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Thinking Out Loud: Ryan Gomes shines in D-League, waiting for chance to return to NBA

04.15.16 at 5:28 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if I’m really too old to hunt for Easter eggs.

— The good news? Former Friar All-American Bryce Cotton did, indeed, sign a contract for the remainder of the regular season with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies under the league’s hardship rules. The bad news? It was a short-term deal, good only for the two regular-season games the Grizz had left on their schedule. He’s not eligible for the playoffs.

— Another former Friar who should be eligible for someone — Ryan Gomes. Gomes was named the NBA D-League’s Impact Player of the Year, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 31 games for the Los Angeles D-Fenders. He shot 37 percent from 3, too, at age 33 competing against guys 10 years his junior.

— Susan Robinson-Fruchtl resigned this week as women’s basketball coach at Providence after four seasons to accept the athletic director position at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. A former Wade Trophy winner as the top women’s player in the country while at Penn State, she never found the magic at PC she may have once had on the floor as a player, or as a one-time coach at Saint Francis.

— It will be tough for her replacement to find the magic, too, considering the athletic success other teams at PC have had — and still are having.

— Like the men’s hockey team, which had sophomore defenseman Jake Walman named this week as a first team All-American, and senior forward Mark Jankowski earningsecond-team A-A honors. Walman becomes the first Friar since Chris Terreri and Tim Army in 1985 to earn first-team All-America accolades.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: NFL Network accidentally leaked Patriots schedule

04.15.16 at 8:06 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:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rockies at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Lightning, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Predators at Ducks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Pats schedule tweet 4-14-16— One month after a controversy ensued when the NCAA Tournament bracket was leaked early on Twitter, NFL Network accidentally had its own snafu, allowing fans to see the Patriots’ schedule about an hour prior to the unveiling of the entire league slate.

While showing the studio as hosts prepared for the schedule release show, the network displayed a monitor on which the Pats’ schedule could be seen clearly.

Fans jumped on the mistake and tweeted out screen shots of the schedule, which begins with the Patriots visiting the Cardinals in a Week 1 matchup that will kick off Sunday Night Football.

The NCAA Tournament leak was more nefarious, as someone tweeted the entire bracket midway through CBS’ exclusive release show.

“We go through great lengths to prevent the tournament field from being revealed early, and the NCAA took its usual measures to protect this from happening. Unfortunately and regrettably, the bracket was revealed prior to our broadcast partners’ having the opportunity to finish unveiling it,” the NCAA said at the time. “We take this matter seriously, and we are looking into it.”

— The Rams, who sent a package of draft picks to the Titans to acquire the No. 1 pick, reportedly are leaning toward selected California quarterback Jared Goff but will consider North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter credits a source as saying the team made the deal now to give it two weeks to decide.

“You can make a convincing case for both,” the source said. “Both are going to be good.”

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Retiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant nets 60 in finale, pays tribute to fans

04.14.16 at 7:42 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 playoffs: Flyers at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Panthers, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Wild at Stars, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (CNBC)
MLB: Tigers at Pirates, 12:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A miserable season ended on a positive note for retiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant, as he scored 60 points and helped his team to a rare victory — and a 15-point comeback at that.

Bryant started slow but heated up late, scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining as Los Angeles posted a 101-96 victory over the Jazz.

“The perfect ending would have been a championship,” Bryant said. “But tonight was [me] trying to go out, play hard and try to put on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time.”

With his teammates feeding him the ball as often as possible, Bryant took a career-high 50 shots in 42 minutes and finished with the fifth-highest-scoring game of his career.

“It just didn’t surprise me, the way he would go out,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Sixty points wasn’t a surprise. I knew he had it in him.”

After the game — the Lakers’ 17th win of the season, the team’s worst record in franchise history, his teammates sprayed him with champagne in the locker room. Bryant said he didn’t care for that, saying: “That’s only for championships.”

Bryant, just the fifth player to play 20 NBA seasons and the first to do it all with one team, thanked the fans in a ceremony after the game.

“I think the most important part is that we all stayed together throughout,” Bryant told the crowd. “You’ll always be in my heart, and I sincerely, sincerely appreciate it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys.”

— Johnny Manziel’s behavior is so bad that even Drew Rosenhaus is fed up with him.

The controversial agent told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he gave Manziel an ultimatum: Get help or get a new agent.

“I have terminated the standard representation with Johnny Manziel in the hopes of helping him get the treatment I believe he needs,” said Rosenhaus, who is Manziel’s second agent this offseason. “I have informed him that if he takes the immediate steps I have outlined for him that I will rescind the termination and continue to represent him. Otherwise the termination will become permanent. There is a five-day window for me to rescind the termination. I’m hoping he takes the necessary steps to get his life back on track.”

