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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Colin Kaepernick has company as he continues anthem protest

09.02.16 at 8:24 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: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Angels at Mariners, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Furman at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College football: Army at Temple, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Northwestern State at Baylor, 7:30 p.m. (FSN)
College football: Colorado State at Colorado, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Kansas State at Stanford, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Toledo at Arkansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
WNBA: Storm at Sky, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


Colin Kaepernick throws a pass during Thursday's preseason game in San Diego. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick throws a pass during Thursday’s preseason game in San Diego. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

— As boos rained down from the crowd in San Diego, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem Thursday, continuing his protest over racial injustice and other issues in the United States.

This time he had some company, as safety Eric Reid joined him. And in Oakland, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on his team’s bench during the anthem in a similar protest.

“The message is that we have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with,” Kaepernick said after the game. “We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, that aren’t given equal opportunities.”

If he was distracted by the situation, Kaepernick did not show it on the field. Fighting for his job (which he lost to Blaine Gabbert last season), Kaepernick played the first half and completed 11-for-18 passes for 103 yards while rushing four times for 38 yards.

Coach Chip Kelly would not say if Kaepernick, who was on the trading block in the offseason, remains in jeopardy of being cut.

“We’ll make those decisions when we watch the film,” Kelly said. “That goes for everybody on the football team, not just Colin.”

Said Kaepernick: “This is a phenomenal organization, and I’ve had great conversations here. I’ve had great memories here, and this team has given me the opportunity to become the man I am today. I’m grateful for that. I’m thankful for that, and San Francisco has become my home.”

Earlier in the day, Kaepernick addressed his latest controversy regarding socks he had been wearing at practice earlier in training camp. The socks features cartoon drawings of pigs wearing police hats.

Explained Kaepernick on Instagram: I wore these socks, in the past, because the rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger, but also the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust. I have two uncles and friends who are police officers and work to protect and serve ALL people. So before these socks, which were worn before I took my public stance, are used to distract from the real issues, I wanted to address this immediately.

Lane, the 26-year-old Seahawks veteran, said he’s prepare for any criticism that comes his way as he followed Kaepernick’s lead.

“I just like what he’s doing, and I’m standing behind him,” Lane said, adding: “It’s something I plan on keep on doing, until I feel like justice is being served.”

— Penn State stirred up some anger among its critics by announcing Thursday that it planned to honor the late Joe Paterno this season, the 50th anniversary of his first game as coach.

The school said more details would be forthcoming about the Sept. 17 ceremony.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NFL executives blast ‘traitor’ Colin Kaepernick

09.01.16 at 7:36 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.

NFL preseason: Patriots at Giants, 7 p.m. (WBZ-TV, NFL Network)
NFL preseason: Seahawks at Raiders, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: Charlotte at Louisville, 7 p.m. (FSN)
College football: Indiana at Florida International, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Rice at Western Kentucky, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Oregon State at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
MLB: Giants at Cubs, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Liberty at Fever, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

— Criticism — and some support — continues to rain down on Colin Kaepernick, but the 49ers quarterback isn’t backing down regarding his national anthem protest. Kaepernick has said he will not stand during the song until police brutality against minorities stops.

On Wednesday it was revealed that Kaepernick has been wearing socks at practice the last couple of weeks that are decorated with cartoons of pigs heads adorned with police hats.

Even before that information came out, seven anonymous NFL executives interviewed by Bleacher Report said Kaepernick is not likely to be signed should the 49ers decided to cut him (he lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert last year and was on the trade block during the offseason).

One executive labeled Kaepernick “a traitor,” saying: “I don’t want him anywhere near my team.”

Another sample comment: “He has no respect for our country. [Expletive] that guy.”

One official said Kaepernick is the most disliked player in the league since Rae Carruth, who remains in jail for plotting to murder his pregnant girlfriend in 1999 while playing receiver for the Panthers.

“In my career, I have never seen a guy so hated by front office guys as Kaepernick,” an exec said.

On the other side of the situation, a Twitter hashtag of #VeteransForKaepernick began trending Tuesday night and continued Wednesday, with many vets supporting the player’s right to speak his mind whether or not they agree with him.

Wrote one vet: You don’t fight for freedom of speech then criticize someone for actually using it.

— One day after detailing his battle with throat cancer during a Tuesday appearance on WEEI’s Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Chris Mortensen announced that he plans to play a part in ESPN’s NFL coverage as the start of this season.

