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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Victor Cruz blames ‘specific mindset’ after Donald Trump election for racist graffiti at Nikita Whitlock’s home; Kobe Bryant welcomes another daughter 12.09.16 at 7:57 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: Toronto at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Houston at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Phoenix at LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: NY Rangers at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. (NHL)
College football: Sam Houston State at James Madison, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Longwood at Creighton, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz commented on Thursday on the racist graffiti found at teammate Nikita Whitlock’s home in New Jersey on Tuesday. Cruz said he believes this act is a reflection of the current state of the country and the collective mindset after the election of Donald Trump.

“I think it’s definitely a direct reflection of how this country’s being run and how this country’s reacting maybe to some of the decisions … and things that are being said by people at the helm of this country and at the helm of our day-to-day lives … from social media all the way up to the White House,” Cruz said. “These are things that are being spoken of and talked about on a daily basis, the good and the bad, more so the bad at this point right now because that’s all we have to work with. It’s just an unfortunate situation we’re going through right now.”

The graffiti included the “KKK” initials and the message “Go back to Africa.”

“I think there’s a specific mindset that comes with supporting a guy like Donald Trump and supporting what he stands for, and there’s a certain type of person that comes with that, and I’m not sure that person is always a positive-minded person,” Cruz continued. “You just have to be careful. As a minority you have to be careful. As a person of influence you have to be careful, and you’ve just got to make sure your family’s safe and give them the knowledge to stay safe in this world.”

Cruz went on to say the way the death of Joe McKnight was handled is also a reflection of the racism in this country.

“I mean, look at this country. Joe McKnight dies in the middle of the street, ya know?” Cruz said. “If you’re angry about … my opinion and you’re not angry at guys dying without a care, without being armed, they’re not causing harm, they’re not doing anything wrong, then that’s our issue.”

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Read More: kobe bryant, Larry Bird, Victor Cruz,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: BC grad Jen Welter first female NFL assistant coach 07.28.15 at 8:21 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.

MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Athletics at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)


— The first female to serve as an NFL coach — albeit only for the preseason — is a former Boston College rugby player.

Jen Welter, who played 14 seasons in the Women’s Football Alliance, will join the Cardinals as a training camp/preseason intern to work with the team’s inside linebackers.

Welter, 37, has already coached men, serving as linebackers and special teams coach with the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League. The 5-foot-2, 130-pound Florida native also played for the Revolution briefly, as a running back and special teams player in 2014 — becoming the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a pro men’s league when she had two carries for minus-3 yards in the Revolution’s opening game that season.

“Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Monday in a story on the team’s website. “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’ I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her.”

Added Arians: “She came for an OTA and I met her and I thought she was the type of person that could handle this in a very positive way for women and open that door.”

Arians noted that he talked to the team’s veteran players about Welter and “they were all very cool with it.”

Said Arians: “It’s not going to be a distraction in any way.”

Welter, a 2000 BC grad who has a master’s degree in sports psychology and a PhD in psychology, is the second woman to join the league this offseason, as Sarah Thomas was hired as the first full-time female NFL official in April.

Tweeted Welter on Monday night: I am honored to be a part of this amazing team.

— Jonathan Martin, the victim in the Dolphins bullying scandal that dominated NFL news in 2013, reportedly will retire due to a back injury that would have required surgery for him to play again.

Tweeted’s Ian Rapoport: Former #Dolphins & #49ers OL Jonathan Martin is retiring, source said. A back injury means surgery, and he’s choosing to walk away.

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Read More: Jen Welter, Jonathan Martin, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan
Top 10 Boston athlete film appearances: How will Tom Brady stack up in ‘Ted 2’? 07.03.15 at 12:23 pm ET
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Professional athletes perform on the highest stage to the general amusement of millions. So why is it that so many soak up the spotlight outside of the arena, too? A valid query, but we don’t care. We love to see our sports idols take their talents to the screen.

