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IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies of injuries sustained during race

08.25.15 at 9:17 am ET
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IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, 37, who was struck in the head with debris during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway Sunday, passed away Monday, according to IndyStar.

Wilson was hit by a piece of debris from Sage Karam’s car. Karam, who led the race at the time of the accident, spun out on his own, spreading debris across the track. The open cockpit style of IndyCar racing left Wilson vulnerable to the nose cone of Karam’s car, which came back and struck him in the helmet.

Immediately after he was hit, Wilson went unconscious. His car began to veer sharply and he crashed into the inside wall.

Wilson was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he went into a coma.

IndyCar announced Wilson’s death at approximately 9 p.m. Monday. The organization said he was surrounded by his family when he passed away. He’s survived by his wife Julia and their two children.

“This is a monumentally sad day for IndyCar and the motorsports community as a whole,” IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said in a statement. “Justin’s elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility — which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock. As we know, the racing industry is one big family, and our efforts moving forward will be focused on rallying around Justin’s family to ensure they get the support they need during this unbelievably difficult time.”

IndyCar said it would answer more questions about Wilson’s death in the coming days.

Wilson is the first IndyCar Series driver to die since Dan Wheldon in 2011. Wheldon was killed after suffering a massive head injury in a large crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

A native of Sheffield, England, Wilson had seven major U.S. open-wheel wins, including three in the IndyCar Series.

Read More: IndyCar, Justin Wilson,

Report: Lakers have had ‘casual conversations’ about Metta World Peace

08.25.15 at 8:38 am ET
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Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers have talked about signing Metta World Peace to a one-year contract. No deal is in place, however, the two parties have been in contact to discuss potential terms. The Los Angeles Times adds that the two sides have had “casual conversations” about World Peace returning to his former team.

While many have remained skeptical of the 35-year-old’s presumably declining skills, Kobe Bryant has enthusiastically supported signing World Peace. He has been in the Lakers’ practice facility throughout the summer and has played with much of the current roster, including 2014 first-round pick Julius Randle.

World Peace hasn’t played in the NBA since 2013-14 when the Knicks waived him. Last year he played for Pallacanestro Cantu of the Italian League.

He played for the Lakers from 2009-13, helping them win a championship in 2010.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Cris Carter insists, ‘My heart was in the right place’ during controversial speech to NFL rookies

08.25.15 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League World Series: Missouri vs. Canada, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League World Series: Mexico vs. Chinese Taipei, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Little League World Series: Kentucky vs. California, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Sun at Dream, 11:30 a.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Valencia at Monaco, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Cris Carter

Cris Carter

— As reports emerged that Cris Carter gave the same “fall guy” speech to AFC rookies as he did to their NFC counterparts at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Carter again apologized for his comments.

Appearing on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” Carter acknowledged there is no excuse for him telling players they should have someone in their entourage who needs to be willing to go to jail if necessary to keep the player’s name out of the headlines, as he said in a videotaped speech to NFC rookies with fellow Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

“It’s really hard to go through my thought process,” Carter said. “The Rookie Symposium 2014, it’s something that I’m invited to by the NFL. I’ve probably been to 15 to 20 different times. I donate a lot of time to young people because I believe it’s very, very important. I can’t make an excuse to what my mindset was. My heart was in the right place. I didn’t use words that I was very, very proud of. It’s not the type of advice that I would offer young people.”

Added Carter: “I would never tell young people to break the law to avoid prosecution. It was bad advice. I really, really regret my words when I heard them come back to me. More importantly, it hurt young people and it hurt them in their approach to the National Football League.

“I take it very, very seriously. I do regret that day. I hope moving forward that the NFL still has enough trust in me and have me connected to their young people.”

“As we move forward, just like anything else, I hope I move forward, I hope I learn from it and I hope it makes me better. I hope my reaction in the next situation is better than that one there.”

Carter reportedly was told by NFL executives not to repeat his comments to the AFC rookies, but apparently he went ahead and gave a similar speech.

“I think he had the best interest for us, but it just wasn’t said in the most appropriate way,” second-year Jets tight end Jace Amaro told the New York Daily News. “I don’t think he meant it in any scapegoat way. I think he just meant, in the bigger picture, to have a backup plan. Have a guy that’s going to be there watching your back.

“It’s hard to defend him saying that. But I think he had the best intentions for us.”

