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Thinking out loud: Celtics need to start playing defense

04.21.17 at 5:56 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to home court/ice advantage?

— Defense, anyone?

— The Celtics’ lack of defensive effort was never this obvious during the regular season. But then again, this Celtics’ team relied pretty much on the play of one person (hello, Isaiah Thomas) to get them to 50 wins.

— When you have the equivalent of 82 one-game seasons, you can get away with masking your shortcomings. In a seven game (or less) series, there is no running, no hiding from your opponent, or their ability to match up and beat you up.

— Are the Celtics a top seeded team? Not on your life. They just happened to end up with the best overall record in the East. Cleveland showed us all a week or so ago who the best team is in the conference. The equivalent of basketball fools’ gold.

— The NBA Eastern Conference regular season is a complete sham, really. How else do you explain the ease with which 8th seeded Chicago whacks #1 Boston – especially on the backboards? The C’s are the first top seed to lose the first two games of a series to the bottom seed since the first-round expanded to seven games.

— Rondo’s revenge? Pretty much. I can see why he’d be ultra-motivated. And now he’s got a broken thumb? Maybe he’s getting out at the right time.

— I realize Brad Stevens isn’t much of a screamer, a non-emotional type. But maybe the guy is 2-10 in the post-season (going into Friday) for a reason? Maybe laying into someone every so often would send a different message? ‘Cuz I can think of a couple of guys who could use a good attitude adjustment right about now.

— It’s a nice achievement for this Boston team to win 50 games in the regular season, sure. The team is still a work-in-progress, and the immediate future is all positive. But now? They’re frauds. It’s better to win in the playoffs, or have we forgotten about that part?

— I’ve long thought the NBA game has steadily digressed over the past 30 years. It has. And the Celtics are a perfect example of what a lack of fundamentals will do to you. No defense, no rebounding, no answers. Chuck it up, and hope for the best.

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Report: Aaron Hernandez left note to gay prison lover before death

04.21.17 at 3:51 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez reportedly had a gay prison lover. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez reportedly had a gay prison lover. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

State officials say Aaron Hernandez left three handwritten notes next to a bible in his cell before he hanged himself this week. One of them was reportedly addressed to a gay prison lover.

The Daily Mail quotes a source close to the investigation who says the disgraced ex-NFL star was intimately involved with another inmate at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. The article says the other two letters were addressed to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and four-year-old daughter, Avielle, corroborating an earlier report from the Boston Herald’s Chris Villani.

The source also alleges the bible in the cell was open to John 3:16, which is the same verse that officials say was written on Hernandez’s forehead in red marker.

According to the Daily Mail’s source, the convicted murderer’s gay lover is the last person he spoke to before he ended his life. The man is now reportedly under “eyeball to eyeball” suicide watch.

On Kirk & Callahan Thursday, Boston-based investigate journalist Michele McPhee reported Hernandez was in a relationship with a male high school classmate from Connecticut prior to the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting. She says Lloyd’s alleged knowledge of the romance may have played a role in his murder.

“There was a relationship with somebody from his high school years,” McPhee said. “That may have provided –– and this was one of the investigative theories in the beginning –– because they got information from Ernest Wallace that perhaps –– and remember, Ernest Wallace was the guy who ditched the gun –– they had information from him that one of the motives is Odin Lloyd used a derogatory term for gay people in front of Aaron Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd had knowledge because of this relationship he had with the man in Connecticut.”

Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence for Lloyd’s slaying. He was acquitted last Friday on double-murder charges for a 2012 Boston shooting, five days before he was found dead in his prison cell early Wednesday morning. Jenkins Hernandez is suing the Department of Correction in an effort to get the state to produce Hernandez’s writings and other contents from his cell.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

Is the Trump-Brady bromance over? It sure seems like it

04.21.17 at 1:13 pm ET
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The Patriots presented Donald Trump with an honorary No. 45 jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots presented Donald Trump with an honorary No. 45 jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump couldn’t stop talking about Tom Brady while he was campaigning for president. But at the Patriots White House ceremony this week, he didn’t mention Brady once.

What’s up with that?

According to TMZ, Trump is miffed Brady elected to skip the event. “When Donald Trump feels betrayed, it’s over,” said a source.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Brady said he wasn’t making the trip to Washington D.C. due to “personal family matters.” The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports Brady was spending time with his mother, Gaylnn, who was in town. She’s currently battling an illness.

While no rational person could criticize Brady for choosing to be with his family, the timing of his announcement was curious. The statement was released Wednesday morning, just hours before the Patriots were expected to be at the White House with President Trump. Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen, also posted a now-deleted tweet promoting an anti-Trump climate change rally shortly after the announcement was made.

