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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Former NFL referee Mike Carey asked out of working Redskins games because of name

08.21.14 at 7:36 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: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Braves at Reds, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Mexico vs. Tokyo, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Illinois vs. Pennsylvania, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Steelers at Eagles, 7:30 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA playoffs: Mystics at Fever, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA playoffs: 9 p.m. Stars at Lynx, (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Longtime NFL referee Mike Carey, who retired after last season, was ahead of the curve on the Redskins controversy, but he only made it public this week.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Carey — the first African-American referee to work a Super Bowl — said he quietly requested to not work the team’s games beginning in 2006 because of the nickname, and “the league respectfully honored my request not to officiate Washington.” The Post checked the game logs and found this to be accurate.

“It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me,” said Carey, who will serve a rules analyst for CBS this season.

Added Carey: “Human beings take social stances. And if you’re respectful of all human beings, you have to decide what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it. ‘€¦ I know that if a team had a derogatory name for African-Americans, I would help those who helped extinguish that name. I have quite a few friends who are Native Americans. And even if I didn’t have Native American friends, the name of the team is disrespectful.”

MASHUP POLL: Should an NFL referee be allowed to avoid a team's games because he objects to the nickname?

  • No, it sets a dangerous precedent for an employee to make a stand against a team like that (65%, 180 Votes)
  • Yes, the league should continue to accommodate any such requests (35%, 96 Votes)

Total Voters: 276

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Asked why it took until 2006 for him to make his request, Carey explained: “There was an epiphany for me that it was time. I was never comfortable with the name. I’€™ve never said [the team'€™s name] in my games. But then I realized it wasn’€™t an option to be part of them anymore. For me, I just knew. I knew that everybody — everybody — deserves a level of respect.”

Kevin Durant has been offered a 10-year deal worth at least $265 million by Under Armour, and his representatives have taken the offer to Nike to see if his current endorsement company will match it, according to an ESPN report.

Durant’s contract with Nike requires him to stick with the company if it matches any other offer, the story notes.

As part of Under Armour’s deal, Durant would receive stock and incentives including a community center built in his mother’s name.

Durant turned down a much larger offer from adidas as a rookie in 2007 to sign with Nike. However, his new representatives at Jay Z‘s Roc Nation have pushed for tougher negotiations with the sneaker giants. Adidas reportedly dropped out of the bidding last week.

Under Armour, which gets only about 1 percent of its revenue from basketball shoes, is based in Baltimore, near Durant’s hometown of Seat Pleasant, Maryland.

— Kent State football player Jason Bitsko, the team’s starting center, was found dead in his bed Wednesday morning. He was 21.

Bitsko, who started all 12 games last season, his third with the team, was discovered by a roommate who checked on him when he failed to wake up for practice. The roommate called police, who arrived minutes later.

His teammates were told of Bitsko’s death after the morning practice. The school is providing counseling services and support.

“Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family,” coach Paul Haynes said. “As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 21, 1986, which recently acquired Red Sox infielder scored six times in a 24-5 rout of the Indians?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’€™ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got. Absolutely. No question in my mind about that. ‘€¦ I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing [tobacco] is what gave me cancer.” – Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, during a Wednesday appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, discussing his battle with mouth cancer

STAT OF THE DAY: $2.6 billion – Worth of the Patriots, according to Forbes, ranking them second (to the Cowboys) in the NFL

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): The Nationals win their ninth in a row as Anthony Rendon hits a walkoff single in the ninth inning to beat the Diamondbacks.

A Brewers fan is treated to a new beer by the Milwaukee broadcast team after losing his drink while pursuing a foul ball.

Pacers president/Celtics legend Larry Bird takes the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Jack Hoffman, the 8-year-old cancer patient who scored a touchdown in Nebraska’s spring game last year, gets support from the team as he prepares to undergo another round of chemotherapy treatment in Boston.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Shortstop Spike Owen

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Kenny Rogers was born on this day in 1938.

Read More: Jason Bitsko, Kevin Durant, Mike Carey, Redskins

Falmouth youth Tyler Smith has no tolerance for tears while battling cancer: ‘It’s either fight or die’

08.20.14 at 12:51 pm ET
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Three years ago, sitting in his hospital bed, Tyler Smith couldn’t take any more.

