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Friday’s Morning Mashup: NBA commissioner David Stern wants harsher penalties for flopping 06.07.13 at 8:10 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:
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Bruins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: CWS regional, South Carolina at North Carolina, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: CWS regional, Rice at NC State, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: CWS regional, Oklahoma at LSU, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: CWS regional, UCLA at Cal State Fullerton, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Major League Lacrosse: Boston Cannons at Rochester Rattlers, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Italy vs. Czech Republic, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ NBA commissioner David Stern said Thursday that he wants harsher penalties on flopping, acknowledging that the current fine system is unlikely to have a major impact.

During the regular season, players were warned first, then fined $5,000 for a second offense. In the playoffs, they get no warning. In the regular season there were 19 warnings, and five players were fined. In the playoffs, six players have been fined, most famously LeBron James, who first denied he flops (despite video evidence to the contrary) and then noted that flopping was “not even a bad thing, you’re just trying to get the advantage.”

“It isn’t enough,” Stern said Thursday in Miami before the Spurs edged the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA finals. “You’re not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is $5.5 million. And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason.”

Stern said the league’s competition committee will discuss the situation in the offseason.

Added Stern: “We knew that flopping was going to be far from perfect. And we gather more attention because we were giving it more attention. But the point was to do it gently, look at all the flops — and there have been plenty — penalize the most egregious very gently.

“We could end that immediately if we decided to suspend players, but that might be a little bit draconian at the moment.”

♦ Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig continued his amazing debut week Thursday, hitting an eighth-inning grand slam to lead Los Angeles to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Braves.

Puig, a 22-year-old Cuban defector, went 5-for-8 with two home runs and five RBIs in his first two games before going 0-for-4 Wednesday. On Thursday, he was 1-for-3 when he came up in the eighth with the bases loaded and took the first pitch from Cory Gearrin out to right field to make it a 5-0 game.

He also continued to play stellar defense in right field, cutting off balls to prevent extra bases and exhibiting a powerful arm.

“It’s just infectious the way he plays,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Seems like there’s a joy in his game. It’s the way you’re supposed to play. He just looks so fresh. That’s what gives our guys so much energy.”

Said Puig through a translator: “With the fans here and us winning, the pressure comes off.”

Matt Birk, who retired after helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl in February, skipped the team’s visit to the White House on Wednesday, and he explained his reason why Thursday.

In an interview with Minnesota radio station KFAN, Birk, a Harvard product, said it was the President’s recent glowing comments about Planned Parenthood that spurred him to take a pass.

“I wasn’t there,” Birk told The Power Trip morning show. “I would say this, I would say that I have great respect for the office of the Presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’ … Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the Pro-Life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”

Added Birk: “I’m very confused by [the President's] statement. For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 7, 1968, the Red Sox drafted which two players who went on to have solid major league careers mainly as teammates with the Brewers?

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Spurs face NBA sanctions after sitting stars vs. Heat 11.30.12 at 8:06 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:
NBA: Trail Blazers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Wizards at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Nuggets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Tennessee at Georgetown, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Georgia at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Syracuse at Arkansas, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: DePaul at Auburn, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Northern Illinois vs. Kent State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: UCLA at Stanford, 8 p.m. (Fox)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ Spurs coach Greg Popovich sent home four of the team’s top players before Thursday’s night’s game against the Heat in Miami. Popovich acknowledged the decision was so that the players could rest as the team played its sixth road game in nine nights (and fourth in five).

It didn’t sit well with NBA commissioner David Stern.

“I apologize to all NBA fans,” Stern said in a statement. “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”

The short-handed Spurs still played the defending champion Heat tough, leading by five with 2:14 left before Miami closed the game on a 12-2 for a 105-100 victory. And the Spurs players are standing behind their coach’s decision.

“Pop is the coach of the San Antonio Spurs,” guard Gary Neal said. “He did what’s best for us.”

At least Popovich kept his sense of humor during the game. Here is the coach — notorious for his Bill Belichick-like in-game interviews (short and testy) — teasing Charles Barkley for asking one too many questions.

♦ Indians president Mark Shapiro is taking some heat for his response to a fan who e-mailed wanting to know why he should renew his season tickets for 2013. During a television appearance last week, Shapiro told the fan that if the only reason for buying tickets was to see the Indians win, “Don’t come.”

Asked about the comment this week, Shapiro held firm.

“I told him if the sole reason, the only reason, for renewing is predicated on us winning, then they shouldn’t come,” said Shapiro, who recently selected former Red Sox manager Terry Francona to lead the club in 2013. “I stand by that. Baseball has to mean more than just being a fan when you win.

“No where are we spending more of our time, more of our energy or more money in trying to win. We all understand that the single-most important thing in baseball is winning and losing. But we are always going to have cycles to when we can win.”

