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Richard Sherman inks megadeal with Seahawks, discusses racism in NFL 05.08.14 at 9:52 am ET
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Three years after he was drafted in the fifth round with a lack of fanfare, Richard Sherman got a contract that put him in the spotlight. Coming off of his first Super Bowl win, the Seahawks cornerback signed a four-year, $57.4 million extension with $40 million guaranteed.

“I guess this is how it feels to be a first-rounder,” Sherman said.

The deal, which Sherman announced on his website, will make the two-time first-team All-Pro selection one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in league history.

While Sherman made a base salary of $375,000 as a rookie in 2011, the 26-year-old made clear that the salary bump would not change his approach.

“I’€™m still the guy scrapping for a spot,” Sherman said. “You never lose that mentality. You can take a ragged dog that has been living on the streets for 10 years and put him in a brand new house with a steak and a lobster every night, and he’€™s still the ragged dog that you got off the streets. So I’€™m still the ragged dog off the street. That mentality isn’t something that I can change I don’€™t think. Even [if] I wanted to, I can’€™t do it. It’€™s not a switch that I have.”

It’s been a busy offseason for the Seahawks, who also re-signed defensive end Michael Bennett and agreed to contract extensions with coach Pete Carroll and free safety Earl Thomas.

Sherman became a household name after he dubbed himself the best cornerback in the NFL and taunted 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree after the NFC championship. Sherman, who this week was named one of Time magazine’€™s 100 most influential people in 2014, was on the receiving end of racist backlash after his remarks.

In his interview with Time, Sherman said that he was not surprised by the racist remarks made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling because of his experience in January.

“You’ve got a lot of racial backlash, and a lot of racist comments that were uncalled for — I can never see a time where racism is called for,” Sherman said. “So it didn’t shock me as much as it would have had I not experienced that personally, had I not seen those things.

“That’€™s why a lot of people shy away from the conversation that I forced on us in January. People want it to be done, they want that uncomfortable truth to be over with, they want racism to be done, they want to believe everything is great and hunky-dory. And it’€™s not. There’s a lot of racism still alive and still active. And it just forced America to rethink it once again. And to really, really understand that racism isn’t gone. We have to actively push it out. And snuff it out.”

Sherman added that he does not think the NFL would have banned an owner if he had made comments similar to Sterling.

“Because we have an NFL team called the Redskins,” Sherman said. “I don’€™t think the NFL really is as concerned as they show. The NFL is more of a bottom-line league. If it doesn’t affect their bottom line, they’re not as concerned.”

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Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: ‘Suspension coming’ if it’s Donald Sterling on tape 04.28.14 at 11:20 am ET
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ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the controversy around racist remarks that allegedly came from Clippers owner Donald Sterling. To hear the interview, head to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

In an audio clip released by TMZ on Friday, Sterling, who has a history of discriminatory behavior, allegedly told his girlfriend not to bring African Americans to his games.

“I think, obviously, he hasn’€™t come out and said, ‘€˜I did not say that,’€™” Van Gundy said. “To me that probably means he did say that, and, if he did say that, then I think there is a suspension coming.

“But after the suspension, to me, however long it lasts — whether it’€™s the rest of the playoffs, a full year, whatever the commissioner views the punishment — my next question is, then what? Then he comes back? Or do the owners have a way to force him out? Or does the league have a way to sort of have him forced out or transfer his ownership to his kids or his son-in-law who I think is in the organization? I think the ‘€˜What’€™s next’€™ is more compelling and more complex than the initial discipline if they find that is his voice and it wasn’t a doctored or altered tape.”

During Sunday’€™s Clippers game against the Warriors, the team staged a silent protest by wearing their warm up shirts inside out to hide the logo and wearing black armbands, wristbands or black socks.

“I think everybody has to do what they feel is the right thing to do, but I wouldn’€™t have tried to dissuade them if players would have come to me and said, ‘€˜I don’€™t feel right playing,'” Van Gundy said. “That’€™s a normal feeling, and I wouldn’€™t have tried to dissuade them from that feeling. I thought Doc (Rivers) handled the situation really, really well. I was disappointed in a couple players throughout the league who said, ‘€˜I can’€™t speak to it. I’€™ve been told by my team not to speak.’€™ I was disappointed in that. I just think there are very few times as an athlete that you have the power to speak on something that truly matters and when you bypass that, you bypass a responsibility that I think the public has entrusted you with which is make a stand. Let me know what you believe.

