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Pro golfer deletes creepy tweet to teenage female fan

04.27.17 at 12:10 pm ET
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 NY Post Sports — Grayson Murray’s open book policy on social media took a decidedly creepy turn Wednesday night.

The 23-year-old golfer and part-time model chaser, after admitting he “had a couple drinks,” fired off an inappropriate tweet to a young female fan after she posed the age-old question, “Why does everyone hate on @GraysonMurray?”

“Idk but I hate the fact you are in high school. You are pretty,” Murray replied in the since-deleted tweet, which had been captured.

The fan in question, a Dallas-based high schooler who had recently shared photos from her prom, responded to Murray’s remarks with, “Well thanks!”

Murray returned to Twitter on Thursday morning, switching the subject matter from personal to professional.

I cringed out loud when I saw this it’s so skeevy.

But I also laughed out loud. It’s quite a ballsy move and it’s kind of funny that he tweeted this as a quote tweet and not a reply where it’s at least a little more private. 

At least Murray did answer this girl’s question of why everyone hates on him. Certainly clears that up.

Here’s the first tweet he sent after he deleted the tweet in question: 

Way to subtly pivot to tweeting like a professional person and expect us to forget you just hit on a high-schooler. While this technique is frequently used, it is rarely effective. Screenshots are forever, as they say, so Murray’s clever attempt to distract us by tweeting about golf has failed.

ESPN appears to be scaling back its MLB coverage –– big time

04.27.17 at 11:37 am ET
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Karl Ravech (right) is reportedly going to see his role at ESPN significantly reduced. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Karl Ravech (right) is reportedly going to see his role at ESPN significantly reduced. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN gutted its MLB coverage Wednesday, laying off several prominent reporters and analysts. As a result, the WorldWide Leader is now looking towards the outside in an effort to beef up its baseball programming.

In a press release, ESPN announced it’s partnering with MLB Network to air “Intentional Talk,” the slap-and-tickle fest hosted by Chris Rose and Kevin Millar. The program will run from 4:00-5:00 p.m. on ESPN2 beginning next week.

The collaboration between ESPN and MLB Network isn’t a surprise, given Disney’s 33 percent stake in MLB Advanced Media. It appears as if ESPN is dramatically cutting down on its original MLB studio programming, with “Baseball Tonight” mainstays such as Dallas Braden, Doug Glanville and Raul Ibanez receiving their walking papers Wednesday. The Hollywood Reporter says “Baseball Tonight” host Karl Ravech is going to see his role significantly reduced.

While ESPN pays MLB $700 million annually to broadcast games, it’s apparent baseball coverage is no longer a priority in Bristol. That’s likely a reflection on MLB’s lessened national standing. “Sunday Night Baseball,” once a marquee property, continues to see its ratings flounder in comparison to the network’s other major telecasts.

MLB will still be covered more prominently than the NHL –– ESPN canned three hockey reporters this week –– but the gap is closing.

Read More: ESPN, MLB,

Jemele Hill to Kirk Minihane: Meet me ‘face to face’

04.27.17 at 10:02 am ET
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Update (May 3, 2:45 p.m.): Kirk Minihane and Jemele Hill are back at it, this time sparring over Hill’s commentary on the Adam Jones incident at Fenway Park:

Previously: 

None of the several dozen employees who ESPN canned Wednesday expressed animosity towards the WorldWide Leader on their way out the door.

Kirk Minihane did it for them.

While watching “SC:6″ with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, Minihane offered up a less than flattering take about the show.

Despite receiving ample promotion, Smith and Hill have been unable to gain a steady audience for their new venture. As of last month, ratings for the 6:00 p.m. edition of “SportsCenter” were down 12 percent from 2016 –– on par with “Pardon the Interruption.”

The reaction to the program has been harsh as well. Yahoo finance writer Daniel Roberts tweeted this week roughly 50 percent of the 3,000 comments he received on a story about ESPN’s layoffs were people pleading with the company to cancel “SC:6.”