— The NFL said Monday that Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs‘ low hit on Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford in Saturday night’s preseason game should not have been penalized, despite the protestations of the Eagles.

Suggs was penalized for roughing the passer, but he said it was a zone-read play, making it Philadelphia’s responsibility for putting the QB at risk. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino supported that contention.

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Read More: cc sabathia, Cris Carter, Sam Bradford, Terrell Suggs

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Cris Carter apologizes for encouraging NFL rookies to have ‘fall guy’ in entourage

08.24.15 at 7:59 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Diamondbacks, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Benglas at Buccaneers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Arsenal, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


— ESPN analyst Cris Carter apologized Sunday after video emerged of him encouraging rookies to “have a fall guy in your crew” for when they get in trouble.

Speaking to NFC players at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Carter led a discussion with fellow former Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, and he repeatedly encouraged players to have a friend accept responsibility if something bad happens in order to keep the player’s name out of the headlines.

“If you’re going to have a crew, one of them fools got to know, he going to jail,” Carter said (with Sapp’s support) after bringing Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater onto the stage. “We’ll get him out.”

Added Carter: “If you’re going to have a crew, make sure they understand, hey, nothing happens to you. Your name can’t be in lights, under no circumstances.”

Said Carter in a pair of tweets Sunday: “Seeing that video has made me realize how wrong I was. I was brought there to educate young people and instead I gave them very bad advice. Every person should take responsibility for his own actions. I’m sorry and I truly regret what I said that day.”

The comment came to light after an ESPN the Magazine story published late last week in which former 49er Chris Borland recounts hearing the speech. Said Borland in the article: “I was just sitting there thinking, ‘Should I walk out? What am I supposed to do?’ ”

The video, which had been archived on, made its way around the web over the weekend (it’s since been removed from the site), and the NFL issued a statement saying, “The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league’s player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year’s symposium.”

ESPN also distanced itself from Carter’s comments, saying, “We completely disagree with Cris’ remarks and we have made that extremely clear to him.”

(Click here for the audio from the Dennis & Callahan show’s discussion of Carter’s comments.)

Terrell Suggs continues to make enemies throughout the league, even in the preseason. This time it’s the Eagles, who say Suggs targeted the knees of quarterback Sam Bradford during Saturday night’s game.

Suggs was penalized for roughing the passer on the play, as he hit Bradford low after the QB handed off the ball on a read-option.

Bradford is convinced the tackle was on purpose, and he let Suggs know.

“I think that was what he was trying to do,” the oft-injured Bradford said. “I was a little upset. I’m not sure I can repeat what I said to him.”

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Read More: Cris Carter, Jason Pierre-Paul, Sam Bradford, Terrell Suggs

Fan safety again in spotlight after 2 more women injured by foul balls at MLB games over weekend

08.24.15 at 7:35 am ET
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A fan is taken out on a stretcher after being struck by a foul ball during Sunday's Cubs-Braves game at Wrigley Field. (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

A fan is taken out on a stretcher after being struck by a foul ball during Sunday’s Cubs-Braves game at Wrigley Field. (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Two more fans were injured after being struck by foul balls at Major League Baseball games over the weekend, renewing calls for the commissioner to make changes to improve fan safety.

On Sunday at Chicago’€™s Wrigley Field, a fan was sitting on the first-base side when she was hit by a line drive. The game was stopped briefly as fans and ushers motioned for paramedics to tend to the woman, who was taken away on a stretcher.

Two days earlier, a female fan sitting behind the home dugout in Detroit was stick by a foul ball that sent her to the hospital for a day, prompting Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander to call on MLB to extend the protective netting behind home plate.

‘€œIt seems like something happens once a game, where a ball just misses a fan and, inevitably, it’€™s always small kids or women, you know,’€ Verlander said. ‘€œIt’€™s just something that needs to be looked at, and hopefully it doesn’€™t get to the point where something really serious happens before there’€™s an adjustment made.’€

Teammate Anthony Gose hit the ball that struck the woman, and he agreed that changes should be made.

‘€œThe knot on that lady’s head was bigger than the baseball. If that hit her flush on the face she might have died,” Gose said. “She didn’t do anything wrong. She just wants to enjoy a game. Now put up a net and people will still enjoy the game. You’re not going to lose that many people or that much money putting up a net. I guarantee it.”

Earlier this season, a woman sitting behind the visitors dugout at Fenway Park was struck by a piece of a bat and was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. She recovered after a lengthy stay in the hospital.

Thinking Out Loud: Patriots no Saints, but feeling toward NFL is mutual

08.21.15 at 10:05 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering where Jeremy Kapstein has been?

— And it may be only preseason, but Patriots fans love their football — Deflategate notwithstanding, and a meaningless exhibition seems to matter little. Ratings for the preseason opener were the highest for local TV since just after the Super Bowl in February for the Grammy Awards. Higher than the NBA and NHL finals. Higher than the Republican debates, too — which means a Pats game is one show around here that Donald Trump can’t take over. I hope.

— Deflategate vs. Bountygate. Or Spygate. In effect, that’s what we had this week in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Some in the media tried to play that angle but didn’t have a lot of success with it. The Patriots and New Orleans Saints stayed and practiced at The Greenbrier resort, where some of the Friars basketball teams in the ’90s stayed when facing the Mountaineers during Pete Gillen’s tenure. There’s not much out there, and it’s darn near perfect if you like seclusion.

— Maybe that’s why there weren’t any notable skirmishes between players, whereas in other scrimmages teams seem to be duking it out with regularity? Pats and Saints players were lulled to sleep, or rather, they may have feared for their professional well-being if they were tossed from practice for fighting.

— There are similarities between the organizations, and not just because of the infamous violations for which they’ve been accused. Sean Payton loves to wear hoodies cut off at the sleeves, as does Bill Belichick. Payton is very guarded and doesn’t talk about injuries, just like BB. And both teams appear to have an organizational chip on their shoulders, when it comes to alleged “fair treatment” by the NFL. Right or wrong, that can be useful.

— The Brady-Goodell Peace Accord goes back to the bargaining table on Aug. 31. When does this charade end? Neither side really cares about budging, although rumors of Tom Brady‘s willingness to compromise (one-game suspension, no admission of guilt) at least SOUNDS magnanimous compared to The League. I don’t see him compromising, but then again, I’m not TB12 with this big, fat albatross hanging around my neck, either.

— No, this goes down to the bitter end. Commissioner Bad-ell (how can anyone really call him Goodell?) loses what’s left of his disciplinary authority if he caves and compromises. Brady is branded a cheater if he caves and compromises — if that hasn’t happened already in 31 other NFL fandoms. Both are standing at the craps table, hoping that Judge Berman rolls a seven or 11 for ’em.

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Read More: Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Robert Griffin III suffers concussion in preseason game

08.21.15 at 7:56 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Royals at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Braves at Cubs, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League World Series: Rhode Island vs. South Carolina, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Seahawks at Chiefs, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA: Dream at Liberty, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Sparks at Mercury, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)


— Injury plagued Robert Griffin III, who earlier in the week said he was aiming to be the best quarterback in the NFL, suffered a concussion in Thursday’s preseason game.

In the second quarter of Washington’s 21-17 win over the Lions, Griffin — who had been hit hard repeatedly during his team’s first three offensive series — dropped the ball while scrambling. After Griffin fell to the ground in an attempt to cover the ball, Lions defensive end Corey Wooton landed on his head.

Griffin remained on the turf for about 5 minutes before walking slowly off the field and to the locker room. Washington coach Jay Gruden said he had “no idea” how long RGIII will be out.

“It definitely makes you cringe,” Washington left tackle Trent Williams said. “You don’t want to see your quarterback get hit at all, in preseason nor regular season. It’s definitely not a pleasant feeling.”

The team’s offense has struggled this preseason, failing to score a touchdown with Griffin at the helm. On Thursday, RGIII completed 2-of-5 passes for 8 yards while being sacked three times and fumbling once.

“I’m not going to lay any blame on the quarterback or the offensive line,” coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ll just wait and see [the game film]. But it was not a very good performance by our first-team offense — one first down in four drives and the turnover.”

— J.R. Smith, who declined his $6.8 million player option with the Cavaliers shortly after the season ended and became a free agent — only to discover he wasn’t as in demand as he thought — said Thursday he will return to Cleveland after all.

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Read More: J.R. Smith, Robert Griffin III,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-NFL QB Erik Kramer survives apparent suicide attempt

08.20.15 at 8:21 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Royals at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Pirates, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Bills at Browns, 8 p.m. (ESPN)


Erik Kramer played 13 seasons in the NFL, most memorably with the Bears and Lions. (Tom Pidgeon/Allsport/Getty Images)

Erik Kramer played 13 seasons in the NFL, most memorably with the Bears and Lions. (Tom Pidgeon/Allsport/Getty Images)

— Former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer is recovering from a gunshot wound after apparently attempting to commit suicide Tuesday night, according to reports out of Southern California.

