|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets have new version of ‘butt fumble’ in embarrassing loss to Titans||09.30.13 at 7:58 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Rays at Rangers, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NFL: Dolphins at Saints, 8:25 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: Premier League, Newcastle at Everton, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• The Jets entered Week 4 at 2-1, just a game behind the AFC East-leading Patriots and Dolphins, giving New York fans hope that their team could find a way to win enough games to challenge for a playoff spot.
Then the Jets went to Tennessee and, with quarterback Geno Smith turning over the ball four times, were embarrassed by the Titans, 38-13. On one play deep in New York territory, Smith tried to switch hands by going behind his back with the ball, but he lost control of it while it was on his rear end — a play some are calling the new “butt fumble” after the ball was pounced on for a touchdown by Titans defensive lineman Karl Klug.
“I was too reckless with the ball,” Smith acknowledged after two fumbles and two interceptions. “I’m extremely disappointed in the way I handled the ball. I was piss-poor.”
Added Smith: “This will never happen again.”
Asked if this comes with the territory when starting a rookie behind center, coach Rex Ryan showed his frustration.
“How many times are we going to make that excuse,” he said. “One of these days we’ve got to learn from it, and it better be soon. We’d better learn in a hurry.”
Injured QB Mark Sanchez, whose turnover issues were one of the key reasons for the Jets’ miserable 2012 season, was on hand to see Smith struggle.
“I’ve been there,” Sanchez said when asked if he was happy he wasn’t the one in the line of fire. “Believe me, I’ve been there.”
• Lane Kiffin was fired as USC football coach following Saturday’s 62-41 loss at Arizona State, reportedly told of the decision in a meeting at Los Angeles International Airport in the early morning hours Sunday after the team arrived home.
“It’s never the perfect time to do these things, but I thought it was the right time,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said.
Kiffin lasted 3 1/2 seasons at the helm and had an up-and-down tenure marked by solid recruiting while the program was handicapped by NCAA sanctions due to the Reggie Bush violations, but also featuring a series of ethically questionable moves and comments.
“Lane did negotiate some of these things remarkably well,” Haden said. “I have supported Lane with my heart and soul for 3½ years and gave him every opportunity. He wasn’t given a fair hand in a lot of ways. I said all along, we graded on the curve, but we failed on the curve, too.”
Assistant Ed Orgeron will serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season. Names bandied about as speculated candidates include Broncos defensive coordinator (and former Jaguars head coach) Jack Del Rio and Rams coach Jeff Fisher, both of whom are USC alums, along with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, Boise State coach Chris Peterson, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter and 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
• Legendary Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood, a pass-rushing standout who was part of the “Steel Curtain” defense of the 1970s, died Sunday at a Pittsburgh hospital at the age of 67.
The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro played for the Steelers from 1969-81, winning four Super Bowls.
“L.C. was one of the most beloved Steelers during the most successful period in team history, and he will be missed by the entire organization,” Stellers chairman Dan Rooney said in a statement.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 30, 1962, which Red Sox player wrapped up the season with a .326 average to capture his second American League batting title?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets owner Woody Johnson insists, ‘I’m very happy with Rex [Ryan]‘||09.05.13 at 8:11 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network); WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL: Ravens at Broncos, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
College football: Florida Atlantic at East Carolina, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: U.S. Open, noon (ESPN2), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• Jets coach Rex Ryan has been getting roasted in the New York media the past month, but at least he has the support of the team’s owner — sort of.
Woody Johnson defended Ryan’s decision to fly to South Carolina on Saturday — NFL cutdown day — to see his son suit up as a walk-on wide receiver for Clemson, and he insisted he’s supportive of his coach.
“I’m very happy with Rex,” Johnson said, via the New York Daily News. “I think Rex is a great coach. He’s a good head coach. He’s a great teacher. I have a lot of confidence in Rex.”
However, Johnson would not address Ryan’s future. The coach is signed through next season, and Johnson would not address questions about if Ryan is coaching for his job this year, as has been widely reported.
“You guys are speculating,” Johnson said. “I’m not speculating. We don’t talk about any of that. We’re all in. The team is put together. There is no speculation.”
Ryan, for his part, said the lack of a long-term commitment is not an issue for him.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “You guys know me. I’ve never been the focus and shouldn’t be ever. My thing is I’m just happy. I get to coach this year. Obviously, I had a bad year last year. But I can’t wait for the thing that is right in front of us. It starts on Sunday, and I am so looking forward to this season. It’s never been about me. Not one time.”
Both Ryan and Johnson — as well as general manager John Idzik — appear to be on the same page when it comes to the quarterback situation. Rookie Geno Smith is starting Sunday’s opener against the Buccaneers, but injured veteran Mark Sanchez eventually will get another shot to win the starting job.