Brady and Bündchen appear to hold dramatically different opinions of Trump. Throughout the 2015 season, Brady supported the billionaire’s then-longshot candidacy, calling him a “good friend” in the wake of several controversies. In return, Trump routinely touted his relationship with Brady on the campaign trail.

When asked on WEEI about his ties to Trump, Brady explained the bombastic real estate mogul has always been kind to him.

“He’s always been so supportive of me — for the last 15 years, since I judged a beauty pageant for him, which was one of the very first things that I did that thought was really cool,” Brady said. “That came along with winning the Super Bowl. He’s always invited me to play golf. I’ve always enjoyed his company.”

But last season, after Trump won the Republican nomination, Brady seemed less willing to talk about his longtime pal. In fact, he even ended a press conference after a reporter brought up Trump’s leaked “Access Hollywood” tape, in which the President brags about groping women.

Given the immense amount of criticism Brady received for his friendship with Trump, it’s possible the controversy-averse quarterback decided it was best to drop the subject. But Trump wouldn’t let him. On the night before the election, he told a crowd in New Hampshire Brady had voted for him.

“Great guy,” Trump said. “Great friend of mine. Great, great champion. Unbelievable winner. He called today and he said, ‘Donald, I support you. You’re my friend and I voted for you.’ I want to tell you this guy is a champ and he is a winner and he is a great person. So I said, ‘Tom, you voted for me, you support me, am I allowed to say it tonight to this massive crowd in New Hampshire?’ He said, ‘If you want to say it, you can say it.’”

Brady didn’t echo that message when his vote was brought up on Kirk & Callahan the following week. “I’m not talking politics anymore,” he said. “I’ve got other things to worry about. Just speaking with my family, it’s a bad idea.”

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Read More: Donald Trump, Tom Brady,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tiger Woods undergoes another back surgery; Ronda Rousey engaged to Travis Browne

04.21.17 at 9:49 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Friday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
MLB: Washington at NY Mets, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Boston at Chicago, 7 p.m. (CSN, ESPN)
NBA: Houston at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: LA Clippers at Utah, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Toronto at Washington, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Boston at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m. (NESN, USA)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Tiger Woods announced in a statement posted on his website Thursday he underwent another successful back surgery in Texas on Wednesday and is now recovering.

“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said in his statement. “When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”

This is the 41-year-old’s fourth back surgery. He has also had four surgeries on his left knee. He has made only three starts in the past two years and will not play again this season and should probably just retire.

Woods will now rest “for several weeks” and is expected to return to physical activity in approximately six months.

“I would like to thank all the fans for staying in touch and their kind wishes,” Woods concluded his statement. “The support I have received has never waned, and it really helps.”

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Read More: Ronda Rousey, Tiger Woods,

Recapping K&C’s trip to Washington D.C., White House

04.20.17 at 1:28 pm ET
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Kirk & Callahan made it to the White House. (WEEI)

Kirk & Callahan made it to the White House. (WEEI)

Listeners of the Kirk and Callahan morning show turned their dials to their respective WEEI affiliates Wednesday morning to hear co-hosts Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan recap what appeared to be a strenuous night of travel before accompanying the Patriots on their trip to the White House in Washington D.C.

The top of Wednesday’s show led with just that, as the guys talked about how the Uber driver was ignoring producer Chris Curtis because he didn’t understand him and K&C delved into the uphill climb the Celtics now face down 0-2 to the Bulls in their first-round playoff matchup.

Gerry even told producer Ken Laird that he loved him after Ken went home for a few days and Jet Striar filled in. Perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder.

That was before the tail end of the first segment, when news first broke on Twitter that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez apparently committed suicide in his jail cell in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Kirk and Gerry were forced to turn away from what appeared to be a show loaded with inside radio and the Patriots’ trip to the White House and instead shift to the biggest news story on the country.

“Aaron Hernandez is dead, which means we are off the hook,” Callahan said moments after the news broke. “We don’t have to live through more appeals. We don’t have to put the families though more appeals. We don’t have to listen to sleaze bags like Jose Baez [Aaron Hernandez’s defense attorney] anymore.”

“Is this the wildest story of all-time, from beginning to end?” Kirk asked. “I obviously have no sympathy for Shayanna Jenkins [Hernandez’s fiancee] this morning. But it is, as you would say, a fascinating story from beginning to end. It’s unbelievable. This guy was ready to be a Hall of Famer. I mean, really. He was going to catch 500-600 passes for the Patriots. And he pissed it all away because he wanted to be a gangster.”

“He would rather have been Tony Montana instead of Joe Montana,” Gerry added.

Kirk and Callahan spent the majority of the remaining three and a half hours discussing the death of Hernandez, one that still remains so mysterious and bizarre a day later. Frequent caller and K&C insider Rabbit called in and offered up his theory on the situation.