Who didn’t enjoy seeing the parade of NBA stars appear in Lil Bow Wow’s “Like Mike”? Or maybe you preferred The King, Wayne Gretzky, in “Swingers”? And who could forget Mike Tyson‘s priceless Phil Collins moment in “The Hangover”? These films are iconic in large part due to the sports icons who appeared in them.

Boston fans have had the privilege of watching many of their beloved pros create IMDb profiles over the years. From Celtics legends like Bob Cousy to Red Sox egos like Roger Clemens, there’s a Boston athlete cameo for everyone. And with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski appearing on screen this summer in “Ted 2″ and “Entourage,” respectively, we have to ask the question, “Who has made the most memorable movie appearance as a Boston athlete?” Without further ado, here’s our list.

10. Rick Fox — “Blue Chips”

This is where it all began for the Celtics draft pick-turned Laker-turned full-time actor. And with this qualification in mind it can be argued that Fox truly owes his illustrious career to Beantown.

9. Derek Sanderson — “Face-Off”

The Turk softened up for his appearance in this 1971 film about a Maple Leafs player and a folk singer falling in love. Sanderson soaked up fortune and fame whenever possible, and chick flicks clearly were never out of the question.

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Read More: Bob Cousy, cam neely, jason varitek, johnny damon
Top 10 plays in Boston sports history: Is Malcolm Butler’s interception the best? 02.04.15 at 4:55 pm ET
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Where does Malcolm Butler’€™s interception at the end of Super Bowl XLIX rank among the greatest plays in Boston sports history? It seemed like a question worth asking and a top 10 list worth making. Here we go:

10. Flutie’€™s hail mary – Nov. 23, 1984
The game itself didn’€™t really mean a ton. Neither Boston College nor Miami were in contention for the national title, and BC had already accepted an invitation to the Cotton Bowl. But it was a great game with a great finish. Doug Flutie and Bernie Kosar combined for more than 900 yards passing, and Flutie’€™s 48-yard hail mary to Gerard Phelan on the final play will forever be one of the most memorable and most incredible finishes in college football history. Dan Davis’€™ radio call and Flutie winning the Heisman Trophy that year add to the play’€™s legacy.

9. Ortiz’€™s grand slam – Oct. 13, 2013
Going into the bottom of the eighth in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS, the Red Sox trailed the Tigers 5-1 and were in serious danger of falling into an 0-2 hole in the series. They had scored just one run in the first 16 innings of the series. But then Will Middlebrooks doubled, Jacoby Ellsbury walked and Dustin Pedroia singled to load the bases with two outs. On the first pitch he saw, David Ortiz ripped a changeup just out of Torii Hunter‘€™s reach and into the Sox bullpen to tie the game at 5-5 and give us that iconic photo of Officer Steve Horgan throwing his hands up in celebration as Hunter flipped over the wall in front of him. The Sox would go on to win the game, win the series and win their third World Series in 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adam vinatieri, Bobby Orr, Carlton Fisk, Dave Roberts
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Dan Marino files concussion suit against NFL 06.03.14 at 8:04 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.

MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (WGN)
College softball: World Series, Alabama vs. Florida, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Atlanta Dream, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: French Open, 8 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 1 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino is one of 14 former NFL players who filed a lawsuit last week against the league over concussions.

That ups the total to 41 Hall of Famers (or their estates) among about 5,000 former players who have filed suits against the league.

Marino, 52, did not submit specific information about symptoms he is having, but the complaint indicated that he “sustained repetitive, traumatic sub-concussive and/or concussive head impacts during NFL games and/or practices.”

Marino was not talking about the suit Monday, but he did share some comments about close friend Jim Kelly, whom Marino visited Sunday in the hospital where Kelly was wrapping up chemotherapy treatments to battle cancer. Marino and Kelly are both Western Pennsylvania natives who were in the highly regarded 1983 draft.

“It’s hard to even understand what he’s going through,” Marino told reporters before playing in Kelly’s charity golf tournament in Batavia, N.Y. “Jim is a dear friend. You just wish the best for him.

