College Blog Blog Network

Thinking Out Loud: Despite Jimmy Garoppolo’s impressive debut, let’s keep Tom Brady around

09.16.16 at 5:42 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering whatever happened to Craig James.

— For all of the angst over Tom Brady’s NFL suspension, most of it dissipated like squeezing air out of a balloon as Jimmy Garoppolo’s Arizona desert debut unfolded. Now I’m hearing fans say, “Trade Brady!” What is wrong with you people?

— I’ll pony up here: After watching Jimmy G. during camp this summer, it’s clear he’s learned while performing as TB12’s understudy. Plus, Josh McDaniels hasn’t given him anything he can’t handle — yet. He should do the same this week against Miami.

— Most impressive against the Cardinals was his ability to stand in the pocket. Haven’t really seen that yet from him, but the early returns are positive. And he still hasn’t played with Gronk opening up a defense for him.

— He could have handled TB12’s face staring over his shoulder from that banner at Gillette, too. Make no mistake about that. If you’re focused on a banner, then you aren’t focused on your job. Ridiculous. But a good call, nevertheless, by the Patriots for taking it down. We’re on to the next one.

— New England now is playing with house money. Did anyone really figure the Patriots would win at Arizona? You hoped, but you didn’t know. Anything short of 4-0 during the TB12-less portion of the schedule will be considered disappointing, right? Be careful with that one.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: U.S. Soccer disappointed after Megan Rapinoe protests anthem before USWNT game

09.16.16 at 7:57 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: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Rhode Island at Harvard, 7 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College football: Baylor at Rice, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Arkansas State at Utah State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Arizona State at Texas-San Antonio, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Bundesliga, Freiburg at Koln, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Chelsea, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe

— Soccer player Megan Rapinoe continued her protest of the national anthem Thursday, but this time she became the first player to refuse to stand while representing the United States.

Rapinoe, who started her protests while playing for the Seattle Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League, kneeled during the anthem prior to the U.S. women’s national team’s 9-0 rout of Thailand. It did not sit well with U.S. Soccer.

“Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer’s National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer,” the governing body said in a statement released during the game. “In front of national and often global audiences, the playing of our national anthem is an opportunity for our Men’s and Women’s National Team players and coaches to reflect upon the liberties and freedom we all appreciate in this country. As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.”

The 31-year-old has not started for the USNWT since tearing her ACL last December, and she remained on the sideline for the start of Thursday’s game. She entered at the start of the second half.

Afterward, Rapinoe defended her decision, saying she “would like to be involved in any way I can.”

“We need to look at all the things the flag and the anthem represent and all the things it means, and is it protecting everybody?” Rapinoe said. “There are people who don’t feel as protected as I do every day. I know it’s a time-honored tradition. Especially in a sports environment, it’s something the country is very passionate about, but there is a bigger conversation here that is more important than sports.”

The U.S. team next hosts the Netherlands on Sunday in Atlanta.

— The Raiders moved one step closer to relocating in Las Vegas, as the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee voted unanimously to recommend $750 million in public funding for a new stadium.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Megan Rapinoe,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Tony La Russa questions Colin Kaepernick’s ‘sincerity’ regarding anthem protest

09.15.16 at 8:10 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: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NFL: Jets at Bills, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network)
College football: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Alcorn State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Houston at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Mystics at Dream, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, AS Saint-Etienne at FSV Mainz, 1 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Manchester United at Feyenoord, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: EUFA Europa, Schalke 04 at OGC Nice, 3 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Women’s exhibition, United States vs. Thailand, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa

— Former major league manager Tony La Russa jumped headfirst into the racial debate that’s gripped the nation, refuting Orioles outfielder Adam Jones’ comment about baseball being a “white man’s sport” and questioning Colin Kaepernick’s “sincerity.”

La Russa spent two years working for Major League Baseball after his retirement from managing, and while he acknowledged there is an issue — only 8 percent of MLB is African-American, according to USA Today — he said attempts have been made to bring the game to the inner city.

“When he says it’s a white, like elitist, kind of sport, I mean, how much wronger can he be? We have tried so hard, the MLB, to expand the black athletes’ opportunity,” La Russa said in an interview on ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard program. “We want the black athletes to pick not basketball or football, but want them to play baseball; they should play baseball. And we’re working to make that happen in the inner cities. We have a lot of Latin players. We have players from the Pacific Rim.”

As for Kaepernick, La Russa said he’s not impressed with the 49ers quarterback’s decision to protest the national anthem.

“I was there in the Bay Area when he first was a star, a real star. I never once saw him do anything but promote himself. And all of a sudden now he’s a second-stringer and he’s got this mission … and I just don’t trust his sincerity,” La Russa said. “And even if he was sincere, there’s ways to express your belief in some of the issues that face blacks around this country without disrespecting the country you live in or the flag that it represents.”

La Russa said he “absolutely would not allow” one of his players to sit during the anthem, forcing him to leave the field until the song ended.

“I would tell [a player who wanted to protest the anthem to] sit inside the clubhouse,” La Russa said. “You’re not going to be out there representing our team and our organization by disrespecting the flag. No, sir, I would not allow it. … If you want to make your statement, you make it in the clubhouse, but not out there. You’re not going to show it that way publicly and disrespectfully.”

— The ACC became the latest organization to pull events from North Carolina due to the state’s law limiting protections for LGBT people, as the Council of Presidents voted to relocate the league’s championships until the law is changed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Colin Kaepernick, tony la russa,

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