Raiders

Bonds enters not guilty plea for fourth time

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Bonds enters not guilty plea for fourth time

March 1, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Barry Bonds pleaded not guilty to perjury charges, his former personal trainer is facing prison and the admissibility of a trove of evidence hangs in the balance after a pivotal hearing in federal court Tuesday, three weeks before the slugger's trial is scheduled to start.Bonds' renewed plea was a legal technicality made necessary when prosecutors revised the charges for the third time since the initial indictment was unsealed in November 2007. Bonds is charged with four counts of making false statements to a grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice. There was little doubt what Bonds' plea was going to be Tuesday and that the case was going to trial March 21 after Bonds' legal team and prosecutors last month told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that there was little chance of a plea agreement.Likewise, there was no doubt that Bonds' former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, would tell the judge Tuesday that he has no intention of taking the stand as a government witness during the trial. Anderson made a similar pledge in 2009 before Bonds' trial was put on hold until a government appeal was resolved in Bonds' favor.Anderson has previously spent more than a year in prison on contempt charges after refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds.The judge said that prosecutors and Bonds' legal team both want Anderson to testify. She said his testimony would spare his former clients, including several retired major league players, from being called to the witness stand to discuss how he supplied them with steroids. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Nedrow said he wants to use that evidence to support their position that Bonds was lying when he claimed "he was unwittingly duped by Mr. Anderson" into believing he was taking legal supplements."Much of that testimony would be unnecessary" if he testified, Illston told Anderson.Illston then told Anderson that she planned to find him in contempt of court and will order him jailed during the duration of the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks. Anderson simply nodded his head when the judge asked if he intended to follow through on his vow of silence."He's taking not testifying to the nth degree," said Mark Geragos, Anderson's attorney.Illston ordered Anderson to return to court March 22, when she plans to order him jailed.After Anderson left the courtroom, the lawyers got down to highly technical arguments over what evidence will be presented to the jury.The judge ruled that the jury may hear, among other pieces of evidence:- That prosecutors granted Bonds immunity from prosecution as long he testified truthfully about his drug use before the grand jury.- Bonds' former personal shopper, Cathy Hoskins, testifying about Bonds' relationship with a Playboy model.- Bonds' personal surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting, and former girlfriend Kim Bell testifying that Bonds mistreated them, including Bell allegedly witnessing violent outbursts.Bonds attorney Cris Arguedas objected to Bell telling the jury about an incident where Bonds allegedly grabbed her by the throat and threatened her life. Arguedas denied the incident occurred, but argued that even if it did happen, such testimony would unfairly bias the jury against Bonds."It's an act of domestic violence," Arguedas said. "It has an incendiary effect on the jury."Ted Cassman, another Bonds attorney, objected to Bell testifying that she witnessed Bonds' testicles shrink during their time together. He said that such an allegation is difficult to prove scientifically and would bring an unnecessary "circus-like" atmosphere to the trial.Illston didn't respond in court to the latest objections and will issue a written ruling later.Each count against Bonds carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. However, federal sentencing guidelines for a first offense on these charges generally call for a total sentence of 15 to 21 months.

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

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Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance.

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders team, with the inconsistency and mistake-prone play to lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going BeastMode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

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AP

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders have played in Mexico City the last two years, and have given up a home game to do it.

You already know head coach Jack Del Rio’s stance on the matter. He doesn’t like it. Not one bit.

The NFL announced Sunday morning that Mexico City will host games annually through 2021. The Raiders will be on the short list to return during that span.

“They’ve done a nice job for us over the last two years,” Del Rio said. “If it was a road game, I’d enjoy it. If they stop making (international contests) our home games, we’ll be fine.”

Hate to be the bearer of bad news Jack, but the Raiders will keep giving home games away. That’s expected each year until the Raiders formally move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders might not come back to Mexico for a third straight season, but could host a game in London next year. The NFL sent four games to the United Kingdom this year.

The Raiders have a massive fan base in England and Mexico, which makes them an attractive option to play abroad.

It might make financial sense for the team and the league to expand its base beyond borders, but the football people don’t find it fun.

The Raiders had more fans watching Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, but it’s no substitute for playing in Oakland.

“I think the crowd down here is pretty excited for the Raiders, so we appreciate that,” Del Rio said. “When you travel four-and-a-half hours, you’re not at home. We appreciate the hospitality and the good people who came out and supported us, but it’s hard to call it a home game.”

This one, especially. The Raiders had overwhelming support last year’s game against Houston, but Patriots fans were a large and vocal minority. They had plenty to cheer, as the Patriots waxed the Silver and Black over four quarters.

It’s hard to say the Raiders had a home crowd this time around, with plenty of noise when they were on offense.

“You know what, traveling down here, I think it was like four hours or something like that, and getting here, I think that hospitality was great, but it really wasn't, it wasn't the Coliseum,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It didn’t have that feel. Now, we loved playing here, we loved coming down here and playing, but it felt more neutral.”