College Blog Blog Network

Thinking Out Loud: Bryant basketball team continues tour of Italy after earthquake

08.26.16 at 3:43 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering whatever happened to Michael Bishop.

— One of those rare occasions happened this week when the real world and the sports world collide — and excuse each other for the intrusion. The Bryant basketball team is touring Italy, situated in Rome, and was supposed to play in the town of Spoleto on Wednesday night — until a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy.

— That first game in Spoleto, not far from the quake’s epicenter and only about 20 minutes from one of the hardest-hit areas (Amatrice), was canceled. The tremors were felt in Rome, waking coach Tim O’Shea (as he reported via social media), and Bryant’s travel party is safe. But the death toll surpassed 240 late this week as rescue efforts continue in the mountainous central region of the country.

— Sport becomes a complete afterthought when faced with tragedy like this. And it should be. Bryant’s team traveled to Naples late in the week after completing its tour of Rome.

— Sometimes the stress and strain of directing a high major basketball program takes its toll in different ways. To the surprise of many, Providence basketball coach Ed Cooley underwent back surgery for a herniated disc this week. The athletic department reports Cooley’s surgery went well, and he expects to be back in the office next week at some point, with classes starting Aug. 29 — and he certainly expects to be back coaching the team for the start of preseason workouts in October.

— The third annual Providence Basketball Classic will be held Saturday (Aug. 27) at Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eight teams of former pro and college players from New England will compete in a single-elimination tournament, competing for a cash prize, and there will be a high school all-star game as well. Backpack giveaways for the start of school, school supplies and free haircuts are a part of the festivities, and admission is only $3.

— About 1,000 fans attended last year’s event, which is the creation of former Johnson & Wales all-American Lamonte Thomas. Thomas is preparing for his fifth season of playing professionally in Europe. Cool that he continues to give back to the community by hosting this event.

— ICYMI, Tomas Murphy, who hails from Wakefield, Rhode Island, is headed to Northeastern to play his college ball for coach Bill Coen. Coen and Murphy’s dad, Jay, are long-time friends with Boston College connections, and Murphy’s brothers (Erik and Alex) played at Florida under Billy Donovan. Butler, Pittsburgh and Georgia also were in the final mix until the end.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Former Red Sox pitcher impressed with Tim Tebow after practice sessions

08.26.16 at 8:36 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Royals at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Braves at Giants, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Browns at Buccaneers, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL preseason: Packers at 49ers, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: Hawaii at California, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Liberty at Stars, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Sparks at Storm, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Bundesliga, SV Werder Bremen at Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

— As he closes in on Tuesday’s showcase for major league teams, Tim Tebow has impressed at least one former major leaguer.

David Aardsma, a 34-year-old journeyman reliever who pitched for the Red Sox in 2008 and most recently played for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A team earlier this season, pitched to Tebow twice in practice sessions, and he told the New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron that he came away believing the former quarterback has a chance with baseball.

“When I walked away, as a pitcher, I was pretty impressed,” said Aardsma, who has been working out at the same Arizona facility as Tebow, hoping to make a return to the majors. “He needs to see a lot more pitching and understand what the pitcher is watching and seeing from him and adjusting. That’s not something you know until you’re in it.

“I’d get him to instructs [instructional league], work his butt and get him to play winter league. Get him on the field every day, facing different pitchers. I would not be surprised if he’s in Double-A next year. I’d put the talent there right now.”

Aardsma said Tebow did a good job of adjusting to the right-hander’s pitches the first time they faced each other. One week later, the two again shared a field Thursday and Tebow further progressed to the point where the 29-year-old ESPN analyst took Aardsma deep.

“It actually really pissed me off,” Aardsma said of Tebow’s success against him, noting that he was throwing low-90s fastballs as well as breaking balls.

Added Aardsma: “He looked like a much different hitter today. He looked like he is midseason. He got tired at the end, but that was after a lot of work and probably 12 at-bats.”

