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Bill Belichick avoided testifying in Aaron Hernandez trial, partially because he was difficult to reach 04.13.17 at 10:38 am ET
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Bill Belichick hasn't spoken extensively about Aaron Hernandez since 2013. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick hasn’t spoken extensively about Aaron Hernandez since 2013. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick was expected to testify at Aaron Hernandez’s double murder trial. But he was able to get around it.

As the jury entered its fifth day of deliberation Thursday, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke said Belichick’s attorney called to see if his client was in trouble for failing to appear at the witness stand. Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, said his team subpoenaed Belichick towards the end of the trial, but ultimately decided to forego his testimony. Baez said they didn’t think it was “critical” to hear from the coach.

Hernandez’s team tried to reach Belichick earlier in the proceedings, but Baez said it was difficult to get in touch with the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

“The reason for the delay on that part was the community where he lived. Our process server was not able to get him numerous times,” Baez said, via TMZ.

No member of the Patriots organization testified during this case. Owner Robert Kraft was called as a witness during the Odin Lloyd murder trial.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Bill Belichick,
Boston Globe columnist chastises Donald Trump supporters for their poor grammar 04.12.17 at 4:42 pm ET
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Despite a series of missteps, Donald Trump's ardent supporters remain loyal to him. (Alton Strupp/Courier-Journal via USA Today Network)

Despite a series of missteps, Donald Trump’s ardent supporters remain loyal to him. (Alton Strupp/Courier-Journal via USA Today Network)

Northeastern liberals are often accused of being an elitist bunch. A Boston Globe columnist deciding to chastise others, and Donald Trump supporters in particular, for their poor grammar only feeds into the stereotype.

Globe columnist Scot Lehigh published a piece Wednesday titled, “Just say what you mean, and say it right.” In it, he expresses his reverence for a British man named the “Grammar Vigilante,” who walks around Bristol at night and changes grammatically incorrect street signs. After three paragraphs, Lehigh shifts his focus to those in the U.S. who regularly violate grammar rules, beginning with the Trumpkins:

“First up: a frequent mistake by those ardent acolytes of King Donald the First. Given the passion of their self-styled patriotism, I know it’s unrealistic to expect them to put grammar first,” he writes. “Still, in the interests of insult efficacy, a remedial reminder may be in order.

“Many of the e-mails they send me start this way: ‘Your an idiot. Or: ‘Your a moron.’ Those are withering put-downs indeed. Still, the otherwise sharp and piercing point of an e-mail arrowhead is dulled a little if its author has been confounded by the ever-so-vexing your/you’re distinction.”

As somebody who also receives a lot of nasty notes from Trump voters –– an emailer this week called me a “teenage punk libtard,” which has a nice ring to it –– I understand Lehigh’s point. It’s difficult to take criticism seriously when it comes from somebody who appears incapable of passing the third grade. But it’s important to note that folks on both sides of the aisle commit whopping grammatical errors. While Trump tweets lies about President Barack Obama ordering the authorities to “tapp” his phones, comedian Chelsea Handler makes fun of his family’s “jeans.” There’s plenty of stupidity to go around.

Lehigh doesn’t limit his scorn to Trump supporters, by the way. He also admonishes waiters who call his meal selection “excellent” and say “no problem” when he asks for grated cheese. When you’re serving Scott Lehigh, apparently it’s best to keep the compliments and pleasantries to yourself.

As valid as Lehigh’s arguments may be, there’s no way to write about grammar usage without sounding like a snobby dweeb. Articles like these guarantee he’ll continue to be slammed with poorly written hate mail. In fact, it seems as if he’s asking for it.

Read More: Boston Globe, Donald Trump,
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly pressuring Indians to eliminate Chief Wahoo logo 04.12.17 at 2:14 pm ET
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Chief Wahoo may not be around for much longer.  (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Chief Wahoo may not be around for much longer. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The years-long battle over the Indians’ Chief Wahoo logo may be nearing its conclusion.

The New York Times reports MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is pressuring the organization to eliminate the logo, which Native American groups say is offensive. In a statement to the Times, MLB acknowledged discussions are underway.

“We have specific steps in an identified process and are making progress,’’ a spokesman said. “We are confident that a positive resolution will be reached that will be good for the game and the club.’’

