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Derek Jeter is reportedly buying the Marlins

04.25.17 at 3:42 pm ET
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Derek Jeter reportedly won a bid Tuesday to buy the Marlins.  (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)

Derek Jeter reportedly won a bid Tuesday to buy the Marlins. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)

Derek Jeter is taking his talents to South Beach.

Bloomberg reports the ex-Yankees great and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have won an auction to buy the Marlins. The value of their bid is unknown.

Earlier Tuesday, Forbes said the Jeter-Bush ticket was “running around trying to look for money.” Other bidders included a team headed by Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg, and ex-Braves hurler Tom Glavine. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria almost sold the team to the Kushner family two months ago, but the deal fell through. Around the same time, Loria was also rumored to be named Ambassador to France. Jared Kushner is married to Ivanka Trump and serves as a special advisor to the President.

The loathsome Loria, who once dropped the Marlins payroll to $20 million, could receive nearly $1 billion from the sale. He bought the Marlins in 2002 for $158 million. Forbes says the franchise is currently valued at $940 million.

While 75 percent of owners need to approve the ownership change, it likely won’t be a problem for Jeter and Bush. Assuming the sale goes through, the failed Republican presidential candidate will finally have something to clap about.

 

Read More: Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush, Miami Marlins,

Report: ESPN layoffs could be worse than expected

04.25.17 at 12:38 pm ET
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ESPN layoffs could be announced as early as tomorrow. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

ESPN layoffs could be announced as early as tomorrow. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

It’s been reported for some time ESPN will undergo massive layoffs this spring. But the damage might be worse than expected.

According to the Sporting News’ Michael McCarthy, the WorldWide Leader could slash 70 employees, most of whom are on-air talent or digital reporters. This is a larger figure than the original estimation of 40-50 cuts, which media reporter James Andrew Miller mentioned last month on Richard Deitsch’s Sports Illustrated podcast.

Citing multiple sources, McCarthy says ESPN’s campus was “eerily silent” Tuesday and that it’s the “dead calm before the storm.” ESPN staff writer Paul Kuharsky, who covers the Titans, was laid off Monday.

On Facebook Tuesday, Deitsch said the majority of layoffs could come as early as Wednesday. Disney holds its second-quarter earnings call May 9.

The Sporting News also reports many ESPN anchors are offering to take pay cuts so they can keep their jobs at the network. The company is reportedly offering talent the choice to walk away with 50 percent of their pay, or hold out for what they’re owed and likely be sidelined from TV.

It’s no secret that ESPN has been hemorrhaging subscribers. In February 2011, the network was available in more than 100 million households. As of December 2016, that number was down to 88.4 million. The decreased advertising revenue coming out of Bristol is one of the reasons why Disney, ESPN’s parent company, reported lower-than-anticipated first quarter earnings earlier this year.

On the Deitsch podcast, Miller also mapped out what he thinks ESPN’s new weekday lineup will look like. Following the re-airing of Neil Everett and Stan Verrett’s west coast “SportsCenter,” he expects Mike Greenberg to host his own variety show from 7-10 a.m. Miller said he believes Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre will get their own afternoon show, with the afternoon block of programming staying in place along with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith’s “SC:6.” Scott Van Pelt’s solo “SportsCenter” would still air at midnight following live game coverage.

Read More: ESPN,

Bart Hubbuch wrote maybe the most boring hit piece ever on Robert Kraft

04.25.17 at 11:43 am ET
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Robert Krafts sits on the board of a private-equity firm that owns shares in Caesars Entertainment. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports

Robert Krafts sits on the board of a private-equity firm that owns shares in Caesars Entertainment. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports

NFL reporter Bart Hubbuch, who was fired from the New York Post last year for comparing Donald Trump’s inauguration to September 11 and Pearl Harbor, wrote what appears to be a bombshell story about Robert Kraft brazenly defying NFL rules. The headline, “This is the story about Robert Kraft’s casino holdings that Rupert Murdoch’s paper never ran,” implies a massive cover-up between two Trump-loving billionaires to hide the Patriots owner’s unsavory business dealings. In other words, it’s the equivalent of crack cocaine to Deadspin’s left-leaning and Patriots-hating audience.

Except, the content of the article doesn’t live up to the grandiose headline. It might be one of the most boring hit pieces ever written.

