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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: NFL VP defends league’s handling of Ray Rice case

07.29.14 at 8:07 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: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Rockies at Cubs, 8 p.m. (WGN)
MLB Pirates at Giants, 10:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Connecticut Sun at Atlanta Dream, noon (NBA TV)
WNBA: Chicago Sky at San Antonio Silver Stars, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Phoenix Mercury, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Champions Cup, Manchester United vs. Inter Milan, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– The NFL has come under heavy criticism for being too light on Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was suspended two games after being arrested for allegedly striking his then-fiancee and knocking her unconscious while they were in an elevator in Atlantic City. On Monday, NFL senior vice president of labor policy Adolpho Birch attempted to explain and defend the league’s ruling.

“The discipline that was taken by the NFL is the only discipline that occurred, with respect to Mr. Rice, in this case,” Birch said in an interview on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike,” referring to Rice’s acceptance into a pretrial intervention program that will allow him to avoid a trial. “I think that, were he not an NFL player, I don’t know that he would be able to receive any punishment from any other source.

“On balance, we reviewed all the materials, listened to the persons we listened to, took the input of the Players Association. When we looked on balance at all of that, we believe that discipline we issued is appropriate. It is multiple games and hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think that’s fair to say that doesn’t reflect that you condone the behavior. I think we can put that to rest.”

MASHUP POLL: Was Ray Rice's two-game suspension fair?

  • He should have received a longer suspension based on the arrest and video (93%, 409 Votes)
  • Two games is reasonable based on the information we have (4%, 19 Votes)
  • He should not have been suspended at all, as he was not convicted of anything (3%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 438

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Rice reportedly will accept the two-game suspension and three-game fine that goes along with it, and Birch insists the penalty sends a strong message to other players.

“Listen, I think if you are any player and you think that based on this decision that it’s OK to go out and commit that kind of conduct, I think that is something that I would suggest to you that no player is going to go out and do that,” Birch said. “So in terms of sending a message about what the league stands for, we’ve done that. We can talk about the degree of discipline, we can talk about whether or not third parties need to be involved. I would suggest to you that a third party has been involved in this matter and that was the court that reviewed it, the prosecutor that reviewed it.

“But if it is a question about what the principle of the league is and what standards we stand by, that cannot be questioned. I think it is absolutely clear to all involved that the NFL does not condone domestic violence in any way and will not tolerate it in our league. I don’t know how you can reach a conclusion other than that although I certainly respect the opinion.”

– Meanwhile, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith apologized Monday for his comments regarding the Rice situation, calling them “the most egregious of my career” during a taped segment on “First Take.”

“My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent; it is not what I was trying to say. Yet the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders,” Smith said.

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Read More: P.J. Tucker, Ray Rice, Stephen A. Smith,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees fan finds, returns Red Sox World Series ring

07.28.14 at 7:54 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: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Padres at Braves, 12:10  p.m. (MLB Network)
MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Seattle Sounders, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Indiana Fever at Los Angeles Sparks, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)

AROUND THE WEB:

– A Red Sox 2013 World Series ring is back with its owner thanks to a Yankees fan who found it in his New York restaurant.

Drew Weber, a New York businessman who owns the Lowell Spinners, took the ring on a rare outing and left it on the sink of the bathroom at Luke’s Bar and Grill on Thursday night.

Luigi Militello, who owns the Manhattan establishment, found the ring.

“I was like, ‘Geez, it’s big. Who would leave this here?’ ” Militello told The Associated Press. “I’m a big Yankee fan. What are the chances of this happening?”

Weber called the restaurant after realizing he couldn’t find his keepsake.

“I went looking around my apartment and started having palpitations. Sweat was pouring off my forehead,” he said. “I’m looking at my finger and it’s not there.”

After some teasing followed by some baseball talk, Militello insisted he did not want a reward for finding the ring. However, Weber and the Red Sox will host him for the regular-season finale at Fenway on Sept. 28 — which is against the Yankees and is Derek Jeter‘s last scheduled game. Weber also will make a donation to a charity Militello chose.

– Jets cornerback Dee Milliner has only one year of NFL experience, but he’s showing that he’s an old pro when it comes to acting like a Jet.

Despite being benched multiple times last season before being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month, Milliner claims he’s the best in the league at his position.

“The best corner in the league? Me,” Milliner told the New York Daily News. “I ain’t gonna say that somebody else is better than me.”