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy acknowledged Wednesday on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria that Boston will be one of the expected 20 or so major league teams at Tuesday’s workout, although he didn’t sound optimistic about it being worthwhile. Aardsma said he can see why some in baseball have doubted Tebow’s chances of succeeding in his career change, but he doesn’t rule it out.

“It’s understandable,” Aardsma said. “If I’m a scout, outside looking in, I’d say no chance. But there’s always exceptions to that rule, some people who have innate talent. What’s the risk?”

— One day after North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora confirmed that Tim Beckman had been serving as a volunteer assistant coach despite being fired from Illinois for allegedly mistreating players, Beckman announced Thursday that he was leaving because he did not want to be a distraction.

“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country,” Beckman said in a statement. “His willingness to help a friend was a benefit both personally and professionally. I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward.”

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Read More: David Aardsma, James Harrison, Tim Beckman, Tim Tebow

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Giants owner John Mara defends signing of K Josh Brown despite domestic violence accusations

08.25.16 at 8:32 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Orioles at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball World Series: South Korea vs. Mexico, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Tennessee vs. Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Falcons at Dolphins, 8 p.m. (NBC)
NFL preseason: Cowboys at Seahawks, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)


— Giants owner John Mara went on the defensive Wednesday after receiving widespread criticism for re-signing Pro Bowl kicker Josh Brown despite his ex-wife’s accusations of domestic abuse.

Brown was arrested in May 2015 after allegedly grabbing his then-wife, Molly, by the throat and holding her down with his knee at their Washington home, one of two incidents on consecutive nights. However, charges of fourth-degree domestic assault were dropped days later due to insufficient evidence, reportedly after Molly Brown decided not to pursue the case.

Brown was suspended by the NFL for the first game of this season — despite the league’s new policy that dictates a six-game ban for such issues — and said that while he was “not OK with the decision, I have to respect it.” It then was revealed that Molly Brown told authorities that he had assaulted her at least 20 times, including once in 1999 while she was pregnant.

“Based on the facts that were placed in front of us, we’re comfortable with our decision to re-sign Josh and the league’s suspension,” Mara told the media Wednesday during Giants practice. “The easiest thing for us to do would be to get a new kicker. We’re trying to be fair to Josh. The easiest thing would be to say, ‘Terminate him, get rid of him.’ We’re trying to do the right thing. It’s not always easy.”

The Giants signed the 37-year-old Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract in the spring despite being aware of the issues, as Mara insisted, “We did our homework here.”

“We’re aware that there were allegations against Josh,” Mara said. “We knew that the NFL would conduct an investigation. We’re well aware that there were other [incidents]. One of the things you learn is that there is a big difference between allegations and convictions. It’s important to sort all those things out. We’re not going to get into the number of conversations we had with a number of people. We will live with the results of the [NFL investigation] and move forward.

“A lot of time, people try to make it black and white,” Mara added. “There are two sides to everything. Very rarely you have a Ray Rice video.”

Brown made 30 of 32 field goals and missed only one of his 45 PAT attempts in scoring a career-high 134 points last season, earning him a berth in the Pro Bowl. Former Jets and Titans kicker Randy Bullock was signed to a one-year deal Monday to fill in, as Brown’s future suddenly is unclear. But Mara said the Giants stand behind him.

“Josh knows what’s expected of him,” Mara said. “He’s been going to counseling. He’s been a good citizen since he’s been here. He’s going to conduct himself in a professional manner. We’re an organization that has always tried to do the right thing. It’s not always easy, but we’re going to stick with our decision.”

— U.S. soccer came down hard on Hope Solo, banning the goalie six months from the national team for calling the Swedish squad “a bunch of cowards” after the Americans’ loss in a penalty shootout at the Rio Olympics.

Solo, who has had her share of off-field issues (including one that led to a 30-day suspension early last year), was frustrated with Sweden’s defensive strategy that proved to be effective as it prevented the U.S. from earning a medal.

