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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Buccaneers WR Mike Evans sits for anthem in Donald Trump protest; Kobe Bryant has ‘comfortable’ relationship with death 11.14.16 at 8:16 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday 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:
NBA: Boston at New Orleans, 8 p.m. (CSN)
NBA:
Philadelphia at Houston, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NFL:
Cincinnati at NY Giants, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Connecticut at Florida State, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball:
UCLA at Baylor, 7 p.m. (FSN)
College basketball:
Texas at Stanford, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

SUNDAY’S RESULTS:
NFL: Seahawks 31, Patriots 24
NFL: Chiefs 20, Panthers 17
NFL: Rams 9, Jets 6
NFL: Eagles 24, Falcons 15
NFL: Texans 24, Jaguars 21
NFL: Dolphins 31, Chargers 24
NFL: Broncos 25, Saints 23
NFL: Titans 47, Packers 25
NFL: Redskins 26, Vikings 20
NFL: Buccaneers 36, Bears 10
NFL: Cardinals 23, 49ers 20
NHL: Bruins 2, Avalanche 0
NHL: Jets 3, Kings 2
NHL: Canucks 5, Stars 4
NHL: Wild 2, Senators 1
NHL: Blackhawks 3, Canadiens 2
NHL: Rangers 3, Oilers 1
NBA: Cavaliers 100, Hornets 93
NBA: Magic 119, Thunder 117
NBA: Timberwolves 125, Lakers 99
NBA: Trail Blazers 112, Nuggets 105
NBA: Warriors 133, Suns 120

AROUND THE WEB: 

— Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans staged a Donald Trump protest before his team’s game against the Bears on Sunday.

During the pregame national anthem Evans sat down in protest of a country that elected Trump as president.

“If this happens, then America’s not right right now,” Evans said about Trump becoming president. “I said this a long time ago. When [Trump] ran, I thought it was a joke, and the joke continues. I’m not a political person that much, but I’ve got common sense. And I know when something’s not right.”

The NFL dedicates November to honoring veterans, and Evans clarified he is not trying to disrespect them with this stance.

“I don’t want to, you know, disrespect the veterans or anything. The men and women who serve this country, I’m forever indebted to them,” Evans said. “But the things that’s been going on in America lately, I’m not going to stand for that. When Ashton Kutcher comes out and says we’ve been punked, then I’ll stand again. But I won’t stand anymore.”

When asked if he will continue to sit out the national anthem because of Trump, Evans said he will “as long as he’s the president-elect.”

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Retiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant nets 60 in finale, pays tribute to fans 04.14.16 at 7:42 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:
NHL playoffs: Flyers at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Panthers, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Wild at Stars, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (CNBC)
MLB: Tigers at Pirates, 12:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A miserable season ended on a positive note for retiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant, as he scored 60 points and helped his team to a rare victory — and a 15-point comeback at that.

Bryant started slow but heated up late, scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining as Los Angeles posted a 101-96 victory over the Jazz.

“The perfect ending would have been a championship,” Bryant said. “But tonight was [me] trying to go out, play hard and try to put on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time.”

With his teammates feeding him the ball as often as possible, Bryant took a career-high 50 shots in 42 minutes and finished with the fifth-highest-scoring game of his career.

“It just didn’t surprise me, the way he would go out,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Sixty points wasn’t a surprise. I knew he had it in him.”

After the game — the Lakers’ 17th win of the season, the team’s worst record in franchise history, his teammates sprayed him with champagne in the locker room. Bryant said he didn’t care for that, saying: “That’s only for championships.”

Bryant, just the fifth player to play 20 NBA seasons and the first to do it all with one team, thanked the fans in a ceremony after the game.

“I think the most important part is that we all stayed together throughout,” Bryant told the crowd. “You’ll always be in my heart, and I sincerely, sincerely appreciate it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys.”

— Johnny Manziel’s behavior is so bad that even Drew Rosenhaus is fed up with him.

The controversial agent told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he gave Manziel an ultimatum: Get help or get a new agent.

“I have terminated the standard representation with Johnny Manziel in the hopes of helping him get the treatment I believe he needs,” said Rosenhaus, who is Manziel’s second agent this offseason. “I have informed him that if he takes the immediate steps I have outlined for him that I will rescind the termination and continue to represent him. Otherwise the termination will become permanent. There is a five-day window for me to rescind the termination. I’m hoping he takes the necessary steps to get his life back on track.”

