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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Former teammates mourn death of RB Joe McKnight, killed in road rage incident 12.02.16 at 7:59 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Friday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

NBA: Sacramento at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Cleveland at Chicago, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Houston at Denver, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Tulane, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Alabama at Texas, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Western Michigan at Ohio, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Colorado at Washington, 9 p.m. (Fox)


— Former NFL running back Joe McKnight was shot and killed on Thursday in New Orleans during a road rage incident.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said in a news conference McKnight was standing outside his car when he was fatally shot by Ronald Gasser.

“The only thing we know right now, everything else is conjecture, is that Mr. Gasser did in fact shoot Mr. McKnight,” Normand said, adding: “We will release additional details when we get through with the interviews.”

Normand said Gasser was in custody and was being questioned. A number of witnesses are also being questioned.

McKnight played three seasons for the Jets and one for the Chiefs. He played in the Canadian Football League this season.

He is the second ex-NFL player to die in New Orleans this year in a road rage incident. In April, former Saints player Will Smith was shot after an altercation with another driver.

McKnight’s former teams and teammates expressed their condolences on Twitter.

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Read More: Isiah Thomas, Joe McKnight, Michael Jordan,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Robert Kraft defends Tom Brady’s integrity, calls NFL’s handling of Deflategate ‘very disturbing’ 05.18.15 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL playoffs: Lightning at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Chelsea at West Bromwich, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

— Robert Kraft has let his actions speak for him since the Deflategate punishment was announced — allowing his legal team to release a counter to the NFL’s Wells Report — but over the weekend he spoke candidly with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and expressed his frustration with the league’s handling of the matter.

“This whole thing has been very disturbing,” Kraft said. “But when you work for something your whole life … I just get really worked up. To receive the harshest penalty in league history is just not fair. The anger and frustration with this process, to me, it wasn’t fair. If we’re giving all the power to the NFL and the office of the commissioner, this is something that can happen to all 32 teams. We need to have fair and balanced investigating and reporting. But in this report, every inference went against us … inferences from ambiguous, circumstantial evidence all went against us. That’s the thing that really bothers me.

“If they want to penalize us because there’s an aroma around this? That’s what this feels like. If you don’t have the so-called smoking gun, it really is frustrating. And they don’t have it. This thing never should have risen to this level.”

Kraft avoided commenting on if the team will attempt to go to court to fight the punishment, he would not say why he suspended locker room attendants John Jastremski and Jim McNally if they did nothing wrong, and he said of the current status of his previously close relationship with Roger Goodell, “You’ll have to ask him.”

He did, however, reveal that Tom Brady — who has remained quiet publicly — has insisted he did not break any rules.

“Yes,” Kraft said when asked if Brady told him he was innocent. “Because we had the discussion — if you did it, let’s just deal with it and take our hit and move on. I’ve known Tommy for 16 years, almost half his life. He’s a man, and he’s always been honest with me, and I trust him. I believed what he told me. He has never lied to me, and I have found no hard or conclusive evidence to the contrary.”

Added Kraft: “Footballs have never been measured at halftime of any other game in NFL history. They have no idea how much footballs go down in cold weather or expand in warm weather. There is just no evidence that tampering with the footballs every happened.”

— The Marlins parted ways with manager Mike Redmond after Sunday’s game, in which they were almost no-hit by Braves pitcher Shelby Miller before losing 6-0.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who left his seat near home plate in the fourth inning, decided to make the move with the team at 16-22 despite significant upgrades made in the offseason. Reports Monday morning indicated general manager Dan Jennings will move to the dugout to replace Redmond.

Redmond was 155-207 in two-plus seasons. Bench coach Rob Leary also was fired.

“We’re just looking for a new voice,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.

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Read More: Deflategate, Isiah Thomas, Jeffrey Loria, Mike Redmond
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: NY media has field day as James Dolan brings Isiah Thomas back to MSG 05.06.15 at 8:03 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Mets, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Bulls at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. (USA)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayern Munich at Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Isiah Thomas is back at Madison Square Garden, much to New York's dismay.

Isiah Thomas, who flopped as general manager of the Knicks but still is in the good graces of team owner James Dolan, is returning to Madison Square Garden, named by Dolan as president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

Thomas will oversee basketball and business operations for the Liberty, and he will receive an ownership stake in the team if approved by the WNBA Board of Governors.

“Over the last couple of months Jim and I talked,” Thomas told The Associated Press. “We talked about the ideas and the way that there was a growth opportunity for the New York Liberty. Women’s basketball is an exciting opportunity. It’s something I wanted to be a part of.”

