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Sarah Palin takes shot at Colin Kaepernick for his Meals on Wheels donation

03.22.17 at 10:13 am ET
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Colin Kaepernick remains a lightning rod in NFL circles. (Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick remains a lightning rod in NFL circles. (Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports)

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump took a shot at Colin Kaepernick, proclaiming his Twitter wrath is dissuading teams from signing the former 49ers quarterback.

Now former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is following suit.

In an article posted on Palin’s official website, writer Mary Kate Knorr calls Kaepernick’s Meals on Wheels donation a “political stunt.” Kaepernick recently gave $50,000 to the program, which delivers food for seniors and faces significant cuts under Trump’s proposed budget.

On Facebook, Palin implied Kaepernick’s political activism is the reason he’s still a free agent. “And he wonders why he can’t find a job,” she wrote as a teaser to the piece.

There seems to be a lot of truth to Palin’s comments. According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, 70 percent of NFL teams “genuinely hate” Kaepernick, because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem last year to protest racial discrimination and police brutality. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this month the quarterback will stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” this season.

While Kaepernick’s protest may be over, it’s clear he remains committed to social advocacy. Last week, he also donated $50,000 to help fly supplies to famine-ravaged Somalia.

Read More: Colin Kaepernick,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Punches thrown in Bulls-Raptors game

03.22.17 at 9:51 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Wednesday 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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: NY Yankees vs. Philadelphia, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
World Baseball Classic: Puerto Rico vs. USA, 9 p.m. (ESPN2, MLB Network)
NBA: Indiana at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN, WBZ-FM 98.5)
NBA: Atlanta at Washington, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: New York at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: NY Islanders at NY Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Bakersfield at UT Arlington, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— In a rare NBA occurrence, punches were thrown during the Bulls-Raptors game Tuesday night.

Chicago’s Robin Lopez and Toronto’s Serge Ibaka were both ejected after the physical fight broke out in the third quarter of the game at Air Canada Centre.

It started when Ibaka threw an elbow at Lopez after a shot made by Jimmy Butler. Lopez responded by grabbing the ball out of Ibaka’s hand and tempers exploded.

Lopez threw a punch at Ibaka’s head and Ikaka punched back, slightly swiping Ibaka.

Teammates and coaches rushed to calm the chaos and pulled the players apart. Both were immediately tossed from the game.

“What happened is we were playing physical basketball and he got frustrated,” Ibaka said after the game. “That thing happened where you just start pushing each other, like always happens when there’s contact, and then he throws a punch. You know, like a man, I had to defend myself. I’m not just going to be out there and watch a man like him punch me and just walk away. I had to defend myself.”

Lopez also declined to take blame for the incident.

“Things got heated, we exchanged a few words and it kind of went from there,” Lopez said. “I’m not too surprised [that it escalated]. It happens sometimes.”

As far as punishment from the league, Lopez believes he will be suspended, but Ibaka doesn’t think he should get the same punishment since he didn’t throw the first punch.

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Read More: Robin Lopez, Serge Ibaka,

Bill Simmons appears to chastise former Grantland colleague Jonah Keri for ‘stealing his idea’

03.21.17 at 3:10 pm ET
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One of Bill Simmons’ signature pieces is his annual NBA trade value column. In it, he ranks the most valuable players in the league.

And now he says his former Grantland colleague, Jonah Keri, is stealing it from him.

In a tweet Tuesday, Simmons appears to chastise Keri for publishing an MLB trade value column on Sports Illustrated. Keri first started applying the concept to baseball players when he worked under Simmons, who served as Grantland’s editor-in-chief.

It’s possible Simmons is tweeting in jest. For starters, Keri wrote the same article on SI last year, and Simmons didn’t comment publicly. He also gives Simmons credit at the end of the piece, along with Fangraph’s Dave Cameron, who writes a similar column on his website.

“Thanks as always to Bill Simmons, who came up with the idea to rank all NBA players by trade value many years ago and urged me to start an MLB Trade Value series. Special shoutout to FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron, who’s been doing his own MLB rankings for the past several years,” Keri writes.

