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Colin Kaepernick appears to be blackballed from the NFL, and that’s shameful 03.21.17 at 2:20 pm ET
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Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this month. (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this month. (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career probably wouldn’t be in jeopardy if he was busted for a DUI last year. But since he kneeled during the national anthem to protest discrimination and police brutality, he might be ostracized from the league. There’s something gross about that.

The speculation surrounding the reasons for Kaepernick’s unemployment reached a fever pitch last week, when Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman quoted an anonymous AFC general manager who said 70 percent of NFL teams “genuinely hate him.” On Instagram Sunday, filmmaker Spike Lee posted a picture with Kaepernick, blaming his prolonged free agency on “subterfuge” and “skullduggery.” President Donald Trump, meanwhile, says he thinks his Twitter wrath is keeping the former 49ers quarterback sidelined.

“It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” he said Monday at a rally in Kentucky. “Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”

Kaepernick’s proclivity for making outlandish statements hurts his cause. Shortly before Fidel Castro’s death last year, he praised some of the Cuban dictator’s domestic policies.

“One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here even though we’re fully capable of doing that,” Kaepernick said, via the Miami Herald.

Those glowing remarks about the despot who hired firing squads to kill political rivals jive with the Castro t-shirt Kaepernick wore to a press conference last summer. A few days after that wardrobe blunder, pictures circulated of Kaepernick sporting socks that depict police officers as “pigs.”

Any club that signs Kaepernick would risk facing some public relations backlash, and the truth is, many NFL teams probably don’t think he’s worth it. Since 2014, he’s completed just 59.7 percent of his passes and posted an 85.9 QB rating. The 49ers have gone 11-24 in games he’s started.

But in a quarterback-starved league, it’s difficult to imagine Kaepernick isn’t good enough to compete for a starting job somewhere. After all, the Bears recently signed career backup Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract. Just four years ago, Kaepernick’s electrifying play-making ability led the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth. He showed small flashes of that towards the end of last season, recording an 101.1 QB rating over the final four weeks.

It’s disingenuous to paint Kaepernick solely in a negative light as well. He donated $1 million to community organizations last year and helped secure an airplane that will transport supplies to Somali famine victims. The quarterback matches his words with action.

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FBI Director James Comey reveals his Patriots hate in bizarre metaphor regarding Russia’s election interference 03.20.17 at 4:39 pm ET
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James Comey testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee Monday. (Jack Gruber/USA Today)

James Comey testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee Monday. (Jack Gruber/USA Today)

FBI Director James Comey said Monday Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. He used a metaphor involving the Patriots in an attempt to clarify the agency’s findings.

During his highly anticipated testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee, Comey likened Russia’s motives for helping Trump to his disdain for the reigning Super Bowl champions.

“I hate the New England Patriots. No matter who they play, I’d like them to lose,” he said, via the Boston Globe. “What the intelligence community concluded was, early on, that the hatred for Mrs. Clinton was all the way all along. When Mr. Trump became the nominee, there was some sense [by the Russians] that, ‘It would be great if he could win, it would be great if we could help him, but we need to hurt her no matter what.’ And then it shifted to, ‘He has no chance, so let’s just focus on undermining her.’”

Later in the hearing, Representative Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) brought up the FBI’s successful search for Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jersey. On behalf of Brady, he said he would like to thank law enforcement for its work to recover the stolen piece of memorabilia. This time, Comey took a more respectable tone when discussing the Patriots.

“They represent sustained excellence, and as a Giants fan, that drives me crazy,” he said.

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Prosecution’s star witness says Aaron Hernandez is guilty of double murder 03.20.17 at 1:46 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez is serving a life sentence for killing his friend Odin Lloyd in June 2013.  (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez is serving a life sentence for killing his friend Odin Lloyd in June 2013. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

The prosecution’s star witness in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial testified Monday that the former tight end shot and killed two men following an incident at a nightclub, and then fired a gun at him months later.

Alexander Bradley, an admitted drug dealer, said the two men were hanging out on July 12, 2012, the night in which Daniel Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28 were murdered in the South End. According to Bradley, Hernandez came to his house in Connecticut that evening in a silver Toyota 4Runner. He said they proceeded to drink and smoke marijuana before departing for Club Cure in Boston –– one of their favorite establishments.

At the club, Bradley said Abreu spilled a drink on them, and didn’t act apologetically afterwards. That apparently ticked off Hernandez, leading him to say he hates it “when people try him.”

