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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ravens fans welcome embattled RB Ray Rice with ovation 08.08.14 at 8:07 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: Red Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rays at Cubs, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Cardinals at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (MLB)
Little League Baseball: Mid-Atlantic semifinal, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: Midwest final, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: Mid-Atlantic semifinal, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: West semifinal, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Little League Baseball: Southeast final, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: West semifinal, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Saints at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)
MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Los Angeles Galaxy, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s U-20, United States vs. Brazil, 9:45 p.m. (ESPNU)
Golf: PGA Championship, 1 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Ravens running back Ray Rice made his preseason debut Thursday night against the 49ers, his first game action since being suspended for the first two games of the regular season because of his domestic violence incident, and he was warmly received by the fans in Baltimore.

Rice received a standing ovation during pregame introductions and was applauded again loudly after his first run. There were no audible boos. He only played one series in the game, carrying the ball three times and picking up 17 yards.

“Our fans are the best fans in the world,” Rice said. “I can’t thank them enough, No. 1, for sticking by me and supporting me throughout my trials and tribulations. I owe my best to these fans for giving me that kind of ovation. I’m looking forward to giving them the best effort that I can every week throughout the season.

“That means the world to me. Everything I went through, I don’t take anything for granted anymore, especially going out there and playing in front of our fans. It’s a lot of respect that I have to go out there and earn because of the position that I put myself in.”

Rice was arrested Feb. 15 after an altercation in an elevator at an Atlantic City hotel, which left his now-wife Janay Palmer unconscious. Rice pleaded not guilty and was accepted into a pretrial intervention program three months later. The league has come under heavy criticism for only giving Rice a two-game suspension (he was fined an additional game check as well).

MASHUP POLL: How should Ray Rice have been received by Ravens fans Thursday night?

  • They should have booed to send a message that his behavior is unacceptable (54%, 88 Votes)
  • They should have responded with silence (36%, 59 Votes)
  • The applause is fine, he plays for their team and it's reasonable for them to show support despite his troubles (10%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 162

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Off-field distractions aside, Rice enters the season with something to prove, as he is coming off the worst season of his six-year career, rushing for 660 yards and averaging 3.1 yards per carry as he battled hip and quadriceps injuries. He shed about 15 pounds in the offseason, getting down to 206, and he appears to have regained some of his quickness.

“I do feel different,” Rice said. “I guess it’s safe to say I feel like back when I was a rookie. That’s the weight I’m continuing to try to play at. Obviously, what I went through when I added a little bit of extra weight, you can’t make the cuts like you want to do.

“Training this offseason and focusing on the stuff that I needed to focus on, diet, exercise, all the stuff I needed to do, finally I got down to the weight I was comfortable at and went out there and executed.”

Metta World Peace, a.k.a. Ron Artest, is changing his name again, coinciding with his decision to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association this season.

After reports surfaced that he had selected Panda Friend, he clarified on Twitter that his Chinese name is The Pandas Friend.

A few days earlier, he hinted where his mind was when he tweeted: First thing I am doing when I get to china will be visiting Pandas with my daughter.

World Peace, 34, will be the highest-paid player in the CBA this season, earning $1.43 million. He last played in the NBA with his hometown Knicks.

— Former Boston College and Patriots offensive lineman Damien Woody, now an ESPN analyst, will be a contestant on the NBC weight-loss show “The Biggest Loser” when the new season begins next month.

The 36-year-old father of seven is up to 388 pounds four years after retiring from the game. H’ll be the fourth-heaviest of the show’s 20 contestants.

Woody played for the Patriots from 1999-2003, winning two Super Bowls. He also played for the Lions (2004-07) and Jets (2007-10).

Woody will be joined on the show by former NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell, former women’s tennis player Zina Garrison and former WNBA player Vanessa Hayden.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 8, 2004, which Red Sox pitcher allowed a team-record six home runs but still got the win in an 11-9 victory over the Tigers?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “€œLosing like that is never fun, but it is a good experience for the first preseason game and I had fun out there I did all right. There is a lot of stuff to improve on. It is a process. For any rookie quarterback, there is a lot to learn from and we will go watch the tape tomorrow and fix those things.” – Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, after completing 9-of-13 passes for 157 yards in the Patriots’ 23-6 preseason loss to Washington

STAT OF THE DAY: 27 – Consecutive at-bats without a hit for Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 0-for-3 in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Cardinals

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Bryce Harper homers in the 13th inning to give the Nationals a walkoff win over the Mets.