Thomas was president of the Knicks from December 2003 until April 2008, and his high-salaried teams failed to win a single playoff game. He also coached the team for two seasons, going 56-108 before being fired. Additionally, he was sued by a former employee for sexual harassment, a case that cost MSG $11.6 million.

“I’m familiar with everybody’s bad taste in their mouth about him,” said Liberty star Tina Charles, who grew up in New York as a Knicks fan. “I don’t hold anybody to their past.”

The New York media was not as understanding. In a piece headlined, “Only James Dolan would entrust a WNBA team to sexual harasser,” New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro wrote that he assumed when he saw the release that it was from Funny or Die or The Onion, because it was too absurd to be true.

In a statement announcing the hire, Dolan said the Knicks still deny the sexual harassment allegations against Thomas, despite a jury finding him responsible.

That’s no surprise to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, who writes that Thomas’ ultimate goal clearly is to return to his position as Knicks president, and calls Dolan “[Thomas’] meal ticket who believes in Thomas with more conviction than most 8-year-olds believe in Santa Claus.”

— Two Las Vegas residents filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit Tuesday accusing Manny Pacquiao and his camp of hiding his shoulder injury before his loss to Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night.

According to the suit, Pacquiao and his backers admitted knowing of the fighter’s injury but did not disclose it to the Nevada Athletic Commission as required by law, keeping the information from fans who bought tickets, ordered a pay-per-view broadcast or bet on the bout.

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Read More: Ernie Johnson, Isiah Thomas, James Dolan, Manny Pacquiao
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets reportedly will try to trade Mark Sanchez, might have interest in Michael Vick 12.20.12 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Thunder at Timberwolves, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Heat at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Elon at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Eastern Michigan at Michigan, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College football: Poinsettia Bowl, BYU vs. San Diego State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ The Jets appear ready to start over at quarterback. According to the New York Daily News, the team will look to trade Mark Sanchez after the season — although it likely will be difficult to find a team willing to pay Sanchez the $8.25 million he’s owed. Sanchez, in his fourth season in New York after being drafted fifth overall, has been benched in favor of Greg McElroy for Sunday’s game against the Chargers following his disastrous five-turnover performance in this past Sunday’s 14-10 loss to the Titans that ended the Jets’ playoff hopes.

‘€œI’€™m not going to make excuses,’€ Sanchez said after Wednesday’s practice. ‘€œAt the end of the day, no matter what kind of situation that you’€™re in, the quarterback has the ball and it’€™s my job to make good decisions with the football regardless of the personnel situation. ‘€¦ I’€™m not going to go there. Is every interception the quarterback’€™s fault? Of course not. But they’€™re attributed to the quarterback. It goes as my stat. You live with that. You own up to your side of the mistakes and you move on.’€

The Daily News also reports that Michael Vick, who is expected to be released by the Eagles when the season ends, would be amenable to joining the Jets, and that Rex Ryan has always admired the speedy QB.

“[Ryan] loves him,” a team official told the paper.

Vick lost his starting job in Philadelphia after receiving a concussion this season.

‘™¦ Suspended ESPN “First Take” panelist Rob Parker apologized for racially inflammatory remarks he made last week about Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Parker, himself African-American, questioned whether Griffin was “a brother or a cornball brother” and brought up the fact that the player has a white fiancee and is rumored to be a Republican.

Wrote Parker on Wednesday:

“I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert’s thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community. The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on First Take, and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one.”

Added Parker: “I’ve contacted his agent with hopes of apologizing to Robert directly. As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner.”

‘™¦ Isiah Thomas, fired by Florida International University in March after going 26-65 in three seasons as coach, will make his debut as an analyst on NBA TV on Friday. Thomas is slated to make several appearances a month and write for

His first appearance comes as a lead-in to the game between the Bulls and Knicks, the last NBA team Thomas worked for.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 20, 1964, the Patriots ended their season with a 24-14 loss to the Bills. Despite failing to score in the game, which Patriots player finished the season with an AFL record 155 points?

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Read More: Isiah Thomas, Mark Sanchez, michael vick, Rex Ryan
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Marlins’ Ozzie Guillen heads back to Miami to apologize 04.10.12 at 11:33 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Heat, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WRKO)
NBA: Knicks at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Draft lottery, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Pirates at Dodgers, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Royals at Athletics, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)


‘™¦ With residents and some local officials in Miami calling for the Marlins to fire Ozzie Guillen, the manager announced plans to return to South Florida on Tuesday to apologize in person for comments he made praising Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Guillen, whose team is playing a series in Philadelphia but has no game Tuesday, apologized over the weekend after the Time magazine story filtered out. He said he has not been able to sleep and needs to let people in Miami see how contrite he is.

