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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Shaquille O’Neal admits to deflating basketballs with Lakers 06.09.15 at 8:08 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 Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Finals, Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, France vs. England, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Spain vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Colombia vs. Mexico, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Brazil vs. South Korea, 7 p.m. (FS1)


Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal

— As the Deflategate controversy continues, Shaquille O’Neal is the latest athlete to admit to deflating balls before games. O’Neal said on a recent podcast that he would let some air out of basketballs during the Lakers’ championship run in the early 2000s — “Get the ball, ‘Tsssss’ let a little bit of air out, squeeze it — OK, good,” he said.

“Sometimes, in the games during all my championship runs, if a ball was too hard, I let air out,” O’Neal said (via “I’d have a needle. A friend of mine would have a needle and I would get the game ball. … I needed that extra grip, but I wasn’t doing that for cheating purposes. I just needed the extra grip for my hands so I could palm it, a la Michael Jordan, the way he used to palm it.”

O’Neal insists he was not breaking the rules, because he was not attempting to go below the league-mandated minimum of 7.5 psi.

“First of all, I’m not aware of any letter of the law that says, you can’t let air out of the ball,” O’Neal said. “I’m not aware of that. Second of all, it’s all about my [comfort level]. A lot of times, if the balls have too much air in them, they’re too bouncy. I didn’t want them to be bouncy. I needed that grip.”

Phil Jackson, who coached O’Neal with the Lakers, previously admitted that his Knicks teams used to deflate balls in the 1970s. Like O’Neal, Jackson said it should not be considered illegal because the balls did not fall below the league minimum psi.

Jackson told reporter Sam Smith for a book that other teams used to deflate balls below the NBA standard in an attempt to slow his Michael Jordan-led Bulls teams, but he would carry a pressure gauge and check the game balls so that they could be fixed.

— A defamation suit filed by former 49ers linebacker Ray McDonald against a woman who accused him of rape was dismissed by a California judge, who said McDonald failed to prove the woman talked to anyone but police.

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Read More: Oscar Pistorius, Phil Jackson, Ray McDonald, Shaquille O'Neal
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Magic Johnson endorses tanking, ‘I hope the Lakers lose every game’ 12.10.14 at 7:43 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: Celtics at Hornets, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pelicans at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Heat at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Columbia at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Utah at BYU 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Washington State at Gonzaga, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Maple Leafs at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Roma, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Magic Johnson, who helped build the Lakers into a dynasty, threw his support behind his old team to tank the season.

The Hall of Famer, speaking at an event in New York City, encouraged his club to lose for the sake of getting a high draft pick.

“I hope the Lakers lose every game,” he said. “Because if you’re going to lose, lose. I’m serious.”

The Lakers, who improved to 6-16 with Tuesday night’s win over the Kings, are coming off the worst season in modern franchise history in 2013-14 when they went 27-55. That netted them the seventh overall draft pick, which they used on Julius Randle.

“If you’re going to lose, you have to lose because you can’t be in the middle of the pack,” Johnson said. “You either have to be great or you have to be bad to get a good pick. … I’d rather be all the way bad than be in the middle.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott, who played alongside Johnson in the 1980s, dismissed the comment.

“That’s easy to say, but when you’re behind the scenes and you’re in the trenches and you’re coaching, that’s not something that you want to do,” Scott said. “We’ve got to go out here and win every game possible. I mean, if you lose games, that’s one thing. But to go out and try to lose, that’s a different story. I think that sends a message to those guys in there that it’s going back to that losing mentality. We don’t we want to create that here.”

Dennis Rodman can’t understand the Knicks’ struggles learning the triangle offense that Phil Jackson brought to New York.

Rodman, who played for Jackson with the Bulls and Lakers, explained at an event in New York City: “I learned that in probably 15 minutes when I was in Chicago. It’s not that difficult. It’s a triangle.

“Everybody has an opportunity to touch the ball and shoot it. It seems like it goes back to Carmelo Anthony and then everything stops. What are you going to do?”

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Read More: byron scott, Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Rodman, Magic Johnson
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Oscar Pistorius begins serving 5-year prison sentence 10.21.14 at 7:25 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.

World Series: Giants at Royals, 8 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-AM)
NHL: Sharks at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Flyers at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA preseason: Rockets at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA preseason: Clippers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College football: Arkansas State at Louisiana-Lafayette, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at CSKA Moskva, noon (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Ajax at Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s CONCACAF, Mexico vs. Jamaica, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Double-amputee Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius began serving his five-year prison sentence Tuesday, immediately after being sentenced by a judge in South Africa for the negligent killing of his girlfriend last February.