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Read More: Chris Mortensen, Colin Kaepernick, Mike Trout,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Vikings in shock after devastating injury to QB Teddy Bridgewater

08.31.16 at 7:50 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: Rays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Astros, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Giants, 5 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Wings at Storm, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Vikings players were so disturbed by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s freak injury Tuesday that practice had to be canceled on the spot.

The 2014 first-round draft pick was dropping back to pass during a non-contract drill when his left leg gave out. He suffered a dislocated knee and torn ACL that will sideline him for at least this season.

Some players were swearing as they walked off the field, while others knelt in prayer as Bridgewater was receiving medical attention. An ambulance quickly arrived to take him to the hospital.

Tweeted receiver Jarius Wright: Sometimes the worst things happen to the best [people]. God has a plan.

Coach Mike Zimmer faces a challenge trying to get his team ready for Thursday’s final preseason game against the Rams and then the regular season.

“I’m not going to let this team feel sorry for itself,” Zimmer said. “We’re going to grieve today and be upset about it. It’s more about our feelings for Teddy and him as a person and getting better than it is about anything else. Teddy’s a great kid and he’ll be back as soon as he possibly can if it is real bad. But we’re going to keep fighting.”

Bridgewater’s backup is 36-year-old Shaun Hill, who started eight games for the Rams in 2014 but has not played much since. Taylor Heinicke, an undrafted free agent who was the team’s No. 3 quarterback last season, has been out all preseason with a foot injury and is not expected to return to practice until late September. Undrafted rookie Joel Stave reportedly has not inspired much confidence with his performance in practice.

“We’re not going to stick our heads in the sand, we’re not going to tuck our [tail between] our legs,” Zimmer said. “We’re not looking for excuses. We’re going to go out and fight like we always do.”

— Baylor wide receiver Ismael Zamora apologized after being suspended for three games by the school for beating his dog.

A video of Zamora hitting his dog eight times with a belt and kicking it was obtained by KXXV News Channel 25 in Waco, Texas, last week. The incident happened in June, and Zamora was charged with a Class C misdemeanor and fined.

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Read More: Ismael Zamora, Teddy Bridgewater,

NBA sportscaster Craig Sager: Sager Strong movement ‘wasn’t about me, it was about what I represented’

08.30.16 at 11:25 am ET
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Craig Sager

Craig Sager

NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager called in to the Dennis & Callahan show with Minihane on Monday during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to give an update on his battle with leukemia and to urge listeners to donate. To hear the interview, visit the D&C audio on demand page.

Calling from his hospital bed at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Sager said he has been at the hospital for over a month and has had two chemotherapy sessions in the last four days. He is scheduled to have his third bone marrow transplant on Wednesday.

“[This is the] first time that MD Anderson has done a third transplant for AML patients,” Sager said. “Overall, I’m in uncharted territory here.”

Sager’s ongoing battle with leukemia has inspired many across the country, and has started a Sager Strong Foundation to help other leukemia patients and families. Many NBA players and personnel have reached out to Sager, who is surprised at how his story has grown into something bigger.

“At first it was just … speaking to the kids, then it kept building and I realized it was something beyond that,” Sager said. “It wasn’t about me, it was about what I represented, and that was somebody who refuses to give up, refuses to give in … does his job, has the same attitude, and is going to keep fighting.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: SF police criticize Colin Kaepernick protest based on ‘false narrative’

08.30.16 at 8:36 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: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Mercury at Fever, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)


Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

— Colin Kaepernick said that neither the 49ers nor the NFL have contacted him about his decision to sit during the national anthem to protest America’s race problem, but they might soon be forced to address the issue.

The president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and 49ers CEO Jed York criticizing Kaepernick’s actions as a “total lack of sensitivity” toward police.

“I only wish Mr. Kaepernick could see the emotional and psychological challenges that our officers face following a fatal encounter,” Martin Halloran wrote. “Some are so affected they never return to the streets. In short, Mr. Kaepernick has embarrassed himself, the 49er organization, and the NFL based on a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.”

Kaepernick sat on the bench during the anthem for all three preseason games, and he said he plans to continue his protest.

Jim Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick in San Francisco for four seasons until leaving for the University of Michigan last year, said at his Monday press conference that Kaepernick that he has mixed feelings about the situation.

“I acknowledge his right to do that. I don’t respect the motivation or the action,” Harbaugh said, later clarifying on Twitter: I support Colin’s motivation. It’s his method of action that I take exception to.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he supports Kaepernick’s right to speak out, but he would be concerned about the effect on his team.

“You respect our team, our organization and the other players,” Harbaugh said. “You respect the mission that we’re on and what we’re trying to accomplish. None of us ever want us to detract or disrespect the efforts of all the other players on the football team. That’s the balance that all of us have to strike when we speak out about something like that.”

