Bears

Former Sox clubhouse mgr. faces sex abuse charges

604740.jpg

Former Sox clubhouse mgr. faces sex abuse charges

From Comcast SportsNet

BOSTON (AP)A man who worked as a teenager in the Red Sox clubhouse with big-name players such as Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs said his dream job ended abruptly when the clubhouse manager sexually assaulted him.

Charles Crawford and another Massachusetts man are now accusing Donald Fitzpatrick of abusing them in the early 1990s and are seeking 5 million settlements from the team. The statute of limitations has expired for filing a lawsuit, and Fitzpatrick died in 2005.

During a news conference Monday, Crawford said Fitzpatrick assaulted him twice inside the clubhouse at Fenway Parkonce in an equipment room and once in a restroom. He was 16 at the time.

People need to know what happened, said Crawford, who agreed to have his name used. Its still mind-boggling to me.

Fitzpatrick had been accused of sexually abusing children earlier. In 2002, he pleaded guilty in Florida to attempted sexual battery on a child under 12. The team also settled a lawsuit with seven Florida men who said Fitzpatrick molested them during spring training beginning in the 1970s.

Crawfords lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said the newest allegations are believed to be the first time that Fitzpatrick has been accused of molesting boys at Fenway. The new allegations were first reported by The Boston Globe.

Garabedian said he sent the Red Sox a letter last month informing them of the new allegations and asking for the settlements.

Red Sox attorney Daniel Goldberg did not immediately return two calls seeking comment Monday, but in a statement he said the Red Sox have always viewed the actions of Mr. Fitzpatrick to be abhorrent.

When the team, then under a previous ownership group, became aware of the allegations against Mr. Fitzpatrick in 1991, he was promptly relieved of his duties, Goldberg said. He said the club does not have any specifics on the two recent allegations.

Crawford said he was thrilled when he got a job as a clubhouse attendant, running errands for the players, getting them food and cleaning up around the clubhouse.

It was a dream job for me, he said. It was the best job in the world for a kid.

Then one day, he asked for a baseball and Fitzpatrick led him to the equipment room, which was a locked room away from anyone else in the clubhouse, Crawford said.

Everything happened fast. I couldnt tell anybody, he said.

Garabedian said Crawford has had trouble holding jobs, served a short stint in jail for a drug conviction and fathered five children with five women.

Ive been running from a lot of things, Crawford said.

Crawford, now 36, said he never told anyone about what happened until 2006, when he revealed the abuse to his mother. He said he decided to come forward now after U.S. Sen. Scott Browns revelation earlier this year that he was molested by a counselor at a summer camp when he was 10 and the more recent sexual abuse allegations made against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Garabedian, who represented hundreds of victims during the Boston clergy sex-abuse scandal, said the teams lawyers have asked to meet with his clients.

Baseball is not more important than protecting the lives of innocent children against predators, he said.

The second man now coming forward asked not to be identified. Garabedian said he is an educator and is married with children.

The man, who worked as a bat boy in 1991, was traveling with the Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif., when another clubhouse attendant held a sign during a televised game that said, Donald Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me.

At the time, team officials said that Fitzpatrick decided to take an indefinite leave of absence. He never returned.

In a phone interview Monday, the man said Fitzpatrick fondled and groped him at least a half dozen times.

He said he remembers some of the Red Sox players joking sarcastically about Fitzpatrick.

They would say, Did Fitzy touch your arm or did he touch your leg? and then laugh, the man said. I think they were joking because they sensed something was odd, and I think they knew he was strange.

Crawford said he would like to meet with the team owners and get an apology.

Chicago Bears 53-man roster projection

ryan_pace.jpg
USA Today

Chicago Bears 53-man roster projection

Chicago Bears training camp practices officially get underway Friday, kicking off a time of year when players fight for starting jobs and roster spots. 

The Bears are entering an exciting time. New coach Matt Nagy has brought hope and optimism with him to Chicago while quarterback Mitch Trubisky has embraced his leadership role like a seasoned veteran.