Controversy over the logo came to the forefront during last year’s American League Championship Series, when an indigenous Canadian citizen filed for an injunction to prohibit the Indians from using the symbol in Toronto. The Indians opposed the injunction, along with MLB, and it wasn’t granted.

Many activists and scholars have spoken out about the red-faced caricature over the years. But unlike the Redskins, who have taken more combative stance against critics of their mascot, the Indians have demonstrated a willingness to engage. Former president of baseball operations Mark Shapiro, who’s now the CEO of the Blue Jays, said last October the symbol “personally bothered” him. Under Shapiro’s leadership, the Indians deemphasized Chief Wahoo and featured the “Block C” logo more prominently. But it hasn’t disappeared entirely. On Opening Day this season, Chief Wahoo was embroidered on the left sleeve of the blue jerseys Indians players were leaving.

There’s no recent data that shows how Native Americans feel about Chief Wahoo. Last year, a Washington Post poll found nine in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by the Redskins name.

Read More: Cleveland Indians,
Golf announcer is facing heat for saying Sergio Garcia’s fiancée was wearing ‘shortest skirt’ at the Masters 04.11.17 at 4:06 pm ET
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Sergio Garcia and Angela Akins announced their engagement in January. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Sergio Garcia and Angela Akins announced their engagement in January. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Sergio Garcia’s fiancée garnered a lot of attention during the Masters Sunday. But one commentator is getting criticized for going too far.

BBC color analyst Peter Alliss was caught on a “hot mic” making a crude remark about Angela Akins’ outfit. After Garcia sunk the winning putt in his playoff round against Justin Rose, the camera panned to Akins, who was celebrating in the gallery. Alliss, 86, pointed out the length of her skirt.

“She’s got the shortest skirt on campus,” he said.

The BBC released a statement apologizing for the quip.

“Whilst believing he was off air Peter made a lighthearted remark which he now knows was inappropriate,” a network spokesman said.

This is the second time in three years Alliss has come under fire for comments he’s made about women on the air. In 2015, during Zack Johnson’s Open Championship win at St. Andrews, he said the golfer’s wife was probably thinking she would “get a new kitchen” if he won the tournament.

Read More: Sergio Garcia, The Masters,
United will win in the long-run, because greedy corporations almost always prevail over the people 04.11.17 at 12:39 pm ET
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United Airlines will almost certainly weather this PR storm. (Bob Stanton/USA Today Sports)

United Airlines will almost certainly weather this PR storm. (Bob Stanton/USA Today Sports)

United is getting crucified for forcibly removing a man from an overbooked plane, but it will win in the long-run. Desperate travelers have few airline options to choose from and people have short attention spans. In fact, with recent revelations about the passenger’s troubled past, the news cycle is already beginning to move on. Now, it’s victim blaming time.

The three institutions at fault, United, the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Department of Aviation, handled the fallout poorly. In an email to employees, United CEO Oscar Munoz said the man who was dragged out of the airplane, and bloodied in the process, was “disruptive” and “belligerent.” He praised his staff for following protocol.

The public statement from Munoz, who was named “communicator of the year” by PRWeek last month, isn’t much better. He said the airline apologizes for having to “re-accommodate” the four paying customers it ejected from the Chicago-based flight. They were kicked off the plane, because United sold too many tickets and needed to make room for additional crew members who were also traveling from Chicago to Louisville, Ky. After nobody willingly rescheduled their flight in exchange for a voucher, the airline randomly selected patrons to forfeit their seats.

The word “re-accomodate” personifies the soulless corporate speak that executives use instead of phrases with actual meaning. They lie to their customers, because they know they won’t be held accountable. As evidenced by Munoz’s “communicator of the year” honor, this kind of behavior is rewarded within the industry.

The statement from the Chicago Police is equally callous. In it, the department says the 69-year-old passenger, Dr. David Dao, “fell” before he was carried out. Video, however, shows Dao getting slammed into an armrest before he’s dragged across the floor. The Chicago Department of Aviation placed the guilty officer on leave, but declined to identify him. No word on whether he’s being charged for assault or another crime.