Given Simmons’ history of petty feuds, it wouldn’t be shocking if he were genuinely peeved. If that’s the case, he has little ground to stand on, considering ranking players based on their trade value is far from an original concept.

Perhaps Simmons is still stewing over the cancellation of his HBO talk show, “Any Given Wednesday,” which was discontinued last year after just 25 episodes.

Read More: Bill Simmons,

Colin Kaepernick appears to be blackballed from the NFL, and that’s shameful

03.21.17 at 2:20 pm ET
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Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this month. (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this month. (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career probably wouldn’t be in jeopardy if he was busted for a DUI last year. But since he kneeled during the national anthem to protest discrimination and police brutality, he might be ostracized from the league. There’s something gross about that.

The speculation surrounding the reasons for Kaepernick’s unemployment reached a fever pitch last week, when Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman quoted an anonymous AFC general manager who said 70 percent of NFL teams “genuinely hate him.” On Instagram Sunday, filmmaker Spike Lee posted a picture with Kaepernick, blaming his prolonged free agency on “subterfuge” and “skullduggery.” President Donald Trump, meanwhile, says he thinks his Twitter wrath is keeping the former 49ers quarterback sidelined.

“It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” he said Monday at a rally in Kentucky. “Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”

Kaepernick’s proclivity for making outlandish statements hurts his cause. Shortly before Fidel Castro’s death last year, he praised some of the Cuban dictator’s domestic policies.

“One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here even though we’re fully capable of doing that,” Kaepernick said, via the Miami Herald.

Those glowing remarks about the despot who hired firing squads to kill political rivals jive with the Castro t-shirt Kaepernick wore to a press conference last summer. A few days after that wardrobe blunder, pictures circulated of Kaepernick sporting socks that depict police officers as “pigs.”

Any club that signs Kaepernick would risk facing some public relations backlash, and the truth is, many NFL teams probably don’t think he’s worth it. Since 2014, he’s completed just 59.7 percent of his passes and posted an 85.9 QB rating. The 49ers have gone 11-24 in games he’s started.

But in a quarterback-starved league, it’s difficult to imagine Kaepernick isn’t good enough to compete for a starting job somewhere. After all, the Bears recently signed career backup Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract. Just four years ago, Kaepernick’s electrifying play-making ability led the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth. He showed small flashes of that towards the end of last season, recording an 101.1 QB rating over the final four weeks.

It’s disingenuous to paint Kaepernick solely in a negative light as well. He donated $1 million to community organizations last year and helped secure an airplane that will transport supplies to Somali famine victims. The quarterback matches his words with action.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick,

Tom Brady’s jersey thief once took selfie with him

03.21.17 at 11:05 am ET
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TMZ SportsThe man who allegedly stole Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey has been up close and personal with Tom, Robert Kraft and other Super Bowl stars for years … and TMZ Sports has the photo proof.

Mauricio Ortega made a habit of snapping selfies with the big stars from the Super Bowl games he covered during his stint as the news director for La Prensa — a Mexican media outlet.

We’re told the photo with Tom Brady was taken after Super Bowl 39 in 2005. Same with Robert Kraft.
Ortega also posed with Heath Miller at Super Bowl 40, Brandon Jacobs at Super Bowl 42. He also got one with Ben Roethlisberger.

The nerve of this guy.

Tom Brady is nice enough to take a picture with him and then he goes and steals TWO of the most important jerseys Brady has ever worn? Shame on him.

Not only does this guy have a little bit of a klepto streak, but he’s also really bad at taking selfies.

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Donald Trump rips Colin Kaepernick, takes credit for his unemployment; Gale Sayers battling dementia

03.21.17 at 9:55 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 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Philadelphia vs. Minnesota, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: LA Angels vs. Cincinnati, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston vs. NY Yankees, 6:35 p.m. (NESN, WEEI-AM 850)
World Baseball Classic: US vs. Japan, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Ottawa at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN, WBZ-FM 98.5)
NHL: San Jose at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Chicago at Toronto, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: San Antonio at Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Richmond at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Mississippi, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB: 

— During a rally in Louisville Monday night, Donald Trump switched gears from talking about urban communities to discussing controversial NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick.

