Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bad Start For Walker

Editor's Update: Here is the initial Las Vegas police report. The key question to ask is what did the 2 perpetrators do or say to Walker to lure him into their car. I find it unsettling and bizarre that Walker would climb into the car of 2 total strangers in the early dawn hours in Vegas.

The Javon Walker incident that took place on Monday morning raises many questions and provokes the full range of emotions. After waiting a few days for more information to come out, I was struck by how the average fan on a basic human level is impacted by what happened to Walker. Walker was assaulted and robbed in Las Vegas and suffers from a concussion and facial injuries that might include an orbital fracture.

Here are just a few of my thoughts (and emotions) until more facts are established in Walker's case.

When I first heard that Walker was discovered unconscious on some street in Las Vegas, my first few thoughts were "What happened?" and "Is he ok?"

After hearing that Walker was spraying the nightclub patrons with $15K in champagne, I became agitated. About a year and half ago, Walker's friend Darrent Williams of the Denver Broncos died in his arms after being shot in a limo. This homicide took place following Walker, Williams, and a few other teammates spraying champagne on other clubgoers. I guess this life altering event didn't quite register as a lesson learned.

Doesn't Walker realize how fortunate he is to have just signed a six year, $55M contract? Isn't Walker still recovering from knee surgery? Shouldn't he be getting in the best shape of his life for the upcoming season instead of partying in Vegas? Didn't his head coach just tell him a few days ago at OTAs that he needs to lose some weight and get ready for training camp?

Although not confirmed, this quote is attributed to Walker about the incident:
"I was just back at my room, and at about 5:30 in the morning, I got a knock at the door," he told the Web site. "I opened it, and three guys with guns were there. They cracked me in the head a few times, knocking me unconscious. They then robbed me of everything I had; my watch, money, everything. Somehow they got me to a car and dropped me off in the street. That's what happened."

This just doesn't add up. Does it make any sense for the robbers to assault you in your hotel room (Belagio), take $100k of jewelry and cash from you then carry you down to an awaiting car to deposit you on another street away from the hotel. Why wouldn't the robbers just leave Walker in his hotel room?

It is disappointing that Walker would put himself in this position. I had to wonder ... Was his behavior of flashing his money, jewelry, and dropping $15k recklessly on champagne the reason for becoming a target? Did his actions at the club piss off the wrong people at the wrong time? "We don't believe this is a random act," Las Vegas police Lt. Clint Nichols told the Chronicle. "They knew who he was and (Walker) presented a target.

My heart goes out to Walker for being a victim of a violent crime.

Regardless of the ongoing investigation's outcome, I was happy to hear that Walker was released from the hospital this morning.

I am hopeful that Walker recovers both mentally and physically from this brutal assault. It would be wonderful for him to move past this traumatic event and have the opportunity to prosper with the Silver and Black.

Other notable quotes from the Raiders organization:
Lane Kiffin: "The info that I have is he's going to be fine," Kiffin said. "Training camp won't be an issue. ... But until our guys look at him, I don't want to say (the extent of Walker's injuries)."

Mike Taylor: "We are aware that Javon Walker was the victim of a robbery," Raiders spokesman Mike Taylor said in a statement. "We have been told that he will make a full recovery in the near future and resume his preparation for the 2008 NFL season."

JaMarcus Russell: "There's people out there," Russell said. "Just be careful and watch your surroundings. Watch out, or always carry somebody with you when you go out. Just watch yourself and know that you're representing a whole bunch of people when you're out there."

Lane Kiffin: ""All we can do is educate (players) the best that we can," Kiffin said. "We can't babysit them. ... Not many good things happen after midnight, and this is another example of that, another reminder of how dangerous it is out there."

Friday, June 06, 2008

Run DMc Is In The House (of Thrills!)

1st round pick Darren McFadden signed a 6 year, $60M contract with $26M in guarantees last night. Amazingly, it took a mere 2 days to negotiate the contract.

When reading various articles about McFadden, reports about mini camp, and watching interviews with the young 20 year old phenom, one thing has really stood out for me. McFadden gets "it".

He is passionate about his craft, humble about his unique abilities, and grateful for this opportunity to play a game for mega bucks. Besides being a big play threat and game changer, McFadden's versatility as a runner, receiver, and return man will add an exciting new dimension to the Raider's offense.

Here are a few excerpts from McFadden's press conference today:

Q: What did Mr. Davis say to you when you signed?

Darren McFadden: He just told me that he was very happy to have me here and that he is looking forward to seeing me in a Raiders uniform.

Q: The Raiders organization has a lot of history and tradition. How does it feel to put on the Silver and Black?

Darren McFadden: It’s a great feeling to join this organization and the fans are very passionate. It’s kind of like playing in the SEC because they have great fans, it is something that I am looking forward to. It’s been a long time that a running back from Arkansas has been in a Raiders uniform and I'm going to try to make history.

Q: How do you as a rookie conduct yourself in the locker room?

Darren McFadden: I just go out there and be very humble about it. I’m not the type of person who is going to go in there with a big head and be bragging or anything like that. That’s one thing that has helped me out a lot, being a humble person. I feel like my whole team has embraced me.

Welcome to the House of Thrills #20!