Judge Thokozile Masipa cited Pistorius’ “gross negligence” for shooting Reeva Steenkamp multiple times through a bathroom door in his home. He had claimed he thought she was a burglar.

Masipa also sentenced Pistorius to three years in prison for firing a gun in a restaurant a few weeks before Steenkamp’s death, although that sentence was suspended.

According to South African legal experts, Pistorius’ five-year term in the maximum he can serve; he will be eligible for house arrest in less than a year.

Pistorius, who had been very emotional throughout the trial, stood during the judge’s announcement before being escorted down a flight of stairs to a police van.

MASHUP POLL: Are you satisfied with Oscar Pistorius' five-year prison sentence?

  • No, he should be in prison far longer (91%, 183 Votes)
  • Yes, at least he's serving some time behind bars (9%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 202

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Masipa found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide last month but acquitted him of murder. In announcing the sentence Tuesday, she said: “The following is what I consider is a sentence that is fair and just both to society and the accused.”

The prosecution expressed disappointment in the culpable homicide conviction but did not have an immediate decision about whether or not to appeal the sentence.

Said prosecution spokesman Nathi Mncube: “We are satisfied with the fact that he will be serving some time in prison. … It’s not only about vengeance, but it is about making sure that there is a fair and just process.”

— New Jets wide receiver Percy Harvin met the New York media Monday, following reports that he was shipped out of Seattle in part because he wasn’t getting along with his teammates.

“I’m definitely not a perfect person,” Harvin acknowledged after his first practice with his new team. “I have a lot of things that I wish I could have done a little differently. But I’m moving forward. I’m learning from those lessons.

“I’m happy to be here right now and looking to make the most out of it.”

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Read More: John Idzik, Oscar Pistorius, Percy Harvin, Slava Voynov
Prosecution calls possible house arrest for Oscar Pistorius ‘shockingly inappropriate’ 10.13.14 at 11:16 am ET
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Former Olympian Oscar Pistorius, according to his defense, should not face any jail time for the killing of his girlfriend.

During his sentencing hearing in South Africa on Monday, probation officer Joel Maringa said Pistorius should not go to jail, but a punishment of house arrest and community service should suffice. Though he was not convicted of intentionally murdering Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide — a South African term for unintentionally but unlawfully killing a person.

“The accused will benefit from correctional supervision,” Maringa said. “We are basically not saying that he should be destroyed because he will still be coming back into the community.’€

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called Maringa’€™s proposals “shockingly inappropriate.”€ The prosecution also did not agree with psychologist Dr. Lore Hartzenberg’€™s assessment of Pistorius that he is a so-called “€œbroken man”€ since Steenkamp’€™s death.

“We’re dealing with a broken man, but he’s still alive,” Nel said of Pistorius. “He has lost his love relationship … but he will be able to love somebody else like that.”

The proceedings could take a few days to finish, and when it comes to a close, Judge Thokozile Masipa will have the final say. Masipa is the judge who presided over Pistorius’€™ original case. Pistorius could spend up to 15 years in prison, though others have been sentenced to as little as five years for a similar crime.

Read More: Oscar Pistorius,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide; Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton takes pitch to face 09.12.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Indians at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Giants, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Toledo at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Baylor at Buffalo, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Basketball: FIBA World Cup, France vs. Serbia, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA finals: Mercury at Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sounders, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: Davis Cup, United States vs. Slovakia, 5 p.m. (Tennis Channel)


— On Day 2 of the verdict portion of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial, a judge in South Africa ruled Friday that the former Olympian was guilty of culpable homicide for being negligent in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

A day earlier, Pistorius was found not guilty of murder as Judge Thokozile Masipa said there was not enough evidence to conclude that Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp in February 2013. Pistorius claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her through a bathroom door in the middle of the night, while the prosecution said the model was killed after the couple had an argument.

Pistorius, who had been emotional throughout the trial — breaking down in tears upon hearing Thursday’s announcement — showed no emotion Friday as he stood and listened to the judge. Masipa on Friday said it was a unanimous verdict following consultation with two legal assessors.

Pistorius could be sentenced to anywhere from a suspended sentence to a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. He left the courtroom and was taken into custody, as his bail expired after the conviction. The judge was considering whether to re-grant bail.

MASHUP POLL: What sentence will Oscar Pistorius receive for culpable homicide in the death of his girlfriend?

  • 10 or more years (44%, 84 Votes)
  • 4-9 years (24%, 46 Votes)
  • 1-3 years (18%, 34 Votes)
  • Suspended sentence (no jail time) (8%, 16 Votes)
  • Less than a year (7%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 193

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The prosecution expressed disappointment with the ruling but said it will wait until the sentencing to decide whether to appeal.

