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The Ted Cruz-Deadspin situation is out of control

01.30.17 at 9:43 am ET
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Awful AnnouncingDeadspin has probably had better weeks, especially on social media. But the Twittersphere has taken some fiendish delight in being upstaged by Senator Ted Cruz earlier this week. While Deadspin likely thought that would go away after responding to Cruz as could be expected, people have not let this spat simply fade away. The fervor with which Twitter has gone after Deadspin has been surprising, but also extremely entertaining.

Editor Tim Marchman was typically defiant against the backlash, asserting that those leaving tweet-by attacks didn’t have the courage to send him a personal email or perhaps even contest him physically.

 

Someone who can definitely do some pushups and spent plenty of time in the UFC octagon is recently retired MMA fighter Tim Kennedy. We don’t know if Kennedy sent an email to Marchman, but he certainly responded on Twitter.

This joke is STILL going on? Even today, every single time Deadspin tweets something, people are tweeting back to them about Ted Cruz.

Cruz’ joke (which wasn’t even his, it was an intern’s) was funny but it wasn’t THAT funny and people are acting like it was the most savage move they’ve ever seen.

It was a little funny at first but when an MMA fighter gets involved, that’s when you stop. It’s gone far enough.

When I saw this Deadspin tweet about the 49ers hiring John Lynch Monday morning, my first thought was someone will reply saying he looks like Ted Cruz.

AND SOMEONE DID!


And someone even did this:

If you’re sitting in front of your computer waiting for Deadspin to tweet something so you can tweet back “Tedspin” just know you’re not doing anything constructive. Deadspin is over it, the world is over it. Let it go. 

Monday’s Morning Mashup: 49ers hire former Patriot John Lynch as new GM; Sports world reacts to Donald Trump’s immigration ban

01.30.17 at 8:28 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:
NBA: Detroit at Boston, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA:  Memphis at Phoenix, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Boston University at Lehigh, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Duke at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: South Carolina State at Howard, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Alabama State at Prairie View A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: SIUE at Belmont, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
Women’s college basketball: Tennessee at South Carolina, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Michigan State at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The 49ers have hired retired NFL safety John Lynch as the team’s general manager.

Lynch retired in 2008 and was a nine-time Pro Bowler. He spent 11 seasons with the Buccaneers, four with the Broncos and one with the Patriots. Since his retirement, he has served as an analyst for NFL broadcasts on Fox.

Lynch has no experience as an NFL executive but will replace Trent Baalke, who was recently fired by the 49ers.

In 2015, Lynch said he was convinced to sign with the Patriots in 2008 after Bill Belichick called him every day trying to recruit him.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Everything you have said about Patriots this season summarized in just 3 minutes

01.29.17 at 1:57 pm ET
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Thanks to Fitzy (AKA, WAAF’s Nick Stevens), we now have the definitive compilation of what virtually every sports fan in New England has thought or said.

Bart Hubbuch apparently is unemployed, no longer works for New York Post

01.28.17 at 1:25 pm ET
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Bart Hubbuch apparently no longer is an employee of the New York Post.

The NFL writer removed the Post from his Twitter profile on Friday night and then WEEI’s Kirk Minihane contacted the paper on Saturday and an editor said they “no longer have a business relationship” with Hubbuch.

Hubbuch has said a number of questionable things on Twitter, but his most recent might have been the last straw as he compared President Trump’s inauguration to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

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Media ignores Peyton Manning’s ties to Donald Trump while hypocritically hammering Tom Brady

01.27.17 at 6:29 pm ET
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Peyton Manning spoke at a GOP retreat. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Peyton Manning spoke at a GOP retreat. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Much like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning is tied to Donald Trump. But the media doesn’t seem to care. Talk about a double-standard.

Manning spoke to congressional Republicans at a GOP retreat Thursday, focusing on leadership and teamwork. His remarks followed a speech from President Trump, in which he bragged about his general election win in Pennsylvania and once again vowed to investigate voter fraud that didn’t happen. If Brady placing a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker 16 months ago counts as a Trump endorsement, then Manning’s decision to speak after him at an event is a proverbial wet kiss.

When the Republican presidential race first started, Manning backed former Florida governor Jeb Bush. He and his brother, Eli, each gave $2,700 to Bush last year. But that didn’t stop Trump from name-dropping Manning on the campaign trail. In an interview last February, he showered the all-time leading passer with praise.