“He’s a tough guy, you know? He’s at a point in his life that — he’s won a lot of football games and whatever — he’s in the fight for his life. He’ll win.”

— Thunder guard Derek Fisher, who said one day after Saturday’s season-ending loss to the Spurs that he has to decide if he will retire, reportedly will meet with Knicks president Phil Jackson this week about New York’s coaching vacancy.

Fisher, 39, acknowledged Sunday that he sees coaching in his future, saying: “In the last maybe decade or so, I’ve really felt that my purpose in life, my calling so to speak, was to be in a leadership position or some position of impact on other people. Coaching allows for you to positively impact other people’s lives.”

Jackson, who was fined $25,000 by the league for tampering — expressing interest in Fisher while he was under contract with Oklahoma City — reportedly is interested in hiring a young coach he can mentor. He said last week that he had a verbal commitment from Steve Kerr before the Warriors stepped in and hired the TNT analyst. Both Fisher and Kerr won championships playing under Jackson.

Lance Stephenson made more news with his curious behavior than his play in the Pacers’ series loss to the Heat, but team president Larry Bird said the free agent guard would be welcome back.

Stephenson made news for first talking trash to and about LeBron James, and then blowing in James’ ear during Indiana’s Game 5 win. Bird made it clear he did not approve of Stephenson’s antics, but he sees the potential in the 23-year-old who was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft out of Cincinnati.

“I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be,” Bird said. “I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away if you can help it.”

Added Bird: “When it comes down to it, it’s up to him. [Once he matures] his game is unlimited.”

Bird said Stephenson’s behavior is not what he wants to see from his players.

“I was very disappointed that in Game 5, Paul George put on a spectacular display, hit every big shot, and after the game everyone was talking about all the nonsense,” Bird said. “That’s not what we’re about, and it’s not professional.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 3, 1952, as part of a nine-player trade, the Red Sox sent Johnny Pesky, 1950 American League Rookie of the Year Walt Dropo and three other players to which American League team?

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Read More: Dan Marino, Derek Fisher, Jim Kelly, Lance Stephenson
Larry Bird, Pacers tiring of Lance Stephenson’s antics 05.30.14 at 9:11 am ET
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Lance Stephenson has been in the news for all the wrong reasons during the Eastern Conference finals, and the Pacers may have finally had enough.

The 23-year-old guard’s latest antics came in Wednesday’s Game 5, when Stephenson was caught blowing into LeBron James‘s ear during the fourth quarter of Indiana’s 93-90 win. While Stephenson said afterward that he did it to try to get under James’ skin, Pacers president Larry Bird wasn’t pleased.

Bird was asked by USA Today via text message if he was bothered by Stephenson’s actions, to which he responded, “Yes I am.”

Bird wasn’t the only one, either.

“Blowing in his face probably crosses the line,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Thursday. “That’s not really who we are. We want to be a competitive team, but we don’t want to cross the line.”

Stephenson said he blew in James’s ear out of respect.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Stephenson said. “He’s a great player. You’ve got to do whatever it takes to get under him and win the game because he’s that good. So if I’ve got to do all that stuff, I’m going to do that to win the game.”

Miami guard Ray Allen called Stephenson’s antics “buffoonery” and said he is just making “himself look bad.”

“As players, we just are professional, we come out and do our jobs. He’s young. He’ll grow up,” Allen told reporters.

Read More: Indiana Pacers, Lance Stephenson, Larry Bird, Ray Allen
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Widespread support for Derrick Gordon after UMass guard comes out 04.10.14 at 8:09 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.

MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 2:15 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Brewers at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Bruins at Jets, 8 p.m. (NESNPlu)
NHL: Blues at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: NCAA semifinals, Boston College vs. Union, 5 p.m. (ESPN2; WEEI-AM)
College hockey: NCAA semifinals, North Dakota vs. Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA: Spurs at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Nuggets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Golf: The Masters, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Juventus vs. Lyon, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s exhibition, United States vs. China, 11 p.m. (NBCSN)


— UMass sophomore Derrick Gordon is getting widespread support after becoming the first openly gay Division 1 basketball player.