“We believe there is sufficient and credible evidence to secure a conviction [on a murder charge],” National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said.

— Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton, the favorite to win National League MVP award, likely will miss the rest of the season after being hit in the face by a fastball from Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers during Thursday night’s game.

Stanton, who left the field in an ambulance, suffered multiple facial fractures, dental damage and lacerations that required stitches.

“It’s devastating for us. Devastating. For his season to end like that, I mean, that’s not good,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said, adding: “It was very scary. We’re hoping he is going to be all right.”

Stanton, who leads the NL with 37 home runs and 105 RBIs, was called for strike on the pitch, as the umpire claimed he swung at the ball while trying to get out of the way. Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson came on to replace Stanton and got hit on the hand by the next pitch — and he, too, was ruled to have swung at the ball, ending the at-bat with a strikeout.

The benches then cleared, and Redmond was ejected along with Miami infielder Casey McGehee.

“I’ve never seen anything like that and I’ve definitely never seen two swings called on those two plays,” Redmond said. “I’ve never seen a guy get hit in the mouth and called for a swing. He’s out there bleeding at home plate, and for the first base ump to say he swung at that pitch, what a joke.”

— Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero said Thursday that the investigation into the death of the driver who was struck by NASCAR star Tony Stewart has been completed and submitted to the district attorney’s office for review.

“The District Attorney’s Office, which has been meeting throughout the investigative process with members of the Sheriff’s Office, will make a statement late next week advising what action will be taken regarding the investigation,” a statement read.

Stewart was driving in a sprint car race when he caused Kevin Ward Jr. to crash and then, when Ward left his vehicle to confront Stewart, slammed into Ward and killed the 20-year-old.

Povero earlier said that he did not find anything to indicate criminal intent in the crash, although Stewart still could face charges for reckless or negligent behavior resulting in death.

Stewart, who called the death a tragic accident, returned to racing last weekend after a three-week hiatus.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 12, 2005, David Ortiz hit his 40th home run of the season, a solo shot in the 11th inning to give the Red Sox a 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays in Toronto. With that clout, he became just the second Red Sox player to have back-to-back 40-home run seasons. Who was the first?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I wouldn’€™t say that we have limitless money, but we’€™ve got a lot of money to spend and we’€™re determined to go into the free agent market and improve the team.” — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, during a Thursday appearance with Dennis & Callahan, on the team’s goals for the offseason

STAT OF THE DAY: 14-for-19 — The United States team’s shooting in the third quarter of Thursday’s 96-68 rout of Lithuania in the semifinals of the Basketball World Cup

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Chris Young hits a three-run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to give the Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Rays.

Reds right fielder Jay Bruce leaps over the fence to take a home run away from Brewers batter Matt Adams.

Giants batter Hunter Pence throws his bat at the ball and hits a grounder up the middle that bounces off second base and eludes the Diamondbacks infielders for a run-scoring hit.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Carl Yastrzemski, 1969-70

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Barry White, who died in 2003, was born on this day in 1944.

Read More: Giancarlo Stanton, Kevin Ward Jr., Oscar Pistorius, Tony Stewart
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Oscar Pistorius not guilty of premeditated murder 09.11.14 at 7:36 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 Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL: Steelers at Ravens, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network)
College football: Louisiana Tech at North Texas, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Houston at BYU, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Basketball: FIBA World Cup, United States vs, Lithuania, 3 p.m. (ESPN)


— A South African judge ruled Thursday that Oscar Pistorius did not intentionally kill his girlfriend when he shot her in their home last year, but the former Olympic hero still could be convicted of culpable homicide.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who is deciding Pistorius’ fate along with two other judges, began the verdict portion of the trial Thursday morning as a tense Pistorius sat listening. Pistorius broke down and started crying when Masipa said he was not guilty of premeditated murder in the death of Reeva Steenkamp.

The verdict portion could last for hours or even days as the judge explains her analysis of the evidence and testimony.

MASHUP POLL: Should Oscar Pistorius have been convicted of murder?

  • Yes, there's no way he would have shot her repeatedly by accident (85%, 212 Votes)
  • No, there's too much doubt in this case (15%, 38 Votes)

Total Voters: 250

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Masipa called Pistorius a “very poor witness” during the trial, noting that he avoided answering some of the prosecution’s questions, but said that it does not mean he is guilty. Pistorius claimed he thought Steenkamp was a burglar when he shot her repeatedly through the bathroom door in the middle of the night.

The trial has lasted five months, including a one-month break so that Pistorius could be examined by mental health specialists.

