Tag Archives: packers

Man says Sheriff David Clarke detained him over a disapproving look

A Milwaukee man says David Clarke, Milwaukee’s tough-talking, cowboy-hat wearing sheriff, detained him after a flight because the man shook his head at the lawman, who’s gained a national prominence for his outspoken support of Donald Trump.

Dan Black said in a complaint submitted through the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office website that his gesture of disapproval was about football, not politics. Black said he was disappointed that Sheriff David Clarke was wearing Dallas Cowboys gear the same day that team was playing the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

But Clarke didn’t view the interaction as harmless. He said in a Facebook post Wednesday that he “reserves the reasonable right to pre-empt a possible assault.”

The encounter happened during boarding for a flight from Dallas to Milwaukee hours before kickoff. The Packers went on to beat the Cowboys 34-31.

Black, 24, said in the complaint that Clarke wasn’t wearing his trademark cowboy hat and Black asked him whether he was Milwaukee’s sheriff. When Clarke answered “yes,” Black shook his head and started walking toward his seat, he said, when Clarke asked him if he had a problem. Black shook his head to say “no.”

Black said deputies questioned him for about 15 minutes after the plane landed before letting him go.

The status of Black’s complaint was not immediately known.

Clarke, whose bizarre antics have made him something of a national joke, had his profile elevated even higher recently when he was mentioned as a possible candidate for a job in Trump’s administration. He was one of the few African-Americans to speak at the Republican convention and has called anti-Trump protesters “anarchists” who “must be quelled.”

In his Facebook response to Black’s complaint, Clarke warned: “Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out.” He added he “does not have to wait for some goof to assault him.”

Black, who said he was shaken by the experience, called Clarke “unhinged.”

“Who in their right mind responds, ‘I’m going to kick that guy’s ass next time?’” Black said.

In a prepared statement, Black’s attorney William F. Sulton, said that Clarke’s threats  have broad implications. “Citizens should be able to complain about public officials without fear of retaliation,” Sulton said. “Sheriff Clarke’s statements are coldly calculated to intimidate Mr. Black with physical violence for engaging in Constitutionally protected activity. Law enforcement simply do not have license to beat up citizens for whatever perceived slight. Mr. Black will preemptively stop Sheriff Clarke’s attacks with the full force of the legal system. In addition to protecting Mr. Black’s rights, we will work to ensure that Mr. Black is safe from the dangers caused by Sheriff Clarke’s promotion of violence.

[UPDATED to include response from Black’s attorney, William Sutton.]

Packers look to expand plans for entertainment, retail district around Lambeau

Early interest in the Green Bay Packers’ proposal for an entertainment, retail and residential district around Lambeau Field has the franchise already thinking of expanding its plans.

The Packers recently announced plans to develop the Titletown District on 34 acres around the stadium, including 30-50 townhouses overlooking a public plaza.

Strong interest in the development could mean expanding it to as many as 70 townhouses, said Packers vice president and general counsel Ed Policy. 

The Packers’ plan includes Lodge Kohler, a four-star hotel and spa, Hinterland Brewery and a Bellin Health sports medicine clinic west of Lambeau Field. Policy said there has also been a lot of interest in 180,000 square feet of commercial space on the north side of the district.

“We have talked to a lot of prospective tenants. The reaction … has been tremendous,” Policy said.

Initial investment in the project, including land acquisition and infrastructure improvements by the Packers, is estimated at $120 million to $130 million.

Packers CEO Mark Murphy wants a specialty grocery store within walking distance of the townhouses, Press-Gazette Media reported. Policy said it’s one of a number of concepts being discussed, and that it would not be a standard 70,000-square-foot grocery store. 

The Packers filed project documents with the Village of Ashwaubenon this week. After the village approves its plans, which could be about 90 days, site preparation can begin. The three anchor developments and the public plaza could be ready by the beginning of the 2017 NFL season. 

Packers president: Team will never sell naming rights to Lambeau Field

The tradition-rich Packers are embracing trendy throwback looks for their alternate, third jerseys. They’re nearly finished upgrading the wireless connectivity at Lambeau Field to help fans text and tweet about every touchdown pass from MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Team president Mark Murphy promises that at least one thing will never change on his watch.

