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Friday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James injures PGA golfer’s wife on fall into courtside seats

12.18.15 at 7:44 am ET
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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.

NHL: Bruins at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Hawks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Clippers at Spurs, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Pelicans at Suns, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Incarnate Word at St. John’s, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Mississippi at Memphis, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College football: Div. 3 championship, St. Thomas (Minn.) vs. Mount Union, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: FCS semifinal, Richmond at North Dakota State, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


— The wife of PGA Tour golfer Jason Day was taken to a hospital after LeBron James fell into her while chasing a loose ball during Thursday night’s game against the Thunder.

Ellie Day, who gave birth to the couple’s second child last month, was seated courtside next to the visitors bench with her husband when the 6-foot-8, 250-pound James reached for a ball and crashed into her, knocking her seat over backward and landing on her. The game was delayed as Day received medical attention before being taken away on a stretcher. She was treated at a nearby hospital and released early Friday morning.

“It wasn’t anything out of the usual besides the injury,” James said. “But to me, obviously her health is very important, and hopefully she’s doing well. The guys told us she’s doing great now. So, but you know, I was going for a loose ball. Just trying to keep the possession going, and I hate that that was the end result of it.”

Tweeted James later: Ellie Day I hope you’re doing okay! My apologies! Hope u guys come back to another game soon. Love LJ!

Ellie Day is a former Ohio State golfer, and the family has a home near Columbus. Her husband, a native of Australia, has attended a few Cavs games this season. Shortly before the accident, Jason Day took part in a promotion in which he golfed foam basketballs into the crowd.

Despite the scare, James said he has no objection to fans sitting so close.

“I think it’s a great experience for our fans,” James said. “I mean, that doesn’t happen much. It’s unfortunate it happened tonight, but that doesn’t happen much. Our fans are why our game is so great. Sitting courtside, it’s all part of the game. It’s pretty cool. If I was a fan, which I am a fan of the game, but, I would love to sit courtside and watch games.”

— Meanwhile, Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert is sidelined after suffering a groin injury in Tuesday night’s game against the Celtics, but that didn’t stop him from helping his fiancee deliver the couple’s daughter Wednesday.

Teyana Taylor went into labor Wednesday morning, and by the time she realized it she could feel the baby’s head, she explained on her Instagram account. Taylor said Shumpert played the role of doctor, helping with the delivery and then using the cord from a pair of headphones to tie off the umbilical cord while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

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Read More: FIFA, Iman Shumpert, Jason Day, LeBron James

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia ‘always going to be recovering’ from alcoholism

12.17.15 at 8:15 am ET
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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.

NFL: Buccaneers at Rams, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Thunder at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Rockets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: West Virginia at Marshall, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)


— Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, speaking to the media Wednesday about his battle with alcoholism while at a charity event at Yankee Stadium, said he’s in the “early stages” of his recovery but optimistic he can continue stay sober with the held of family and friends.

“I’m always going to be recovering,” Sabathia said. “But I have the support of my family, my organization, my team, friends, so I feel pretty good about where I’m at.”

Sabathia left the team on Oct. 5, a day before the Yankees‘ wild card loss to the Astros. While the timing was difficult, Sabathia said he needed to go public with his problem and get immediate help.

“I think that was the biggest thing, is that it’s not a secret anymore,” Sabathia said. “I’m able to get help with different people. I think if people see my personality change or things changing, then they’ll be able to help me.”

Manager Joe Girardi agreed.

“I think that’s important,” Girardi said. “I don’t think anyone wants to carry a weight around. If you’re hiding something it’s difficult to go through life. Hopefully it allows him to be more effective.”

The 35-year-old left-hander, who has two years remaining on his five-year, $122 million contract, appeared lighter than he looked at the end of the season and said he’s been healthy this offseason. He’s coming of his worst career year, as he went 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA while battling injuries.

— U.S. women’s soccer legend Abby Wambach was feted as she played her final game — Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to China in New Orleans that ended the Americans’ decade-plus run without a loss on home soil.

“Tonight is a celebration,” Wambach said. “The result, obviously, is annoying. It would be better if we had won, but the reality is I played in so many games. This result doesn’t shape or determine or define my career.”

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Read More: Abby Wambach, Brian McNamee, cc sabathia, Joe Girardi

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: DeMarcus Cousins’ manager ejected after confrontation with Rockets G Jason Terry

12.16.15 at 8:03 am ET
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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.

NHL: Penguins at Bruins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Pistons, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Grizzlies at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Bucks at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Suns at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Kennesaw State at Louisville, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Tulane at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Mississippi State at Florida State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Arizona State at UNLV, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Women, Tennessee at Stanford, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Women’s exhibition, China at United States, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)


— There long has been speculation that the Celtics are interested in acquiring Kings star DeMarcus Cousins, but his behavioral issues make any deal a risk.

On Tuesday, Cousins picked up another technical foul during a 107-97 victory over the Rockets, but his manager upstaged him, earning an ejection for slapping at Jason Terry after the Rockets guard put out his arm to avoid falling into the seats.

Terry was trailing a Kings fast break and ran past the basket, then put out his hand and pushed into Andrew Rogers, who was standing in front of his baseline seat. As Terry started to head back to the court, Rogers slapped his arm away. Terry stopped and took a step toward Rogers before game officials and security stepped in.

Officials reviewed the video and ejected Rogers.

Terry was reluctant to speak about the incident, insisting he “didn’t hear anything or see anything,” but his coach defended him.

“One of those guys put their hands on Jason Terry,” J.B. Bickerstaff said. “If they don’t want Jet to react … then you need to get those guys out of here. Just because players are on the court, it doesn’t give the fans the right to say things and put their hands on them. … They pay for their tickets but they can’t put their hands on players when they step on the court.”

Cousins said he “didn’t want the situation to escalate too far,” but said it shows his manager’s loyalty.

“It just shows I’ve got some ride or dies,” he said.

— Pete Rose, speaking one day after commissioner Rob Manfred announced he would not lift Rose’s suspension from baseball, insists he is a changed person and remains hopeful he will someday find a place in the Hall of Fame.

“All I look forward to being some day is a friend of baseball,” Rose said. “I want baseball and Pete Rose to be friends. I want to say I’m not an outsider looking in. I have grandkids, and they want their grandpa to be associated with baseball.”

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Read More: DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Terry, Pete Rose, Sepp Blatter

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Donald Trump calls Pete Rose’s rejection for reinstatement ‘ridiculous’

12.15.15 at 8:01 am ET
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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.

NBA: Cavaliers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nuggets at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Rockets at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Georgia Southern at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Norfolk State at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Monmouth at Georgetown, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Longwood at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: VCU at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: DePaul at Stanford, 10 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Avalanche at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


Pete Rose

Pete Rose

— Exiled baseball legend Pete Rose was denied reinstatement by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, and that’s not sitting well with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Manfred said the fact that Rose continues to bet on baseball and other professional sports shows he has not learned from his mistakes. The commissioner also cited additional information implying that Rose bet on games in 1986, while Rose still was playing. Rose previously only has admitted betting on games while managing the Reds,, and Manfred said in a private meeting Rose continued to fail to be forthcoming about his gambling issues.

That apparently doesn’t matter to Trump, who weighed in Monday with this tweet: Can’t believe Major League Baseball just rejected @PeteRose_14 for the Hall of Fame. He’s paid the price. So ridiculous – let him in!

Former commissioner Fay Vincent said Rose’s case is a sad one. The 17-time All-Star is baseball’s all-time hits leader but has been banned since 1989.

“I think he is a tragic figure,” Vincent said. “He believed he was a great ballplayer, that he could do anything he wanted and that baseball would never have the guts to throw him out.”

— Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer might miss Sunday’s battle for first place in the AFC South as he recovers from a concussion he suffered against the Patriots on Sunday night.

“He took a beating [Sunday],” coach Bill O’Brien said Monday, indicating the former Patriots backup is in the concussion protocol following his second concussion in a month. Hoyer, who was sacked five times Sunday, also has a strained neck and a wrist issue.

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Read More: Brian Hoyer, Donald Trump, Mack Breed, Pete Rose

Commissioner rejects Pete Rose’s request for reinstatement

12.14.15 at 1:28 pm ET
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Pete Rose remains on the outs with Major League Baseball, as Commissioner Rob Manfred denied the all-time hit leader’s request for reinstatement, indicating it’s an unacceptable risk.

In a letter made public Monday, Manfred said Rose has not been completely honest about betting on games during his time as manager of the Reds in the 1980s. Rose denied betting on games for 15 years until admitting his transgression in 2005.

An ESPN report earlier this year offered evidence that suggest Rose bet on games while he was playing as well.

Manfred, in his first year as commissioner, also noted that Rose continues to bet on baseball (legally), despite his questionable past.

“Mr. Rose’s public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted full responsibility for it, or that he understands the damage he has caused,” Manfred said in his decision.