“I very much have always liked Peyton Manning,” he said. “He is a very good guy. I know him. And he is a very, very good guy. ”

That’s not too dissimilar from the way Trump talks about Brady. In a recent interview with TMZ about Deflategate, Trump also lauded Brady’s integrity.

“He’s a friend of mine,” Trump said. “He’s a great guy and he’s great athlete, obviously, but he’s a winner.”

Unlike Brady, who’s called Trump a “good friend” and said “it would be great” if he were elected, Manning deflected when he was asked about Trump last year. He admitted to socializing with him, but didn’t say they were friends.

“I’ve met Donald Trump, I’ve played a round of golf with him a few times out in Tahoe … The times I’ve been around him, he’s been extremely nice to me,” he said.

But actions speak louder than words. In July, Manning posed for a picture with Donald Trump Jr. at a county fair in Mississippi. Imagine, for a second, if Brady were photographed schmoozing with one of Trump’s kids. It would probably be one of the lead stories in the country. That wasn’t the case with Manning. In fact, it nary garnered a mention.

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Read More: Donald Trump, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady,

Top 15 Boston sports villains

01.27.17 at 1:30 pm ET
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Rob Bradford wrote about Boston fans holding grudges earlier this week, and that got us thinking about the biggest villains in Boston sports history. Here’s what we came up with.

15. Magic Johnson
The Celtics-Lakers rivalry can be defined by Johnson and Larry Bird. Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals saw Johnson’s “baby skyhook” with just two seconds on the clock propel the Lakers to the eventual title, and the Celtics wouldn’t win again until 2008.

14. Bill Laimbeer
Laimbeer was the central villain in the Celtics-Pistons rivalry. In the memorable 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, Laimbeer was involved in numerous scrums, including tackling Larry Bird and getting socked in the face by Robert Parish. The Celtics went on to win that series, while the Pistons knocked the C’s out of the playoffs in three of the next four seasons.

13. Ben Dreith
The 1976 Patriots looked to be primed to make a deep playoff run, and after an 11-3 regular season faced the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs. The Patriots led Oakland 21-17 with less than a minute and a half left when Raiders QB Ken Stabler threw an incomplete pass that should have ended the game, but referee Dreith called “roughing the passer” against Pats defensive tackle Ray Hamilton. The Raiders would drive down the field to score and go on to win the game.

12. Matt Cooke
One of the most violent hits in modern hockey was Cooke’s hit to the head of Marc Savard, essentially ending the career of the Bruins center. Cooke wasn’t suspended for the hit, but it has been credited as one of the motivations to create stricter blindside hit rules in the NHL.

11. Ken Dryden
Dryden might be responsible for preventing the Bruins of the early 1970s from becoming a dynasty. With one of the best goaltending performances in NHL playoff history, the rookie Dryden shut down one of the most prolific offenses in hockey history and led the Montreal Canadiens to an upset series win in 1971, sandwiching a playoff loss between two Bruins Stanley Cup runs. Dryden and the Habs also knocked out the Bruins in 1977, 1978 and 1979.

10. Peyton Manning
Though he had only two playoff victories over New England, Peyton Manning was the chief rival of Tom Brady and the Patriots from the early 2000s through his retirement last year. He went out on top as a Super Bowl champion, beating the Patriots to get there, but finished with a 6-11 record head-to-head against Brady.

9. LeBron James
Until the Big Three dispersed, the Celtics were a barrier LeBron James couldn’t get past. The Celtics’ victory over James in the final game of his first stint with the Cavaliers sent him to Miami, where he won two titles. In 2012, he scored 45 points against the Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. James has averaged nearly 29 points per game against the Celtics in the playoffs over his career.

8. Alex Rodriguez
While A-Rod didn’t have too much on-field success against the Red Sox, he has undoubtedly been a villain. From brawling with Jason Varitek to slapping Bronson Arroyo’s glove to his alleged steroid use, Rodriguez was in the midst of one of the peaks in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in the mid-2000s.

7. Bucky Dent
It took a collapse of epic proportion for the Red Sox to even have to face the Yankees in a one-game playoff in 1978. Boston led the AL East by 10 games at one point, but a four-game sweep by the Yankees in September helped the Yankees come back. In the one-game playoff, the Red Sox led 2-0 in the seventh inning when Bucky Dent, who finished his career with just 40 home runs, hit one over the Green Monster to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. New York would go on to win the game.