Added Milliner: “I’m not going to say somebody that plays the same position is better than me. Don’t care if they’ve been in the league 10 years and I’ve been here five months. That’s how it’s going to go. I’m the best. I’m not going to say that another man that plays the same position … and say he’s better than me? I can’t do that.”

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Read More: Dee Milliner, Rex Ryan, Vincenzo Nibali,

Cavaliers sign Andrew Wiggins; can’t trade No. 1 pick for 30 days

07.25.14 at 9:28 am ET
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Kevin Love won’t be going to Cleveland — for at least another 30 days.

The Cavaliers signed No. 1 overall picked Andrew Wiggins on Thursday, meaning he can’t be traded for at least 30 days.

Wiggins has been linked to trades talks with the Timberwolves involving Love, but he can’t0 officially be moved until at least late August.

Restrictions have been placed on newly signed rookies dating back to the 1998-99 collective bargaining agreement as a way to prevent teams from circumventing salary cap rules. At the time, rookies were included with all free agents in a rule that prevents any newly signed player from being traded for three months of before Dec. 15 of the next season.

Rookie contracts were separated into a different category when it was modified in the 2005 CBA, creating the 30-day timeline between singing and trading a player.

 

Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Love,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Vikings assistant Mike Priefer apologizes for homophobic taunting, accepts suspension

07.25.14 at 8:19 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: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Cubs, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Blue Jays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Tulsa Shock at Washington Mystics, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer, who was suspended three games by the team for taunting former punter Chris Kluwe with homophobic language, met the media Thursday and acknowledged his poor judgment.

“In this situation, with my comment, I’ve failed,” Priefer said. “I didn’t just go below the bar. I went way below the bar. I made a mistake. I was wrong. I brought a lot of undue attention to the Minnesota Vikings organization and brought an unwanted distraction, and I apologize.”

Added Priefer: “I learned a hard lesson. I’ve got to be sensitive to other people in what I say, and that’s not going to happen again.”

General manager Rick Spielman said the suspension will begin at the start of the regular season, and Priefer won’t be allowed at team headquarters until it’s been served. Despite the fact that Priefer initially lied about having made the offensive remark, Spielman spoke highly of the coach.

“I can’t tell you how much I respect him, not only as a family man and as a person but also as a football coach,” the GM said. “He’s made a mistake and he owned up to that mistake and he’s going to serve his suspension and then we’re going to move on.”

MASHUP POLL: Was Mike Priefer's punishment for taunting a player with homophobic language fair?

  • Yes, a three-game suspension is reasonable (63%, 73 Votes)
  • No, he should have been fired (32%, 37 Votes)
  • No, he should have been suspended the entire season (5%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 115

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Kluwe said earlier this week he plans to sue the Vikings, but his attorney has held off while talking with the team about a settlement.

– Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III avoided commenting directly about former coach Mike Shanahan, but his words Thursday made it clear he’s in a better place with new coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay.

“You don’t go from the ability to read defenses one year and not have that ability the next, so I don’t believe that one bit,” Griffin said. “And it’s really just a good thing to have two coaches who believe in you. Sean and Jay have done a great job. They’ve given me a lot on my shoulders in that quarterback room, and I cherish that. You want to be asked to do more — or just to do the bare minimum as a quarterback.”

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Read More: Chris Kluwe, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Priefer, Robert Griffin III

Browns WR Josh Gordon reportedly will appeal yearlong suspension

07.24.14 at 2:25 pm ET
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Suspended Browns wideout Josh Gordon isn’t going down without a fight.

The Pro Bowl receiver will appeal the yearlong suspension levied against him during a meeting with NFL executives Aug. 1, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

ESPN reported in May that Gordon was dealing with the suspension due to failing a drug test in the previous months. The 23-year-old receiver’s situation only got worse when he was arrested and charged with DWI in North Carolina earlier this month.

“It is concerning and you want to address it, but until we know where he stands with the league we don’t know really where he stands with us,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said Monday. “I’ve stated before that we’ve had the meetings, we’ve discussed all the options, from the best case to the worst case. And we’re still in that mode of waiting.”

Gordon was one of most dynamic players in the NFL last season, leading the league in receiving yards (1,646) while becoming the only player in history to record consecutive 200-yard receiving games.

Read More: Browns, Josh Gordon, Mike Pettine,

Ravens CB Aaron Ross to miss entire season with torn Achilles

07.24.14 at 1:47 pm ET
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Ravens cornerback Aaron Ross‘€™ season was over before it could ever really start.

The 31-year-old tore his Achilles tendon while taking part in Baltimore’€™s conditioning test Thursday and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Ross, who won two Super Bowls with the Giants, signed a deal with the Ravens last month and was expected to compete for the team’€™s nickel corner spot during camp.