Tyler Smith decided to skip the tears and focus on fighting cancer. (Courtesy the Smith family)

Falmouth’s Tyler Smith decided to skip the tears and focus on his fight against cancer. (Courtesy the Smith family)

The 10-year-old from Falmouth, the kid with a permanent smile on his face, knew the drill. His friends and loved ones would enter his room. Since he’d lost his hair due to the chemotherapy, he would see the sadness in their eyes. Tyler knew the term “leukemia” instantly frightened everyone. He’d see the tears well up, and you can be certain he knew what was coming next.

“Everyone who visited would say how sad it was that I was sick, and then they would start to cry,” Tyler explained. “Pretty much everyone was crying.”

Everyone cried, with one notable exception. Tyler Smith chose not to shed tears about his cancer. He decided to beat it.

“You can’t avoid cancer once you have it,” he said. “It’s either fight or die.”

Tyler decided to make a new rule. If anyone wanted to visit him, there was absolutely no crying.

“I’m a hockey player, and hockey players don’t cry,” he said.

* * *

Cancer was not — and still isn’t — a death sentence for Tyler. Now 13, with a full head of bushy brown hair, he actually credits the disease with helping make him a better person. Thanks to the cancer, he says, he is a much more sensitive person.

“Before this all happened, cancer didn’t mean anything to me,” he said. “Now it means something.”

Tyler was diagnosed in July 2011 with acute lymphoma leukemia (ALL), which is a cancer that starts from white blood cells called lymphocytes in the bone marrow. Just as the word “acute” would indicate, the disease progresses at a rapid speed. ALL will kill if not treated quickly.

In this case, the cancer was not immediately diagnosed. Tyler and his family moved from Cape Cod to North Carolina in March of 2011. Before the Smith family finished unpacking, Tyler was suffering from extreme fevers, ones that reached as high as 105 degrees. His parents took him to the doctor but were told he had a virus or the flu. The fevers disappeared but always returned.

“When we came back to the Cape for the Fourth of July, Tyler got sick again,” said Brian Smith, Tyler’s father. “We were boating at the time, and he had such little strength that he couldn’t even get out of the boat.”

Tyler’s parents took him to the pediatrician he had seen since the day he was born, but the doctor was hesitant to say anything specific was wrong. Tyler’s mother, Paula, was heartbroken that her son was in pain. She decided to take matters into her own hands.

“There’s something wrong,” she said to the doctor. “You told me to trust my instincts as mother, and I want you to do blood work to find out what’s not right.”

A mother’s instinct drove the doctor to do more testing. A mother’s instinct kept her son alive.

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Tyler Smith,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jets coach Rex Ryan brushes off criticism about blitzing Bengals backups

08.20.14 at 8:11 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: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mets at Athletics, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Padres at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, South Korea vs. Japan, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Nevada vs. Pennsylvania, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Jets won Saturday night’s preseason game over the Bengals, 25-17, but the Cincinnati coaching staff wasn’t pleased with the strategy New York used.

Jets coach Rex Ryan had his team employ a variety of blitzes against the Bengals backups after Cincy starting quarterback Andy Dalton lit up New York’s struggling secondary, going 8-for-8 for 144 yards and a touchdown, with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

“Notice he didn’t bring that stuff when our starters were out there,” Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander said (via Cincinnati.com). “We’d have scored quicker. If he wants to put his starting defense out there and blitz all that garbage against our third-stringers, if he feels good about it, then all the power to him.”

Said Bengals backup quarterback Jason Campbell (who was inactive, leaving third-stringer QB Matt Scott to deal with the blitzing): “Some of it was a little extreme. I remember back in the day, preseason games you didn’t see any blitzes. Everyone was so vanilla all the way to the regular season. Now it’s a different day and age and teams really just throw it all out there.”

Ryan brushed off the comments.

“I don’t know why they’d be shocked,” he said. “I don’t worry about their team.”

— Former punter Chris Kluwe, who accused the Vikings of releasing him after the 2012 season because he was a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, reached a settlement with the club Tuesday to avoid a lawsuit.

Kluwe will not receive any money, but the Vikings will donate to five gay rights-related charities over the next five years.