“I thought the Clippers handled themselves well. Doc handled himself great, and you just don’€™t know what the next shoe to drop is, but here’€™s my thing … Let’€™s say Donald Sterling’€™s suspended for a bit and then he comes back. Why would you force players to play for someone that has these beliefs? Or a coach to honor his contract/ I just don’€™t think that would be the correct stance.”

Van Gundy spoke with members of the Clippers organization last year about potentially coaching the team.

“Without question,” Van Gundy said, “Donald Sterling and his background and how he’€™s treated coaches and people in general certainly had an impact on my feelings about not going forward with those talks.”

For more national sports news, visit leeinks.weei.com.

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Marathon survivor Jeff Bauman on D&C: ‘People aren’t scared, and we’ve just grown stronger’ 04.17.14 at 10:03 am ET
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Boston Marathon survivor Jeff Bauman joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss his book “Stronger”€ and the upcoming race. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

One day after the first anniversary of the attacks at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Bauman became a New York Times best-selling author for his memoir.

“It kind of put me back there laying on the sidewalk,” Bauman said of co-writing the book with Bret Witter. “It’€™s tough to talk about the details and the smells and the sounds, but at least I can talk about it.

“Yesterday I was thinking Boston and I have a million and terrorists are zero. We’€™re killing them. They did absolutely nothing. They just — they did do a horrible thing — but it didn’t accomplish anything. People aren’t scared, and we’ve just grown stronger and become more positive and now we have tighter security and I, really, I’€™m just grateful and proud of our city and the support has been unreal. I do look at it. I think about it every day.”

Bauman said that he does not think about what he could have done differently on the day of the attacks.

“I’€™m just living my life,” Bauman said. “I was there having fun and it was great time. It was my first marathon, and you know it’s not going to be my last. I was there supporting my girlfriend, who is now my fiancee, and I wouldn’t change where I was.

“I was there living my life and supporting someone I love, and I was there with friends and great people around me besides that one kid. I don’€™t look at the past like that, I look forward.”

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Brad Faxon on D&C: Some Masters rookies ‘definitely going to have a chance to win’ 04.10.14 at 8:51 am ET
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PGA golfer and analyst Brad Faxon joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss the Masters. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

A record 24 rookies will participate in the Masters this weekend.

“I made a foolish bet with Brandel Chamblee, and I took the first-timers against the field — that one first-timer will win — and I know that’€™s aggressive, but I also figure it’€™s the best crop of young players,” Faxon said. “Everyone talks about the experience and the knowledge that you have to have to play at Augusta National … but I think we’ve seen the history of golf since Tiger [Woods] burst on the scene in ‘€™97 at 21 years old to win that all of a sudden there are a lot of great young players.

“I think that the maturity level of the younger guys is noteworthy, and I think that some of these guys are definitely going to have a chance to win Sunday afternoon. … I don’€™t think the young guys are as intimidated as they used to be.”

While Fuzzy Zoeller, who won the Masters in 1979, is the only rookie to have won the tournament since its second edition, Faxon pointed out that a first-timer could once again come away with the win.

“There’€™s a good young player that went to school at the University of Georgia,” Faxon said when asked of his pick for the tournament. “He’€™s won a couple of times in this overlapping season. His name is Harris English. He has got one of the best-looking golf swings I have ever seen.”

Following are more highlights from the interview.

On last year’€™s winner, Adam Scott: “Adam did a remarkable interview yesterday or two days ago where he talked about how much this event has meant to him in his career. He got to play this weekend — as defending champion you get to play with a guest. He brought his father, who is a golf professional and had never played here before and most of us know that Sunday there was the Drive Chip & Putt event for all the kids across the country. Adam Scott was handing out trophies, and I just don’€™t see many defending champions doing that stuff. He’€™s said he’€™s going to learn more from watching these kids playing the game than they’€™re going to learn from him.”

