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Is the Trump-Brady bromance over? It sure seems like it 04.21.17 at 1:13 pm ET
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The Patriots presented Donald Trump with an honorary No. 45 jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots presented Donald Trump with an honorary No. 45 jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump couldn’t stop talking about Tom Brady while he was campaigning for president. But at the Patriots White House ceremony this week, he didn’t mention Brady once.

What’s up with that?

According to TMZ, Trump is miffed Brady elected to skip the event. “When Donald Trump feels betrayed, it’s over,” said a source.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Brady said he wasn’t making the trip to Washington D.C. due to “personal family matters.” The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports Brady was spending time with his mother, Gaylnn, who was in town. She’s currently battling an illness.

While no rational person could criticize Brady for choosing to be with his family, the timing of his announcement was curious. The statement was released Wednesday morning, just hours before the Patriots were expected to be at the White House with President Trump. Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen, also posted a now-deleted tweet promoting an anti-Trump climate change rally shortly after the announcement was made.

Brady and Bündchen appear to hold dramatically different opinions of Trump. Throughout the 2015 season, Brady supported the billionaire’s then-longshot candidacy, calling him a “good friend” in the wake of several controversies. In return, Trump routinely touted his relationship with Brady on the campaign trail.

When asked on WEEI about his ties to Trump, Brady explained the bombastic real estate mogul has always been kind to him.

“He’s always been so supportive of me — for the last 15 years, since I judged a beauty pageant for him, which was one of the very first things that I did that thought was really cool,” Brady said. “That came along with winning the Super Bowl. He’s always invited me to play golf. I’ve always enjoyed his company.”

But last season, after Trump won the Republican nomination, Brady seemed less willing to talk about his longtime pal. In fact, he even ended a press conference after a reporter brought up Trump’s leaked “Access Hollywood” tape, in which the President brags about groping women.

Given the immense amount of criticism Brady received for his friendship with Trump, it’s possible the controversy-averse quarterback decided it was best to drop the subject. But Trump wouldn’t let him. On the night before the election, he told a crowd in New Hampshire Brady had voted for him.

“Great guy,” Trump said. “Great friend of mine. Great, great champion. Unbelievable winner. He called today and he said, ‘Donald, I support you. You’re my friend and I voted for you.’ I want to tell you this guy is a champ and he is a winner and he is a great person. So I said, ‘Tom, you voted for me, you support me, am I allowed to say it tonight to this massive crowd in New Hampshire?’ He said, ‘If you want to say it, you can say it.’”

Brady didn’t echo that message when his vote was brought up on Kirk & Callahan the following week. “I’m not talking politics anymore,” he said. “I’ve got other things to worry about. Just speaking with my family, it’s a bad idea.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Donald Trump, Tom Brady,
Gisele Bündchen deletes tweet about anti-Trump climate rally 04.20.17 at 1:17 pm ET
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Gisele Bundchen (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Gisele Bundchen is an ardent Donald Trump critic. (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

On the same day Tom Brady backed out of the Patriots’ White House visit, his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen promoted an anti-Trump climate change rally on Twitter. But now, the message has been deleted.

Bündchen’s original tweet was posted at 12:46 p.m.Wednesday, shortly after Brady announced he wasn’t going to accompany his team due to personal reasons. It included a link to a website detailing the People’s Climate March, which is taking place at the capital April 29.

“Everything we have struggled to move forward in the United States is in peril,” the site reads. “Our loved ones feel under siege, and those in power in Washington are advancing a dark and dangerous vision of America that we know is untrue. To change everything, we need everyone.”

After staying up Wednesday morning, the tweet was taken down sometime in the afternoon or early evening. Donald Trump, who talked incessantly about his friendship with Brady during the presidential campaign, didn’t mention the quarterback’s name at the White House ceremony.

This isn’t the first time Bündchen has publicly expressed opposition towards Trump. On Instagram last year, she replied “NO!” when asked if she and Brady were backing his candidacy.

Even though Brady called Trump a “good friend,” he’s seemingly backed away from him in recent months. Following the election, he told Kirk & Callahan Bündchen “wasn’t allowing him to talk politics anymore.”

Read More: Donald Trump, gisele bundchen, Tom Brady,
New York Times apologizes for misleading Patriots White House photos 04.20.17 at 12:01 pm ET
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The Patriots gave Donald Trump an honorary jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots gave Donald Trump an honorary jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The New York Times is falling on the sword for tweeting a misleading pair of photographs comparing attendance from the Patriots’ last two White House visits.