“This will help a lot of people that really do need that help,” Kluwe said at a press conference, adding that team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf “want to make this a reality where there is no discrimination in sports, there is no homophobia.”

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Read More: Chris Kluwe, Rex Ryan, Steve Moore, Todd Bertuzzi

Oklahoma suspends freshman RB Joe Mixon for season

08.19.14 at 10:58 am ET
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Oklahoma suspended freshman running back Joe Mixon for the season Monday after he pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault.

One of the nation’s top recruits, Mixon is accused of knocking a woman unconscious with a punch and breaking several bones in her face last month.

“That’s not something I’m going to delve into right now, because it leads to further questions in that regard, and I’m going to talk about the guys that are eligible to play right now,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Monday.

The university said in a release Monday that Mixon may continue as a student and may be eligible for financial aid.

“As the university has demonstrated in the past, we are committed to winning the right way,” the school said in the release. “As an example to others, OU sets the highest possible standards for its student athletes, coaches and staff.”

Read More: Joe Mixon,

Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles hurts foot in freak slip down hill

08.19.14 at 10:58 am ET
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The grind of training camp wasn’t enough to keep Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles out of Sunday night’s preseason game against the Panthers.

But leaving the training camp site was.

Charles slipped on a grassy slope and turned his foot while moving out of the dorms at the Chiefs’ training camp facility last Thursday, as the team was set to return to its own practice facility.

X-ray and MRI results both came back negative, but coach Andy Reid had no timetable on Charles’ return.

“He’s feeling better today. We’re optimistic about it,” Reid said Monday. “Initially there was a little concern, but he had all stuff done to it and everything is clear.”

Read More: Jamaal Charles,

Report: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller reinjures shoulder, could be out for season

08.19.14 at 10:56 am ET
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Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller reinjured his right shoulder in practice Monday and could miss the upcoming season, according to a report by The Columbus Dispatch.

The potential loss of Miller would be a crushing one for the No. 5 Buckeyes. The senior is a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and was considered a top candidate for the Heisman Trophy this season.

Miller missed spring practice after receiving “minor, outpatient surgery” on his throwing shoulder. He had been held out of a scrimmage and a few practices through August training camp due to some soreness in the shoulder, but said he felt healthy.

If Miller can’t go, redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett would likely get the start in the season opener Aug. 30 against Navy.

Read More: Braxton Miller,

Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett suffers season-ending ACL tear

08.19.14 at 8:31 am ET
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Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett tore the ACL in his right knee during practice Monday and will undergo season-ending surgery.

Dockett was hurt in an 11-on-11 drill. He originally limped away but had to be helped onto a cart.

Dockett’s injury is a particularly big blow for an Arizona defense that ranked sixth in the NFL last season. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has missed just two games in 10 NFL seasons.

Read More: Darnell Dockett,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Browns QB Johnny Manziel gives finger to Washington sideline during game

08.19.14 at 8:11 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: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Canada vs. Tennessee, noon (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Mexico vs. Venezuela, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Texas vs. Illinois, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal at Besiktas, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Supercopa de Espana, Atletico Madrid at Real Madrid, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel lived up to his billing in Monday night’s game against Washington, drawing attention for both his play and his behavior — and neither was positive.

On a second-and-7 play late in the third quarter of Cleveland’s 24-23 loss, Manziel rolled out near the Washington sideline and threw an incompletion. As he headed back toward his huddle, he stuck out his middle finger over his right shoulder.

“I get words exchanged throughout the entirety of the game, every game, week after week, and I should’ve been smarter,” Manziel said. “It was a ‘Monday Night Football‘ game and cameras were probably solid on me, and I just need to be smarter about that. … It’s there, and it’s present every game, and I just need to let it slide off my back and go to the next play.”

MASHUP: How should Johnny Manziel be punished for his gesture Monday night?

  • A fine (48%, 150 Votes)
  • A warning (18%, 57 Votes)
  • No punishment (17%, 54 Votes)
  • A one-game suspension (17%, 49 Votes)

Total Voters: 310

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It wasn’t clear what the Washington players said to Manziel to irritate him, although earlier in the game Washington linebacker Brian Orapko twice celebrated plays by doing the money gesture that Manziel is known for.

Manziel was not penalized, but he’s likely to face a fine from the league.