Bradley said he convinced Hernandez to go to another bar, where they saw a patron from the Cure who they believe had followed them there. He claims that heightened Hernandez’s paranoia.

After their stint at Caprice Lounge, they went back to the Toyota 4Runner, where Bradley said Hernandez retrieved a gun from inside the hood. The two friends spotted Abreu and Furtado in an SUV, and proceeded to drive up next to them. That’s when Hernandez allegedly fired five shots into the victims’ car. Afterwards, Bradley said the ex-NFL star threw the gun out the car window. In the months following the murder, Bradley claims Hernandez became increasingly suspicious of his surroundings, thinking that “helicopters were following him everywhere.”

In February 2013, Hernandez shot Bradley in Florida in an apparent effort to silence him. In addition to pleading not guilty to the double murder, Hernandez has also said he isn’t guilty of witness intimidation.

Jose Baez, Hernandez’s defense attorney, is arguing Bradley killed the two victims after a drug deal went bad. Bradley, who’s currently serving a prison sentence for a Connecticut nightclub shooting, said Monday he didn’t sell marijuana to anybody in Massachusetts at the time of the double murder.

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Colin Kaepernick reportedly can’t get a job because NFL teams ‘genuinely hate him’ 03.17.17 at 3:50 pm ET
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The 49ers released Colin Kaepernick after the 2016 season. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More: Colin Kaepernick,
CBS analyst Jim Spanarkel should feel no shame for calling Allie LaForce a ‘pretty woman’ 03.17.17 at 11:26 am ET
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CBS hired Allie LaForce in 2014. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(h/t @BenBadler)

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Max Kellerman’s 3 stupidest Patriots hot takes 03.16.17 at 4:23 pm ET
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It feels dirty to write about Max Kellerman. The “First Take” co-host is the most transparent troll on sports television, surpassing the man he replaced, Skip Bayless. Those who grant him attention, even if it’s negative, are giving him exactly what he wants –– and thus encouraging him to continue.

But even feigned stupidity deserves to be called out. And Kellerman, who over the last year has predicted Tom Brady’s imminent demise and Bill Belichick’s forthcoming retirement, is in a class all by himself. Ever since taking over for Bayless, he’s spouted a bevy of insane Patriots hot takes. The three most ridiculous are below:

1) Tom Brady ‘will be a bum in short order

Roughly six months after Kellerman predicted the end of Brady’s career, the Patriots quarterback led his team on the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Brady completed 21-of-27 passes in the fourth quarter and overtime against the Falcons, spearheading the 25-point come-from-behind victory.

With five Lombardi Trophies and four Super Bowl MVPs on his resume, there’s little question Brady is the greatest of all-time. And the scary part is, he’s never been better. Brady led the AFC in passer-rating last season at 39 years old.

Kellerman, who said last summer Brady is “just about done,” couldn’t look more ridiculous right now. His obtuseness was highlighted in the second quarter of Super Bowl LI, when he took a premature victory lap on Twitter.

In the immediate aftermath of Brady’s late-game heroics, one would think Kellerman would’ve admitted defeat on ESPN the next day. But instead, he doubled-down.

“Tom Brady threw a pick six in yesterday’s game, and tried to throw a couple more –– two or three more in the second half of a tight game,” he said. “Look, I love Eli Manning. He’s an incredible clutch performer. But Giants fans know, you need to get lucky as well. Then you have to make the most of the opportunity, which Tom Brady did. But had the DB’s just held onto a few of those balls, we don’t have this conversation right now about Tom Brady’s performance. So it is also somewhat lucky.”

It’s offensive to the audience when you refuse to admit you’re wrong –– even when evidence is slapping you in the face. Kellerman is Bayless without the nuance.

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Aaron Hernandez told a prison pen pal he’s ‘very angry all the time’ 03.16.17 at 12:40 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for Odin Lloyd's murder. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for Odin Lloyd’s murder. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

The prosecution may have gotten a big break in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial.

On Thursday, assistant Suffolk County district attorneys Mark Lee and Patrick Haggan read aloud statements from one of Hernandez’s pen pals. The female, who corresponded with Hernandez in 2015 as he was awaiting trial for the slaying of his friend Odin Lloyd, said the former Patriots tight end told her about the dark state of his mind.