6. Ulf Samuelsson
The Bruins faced the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1991 Wales Conference Finals, and in Game 3, Samuelsson struck Cam Neely in the knee skating across the blue line, forcing the future Hall of Famer to leave the game and changing the course of his career at just 25 years old. Neely would play parts of five more seasons, but eventually was forced to retire early due to ongoing knee troubles.

5. Eli Manning
Not too many people can claim a winning postseason record against the Belichick-Brady Patriots, but one of them is Eli Manning. With two Super Bowl-winning drives in five years, Manning undid what would have been winning scores from the Patriots late in both games, with help from an amazing catch both times.

4. Jack Tatum
With the reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the history of the NFL, Tatum certainly lived up to that by ending the career of Patriots receiver Daryl Stingley. The Raiders safety hit Stingley in the preseason and broke the wideout’s fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae, leaving him as a quadriplegic.

3. David Tyree
The most unlikely villain in Patriots history was a fourth-string wide receiver who made a miraculous catch in Super Bowl XLII that helped end the Patriots’ perfect season. Eli Manning barely escaped a sack from Richard Seymour and hurled the ball down field, where Tyree famously caught the ball on the top of his helmet, keeping the Giants alive to score the game-winning touchdown.

2. Aaron Boone
While 2004 may have erased some of the heartbreak, one year previous left the Red Sox feeling as cursed as ever. Extra innings in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium forced Tim Wakefield into the game, and he surrendered one of the most famous walkoff home runs in baseball history to Aaron Boone, who hit the first pitch he saw into the left-field bleachers.

1. Roger Goodell
Where is Roger? The NFL commissioner has avoided Foxboro since Deflategate, but he will be forced to be at a Patriots game next Sunday in Houston. Goodell earned his spot atop the Boston sports villain list with his ridiculous investigation into slightly under-inflated footballs and even more ridiculous penalty, which included a four-game suspension of Tom Brady and loss of a first-round pick. A Patriots victory over the Falcons would put Goodell in the uncomfortable position of having to hand the Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots, and Brady winning Super Bowl MVP would likely force a face-to-face moment between the commissioner and the victim of his penalty.

Who's your No. 1 Boston sports villain?

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Thinking Out Loud: Disappointing seasons for Providence, URI hoops

01.27.17 at 1:22 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering what Cammi Granato has been up to?

— Growing pains. Both in a program sense, as well as in an immediate sense, but that’s what the Providence Friars and URI Rams are both experiencing right about now. And no lie here, it’s disappointing.

— The Friars teased us during the non-conference schedule. The reality is, a strong defensive effort is needed every night out in the Big East, and St. John’s ripped them apart with a very talented freshman backcourt Wednesday night at the Dunk. 91 points? Ed Cooley’s teams have never allowed 91 points at home until Wednesday.

— I really like the long-term potential of freshman big man Kalif Young. He runs the floor as well as any post player we’ve seen in years – but his hands need a lot of work. It’s one thing to run the floor and get to the basket, but what good is it if you can’t catch the ball offered up by a guard?

— One other thing? Big fella, you’re here to rebound the ball. Go grab a few. And you need to work on your free throws. Shaquille O’Neal, you’re not.

— St. John’s ability to score off the dribble was off the charts Wednesday night. Either they have extraordinary, NBA-like ability to create their own offense, or PC’s defense was putrid. Take your pick, but they’d both be a little bit right.

— And the Johnnies’ head coach is one of the 50 best to have ever played the game – Hall of Famer and St. John’s alum Chris Mullin. Maybe he can coach a little bit?

— Marquette gets “Team of the Week” honors, just in time to face the Friars in Milwaukee Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles beat two Top 10 teams in a week – and have never lost at the Bradley Center (their home floor) to the Friars in 12 Big East seasons. Yikes.

— In their thriller over #1 Villanova last Tuesday, the students rushed the floor – which you might expect – after the unlikely comeback win. Just the second ever for a tradition-rich Marquette program over a No. 1 team – and my son Austin, a senior, led the rush like a seasoned pro. A proud papa moment, if there ever was one.

