More bad news for Uber: Justin Verlander is tired of its fickle rates.

Among several forms of backlash against the car-share taxi company are growing criticisms of its sudden and dramatic rates increases that can take the standard rate and increase it by several multipliers -- three, four, five times the normal rate, and sometimes more.

Those charges make Uber far more expensive than a regular taxi service and other competing companies, including Lyft.

So Verlander is taking his business elsewhere.


.@Uber I used to love you and now your ridiculous surge charges are causing me to take my talents elsewhere. #lyft

A photo posted by Justin Verlander (@justinverlander) on

You know it's bad when a guy who signed a $200 million contract is fed up with overpaying.

Robert Griffin III couldn't catch a break on social media. So now he's taking a break altogether.

At a press conference this week, Griffin explained that he was tired of having his social media posts used against him to misrepresent the quarterback's thoughts. Given his rocky relationship with head coach Jay Gruden -- and his shaky outlook as an NFL quarterback -- Griffin decided to step away from social networking.

"I just felt like, for me, anything that I was saying (on social media), whether it was positive or negative ... it was getting twisted and turned against me and against this team," Griffin said.

Griffin's social media usage has dropped off sharply since Nov. 17, when he used Twitter to respond to backlash suffered from statements made at a press conference.




Since then, Griffin has only tweeted three times: To wish his followers a Happy Thanksgiving, to retweet a post about ALS awareness and to give his support to cancer-stricken Chiefs safety Eric Berry:


Griffin said he will go back to using social media more regularly once the season is over. Until then, he'll try to avoid making any waves.

On what was certainly one of the busiest days of his life, Jon Lester made sure to make time for his fans.

The ace southpaw announced Wednesday he'd be signing with the Chicago Cubs, ending months of speculation as to where he'd land. The deal is for six years and $155 million, and the $25.8 million per year average will make Lester the second highest paid pitcher in MLB (Clayton Kershaw is first at $30.7 million per year). By joining the Cubs, Lester could immediately change the fortunes of one of the most snakebitten franchises in professional sports.

As would be expected, many baseball fans took to Twitter to express their opinions. Some wished Lester well, some expressed disappointment that he didn't sign with their team and others ridiculed him for signing with a club that hasn't won a championship in more than a century.

Lester, who has proven himself a class act, took the time to personally respond to many of these fans. By one tally, he had exceeded 200 individualized responses.

Here are some of Lester's responses:









Italian soccer star Mario Balotelli is in trouble with football authorities after posting a racist picture to Instagram.

Balotelli, who currently plays for Liverpool in the English Football Association, seems to have intended the racist image to convey an anti-racist message. But it was poorly received and sparked an outcry.

The original post:


Balotelli initially defended the post. "My Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please," he wrote in a response. But pressure continued to mount, and he took down the image after about 15 minutes.

Later, he posted this reply:


Balotelli may recognize the error of his ways, but that doesn't mean his problems stemming from the post are over. The post is a violation of the English Football Association's social media guidelines for players, and the league has launched an investigation into the matter.

Balotelli has until Friday to respond to the league's inquiry, but he could be facing a minimum five-game suspension.

The Professional Footballers' Association also weighed in on the matter.

"The situation regarding Mario Balotelli's Instagram post... highlights how vigilant players need to be in all of their dealings with social media," said the PFA in a statement.

When Nebraska officials were considering firing football coach Bo Pelini, they surely braced for criticism. After all, Pelini had been fairly successful at Nebraska and had led the team to a 9-3 record in 2014.

But what Nebraska officials may not have expected is that in firing Pelini they may also have forced the closing of the parody Twitter account @FauxPelini, and that has some fans furious.

Through a mix of lighthearted humor and diehard fandom, the Twitter user behind @FauxPelini racked up 162,000 followers. That's 70,000 more than the real Pelini.

The man behind @FauxPelini has remained anonymous, although he's revealed that he's a Cornhuskers fan living in the Chicago area.

"[T]he what-comes-next-question depends on a couple of variables," the account's creator told For The Win. "One is whether he gets a job and how quickly and where it is. Another question is who’s the next (Nebraska coach) going to be …

"I haven’t figured out what it will be if anything. I do know what it probably won’t be, which is I’m not really up for following him to the next place. I’m a Husker fan, that’s how I got started with this thing.”

@FauxPelini's legend grew as the account interacted with opposing players, schools, bowl games, police forces and even the man himself.

In an homage to @FauxPelini, Nebraska's head coach hoisted a cat above his head before his team's spring game.