In seven NFL seasons, Ross has recorded 250 total tackles, 11 interceptions and 41 passes defended. He was selected by the Giants in the first round (20th overall) of the 2007 NFL draft out of the University of Texas.

Read More: Aaron Ross, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants,

Report: Ravens RB Ray Rice suspended 2 games

07.24.14 at 1:39 pm ET
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The NFL finally has come down with a decision on Ravens running back Ray Rice, suspending him for the first two games of regular season due to his offseason arrest on an assault charge, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Sources told Schefter that the suspension — which likely will be announced by the league Thursday — will begin Aug. 30 and will last until Sept. 12, the day after Baltimore plays the Steelers in the second game of the season. Rice will be fined $58,000 dollars and will be asked to take part in counseling.

This past February, Rice allegedly hit his then-fiancee while in an elevator at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. TMZ later acquired video that shows Rice lifting his unconscious fiancee out of the elevator — a video that Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome admitted “doesn’t look good.”

Rice later pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and was able to avoid a trial by agreeing to enter a pretrial intervention program in May.

It’s been a turbulent last few months for Baltimore, as Rice was one of five players on the Ravens roster to be arrested during the offseason.

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Ravens, Ray Rice,

Suspended Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon arrested for marijuana possession

07.24.14 at 1:15 pm ET
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Just two years ago, Justin Blackmon was chosen by the Jaguars with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft after a stellar career at Oklahoma State.

Now, the talented wideout may be out of the league after playing in just 20 games.

Blackmon, already suspended for at least a year after violating the league’s drug policy, was arrested Wednesday evening in Oklahoma for possession of marijuana.

After Blackmon’s car was stopped by police after a traffic violation, he admitted to officers that he smoked “a blunt” while driving and had another in his car.

This is the latest in a long string of drug incidents with Blackmon. The 24-year-old receiver missed the first four games of the 2013 season after violating the league’s drug policy. He would only play four games with Jacksonville before again infringing on the league’s drug program, this time being suspended for at least a year.

“This is no longer a football issue,” said Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny. “As his teammates, you hope he can do everything he can to get his life squared away. We feel for him and we obviously want the best for him because he’s a good kid at heart. We want the best for him. We hope that he can come out of this. … He’s a good guy. He’s fighting through some things now and hopefully he’s able to fix that and get his life back on the right.”

Despite Blackmon’s uncertain future in the NFL, the Jaguars have remained hesitant to cut the promising receiver.

“I know our policy right now, I believe, is it’s not putting us in a difficult situation having him still be part of our organization in this capacity,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Thursday. “It’s really hard by not having conversations with him. I really don’t know how he’s doing, where he’s at. And then when we receive news like this, it creates more discussion. So I’m sure those will be conversation we’ll have [about] the direction we’ll go.”

Read More: Jaguars, Justin Blackmon, Paul Posluszny,

WR Roddy White signs 4-year extension with Falcons

07.24.14 at 12:45 pm ET
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One of Matt Ryan‘€™s favorite weapons will be running routes in the Georgia Dome for the foreseeable future, as the Falcons signed receiver Roddy White to a four-year contract extension Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team.

White, who holds Atlanta’s franchise records in both receptions (685) and receiving yards (9,436), should once again be a vital cog in the Falcons offense, especially with the retirement of tight end Tony Gonzalez and the questionable status of injury-prone wideout Julio Jones.

Despite missing three games last season with ankle and hamstring injuries, White had another productive campaign, finishing the year with 63 receptions and 711 yards. White finished the 2013 season on a high note, catching 43 balls for 502 yards and two touchdowns over his final five games.

Read More: Falcons, Roddy white,

Chiefs, RB Jamaal Charles agree to extension

07.24.14 at 12:39 pm ET
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Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was one of the most dynamic playmakers in the AFC last season, and he’s finally going to be paid like one.

The Chiefs announced Wednesday night that they have signed the Pro Bowler to a contract extension. While Kansas City did not disclose terms of the deal, a source told The Associated Press that the extension is expected to run through the 2017 season.

“Jamaal is an elite player in the National Football League,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said said in a statement released by the team. “It was important for us to keep him here in Kansas City long-term.”

Charles, who gained 1,980 total yards and scored a league-high 19 touchdown last season, was expected to holdout from attending Kansas City’€™s mandatory training camp before reaching the deal.

Charles took to Twitter to announce his return, as he participated in the team’€™s first practice Thursday.

Read More: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs,