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NFL writer Jason La Canfora tweets he wants Orioles to ‘drill’ Dustin Pedroia ‘hard in the knee’

05.03.17 at 11:40 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia has been at the center of the Red Sox-Orioles feud. (Patrick McDermott/USA TODAY Sports)

Dustin Pedroia has been at the center of the Red Sox-Orioles feud. (Patrick McDermott/USA TODAY Sports)

NFL writer Jason La Canfora really, really wants the Orioles to hit Dustin Pedroia. So much, in fact, he’s tweeted about it a couple of times over the last two weeks.

La Canfora’s crusade started April 23, when Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes threw at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado’s head. The pitch was an apparent response to Machado spiking Pedroia at second base two days prior. Barnes was suspended four games for the incident.

After the pitch was thrown, Pedroia was shown on camera telling Machado he didn’t order the headshot. He expanded on his comments after the game, throwing Barnes under the bus in the process.

“That’s not how you do that. I’m sorry to him and his team. I love Manny Machado. That’s a mishandled situation,” he said.

Despite Pedroia’s contrition, La Canfora, an Orioles fan, started tweeting two weeks ago about his desire to see Baltimore drill the second baseman. If Pedroia wasn’t playing, he said the Orioles should target Mookie Betts.

Though the Orioles haven’t plunked Pedroia, Betts was drilled with a fastball in the thigh Monday. But apparently, that’s not enough for the CBS NFL Insider. He still wants Pedroia’s knees to be taken out.

La Canfora didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia,

Michael Wilbon: Red Sox should consider shutting down Fenway Park after Adam Jones incident

05.03.17 at 10:33 am ET
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Michael Wilbon had strong words for the city of Boston Tuesday. (Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)

Michael Wilbon had strong words for the city of Boston Tuesday. (Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)

“Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon called out Boston Tuesday, questioning whether the city is “Boston Strong” and saying the Red Sox should consider shutting down Fenway Park.

In a spirited back-and-forth with his partner, Tony Kornheiser, the veteran sportswriter lambasted Red Sox fans for allegedly hurling the N-word at Orioles outfielder Adam Jones during Monday’s game. In fact, he proposed the Red Sox temporarily not allow fans into games.

“What the hell is this? 1947? Is that what this is?,” Wilbon asked. “Adam Jones has to be Jackie Robinson, and he has to have stuff thrown at him because he doesn’t look like the people throwing the stuff in the stands? Is that what we’re talking about? Then shut the stadiums down. Do like they do in Europe when they have incidents like this because of racist acts or violence and they say, ‘You know what? We’re having a closed door game.’ Then no fans!”

Wilson also challenged Boston to be “strong enough” to combat bigotry, invoking the slogan that arose following the 2013 Marathon Bombings.

“If you want to tell me all of the time about being ‘Boston Strong,’ then be strong enough and advocate that you can’t have this,” he said. “Be strong enough to have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior in your stadium and in public places.”

The Red Sox condemned the reported behavior in a statement, saying they’re “sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few.” Owner John Henry and club officials met with Jones prior to Tuesday’s game as well. The Fenway Park crowd gave him a standing ovation when he stepped up to the plate in the first inning.

Though Wilbon acknowledged racism exists in other cities, he relayed a personal story about being called the N-word at the Boston Garden.

“The only place I have ever, to my face in a public place, been called the N-word is the Boston Garden,” he said. “This behavior is not new there. And I know people there –– a great many of my friends and relatives, my family members who are Bostonians –– they say how long can we live with this? As long as you continue to have it happen! This isn’t ancient history what happened to Adam Jones. It happened yesterday.”

 

Read More: Adam Jones, ESPN, Michael Wilbon,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jason Heyward ‘not surprised’ by racist taunts

05.03.17 at 10:08 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Wednesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB:
Toronto at NY Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB:
Baltimore at Boston, 7:10 p.m. (NESN)
MLB:
San Francisco at LA Dodgers, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA:
Toronto at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA:
Houston at San Antonio, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL:
Washington at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL:
Anaheim at Edmonton, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward said on Tuesday he is not shocked by the racist remarks from fans directed at Jones.

“You hear stuff, you hear stuff,” Heyward said when asked if he heard racist comments when the Cubs were at Fenway last week.

“Nothing shocks you,” he went on. “Nothing really shocks me. To that extent, when stuff like that happens, I’m not saying you expect it to happen, but you’re not surprised, growing up African-American, growing up playing baseball.”

However, Heyward did say this behavior is not exclusive to Fenway in his experience.

“It’s not the only park I’ve been in where I’ve heard it,” he said.