“We will not sell the naming rights to the stadium … We will never do that,” Murphy told shareholders at their annual meeting Tuesday. “It will always be Lambeau Field.”

The estimated 12,000 approved with an ovation. The Packers are one of the exceptions as more and more professional sports teams sell naming rights for their home fields or arenas.

“Now I should say I’m tying the hands of future leaders of the Packers when I say it will never happen, but I don’t think it makes any sense,” Murphy told reporters later.

His predecessor as team president, Bob Harlan, also used to say that that Lambeau should never get tagged with a corporate title. Still, the Packers — one of the most popular teams in the league — do look for other ways to add revenue.

Like many other pro teams, the club has sold naming rights to stadium gates. For instance, a fan with seats at midfield behind the Packers sideline might enter through the Associated Bank Gate.

The Packers pride themselves on keeping tickets at or just below the league-wide average for their fans. That means looking for other ways to raise money.

Winning helps. The perennial NFC contenders boasted record revenue this past year of more than $375 million.

This wasn’t a typical corporate shareholders meeting, of course. Instead of business attire, many attendees arrived in their green or white Packers jerseys. A handful of fans wore the wedge-shaped Cheesehead foam hats emblazoned with the words “NFL owner.”

The Packers are the only publicly-owned team in the league. More than 5 million shares are owned by roughly 360,000 shareholders.

Business has been good. The Packers have won four straight NFC North titles, and are a favorite again in the NFC.

“We average over 39 points a game here at Lambeau Field. That’s pretty good,” general manager Ted Thompson deadpanned during his football report.

The club on Tuesday also unveiled its latest third jersey, which it will start wearing for one game a season for five years starting with the Oct. 18 game against the Chargers. The alternate jersey will be the uniform that the team wore from 1937-49, featuring a gold-and-dark blue top with gold numbers and light brown pants.

Other highlights from Tuesday:

LONDON CALLING: Murphy said that the team remains interested in playing a game overseas “as long as it’s an away game.” One of the obstacles, Murphy said, is that teams that host the Packers are hesitant to give up a home game since Green Bay historically draws well on the road.

LAMBEAU UPGRADES: Besides the wireless Internet upgrades, Murphy also gave more a few more details to future upgrades for stadium suites. The plan to install operable windows in suites was in response to fans who told the team they wanted to feel more connected to the game.

GIVE HIM A HAND: Former general manager Ron Wolf, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8, will be honored by the team during the Nov. 15 game against Detroit. Wolf, who watched Tuesday’s meeting from an outdoor suite area, received a warm ovation.

CHARACTER COUNTS: Murphy told reporters he was disappointed with off-field issues this offseason surrounding the team. Tight end Andrew Quarless, and defensive linemen Letroy Guion and Datone Jones got into trouble on unrelated issues — a high number for one of the league’s role-model franchises. “Character is key for (Thompson), so I think as you step back and look over the long run, I think they’ve really done an outstanding job of bringing in quality people,” Murphy said.

Season is brewing

Opening day at Miller Park is on April 6, with the Brewers taking on the Rockies in an afternoon game.

The Brewers open the season with a six-game home stand — first Colorado, then Pittsburgh.

With spring training coming to a close and the season soon to start, Public Policy Polling, a national progressive polling firm, turned its attention from politics to athletics. The polling firm found that 64 percent of Wisconsinites identify as Brewers fans. About 8 percent admit they are fans of the Chicago Cubs, but no other Major League team gets above 3 percent in the state.

About 66 percent of Brewers fans think the team still will be on the field in October and 24 percent think the team will reach the World Series. Expectations are lower than before the 2014 season, when about 80 percent of Brewers fans expected to watch their team playing for the championship.

PPP also found:

• Aaron Rodgers continues to be the most popular figure in Wisconsin, with 79 percent of voters in the state having a favorable opinion of the Packers quarterback. Apparently the only Wisconsin favorites more popular than Rodgers are Wisconsin cheese (80 percent favorability) and Wisconsin beer (65 percent favorability).

