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Revolution set for battle with Red Bulls in MLS Eastern Conference finals

11.10.14 at 11:44 am ET
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The stage is set for the MLS Eastern Conference finals, as the Revolution defeated the Columbus Crew in the semifinal round that culminated Sunday in Foxboro with a 3-1 New England win.

The Revolution won the series 7-3 on aggregate goals and will face the New York Red Bulls for the conference title. Coach Jay Heaps was more than pleased with Sunday’s outcome at Gillette Stadium.

“We just want to win,” Heaps said. “We’€™re at home, and I want to make sure that this is a place that we can come out and play.”

New England’€™s run to the conference final comes despite an eight-game losing streak in the middle of the season. The Revs have turned it around when it has counted, winning 10 out of their last 14 contests.

New York, which has not reached a conference final since 2008, comes in riding a hot streak as well. Led by forward Thierry Henry, the Red Bulls have lost just two times since early October.

“This is perhaps a series that in years past we would have lost,” New York coach Mike Petke said after Saturday’s elimination of D.C. United. “These guys showed determination. We have guys with bloody lips, getting stitches. We have a guy with a lump on his head.”

Read More: Jay Heaps,

Jets’ Nick Mangold calls Steelers DB Mike Mitchell’s leap over offensive line ‘a dirty play’

11.10.14 at 11:06 am ET
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The frustration of an eight-game losing streak boiled over at the end of the Jets’€™ win over the Steelers on Sunday.

As quarterback Mike Vick set up in the victory formation to take a knee, closing out the team’s second victory of the season, Steelers safety Mike Mitchell attempted to jump over the offensive line in attempt to get the ball.

As Mitchell jumped leaped toward Vick, Jets center Nick Mangold grabbed and body-slammed the safety to the ground. A small scrum ensued, but no penalties were called.

“I think it’s a dirty play, and that’s what it is,” Mangold said after the game. “Didn’t expect him to do that, but he did it. I didn’t think it was the smartest of plays, but we’re glad that he wasn’t able to get to Mike.”

The play only added to coach Rex Ryan‘€™s anger toward the officiating. As the clock winded down, Ryan was visibly angry and swore at the referees as he walked onto the field. The coach said the officiating crew didn’t do a good job of protecting Vick during the game.

In second quarter, no flags were thrown when Vick took a hit to his head as he went to the sideline. But Ryan was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game because of his disagreements with the officials.

“I got a little upset,” Ryan said of his penalty. “In this league, they put a huge emphasis on protecting the quarterback and all players, as they should. I’m not so sure our quarterback was protected the same as the other quarterback today.”

Read More: Mike Mitchell, Mike Vick, New York Jets, Nick Mangold

Monday’s Morning Mashup: NCAA reportedly open investigation into Jameis Winston point-shaving allegations

11.10.14 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Devils at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Hawks at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Spurs at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NFL: Panthers at Eagles, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLS playoffs: FC Dallas at Sounders, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

— Following rumors that Jameis Winston was involved in a point-shaving scheme during the first half of Florida State’s recent game against Louisville, the NCAA is investigating, according to a TMZ report.

The initial report last week suggested that Winston might have tanked the first half of the Oct. 30 game in order to allow former high school teammate Chris Rabb — now a defensive end at Alabama-Birmingham — to win a $5,000 bet that the Seminoles would be losing at halftime. Winston did not play well in the first half of the game as FSU trailed 21-7 before rallying in the second half for a 42-31 win.

Alabama-Birmingham announced Friday that school officials were “aware of the allegations and are looking into the matter.” A day later, UAB coach Bill Clark implied the matter was closed.

“We checked it,” Clark said after Rabb had two tackles in a 40-24 loss to Louisiana Tech. “He turned over every record he could turn over. So, that’s what you do. We immediately turned it all over and said, ‘Hey, check on him.’ That was a distraction because all our players were giving him a hard time about it because he just doesn’t seem like that kind of kid, but we felt good about it and so did the NCAA.”

Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to a national championship last season, has been hounded by off-field issues since arriving at FSU, including an allegation of sexual assault.

— It’s a good thing for the Cowboys that they won their game Sunday in London, taking care of the Jaguars. Because according to a report, 20 players missed the team’s curfew Friday night.

Tweeted NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: Cowboys sources: A whopping 20 players missed curfew on Friday night. Coaches are frustrated. Veterans, too. Are they taking it seriously?