“I’m going to make everything clear what’s going on,” he said Monday. “People can see me and talk. I’ve already talked to people. But I think it’s the proper thing to see my eyes. They can see me and ask whatever question they want. I think sooner is better. Better for the ballclub, better for me.”

Added Guillen: “I know I hurt a lot of people. I want to get the thing over with.”

‘™¦ Also in Miami, members of the Florida International basketball team walked out of Monday night’s season-ending banquet to protest the firing of Isiah Thomas and his staff. Thomas was 26-65 in three seasons at FIU before being fired Friday with two years remaining on his contract.

“We didn’t want to disrespect the program at all or anything,” freshman guard Tyler Wozniak told Yahoo! Sports. “We just wanted to show our support for Isiah Thomas. He was a great coach, a mentor and a father figure to us. He didn’t have a winning record, but you can’t build a program in three years.”

‘™¦ In the Sporting News, Matt Hayes has an article that paints a negative picture of Urban Meyer‘s tenure at Florida. The now-Ohio State coach is accused of pandering to elite players — including current Patriots Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez — and creating a contentious environment by allowing the stars to get away with too much. Said former safety Bryan Thomas: “The program was out of control.”

Responded Meyer: ‘€œI am very proud of our guys that played at Florida. Are there issues? Yes there are with 18-22-year-olds. I have been criticized that I have been too lenient on players; that doesn’€™t concern me. We are going to go out of our way to mentor, educate and discipline guys the way we see fit to make sure they’€™re headed in the right direction. Are we perfect? I never said that. We do the best we can and I think our record has been really positive in the impact we’€™ve made on those people.’€

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 10, 1998, the Red Sox rallied from a 7-2 ninth-inning deficit against the Mariners, winning 9-7 on a walk-off grand slam by which Sox player?

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Read More: Isiah Thomas, Ozzie Guillen, Urban Meyer,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-Colts boss Bill Polian says Randy Moss can’t beat Father Time 02.16.12 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Bulls, 8 p.m. (TNT; WEEI)
NBA: Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Boston College at Maryland, 9 p.m. (WEEI)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Gonzaga at Santa Clara, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Blackhawks at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)


‘™¦ Former Colts president Bill Polian weighed in on the Randy Moss situation, and his analysis makes it appear that Moss will have a tough time finding a team willing to give him a shot to return to the NFL.

Speaking on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Polian said Moss looked done when he was with the Titans in 2010, following his trade from the Patriots and subsequent release by the Vikings the same season.

‘€œIt was pretty clear he had lost a fair amount of speed and flexibility,’€ Polian said. ‘€œHe was not the same player he was three or four years earlier during his heyday in New England. Since his repertoire of routes was always limited — he was essentially a deep receiver his entire career — losing a step can really hurt your effectiveness.’€

Added Polian: ‘€œI just view it as a guy who was a great player, who obviously had some baggage throughout his career but had a nice run at New England, who sort of reached the end as every player does. Nobody, no matter how great they are, defeats Father Time. I just felt like Randy was in that category.

‘€œFor his sake, I hope he makes it back. But to me, he didn’€™t look like a top-echelon player in Tennessee.’€

Meanwhile, Moss returned to Ustream on Wednesday to chat with fans, and he said he wants to be on a team “where I can come in and do some damage.” He also offered his opinions on Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and more, and he said he still talks to Tom Brady “any chance I get.”

‘™¦ Isiah Thomas is so despised by Knicks fans, the Madison Square Garden faithful will even boo someone who shares the same name. Kings guard Isaiah Thomas took the heat Wednesday night, booed throughout his team’s loss to the Knicks.

“I knew it was coming,” said Thomas, who is not related to the former Knicks coach/executive. “When I was at prep school [in Connecticut] I used to come to the Knicks games when Isiah Thomas was the coach, so I knew something was going to happen.

“I was expecting it. Spike Lee even told me, ‘Next time you come to New York, you better change your name.’ ”

‘™¦ Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who reportedly feuded with receiver Santonio Holmes this past season, tweeted a Valentine’s message Wednesday morning: @santonio10 you want to be my Valentine? Included with the text was a picture of a heart-shaped box of cookies.