Here’s the crux of the story: Since 2014, Kraft has sat on the board of directors for the Manhattan private-equity giant Apollo Global Management. At the time of Kraft’s arrival, Apollo owned a 60 percent stake in Caesars Entertainment, which operates 50 casinos and horse-racing tracks around the globe. Due to bankruptcy proceedings, Apollo now only retains a 16 percent share in the entertainment conglomerate.

According to NFL policy, league personnel can’t own more than five percent of a company’s stock and “serve as an officer or director” of a company that generates revenue from “gambling-related” operations. Since Apollo is financially tied to Caesars, and Kraft sits on the firm’s board, he appears to be in violation of one portion of the rule. But yet, commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t doing anything about it.

To further prove his point about how Kraft is getting away with this supposedly egregious act, Hubbuch points to the persecuted Tim Rooney, the son of Steelers founder Art J. Rooney. In 2008, the NFL forced Tim Rooney to sell his entire stake in the team, because one of the companies he owned, Yonkers Raceway, received a gambling license.

Of course, there’s a difference between heading a company that obtains a gambling license and sitting on the board of a private-equity firm that owns a 16 percent stake in a corporation that operates casinos. In a statement provided to Deadspin, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Kraft isn’t overstepping his bounds, because of his “small investment” in Apollo.

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Read More: Bart Hubbuch, Robert Kraft,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Residents hold vigil for Aaron Hernandez in Bristol, Connecticut; Brandon Spikes, Pouncey brothers attend funeral

04.25.17 at 9:41 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Tuesday 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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tampa Bay at Baltimore, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: NY Yankees at Boston, 7:10 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Oklahoma City at Houston, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Memphis at San Antonio, 9 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Utah at LA Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Residents of Aaron Hernandez’s Connecticut hometown held a candlelight vigil for the former NFL star, who committed suicide in prison last week. Approximately 200 people attended the vigil in Bristol on Monday night after Hernandez’s private funeral took place in the same town earlier that day. Members of the community gathered for the vigil in front of the football field where Hernandez played as a child.

“This is our way of being able to say our final goodbyes,” said Malique Ritchon, a cousin of Hernandez. “Anybody that may have went to school with him, played against him, played with him, even people that watched him play on the field.”

These members of the Bristol community knew Hernandez before his murderous activities and choose to remember him as the person he was while growing up in this town.

“The Aaron that I know was a good kid,” said Sara Vasquez, another family member. “He was my baby brother so I always saw him like a baby. He was a little, how can I say, Dennis the Menace. He would do his little jokes, but he was special.”

Hernandez’s funeral took place at the O’Brien Funeral Home in Bristol Monday afternoon.

Maurkice and Mike Pouncey were in attendance, along with Brandon Spikes and Andre Dixon. Also in attendance were Hernandez’s fiancee Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the couple’s daughter, Hernandez’s mother, Terri, older brother, DJ, and family lawyer Jose Baez. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner,

Should Boston newspapers mention Aaron Hernandez sexuality story?

04.24.17 at 5:08 pm ET
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Neither major Boston daily newspaper has reported on the Aaron Hernandez sexuality story. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Neither major Boston daily newspaper has reported on the Aaron Hernandez sexuality story. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Information about the most lurid portion of the Aaron Hernandez saga can’t be found in the pages of the Boston Globe or Boston Herald. In order to read about it, one must head to New York, where it was plastered on the covers of both tabloids over the weekend.

On Kirk & Callahan last week, Boston-based investigative journalist Michele McPhee first reported how Hernandez’s sexuality may tie into the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting. Citing law enforcement sources, McPhee said Hernandez carried on an intimate relationship with a male high school classmate from Connecticut. Lloyd, who was engaged to the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, knew about the romance.

“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.”

On Friday, McPhee published a story in Newsweek outlining the theory. In it, she writes that one of the three notes Hernandez left in his cell before he hanged himself last week was addressed to his prison boyfriend. The Daily Mail also posted its own piece about the letter and identified the alleged lover.

The New York Daily News and New York Post both picked up on these reports. We’ve covered the story at WEEI, because it’s currently one of the hottest topics on our airwaves.

A judge ruled Monday the Hernandez family will receive copies of his suicide notes, so perhaps the truth about the prison letter will come out. In the meantime, it’s worth examining the legitimacy of the reports regarding his sexuality, and whether the Boston papers are right to ignore them.

