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Mike & Mike’s decision to ignore apparent feud illustrates what’s wrong with sports talk radio 05.23.17 at 2:27 pm ET
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Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic didn't address their reported feud on Tuesday's show.  (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic didn’t address their reported feud on Tuesday’s show. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

On Monday, Sports Illustrated published a lengthy report about the apparent rift between Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. In it, media writer Richard Deitsch cites several sources who talk about the “poisonous atmosphere” on “Mike and Mike,” which may not remain on the air until its scheduled end in December.

But when Greenberg and Golic turned on the microphones Tuesday, neither host mentioned the story. Instead, they discussed Manu Ginobili playing his final game and the NFL changing its overtime rules. It was the embodiment of everything wrong with national sports talk radio, which is painfully vanilla and inoffensive.

There was palpable tension in the air when Greenberg and Golic announced their long-rumored breakup last week. Golic didn’t even look his longtime partner in the eye while he talked cryptically about the end of the show. “The last year and a half have been somewhat interesting, if not eyebrow-raising, as well,” he said. “For me, it’s not my story to tell. I’m going to continue doing this exact same show. It’s for others to tell who made this decision if they want to tell it and how they want to tell it.”

According to Deitsch, Golic is upset that Greenberg didn’t confer with him before accepting an offer to host a new morning variety show on ESPN, which will launch in 2018. Golic will stay on ESPN Radio, partnering with Trey Wingo and his son, Mike Golic Jr., who will join the program every day from 6:00-7:00 a.m.

“From Golic’s perspective, he thinks Mike [Greenberg] should have come to him and told him he wanted to do his own thing,” said an anonymous ESPN employee. “But Greeney is very non-confrontational, truly a nice a guy, and he would say that it wasn’t incumbent on him to tell Golic everything about what he wanted to do professionally. I guess I can see both sides.”

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Read More: ESPN, Mike Golic, Mike Greenberg,
Report: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic barely speak to each other, show atmosphere is ‘poisonous’ 05.22.17 at 7:34 pm ET
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The relationship between Mike & Mike has reportedly deteriorated. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

The relationship between Mike & Mike has reportedly deteriorated. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Armchair psychologists had a field day last week when Mike Golic didn’t look his longtime radio partner Mike Greenberg in the eye while addressing the show’s long-rumored breakup. As it turns out, there was apparently a lot of festering animosity behind the slight.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch reports the two “Mike & Mike” hosts, who have been together since 2000, are no longer pals. In fact, sources say they barely talk to each other off the set or during commercial breaks.

One ESPN staffer described the environment as “poisonous,” speculating the show won’t run until its contractual end, which is believed to be in December. ESPN announced last week Mike Greenberg will host a variety morning show out of New York City in 2018, while Golic stays in morning drive with Trey Wingo. Mike Golic Jr., who hosts overnights on ESPN Radio, will join the program every day from 6:00-7:00 a.m.

While there are reportedly multiple reasons for the on-set friction, one source told Deitsch Golic is peeved that Greenberg didn’t talk to him about pursuing his own television program. “From Golic’s perspective, he thinks Mike [Greenberg] should have come to him and told him he wanted to do his own thing,” the ESPN employee said. “But Greeney is very non-confrontational, truly a nice a guy, and he would say that it wasn’t incumbent on him to tell Golic everything about what he wanted to do professionally. I guess I can see both sides.”

When the hosts announced the breakup last Wednesday, Golic’s son ripped ESPN in a number of tweets. In perhaps the most telling sign about the Golic family’s feelings about the split, the tweets are still up.

Read More: ESPN, Mike Golic, Mike Greenberg,
Linda Pizutti Henry opens up about John Henry romance, including strings of late-night emails 05.22.17 at 4:12 pm ET
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John Henry and Linda Pizutti Henry are one of Boston's premier power couples. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

John Henry and Linda Pizutti Henry are one of Boston’s premier power couples. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Red Sox principal owner John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizutti Henry, are perhaps Boston’s most famous power couple. But their relationship remains shrouded in mystery, largely due to John Henry’s guarded public persona.

In a new Boston Magazine profile, Linda opens up about her marriage with the billionaire businessman, who’s 26 years her elder. Raised on the North Shore in close-knit Italian family, Linda, 38, says her father was originally against her relationship with the 66-year-old Henry. He was afraid of her getting overshadowed, she explains.

“My father was very proud,” she told Boston Magazine. “He didn’t want me to be in someone’s shadow. And for him, you know, I was this younger woman. So people were making assumptions about my intentions that were insulting to my father, to my family. That, you know, I would be doing something for material intentions.”

When they first met at the Liberty Hotel in 2008, Linda, who isn’t a sports fan, apparently didn’t know who Henry was. She originally rebuffed his courtship, at least partially because of her friends’ and family member’s misgivings.

