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Smash Mouth slams Mike Francesa after he trashes Steph Curry

06.06.17 at 12:11 pm ET
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The Big LeadMike Francesa was not a fan of the way Stephen Curry showboated after that play where he (double) dribbled around LeBron and scored over him. “Curry looked ridiculous on that play,” Francesa said. “You know how many times LeBron James has scored over them and not showed them up? It just shows that Curry doesn’t have a lot of class as a player. I’m sorry. To me, he acts like a clown on the court.”

Francesa went on to note that the Warriors were braggadocios after going up 3-1 in the Finals last year, and that it didn’t quite work out for them.

Anyways, whoever runs the band Smash Mouth’s Twitter feed must’ve been listening to the podcast tonight — or come across the Sports Funhouse Twitter feed? — and had some choice words for the Pope. 

I haven’t thought about Smash Mouth in years and today I listened to “All-Star” five times in a row. It was quite possibly the greatest song of my childhood.

But that was then and this is now and the years start coming and they don’t stop coming and now Smash Mouth has to pick a fight with Mike Francesa to get attention.

First of all, Smash Mouth had a golden opportunity here to say Francesa “ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed” and they BLEW IT. They would have won this with that move alone.

Francesa has the clear upper hand in this feud. Both Mike and Smash Mouth enjoyed their heyday in the ’90s-early 2000s but, unlike Smash Mouth, Francesa still has a career. He has incredible relevancy compared to Smash Mouth and that is saying something because no sane person takes Francesa seriously.

He probably doesn’t even know there is a feud. I would bet a million dollars Francesa has no idea what Smash Mouth is and will say so on his show Tuesday.

So I salute you, Smash Mouth, with a finger and a thumb in the shape of an L on my forehead. Francesa wins this one. I look forward to Mike inviting the band on his innovative podcast after he retires.

Report: Rex Ryan made the moves on a bachelorette party, told woman she has ‘nice feet’

06.06.17 at 10:15 am ET
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Rex Ryan's foot fetish reportedly lives on.  (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Rex Ryan’s foot fetish reportedly lives on. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Rob and Rex Ryan spent their weekend in Nashville throwing fists and complimenting feet.

The brothers, who were seen fighting people in a Margaritaville restaurant, also reportedly made the moves on a bachelorette party. Busted Coverage interviewed a woman, Jess, who says she was the recipient of the Ryans’ flirtations. Apparently, Rex Ryan told her she had “nice feet,” before winking and saying, “You know what I like.”

According to Jess, the Ryan bros also found a stealthy way to get her number. After the group posed for a picture, she says Rex Ryan requested she send the photo to him. The only to do that, of course, is via text message. And what do you need to text somebody?

Their number.

The Ryan brothers may no longer be able to draw up effective defensive schemes. But they sure know how to get them digits.

Read More: Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Pedro Martinez sparks David Ortiz comeback rumors, Ortiz denies return

06.06.17 at 8:37 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston at NY Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
WNBA: Washington at Dallas, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Chicago at Los Angeles, 10:30 (NBA TV)

AROUND THE WEB:

  — Pedro Martinez hinted at a David Ortiz baseball comeback on Twitter Monday night and fans were hopeful this tease had some truth to it.

Unfortunately for many, Ortiz will not be returning to baseball and said he is happy with retirement.

A few hours before this tweet, Ortiz spoke with the media at CC Sabathia’s charity event in New York City and was asked if he has any regrets.

“No, not at all man,” Ortiz said. “I‘m happy.”

Martinez later clarified his original tweet with a follow-up post:

    Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ortiz, Joe Paterno, Pedro Martinez,

ESPN fires back against critics who say it has a liberal political bias

06.05.17 at 3:28 pm ET
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ESPN is pushing back against the notion that it has a political bias. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN says its politics aren’t driving viewers away. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN is seeking to dispel the notion that it has a liberal political bias.

The WorldWide Leader published a survey Monday that shows the majority of its viewers don’t think the network is too overtly political. It says the study was conducted May 3-7 by Langer Research Associates of New York, an award-winning research firm. The results are below:

  • 64 percent think ESPN is “getting it right” in terms of balancing sports and political news.
  • The same proportion of viewers see a political bias in ESPN programming since the survey was last conducted in October 2016.
  • Out of those people, 30 percent believe ESPN is sympathetic to the conservative viewpoint. Those who identify as Republican give ESPN better marks now than they did in October 2016.
  • Using a 1-10 scale, conservatives give ESPN a 7.2 ranking. Liberals, conversely, rank the network at 7.0.

