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Posted at 06:09 PM ET, 10/20/2014

Five views on the fate of Oscar Pistorius as the South African athlete awaits his sentence


(Alon Skuy/AP)

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who ruled South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide last month, is expected to announce the runner’s sentence tomorrow. The decision comes roughly seven months after the trial began for the athlete who made headlines in 2012 for becoming the first double amputee to race in the Olympics. Pistorius avoided a homicide conviction in the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, which would’ve required a prison sentence, and is instead facing a more nebulous conviction that could result in no jail time at all for the track and field star.

As to what Judge Masipa is likely to do, it is hard to tell. Masipa has given few hints to the public about where her head is at on the matter. Others, however, have had plenty to say.

The Prosecution

Prosecutors, already disappointed that Pistorius avoided a homicide conviction, have petitioned Masipa to dole out at least 10 years in prison to the 27-year-old.

“The minimum term that society will be happy with is 10 years in prison,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said during the closing arguments of Pistorius’s sentencing hearing last week. The maximum sentence allowed for culpable homicide is 15 years.

The Defense

Complemented by Pistorius’s seemingly nonstop tears in court, the athlete’s lawyers have argued for no jail time — a three-year sentence that involves house arrest and community service. “He’s lost everything,” chief defense lawyer Barry Roux said of Pistorius during his closing arguments. “He’s not only broke, but he’s broken. There is nothing left of this man.”

The Steenkamp Family

The Steenkamp family has been at odds with Pistorius since the night of Reeva’s death, Feb. 14, 2013. They have publicly denounced Pistorius’s story that maintains the athlete mistook his girlfriend for a home invader. They are hoping for a very strong sentence that includes at least some prison time.

“It is not right. He has been on bail since the shooting. He has been free to go anywhere he wants …  chatting up other women,” Steenkamp’s sister Simone Cowburn told The Daily Mail, who underlined Pistorius’s disability does not warrant sympathy in this case — a factor the defense has reportedly attempted to argue makes prison unfit for the athlete.

“He went into the Olympics and competed against other [able-bodied] athletes and he shouldn’t use his disability as an excuse now,” Cowburn said. “He should be punished like any other able bodied person. He shouldn’t be given privileges now.”

The Pistorius Family

Pistorius’s family have stood by the athlete’s side, although until now, they had done so mostly silently. Ahead of Tuesday’s sentencing announcement, however, both Pistorius’s brother and sister have come out publicly to plead for their sibling’s fate.

“It’s obvious we can’t speculate what the outcome will be tomorrow,” Pistorius’s older brother Carl said in an interview on South Africa’s eNCA TV channel on Monday. “It has been a taxing 20 months … and no doubt tomorrow will also be difficult,” he added.

The family also addressed the Steenkamp family, maintaing that the relationship between Oscar and Reeva was good.

“It’s important for us that they know that she was very much cared for and loved and accepted as part of our family in the short time that she was with us,” Pistorius’s younger sister Aimee said.

The Public

The public has largely been on the prosecution’s side — some have even questioned the sincerity of Pistorius’s courtroom tears. But some have sympathized with the disgraced runner. Even more, however (at least judging from what’s trending on Twitter) might simply just be looking forward the end of this sad tale, although with the possibility of appeal, this matter could go on for years.

By Marissa Payne  |  06:09 PM ET, 10/20/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:10 PM ET, 10/20/2014

UEFA official says Serbia and Albania will be ‘fined severely,’ but likely not expelled from Euro 2016


(Marko Drobnjakovic/AP)

Both the Albanian and Serbian national soccer teams will be “fined severely” for their actions that led to the abandonment of their Euro 2016 qualifying match, a UEFA disciplinary committee member said (via Goal.com). Rudolf Repka, who also serves as the general secretary of the Czech Republic’s national team, said UEFA will probably not, however, disqualify either team from the Euro 2016 tournament.

“I believe neither Serbia nor Albania will be punished in the most extreme way, but both FA’s will be fined severely and the suspended match will most likely be played again, at a neutral venue behind closed doors,” Repka told the Czech paper Kurir (via Goal.com).

Repka noted that while the decision on the abandoned match will come down Thursday, the fine amounts will not be known until mid-November.