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Read More: Dawn Braid, Hope Solo, John Mara, Josh Brown

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: U.S. Olympic swimmer James Feigen apologizes, details Rio controversy

08.24.16 at 8:26 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Indians at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Mexico vs. Australia, 1 p.m (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Iowa vs. Tennessee, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Panama vs. South Korea, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: New York vs. Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: Revolution at Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
Soccer: Champions League, Manchester City vs. Steaua Bucharest, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Champions League, Red Bull Salzburg vs. Dinamo Zagreb, 2:30 p.m. (FSN)
Soccer: Champions League, Rostov vs. Ajax, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)


James Feigen

James Feigen

— U.S. Olympic swimmer James Feigen apologized Tuesday for his role in the incident at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month, and he offered some clarity regarding exactly what happened.

“First and foremost I would like to apologize for the serious distractions from the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, and Team USA,” Feigen said in a statement released through his legal representation, The Hull Firm of Austin, Texas. “It was never my intent to draw attention away from the tradition of athletic competition and the symbolic cooperation of countries participating in the Olympic games.”

Added Feigen: “I am so sorry for the drama this has caused in everyone’s lives. I am very thankful to be home in the United States with my family and that this ordeal has come to an end.”

Feigen, who won a gold medal as part of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, was with teammates Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger when they were returning to the Olympic village after a night of partying. Around 5 a.m., their taxi stopped at a gas station so the swimmers could use the bathroom. Feigen explained that when they found the door was locked, they urinated on the grass behind the building. Lochte then pulled a framed poster off a wall. Feigen denied that he or his teammates damaged the bathroom door or entered the bathroom at all.

When the swimmers returned to their taxi, armed security guards made them get out of the cab and sit on the ground, accusing them of vandalizing the bathroom and ordering them to pay for the damage.

“This was the first time I have ever had a gun pointed at me and I was terrified,” Feigen said in his apology, adding: “It became apparent that the man with the gun was telling us to pay, and I was unsure if they were affiliated with the gas station. Gunnar Bentz and I gave the man some money.”

When Lochte started telling people the swimmers were robbed at gunpoint, local police showed up and took a statement. Feigen said he did not tell authorities that the swimmers urinated on the ground or that Lochte pulled down the poster.

“I realize that I made a mistake for omitting these facts,” Feigen said. “I was trying to protect my teammates and for this I apologize.”

Feigen’s passport later was seized and he was taken to a Brazilian court, where he was given the option of remaining in Brazil for at least a month while the investigation continued, or paying a fine of $31,250 and performing 15 days of community service. Eventually a deal was struck in which Feigen paid a $10,800 fine and was allowed to fly home.

— Josh Hamilton’s return to the Rangers ended with a thud Tuesday as the team placed the injured outfielder on unconditional release waivers. However, the move was made with the hope that Hamilton will attend spring training and attempt to regain a roster spot. As per MLB rules, Hamilton had to be waived by the end of August or else he would not be eligible to play for Texas until after May 15 next season.

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Billy Butler, Danny Valencia fined by Athletics after clubhouse altercation leaves Butler on concussion list

08.23.16 at 11:16 am ET
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The Athletics fined third baseman Danny Valencia and designated hitter Billy Butler after a reported clubhouse fight between the two that forced Butler to the seven-day concussion list.

According to John Shea and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, two witnesses said the altercation was over an endorsement contract that Valencia lost due to Butler. The incident happened before batting practice on Friday, when an equipment rep questioned Valencia regarding off-brand spikes in his locker. Valencia said he only used those cleats during batting practice and pregame workouts, and Butler jumped in and said Valencia was lying, often wearing the off-brand cleats in games.

After the rep left, witnesses said Valencia confronted Butler and said, “Don’t you ever loud-talk me in front of a rep. That was wrong.” Butler said, “I can say whatever I want, and your [expletive] isn’t going to do anything about it.”