• Badgers fans don’t have much use for departed football coaches. Gary Andersen has a 15 percent favorability rating with the school’s fan base and Bret Bielema is at 17 percent.

• About 52 percent of those in the state identify as University of Wisconsin-Madison fans; 14 percent fans of UW-Green Bay, 8 percent fans of Marquette and 5 percent fans of UW-Milwaukee.

Game on: Where to cheer for the Packers on Sunday

The Green Bay Packers are heading to Seattle this Sunday. And where are Packer fans headed to watch the game?

Travel Wisconsin has some ideas. The state boasts some of the largest and liveliest sports bars in the country. And whatever part of the state you find yourself in this Sunday, you can bet the Packers game will be on, the fans will be cheering and the bloody marys and beer will be flowing.

A few of the TW team’s favorite spots to catch the game:

Pooley’s Sports Bar — Madison

Madison’s largest and most interactive sports bar is the place to watch the big game. If you like sports memorabilia, this is your place. Pooley’s has an impressive collection of sports memorabilia that will blow away the biggest sports fan, including signed jerseys, pennants, photos and helmets of some of Wisconsin’s greatest sports stars.

Stadium View — Green Bay

Forbes magazine named Stadium View the “No. 1 Sports Bar in the Nation.” Just steps away from Lambeau Field, this bar has 12 massive, 10-foot tall TVs to catch the game on… how can you go wrong?

Champs Sports Bar & Grill — Lake Geneva

When the game is on, Champs is a rowdy yet relaxed retreat for fans. The collection of signed sports memorabilia will impress even the most ardent sports enthusiast and the beer list will satisfy domestic and craft beer lovers alike, but the 14 high-def TVs make it perfect for cheering on the Green and Gold.

Major Goolsby’s — Milwaukee

Sports Illustrated cited this hot spot as “America’s 4th Best Sports Bar.” While it’s most famous for being a convenient stop for a cheeseburger before Milwaukee Bucks games, it also boasts food and drink specials for Packers games and 54 TVs to catch the action on.

Iron Horse Saloon — Hurley

The crown jewel of Hurley’s famous Silver Street is a great place to catch the game, have a beer, and bite into one of the best burgers around. Make it a long weekend and catch the legendary live music on Saturday, and then stick around for the game on Sunday. Plus, with Packers specials, you can’t go wrong.

Brat Stop — Kenosha

Brats. Beer. Cheese. These football-friendly staples are what make the Brat Stop famous. When you’re not cheering on the Pack, play pool, darts and video games. The friendly atmosphere will make you feel like you’ve stepped into Cheers (if Cheers was filled with flat screens).

Rookie’s — Mazomanie

You could spend an hour or two scouting out the sports memorabilia that don all of the walls and even the ceilings of this bar — but we know you’ll be more focused on what’s going on in the game than what’s on the walls. The staff is notoriously friendly, so bargain for a seat at the bar.

Rusty’s Backwater Saloon — Stevens Point

If a Bloody Mary is what you’re after, try Rusty’s Backwater Saloon. Making what the bar calls “the best Bloody Mary you’ve ever had,” Rusty’s presents a hard-nosed drink for a hard-nosed drinker. Made in a glass mug with pickle and pepper garnishes, Rusty’s tasty beverage is a must-have for any central-Wisconsin Packers fan.

Sobelman’s Pub & Grill — Milwaukee

Known for their bloodies and their burgers, Sobelman’s combines both of these favorites to create “The Bloody Masterpiece.” Featured in the UK’s Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and Good Morning America, Sobelman’s gigantic jar of tomato and vodka goodness features sprouts, celery, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, lemons, pickles, shrimp, sausage, cheese, olives, green onions, asparagus and of course a bacon cheeseburger slider. Plus with Packers game-day specials, this is not a place to be missed.

The Wisconsin Gazette would like to hear where you plan to watch the game. Share your recommendations with us here, on our Facebook page or on Twitter @wigazette.

