College Blog Blog Network

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos, facing criticism for hits to Cam Newton’s head, insist they’re not dirty

09.14.16 at 8:27 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (ESPN)
Hockey: World Cup of Hockey exhibition, Russia vs. Canada, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Sevilla at Juventus, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Sporting CP at Real Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)


— The Broncos defense has come under some criticism since last Thursday’s season-opening victory over the Panthers in which Carolina quarterback Cam Newton took multiple hits to his head.

On Tuesday, Denver players defended themselves against accusations that they are dirty.

“I just don’t think that’s what we are,” linebacker Todd Davis said. “We’re not malicious. We don’t intentionally go to hurt anybody. We just play hard. We play physical.”

Added linebacker Brandon Marshall: “Just because we hit Cam in the head a couple of times, that doesn’t make us dirty.”

After the game — and after only one of the four head-to-head hits against Newton drew a flag — there was widespread criticism of the league for failing to check on Newton as per the sideline concussion protocol. But the Broncos — who are likely to face some fines from the league Wednesday — also found themselves being accused of some cheap shots.

“We just play hard. We hit hard. We play fast. … It’s the speed of the game,” Marshall said. “We’re a malicious group, but we’re not dirty.”

Coach Gary Kubiak defended his players, insisting: “We play hard. We’re going to continue to play hard.”

— Following three off-field incidents involving Washington State football players over the past few months, coach Mike Leach expressed his frustration — with local police.

Leach suggested that police in Pullman, Washington, were focusing their attention on his players, because he implied that other people involved in the incidents did not face similar treatment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Marshall, mike leach,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Orioles OF Adam Jones hesitates to protest anthem because, ‘Baseball is a white man’s sport’

09.13.16 at 8:14 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
WNBA: Lynx at Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Mercury at Sparks, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Hockey: World Cup of Hockey exhibition, United States vs. Finland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: U.S. Open Cup, Revolution at FC Dallas, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal at Paris Saint-Germain, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Celtic at Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Rostov at Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Adam Jones

Adam Jones

— No Major League Baseball players have joined in the national anthem protest that is gaining popularity around the NFL, but according to Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, there’s a reason for that.

“Baseball is a white man’s sport,” Jones said in an interview with USA Today, implying a protest could cost a player his job.

The article noted that 68 percent of the NFL is made up of African-Americans, while it’s only 8 percent for baseball.

“We already have two strikes against us,” Jones said. “So you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football, you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us.”

Jones said he is dismayed by the fact that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests, is being criticized for “what he believes in.”

“The outside world doesn’t really respect athletes unless they talk about what they want them to talk about,” Jones said. “Society doesn’t think we deserve the right to have an opinion on social issues.

“We make a lot of money, so we just have to talk baseball, talk football. But most athletes, especially if you’re tenured in your sport, you’re educated on life, and on more things than most people on the outside. But because Donald Trump is a billionaire, he can say whatever he wants, because he’s older and has more money?

“And when Kaepernick does something, or says something, he’s ridiculed. Why is that?”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose team opened a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Monday night, said he had not seen the story but respected Jones’ right to speak his mind.

“That’s why we fought so hard for these rights,” Showalter said, “to be able to do that in our country.”

Meanwhile, before the 49ers’ game Monday night in San Francisco, Kapernick and teammate Eric Reid again took a knee during the national anthem, while a few players on both teams stood but raised their fists.

— Ryan Lochte’s redemption tour got off to a strange start, as the Olympic swimmer was rushed by two men from the audience after his performance Monday night on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adam Jones, Colin Kaepernick, Dancing With the Stars, Ryan Lochte

Monday’s Morning Mashup: National anthem protests expand, vary among NFL teams

09.12.16 at 8:02 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NFL: Steelers at Washington, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL: Rams at 49ers, 10:20 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Everton at Sunderland, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)


Seahawks players stand with arms interlocked during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday's game. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Seahawks players stand with arms interlocked during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s game. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

— While most NFL players stood for the national anthem on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a few joined Colin Kaepernick’s pregame protest to draw attention to racial issues.

The Dolphins, who pay a visit to Foxboro next Sunday, led the way with four players who knelt during the song, including veteran running back Arian Foster. Foster also raised his fist — similar to the famous 1968 Olympic protest by American track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos —  which some standing players across the league did as well (Patriots players Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty raised their fists as the anthem concluded prior to Sunday night’s game in Arizona).

Seahawks players — including cornerback Jeremy Lane, who knelt during the final preseason game — stood together with arms interlocked, reportedly after some players objected to a plan to kneel with hands over their hearts. The Chiefs locked arms as well, although cornerback Marcus Peters, standing on the end, also raised his fist.