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Read More: George Karl, Johnny Manziel, kobe bryant,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Chiefs coach Andy Reid defends clock management vs. Patriots 01.22.16 at 7:46 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: Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Heat at Raptors, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Pacers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Toledo at Northern Illinois, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Rhode Island at George Washington, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Canisius at Niagara, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Albany at Stony Brook, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Vermont at UConn, 8:30 p.m. (NESN)
Tennis: Australian Open, 3 p.m., 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Chiefs have taken some heat for their clock management late in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, but coach Andy Reid stands firm that it wasn’t an issue.

During an interview with Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio, Reid defending himself against those who pointed to Sunday’s time-consuming drive in the fourth quarter as yet another example of his poor game management skills.

“I think clock management’s very important,” Reid said (via Pro Football Talk). “Every situation’s different. It’s a fluid situation on the spot and you’ve got to go off of feel. … This situation, I think, was handled right.”

The Chiefs did not appear to have any urgency as they worked their way down the field despite trailing by two touchdowns. (“At that point it really didn’t matter to me. I wanted to make sure we were calling the best plays,” Reid said.) Although they scored a touchdown, they did not get the ball back after the Patriots recovered the onside kick and then got a first down.

“I thought we handled it right,” Reid said. “You give us a minute on the clock and three timeouts, we feel like we can move the ball pretty good.”

— Former UConn star and NBA player Tate George continued to claim innocence while being sentenced Thursday in New Jersey to nine years in prison for running a $2 million real estate Ponzi scheme.

George, who also was ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution, did not apologize to his victims, including current NBA player Charlie Villanueva, but instead claimed his real estate projects still had a chance of succeeding.

“For the umpteenth time, I’m sorry — I’m sorry the projects got delayed,” said George, who played at UConn in the late 1980s and in the NBA with the Nets and Bucks from 1990 until ’95.

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Read More: Andy Reid, kobe bryant, Tate George,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Durant rips media for ‘killing’ Kobe Bryant 12.01.15 at 8:00 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:
NBA: Wizards at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Mavericks at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Michigan at N.C. State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Northwestern at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Maryland Eastern Shore at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Villanova at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Virginia at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Purdue at Pittsburgh, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Miami at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Louisiana Tech at Memphis, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Maryland at North Carolina, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Wild at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Penguins at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Kobe Bryant farewell tour has begun, after the Lakers legend announced Sunday that he’s retiring after the season. Thunder star Kevin Durant is ready to pay tribute to Bryant, but he’s disappointed in the lack of respect Bryant has received from the media to this point in the season. And on Monday he wasn’t shy about expressing his opinion about it.

“I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys [the media] treated him like [expletive],” Durant said. “He’s a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting and it’s time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like [expletive], and I didn’t really like it. So hopefully now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year.”

Durant, who said he idolized Bryant grown up and “wanted to be like him,” responded later Monday to backlash about his comment by elaborating on his point.

“I understand [the media] have to write about the game. Of course I understand that,” Durant said. “Kobe hasn’t played well, and his team hasn’t played well, but did we expect that from them? You did say he was the 93rd-best player in the league, you did have the Lakers as the worst team in the West, but it seems like everybody is happy that he’s going out like this. Every game he’s played on TV is about how terrible he looks, every article the next day is about how he should retire and give it up. Just killing him.

“I never hear about the Finals MVPs, the accolades. They did it for [former Yankee] Derek Jeter, they will do it for Tim Duncan when he leaves even if he’s playing bad. I know you’ve got to report the games, but you’re going too in-depth about how bad he is. You’re almost kicking him out the league.”

Added Durant: “They say I don’t get the media and how they work. Well, they never got players and how we work.”

— According to reports out of Miami, the Marlins are having internal discussions about hiring disgraced home run king Barry Bonds as their hitting coach. Bonds has worked as a special instructor for the Giants at the last two spring trainings.

Baseball’s all-time home run leader with 762 dingers, Bonds batted .298 in 22 seasons with the Pirates and Giants.

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Read More: Barry Bonds, Jahlil Okafor, Kevin Durant, kobe bryant
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers coach Byron Scott ‘shocked’ by Kobe Bryant’s decision to retire after season 11.30.15 at 7:56 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: Ravens at Browns, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Celtics at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Spurs at Bulls, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Rutgers, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Illinois State at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Alcorn State at Indiana, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Clemson at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Considering how poorly he’s played this season, Kobe Bryant‘s announcement that he will retire from the NBA after this season can’t be considered a complete surprise. But apparently it was to Lakers coach Byron Scott.