“It did not sit well,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “I was informed of it after the game and it’s disappointing. Because what we talk about is being poised and being focused — that you have to be able to maintain your poise.”

Added Pettine: “That’s a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback, that we have to keep our composure. So that’s something that we’ll obviously address with him.”

Manziel went on to throw a touchdown pass on the drive, but he finished the night just 7-of-16 for 65 yards. Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer also struggled, going 2-for-6 for 16 yards.

— When the Redskins next play on CBS, at least two analysts won’t refer to the team’s nickname.

“My very first thought is it will be ‘Washington’ the whole game,” Phil Simms, the network’s lead analyst, told The Associated Press.

Added Simms: “I never really thought about it, and then it came up and it made me think about it. There are a lot of things that can come up in a broadcast, and I am sensitive to this.”

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Read More: Johnny Manziel, Mike Pettine, phil simms, Steve Ballmer

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jon Lester’s winning streak ends as A’s slump continues

08.18.14 at 7:35 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: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Czech Republic vs. South Dakota, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Australia vs. Mexico, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Washington vs. Texas, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Rhode Island vs. Illinois, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
NFL preseason: Browns at Washington, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Chelsea at Burnley, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jon Lester‘s winning streak ended at seven Sunday night with a 4-3 loss to the Braves, and it was costly for the Athletics, who could have regained first place after surrendering the American League West lead they had held since April 28 a day earlier.

The A’s have lost seven of their last eight games and are percentage points behind the Angels, who also lost Sunday.

Lester allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in six-plus innings. He had been 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his first three starts with Oakland since his trade from Boston, and he had not lost since a June 7 defeat in Detroit while pitching for the Red Sox. He had allowed only one home run in his previous 11 starts — none with Oakland — but gave up two Sunday in Atlanta.

MASHUP POLL: Which team will finish the regular season with the best record in the American League?

  • Athletics (39%, 107 Votes)
  • Angels (26%, 72 Votes)
  • Orioles (19%, 54 Votes)
  • Tigers (10%, 29 Votes)
  • Royals (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Mariners (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Another team (2%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 277

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The left-hander didn’t get much offensive support aside from two home runs from Wellesley’s Nate Freiman.

“Guys are competing, we just aren’t getting results right now,” Lester said. “The times that we need to get a guy in, we’re just not doing it. The times we need to make a pitch, we’re not doing it. This team’s too good to stay in this funk.”

Said A’s manager Bob Melvin: “This is really the first bad road trip we’ve had this year. This was not a good trip. So we’ve got to get home and we’ve got to regroup. It will be good to get home in front of our crowd. They’re usually good for us.”

— Umpire Tony Randazzo clearly does not care for Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, and he’s not shy about letting him know.

On Saturday, McClendon was ejected by Randazzo for complaining about balls and strikes from the dugout, although McClendon claims it was other Mariners who were voicing their displeasure.

“I was most upset that I got thrown out of the ballgame, and [Randazzo] thought it was me that was saying something and it wasn’t me,” McClendon said. “Then when I went out there to ask why I was thrown out, he said, ‘I’ve seen your act before.’ ”

Added McClendon: “I don’t think that was called for. That’s not fair. If you think I said something about a ball or strike, throw me out of the game. I get that. But to talk about past history, that’s not fair. It is what it is. It’s over with. Just move on.”

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Read More: Derek Jeter, Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, Lloyd McClendon

Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe suspended one game for marijuana arrest

08.15.14 at 1:41 pm ET
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Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has been suspended for the season opener against the Titans Sept. 7 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Bowe can, however, play in Kansas City’s three remaining preseason games, including Sunday’s game against the Panthers.

“I am extremely sorry that I can’t be on the field for the first game of the 2014 season because I made an error in judgment,” Bowe said in a statement. “I take responsibility for my mistake, and it will not happen again. I hope that my teammates, coaches, and Chiefs fans accept my sincere apology.

“I will be supporting my teammates in week one, and I cannot wait to get back on the field to help us win in week two and beyond as we work towards our goal of winning the Super Bowl.”

Bowe was arrested by police in a Kansas City suburb Nov. 10 for possession of marijuana. In April he pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective equipment. The marijuana charge was dismissed.

Read More: Dwayne Bowe,