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SB Nation’s Charlotte Wilder goes unchallenged in ESPN Radio interview 01.16.17 at 10:31 am ET
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SB Nation’s Charlotte Wilder turned down an interview with Kirk & Callahan last week, but she did pay a visit to the cozy confines of ESPN Radio following her controversial article about Patriots fans having a problem with the team’s affiliation with President-Elect Donald Trump.

In an appearance Sunday on The Morning RoastWilder reiterated her claim that the team is experiencing a significant amount of Trump-related backlash. “I heard from people who were like, ‘Man, I can’t believe they like this guy –– they like Trump. I hate Trump.’ And sort of up in arms,” she said. “But the majority of people I talked to or that I saw leave comments on Brady’s Facebook page –– there were thousands, hundreds –– the people that struck me the most, somebody put it really eloquently and I quote him in my story, he was like, ‘Look, I don’t care what they do off the field. I don’t care who they vote for.’ … But there’s this deep hypocrisy to some fans who think, ‘Here’s Belichick, who’s famously gruff with the media, who says, ‘We’re onto Cincinnati. We’re onto Cincinnati. We’re onto Cincinnati.’” And then, they felt that when it was beneficial for him, or when he felt like he didn’t have to follow his own rules, where the rules have been the media policy and the no distractions and the ‘do your job’ has been something that fans have really bought into. They feel sort of betrayed. It’s like, ‘Wait, you’re not following the one thing that we thought we all agreed on was our thing.’”

Hosts Domonique Foxworth, Clinton Yates and Mina Kimes didn’t challenge Wilder’s conclusion, despite the fact she only quotes one fan, Susan Pease of Lincolin, who says Tom Brady’s and Bill Belichick’s friendships with Trump propelled her to stop watching. Wilder declined my request to be interviewed for this piece.

Later in the conversation, Wilder says many Patriots fans are experiencing an existential crisis in the wake of Trump’s victory. “Some people have stopped watching. As I said in the piece, the majority of people aren’t going to stop watching or stops supporting. But what I was focusing on are the people who are having issues with this, not the people who aren’t,” she said. “If you don’t care about this, great. I’m glad there’s a way some people are able to compartmentalize. But I think when you have an identity –– being a fan is so much about identity –– and your identity is tied into that of your team. And then when you team gets tied up into an identity that fundamentally breaks from yours, then it’s this real kind of moment of crises where you’re like, “Wait, where are the venn diagrams here? Where can I separate myself, how can I compartmentalize this?” And it might seem silly, because it’s sports, but it’s not silly, because sports are kind of everything.”

It seems as if most Patriots fans were able to put their supposed mental distress aside and watch Saturday’s game against the Houston Texans. The contest drew a monstrous 42.2 rating in Boston.

Read More: Donald Trump, ESPN, New England Patriots,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling fires back after ESPN edits out bloody sock game from Red Sox documentary 05.02.16 at 8:11 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A week and a half after ESPN fired Curt Schilling, the network ran a documentary Sunday about the Red Sox’ memorable comeback against the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, and Schilling’s heroics in Game 6 were conspicuously absent. The network edited out Schilling’s bloody sock game, claiming it was due to time constraints.

Not surprisingly, Schilling didn’t take kindly to his former employer’s latest slap in the face, and he used the network’s slanted coverage of the Patriots’ Deflategate controversy and Tom Brady to make his point.

Tweeted Schilling Sunday night: Wow, full one year complete fabrication to defame greatest QB, now omitting about 4 hours of a game I think I played in. Hmm #integritymuch?

Added Schilling later: Btw, please don’t make me victim. You saw it, I lived it, still got the ring. This is what happens when you embarrass powerful people. And … Nothing more. It’s why we are where we are at as a people and as a nation. Time to change that #standup

Schilling, who has the hashtag #ESPNLIES alongside a quote on his Twitter bio, also noted that he liked the hashtag #boycottespn offered by another tweeter.

ESPN’s public relations department released a statement explaining that a softball game earlier in the day went over its time slot, forcing the editing of the 30 for 30 documentary “Four Days in October” prior to Sunday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game.

“When a live event runs long, it’s standard procedure to shorten a taped program that follows,” the statement read. “In this case, we needed to edit out one of the film’s four segments to account for the extra length of the softball game.”

— Capitals defenseman Brooks Opik received a three-game suspension from the NHL on Sunday for his late hit to the head of Penguins forward Olli Maatta during Saturday’s Game 2 of their second-round series.

Orpik, a former Boston College star who played 11 seasons for the Penguins before leaving as a free agent after the 2013-14 season, was called for interference for the hit, which came well after Maata fired a shot from the left side early in the first period. Maata was woozy after the hit and did not return to the game.

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Read More: Brooks Orpik, Curt Schilling, ESPN, Steph Curry
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling will return to ESPN despite controversial comments 03.24.16 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Pelicans at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Miami vs. Villanova, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 7:37 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Maryland vs. Kansas, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Duke vs. Oregon, 9:55 p.m. (TBS)
MLB preseason: Astros at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Mariners at Rockies, 4:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cubs at Giants, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Dodgers at Indians, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

— Outspoken former Red Sox star Curt Schilling has acknowledged he’s on shaky ground with ESPN. When he made a donation to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson last fall, Schilling wrote in the employer section of the donation form: “ESPN (not sure how much longer).”