“I’m black. I love being black and I’m supporting Colin as far as what he’s doing as far as raising awareness of [the] justice system,” Peters said, adding: “It’s not about attention for me. Don’t talk about it being about [that]. I come from a majority black community in Oakland, California. The struggle I see, I’ve got family members who are still in the struggle.

Kaepernick’s 49ers play Monday night, hosting the Rams.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking Out Loud: If Patriots beat Cardinals, can anyone stop them?

09.09.16 at 5:46 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering whatever happened to that Tiger Woods guy.

— So, it’s finally here. The NFL season kickoff is upon us, and for the next 20-plus weeks our Sundays will be busy. Time to put the honey-do lists away — and brace for the full-court pressure that will be applied to your Saturdays. Honey-dos get kicked up to Saturday.

— A couple of things came to mind this week as the Patriots prep for Arizona. One, the Cardinals are very good. Two, they’ve got just about everyone back from last year, and that team won 13 games and lost in the NFC championship game to Carolina.

— And three, if New England manages to win this one, who can beat the Patriots this season? That’s an honest question. My answer is: Only they can beat themselves.

— The Patriots’ pick-up of defensive back Eric Rowe is another typical NE move. Finding talented, young, versatile, somewhat underachieving players and bringing them into Foxboro to do unto others as they have had done unto them. It’s the Golden Rule.

— If anyone seriously believes Jimmy Garoppolo is looking over his shoulder at the Tom Brady banner on the lighthouse at Gillette Stadium, you clearly have never worn a jock strap in your life. Or a sports bra. Some of you have worn both. See how I became all-inclusive there?

— I have the Patriots at a ho-hum 12-4 for the regular season. You? I also have the J-E-T-S breathing right down their necks most of the year. And there’s no Mark Sanchez to buttfumble anything away at the end, either.

— Is there any reason to think New England might not be a Super Bowl contender this year? Is Brady’s four-game absence enough to keep the Patriots away? Fifteen consecutive winning seasons, 13 seasons with at least 10 wins, six with at least 12 victories. Thirteen of the last 15 AFC East titles, too. TB12 was the QB to start the year in all of those, but nope. Not in my book. They’ve got this thing figured out pretty well.

— Not for nuthin’, but is anyone else buying this Sunday Night as a Super preview? ‘Cuz I think it just might be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos LB Brandon Marshall joins anthem protest; Seahawks planning ‘demonstration of unity’

09.09.16 at 7:51 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Marlins, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Maryland at Florida International, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Louisville at Syracuse, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Hockey: World Cup exhibition, United States vs. Canada, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Bundesliga, Schalke 04 vs. Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: U.S. Open, noon (ESPN2), 3 p.m. (ESPN)


— Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall became the latest NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem, performing his protest before the season-opening game Thursday night in Denver.

Marshall, a college teammate of Colin Kaepernick, said he “felt it was the right thing to do.”

“I’m not against the military, police or America. I’m against social injustice,” he said, adding: “I think the more people do it, the more it’s seen — there’s going to be hate mail, hate comments, but at the same time, people will talk about it. Some people are going to stand by me, some people aren’t. But I know my loved ones, the people that love me and care about me, they’re going to stand behind me, and that’s all that matters to me.

“A lot of stuff that happened this summer, the police brutality, that sparked a conversation. We can talk all we want, but actions speak louder than words, so when [Kaepernick] took a knee, or sat down, he got people thinking. Then he was able to say everything he felt, everything he meant.”

Meanwhile, the anthem talk Thursday centered on the Seahawks, who revealed that they are planning a team-wide display of some kind before Sunday’s opener.

Tweeted Doug Baldwin: To express a desire to bring people together, our team will honor the country and flag in a pregame demonstration of unity.

Asked by reporters what the team had planned, Baldwin would only say: “You’ll see on Sunday.”

Former Green Beret Nate Boyer, who has spent time with the Seahawks and most recently talked to Kapernick about his protest (and reportedly encouraged him to kneel rather than sit during the anthem), said he was impressed by the Seahawks’ team unity.

“It has to be a team-first approach in order to get anything done,” Boyer told Fox Sports Radio. “Whether it is Kaepernick’s mission-changing policy or changing things on the field, you have to be unified. Showing a common goal between different walks of life is how you influence change.

“I spoke with the players, and they realize that 9/11 is a very important day in our nation’s history. The Seahawks, and probably every team, will be honoring those who serve in camouflage and also those in blue who served on such a difficult day. Shortly after 9/11, our country seemed more unified than I had ever experienced and was the most unified it has been since I have been alive. Since that date, we have grown farther apart in our unity. Standing together this Sunday is key to making progress. What the team will do is a powerful sign of unification.