Forbes magazine: Packers’ fans are the NFL’s best

The Green Bay Packers have the NFL’s best fans, according to Forbes magazine.

A study by Nielsen Scarborough found that only 16 percent of adults living in Green Bay are NOT fans. The remaining 84 percent of Green Bay-area residentd else either watched, attended and/or listened to the Packers’ games in the past year.

Factors that figured into the rankings included the hometown crowd reach, social media reach based relative to the area’s population and three years’ worth of Nielsen television ratings, stadium capacity percentage and merchandise sales via NFLShop.com. Packers fans scored the highest marks in every category except for TV rankings (second) and merchandise (seventh).

The NFL’s smallest market, Green Bay has a metro population of 306,241, which is easily surpassed by the Packers’ backers on both Facebook (4.4 million) and Twitter (701,000). The Packers also hold 13 NFL championships, an NFL-record.

The teams rounding out the top 10 are:

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Denver Broncos

3. New Orleans Saints

4. New England Patriots

5. Baltimore Ravens

6. Indianapolis Colts

7. Dallas Cowboys (tie)

    Pittsburgh Steelers (tie)

9. Seattle Seahawks

10. Chicago Bears

Rodgers’ ‘outing’ spotlights cultural challenges

Unfortunately, a number of professional athletes have made insulting remarks about gay people. Their hateful statements, uttered by high-profile, macho role models and amplified by the media, have reinforced negative perceptions and hostility toward gays. They’ve also made it more difficult for young people who are questioning their sexual orientation to talk about and process their feelings.

But Aaron Rodgers is not one of those athletes. To our knowledge, he’s never said anything publicly about LGBT civil rights, marriage equality or anything else related to sexual orientation. 

We support the outing of gay and lesbian hypocrites who act out their self-loathing in the public sphere by actively demeaning others like them or campaigning against their rights. But Rodgers does not fall into that category.

So it was regrettable when rumors that Rodgers is gay recently crashed The Fame Driven, a hitherto unknown website that couldn’t handle all the traffic drawn by its story claiming to “out” the Packers’ star quarterback. The evidence — tweets from Rodgers’ former roommate and personal assistant Kevin Lanflisi — was compelling but inconclusive. The motivation was clearly salacious.

Moreover, broadcasting Lanflisi’s sad, personal tweets about an ended relationship to a mass audience without his permission and without context was creepily voyeuristic — one of those occurrences that leave us longing for the pre-Internet era.

Sexual orientation is natural and morally neutral. The carnival-like atmosphere that surrounded the Internet speculation about Rodgers suggested otherwise. It reduced gay people to something like exotic animals in a circus sideshow. 

Perhaps Rodgers worsened the situation when he turned the story into fair game for the legitimate press by denying it on his Milwaukee radio broadcast. He insisted that he “really, really likes women.” Too bad that Rodgers didn’t take a clue from the playbook of celebrities such as Oprah, George Clooney and James Franco, who’ve been rumored to be gay. They’ve said that if they were gay they would not deny it, because it’s not something to be ashamed of. 

At least Rodgers didn’t make as big a fuss as former Mets catcher Mike Piazza famously did in 2002 after being “outed.” Piazza called a news conference to proclaim his heterosexuality.

But the professional sports arena has not changed as much as the rest of world in the ensuing decade. Not a single Major League Baseball or NFL player has come out during his professional career, despite the demographic odds that some gay players must exist. The lack of gay visibility in major league sports contributes to the homophobic vibe of the locker room.

If an athlete of Rodgers’ stature came out of the closet, it would help to change perceptions about LGBT people — and gay men in particular. It would advance the ball.

But only if he proudly owned it.

Aaron Rodgers denies gay Internet rumors

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers today denied recent Internet rumors that he’s gay.

Addressing the rumors on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN Milwaukee, Rodgers said, “I’m just going to say I’m not gay. I really, really like women. That’s all I can really say about that.”

“There’s always going to be silly stuff out there in the media which you can’t worry too much about, and I don’t,” Rodgers continued. “So, just, keep on trucking. I think professional should be professional, and personal is personal.”