Cubs rookie Javier Baez has made an immediate impact, hitting two home runs off the Rockies in just his third major league game.

Marlins pitcher Dan Jennings is out on his feet after taking a line drive to the head against the Pirates. Jennings was kept at a hospital overnight for observation.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira‘s latest edition of his humorous talk show “Foul Territory” includes an interview with center fielder Brett Gardner and Teixeira reminiscing about making mixtapes for girls in high school.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Tim Wakefield

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Creed lead singer Scott Stapp was born on this day in 1973.

Read More: Damien Woody, Metta World Peace, Ray Rice, The Pandas Friend
Metta World Peace signs with Knicks, who lose J.R. Smith to knee surgery for 3-4 months 07.16.13 at 9:21 am ET
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Tell the world: World Peace is coming home.

After four seasons with the Lakers, and one day after becoming a free agent, forward Metta World Peace met with Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald and coach Mike Woodson on Monday, and by the end of the conversation he agreed to a two-year, $3.2 million deal. World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, grew up in the Queens section of New York City and played for St. John’s for two seasons in the late 1990s.

The second year of the deal is a player option, according to multiple reports.

“The team is amazing, the players. I’m excited to play and hustle,” World Peace told reporters. “I don’t think I’m a missing piece [to a puzzle]. … I’m more honored to be playing with these players.”

World Peace’s final season in Los Angeles was arguably his most productive. He put up 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while also seeing his playing time increase to 33.7 minutes. In 14 seasons with five teams, World Peace averages 14.1 points and 4.7 boards.

In addition to what the Knicks pay him, 6-foot-7 World Peace will also make the $7.7 million that he was due to make with the Lakers before his old team waived him last week.

The news comes the same day that the team announced guard J.R. Smith, the Sixth Man of the Year for 2012-13, will miss 3-4 months following patella tendon and arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Smith signed a four-year, $24.7 million contract last week.

Read More: J.R. Smith, Metta World Peace, Ron Artest,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers waive Metta World Peace under amnesty provision 07.12.13 at 8:03 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: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Cubs, 4 p.m. (WGN)
NBA Summer League: Orlando, Pistons vs. Heat, 8 a.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Orlando, Pacers vs. Jazz, 10 a.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Orlando, Rockets vs. Thunder, noon (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Orlando, Magic vs. Celtics, 2 p.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Las Vegas, Knicks vs. Pelicans, 4 p.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Las Vegas, Hawks vs. Clippers, 6 p.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Las Vegas, Cavaliers vs. Lakers, 8 p.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Las Vegas, Bobcats vs. Spurs, 10 p.m. (NBA)
Soccer: Gold Cup, Trinidad & Tobago vs. Haiti, 7 p.m. (FSC)
Soccer: Exhibition, Guadalajara vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Gold Cup, Honduras vs. El Salvador, 9:30 p.m. (FSC)
Softball: World Cup, United States vs. Australia, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Lakers parted ways with the controversial Metta World Peace on Thursday, waiving the 33-year-old under the NBA’s amnesty provision to save about $15 million in luxury tax. The team still must pay him his $7.7 salary next season.

World Peace joined the Lakers in 2009, when he was known as Ron Artest, and helped Los Angeles knock off the Celtics in the 2010 NBA finals. His performance diminished this past season, especially after he tore knee cartilage in March. He averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 75 games.

“It’s tough to say goodbye to a player such as Metta, who has been a significant part of our team the past four seasons,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him.”

World Peace has played for five teams in his 14-year career. He has been suspended numerous times — most famously for 86 games for his part in a brawl with fans in Detroit when he played for the Pacers — but he also won the league’s citizenship award in 2011.

His father, Ron Artest Sr., told the New York Post on Tuesday that World Peace was hoping to “stay with the Lakers for a couple of more years, but if not, he wants to finish his career in New York if he can,” as he is a native of Queens.

‘™¦ The Cubs’ plan to install Wrigley Field’s first-ever Jumbotron video board along with a sign above the outfield wall moved forward Thursday, as the city’s landmarks commission approved the plan. The full City Council next must OK the deal, which is expected despite the objections of the local alderman, who has expressed concerns about how the changes will affect neighbors and rooftop businesses.