Scott said he was shocked when Bryant calmly told him his plans Sunday, as the coach figured Bryant “had at least another year” in him.

“He kind of shocked me when he told me,” Scott said. “[I’m] just sad more than anything. Just sad more than anything. Somebody who I truly care about, have a lot of respect for. I think it’s always hard when greatness like Kobe decides to hang it up.”

Bryant, however, decided that his 37-year-old body needed to rest.

“My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye,” Bryant wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “And that’s OK. I’m ready to let you go. I want you to know now. So we both can savor every moment we have left together. The good and the bad. We have given each other all that we have.”

Bryant also left a letter for Staples Center fans at Sunday’s game against the Pacers, writing: “What you’ve done for me is far greater than anything I’ve done for you. I knew that each minute of each game I wore purple and gold.”

Tributes poured join from around the league after the 17-time All-Star announced his plans.

“Kobe was my Jordan,” Pacers star (and Southern California native) Paul George said after Bryant missed a late 3-pointer that could have tied the game in the Lakers’ loss. “Watching him win championships when I was growing up, that’s who I idolized. That was the standard.”

Said Commissioner Adam Silver: “Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game. Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game.”

Asked about it after the game, Bryant kept his composure but made it clear his decision is final.

“I had to just accept the fact that I don’t want to do this anymore, and I’m OK with that,” he said.

— Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor finally commented on his off-court issues, acknowledging he has not made the best decisions of late.

Okafor was involved in a fight outside a Boston bar after Wednesday’s game at TD Garden (and a man filed a police report claiming he was the victim in the confrontation). After the incident, reports emerged that Okafor had an incident at a Philadelphia club in October in which a man pointed a gun at the player’s head, and he was stopped by police earlier this month for driving 108 mph on the Ben Franklin Bridge, where the normal speed limit is 45.

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Read More: byron scott, Jahlil Okafor, kobe bryant, Kyle Flood
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Jets LB David Harris ‘shocked’ by team’s lack of effort, promises, ‘It ain’t going to happen again’ 11.03.15 at 8:10 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:
NHL: Stars at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Kings at Blues, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Hawks at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Nuggets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College football: Northern Illinois at Toledo, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Juventus, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, CSKA Moscow at Manchester United, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Jets, apparently suffering from a Patriots hangover, were embarrassed by the Raiders on Sunday, dropping a 34-20 decision. That hasn’t shaken the confidence of what had been the league’s best defensive team.

Said linebacker David Harris on Monday: “Just trust me: It ain’t going to happen again.”

Harris said the team’s effort was not up to par, saying it was “disgusting” watching the game film.

“We just did a poor job of tackling,” Harris said. “The effort was poor all the way across the board. We had way too many guys not hustling on every play and it hurt us.”

The Jets had been the league’s stingiest team prior to allowing 30 points to the Patriots and then 34 to Oakland in consecutive losses that have dropped their record to 4-3 — and dropped them to 12th in points allowed (four spots behind behind the Patriots). Raiders quarterback Derek Carr amassed 333 yards passing with four touchdowns against the vaunted Jets secondary, while tailback Latavius Murray compiled 113 rushing yards. Pro Football Focus tallied 19 missed tackles by Gang Green.

Said Harris: “They outplayed us in every aspect. … Nobody expected it to happen. Surprised. Shocked. Worried. Any way you view it, it wasn’t our best effort, let’s put it that way.”

Kobe Bryant laughed off a preseason breakdown from ESPN that had him rated as the 93rd-best player in the NBA. A week into the season, he doesn’t even consider himself that good.

After saying he’s the “200th-best player in the league right now,” Bryant was given a day off Monday by coach Byron Scott, who hopes the 37-year-old will stop beating himself up.

“I said, just stay away from the gym today,” Scott said after Monday’s practice. “Just spend some time with your kids and family and get basketball off your mind for 24 hours if you can — which I don’t think he can — and then come in tomorrow fresh and we’ll go from there.”

Bryant is shooting 31.3 percent from the field and 20.7 percent from 3-point range, although he’s still averaging 17.3 points per game.

