The joke around the Patriots media work room a couple of weeks ago was whether football writers would be allowed to vote for a player as NFL MVP without that player having taken a snap in a game this season.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

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Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain was arrested Thursday after allegedly firing a gun during a fight Wednesday night in Decatur, Ala., his hometown. McCain, 22, is accused of holding a gun next to a man's head and, after the man begged McClain not to shoot him, firing it by his ear. He faces charges of assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and firing a gun inside city limits. The alleged victim also said McClain punched him in the face, as did one of McClain's friends. He told police he went to the hospital with a broken nose, swollen eye and concussion.

The Syracuse Post-Standard and ESPN have come under fire for failing to publish stories about the Bernie Fine accusations when they were first contacted by former ball boy Bobby Davis in 2003. In Wednesday's Post-Standard, executive editor Michael J. Connor explains why the paper passed the first time, even after Davis taped a phone call with Laurie Fine in which she makes some statements that appear to corroborate Davis' story.

Last week, it was a Giants player who expressed concern about New York fans' loyalty. On Tuesday, it was the Jets' turn. Safety Jim Leonhard is not pleased that quarterback Mark Sanchez received a mix of cheers and boos when he was introduced to the MetLife Stadium crowd before Sunday's win over the Bills.

Shaquille O'Neal is making the rounds promoting his book "Shaq Uncut," in which he takes some shots at former teammate Kobe Bryant. However, during an appearance on Los Angeles' KTLA television Monday, Shaq acknowledged Kobe's status at top Laker. "Based on what he's done, he's probably the greatest Laker of all-time," O'Neal said. "If he gets another championship, he'll tie with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar, with six]. That will put him up there."

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty was suspended for three games for his hit to the head of Penguins defenseman Kris Letang Saturday night. 

NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan delivered the punishment Monday, explaining that Pacioretty "recklessly targeted" Letang's head as the defenseman brought the puck into the Canadiens' zone and shot. 

Bills receiver Stevie Johnson made fun of Jets counterpart Plaxico Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the leg during a first-half touchdown celebration Sunday. He then mocked the Jets' "flight" celebration and flopped on the ground, drawing a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. It led to great field position for the Jets, and they cashed in with a touchdown en route to a 28-24 victory.

"I was just having fun, and part of having fun ended up being a penalty and a touchdown for the Jets," Johnson said. "It was a stupid decision by myself."

Syracuse University fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine Sunday, the same day a third man made allegations that Fine molested him.

"At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, Bernie Fine's employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately," Kevin Quinn, the school's senior vice president for public affairs, said in a statement.

Just being a sports fan in New England, we all know there is plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.

Take a look around and you realize as much.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

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Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh continues to deny he's a dirty player even as he does things to get ejected, as he did Thursday when he stomped on the arm of Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith after pushing his head into the ground.