Pistorius, who uses prosthetic legs, participated in the 2012 London Olympics, inspiring people worldwide.

— Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was granted a leave of absence from the team to consider his future in football. Abraham, in his 15th NFL season, suffered a concussion in Monday’s win over the Chargers, but coach Bruce Arians said that was not the main reason Abraham was considering retiring.

Abraham, who missed most of training camp because he was receiving treatment for an alcohol problem following a DUI arrest in Atlanta, has five days to mull things over before he must be either reinstated or ruled out for the rest of the season.

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Read More: Bruce Arians, Jeff Wilpon, John Abraham, Oscar Pistorius
Psychologist: Oscar Pistorius traumatized, could be a suicide risk 07.02.14 at 11:06 am ET
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A psychologist’s report revealed Wednesday that Oscar Pistorius is severely traumatized after killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year and will be an increasing suicide risk unless he continues to get mental health care.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux read excerpts from this report to the judge overseeing the double-amputee Olympic runner’s murder trial. The report said Pistorius is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and “his condition is likely to worsen” if he doesn’t continue to receive professional treatment.

The report was done during a 30-day observation period at a state psychiatric hospital. The report, compiled by three psychiatrists, determined Pistorius was not mentally ill when he fatally shot Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013. The report concluded that Pistorius did not have a history of “abnormal aggression or explosive violence.”

Medical expert Wayne Derman said Pistorius is an “anxious individual.” He testified that Pistorius is “hyper-vigilant” and often was restless.

Read More: Oscar Pistorius,
Oscar Pistorius trial hears testimony about screams following killing 07.01.14 at 11:00 am ET
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Testimony in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial focused on the screams that neighbors heard the night the Olympic athlete killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned acoustics expert Ivan Lin, who was called in by the defense team to suggest that the screams neighbors heard were that of Pistorius rather than a woman.

The screams that neighbors have testified they heard the night Pistorius shot Steenkamp are a key element in the prosecution’s case, as they claim the couple was arguing before Pistorius shot her. The defense, on the other hand, has suggested the screams came from Pistorius after realizing he mistakenly shot her.

Lin said that he could not determine whether the neighbors were “correct or incorrect.” He testified that he performed tests that show background noise and other factors can make it difficult to hear from a distance.

The court also received reports from mental health experts who determined that Pistorius was not suffering from a mental illness when he killed Steenkamp.

Read More: Oscar Pistorius,
Oscar Pistorius begins psychiatric evaluation as part of murder trial 05.27.14 at 11:21 am ET
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Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius began a month-long evaluation at a state psychiatric hospital on Monday as part of his ongoing murder trial.

The double-amputee runner, who shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year, arrived behind a police van at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa. The terms of the evaluation have been described by some as favorable for Pistorius.

The goal of the evaluation, according to the judge who will give the verdict, is to determine if Pistorius had a mental disorder at the time of the shooting. That could affect whether or not Pistorius should be held criminally responsible for Steenkamp’s death.

Pistorius is required to arrive at the psychiatric hospital by 9 a.m. each weekday and can leave by 4 p.m. He has weekends off under an order from Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Pistories faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. Trial proceedings resume June 30.

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Oscar Pistorius trial on hold as he undergoes psychiatric tests 05.14.14 at 4:51 pm ET
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A South African judge has ordered Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius to take part in psychiatric tests, meaning that the double amputee’€™s murder trial will be disrupted, possibly for up to two months.

The decision, made by Judge Thokozile Masipa, was made after the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, made a psychiatric evaluation request. Nel said he made the request after an expert witness for the defense stated that Pistorious has had an anxiety disorder since childhood that could have played a role in his perception when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius likely will be tested by a group of psychiatrists for around 30 days at a government facility, although Masipa noted that Pistorius would likely be viewed as an outpatient and would be allowed to return home after his tests.

The Olympic sprinter has the chance to be acquitted if it is determined that he was not criminally responsible for shooting Steenkamp due to his mental disorder. Even if he is convicted,  Pistorius’ mental illness could be used by the defense as a way to receive a lighter sentence.

“€œAs a family, we are comforted by the thoroughness and detail of this judgement and Judge Masipa’€™s commitment, using every avenue, to ensure a fair trial,” said Arnold Pistorius, Oscar’s uncle.

While the prosecution team said that Pistorius intentionally shot and killed Steenkamp after an argument in the early morning hours of Feb. 13, 2013, Nel said that his team has no option but to make the evaluation request based on the expert’s diagnosis.

Masipa noted that the resulting tests would create a significant delay in the trial, stating, “This is not about anyone’s convenience, but rather about whether justice has been served.”

Read More: Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp, South Africa, Trial