“I spoke to [Hernandez] yesterday as a matter of fact,” he said. “When you’re a member of a gang, the one thing that they do not tolerate is homosexuality. It’s not allowed. You have to be terminated. He knew it was going to be non-stop trouble for him. [Hernandez] said that the rumors were B.S.”

This was in response to ABC News’ Michele McPhee’s assertion that Hernandez may have been homosexual.

Just when you thought there wouldn’t be any big stories left on the docket for the day, Kirk read the statement from Tom Brady that he would be forgoing his trip to the White House for “personal reasons” in the fourth hour of the show. Brady later Instagrammed a picture of his parents, as Wednesday was their wedding anniversary. Tweets from Mike Reiss and Jeff Howe relayed that Brady’s mother was in Boston for the day and is still struggling with illness.

“It’s as good a theory as any, I don’t know,” Kirk said. “I would not be at all surprised if it involved his mom, but I think [Brady’s] always struggled with this Trump thing anyway.”

“That’s too bad,” Gerry added. “I’m telling you, he just doesn’t want to deal with the backlash. He doesn’t want to deal with it. It is a distraction.”

Things like 9/11, which Gerry and former co-host John Dennis covered when it happened back in 2001, or the Boston Marathon bombing, where Kirk, Gerry and Dino came in while the manhunt was still going on in Watertown, are when the show is truly at its best. Things happen that need to be covered.

As Kirk and Gerry have said, their show is a morning show that covers a wide variety of topics set on a sports station. 95 percent of what they cover is sports, but when certain things call for added attention in the news world, the show does a good job of delegating its coverage to what’s important.

After fielding numerous calls with conspiracy theories as to why Hernandez killed himself and some on Brady’s absence from the team trip to D.C., the real fun got started after the show, as Kirk, Gerry, Curtis and Program Director Joe Zarbano headed to South Lawn and the White House for the Patriots’ ceremony.

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Gisele Bündchen deletes tweet about anti-Trump climate rally

04.20.17 at 1:17 pm ET
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Gisele Bundchen (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Gisele Bundchen is an ardent Donald Trump critic. (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

On the same day Tom Brady backed out of the Patriots’ White House visit, his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen promoted an anti-Trump climate change rally on Twitter. But now, the message has been deleted.

Bündchen’s original tweet was posted at 12:46 p.m.Wednesday, shortly after Brady announced he wasn’t going to accompany his team due to personal reasons. It included a link to a website detailing the People’s Climate March, which is taking place at the capital April 29.

“Everything we have struggled to move forward in the United States is in peril,” the site reads. “Our loved ones feel under siege, and those in power in Washington are advancing a dark and dangerous vision of America that we know is untrue. To change everything, we need everyone.”

After staying up Wednesday morning, the tweet was taken down sometime in the afternoon or early evening. Donald Trump, who talked incessantly about his friendship with Brady during the presidential campaign, didn’t mention the quarterback’s name at the White House ceremony.

This isn’t the first time Bündchen has publicly expressed opposition towards Trump. On Instagram last year, she replied “NO!” when asked if she and Brady were backing his candidacy.

Even though Brady called Trump a “good friend,” he’s seemingly backed away from him in recent months. Following the election, he told Kirk & Callahan Bündchen “wasn’t allowing him to talk politics anymore.”

Read More: Donald Trump, gisele bundchen, Tom Brady,

New York Times apologizes for misleading Patriots White House photos

04.20.17 at 12:01 pm ET
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The Patriots gave Donald Trump an honorary jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots gave Donald Trump an honorary jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The New York Times is falling on the sword for tweeting a misleading pair of photographs comparing attendance from the Patriots’ last two White House visits.

On Tuesday, the Twitter account for New York Times Sports shared a picture from the Patriots’ trip in 2015, when President Barack Obama was in office. Below it, the Times posted a snapshot from Wednesday’s event with Donald Trump, which far fewer players appeared to attend.

The Patriots corrected the Times on Twitter, pointing out staff members were standing on the stairs surrounding Obama in 2015. This year, they were seated on the White House lawn, hence the smaller crowd on stage. Thirty-four players took the trip to Washington D.C.

In a statement issued to Yahoo’s Colin Campbell, the New York Times’ sports editor Jason Stallman admits the tweet was a mistake.

Trump, who seemingly never misses an opportunity to heckle the Times, took a shot at the Gray Lady as well.

Read More: Donald Trump, New England Patriots, New York Times,

Michele McPhee on K&C: Aaron Hernandez may have killed Odin Lloyd after Lloyd used gay slur

04.20.17 at 11:25 am ET
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Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford)

Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford)

Boston-based investigative journalist Michele McPhee says Aaron Hernandez may have killed Odin Lloyd in June 2013 after Lloyd used a gay slur to describe the deceased ex-NFL star.

