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Maverick Carter on LeBron James’ return to Cleveland: ‘This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart’

07.22.14 at 10:54 am ET
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Maverick Carter, LeBron James‘ business parter, told ESPN.com’s Jason Whitlock in a podcast that neither he or anyone else in James’ inner circle told the superstar to return to the Cavaliers.

“This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart,” Carter told Whitlock. “We didn’t push him to do it. We don’t push him to do anything. If he asks our opinion or what did we think about the pros and the cons, we help him think through it. We don’t push him.”

Said Carter: “LeBron’s a 29-year-old man with lots of money, got a wife, two kids, one on the way. He makes his own decisions. He doesn’t need anyone pushing him any way, and a guy like that, you’re not going to push him either way. We’ll help him think through things and help him see through things, but he makes his own decision in his heart. Because, ultimately, he has to live with it. I’m not the one who has to show up and play games for any team.”

James announced his return to the Cavs on July 11 after four seasons with the Heat. He opted out of his contract with Miami shortly after the loss to the Spurs in the NBA Finals. Carter said he wasn’t sure if James would have returned to the Heat if they had won their third straight title.

“Logic says how could he not,” Carter said. “You’ve got to go for four. But who knows. The decision about Cleveland was bigger than basketball. It was in his heart.”

Carter said James informed Dwyane Wade of his decision before the Sports Illustrated piece was released.

Read More: LeBron James, Maverick Carter,

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says Jameis Winston will not be suspended for shoplifting incident

07.22.14 at 9:56 am ET
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Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday he will not punish quarterback Jameis Winston for the Heisman Trophy winner’s supermarket citation in April.

“Not after we found out the story and what had happened and [what Winston did] was not a malicious thing,” Fisher told reporters at the annual ACC Kickoff. “It was not done with intent.”

Winston was caught shoplifting $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish at a Tallahassee, Florida, store. He was forced to reimburse the store and perform community service. He also was suspended from the baseball team.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office said at the time of the incident it would not speculate whether Winston took the items intentionally.

“People need to realize, when you suspend him in baseball, you understand how important baseball is to him? That cut his heart out,” Fisher said. “If it was done maliciously, we may have done other things. It was a silly mistake and not done with any malicious doing, and you don’t punish a guy twice for the same crime.”

Read More: Jameis Winston,

Browns QB Johnny Manziel has NFL’s top-selling jersey; rookie not expected to be a distraction once camp starts

07.22.14 at 9:43 am ET
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Any questions of Johnny Manziel‘s popularity were put to rest Monday when the NFL announced the rookie quarterback had the league’s top-selling jersey since April 1.

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

Manziel’s No. 2 outsold all other jerseys from April 1 to July 17 on NFLShop.com despite the late start after being drafted May 8. Dick’s Sporting Goods also said Monday said that Manziel’s jersey is its top seller.

Manziel was followed by Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Peyton Manning. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was seventh on the list.

Manziel, of course, is not only popular on the field. He’s been even more recognized this summer for his life off the field.

But that doesn’t concern Browns coach Mike Pettine.

Pettine said Monday that Manziel’s off-field activity will be a “non-story” once training camp starts.

“It’s something that was a hot topic for the offseason just because of who he is,” Pettine said. “It’s a very unique thing. I don’t think he can get a handle on the why. Is his behavior that much different form the average NFL player?”

Read More: Johnny Maziel,

Bills DT Marcell Dareus to enter substance-abuse program

07.22.14 at 9:22 am ET
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Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus

Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus will enter an NFL substance-abuse program in an attempt to have felony drug charges in Alabama dismissed, according to his attorney, Rod Giddens.

Giddens told The Associated Press Monday that Dareus was allowed to enter the program during a hearing in an Alabama courthouse earlier in the day.

Dareus was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia after being stopped by a state trooper May 5.

Dareus’ charges will be dismissed and potentially expunged if he successfully completes the program.

Read More: Marcell Dareus,

Report: Donald Sterling meets with Clippers buyer Steve Ballmer

07.22.14 at 9:10 am ET
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Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling

Clippers owner Donald Sterling met with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Monday afternoon to discuss the imminent $2 billion sale of the team, according to ESPN.com.

The two men reportedly had a “friendly conversation” at Sterling’s Beverly Hills home. It was their first meeting in person since Ballmer negotiated the sale with Shelly Sterling on May 29.