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Caitlyn Jenner reveals she’s had sex reassignment surgery 04.11.17 at 9:47 am ET
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Caitlyn Jenner reveals in her new memoir she's undergone sex reassignment surgery. (Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun via USA Today Network)

Caitlyn Jenner reveals in her new memoir she’s undergone sex reassignment surgery. (Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun via USA Today Network)

Two years ago, Caitlyn Jenner revealed she was a transgender woman during a sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer. Now, in a new memoir, she says she’s recently undergone sex reassignment surgery to complete the transition.

Radar Online published excerpts Monday of Jenner’s book, “The Secrets Of My Life,” which will be released April 25. In it, the two-time Olympic gold medalist says she went through with the operation in January.

“The surgery was a success, and I feel not only wonderful but liberated,” she writes. “I am telling you because I believe in candor. So all of you can stop staring. You want to know, so now you know. Which is why this is the first time, and the last time, I will ever speak of it.”

Jenner, 67, underwent facial feminization surgery in March 2015. She explains the gender reconstruction procedure was the next step.

“So why even consider it? Because it’s just a penis. It has no special gifts or use for me other tan what I have said before, the ability to take a whiz in the woods,” Jenner writes in the book. “I just want to have all the right parts. I am also tired of tucking the damn thing in all the time.”

After coming out as transgender, Jenner starred in an eight-part reality series, “I am Cait.” It tied for best Outstanding Reality Program at the GLAAD Awards in 2016.

Read More: Caitlyn Jenner,
Aaron Hernandez’s attorneys accuse judge of racist jury selection 04.10.17 at 2:35 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez (left) is facing a double-murder conviction. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez (left) is facing a double-murder conviction. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers are introducing the element of race into his double-murder trial.

Last week, defense attorney Ronald Sullivan took issue with Suffolk County Judge Jeffrey Locke’s decision to select what he called a “white woman” as the foreperson of the jury, says Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel. Since 15 people sit on a jury, that means 14 spots were left, 11 of which were filled via blind draw. According to the court, the jury is comprised of three Hispanic women, two white women, two white men, two black women, one black man, one Hispanic man and one Asian man. Hernandez is Puerto Rican and Italian, while the victims, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, immigrated from Cape Verde. Alexander Bradley, the prosecution’s star witness who says Hernandez shot him in the face months after the murders in a fit of rage, is also from Cape Verde.

Sullivan, who’s African-American, continued his argument Monday against Judge Locke, who’s white, as jurors entered their second day of deliberation. He said picking a white person as the leader of an ethnically diverse panel was inappropriate.

“We find it offensive that with this jury, predominantly filled with people of color, that these people can’t self-govern, they can not self-regulate,” he said. “That this court, immunized by effect one white juror and makes that juror the leader of the group. We find that offensive.”

Locke denounced the accusations of racism in a curt rebuttal.

“Accusing any court of being racist is not only offensive to the individual judge but extraordinarily offensive to the tribunal and the integrity of the tribunal,” he said.

Hernandez is accused of murdering de Abreu and Furtado in Boston’s Theatre District on July 12, 2012 after a drink was spilled on him at the Cure Lounge. Bradley, who was with Hernandez that night, testified that the former Patriots’ tight end killed the two men in a drive-by shooting after they had left the club. Video shows Hernandez and Bradley getting into a silver SUV that was used during the shooting, and cell towers place Hernandez at the scene of the crime when the slaying occurred.

Defense attorney Jose Baez, who successfully defended Casey Anthony in 2011, said in his closing argument Bradley is a liar who’s pinning the killings on Hernandez because the prosecution offered him immunity. Bradley is currently serving a four-year sentence in Connecticut for shooting up a Hartford bar in 2014.

Regardless of the case’s outcome, Hernandez will remain behind bars. He was sentenced to life in prison three years ago for the June 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,
Two hip-hop stars say they were accused of defecating near pool on Rob Gronkowski Party Cruise 04.10.17 at 12:14 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski didn't host another party cruise this winter. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Rob Gronkowski didn’t host another party cruise this winter. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

The fallout from Rob Gronkowski’s Party Cruise is still being felt one year later.

In a recent interview with TMZ, hip-hop artists DJ Whoo Kid and Wacka Flacka Flame said they’re banned from Norwegian Cruise Lines after being blamed for a prank that unfolded on the Gronk Ship. It stinks for all involved –– literally.

“Somebody pooped behind the pool and put a $20 bill on the poop,” DJ Whoo Kid said. “Whoever did it knew where the cameras where, because security couldn’t find out who did it. They did leave the $20 bill out of respect for the person who was cleaning.”