After Sunday’s 3-for-15 performance in a loss to the Mavericks that dropped Los Angeles to 0-3, Bryant said, “I just can’t make a shot,” and, “I freaking suck.”

Said rookie guard D’Angelo Russell: “We’re going to keep feeding him. … He’s in the gym 24/7. It’s not that he’s not putting in the work. It’s just, the basketball gods aren’t blessing him right now with making shots. But they’ll fall. Then we won’t be having this conversation.”

— Almost exactly three years after taking over as 49ers starting quarterback — and proceeding to lead the team to the Super Bowl — Colin Kaepernick reportedly is being demoted.

According to multiple reports out of San Francisco, Blaine Gabbert will be behind center when the Niners take the field Sunday.

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Read More: Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick, David Harris, kobe bryant
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Cowboys ban filming of practice with Patriots heading to town 10.09.15 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 playoffs: Rangers at Blue Jays, 12:45 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB playoffs: Astros at Royals, 3:45 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Southern Miss. at Marshall, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: N.C. State at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA Finals: Lynx at Fever, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Euro qualifier, Spain vs. Luxembourg, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Deflategate finally is dying down, but Spygate appears to be making a comeback.

According to a report out of Dallas, the Cowboys — who normally allow reporters to film their offensive work during the parts of practices that are open to the media — banned anyone from filming Thursday’s session in advance of Sunday’s game against the visiting Patriots.

Tweeted Dallas Morning News writer Jon Machota: Cowboys usually don’t care what cameras film during the open portion of practice. But this week, no filming the offense.

The Patriots, of course, were heavily penalized in 2007 after it was determined they were filming opposing coaches during games despite being warned to stop. And there have been unsubstantiated rumors that they filmed a Rams practice prior to the Super Bowl in 2002.

Meanwhile, while the Cowboys continue to tweak the Patriots, they have their own issues to worry about — first and foremost, how to justify the presence of domestic abuser Greg Hardy.

Jennifer Staubach Gates, a member of the Dallas City Council and the daughter of team legend Roger Staubach, said she will struggle with rationalizing supporting someone like Hardy.

“I’ve grown up a Cowboys fan, and it’s hard not to continue to root for them, but there will be a lot of mixed emotions when he takes the field on Sunday,” she said in a radio interview (via the Dallas Morning News). “It will be difficult to cheer for someone who has been accused of what he’s been accused of.”

Gates chairs the city’s Domestic Violence Taskforce, and she said someone like Hardy can’t be viewed as a hero no matter what he does on the field.

“If he makes an incredible tackle or makes a difference and we win the game … I don’t want to wish it doesn’t happen, but we need to make sure that we don’t make him the hero,” Gates said. “Hopefully they’re coaching him in a way that he’ll be a better person. I’ve heard [coach] Jason Garrett say that.

“We’re going to hold them accountable that they are going to make him a better man. We as a society need to stand up and say we’re not going to tolerate domestic violence and we’re not going to make heroes out of celebrities or athletes that engage in that kind of behavior. We can do that.”

Garrett said he spoke to Hardy about his comments referencing Tom Brady‘s wife this week, insisting, “That’s not how we want to operate as an organization.”

Said Gates: “I thought, like so many other, why is he talking about players’ wives, why is he going down that road?”

Hardy also showed no remorse for his off-field actions, but even if he did, Gates said she’d need to see more from him.

“I think he still needs to be held accountable, and the Cowboys still need to hold him accountable,” she said. “Words are not enough. It’s about actions over time.”

— Last year, when aging Lakers star Kobe Bryant was ranked 40th in ESPN’s list of the league’s top players, he dismissed the ratings as “silly” and “laughable,” adding: “I’ve known for a long time [that] they’re a bunch of idiots.

This year he’s dropped to 93, and he said Thursday, “I don’t need to defend that [ranking]. Nobody does, really.”

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Read More: Greg Hardy, Jennifer Staubach Gates, kobe bryant, Raffi Torres
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Nationals star Bryce Harper says he’s OK with suspended closer Jonathan Papelbon returning next year 09.29.15 at 8:08 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 Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA playoffs: Fever at Liberty, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Champions League, Dinamo Zagreb at Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Champions League, Leverkusen at FC Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jonathan Papelbon is done for the season following his dugout attack on teammate Bryce Harper, but Harper said he’d be OK with the outspoken closer returning next season.

“If Paps can help us win a World Series next year, that’s what I need. That’s what this whole clubhouse needs,” Harper said. “We can’t be fighting or anything like that.”