Gordon and members of the UMass team conducted interviews Wednesday afternoon after national stories detailed Gordon’s decision to come out.

“It’s crazy that I’m the first,” Gordon told The Associated Press. “I didn’t know that it would be this long, but if I’m the first, then I’ll start it all off.”

Added Gordon: “I’ve been getting tons and tons of support. I’m barely getting anything negative.”

The 22-year-old from New Jersey said he withdrew socially at the start of last season as rumors started to leak about his homosexuality, which he denied to teammates. Now he says he’s happy and “free just to live my life.”

Said teammate Tyler Bergantino: “The fact that he’s gay doesn’t change anything. We didn’t know he was gay before. We know he’s gay now. But he’s the exact same person.”

Gordon said he was inspired in part by Nets center Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player. Collins said he spoke to Gordon before the announcement, and he later tweeted: I’m so proud of @flash2gordon. Another brave young man who is going to make it easier for so many others to live an authentic life. #courage

NFL prospect Michael Sam, who came out in February, also tweeted his support, writing: Many congratulations to you Derrick Gordon @flash2gordon – you have so many in your corner and we’re all proud and rooting for you #courage

Said Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving, who played with Gordon in high school: “I thought it was a great day for him and his family. I’m proud of him. It’s a big step, not only in his life but in his career to get the weight of the world off his shoulders.”

Lacey Holsworth, the 9-year-old girl who had become a friend and inspiration to the Michigan State basketball team, lost her battle with neuroblastoma late Tuesday, devastating the campus.

The girl known as “Princess Lacey” had an especially close bond with senior Adreian Payne, who carried her in his arms on Senior Night and helped her cut down the net after the Spartans won the Big Ten championship.

“Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey,” Payne said in a statement from the school. “She is my sister, and will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to fight through everything with a smile on my face even when things were going wrong. I’m a better man because of her.”

A rock on campus was painted white with the words “MSU loves Princess Lacey. Love Like Lacey.” Coach Tom Izzo and several of his players signed the rock, along with other members of the Michigan State community.

Larry Bird‘s 22-year-old son, Connor Bird, pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness for an incident involving his girlfriend last year, according to a report at Bird allegedly threw his cell phone at the woman and then tried to drive his car into her in a parking lot on the campus of Indiana University.

Bird had faced other charges, including battery and possession of marijuana, but those charges reportedly were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Bird will participate in a sober-living program and must stay clear of trouble for the next year or else face jail time.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): 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 player?

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Read More: Adreian Payne, Derrick Gordon, Jason Collins, Lacey Holsworth
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reportedly rushing back to guarantee salary 06.27.13 at 8:05 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.

MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Indians at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB)
NBA: Draft, 7:30 p.m. (ESON: WEEI-AM)
Soccer: U-20 World Cup, Ghana vs. United States, 12:45 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN2)


‘™¦ The Yankees claim their dispute with Alex Rodriguez has been cleared up, but there are indications that there may be far more going on behind the scenes — mainly, the team trying to recoup some money by keeping A-Rod on the shelf, and the player rushing his return in order to get all his money before a possible MLB suspension for his latest performance-enhancing drug issue.

General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that he regrets his angry public response to Rodriguez tweeting an update on his recovery from his hip problem. Cashman was perturbed when Rodriguez tweeted that he had been cleared by his doctor, as the Yankees had been insisting he had not been given the official OK to return, and Cashman told ESPN, “Alex should just shut the [expletive] up.”

Team owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke with A-Rod on Wednesday in Tampa and reminded the player that the organization will handle injury updates. Rodriguez, who said he tweeted out of “pure excitement,” then called Cashman and team president Randy Levine and had a 30-minute discussion about team protocol.

“It was a constructive, healthy conversation. Everybody is on the same page and we’re all going to communicate and work together to get Alex back as quickly as possible,” team spokesman Jason Zillo said. “They’re all back on track.”

