Polian would have only affected his team.But what about the integrity of the competition? What about the credibility of the NFL? "It will be a hot topic again this year. Where we go with it remains to be seen," Titans coach Jeff Fisher, the co-chairman of the Competition Committee, told the Daily News. "My opinion is a club has to do what it sees fit. That's the prerogative of the club."The Steelers, Broncos, Jaguars, Texans, Ravens and Dolphins all needed the Jets to lose last week. OK, all but the Steelers and Texans lost, so you can argue they didn't take care of their own business. The Jets got the best of both worlds. They played a team resting for the playoffs, while the teams they needed to lose went up against opponents with something at stake.I am tired of hearing the argument that the Colts earned the right to play the game any way they wanted because they had clinched the AFC's No. 1 seed. Here's the contradiction that Roger Goodell must address: The NFL fines players for any silly uniform violation. It fines players for excessive celebration. It fines Chad Ochocinco for playfully flashing a $1 bill at an official as a "bribe," during an instant replay review.But when the Colts all but forfeit their game against the Jets by putting in Curtis Painter, a rookie who had not taken a snap all season, to protect a five-point lead with 20:56 left in the game, the official explanation is that the Colts had earned that right.That's a bunch of garbage.How will the NFL feel Sunday night, on national television in the final game of the regular season, if Bengals coach Marvin Lewis pulls Carson Palmer with a lead at the half of a close game and puts in J.T. O'Sullivan, Continue Reading

Sources say ESPN set to break up Morgan-Miller team

Could the 19-year "Sunday Night Baseball" broadcasting partnership of ESPN's Jon Miller and Joe Morgan be coming to an end? And will their ESPN Radio call of the Rays-Phillies World Series be the final chapter? Well-embedded baseball moles contend the answer is "yes" to both questions. Both Morgan and Miller have two years left on their ESPN contracts, but that would not prevent a change. Sources said Morgan could be shifted to the network's midweek baseball telecast, where he would work with a new play-by-play partner. His likely Sunday night replacement would be Rick Sutcliffe. If there is a switch, it is not a given Miller would stay in the "Sunday Night Baseball" booth, either. He too could be moved to another night or over to the radio side. "We expect both Jon and Joe to be back in the Sunday night booth next season," an ESPN spokesman said. Of course there is a big difference between "expect" to be back and definitely returning. So there is something up here. Miller and Morgan have spent nearly two decades together. During that time their relationship has had its rocky moments. That's no secret. What's coming to light is how unpopular Morgan has become with many of his ESPN colleagues, who are less than thrilled with the way he prepares for a telecast. Some of them also don't respond well to what they call Morgan's haughty attitude, which he has displayed during some of his more outspoken performances in internal ESPN meetings. Prone to on-air mistakes, Morgan also has come under some intense media scrutiny. And during those moments when he's made a mistake, the give and take between him and Miller can sound strained. But some of this stuff (if you don't take it all seriously) is kind of funny. Take Wednesday night, during the first inning of Game 1. After Chase Utley hit a two-run homer off Scott Kazmir, Morgan said: "And the count went to 3-and-2. With Ryan Howard coming up next they gave him (Utley) a fastball. ... When the count goes to Continue Reading