♦ The zaniness continues with the Jets. Early in the week, a video emerged of Jets fans ripping the players as they walked off the field at halftime of the Thanksgiving humiliation vs. the Patriots. That prompted linebacker Bart Scott to offer this on Wednesday: “The person yelling at you probably was picked last in dodgeball all through high school. So do you care about the opinion of them? No.”

On Thursday, Scott was quiet following a meeting with coach Rex Ryan.

“I had a conversation with Bart,” Ryan told reporters. “The thing that makes this game so great is the players and the fans. And that’s the truth.”

Ryan, who swore at a heckling fan when leaving the MetLife Stadium field following last year’s loss to the Patriots, said he told Scott that the players need to “appreciate our fans.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 30, 1976, the Bruins’ 31-game home unbeaten streak ended with a 6-2 loss to which team?

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NBA changes instant replay rules 07.20.12 at 2:45 pm ET
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NBA commissioner David Stern announced rule changes regarding replay and uniforms. (AP)

The NBA will implement changes to the replay system for the upcoming season and the uniforms for 2013-14, David Stern said on Thursday.

Under the new replay rules, referees can check replays on all flagrant fouls at any time. With two minutes left in overtime the referees can also use the system to deduce the defender’s position on charge and blocking fouls. The system may also be used to verify goaltending calls late in the game.

“So the call is flagrant foul and then you go the tape, and you decide whether it’s a 1 or a 2, or in some rare instance, maybe even a common foul,” Stern said.

In addition, the uniforms for 2013-14 will allow advertising patches on the jerseys. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the uniform changes will come into effect a year from now due to the time it takes to sell the advertisements and manufacture the new jerseys.

“We had a happy group of owners,” Stern said. “Our ratings are up 28 percent over the last decade, while television ratings are down around 30 percent the last decade. We are going to have our best year ever, both in gate and sponsorship this coming year.”

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NBA commissioner David Stern goes to extremes in denial of lottery fix 06.14.12 at 7:56 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:
NBA finals: Heat at Thunder, 9 p.m. (ABC)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Rangers, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ NBA commissioner David Stern had a testy exchange with Jim Rome during an appearance on Rome’s CBS radio show Wednesday. When Rome asked Stern if the NBA draft lottery was fixed, Stern replied, “Shame on you for asking,” and then attempted to use an extreme example of a loaded question, asking Rome: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Rome, who has no history of domestic violence, responded: “I don’t know if that’s fair.”

Stern directly denied that the lottery was rigged to give the league-owned Hornets the first pick, adding: “That’s not a question I’ve been asked before by a respectable journalist.” The commissioner also accused Rome of making a career of “cheap thrills.”

Rome later issued a statement through CBS, insisting he knew the commissioner was only trying to make a point.

“I understood it,” Rome said of the wife-beating question. “I didn’t take great offense to it. I didn’t agree with it. But the fact of the matter is I thought my question was direct and it was not a loaded question. So, I thought that analogy was inappropriate.”

♦ The big news in baseball is Giants right-hander Matt Cain‘s perfect game (see videos below), but the Mets insist there should have been another no-hitter Wednesday. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tossed a one-hitter vs. the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., with the only hit coming on an infield single by B.J. Upton in the first inning. Third baseman David Wright attempted to make a bare-handed play but missed the ball. Mets manager Terry Collins said the team will appeal the ruling to the commissioner’s office.

“If anybody deserved a no-hitter or a perfect game tonight, it was him,” Collins said of Dickey (10-1).

Dickey allowed a run in the ninth on a throwing error by Wright followed by two passed balls, ending his team-record scoreless innings streak at 32 2/3 frames.

“It was a game where I really didn’t have a regret,” said the 37-year-old Dickey, who also threw a one-hitter in 2010 against the Phillies.

♦ A judge in Las Vegas denied boxer Floyd Mayweather‘s request that he be released from jail because the conditions and threaten his health. Mayweather, who has served two weeks of a three-month sentence for domestic battery, wanted to be put under house arrest or at least be moved from solitary confinement to the general jail population.

Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa wrote in her decision Wednesday that Mayweather is not eating properly because he refuses to eat the provided meals, and he has enough options to exercise.

“While the physical training areas and times provided to [Mayweather] may not be consistent with his prior regimen, he is indeed provided sufficient space and time for physical activity if he so chooses,” Saragosa wrote.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 14, 1974, the Angels beat the Red Sox, 4-3, in a 15-inning game in Anaheim. The story of the day was Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan striking out 19 Red Sox (and walking 10) before leaving after the 13th. Which Red Sox pitcher went all 15 innings and was the hard-luck loser?