ESPN makes no secret about its motive for releasing this data. In the piece, ESPN’s Vice President of Original Content and Brand Intelligence, Barry Blyn, writes that politics aren’t driving viewers away.

“Do some Americans disagree with how certain societal issues are discussed on ESPN platforms when they intersect with the world of sports? No doubt,” he says. “Does it affect their viewing behavior? Not in any material way.”

It’s been a difficult year for ESPN, which has laid off well over 100 employees in recent months, including well-known reporters and anchors. The network is in a precarious financial position, paying $3.3 billion annually to broadcast the NBA and NFL, while dealing with a dwindling subscriber base. ESPN has lost roughly 12 million subscribers since 2011.

The No. 1 explanation for this trend is a change in viewer habits, including the advent of cord-cutting. According to the research firm GfK, a quarter of U.S. homes no longer subscribe to a pay-for TV service. Given ESPN’s exorbitant subscriber fees –– cable TV costumers pay more than $9 for the network –– its business model is under attack.

Still, scores of conservatives insist ESPN is pushing a socially progressive platform down viewers’ throats. They often cite editorial decisions such as giving Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs, or showcasing liberal voices, such as Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, as examples of this purported bias. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Jason Whitlock says Deadspin pushed ESPN to the left.

There is some data that backs up these claims, although it comes from a biased source. DeepRootAnalytics, a right-wing research firm, finds that ESPN lost Republican viewers in 2016.

Though ESPN is actively shooting down that argument, the network has made some apparent concessions to its critics. It announced conservative anchor Sage Steele will host a new edition of “SportsCenter” and re-signed right-wing commentator Will Cain to a new deal. Earlier Monday, it was reported ESPN will bring Hank Williams Jr. back to “Monday Night Football.” The network stopped featuring the red-blooded country singer in the MNF theme song in 2011, when he compared then-President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.

Read More: ESPN,

ESPN brings back Hank Williams Jr., who once compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler

06.05.17 at 12:29 pm ET
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Hank Williams Jr. has a history of making incendiary remarks about then-President Barack Obama. (Shelley Mays/The Tennessean via USA Today Network)

Hank Williams Jr. has made several incendiary remarks about former President Barack Obama. (Shelley Mays/The Tennessean via USA Today Network)

Those who decry ESPN as a liberal boogeyman will have trouble explaining the network’s decision to bring Hank Williams Jr. back to “Monday Night Football.”

The country singer will debut a new version of “All My Rowdy Friends” before the first Monday night game of the season, when the Saints take on the Vikings in Minneapolis. The Tennessean had a reporter present at the filming of his new MNF intro.

“I never said, ‘Are you ready for some football’ on stage one time the last five or six years, but I will now,” Williams said. “I’m feeling at home and it’s a real good thing … It’s kind of like the Nashville Predators playing for the Stanley Cup, it’s like ‘Wow.’”

Football fans have been without the red-blooded country star since 2011, when he compared then-President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. During an interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” he lambasted former House Speaker John Boehner for playing golf with the sitting president.

“It would be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli leader] Benjamin Netanyahu,” Williams said, before adding that Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden were the “enemy.”

The backlash didn’t stop Williams from making outlandish statements about Obama. At a concert in 2012, he called Obama a “Muslim” who “hates Cowboys.” He also mocked “queer guitar pickers” during his rendition of “All My Rowdy Friends” that evening. No word on whether that barb will make its way onto ESPN this fall.

The previous music video of the song, which had been a staple of MNF telecasts since 1989, featured the U.S. military attacking its own country.

Read More: ESPN, Hank Williams Jr.,

Michael Che says a man in Boston pulled his hood over his head, admitted the city is ‘kinda racist’

06.05.17 at 11:32 am ET
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Michael Che continues to feud with Boston.  (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Michael Che continues to feud with Boston. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

“Saturday Night Live” comedian Michael Che continues to lob insults towards Boston –– even when he’s performing here.

During one of his shows this weekend at the Wilbur Theatre, Che said he was surprised by the backlash he faced for calling Boston the “most racist city he’s ever been to” in a “Weekend Update” skit prior to Super Bowl LI.

