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Aaron Hernandez’s attorneys accuse judge of racist jury selection

04.10.17 at 2:35 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez (left) is facing a double-murder conviction. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez (left) is facing a double-murder conviction. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers are introducing the element of race into his double-murder trial.

Last week, defense attorney Ronald Sullivan took issue with Suffolk County Judge Jeffrey Locke’s decision to select what he called a “white woman” as the foreperson of the jury, says Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel. Since 15 people sit on a jury, that means 14 spots were left, 11 of which were filled via blind draw. According to the court, the jury is comprised of three Hispanic women, two white women, two white men, two black women, one black man, one Hispanic man and one Asian man. Hernandez is Puerto Rican and Italian, while the victims, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, immigrated from Cape Verde. Alexander Bradley, the prosecution’s star witness who says Hernandez shot him in the face months after the murders in a fit of rage, is also from Cape Verde.

Sullivan, who’s African-American, continued his argument Monday against Judge Locke, who’s white, as jurors entered their second day of deliberation. He said picking a white person as the leader of an ethnically diverse panel was inappropriate.

“We find it offensive that with this jury, predominantly filled with people of color, that these people can’t self-govern, they can not self-regulate,” he said. “That this court, immunized by effect one white juror and makes that juror the leader of the group. We find that offensive.”

Locke denounced the accusations of racism in a curt rebuttal.

“Accusing any court of being racist is not only offensive to the individual judge but extraordinarily offensive to the tribunal and the integrity of the tribunal,” he said.

Hernandez is accused of murdering de Abreu and Furtado in Boston’s Theatre District on July 12, 2012 after a drink was spilled on him at the Cure Lounge. Bradley, who was with Hernandez that night, testified that the former Patriots’ tight end killed the two men in a drive-by shooting after they had left the club. Video shows Hernandez and Bradley getting into a silver SUV that was used during the shooting, and cell towers place Hernandez at the scene of the crime when the slaying occurred.

Defense attorney Jose Baez, who successfully defended Casey Anthony in 2011, said in his closing argument Bradley is a liar who’s pinning the killings on Hernandez because the prosecution offered him immunity. Bradley is currently serving a four-year sentence in Connecticut for shooting up a Hartford bar in 2014.

Regardless of the case’s outcome, Hernandez will remain behind bars. He was sentenced to life in prison three years ago for the June 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd.

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Two hip-hop stars say they were accused of defecating near pool on Rob Gronkowski Party Cruise

04.10.17 at 12:14 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski didn't host another party cruise this winter. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Rob Gronkowski didn’t host another party cruise this winter. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

The fallout from Rob Gronkowski’s Party Cruise is still being felt one year later.

In a recent interview with TMZ, hip-hop artists DJ Whoo Kid and Wacka Flacka Flame said they’re banned from Norwegian Cruise Lines after being blamed for a prank that unfolded on the Gronk Ship. It stinks for all involved –– literally.

“Somebody pooped behind the pool and put a $20 bill on the poop,” DJ Whoo Kid said. “Whoever did it knew where the cameras where, because security couldn’t find out who did it. They did leave the $20 bill out of respect for the person who was cleaning.”

Despite a successful trip to the Bahamas last year, the Gronkowski Cruise didn’t take off this winter. Rob Gronkowski’s brother, Glenn, implied last year there were too many shenanigans on-board to host another one again.

The NFL also investigated the S.S. Gronk to see if the league gambling policy was violated. It found no wrongdoing.

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ESPN’s Ryen Russillo takes shot at colleague for tweet about Augusta Golf Club’s racist history

04.10.17 at 10:41 am ET
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Thanks to a pair of missed putts on the 18th green, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose took part in a one-hole playoff Sunday to decide the winner of The Masters. It was a drama-filled event, but not everybody watching could enjoy the moment.

Minutes before Garcia locked up the tournament with a birdie putt, ESPN columnist Pablo S. Torre shared a two-year-old tweet about his feelings on Augusta National Golf Club, which didn’t admit African-American members until 1990. While the point is valid, the timing was a bit odd.

ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo pointed this out in a tweet directed back at Torre, who also appears as panelist on “Around the Horn.”

Russillo has spoken out in the past about his distaste for sports media personalities who regularly intertwine politics and sports. In an interview with Kirk & Callahan from Radio Row, he said he thinks some talk show hosts spend too much time focusing on social issues –– such as Tom Brady’s support for President Donald Trump.

“I don’t know why sports talk radio has become –– at least in the last year-plus –– social awareness,” he said. “I’m surprised that people look at [Brady’s friendship with Trump] and say, ‘[Brady] needs to answer for it.’ Answer for what? You know he probably voted for him. So why does it have to be confirmed? I think everybody has been so upset about the hat in a locker. I just don’t get it. I just can’t do that segment.”