The sources said that the men bumped heads and began pushing one another, with Valencia drilling Butler in the temple. Butler has not played since the incident, and Valencia sat out Saturday’s game.

“There was an altercation in the clubhouse, we’re aware of it, both players have been disciplined and fined and we’re moving past it,” A’s general manager David Forst said. “That’s it. From the organization’s standpoint, it’s resolved and we’re moving past it.”

Said Valencia: “You’d like to handle things differently, but we’re handling it in here. As with anyone in the game, you have to overcome obstacles. We all have to persevere in here.”

A’s outfielder Coco Crisp and Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, a former teammate of both Valencia and Butler, tweeted out their support for Valencia on Sunday.


Read More: Billy Butler, danny valencia, Oakland A's,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Dwight Gooden lashes out at former Mets teammate Darryl Strawberry, denies being deathly ill due to drug abuse

08.23.16 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Japan vs Texas, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Canada vs. Mexico, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Iowa vs. Rhode Island, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Australia vs. Curacao, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Tennessee vs. California, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Champions League, Hapoel Be’er-Sheva vs. Celtic, 2:30 p.m. (FSN)
Soccer: Champions League, Moncao vs. Villarreal, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Champions League, Roma vs. Porto, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


NY Daily News 8-23-16— Dwight Gooden insists he has not used cocaine in years and lashed out at Darryl Strawberry following his former Mets teammate’s comments that he is “a complete junkie-addict” whose life is danger. However, Strawberry responded by insisting, “Everyone knows that I’m telling the truth.”

Strawberry and Gooden — back in the spotlight following the release of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “Doc & Darryl” that detailed their accomplishments as well as their fall from grace due to substance abuse — were scheduled to make a public appearance together last week, but Gooden failed to show.

Strawberry then told the New York Daily News that Gooden’s son called to ask for help before the former Cy Young winner dies.

Said Strawberry: “He’s a complete junkie-addict. I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen.”

Gooden responded Monday in multiple interviews — including one with the Daily News outside his Jersey City apartment in which appeared gaunt — and later in a statement, criticizing Strawberry for making “our differences personal, going back to our days with the Mets.”

Said Gooden: “I forgave him for a lot of stuff. I never threw him under the bus, never said anything about him publicly. For him to say that stuff, you have to draw a line somewhere and I guess do a better choice of picking friends.”

Strawberry stood firm later Monday, saying in an ESPN Radio interview: “I just felt like I needed to do this. And regardless what anybody else thinks or they can call me whatever they want to call me. As long I’ve known in my heart that I stepped up to do the right thing to help this man try to save his life, maybe just one day if he gets there and gets a recovery and realizes how good he is, he can come back and say, ‘Thank you, you helped save my life.’ ”

Added Strawberry: “He’s very good at BS-ing, he’s very good at blowing smoke up people’s behinds and telling them what he wants them to hear. If he wants to get well he’s going to have to get real. Because this is crunch time for him. This is public for him. Everyone knows that I’m telling the truth.”

— Disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was dropped by four sponsors on Monday following his false accusation of a robbery at the Rio Olympics.

Speedo, Ralph Lauren, skin-care company Syneron-Candela and mattress maker airweave announced their sponsorships were ending.

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Read More: Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Ryan Lochte, Todd Marinovich

Thinking Out Loud: Success widespread for RI youth baseball teams

08.19.16 at 9:06 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Jack Hamilton.

— It must be the water, right? Or, maybe the coaching has caught on. Whatever it is, Rhode Island Little League Baseball has had an unprecedented run of success, spread over multiple cities and organizations. Warwick North’s appearance in the LLWS marks the third straight year for the Rhode Island champion to win the New England Regional in Bristol, Connecticut, and advance to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

— Since 1980, Cranston (Western), Cumberland (American), Lincoln and Pawtucket (Darlington American) have represented Rhode Island and the New England Region at the World Series.