The rumors about Rodgers’ sexual orientation apparently erupted after his former roommate and personal assistant Kevin Lanflisi began tweeting obscure messages that seemed like things a former lover would say about a failed relationship.

“I wish you would learn to love people and use things.. Not the other way around,” Lanflisi tweeted on Nov. 26.

On Dec. 3, he tweeted: “All that time spent on ‘us’ is now spent on ‘me.’ Which means I have more time to exercise, read, write, dream and save..”

“My roommate. Nine days later, my sister. Everyone needs to calm the hell down,” Lanflisi tweeted on Dec. 20.

The recent tweets contrast with Lanflisi’s comments about Rodgers a couple of years ago. In a tweet from September 2011, Lanflisi referred to Rodgers as a mentor. “Blessed to be where I’m at. I love being able to learn, laugh, and be mentored by such an amazing man @AaronRodgers12,” he wrote.

Rodgers also has made public references about his roommate on a few occasions. In a 2008 interview with The Sporting News, he said, “I’ve got a roommate, a guy I met in town. He works for the Packers now as an athletic trainer, but he was interning when I met him and we just hit it off. He’s been great for me as far as great conversations outside of football. Our friendship goes a lot deeper than what we do.”

The Fame Driven, a gossip website, has helped to fuel the gay rumors about Rodgers.

“Aaron has attended numerous sports award shows with Kevin, always color-coordinated and without any double female dates, including the ESPYs,” the website posted Dec. 30.

“Kevin was also the first person Aaron embraced when the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011,” The Fame Driven quoted an unnamed source as having said. “There has been speculation for years here in Wisconsin that Aaron is gay, which I always brushed off,” the source allegedly continued. “But after looking at Kevin’s twitter I’m inclined to believe Aaron and Kevin were more than just roommates/friends, I believe they were lovers.”

WiG could not find evidence of rumors about Rodgers circulating in Wisconsin. In fact, Rodgers was rumored to be engaged to his high school sweetheart Destiny Newton.

In September, The Fame Driven posted a story claiming that former NHL star Sean Avery was in a relationship with Bravo executive Andy Cohen. Both men dismissed the story.

Avery subsequently became engaged to longtime girlfriend Hilary Rhoda, a Victoria’s Secret model.

Rodgers led the Pack into the NFC playoffs last Sunday with a last-minute touchdown pass that beat the Chicago Bears and secured the NFC North title. The Packers will host to the 49ers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

YouTube video shows a drunk Tommy Thompson addressing Packers fans

Pressed by reporters yesterday, U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said he was upset that his campaign’s political director had attacked opponent Tammy Baldwin over her sexual orientation.

On the day that Baldwin was scheduled to address the Democratic National Convention about heartland values, Thompson’s senior campaign adviser Brian Nemoir sent out a Tweet linking to a YouTube video of Baldwin dancing on stage at an August 2010 Pride event in Madison. In an accompanying e-mail, Nemoir wrote, “clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy.”

Following a lunchtime address to members of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee yesterday, Thompson condemned his campaign’s attack on Baldwin, who would become the first openly gay person ever elected to the Senate if she wins in November.

Before reporters confronted him on the incident, the Thompson campaign had refused to address Nemoir’s actions. Although he condemned those actions yesterday under pressure, Thompson also acknowledged that he had not dismissed Nemoir from his campaign. The former governor said he had shifted Nemoir to a different, undisclosed position.

With Thompson’s hypocrisy on this insulting incident in mind, we offer readers this YouTube link to a video of a clearly inebriated Tommy Thompson addressing Packers fans at Lambeau Field in 1998.

Tackling HIV/AIDS | Packers’ Clay Matthews lends muscle, star power to fighting the disease

For the family of Dan Gordon, a Racine native who died of AIDS-related complications at age 35, AIDS Walk Wisconsin has become an annual milestone event.

“It’s actually a joyful day, because it helps me to remember my brother,” said Rob Gordon, Dan’s brother. “I always bring my kids so they’ll remember. It’s an event we try never to miss.”