However, the New York Daily News has a report speculating that Rodriguez is rushing his return for financial reasons. The Daily News quotes a source as saying A-Rod will start playing in rehab games and then claim he he is physically unable to perform due to his hip injury and retire so that he can collect the remaining $144 million on his contract that runs for the next five years.

According to the report, a player who retires because he is physically unable to perform, even if later suspended, would be paid in full.

“It’s all about him getting his money and not losing it to suspension,” the source told the Daily News. “He knows he’s never going to the Hall of Fame. All that’s left for him is to make sure he gets his money — all of it.”

ESPN reports that Rodriguez is convinced the Yankees are intentionally slowing his return so they can have him declared medically unfit to play this season. That would allow the team to collect 80 percent of the $28 million due to him this season through insurance.

“Alex thinks there’s something really off about this situation,” a source told ESPN. “Here we have a doctor declaring him fit to play. You would think they would be happy about that.”

‘™¦ In other Yankees news, the team announced Wednesday that first baseman Mark Teixeira will have season-ending surgery on his right wrist after it was determined that the torn sheath had not properly healed.

Teixeira, who injured the wrist hitting of a tee while warming up for the World Baseball Classic in March, is projected to need six months to recover from the surgery.

“It’€™s very tough, especially in a season where the team could probably use me,” Teixeira said. “I really would’€™ve loved to be part of hopefully what’€™s a playoff run, but when you realize that it’€™s not going to happen it’€™s really difficult.”

Teixeira finishes the season with a .151 batting average, .270 on-base percentage, .340 slugging percentage, three home runs and 12 RBIs in 53 at-bats over 15 games.

‘™¦ Larry Bird is rejoining the Pacers front office after a year away from the team. Bird will be reintroduced Thursday morning as the club’s president of basketball operations.

Bird had served in that capacity from 2003-12, winning NBA Executive of the Year honors in 2011.

“The year off gave me a chance to reflect, to rest, to take care of some health issues, and it recharged me,” Bird said in a statement from the team.

Said team owner Herb Simon: “We are all very happy to have Larry back. Larry had a huge impact on this team and where it is now, so it’s fitting that he comes back at this time. Donnie [Walsh, who took over for Bird] has been a friend and a valuable contributor to the franchise and will continue to be both. I wanted him to agree to stay in some capacity as I believe with Larry and Kevin [Pritchard, GM], it gives us three of the best basketball minds in the business.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 27, 2003, which Red Sox player tied a major league record by recording three hits (single, double, triple) in one inning — the 14-run first inning of a 25-8 rout of the Marlins at Fenway?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Larry Bird, Mark Teixeira
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: With Alex Rodriguez in New York, Yankees open spring training under cloud 02.13.13 at 7:40 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.

NBA: Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Rockets at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Boston College, 7 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Nebraska at Indiana, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Miami at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Syracuse at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Central Florida at Memphis, 8 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
College basketball: West Virginia at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Purdue at Illinois, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Providence at South Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: North Carolina at Duke, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Colorado State, 10 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
College basketball: Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oregon at Washington, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Blues at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ With Alex Rodriguez rehabbing in New York, the Yankees opened spring training in Tampa, Fla., insisting that A-Rod’s latest PED scandal won’t divert their focus from the task at hand.

“I don’€™t think I’€™ve ever really come to a Yankee camp where there hasn’€™t been something that people might call a distraction,” manager Joe Girardi said. “This club’€™s used to it.

“A lot of times, it’€™s a two-day event, a three-day event, then the story kind of goes away. It may change for a day or two, but there will be something else that comes up that we’€™ll have to deal with. Him being in New York has nothing to do with trying to get rid of a distraction. It’€™s the best place for him to be.”

Added pitcher CC Sabathia: “We’€™ve dealt with a lot around here since I’€™ve been here, and this is my fifth year. It’€™s been a lot to deal with, but you learn to be a professional and go out and do your job.”