The plan allows the team to install a 5,700-square-foot Jumbotron in left field and a 650-square-foot- sign in right.

“The Cubs often point to large signs at Fenway and U.S. Cellular [White Sox]. Those signs back up to expressways, not people’s homes,” Alderman Tom Tunney said, adding, “From blocks and blocks away, the light from the proposed ‘€¦ Jumbotron will flicker in living rooms and bedrooms throughout the ward.”

Wrigley Field turns 100 next year. The park did not have lights until 1988.

‘™¦ Major League Soccer has continued its campaign to eliminate a vulgar chant by home fans when the opposing goalie kicks the ball, but it’s not being well-received in New York. When the Red Bulls front office reached out to three supporters groups and offered them $500 for every game they went without chanting “You suck a–hole,” one group responded with an angry statement.

“From this day forth GSU won’€™t accept a single penny from the [front office] or Redbull. This of course will result in a lot of friction between us and the [front office]. But we stand strong together. This is our club, our city, our family. We will not be censored, we will not be bought,’€™’€™ Garden State Ultras spokesman Christopher Vidaic announced.

“As we all know the FO is on the lookout for ‘€˜inappropriate’€™ language and behavior. We say [forget] them! We will not be censored.”

Empire Supporters Club member Mike Vallo told the New York Post that the chant isn’t the real issue, it’s the perception of the groups selling out by taking the money.

“No one really cares about the chant. It’€™s the act of taking money to change our songbook and the extreme exaggeration of the negative consequences of a chant containing a word I’€™ve heard about 30 times today walking around the city,” he said.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 12, 1997, Roger Clemens made his return to Fenway Park as a visitor for the first time, leading the Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory by striking out 16 Red Sox in eight innings and allowing just one run on four hits. Which Boston pitcher was the hard-luck loser, striking out 13 Jays in seven innings but allowing three runs on five hits?

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Read More: Major League Soccer, Metta World Peace, Ron Artest, Wrigley Field
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Despite lack of personal apology, Tiger Woods ‘done with’ Sergio Garcia feud 05.30.13 at 7:48 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 Phillies, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Mets at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Heat, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ On the eve the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio, Tiger Woods spoke publicly about his feud with fellow golfer Sergio Garcia and Garcia’s racially insensitive comments from last week. Although he said Garcia had not apologized to him “in person,” Woods claimed, “That’s already done with.”

Garcia offered an apology at a press conference last week after saying he would invite Woods to dinner and serve “fried chicken.” Garcia reportedly also called Woods’ agent.

Said Woods: “It’s time to move on.”

Meanwhile, golf legend Jack Nicklaus weighed in on the feud, saying, “It’s stupid.”

Noted Nicklaus: “We were trying to figure out how to get somebody to write about anything when we played. I think today you have to figure out how you keep somebody from writing about anything. It’s a big difference.”

‘™¦ Jalien Messersmith, a forward at NAIA Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., became the first openly gay active college basketball player when his story was revealed Tuesday at Outsports.com.

Messersmith said he told his coach last summer and his teammates before the season, and he said most people at his small college knew about his sexual orientation. He was interviews by Outsports.com in March, although the story didn’t come until after NBA free agent Jason Collins made his admission in April with his Sports Illustrated article.

“The big thing for me, why I wanted to do it, before the whole Jason Collins thing, is there weren’t a lot of basketball-related stories like this,” Messersmith said. “When I started coming out, I didn’t have anyone to look to for advice or to see how their story went. People can look to see what happened to me — and there are positive things going on.”

‘™¦ Controversial Lakers guard Metta World Peace has released a children’s book, called “Metta’s Bedtime Stories,” which includes five stories “written to help children think about daily events in a positive light.”

According to createspace.com, where the book is available, “These stories will show everyone that you can always have a better day tomorrow, if you have a hopeful heart and keep positive thoughts.”

World Peace, previously known as Ron Artest, is a spokesman for mental health.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 30, 1997, which Red Sox player hit three home runs in a 10-4 rout of the Yankees at Fenway Park?

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Read More: Jack Nicklaus, Jalien Messersmith, Jason Collins, Metta World Peace
Umpire admits bad call that ends Rays’ rally vs. Rangers 04.09.13 at 7:47 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: Dodgers at Padres, 6:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Brewers at Cubs, 8 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Athletics at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Suns at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Hornets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: NCAA women’s championship, Louisville vs. UConn, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Rays’ ninth-inning rally against the Rangers ended Monday night when umpire Marty Foster called out Ben Zobrist on a full-count pitch that was well outside the strike zone, and the umpire later admitted that he blew the call.

