Francophone Fuss Hits the Montreal Canadiens; NFL Players Debate Proper Anthem Protocol

Today in sports: The Montreal Canadiens have hired their first non-French speaking coach since 1984, Kobe Bryant didn't have a prenuptial agreement, and The New York Times profiles NBC's new sports programming czar.

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Today in sports: The Montreal Canadiens have hired their first non-French speaking coach since 1984, Kobe Bryant didn't have a prenuptial agreement, and The New York Times profiles NBC's new sports czar.

The NHL's Montreal Canadiens fired head coach Jacques Martin on Saturday and replaced him with assistant Randy Cunneyworth, who will be the team's first coach since 1984 who isn't fluent in French. Cunneyworth, a native of Ontario, said he plans to learn French, but his hiring isn't going over well with Québécois separatist groups Impératif Français and Mouvement Québec Français, which have called for a boycott of all of brewery Molson's products in response to the hire. (Brothers Geoff, Andrew and Justin Molson bought a controlling stake in the club back in 2009.) Canadiens blogger Allen Mendelsohn said that "even as an anglophone" he believes the club and the city have "a need for a French-speaking coach"   [CBC]

Carolina Panthers tight end Jeremy Shockey told reporters that "about ten" Houston Texans players didn't put their arms across their chests during the national anthem prior to their game yesterday in Houston, thus failing to pay sufficient "respect to America." When Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans was informed of Shockey's assessment of the team's national anthem body language, he promptly managed to turn the tables on the well-traveled tight end. "If he’s so patriotic," Ryans said, "why was he looking at our bench instead of the flag? Where did he come up with the number 10? Was he counting? Why was he paying attention to us during the national anthem?” [Houston Chronicle]

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant apparently didn't agree to a prenuptial agreement with his soon-to-ex-wife Vanessa, who filed divorce papers in Orange County last week. According to the Los Angeles Times, the couple had "months of negotiations" on a prenup prior to getting married in 2001, but ultimately couldn't agree to terms on one. The couple issue a statement Friday saying that they "resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately," although court papers indicate they haven't agreed on how to divvy up their property.   [The Los Angeles Times]

The New York Times has a profile of new NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus that's full glowing testimonials about the quail-hunting executive. Two of the most striking come from NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver and MLS commissioner Don Garber, who compare him to predecessor Dick Ebersol, who he replaced in May. Says Garber, who signed a new TV deal with NBC in August: "Dick never really embraced [soccer], but that was a function of NBC being steeped in traditional sports. Mark comes from the cable world, where you need to be hungrier and more innovative.” Silver got in his own dig at Ebersol, saying “Mark never loses sight of the bottom line. Dick had a different bottom line, not a conventional profit-and-loss.” And Bob Costas added he likes Lazarus, because he "doesn't need to be acknowledged as the Big Cheese." [The New York Times]

A Texas Republican fundraiser tells the Associated Press that ESPN college football analyst Craig James has decided to run for Senate and is "in the process of dropping off his official candidate papers in Austin." James was a running back on the scandal-plagued Southern Methodist University of the 1980s and is still being sued for libel by former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach, who says James conspired to get him fired in 2009 because he wasn't giving his son enough playing time. James is running for the seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchinson, along with former solicitor general Victor Cruz, former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, and current lieutenant governor David Dewherst. [AP]

Minutes after winning their first game of the season Sunday, Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian told reporters there's "no chance" that quarterback Peyton Manning will take the field for the team in 2011, even though he was throwing the ball and working out with teammates this past week. The statement Polian took pains to note that Manning's throwing session took place after practice and was "scripted at his request, meaning that he made specific throws with respect to the kinds of plays he would run in a ballgame" and not by the team. The distinction is key: if Indianapolis had been found to be using an injured player during practices, the league could fine the club or take away draft choices. Manning has missed the entire season while recovering from neck surgery. [AP]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.