Why is there doubt about sexuality reports?

It’s safe to say the Daily Mail doesn’t have a sterling reputation. The tawdry British tabloid recently paid Melania Trump almost $3 million in a libel settlement and was banned on Wikipedia as an “unreliable source.”

Typically, editors need more than the Daily Mail before they green-light stories. That’s where McPhee comes in. A former police bureau chief for the Daily News and Boston Herald, she’s plugged into law enforcement agencies across the region. But so far, she’s the only non-Daily Mail journalist who’s reported on this. A source tells me journalists at the Globe and Herald are digging into it, but haven’t come up with the same information. In an email, Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca said the paper “doesn’t report rumors.” Boston Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan declined comment.

There’s also the theory, perpetuated by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, that police officials are trying to smear Hernandez in order to distract from any possible investigations into his suicide attempt.

What’s believable about the sexuality angle?

Since McPhee is attaching her name to the story, it’s apparent Hernandez’s alleged bisexuality is being discussed in law enforcement circles as a potential motive for the Lloyd murder. In the Newsweek piece, McPhee says the disgraced ex-NFL star’s high school friend was even forced to testify in front of a grand jury.

She’s also been right about other aspects of the suicide. McPhee reported the tidbit on Wednesday about Hernandez writing “John 3:16″ on his forehead in red marker before he died. In a tweet Monday, she said the lawyer for Hernandez’s alleged partner in prison confirms there was a note in the cell addressed to his client.

Rumors about Hernandez’s sexuality have apparently circulated among police officials for a couple of years. Retired police sergeant Dic Donohue, who was injured in the Boston Marathon gun battle, tweeted Sunday he knew about it “for a while.”

There’s also the curious absence of information about the third suicide note. State officials confirmed last week Hernandez left three handwritten letters in his cell. The Globe and Herald both cite law enforcement sources who say Hernandez addressed two of those messages to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and four-year-old daughter, Avielle. McPhee and the Daily Mail have those details as well. Neither Boston paper, however, references the third letter in any story.

If the unidentified note contains sensitive information, such as a look into Hernandez’s sexuality, perhaps the state would hold off on revealing it. The alleged boyfriend is reportedly under suicide watch, which would likely further complicate matters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Boston Globe, Boston Herald,

Robert Kraft reportedly serves as unofficial advisor to Donald Trump

04.24.17 at 2:14 pm ET
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Donald Trump honored the Patriots at a White House ceremony last week. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump honored the Patriots at a White House ceremony last week. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Robert Kraft is close friends with Donald Trump. The Patriots owner donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund and has even taken a ride on Air Force One. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that Kraft may serve as an unofficial advisor to the President.

The New York Times published a report over the weekend detailing the cadre of friends and associates who Trump regularly phones for advice. Most of them, much like Trump himself, are older white men with sizable wealth.

Several of the confidants, including inaugural committee chairman Thomas Barrack Jr. and economic counselor Carl Icahn, are longtime friends of Trump who supported him throughout the campaign. The conservative media establishment is represented, too. Fox News host Sean Hannity, 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch and Newsmax Media chief executive Chris Ruddy reportedly console the President and offer advice on a regular basis.

The article says Kraft, a longtime Democrat, is an established presence at Mar-a-Lago Resort and often conversed with Trump about the Patriots during football season. Their friendship dates back several decades, but intensified in 2011 shortly after Kraft’s wife, Myra, passed away. Trump called Kraft once per week for the next year to lift his spirits.

“When Myra died, Melania [Trump] and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me,” Kraft said earlier this year, via the New York Daily News. “Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out. He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits. He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.”

Read More: Donald Trump, Robert Kraft,

Report: Aaron Hernandez’s gay prison lover has been identified

04.24.17 at 12:15 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez's sexuality was reportedly at the center of the investigation into the Odin Lloyd murder. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s sexuality was reportedly at the center of the investigation into Odin Lloyd’s murder. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez left three handwritten notes next to a bible in his prison cell before he hanged himself last week. The Daily Mail reports they were addressed to his fiancee, four-year-old daughter and gay prison lover. The identity of Hernandez’s alleged partner has now been revealed.

