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Robert Kraft reportedly serves as unofficial advisor to Donald Trump 04.24.17 at 2:14 pm ET
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Donald Trump honored the Patriots at a White House ceremony last week. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump honored the Patriots at a White House ceremony last week. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Robert Kraft is close friends with Donald Trump. The Patriots owner donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund and has even taken a ride on Air Force One. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that Kraft may serve as an unofficial advisor to the President.

The New York Times published a report over the weekend detailing the cadre of friends and associates who Trump regularly phones for advice. Most of them, much like Trump himself, are older white men with sizable wealth.

Several of the confidants, including inaugural committee chairman Thomas Barrack Jr. and economic counselor Carl Icahn, are longtime friends of Trump who supported him throughout the campaign. The conservative media establishment is represented, too. Fox News host Sean Hannity, 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch and Newsmax Media chief executive Chris Ruddy reportedly console the President and offer advice on a regular basis.

The article says Kraft, a longtime Democrat, is an established presence at Mar-a-Lago Resort and often conversed with Trump about the Patriots during football season. Their friendship dates back several decades, but intensified in 2011 shortly after Kraft’s wife, Myra, passed away. Trump called Kraft once per week for the next year to lift his spirits.

“When Myra died, Melania [Trump] and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me,” Kraft said earlier this year, via the New York Daily News. “Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out. He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits. He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.”

Read More: Donald Trump, Robert Kraft,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Donte Stallworth believes Tom Brady and Donald Trump are still friends; Asking price for Aaron Hernandez mansion drops at 9:05 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: LA Dodgers at San Francisco, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Milwaukee at Toronto, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Washington at Atlanta, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Golden State at Portland, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

— When Tom Brady skipped the Patriots’ trip to the White House last week, he said it was due to personal reasons. He posted a picture of his parents on Instagram for their anniversary and it is known his mother, Galynn, is battling cancer.

However, some speculated he missed the event because his wife, Gisele, is not a fan of Donald Trump and then that Trump was angry with Brady for not attending after Trump did not mention Brady during the ceremony. Donte Stallworth spoke with TMZ this weekend and said this is not the case and Brady did miss the trip to spend time with his mom.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t any other circumstance,” Stallworth said. ” … This is a very trying time for not just [Brady’s mom] obviously, but for his whole family so I would caution people against speculating before they know all the facts of what’s actually happening.”

He also said he does not believe this has affected Brady’s friendship with Trump.

“I think their relationship will probably be fine,” Stallworth said. “I don’t necessarily believe that the President would have intentionally taken a shot at– he’s very big on loyalty and I know that he and Brady have been close for a very long time.”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Donald Trump, Donte Stallworth, Tom Brady
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.”

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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 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,
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,
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,
Red Sox seem to be copying Donald Trump’s ‘fake news’ approach to media relations 03.31.17 at 3:18 pm ET
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John Farrell denied this week the Red Sox's shoulder program was a factor in Tyler Thornburg's DL stint, even though he once said otherwise. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell denied this week the Red Sox’s shoulder program was a factor in Tyler Thornburg’s DL stint, even though he once said otherwise. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

When Donald Trump wants to discredit the media, he’ll often reprimand outlets for reporting his words verbatim, claiming he never said what he did. The latest example of this phenomenon came last week, when he told Time Magazine his tweets about President Barack Obama wiretapping him weren’t meant to be taken literally.

As the 2017 season nears, it seems as if the Red Sox are developing a similar approach to media relations.

Earlier this month, reliever Tyler Thornburg told WEEI.com and the Boston Herald the team’s strenuous shoulder program played a role in his shoulder injury. After two Spring Training outings, he was shut down so he could acclimate himself to the regimen.

“Once we started working those muscles in the back that in depth and that much they really started to tire,” he said March 11. “I was doing a shoulder program on a certain day and all of a sudden I would pitch in the game and they would already be fatigued. It was one of those things where we decided to shut it down and let them relax as well as strengthen it at the same time. It was really hard to do it all at the same time. It’s a lot more than I was used to, for sure.”

When Thornburg was placed on the disabled list this week, he brought up the shoulder program again.

“If anything, it might have fatigued my arm a little bit before the first outing,” he said, via the Herald. “Or it possibly could’ve pointed out some weaknesses in my shoulder or something that wasn’t working properly. That’s all stuff we were figuring out in the last couple days.”

That sounds pretty cut-and-dried, apparently except to the Red Sox. They deny Thornburg ever mentioned the shoulder program. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday it was never part of the conversation.

“I’m not getting into that particular. It’s not the throwing program, OK? I wish you would just lay off of that, OK? We talked about that part of it,” he said, via the Herald.

Dombrowski lashed out when he was told Thornburg was the person who had originally mentioned it.

“No, it’s you pushing it,” he said.

Manager John Farrell, who also referenced the shoulder program March 10 when asked about Thornburg’s status, essentially called the reports fake news.

“There’s a lot been written targeting our shoulder program here,” he said. “I would discount that completely. He came into camp, he was throwing the ball extremely well, makes two appearances. They were two lengthy innings in which the inflammation flared up to the point of shutting him down. But in the early work in spring training, he was throwing the ball outstanding. So to suggest that his situation or his symptoms now are the result of our shoulder program, that’s false.”

As Trump has shown, if you repeat a lie often enough, your followers are likely going to believe it. A recent poll shows 74 percent of Republicans believe he was wiretapped, even though FBI Director James Comey says that wasn’t the case. A February poll from Politico found that 25 percent of voters believe Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud as well.

Despite lying 69 percent of the time, Trump was able to ascend to the presidency. His success in the political arena shows truthfulness may not be all that important when it comes to public perception. It wouldn’t be surprising to see sports teams, which are private businesses and have no obligation to be transparent with the press, copy some of those tactics.

Instead of acknowledging reality, the Trump administration habitually presents “alternative facts.” The Red Sox followed a similar blueprint with Thornburg this week, denying the words that came out of his mouth.

Presidents affect culture in addition to policy. This week, the phrase “fake news” carried down from the White House all the way to Fort Myers. Maybe it will make its way to Fenway Park this season as well.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, Donald Trump, john farrell
Donald Trump reportedly declines Nationals offer to throw first pitch on Opening Day 03.28.17 at 12:17 pm ET
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Donald Trump, a native New Yorker, is known as a big time Yankees fan. (Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump will be the first president since 1910 to not throw out a first pitch on Opening Day. (Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

The last 18 presidents have thrown out a ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day. Donald Trump is apparently bucking that tradition.

According to the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga, Trump declined the Nationals’ offer to throw out the first pitch at Nats Park next Monday. Earlier Tuesday, POLITICO reported Trump was in talks with the Nationals to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Given the divisiveness of Trump’s presidency, the Nationals would’ve probably faced backlash if they had welcomed Trump to the ballpark. But that apparently didn’t deter the organization from extending an invitation.

The White House didn’t provide a reason why Trump turned down the Nationals. One possible explanation is that he didn’t want to subject himself to facing a hostile crowd in D.C. Trump lost the District of Columbia to Hillary Clinton by more than 86 points.

This post has been updated. 

Read More: Donald Trump,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Donald Trump rips Colin Kaepernick, takes credit for his unemployment; Gale Sayers battling dementia 03.21.17 at 9:55 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Philadelphia vs. Minnesota, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: LA Angels vs. Cincinnati, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston vs. NY Yankees, 6:35 p.m. (NESN, WEEI-AM 850)
World Baseball Classic: US vs. Japan, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Ottawa at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN, WBZ-FM 98.5)
NHL: San Jose at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Chicago at Toronto, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: San Antonio at Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Richmond at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Mississippi, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB: 

— During a rally in Louisville Monday night, Donald Trump switched gears from talking about urban communities to discussing controversial NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick.

“Our inner cities will find a rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity,” Trump said. “Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him.”

A relevant and smooth segue if I’ve ever heard one.

Trump then explained he was referencing an article he read about Kaepernick’s free agency. He said he believes NFL teams are afraid to sign Kaepernick because they don’t want Trump to send mean tweets to them.

“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. “Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”

Trump also took a shot at Kaepernick’s reluctance to stand for the national anthem before games.

“I said if I remember that one I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky,” Trump said. “They like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”

The Bleacher Report article Trump was likely referencing mentions Kaepernick is in “NFL limbo” because he takes public political stances. It quotes an AFC general manager who said “… some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team.”

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Donald Trump, Gale Sayers,