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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Potential Aaron Hernandez trial juror dismissed for wearing Patriots hat; Fenway Park bids for 2018 Army-Navy game

02.16.17 at 9:07 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: 
NBA: Indiana at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Philadelphia at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: New York at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: St. Louis at Detroit, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Florida at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: LIU Brooklyn at St. Francis Brooklyn, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Xavier at Providence, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Cincinnati at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa State at Kansas State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Maryland at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Temple at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Creighton at Seton Hall, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Butler, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Duke at Virginia, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Indiana at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at TCU, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Diego State at Utah State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A potential juror in Aaron Hernandez’ second murder trial showed up to Suffolk Superior Court wearing a Patriots hat on Tuesday.

Officers made the man take off the hat and he was, obviously, not selected as a juror. 64 other potential jurors, including a self-proclaimed Trump supporter and woman due to give birth in April, were also dismissed.

Hernandez was present in the courtroom and said “good morning” to the jury prospects.

The trial is set to begin on March 1.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Fenway Park,

Tiger Woods is a mess, cancels rescheduled press conference

02.15.17 at 5:18 pm ET
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USA TodaySo just how bad is Tiger Woods’ injured back that he cited it as the reason for withdrawing from the Genesis Open here this week? Apparently so bad he’s incapable of holding a news conference.

On Monday, a Q&A session with the media scheduled for Tuesday was postponed until today. On Tuesday, the news conference was scrapped altogether.

Woods, who has undergone three back surgeries, returned to the PGA Tour last month after an 18-month layoff. Making his debut in January at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, he missed the cut for the first time in his career on that course. Then, citing back spasms, he withdrew from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic the following week after an opening-round 77.

Next move: On Friday Woods posted an update on his website announcing that he would not be playing in the Genesis Open or the Honda Classic next week in Florida.

It is unclear whether Woods has remained at his home in Florida this week or has flown to Los Angeles to be at the tournament, which benefits his foundation.

He’s been advised to limit activities like sitting and talking? This must be bad. Or he just doesn’t want to talk about it. If I’m him, I would retire. Enough of this.

The Masters is in about seven weeks and as of two days ago, the odds of him winning it were 100/1. But now it seems people should be betting on whether he’ll even play in it.

How the mighty keep falling.

Donald Trump refuses to fill out NCAA tournament bracket for ESPN

02.15.17 at 4:09 pm ET
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Donald Trump won't be filling out a bracket this year. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool Photo/USA Today Network)

Donald Trump won’t be filling out a bracket this year. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool Photo/USA Today Network)

Throughout all eight years of his presidency, Barack Obama filled out NCAA tournament brackets on ESPN. Donald Trump is discontinuing the tradition.

According to the Washington Post, Trump declined ESPN’s bracket offer. In a statement provided to the Post, White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks didn’t provide many details about the reasoning behind the President’s decision.

“We look forward to working with ESPN on another opportunity in the near future,” she said.

Obama, a basketball enthusiast who frequently played pick-up games with staff members and other politicians, filled out both men’s and women’s brackets for an annual special on ESPN. Basketball analyst Andy Katz, who guided the President through the process, told the Post Obama’s passion for the game made the arrangement work.

“He wasn’t as dialed in to every player or team but had conversational knowledge to offer his own analysis on the NCAA tournament for the men’s and women’s game. Baracketology was a success because it was clear he was a fan of the sport and the NCAA tournament, like millions of other Americans,” he said.

Though Trump holds an apparent reverence for athletes, it’s unclear how closely he follows sports (he bailed on his beloved Patriots during halftime of Super Bowl LI, missing the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history). While Obama was known to watch SportsCenter in his free time, Trump opts for cable news. He often live-tweets the morning talk shows, offering his unfiltered analysis on Twitter. Wednesday morning, Trump pleaded with his followers to watch Fox and Friends and ditch CNN and MSNBC, which were covering the fallout from Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation.

While ESPN likely would’ve caught flak for collaborating with Trump, much like Saturday Night Live did in 2015 when he hosted an episode, this is a negative development for the WorldWide Leader. In recent months, the network has been criticized for its apparent left-wing bias. Featuring a softball segment with Trump may have helped change that perception –– at least for one day.

Read More: Donald Trump, ESPN,

ESPN’s public editor is at war with WEEI

02.15.17 at 12:44 pm ET
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In a recent column, ESPN public editor Jim Brady said he thinks it’s acceptable for media personalities to fire back at folks on Twitter. He’s taking his own advice.

