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Thinking Out Loud: Patriots deserve Deflategate appeal to break judges’ tie

04.29.16 at 5:33 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while conjuring my inner Cecil B. DeMille.

— Patriots fans feel persecuted. I get it. Point your fingers in a lot of directions, if you must. But the court decision this week had nothing to do with air pressure in footballs, or even Tom Brady’s cell phone destruction. It had everything to do with legal process, and the fact that the NFL players signed away their rights to fair hearings with the NFL in the last collective bargaining agreement.

— So, in effect, as an NFL player Brady is guilty of screwing himself. That might seem a little harsh, but it’s reality.

— “You can’t handle the truth!” A classic movie line that seems appropriate, from “A Few Good Men.” Which the NFL does not seem to possess, btw.

— Here is where a problem exists with Deflategate droning on ad nauseam — legally speaking, we have a tie. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King was the first to point this out this week — and he’s spot-on correct. Judge Berman originally sided with TB12. Judges Parker and Chin ruled for the NFL’s right (and Roger Goodell’s contractual right, thanks to the CBA) to become judge, jury and executioner in this case. Judge Katzmann, the Chief of the entire Second Circuit, dissented, siding with Brady.

— By my scorekeeping, that’s a legal, New England Revolution-like 2-2 tie. We need (and TB12 deserves) a tiebreaker. We need extended overtime. This screams for a Brady appeal — which he and his side undoubtedly will pursue — and ultimately will subject us all to another several weeks and months of Deflategate drivel.

— Conceivably, any appeals process also would allow Brady a stay of his punishment. Which would mean the current hand-wringing over Jimmy Garoppolo’s readiness or bringing in another QB is rendered moot. Until the courts un-moot it again.

— Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), the process is going to win out over facts here. How the law is meted out wins over what the truth might actually entail.

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Read More: Blackie Sherrod, Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Marlins ‘shocked’ after NL batting champ Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs

04.29.16 at 8:22 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: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Pacers, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNews, NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Hornets, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Stars, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Predators at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Reigning National League batting champion Dee Gordon became the latest player punished by MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, as he was suspended 80 games Thursday.

The news came after Gordon helped the Marlins complete an impressive four-game sweep of the Dodgers, Gordon’s former team.

“I’m shocked and surprised,” manager Don Mattingly said after the locker room doors were kept closed for about 30 minutes. “Obviously, it’s two different ends of the spectrum for us. You would expect all these guys to be in here all excited — and then we get this news. So it’s not quite the same feeling.”

Mattingly was manager of the Dodgers for Gordon’s first three major league seasons. Gordon, the son of former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon, was traded to Miami before the 2014 season, and Mattlingly rejoined him a year later.

“These guys love Dee, and we’re going to support him,” Mattingly said. “I feel like Dee’s one of my kids, to be honest with you, because I’ve known him so long. So we’re going to love him, and then we’re going to support him. He’s been a big part of the success that we’ve had.”

Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, however, was not as supportive. He was upset that Gordon was allowed to play while appealing his ban. Gordon reportedly dropped the appeal Thursday.

Tweeted Verlander: This PED [expletive] is killing me. If u test positive u need to not play. You should be allowed to effect games while appealing.

— Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil had quite the night Thursday.

The Ole Miss product, widely considered one of the draft’s top players, slid to 13th after a video was posted on his Twitter account that appeared to show him smoking drugs from a gas mask attached to a bong.

Then, while meeting the media after being selected by the Dolphins, Tunsil admitted accepting money from Ole Miss coaches in apparent violation of NCAA rules.

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Read More: Dee Gordon, Laremy Tunsil,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Indiana basketball legend Bobby Knight welcomes ‘honest politician’ Donald Trump

04.28.16 at 8:16 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:
MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Tigers, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Marlins at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Celtics, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Predators, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NFL: Draft, 8 p.m. (ESPN, NFL Network)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Liverpool at Villareal, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Legendary former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight introduced Donald Trump at a Wednesday campaign rally in Indiana, and he did it in typical Bobby Knight style — with profanities, sarcasm and rambling, off-topic remarks.

The 75-year-old Knight told Trump supporters they were changing the nation’s path for the better and would be recognized for doing so.

“They’re going to take all you people and put you next to our Founding Fathers and George Washington. That’s the hell they’re going to do with you people,” Knight said.

Knight, known for his tyrannical ways when he coached, said Trump doesn’t suffer fools.

“He does a great job of finding good people and teaching good people,” Knight said. “And even as important, he’s really good at getting rid of people.”

Knight went on to claim that Trump would have a better relationship with the military, and then bragged that his Indiana teams beat Navy eight straight years. Toward the end of his speech, he told a joke about a father being strict about his son’s haircut, purportedly as an example of how Trump “gets things done.”