In an interview on Kirk & Callahan Thursday, McPhee said Hernandez carried on an intimate relationship with a male high school friend from Connecticut. She says investigators believe Lloyd’s knowledge of the romance could have motivated Hernandez to murder.

“There was a relationship with somebody from his high school years,” she said. “That may have provided –– and this was one of the investigative theories in the beginning –– because they got information from Ernest Wallace that perhaps –– and remember, Ernest Wallace was the guy who ditched the gun –– they had information from him that one of the motives is Odin Lloyd used a derogatory term for gay people in front of Aaron Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd had knowledge because of this relationship he had with the man in Connecticut.”

Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday after an apparent suicide attempt, five days after his acquittal in a double murder. While there was some speculation recently resurfaced rumors about his possible homosexuality led Hernandez to kill himself, McPhee says she doubts it.

“I would like to think in 2017 the guilt of having been accused of killing three people and convicted of killing his close friend would weigh heavier than his sexual orientation,” she said. “The only reason that’s even relevant at all is as a motive for the Odin Lloyd crime.”

McPhee went on to explain she’s not the only reporter with knowledge about Hernandez’s sexual orientation.

“You know what infuriates me about the people who are now criticizing that information?,” she asked. “This information is available to any reporter who wants to do the work. There are records, there are phone calls, there are letters. This is common knowledge.”

Given that Hernandez’s behavior suggests he was prone to spontaneous violent outbursts, McPhee says it’s not a stretch to believe he killed Lloyd over a slur. Prosecutors still haven’t attached a clear motive to the shooting four years later.

“You saw how he flies off the handle,” McPhee said. “Those poor guys in Boston who he allegedly killed, they bumped into him and spilled a drink and he shot them. You think if somebody made reference to him having a dual sexual orientation, you think that wouldn’t provoke him?”

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NFL players react to death of Aaron Hernandez; Serena Williams announces pregnancy

04.20.17 at 8:43 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Boston at Toronto, 12:37 p.m. (NESN)
MLB: Cleveland at Minnesota, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Washington at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: 10:30 p.m. Seattle at Oakland, 10:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Cleveland at Indiana, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Toronto at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: San Antonio at Memphis, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Columbus at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: NY Rangers at Montreal, 7 p.m. (USA)
NHL: Chicago at Nashville, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: San Jose at Edmonton, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in prison Wednesday morning and some NFL players reacted to the news on social media.

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Serena Williams,

Robert Kraft is far from only NFL owner who supports Donald Trump

04.19.17 at 4:18 pm ET
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Robert Kraft lavished praise on Donald Trump at the Patriots' White House ceremony. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Robert Kraft lavished praise on Donald Trump at the Patriots’ White House ceremony. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

At the Patriots’ White House ceremony Wednesday, Donald Trump commended Robert Kraft for building an “extraordinary organization.” In return, Kraft praised Trump for his “mental toughness,” comparing his improbable election victory to the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl comeback.

It was a wet kiss between two billionaires.

Over the last two years, a lot has been written about the Patriots’ ties to Trump. He frequently mentioned them on the campaign trial, and has tweeted out his support for the team over the years as well.

Belichick’s friendship with the President was on display Wednesday, too, when Trump recounted the story behind the infamous endorsement letter. Apparently, Belichick didn’t just give Trump permission to read the message at a campaign rally. He sent him a second note, complete with fawning superlatives.

“You know what he did? He toned it way up,” Trump explained. “He made that the greatest letter.”

On top of it all, newly disclosed FEC filings show Kraft’s firm donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund. These two are practically attached at the hip.

While that may be true, it’s important to remember other NFL owners financially backed Trump as well. Perhaps none are closer to him than Woody Johnson, who was vice chairman of Trump’s victory committee and was chosen to serve as Ambassador to the U.K. Johnson also gave $1 million to the inauguration.

In total, eight NFL owners collectively donated millions of dollars to Trump’s inaugural efforts. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Texans owner Bob McNair and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan all chipped in $1 million. Rams head honcho Stan Kroenke and Buccaneers co-owner Ed Glazer supported the fund as well.

Despite riding a populist message to the White House, Trump has surrounded himself with the wealthiest cabinet in U.S. history. It’s not surprising that Kraft and Trump, two of the richest people in the country, have been friends for decades. Billionaires tend to pal around together.

Belichick is far from the only coach who’s a Trump backer, too. Rex Ryan and Mike Ditka both campaigned with him.

With Tom Brady absent, and conspicuously not mentioned, Trump dedicated ample time to praising Kraft and Belichick. But if another NFL team were there, especially if it was owned by one of Trump’s other big backers, a similar scene probably would’ve unfolded.

But since the Patriots were at the White House, Kraft was singled out. Remember, though, he’s far from the only Trump supporting owner in the NFL –– even if the commentary makes him sound like it.

Read More: Donald Trump, Robert Kraft,