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David Stern might push for Olympic basketball age limit in 2016 05.31.12 at 9:42 am ET
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NBA commissioner David Stern is interested in the idea of the Olympics as a 23-and-under event. (AP)

On Wednesday, NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver said they are looking into the possibility of only sending elite NBA players to the FIBA World Championship and transforming the Olympics into a 23-and-under event.

A more lengthy discussion with FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, will happen in the future. As for now, the best the NBA has to offer will play in the 2012 Olympics in London, but these discussed changes could potentially come about for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. NBA players were first given the opportunity to play in the Olympics in 1992.

A move to a 23-and-under Olympics could mimic the system that international soccer has in place.

“We think international soccer has an excellent model and in the case of soccer, of course, there’s the World Cup of football, which is the biggest sporting event in the world every four years, and then in the off years, for the World Cup, they play, in essence, with some exceptions, a 23-and-under competition at the Olympics,” Silver said.

Silver added: “So what we have told FIBA and what David has announced several times is that we are all in through the London Olympics, and then post-London Olympics we want to step back together with USA Basketball, led by Jerry Colangelo and Patrick Baumann in FIBA, and the same way David talked about the new commission being a deliberate body, and I think together with the competition committee a committee of owners, we need to take a long-term view of what makes sense both for the NBA and for the game.”

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has mentioned that the NBA is making a major mistake by allowing players to play in international competitions.

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Sacramento Kings reach long-term arena deal 02.27.12 at 3:23 pm ET
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Since 1985, the Kings have stood as Sacramento’s only professional sports franchise, but over the last couple of years, the team’s future in northern California appeared to be in jeopardy, largely because the the franchise and city had yet to reach an agreement over a new arena to replace the aging Power Balance Pavilion.

Those doubts, at least for the time being, can now be laid to rest as the franchise has reached a tentative deal with the city of Sacramento that will keep the team in the city long-term with a new arena to be built.

Team co-owner George Maloof told The Sacramento Bee Monday that his family will put in close to $75 million up front to finance the project and then likely another $75 million over the term of the agreement.

Sacramento mayor and former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, and NBA commissioner David Stern had announced a joint work plan Wednesday for the team and city to reach an agreement to finance the arena by a March 1 deadline.

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof was relieved that the team was able to reach an arena deal and is looking forward to staying in Sacramento.

“I’m excited; (I’m) sure the fans are excited,” he told The Bee. “We aways said we wanted to stay. It worked out.”

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Jeremy Lin roundup: Guard added to Rising Stars game 02.17.12 at 10:14 am ET
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Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has caught the attention of not only fans and coaches but also of President Barack Obama over the past couple of weeks, and the hype does not appear to be ending anytime soon. It was revealed Thursday that Lin will play in the NBA All-Star Weekend Rising Stars Challenge after being a late addition to the roster.

After commissioner David Stern initially said Lin would not be added, the NBA reversed course. Lin scored 136 points in his first five starts, the most of an NBA player since the merger with the ABA in 1976. The traditional pairing of rookies and second-year players has been modified in format in order to mix up the game.

Jeremy Lin is on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated.

♦ During Wednesday night’s Knicks game, MSG Network aired a sign that depicted Lin’s face above a fortune cookie, with the words The Knicks’ good fortune. That sparked some controversy in the social media world, as Lin is the first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. In response to reports that indicated the sign was a network graphic, the network tweeted Thursday: What happened briefly last night was not an MSG graphic, it was one of many fan signs in the area.

♦ China and Taiwan want a piece of the pie when it comes to Lin. “Linsanity” has offered a hefty marketing promise, and at 6-foot-3, Lin has become a role model for average-sized basketball players everywhere. Wang Dong, a Shanghai-based sports commentator for Dragon TV, told CNN, “Lin gives hope to regular-sized players. He shows that regardless of size, height and weight he could make his presence felt in the NBA. He shows that we Chinese can boast of more than just giant players like Yao Ming.”

Fernando Valenzuela, the former Dodgers left-hander who burst onto the scene in 1981 as an unheralded rookie from Mexico, has hopped on the Linsanity bandwagon. Valenzuela’s success gave to birth to “Fernandomania,” and the hype around Lin has some similarities.

♦ In the wake of Rockets center Yao Ming‘s retirement, the NBA plans to have Lin visit China this summer. The constant buzz around Lin has piqued the interest of David Shoemaker, NBA China CEO.

“What we’ve seen, the huge enthusiasm and the frenzy around Jeremy is just serving to act as a further catalyst to grow the sport of basketball and to grow the NBA in China in a very short period,” Shoemaker told CNN.

♦ The New York Daily News reports that Manhattan-based Shake Shack is now offering the “Jeremy Lin-Mint,” a chocolate and cookie milkshake to further enhance the Linsanity that appears to have captivated the nation. The shake will be provided at all six New York City Shake Shacks, in all five boroughs, excluding Citi Field, through Feb. 19.

