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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Angels P Matt Shoemaker remains in Seattle hospital after brain surgery

09.06.16 at 7:42 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Padres, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Blue Jays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Lynx at Sparks, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, United States vs. Trinidad and Tobago, 8 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Sweden vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Switzerland vs. Portugal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Belarus vs. France, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Mexico vs. Honduras, 10 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: U.S. Open, noon, 7 p.m. (ESPN)


— Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker remained in a Seattle hospital Monday night after having surgery to stop bleeding on his brain due to being struck by a line drive in Sunday’s game against the Mariners.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he’s held off on calling Shoemaker, contacting him via text until things settle down.

“Everybody’s been texting him. I don’t think anyone wants to call him right now,” Scioscia said Monday. “We’ve exhaled a little bit since. They monitored him and decided they needed to do surgery. They went in there and hopefully corrected what was causing the bleeding. He’s resting comfortably and everything looks like it’s taken care of. Now it’s just the recuperation process for Matty. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”

Shoemaker was pitching in the second inning Sunday when Kyle Seager lined a ball with an exit velocity of 105 mph, according to MLB Statcast, and it caught Shoemaker in the side of the head. He stumbled to the ground, although he was able to eventually walk off the field with assistance from the training staff.

General manager Billy Epps said Shoemaker was receiving CT scans every 2-3 hours, and the third image showed increased bleeding Sunday night, leading to the decision to operate.

— The 49ers appear to have run out of patience with players who cannot stay out of trouble, as they cut tight end Bruce Miller on Monday, hours after his arrest for assaulting two men in an altercation at a San Francisco hotel.

Police said Miller was intoxicated when he tried to enter an elderly couple’s hotel room around 2:45 a.m. Monday morning, and when the couple’s 29-year-old son told Miller he was in the wrong room, the player attacked the son and the 70-year-old father, who attempted to intervene. Both men were taken to the hospital.

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Read More: Bruce Miller, Johnny Manziel, Matt Shoemaker,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe kneels during national anthem in ‘nod to [Colin] Kaepernick’

09.05.16 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Padres, 4:40 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Brewers, 1:10 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Cardinals at Pirates, 4:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Mississippi at Florida State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Spain vs. Liechtenstein, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Ukraine vs. Iceland, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 11 a.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Saying her action was “a nod to [Colin] Kaepernick,” U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s National Women’s Soccer League game between her Seattle Reign and the Chicago Red Stars.

“I am disgusted with the way [Kaepernick] has been treated and the fans and hatred he has received in all of this,” Rapinoe told espnW’s Julie Foudy. “It is overtly racist. ‘Stay in your place, black man.’ Just didn’t feel right to me. We need a more substantive conversation around race relations and the way people of color are treated.”

Added Rapinoe: “We are not saying we are not one the greatest countries in world. Just need to accept that [it is] not perfect, things are broken.

“And quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling.”

Rapinoe said she would continue her protest the remainder of the season in an attempt to “continue the conversation.”

A World Cup and Olympic gold medalist, Rapinoe has been an advocate for LGBT rights since coming out in 2012. She also has fought what she claims is wage discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation and has weighed in on political issues on social media.

While two other NFL players joined Kaepernick in his protest during Thursday’s preseason games, Rapinoe is the first non-black athlete to join in.

— Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker was hospitalized with a skull fracture after taking a line drive off the side of his head during Sunday’s game against the Mariners.

In the second, inning Kyle Seager lined a shot right back at Shoemaker, who turned his head just before contact. He stumbled to the ground before receiving medical assistance. He was helped off the field holding a towel to his head.

“That was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball field,” Seager said.

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Read More: Jrue Holiday, Lauren Holiday, Matt Shoemaker, Megan Rapinoe

Thinking Out Loud: Will NFL spy on Tom Brady during suspension?

09.02.16 at 5:30 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering if the Magic 8-Ball really knows all.

— As the Patriots roster now begins to take its shape for the upcoming season, keep this in mind: Injuries always play a factor. That’s why I find so-called roster projections from the media interesting. No one really knows what the coaches and front-office personnel ultimately will decide.