Hill, though, isn’t taking the criticism sitting down. After declining an invitation to join “Kirk & Callahan,” she said she wants to meet Minihane “face to face.”

If that confrontation aired on “SC:6″ one night, perhaps the show would finally draw a rating.

Read More: ESPN, Jemele Hill, Kirk Minihane,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Caitlyn Jenner says she knew O.J. Simpson killed Nicole Brown Simpson; Twitter reactions to ESPN layoffs

04.27.17 at 8:52 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Seattle at Detroit, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Houston at Cleveland, 6 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: NY Yankees at Boston, 7:10 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Toronto at Milwaukee, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: San Antonio at Memphis, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NFL Draft, 8 p.m. (ESPN, NFL Network)
NHL: NY Rangers at Ottawa, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL: Pittsburgh at Washington, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— In an appearance on Andy Cohen’s Sirius XM channel, Radio Andy, on Wednesday, Caitlyn Jenner said she is sure O.J. Simpson killed Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994.

“I knew he did it,” Jenner told Cohen.“There was three people at the crime scene: DNA evidence, three people at the crime scene. Pick a murderer. How hard is that?”

Nicole Simpson was a close friend of Kris Jenner, whose late husband Robert Kardashian was an attorney for O.J. in the murder trial. Jenner said even though Kardashian believed Simpson to be innocent, “Kris was on my side.”

“After the whole thing was over Robert just said to me, ‘I would have been OK if they got him in the first trial.’ That’s the only thing he ever said and that’s about the closest he’ll ever come, [while] never saying he actually did it,” Jenner said.

She said after the first trial, “[Kardashian] was now the guy who helped [Simpson] get away with murder and he was destroyed by everybody. And I felt terribly sorry for him.”

Jenner also said Kris “pretty much knew. We were just obviously very disappointed with the verdict.”

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Read More: Caitlyn Jenner, ESPN,

Colin Cowherd: ESPN layoffs will ‘happen annually’ over next decade

04.26.17 at 5:06 pm ET
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Colin Cowherd says he expects ESPN to continue to cut costs.  (Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Cowherd says he expects ESPN to continue to cut costs. (Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Cowherd says he isn’t surprised about the massive layoffs at ESPN. In fact, he predicts they will continue for the next several years.

In an interview Wednesday on CBS Radio in Cleveland, the former ESPN yapper said the WorldWide Leader is forking over too much money for rights agreements. The network is now paying $3.3 billion annually to broadcast the NFL and NBA.

“This is not going to end today. They have really cost-prohibitive contracts, combined with cord-cutting,” Cowherd said. “I said this [last year] when they cut 350 people, I said it the next day, it’s awful, and it will happen annually for the next decade.”

ESPN signed a whopping nine-year contract with the NBA worth $1.4 billion annually that kicked in at the start of this season. The network inked a $15 billion rights deal with the NFL, despite an increasingly lackluster Monday night schedule. In addition to “Monday Night Football,” ESPN receives access to game highlights and broadcasts one postseason contest per season.

Given the prevalence of cord-cutting, the strategy of overextending for TV contracts doesn’t appear to be a sustainable business model.

“At Fox, we pay $1.1 billion for the NFL,” Cowherd said. “You have the 1:oo window and the 4:00 window, wild card games, NFC Championship, and two of the next four Super Bowls. We make a lot of money on the NFL … ESPN pays $1.9 billion, gets a bunch of highlights, no Super Bowls, and one increasingly irrelevant Monday Night Football game. We have a great NFL contract, they have a really marginalized NFL contract.”

Cowherd is one of several big name ESPN personalities who’s left Bristol in recent years. The longtime talk radio host signed with Fox Sports in 2015 for a contract that pays him more than $6 million annually. Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann and Skip Bayless are also no longer with ESPN. The WorldWide Leader was reportedly prepared to offer Bayless a deal worth roughly $4 million per year, but Fox Sports topped them.