Following a discussion on Kirk & Callahan Wednesday about his piece, which features interviews with ESPN personalities about their approaches to social media and political commentary, several listeners messaged Brady with their complaints about the story. Most notably, Brady failed to admonish hosts who have insinuated Boston is a racist city, such as Bomani Jones and Israel Gutierrez. After Celtics fans briefly applauded potential free agent forward Gordon Hayward before tip-off when the Jazz visited the T.D. Garden last month, Jones strongly hinted on “Highly Questionable” that race played a role in the warm reception.

“Is there another arena in the whole country that would get this charged about Gordon Hayward maybe coming as a free agent?,” he asked. “Clapping for Kevin Durant is one thing. But if you put Gordon Hayward on the same level as Kevin Durant, you might be the city that had the Kevin Love welcoming tour when he wasn’t even a free agent yet.”

Israel Gutierrez followed up on Around the Horn, saying the Celtics are “famous for having Larry Bird on their team.”

After failing to respond to an invitation to join K&C, Brady took his fight to the Twittersphere.

Even though the article was about ESPN’s social media policy, it failed to mention Curt Schilling, the most high-profile employee who’s ever been terminated for his behavior on the Internet. On Twitter, Brady said he omitted Schilling because the right-hander was a multiple time offender. He was suspended in 2015 for comparing radical Muslim jihadism to Nazism, roughly seven months before he was canned for sharing an anti-transgender picture on Facebook.

Perhaps the most puzzling line in the piece came when Brady was introducing Jones, who he says is “never shy at [sic] mixing it up with fans or with critics.” That characterization contradicts the accounts of dozens of Boston sports fans who Jones has blocked on Twitter. He also refused to come on WEEI last month to further explain his point.

This isn’t the first time the public editor has mixed it up with WEEI personalities and listeners. Earlier this year, after Brady declined a request to join the station to discuss Jones’ inflammatory comments, Kirk Minihane called him a “coward.” He responded by calling Minihane a “clown.”

Read More: ESPN,

Patriots fan got a Tom Brady tattoo on his butt

02.15.17 at 11:40 am ET
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Sometimes, it’s not enough to wear your favorite player’s jersey. You must get his face tattooed on your rear end.

That’s what one Patriots fan did last week before the championship parade, which attracted more than 1 million people to the streets of Boston. Before the festivities began, he decided to stop by Boston Barber & Tattoo Co. on Salem Street and get Tom Brady’s mug branded where the sun don’t shine.

In a phone call with WEEI.com, an employee at the tattoo parlor said several Patriots fans came by for some ink during the parade last week. In addition to the butt tattoo, two other patrons got some Patriots-related artwork on their lips.

New England fans have a history of sporting unusual ink. Prior to Super Bowl XLII, Victor Thompson, a resident of Laconia, N.H., decided to get the Patriots’ logo tattooed on both sides of his head –– like a football helmet. The 47-year-old passed away last year.

Read More: New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Arizona Wildcats baseball team recreates ‘Major League’ spring training scene

02.15.17 at 10:19 am ET
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The Score The Arizona Wildcats may be dealing with a few different faces this season.

With pitchers and catchers beginning to report to spring training across MLB this week, the Pac-12 conference baseball side decided to channel their best “Major League” impressions for the occasion Tuesday with a reenactment of the film’s most memorable scenes.

As the video’s caption points out, the Wildcats’ home diamond is Hi Corbett Field, formerly the spring training home of the Cleveland Indians and back drop of the 1989 baseball film, which explains the spot-on parody.

Good effort, but I wouldn’t call this spot-on. The coach’s voice is a pretty accurate impression and they even used a Mercedes in the recreation. But the Wildcats are not No. 1 in the Pac-12 for their acting skills. When the guy playing Willy Mays Hayes says he’s going to put on a hitting clinic, I do not believe him.

And check out the player at the end of the Wildcats’ version on the right during the sprint. He clearly unbuttoned the top half of his jersey for the camera.

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Atlanta zoo names cockroach after Tom Brady; Royals pitcher falls through barn roof, out 8 weeks

02.15.17 at 8:40 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:
NBA: Indiana at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Philadelphia at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: New York at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: St. Louis at Detroit, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Florida at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: LIU Brooklyn at St. Francis Brooklyn, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Xavier at Providence, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Cincinnati at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa State at Kansas State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Maryland at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Temple at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Creighton at Seton Hall, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Butler, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Duke at Virginia, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Indiana at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at TCU, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Diego State at Utah State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:


— A zoo in Atlanta announced on its Facebook page earlier this week it has named a baby cockroach after Tom Brady.

