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Ray Rice is now coaching high school football

06.02.17 at 2:35 pm ET
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Ray Rice is coaching running backs at New Rochelle High School.  (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Ray Rice is coaching running backs at New Rochelle High School. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Ray Rice remains shunned from the NFL three years after he attacked his then-fiancée in the elevator of an Atlantic City hotel. So now, he’s moved on to the high school level.

The former Ravens star is coaching running backs at New Rochelle High School in New York, where he started his football career. He was inducted into the New Rochelle Walk of Fame in May, along with several other NFL retirees.

Rice’s NFL career ended in September 2014, when TMZ released a video that showed the one-time Super Bowl champion punching out Janay Rice in an elevator. He was indicted on one count for aggravated assault, but avoided a prison sentence.

The NFL originally only suspended Rice two games for the incident, but placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list once the TMZ video went viral. The Ravens, who previously stood by him, also released the three-time Pro Bowler.

Rice, 30, has attempted to resuscitate his image in recent years. He’s volunteered at New Rochelle High School and also speaks to college athletes across the country. Last year, he said he would donate his entire NFL salary to charity if a team signs him.

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Thinking out loud: An appreciation for the Scripps Spelling Bee

06.02.17 at 2:27 pm ET
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Rooke_John

Thinking out loud…while wondering how I might cut back on covfefe every morning.

— The national Scripps Spelling Bee took place this week, and I’m constantly amazed by the talent and determination of the young contestants every year. 291 kids, ages six through 15 competed in Washington, DC, and ESPN televises the proceedings every year. Even a six-year-old climbed up on the stage. I thought I was a good speller – won my school championship in 4th grade – but these kids are off the charts.

— A first-grader last year spelled the word “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” and got it right. Spell-checker on my computer can’t even spell that one, no matter how many times I write it. I keep getting that squiggly red line, telling me I made a mistake. Pronounce it? Good luck with that.

— With a spelling theme in mind, can you find a misspelled word in the mix of offerings this week?

— Bryant and URI suffered a defeasance (nullification or cancellation) of their postseason baseball appearances last week. Both pre-conference favorites fell in their league tourneys, ending otherwise successful seasons.

— But not Holy Cross. The Crusaders experienced a significant amelioration of their baseball program by winning their first-ever Patriot League title, advancing to the NCAA’s for the first time since 1978. Their reward? A potential first-round excoriation by top-seeded Oregon State Friday night.

— Big East baseball sent tournament champ Xavier and St. John’s onto the NCAA Tournament field, the first time in three years for multiple teams to earn a spot. Creighton won the regular season, but lost in the conference tournament. The Big East is slowly improving as a baseball league since reorganization, moving up to 9th in the RPI after ranking 16th to 18th the past three seasons.

— The biggest news for college baseball came from Miami’s consecutive appearance streak ending at 44 straight years. It’s the first time since 1973 for the Hurricanes to be tergiversated from the tournament. That one makes it look like a permanent expulsion, doesn’t it? Just sayin’.

— PC announced this week they have signed men’s soccer coach Craig Stewart to a “long-term contract extension.” Stewart has been at Providence for five seasons, with three NCAA tournament appearances, two Big East titles and an appearance in the College Cup (Final Four) in 2014.

— Not for nuthin,’ but as a former assistant under Chaka Daley from 2006-08, Stewart was part of a staff that reached two NCAA’s in three years. Yep, he’s a keeper.

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Mike Vick wants to coach in the NFL

06.02.17 at 2:14 pm ET
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Mike Vick wants to coach in the NFL. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Mike Vick wants to coach in the NFL. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Mike Vick’s NFL days may not be over.

Though the four-time Pro Bowler retired from the NFL earlier this year, the quarterback told ESPN he’d be interested in coaching.

“I would love to coach in the National Football League one day,” Vick said. “… At some point, I’d definitely love to help work with young quarterbacks and develop them and still compete, you know, with the team and with the coaches.”

The 2004 Madden cover athlete, Vick mesmerized fans with his electric playmaking ability and ability to both run the ball and pass with efficiency. He spent the first six seasons of his NFL career in Atlanta, where he rose to become one of the most popular athletes in the sport.

A dogfighting incident landed him in prison for 18 months, after which he returned to the league and spent five years with the Eagles. The soon-to-be 37-year-old finished his playing career with brief stints with the Jets and Steelers.

His legacy is a complicated one, as some will remember him for his remarkable rushing ability as a dual-threat QB.

He rushed for 6,109 yards in his career, and no other quarterback has even amassed 5,000. For many, though, he will be remembered for his part in a shameful scandal that could have derailed his career.

Vick acknowledges that some coaches will be reticent to hire him to their staffs, but says his focus is on developing younger generations of players and winning the championship that eluded him during his playing career.

“It’s another way to chase a championship,” Vick said. “You know I’m not done. I’m not done by any means. You know I didn’t get the championship when I was playing, so, hey, maybe I’d get lucky one year, maybe fortunate enough to join the staff that may be good enough.”

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Caught red-handed: Security footage shows Christian Fauria stealing towels from gym

06.02.17 at 12:45 pm ET
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On Thursday, Glenn Ordway and Lou Merloni confronted Christian Fauria over allegations he was stealing towels from the New Balance gym across the street from the WEEI studio. The former Patriots tight end vehemently denied those claims, saying he only brings a flimsy bag to the gym, and couldn’t possibly fit towels in there.

Well, video evidence shows otherwise.

OM&F producer Paul Chartier obtained security camera footage from the gym, which shows Fauria stuffing towels into his gym bag before he exits the facility.

The footage is conclusive. Fauria is a towel thief –– case closed.

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Report: Steve Kerr could return to coach Warriors in Game 2

06.02.17 at 12:37 pm ET
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Steve Kerr could return to coach the Warriors for Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Steve Kerr 

When the Golden State Warriors take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, Steve Kerr might be courtside.

According to ESPN, there is internal optimism among the Warriors that Kerr is set for a return. The decorated head coach has been sidelined since Game 3 of the first round, reportedly dealing with symptoms related to the back surgery he underwent two years ago. The report adds he is feeling better.

Golden State certainly hasn’t struggled in his absence, going a perfect 11-0 under interim coach Mike Brown. A former NBA Coach of the Year, Brown has a great deal of familiarity with LeBron James, having coached him during his first tenure in Cleveland from 2005-10.

The return of Kerr could give a boost to a Warriors club that doesn’t seem to need much added motivation. Following its 113-91 blowout win in Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday, the team is a perfect 13-0 overall in the playoffs. No team has ever swept the NBA postseason, but these Warriors have a real shot.

Re-inserting their head coach, whose .841 regular-season winning percentage is the best in NBA history, could help them attain that goal.

Read More: LeBron James, Mike Brown, Steve Kerr,

VIDEO: Tiger Woods struggles to take breathalyzer test at police station after DUI arrest

06.02.17 at 12:06 pm ET
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Tiger Woods struggled to take his breathalyzer test at the Jupiter Police Station. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Tiger Woods struggled to take his breathalyzer test at the Jupiter Police Station. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Tiger Woods appeared groggy and dazed when he was arrested for DUI early Monday morning, unable to follow instructions during the field sobriety test. Hours later, when he was administered a breathalyzer at the police station, he still seemed like he was on another planet.

The Jupiter Police Department released video Friday of Woods’ breathalyzer test, which he took around 4:30 a.m. –– a little more than two hours after police had found him sleeping at the wheel of his 2015 Mercedes-Benz on the side of the road. The golf star struggled to blow into it, needing a law enforcement official to coach him along the way.

Woods blew a .000, which backs up his claim that alcohol wasn’t involved in the incident. In a statement, the 14-time Major winner blamed the arrest on an “unexpected reaction” to prescription medication, and said alcohol wasn’t involved. He underwent back surgery in February, and four drugs –– Solarex, Vicodin, Torix and Vioxx –– were listed under medical conditions in the police writeup of the incident.

There was one lighthearted moment during Woods’ booking process, however. When asked to describe his hair color before the mugshot, he responded by saying it’s “brown and fading.”

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Martellus Bennett slams Jason Whitlock for saying LeBron James is too wealthy to experience ‘real racism’

06.02.17 at 11:22 am ET
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Martellus Bennett took umbrage with Jason Whitlock's comments on race in America.  (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Martellus Bennett took umbrage with Jason Whitlock’s comments on race in America. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

When LeBron James commented this week on the racist graffiti that was allegedly spray-painted on his Brentwood mansion, he said it’s a reminder of the difficulty of being black in America. But FS1 personality Jason Whitlock disagrees.

In a rant Thursday, Whitlock called the reported vandalism a “disrespectful inconvenience,” but stopped short of saying it’s emblematic of the racism black people face in the U.S. According to Whitlock, James is too wealthy to feel the effects of bigotry.

“Racism is an issue in America but is primarily an issue for the poor. It’s not LeBron James’ issue,” he said. “He has removed himself from the damages and the ravages of real racism.”

Whitlock especially took issue with James invoking Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was lynched in Mississippi in the 1950s for supposedly whistling at a white woman. The basketball star referenced Till’s mother’s decision to have an open casket at his funeral, saying it was a message to the world about the hardships of African-Americans.

“The people that murdered Emmett Till got off, an all-white jury let them off; there was no real investigation, the whole town was against him. LeBron’s $20 million Brentwood home gets vandalized and I see two or three police cars trying to get to the bottom of it,” Whitlock said. “LeBron’s staff, I’m sure, cleaned up the spray paint within hours. This ain’t Emmett Till.”

Countless people, including FS1 anchor Mike Hill, lambasted Whitlock for his dismissive viewpoint. But few issued a stronger rebuttal than Packers tight end Martellus Bennett, who unloaded on Whitlock in a Twitter rant Thursday.

Bennett, who won a Super Bowl with the Patriots last season, frequently opines on race and other social topics. In February, shortly after telling reporters he would skip the Patriots’ White House visit, he explained on Twitter why he refuses to stick to sports.

“When you look at me what do you see? I know you wanna ask me what sport I play. I mean what else could I possibly be besides an athlete,” he wrote. “When you look at me, see the father, the awesome dad, the author, film director, business owner, champion, friend, Hufflepuff beast.”

Whitlock fired back at Bennett Thursday, telling the tight end he “missed his point.” Bennett responded in kind.

While Whitlock’s assertion is overly simplistic, it is refreshing to hear a voice that challenges conventional wisdom. James was nearly universally applauded for his press conference, but it is fair to question his comments about having a “tough life” in America. Those with an estimated net worth of $400 million can make a lot of problems go away.

Saying that kind of money can eliminate racism, though, seems foolish. James’ point was that to some folks, black people will always be nothing more than their skin color, regardless of social status. It’s difficult to dispute that argument.

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Rihanna’s beef with Kevin Durant has been the only entertaining thing about the NBA playoffs

06.02.17 at 9:59 am ET
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Rihanna was in Kevin Durant's grill all night long. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Rihanna was in Kevin Durant’s grill all night long. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavaliers was a dud. Golden State crushed Cleveland 113-91, leaving little doubt that this may go down as the worst postseason of all-time.

Since there was no drama on the court Thursday, we were forced to look towards the stands. Fortunately, Rihanna delivered –– putting in the work work work work work to pester Kevin Durant all night long.

Ri-Ri was the star of the game from nearly the opening tip, when she walked in front of analyst Jeff Van Gundy in the first quarter.

As the game got out of the hand, the Caribbean Queen, who doubles as a LeBron James super fan, got increasingly rowdy. She bowed to James in the fourth quarter, and waved away a Warriors fan who told her to sit down.

Then she got loud, yelling “brick!” at Durant before he shot a free throw.

Durant hit both shots and glanced in Rihanna’s direction. But that was nothing compared to the stare-down he gave her after he nailed a three-pointer.

When asked about the apparent feud post-game, Durant feigned ignorance, saying he didn’t “even remember” glaring a hole through Rihanna. Riiiiiight. 

Durant may not admit it, but there’s little doubt he has Rihanna on his brain. If there is a basketball God –– and there may not be, considering how awful the playoffs have been –– this feud will continue in Game 2 Sunday night.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Donnie Wahlberg to narrate 30 for 30 on Celtics-Lakers rivalry

06.02.17 at 9:39 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Friday 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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: St. Louis at Chicago Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: NY Yankees at Toronto, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Dorchester’s own Donnie Wahlberg is set to lend his voice to an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the Celtics-Lakers rivalry.

Wahlberg will co-narrate the five-hour film, Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies, with Los Angeles-born rapper Ice Cube. Wahlberg will handle the Celtics part and Ice Cube will serve as the voice of the Lakers portion.

The documentary will be broken up into parts and will air on ESPN Tuesday, June 13 and Wednesday, June 14.

Best of Enemies focuses on the height of the Celtics-Lakers rivalry and begins with the history of the two teams from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In a statement, director Jim Podhoretz said the players interviewed for the film were “totally engaged.”

“The vivid details that they recall, the candid feelings, their hatred, their joy and their vulnerability are all out there for people to see,” Podhoretz said.

Podhoretz told Sports Illustrated in December he had conducted interviews with Danny Ainge and Cedric Maxwell and anticipated interviews with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

According to ESPN, the first night’s episode will include two parts and will “not only trace the history, but also present a fabulous cast of characters who would change the NBA and open America’s collective mind. At the center of it all in the 1980s was a pair of brilliant basketball talents – Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Bird’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers circled each other for four years until they faced off in an epic NBA Finals in 1984.”

And part three of the film on the second night “picks up the story right after the thrilling 1984 NBA Finals and then explores the saga from 1985 to 1987 as the teams’ disdain for each other gradually turns to respect. The Celtics and Lakers – Bird and Magic in particular – transformed the fans’ view of the game from simple black-and-white to full-blown Technicolor. By the end of their last battle of that era in 1987, while there was still animosity, they had also developed a hard-earned respect for each other. In the final analysis, it was a rivalry that forced America to no longer view the league in black and white.”

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Regardless of Finals result, LeBron James has already cemented legacy as sports’ best spokesman

06.01.17 at 4:40 pm ET
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LeBron James spoke eloquently about race Wednesday. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

LeBron James spoke eloquently about race Wednesday. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

When LeBron James steps onto the court for Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday, he’ll be gunning for his fourth championship. If he’s able to knock off the star-studded Warriors for the second straight year, it will further cement his legacy as one of the two greatest players of all-time –– right alongside Michael Jordan.

But James’ place in history will be defined by more than his basketball excellence. He’ll also be remembered as one of the most outspoken athletes of his generation, opining on hot-button social issues with eloquence and dignity. That’s what he did Wednesday, when he commented on the state of race in America after racist graffiti was spray-painted on his house in Los Angeles.

“Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America. Hate in America especially for African-Americans is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day,” he said. “No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being black in America is tough.”

It was a poignant message, meant to demonstrate that high social status doesn’t erase skin color. Yes, LeBron James enjoys a better life than the vast majority of Americans. But that doesn’t mean he’s exempt from experiencing acts of hate.

During James’ first years in the NBA, he was portrayed as a prima donna, if not a coach killer. It seemed like every few months, the country’s premier basketball reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski, was tossing a bomb in his direction –– either ripping his sycophantic high school buddies or chastising him for his perceived selfishness. And James, who orchestrated the embarrassing “Decision” special, didn’t do much to change the perception.

Since then, James has admitted the error of his ways. He expressed remorse about the “Decision” in 2011, saying he would “probably change a lot of that.” When he returned to Cleveland in 2014, he told his story to Sports Illustrated, and promised to bring a championship to his hometown.

That’s what he did last year, when the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 series deficit to best the Warriors.

In between all of that, James developed his voice as the NBA’s unofficial statesman. Perhaps his finest moment came in 2014, when he led the charge to oust ex-Clippers owner Donald Sterling after a racist audio clip leaked of him asking his mistress to not bring black people to games. “There is no room for Donald Sterling in our league,” he said at the time. “There is no room for him.”

Three days later, commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life. Talk about wielding influence.

Whether it’s wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt to protest Eric Garner’s death or speaking out against gun violence at the ESPYs with other NBA stars, James uses his bully pulpit more effectively than any other athlete today. He may never be able to match Jordan on the court, but he’s a better spokesman than Jordan ever was.

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