“Our inner cities will find a rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity,” Trump said. “Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him.”

A relevant and smooth segue if I’ve ever heard one.

Trump then explained he was referencing an article he read about Kaepernick’s free agency. He said he believes NFL teams are afraid to sign Kaepernick because they don’t want Trump to send mean tweets to them.

“It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” he said. “Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”

Trump also took a shot at Kaepernick’s reluctance to stand for the national anthem before games.

“I said if I remember that one I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky,” Trump said. “They like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”

The Bleacher Report article Trump was likely referencing mentions Kaepernick is in “NFL limbo” because he takes public political stances. It quotes an AFC general manager who said “… some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team.”

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Donald Trump, Gale Sayers,

FBI Director James Comey reveals his Patriots hate in bizarre metaphor regarding Russia’s election interference

03.20.17 at 4:39 pm ET
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James Comey testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee Monday. (Jack Gruber/USA Today)

James Comey testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee Monday. (Jack Gruber/USA Today)

FBI Director James Comey said Monday Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. He used a metaphor involving the Patriots in an attempt to clarify the agency’s findings.

During his highly anticipated testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee, Comey likened Russia’s motives for helping Trump to his disdain for the reigning Super Bowl champions.

“I hate the New England Patriots. No matter who they play, I’d like them to lose,” he said, via the Boston Globe. “What the intelligence community concluded was, early on, that the hatred for Mrs. Clinton was all the way all along. When Mr. Trump became the nominee, there was some sense [by the Russians] that, ‘It would be great if he could win, it would be great if we could help him, but we need to hurt her no matter what.’ And then it shifted to, ‘He has no chance, so let’s just focus on undermining her.’”

Later in the hearing, Representative Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) brought up the FBI’s successful search for Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jersey. On behalf of Brady, he said he would like to thank law enforcement for its work to recover the stolen piece of memorabilia. This time, Comey took a more respectable tone when discussing the Patriots.

“They represent sustained excellence, and as a Giants fan, that drives me crazy,” he said.

Read More: New England Patriots,

Prosecution’s star witness says Aaron Hernandez is guilty of double murder

03.20.17 at 1:46 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez is serving a life sentence for killing his friend Odin Lloyd in June 2013.  (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez is serving a life sentence for killing his friend Odin Lloyd in June 2013. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

The prosecution’s star witness in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial testified Monday that the former tight end shot and killed two men following an incident at a nightclub, and then fired a gun at him months later.

Alexander Bradley, an admitted drug dealer, said the two men were hanging out on July 12, 2012, the night in which Daniel Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28 were murdered in the South End. According to Bradley, Hernandez came to his house in Connecticut that evening in a silver Toyota 4Runner. He said they proceeded to drink and smoke marijuana before departing for Club Cure in Boston –– one of their favorite establishments.

At the club, Bradley said Abreu spilled a drink on them, and didn’t act apologetically afterwards. That apparently ticked off Hernandez, leading him to say he hates it “when people try him.”

Bradley said he convinced Hernandez to go to another bar, where they saw a patron from the Cure who they believe had followed them there. He claims that heightened Hernandez’s paranoia.

After their stint at Caprice Lounge, they went back to the Toyota 4Runner, where Bradley said Hernandez retrieved a gun from inside the hood. The two friends spotted Abreu and Furtado in an SUV, and proceeded to drive up next to them. That’s when Hernandez allegedly fired five shots into the victims’ car. Afterwards, Bradley said the ex-NFL star threw the gun out the car window. In the months following the murder, Bradley claims Hernandez became increasingly suspicious of his surroundings, thinking that “helicopters were following him everywhere.”

In February 2013, Hernandez shot Bradley in Florida in an apparent effort to silence him. In addition to pleading not guilty to the double murder, Hernandez has also said he isn’t guilty of witness intimidation.