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Read More: Dez Bryant, Jameis Winston, Jim Harbaugh,

NFL to begin reviewing potential suspension for Adrian Peterson

11.07.14 at 11:29 am ET
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While Ray Rice‘s appeal hearing with a third-party arbiter has concluded, the NFL is just starting to look into a possible punishment for running back Adrian Peterson.

Peterson was able to avoid jail time on Tuesday when he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge. Instead of going to jail, Peterson was fined $4,000 and will have to complete 80 hours of community service and go through parenting classes.

While the NFL reviews the incident and decides on a possible suspension, Peterson will remain on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list. There isn’t a specific deadline for the NFL to complete Peterson’s review.

The NFL Players Association released a statement Thursday saying that Peterson should be able to get a a hearing like Rice’s before a final decision is made.

“Our union worked with the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings and Adrian’s representatives on a mutual agreement pending the adjudication of his legal case,” the NFLPA’s statement said. “Now that his legal matter is resolved, we believe it is Adrian’s right to be treated in a manner that is consistent with similar cases under our collective bargaining agreement. We will pursue any and all remedies if those are breached.”

Read More: Adrian Peterson,

NFLPA lauds Ray Rice’s appeal hearing as proceedings conclude

11.07.14 at 11:27 am ET
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Ray Rice‘s NFL future now hangs in the balance as a federal judge will decide if he can play again.

Rice’s appeal hearing in New York concluded after two days, which included testimony from Rice, his wife, Janay, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Judge Barbara Jones presided over the appeal and will have the final say on if Rice can return to playing football again. She placed a gag order on the hearing, forbidding people from either side from talking about what went on.

“Generally speaking, yes, but I’m really not going to talk about it,” Jones said when asked about the proceedings.

The NFL Players Association was happy with the way the hearing went and said in statement that every player in a situation like Rice’s should get to have their voice heard before a final decision is made.

“The collectively bargained rights of all players must be vehemently preserved and we take that obligation seriously,” the statement read. “This appeal, presided over by a neutral arbitrator, which included a presentation of all the relevant facts, witness testimony to the truth and cross examination, is the due process that every athlete deserves.”

Jones doesn’t have an exact date for when she has to come to a decision on the matter.

Read More: Ray Rice,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Angry relative calls ‘evil’ Alex Rodriguez ‘the devil’

11.07.14 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Pacers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Grizzlies at Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Cavaliers at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Capitals at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Boston University at Boston College, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Fordham at Bucknell, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Memphis at Tulane, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Utah State at Wyoming, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

NY Daily News 11-7-14– The New York media’s assault on Alex Rodriguez‘s character continued Friday, with the New York Daily News quoting the wife of A-Rod‘s cousin/alleged PED mule as saying the Yankees player is “the devil.”

Carmen Sucart, wife of Yuri Sucart, ripped Rodriguez for accusing Yuri of trying to extort him. Rodriguez reportedly admitted his widespread use of PEDs after publicly denying it while Major League Baseball was in the process of suspending him for the 2014 season, and now he’s apparently trying to cover himself by shifting the blame to others.

“He is the devil,” Carmen told the New York Daily News. “He is evil.”

Carmen said A-Rod visited the house where the Sucarts were living — owned by Rodriguez — in 2012 and offered $50,000 and an apartment if the Sucarts would sign a confidentiality agreement. Carmen said she declined the offer.

“He was not angry,” Carmen recalled of the visit. “He was arrogant. You know what he did? He peed outside on my wall, next to the pool. He didn’t ask for the bathroom. He go outside and he just pee right there. He came over, took his thing out and went right there.”

Shortly after that meeting, the Sucarts hired a Miami attorney, who sent a letter to Rodriguez asking for a cash settlement. According to court filings, Rodriguez agreed to a deal in June 2013, giving the Sucarts a $700,000 payment and then three other payments totaling $200,000.

However, Carmen Sucart said Rodriguez later threatened he was going to “destroy” the family.

“Alex is so poor, the only thing he has is money,” Carmen said. “He sleeps with his money, he will die with his money.”

Yuri Sucart, 52, is facing seven federal charges accusing him of distributing PEDs. His trial is scheduled to begin in February.

His wife said Yuri is in poor health, having undergone surgeries on his heart and legs since his August arrest and two-week stint in jail.