Emma Gordon, 25, Dan Gordon’s niece, first began walking to raise money for HIV prevention and care when she was 4. Growing up in the shadow of the disease, she’s seen both progress and setbacks. Now she worries that people her age have little awareness and also harbor harmful misconceptions about HIV/AIDS.

Attending the 22nd annual AIDS Walk on the Summerfest grounds on Oct. 1, Gordon saw fewer participants than when she was a kid in the mid-1990s. In those days, “Dan’s Dream Team” was the highest-grossing individual team participating in the event.

Turnout for the event and others like it across the country have been declining since new treatments began improving the course of the disease for many people, creating the erroneous perception that it’s no longer a serious problem. Today’s AIDS walks must also compete with numerous other cause-related walks, runs, bike-a-thons and other events that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

This year, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, which stages the event and is its primary beneficiary, used some innovative strategies to bolster the event’s impact. ARCW asked the Packers’ defensive star Clay Matthews to serve as AIDS Walk’s honorary chair, a choice that guaranteed attention from Wisconsinites of Gordon’s age group as well as from the state’s large community of sports fans.

ARCW also utilized the power of new media to extend the event’s fundraising reach. By texting the name “Clay” to the number 25383 on their phones, supporters could – and still can – easily donate $10 to the event (it shows up on callers’ phone bills).

By the close of the event on Oct. 1, the walk had already raised $293,175 – 12 percent more than last year. Some of that money came through Tweets that Matthews sent to his 250,000-plus fans asking them to submit donations via their cellphones. More money was expected to be raised in this way during the days following the event.

Matthews, who was preparing for the Packers’ 49-23 victory over the Denver Broncos the next day, was unable to attend the walk. He addressed the crowd via a message that was videotaped in advance in the Packers’ locker room.

In a phone interview several days before the walk, a charged-up Matthews told WiG it was “fantastic” to be able to “lend my celebrity and face” to AIDS Walk Wisconsin. It’s part of his commitment to giving back to the community, he said.

Matthews also backs CureDuchenne, which supports research to find a cure for muscular dystrophy.

“Hopefully, bringing a younger athlete like me on board opens up a lot of people’s eyes who wouldn’t be open to researching (HIV),” Matthews said, adding that he hoped his involvement would help break down social barriers that still surround the disease.

Matthews isn’t the first sports celebrity to lend his name to AIDS Walk Wisconsin – Magic Johnson, Paul Molitor and Bud Selig served in the role before him. But he’s a unique attention grabber. As a member of the defending Super Bowl champs, who also happen to be the home team, he’s very much in the limelight.

As a spokesperson, Matthews is a commanding presence. His flowing blond locks contrast a six-foot-three-inch, 255-pound frame that’s proven to be the nemesis of many an opposing quarterback.

He’s also comfortable and even self-effacing on camera. Shortly after the Packer’s Super Bowl victory, Matthews appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where he took a good-natured ribbing about his hair and lowered his pants to show the audience a pair of boxers DeGeneres had given him.

“So your tight end is covered?” DeGeneres asked.

“My tight end is covered,” Matthews said.

Matthews told WiG he doesn’t have a close friend or family member who’s dealt with HIV/AIDS, so serving as honorary chair of AIDS Walk was largely an educational experience for him.

“When I initially signed on, I heard so much about how devastating this is, but doing my own research has put it all in perspective,” he said. “Looking at the numbers puts it all in perspective. You come to realize the destruction this has had on people worldwide.”

Matthews said he’s heartened every time he walks into a restaurant and sees an AIDS Walk flier with his image on it. He said it’s important to him to be part of a sports franchise that makes an effort to give back to its community.

“I think that’s one of the things we pride ourselves on,” Matthews said of the Pack. “Having individuals on this team who don’t get into a lot of trouble and aren’t about drama but being good people. The community outreach here presents new opportunities each and every week to give back to the community. That’s one of the things we take pride in here.

“The amount of positive support and encouragement I’ve received from my teammates and the public by doing this is fantastic.”