But all the positive press is now in the past; it's time to get back to the action on the field. GM Ryan Pace will have some tough decisions to make later next month and every rep of every practice will factor into who makes the cut for the final 53-man roster.

Here's my first swing at who should make the squad. I'll be updating this projection before Week 3's preseason game against the Chiefs and again before the Week 4 finale against the Bills (note: Hall of Fame game is excluded from preseason weekly schedule).

START CHICAGO BEARS 53-MAN ROSTER PROJECTION

Bears could develop 'twin towers' personnel package at WR with Robinson, White

Bears could develop 'twin towers' personnel package at WR with Robinson, White

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Coaches are loath to give away competitive information, which can cover just about anything from play design to flavor of Gatorade dispensed by the training staff. But Matt Nagy offered an intriguing what-if personnel grouping that his offense could confront defenses with in 2018. It’s one that has been overlooked so far, for a variety of reasons.

The what-if personnel pairing is Allen Robinson and Kevin White as the outside receivers, a tandem that would put two 6-foot-3 wide receivers at the disposal of quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The Bears have not had a tandem of effective big receivers since Alshon Jeffery (6-3) and Brandon Marshall (6-4) averaged a combined 159 catches per year from 2012-14.

White’s injury history has relegated him to found-money status in many evaluations, and he has typically been running at Robinson’s spot while the latter was rehabbing this offseason from season-ending knee injury.

But Nagy on Wednesday cited Robinson’s ability to play multiple positions and clearly raised the prospect of his two of his biggest receivers being on the field at the same time.

“The one thing you’ll see here in this offense is that we have guys all over the place in different spots,” said Nagy, who credited GM Ryan Pace with stocking the roster with options at wide receiver. “Ryan did a great job of looking at these certain free agents that we went after, some of these draft picks that we went after and getting guys that are football smart, they have a high football IQ and they’re able to play multiple positions.

“When you can do that, that helps you out as an offensive playcaller to be able to move guys around. Is it going to happen to every single receiver that comes into this offense? No. But we do a pretty job I feel like at balancing of where they’re at position wise, what they can and can’t handle, and then we try to fit them into the process.”

The organization and locker room can be excused for a collective breath-holding on White, who has gone through his third straight positive offseason but whose last two seasons ended abruptly with injuries in the fourth and first games of the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

White was leading the Bears in with 19 receptions through less than four full games in 2016, then was lost with a fractured fibula suffered against Detroit. The injury was all the crueler coming in a game in which White already had been targeted nine times in 41 snaps and had caught six of those Brian Hoyer passes.

White’s roster status has been open to some question with the signings of Robinson and Taylor Gabriel together with the drafting of Anthony Miller. All represent bigger deep threats in terms of average yards per catch than White (9.2 ypc.) at this point: Robinson, 14.1.; Gabriel, 15.1; and Miller, 13.8 (college stats).

But Trubisky’s budding chemistry with White was evident throughout the offseason. And the second-year quarterback has studied what Robinson has been and seen some of what he can be.

“We know he has great hands, he’ll go up and get it,” Trubisky said. “Explosive route-runner. The more reps we get, it’s all about repetitions for us, continue to build that chemistry. Just going against our great defense in practice is going to allow us to compete and get better.”

Folding in the expectations for an expanded presence at tight end (Trey Burton), “targets” will be spread around the offense. How often the Bears go with a Robinson-White “twin towers” look clearly depends in large measure on White’s improvement as well as his availability.

Opportunities will be there. The Kansas City Chiefs ran 51 percent of their 2018 snaps, with Nagy as offensive coordinator, in “11” personnel (one back, one tight end, three receivers, according to Pro Football Focus. Whether White earns his way into that core nickel-wideout package opposite Robinson is part of what training camp and preseason will determine.

“[White] has had a good offseason and just like our team, he needs to carry that momentum into camp,” Pace said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, he’s very focused. The real expectation, just be the best he can be. Focus on himself, which is what he’s been doing.”