— Unless they’re like me, and they utilize their Magic 8-Ball, which always has been quick with a response in the past. I asked the 8-Ball what the Patriots roster was going to look like next week, and it replied, “My answer is no.” Makes perfect sense to me.

— So, any Tom Brady sightings in or around Gillette Stadium in the last 48 hours or so? Think the NFL might have some super-secret spies checking out the landscape to see if anyone is, um, taking liberties with the rules?

— Among the players already visited by “The Turk,” Terrance Knighton’s cut from the roster was a bit of a surprise from this corner. I do seem to recall, however, that when his signing appeared imminent, he wasn’t initially thrilled with becoming a “rotational player.”

— Knighton, according to the NFLPA and seconded by our friend and salary cap guru Miguel (his Twitter handle is @capspacev2), apparently did not earn any of his weight-based bonuses in his contract, either. Wonder if that came back to bite him, um, in the, um, you know?

— Barkevious Mingo brings badly needed depth to the linebacking corps, and if nothing else, also brings an automatic spellcheck every time I type his name.

— If you’re wondering about the guy who was flying around MetLife Stadium Thursday night against the New York Giants, Mingo’s story is a familiar refrain — underachieving, young veteran player looking for a clean start and new opportunity. This is how, more than just about anything else, the Patriots have built themselves into a dynastic franchise — identifying hungry players eager to make a name for themselves.

— Oh, and one more thing: They bring in players who also are in their final contractual years, as Mingo is. Make or break is a pretty good attitude to have on your side.

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Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Terrance Knighton, Tom Brady,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Colin Kaepernick has company as he continues anthem protest

09.02.16 at 8:24 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Angels at Mariners, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Furman at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College football: Army at Temple, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Northwestern State at Baylor, 7:30 p.m. (FSN)
College football: Colorado State at Colorado, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Kansas State at Stanford, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Toledo at Arkansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
WNBA: Storm at Sky, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


Colin Kaepernick throws a pass during Thursday's preseason game in San Diego. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick throws a pass during Thursday’s preseason game in San Diego. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

— As boos rained down from the crowd in San Diego, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem Thursday, continuing his protest over racial injustice and other issues in the United States.

This time he had some company, as safety Eric Reid joined him. And in Oakland, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on his team’s bench during the anthem in a similar protest.

“The message is that we have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with,” Kaepernick said after the game. “We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, that aren’t given equal opportunities.”

If he was distracted by the situation, Kaepernick did not show it on the field. Fighting for his job (which he lost to Blaine Gabbert last season), Kaepernick played the first half and completed 11-for-18 passes for 103 yards while rushing four times for 38 yards.

Coach Chip Kelly would not say if Kaepernick, who was on the trading block in the offseason, remains in jeopardy of being cut.

“We’ll make those decisions when we watch the film,” Kelly said. “That goes for everybody on the football team, not just Colin.”

Said Kaepernick: “This is a phenomenal organization, and I’ve had great conversations here. I’ve had great memories here, and this team has given me the opportunity to become the man I am today. I’m grateful for that. I’m thankful for that, and San Francisco has become my home.”

Earlier in the day, Kaepernick addressed his latest controversy regarding socks he had been wearing at practice earlier in training camp. The socks features cartoon drawings of pigs wearing police hats.

Explained Kaepernick on Instagram: I wore these socks, in the past, because the rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger, but also the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust. I have two uncles and friends who are police officers and work to protect and serve ALL people. So before these socks, which were worn before I took my public stance, are used to distract from the real issues, I wanted to address this immediately.

Lane, the 26-year-old Seahawks veteran, said he’s prepare for any criticism that comes his way as he followed Kaepernick’s lead.

“I just like what he’s doing, and I’m standing behind him,” Lane said, adding: “It’s something I plan on keep on doing, until I feel like justice is being served.”

— Penn State stirred up some anger among its critics by announcing Thursday that it planned to honor the late Joe Paterno this season, the 50th anniversary of his first game as coach.

