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Sarah Palin takes shot at Colin Kaepernick for his Meals on Wheels donation 03.22.17 at 10:13 am ET
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Colin Kaepernick remains a lightning rod in NFL circles. (Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick remains a lightning rod in NFL circles. (Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports)

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump took a shot at Colin Kaepernick, proclaiming his Twitter wrath is dissuading teams from signing the former 49ers quarterback.

Now former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is following suit.

In an article posted on Palin’s official website, writer Mary Kate Knorr calls Kaepernick’s Meals on Wheels donation a “political stunt.” Kaepernick recently gave $50,000 to the program, which delivers food for seniors and faces significant cuts under Trump’s proposed budget.

On Facebook, Palin implied Kaepernick’s political activism is the reason he’s still a free agent. “And he wonders why he can’t find a job,” she wrote as a teaser to the piece.

There seems to be a lot of truth to Palin’s comments. According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, 70 percent of NFL teams “genuinely hate” Kaepernick, because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem last year to protest racial discrimination and police brutality. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this month the quarterback will stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” this season.

While Kaepernick’s protest may be over, it’s clear he remains committed to social advocacy. Last week, he also donated $50,000 to help fly supplies to famine-ravaged Somalia.

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Colin Kaepernick appears to be blackballed from the NFL, and that’s shameful 03.21.17 at 2:20 pm ET
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Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this month. (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this month. (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career probably wouldn’t be in jeopardy if he was busted for a DUI last year. But since he kneeled during the national anthem to protest discrimination and police brutality, he might be ostracized from the league. There’s something gross about that.

The speculation surrounding the reasons for Kaepernick’s unemployment reached a fever pitch last week, when Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman quoted an anonymous AFC general manager who said 70 percent of NFL teams “genuinely hate him.” On Instagram Sunday, filmmaker Spike Lee posted a picture with Kaepernick, blaming his prolonged free agency on “subterfuge” and “skullduggery.” President Donald Trump, meanwhile, says he thinks his Twitter wrath is keeping the former 49ers quarterback sidelined.

“It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” he said Monday at a rally in Kentucky. “Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”

Kaepernick’s proclivity for making outlandish statements hurts his cause. Shortly before Fidel Castro’s death last year, he praised some of the Cuban dictator’s domestic policies.

“One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here even though we’re fully capable of doing that,” Kaepernick said, via the Miami Herald.

Those glowing remarks about the despot who hired firing squads to kill political rivals jive with the Castro t-shirt Kaepernick wore to a press conference last summer. A few days after that wardrobe blunder, pictures circulated of Kaepernick sporting socks that depict police officers as “pigs.”

Any club that signs Kaepernick would risk facing some public relations backlash, and the truth is, many NFL teams probably don’t think he’s worth it. Since 2014, he’s completed just 59.7 percent of his passes and posted an 85.9 QB rating. The 49ers have gone 11-24 in games he’s started.

But in a quarterback-starved league, it’s difficult to imagine Kaepernick isn’t good enough to compete for a starting job somewhere. After all, the Bears recently signed career backup Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract. Just four years ago, Kaepernick’s electrifying play-making ability led the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth. He showed small flashes of that towards the end of last season, recording an 101.1 QB rating over the final four weeks.

It’s disingenuous to paint Kaepernick solely in a negative light as well. He donated $1 million to community organizations last year and helped secure an airplane that will transport supplies to Somali famine victims. The quarterback matches his words with action.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Donald Trump rips Colin Kaepernick, takes credit for his unemployment; Gale Sayers battling dementia at 9:55 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: Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Philadelphia vs. Minnesota, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: LA Angels vs. Cincinnati, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston vs. NY Yankees, 6:35 p.m. (NESN, WEEI-AM 850)
World Baseball Classic: US vs. Japan, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Ottawa at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN, WBZ-FM 98.5)
NHL: San Jose at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Chicago at Toronto, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: San Antonio at Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Richmond at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Mississippi, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB: 

— During a rally in Louisville Monday night, Donald Trump switched gears from talking about urban communities to discussing controversial NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick.