On Tuesday, the Twitter account for New York Times Sports shared a picture from the Patriots’ trip in 2015, when President Barack Obama was in office. Below it, the Times posted a snapshot from Wednesday’s event with Donald Trump, which far fewer players appeared to attend.

The Patriots corrected the Times on Twitter, pointing out staff members were standing on the stairs surrounding Obama in 2015. This year, they were seated on the White House lawn, hence the smaller crowd on stage. Thirty-four players took the trip to Washington D.C.

In a statement issued to Yahoo’s Colin Campbell, the New York Times’ sports editor Jason Stallman admits the tweet was a mistake.

Trump, who seemingly never misses an opportunity to heckle the Times, took a shot at the Gray Lady as well.

Read More: Donald Trump, New England Patriots, New York Times,
Michele McPhee on K&C: Aaron Hernandez may have killed Odin Lloyd after Lloyd used gay slur 04.20.17 at 11:25 am ET
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Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford)

Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford)

Boston-based investigative journalist Michele McPhee says Aaron Hernandez may have killed Odin Lloyd in June 2013 after Lloyd used a gay slur to describe the deceased ex-NFL star.

In an interview on Kirk & Callahan Thursday, McPhee said Hernandez carried on an intimate relationship with a male high school friend from Connecticut. She says investigators believe Lloyd’s knowledge of the romance could have motivated Hernandez to murder.

“There was a relationship with somebody from his high school years,” she said. “That may have provided –– and this was one of the investigative theories in the beginning –– because they got information from Ernest Wallace that perhaps –– and remember, Ernest Wallace was the guy who ditched the gun –– they had information from him that one of the motives is Odin Lloyd used a derogatory term for gay people in front of Aaron Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd had knowledge because of this relationship he had with the man in Connecticut.”

Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday after an apparent suicide attempt, five days after his acquittal in a double murder. While there was some speculation recently resurfaced rumors about his possible homosexuality led Hernandez to kill himself, McPhee says she doubts it.

“I would like to think in 2017 the guilt of having been accused of killing three people and convicted of killing his close friend would weigh heavier than his sexual orientation,” she said. “The only reason that’s even relevant at all is as a motive for the Odin Lloyd crime.”

McPhee went on to explain she’s not the only reporter with knowledge about Hernandez’s sexual orientation.

“You know what infuriates me about the people who are now criticizing that information?,” she asked. “This information is available to any reporter who wants to do the work. There are records, there are phone calls, there are letters. This is common knowledge.”

Given that Hernandez’s behavior suggests he was prone to spontaneous violent outbursts, McPhee says it’s not a stretch to believe he killed Lloyd over a slur. Prosecutors still haven’t attached a clear motive to the shooting four years later.

“You saw how he flies off the handle,” McPhee said. “Those poor guys in Boston who he allegedly killed, they bumped into him and spilled a drink and he shot them. You think if somebody made reference to him having a dual sexual orientation, you think that wouldn’t provoke him?”

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,
Robert Kraft is far from only NFL owner who supports Donald Trump 04.19.17 at 4:18 pm ET
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Robert Kraft lavished praise on Donald Trump at the Patriots' White House ceremony. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Robert Kraft lavished praise on Donald Trump at the Patriots’ White House ceremony. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

At the Patriots’ White House ceremony Wednesday, Donald Trump commended Robert Kraft for building an “extraordinary organization.” In return, Kraft praised Trump for his “mental toughness,” comparing his improbable election victory to the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl comeback.

It was a wet kiss between two billionaires.

Over the last two years, a lot has been written about the Patriots’ ties to Trump. He frequently mentioned them on the campaign trial, and has tweeted out his support for the team over the years as well.

Belichick’s friendship with the President was on display Wednesday, too, when Trump recounted the story behind the infamous endorsement letter. Apparently, Belichick didn’t just give Trump permission to read the message at a campaign rally. He sent him a second note, complete with fawning superlatives.

“You know what he did? He toned it way up,” Trump explained. “He made that the greatest letter.”

On top of it all, newly disclosed FEC filings show Kraft’s firm donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund. These two are practically attached at the hip.

While that may be true, it’s important to remember other NFL owners financially backed Trump as well. Perhaps none are closer to him than Woody Johnson, who was vice chairman of Trump’s victory committee and was chosen to serve as Ambassador to the U.K. Johnson also gave $1 million to the inauguration.

In total, eight NFL owners collectively donated millions of dollars to Trump’s inaugural efforts. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Texans owner Bob McNair and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan all chipped in $1 million. Rams head honcho Stan Kroenke and Buccaneers co-owner Ed Glazer supported the fund as well.