The Rays had scored two in the eighth and one in the ninth and had the tying run on first base, but Texas reliever Joe Nathan got a friendly call to end the game at 5-4.

Rays manager Joe Maddon argued immediately and later told reporters: “It just can’t happen in a Major League Baseball game.”

Foster acknowledged his mistake.

“I saw the pitch and of course don’t have the chance to do it again,” he told a pool reporter. “But had I had a chance to do it again, I wouldn’t call that pitch a strike.”

Said Zobrist: “Umpires make mistakes just like players do. It was a tough time to have a bad call.”

‘™¦ When Metta World Peace had surgery to repair a torn meniscus 12 days ago, he was expected to be sidelined for six weeks. However, the Lakers forward said he plans to return for Tuesday night’s game against the Hornets.

“It’s not how sure I’m playing [Tuesday] night,” he said. “It’s how sure I was playing three days ago. I was ready to play.”

World Peace explained that the swelling that normally accompanies meniscus surgery did not exist in his case, allowing him to return much earlier.

“He’s good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said Monday after World Peace participated in a three-on-three scrimmage at practice. “It’s probably a game-time decision, but he looks good. He’s raring to go. The medical staff will make a decision [Tuesday]. It’s unbelievable. He’s different. ‘€¦ I’ve never seen this before.”

With five games to play, the Lakers are battling for the final playoff spot in the West.

“We’ve got a chance to make a push for this championship run,” World Peace said. “We all need it. All the guys under contract, injured or not injured, we all need each other to make a run at this thing.”

‘™¦ Flyers minor leaguer Eric Wellwood was recovering Monday after undergoing surgery Sunday night to repair tendons he cut during the Philadelphia Phantoms’ Sunday game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Connecticut.

The 23-year-old Wellwood, who has played 31 games for the Flyers over the past three seasons, apparently clipped himself with his own skate after falling into the boards. He is believed to have severed an artery, as his skate filled with blood.

“I don’t think anyone really saw it,” Phantoms coach Terry Murray said. “It was away from the play. In conversation, everyone figures it was an accident that happened to himself. The play was already in the offensive zone and this happened in the neutral zone, so we’re not sure exactly what took place.”

Trainer Greg Lowden rushed onto the ice — not even waiting for play to be stopped and causing a Phantoms goal to be disallowed — and helped Wellwood to the locker room. Wellwood underwent surgery at a Bridgeport-area hospital to repair vascular damage, stop the bleeding and close the wound. He is scheduled for another surgery later this week in the Philadelphia area. to repair damage to the tendons and ligaments.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 9, 1982, the Celtics retired jersey No. 10 in honor of which player?

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Read More: Ben Zobrist, Eric Wellwood, Joe Maddon, Metta World Peace
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Some NFL players reportedly turn in guns after KC tragedy 12.10.12 at 7:30 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: Texans at Patriots, 8:30 p.m. (WCVB, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Pistons at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ At least seven NFL players have surrendered their guns to team personnel in the wake of last week’s murder-suicide in Kansas City, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.

King, who revealed the information on NBC’s “Football Night in America” pregame show Sunday night, reported that one player turned in multiple weapons, saying that he didn’t trust himself with the guns.

Following last week’s incident involving Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, it’s been speculated that about 70 percent of NFL players own at least one gun, with many owning more than one.

‘™¦ The Cowboys managed to win Sunday, posting a 20-19 road victory over the Bengals one day after the death of linebacker Jerry Brown and the arrest of defensive lineman Josh Brent on charges of intoxication manslaughter (Brent was released on bond Sunday afternoon).

“It’s a hard, hard situation we’re in,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “There’s no playbook for this sort of thing in life.”

Added defensive end Marcus Spears: “This was a step in the healing process for us. But we haven’€™t dealt with a lot yet — remembering Jerry and keeping his memory alive, dealing with Josh and supporting him in whatever way we can. That’€™s still to come.”

Meanwhile, according to a report from Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan, injured Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff had a “volcanic” argument with team owner Jerry Jones last week.