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Read More: George Karl, Johnny Manziel, kobe bryant,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Police reveal more information about Will Smith shooting

04.13.16 at 8:19 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN2; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Marlins at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Heat at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN)
NBA: Grizzlies at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Jazz at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Lightning, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Penguins, 8 p.m. (USA)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Blues, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— More details have emerged about the shooting death of former Saints star Will Smith, and it appears to help explain the lead-up to the deadly confrontation.

Surveillance video released Tuesday shows showed what appears to be Smith’s Mercedes bumping into a Hummer driven by Cardell Hayes on Saturday night in New Orleans. The Hummer then pulls over, but the Mercedes pulls out and drives away.

Police said Hayes then followed Smith and hit the Mercedes from behind, pushing it into a car in front of it, which was being driven by a companion of Smith.

Smith and Hayes then argued, and Hayes pulled out a gun and shot Smith, also hitting Smith’s wife in the leg.

Police also revealed that they found a loaded gun in Smith’s car, as well as another loaded gun in Hayes’ vehicle. There was no evidence that either of those guns had been fired.

“During the argument, Hayes produced a .45 caliber handgun and opened fire, striking Smith and his wife. No one else was injured in the gunfire,” police said in a statement. “Hayes was on the scene when officers arrived and identified himself as the shooter. Detectives detained and questioned Hayes. Based on the interview and evidence gathered from the scene, detectives arrested Hayes and booked him with second-degree murder. An additional charge for Smith’s wife’s injury is pending further investigation.”

Hayes’ defense attorney, John Fuller, has said that his client will be vindicated, indicating that someone “besides my client” was behaving in a threatening manner.

A hearing has been set for April 28.

Meanwhile, the Saints and Smith’s family announced that there will be a public visitation Friday and a private funeral Saturday.

— A mixed martial arts fighter died two days after a technical knockout in a bout in Dublin, Ireland, organizers announced Tuesday.

Total Extreme Fighting said Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho was sent to the hospital after the fight after being examined by medical personnel at National Stadium. He underwent emergency brain surgery but passed away Monday night.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Troubled QB Johnny Manziel reportedly living with suspended Browns WR Josh Gordon

04.12.16 at 8:20 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: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Royals at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Thunder at Spurs, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Paris Saint-Germain at Manchester City, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Johnny Manziel saga took another twist Monday, as Broncos star Von Miller denied Manziel’s claim that they have been living together while Manziel hopes to land a job in Denver. Instead, reports emerged that Manziel actually has been staying in a Hollywood apartment with suspended Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon — who apparently failed another drug test last month.

Manziel was interviewed by a TMZ reporter outside a Hollywood nightclub over the weekend, and the former Browns quarterback said, “Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller. My brother. I’m living with him right now. We’re getting our lives together.”

Responded Miller on an Instagram post: Johnny’s not staying with me but he is my BROTHER! Like I’ve said a thousand times, I got his back no matter what!

Gordon, who was suspended for the entire 2015 season after repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, reportedly had traces of marijuana and a diluting substance in his system when he took a league-administered test in March.

Gordon applied for reinstatement in January. Per league policy, he must prove sustained abstinence during his suspension.

— Montee Ball, the former Broncos running back who briefly joined the Patriots last season, is in trouble again. The former Wisconsin star was arrested in Whitewater, Wisconsin, over the weekend for violating his bail conditions.

Ball had been ordered not to be in a bar or drink alcohol, but he was spotted at the 841 Brewhouse tavern Saturday night. When police caught up with him he was no longer in the bar and he denied drinking, but police detected an odor of alcohol on his breath. Ball refused a breathalyzer or blood test and was taken to jail. He is due back in court Tuesday afternoon.

Ball is facing two domestic violence charges made by two women.

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Read More: Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, Montee Ball, Von Miller

Monday’s Morning Mashup: NFL mourns former Saints DE Will Smith after shooting

04.11.16 at 8:23 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: Orioles at Red Sox, 2:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Tigers, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Brewers at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Marlins at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hornets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Hawks at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Kings at Suns, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Shocked NFL players and executives sent out condolences Sunday after former Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot to death during a confrontation after a minor car crash in New Orleans on Saturday night.

According to police and media reports, the 34-year-old Smith was driving his Mercedes when he was hit from behind by a Hummer H2. Smith exchanged words with the driver and then was shot multiple times in the back. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Smith’s wife, Racquel, was shot in the right leg and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Hummer, 28-year-old Cardell Hayes, stayed at the scene and was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder. He did not enter a plea during a court appearance Sunday.

Hayes’ attorney said his client would plead not guilty, adding that he was “not the aggressor in terms of the behavior that happened after the accident.”

“The senseless acts of violence have to stop,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Traffic accidents should not lead to someone losing their life.”