“I had no idea that was news to you,” he said, via the Boston Globe.

According to the Globe, the crowd was on Che’s side for the duration of his 60-minute set. It was his first appearance in Boston since he doubled-down on his condemnation of the city during an appearance at Boston University in March. Mayor Marty Walsh has offered to meet with Che to talk about his experiences in the Hub.

The Mayor’s invitation hasn’t quelled Che’s criticisms. In the aftermath of the Adam Jones incident, he incorrectly stated 34 people were removed from Fenway Park for shouting racial slurs at the Orioles outfielder. (Red Sox president Sam Kennedy only confirmed that one fan was ejected from the ballpark for yelling derogatory comments towards a player.)

Towards the end of his set Friday, Che told the audience a story about his last visit to Boston –– the aforementioned BU speaking gig. While watching “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” at a Frank Sinatra-themed cocktail lounge –– purportedly Lucky’s Lounge in Fort Point Channel –– Che says a drunk stood behind him. The man allegedly pulled Che’s hood over his face, saying “Boston is kinda racist.”

Later in the evening, Che says a stranger who was wearing a Red Sox hat and Carhartt jacket and “smelled liked iced coffee” sat down next to him and told the comedian “at least you’re not Jewish.”

Read More: Michael Che,

Why does Peyton Manning get a pass for Donald Trump friendship, while Tom Brady gets crushed?

06.05.17 at 10:44 am ET
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Peyton Manning accompanied Donald Trump on his 23rd golfing trip in 19 weeks as president. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Peyton Manning accompanied Donald Trump on his 23rd golfing trip in 19 weeks as president. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Peyton Manning golfed with Donald Trump Sunday. It was an item that garnered headlines in almost every major news outlet, including ESPN, CNN and the Washington Post,

But imagine, for a second, if Tom Brady was photographed hitting the links with the Trump. It would likely be one of the biggest stories in the country, with scores of commentators –– this author included –– condemning the Patriots quarterback for his affiliation with the embattled Commander-In-Chief. Manning, however, largely receives a pass.

Why?

This reality is nothing new. Ever since Brady was spotted with a “Make America Great” hat in his locker 21 months ago, he’s been inundated with questions about his relationship with Trump. At first, Brady was relatively open about it, calling the President a “good friend” and saying “it would be great” if he were elected. But over the last year, Brady has clammed up. He refused to talk about Trump at the Super Bowl and skipped the Patriots’ White House visit. For the time being, it seems as if he’s keeping his distance.

The same can’t be said for Manning. In February, the five-time MVP spoke at a Republican retreat that featured both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The speech came a couple of weeks after Trump had invoked Manning’s name when describing the alleged reaction he received during his bizarre speech in front of the CIA Memorial Wall. In it, for those who have forgotten, Trump boasted about his election victory and castigated the media.

“I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal,” Trump said at the time.

At this point, Manning might be even more tied to Trump than Brady. But he manages to avoid most of the media backlash, thanks to three major reasons:

Manning is no longer an active player

Brady is the best quarterback in the world. Manning, meanwhile, is out of football –– meaning he no longer faces the press on a weekly basis.

If Manning were an active player, he would’ve probably been asked whether he was supporting Trump in the presidential election. But since he’s able to manage his media appearances, he can ensure that polarizing topics don’t get brought up.

Brady is also more relevant than Manning these days. His marriage to supermodel Gisele Bündchen means he fully crosses over into the mainstream, with gossip columnists hounding his every move in addition to sports reporters. Conversely, Manning no longer attracts that kind of widespread interest. He’s an ubiquitous pitchman, but far from a cultural phenomenon.

Manning is a well-known Republican 

It isn’t surprising that Manning is chummy with Trump, because he’s been a longtime GOP supporter. He’s donated to a number of Republican politicians, including more than $7,000 to Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid in 2012. During the campaign, he endorsed Jeb Bush.

Brady’s political views are a mystery, which explains why there’s more interest in them. There are signs he leans right, such as his decision to quote Ronald Reagan in a Memorial Day Facebook post or attend one of George W. Bush’s State of the Union addresses. But then again, his wife, Bündchen, is an ardent Trump critic and environmentalist.

Lots of Manning’s fans are Republicans, too 

Brady plays in liberal Massachusetts, where Hillary Clinton won every county. In Manning’s home state of Tennessee, Trump defeated Clinton by nearly 30 points. Tennessee is one of 25 states in the country where Republicans control all three branches of the state government as well.