Despite riding a populist message to the White House, Trump has surrounded himself with the wealthiest cabinet in U.S. history. It’s not surprising that Kraft and Trump, two of the richest people in the country, have been friends for decades. Billionaires tend to pal around together.

Belichick is far from the only coach who’s a Trump backer, too. Rex Ryan and Mike Ditka both campaigned with him.

With Tom Brady absent, and conspicuously not mentioned, Trump dedicated ample time to praising Kraft and Belichick. But if another NFL team were there, especially if it was owned by one of Trump’s other big backers, a similar scene probably would’ve unfolded.

But since the Patriots were at the White House, Kraft was singled out. Remember, though, he’s far from the only Trump supporting owner in the NFL –– even if the commentary makes him sound like it.

Read More: Donald Trump, Robert Kraft,
Patriots fans continue to stiff ESPN, showing fractured relationship may never recover 04.18.17 at 3:55 pm ET
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Patriots fans continue to stick it to ESPN on social media. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Patriots fans continue to stick it to ESPN on social media. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It’s been more than two years since the start of Deflategate. But many Patriots fans still aren’t letting ESPN live down its erroneous reporting.

There have been at least three cases in recent months of Patriots fans refusing to give ESPN permission to show either their tweets or photographs on television. Perhaps the most notable example happened Monday, when a Twitter user who posted a picture during the Boston Marathon told ESPN it couldn’t feature his work.

“After the witch hunt ESPN led against Tom Brady,?” he wrote. “Absolutely the f*** not. In fact, block me right now. Go f*** yourselves.”

This trend started in September 2016, when the person who videotaped a suspended Tom Brady throwing passes at Milton Academy told ESPN to shove it when the network asked to use his recording. In January, the Patriots fan who snapped a picture of Bill Belichick sleeping on a ferry on his way back from Nantucket expressed similar sentiments to the assignment desk.

While ESPN didn’t start Deflategate, its inaccurate reporting turned the saga into a major national story. On Jan. 21, 2015, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeted 11 of 12 Patriots footballs were two PSI below the legal air pressure threshold. The following day, Deflategate led all three national evening newscasts.

As it turns out, none of the Patriots’ balls were two PSI below the limit. Even though those numbers were released when Ted Wells’ report was published in May 2015, Mortensen didn’t delete his tweet until that August. The corresponding article remained unedited as well.

There were other instances in which ESPN appeared to do the league’s bidding. On the same day commissioner Roger Goodell announced he was upholding Brady’s four-game ban, “First Take”co-host Stephen A. Smith said the Patriots quarterback “destroyed his phone” during the investigation. But once the transcript of Brady’s appeal hearing was released, it was revealed that Smith’s report left out two important details: Brady says he regularly cycles through cell phones for privacy purposes, and he offered to obtain printouts of all relevant text messages for the league. Goodell denied the request.

Oh, and there was crying Mark Brunell, too. Who could forget that?

Despite the Patriots’ incredible on-field success –– two Super Bowls in three years –– it’s apparent New England isn’t going to forget about ESPN’s role in propagating Deflategate any time soon. The rash of ESPN personalities who also keep insinuating Boston is a racist city, such as Bomani Jones and Dan Le Batard, probably aren’t helping matters, either.

Thanks to all of ESPN’s rights agreements, it’s unlikely Boston sports fans would be able to successfully boycott the network. But it’s clear that everlasting damage has been done to the relationship between the WorldWide Leader and one of the most premier sports markets in the country. For a company that’s bleeding revenue and subscribers, it’s a troubling reality to confront, especially because it’s self-inflicted.

 

Read More: Deflategate, ESPN, New England Patriots,
Adidas sends out email congratulating customers on ‘surviving Boston Marathon’ 04.18.17 at 1:39 pm ET
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Adidas got noticed for all of the wrong reasons Tuesday.

The athletic gear company sent out a poorly worded post-Boston Marathon email to its subscribers, congratulating them on “surviving” the race. Given the events of four years ago, there probably are better phrases to use if you want to goad runners into buying a new pair of sneakers for the summer.

While the intent was almost certainly not malicious, it’s amazing the email subject line was presumably able to make it past numerous consultants and marketing managers. This doesn’t rise to the levels of Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi commercial, in which she cheerfully hands the soft drink to officers in riot gear while they’re overseeing a protest against police brutality, but it’s a #brand fail.

Expect an apology to be forthcoming.

UPDATE: And here it is:

“We are incredibly sorry. Clearly, there was no thought given to the insensitive email subject line we sent Tuesday,” Adidas said in a statement Tuesday. “We deeply apologize for our mistake. The Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we’re reminded of the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event.” 