The school said more details would be forthcoming about the Sept. 17 ceremony.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Joe Paterno,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NFL executives blast ‘traitor’ Colin Kaepernick

09.01.16 at 7:36 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NFL preseason: Patriots at Giants, 7 p.m. (WBZ-TV, NFL Network)
NFL preseason: Seahawks at Raiders, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: Charlotte at Louisville, 7 p.m. (FSN)
College football: Indiana at Florida International, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Rice at Western Kentucky, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Oregon State at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
MLB: Giants at Cubs, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Liberty at Fever, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

— Criticism — and some support — continues to rain down on Colin Kaepernick, but the 49ers quarterback isn’t backing down regarding his national anthem protest. Kaepernick has said he will not stand during the song until police brutality against minorities stops.

On Wednesday it was revealed that Kaepernick has been wearing socks at practice the last couple of weeks that are decorated with cartoons of pigs heads adorned with police hats.

Even before that information came out, seven anonymous NFL executives interviewed by Bleacher Report said Kaepernick is not likely to be signed should the 49ers decided to cut him (he lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert last year and was on the trade block during the offseason).

One executive labeled Kaepernick “a traitor,” saying: “I don’t want him anywhere near my team.”

Another sample comment: “He has no respect for our country. [Expletive] that guy.”

One official said Kaepernick is the most disliked player in the league since Rae Carruth, who remains in jail for plotting to murder his pregnant girlfriend in 1999 while playing receiver for the Panthers.

“In my career, I have never seen a guy so hated by front office guys as Kaepernick,” an exec said.

On the other side of the situation, a Twitter hashtag of #VeteransForKaepernick began trending Tuesday night and continued Wednesday, with many vets supporting the player’s right to speak his mind whether or not they agree with him.

Wrote one vet: You don’t fight for freedom of speech then criticize someone for actually using it.

— One day after detailing his battle with throat cancer during a Tuesday appearance on WEEI’s Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Chris Mortensen announced that he plans to play a part in ESPN’s NFL coverage as the start of this season.

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Read More: Chris Mortensen, Colin Kaepernick, Mike Trout,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Vikings in shock after devastating injury to QB Teddy Bridgewater

08.31.16 at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Astros, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Giants, 5 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Wings at Storm, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Vikings players were so disturbed by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s freak injury Tuesday that practice had to be canceled on the spot.

The 2014 first-round draft pick was dropping back to pass during a non-contract drill when his left leg gave out. He suffered a dislocated knee and torn ACL that will sideline him for at least this season.

Some players were swearing as they walked off the field, while others knelt in prayer as Bridgewater was receiving medical attention. An ambulance quickly arrived to take him to the hospital.

Tweeted receiver Jarius Wright: Sometimes the worst things happen to the best [people]. God has a plan.

Coach Mike Zimmer faces a challenge trying to get his team ready for Thursday’s final preseason game against the Rams and then the regular season.

“I’m not going to let this team feel sorry for itself,” Zimmer said. “We’re going to grieve today and be upset about it. It’s more about our feelings for Teddy and him as a person and getting better than it is about anything else. Teddy’s a great kid and he’ll be back as soon as he possibly can if it is real bad. But we’re going to keep fighting.”

Bridgewater’s backup is 36-year-old Shaun Hill, who started eight games for the Rams in 2014 but has not played much since. Taylor Heinicke, an undrafted free agent who was the team’s No. 3 quarterback last season, has been out all preseason with a foot injury and is not expected to return to practice until late September. Undrafted rookie Joel Stave reportedly has not inspired much confidence with his performance in practice.

“We’re not going to stick our heads in the sand, we’re not going to tuck our [tail between] our legs,” Zimmer said. “We’re not looking for excuses. We’re going to go out and fight like we always do.”

— Baylor wide receiver Ismael Zamora apologized after being suspended for three games by the school for beating his dog.

A video of Zamora hitting his dog eight times with a belt and kicking it was obtained by KXXV News Channel 25 in Waco, Texas, last week. The incident happened in June, and Zamora was charged with a Class C misdemeanor and fined.

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Read More: Ismael Zamora, Teddy Bridgewater,

NBA sportscaster Craig Sager: Sager Strong movement ‘wasn’t about me, it was about what I represented’

08.30.16 at 11:25 am ET
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Craig Sager

Craig Sager

NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager called in to the Dennis & Callahan show with Minihane on Monday during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to give an update on his battle with leukemia and to urge listeners to donate. To hear the interview, visit the D&C audio on demand page.