The original agreement called for the sale to close by July 15, with a possible extension to Aug. 15. If a deal still is not finalized by Sept. 15, the NBA has the option to resume termination proceedings and sell the team itself.

Sterling had initially been preparing to file a new suit in state court Monday morning. One potential explanation for his change of heart may be overwhelming debts he needs the money to pay off.

Darren Schield, chief financial officer of Sterling’s properties, said Monday that the owner may be forced to sell a chunk of his real estate empire to cover $500 million in loans if he doesn’t sell the Clippers.

Schield testified Monday that three banks are set to recall loans to Sterling because of his decision to dissolve The Sterling Family Trust.

If Sterling has to sell $500 million worth of apartment buildings it could destabilize the Los Angeles real estate market, according to Schield.

Read More: Donald Sterling, Steve Ballmer,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Tony Dungy’s comments on Michael Sam draw criticism

07.22.14 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NES; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Phillies, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Indiana Fever at Chicago Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– NBC analyst and respected former NFL coach Tony Dungy raised some eyebrows with comments he made about Michael Sam, saying he would not have drafted the openly gay defensive end in order to avoid the distraction.

“I wouldn’t have taken him,” Dungy told the Tampa Bay Tribune of the Rams rookie. “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.

“It’s not going to be totally smooth. … Things will happen.”

Dungy’s stance has raised questions, especially considering he has voiced public support for Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress, both of whom were major distractions due to off-field behavior that landed them in jail. Dungy also backed Tim Tebow.

Dungy also is known for his strong conservative religious beliefs, although he did express support last year for Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay athlete in major professional sports in America when he suited up for the Nets.

MASHUP POLL: Was Tony Dungy out of line to say he would not have drafted Michael Sam?

  • No, he was just being honest and did not cross the line (70%, 392 Votes)
  • Yes, there's clearly bias behind his comments (30%, 166 Votes)

Total Voters: 558

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The comments drew criticism as well as support on the web. Said former Vikings punter and outspoken gay-rights advocate Chris Kluwe:

“When it comes to someone who is a homosexual football player, he’€™s worried that something will happen in the locker room. I mean, no, I think it’€™s cowardly to say that, because it’€™s your job to make sure that nothing happens in the locker room. That’€™s exactly why you’€™re the head coach, in order to take care of something like that.

“And to try and pawn it off and say, ‘Well, I think it’ll be too much of a distraction,’ that really is just an underhanded way of saying, ‘I don’€™t want to deal with a homosexual player on my team and I’€™m going to do whatever possible not to have to deal with that situation.’ ”

The Rams have made it clear they won’t be swayed by opinions like Dungy’s.

“If you’re going to take a leadership position by drafting Michael, you have to expect the good and the bad,” Rams COO Kevin Demoff said. “We’re prepared for it, and I think we’ll shine through it.”

– Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby did not mince words when offering his opinion of the NCAA, saying “cheating pays” and predicting big changes on the horizon that fans of the current set-up will not like.

“You’re going to hate it going forward,” he said. “There’s a lot of change coming.”

Speaking at the league’s media day Monday, Bowlsby said enforcement is “broken,” and athletic programs are taking advantage.

“I think it’s not an understatement to say cheating pays presently,” he said. “If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions. … They’re in a battle with a BB gun in their hand. They’re fighting howitzers.”

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Read More: Bob Bowlsby, Michael Cooper, Michael Sam, Tony Dungy

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Angels mock Mariners closer Fernando Rodney during comeback

07.21.14 at 7:55 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:
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Yankees, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– The American League West rivalry between the Angels and much-improved Mariners is getting a little spicy.

As the Angels mounted a ninth-inning comeback against Mariners All-Star closer Fernando Rodney on Sunday, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout mocked Rodney by mimicking his “bow and arrow” celebration. Rodney, a former Angel (2010-11) had done the celebration after ending the eighth inning, aiming it at the Angels dugout.

“I did that for the fans, because when I came in, they booed me. It’s part of the game,” said Rodney, who leads the AL with 27 saves but failed to protect a 5-4 lead Sunday. “I tried to get the save with five outs. They got me today, but tomorrow’s another day.”

Grant Green hit the game-winning single with the bases loaded and two outs.