— Butler won another tough one on the road this week, beating Seton Hall Wednesday. Suddenly, the Bulldogs – who I thought might be over-rated this year – are tied for 1st place with Villanova at the league halfway point. Mea culpa.

— Why are they tied for first? With a deeper team than originally thought, they have two transfer guards getting big minutes and showing unexpected toughness on the floor. Plus, Portsmouth, Rhode Island senior Andrew Chrabascz is a smooth, steadying influence inside. Kudos to the Bulldogs.

— As for the URI Rams, our buddy Bill Koch of the Providence Journal put it rather succinctly this week – they were rancid. He was speaking in particular about the first half of the Rams’ loss Wednesday at Richmond, where Rhody shot just 25% and scored only 18 points.

— Good adjective, rancid. We don’t use that word often enough. It stinks. It smells. It’s rotten. Sadly, it’s also perfect in this case.

— But why are the Rams in this shape? Jarvis Garrett’s absence hasn’t helped. Point guards are the key to an offense’s ignition – just ask Creighton right now about that one. Defense can keep you in games, and Rhody has been lacking there, too.

— Big weekend for the 10-9 Brown Bears, with a rematch Friday against Yale, and onto Cornell and Columbia next weekend. At 1-2 in the Ivy League, the Bears are hoping for a Top 4 finish to earn a spot in the first-ever Ivy post-season tournament. Steven Spieth hit for a career high 33 points the first time against Yale, and has been Player of the Week four times.

— It has been a struggle for Bryant, at 7-15 overall and just 4-5 in the NEC heading into this weekend. But the Bulldogs will get some TV love in their next two, at home against conference leader Fairleigh Dickinson (on Fox College Sports and MSG) and on the road at Mount St. Mary’s (on ESPN3).

— The 19th annual National Prep School Invitational has been running this week, with teams playing through the weekend at Rhode Island College. The college stars of tomorrow, playing today? Sure seems like it – the tournament has produced more than 1700 Division I players, and another 78 ended up playing in the NBA.

— PC’s hockey Friars are becoming relevant again. Or at least, they’re ranked again. Back in the USCHO Top 25 rankings at #19 this week, the Friars have won three straight and are 7-2-2 in their last 11 games. Eight of those 11 have been against teams in the Top 12 of the poll, which should play well when it comes to NCAA selection time.

— Brent Musburger’s relatively sudden decision to retire from active sports broadcasting is a bit of a surprise, but I give him a ton of credit. The “old guard” of play-by-play guys are thinning out, and his staying power in an industry that doesn’t look kindly on age and experience is a credit to his talent. From his days on the “NFL Today” desk on CBS, to his becoming a signature voice of college football (“You are looking LIVE!), Brent’s voice will be missed by many. Including me.

— I always figured Musburger to be a bit pompous, yet when I met him for the first time he was as friendly as a “big-timer” could be. He has been a gentleman of the industry, and we need more of those in a cut-throat era – not less. If he truly is going out on his own terms – and he’s apparently going to start a sports handicapping business in Las Vegas – then you go, Brent.

— RIP, Mary Tyler Moore. Another piece of childhood and adolescence gone too soon, Moore will forever be the forever-cute Laura Petrie or the peppy, perky Mary Richards to a generation of TV viewers. As Laura Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke show (Oh, Rob!), she was a doting wife to a comedy writer. As Mary Richards, she was single, a news writer for a TV station, and showed women that more was possible for their lives.

— The end of the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore Show was “you’re going to make it after all.” Remember that? MTM definitely made it, after all. I always thought that the boyfriend in her show who dumped her in Minneapolis, all alone at age 30 (the premise behind the show), should have had his man card revoked.

— My buddy Bernie sez he had forgotten the dates of a number of friends and relatives’ birthdays and anniversaries, so he decided to compile a list of those dates on his computer, and have them highlighted when he turned it on. He went looking at a number of computer stores to find software that would do this task for him, but he had no luck finding a program. Finally, he found something that looked like it would work, but as he explained his need to the store clerk, the clerk asked him outright – “fella, have you tried a wife?”

— We’re so spoiled. Since 2001, 7 Super Bowl games (with 4 wins), 3 World Series titles, and throw in a Stanley Cup and an NBA trophy. It’s almost as if we can’t feel the joy anymore, after the Patriots won their 7th AFC Championship of the Bill Belichick-era.