Zoo Atlanta named the Madagascar hissing cockroach after Brady to fulfill a bet with Rhode Island’s Roger Williams Park Zoo. The bet made by the two zoos was for the Super Bowl loser to name a baby animal after the winning team’s quarterback. Both zoos agreed the baby animal would be a cockroach, as they knew feelings on the loss would be salty.

Zoo Atlanta introduced little Tom Brady and his family of other cockroaches in this Facebook video.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kansas City Royals, Tom Brady,

ESPN still ignores apparent double-standard that resulted in Curt Schilling’s firing

02.14.17 at 4:12 pm ET
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Curt Schilling was dismissed from ESPN last March. (David Manning/USA TODAY Sports)

Curt Schilling was dismissed from ESPN last March. (David Manning/USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN public editor Jim Brady published a column this week about the company’s policy when it comes to social media use and political discourse. He addresses a wide swath of controversies, including a recent string of comments from ESPN hosts who have insinuated Boston is a racist city. But he fails to mention Curt Schilling, who was fired from the network last year after sharing an anti-transgender post on Facebook.

The omission is significant, and it’s not just because Schilling is the most high-profile employee who’s ever been terminated for his behavior on social media. It also provides a glimpse into the apparent double-standard that exists at ESPN when it comes to who’s allowed to speak out, and who must stay silent.

In his piece, Brady says the WorldWide Leader should let its personalities express themselves with few restrictions.

“Barring something truly beyond the pale, it’s unlikely any ESPN personality would be terminated over a single comment or social media post,” he writes. “And, in a world where patience for opposing viewpoints seems to be evaporating, I think that’s a good position for the company to take.”

When asked why Schilling wasn’t included in the article, Brady said on Twitter it’s because he was a multiple time offender, having served a suspension in 2015 for comparing radical Muslim jihadism to Nazism. That’s fair, but several of his colleagues habitually make inflammatory statements, only to see their profiles rise.

Jemele Hill, who co-hosts the highly promoted “SC6″ with Michael Smith, was reprimanded in 2008 for saying rooting for the Celtics is akin to calling Adolf Hitler a victim.  Last summer, in the wake of the Orlando Massacre, she admonished Americans who condemn homophobia in Islamic cultures, because gay people face discrimination in the U.S. as well. While that may appear to be a nuanced take on the issue of LGBTQ rights, it’s mindless and insulting.  In at least 10 majority Muslim nations in the Middle East and Africa, homosexuality is punishable by death. It’s difficult to see how that equates to the U.S., where same-sex marriage is legal and federal contractors are barred from discriminating against LGBTQ workers.

While gay rights in the U.S. can still be expanded, and are in danger of being rolled back during Donald Trump’s administration, the comparison Hill made is invalid. Or, at the least, it’s not any less nonsensical than comparing Islamic jihadism to Nazism.

But Hill is now one of the most visible hosts on ESPN, free to label Boston as the “gold-standard of racism” during a recent podcast with NBA analyst Amin Elhassan. In that same episode, Elhassan called Boston the most bigoted city in the country north of the Mason-Dixon line.

It seems to be acceptable at ESPN to smear Bostonians and call them racist. When Celtics fans cheered Jazz forward Gordon Hayward last month, Bomani Jones implied on “Highly Questionable” that race may have been a factor in his warm reception. (Never mind that Celtics fans have also applauded Kevin Durant and other potential free agents in recent years, as an apparent effort to recruit them to Boston.)

“Is there another arena in the whole country that would get this charged about Gordon Hayward maybe coming as a free agent?,” he asked. “Clapping for Kevin Durant is one thing. But if you put Gordon Hayward on the same level as Kevin Durant, you might be the city that had the Kevin Love welcoming tour when he wasn’t even a free agent yet.”

On “Around the Horn,” Israel Gutierrez issued a similar statement.

“It’s Boston. They’re famous for having Larry Bird on their team. Gordon Hayward looks more like Larry Bird than other players in the league. So maybe there’s that Boston connection there,” he said.

In an interview with Brady, Jones said he was talking about how Boston has a “particular affection for white players.” But it’s unclear how that’s different than other cities that support talented white athletes. Skin color isn’t the barometer for Celtics fan appreciation, or else Kelly Olynyk would probably be the most popular player on the squad instead of Isaiah Thomas. Rather than clarify his remarks, Jones fired off another cheap shot.

At ESPN, there appear to be different sets of rules for each personality. Stephen A. Smith, for example, was welcomed back after hinting in 2014 that women sometimes bring domestic violence upon themselves. Last summer, he strongly hinted that Stephen Curry’s outspoken wife, Ayesha, should know her place and not bring any negative attention to herself.