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Top Stories of 2011, No. 10: NBA lockout 12.22.11 at 5:16 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2011, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our first entry in the countdown is No. 10: The NBA lockout.

With the NBA lockout finally over, new Celtic Brandon Bass (30) and Rajon Rondo have a shortened season to prepare for. (AP)

After a summer of doubt, NBA commissioner David Stern went from Grinch to Santa when he delivered the gift of a 2011-12 NBA season. Basketball fans worldwide can rejoice on Christmas Day when they get to see their beloved league back in action, even if the season is shortened.

The lockout started July 1, as owners and players disagreed on terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. Primarily, the disagreement centered on who would get the majority of the league’s income. There was more to the CBA than that, of course, but the fact that the owners wanted to recapture more of the income pie left the players up in arms.

Over the course of the summer, negotiations were held between the leagues executives and the NBA players union, led by Billy Hunter, who oversaw the union’s litigation against the league during the 1998 NBA lockout.

With the experienced Hunter at the helm and Lakers guard Derek Fisher in charge of the players, the NBA went into a stalemate all summer. With neither the owners nor players budging on their terms and the season right around the corner, Stern made the move on October to cancel the first two weeks of the season, a blow to revenue for players and owners alike.

Stern went on to cancel the first quarter of the season when the players union made its first major move of the lockout by filing two anti-trust lawsuits against the owners.

On Thanksgiving, the two sides finally broke down and agreed to a new deal. According to Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, common sense prevailed.

“The general concept was this is regrettable to have this lockout,” he said during Wednesday’s appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show. “If there is a deal, we might as well just go ahead and get to it. If there isn’t, that would be very disappointing.”

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Report: Chris Paul-to-Clippers deal collapses due to NBA demands 12.12.11 at 5:48 pm ET
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For the second time in five days, a deal that would send Hornets guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles has dissolved, ESPN sources say. Earlier Monday, reports emerged saying the Clippers and Hornets were submitting a bid to the NBA for a multi-player deal that would send Paul to the Clippers and a combination of players and a draft pick to the Hornets.

Last Thursday, NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed a deal involving three teams that would have sent Paul to the Lakers. The situation is extra sensitive because the NBA currently owns the Hornets, thus making getting the most available for Paul in the league’s best interest.

ESPN sources said the Clippers backed off of the deal Monday when the Hornets insisted on a high price for Paul. The Hornets were intent on getting Clippers guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Karman, prospects Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe in addition to a first-round draft pick all in exchange for Paul.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Titans accuse Saints of using whistle on sideline at 8:06 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:
NFL: Rams at Seahawks, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
NHL: Devils at Lightning, 7 p.m. (Versus)

AROUND THE WEB:

Drew Brees throws a pass under pressure from Karl Klug during the Saints' victory over the Titans Sunday in Nashville. (AP)

♦ The Titans dropped a 22-17 decision to the visiting Saints on Sunday, but a couple of Tennessee players said there was some funny business originating from the New Orleans sideline.

Offensive linemen Jake Scott and Michael Roos said they heard a whistle coming from the Saints sideline late in the game, and a producer for “Titans All Access” has proof after capturing it with a microphone that was on Roos.

“Somebody was blowing a whistle on the sideline,” Scott said. “There is audio of it, so we’ll let it go from there. The second-to-last drive, I think.”

Said Roos: “Everybody on our side heard something, we’re not sure where it came from exactly. But it sounded like from over there, and until we know more I can’t really say anything else. It’s not something that should be done but until we can have somebody look at it, we’ll have to wait and see.”

The Saints did not comment after the game.

♦ The Cincinnati and Xavier basketball teams brawled on Saturday, and Cincy coach Mick Cronin was especially forthcoming in the postgame press conference about how embarrassed he was. And yet, on Sunday the punishments were announced, and the longest suspension was for just six games. That was for Yancy Gates, who hit Xavier’s Kenny Frease with a sucker punch to the face that left Frease bleeding, punched another player and had to be restrained from continuing his assaults. At Yahoo! Sports, Pat Forde criticizes both teams for the “copout” as they failed to follow through on their tough talk.

♦ Nets guard Deron Williams weighed in on the aborted Chris Paul trade to the Lakers and didn’t hold back when talking about the NBA commissioner. “David Stern‘s a bully,” he said. “You really can’t go up against him, man.” And when asked if he was OK with that quote bring used, Williams said: “[Stern] knows he’s a bully. Ain’t no secret. … Everybody knows that. I think every owner of every big business is a bully. That’s how they become successful.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 12, 1975, the Red Sox traded Roger Moret to the Braves for which pitcher, known in part for the fact that he caught Hank Aaron‘s 715th home run ball in the Atlanta bullpen in 1974?

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