The Blame Game
Fred Harper

The Blame Game

Carmelo Anthony received a summons Oct. 15 at Denver International Airport after a small amount of marijuana was found in his bag as the team prepared to travel to Milwaukee for an exhibition game. Anthony's lawyer, Daniel Recht, said the marijuana belonged to James Cunningham, who often stays with Anthony when he's in Denver on business. Cunningham has signed an affidavit saying the drugs belonged to him. -- Associated Press

At a press conference, six-year-old Timmy Simms admitted to accidentally leaving his Tonka Mighty Dump Truck in the driveway of former Broncos running back Terrell Davis in May 2002. According to a statement scrawled in crayon and read by Timmy, the first-grader regrets leaving the toy, because it caused former quarterback Brian Griese to fall on his face and knock himself unconscious.

Until now, speculation had been that Griese, who was attending a party at Davis's home, was drunk. The quarterback had pleaded guilty in March 2002 to driving while ability-impaired and was placed on twelve months' probation when he failed a Breathalyzer test after being stopped for speeding. He also was placed in the NFL substance-abuse program, which required him to submit to testing for two seasons.

But Griese's lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, who attended the press conference, said Simms coming forward should quash any speculation that his client had ever a drinking problem. "If anyone deserves public ridicule, it's this kid," Steinberg said. "I hope he's learned to put away his toys."

In a signed affidavit send by certified mail to Denver Nuggets headquarters, Mikhail Baryshnikov has admitted to tripping David Thompson as the former Denver Nuggets superstar descended a stairway at Studio 54 during a late-night party in March 1984. The dancer conceded that he flattened the NBA star inadvertently during an impromptu demonstration of a perfectly turned-out tendu.

The now-defunct New York City disco catered to the rich and famous during the 1970s and '80s. Thompson played for the Nuggets before being traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1982.

For the past two decades, it was assumed that the hard-partying Thompson -- known for enthusiastic cocaine and alcohol use throughout his career -- had been stoned during the Manhattan mishap. Thompson suffered extensive cartilage and ligament damage in the fall, which effectively ended his days of playing professional basketball.

But Johnnie Cochran, Thompson's lawyer, said that was the old David Thompson. Cochran read Baryshnikov's revelation at a press conference outside the Pepsi Center and proclaimed his client's reputation rehabilitated, adding that he hoped this would halt the shameful and persistent rumors that Thompson used drugs at Studio 54, or ever. "'Twas the Russian's toe, and not the blow," Cochran said.

Perry Small, an ex-soda jerk at a University Hill diner in Boulder, has come forward with new information about a formerly embarrassing saga.

According to a plausible remembrance penned under close supervision, Smart recalled overhearing Kristen McCartney and former Colorado Buffaloes starting quarterback, the late Sal Aunese, as they shared a vanilla milkshake with two straws several months before she became pregnant in 1989. McCartney is the daughter of Bill McCartney, who was the Buffs' head football coach at the time.

"They were having a soulful and mutually respectful conversation about birth control," Smart recalled in the statement. "As he looked deeply into her eyes, Aunese proposed marriage, and Ms. McCartney replied that she'd have to think about it for a while before going 'all the way.' They clearly were in love and as good as married."

Small's legally binding memories were read by Ms. McCartney's lawyer on the fifty-yard line of Folsom Field.

Coach McCartney, who went on to found the Promise Keepers Christian ministry, said the affidavit validated many of his family's values. He added that he now believes his daughter was most likely engaged to the other Buffs she slept with, as well.

Carl Spackler, a Littleton handyman, came forward yesterday to admit that a door he installed on former Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy's Greenwood Village house several years ago was not hung to code. Roy, the NHL's career wins leader, was charged with domestic violence in October 2000 after ripping the door off the hinges during an argument with his wife, Michele.

In the course of the argument over in-laws, Roy also damaged another door. Spackler said he hadn't installed that one, however.

Roy's attorney, Walter Gerash, said he was confident the signed affidavit from the 53-year-old unemployed handyman would put to rest any loose talk that the now-retired goalie was to blame for the incident. Gerash noted that an improperly installed door could come unhinged at any moment, regardless of what was happening on either side of it.

Former Denver Broncos linebacker John Mobley says his good name can finally be restored now that an ex-trainer for the team has agreed to come out publicly with the disclosure that Mobley suffered head injuries that could have resulted in a failed roadside sobriety test.

Mobley was stopped in late December 2002 for driving 69 mph in a 40 mph zone. He failed a sobriety test at the scene and was arrested. The following April, a jury convicted Mobley of driving while under the influence, despite his contention that he'd failed the roadside test not because he was drunk, but rather because of a concussion and other football injuries.

Former trainer Frank Pert spoke at a press conference after releasing a statement signed by a notary and vouched for by his mother. In it, he recalled giving Mobley a deep-tissue massage the week before Mobley was pulled over. According to his recollection, as Pert was applying aftershave to the linebacker, he accidentally dropped the gallon bottle of Stetson on Mobley's head, temporarily rendering the player unconscious.

Franklin Azar, Mobley's attorney, declared his client vindicated. He hinted that other similar football- and/or grooming-related injuries may have been responsible for Mobley's 1999 car wreck, after which the linebacker was convicted of driving while impaired. And Azar added that at least a few of the dozen times Mobley was pulled over by police leading up to his 2002 arrest could also have been related to locker-room trauma.

Poor service has been identified as the culprit in a July 2003 fracas involving former Denver Broncos Daryl Gardener and Russell Newman, according to a dependable statement issued by an honest former waitress.

Gardener, then a starting defensive tackle, and reserve defensive tackle Newman were arrested in the early-morning hours by a police officer who spotted them kicking a man lying in the parking lot of the International House of Pancakes on East Mississippi Avenue. Officers needed to use pepper spray to pull the players off their victim. Gardener and Newman were charged with disorderly conduct.

In an affidavit released yesterday, however, Donna Frayed, a server at the International House of Pancakes, accepted responsibility for the brawl. "When I placed the syrup caddy on their table, I shorted [Gardener, Newman and their three female friends] on the Olde Fashioned Boysenberry," she wrote. Frayed added that she didn't intend to skimp, but a sudden rush of customers had left her with insufficient time to refill all of the small glass pitchers.

Frayed's affidavit, which was reviewed and verified by Broncos handwriting analysts, admitted that the players' dining experience was a poor one, and it left them feeling embittered. "They left without a tip," she conceded. Minutes later, the frustrated men got into the fight.

"I take full responsibility," Frayed concluded.

In November 2003, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan suspended Gardener for one game as a result of the fight. Gardener missed four additional games because of torn wrist ligaments suffered in the altercation. He was released from the Broncos last season.

Gardener's agent, Neil Schwartz, was jubilant when he heard the new revelations, proclaiming that his client's absolution was long overdue. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," he observed. "I'm glad we can put all of this behind us now."


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