In isolation, none of these comments should result in anybody’s firing. Opinionated personalities should be allowed to speak their minds both on- and off-air. But it remains difficult to see how Schilling’s statements crossed a line, while others are deemed acceptable.

Schilling was politically outspoken throughout his tenure at ESPN, including when he got into a spat with Keith Law about the theory of evolution and said Hillary Clinton should be “buried under a jail.” So it’s unlikely his political leanings were the ultimate reason he was fired. It’s more plausible Schilling was canned for his crassness. The anti-transgender meme he shared featured a burly man in drag, and below it, he said the “men’s room was designed for the penis.” Classy stuff.

But then again, it’s not all that classy to compare Celtics fans to Nazi sympathizers or label Boston racist with nothing more than decades-old anecdotal evidence –– such as citing the break-in at Bill Russell’s house during his playing days in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

When it comes to ESPN’s policies on social media use and political commentary, Schilling stands out as someone who may have fallen victim to a double-standard. But apparently, it’s easier for ESPN to ignore that instead of address it head-on.

Read More: Curt Schilling, ESPN,

USA Today grossly misrepresents Tom Brady’s comments on Patriots White House visit

02.14.17 at 12:47 pm ET
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Given Brady's friendship with Donald Trump, there's been a lot of focus on whether he'll visit the White House later this year. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Given Tom Brady’s friendship with Donald Trump, there’s been a lot of focus on whether he’ll visit the White House later this year. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

When Tom Brady was asked Tuesday about several of his teammates planning to skip the Patriots’ White House visit, he gave a diplomatic answer. But that’s not the way USA Today represented it.

In an interview with PFT Live, Brady said he respects players’ decisions to boycott the ceremony.

“Putting politics aside, it never really was a political thing. At least it never was for me,” he said. “It’s just always something that was a privilege to be able to do, because it really meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team and with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice and everyone, it’s their offseason. These days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends. If people don’t want to go, they don’t want to go and that is their choice.”

It’s difficult to think of a way for Brady to answer that question any more judiciously. Since he skipped the White House visit two years ago while President Barack Obama was in office, he’s wise to say he personally feels it’s an apolitical event –– especially if he plans on going this spring to see his pal Donald Trump. But he also acknowledged others may disagree. He covered all of his bases.

When USA Today wrote up the interview, however, Brady’s message was misconstrued.

In a tweet from the USA Today Sports account, the teaser for the story reads: “Tom Brady says his teammates should put ‘politics aside’ when it comes to visiting the White House.” That echoes the original headline, which has been replaced. It now says, “Tom Brady in favor of ‘putting politics aside’ when it comes to White House visit.”

That’s still misleading, because it implies Brady was preaching to others about how they should view the White House trip. But in reality, he was only speaking for himself. He couldn’t have been more clear, saying “at least it never was [political] for me.” There’s no other way to interpret that comment, unless you’re trolling for clicks.

It’s fair to criticize Brady for the way he’s handled the Trump story. It was weak for him to end his press conference when he was asked about the President’s leaked Access Hollywood video tape, in which he brags about sexually assaulting women. It also came across as phony for Brady to claim he’s oblivious to current events when asked about Trump at Super Bowl opening night.

But when it comes to his answer about the White House boycott, Brady satisfied all parties. Shame on USA Today for taking those remarks, and presenting them as inflammatory comments directed towards his teammates.

In these divisive times, it’s more important than ever for the media to serve as a watchdog. The press is supposed to disprove “alternative facts,” not create them. By publishing an inaccurate description of Brady’s interview, USA Today failed in this mission.

Read More: New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Danny Amendola walks the runway in NYC fashion show

02.14.17 at 11:08 am ET
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Forget fishing, Danny Amendola is spending his offseason smizing … strutting the catwalk at a NYC fashion event in front of some HUGE celebrities.

The Patriots star sashayed down the runway for the Philipp Plein show at the New York public library Monday night … and from the look of these photos he had his fierce face down Pat (get it?).

Madonna, Kylie Jenner, Sofia Richie, Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton (remember her?) and Danny’s girlfriend, Olivia Culpo, were all in attendance, making this a pretty big moment for the wideout.

BTW, no Falcons were spotted at the event … because no Falcons want to be seen in public, (it was 28-3, c’mon).

He doesn’t quite have the runway strut down correctly, but he looks like he could make a nice post-playing career out of this. He’s got the face down perfectly.

This is the kind of stuff that happens when you date a model. Just look at what he let them do to his ear.

Another example:

 

       

Tom Brady’s 2015 Man of the Year GQ photoshoot had Gisele’s influence all over it.