“At one point during their conversations, the defendant told her that incidents in his life caused him to be ‘very angry all the time,’ ” the prosecutors wrote, via the Boston Herald. “The defendant’s statements … are probative of his state of mind to explain his anger over a spilled drink.”

According to law enforcement, Hernandez shot and killed Daniel Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, in the South End in 2012 following a nightclub incident. Apparently, one of the two men spilled a drink on Hernandez, which set him off. He allegedly pulled up next to Abreu and Furtado at a stoplight after leaving the club, and started to open fire.

This followed the prosecution’s presentation Wednesday, when they questioned a tattoo artist who did extensive work on Hernandez in an attempt to argue the ex-football star got ink to commemorate the deaths of the two victims. After the murder, Hernandez got a front view of a handgun, a design of a six-cylinder revolver with one bullet missing and the words “God Forgives” written backwards tattooed on his body.

In defense of their client, Hernandez’s lawyers said the tattoo artist’s testimony was different than what he had told police. They also said the pen pal’s statements were “cherrypicked.”

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,
There’s no racial double-standard between Rob Gronkowski and Ezekiel Elliott 03.16.17 at 11:46 am ET
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Rob Gronkowski is perceived as a good-natured party boy. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rob Gronkowski is perceived as a good-natured party boy. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

There’s no racial double-standard when it comes to the way Ezekiel Elliott’s bra-pulling incident has been portrayed in comparison to Rob Gronkowski’s off-field shenanigans. Context matters, and given Elliott’s alleged history of violence against women, his behavior can’t be excused as harmless debauchery.

At a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas last weekend, Elliott exposed a woman’s breast while he was partying on a rooftop. It’s apparent the act may not have been consensual, because the woman slaps away Elliott’s hands when he goes for her cleavage a second time.

Two years ago, Gronkowski was also involved in a breast-touching incident. He buried his face into a woman’s cleavage at a nightclub in Charleston, while she danced with a half-empty bottle of liquor in her hand.

If the female on the receiving end of Gronkowski’s motorboat felt victimized, she didn’t show it. The woman who Elliott touched, however, seemed uncomfortable with his hands on her. The evident differences between the two episodes means they’re not comparable. But that didn’t stop some from trying.

On ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday, Max Kellerman said he thinks race plays a factor into the way Elliott’s actions were perceived.

“Why are we asking about the double-standard in the first place, given the differences in the set of facts?,” he asked. “We’re asking because it does play into stereotypes. On the one hand, good-natured party guy, who tends to be white –– at least as depicted in popular culture –– versus more menacing.”

Orlando Sentinel columnist David Whitley seems to agree. In an op-ed, he asks his readers to imagine if Gronkowski and Elliott were to switch places.

“Imagine if Elliott’s history included countless displays of public intoxication; videos of him gyrating his pelvis into women; getting naked and exposing himself to a bikini-clad babe in a GQ photo spread; organizing a party cruise where he autographed women’s bottoms, breasts and who-knows-what-else?,” he wonders.

It’s worth noting one of Elliott’s representatives told TMZ Sports the woman wasn’t upset, and continued partying with the Cowboys running back afterwards. But before taking that as gospel, one should consider the source. Also, the woman’s apparent decision to keep hanging with Elliott doesn’t mean she gave him permission to expose her breasts in public. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

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All charges dismissed against Darrelle Revis from February street fight 03.15.17 at 3:15 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis will no longer have criminal charges hanging over his head. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Darrelle Revis will no longer have criminal charges hanging over his head. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

A judge Wednesday dismissed all charges against Darrelle Revis stemming from a Pittsburgh street fight last month. The veteran cornerback was facing four felonies, including two counts of aggravated assault, one count of robbery and a conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Revis turned himself into local authorities days after the altercation had occurred. TMZ Sports subsequently released a video of the incident, which showed the two victims laying unconscious on the sidewalk while an unidentified man boasts about punching them out.

In court Wednesday, one of Revis’ childhood friends said he was the aggressor. According to him, the two accusers jumped Revis at 2:30 a.m. on a Monday morning in February.

Law enforcement originally implicated Revis, saying he got violent after two men had recognized him and approached him on the street. But his Pittsburgh-based attorney, Blaine Jones, told the NFL Network last month Revis was the victim.

The Jets released the 31-year-old Revis prior to the start of free agency. He signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the team in 2015, and was owed $15.3 million this season.

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