Citing sources, the Daily Mail says the disgraced ex-NFL star’s prison boyfriend was Kyle Kennedy, a 22-year-old Worcester native who’s serving time for armed robbery. According to the British tabloid, Hernandez gifted Kennedy a $50,000 watch and other property before he took his own life. Kennedy is reportedly under suicide watch.

Daily Mail reporters went to the Kennedy’s suburban home seeking comment, but his father chased them away.

The Milford Daily News covered Kennedy’s early morning robbery of a Cumberland Farms gas station in Northbridge when he was arrested in January 2015. During the burglary, Kennedy was sporting a black mask and wielded a butcher knife. Police handcuffed him after a high-speed chase.

Kennedy set up a profile on a website titled “Write Your Prisoner,” asking for pen pals so he can “possibly build friendships with people from around the world.” His hobbies include racing motocross and “doing anything that includes the outdoors.” His earliest release date is March 1, 2018.

On Kirk & Callahan last week, Boston-based investigate journalist Michele McPhee first 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.”

A judge ruled Monday copies of the former Patriot tight end’s suicide notes will be given to his family. Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for the 2013 Odin Lloyd slaying, was recently acquitted on double-murder charges for a Boston shooting, five days before he was found dead in his prison cell last week.

Author’s note: this post was updated to include the news about Hernandez’s family receiving copies of his suicide notes. 

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

Katie Nolan calls Sean Hannity a ‘literal f****** moron’ during feisty Twitter spat

04.24.17 at 11:18 am ET
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Fox News host and Donald Trump lapdog Sean Hannity often spars with the vaunted mainstream political press. But he set his sights towards Katie Nolan this weekend, after the FS1 personality called him a “literal f***** moron.”

The exchange started when Hannity lambasted the New York Times, which published a story Saturday about Trump’s habit of phoning friends outside of the White House for strategic advice. Hannity, who’s been one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, was listed as a trusted confidante to the President. The right-wing firebrand didn’t take kindly to his inclusion in the piece, accusing the National Security Agency of surveilling and unmasking him –– an apparent reference to reports that former NSA head Susan Rice asked for the identities of some Trump associates whose conversations were caught on surveillance.

Maggie Haberman, one of the authors of the story, fired back at Hannity.

But Haberman’s rebuttal was nothing compared to Nolan’s reaction. The former “Garbage Time” host dug right into her Fox cohort, unleashing a stream of insults. This prompted Hannity to take a shot at Nolan’s career.

When Hannity stopped engaging Saturday night, Nolan went after tweeters who were taunting her with sexist remarks.

Hannity appeared to express contrition Sunday, saying he has “ZERO problem” with Nolan “being real.” While Nolan and Hannity work for different networks, FS1 and Fox News are both owned by 21st Century Fox.

Though “Garbage Time” is on indefinite hiatus, FS1 says they have big plans for Nolan. Earlier this year, the Sporting News reported the station is developing several new TV shows for the feisty commentator. Perhaps Hannity could be her first guest.

Read More: Katie Nolan,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Donte Stallworth believes Tom Brady and Donald Trump are still friends; Asking price for Aaron Hernandez mansion drops

04.24.17 at 9:05 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Monday 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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: LA Dodgers at San Francisco, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Milwaukee at Toronto, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Washington at Atlanta, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Golden State at Portland, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

— When Tom Brady skipped the Patriots’ trip to the White House last week, he said it was due to personal reasons. He posted a picture of his parents on Instagram for their anniversary and it is known his mother, Galynn, is battling cancer.

However, some speculated he missed the event because his wife, Gisele, is not a fan of Donald Trump and then that Trump was angry with Brady for not attending after Trump did not mention Brady during the ceremony. Donte Stallworth spoke with TMZ this weekend and said this is not the case and Brady did miss the trip to spend time with his mom.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t any other circumstance,” Stallworth said. ” … This is a very trying time for not just [Brady’s mom] obviously, but for his whole family so I would caution people against speculating before they know all the facts of what’s actually happening.”

He also said he does not believe this has affected Brady’s friendship with Trump.

“I think their relationship will probably be fine,” Stallworth said. “I don’t necessarily believe that the President would have intentionally taken a shot at– he’s very big on loyalty and I know that he and Brady have been close for a very long time.”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Donald Trump, Donte Stallworth, Tom Brady

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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