Papelbon was suspended three games by the league for throwing at Orioles star Manny Machado, and the team gave him a four-game punishment for Sunday’s fight. He initially appealed the league ban but dropped it Monday, meaning he’ll miss all of his team’s remaining games.

Harper sat out Monday’s game, which the team said was discipline for the fight, although he had said Sunday it was a scheduled day off.

Harper also said he’s not sure what he could have done to avoid the scrap. Papelbon was criticizing Harper for not running out a fly ball when the exchange became heated and Papelbon grabbed Harper by the throat and pushed him backward.

“If you’re in a bar or if you’re in the dugout or if you’re anywhere, if someone grabs your neck, your first reaction is to do what I did, I guess,” Harper said.

— There was a scary moment in Monday night’s Cardinals-Pirates game in Pittsburgh, as St. Louis left fielder Stephen Piscotty’s head collided with the knee of center fielder Peter Bourjos while Bourjos made a catch of a fly ball.

Piscotty was knocked unconscious by the blow, and he was bleeding from the mouth. He eventually moved his arms while receiving medical attention. He was taken away on a cart and examined at Allegheny General Hospital, where he remained overnight. Manager Mike Matheny said the initial test results “were as good as we can get.”

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Read More: Bryce Harper, Jonathan Papelbon, kobe bryant, Stephen Piscotty
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Brandon Bass, other new Lakers awkwardly silent about contact with Kobe Bryant 07.23.15 at 8:29 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 Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Lakers introduced their new trio of players Wednesday, and the most memorable moment of the press conference concerned their reaction to an apparent lack of enthusiasm for their acquisition by franchise cornerstone Kobe Bryant.

Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and former Celtic Brandon Bass were welcomed to Los Angeles by the team, but Bryant — who has been criticized for failing to help land any high-profile free agents — has been noticeably quiet.

Asked if Bryant had reached out to any of them, the players said nothing. Bass smiled during the period of awkward silence, although he later said he’€™s looking forward to “a great opportunity to play with one of the greatest ever to play the game.”

Williams, who averaged 15.5 points per game last season with the Raptors and was named Sixth Man of the Year, spoke highly of the team’€™s aging and injury-prone star.

“You always feel like you have an opportunity to win here,” Williams said. “And when you have Kobe Bryant, that always gives you an opportunity to go far. So for me, they have a winning tradition, they always are one move away from their team going from zero to 100 and you’ve got Kobe Bryant.”

Bass, signed as a free agent after four productive seasons with the Celtics, said he’s long been a Lakers fan and didn’€™t think he’d have an issue switching sides in the league’s most heated rivalry.

“I haven’t thought so much about it,” Bass said. “All I’ve thought about is me playing in purple and gold when I was in college [at LSU]. It kind of got me back to my roots. I remember being in college and being a Laker fan. I haven’€™t thought about the rivalry, but I know I’€™m going to get a lot of questions.”

— Former ESPN columnist and commentator Bill Simmons is headed to HBO, where he will host a weekly TV show and produce other content for the network’€™s digital platforms.

“It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in a statement.

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Read More: Bill Simmons, Brandon Bass, kobe bryant, Zack Hample
Lakers GM: Kobe Bryant says next season will be his last with team 05.22.15 at 2:36 pm ET
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Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Thursday that Kobe Bryant has told him next season will be Bryant’s last with the Lakers.

“He has indicated to me that this is it,” Kupchak said in an interview on SiriusXM, via ESPN.com.

Bryant’s contract runs through the 2015-16 season, during which he is scheduled to make a league-high $25 million. He will be 37 at the start of next season, and missed much of this season with a shoulder injury that allowed him to play only 35 games.

“I think it is clear,” Kupchak said. “He’s on the last year of his deal. There have been no discussions [about playing beyond next season]. He hasn’t indicated that he wants to continue to play.”

Kupchak said he expects a full recovery from Bryant, but does not expect there to be any discussions with Bryant about playing for the Lakers beyond next season. Whether Bryant receives a farewell tour from the Lakers and league is up to Bryant, Kupchak said.

“It’s kind of up to the player, if they want to do something like that,” Kupchak said. “And it also may take away some options a year from now and put a player in an awkward position, but he will be recognized appropriately with great gratitude when it is time.”

Bryant is a five-time NBA champion and the league’s third all-time leading scorer with 32,428 points.

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