However, despite being pulled off the network’s Sunday night baseball broadcasts for the final month of last season for making controversial comments — and then continuing to speak his mind about the presidential race and other political issues — Schilling will return to ESPN this year. The network confirmed Schilling’s status to the website Vocativ.

Schilling’s return seemed in doubt following his comments earlier this month, when he appeared on a Kansas City sports radio show and blasted Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Said Schilling on March 1: “If I’m going to believe — and I’m not sure I would have any reason not to believe — that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server, and after what happened to General [David] Petraeus [the former Director of the CIA who resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after reportedly sharing classified information with his biographer], she should be buried under a jail somewhere.”

The day after that interview, ESPN said it was addressing the matter, which appeared to be a violation of an edict it made in January, when it warned employees to avoid “political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns.”

The network told Vocativ, “We’ve addressed it with Curt.”

— Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday said in no uncertain terms that 2017 would be his final season. However, hours later he already started hedging.

“I won’t play after next year,” the three-time AL MVP first told ESPN. “I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad.”

By Wednesday evening, when asked by New York reporters, Rodriguez seemed less sure.

“I’m thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017,” he said. “After that, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got two years and more than 300 games to play.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Christian Laettner, Curt Schilling, ESPN
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Bill Simmons rips ESPN’s Deflategate coverage, says network ‘is in the bag for the NFL’ 10.02.15 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL preseason: Bruins at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL preseason: Blue Jackets at Sabres, 10 p.m. (NHL Network)
College football: Memphis at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Temple at Charlotte, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Columbia at Princeton, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons

— Bill Simmons, finally free from the shackles of ESPN, had harsh words for his former company for its slanted coverage of Deflategate and soft treatment of commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Granted, I’m a little biased here from what my experiences were the last two years at ESPN,” he said on an episode of his new “Bill Simmons podcast,” which was released Thursday and quickly shot to the top of the iTunes chart. “The way everyone else was covering Goodell’s role in this whole story versus the way ESPN covered it, it was embarrassing. I couldn’t believe nobody called out ESPN about it because you had Dan Wetzel at Yahoo, you had Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, you had all the people in Boston, you had different radio personalities and people really going after how the NFL was handling this, how Goodell was handling this, all this stuff.

“And especially in the weeks after the broken cell phone thing, when it came out that they had obviously leaked stuff, that something really legitimately shady was going on, and yet if you went to ESPN you didn’t see anything. Charlie Pierce on Grantland was the only person who went after them. They didn’t really do anything until that giant Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham Outside The Lines investigation. It’s hard to come away from that and not think that ESPN is in the bag for the NFL — because they were.”

Simmons, who signed a deal with HBO after his mutual departure from ESPN this summer, mocked ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” radio show, joking that Goodell appeared with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic because he knew they were “going to get rough” with the commissioner.

Simmons also expressed frustration with ESPN refusing to allow him to appear on radio stations that are not affiliated with the network.

“For years and years and years and years I was not allowed on [WFAN legend Mike Francesa’s] show because of the ESPN policy that they only want you to be on ESPN Radio shows,” Simmons said. “Which I kind of understand except for the part if I am trying to raise my profile in different cities, say a city like Boston where I grew up and lived 10 years after college, it maybe might help me in those cities to go on the local radio shows there. Francesa, I could never go on and it was always a dream to go on.”

— Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith was knocked out of Thursday night’s overtime win over the Steelers after he was hit in the back, and he made it clear he won’t soon forget it. The only problem is, he appears to be threatening revenge on the wrong player.

Late in the third quarter, Smith was tackled by linebacker Lawrence Timmons and cornerback Antwon Blkae. However, Smith told reporters he blamed an “ex-teammate,” apparently safety Mike Mitchell. Both players were members of the 2013 Panthers.

“How do I feel? Probably for the first time in my career, I feel like I’m 36,” Smith said after the game. “I got speared in the back by an ex-teammate. I kind of know his character, who he is. After he hit me, he said, ‘How do you like that.’ ”

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Read More: Bill Simmons, ESPN, Steve Kerr, steve smith
ESPN suspends Curt Schilling for remainder of season 09.03.15 at 7:02 pm ET
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Curt Schilling‘s suspension from ESPN has been extended to the entire season, including the American League wild card playoff game, the network announced Thursday.

Schilling was pulled off the network’s coverage of the Little League World Series and the Aug. 25 edition of Sunday Night Baseball after he retweeted a graphic that pictured Adolf Hitler and compared Muslims to Nazi-era Germans.

The tweet read: IT’€™S SAID ONLY 5-10% OF MUSLIMS ARE EXTREMISTS. IN 1940, ONLY 7% OF GERMANS WERE NAZIS. HOW’€™D THAT GO?

Above the graphic was a line that read: The math is staggering when you get to true #’€™s.

He acknowledged his poor decision and accepted the network’s punishment. The former Red Sox pitcher was back in the news this week when he wrote a harsh email to the website Awful Announcing and criticized a writer for misrepresenting the tweet and implying Schilling was comparing all Muslims to Nazis.