On a non-favorite winning: “This has been a really difficult but really fun Masters to try to figure out because all of those players — the favorites — could also miss the cut. It’€™s not like any of them dominated the game the last four or five months or is breaking through other than you look at Patrick Reed and say this kid has really got it going, but you’€™re not going to pick him because he’€™s a first-timer. It’€™s hard for me to believe that Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy aren’t going to be there Sunday afternoon.”

Read More: Adam Scott, Brad Faxon, Harris English,
Seahawks announce extension for coach Pete Carroll 04.04.14 at 2:19 pm ET
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When the Seahawks return to the field in 2014 as the reigning Super Bowl champions, coach Pete Carroll once again will lead the team. And this time he’ll do so with more job security.

Carroll and the Sehawks reached an agreement on a three-year contract extension through 2016, the team announced Friday. Carroll was heading into the final season of a five-year, $35 million contract and, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the new deal will make Carroll one of the three highest-paid coaches in the NFL.

In his four years as the bench boss in Seattle, Carroll has led the team to a 38-26 record. The Seahawks 2013 Super Bowl victory was the first in the franchise’s history.

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Eagles release WR DeSean Jackson less than hour after report of gang connection 03.28.14 at 2:09 pm ET
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The Eagles announced via a post to the team’€™s Twitter on Friday that they have decided to release six-year veteran DeSean Jackson. The move comes just a few months after one of the top seasons of Jackson’€™s career, as the wide receiver had 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

Philadelphia’€™s decision was also posted less than an hour after NJ.com published an exclusive piece saying that the Eagles were concerned about Jackson’€™s gang connections.

According to the piece, sources close to Jackson that are also part of the Eagles’€™ organization stated that the Philadelphia has become concerned about having Jackson on the team because of his have poor attitude, inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a struggling relationship with coach Chip Kelly. The sources added that, upon a closer look into what may have caused Jackson to miss meetings, the team found that the 27-year-old’s friends had become a negative influence.

In fact, Jackson has had an association with Los Angeles street gang members who were connected to two homicides since 2010.

“They are concerned about having him around the younger players,” a source within the Eagles organization said.

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National Labor Relations Board rules that Northwestern football team can unionize 03.27.14 at 10:34 am ET
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College athletics are changing, and, after the most recent battle, one university’€™s team has received a green light to create a union.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled on Wednesday that a union can represent the Northwestern University football team, and the athletes can bargain with the school as employees. Although the decision will not immediately impact the way college athletics operate, it will continue the recent surge of pressure on the NCAA to compensate its athletes in some way.

“This is a colossal victory for student-athletes coming on the heels of their recent victories,” said Marc Edelman, an associate professor of law at City University of New York who specializes in sports and antitrust law. “It seems not only the tide of public sentiment, but also the tide of legal rulings has finally turned in the direction of college athletes and against the NCAA.”

The decision comes at an inopportune time for the NCAA after recent revelations that one coach — Florida’€™s Billy Donovan — received a $3.7 million-a-year contract, and that Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith received an $18,000 bonus when one of the school’€™s wrestlers won an NCAA title. It also comes in the middle of the NCAA‘€™s basketball tournament that brings in close to $1 billion each year.

“Fifty years ago the NCAA invented the term student-athlete to try and make sure this day never came,” said former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, who has been designated as the president of Northwestern’€™s would-be football players€™ union. “Northwestern players who stood up for their rights took a giant step for justice. It’€™s going to set a precedent for college players across the nation to do the same.”

Northwestern is appealing the NLRB’€™s decision and the NCAA likely will continue to fight the idea of student-athletes as university employees.

“We frequently hear from student-athletes, across all sports, that they participate to enhance their overall college experience and for the love of their sport, not be paid,” the NCAA said in a statement.

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Redskins owner Dan Snyder: Team will assist Native Americans 03.25.14 at 10:41 am ET
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As his team continues to deal with controversy over its nickname, owner Dan Snyder announced Monday that the Redskins will create a foundation with the goal of helping American Indian tribes.