Calling from his hospital bed at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Sager said he has been at the hospital for over a month and has had two chemotherapy sessions in the last four days. He is scheduled to have his third bone marrow transplant on Wednesday.

“[This is the] first time that MD Anderson has done a third transplant for AML patients,” Sager said. “Overall, I’m in uncharted territory here.”

Sager’s ongoing battle with leukemia has inspired many across the country, and has started a Sager Strong Foundation to help other leukemia patients and families. Many NBA players and personnel have reached out to Sager, who is surprised at how his story has grown into something bigger.

“At first it was just … speaking to the kids, then it kept building and I realized it was something beyond that,” Sager said. “It wasn’t about me, it was about what I represented, and that was somebody who refuses to give up, refuses to give in … does his job, has the same attitude, and is going to keep fighting.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: SF police criticize Colin Kaepernick protest based on ‘false narrative’

08.30.16 at 8:36 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Mercury at Fever, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)


Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

— Colin Kaepernick said that neither the 49ers nor the NFL have contacted him about his decision to sit during the national anthem to protest America’s race problem, but they might soon be forced to address the issue.

The president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and 49ers CEO Jed York criticizing Kaepernick’s actions as a “total lack of sensitivity” toward police.

“I only wish Mr. Kaepernick could see the emotional and psychological challenges that our officers face following a fatal encounter,” Martin Halloran wrote. “Some are so affected they never return to the streets. In short, Mr. Kaepernick has embarrassed himself, the 49er organization, and the NFL based on a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.”

Kaepernick sat on the bench during the anthem for all three preseason games, and he said he plans to continue his protest.

Jim Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick in San Francisco for four seasons until leaving for the University of Michigan last year, said at his Monday press conference that Kaepernick that he has mixed feelings about the situation.

“I acknowledge his right to do that. I don’t respect the motivation or the action,” Harbaugh said, later clarifying on Twitter: I support Colin’s motivation. It’s his method of action that I take exception to.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he supports Kaepernick’s right to speak out, but he would be concerned about the effect on his team.

“You respect our team, our organization and the other players,” Harbaugh said. “You respect the mission that we’re on and what we’re trying to accomplish. None of us ever want us to detract or disrespect the efforts of all the other players on the football team. That’s the balance that all of us have to strike when we speak out about something like that.”

Meanwhile, Eagles rookie undrafted free agent linebacker Myke Tavarres said Monday that he also would sit during the national anthem during his team’s preseason game against the Jets this Thursday, but his agent said later that the player had changed his mind after consulting with his agent and college coaches.

“As a rookie, his goal is not to be a distraction for the Eagles,” agent Corey Williams said. “His coaches at Incarnate Word and I advised him to stand.”

— Even before his Tuesday tryout for major league teams, Tim Tebow has an offer to play baseball with an established winner.

Five-time Venezuelan Professional Baseball League champion Aguilas del Zulia reportedly sent a contract offer to Tebow’s agents Monday.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Tim Tebow,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Niners QB Colin Kaepernick will continue to protest national anthem until ‘there’s significant change’ in race relations

08.29.16 at 8:00 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN); 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he will continue to sit through the playing of the national anthem before games to draw attention to the problem of race relations in America.

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” Kaepernick told reporters Sunday, two days after he sat on the bench during the anthem prior to Friday’s loss to the Packers, his third such protest this preseason but the first to garner national attention. “To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Mashup Poll: Is Colin Kaepernick crossing a line by disrespecting the national anthem?

  • Yes, he should stand and find a different way to protest (80%, 133 Votes)
  • No, he has every right to do whatever he wants to make his beliefs known (20%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 167

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Reactions have been mixed from the around the league, although Kaepernick — who is battling to regain his starting job from Blaine Gabbert after a disappointing 2015 season — said no NFL representative has reached out to him.

“No one’s tried to quiet me and, to be honest, it’s not something I’m going to be quiet about,” he said. “I’m going to speak the truth when I’m asked about it. This isn’t for look. This isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities to be successful. To provide for families and not live in poor circumstances.”‘

Kaepernick, who is biracial but was raised by white adoptive parents, criticized presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and said he’s taking a stand for those people who do not have the ability to do so themselves.