Meanwhile, Eagles rookie undrafted free agent linebacker Myke Tavarres said Monday that he also would sit during the national anthem during his team’s preseason game against the Jets this Thursday, but his agent said later that the player had changed his mind after consulting with his agent and college coaches.

“As a rookie, his goal is not to be a distraction for the Eagles,” agent Corey Williams said. “His coaches at Incarnate Word and I advised him to stand.”

— Even before his Tuesday tryout for major league teams, Tim Tebow has an offer to play baseball with an established winner.

Five-time Venezuelan Professional Baseball League champion Aguilas del Zulia reportedly sent a contract offer to Tebow’s agents Monday.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Tim Tebow,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Niners QB Colin Kaepernick will continue to protest national anthem until ‘there’s significant change’ in race relations

08.29.16 at 8:00 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: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN); 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he will continue to sit through the playing of the national anthem before games to draw attention to the problem of race relations in America.

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” Kaepernick told reporters Sunday, two days after he sat on the bench during the anthem prior to Friday’s loss to the Packers, his third such protest this preseason but the first to garner national attention. “To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Mashup Poll: Is Colin Kaepernick crossing a line by disrespecting the national anthem?

  • Yes, he should stand and find a different way to protest (80%, 133 Votes)
  • No, he has every right to do whatever he wants to make his beliefs known (20%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 167

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Reactions have been mixed from the around the league, although Kaepernick — who is battling to regain his starting job from Blaine Gabbert after a disappointing 2015 season — said no NFL representative has reached out to him.

“No one’s tried to quiet me and, to be honest, it’s not something I’m going to be quiet about,” he said. “I’m going to speak the truth when I’m asked about it. This isn’t for look. This isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities to be successful. To provide for families and not live in poor circumstances.”‘

Kaepernick, who is biracial but was raised by white adoptive parents, criticized presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and said he’s taking a stand for those people who do not have the ability to do so themselves.

“There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality,” he said. “There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”

Kaepernick explained his decision to his teammates Sunday morning, and while some agreed with his stance, there were concerns about how he was expressing himself.

“I agree with what he did, but not in the way he did it,” wideout Torrey Smith said. “That’s not for me. He has that right. Soldiers have died for his right to do exactly what he did. … I know he’s taken a lot of heat for it. He understands that when you do something like that it does offend a lot of people.”

Coach Chip Kelly on Saturday deferred to Kaepernick, implying he didn’t plan to get involved.

“That’s his right as a citizen,” Kelly said. “We recognize his right as an individual to choose to participate or not participate in the national anthem.”

— On the same day dozens of people gathered in a Chicago church for a prayer service to remember Nykea Alrdridge, the 32-year-old cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade who was shot to death last week, Chicago police announced that two brothers were charged with her murder.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Dwyane Wade,

Thinking Out Loud: Bryant basketball team continues tour of Italy after earthquake

08.26.16 at 3:43 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering whatever happened to Michael Bishop.

— One of those rare occasions happened this week when the real world and the sports world collide — and excuse each other for the intrusion. The Bryant basketball team is touring Italy, situated in Rome, and was supposed to play in the town of Spoleto on Wednesday night — until a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy.

— That first game in Spoleto, not far from the quake’s epicenter and only about 20 minutes from one of the hardest-hit areas (Amatrice), was canceled. The tremors were felt in Rome, waking coach Tim O’Shea (as he reported via social media), and Bryant’s travel party is safe. But the death toll surpassed 240 late this week as rescue efforts continue in the mountainous central region of the country.

— Sport becomes a complete afterthought when faced with tragedy like this. And it should be. Bryant’s team traveled to Naples late in the week after completing its tour of Rome.

— Sometimes the stress and strain of directing a high major basketball program takes its toll in different ways. To the surprise of many, Providence basketball coach Ed Cooley underwent back surgery for a herniated disc this week. The athletic department reports Cooley’s surgery went well, and he expects to be back in the office next week at some point, with classes starting Aug. 29 — and he certainly expects to be back coaching the team for the start of preseason workouts in October.

— The third annual Providence Basketball Classic will be held Saturday (Aug. 27) at Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eight teams of former pro and college players from New England will compete in a single-elimination tournament, competing for a cash prize, and there will be a high school all-star game as well. Backpack giveaways for the start of school, school supplies and free haircuts are a part of the festivities, and admission is only $3.

— About 1,000 fans attended last year’s event, which is the creation of former Johnson & Wales all-American Lamonte Thomas. Thomas is preparing for his fifth season of playing professionally in Europe. Cool that he continues to give back to the community by hosting this event.