Read More: adidas, Boston Marathon,
American flag waving marine who lost leg embodies what Boston Marathon is all about 04.18.17 at 10:42 am ET
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The most inspiring Boston Marathon participants often don’t finish until mid-afternoon, long after the elite runners have crossed and the crowds begin to dissipate. That was the case Monday, when Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez charging down Boylston Street waving the American flag.

Sanchez, a Marine who lost the lower part of his left leg after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011, finished the Marathon this year in under six hours. He ran his first Marathon in Washington D.C. in 2015 and finished Boston last year as well.

Sanchez ran Monday as part of Team Semper Fi, which is connected to the Semper Fi Fund, an organization that provides “immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families.”

In an interview with WBZ, Sanchez said he hopes others can use his efforts as a source of motivation.

“It’s not for me, it’s for others to be inspired, to be motivated,” he said.

Read More: Boston Marathon,
ESPN will reportedly promote Sage Steele –– silencing rumors she was demoted due to her conservatism 04.18.17 at 9:47 am ET
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Sage Steele will reportedly be tapped for a larger role at ESPN. (Peter Llewellyn/USA Today Sports)

Sage Steele will reportedly be tapped for a larger role at ESPN. (Peter Llewellyn/USA Today Sports)

When ESPN removed Sage Steele from NBA Countdown earlier this month, there was some speculation in conservative circles the network was demoting her due to her right-leaning political views. But it appears as if that conjecture was incorrect.

According to the Sporting News, Steele will soon anchor a morning edition of “SportsCenter,” perhaps teaming up with Mike Greenberg on his new solo project. Greenberg, who recently signed a new contract that pays him more than $6.5 million annually, is expected to host his own morning variety show on ESPN.

Steele came under fire in January for calling those who were protesting President Donald Trump’s travel ban “disruptive.” The veteran anchor also sparked controversy in November, when she criticized Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for kneeling during the national anthem.

In a statement, ESPN president John Skipper expressed his full support for the outspoken anchor.

“Sage definitively has a bright and long-term future at ESPN and my complete support,” he said, via Awful Announcing.

Given Curt Schilling’s dismissal last year for sharing an anti-transgender meme on Facebook, ESPN has been accused of silencing right-wing voices. But Steele’s reported promotion shows that’s a simplistic way of looking at it. Schilling was always an outspoken conservative. After all, he endorsed George W. Bush for reelection in his first nationally televised interview following the Red Sox World Series win in 2004. When ESPN hired him, there was no secret about which side of the aisle he was on.

But after a series of social media flareups, including a post that compared Muslim extremists to Nazis, ESPN decided to fire Schilling in 2016. He was canned for his crassness, not his politics.

Steele’s reported ascension at the network coincides with new guidelines that appear to grant on-air talent more freedom to express their political views. Since Greenberg’s new venture will likely cover social issues in relation to sports, Steele’s politics could become more visible than ever. It doesn’t seem like there’s any conspiracy here.

Read More: ESPN,
Boston Marathon bombing survivor expresses outrage over memorial location 04.17.17 at 3:47 pm ET
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Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost a leg during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, expressed outrage over the weekend about the location of a memorial wreath that honors victims and survivors.

In an Instagram video posted Saturday, Haslet-Davis discovers the wreath is placed in front of the Starbucks at 755 Boylston Street. One of the blasts occurred in front of the Forum Restaurant, which is one door down.

“Nice work, Boston. Real good job of laying the wreath in front of the wrong place,” she said in the video. “Nice work. That’s real offensive to everyone. Appreciate it. It’s cool. So glad I came down to see this.”

Haslet-Davis also swore in the video, and defended her use of vulgarities in the captain.

“Valid offensive language. How Boston Strong are you? I bet if we had a permanent memorial people would remember where the actual attack happened,” she wrote.

In an accompanying video, Haslet-Davis said she moved the display.

MOVED. IT. . . . . #forumrestaurant #sooffended #icriedalot #dothepossible

A post shared by Adrianne Haslet (@adriannehaslet) on

Wreath-laying ceremonies occurred Saturday morning at the site of both blasts, with Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker in attendance alongside survivors and members of victims’ families. In a statement to the Boston Globe, Mayor Walsh’s office said the wreath was originally placed next to the Forum Restaurant. It’s unclear why it was moved in front of Starbucks.

Haslet-Davis ran in the Boston Marathon last year. Her husband, Adam Davis, was injured in the blasts as well.

Read More: Boston Marathon,