Torre often talks about race and sports. Last year, he said it was “damaging” for Cam Newton to say he doesn’t think the criticism he faces is racially motivated.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Athletes, celebrities react to Sergio Garcia’s Masters win; NFL players could face punishment for arm wrestling tournament

04.10.17 at 8:34 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MLB: Tampa Bay at NY Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston at Detroit, 1:10 p.m. (NESN)
MLB: Oakland at Kansas City, 4:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Arizona at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: LA Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Brooklyn at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Washington at Detroit, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Houston at LA Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)


— Sergio Garcia won his first major on Sunday when he beat Justin Rose to take the Masters title and pro golfers, as well as other athletes and celebrities, reacted to the victory on social media.


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Thinking out loud: Already some issues with Red Sox

04.07.17 at 2:40 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering why I have to wait to be happy?

— Happy New Year! It’s Red Sox opening week, and we already have issues to address with this team. Would we want it any other way? And don’t you just love the smell of fresh cut grass and antiseptic rub in the morning?

— Chris Sale is the real deal, if his first start is any indication. We anticipated as much. But are defined roles important for the guys behind the starters in the bullpen? Why do they need to be? If a pitcher has the hot hand and has been throwing BB’s, why can’t he be plugged in where needed?

— For instance, Joe Kelly has been impressive with his pitch command and velocity, but does anyone really believe he’ll keep it up? Not a knock on Kelly, really. Just a realistic viewpoint, based on case history. His role – his job – is likely to shift as the season progresses.

— This whole idea of “roles” is overrated. Know your role? Nah. This team’s role is to produce, and to win. That’s the role everyone should get behind.

— Where did Sandy Leon come from? I mean, I know where he came from (Washington), but he wasn’t supposed to be the #1 catcher, was he? He won’t hit .625 (like he was hitting mid-week) all season, but if he can hit half of that, there’s no reason to bump him from his spot.

— Dave Dombrowski has said it before, and it bears repeating – “you win with stars.” It’s true. But it’s the role players surrounding those stars that make (or break) a championship effort. It also can’t be one or two stars and 23 bums, either.

— Keep this in mind as spring turns into summer, and as the Red Sox figure out what else they may need to get where everyone seems to think they’re already going – and that’s to the post-season. Picking up pieces to solve a season-long puzzle must make sense, as well as cents.

— Sure, so Georgetown hires Patrick Ewing to be their new head basketball coach, as expected. But did you know that Dad cost his son a job? Patrick Junior was an assistant on John Thompson III’s staff, and while Patrick Senior wanted to bring him back, he can’t. Georgetown has a nepotism rule they apparently won’t waive. Gee, thanks Dad.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow homers in first minor league at-bat; LaVar Ball blames UCLA loss on team’s ‘three white guys’

04.07.17 at 9:08 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Friday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MLB: Atlanta at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston at Detroit, 1:10 p.m. (NESN)
MLB: Washington at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: NY Yankees at Baltimore, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Seattle at LA Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Atlanta at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Oklahoma City at Phoenix, 10 p.m. (NBATV)
NHL: Tampa Bay at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


— To the disbelief of most, baseball rookie Tim Tebow hit a home run in his first official minor league at-bat on Thursday.

The former NFL quarterback and current outfielder for the Class-A Columbia Fireflies smacked a two-run homer in the second inning of his team’s 14-7 win over the Augusta GreenJackets.

He was a one-hit wonder, however, as he grounded out and struck out twice in his subsequent at-bats.

“I know so many people want to sensationalize it. But for me, it was just one day. One opportunity – the first of a lot of games,” Tebow said. “It’s never as good as it seems. It’s never as bad as it seems, right? You can go from a first at-bat home run to striking out. Don’t get caught up in the little things, the things people are saying when I leave here, and social media, or whatever y’all write – no offense, but I won’t read it!”

Tebow’s excitement was tempered, but he said his teammates were thrilled.

“Everybody was so excited and happy for me,” he said. “One of the guys comes up and gives me a big hug and says, ‘This is one of the best moments I’ve ever had!’ It was just fun.”

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Amidst bombshell Bill O’Reilly accusations, conservative Fox News viewers show themselves to be giant hypocrites

04.06.17 at 4:28 pm ET
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Donald Trump (left) and Bill O'Reilly (right) have both been accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards several women. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump (left) and Bill O’Reilly (right) have both been accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards several women. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Every day, millions of bible-thumping conservatives tune into Fox News, the network that’s enabled alleged serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly for roughly two decades. They’re all incredible hypocrites.

It’s been nearly nine months since disgraced CEO Roger Ailes was forced to step down after more than a dozen women said he made unwanted sexual advances towards them. But that was apparently just the start. Earlier this week, the New York Times published a bombshell exposé, detailing five women who accuse O’Reilly of equally crude behavior. They’ve settled for a combined $13 million, with three of the five agreements being struck in secret. Two additional women, former Fox personalities Wendy Walsh and Andrea Tantaros, also say O’Reilly acted inappropriately towards them. (Tantaros mentioned O’Reilly in her suit against Ailes.)