Added Knight: “There has never been a more honest politician than Donald Trump.”

Trump responded by calling Knight “a cool cat” and a “winner.” He then mocked rival Ted Cruz, who earlier in the day attempted to pander to the state’s hoop fans but misspoke when talking about a basketball rim.

“He called the rim a ‘ring,’ so he doesn’t know too much about basketball,” Trump said.

— It’s been a rough week for Clippers coach Doc Rivers, and his emotions came out before Wednesday’s Game 5 loss to the Trail Blazers.

With Game 4 injuries knocking out his two best players — Blake Griffin and Chris Paul — for the remainder of the series, Rivers was asked who he leans on to make sure he doesn’t get discouraged at times like this.

Rivers struggled to compose himself, explaining that the question reminded him of his mother, who passed away last June.

“I’m not crying about being discouraged,” he explained. “[That] made me think about my mom. That would have been the person.”

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Read More: bobby knight, doc rivers, Donald Trump, Manny Pacquiao

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers coach Doc Rivers bemoans ‘bum’s luck’ after injuries KO Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

04.27.16 at 8:30 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Padres at Giants, 3:45 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Hornets at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Clippers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Lightning, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Predators at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS: Timbers at Revolution, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayern Munich at Club Atletico de Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A bad week got worse for the Clippers on Tuesday, as Blake Griffin was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating his partially torn left quadriceps tendon, and Chris Paul underwent surgery on his broken hand that will sideline him indefinitely.

Both players were injured in Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Trail Blazers that left the first-round series tied heading into Wednesday’s Game 5. One day after it appeared things might finally be lining up for a long playoff run after three years of disappointing finishes, the team appears headed for another frustrating ending.

“It’s bum’s luck three years in a row,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “What can you do? All you can do is you’ve just got to keep going.”

It seemed likely that Paul would not return this postseason after he got his hand caught in Gerald Henderson’s jersey and suffered a broken third metacarpal in his right hand. However, now there is speculation that he might return in a few weeks, if the team was able to reach the Western Conference finals.

“It’s not as long as I think some may think it would be,” Rivers said. “That’s the good news, but we don’t know how long yet.”

Rivers attempted to stay positive despite the setbacks, insisting: “We have won games before without key guys, and I think we can win games in the future without key guys.”

Added Rivers: “I get down for like five minutes, and I was [Monday] night, but you wake up in the morning and you feel like we’re going to find a way, and it’s my job to try to get them to feel like I feel. If we do that, I think we’ll have a fighting chance.”

— Assuming Tom Brady’s four-game suspension holds, one of the games he’ll miss will be a home game against the Dolphins. But there is no rejoicing in Miami, as the Dolphins have their own issues.

Tuesday was the first day of voluntary veterans minicamp under new coach Adam Gase, and it was marked by a couple of noticeable absences.

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Curt Schilling, doc rivers

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers G Chris Paul expected to miss remainder of playoffs after breaking hand

04.26.16 at 8:14 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Braves, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. (FS1)
NBA playoffs: Celtics at Hawks, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Raptors, 6 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Real Madrid at Manchester City, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— When Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked Monday about the knee injury to Stephen Curry that will sideline the Warriors star for about two weeks, Rivers brought up the 2010 Celtics when they lost Kendrick Perkins in Game 6 of the NBA Finals — and that comparison led to some chuckles due to the obvious difference in the players’ abilities. Now, however, Rivers has a more appropriate comparison.

Clippers guard Chris Paul broke his hand in Monday night’s 98-84 loss to the Trail Blazers and is expected to need season-ending surgery.

Paul had scored 16 points in 24 minutes, but midway through the third quarter he tried to slow down a driving Gerald Henderson and appeared to get his right hand stuck in the back of Henderson’s jersey. The result is a fracture of the third metacarpal in Paul’s right hand. He went to the bench shortly after the play and headed to the locker room with a trainer, showing his frustration by kicking a seat cushion on the way.

“It obviously doesn’t look very good for him,” Rivers said. “For this to happen to him, he’s a very emotional guy. … The whole team was in the training room. It’s nice in that way, but the reality is you don’t have Chris Paul.”

To make matters worse for Los Angeles, Blake Griffin missed most of the fourth quarter after aggravating a left quad injury that he initially suffered on Christmas Day and caused him to miss about half the season. Rivers said Griffin is 50-50 for Game 5.

“It doesn’t look good for him, either,” Rivers said.

The Clippers went 3-5 during the regular season when Paul was out of the lineup.

“They’re a different team without him,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

The Clippers and Warriors, fierce rivals, would meet in the second round if both teams advance. The Clippers now are tied 2-2, while the Warriors have a 3-1 lead on the Rockets.