“There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality,” he said. “There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”

Kaepernick explained his decision to his teammates Sunday morning, and while some agreed with his stance, there were concerns about how he was expressing himself.

“I agree with what he did, but not in the way he did it,” wideout Torrey Smith said. “That’s not for me. He has that right. Soldiers have died for his right to do exactly what he did. … I know he’s taken a lot of heat for it. He understands that when you do something like that it does offend a lot of people.”

Coach Chip Kelly on Saturday deferred to Kaepernick, implying he didn’t plan to get involved.

“That’s his right as a citizen,” Kelly said. “We recognize his right as an individual to choose to participate or not participate in the national anthem.”

— On the same day dozens of people gathered in a Chicago church for a prayer service to remember Nykea Alrdridge, the 32-year-old cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade who was shot to death last week, Chicago police announced that two brothers were charged with her murder.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Dwyane Wade,

Solving ‘The Night Of': A finale for the ages

08.29.16 at 1:57 am ET
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Naz and John Stone on the finale of the show of the summer. (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

Naz and John Stone on the finale of the show of the summer. (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

That’s how you do it.  

That’s how you end a TV show.

I don’t know how many people watched “The Night Of” in real time, but it is a fraction of how many people will catch up on this show in the age of Streaming Entertainment.

Like its ancestors, “The Sopranos” and “The Wire,” “The Night Of” is destined to be remembered as a complete piece of work — everything matters and everything is connected. Unlike its ancestors, it only got eight episodes to reach a satisfying conclusion. I would argue that any more time spent on this story would have lead to a split decision in its battle for a place in the modern television pantheon instead of the devastating knockout it delivered in the finale.

Over the last few years, the most popular show on television has been AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” and that’s not surprising because it is about zombies. Like the undead flesh monsters that haunt post-Apocalyptic Atlanta in “The Walking Dead,” we as TV watchers are stomping around the vast entertainment landscape scrounging for anything we can find and consuming as much of it as possible before we move on to the next feeding.

In that stomp-stomp-feed-stomp-stomp-feed approach to consuming content, we walked right into the trap Steve Zaillian, Richard Price, their brilliant cast and HBO set for us; they zigged when we assumed they’d be zagging and we tumbled right over a cliff while chasing the honking car of tropey cop drama television. The red herrings never stopped jumping and seemed to have sprouted wings during the finale.  

Try counting how many times you thought to yourself, “Well, this is what gets the jury to vote Naz guilty, and then he is going to die in prison.”  I clocked in at ninety-two — one for each minute until the greatest moment of the series. I won’t recount all of them, but here were the highlights:

RED HERRING #1: The Usual Suspects. In court, we got to see Trevor, Duane Reed, Mr. Day, and Don Taylor all take the witness stand to get grilled by the defense. While each was presented as a viable alternative to Naz being the person who killed Andrea, ultimately all were let go.  

GUT REACTION: With no viable options, Naz is the only person who could be found guilty.  

RED HERRING #2: What Are You Doing, Chandra?! The last time I audibly shouted “OH MY GOD” at the TV, Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass in Super Bowl XLIX. Chandra went from prosecuting attorney to drug mule in no time flat. I’ve been watching, analyzing, and discussing TV for a LONG time… I did not see a lawyer smuggling a bag of opiates to her client coming.  

GUT REACTION: Obviously they both get caught, the prosecution finds out, Naz is found guilty, and Chandra goes to jail. Everyone loses.  

RED HERRING #3: Naz gets put on the stand. After abstaining from cross-examining all of the defense’s suspects, D.A. Weiss winds up a balled fist and knocks Naz into the middle of next week. This scene was the prestige courtroom drama version of Ivan Drago beating Apollo Creed to death in front of Rocky with John Stone play the Duke role screaming, “THROW THE DAMN TOWEL!” This was Johnny Lawrence sweeping the leg of Daniel LaRusso. She put him in a bodybag. She boxed him into a corner where he doubted his own innocence in front of the jury.  

GUT REACTION: She got Naz to doubt himself, so obviously he’s going to jail for life where he will receive many more neck tattoos.  