“It’€™s not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans,” Snyder said in a letter to Redskins fans. “We must do more.”

According to the letter, the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation will “provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities” for Native Americans. Snyder has not said if he will make a personal donation to the foundation.

Snyder also wrote in the letter that over the course of the past four months he has visited 26 reservations and seen poverty, illness, drug abuse, violence and a lack of basic infrastructure in the communities.

“I’ve listened. I’ve learned. And frankly, it’€™s heart-wrenching,” Snyder said in the letter.

During the past year, the nickname for Snyder’€™s team has come under increased scrutiny as even President Barack Obama told The Associated Press that he would consider changing the name of the team. The owner, however, did not indicate that he would change the team’€™s name, and he said he thinks “even more firmly” that the name “captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents.”

Suzan Shown Harjo, a major opponent of the team’s nickname, said that the decision by Snyder was “somewhere between a PR assault and bribery.” Harjo is one of the main figures in the attempt to remove the team name from Washington’€™s federal trademark protection.

“I’m glad that he’s had a realization that Native Americans have it tough in the United States,” Harjo said. “All sorts of people could have told him that, and have been trying to tell him that for a long time.”

According to Harjo, Snyder’s refusal to change the name will negate some of the positive impact of the actions made by the foundation.

“Will [the foundation] do much of anything? No,” Harjo said. “But it probably won’t hurt, except that it will continue the cycle of negative imaging of Native American people in the public arena.

“It’s sort of an admission that he was losing the PR battle. So now he’s gone out to find the real story — as if someone was hiding the real story about pressing needs in Indian country.”

Read More: Dan Snyder, Suzan Shown Harjo,
Rays P Alex Colome receives 50-game drug suspension 03.25.14 at 7:48 am ET
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Rays pitcher Alex Colome will miss the first 50 games of the 2014 season after he tested positive for Boldenone, a drug primarily used in the treatment of horses.

The commissioner’€™s officer announced the suspension on Monday.

“We are disappointed to learn of Alex Colome’€™s violation of Major League Baseball‘€™s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Rays said in a statement.

“We fully support Major League Baseball‘€™s policy and it’€™s efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.”

The 25-year-old righty, who had a 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA during three starts as a rookie during the 2013 season, had been optioned to Triple-A Durham of the International League on March 8.

Colome was expected to relieve some of the pressure from the Rays’€™ loss of righty Jeremy Hellickson, who went through elbow surgery during the offseason and is expected to return in May. Colome made his major league debut when he defeated the Marlins on May 30, 2013. He was then called back up in June and made two starts before he hurt his pitching elbow.

The native of the Dominican Republic is the second player to receive a drug suspension for this season. The first was Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who will miss the entire season.

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Tigers acquire SS Alex Gonzalez from Orioles for Steve Lombardozzi Jr. 03.24.14 at 11:00 am ET
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The Orioles traded veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez to the Tigers for utility man Steve Lombardozzi Jr., according to The Baltimore Sun.

Gonzalez and Lombardozzi were both slated to start their first seasons with their respective former teams.

The 37-year-old Gonzalez, who has played for six teams including the Red Sox, has managed a .246 batting average and 157 home runs during his 15-year career. During the 2013 season, which he spent with the Brewers, he had just one home run and eight RBIs with a .177 average over the course of 41 games.

After an injury to Jose Iglesias, the Tigers needed a new shortstop. On Friday, Detroit also traded for Andrew Romine in an attempt to fill the void.

“They told me I have to move to Lakeland [Detroit’s spring training facility in Florida] today,” said Gonzalez, who was hitting .429 this spring. “I just know they lost Iglesias and are looking for someone else.”

The Tigers originally acquired Lombardozzi, who spent three seasons with the Nationals, during a trade for Doug Fister in December. Lombardozzi hit .264 with 22 RBIs in 257 games played for Washington and likely will be Baltimore’€™s utility infielder on Opening Day. He is the son of former Twins and Astros second baseman Steve Lombardozzi Sr., who is from Malden.

Read More: Alex Gonzalez, Steve Lombardozzi,