Despite a successful trip to the Bahamas last year, the Gronkowski Cruise didn’t take off this winter. Rob Gronkowski’s brother, Glenn, implied last year there were too many shenanigans on-board to host another one again.

The NFL also investigated the S.S. Gronk to see if the league gambling policy was violated. It found no wrongdoing.

Read More: rob gronkowski,
ESPN’s Ryen Russillo takes shot at colleague for tweet about Augusta Golf Club’s racist history 04.10.17 at 10:41 am ET
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Thanks to a pair of missed putts on the 18th green, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose took part in a one-hole playoff Sunday to decide the winner of The Masters. It was a drama-filled event, but not everybody watching could enjoy the moment.

Minutes before Garcia locked up the tournament with a birdie putt, ESPN columnist Pablo S. Torre shared a two-year-old tweet about his feelings on Augusta National Golf Club, which didn’t admit African-American members until 1990. While the point is valid, the timing was a bit odd.

ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo pointed this out in a tweet directed back at Torre, who also appears as panelist on “Around the Horn.”

Russillo has spoken out in the past about his distaste for sports media personalities who regularly intertwine politics and sports. In an interview with Kirk & Callahan from Radio Row, he said he thinks some talk show hosts spend too much time focusing on social issues –– such as Tom Brady’s support for President Donald Trump.

“I don’t know why sports talk radio has become –– at least in the last year-plus –– social awareness,” he said. “I’m surprised that people look at [Brady’s friendship with Trump] and say, ‘[Brady] needs to answer for it.’ Answer for what? You know he probably voted for him. So why does it have to be confirmed? I think everybody has been so upset about the hat in a locker. I just don’t get it. I just can’t do that segment.”

Torre often talks about race and sports. Last year, he said it was “damaging” for Cam Newton to say he doesn’t think the criticism he faces is racially motivated.

Read More: ESPN,
Amidst bombshell Bill O’Reilly accusations, conservative Fox News viewers show themselves to be giant hypocrites 04.06.17 at 4:28 pm ET
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Donald Trump (left) and Bill O'Reilly (right) have both been accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards several women. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump (left) and Bill O’Reilly (right) have both been accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards several women. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Every day, millions of bible-thumping conservatives tune into Fox News, the network that’s enabled alleged serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly for roughly two decades. They’re all incredible hypocrites.

It’s been nearly nine months since disgraced CEO Roger Ailes was forced to step down after more than a dozen women said he made unwanted sexual advances towards them. But that was apparently just the start. Earlier this week, the New York Times published a bombshell exposé, detailing five women who accuse O’Reilly of equally crude behavior. They’ve settled for a combined $13 million, with three of the five agreements being struck in secret. Two additional women, former Fox personalities Wendy Walsh and Andrea Tantaros, also say O’Reilly acted inappropriately towards them. (Tantaros mentioned O’Reilly in her suit against Ailes.)

The stories are sickening. Andrea Mackris, a former producer on O’Reilly’s program, says the 67-year-old anchor told her to buy a vibrator and called her when it sounded as if he was masturbating. Others, such as former Fox personality Juliet Huddy, say O’Reilly attempted to impede their career prospects when they rebuffed his advances. Huddy was transferred to WNWY, an affiliate station, after she says she pulled away from O’Reilly when he tried to kiss her.

Fox News is currently under federal investigation over the possibility it failed to notify shareholders about settlement payments made to employees who accused Ailes of wrongdoing. It appears as if the network worked to protect O’Reilly, too. Since 2004, O’Reilly and Fox have settled three suits in private. Attorneys for 21st Century Fox, the station’s parent company, also took part in aggressive offensives in apparent attempts to silence O’Reilly’s accusers.

Before Mackris sued the company, Fox News and O’Reilly filed a pre-emptive lawsuit, claiming she was seeking to shake them down for $60 million. A public relations firm was also hired to slander Mackris, and leak unfavorable stories about her to the tabloids.

In a statement, 21st Century Fox, which had been aware of O’Reilly’s behavior since at least 2002, said it’s addressed the issue with the star anchor. For his part, O’Reilly denies the allegations.

“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” his statement reads. “In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline. But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

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