A first-round pick of the Saints out of Ohio State in 2004, Smith played nine seasons in New Orleans and ranks fourth in team history with 67.5 sacks. He was a Pro Bowler in 2006.

Tweeted Saints coach Sean Payton: Heavy Hearts w the senseless passing of our Team Capt. Will Smith. Pray for his wife’s recovery and their children.

Wrote quarterback Drew Brees: Mourning the loss of a great friend and teammate, Will Smith. Such a senseless tragedy. Please pray for Racquel and their children.

Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, a New Orleans native, indicated that he knew Hayes, who was a star high school football player a decade ago.

Tweeted Mathieu: I know that dude, he been a hating ass coward…. Never knew he’d grow up to be a killer tho…. May you get what you deserve coward.

Mathieu went on to question the influence of rap music, writing: All they have is music to influence them, and if you listen closely to music now a days, it’s brainwashing them to believe drugs and killing.

— Unemployed quarterback Johnny Manziel spent last week in Southern California, and he told a reporter from the gossip website TMZ that he would like to land a job with the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos.

“Great organization,” Manziel said Saturday night during one of his many visits to a West Hollywood nightclub. “Anywhere I get picked up, bro, is a blessing. … Whatever happens, I love [football]. I want to play. That’s the team I want to go to.”

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Johnny Manziel, Von Miller, Will Smith

Thinking Out Loud: Villanova’s thrilling win in NCAA championship game should be boost for basketball

04.08.16 at 5:47 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering how novelist and golf writer Dan Jenkins’ sarcastic wit can be preserved for generations to come.

— Villanova’s national title game finish wasn’t just fun for the fans, terrific for the TV audience or historic for the school. It was good for the game of basketball, and specifically for college basketball. If you missed it, you missed an event — and a finish — for the ages.

— The irony here, however, is that it might have been the best game ever missed, too. Because of Villanova’s blowout win over Oklahoma (and UNC’s pounding of Syracuse) in the semis, overall viewership dropped from a year ago. Still, they were the third- and fourth-most-watched games of this past season on cable TV.

— There was plenty of interest in the stands. More than 75,000 showed up for the semis, which is the second-highest attendance number for a Final Four.

— But was it the best championship game ever? I’m old enough to recall some pretty good ones in my 40-plus years of closely following college hoops, but certainly the Wildcats’ win over North Carolina is every bit as good as N.C. State’s Lorenzo Charles dunking Dereck Whittenburg’s missed jump shot at the buzzer to beat Houston’s famed Phi Slamma Jamma in 1983, or Nova’s shocking 66-64 win over Georgetown two years later.

— What does the win mean for the Big East? It’s hard to quantify, exactly. Respect already should have been there, having been earned over the previous 36 years of on-court play. But relevance in today’s football-crazed world? Now you’re onto something. Eight national crowns in 37 seasons means you’re doing something right for the sport, and the schools involved are also doing things the right way — for them. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

— Villanova coach Jay Wright also pointed out this past week: “I just hope the Power Five sees a value in us as a part of all of this in basketball. We want to keep up with the Power Five. We want to do everything they’re doing, just do it in basketball. I hope this gives us a place at the table because basketball is really important to all these schools.” Amen. And just sayin’.

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Report: Jets LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson will retire

04.08.16 at 10:41 am ET
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D'Brickashaw Ferguson

D’Brickashaw Ferguson

According to reports out of New York, longtime Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson will retire Friday.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Ferguson is known for his durability. He did not miss a game — or even a practice — in his 10 seasons with the team, and he never appeared on the injury report. He only missed one offensive snap in his 10 years, which came on a trick play in the final game of the 2008 season when the entire offensive line was subbed out.

Ferguson’s play dropped off last season, and a Jets executive reportedly approached him last week to talk about a potential pay cut as the team attempts to clear up space to sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ferguson has a $14.1 million cap charge for 2016, and his retirement would free up $9 million for a team that had less than $1 million available.

Ferguson’s decision reportedly was not affected by the Jets’ request, as he apparently did not want to play if he could not live up to his high standards. The 32-year-old also has expressed concern about his long-term health.

“He just felt it was time,” a source told ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Read More: D'Brickashaw Ferguson,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos coach Gary Kubiak reportedly spoke with Johnny Manziel, preparing to draft QB

04.08.16 at 8:13 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: Bucks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Grizzlies at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Phillies at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Golf: The Masters, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Gary Kubiak

Gary Kubiak

— The Broncos’ quarterback situation remains muddled, and coach Gary Kubiak added a new wrinkle Thursday when he said Denver is preparing to select a quarterback in the upcoming draft, while rumors spread that Kubiak recently spoke to troubled former Browns QB Johnny Manziel about joining the team.