Suffice to say, it’s not taboo for a Tennessean to support Trump. In conservative Indiana, where Manning played the majority of his NFL career, Trump ousted Clinton by roughly 20 points in the general election.

While Manning enjoys widespread national support, his base is located in the south and midwest. The same can’t be said for Brady, who hails from the San Francisco area and is a sports icon in Boston. They’re playing to different crowds.

Read More: Donald Trump, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady,

Report: Lakers not completely sold on Lonzo Ball

06.05.17 at 9:28 am ET
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Lonzo Ball (left) isn't a guarantee draft pick for the Lakers according to reports. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

Lonzo Ball (left) isn’t a guaranteed draft pick for the Lakers according to reports. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

LaVar Ball has done his best to make it happen.

Then, after the Lakers won the second pick in the NBA draft lottery, it seemed as though all the cards would line up perfectly.

But according to a report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the assumption that UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball is a shoe-in to be selected by Los Angeles with the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft is false.

In fact, Kyler, in the report, states that unless Ball wows them in his pre-draft workout, the Lakers may leaning towards someone else.

“The Lakers are weeks away from needing to make their final decision,” Kyler reported, “but there are many that believe the Lakers could go after both Kansas forward Josh Jackson and Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox … with the second overall pick.”

Both Kyler and Joel Brigham (Basketball Insiders) have Lonzo Ball dropping out of the second spot in their latest NBA Consensus Mock Draft 5.0.

Jordan Schultz of The Huffington Post backed up Kyler’s claim that the Lakers aren’t completely sold on Lonzo Ball, and even cited that his father, LaVar Ball, could be a deciding factor.

Schultz tweeted on Saturday:

“Per source, the #Lakers would pass on Lonzo Ball if #nbadraft were today. Team isn’t convinced he’s a star and remains concerned about LaVar.”

Lonzo Ball is scheduled to workout with the Lakers on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne.

 

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Peyton Manning plays golf with Donald Trump

06.05.17 at 7:52 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB:
St. Louis at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Washington at LA Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Pittsburgh at Nashville, 8 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Peyton Manning was spotted playing golf with Donald Trump and Republican Senator Bob Corker at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia on Sunday before visiting the White House later that day. 

Manning was in town to receive the Lincoln Medal at Ford’s Theatre on Sunday night. The medal is awarded to the person who “exemplifies the lasting legacy and mettle of character embodied by the most beloved president in our nation’s history, President Abraham Lincoln.” 

Trump has spoken in the past about his friendship with the retired quarterback. During an interview with CBS last year, he spoke highly of Manning, calling him a “very good guy.” 

“I very much have always liked Peyton Manning,” Trump said. “He is a very good guy. I know him. And he is a very, very good guy. So, I have to go with the person I know and I like. … But I will stick with Peyton, because he is a very good guy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Peyton Manning, Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan,

Ex-Penn State president sentenced to jail for Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal cover-up

06.02.17 at 3:06 pm ET
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The Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal continues to reverberate throughout Penn State.  (Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal continues to reverberate throughout Penn State. (Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports)

Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier and two other former school officials were sentenced to jail Friday for their role in covering up Jerry Sandusky’s child-sex abuse scandal.

Spanier, who took his case to trial, will serve four to 12 months in prison, and spend an additional two months under house arrest. He’ll also serve two years probation, pay $7,500 in fines and serve 200 hours of community service.

The other administrators, former athletic director Tim Curley and and former Vice President Gary Schultz, received much harsher sentences. Curley will spend seven to 23 months in jail and four months under house arrest. Schultz will be in the slammer for six to 23 month.s

Spanier, 68, was at the center of the cover up. In 2001, ex-graduate assistant football coach Mike McQueary says he witnessed Sandusky molest a boy in the Penn State locker room showers. Instead of reported Sandusky to the police, Spanier, along with Curley and Schultz, elected to bar him from bringing boys onto the Penn State campus instead.

“Why Mr. Sandusky was allowed to continue to the Penn State facilities is beyond me,” said Judge John Boccabella, who sentenced the three men.  “All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to [Sandusky’s] crimes when they had a chance to do so.”

Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of sexually assaulting boys through his Second-Mile charity. Four of the 10 boys he was convicted of molesting said they were abused after the 2001 incident.

Read More: Penn State,