After Pelini was fired Sunday, many fans turned to @FauxPelini for his reaction. He did not disappoint:





While there are certainly parody accounts that live on after their inspiration is canned, the man behind @FauxPelini apparently hinted at his fate earlier this year to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:


During his extraordinary career as a coach, Phil Jackson was known for his unique leadership style. Sometimes called "The Zen Master," Jackson somehow reined in supersize egos for the good of the team.

In his new role as the president of the New York Knicks, Jackson isn't as subtle. The 69-year-old sent out a tweet this week that was meant as motivation but appears to have backfired:


At the beginning of this week's three-game road trip, the Knicks are 4-10 and 1-5 on the road. The team has struggled as it adjusts to a new offensive system under rookie head coach Derek Fisher. Carmelo Anthony is averaging 24 points, but he's doing so on about 19 shots . The Knicks' measly offense is producing just 95.4 points per game, which is 25th out of 30 teams.

Twitter users were quick to point out that Jackson's tweet won't do much to change New York's offensive woes:







Jackson was spotted in Los Angeles this week, a news item which inspired a mini-controversy and this response tweet:


The negative response to his California trip grew so loud that Jackson addressed it for his more than 750,000 followers:


Jackson has proven himself a clever and insightful Twitter presence, so perhaps there's something more to the tweet than meets the eye.

The Knicks made a splash in March when they signed Jackson to a deal valued at $12 million per year. The hope was that Jackson, who has more NBA championships than any other coach, could rejuvenate a franchise struggling to remain relevant. Thus far it appears there's still a lot of work to be done.

John Calipari is an especially busy man these days.

Kentucky's basketball coach is tasked with running the country's top-ranked team and scouting the nation's best high schoolers. And, oh yeah, he's got a family to attend to.

So when Calipari appeared to forget the exact date of his daughter's birthday, he cited his non-stop schedule as the reason.




For the record, Kentucky played Nov. 21 (against Boston University) and Nov. 23 (against Montana State). The Wildcats play again Tuesday, Nov. 25, against UT-Arlington.

After Kentucky's 86-28 victory over Montana State, Calipari brought a birthday balloon to his press conference and explained his mistake.

"Just so you know, I know my daughter's birthday," Calipari told reporters. "What I don't know is what day of the week it is, what day of the month it is, I have no idea."

Perhaps Calipari is working extra hard with this squad, which many believe is the most talented team Calipari has had at Kentucky. And that is no small compliment. Since arriving in Lexington, Ky., in 2009, Calipari has coached three Final Four squads and one national championship team (2012).

Thus far the Wildcats have won all their games by at least 19 points, with their most impressive victory a 72-40 drubbing of fifth-ranked Kansas.

Michael Irvin may be an NFL Hall of Famer and current analyst for NFL Network, but he faces the same problems as the rest of us. On Wednesday, that specific problem was running out of gas while driving on the highway.

Irvin's Hummer emptied its tank during his commute, stranding him on the shoulder in need of assistance.

As Irvin revealed in a series of tweets, a kind stranger pulled over and delivered him from his crisis.








That much calamity would have been plenty for one day, but Irvin wasn't so fortunate:


Just one of those days.

So far in this young NBA season, the Memphis Grizzlies have been good. Very good. As in, 10-1 good.

They're good enough that longtime Grizzlies fans are suddenly being trolled for their presumed "bandwagon" fanship. One such Grizzlies fan: Justin Timberlake.

In this case, the problem with criticizing Timberlake is that he's not only a Memphis native, but also a part-owner of the NBA team. After the Grizzlies completely decimated the Houston Rockets on Monday, Timberlake posted this to Twitter:


To which he received a mix of positive and negative feedback. Such is the celebrity life. One of these comments, though, caught Timberlake's eye, and he wasn't happy.


And then the Internet's self-appointed Accountability Partner shot back ...


And then the Memphis Grizzlies got involved ...


And while the troll has kept things up in hopes of extending his 15 minutes of fame, the flare-up basically ends there. Unless you're the guy's girlfriend:


He'll be with you in a minute, Ashley. Right now, the world needs him.

It's fair to say Mike Trudell handles unwanted touching better than most. In the middle of a sideline report at a recent Lakers game, Trudell was surprised with a massive hand stroking its palm over the reporter's hair.

But the hand was so large that Trudell, in keeping his eyes squarely on the camera, couldn't be sure it was a hand at all. Trudell held it together as best he could until he identified the assailant.

Who else is brazen enough to walk up to random people and fondle their heads in the middle of work? Only Shaquille O'Neal.




As fun a story as that might be to tell, the real winner in this scenario is the world at large, which now has video proof that Shaq could easily palm the head of a grown man.


For that, we'll all sleep better tonight.

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