— Bruce Miller, who was released by the 49ers after being arrested early Monday morning, was charged Thursday with multiple accounts of assault and battery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Marshall, Bruce Miller, Colin Kaepernick,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Roger Goodell weighs in on Colin Kaepernick anthem protest, saying, ‘I don’t necessarily agree with what he is doing’

09.08.16 at 8:00 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Rays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rangers at Mariners, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL: Panthers at Broncos, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 7 p.m. (ESPN)


Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell

— NFL commissioner Roger Goodell finally weighed in on Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest, telling The Associated Press, “I don’t necessarily agree with what he is doing.”

“I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society,” Goodell added. “On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that.”

Goodall, whose late father, Charles, was a U.S. Senator, said it’s important to handle this issue by showing the proper respect for everyone.

“We have to choose respectful ways of doing that so that we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great,” he said. “I think it’s important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better; for law enforcement; and for our military who are out fighting for our freedoms and our ideals.”

Meanwhile, Megan Rapinoe was stymied in her effort to protest the national anthem before Wednesday’s National Women’s Soccer League game between her Seattle Reign and the Washington Spirit in Boyds, Maryland, as the Spirit played the anthem before the players took the field.

“We decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent,” the Spirit said in a statement.

“We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise. While we respect every individual’s right to express themselves, and believe Ms. Rapinoe to be an amazing individual with a huge heart; we respectfully disagree with her method of hijacking our organization’s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal — albeit worthy — cause.”

Rapinoe, following the lead of Kaepernick, took a knee when the anthem was played before her team’s game Sunday in Chicago. The U.S. national team star, who won a World Cup title last year and played in the Rio Olympics last month, indicated that she planned to continue her protest the rest of the season.

After the game Rapinoe said she did not appreciate the choice of words in the Spirit’s statement, adding she was “saddened” by the move.

“It was incredibly distasteful, four days before [the anniversary of] one of the worst tragedies in our country, to say I tried to ‘hijack’ this event,” she told The Washington Post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, Roger Goodell, Ryan Lochte

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jets WR Brandon Marshall defends Colin Kaepernick, ‘one of the biggest patriots out there’

09.07.16 at 8:12 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Red Sox at Padres, 9:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Angels at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Rangers at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, noon, 7 p.m. (ESPN)


Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall

— Outspoken Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall said he will continue to stand for the national anthem, but he heaped praise on Colin Kaepernick for taking the opposite approach.

“This guy, he is one of the biggest patriots out there. Because he’s standing up for human rights,” Marshall said during an appearance on WFAN radio’s “Boomer and Carton” on Tuesday.

Esiason previously said Kaepernick’s protest was “disgraceful,” but Marshall disagreed.

“When I look at the American flag I see a bunch of fights. You know how much we have overcome,” Marshall said. “When you look at it the American flag is bigger than just one thing. And, you have the civil rights movement, you have sex trafficking, immigration law. There’s so many different fights there.”

Marshall said his fellow Jets have discussed the issue, and it’s a good discussion to have.

“This conversation is happening in every locker room across America and also across the world as well,” Marshall said. “This is a huge topic and I’m glad that [the conversation is] being had.”

Added Marshall: “I think President Obama said it best — that’s his constitutional right. That was Colin’s right and that’s all the other guy’s right. But I do think this is very thought-provoking for all. I think that the message was a little diluted because of how much respect a lot of us have for those that served . . . and gave us our freedoms, fought for our freedoms. But the message was clear.”

Meanwhile, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, the Concord native who is coaching the U.S. team at this month’s World Cup of Hockey, said he will not tolerate a similar protest from any of his Team USA skaters.

“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” he said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Marshall, Colin Kaepernick, Ezekiel Elliott, John Tortorella

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Angels P Matt Shoemaker remains in Seattle hospital after brain surgery

09.06.16 at 7:42 am ET
By   |   Comments

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 Padres, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Blue Jays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Lynx at Sparks, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, United States vs. Trinidad and Tobago, 8 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Sweden vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Switzerland vs. Portugal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Belarus vs. France, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Mexico vs. Honduras, 10 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: U.S. Open, noon, 7 p.m. (ESPN)


— Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker remained in a Seattle hospital Monday night after having surgery to stop bleeding on his brain due to being struck by a line drive in Sunday’s game against the Mariners.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he’s held off on calling Shoemaker, contacting him via text until things settle down.

“Everybody’s been texting him. I don’t think anyone wants to call him right now,” Scioscia said Monday. “We’ve exhaled a little bit since. They monitored him and decided they needed to do surgery. They went in there and hopefully corrected what was causing the bleeding. He’s resting comfortably and everything looks like it’s taken care of. Now it’s just the recuperation process for Matty. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”

Shoemaker was pitching in the second inning Sunday when Kyle Seager lined a ball with an exit velocity of 105 mph, according to MLB Statcast, and it caught Shoemaker in the side of the head. He stumbled to the ground, although he was able to eventually walk off the field with assistance from the training staff.