— Having once coached in the Rhode Island Little League ranks (20 years in the East Bay District 2, in Rumford), I have long thought that for every coach/dad who favors his star/son on one team, or pushes kids past their normal limitations, there are dozens of other supportive parents and coach/dads who try to do things a different way and have success.

— Success is relative, anyway. You don’t need to have coached a team that reaches a World Series to know you’ve made a difference in the life of a young athlete.

— Everyone makes mistakes. The truly successful coaches are the people who learn from those mistakes. There have been, and still are, some really good coaches in Lil’ Rhody.

— And let us not forget the Washington Park Cal Ripken team from Providence, which advanced to the Ripken Major/60 World Series in Ocala, Florida. The Rhode Islanders ended the tournament tied for third overall.

— Not to be left out, the American Legion team from Lincoln, Rhode Island (Upper Deck Post 86/14) reached the American Legion World Series held in North Carolina. The UD team was the first from Rhode Island to win the Northeast Regional and earn a Series berth since 1980, and finished its season with a 34-6 record.

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Bills DT Marcell Dareus claims 4-game suspension is for missed drug test

08.18.16 at 10:38 am ET
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Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus

At Bills training camp on Wednesday, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus talked with reporters about his four-game suspension. According to Dareus, the suspension stems from a missed drug test — which contradicts reports Tuesday that it was for a positive marijuana test.

“I really don’t have much to say. Words really don’t mean anything now,” Dareus said after practice Wednesday. “It’s all action. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to come back and do the best I can.”

Dareus missed the first game of last season because of a suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The violation stemmed from May of 2014 when the Alabama State Police arrested Dareus for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. Dareus also made headlines when he crashed his Jaguar into a tree near a busy suburban intersection in the spring of 2014. In April of 2015, the misdemeanor charges were dropped because he reached a plea agreement.

On the field, Dareus had only two sacks last season, but in September the Bills signed Dareus, who was the third overall pick in 2011, to a six-year contract extension worth a reported $104 million.

“We’re going to hold him accountable from here on out. And he’s going to hold himself accountable,” Bills general manager Doug Whaley said. “He’s got to take a step himself. And it’s got to be on him.”

Added coach Rex Ryan: “There’s going to be some people that are cynical of him. There’s going to be people that will never give him the benefit of the doubt anymore. But for the majority of people, it’s more of a show-me thing. And I believe that moving forward this young man will learn from this experience and become a better person for it.

“We all care a great deal for Marcell. We want to see this be a thing that’s behind him once and for all, that this never happens again to him.”

Dareus will miss games against the Ravens, Jets, Cardinals and Patriots. The Bills defense could desperately use Dareus because rookies Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland have suffered major injuries and veteran Manny Lawson reportedly faces a one-game suspension.

Corbin Bryant is expected to start in place of Dareus. Last season, Bryant started nine of the final 10 games because of a season-ending knee injury to Kyle Williams.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Brazilian authorities take tough stance with U.S. swimmers; British organizers warn athletes after another alleged robbery at gunpoint

08.18.16 at 8:02 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Brewers at Cubs, 2:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Indians, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mets at Giants, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball World Series: Mid-Atlantic vs. New England, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Mexico vs. Latin America, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Australia vs. Europe-Africa, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Northwest vs. Southeast, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Eagles at Steelers, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)
NFL preseason: Vikings at Seahawks, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
Olympics: Women’s volleyball semifinals, United States vs. Serbia, noon (NBC)
Olympics: Women’s basketball semifinals, United States vs. France, 6 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Track and field, 8 p.m. (NBC)


— Authorities in Rio de Janeiro continued their aggressive stance with the four U.S. swimmers who claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint Sunday while riding back to the Olympic village in a taxi, pulling two of them off a plane Wednesday evening and ordering them to provide testimony before they can leave the country.