The Broncos have the 31st pick in the draft later this month, moving up one spot due to the Patriots losing their pick as part of their Deflategate punishment. Kubiak said the draft “is extremely important” as far as the quarterback position is concerned.

“It’s a good group [of QBs] and we’ll do our work on all of them,” Kubiak said, “but hopefully when we come out of the draft we’ll be a better football team at a lot of positions, not just there.”

The Broncos acquired veteran Mark Sanchez after Brock Osweiler defected to Houston last month, and 2015 seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian also is on the Denver roster. The Broncos reportedly were working on a deal to land disgruntled 49ers veteran Colin Kaepernick, but San Francisco apparently is not willing to pay a chunk of his $11.9 million salary to unload him, and Kapernick refused to accept a pay cut next year, leaving the situation on hold.

Kubiak said he does not feel a pressing need to add a veteran.

“I feel good about the two guys that we have,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. You know, you continue to move forward and try to get better, but I’m going to stay focused on Mark and Trevor right now and doing everything I can to get ready for this draft right now, which is extremely important.”

As for the Manziel rumor, The Associated Press reports that it was more of a courtesy call from Kubiak to check up on his fellow former Texas A&M quarterback rather than an attempt to lure him to Denver. However, ESPN credits two sources as saying Kubiak did discuss the possibility of Manziel eventually joining the Broncos, although his legal issues might be a problem. Manziel, who spent 10 weeks in a rehab facility last offseason, is dealing with a domestic abuse allegation that was referred by police to a grand jury in late February.

— Princeton fired lacrosse coach Chris Bates on Wednesday after he elbowed a Brown player during a game Saturday.

Early in the second half, as Brown midfielder John Yozzo-Scaperrotta was running by the Princeton sideline heading for the substitution box, Bates stepped up and pushed the player with his right elbow. Yozzo-Scaperrotta continued to run out of bounds but looked back at the coach in apparent disbelief as Bates walked away.

“Following a University review of an incident in the men’s lacrosse game at Brown on April 2, Chris Bates is no longer employed by Princeton University,” the school said in a statement.

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Read More: Gary Kubiak, Johnny Manziel,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Female ESPN hosts criticize network, Greg Hardy after Adam Schefter interview

04.07.16 at 8:20 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:
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 6:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Twins at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rangers at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Red Wings at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Frozen Four, Boston College vs. Quinnipiac, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College hockey: Frozen Four, Denver vs. North Dakota, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA: Bulls at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Spurs at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Liverpool at Borussia Dortmund, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Golf: The Masters, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— ESPN’s Adam Schefter defended his interview with controversial defensive end Greg Hardy during an appearance with Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday, but he’s not getting much support from some of his female co-workers.

Michelle Beadle, co-host of “SportsNation,” criticized her company for allowing Hardy — convicted of domestic abuse in 2014 — a platform to profess his innocence. Hardy refused to explain how his ex-girlfriend ended up with bruises all over her body, insisting only that he’s “an innocent man.”

“I feel dirty in that this guy has no job right now, and for some reason we’ve decided as a network that we’re going to give him the stage for his redemption tour as he basically goes out and tries to find some employment,” Beadle said Tuesday. “I don’t understand why we’re doing that. If he wants to figure out a way to get his message out there — which by the way, he hasn’t said he did anything wrong, so how a man is supposed to convince anybody he’s changed and yet not admit to actually doing anything? I have no idea. But why we’re giving him the forum to go out there and tell anybody that is where I’m a little bit confused.”

Added Beadle on Twitter: For the love of f&$@. Dude doesn’t admit to wrongdoing. Dude has changed? I give the hell up.

Meanwhile, Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN’s “His & Hers,” focused her criticism on Hardy, who apparently is trying to repair his image as he seeks a new employer.

“Greg Hardy is despicable. And I hope he never wears another NFL uniform again,” she said Tuesday.”And if you choose to sign him I hope you get exactly what the Cowboys got, which is absolutely nothing and little to no return for somebody who honestly has no redeeming value.”

Hill was not swayed by Hardy’s insistence that he’s never laid his hands on a woman.

“For me, to have shown remorse and contrition and at least accountability is an important part of the forgiveness process or, for that matter, showing people that maybe you’re not what we think that you are,” she said. “Greg Hardy time and time again shows us exactly who we all think him to be.”

— Comedian John Oliver’s campaign to embarrass the Yankees continued Wednesday night, when women dressed in shark and unicorn costumes occupied four expensive seats behind home plate during New York’s game against the Astros.

Oliver hatched his plan in response to Yankees COO Lonn Trost saying the team discouraged secondary ticket purchases from StubHub because fans who pay full price for premium seats wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting next to someone “who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”

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Read More: Adam Schefter, Greg Hardy, Jemele Hill, Michelle Beadle