Since ESPN is hemorrhaging subscribers –– its lost at least 12 million households over the last five years –– it will likely keep looking to cut costs. The WorldWide Leader can seemingly no longer afford to pay exorbitant rights fees and keep its newsroom intact.

Read More: Colin Cowherd, ESPN,

ESPN lays off three NHL reporters, appears prepared to virtually ignore hockey all together

04.26.17 at 3:58 pm ET
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ESPN is cutting virtually all of its NHL coverage. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

ESPN is cutting most of its NHL coverage. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Hockey diehards often lambast ESPN for skimping on NHL coverage. But now it looks like the WorldWide Leader is preparing to ignore the sport all together.

As expected, ESPN underwent mass layoffs Wednesday, cutting dozens of high-profile employees so it can trim tens of millions of dollars from its payroll. The network’s relatively minuscule NHL department was hit hard, with three respected reporters receiving their walking papers.

NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun, columnist Scott Burnside and Boston-based reporter Joe McDonald have all announced they were laid off. The status of anchor John Buccigross, who plays a significant role in the network’s Stanley Cup Playoff coverage, remains uncertain. The Hollywood Reporter said earlier Wednesday he was let go, but walked the story back. Buccigross’ contract expires July 1 and hasn’t been renewed.

“Whatever happens, I’m very optimistic about the future of ESPN and about my future,” Buccigross told Sporting News last month. “We both will be fine. I’m not the anchor for gossip. I go into work with my head down, work with our producers to put a compelling 60 minutes together, and walk out the door and drive to my rural Connecticut home singing Jason Isbell songs. I get home, eat 10 pieces of American cheese and then read until I fall asleep.”

Given Barry Melrose was the only NHL analyst to receive significant television time, the coverage on “SportsCenter” and other studio shows likely won’t be much different. But the NHL’s limited exposure on ESPN’s digital properties will probably be further minimized.

Since ESPN doesn’t own NHL rights, this decision isn’t surprising. Like every other TV network, ESPN is interested in promoting its own programming.

Read More: ESPN, NHL,

Lawyer says Aaron Hernandez and Kyle Kennedy had close relationship in prison

04.26.17 at 2:18 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez's family has possession of his three suicide notes. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s family has possession of his three suicide notes. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

The attorney for Aaron Hernandez’s alleged prison friend affirmed Wednesday his client enjoyed a close relationship with the disgraced ex-NFL star.

At a press conference, Lawrence F. Army Jr. said Kevin Kennedy, the 22-year-old armed robber who Hernandez reportedly befriended at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, was the intended recipient of Hernandez’s third suicide note. State officials have confirmed the other two letters were written to Hernandez’s fiancee and four-year-old daughter. A judge ruled copies of the messages will be given to Hernandez’s family.

“My client has also relayed to me that he and Aaron Hernandez were close friends and spent a great deal of time together in prison,” Army said in his opening statement.

Army wouldn’t explain the nature of their relationship, saying Kennedy will address that himself at a later date. The Daily Mail reports Hernandez and Kennedy were seeing each other behind bars.

Kennedy, who’s currently on suicide watch, is believed to be the last person Hernandez saw before he hanged himself in his prison cell last week just before 3:00 a.m. Army said Hernandez told Kennedy he was thinking about ending his life three weeks ago. “I think I’m going to hang it up. LOL,” the note allegedly said.

Army also claims Hernandez gifted a $50,000 watch to Kennedy on his 22nd birthday. The whereabouts of the piece of jewelry is unknown.

Army said he’s requesting the note in question be released to his client. The content of the letter is apparently unclear, because it was written in code. But Army says it was meant for Kennedy, citing the closeness of their relationship and a prison source. Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, insists no such letter exists.

In an apparent effort to prove Kennedy’s friendship with Hernandez, Army read aloud one sentence from a letter the former Patriots tight end purportedly wrote to Kennedy’s father. “He’s my brother and always will be,” it said.

In September 2016, Hernandez and Kennedy asked to live with each other, Army said. But the request was denied.