Kramer was at a motel in Calabasas, California, when police were called for a welfare check and found the 50-year-old with a gunshot wound.

His ex-wife says Kramer was struggled with depression since his playing days.

“He is a very amazing man, a beautiful soul, but he has suffered depression since he was with the Bears,” Marshawn Kramer told NBC News. “I can promise you he is not the same man I married.”

Kramer, who works as a television analyst covering the Bears, played in the NFL for 13 seasons, going 31-36 as a starter. He helped the Lions go 12-4 and reach the NFC championship game in the 1991 season, the first of three years in Detroit, and he threw for 29 touchdowns — by far his career high — in 1995 while leading the Bears to a 9-7 mark. After five seasons in Chicago, he finished his career with the Chargers in 1999.

The Kramers divorced in 2010, and one year later their 18-year-old son died from a drug overdose. They have another son, who is 17, and Marshawn said Erik is a wonderful father.

“He’s such a good dad and he would not do this to his son,” she said. “This is a brain injury.”

Eli Manning is denying a report claiming he told the Giants he wants to be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL.

“Never been said, never come out of my mouth,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Added Manning: “Reports are all wrong. I don’t know where they are getting their information from. I just kind of laugh at it.”

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Read More: Eli Manning, Erik Kramer, Joel Embiid,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Patriots castoff Matt Flynn reportedly will sign with Jets

08.19.15 at 8:12 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Indians at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Fever at Sparks, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Club Brugge at Manchester United, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Quarterback Matt Flynn‘s stay in New England was brief, but it looks like he’ll remain in the AFC East.

Flynn, released by the Patriots earlier this month after being unable to get on the field due to a hamstring injury, reportedly will sign with the Jets as insurance following Geno Smith’s surgery last week to fix his jaw that was broken by a punch from then-teammate IK Enemkpali.

A longtime backup with the Packers who made stops in Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, the 30-year-old Flynn was released by the Patriots while on the non-football injury list.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Harvard product who has played for five teams in 10 NFL seasons, most recently starting 12 games for the Texans last year, is in line to start for the Jets in Smith’s absence. Rookie Bryce Petty struggled in his preseason debut, leaving New York with the need for a more reliable backup, something Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan acknowledged Tuesday.

“I don’t want to necessarily put a time frame on that, but it is something we’re looking to do,” Maccagnan said. “Obviously Geno will be out for a period of time. Not to read between the lines with anything of our quarterbacks, I think it’s just something we’d like to have in the mix.”

As for Smith, the team was hopeful he would be able to return to team meetings later this week, although he’s still a couple of weeks away from even light physical activity — despite what the QB might say.

“With Geno he’s always fine,” coach Todd Bowles said of his discussions with the player this week. “But you’ve got to take precaution in that. Anybody that tries to get back on the field is always fine, but you can’t listen to that.”

— The NFL’s directive to teams to stop fighting apparently didn’t have much of an impact. During the Cowboys-Rams join practices Tuesday in Oxnard, California, the teams engaged in a brawl that almost spilled over into the crowd and forced an early end to the the practice.

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Read More: Bryan Mitchell, Dez Bryant, Geno Smith, Matt Flynn

Report: Eli Manning wants to be NFL’s highest-paid player

08.18.15 at 9:06 am ET
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According to Ian Rapoport, Giants quarterback Eli Manning is vying to become the highest paid player in the NFL during his ongoing contract negotiations. Due to his demands, the Giants and Manning are believed to have a “significant gap” in their negotiations.

Quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers, who were drafted in the 2004 draft like Manning, recently scored new contracts with their respective teams, but neither reached the $22 million a year threshold held by 2014 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Manning’s agent Tom Condon says the 34-year-old is “uniquely suited” to be the Giants‘ quarterback because he’s performed so well under the media microscope.

Manning would earn $25 million in 2016 on the franchise tag if the two sides can’t come to an agreement during the season.

Last year, Manning turned in one of the best regular seasons of his career, tossing 30 touchdowns and 14 picks, as well as 4,410 yards. However, the two-time Super Bowl winner is just a year removed from his catastrophic 18 touchdown, 27 interception 2013 campaign.

Read More: Eli Manning,