— The fact that these trips to the Super Bowl have come over a period of 16 years has certainly bowled us over – pardon the pun, but I’m bored.

— Want another reason why most of America will be rooting for the Dirty Birds? Forget the fact that Atlanta has never won a Big One before. Mainstreamers will pull for the Falcons because many Patriot fans have become, gulp, entitled. Like winning has become a birthright, or something.

— Just like those who depend on government hand-outs for their existence, when they are very capable of “doing their job.” Any job. Ironic, much?

— There’s really nothing worse than two weeks off between meaningful football games. It’s the worst, but then again, when they moved it up a week a few years back everything was rushed, forced and even contrived more than it is now. We need buildup, we crave anticipation, we expect to have time to plan Super Bowl parties.

— Chris Hogan is just another example of why the Patriots are the real “America’s Team.” A cast-off from another organization, picked up by New England and developed into a meaningful professional, with a nice-sized chip on his shoulder. The formula works. Maybe others should try it some day?

— A truly amazing stat, brought up by Nora Princiotti of the Boston Globe this week, proves that Bill Belichick is probably a better GM than most will give him credit for – right, Steve in Fall River? Of the 44 Patriots who played in the Super Bowl two years ago, only a little more than half (23) of them are still with the team. The roster changes over more than you think, and the team keeps winning. Why is that, Steve?

— This love/hate between Boston and Atlanta all of a sudden? Stupid is as stupid does. Drummed up, contrived talk-show fodder for the boring two weeks between the conference championships and the actual Super Bowl. Amiright, Dan Shaughnessy?

— But it works in both places, because talk shows often cater to the lowest common denominator – Hate. It’s why Hate works so well in so many places (like the political scene lately) because nothing brings people together like good, old fashioned “I’m better than you because you aren’t me, or you don’t think like I do.”

— Differences of opinion, shared objectively? Pish-posh. That never happens. My opinion is better than yours, and if you don’t agree with me, you suck. Period. I Hate You. Sound familiar?

— It’s the Dumbing Down of America. And we’re all role players.

— Which city is more racist? That’s been actual conversation this week, in both places. My argument is – racism exists, and it always will. Get over it. We’ve been trying to do that since the Civil War ended 150 years ago, give or take. Save the arguments for civics’ discussions – all I care about is if the Falcons can move the ball on the Patriots’ defense. Just sayin’.

— Familiarity breeds contempt? Maybe that explains the enmity between the regions. There’s no doubt, however, that if it weren’t for some very talented former Patriots now running the show in Atlanta (Thomas Dimitroff, Scott Pioli, even owner Arthur Blank went to Babson College) the Falcons wouldn’t be where they currently reside – in the NFC throne room.

— Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Atlanta. Oh, sorry for the “smoke” reference, as in Atlanta’s burning. Too soon?

— I know many are anticipating the big game with the hope of a Patriots’ victory, if only because Roger Goodell will be forced to award the trophy to Mr. Kraft, Bill Belichick and even Tom Brady. Who says he’ll actually be there? If he can figure out a way to weasel out of it, he will.

— Although, as John Tomase pointed out this week on WEEI.com, the Grand Poobah doesn’t really do the trophy-handing-over thing. An honorary captain technically handles the honor. But if I’m Mr. Kraft, or BB, or TB12 – I’m handling the entire bleep-show with dignity, class and grace.

— And refusing to accept the trophy unless the Poobah is somewhere in sight on that podium. “Nah, thanks, but we’re good.”

— Not for nuthin’, but Goodell certainly could have put the entire charade to sleep if he had simply had the cahones (go ahead, look it up) to face Foxboro at some point in the past year. But he avoids New England like a silly school-boy afraid to talk to a school-girl after class.

— At least one of those responsible for starting the Patriots’ Deflategate saga, the Colts’ Ryan Grigson, lost his job as GM in Indy this week. Karma is a cruel b*tch, ain’t it?

— Like the “Iceman” George Gervin once told me, as his Hall of Fame hoop career began to wind down: “What goes around, always comes around.” It sure does, Ice. It sure does.

— So, I see the vaunted, history-laden Boston Celtics broke down and sold out this week. They’ll wear a corporate logo on the front of their jerseys next year, and they’ll be the 3rd NBA team to take the money and run with it. What? They needed justification or confirmation from Sacramento and Philadelphia first, that it was okay to do this?