Jose Baez, Hernandez’s defense attorney, is arguing Bradley killed the two victims after a drug deal went bad. Bradley, who’s currently serving a prison sentence for a Connecticut nightclub shooting, said Monday he didn’t sell marijuana to anybody in Massachusetts at the time of the double murder.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Wife of Wichita State coach escorted from arena after acting out, writer forced to delete video footage

03.20.17 at 9:53 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: Baltimore at Boston, 1 p.m. (WEEI-AM 850)
MLB: NY Yankees vs. Washington, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cincinnati vs. Kansas City, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Washington at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Golden State at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: New York at LA Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Boston at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Buffalo at Detroit, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: UCF at Illinois State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Akron at UT Arlington, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Boise State at Illinois, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Bakersfield at Colorado State, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The wife of Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall was escorted from Bankers Life Stadium on Sunday after the team’s loss to Kentucky. 

Lynn Marshall was said to be “loudly cursing” when a police officer approached her and asked her to leave her seats in the lower bowl of the arena.

Later, a police officer escorted her back into the building for her husband’s postgame press conference. 

A reporter on the scene tweeted about Lynn Marshall’s state during the incident. 

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Read More: Dwight Clark, Gregg Marshall, Wichita State,

Thinking out Loud: Can’t get much better than March Madness

03.17.17 at 11:58 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering what happened in that second half in Dayton?

— Madness, you say? I’m not sure there’s any other explanation for what gets witnessed at this time of year, seemingly every year. It’s four of the best sports days, consecutively, on the calendar every March. Heck, throw the First Four into the mix too, while you’re at it.

— We avoid getting any real work done. We all pretend like we’re experts in bracketology, even if we don’t know the difference between a Tiger and a Tar Heel. We exult in correct predictions and victories, and agonize over the misses and defeats. Yes, the public goes mad at this time of year. Friar fans might be madder.

— I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, however. Friar fans also know their team this season was full of relative inexperience and imperfection. They could be brilliant at times, like in the first half against USC in Dayton Wednesday night. And they could be maddeningly careless and unemotional, like in the second half against USC in Dayton Wednesday night.

— So, yes. Wednesday night was a microcosm of the entire season for Providence. Potential and failure right there for everyone to see in all its raw, emotional splendor – including a national television audience. Painful? Absolutely. Promising? Equally so. Just sayin’.

— I’ll step out on a limb right now – PC has the chance to be special next season, with everyone returning for Ed Cooley, save for walk on senior Casey Woodring. And with the addition of two freshmen big men (6-11 Dajour Dickens, 6-8 Nate Watson), the Friars have a chance to return the inside punishment that USC put on their rear ends in that second half in Dayton.

— How special? How about Sweet 16 special? How about Big East regular season title special? For anyone feeling this could be a reach, why dream if you can’t dream big? Of course, this also puts pressure on a team that didn’t handle it very well at times this year.

— Time to get better. Time to address team needs, and they are – in no particular order: Strength. Toughness. More Shooting. Rebounding. Taking better care of the ball. Free Throws. Mindset. Attitude.

— There are few particulars from Wednesday night’s First Four Flop worth holding onto, except for one – the feeling the team left the floor with to go into the locker room. If there is any heart, any soul, any competitiveness in those players, they’ll let that feeling drive them through the summer right into next fall. And they’ll be ready.

— Four straight NCAA appearances is big to build on. It’s never happened before in the storied, 90-year history of Providence College basketball. PC is also now one of 17 schools in the country that has reached four or more consecutive Dances.

— And with the hockey team anticipating an NCAA invitation of their own, Providence could be just the 4th school in history to send BOTH hoops and hockey to four straight tournaments in the same four years.

— Huzzah’s and kudos to the City of Dayton and their organizing committee. The First Four is complete class, first rate, and now a big part of March Madness overall. After doing it for 17 years, they’ve got a handle on running a successful event, and their fans turn out regardless of who’s playing.

— Not for nuthin’, but a note to the NCAA – the same could be had if you give some cities the chance to organize and host EVERY year. Like Providence and the Dunkin Donuts Center? C’mon Dan Gavitt, you could make this happen, amiright?

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