What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

LeBron is a really great guy.

He must be, if the Worldwide Leader in Sports is to be believed.

On Wednesday morning, a story appeared in ESPN.com. Written by Arash Markazi, it was a first-hand account of a Vegas party hosted by James himself. It wasn’t a very flattering piece, with nude women in a bathtub, go-go dancers holding up placards that spelled “KING,” and James wishing “they’d
have one of these girls with no panties (bring us champagne) instead of the guy.”

Really, the story isn’t the article itself. Las Vegas is known as a destination that requires a lot of discretion. It’s no mistake that one of the cities’ slogans is “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Anyway, about 15 minutes after the story was posted, it was pulled. Later that day, ESPN.com responds that the story was still in a draft phase and had accidentally been posted before being fully reviewed by an editor.

Later, ESPN changed its excuse. Apparently, Markazi never identified himself as a reporter to James’ group, so ethically, the story should not have been posted.

Which leads me back to the part about James being a great guy. If ESPN’s excuse is to be believed, Markazi introduced himself as a regular guy (certainly not a reporter) and was invited to dine with LeBron, his family, and his friends at a casino restaurant. Then, “Average Joe” Markazi was invited to tag around to a private party in a casino nightclub.

Damn, LeBron is an awesome dude. I’m gonna have to keep my ears open about LeBron’s next Vegas trip. Maybe next time, he’d let me tag along with him to the strip club.

OK, sarcasm mode is off. Here’s what really happened (probably).

1. Markazi identified himself as a reporter. James and his group, thinking it would be a fluff piece, agreed to let him come along.
2. The article was posted. James’ group realized how unflattering it was.
3. James’ group complained to ESPN.
4. The Worldwide Leader, having already refused to publish reports that Brett Favre was passing sensitive information on the Green Bay Packers over to the Minnesota Vikings (months prior to signing with Minnesota), refused to publish news that Ben Roethlisberger had been accused of rape (the first time), and was the network of record for “The Decision,” agrees to take down the story.
5. To help James save face, ESPN makes up some story about the author not identifying himself as a reporter. Which also shows us what a great guy James really is.


Goodbye Chris Henry

Back on Thursday morning, Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chris Henry died after falling out the back of a pick-up truck the day before. He apparently had been arguing with his fiance, Loleini Tonga, and when she tried to drive off in the pick-up, he jumped into the bed to continue the argument.

Henry made a lot of questionable decisions in the years prior to this tragic event. He was correctly portrayed as a thug, and got handed a half-year ban in 2007 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. In April 2008, he was arrested and subsequently waived by the Bengals.

Four months later, he was resigned by the Bengals. Once this time, he seemed to be cleaning his life up. He stopped hanging out with his “friends,” spending more time with his fiance and three children.

The fact that Henry seemed to be on the right path makes this story all the more tragic. His three children with Tonga are now fatherless, and maybe he was becoming a good father. On the other hand, nobody knows what the argument was about, so was this an instance of Henry regressing into his old self.

I think time will tell how we view Henry’s death: a tragic event that derailed a young man’s efforts to do the right thing, or one final action by a thug who just couldn’t get it right.


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