According to ESPN, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz declined to speak with investigators upon advice from counsel, although the U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement saying the pair would “continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday.”

Ryan Lochte, who has been the only one of the four to go public with his accusations, told NBC that he has already returned to the United States as originally scheduled. Although Lochte previously interviewed with authorities, a Brazilian judge on Wednesday ordered his passport be held as well — a ruling that appeared to come too late.

The fourth swimmer, Jimmy Feigen, remained in Rio, telling USA Today Sports he was “just trying to give local authorities what they need or what they want and get out of here.”

“It’s a hassle,” Feigen said. “But I’m safe. Everything’s fine. Until this goes in a direction where I can see it, I can’t comment.”

Lochte’s attorney criticized Brazilian authorities for their handling of the incident.

“My opinion is they are trying to use Ryan’s situation to use as a scapegoat to show that things down there are not as bad as it looks,” Jeff Ostrow told ESPN. “These types of things have happened with other people … but they don’t take half the interest they do with Ryan.”

— Meanwhile, the British track and field team discouraged its athletes from leaving the Olympic village after a British Olympic Association member reportedly was robbed at gunpoint during a night out in Rio.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Frustrated Bills ‘disappointed’ with DT Marcell Dareus after another NFL suspension

08.17.16 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Giants, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: U.S. Open Cup semifinal, FC Dallas at Galaxy, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Olympics: Women’s volleyball, United States vs. Poland, 1 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s basketball, United States vs. Argentina, 5:45 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Track and field, 8 p.m. (NBC)


Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus

— The bad news continued for Rex Ryan’s Bills on Tuesday, as veteran defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was suspended four games by the NFL, reportedly for a positive marijuana test. It’s the second year in a row Dareus was suspended, frustrating team ownership.

“We are very disappointed Marcell chose to put himself first, before his teammates, coaches, the rest of the organization, and fans through his recent actions,” the Bills said in a statement. “From ownership down we have made it clear his behavior is unacceptable. We will continue to take the necessary steps to work with him in order that he adheres to the policies set forth by our league.”

Dareus, a two-time Pro Bowler who signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension last September, previously was suspended for the first game of last season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, related to his 2014 arrest in Alabama for criminal possession of a controlled substance. According to Pro Football Talk, the 26-year-old will forfeit more than $3 million as part of his latest punishment.

Dareus apologized in an Instagram post, writing: With deepest regrets I want to apologize to the @BuffaloBills organization, my fans, my family and the entire NFL football community for the incident that led to me missing 4 games for the upcoming 2016-2017 season. I will not #makeexcuses for the events in question and will allow the process to proceed as is required by the @NFL; however, please know and understand I am committed to the game and am more committed to my #Billsorganization and fans. This temporary setback will only fuel my desire and commitment to bring #Buffalochampionships and the #SuperBowl. I ask at this time that you continue to #believe in me and I will continue to invest all that I have to bring honor and respect to the organization and my fans and ultimately bring #Buffalomafia what it deserves – a #SuperBowl! Thank you for continuing to support me – I will rise above this setback, as with every challenge brings an opportunity for growth and supreme #success!

The Bills defense also will be without starting outside linebacker Shaq Lawson (offseason shoulder surgery) for at least the first six weeks of the season, starting inside linebacker Reggie Ragland is done for the year after tearing his ACL in training camp, and veteran linebacker Manny Lawson reportedly is facing a one-game suspension under the league’s personal conduct policy. On the other side of the ball, running back Karlos Williams also was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

If Lawson’s suspension goes through, the Bills would have to pay a $250,000 fine for having three players suspended in the same year as per the NFL’s remittance policy.

— Police in Rio have been looking into claims by U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte that he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning while heading back to the athletes village in a taxi, but a police official told The Associated Press little evidence has been found and the swimmers — who Lochte acknowledged were intoxicated at the time — were unable to provide key details.

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Read More: Bruce Arians, Marcell Dareus, Ryan Lochte,