The stories are sickening. Andrea Mackris, a former producer on O’Reilly’s program, says the 67-year-old anchor told her to buy a vibrator and called her when it sounded as if he was masturbating. Others, such as former Fox personality Juliet Huddy, say O’Reilly attempted to impede their career prospects when they rebuffed his advances. Huddy was transferred to WNWY, an affiliate station, after she says she pulled away from O’Reilly when he tried to kiss her.

Fox News is currently under federal investigation over the possibility it failed to notify shareholders about settlement payments made to employees who accused Ailes of wrongdoing. It appears as if the network worked to protect O’Reilly, too. Since 2004, O’Reilly and Fox have settled three suits in private. Attorneys for 21st Century Fox, the station’s parent company, also took part in aggressive offensives in apparent attempts to silence O’Reilly’s accusers.

Before Mackris sued the company, Fox News and O’Reilly filed a pre-emptive lawsuit, claiming she was seeking to shake them down for $60 million. A public relations firm was also hired to slander Mackris, and leak unfavorable stories about her to the tabloids.

In a statement, 21st Century Fox, which had been aware of O’Reilly’s behavior since at least 2002, said it’s addressed the issue with the star anchor. For his part, O’Reilly denies the allegations.

“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” his statement reads. “In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline. But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

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Rob Gronkowski raps on Eminem’s Sirius XM station, is worst rapper of all time

04.06.17 at 2:13 pm ET
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TMZ SportsRob Gronkowski is no Eminem … but he tried.

The NFL star ht up DJ Whoo Kid’s “Whoolywood Shuffle” show with his WWE superstar pal, Mojo Rawley — and decided to bust out a few freestyle bars over Biggie Smalls’ “Hypnoitze” beat.

He rapped about Super Bowl rings. He rapped about chicks. He rapped about doorbells.

At the end, Gronk bragged that he wasn’t bad for a “big a– white boy.”

You be the judge.


He started with “Yo, check me out” which is freestyle rap suicide.

Then he rhymed “ring” with “ring.” As in, “I’ve got a Super Bowl ring/ Everybody coming to my house/ I can hear the doorbell ring.” It really doesn’t get much worse.

But it does. A lot of the rest of this masterpiece is bleeped out, but based on the context I’m guessing he was saying a bunch of stuff about his penis. During the audible lines, he put the “g” on the end of words, like “going,” and his flow was not smooth at all.

To make matters worse, Gronk had a piece of paper in his hand which means he must have planned some of this out ahead of time.

Props for the effort, but Gronk the most horrible rapper on the planet.

He kind of sounded like Blizzard Man, only even worse:




Report: NFL players say Rob Gronkowski is held to double-standard

04.06.17 at 12:22 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski guzzled down Bud Lights at the Patriots' parade this year. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rob Gronkowski guzzled down Bud Lights at the Patriots’ parade this year. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

While Rob Gronkowski enjoys another shenanigans-filled offseason, some NFL players are reportedly wondering why he doesn’t face more heat.

Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman writes four anonymous players told him recently they think Gronkowski benefits from a double-standard. Each one of them reportedly brought up Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, saying they think he would face public backlash if he acted similarly to Gronkowski. Two years ago, a mother chastised Newton for his flamboyant on-field celebrations in a letter to the Charlotte Observer.

Earlier this year, a columnist in the Orlando Sentinel questioned whether Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was unjustly criticized for pulling down a woman’s bra at Dallas’ St. Patrick’s Day parade, citing Gronkoski’s ability to get away with promiscuous acts. The NFL is currently investigating Elliott for domestic violence, which may explain why his behavior is scrutinized more heavily.

Gronkowski’s recent appearances at WWE’s WrestleMania and Red Sox Opening Day have appeared to reignite this debate. He faced some criticism for throwing a shoulder block at the wrestling event, because he’s just four months removed from back surgery. The Patriots reportedly approved Gronkowski’s cameo beforehand.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Michael Irvin denies sexual assault claim in new video; Dustin Johnson ‘hopes’ to play in Masters after injuring back

04.06.17 at 9:46 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis, 1:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Pittsburgh at Boston, 1:35 p.m. (NESN)
MLB: Miami at Washington, 4:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Atlanta at NY Mets, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Boston at Atlanta, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Minnesota at Portland, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Ottawa at Boston, 7 p.m. (NBCSN, NESN)
NHL: Chicago at Anaheim, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)


— On the TMZ Sports TV show this week, Michael Irvin insisted he is innocent of the sexual assault allegations levied against him by a female acquaintance.

“She was like my niece … a good friend,” Irvin said of the woman who is accusing him. “I was hurt to hear about [the allegation].”

Irvin is being investigated for rape after a 27 year-old woman accused him of sexually assaulting him in a Florida hotel room on March 21.

His accuser told police she believes Irvin drugged her and raped her at the hotel after a night out with him at a bar.

Irvin’s lawyer has also vehemently denied the allegations.

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