— Tigers outfielder Tyler Collins apologized for giving Detroit fans the middle finger during Monday night’s 7-3 victory over the A’s, after they booed him for a defensive miscue.

In the sixth inning, Collins lost Marcus Semien’s pop-up in the lights. Teammate Justin Upton then mishandled the ball, allowing Semien to get to third base. As the fans rained boos, Collins flipped the bird and mouthed some expletives toward the crowd.

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Read More: Chris Paul, Deflategate, Erin Andrews, Tyler Collins

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Warriors star Steph Curry scheduled for MRI after injury in Sunday’s win

04.25.16 at 8:05 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: Red Sox at Braves, 7:10.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Hornets, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Mavericks at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Predators, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Blues, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Warriors are one game from eliminating the Rockets in their Western Conference playoff series, but Sunday’s win might have come at a huge price.

Steph Curry sprained his knee on the final play of the first half and did not return in Golden State’s 121-94 victory that gave the Warriors a 3-1 series lead.

Curry, who missed the previous two games of the series recovering from a sprained ankle, was guarding Trevor Ariza outside the 3-point line when his left leg appeared to hit a wet spot and slid out from under him. His right knee then hit the floor while he was in an awkward position. He limped to the locker room, returned to the court before the start of the second half, but left after testing it out with some lateral slides.

“He was standing there crying, and [I was] like, ‘Dog, just get out of here. We’ll hold you down,’ ” Warriors forward Draymond Green told ESPN Radio after the game. “We’ve got to support him, and be there for him. He came out and obviously gave it a go, wasn’t 100 percent, and he gave it a go, and it’s unfortunate that that happened. But at the end of the day, one thing we’ve always talked about is our depth, and we’ve got to use that to win games, and so we used that tonight.”

Curry, who had hit just 2-of-9 shots and scored six points, is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.

The Warriors banded together after Curry’s departure and put up 41 points in the third quarter — hitting a franchise-record eight 3-pointers in the period en route to an NBA record 21 in the game — to turn a tie game into a 21-point rout.

“When you have a team that is as together as ours is and cares about each other like ours does, you tend to pick up the fight a little bit,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Our guys sensed that we needed to come together.”

— Johnny Manziel has been indicted on a misdemeanor assault charge for an incident in January with his ex-girlfriend, according to reports out of Dallas.

Manziel’s case was heard by a grand jury on Thursday. The indictment is expected to be announced Monday. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor assault is one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

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Read More: byron scott, Johnny Manziel, Steph Curry,

Thinking Out Loud: Breakthrough win for Brown lacrosse

04.22.16 at 5:35 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to “Fireman” Bill Campbell.

— It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick — Brown’s lacrosse team was named as the NCAA.com “Team of the Week” as the fourth-ranked Bears defeated No. 1 and previously unbeaten Yale, 14-12, last weekend. A first-ever win for Bruno over No. 1.

— More than 3,400 fans packed Stevenson-Pincince Field on campus. ESPN3 televised it. And as a result, Brown climbed to No. 3 in this week’s rankings — and managed to keep from having a letdown with a 16-10 win over rapidly improving Providence. The victory over the Friars is Brown’s 22nd straight in men’s lax.

— That’s downright hoop-like, although Brown has managed a cross-check or two on the basketball court in recent years, hasn’t it?

— Not for nuthin’, but what makes this Bears team particularly tough? 1. Winning faceoffs. 2. Second-half defense, and the ability to score with a man up. Brown needs wins over Cornell this weekend and over Dartmouth next week to claim the outright Ivy League title. ESPN3 is, once again, all over these guys.

— The Las Vegas Review Journal reported this week that PC associate head basketball coach Andre LaFleur will join Marvin Menzies’ new staff at UNLV. It’s the second straight year for Ed Cooley to lose an associate HC, after Bob Simon left for Alabama a year ago. This is simply part of the drill in the coaching world — you never know where opportunity will knock. LaFleur wants to be a head coach, he’s originally from the West Coast (born in Los Angeles), and time is ticking for him. He’s a good guy and a good coach. Hope he finds his spot.

— Will graduate assistant God Shammgod find a full-time slot on the staff as a result of this move? It’s likely that avenue is being traveled as we speak. Or think. Ivan Thomas should assume greater responsibility as well.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Sports world pays tribute to Prince after singer’s death

04.22.16 at 8:17 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 Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN2)
NBA playoffs: Cavaliers at Pistons, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Spurs at Grizzlies, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Flyers at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Panthers, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Wild at Stars, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (CNBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The sports community paid tribute to Prince on Thursday night following the singer’s death at the age of 57.

