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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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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.

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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.

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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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Colin Kaepernick reportedly can’t get a job because NFL teams ‘genuinely hate him’

03.17.17 at 3:50 pm ET
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The 49ers released Colin Kaepernick after the 2016 season. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

The 49ers released Colin Kaepernick after the 2016 season. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

NFL teams are so desperate for quarterbacks these days, the Bears signed backup signal-caller Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract. But Colin Kaepernick, despite leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl just four years ago, can’t find a job. Apparently, that’s because many league executives think he’s toxic.

According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, Kaepernick could remain a free agent for the bulk of the offseason. An unnamed AFC general manager told him 30 percent of teams either don’t think Kaepernick can play or are afraid of the backlash they would face after signing him. The GM says the other 70 percent just plain out despise him, presumably because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem last season to protest social inequality and police brutality.

“The rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on,” the anonymous executive said. “They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”

While Kaepernick is limited as a quarterback –– he only completed 59.2 percent of his passes last season –– he played well down the stretch for the moribund 49ers. Kaepernick posted a 101.1 QB rating over the final four weeks of 2016, throwing for six touchdowns and only one interception.

Earlier this month, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Kaepernick intends to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” next season. Given this report, it’s easy to surmise why he probably came to that decision. Kaepernick seems to be paying a price for speaking his mind.

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CBS analyst Jim Spanarkel should feel no shame for calling Allie LaForce a ‘pretty woman’

03.17.17 at 11:26 am ET
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CBS hired Allie LaForce in 2014. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

CBS hired Allie LaForce in 2014. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

CBS analyst Jim Spanarkel called a woman “pretty.” As a result, he must be shamed.

During the West Virginia-Bucknell matchup Thursday, reporter Allie LaForce relayed comments from Bisons’ head coach Nathan Davis on how the Mountaineers’ offensive rebuilding hurt them in the first half. Spanarkel, in a seemingly benign back-and-forth, briefly discussed LaForce’s report with play-by-play man Verne Lundquist.

“I agree with Allie. I always agree with Allie, though,” he said. “Eight offensive rebounds, well, I’ve learned not to argue with pretty women. Like the people in my house. I don’t get in trouble with the people that are in my house, either, so eight offensive rebounds, Allie, when you think about it, is really a problem, from the standpoint of Bucknell.”

It didn’t take long for Spanarkel to feel the wrath of Twitter’s social justice warriors. ESPN’s Bomani Jones, who strongly hinted earlier this year Celtics fans cheered for Jazz forward Gordon Hayward because he’s white, said the former Duke star is going to “wish he had that one back.” Others called Spanarkel misogynistic, because he acknowledged LaForce’s appearance.

The backlash against Spanarkel is similar to the pushback play-by-play announcer Brent Musberger faced in 2013, when he called former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, a “lovely lady” during the national title game. When the cameras panned to the former Miss Alabama USA, Musberger remarked to color analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former quarterback at Ohio State, “You quarterbacks get all the good-looking women.”

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WATCH: Manny Ramirez hit a double for his new Japanese team

03.17.17 at 9:41 am ET
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Manny Ramirez is more than a special attraction for his new Japanese ball club. He can still rake.

The now-44-year-old slugger stepped up to the plate Thursday for the Kōchi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus. He promptly smacked a double to center field.

Details of Ramirez’s contract were revealed earlier this week. In addition to being entitled to unlimited sushi, he’ll have access to his own hotel suite for away games and Mercedes with a personal driver. Practices are optional as well.

Ramirez, who will wear a No. 99 jersey with “Manny” stitched on the back, last played at the Major League level in 2011. The Cubs hired him in 2014 to serve as a hitting consultant.

(h/t @BenBadler)

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