Flower Branch, Ga. — Here’s a change in Atlanta: a Falcons player showing some love for animals.
Providing quite a contrast to Michael Vick’s gruesome dogfighting operation, tight end Tony Gonzalez and his wife, October, posed in the nude for an anti-fur advertisement from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The newly released ad, which was photographed over the summer in Los Angeles, shows the couple sitting together on green turf for the group’s “We’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign. They’re following celebrities who have posed in the buff, including Dennis Rodman, Pamela Anderson and Dominique Swain, while others such as Paul McCartney and Charlize Theron have worn clothes in the campaign.
“It looks good,” Gonzalez said Wednesday, glancing at the photo on a reporter’s cell phone while standing at his locker. “It’s something me and my wife talked about. It’s something we feel very strongly about. That’s a great cause, especially when you educate yourself and find out what is happening out there in the world.”
The long-running PETA campaign has relied on star power in an attempt to persuade people not to wear furs or other clothing made from animal skins. The group claims that animals are often beaten, strangled, stomped, electrocuted and even skinned alive.
Gonzalez said he was appalled when he saw pictures and videos provided by the group.
“I’ve never done something like this before. I’m usually not a political person,” said the 10-time Pro Bowler, who holds the NFL record for most receptions by a tight end. “The pictures I saw were pretty gruesome, pretty cruel. If done the right way, maybe. But done the way I saw it, it’s definitely inhumane.”
Chiefs place Goff on IR
Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs put guard Mike Goff on injured reserve Wednesday and signed linebacker Justin Rogers.
Goff made seven starts at right guard for the Chiefs (1-7), whose injury-plagued offensive line has been a problem headed into Sunday’s game against Oakland.
Rogers appeared in 31 games the past two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and made three tackles. He had 34 special teams tackles. Terms of Rogers’ signing were not released.
Eagles’ Hanson suspended
Philadelphia — Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Joselio Hanson was suspended four games by the NFL on Wednesday for violating the league’s drug policy. Hanson’s attorney, David Cornwell, said in a statement that Hanson did not use steroids but tested positive for a diuretic after last year’s NFC title game against Arizona.
Griffey stays with Mariners
Seattle — Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mariners agreed Wednesday to another one-year contract that will keep the popular slugger in Seattle next year. Baseball’s active home run leader, who turns 40 on Nov. 21, will basically get the same, incentive-laden deal with $2 million in base salary he signed to return to Seattle for the 2009 season.
A 10-time All-Star and the 1997 AL MVP for the Mariners, Griffey hit .214 last season with 19 homers as a part-time DH. He was limited by a swollen left knee. Griffey is No. 5 on the career home run list with 630.
Rollins repeat winner
New York — Shortstop Jimmy Rollins has won his third consecutive NL Gold Glove, and Philadelphia Phillies teammate Shane Victorino has won for the second straight time in the outfield.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez also were second-time winners announced Wednesday.
Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright succeeded Greg Maddux, who won his record 18th last year.
Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson won for the fourth time, taking over from Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips.
Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman replaced the Mets’ David Wright, a boyhood friend. Houston outfielder Michael Bourn and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp also were first-time winners.
Sources: Nats keep skipper
Washington — The Washington Nationals are sticking with Jim Riggleman, dropping his interim tag and making him their manager for 2010, two people in baseball familiar with the team’s plans told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Riggleman was promoted from bench coach to interim manager in July, replacing the fired Manny Acta.
Varitek staying in Boston
Boston — Catcher Jason Varitek has exercised his $3 million option to stay with the Boston Red Sox. Boston declined to exercise its $5 million club option on Monday, and Varitek then had two days to decide whether to exercise his player option at the lower price. The 37-year-old was Boston’s starting catcher for nine of 10 seasons through 2008.
Zambrano’s mother rescued
Caracas, Venezuela — The mother of former major-league pitcher Victor Zambrano was rescued after a three-day kidnapping ordeal, Venezuelan authorities said on Wednesday. The 56-year-old Elizabeth Mendez Zambrano was rescued late Tuesday during a “commando-style operation” in the central state of Aragua, Federal Police Chief Wilmer Flores Trosel said.
Woods opens with 66
Melbourne, Australia — Tiger Woods lived up to months of anticipation in Australia on Thursday by running off three straight birdies late in his round of a 6-under 66 that put him atop the leaderboard in the Australian Masters. Among early starters, Woods was tied with James Nitties of Australia and Branden Grace of South Africa.
Ballesteros joins R&A
St. Andrews, Scotland — Three-time British Open champion Seve Ballesteros has accepted honorary membership of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews almost a year after undergoing multiple operations to remove a malignant brain tumor.
Kim wins Kiwi Challenge
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand — Anthony Kim won the Kiwi Challenge despite making a bogey in a playoff, beating Sean O’Hair to win the $1 million check at Cape Kidnappers.
Police: Tyson in scuffle
Los Angeles — Officials say Mike Tyson has been released from a Los Angeles police station after being booked on suspicion of battery for allegedly hitting a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport.
Airport police spokesman Sgt. Jim Holcomb said the photographer told police that the former heavyweight boxing champion struck him once Wednesday afternoon. The photographer fell to the ground and was treated for a cut to his forehead at a hospital.