FSU’s Myron Rolle chooses Rhodes scholarship over NFL’s millions

Terrell Owens can't stop wrecking teams. Roger Clemens can't tell the truth. Chad Johnson - err, Ocho Cinco - can't keep his mouth shut, and Plaxico Burress is not happy to see you, he has a gun in his pants. And you're probably sick of it. The past few months, the off-field drams of the sports world have been positively rank. Which is why Florida State's Myron Rolle is so refreshing: He's the giant Glade Plug-in we've all been waiting for. The Seminoles' starting safety could be preparing for the NFL draft, where he'd likely be a top-50 pick. But he's spurning NFL millions for now - and leaving Florida State with a year of eligibility left - to pursue his education. That's right, to pursue his education. This kid puts the "student" back in "student-athlete." In November, the 6-1, 213-pound junior was awarded a Rhodes scholarship, and a month later, he earned his bachelor's degree from FSU. This fall, he'll head to Oxford University to earn a master's in "medical anthropology," with an eye toward a career in neurosurgery. "It's just so fascinating - how the networks and synapses control the body," he says. "I've always been interested in that." That - and a need to "serve others" - made Rolle's decision to temporarily put football away easy. Yes, many an athlete would die for Rolle's gifts. He played football and basketball at The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., and excelled at both sports. Despite occasionally ducking out of film sessions to study for tests or head to labs, he was a Third-Team All-American this season, and finished third on the team in tackles. But Myron Rolle's eventual goal is to open a free clinic in the Bahamas, where his parents were born. "I've spent so much of my life taking and taking," he says. "It's time for me to transform into a person who gives back." Sound like Mother Teresa? Makes you want to check his closet for skeletons, doesn't it? Good luck finding them. Rolle may have attended Playboy's No. 6 party Continue Reading

Stage is set for China syndrome

Things are getting wild and crazy in China, but the U.S. Olympic Committee insists it will not participate in any Opening Ceremonies boycott or protests. While Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, is suggesting his country's delegation might skip the parade, American athletes will be expected to march in proper order and toe the line. As the Beijing Games approach, the USOC plans to brief athletes during team processing in San Jose on proper behavior and on Rule 51 of the Olympic Charter, which states, "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." "We'll tell them, ‘It's important to remember you are a guest,'" says Darryl Seibel, USOC spokesman. "We'll talk about what it means to be a representative of our country. We're being hosted. We encourage athletes to participate in Opening Ceremonies." Of course, if an individual American athlete decides to skip the ceremony, that's up to him or her. In the past, athletes scheduled to compete the next day in strenuous events often pass on the lengthy evening proceedings. And Rule 51 doesn't govern conduct outside official venues. If an athlete wishes to make a "Free Tibet" speech at some Nike-sponsored event in the city, or even on Tiananmen Square, he can do so - at his own risk. "Free speech is one of the values we stand for in this country," Seibel says. The most famous Olympic political protest remains the 1968 Black Power salute on the podium in Mexico City by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who were immediately expelled by the USOC from the Olympic Village. At the time, the two men were castigated with dreadful self-righteousness here at home. Several American athletes already have become involved in petitioning the Chinese government about its policies in the Darfur region, but none figures to make the kind of sacrifice that Smith and Carlos once performed. It is one thing to criticize an unpopular government abroad. Continue Reading

Bad behavior tainting NFL’s image

Jacobs says he's ready to be Giants' next big thingJets' new scheme has Jones busting out all overEli Manning set to take leadJets put faith in Pennington one more timeMeet Frank GoreRoad to Arizona: Team capsulesGiants - Position-by-position2007 Giants ScheduleJets - Position-by-position2007 Jets ScheduleIt's September, so this is supposed to be all about Peyton Manning going for another ring after finally getting his first and Reggie Bush somersaulting over the last defender at the goal line and Tom Brady playing with all the new toys Bill Belichick gave him to get to another Super Bowl. Instead, it's all about dogfighting, guns, making it rain in strip clubs, abandoning $350,000 cars on the highway, posing for police mug shots and drinking enough to make DWIs seem as frequent as PATs. The NFL's back is pinned firmly against the wall. The league is incredibly healthy - financially. The $3.1 billion annual television contract has made everybody involved rich, the game is still the toughest ticket in town - except in Michael Vick-less Atlanta - and all the new stadiums are basically a license to print lots of money. But image is everything, and the NFL is taking a royal beating. While teams don't feature uniform numbers with more than double digits yet, the league still hopes the start of the regular season will put the focus back on the field. That's why Roger Goodell, the law and order commissioner, indefinitely suspended Vick on Aug. 24 shortly after he filed his guilty plea in one of the most disgraceful scandals ever involving an NFL player. Goodell wanted Vick out of the way, and way out of the public consciousness, before the Saints and Colts kick off the season Thursday night. There's nothing America loves more than sitting back on Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights, Monday nights and the occasional Thursday and having football for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What's been happening, however, off the field is enough to make even the casual fan Continue Reading