Morning Briefing: When is a team not a team?

Morning Briefing: When is a team not a team?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

Pro Piacenza, a Serie C soccer team in Italy, was a bit short-handed on Sunday. It seems that their players and coaching staff refused to travel to Cuneo to take on the team there because of an ongoing pay dispute. As in, they hadn’t been paid in weeks.

So Pro Piacenza recruited their youth team to play. That gave them six players. They still needed one more. Hey, how about the 39-year-old equipment manager? Sure, he’ll do it. That gave them seven players, enough for a legal game.


In Hollywood, this plucky underdog team would play tough all game and pull it out with a miracle goal at the end of the game.

But this was played in Italy, not Hollywood.

Final score: Cuneo 20, Pro Piacenza 0.

The league president was none too happy.

"What happened is an insult to sport and its principles. It's a black page for football. We can only apologize to everybody, above all the fans,” said Francesco Ghirelli, president of the Lega Pro.

"We need to follow the regulations, but today the notion of sporting loyalty was violated, and it has gone too far. Football has its problems, but the parents also have responsibility -- why put these young kids through such a disgrace?

“As a parent, I'm really upset about this."

On Monday, Pro Piacenza was kicked out of the league.

Anthony Davis has a big fan

NBA legend and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knows what Anthony Davis is thinking. Davis plays for a small-market team (New Orleans) and wants to go to a larger market where he can play for a contender and make more money.

About 45 years ago, Abdul-Jabbar was playing for a small-market team (Milwaukee) and wanted to go to a larger market where he could play for a contender. He asked for a trade to Los Angeles or New York, got send to the Lakers and the rest is history.

“He’s in a small market and the team’s not doing very well, he’d like to go out and win something,” Abdul-Jabbar told Yahoo sports on Sunday. “He’s made a lot of money to this point and his needs are different and the clock is ticking, so I understand what he’s all about.

“I think his management people mishandled it. When I was leaving Milwaukee, I let them know before the season started and I kept my mouth shut. Just to give them an opportunity to make the best deal they could behind closed doors.”

Best sports movie


We are at the semifinal round of our reader poll to pick the best sports movie of all time. All of the movies voted through to this round appear on the ballot. You vote for your best five by typing in this url: or by emailing me at

Those five will advance to the final round starting Thursday.

The semifinalists are: “Blue Chips,” “Brian’s Song,” “Bull Durham,” “Caddyshack,” “Chariots of Fire,” “Cinderella Man,” “Field of Dreams,” “He Got Game,” “Hoop Dreams,” “Hoosiers,” “Jerry Maguire,” “The Karate Kid” (1984), “A League of Their Own,” “The Longest Yard” (1974), “Major League,” “The Mighty Ducks,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Miracle,” “Moneyball,” “The Natural,” “The Pride of the Yankees,” “Remember the Titans,” “Raging Bull,” “Rocky,” “Rudy,” “Seabiscuit,” “Slap Shot,” “Tin Cup,” “White Men Can’t Jump.”