“Rodney woke up our dugout,” Green said. “At the time, we were hitting well in the game, but we didn’t have that key hit. He did it at the wrong time with Trout, Pujols and Josh [Hamilton] coming up. You don’t want to get those guys fired up.”

Said Pujols: “That’s his thing. I’ve known Rodney for 15 years, so we go way back. And every time I see him, I tell him I’m going to do that to him if I get a big hit against him.”

MASHUP POLL: Should players be allowed to make taunting gestures on the field?

  • Yes, it's the major leagues, they can do what they want (66%, 290 Votes)
  • No, it's unsportsmanlike and should be penalized (34%, 151 Votes)

Total Voters: 441

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Rodney said he did not see the Angels players’ celebration.

“They did? They got emotional, maybe,” he said. “They beat me. That’s all right. That’s why they did that, I think. I’ll have to check the video.”

– Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko is one player who is not sad to see Jason Kidd leave for the Bucks after one season coaching Brooklyn.

In an interview with Russian daily sports newspaper SovSport, Kirilenko questioned Kidd’s ability to coach in the big city.

“The pressure is huge,” Kirilenko said. “And Kidd couldn’t handle it … or maybe he didn’t want to.”

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Read More: Albert Pujols, Andrei Kirilenko, Fernando Rodney, Jason Kidd

NFL to limit evaluations of underclassmen for draft

07.18.14 at 1:40 pm ET
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The NFL is making new restrictions on the number of underclassmen who can receive evaluations for the draft, allowing just five from a single school.

The league’s College Advisory Committee made this ruling in response to the record 107 underclassmen who applied for this year’s draft, and the 37 who weren’t selected.

Troy Vincent, the league’s head of football operations, said underclassmen will be advised based on their potential to be picked in the first two rounds, or be advised to stay in school.

Steve Greenberg turns down MLB commissioner offer; Joe Torre open to replacing Bud Selig

07.18.14 at 11:31 am ET
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It appears Bud Selig has to move on to Plan B.

The MLB commissioner, who is set to retire from his position in January, reportedly had former deputy commissioner Steve Greenberg in mind as his successor. But the 65-year-old Greenberg, who is the managing director of investment bank Allen & Company, told USA Today he doesn’t plan on taking the job.

“Early on, I told Bud I was not going to be a candidate,” Greenberg said. “I’m sticking to that. I’m comfortable with that. I gave it a try in the early ’90s, and I’m not at a place in my life where it makes sense to me.

“I know what’s involved. It’s a 24/7, 365-day schedule that the commissioner has to keep to do it right. The three years I spent in the commissioner’s office was exhausting.”

Another potential candidate Selig, who has been baseball’s commissioner since 1998, could look to is Joe Torre.

The former Yankees manager and current MLB executive vice president for operations told New York Daily News he’d be open to replacing Selig as commissioner, but isn’t lobbying for the position.

“If the owners feel I can help baseball, I’€™m willing to do whatever they want me to do,” Torre said Thursday.

“I don’€™t envision it; I don’€™t anticipate it. I’€™m certainly not lobbying for it. Tomorrow, I’€™m going to be 74 years old. I want to stay involved.”

Read More: Joe Torre, Steve Greenberg,

Report: Cavs open to including Andrew Wiggins in trade for Kevin Love

07.18.14 at 10:22 am ET
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The Cavaliers will do just about anything to make LeBron James happy, even give up a potential star.

Just hours after Yahoo! Sports reported that James reached out to Kevin Love about joining him in Cleveland, the Cavs are offering No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins in attempts to trade for the Timberwolves forward, according to ESPN.com.

The two teams reportedly have been in trade discussions since James announced his return to Cleveland last Friday. Apparently Wiggins is the key to completing the deal, as Minnesota is reportedly unwilling to send Love to the Cavs without the former Kansas star in return.

New Cavaliers coach David Blatt was firm in his stance after his team’s summer league game Thursday night that the team would not deal Wiggins.

“That’s why they call them rumors,” Blatt said. “Sooner or later, in one’s career, you’re going have to deal with it. So if he has to deal with it now, then so be it. It’s the summer league. He’s learning everything as he goes along.”

The Cavs reportedly are in contract discussions with Wiggins. They would have to wait 30 days before trading the rookie after they sign him.

Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Love,