“Aaron Hernandez was one of the most powerful forces as a person [Kennedy] has ever known,” Army said. “Aaron could took any situation, no matter how bad it seemed, and turn it into a positive.”

Kennedy was arrested in January 2015 for robbing a Cumberland Farms gas station in Northbridge. During the burglary, he was sporting a black mask and wielded a butcher knife. Police handcuffed him after a high-speed chase.

Kennedy is eligible to be released from prison March 1, 2018.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

Keeping track of Wednesday’s ESPN layoffs

04.26.17 at 11:49 am ET
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ESPN is making major layoffs on Wednesday and many of the those affected are big names at the Worldwide Leader. Here is the ones we know so far:

— NFL reporter Ed Werder

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire after 2017 season; NBA investigating Rockets owner for yelling at referee

04.26.17 at 8:30 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Wednesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
MLB: Kansas City at Chicago White Sox, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: NY Yankees at Boston, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN, NESN)
MLB: LA Dodgers at San Francisco, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Atlanta at Washington, 6 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Chicago at Boston, 8:30 p.m. (CSN, TNT)
NHL: Nashville at St. Louis, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Edmonton at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on Wednesday he plans to retire from NASCAR after the 2017 season.

Earnhardt held an hourlong press conference announcement from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in North Carolina and said he will remain involved in the sport after he hangs it up.

“I accomplished way more than I ever dreamed, way more than I ever thought I’d accomplish,” Earnhardt said. “So I’m good, you know. I’m good on that front. I’m so blessed and fortunate on what I was able to achieve but I’m very sad because it’s definitely disappointing for a lot of people to wake up to that news this morning.”

“I don’t see myself really detaching from NASCAR,” Earnhardt continued. “My intention is still to be involved in the sport on some level. … Even after this season is over, you have not seen the last of me on the race track. But more than that, I want to be a part of the future of the sport for years to come.”

Earnhardt Jr.’s career began at age 24 in 1999. He has won 26 times in 603 starts, including two Daytona 500’s.

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Read More: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Houston Rockets,

Jury was reportedly invited to Aaron Hernandez’s funeral

04.25.17 at 3:51 pm ET
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Boston HeraldThe jury that acquitted disgraced Patriot Aaron Hernandez of a 2012 double-murder was invited to his funeral yesterday in the former NFL star’s hometown of Bristol, Conn., a juror told the Herald.

“I was invited, but I decided ultimately not to go,” said Robert Monroe, one of 12 jurors who on April 14 acquitted Hernandez of the murders of Cape Verdean immigrants Daniel de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28. Both were living in Dorchester.

“I received a message, if any of the jurors wanted to go to the Aaron Hernandez funeral, that Jose Baez would rent a bus to get us back and forth,” Monroe told the Herald today.

Monroe, 27, of Boston, would not disclose in what form, or who was behind the invite, but did say he received the message last week. Baez was Hernandez’s high-profile attorney.

Monroe is unsure if any of the jurors attended the funeral.

… Monroe said he initially was taken aback by the invitation. But also, if Baez was behind it, he probably had good intentions.

“I actually asked a bunch of my friends, should I go, and they thought it was strange. Initially I wanted to go and maybe get some closure, this whole, confusing thing … his suicide … I would have been out of place, I’m not family or a friend,” he said.

As for Baez, Monroe said the lawyer may have wanted to acknowledge their commitment to the case.

“If it was Jose Baez who set this whole thing up, I could see he recognized that we were in the same room with this guy (Hernandez), for about two months. That perhaps some of us would want that, maybe some of the religious juror members.”

This sounds like a total Baez move. It’s pathetic. Of course he’s the one behind the invite. You won the case, we get it.

And, yes, it was probably because of their “commitment to the case,” which translates to the fact that they acquitted Hernandez. If they were committed to the case but found him guilty, no way Baez would have invited them, obviously.

Monroe made the right decision to not go. He would have been WAY out of place and it would have looked like a spotlight grab. At least he understands what is and is not socially acceptable, unlike Baez.