Holmes, criticized by teammates for his attitude toward the end of the season, did not immediately reply.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 16, 1980, in a 5-3 road victory over the Colorado Rockies, which Bruin recorded an assist to give him 1,220 points, moving him into seventh place on the NHL career scoring list?

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Read More: Bill Polian, Isiah Thomas, Mark Sanchez, Randy Moss
Friday’s Morning Mashup: NBA players confront fans during summer league games 08.05.11 at 7:56 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 4:10 p.m. (FOX; WEEI)
MLS: Chivas USA at Revolution, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)


‘™¦ Anyone who has seen video of summer league basketball could tell that it was only a matter of time before a confrontation erupted between a player and a fan. Fans at games ring the edges of the court and often walk onto the court after big plays to celebrate, frequently making contact with the players.

While Kevin Durant was being lauded for his memorable performance in New York, Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley did not enjoy being taunted about his failure to stop Durant. During a game at Dyckman Park, Beasley confronted a fan who was heckling him, pushing the fan in the face before security stepped (video here).

Even Durant had issues with hecklers this week. Here’s video from a game at New York’s Pro City in which Durant responds to a fan who was riding him.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco Thursday night, Lakers forward Matt Barnes reportedly punched someone in the face during a game there.

‘™¦ Knicks owner James Dolan, who apparently does not mind being the butt of jokes, plays in a blues band. He wrote a song called “Fix the Knicks” that his band played last week before an Aretha Franklin concert on Long Island. An excerpt from the song: “Doing my best, yes, that’s my promise. I check with my friends, call Isiah Thomas.” The audience groaned at the line.

‘™¦ It might not be a major problem in Boston ‘€” witness the Red Sox’ record attendance Thursday night ‘€” but declining ticket revenue is a concern nationally in all of the major sports. At, Neil deMause looks at the situation and concludes we’re headed for a two-tiered system in which some teams and events can name their price while the majority of tickets go at bargain-basement prices on the secondary market.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Aug. 5, 1979, which Red Sox pitcher became the first player born and raised in the Netherlands to record a major league victory?

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Read More: Isiah Thomas, James Dolan, Matt Barnes, Michael Beasley
Report: Pistons looking at Bill Laimbeer, Isiah Thomas 06.08.11 at 2:00 pm ET
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In their ongoing search for a new coach, the Pistons reportedly have shown interest in two Detroit basketball legends. Bill Laimbeer and Isiah Thomas ‘€” starters on the Pistons’ back-to-back NBA championship teams in 1989 and 1990 ‘€” are on the short list for the job, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports.

Sources told Broussard that Thomas is not the leading candidate for the position, and the Pistons also are looking at Mike Woodson and Kelvin Sampson.

Detroit is looking to replace John Kuester, who was fired Sunday after posting a 57-107 record over the last two years.

Read More: Bill Laimbeer, Isiah Thomas, Pistons, Rumor Mill
Isiah Thomas to Knicks? ‘Never say never’ 06.04.11 at 7:50 pm ET
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Donnie Walsh is out as president of the Knicks, and former executive Isiah Thomas isn’t ruling out the possibility of replacing him.

When asked how he would respond if owner James Dolan offered him the position, he responded, “Never say never about anything. All my doors are open.” Thomas left the Knicks’ front office in 2008 after a sexual harassment scandal, but Dolan has publicly said he still values Thomas’ advice.

Knicks fans might not be too keen on the idea of having Thomas back in power. During his run as general manager, Thomas gave up draft picks, prospects and money for players like Eddy Curry, Steve Francis, and Jerome James, a large part of why New York went on a nearly decade-long playoff drought.

Read More: Donnie Walsh, Isiah Thomas, Knicks,
Who’s the best in NBA history? Hall of Famers disagree 06.01.11 at 11:55 am ET
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Several days after NBA great Scottie Pippen proclaimed LeBron James as possibly the best player in league history, two of Pippen’s fellow Hall of Famers publicly disagreed.

On Tuesday night, NBA career points leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his website,, “I have nothing but respect for [Pippen], but you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time. Your comments are off because of your limited perspective.”

Abdul-Jabbar cited Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell as better players than James.

Fomer Pistons legend Isiah Thomas echoed Abdul-Jabbar’s opinion Tuesday on the “Steven A. Smith Show.”

“I think LeBron has a chance to eclipse Jordan if he continues to improve his game,” Thomas said. “But where they are right now, you still have to take Jordan as being the better player.”

You can read Abdul-Jabbar’s full “Open Letter to Scottie Pippen” here.

Read More: Isiah Thomas, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Michael Jordan