Warriors players played Prince music on a stereo during the team’s shootaround before their game against the Rockets in Houston. Prince attended a Warriors game last month, the day before playing a concert in Oakland.

Tweeted Warriors forward Draymond Green: RIP Prince! Had the pleasure of seeing him in concert last month in Oakland. Once of the best shows I’ve ever seen!!! Rest up legend!! WOW!!

During the Red Sox’ afternoon game against the Rays, organist Josh Kantor played a different Prince song each inning, starting with “Little Red Corvette” in the first and “Purple Rain” in the second.

A native of Minnesota — said to be a pretty good basketball player in high school — Prince was known as a support of the local teams. The Twins turned all their electronic scoreboards purple in tribute Thursday afternoon, and all of the state’s major professional teams tweeted out tributes.

Prince performed at halftime of Super Bowl XLI in 2007, and it was recognized by Billboard as the best halftime show in the game’s history.

Tweeted Cardinals receiver (and Minnesota native) Larry Fitzgerald: There will never be another Prince. He was a cultural icon & a musical genius. Minneapolis & the world lost a legend today. #RIP #Prince

Wrote Clippers guard (and former Celtics star) Paul Pierce: To the man I named my son after RIP to the great Prince.

— NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been trying to be diplomatic regarding the political controversy in North Carolina, but on Thursday he said the league has made it clear that the 2017 All-Star Game won’t be played in Charlotte unless there is a change to the state law that excludes transgender individuals from anti-discrimination protections.

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Read More: Adam Silver, Prince,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Blackhawks F Andrew Shaw suspended for anti-gay slur

04.21.16 at 8:13 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:
MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Braves, 12:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Tigers at Royals, 7:15 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Astros at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Mavericks, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Pacers, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Warriors at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Predators, 8 p.m. (CNBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw is known for getting under the skin of opposing players. On Tuesday he drew the ire of a whole lot more people when he made an inappropriate gesture (a double-middle-finger salute) and then uttered an anti-gay slur after being called for a penalty. That earned him a one-game suspension and a $5,000 fine.

After Tuesday’s game, a 4-3 loss to the Blues, Shaw said he did not know what he said because he was so mad at the time. After heading home and watching the video — which quickly went viral — his mistake was clear.

“It was hard to see,” he said Wednesday. “Emotions got the best of me.”

Shaw, who will miss Thursday’s Game 5 in St. Louis, also will have to undergo sensitivity training, although he claims he already has learned his lesson.

“I’ll never use that word again, that’s for sure … That’s not the type of guy I am,” he said.

Added Shaw: “I apologize to many people, including the gay and lesbian community, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks fans and anyone else I may have offended. I know my words were hurtful and I will learn from my mistake.”

— Controversial cornerback Josh Norman, one of the league’s top defensive backs, reportedly has heard from a large number of teams since he became a free agent Wednesday after the Panthers rescinded their non-exclusive franchise tag offer.

The 28-year-old All-Pro passed on signing the franchise tag — worth $13.9 million for 2016 — and instead was holding out for a long-term deal. However, the sides apparently were not close to an agreement.

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Read More: Andrew Shaw, DeMarcus Lawrence, Josh Norman,

Curt Schilling fired by ESPN after transgender controversy

04.20.16 at 10:03 pm ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

During his Wednesday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane, baseball analyst Curt Schilling claimed he was “blindsided” when his bosses at ESPN called to talk to him about his latest firestorm, insisting his comments about the transgender controversy were “as innocuous and as non-aggressive as anything anybody can say.”

ESPN obviously did not agree, ending Schilling’s relationship with the network later Wednesday.

“ESPN is an inclusive company,” the network said in a statement. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

On Tuesday, Schilling reposted a graphic that pictured a burly man dressed in suggestive women’s clothing with the words: Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!

He followed that by writing in a separate post: A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.

The posts were a response to the controversy in North Carolina, where a law was passed directing individuals to use bathrooms based on their biological sex. Companies and entertainers have responded by boycotting the state or threatening to pull their business.

Defending himself to D&C, Schilling said, “That [graphic] wasn’t my post. “I commented on that. … I replied to the post. I didn’t post that. I made a comment paraphrasing it would be people that go to the bathroom standing up use one, and people that go the bathroom sitting down use the other. That’s turned into somehow I’m transphobic. I don’t know.”

When asked about the possibility of discipline, he said: “I have not even thought that. I don’t want to say it snuck up on me, but it did. I know that might be hard to believe for some people, but I swear to God. My comment was as innocuous and as non-aggressive as anything anybody can say. I’m still kind of trying to figure out how the hell this all happened. But if that is the case, then I”l deal with that when the time comes.”

Read More: Curt Schilling,