Nanook of the north

Sports Blotter: Alaskan edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  September 27, 2006

NANOOKS: Troubled times for UAlaska-Fairbanks and its basketball team.
Portland absolved
Well, it’s official now. The Cincinnati Bengals have surged past the Portland Trailblazers as America’s pre-eminent sports-crime family. The move came on the heels of Monday morning’s DUI arrest of Bengal middle linebacker Odell Thurman, who was already on the NFL’s suspended list for substance-abuse violations. Portland Trailblazer officials refused to comment on their team’s demotion.

There is no need here to recount all the Bengals’ legal problems this year (involving, among others, tackle and Taser victim Matthias Askew, rookie and accused sex-offender Frostee Rucker, and four-time arrestee wideout Chris Henry), but it should be noted that among the others in Thurman’s car Monday morning was the aforementioned Henry, who caught two TD passes in the team’s big win against Pittsburgh on Sunday. According to witnesses, Henry booted out of the car window while police were processing Thurman. The arrest video has been posted all over the Internet, much to the delight, surely, of team officials. In it, Thurman responds “I had a couple of beers” when police ask how much he’d had to drink. He then blows a .17 BAC, which, last time I checked, is a hell of a lot more than a couple of beers.

Thurman, currently serving a four-game suspension for his second substance-abuse violation, faces a one-year ban by the league. Perhaps he can spend the next year in Canada, filming Potfest with Ricky Williams and Broken Lizard. Stay tuned for next week’s Pen-gals arrest, after they finish dismembering the struggling Pats.

Nanook laptop madness!
It’s been a while since we’ve had a good college-basketball laptop-theft case. Oh, for the Marcus Williams days of yore! But alas, we finally had one last week when a pair of imported basketball players for UAlaska-Fairbanks was busted for a mildly strange larceny ring that reverberated throughout Alaska’s vibrant hoops scene.

Junior Chris Jordan, 20, and freshman Chris Adams, 23 (23?), both members of the Fairbanks Nanooks, were busted last week along with a 30-year-old female employee of the school’s financial-aid department after a series of stolen laptops were traced to the players’ dorm.

Both players were immediately removed from the team.

You could call that threatening
Meanwhile, in yet another college-basketball arrest, the point guard for the Jackson State Tigers, Charlie White, was busted last Friday morning for firing four gunshots into the air in the middle of a campus disturbance.

White was charged with possession of a firearm on educational property and exhibiting a weapon in a threatening manner. His fate with the team will be decided in a special hearing on October 1.

White’s arrest came on the heels of the arrest of another student athlete with a history of firing guns (well, pellet guns): UConn football player Marvin Taylor, busted last week on larceny charges. Taylor was one of five UConn players who were arrested last year for firing pellet guns outside a Willimantic, Connecticut, convenience store. Police last week charged Taylor with stealing credit-card numbers and using them to make a series of purchases. That pellet-gun bust came more or less at the tail end of the great sports-pellet-gun-crime wave, which crested in 2004 with the Winston Justice and St. Anselm football-team busts.

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