RED HERRING #4: Naz looks like he’s going to get got. Back at Rikers, the prison guard on watch gets his hands on some surveillance camera footage and shows it to Freddy. Obviously, this is the footage of Chandra delivering the package of opiates to Naz, which he has obviously hidden from Freddy, and he is obviously going to heat up that razor blade and take Naz out before the verdict is rendered, not unlike he did to Victor in the previous episode. Freddy has already shown the audience what he does to people who step out of line in his organization. Even for his protege, the swift hands of The King of Queens are going to wrap around his neck because Naz stepped out of line.

GUT REACTION: Guilty or innocent, Naz doesn’t make it out of Rikers alive.  

Luckily, “The Night Of” is a much different show than any other crime/courtroom drama in which any of these resolutions would have sufficed.  I expected all of these things to happen because this is what we have seen before in every other TV show.  This was the zig for which we content zombies were secretly clamoring.  What we got was something so much better.  

GIFT #1: John Stone gets his one moment in the sun. John Turturro, in what needs to be an Emmy nominated performance, steps up to the plate and BLASTS a home run of a closing argument.  

GUT REACTION: This might be good enough to get Naz acquitted, but not necessarily prove his innocence to the viewer.  

GIFT #2. Box Comes Through Like We Knew He Would.  Det. Box, after weeks of questioning the facts, unearths a suspect we mentioned (previously he was mentioned as “guy-at-funeral”) but didn’t focus on, Ray Halle. I could watch a sequel series of Box following leads, Weiss attacking in the courtroom, and Dr. Katz collecting and explaining forensic evidence forever.  

GUT REACTION: We might actually get justice in the last 20 minutes.

GIFT #3: The Cat Theory Conclusion. I called it in my first recap, I mentioned it every week since, and I shouted it at my television in real time: THE CAT MEANS EVERYTHING. As if the ASPCA commercial on the TV in Stone’s apartment wasn’t enough to tug at our heartstrings, we learned that he saved the cat after all. Throughout the series, the connective tissue from theory to theory has been that the cat represents the truth and how close Stone has been to it all along. John Stone, for all the setbacks that have befallen him over the run of this limited series, is a character with a rich backstory worth exploring. He wasn’t always a psoriasis-riddled, quixotic attorney scrapping his way to $60k a year on plea deals. At one point, he wanted to become a lawyer because he believed people need defending. His unwavering belief in the legal system, despite the wheels of justice having ground him into a fine powder over the years, was the gas in the tank of this show. Pursuing the truth is dirty work and we see him doing all of it in both episodic and metaphorical instances — from scrounging up business at 4 a.m. in police stations to chasing suspects down alleys to emptying litter boxes, etc. The pursuit of justice has done nothing but hurt this guy but he knows it is worth it and even if it is going to make him uncomfortable. I’m now almost positive his surname is Stone, because, like the Greek mythological figure Sisyphus, he is going to push a boulder of the responsibility of truth and justice up a hill every day for eternity.    

GUT REACTION: I was right on the money from day one.  

Unlike the true beauty of a show like “The Night Of,” these are exactly what they are labeled as being: red herrings and gut reactions. They are the tropes and obvious turns that we can expect from a TV show. Even after marveling at what the show did and didn’t do, I was still looking for reasons to point at and detract. Zaillian and Price too met this head on. Even in introducing, explaining, and zeroing in on the real killer in the final episode — a move I promised myself I would hate if they did — fits perfectly. It answers the question I’ve been asking throughout the entire series: Is this a show about who killed Andrea Cornish or is this a show about what happens in the wake of a tragedy? “The Night Of” is most certainly the latter and by showing that life — while not pretty, resolved, or free from strife — will continue. The ripple effects of what happened on October 24th will reverberate in the lives of everyone involved. I’m not sure we’d get the same result if this show were simply about a murder, even if it were filmed as exquisitely or presented on premium cable.  

It took one night — three hours, really — for unthinkable events to take place. It took roughly eight weeks for Naz’s life to unravel. It took insurmountable adversity for the true nature of each character to reveal itself. Therein lies what the show really was; “The Night Of” was much more than a summer TV show — it was a promising glimpse of what TV could be.