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Joe Maddon quits as Rays manager

10.24.14 at 12:38 pm ET
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df Joe Maddon will not return as manager of the Rays after nine seasons in Tampa. Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and is leaving the team immediately.

“We tried diligently and aggressively to sign Joe to a third contract extension prior to his decision,” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement after ESPN’s Buster Olney broke the story. “As of yesterday afternoon, Joe enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball. He will not be managing the Rays in 2015.”

Maddon, a two-time American League Manager of the Year, compiled a 754-705 record with the Rays. He previously managed parts of two seasons with the Angels.

Earlier this month, the Rays lost a key front office piece as executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman left to become a senior adviser to Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten. Friedman had been with the Rays for 10 years.

Read More: Joe Maddon,

Golfer Ian Poulter calls PGA President of America’s sexist comments ‘shocking’

10.24.14 at 11:15 am ET
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Not everyone was pleased with golfer Ian Poulter‘€™s latest negative comments of fellow PGA members.

In the British golfer’€™s new book “No Limits,” which was released last week, Poulter criticized both Tom Watson and Nick Faldo. Watson captained the United States team during this year’€™s Ryder Cup loss to the European squad. Eight major wins and a 10-3-1 career record in Ryder Cup play wasn’t enough to keep Watson away from the criticism.

Faldo, who has won six majors during his career, also came under fire for his poor performance as Europe’€™s captain during a 2008 loss at the Ryder Cup.

PGA President of America Ted Bishop took exception to Poulter’€™s comments, and he used to social media to call out the golfer’€™s recent book.

Tweeted Bishop: Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl.

Soon after he tweeted this and posted another critical thought on Facebook, Bishop called his own actions “inappropriate,” and he then deleted the tweet.

Poutler said he was more than displeased about the comments, especially since they came from a place of authority in the golf world.

“Is being called a ‘lil girl’ meant to be derogatory or a put-down?” Poulter said in a statement to Golf Channel. “That’s pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America.”

Read More: Ian Poulter, Nick Faldo, Ted Bishop, Tom Watson

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Syracuse reportedly will address NCAA allegations next week

10.24.14 at 8:07 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:
World Series: Royals at Giants, 8 p.m. (Fox, WEEI-FM)
College football: South Florida at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Troy at South Alabama, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: BYU at Boise State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Oregon at California, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College hockey: Michigan at UMass-Lowell, 7:15 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Colorado at Boston College, 7:30 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
MLS: Dynamo at Fire, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s CONCACAF semifinal, United States vs. Mexico, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— According to reports out of Syracuse, the school will address accusations of major rules violations in a hearing with the NCAA next week.

There have been reports for almost two years that the men’s basketball team was under investigation, with part of that centering on the academic record of Fab Melo, who was suspended in 2012. Newer reports indicate there are concerns surrounding the football team as well.

That’s news to coach Doug Marrone, who coached the Orange from 2009-12 and now is in his second season in the NFL as coach of the Bills.

“There’s nothing that I know about that we did that wasn’t either punished or put forth,” Marrone told Syracuse.com. “One thing I did, if we made a mistake, an incidental contact or something, I just always reported it. It’s not worth it. This way I can sleep at night.”

MASHUP POLL: Will Syracuse be punished for NCAA rules violations?

  • Yes, the basketball team finally will be exposed for cheating (68%, 54 Votes)
  • No, this is just another report that will prove to be minor (32%, 26 Votes)

Total Voters: 80

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Since the investigation began, Syracuse restructured the athletic department’s academic services department, which included at least three employees changing jobs.

According to an ESPN story, the issues with Jim Boeheim’s basketball team include extra benefits, and the allegations date back about 10 years and are as current as 2013.

“There were things going on consistently [with the men’s basketball program] for a long time,” a source told ESPN.

— Lakers president Jeanie Buss came to the defense of Kobe Bryant, saying she did not agree with the ESPN The Magazine feature that indicated top free agents do not want to play alongside the aging star.

“Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser, and I’m glad they wouldn’t come to the team,” Buss said Thursday.

Added Buss: “I read the story. I don’t agree with any of it. If there is somebody that’s on our payroll who is saying things like that, I’ll soon get to the bottom of it, and they won’t be working for us anymore.”