Said ESPN in a statement: At all times during the course of their engagement with us, our commentators are directly linked to ESPN and are the face of our brand. We are a sports media company Curt’s actions have not been consistent with his contractual obligations nor have they been professionally handled; they have obviously not reflected well on the company.  As a result, he will not appear on ESPN through the remainder of the regular season and our wild card playoff game.

Read More: Curt Schilling, ESPN,
Bill Simmons leaving ESPN 05.08.15 at 12:38 pm ET
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Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons, one of the most recognizable names in the world of sports media, will be parting ways with ESPN after he was not able to agree to a contract extension with the company.

“I’ve decided that I’m not going to renew his contract,” ESPN president John Skipper told Richard Sandomir of The New York Times. “We’ve been talking to Bill and his agent and it was clear we weren’t going to get to the terms, so we were better off focusing on transition.”

The famously outspoken founder of Grantland and host of the B.S. Report came under fire for calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “liar” in a podcast. ESPN suspended Simmons for three weeks as a result.

Skipper insisted that the incident and suspension had no bearing on the decision to not extend Simmons’ contract, but did acknowledge that it was “about more than money.”

Added Skipper: “We’ve had an excellent run with Bill, almost 15 years. It’s been good for us and good for him. It was a decision I had to make and he had to make to move forward.”

Grantland, the sports entertainment site that Simmons founded and ran for ESPN, will reportedly be unaffected by the split.

“It long ago went from being a Bill Simmons site to one that can stand on its own,” Skipper said.

Read More: Bill Simmons, ESPN,
ESPN anchor Stuart Scott dead at 49 01.04.15 at 10:22 am ET
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ESPN announced Sunday morning that longtime anchor Stuart Scott has died at the age of 49. Scott had been battling cancer. He leaves behind two daughters, Taelor (19) and Syndni (15).

Scott worked at ESPN for the past 22 years, having previously worked in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. He played club football at the University of North Carolina after graduating from Reynolds High in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

For a complete retrospective of Scott’s life an career, click here.

Read More: ESPN, Stuart Scott,
New book alleges NFL tried to disprove link between football, brain damage 10.03.13 at 6:32 pm ET
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A new book written by ESPN investigative reporters allege that the NFL waged a campaign for over two decades intent on refuting evidence and research that proved that there was a connection between playing football and brain damage.

The book, titled “League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth,” states that the NFL used its influence and resources to both tarnish scientists and their reports regarding the link between football and head injuries and utilized a public relations strategy to keep fans unaware of the danger relating to the sport.

The book makes a point to compare the era of the NFL covering up the dangers of football to the era of Big Tobacco, when cigarette companies hid the health risks of smoking to consumers. It also claims that the NFL’s “whitewash” of the risks associated with football continued during the tenure of current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Other findings that were discovered by the book’s authors include the NFL ignoring a warning from some of the top neuroscientists in the world that football led to depression and memory loss all the way back in 2000, as well as the league attempting to force medical journals to retract their findings on brain damage in football back in 2005.

Despite the book’s controversial and shocking findings, some NFL players, such as former Jets defensive lineman Marty Lyons, believe that it’s the players own choice to play such a dangerous sport.

“I’m not going to accuse the league,” Lyons said. “Players had to be more responsible for their own actions. I’m not saying the league didn’t know, I’m not saying the players didn’t know. It was part of the game.”

The book , which was co-authored by brothers Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, will be released on Oct. 8.

Read More: brain damage, ESPN, football, NFL
Wife of fired Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine sues ESPN 05.16.12 at 3:06 pm ET
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Laurie Fine, the wife of former Syracuse basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine, announced Wednesday morning that she has filed a federal libel lawsuit against ESPN for the network’€™s reports claiming she was aware of child molestation accusations against her husband.

“I’m here today as a wife and a mother who has had to endure the trauma of being smeared in the public as a monster,” Laurie Fine said in a written statement. “My life has been destroyed.”

According to The Post-Standard, the lawsuit claims that, in the wake of Penn State’s sex abuse scandal, ESPN “spitefully destroyed Laurie Fine’€™s reputation in an attempt to capitalize financially.”

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said the network stands by its reporting and the claim doesn’t hold merit.

Read More: Bernie Fine, ESPN, Laurie Fine, Rumor Mill
ESPN cuts ties with Hank Williams Jr.; singer claims he quit 10.06.11 at 10:48 am ET
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ESPN announced Thursday that it will no longer use Hank Williams Jr.‘s “All My Rowdy Friends” song as the opener to “Monday Night Football” after 22 seasons. The network pulled the song Monday after Williams made comments earlier in the day comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and calling the president “the enemy.”

On Thursday, ESPN released a statement that read: “We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years.  The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”

Williams responded by claiming he was the one who decided to end the relationship, despite the fact that he released an apology Tuesday.

Wrote Williams on his website: ‘€œAfter reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision.  By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You [ESPN] stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE.  It’€™s been a great run.’€

Read More: ESPN, Hank Williams Jr., Rumor Mill,