Linda, who obtained her master’s in real estate from MIT in 2006, dated exhaustively throughout her 20s. Her friends say Henry’s intellect is what ultimately reeled her in, along with romantic late-night emails. Boston Magazine published one of them in a 2009 feature story about the couple.

“We feted the Celtics tonight and the skies opened. The sun emerged and created a giant rainbow between the city and the park. We were transfixed,” Henry wrote. “You only saw it if you were in the right place. I was in the right place when I noticed you.”

The profile, which focuses on Linda’s efforts to bring the Boston Globe back to profitability, paints her as an independent woman who uses her relationship with Henry as a way to pursue her various business interests. She’s taken on an increasingly prominent position at the Globe, where Henry has faded to the background.

Given Henry’s penchant for reclusiveness, it’s easy to imagine a future where Linda takes on a larger role with the Red Sox, too. As of now, her biggest contributions to the club include the creation of Tessie, sister to Wally the Green Monster, and Fenway Park’s sustainable rooftop garden.

Assuming their marriage lasts, Linda Pizutti Henry may become the most influential and powerful woman in Boston. Good thing she didn’t turn away the hermit-like older gentleman who approached her at the Liberty nine years ago. Despite her friends’ claims to the contrary, it’s almost as if she knew who he was.

Read More: John Henry,
Colin Kaepernick’s jersey is going to the Smithsonian 05.22.17 at 11:26 am ET
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Colin Kaepernick's jersey will soon be displayed in the Smithsonian. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Kaepernick’s jersey will soon be displayed in the Smithsonian. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Kaepernick’s jersey may not appear on an NFL field again. But it will soon be displayed in the Smithsonian.

Thanks to a donation late last year from sociologist Harry Edwards, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. acquired the jersey Kaepernick wore in 2016 while he was protesting the national anthem. The museum’s curator of sports, Damion Thomas, told USA Today last week the piece of memorabilia will be showcased within the next one or two years.

Edwards, who organized the Olympic Project for Human Rights, explained why he thinks Kaepernick needs to be recognized in the museum as soon as possible.

“I said, ‘Don’t wait 50 years to try to get some memorabilia and so forth on Kaepernick,'” he said. “”‘Let me give you a game jersey, some shoes, a picture … And it should be put right there alongside Muhammad Ali. He’s this generation’s Ali.'”

Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality in African American neighborhoods started a nationwide movement, with high school players joining as well. He remains a free agent, leading some to ask whether he’s been blackballed from the league due to his social activism. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said recently he was open to bringing Kaepernick aboard, but there hasn’t been any reported progress on contract negotiations.

Since speaking out about police violence, Kaepernick has involved himself in a litany of social projects. This offseason, he’s helped deliver food and water to famine-ravaged Somalia and brought his “Know Your Rights” camp to Chicago, in which more than 200 students attended workshops on financial literacy, college preparation and interacting with law enforcement.

The 29-year-old quarterback recently purchase an apartment in Manhattan, where he handed out free suits outside of a parole office earlier this month.

Read More: Colin Kaepernick,
Aaron Hernandez requested to bunk with inmate he called his ‘heart,’ prison letters show 05.21.17 at 11:44 am ET
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Aaron Hernandez requested to bunk with other inmates, according to verified prison letters. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Hernandez requested to bunk with other inmates, according to verified prison letters. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Hernandez requested multiple times to cell with other inmates he called his “brother” and “heart,” newly unearthed prison letters show.

The five letters, obtained by the Boston Globe, are written to the Inner Perimeter Security staff at Souza-Barnowski Correctional Facility in Shirley, where the disgraced ex-NFL star was serving a life sentence for the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting. In one of them, Hernandez explains why he wants to bunk with an inmate in another part of the prison. The man’s name is redacted.

“So, please make this happen and I even prefer to move in with (redacted); me and him are very close and have been since the streets and that’s FACT, not bulls–t,” the letter reads. “He’s my heart and like a real brother to me that’s why I want and am requesting to go upstairs and live with him.”

In another one, Hernandez says he wants to clear up “false gossip.” Specifics are redacted.

“I have been hearing from many or rather few thinking I’m (redacted) but that is false, people are always coming up with things that are incorrect. (redacted),” Hernandez wrote. “But a few have come up to me thinking that so it must have wrongly been circulating through false gossip.”

Hernandez was rumored to be carrying on a relationship with another inmate, Kyle Kennedy. In a press conference last month, Kennedy’s lawyer, Lawrence F. Army Jr., said the two men wanted to bunk together. Army wouldn’t address the nature of their relationship, however.