“[I]t is very complicated matter,” Repka said. “[T]o make a decision on fines we need more time.”

The Albanian and Serbian teams clashed last week in Belgrade and forced the referee to end the match prematurely when fights broke out on the field after both Serbian and Albanian fans engaged in nationalistic activity. Most notably, one or a group of Albanian fans, who under UEFA guidelines were not being let into the stadium, flew a drone over the pitch holding a pro-Albania banner that alluded to the conflict with Kosovo.

Prior to that, the all-Serbian audience in the stadium was reportedly chanting taunts toward Albanian players, as well as burning flags.

Each side has blamed the other for the escalation that caused the match to be suspended, while many onlookers wondered why such a match, given the underlying political tensions, was allowed to occur in the first place. UEFA has since defended its original decision, noting the two countries, whose diplomatic relations have soured since the match fell apart last Tuesday, were fine at the time of scheduling.

By Marissa Payne  |  04:10 PM ET, 10/20/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:34 PM ET, 10/20/2014

Here’s Prince Harry attempting to play rugby

Britain’s Prince Harry is better known for his skills on the polo field than the rugby pitch, but who’s going to say “no” when the 30-year-old royal asks to join their scrum?

The prince, who happens to be the Patron of England Rugby’s All Schools Programme, attended a rugby festival in Salford, Greater Manchester, on Monday, where he locked arms and butted shoulders with student volunteers from local schools.


Jim Clarke/EPA


(Jim Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)


(Jim Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)

The premise of the All Schools project, which was created to support England’s upcoming hosting duties for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, is to increase the amount of students who play rugby across the country, the Daily Mail reports.

Prince Harry is all smiles as he bats the ball around, but that could also be because he learned on Monday the due date of the second royal baby. Kate Middleton and Harry brother, Prince William, announced their second child is due in April. Harry will then have about five months to get the kid into rugby shape for the kickoff of the World Cup in September.

By Marissa Payne  |  02:34 PM ET, 10/20/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:28 PM ET, 10/20/2014

Rams, Raiders reportedly are ready to move to L.A., but NFL says ‘not so fast’


The Rams may not always call the Edward Jones Dome home. (Jeff Curry / USA Today)

The St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders are devoting energy and resources to moving to Los Angeles in 2015, but, so far, the process has been slowed by the NFL.

The league will not approve a relocation to L.A. without the prior approval of stadium, property and development deals, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports.

Both teams, whose current leases expire after the season, continue to actively seek solutions to their hurdles currently preventing them from moving to Southern California, sources said. “There are live discussions involving two clubs potentially relocating there,” as one source put it.

The idea of the two teams sharing a stadium, as the Jets and Giants do in New Jersey, is an intriguing one.

The San Diego Chargers would be willing to move as well, but the Rams and Raiders are farther along in the process. The Rams have one distinct advantage, according to La Canfora. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has land around Hollywood Park race track and it could become a “league site” if the Rams are willing to take on a second tenant. Getting the Chargers to align with Kroenke would be difficult because Chargers owner Dean Spanos has deep real estate ties in southern California. That leaves Mark Davis, eager to get out of Oakland’s O.co Coliseum and without financial ties to the L.A. market.

All of which means, according to La Canfora:

So, obviously, there remains significant work to be done. But the closer we get to the end of the season, and the closer the Rams and Raiders get to being free agents, the more things will crystallize. Neither would prefer to return to their current market if it’s feasible to get to Los Angeles, and both will continue to work diligently to explore a means to make that happen, if not by 2015, then by as soon as possible thereafter.

By  |  02:28 PM ET, 10/20/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:37 PM ET, 10/20/2014

Five final takeaways as Peyton Manning breaks Brett Favre’s record


(Chris Humphreys / USA Today)

A few leftovers from Peyton Manning’s demolition of Brett Favre’s career touchdown record Sunday night…

1) The comparison with John Elway, the man who won two Super Bowls with and now runs the Denver Broncos, was only natural.

2) The six degrees (two, actually) of Hank Baskett.

3) Congratulations from New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick were of the self-deprecating variety.

4) Manning’s TD passes sure do look purdy when rendered by graphics and video artists.

5) Favre and Manning … by the book and magazine cover.

By  |  01:37 PM ET, 10/20/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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