— I don’t know what’s worse – the actual logo on the shirt, or the fact they waited until it was “cool” to make such a move. Smh.

— And I don’t know about you – but the fact there will be a refrigerator company (ok, they rep other things too, like light bulbs) on the front of the traditional green-and-white will absolutely NOT entice me to go out and buy another fridge.

— Bob Ryan’s Boston Globe column on the BBWAA opening Hall voting to non-members this week probably didn’t make too many baseball-types happy. But he is 100% correct – how in the world is a guy like Vin Scully NOT able to vote on the Baseball Hall of Fame?

— Just because he’s not a “writer?” Preposterous. I would always argue that broadcasters, in their daily preparation for their jobs, take more time and care to actually study the teams and players they cover than anyone else. Just ask my own family about that one. I see more writers every day simply show up in a press box or on press row, glance at some notes, eat free food and proceed to ask stupid questions in the locker room afterward.

— She was born into hockey, and followed in her brother Tony’s footsteps onto the ice. You might even say that Cammi Granato is a part of hockey royalty, especially around these parts. Granato played at PC from 1989-93, and was three-times named the ECAC Player of the Year, finishing her career as the Friars’ all-time leading goal scorer. In the late ‘90’s, she was invited to try out for the New York Islanders of the NHL – which she eventually declined. Through Olympics and World Championship success, Granato was inducted as the first female into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. It’s hard to argue against her credentials as perhaps the best female hockey player of all-time. She has since moved onto coverage of men’s (including NHL games) and women’s hockey on TV and radio, and still runs hockey camps and works for charitable causes. Granato will be honored with a jersey retirement ceremony at the Dunkin Donuts Center on February 11th, joining the Friar Legends Forever Tradition, along with several other PC greats from the past. The banquet following the ceremony will take place at the Omni in Providence. Cal 401-865-2860 for ticket information.

— William from Stephentown, New York posted on Facebook this week: “Rooke, it seems your game plan caught the Steelers off guard; they won the toss and took the ball, moved down field and scored showing they were not scared to meet them head on. You have been supporting this game plan for a few years, at least.” William: Yes, I have. I understand the principle of “doubling up” at the end of a half and receiving the 2nd half kickoff, but my thoughts have always been like this – let’s take the ball and dictate emotion and tempo. Plus, if you’re always deferring, like always throwing a fastball when pitching, you’re gonna get slammed at some point. Try a curve ball at some point, and mix it up? It worked, this time.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to john.rooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke …

— Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text us at 37937.

Kirk Minihane, Gerry Callahan disrobe the Nation’s Dave Zirin in combative interview

01.27.17 at 12:45 pm ET
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Unlike other writers who have found themselves in Kirk Minihane’s and Gerry Callahan’s crosshairs, the Nation’s Dave Zirin did come on Kirk & Callahan Friday to defend his piece: “Yes, Tom Brady’s friendship with Donald Trump matters.”

Seventeen minutes later, he was reduced to a stammering mess before hanging up the phone.

In his weekly interview with K&C Monday, Brady said he didn’t know why his relationship with the most disliked president ever is such a “big deal.” To Zirin, it sounded like Brady is removed from reality.

“I heard a little whine. I heard somebody who was exasperated. I heard somebody who literally does not understand why this is an issue,” he said. “It’s like a cognitive dissonance thing. I don’t know if you ever saw the movie Bird Cage, but there’s that scene where Gene Hackman finally sees that Nathan Lane is a guy when he takes the wig off, and instead of being upset he’s just sort of like, ‘I don’t understand! I don’t understand!’

“I think that’s why the thing about Tom Brady –– I think he’s very removed from the hundreds of thousands of people who were in the streets of Boston last week, from what people are saying about Donald Trump. He doesn’t quite get that this is not a normal president and these are not normal times. And this kind of friendship is going to be looked at very closely.”

In his piece, Zirin brings up Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty, who raised their fists for racial justice during the national anthem prior to the season-opener. He presumes they have an objection to Brady’s relationship with Trump, even though he hasn’t spoken to either player.

“Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty have not said word one about Tom Brady or Donald Trump. You are presuming they have, and you’re presuming Tom Brady has never had a conversion with them about it,” Minihane said. “You’re looking at black people as an entire race and not focusing on individuals. Maybe Martellus Bennett doesn’t care that much. Maybe Devin McCourty doesn’t care if [Hillary] Clinton or Trump is president. Has that crossed your mind? You’re just assuming things about Tom Brady and his teammates with no facts.”

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Read More: Donald Trump, Kirk Minihane, Tom Brady,

Bill Belichick vacations during free agency, makes hardline contract offers from the beach

01.27.17 at 10:40 am ET
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Belichick_9-1-16Bill Belichick is an even tougher negotiator than you imagined.

In a feature story, the MMQB’s Robert Klemko speaks with seven NFL agents who have worked with Belichick over the last 15 years. In most contract negotiations, there’s usually a give-and-take –– at least to some degree. But with Belichick, there doesn’t appear to be much of an opportunity for discourse. Agents say he’ll will often punctuate his pitch with one simple question: “Does your guy want to win a Super Bowl, or doesn’t he?”

It’s difficult to offer much of a rebuttal to that.

This past season served as another validation for Belichick’s callous approach to roster management. Last spring, the Patriots traded away their leader in sacks, Chandler Jones, to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a second-round pick and guard Jonathan Cooper, who was cut in October (the second-round selection eventually turned into wideout Malcolm Mitchell and guard Joe Thuney). After the Giants handed defensive end Olivier Vernon $52.5 million guaranteed in free agency last year, it became clear that Jones would likely demand a similar deal when he hits the open market in 2017. Belichick, who only pays the market rate for a select number of players, shipped Jones away. Seven months later, Belichick also jettisoned linebacker Jamie Collins to Cleveland, where he just inked a four-year, $50 million deal with $26 million guaranteed. And yet, despite losing two of the most talented players on their defense, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl. Without Jones and Collins, they allowed the fewest number of points in the league.

Those results illustrate why Belichick owns all of the leverage in negotiations. As long as Tom Brady is under center, he knows he’s going to win. That’s probably why he inserts himself into contract talks with players at the last minute, offering less money than his director of player personnel, Nick Caserio. According to some agents, Belichick usually vacations during free agency, making his hardline offers from tropical hideaways.

Belichick, exercising his abundance of leverage, will often go on vacation in the heat of free agency and make his take-it-or-leave-it offers from faraway beaches while other coaches are flying around the country on private jets to court players,” Klemko writes. “When prospective players visit Foxborough, they express to their agents a sense of fear, but often leave feeling as if they have just met the lone coach who understands their true purpose on a football field.”

In addition to all of the winning, Brady’s penchant for taking less money is another reason why the Patriots are often able to sign players to below market contracts. According to Spotrac, his salary cap hit this season was $13.7 million –– 27th highest in the NFL.

Almost every veteran player on the Patriots probably could’ve signed for more money elsewhere. But when they arrive in Houston next week for Super Bowl 51, their decisions will be validated.

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Georgia gas station bans sale of Sam Adams before Super Bowl; Tiger Woods struggles in PGA Tour return

01.27.17 at 9:09 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:
NBA: Orlando at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Houston at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College hockey: Northeastern at UMass Lowell, 6 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Bowling Green at Ferris State, 8:30 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball:  Quinnipiac at Monmouth, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Dayton at VCU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Green Bay at Oakland, 9 p.m. ESPNU
Women’s college basketball: DePaul at Creighton, 8 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A gas station in Georgia has banned the sale of Sam Adams beer leading up to the Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl matchup.

Viral Chhadua, a gas station manager in Gainesville, Georgia, said Monday he made the decision to stop selling the beer, which is made by Boston Beer Company, after reading a Boston Globe column written by Dan Shaughnessy.

In the column, which is titled “It’s hard to get pumped up about a Super Bowl against . . . Atlanta,” Shaughnessy called Atlanta a place with “absolutely zero enthusiasm for professional sports.”

“I was already pumped that we were in the Super Bowl and matched up against living legends in Bill [Belichick] and Tom [Brady],” Chhadua said. “Then this article pops up and belittles our sports teams and fan base. I was irritated at the shots this guy took at the fan base and Atlanta as a whole.”

Chhadua said he wants to show “America and Dan that Atlanta has a passionate fan base” and will stop selling Sam Adams until after the Super Bowl.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Tiger Woods,