It hasn’t been easy to be a woman in Afghanistan, let alone a woman who wants to play basketball – something considered “un-Islamic” in Afghan society. But the country’s women’s basketball team was able to play its first game against female staffers from the US Embassy in Kabul, known as the “Kabul Kats”. The Kabul Kats formed in December 2011 after Ryan Crocker, US Ambassador to Afghanistan, met members of Afghanistan’s women’s basketball team and heard of their issues finding opponents. The two teams faced off on a court owned by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (or ISAF), and though they had been successful against the few student teams they were able to face, the Afghan team fell to the Kabul Kats (38-21). This game taking place at all is a bright spot in what has become a tense time for the women of Afghanistan. After gaining basic education rights, the right to vote, and the right to work since the Taliban were booted in 2001, Afghan women fear the future and what would happen should any power-sharing deal be struck between the Afghan government and the Taliban (officials in the US and Afghanistan are set to negotiate with the Taliban in light of planned troop withdrawal in 2014, with the goal of ensuring “stability”.)
The longtime (and successful) partnership between QB Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts dissolved Wednesday (3/7), when owner Jim Irsay released Manning into the free agency abyss. On paper, Irsay is opting out of having to pay a QB of questionable health a $28 million bonus (from the $90 million, five-year contract Manning had signed in July). In reality, the split was tearful and of great magnitude in the sport (Peyton Manning and the Colts had become synonymous in their 13 seasons of play together). Manning (35), will become a free agent and will likely don a new jersey for the first time in his career. Kansas City, and possibly Miami, the New York Jets, Arizona, Seattle, Washington, and six other teams (ESPN is reporting 12 teams) are purportedly interested.
In a statement released Wednesday (3/7), the NFLPA announced that it will hold its own investigation of the New Orleans Saints’ alleged bounty system and asked for the cooperation of the league in order to carry out interviews with coaches and team staff. The NFL announced its investigation last week, prompting former Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams to admit to running a bounty program there that rewarded players (up to $50,000) for taking out target opponents. It is unknown yet whether Williams (now defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams) had implemented the reward system during his tenure with the Titans, Redskins, Jaguars and Bills. The controversy has sparked massive debate among current commentators (most of whom are former players). In a ridiculous moment during a SportsCenter segment Monday (3/5) night, (former QB) Steve Young noted that the NFL is not the Hunger Games (he really said that), that it isn’t a blood sport.