“Our inner cities will find a rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity,” Trump said. “Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him.”

A relevant and smooth segue if I’ve ever heard one.

Trump then explained he was referencing an article he read about Kaepernick’s free agency. He said he believes NFL teams are afraid to sign Kaepernick because they don’t want Trump to send mean tweets to them.

“It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” he said. “Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”

Trump also took a shot at Kaepernick’s reluctance to stand for the national anthem before games.

“I said if I remember that one I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky,” Trump said. “They like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”

The Bleacher Report article Trump was likely referencing mentions Kaepernick is in “NFL limbo” because he takes public political stances. It quotes an AFC general manager who said “… some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team.”

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Colin Kaepernick reportedly can’t get a job because NFL teams ‘genuinely hate him’ 03.17.17 at 3:50 pm ET
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The 49ers released Colin Kaepernick after the 2016 season. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

The 49ers released Colin Kaepernick after the 2016 season. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

NFL teams are so desperate for quarterbacks these days, the Bears signed backup signal-caller Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract. But Colin Kaepernick, despite leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl just four years ago, can’t find a job. Apparently, that’s because many league executives think he’s toxic.

According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, Kaepernick could remain a free agent for the bulk of the offseason. An unnamed AFC general manager told him 30 percent of teams either don’t think Kaepernick can play or are afraid of the backlash they would face after signing him. The GM says the other 70 percent just plain out despise him, presumably because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem last season to protest social inequality and police brutality.

“The rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on,” the anonymous executive said. “They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”

While Kaepernick is limited as a quarterback –– he only completed 59.2 percent of his passes last season –– he played well down the stretch for the moribund 49ers. Kaepernick posted a 101.1 QB rating over the final four weeks of 2016, throwing for six touchdowns and only one interception.

Earlier this month, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Kaepernick intends to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” next season. Given this report, it’s easy to surmise why he probably came to that decision. Kaepernick seems to be paying a price for speaking his mind.

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Colin Kaepernick ends his protest on disingenuous note 03.03.17 at 1:17 pm ET
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Colin Kaepernick says he plans to end his national anthem protest in 2017. (Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Kaepernick says he plans to end his national anthem protest in 2017. (Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Kaepernick said last year he would keep kneeling during the national anthem until significant progress was made toward social justice reform. But now, after opting out of his contract with the 49ers, he plans to stop his protest. This makes his apparent quest for change seem disingenuous.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday the former San Francisco quarterback will stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” in 2017. Kaepernick said he arrived at his decision because he doesn’t want his demonstration to distract from the positive impact he’s made on the issue of racial inequality. Apparently, he believes his work is done.

Kaepernick’s protest, which started in the preseason and continued through the entire regular season, was more than a symbolic gesture. His foundation gave $1 million to community organizations, with the 49ers matching his donations. He also organized and spoke at a camp for underprivileged kids in the Bay Area, setting up workshops that covered topics ranging from nutrition health to advice on how to interact with police officers. Kaepernick says he plans to continue those charitable endeavors, but without the accompanying public symbol.

While LeBron James and other NBA stars routinely speak out on social issues, Kaepernick’s protest sparked a national conversation. In addition to other NFL players, kids on high school and youth football teams across the country followed his lead. The Beaumont Bills, a Texas-based club comprised of 11- and 12-year olds, cancelled their season after some players decided to kneel to draw attention towards injustice. But now, without the safety net of a $14.3 million salary, Kaepernick is abandoning them.

With President Donald Trump in office, voices like Kaepernick’s are needed more than ever. Up to 8 million undocumented immigrants are now at risk of being deported under the administration’s new guidelines, including those who use food stamps and other social assistance programs. Trump is also promising to unveil a new travel ban that applies to several predominately Muslim countries, after the last one was overturned by a federal court.

The first hit to Kaepernick’s credibility as a social activist came shortly after Trump was elected to office, when he told reporters he sat out perhaps the most pivotal election in recent history. He made it clear last year he wasn’t a fan of Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, calling them “proven liars” and racists. It was a lazy take that did little to advance the national conversation.

“I’ve been very disconnected from the systematic oppression as a whole,” Kaepernick explained when asked why he didn’t vote. “So, for me, it’s another face that’s going to be the face of that system of oppression. And to me, it didn’t really matter who went in there. The system still remains intact that oppresses people of color.”

While that’s true, the Trump administration poses an unique threat to civil rights. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose federal judgeship appointment in the 1980’s was opposed by Coretta Scott King due to his history of clamping down on voting access, said this week the Justice Department will pull back on police department civil rights suits. The Justice Department under President Barack Obama opened 25 probes into police departments, including Ferguson, Missouri, which was found to have targeted the African-American community in an effort to increase city revenue.

There were also several ballot measures in California that spoke to directly to the issue of criminal justice reform, which Kaepernick says he’s passionate about. Prop 63 tightened the state’s gun laws, and Prop 64 legalized legalized marijuana. That should be a topic of great importance to Kaepernick, considering the ACLU found black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people. He spoke a lot about police practices, but did little to change them.

Kaepernick, of course, isn’t obligated to continue kneeling for the rest of his career. But given the nation’s current climate, this seems like a curious time to step aside. That is, unless Kaepernick is worried about hurting his value on the free agent market. With promises to curtail his protesting, he may become more attractive to teams that are leery of taking on a marginal quarterback with such a polarizing personality.

Muhammad Ali and other social justice crusaders weren’t afraid to suffer financially if it meant standing up for what they believe. It appears as if Kaepernick isn’t willing to make that kind of sacrifice.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Joe Theismann blasts 49ers for giving Colin Kaepernick courage award; Duke’s Grayson Allen returns from ‘indefinite suspension’ 01.05.17 at 9:05 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday 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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Edmonton at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Buffalo at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Oklahoma City at Houston, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: LA Lakers at Portland, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Davidson at George Washington, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Purdue at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UConn at Memphis, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: California at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Fairleigh Dickinson at Wagner, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Gonzaga at San Francisco, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Minnesota at Northwestern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Utah at Arizona, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: BYU at Saint Mary’s, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Women’s college basketball: Tennessee-Martin at Belmont, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
Women’s college basketball: Richmond at VCU, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— NFL legend Joe Theismann criticized the 49ers on Tuesday for giving Colin Kaepernick the team’s Len Eshmont Award, which is given to the player who “best exemplified the inspirational and courageous play” of Eshmont. The recipient of the award is decided on by the players and was given to Kaepernick last week.

“You’re a 2-14 football team. He’s won one football game. What has he inspired?” Theismann said on Fox News’ Outnumbered.

Kaepernick started 11 of the 49ers 12 games this season. He threw for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also notably kneeled during the national anthem before the games this season, sparking national debate.

Theismann also had an issue with Roger Goodell’s handling of the Kaepernick kneeling situation.

“I don’t agree with what he’s done,” Theismann said. “As a matter of fact, the American flag … stands for the right to be able to do the things you want to do, to be able to stand up and have a difference of opinion. I agree with that part of it, but not when you’re on the job. Everybody has the right to express their opinion, but not in the workplace.”

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Grayson Allen, Joe Theismann, Mike Krzyzewski
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Colin Kaepernick says he did not vote in election, ‘doesn’t care’ who won 11.10.16 at 8:17 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday 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: Columbus at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NFL: Cleveland at Baltimore, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network)
NBA: Chicago at Miami, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: LA Lakers at Sacramento, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College football: Louisiana-Lafayette at Georgia Southern, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: North Carolina at Duke, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Utah at Arizona State, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s friendly: Romania at United States, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS:
NBA:
Wizards 118, Celtics 93
NBA: Hornets 104, Jazz 98
NBA: Timberwolves 123, Magic 107
NBA: Raptors 112, Thunder 102
NBA: Rockets 101, Spurs 99
NBA: Warriors 116, Mavericks 95
NBA: Pacers 122, 76ers 115
NBA: Knicks 110, Nets 96
NBA: Hawks 115, Bulls 107
NBA: Suns 107, Pistons 100
NBA: Clippers 111, Trail Blazers 80
NHL: Blue Jackets 3, Ducks 2
NHL: Blackhawks 2, Blues 1
NHL: Senators 2, Sabres 1

AROUND THE WEB:

— Athletes were still responding Wednesday in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidential win.

Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who protested the national anthem before games by kneeling instead of standing, revealed on Tuesday he did not vote in the election and said Wednesday he doesn’t care who won because minorities are still being treated unfairly.

“To me, it didn’t really matter who went in there,” Kaepernick said. “The system still remains intact that oppresses people of color. And to me, it didn’t really matter who went in there, the system still remains intact that oppresses people of color.”

Trump went after Kaepernick in August for kneeling during the anthem, saying Kaepernick “should find a country that works better for him” if he doesn’t like the political climate in the United States.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Curtis Granderson, Jeremy Lin,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Following death threats, Colin Kaepernick says violence toward him ‘would move this movement forward’ 09.21.16 at 8:12 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 Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Blue Jays at Mariners, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA playoffs: Mercury at Fever, 6 p.m. (ESPNews)
WNBA playoffs: Storm at Dream, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
Hockey: World Cup of Hockey, North America vs. Sweden, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Hockey: World Cup of Hockey, Europe vs. Canada, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Bundesliga, Augsburg at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 2 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Bundesliga, Hertha BSC Berlin at Bayern Munich, 2 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

— As the shooting of another unarmed black man by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, stirred up racial tensions across the country, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he has received death threats for his national anthem protests.

Kaepernick said he considered he possibility that he might be targeted when he decided to start kneeling during the anthem.

“To me, if something like that were going to happen, you’ve proved my point,” he told reporters Tuesday. “It would be loud and clear for everyone why it happened. That would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now. Granted, I don’t want that to happen. But that’s the realization of what could happen.”

Kaepernick said he heard racial slurs among the insults hurled his way prior to the 49ers’ game this past Sunday against the Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina — where there were riots Tuesday night following a police shooting of a black man in that city.

“There’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism and people want to take everything back to the flag but that’s not what we’re talking about,” Kaepernick said. “We’re talking about racial discrimination, inequalities and injustices that happen across the nation.”

In Tulsa, officers responded to call about a stalled vehicle Friday night. Video of the incident shows Terence Crutcher — who police say was not cooperating with their requests — walking away from officers with his hands up, and he is tasered and fatally shot when he gets to his vehicle and puts his hands on the driver’s side.

“His car was broken down, he was looking for help and he got murdered,” Kaepernick said. “That’s a perfect example of what this is about. I think it will be very telling what happens with the officers that killed him because everybody’s eyes will be on this.”

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis weighed in on the situation as well, tweeting: It’s time 4 all people 2 value all life! This is disgusting as a country -to let anybody get away with this. It must stop. #TerenceCrutcher

Lewis, who was indicted on double murder charges after the fatal stabbing of two men in January 2000 but eventually pleaded guilty to lesser charges, added: All deserve life, dignity. -We’re not going to sit back and watch these tragedies go on! We need real changes! #TerenceCrutcher

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Tony La Russa questions Colin Kaepernick’s ‘sincerity’ regarding anthem protest 09.15.16 at 8:10 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: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NFL: Jets at Bills, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network)
College football: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Alcorn State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Houston at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Mystics at Dream, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, AS Saint-Etienne at FSV Mainz, 1 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Manchester United at Feyenoord, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: EUFA Europa, Schalke 04 at OGC Nice, 3 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Women’s exhibition, United States vs. Thailand, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa

— Former major league manager Tony La Russa jumped headfirst into the racial debate that’s gripped the nation, refuting Orioles outfielder Adam Jones’ comment about baseball being a “white man’s sport” and questioning Colin Kaepernick’s “sincerity.”

La Russa spent two years working for Major League Baseball after his retirement from managing, and while he acknowledged there is an issue — only 8 percent of MLB is African-American, according to USA Today — he said attempts have been made to bring the game to the inner city.

“When he says it’s a white, like elitist, kind of sport, I mean, how much wronger can he be? We have tried so hard, the MLB, to expand the black athletes’ opportunity,” La Russa said in an interview on ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard program. “We want the black athletes to pick not basketball or football, but want them to play baseball; they should play baseball. And we’re working to make that happen in the inner cities. We have a lot of Latin players. We have players from the Pacific Rim.”

As for Kaepernick, La Russa said he’s not impressed with the 49ers quarterback’s decision to protest the national anthem.

“I was there in the Bay Area when he first was a star, a real star. I never once saw him do anything but promote himself. And all of a sudden now he’s a second-stringer and he’s got this mission … and I just don’t trust his sincerity,” La Russa said. “And even if he was sincere, there’s ways to express your belief in some of the issues that face blacks around this country without disrespecting the country you live in or the flag that it represents.”

La Russa said he “absolutely would not allow” one of his players to sit during the anthem, forcing him to leave the field until the song ended.

“I would tell [a player who wanted to protest the anthem to] sit inside the clubhouse,” La Russa said. “You’re not going to be out there representing our team and our organization by disrespecting the flag. No, sir, I would not allow it. … If you want to make your statement, you make it in the clubhouse, but not out there. You’re not going to show it that way publicly and disrespectfully.”

— The ACC became the latest organization to pull events from North Carolina due to the state’s law limiting protections for LGBT people, as the Council of Presidents voted to relocate the league’s championships until the law is changed.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Orioles OF Adam Jones hesitates to protest anthem because, ‘Baseball is a white man’s sport’ 09.13.16 at 8:14 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: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
WNBA: Lynx at Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Mercury at Sparks, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Hockey: World Cup of Hockey exhibition, United States vs. Finland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: U.S. Open Cup, Revolution at FC Dallas, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal at Paris Saint-Germain, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Celtic at Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Rostov at Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Adam Jones

Adam Jones

— No Major League Baseball players have joined in the national anthem protest that is gaining popularity around the NFL, but according to Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, there’s a reason for that.

“Baseball is a white man’s sport,” Jones said in an interview with USA Today, implying a protest could cost a player his job.

The article noted that 68 percent of the NFL is made up of African-Americans, while it’s only 8 percent for baseball.

“We already have two strikes against us,” Jones said. “So you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football, you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us.”

Jones said he is dismayed by the fact that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests, is being criticized for “what he believes in.”

“The outside world doesn’t really respect athletes unless they talk about what they want them to talk about,” Jones said. “Society doesn’t think we deserve the right to have an opinion on social issues.

“We make a lot of money, so we just have to talk baseball, talk football. But most athletes, especially if you’re tenured in your sport, you’re educated on life, and on more things than most people on the outside. But because Donald Trump is a billionaire, he can say whatever he wants, because he’s older and has more money?

“And when Kaepernick does something, or says something, he’s ridiculed. Why is that?”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose team opened a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Monday night, said he had not seen the story but respected Jones’ right to speak his mind.

“That’s why we fought so hard for these rights,” Showalter said, “to be able to do that in our country.”

Meanwhile, before the 49ers’ game Monday night in San Francisco, Kapernick and teammate Eric Reid again took a knee during the national anthem, while a few players on both teams stood but raised their fists.

— Ryan Lochte’s redemption tour got off to a strange start, as the Olympic swimmer was rushed by two men from the audience after his performance Monday night on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

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Read More: Adam Jones, Colin Kaepernick, Dancing With the Stars, Ryan Lochte