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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jets DL Sheldon Richardson, Chargers TE Antonio Gates, Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended 4 games 07.03.15 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:
MLB: Astros at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Marlins at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Giants at Nationals, 6:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Rays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mets at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Guatemala at United States, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Sheldon Richardson

Sheldon Richardson

Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension has been the talk of the offseason, but now he’s got plenty of company, as three other well-known players got their own four-game bans Thursday.

Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, Chargers tight end Anthony Gates and Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain each will miss a quarter of the regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Additionally, Packers defensive end Datone Jones was suspended one game for a similar offense.

According to the New York Daily News, Richardson’s violation was smoking marijuana. The Pro Bowler wrote on Twitter: “I vow to you, this will not happen again.”

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans,” Richardson said in a team statement. “However, words aren’t enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”

Gates, who had 69 catches for 821 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdowns last season, claimed that his offense was not intentional, but he accepted “full responsibility,” noting that “ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues.”

Said Gates: “In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails. I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and never taken any substance that was illegal or banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from a long season and although I was unaware at the time, I regret to confirm that I tested positive for a substance that is currently on the NFL banned substance list.”

McClain, no stranger to controversy, has been a disappointment since he was drafted eighth overall by the Raiders in 2010, although he did have a solid season with the Cowboys in 2014. He is slated to return for Dallas’ Week 5 game at home against the Patriots.

“I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake,” he said. “I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error.”

— Hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs will not face felony charges for an incident last week at UCLA when he allegedly confronted an assistant coach after the coach disciplined Combs’ son.

The case now is in the hands of the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which could file misdemeanor charges against Combs.

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Read More: Antonio Gates, Rolando McClain, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Sheldon Richardson
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Paul Pierce reportedly agrees to join Clippers on 3-year deal 07.02.15 at 6:41 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 Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Paul Pierce is headed west to join Doc Rivers and the Clippers, agreeing on a three-year, $10.6 million deal, according to reports out of Los Angeles.

Pierce became a free agent after one season with the Wizards, who were hoping to keep him around after the team’s impressive season. But the Clippers give him the opportunity to challenge for an NBA title as well as return to his Southern California roots. And it gives him a chance to play for the coach who guided him to a championship with the Celtics in 2008.

That apparently was enough to convince Pierce to sign on at a discount rate — the most Los Angeles had to offer — for three years, despite him saying last season that he would only play one more year.

Said Pierce after the Wizards’ second-round playoff exit: “I don’t even know if I am going to play basketball anymore. These seasons get harder and harder every year, every day. Summers get even harder when you start getting back in shape. I’m 37 years old. I’m top two or three oldest in the league.”

Pierce spent his first 15 seasons in Boston before spending one season with the Nets and then one year with the Wizards. He is the 16th-most prolific scorer in league history.

— The United States will play Japan in Sunday’s Women’s World Cup championship game, as England lost Wednesday’s second semifinal in the most heartbreaking way.

During stoppage time of a 1-1 game, England defender Laura Bassett tried to clear a ball but instead deflected it into her own goal. When the game ended a minute later, Bassett fell to the field in tears as her teammates attempted to console her.

“Oh, what a tough one, what a tough one to take,” England coach Mark Sampson said. “I can’t speak about the game. I can only speak about how incredibly proud I am of my group.”

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Read More: Keith Olbermann, Laura Bassett, Paul Pierce, Women's World Cup
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kings reportedly show interest in Rajon Rondo 07.01.15 at 7:06 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Angels, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup semifinal, Japan vs. England, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Honduras, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Free agent point guard Rajon Rondo’s stock dropped precipitously after he was sent packing by the Mavericks during the first round of the playoffs after another behavioral issue like those that have dogged him throughout his college and professional career.

Now the former Celtic is an afterthought among discussions of this free agent class.

On Tuesday night, however, Rondo reportedly found some interest — appropriately enough from the franchise that might be the most dysfunctional in the league.

According to an ESPN report, the Kings “came on strong” Tuesday night and requested a meeting with Rondo after forward Rudy Gay pushed management to pursue him.

Rondo is expected to sign a one-year deal as he tries to build back his reputation and show he can avoid confrontations with his coach. The Kings recently hired George Karl, although there have been reports that they are looking to replace him before he coaches a game.

— Warriors star Steph Curry was named league MVP and beat LeBron JamesCavaliers in the NBA Finals. Now he’s surpassed LeBron in jersey sales for the first time.

Based on rankings of overall sales at NBAStore.com from April through June, Curry ranked No. 1, with James dropping to second. Fellow Warriors Klay Thompson (fifth) and Draymond Green (15th) helped Golden State rank first in team sales during the playoffs.

The Celtics ranked a solid ninth on the team list, although the C’s had no player in the top 15.

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Read More: LeBron James, nike, Phil Knight, rajon rondo
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Critics rip incomplete Boston 2024 Olympic plan as ‘more smoke and mirrors’ 06.30.15 at 6:57 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Mets, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Yankees at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, semifinal, 7 p.m. (Fox)
WNBA: Liberty at Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Boston’s Olympic organizing committee unveiled its new plan Monday, promising to avoid saddling residents with fees for the 2024 Summer Games, but critics noted that many questions still remain.

The new plan includes cost-overrun insurance to the tune of $128 million — although no insurer was named — and a plan to have a private developer buy land for a stadium via a competitive bid process.

“The taxpayers won’t be responsible for any venue costs or any operating costs, and we believe the taxpayers are responsible for infrastructure costs that should be done in the ordinary course anyway,” Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca said. “Any time we had a chance to take a conservative route, we did.”

The group claims there will be $4.8 billion in total revenue from the event, with expenses coming in more than $200 million less than that, and it would allow the city to transform two neighborhoods: Widett Circle, which would house a temporary Olympic stadium, and Columbia Point, which would host the athletes village.

The plan relies on $1.9 billion in improvements to the MBTA system, which organizers say are needed to address “non-Olympic-related anticipated ridership growth.”

The proposal does not include a final plan for some events, including aquatics, golf and cycling — which requires building a velodrome — and leaves other key information incomplete. That opened the door for critics to pounce.

“It’s just more smoke and mirrors, as far as I can tell,” said Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist, who questioned the ability of the group to get any “master developers” for the plan.

Added Chris Dempsey, co-founder of No Boston Olympics: “We were hoping for a lot more detail.”

— The Los Angeles Kings are attempting to cut ties with forward Mike Richards, terminating his contract Monday for a “material breach of the requirements” of the pact.

Richards’ play has declined since Los Angeles traded for him in 2011, inheriting his 12-year, $69 million contract he signed with the Flyers in 2008.

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Read More: Boston 2024 Olympics,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James reportedly headed for free agency 06.29.15 at 7:05 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Orioles, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (Tennis Channel)

AROUND THE WEB:

LeBron James reportedly is headed for free agency again, but it appears to be nothing more than a formality for him to milk more money out of the Cavaliers.

According to an Associated Press report, James will decline the $21.6 million option on his contract and instead sign a new max deal that will give him a small raise.

Nonetheless, it has to be a little unsettling for Cleveland fans, as Kevin Love also is headed for free agency, and Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert are unsigned. And when James was a free agent in 2010, he left Cleveland for Miami.

Cavs general manager David Griffin said last week that James has made it clear he plans to be a part of the team going forward.

“We’ve heard from him every day pretty much relative to our roster,” Griffin said. “It’s been great. He’s been very much engaged with us on a lot of different levels, so it’s been positive.”

— Mets pitcher Steven Matz had a major league debut to remember Sunday, but it was more for his work at the plate than on the mound.

Matz became the first pitcher in MLB history to drive in four runs in his first game, going 3-for-3 in New York’s 7-2 victory.

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Women’s World Cup: U.S. edges China to advance to semis 06.26.15 at 9:37 pm ET
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Carli Lloyd scored on a header early in the second half to give the United States a 1-0 victory over China in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup on Friday night in Ottawa.

The U.S. squad, ranked second in the world, advances to play top-ranked Germany in the semifinals Tuesday night. Earlier Friday in Montreal, the Germans ousted France on penalty kicks (5-4) after a 1-1 tie.

The Americans, who had been sluggish offensively to this point in the tournament, were more aggressive and it paid off. They outshot China 11-4 in the first half, although the teams entered the break scoreless.

In the 51st minutes, Julie Johnston served up a ball into the box that Lloyd headed into the lower right corner, passed the diving Wang Fei.

The United States, which has not won the World Cup since 1999, advances to the semifinals for the seventh time — every Women’s World Cup.

Read More: Carli Lloyd, Women's World Cup,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Warren Sapp faces 3 domestic battery charges in Las Vegas 06.26.15 at 8:01 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: Cubs at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Draft, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, China vs. United States, 7:30 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Germany vs. France, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Golf: PGA Travelers Championship, 3:30 p.m. (TGC)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp is in trouble again.

Sapp, who was fired from his job with the NFL Network after being arrested in Phoenix the night of the Super Bowl following a fight with two prostitutes, was charged with three domestic battery misdemeanors stemming from an April incident with his girlfriend in Las Vegas

Sapp is accused of biting his longtime girlfriend and stepping on her head after throwing her to the ground. He is due in court July 23 and faces up to 18 months in jail if convicted.

The incident began when Sapp allegedly threw a margarita in the woman’s face while the two were at the M Resort in Henderson, Nevada. Police say there is security footage showing Sapp aggressively pulling on the woman inside the resort. She told police they continued arguing during the drive home and at her Las Vegas condo, where Sapp allegedly assaulted her.

Sapp played in the NFL from 1995-2007 with the Buccaneers and Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

— The U.S. women’s soccer team will be without Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday when they play China in Friday’s quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup due to accumulated yellow cards, but at least they will have forward Abby Wambach.

Wambach escaped with just a warning from FIFA after questioning the intent of the referee in the Americans’ 2-0 win over Colombia on Monday. Wambach suggested the yellow cards Rapinoe and Holiday received were unnecessary.

“I don’t know if they were yellows,” she said after the game. “It seemed like [the referee] was purposefully giving those yellows to maybe players that she knew were sitting on yellows. I don’t know if that was just a psychological thing, who knows. Who knows?”

Wambach apologized a day later, something FIFA noted in its statement announcing the warning.

— Syracuse announced Thursday that longtime assistant coach Mike Hopkins will succeed the embattled Jim Boeheim in 2018.

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Read More: Abby Wambach, jim boeheim, Mike Hopkins, Warren Sapp
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NHL takes next step toward expansion, with Las Vegas appearing likely to land team 06.25.15 at 8:15 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: Orioles at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Draft, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Golf: PGA Travelers Championship, 3:30 p.m. (TGC)

AROUND THE WEB:

Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Wednesday that the league is beginning a formal expansion review process, adding to speculation that Las Vegas soon will land a team. Seattle and Quebec City also have expressed interest.

The Board of Governors met in Las Vegas before Wednesday night’s NHL Awards show in the city and said the league will take applications for new franchises starting July 6, with a deadline of Aug. 10. Bettman said prospective owners will have to be able to fork over an expansion fee of at least $500 million. He did not indicated how many clubs might be added — if any.

“The fact we are going through this process doesn’t mean we are going to expand,” Bettman told reporters. “All it means is we’re going to stop just listening to expressions of interest and take a good, hard look at what they actually mean and represent.”

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league isn’t likely to expand before the 2017-18 season.

Prospective Vegas owner Bill Foley already has more than 13,200 season-ticket deposits and has started construction of a multipurpose arena near the Las Vegas Strip.

“We’re going to take a deep dive and look at what there is in terms of the interest that’s being expressed,” Bettman said. “Obviously, Bill Foley got a great response to his season-ticket drive.”

— Following rumors that the Broncos were looking to move Peyton Manning this season comes a report that the team only was looking for him to agree to cut his salary for next season.

Mike Klis of Denver’s 9 News tweeted that the team was “never letting Peyton Manning go,” but it did ask for a $10 million reduction in pay.

Manning eventually agreed to a new deal that makes his 2014-15 salary $4 million less.

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Read More: Gary Bettman, Peyton Manning,
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologizes at formal sentencing 06.24.15 at 2:28 pm ET
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After staying silent — and almost always emotionless — during his Boston Marathon bombing trial earlier this year, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev finally spoke Wednesday at his formal sentencing and apologized for the carnage he and his brother caused.

“I would now like to apologize to the victims and the survivors,” Tsarnaev said, according to reports from Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston. “I am sorry for the lives that I have taken.”

Tsarnaev, who asked Allah to help the victims and their families, also acknowledged his guilt along with that of his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a shootout with police in Watertown a few days after the 2013 bombing.

“If there is any lingering doubt, I did it along with my brother,” Tsanaev said. “I ask Allah to have mercy on me, my brother and my family.”

The 21-year-old was formally sentenced to death for killing three people and injuring more than 260 others at the Boston Marathon finish line, then murdering MIT police officer Sean Collier while he and his brother were trying to escape the city later in the week.

Some victims also spoke in court Wednesday, addressing Tsarnaev, although he reportedly refused to look directly at them, preferring to look down instead.

“I know life is hard, but the choices that you made were despicable,” said the mother of Krystle Campbell, who died from the bombing.

Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg, explained that she was not giving a victim impact statement.

“To do that, I would have to be someone’s victim,” she told Tsarnaev. “I’m definitely not yours, or your brother’s.”

Added Gregory: “We are Boston strong. We are America strong.”

Bill Richard, who said he did not want Tsarnaev to face the death penalty despite the death of his 8-year-old son, Martin, expressed little sympathy Wednesday.

“[Tsarnaev] chose to do nothing to prevent all of this from happening,” Richard said. “He chose hate. He chose destruction. This is all on him. … We chose kindness. We chose peace.”

Read More: Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: NHL plans move to 3-on-3 OT 06.24.15 at 8:10 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; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Phillies at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, Virginia vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Awards show, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS: Revolution at Crew, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
MLS: Timbers at Galaxy, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Good news for Bruins fans: There should be fewer shootouts next season.

NHL general managers and players agreed Tuesday to change the overtime format from four-on-four — which it has been since 1999 — to three skaters per side. Now the proposal needs approval from the Board of Governors during Wednesday’s meeting in Las Vegas.

“We’ve already seen that it works in the AHL,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said. “And when you translate that to the skill level of the NHL players, I think it’s going to be very exciting.”

The AHL starts with four minutes of four-on-four, then goes to three minutes of three-on-three. The NHLPA opposed that format last year, apparently preferring to avoid extending games, but supported this year’s proposal.

“I think management preferred what they’ve done in the American league,” Reds Wings GM Ken Holland said. “But management wanted a higher percentage of games decided in overtime, and three-on-three is going to do it. We think it’s going to be a much higher percentage.”

The shootout still remains should teams stay tied after the five-minute overtime. The Bruins had just four wins in 14 shootouts last season, tied for the third-worst percentage in the league.

Also agreed to Tuesday: Coaches will be able to challenge goals based on goalie interference and offsides, and the salary cap was set at $71.4 million.

— The fan who caught Alex Rodriguez‘s 3,000th hit — a home run to the right-field bleachers — has softened his stance somewhat on making a deal to return the ball.

Zack Hample, who claims to have caught thousands of baseballs over the years, initially was uncooperative when approached by Yankees management. And a day before he caught the ball, he tweeted that if he did come up with it he would “give [Rodriguez] the finger and a dummy ball. That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Pete Rose,