General manager Billy Epps said Shoemaker was receiving CT scans every 2-3 hours, and the third image showed increased bleeding Sunday night, leading to the decision to operate.

— The 49ers appear to have run out of patience with players who cannot stay out of trouble, as they cut tight end Bruce Miller on Monday, hours after his arrest for assaulting two men in an altercation at a San Francisco hotel.

Police said Miller was intoxicated when he tried to enter an elderly couple’s hotel room around 2:45 a.m. Monday morning, and when the couple’s 29-year-old son told Miller he was in the wrong room, the player attacked the son and the 70-year-old father, who attempted to intervene. Both men were taken to the hospital.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bruce Miller, Johnny Manziel, Matt Shoemaker,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe kneels during national anthem in ‘nod to [Colin] Kaepernick’

09.05.16 at 8:16 am ET
By   |   Comments

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 Padres, 4:40 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Brewers, 1:10 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Cardinals at Pirates, 4:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Mississippi at Florida State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Spain vs. Liechtenstein, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Ukraine vs. Iceland, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 11 a.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Saying her action was “a nod to [Colin] Kaepernick,” U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s National Women’s Soccer League game between her Seattle Reign and the Chicago Red Stars.

“I am disgusted with the way [Kaepernick] has been treated and the fans and hatred he has received in all of this,” Rapinoe told espnW’s Julie Foudy. “It is overtly racist. ‘Stay in your place, black man.’ Just didn’t feel right to me. We need a more substantive conversation around race relations and the way people of color are treated.”

Added Rapinoe: “We are not saying we are not one the greatest countries in world. Just need to accept that [it is] not perfect, things are broken.

“And quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling.”

Rapinoe said she would continue her protest the remainder of the season in an attempt to “continue the conversation.”

A World Cup and Olympic gold medalist, Rapinoe has been an advocate for LGBT rights since coming out in 2012. She also has fought what she claims is wage discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation and has weighed in on political issues on social media.

While two other NFL players joined Kaepernick in his protest during Thursday’s preseason games, Rapinoe is the first non-black athlete to join in.

— Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker was hospitalized with a skull fracture after taking a line drive off the side of his head during Sunday’s game against the Mariners.

In the second, inning Kyle Seager lined a shot right back at Shoemaker, who turned his head just before contact. He stumbled to the ground before receiving medical assistance. He was helped off the field holding a towel to his head.

“That was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball field,” Seager said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jrue Holiday, Lauren Holiday, Matt Shoemaker, Megan Rapinoe

Thinking Out Loud: Will NFL spy on Tom Brady during suspension?

09.02.16 at 5:30 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering if the Magic 8-Ball really knows all.

— As the Patriots roster now begins to take its shape for the upcoming season, keep this in mind: Injuries always play a factor. That’s why I find so-called roster projections from the media interesting. No one really knows what the coaches and front-office personnel ultimately will decide.

— Unless they’re like me, and they utilize their Magic 8-Ball, which always has been quick with a response in the past. I asked the 8-Ball what the Patriots roster was going to look like next week, and it replied, “My answer is no.” Makes perfect sense to me.

— So, any Tom Brady sightings in or around Gillette Stadium in the last 48 hours or so? Think the NFL might have some super-secret spies checking out the landscape to see if anyone is, um, taking liberties with the rules?

— Among the players already visited by “The Turk,” Terrance Knighton’s cut from the roster was a bit of a surprise from this corner. I do seem to recall, however, that when his signing appeared imminent, he wasn’t initially thrilled with becoming a “rotational player.”

— Knighton, according to the NFLPA and seconded by our friend and salary cap guru Miguel (his Twitter handle is @capspacev2), apparently did not earn any of his weight-based bonuses in his contract, either. Wonder if that came back to bite him, um, in the, um, you know?

— Barkevious Mingo brings badly needed depth to the linebacking corps, and if nothing else, also brings an automatic spellcheck every time I type his name.

— If you’re wondering about the guy who was flying around MetLife Stadium Thursday night against the New York Giants, Mingo’s story is a familiar refrain — underachieving, young veteran player looking for a clean start and new opportunity. This is how, more than just about anything else, the Patriots have built themselves into a dynastic franchise — identifying hungry players eager to make a name for themselves.

— Oh, and one more thing: They bring in players who also are in their final contractual years, as Mingo is. Make or break is a pretty good attitude to have on your side.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Terrance Knighton, Tom Brady,