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Read More: Jeanie Buss, kobe bryant, Steve Nash, syracuse

Paul Pierce: ‘Little disappointed’ not to be playing for Nets

10.23.14 at 11:34 am ET
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After spending his first 15 seasons in the NBA with the Celtics, Paul Pierce now will be playing for his second team in as many years.

When the Nets didn’t re-sign him this past offseason, Pierce signed with the Wizards. Planning on re-signing with the Nets, Pierce realized that things were starting to go the other direction when coach Jason Kidd took the same job with the Bucks.

“I definitely didn’t see all that coming,” Pierce told reporters following a morning shootaround at the Garden before a preseason game with the Knicks on Wednesday, per the New York Daily News. “I think it all started probably with Jason leaving, it’s kind of like a domino from there. I was a little disappointed, because I thought I was going to come back there and Jason was one of the main reasons I came to Brooklyn, him and Kevin [Garnett].”

Pierce, 37, said he didn’t see any of this coming.

“It just happened so fast,” Pierce said. “I had a chance to talk to [Kidd] and he has his reasons, the way things went down. But like I said, the business — you’ve got to understand the business aspect of it. He moved on. The Nets moved on and people went their different directions. You see that a lot in this business.”

“I understand it’s a business,” he added. “I was a little surprised, but you’ve got to be ready for the business side of it and understand that part. So it didn’t shock me. No hard feelings, I understand their situation, they understand mine, and both parties moved on.”

Read More: Paul Pierce,

Report: Roger Goodell told to testify in Ray Rice suspension appeal

10.23.14 at 11:12 am ET
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Former Ravens running back Ray Rice will be appealing his indefinite suspension from the NFL, and according to an Associated Press report, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be forced to testify.

The commissioner was unsure he would actually testify, saying he would leave the decision to former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who is hearing the appeal.

“We will continue to respect Judge Jones’ confidentiality order regarding this proceeding,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the AP.

NFL lawyers have argued Goodell shouldn’t have to testify and instead there should be testimony from Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, and Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president for labor policy — both of whom were present when Rice met with Goodell to hear his side of the story from Rice’s incident when he hit his then-fiancee in an elevator.

Goodell originally suspended the running back for two games, but then after the video was released publicly the suspension was made indefinite. Goodell has said Rice’s description was “ambiguous,” while Rice’s side has said he gave exact details.

The AP also says the hearing will be held Nov. 5 and 6.

Read More: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NHL players voice support for Ottawa after attack at Parliament building

10.23.14 at 8:09 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: Islanders at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NFL: Chargers at Broncos, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
College football: UConn at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Miami at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Everton at Lille, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Tripoli at Tottenham, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

NHL players and teams expressed their thoughts and support for Ottawa after Wednesday’s terrorist attack on the Parliament building in Canada’s capital.

Wednesday night’s game between the Senators and Maple Leafs in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata was postponed following the shooting, which left a soldier and the suspect dead.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by today’s tragic events on Parliament Hill and in downtown Ottawa,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Our collective thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims as well as with all members of Parliament and staff who have had to manage through today’s difficult circumstances.

“Hockey is certainly secondary to these types of tragic events and we know our fans stand alongside us with the league’s decision to postpone tonight’s game.”

The Maple Leafs were staying at a hotel near where the violence took place. According to reports, a man walked up to a soldier standing guard at a war memorial and shot him dead, then walked inside Parliament, where more shots were fired before he was killed.

Tweeted Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul at the time: Surreal scene outside of our hotel right now. Lot of very brave police officers we should all be very proud of.

Said the Maple Leafs in a statement: “We have been witness today to some terrible events but are thankful to those brave men and women for their tireless service in protecting everyone’s safety.”

The Senators, who were supposed to play the Bruins on the day of the Boston Marathon attacks in April 2013 (that game was postponed), next play at home Saturday against the Devils.

Tweeted Senators defenseman Chris Phillips: Heartfelt thanks to all first responders for putting their safety on the line for ours. OttawaStrong.

Before Wednesday’s Penguins-Flyers game in Pittsburgh, fans sang the Canadian national anthem out of respect.

— Jets coach Rex Ryan is enduring a miserable season at 1-6, but he definitely hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

Ryan walked in on the New York media’s conference call with Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins on Tuesday, en route to his daily press conference, and he decided to pose as a reporter and ask Watkins a question in advance of the teams’ game Sunday.