Prison officials found three letters in Hernandez’s cell after he had hanged himself in April. Army says one of them was addressed to Kennedy, but Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, said on Dr. Phil last week that isn’t the case. In the interview, Jenkins-Hernandez also denied the former Patriots tight end was gay or bisexual.

 

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,
Kristine Leahy says she’s receiving death threats after LaVar Ball argument 05.18.17 at 10:59 pm ET
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Kristine Leahy had a confrontation with LaVar Ball on the air Wednesday. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

Kristine Leahy had a confrontation with LaVar Ball on the air Wednesday. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

The fallout continues from Kristine Leahy’s on-air beef with LaVar Ball.

Leahy addressed the matter Thursday, saying she’s received death threats for sparring with Ball on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” Wednesday. When pressing Ball on how many pairs of $495 Big Baller Brand shoes have been sold, he told her to “stay in her lane.” The argument escalated from there, with Ball telling Leahy that Big Baller Brand isn’t for women.

“For me this wasn’t a women issue. It wasn’t a racial issue. But it has turned into both,” Leahy said, via the Sporting News.

The FS1 anchor and former WEEI.com contributor also pleaded for Fox Sports to no longer welcome Ball on its airwaves.

“I think the reason so many networks choose have him on is because he says a lot of controversial things,” she said. “He’s loud and a big personality. Which I’ve been totally fine with. But I hope that yesterday showed who he is. And that we stop putting him on all these networks just to get controversial statements out of him. Because that is potentially what can happen. I think there’s no place for that in TV — no matter what kind of ratings you’re going to get.”

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LaVar Ball attacks FS1 host Kristine Leahy, says Big Baller Brand isn’t for women 05.17.17 at 2:23 pm ET
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LaVar Ball told Kristine Leahy to "stay in her lane." (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

LaVar Ball told Kristine Leahy to “stay in her lane.” (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

To nobody’s surprise, LaVar Ball doesn’t seem to take criticism well.

In an appearance Wednesday on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, the patriarch of the Ball family was touting the sales for his $495 Big Baller Brand sneakers. When co-host and former WEEI.com contributor Kristine Leahy asked Ball how many shoes he’s sold, he told her to “stay in her lane.” A contentious exchange followed:

“I don’t look over there because she scares me. Leave me alone. I’ll tell you, 400, 500 pairs,” he said.

When Leahy tried to interject, Ball called her a “hater.” He proceeded to mock her in a falsetto voice.

“I would never wear a Big Baller shirt. Well, good don’t even talk to me,” he exclaimed.

Later in the interview, when Leahy explained why it would be wise for Big Baller Brand to reach out to women, Ball dismissed her. “Uh, yeah, if you have a women’s company,” he said. “But we talking about Big Baller Brand.”

Prior to the NBA Draft, Ball rebuffed Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, in an attempt to keep Big Baller Brand independent. Lonzo Ball, for his part, appears to buy in.

“Who is going to want to wear a loser’s shoe? he said earlier this month, via CBS Sports. “What you do on the court is going to help you off the court.”

Read More: LaVar Ball,
Mike Golic’s son rips ESPN for breaking up Mike & Mike 05.17.17 at 1:48 pm ET
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ESPN is breaking up Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic.  (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN is breaking up Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

The long-rumored Mike & Mike breakup was confirmed Tuesday, when ESPN announced Mike Greenberg will host his own morning variety show beginning in January. His longtime radio partner, Mike Golic, will be paired with Trey Wingo and his son, Mike Golic Jr., going forward.

When the two discussed the news Wednesday, Greenberg kept his remarks brief. Golic, meanwhile, was a little more cryptic.

“The last year and a half have been somewhat interesting if not eyebrow-raising, as well,” he said. “For me, it’s not my story to tell. I’m going to continue doing this exact same show. It’s for others to tell who made this decision if they want to tell it and how they want to tell it.”

Greenberg was more verbose earlier this year, when he told the Sporting News he regrets how the then-rumored breakup had been handled.

While Golic tacitly expressed disappointment about the breakup Wednesday, one of his sons went all-in on ESPN management. Presumably, the WorldWide Leader won’t be employing a second Golic boy any time soon.

Read More: ESPN,
Conan O’Brien is going to trial for allegedly stealing Tom Brady joke 05.16.17 at 2:59 pm ET
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Conan O'Brien allegedly stole a Tom Brady joke.  (Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)

Conan O’Brien allegedly stole a Tom Brady joke. (Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)

Conan O’Brien is going to trial for allegedly stealing jokes for his late-night TBS show, including a barb about Tom Brady.

The plaintiff in the case, a San Dieg-based comedy writer named Robert “Alex” Kaseberg, says O’Brien lifted five of his jokes from Twitter and altered them for his opening monologue. A federal judge agreed Kaseberg has legitimate claims about three quips.

The joke that involves Brady dates back to Feb. 3, 2015, after the Patriots’ victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. This is the version Kaseberg posted: “Tom Brady said he wants to give his MVP truck to the man who won the game for the Patriots. So enjoy that truck, Pete Carroll.”

This is what O’Brien said that night: “Tom Brady said he wants to give the truck that he was given as Super Bowl MVP … to the guy who won the Super Bowl for the Patriots. Which is very nice. I think that’s nice. I do. Yes. So Brady’s giving his truck to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.”

O’Brien defense team is arguing the jokes used involve facts, and thus aren’t subject to copyright infringement. But U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino disagrees, saying the jokes are “sufficiently objectively virtually identical to create a triable issue of fact regarding whether a jury would find these objective similarities to be virtually identical within the context of the entire joke.”

Kaseberg, who’s been a comedy writer for more than 20 years, says he came up with more than 1,000 jokes that Jay Leno used on “The Tonight Show.”

Read More: Conan O'Brien, Tom Brady,
Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee says he wasn’t gay: ‘It’s a crock of bull’ 05.16.17 at 12:57 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez's fiancee says he wasn't gay or bisexual. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee says he wasn’t gay or bisexual. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Hernandez wasn’t gay and didn’t pursue an intimate relationship with another inmate, his fiancee told Dr. Phil McGraw in part two of their interview, which airs Tuesday.

Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, who expressed doubt Monday about Hernandez’s suicide and murder conviction, told McGraw her fiancee told her rumors about his sexuality weren’t true in a conversation prior to his death. She says she first heard about his possible bisexuality from his defense team.

“I had no indication or any feeling that he was [gay]”, she said. “He was very much a man to me. I don’t know where this came from.

“It’s embarrassing in a sense, it’s hurtful. Regardless if it was true or not, it’s just not something that I saw. It’s not something I believe and it’s not him.”

On Kirk & Callahan last month, investigative journalist Michele McPhee floated the possibility that Hernandez’s sexuality may have played a role in the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting. According to McPhee, law enforcement sources say the disgraced ex-NFL star was carrying on a relationship with a high school boyfriend. Lloyd, who was dating Jenkins-Hernandez’s sister, knew about the romance.

Shortly after Hernandez’s death, the Daily Mail reported Hernandez was dating another prisoner, Kyle Kennedy, at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, where he was serving a life sentence for the Lloyd murder. Kennedy’s lawyer held a press conference to address the story and said his client was close with the former Patriots tight end. Though Lawrence F. Army Jr. wouldn’t confirm they were romantically involved, he said Hernandez’s third suicide note was addressed to the 22-year-old Kennedy, who’s in prison for armed robbery. He also said Hernandez left Kennedy a $47,000 watch.

In her conversation with McGraw, Jenkins-Hernandez said the third note found in the prison cell next to Hernandez’s body was addressed to his defense team. She also said Hernandez and Kennedy weren’t close with each other, calling their rumored relationship a “crock of bull.”

“I don’t know who this Kyle Kennedy is. I’ve never heard of him, honestly. Aaron has never mentioned him,” she said.

When speaking with reporters last month, Kennedy’s lawyer also said Hernandez told his client he was thinking about “hanging it up” three weeks before authorities say he hanged himself in his cell. But Jenkins-Hernandez doubts that, too.

“If Kyle Kennedy was such a close friend, and Aaron was telling him he wanted to ‘hang it up,’ he would still be here because Kyle Kennedy should have, you know, poked that lightbulb in somebody’s head and been a true friend and stopped it,” she said. “I think it’s very foolish for a man, or his counsel, to come out and talk about a $50,000 watch when he has a child, and offer his condolences to his fiancée and his child but then asking for such things or saying such things. It’s not commendable.”

In part one of her interview, Jenkins-Hernandez questioned whether the suicide note addressed to her was forged. She reiterated those concerns in part two, focusing on the note purportedly left to the couple’s four-year-old daughter, Avielle.

“It did have her name on the top as normal. But as far as the content, very vague, very short, nothing seemed very personal, very loving of course, sensitive, but nothing personal,” she said.

Jenkins-Hernandez, who says she has a rocky relationship with Hernandez’s family and was frustrated with their absence at the double-murder trial, intends to raise their daughter herself. She said she allowed Avielle to say goodbye to her father and gave her half of a gold chain they put in his jacket pocket.

“I explained to her that daddy won’t call anymore, daddy won’t be able to talk. But she gets it, she gets it. And we talk about her emotions. I ask her how she feels, she’ll ask me how I feel. Some days she’s sad, some days she cries. I hope her and make sure she’s ok,” she said.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,