Rose is ineligible for be included on Hall of Fame ballots, but that’s a separate matter from his reinstatement.

“In my view, the considerations that should drive a decision on whether an individual should be allowed to work in Baseball are not the same as those that should drive a decision on Hall of Fame eligibility,” Manfred wrote. “… Any debate over Mr. Rose’s eligibility for the Hall of Fame is one that must take place in a different forum.”

Read More: Pete Rose, Rob Manfred,

Serena Williams named SI Sportsperson of the Year

12.14.15 at 8:45 am ET
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Sports Illustrated Serena Williams 15Tennis star Serena Williams, who captured three Grand Slam titles and won 53 of 56 matches in 2015, was named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, the magazine revealed Monday.

In winning her first such award, Williams was tabbed over NBA MVP Steph Curry, World Cup soccer star Carli Lloyd and horse-racing Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Wrote SI in its announcement: [E]ven amid such a rich collection of finalists, she was a decisive choice. Sports Illustrated honors her dominance in 2015, when she won 53 of her 56 matches, three of the four Grand Slam events and built the most yawning ranking points gap between her and her closest competitor in tennis history. We honor her, too, for a career of excellence, her stranglehold on the game’s No. 1 ranking and her 21 Grand Slam titles, a total that has her on the brink of Steffi Graf’s Open Era Slam record, which Williams will likely eclipse by mid-summer.

But we are honoring Serena Williams too for reasons that hang in the grayer, less comfortable ether, where issues such as race and femininity collide with the games. Race was used as a cudgel against Williams at Indian Wells in 2001, and she returned the blow with a 14-year self-exile from the tournament. She returned to Indian Wells in ’15, a conciliator seeking to raise the level of discourse about hard questions, the hardest ones, really. Williams, S.L. Price writes in his cover story in the Dec. 21 issue, “proffered an open hand. Far past the time that anyone expected it, she demonstrated a capacity for change’€”innovation if you will. She’s groping for answers and realizing she has much to learn.

“She’s determined to make a difference.”

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Bengals QB Andy Dalton hopeful he can return ‘as soon as I can’ after breaking thumb

12.14.15 at 8:01 am ET
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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.

NHL: Oilers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Capitals at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Suns at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NFL: Giants at Dolphins, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: Premier League, Chelsea at Leicester City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


— It appears likely that Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will miss at least the rest of the regular season after breaking his right thumb in Sunday’€™s 33-20 loss to the Steelers, but the quarterback is hopeful that he will return for the playoffs if not sooner.

“It’s unfortunate it happened at this point in the season,” Dalton said. “I’m going to do what I can to get back as soon as I can to help this team. We will kind of see.”

Dalton was hurt making a tackle after throwing an interception deep in Pittsburgh territory in the first quarter.

“When I got to the sideline, I tried to grip the ball,” Dalton said. “Thought maybe it was a little bruise or something I could get through. Then I went and got the X-ray.”

Dalton, who led the league in passer rating heading into the game (107.4), returned from the locker room with a cast on his throwing hand and watched backup A.J. McCarron get his first meaningful NFL action. McCarron threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green but later threw a pick-six, finishing 22-of-32 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions as the Bengals fell to 10-3, a game behind the Patriots.

“It is disappointing especially the way this season has gone,” said Dalton, who will see a specialist Monday. “There is still a lot of football left to be played and I’m going to try to get back as quick as I can.”

— Meanwhile, the Steelers and Bengals had a pregame shoving match before Sunday’s game, and Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth blames the NFL for allowing the situation to become volatile.

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Read More: A.J. McCarron, Andy Dalton, LeSean McCoy, Vontaze Burfict

Thinking Out Loud: PC continues special season despite illness, injury

12.11.15 at 5:15 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering who might be the most-hated referee on the college courts these days?

— The environment inside the Ryan Center for the 126th renewal (or 128th, depending on whether you count exhibitions or not) of PC vs. URI on the basketball floor was as good as it gets for the college game. A great crowd, filled with energy, emotion and just plain loudness. My ears were ringing for two solid hours after the game had ended, and not just because Joe Hassett yelled in the headphones at the end of the game.

— But there was plenty to yell about. Rhody’s performance was outstanding, and the Rams still can be title good this season. They’re pretty good right now. Ben Bentil also is good right now — and more on him in a moment. His tip-in at the buzzer — and I know Rhody fans feel there was a push-off on Jarvis Garrett under the basket — was a great no-call by an officiating crew that really did a solid job on an emotional floor. Let the players play and decide the outcome every time.