“It is what it is, man,” Heyward continued. “If somebody feels that’s what they’re going to use to their advantage, more power to them. It’s not going to affect me. It sucks. It’s something I feel like a lot of people would just like to not hear anymore, ever. But it’s part of life, unfortunately part of life.”

Tigers outfielder Justin Upton was also asked on Tuesday if he has ever experienced racial heckling in his career.

“Maybe not on that level,” Upton said. “People say things, man. We’re out there. There’s nobody really out there monitoring it. We have to bigger than that, let it roll off our shoulders and continue to play the game. I’ve never particularly heard anything in Boston.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adam Jones, Manny Machado,

Jemele Hill, other media members react to Red Sox fans racially taunting Adam Jones

05.02.17 at 10:26 am ET
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The Red Sox issued a statement Tuesday morning in response to Adam Jones saying Red Sox fans taunted him with racial slurs at Fenway Park on Monday night. The team apologized in the statement for the behavior of the fans.

National and local media members weighed in on the matter on social media:

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Woman gets Aaron Hernandez tribute tattoo; Athletes attend 2017 Met Gala

05.02.17 at 10:01 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB:
Toronto at NY Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB:
Baltimore at Boston, 7:10 p.m. (NESN)
NBA:
Washington at Boston, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA:
Utah at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL:
Ottawa at NY Rangers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL:
St. Louis at Nashville, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A woman with the Instagram name MsMackHard posted a picture last Thursday of her new tattoo, which pays tribute to Aaron Hernandez.

“The most awesome tattoo I’ve ever gotten!! Dedicated to a man that had a major impact on my life.. Aaron Hernandez.. Save your negative comments I’ll delete them!,” her caption said.  

The tattoo is huge and reads “If it is to be, it is up to me” and Hernandez’s nickname “Chico” surrounded by his number 81 and “Rest in Peace” below it. This is now on her body for the rest of her life.

Her account also contains multiple pictures of Hernandez, including a repost from an account called “free_hernandez_81″ and a picture of him for “Felon Crush Monday,” which, for some reason, is a thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, alex rodriguez, Roger Federer, Serena Williams

A man proposed to his girlfriend at Fenway Park. She appeared to say “no”

05.01.17 at 3:44 pm ET
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People who propose to their partners at sporting events better be certain the answer will be “yes.” Because if it isn’t, things could get a little awkward.

An ugly scene unfolded at Fenway Park Sunday night, when a mid-inning scoreboard proposal appeared to go wrong. According to fans in attendance, a man asked his girlfriend if she would marry him –– standard enough. But then she seemingly said “no,” leading to an argument that everybody in the ballpark could watch take place in high-definition

As Boston Magazine notes, live proposals cost a $350 donation to the Red Sox Foundation. That’s a lot of money to pay for the privilege of getting embarrassed in front of tens of thousands of people.

 

Read More: Fenway Park,

Prosecutors say vacating Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction would be a reward

05.01.17 at 2:39 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez could have his murder conviction vacated. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez could have his murder conviction vacated. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers are trying to vacate his murder conviction. But prosecutors aren’t budging.

In a court filing Monday, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III argued against granting Hernandez abatement, saying it would reward his “conscious, deliberate and voluntary act” of committing suicide. Under Massachusetts law, a defendant’s criminal convictions can be voided upon his death if he hasn’t exhausted all of his appeals. Hernandez, who was acquitted of double-murder charges five days before he hanged himself in his cell, was appealing his first-degree murder sentence from the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting.

“In this circumstance a balance must be struck between the policy interests advanced by abatement, the effect of the defendant’s actions in frustrating the interests of justice and the interests in maintaining the validity of the conviction,” the document reads.

Prosecutors also say Hernandez’s appeal had a “negligible probability of success.” Last week, his attorneys moved towards expunging the murder conviction from the disgraced ex-NFL star’s record.

A hearing on the matter is schedule for May 9.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

Report: ESPN hires Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo’s NBA scoop machine

05.01.17 at 2:01 pm ET
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ESPN is hiring Adrian Wojnarowski away from Yahoo Sports.  (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN is hiring Adrian Wojnarowski away from Yahoo Sports. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Last week, ESPN cut several dozen reporters from its staff. On Monday, it reportedly hired perhaps the most prominent sports journalist who wasn’t already on its payroll.

According to Recode.net, ESPN has finalized a deal with Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports’ standout NBA reporter. The move, which Deadspin first covered in February, represents a massive shakeup in the basketball reporting landscape.  Just last year, Yahoo signed Wojnarowski to a four-year contract worth more than $6 million and gave him his own channel, The Vertical. The NBA-focused website poached reporters from the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and other outlets shortly after it had launched.