— ICYMI, Tomas Murphy, who hails from Wakefield, Rhode Island, is headed to Northeastern to play his college ball for coach Bill Coen. Coen and Murphy’s dad, Jay, are long-time friends with Boston College connections, and Murphy’s brothers (Erik and Alex) played at Florida under Billy Donovan. Butler, Pittsburgh and Georgia also were in the final mix until the end.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Former Red Sox pitcher impressed with Tim Tebow after practice sessions

08.26.16 at 8:36 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: Orioles at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Braves at Giants, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Browns at Buccaneers, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL preseason: Packers at 49ers, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: Hawaii at California, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Liberty at Stars, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Sparks at Storm, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Bundesliga, SV Werder Bremen at Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

— As he closes in on Tuesday’s showcase for major league teams, Tim Tebow has impressed at least one former major leaguer.

David Aardsma, a 34-year-old journeyman reliever who pitched for the Red Sox in 2008 and most recently played for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A team earlier this season, pitched to Tebow twice in practice sessions, and he told the New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron that he came away believing the former quarterback has a chance with baseball.

“When I walked away, as a pitcher, I was pretty impressed,” said Aardsma, who has been working out at the same Arizona facility as Tebow, hoping to make a return to the majors. “He needs to see a lot more pitching and understand what the pitcher is watching and seeing from him and adjusting. That’s not something you know until you’re in it.

“I’d get him to instructs [instructional league], work his butt and get him to play winter league. Get him on the field every day, facing different pitchers. I would not be surprised if he’s in Double-A next year. I’d put the talent there right now.”

Aardsma said Tebow did a good job of adjusting to the right-hander’s pitches the first time they faced each other. One week later, the two again shared a field Thursday and Tebow further progressed to the point where the 29-year-old ESPN analyst took Aardsma deep.

“It actually really pissed me off,” Aardsma said of Tebow’s success against him, noting that he was throwing low-90s fastballs as well as breaking balls.

Added Aardsma: “He looked like a much different hitter today. He looked like he is midseason. He got tired at the end, but that was after a lot of work and probably 12 at-bats.”

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy acknowledged Wednesday on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria that Boston will be one of the expected 20 or so major league teams at Tuesday’s workout, although he didn’t sound optimistic about it being worthwhile. Aardsma said he can see why some in baseball have doubted Tebow’s chances of succeeding in his career change, but he doesn’t rule it out.

“It’s understandable,” Aardsma said. “If I’m a scout, outside looking in, I’d say no chance. But there’s always exceptions to that rule, some people who have innate talent. What’s the risk?”

— One day after North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora confirmed that Tim Beckman had been serving as a volunteer assistant coach despite being fired from Illinois for allegedly mistreating players, Beckman announced Thursday that he was leaving because he did not want to be a distraction.

“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country,” Beckman said in a statement. “His willingness to help a friend was a benefit both personally and professionally. I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward.”

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Read More: David Aardsma, James Harrison, Tim Beckman, Tim Tebow

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Giants owner John Mara defends signing of K Josh Brown despite domestic violence accusations

08.25.16 at 8:32 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: Red Sox at Rays, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Orioles at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball World Series: South Korea vs. Mexico, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Tennessee vs. Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Falcons at Dolphins, 8 p.m. (NBC)
NFL preseason: Cowboys at Seahawks, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)


— Giants owner John Mara went on the defensive Wednesday after receiving widespread criticism for re-signing Pro Bowl kicker Josh Brown despite his ex-wife’s accusations of domestic abuse.

Brown was arrested in May 2015 after allegedly grabbing his then-wife, Molly, by the throat and holding her down with his knee at their Washington home, one of two incidents on consecutive nights. However, charges of fourth-degree domestic assault were dropped days later due to insufficient evidence, reportedly after Molly Brown decided not to pursue the case.

Brown was suspended by the NFL for the first game of this season — despite the league’s new policy that dictates a six-game ban for such issues — and said that while he was “not OK with the decision, I have to respect it.” It then was revealed that Molly Brown told authorities that he had assaulted her at least 20 times, including once in 1999 while she was pregnant.

“Based on the facts that were placed in front of us, we’re comfortable with our decision to re-sign Josh and the league’s suspension,” Mara told the media Wednesday during Giants practice. “The easiest thing for us to do would be to get a new kicker. We’re trying to be fair to Josh. The easiest thing would be to say, ‘Terminate him, get rid of him.’ We’re trying to do the right thing. It’s not always easy.”

The Giants signed the 37-year-old Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract in the spring despite being aware of the issues, as Mara insisted, “We did our homework here.”

“We’re aware that there were allegations against Josh,” Mara said. “We knew that the NFL would conduct an investigation. We’re well aware that there were other [incidents]. One of the things you learn is that there is a big difference between allegations and convictions. It’s important to sort all those things out. We’re not going to get into the number of conversations we had with a number of people. We will live with the results of the [NFL investigation] and move forward.

“A lot of time, people try to make it black and white,” Mara added. “There are two sides to everything. Very rarely you have a Ray Rice video.”

Brown made 30 of 32 field goals and missed only one of his 45 PAT attempts in scoring a career-high 134 points last season, earning him a berth in the Pro Bowl. Former Jets and Titans kicker Randy Bullock was signed to a one-year deal Monday to fill in, as Brown’s future suddenly is unclear. But Mara said the Giants stand behind him.

“Josh knows what’s expected of him,” Mara said. “He’s been going to counseling. He’s been a good citizen since he’s been here. He’s going to conduct himself in a professional manner. We’re an organization that has always tried to do the right thing. It’s not always easy, but we’re going to stick with our decision.”

— U.S. soccer came down hard on Hope Solo, banning the goalie six months from the national team for calling the Swedish squad “a bunch of cowards” after the Americans’ loss in a penalty shootout at the Rio Olympics.

Solo, who has had her share of off-field issues (including one that led to a 30-day suspension early last year), was frustrated with Sweden’s defensive strategy that proved to be effective as it prevented the U.S. from earning a medal.

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Read More: Dawn Braid, Hope Solo, John Mara, Josh Brown

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: U.S. Olympic swimmer James Feigen apologizes, details Rio controversy

08.24.16 at 8:26 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: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Indians at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Mexico vs. Australia, 1 p.m (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Iowa vs. Tennessee, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Panama vs. South Korea, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: New York vs. Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: Revolution at Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
Soccer: Champions League, Manchester City vs. Steaua Bucharest, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Champions League, Red Bull Salzburg vs. Dinamo Zagreb, 2:30 p.m. (FSN)
Soccer: Champions League, Rostov vs. Ajax, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)


James Feigen

James Feigen

— U.S. Olympic swimmer James Feigen apologized Tuesday for his role in the incident at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month, and he offered some clarity regarding exactly what happened.

“First and foremost I would like to apologize for the serious distractions from the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, and Team USA,” Feigen said in a statement released through his legal representation, The Hull Firm of Austin, Texas. “It was never my intent to draw attention away from the tradition of athletic competition and the symbolic cooperation of countries participating in the Olympic games.”

Added Feigen: “I am so sorry for the drama this has caused in everyone’s lives. I am very thankful to be home in the United States with my family and that this ordeal has come to an end.”

Feigen, who won a gold medal as part of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, was with teammates Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger when they were returning to the Olympic village after a night of partying. Around 5 a.m., their taxi stopped at a gas station so the swimmers could use the bathroom. Feigen explained that when they found the door was locked, they urinated on the grass behind the building. Lochte then pulled a framed poster off a wall. Feigen denied that he or his teammates damaged the bathroom door or entered the bathroom at all.

When the swimmers returned to their taxi, armed security guards made them get out of the cab and sit on the ground, accusing them of vandalizing the bathroom and ordering them to pay for the damage.

“This was the first time I have ever had a gun pointed at me and I was terrified,” Feigen said in his apology, adding: “It became apparent that the man with the gun was telling us to pay, and I was unsure if they were affiliated with the gas station. Gunnar Bentz and I gave the man some money.”

When Lochte started telling people the swimmers were robbed at gunpoint, local police showed up and took a statement. Feigen said he did not tell authorities that the swimmers urinated on the ground or that Lochte pulled down the poster.

“I realize that I made a mistake for omitting these facts,” Feigen said. “I was trying to protect my teammates and for this I apologize.”

Feigen’s passport later was seized and he was taken to a Brazilian court, where he was given the option of remaining in Brazil for at least a month while the investigation continued, or paying a fine of $31,250 and performing 15 days of community service. Eventually a deal was struck in which Feigen paid a $10,800 fine and was allowed to fly home.

— Josh Hamilton’s return to the Rangers ended with a thud Tuesday as the team placed the injured outfielder on unconditional release waivers. However, the move was made with the hope that Hamilton will attend spring training and attempt to regain a roster spot. As per MLB rules, Hamilton had to be waived by the end of August or else he would not be eligible to play for Texas until after May 15 next season.

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