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Read More: Bryan Stow, Darrelle Revis, Rex Ryan, Sammy Watkins

Kobe Bryant not worried about critical ESPN article: ‘It’s not the first one’

10.22.14 at 11:11 am ET
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Lakers star Kobe Bryant has faced enough criticism through his years that he’€™s used to it by now.

After a recent article in ESPN The Magazine said Bryant’€™s play over the last few years is a big factor in Los Angeles’€™ decline, the 19-year veteran just let it slide. Bryant said that so many different stories always come out that it’€™s impossible to dwell on just one.

“It’s not the first one and it won’t be the last one,” Bryant said Tuesday night after a preseason loss to the Suns. “One thing I’ve come to understand over the years is that you’ll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it’s the end of the world and it seems like everybody’s taking shots at you. But time goes by and then you look back on it and it was just a Monday.”

A year after the team finished seventh in the Western Conference and barely clinched a playoff spot, the 2013-14 Lakers missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2005. Times have been difficult for Los Angeles in recent years, and the critics have been tougher on the team and Bryant in particular.

Bryant said he isn’t concerned with the magazine article, instead looking toward winning and getting back into form.

“Stay focused on the bigger picture and things are never as bleak as they seem at the time,” Bryant said. “I just kind of roll with it.”

Read More: kobe bryant,

Judge to rule if Roger Goodell should speak during Ray Rice proceedings

10.22.14 at 10:59 am ET
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An arbiter in the Ray Rice case is closing in on a decision if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should have to testify is the running back’€™s hearing.

The proceedings, which are set for Nov. 5 and 6 according to some close to the case, will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones. She will have the final say if Rice’€™s suspension should be rescinded. Union officials believe having Goodell is a key part of the process, saying he should be included in the hearing.

The union is appealing the NFL’€™s suspension of Rice, indicating it punishes him two times for the same crime. Earlier this year, Goodell suspended Rice for two games for hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator.

Once a video inside of the elevator became public in early September, Goodell changed the suspension from two games to an indefinite suspension, citing the league’€™s personal conduct policy. Following the suspension, the Ravens released Rice from his contract.

Read More: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: After being cut by Cowboys, Michael Sam wants to ‘prove that I can play every Sunday’

10.22.14 at 8:07 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:
World Series: Giants at Royals, 8 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-FM)
NBA preseason: Nets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Cavaliers at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA preseason: Suns at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Flyers at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Real Madrid at Liverpool, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Openly gay linebacker/defensive end Michael Sam expressed his appreciation for his opportunity with the Cowboys after the team released him from its practice squad Tuesday.

Sam had been on Dallas’ practice squad for seven weeks after being released at the end of the preseason by the Rams, who had drafted him in the seventh round.

“I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates and fans for their support,” Sam wrote in a series of tweets. “While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday.”

The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Missouri, Sam had three sacks in the preseason but has not yet found his way onto a 53-man roster.

MASHUP POLL: Should the Patriots consider signing Michael Sam?

  • Yes, they need help with the pass rush and he can help (50%, 117 Votes)
  • No, he's not good enough to be worth the distraction (50%, 116 Votes)

Total Voters: 233

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After initially making headlines when he returned to his home state to join the Cowboys, Sam has not appeared in the news much since.

“Comes to work every day and practices hard,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said last week. “One of 10 practice roster guys that we have, so he’s working on his skills, trying to develop, but also doing a lot of other things. Playing offense, defense, playing the kicking game. That’s what a lot of those guys do.”

— The Panthers were sure Luke Keuchly’s ejection from Sunday’s game was wrong, and now the league has backed up the team.

The NFL on Tuesday told Panthers coach Ron Rivera that Keuchly should not have been ejected and will not be fined for making inadvertent contact with an official. Rivera had said there was “zero chance” Keuchly would be fined.

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Read More: Luke Keuchly, Michael Sam,

Video: Croatian boxer brutally attacks referee

10.21.14 at 12:14 pm ET
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There was a shocking scene at the European Youth Boxing Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, as light heavyweight Vido Loncar attacked the referee after losing his bout.

As the referee called the fighters together, Loncar, furious that the referee had stopped the fight, unleashed a hard right directly to the official’s face, knocking him to the canvas.

As stunned Lithuanian opponent Algirdas Baniulis scampered away, Loncar continued to hit the fallen official until two men from outside the ring reached through the ropes and grabbed the fighter, dragging him out of the ring.

Read More: Vido Loncar,