Ratliff, who signed a five-year, $40 million extension last year, had just 25 tackles and 10 quarterback pressures this season before sitting out the last three games. He’s missed seven games in all this year with join, ankle and foot problems.

Jones, a familiar figure in the locker room after games, reportedly approached Ratliff after last Sunday’s victory over the Eagles and said, “We need you.” Ratliff’s response was an angry one.

“They’re both passionate men and great men and they want to win, that’s all it is,” a source told the station. “But they were in each other’s faces. People had to intervene.”

‘™¦ Spurs guard Stephen Jackson was fined $25,000 by the NBA and apologized for his threatening tweet toward Thunder center Serge Ibaka. Jackson sent his message after Ibaka tangled with Jackson’s friend and former teammate, Lakers forward Metta World Peace, on Friday night.

Wrote Jackson: Somebody tell serb Abaka. He aint bout dis life. Next time he run up on me im goin in his mouth. That’s a promise. He doin 2 much.

After the NBA and the Spurs condemned Jackson’s comments, Jackson sent out a much more well-written apology:

Tweeted Jackson: I apologize to Serge Ibaka, the NBA, and to all my fans for the comments I made. It was unprofessional and childish. I’m not a thug just a man who speaks his mind. It was not appropriate. I do apologize. Only a man can admit when he’s wrong.

Jackson and the former Ron Artest were teammates with the Pacers in 2004, when they both took part in the infamous brawl in the stands in Detroit that led to long suspensions.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 10, 1980, the Red Sox sent the left side of their infield — shortstop Rick Burleson and third baseman Butch Hobson — to the Angels for which three players?

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Read More: Jerry Brown, Josh Brent, Jovan Belcher, Metta World Peace
Report: Lakers interested in trading Gasol 06.28.12 at 10:45 am ET
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ESPN.com sources have said that the Lakers are gauging the trade interest around the NBA for Pau Gasol.

These sources are reporting that Los Angeles is looking for a top-10 pick in Thursday’s draft, as well as an established player if they are to trade the 31-year-old. Sources also say they desire a team to pick up the final two years and $38 million owed to Gasol. As of Wednesday afternoon no deal was in the works.

After the Lakers loss in the Western Conference semi-finals last month, president of basketball operations Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak both said that a blockbuster move was unlikely.

Los Angeles has also reportedly shopped Metta World Peace, but are looking for less than Gasol, such as a late first-round pick or cap relief.

Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season.

Read More: Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Rumor Mill,
Lakers center Jordan Hill charged with allegedly choking girlfriend 05.01.12 at 10:29 am ET
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The Lakers have already lost Metta World Peace for the first few games of the playoffs due to a seven-game suspension, and now one of the players helping to replace him will have a plate full of off-court distractions. Lakers center Jordan Hill has a scheduled court date on Tuesday in connection with a felony assault charge stemming from a Feb. 29 argument with his girlfriend, Darlene Luna. Hill, who was playing for Houston at the time, is accused of shoving and choking the 28-year-old Luna when, according to court documents, the two got into an argument about their future.

Hill did not answer many questions about the charges following practice on Monday.

“I can’t speak on it right now,” Hill told reporters after practice. “I’m going to let my attorney, my agents take care of that. Unfortunately, it happened at this time, but I’m going to keep my head up, keep working, keep playing.”

The 6-foot-10 Hill was traded to Los Angeles in March for Derek Fisher and a first-round draft pick. Hill did not play significant minutes for the Lakers until stepping in for World Peace in the Lakers’ 114-106 win over the Thunder on April 22. The former eighth overall draft pick recorded 14 points and 15 rebounds in 35 minutes of action in the game and followed that performance with an eight-point, eight-rebound showing through 30 minutes of play in Los Angeles’s regular season final against the Kings. Hill played 24 minutes in the Lakers’ Game 1 win over the Nuggets, putting up 10 points and 10 rebounds. His availability for Game 2 is unknown.

Read More: Derek Fisher, Jordan Hill, Metta World Peace, Rumor Mill
Metta World Peace blames elbow on ‘erratic passion’ 04.26.12 at 12:14 pm ET
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The Laker formerly known as Ron Artest is still making headlines after he was handed a seven-game suspension for elbowing Thunder sub James Harden in the head. Metta World Peace, who has been suspended nine times for a total of 102 games through his 14-year career, said after a Lakers practice on Wednesday that he did not mean to elbow Harden so viciously and blamed the elbowing on passion.