ESPN’s move to acquire Wojnarowski, who constantly upstages the WorldWide Leader during the NBA Draft, is a reminder the Disney-backed company remains the dominant force in sports media. For all of its troubles, ESPN is still available in more than 88 million households and owns rights agreements to every major professional sports league.

While numerous NBA writers, including Marc Stein and Chad Forde, were laid off last week, the addition of Wojnarowski shows ESPN is still committed to breaking big basketball news. As Wojnarowski demonstrated at Yahoo, his output can exceed any entire army of reporters.

Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN,

ESPN undeserving of criticism for showing Joe Mixon domestic assault video during NFL Draft

05.01.17 at 12:30 pm ET
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The Bengals' decision to select Joe Mixon was the most controversial of the NFL Draft. (Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

The Bengals’ decision to select Joe Mixon was the most controversial of the NFL Draft. (Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Heading into the NFL Draft, only four teams were reportedly interested in selecting running back Joe Mixon out of Oklahoma. That’s because three years ago, Mixon pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge after punching a woman in the head at a restaurant. Video of the incident surfaced last season, which reignited the debate surrounding his playing status.

So when the Bengals drafted Mixon in the second round Friday, it was a big story. WCPO, a news affiliate in Cincinnati, published an editorial urging fans to boycott the team. The two stations that aired the draft, ESPN and the NFL Network, were charged with putting each selection in context. It’s impossible to tell the complete story of Mixon, and the controversy surrounding him, without showing the videotape of his domestic violence incident. ESPN fulfilled its obligation, airing the footage after host Trey Wingo had warned viewers of its graphic nature.

The league-owned NFL Network didn’t show the video, perhaps in an attempt to help insulate the Bengals from criticism. But on social media this weekend, they weren’t facing significant pushback over their efforts to whitewash history. Instead, it was ESPN, for showing people the same video that Mixon’s lawyers released to the public themselves.

The notion that ESPN should be concerned with letting Mixon “have his moment” is asinine and goes against every tenor of journalism. It’s also a mindset that threatens the existence of a free press. A majority of U.S. adults now get their news from social media, which means they’re reading personally curated feeds. As a result, many Americans now live in information echo chambers, where they don’t hear any news they don’t want to.

In the sports media world, league- or team-owned networks are becoming increasingly prevalent. All four major sports leagues have their own cable channels and produce a bevy of digital content. That means some of the most well-known sports journalists in the country now report on outlets that sign their paychecks. The conflicts of interest are endless, and look a lot like not showing the videotape that caused Mixon’s draft stock to plummet.

Much like in the political world, where Democrats and Republicans largely tune into partisan news sources that affirm their world views, some sports fans are no longer seeking out objective content. That explains the rise in fan blogs that are unapologetic about their biased slant.

Journalists can’t be concerned about their subjects’ feelings when they’re reporting a story. ESPN was able to put the Mixon pick in complete context Friday, because it decided the show the video –– no matter how unsavory it may be.

Read More: ESPN, Joe Mixon, NFL Draft,

Dennis Eckersley shares tweet that’s critical of ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza

05.01.17 at 10:17 am ET
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Jessica Mendoza was on the call for Red Sox-Cubs Sunday night. (Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)

Jessica Mendoza was on the call for Red Sox-Cubs Sunday night. (Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)

Those who were watching the Red Sox-Cubs matchup on ESPN Sunday night were forced to endure an interminable segment in which Jessica Mendoza quizzed Chicago shortstop Addison Russell about his Pokémon collection. The mind-numbingly tedious interview lasted for several minutes, propelling some disgruntled viewers to take their complaints to social media.

NESN broadcaster Dennis Eckersley tacitly joined the chorus.

The Hall of Fame hurler shared a tweet from a user named, “EWints,” who panned the bit.

Mendoza, a former member of the United States women’s national softball team, has been the recipient of some unjust criticism ever since she stepped into the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth in 2015. Last year, an Astros minor leaguer tweeted, “No lady needs to be on espn talking during a baseball game specially Mendoza sorry.” The team condemned his sexist language.

But the segment involving Russell’s Pokémon cards was brutal –– like most of the breezy interviews Mendoza shoots with players. They feel out of place and run for much too long.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around, the onus here ultimately falls on the producers who think airing an extended conversation with Russell about Pokémon is a good idea. No announcer would’ve been able able to salvage the segment.

Read More: Dennis Eckersley, Jessica Mendoza,