LeBron James has a message for Cavaliers fans panicking over the team’s 1-3 start: “Relax.”

James on Thursday referenced a tweet from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after his team’s slow start this season, writing: In the words of the great @AaronRodgers12 ‘Relax.’

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Read More: alex rodriguez, John Idzik, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James

Bill Simmons goes off on Twitter (again)

11.06.14 at 2:21 pm ET
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ESPN’s Bill Simmons is at it again.

After being upset with a segment on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” where they discussed Simmons talking about LeBron James, Simmons took to Twitter to unleash his anger.

This comes after Simmons was suspended for three weeks earlier this month for his comments towards Roger Goodell.

Read More: Bill Simmons,

Patriots only AFC East team not scheduled to play in London in 2015

11.06.14 at 10:45 am ET
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The AFC East will have a heavy influence in the NFL’s International Series in London next season. The Patriots will be the only member of the AFC East not to travel over the Atlantic to London’s Wembley Stadium.

Here is the complete London schedule, released Thursday by the NFL:

Oct. 4, 2015: Dolphins host Jets
Oct. 25, 2015: Jaguars host Bills
Nov. 1, 2015: Chiefs host Lions

The Dolphins-Jets game will be the first ever divisional game held in London. The Patriots played in London against the Buccaneers in 2009, winning 35-7.

Read More: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets

Report: Roger Goodell testifies for 2-plus hours at Ray Rice appeal

11.06.14 at 10:20 am ET
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Roughly two months after Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, Roger Goodell reportedly testified for more than two hours at Rice’s appeal yesterday, according to the Associated Press.

Rice was suspended indefinitely on Sept. 8 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after a video of him hitting his then-fiancee was released publicly. The former Ravens running back is hoping to be immediately reinstated, but a team would then need to sign him. He has also filed a separate wrongful termination grievance against the Ravens after the team released him.

League security chief Jeffery Miller and Ravens President Dick Cass are also scheduled to testify.

The appeal was held for roughly 10 hours on Wednesday and it is unknown how long it will take for U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones to make a decision.

Read More: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets fan flies plane over practice calling for GM John Idzik’s job

11.06.14 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Oilers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Devils at Blues, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Spurs at Rockets, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Mavericks at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NFL: Browns at Bengals, 8:30 p.m. (NFL; WEEI-FM)
College football: Clemson at Wake Forest, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College football: Bethune-Cookman at Norfolk State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Tottenham at Tripoli, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Lille at Everton, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A plane flew over Jets practice Wednesday towing a banner that read “Fire John Idzik.” The plane circled the field for about 20 minutes, while Idzik and owner Woody Johnson were in attendance.

According to the New York Daily News, at one point Idzik and Johnson stood by coach Rex Ryan and shared a laugh, though it was not clear if they were joking about the plane.

Ryan later said Idzik did not appear to be “overly upset,” but “I personally don’t think it’s appropriate.”

MASHUP POLL: Was Wednesday's stunt at Jets practice inappropriate?

  • No, Idzik has been terrible and the fans have a right to express their frustration like this (74%, 560 Votes)
  • Yes, that's taking it too far and embarrassing the team and its fans (26%, 194 Votes)

Total Voters: 754

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Jets players expressed disappointment with the stunt.

“It’s annoying,” receiver Eric Decker said. “You’re trying to practice … and then you see something that becomes a distraction, and then there’s a whole bunch of negative thoughts just going through your head. Now everybody’s attention is up in the sky as opposed to on the practice field.”

Added quarterback Michael Vick: “It’s like, kick a man when he’s down. We understand, people do that. Some people want to see other people suffer. … I think that was a bit extreme. The money they spent on jet fuel could’ve been given to some type of charity.”

The folks at the FireJohnIdzik website, who raised money to take out billboards near MetLife Stadium calling for the general manager to be dismissed, tweeted that they did not fund the plane. Read their tweet: This is not our plane but we endorse it.

The owner of the plane told the Daily News his company was approached about a week ago and said the woman behind it did not want to be identified but that she is a “frustrated” longtime Jets fan.

— Controversial Knicks guard J.R. Smith received his first punishment of the 2014-15 season after punching Wizards guard Glen Rice Jr. in the groin during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game at Madison Square Garden, a 98-83 Washington win.

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, J.R. Smith, John Idzik, Rex Ryan