“I was just way too emotional,” he said. “It seemed like anger but it was a lot of passion involved. But it was erratic. It was erratic fire, it was erratic passion. It was way too much.”

Despite his acknowledgement that his passion was out of control, World Peace struck back at some former NBA players, including Shaquille O’Neal and Magic Johnson, who criticized World Peace for the elbowing.

World Peace responded on his Twitter account Wednesday night, tweeting:

Shaq ,How can u comment on elbows.. What about the punch you threw at brad miller. And the elbows at dikembe and the prizbilla concussion?

Can magic johnson,jon barry and steven A compare my accidental elbow to the Luis scola face step and the Blake griff take down..?

The tweets have since been removed from his account. Later on Wednesday, World Peace posted a five-paragraph item on his website, ronartest.com, meditating on referees and emotions on the court.

The referees’ jobs are hard because they have to control the game and emotions, World Peace wrote. The refs have to be aware of the two teams and if there are any bad feelings between the teams… They also have to be aware of the players on the floor, and the aggressive nature of players and player tendencies.

You have to expect one of the asteroids or shooting stars to be more powerful or more strategic at the point of impact… You most definitely have to be passionate, first and foremost.

Artest will miss one regular-season game and six playoff games due to his suspension. Harden missed the final regular-season game of the season but has been cleared to play in the playoffs.

Read More: James Harden, Metta World Peace, Rumor Mill,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Metta World Peace apologizes again after receiving 7-game suspension 04.25.12 at 7:52 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN; WEEI)
NBA: Clippers at Knicks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Spurs at Suns, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Red Sox at Twins, 8:10 p.m. (NESN Plus; WEEI)
MLB: Cardinals at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Angels at Rays, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Metta World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA Tuesday for his elbow to the head of Thunder guard James Harden in Sunday’s game. The Lakers will be without their defensive specialist for the final regular-season game and the first six games of the postseason. This means he would at most miss two games of a potential second-round series between the teams.

Although World Peace insisted the elbow was accidental, even his own teammates didn’t appear to be convinced.

“It’s hard to get into a guy’s head and know exactly what happened in that situation,” Kobe Bryant said Tuesday. “I haven’t really spoken to him about it. You’ve really got to ask him.”

Artest was brief in a statement he published on his website: I apologize to the Oklahoma City Thunder fans and the OKC organization. I look foward to getting back on the floor with my teammates and competing for the Lakers fans.

‘™¦ Despite continued denials from the Saints — and despite the fact that the statute of limitations for both state and federal wiretapping crimes has passed — Louisiana police and the FBI have begun investigating accusations that the team wired the Superdome so general manager Mickey Loomis could listen to opposing coaches’ radio communications during games.

“It’s absolutely ludicrous. It’s impossible,” interim head coach Joe Vitt said Tuesday. “I’ve never heard of it before. That’s something from ‘Star Wars.’ When I first heard something about it being a wiretap, I thought they were talking about Sammy “The Bull” Gravano or something. I didn’t even know what they were talking about. … And then to associate Mickey with that? That’s irresponsible. It’s a shame.”

Added Vitt: “Anybody that ever wants to question Mickey’s integrity on something like this. I mean, this is juvenile. This is so bad, what’s been reported, and it’s irresponsible. It really is. … I just know it’s not true. I know what Mickey’s meant in my life and I know what he’s meant in the lives of a lot of people around this league and you can’t get anybody to find fault with Mickey Loomis. That’s just the truth.”

‘™¦ A Babe Ruth League baseball coach in Pennsylvania went from arguing with an umpire to brandishing a gun before leaving a game. John Zahradnik, 39, complained to the umpire about a call before taking his dispute to parents at the game. Zahradnik then allegedly punched a man before getting into his truck and pulling out a handgun before driving away.

Zahradnik was arraigned on charges of recklessly endangering another person and harassment. He was released on $20,000 bail.

‘™¦ As we close in on the NFL draft, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 regrettable draft picks. The list is topped by two Penn State alums: quarterback Todd Blackledge, selected seventh overall by the Chiefs in 1983, and running back Blair Thomas, drafted second by the Jets in 1990. No Patriots made the cut.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 25, 1950, the Celtics became the first NBA team to draft a black player when they selected which Duquesne star in the second round?

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