Catcher Francisco Cervelli, also linked to the controversial Biogenesis clinic in South Florida that allegedly prescribed PEDs to a number of major leaguers, is slated to address the issue publicly Wednesday.

“Of course that can weigh on his mind, but it’€™s a distraction that he’€™s going to have to block out to be able to perform,” Girardi said of Cervelli, who is competing for the starting catcher’€™s job. “There are other things that come up in a person’€™s life that can be distracting if you let them be. In a sense, this is a test for him, how he’€™s able to block this out.”

‘™¦ Four University of Alabama football players were arrested and face charges for their involvement in two violent assaults and robberies of fellow students Monday. According to the police report, linebacker Tyler Hayes, safety Eddie Williams and running back Brent Calloway admitted their participation in the crimes that allegedly also included defensive lineman D.J. Pettway.

The players are said to have punched and kicked the victims, knocking them out, before stealing their wallets and at least one computer. The players then used a stolen credit card to buy snacks from vending machines in a dormitory.

The players, all backups, were suspended by the team, which is coming off its second straight national championship.

“This behavior is unacceptable for any student-athlete at the University of Alabama and not representative of our football program,” coach Nick Saban said in a statement.

‘™¦ The 21-year-old son of Celtics legend Larry Bird was arrested Sunday after allegedly trying to run over his ex-girlfriend with his car. Conner Bird, a student at Indiana University, is accused of throwing a cell phone at the woman and then driving his car at her during an argument.

Bird faces preliminary charges including intimidation with a deadly weapon, battery with injury and possession of marijuana.

“It is a private matter we are hoping to resolve as quickly as possible,” said Bird’s attorney, John Tompkins. “We are happy no one was seriously hurt.”

‘™¦ The international Olympic Committee voted Tuesday to drop wrestling starting with the 2020 Games. Wrestling was voted out from a final group that included modern pentathlon, taekwondo and field hockey, accordion to an Associated Press report.

Eliminating one of the 26 sports allowed the IOC to add a new sport later this year. Wrestling can attempt to be reconsidered for inclusion, but it faces an uphill battle, competing with seven other sports also hoping to be in the 2020 Games: baseball/softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu (martial arts).

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”

Wrestling, which includes freestyle and Greco-Roman events, has been held in every modern Olympics, starting with the Athens Games in 1896. There were 344 wrestlers at least year’s London Olympics, competing in 11 medal events.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 13, 1985, the Bruins fired coach Gerry Cheevers. Who replaced him for the remainder of the season?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Joe Girardi, Larry Bird, nick saban
Larry Bird officially steps down, Pacers name Donnie Walsh as replacement 06.27.12 at 6:36 pm ET
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Larry Bird officially stepped down from his position as Pacers president of basketball operations on Wednesday. Indiana tabbed Donnie Walsh as his replacement and Kevin Pritchard as the team’s new general manager.

“I’€™m going to take some time off and evaluate what I will do in the future,’€ Bird said. ‘€œThis has nothing to do with any conflict or anything else, it’€™s just time. I considered leaving last year, so this shouldn’€™t be a surprise. I’€™m proud of what we’€™ve accomplished, I like the position this team is in, and with Kevin and Donnie, the basketball side won’€™t miss a beat.”

The 55-year-old cited health reasons for his departure. Bird, who served as the team’s president for nine years, also coached the team from 1997-2000 and to one NBA finals appearance. After leaving his coaching job, Bird returned to the team in 2003 and became president in 2007-08.

Walsh, Bird’s replacement, has also spent time with the Pacers. He was Indiana’s president from 1988-2008, after which he left to pursue a job with the Knicks. Previously Walsh had served as Pacers general manager for two years.

Pritchard served as Portland’s general manager from 2007-10 before joining the Pacers before last season as director of player personal. The Indiana native is taking a spot that was vacated when David Morway resigned on Tuesday.

Read More: Donnie Walsh, Kevin Pritchard, Larry Bird, Rumor Mill