The police blotter

Some of our wholesome heroes in the world of sport have been getting into some unwholesome trouble. And that's just this week.

Topics: Crime,

“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments,” Chief Justice Earl Warren once said. “The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”

Those were the days. Here’s what some of the worthies of the sporting world have been up to the past few days, according to wire services:

  • Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, the Florida State star chosen in the first round by the Oakland Raiders in this year’s draft, was arrested Tuesday by FSU police and charged with possession of GHB, the “date-rape drug.” The 22-year-old all-American, who was picked up along with two friends during a police sweep for underage drinkers, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge and posted $2,500 bond.

    A week earlier Janikowski, a native of Poland, had been acquitted of trying to bribe a police officer to let his roommate go after the roommate got into an argument with a club bouncer. A jury agreed with the kicker’s lawyer, who argued that he was under the impression he could simply pay a fine on the spot.

  • Nebraska linebacker Mark Vedral faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on sexual assault charges. Vedral, who was arraigned in Lincoln Wednesday, is accused of having sex with a 20-year-old woman while she slept in the bed of his housemate, Chris Kelsay, also a Nebraska player. The woman had attended a party at the house that night. Vedral denies the charges. He’s suspended from the team until the matter is resolved. His trial is set to begin in early August, while Nebraska practice begins Aug. 8.

  • UCLA linebacker Asi Faoa II pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of mayhem and assault in the case of a man left severely brain damaged after being attacked at a fraternity party.

    Rodrigo Dezubriria, 22, also a student, was badly beaten in April at the off-campus party. Faoa, 19, was charged with one count each of mayhem and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. The 6-4, 268-pounder, who redshirted during his freshman year last season, is suspended from the team until the matter is resolved. His next court date is July 10.

  • McNeese State released a report Tuesday on former football coach Kirby Bruchhaus that finds he bet on college and pro football games in violation of NCAA rules. The report was prepared by a private investigator hired by McNeese State. Bruchhaus resigned June 6 after assistant coach Jason Pope recanted earlier statements that he knew nothing of Bruchhaus’ gambling. Bruchhaus denies the charges, which were first raised just before he was promoted from assistant coach in 1998.

  • Police in Torremolinos, Spain, say British swimming coach Cecil Russell was one of four people arrested this week on charges of attempting to smuggle ecstasy tablets into the United States. Russell was picked up at the Olympic pool, where police say they seized 513 tablets of the drug hidden in ceramic figurines. Police say the smugglers planned to mail the figurines to the United States.

    Russell was banned for life from coaching in the U.S. and Canada in 1998 after he was accused of selling anabolic steroids. He’s in Spain to train Russian swimmer Nina Jivanevskaia, now a Spanish resident. Jivanevskaia was said to be devastated by the arrest of her coach. The Spanish state news agency says the arrests were part of a crackdown on an ecstasy smuggling ring that sent the drug by mail from Spain and the Netherlands to the United States.

  • And finally: John Rocker. The bigoted pitcher told USA Today Baseball Weekly that when the Braves visit the Mets next week, he plans to ride the No. 7 subway to Shea Stadium — the very train he talked about in the Sports Illustrated article that got him in trouble last year.

    In that interview, Rocker, no friend to Mets fans even before he opened his mouth, talked about how riders of that train had to ride “next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.” He also insulted virtually every ethnic and social group in the interview, which netted him a fine, a suspension and some mandatory sensitivity training.

    Associated Press writer Lukas I. Alpert rode the No. 7 Wednesday to see how Rocker would be received. “Yeah, let him ride,” said one rider. “He’ll definitely be hassled.” Another said the lefty wouldn’t have the guts to ride the subway, which would make Rudy Giuliani happy. The mayor told WFAN radio that the city is trying to persuade the Braves not to let Rocker take the subway for security reasons.

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