— No, Hassett did not tell me to say that about the refs. But they were pretty good — Roger Ayers was a lead official and is as good in stripes as the Big East has.

— As a result of the huge road win, the Friars moved up to 15th in the Associated Press poll, and 18th in the USA Today coaches’ poll. Those are heights not seen around here since the days of Ryan Gomes. Are we witnessing something special with this team? We might be.

— And then, the bubble bursts. Hot-shooting freshman Ryan Fazekas doesn’t suit up against Boston College, out for an undetermined amount of time with mononucleosis. Kris Dunn takes ill on the floor late in the first half against the Eagles (happened right in front of Hassett and myself, unfortunately) and Bentil inadvertently steps on the foot of BC’s Dennis Clifford and turns his ankle.

— Bentil’s injury truly is unfortunate, with his play elevated to national-recognition level over the past couple of weeks. That spotlight has been focused on his improved play, his ability to score inside and outside, and a newly developed talent for being able to stay in games defensively with opposing centers — many of them larger than he is. It’s been fun to watch him play. Hope we get to see him play again, and soon.

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New York orders fantasy operators to shut down in state

12.11.15 at 11:33 am ET
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New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez, supporting an assertion by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that daily fantasy sports are gambling, granted a preliminary injunction to Schneiderman that will stop DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state.

Lawyers for the fantasy sites had argued that participants submitted entry fees rather than wagers, but Mendez did not agree.

“New York State penal law does not refer to ‘wagering’ or ‘betting,’ rather it states that a person, ‘risks something of value,’ ” Mendez wrote in his decision. “The payment of an ‘entry fee’ as high as $10,600 on one or more contests daily could certainly be deemed risking ‘something of value.’ ”

Said Schneiderman in a statement: “We are pleased with the decision, consistent with our view that DraftKings and FanDuel are operating illegal gambling operations in clear violation of New York law. I have said from the beginning that my job is to enforce the law, and that is what happened today.”

The fantasy operators have 30 days to appeal the ruling. They have claimed that their daily fantasy games are based on skill rather than chance.

The companies still can operate outside of New York, but the estimated 600,000 New Yorkers who play on the sites — generating more than $200 million in entry fees this year — will be barred.

Earlier this week the New York Assembly held a hearing on daily fantasy, and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, head of the Committee on Racing and Wagering, said the Legislature likely will legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports, regardless of how Mendez ruled.

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Reporter breaks leg as fans storm court following Iowa State win

12.11.15 at 8:00 am ET
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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.

NBA: Warriors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Heat at Pacers, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Women, Florida State at UConn, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Charleston Southern at Jacksonville State, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


— When fourth-ranked Iowa State completed a comeback from a 20-point deficit to beat rival Iowa on Thursday night, the students stormed the court to celebrate the win.

Longtime Des Moines Register columnist Randy Peterson, on his way to the postgame press conference, apparently got caught in the flood of fans after the 83-82 decision, and he suffered a broken leg in the process. He was taken to the hospital and scheduled to have surgery Friday.

Peterson managed to maintain his sense of humor, tweeting: Ouch.

He later added: Just to be clear, I was not trampled by the crowd, I locked legs with someone,,,,, I think.

The incident is sure to revive the debate about fans storming the court after wins. After an issue following Kansas State’s upset of Kansas last season, the Big 12 passed a measure over the summer that allows the commissioner to punish schools that fail to keep fans from the court.

Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said he was caught up in the moment — and enjoyed it.

“I hate that Randy got hurt. That’s terrible,” Prohm said. “But, my thing, I was trying to go see my wife, to be honest with you. It was a great moment. That’s part of college basketball.”

Added Prohm: “That’s part of college athletics. That’s a great moment. Those college kids … they’ve been camping out here [for tickets] for three days. There’s only probably 10 schools that do that in the country. Give them their 15 or 20 minutes to do that. I thought it was pretty cool. I probably should have enjoyed it more, but I was just thanking God I didn’t have to come to this media session my first year and answer questions on why I lost to Iowa.”

— Here’s your daily update on the LeSean McCoy-Chip Kelly saga: After McCoy said he wouldn’t shake Kelly’s hand when the two meet on the field Sunday in Philadelphia, the Eagles coach continued to take the high road, acknowledging the offseason trade of McCoy to the Bills should have been handled better.

“How he was traded, it wasn’t handled right,” Kelly said Thursday. “I’ve said that before. I did not get an opportunity to talk to him. And it’s a lesson that we should never do.”

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Read More: Chiip Kelly, Dolph Schayes, LeSean McCoy, Randy Peterson