“That competition’s not finished,” Johnson said, via the New York Post. “The competition’s ongoing. Our competition team-wise is ongoing, too.”
Said Ryan: “Any long-term plan, any of this, any of that, we’re not thinking about it. We’re thinking about Tampa Bay only, and that’s it.”
• Veteran NBA forward Lamar Odom has checked into a rehab center for drug and alcohol abuse, according to a report at People.com.
“He realized he needs help,” a source told the website.
Odom, 33, was arrested for DUI last Friday, days after he reportedly left his home following an argument with his wife, reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, and dropped out of sight.
Odom is a free agent after playing a reserve role last season for the Clippers. The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year with the Lakers in 2011, Odom has seen his career plummet since then, bouncing from the Lakers to the Mavericks to the Clippers.
• Koni Dole, a high school senior at Worden Huntley Project School in Montana, suffered a devastating injury during a football game last year and eventually had his right leg amputated below the knee. One day after the surgery, he was back in the weight room. A couple of months later, Dole joined the wrestling team. In the spring he ran track, using a “cheetah blade” prosthetic similar to the one made famous by Olympian Oscar Pistorious.
This past weekend Dole made his return to the football field, taking the handoff on his team’s first play from scrimmage and rushing for 10 yards. He also scored his team’s first touchdown — one of two for him on the day — and recorded a sack as a defensive lineman in a 45-0 victory over Joliet High.
“[It was an] untouchable feeling to be back out there with my team with all I’ve been through in the last nine, 10 months,” Dole stold the Billings Gazette. “It’s been a long road.”
Dole has an offer to be a preferred walk-on at Montana State next year.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 5, 1918, the Major League Baseball season ended early due to World War I, and the Red Sox began the World Series — which they would win for their last title until 2004 — against which National League team?
|Jets name Geno Smith starting quarterback||09.04.13 at 11:47 am ET|
In the end, the announcement was almost anti-climactic. The Jets confirmed Wednesday that they will hand the ball to rookie Geno Smith for Sunday’s opener against the Buccaneers, with incumbent Mark Sanchez reportedly unable to play due to a bruised joint in his throwing shoulder.
Sanchez had better numbers in the preseason, but with his inconsistency and turnover tendencies from last year, there was speculation that the team was considering going in a new direction. Sanchez’s injury — suffered after he was rushed into action in the third preseason game in relief of an unimpressive Smith — may have forced the Jets to go to Smith earlier than they would have preferred.
Smith, a second-round pick, had some highlights early in training camp, but the West Virginia product sprained his ankle in the first preseason game and struggled thereafter. Now he’ll get his chance to lead the Jets back to respectability following a 6-10 campaign in 2012.
If Smith does well, Sanchez likely will remain on the roster as an expensive backup. He is set to earn a guaranteed $8.25 million this season, making it unlikely the Jets would release him before the end of the year.
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mariano Rivera adamant about retiring after picking up 40th save||at 8:03 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rays at Angels, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, noon, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
• During a discussion about Mariano Rivera‘s career Tuesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would like the legendary closer to reconsider his retirement plans.
“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t,” Girardi told ESPN. “He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do.”
Added Girardi: “I’m sure I’ll talk to him at some point in the offseason, and … I’ll tell him when the season’s over, ‘Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.’ ”
Rivera, for his part, had no interest in talking about another season, even after he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out his team’s 6-4 comeback victory over the White Sox and pick up his 40th save.
“I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision [to retire at the end of the season],” Rivera said.
• It’s been a rough preseason for Jets coach Rex Ryan, and it got more difficult this week as he was forced to defend himself against criticism of his decision to attend his son’s first game as a walk-on wide receiver at Clemson on Saturday, the same day the NFL required rosters to be trimmed to 53.
During an appearance on ESPN Radio in New York on Tuesday, Ryan said he accepts that he’s going to be harshly judged following the team’s 6-10 record last season.
“We had a terrible year, so that’s to be expected,” Ryan said. “When you win in this town, in New York and New Jersey area, shoot, everybody’s happy. If you don’t, hey, I understand the criticism. But the beauty of it is we have a brand new season right in front of us.”
The biggest story around the team has been the quarterback battle. With Mark Sanchez ailing, it appears that Geno Smith is in line to start Sunday’s opener against the Buccaneers. But Ryan said he won’t be pushed into making the decision earlier than he chooses.
“When we want to announce it, we’ll announce it,” he said. “Not you guys, not somebody else. When we’re comfortable making the decision, we will.”
• Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel remains off-limits to the media, following his memorable debut in Saturday’s victory over Rice. Manziel was suspended for the first half of the game following his “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules for allegedly signing autographs for a fee, and then he was yanked late in the game after picking up a penalty for taunting his opponents.
Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Manziel will talk eventually, but now is not the time.
“I think it’s important now based on where he is that his focus is to try to be our quarterback and a student-athlete,” Sumlin told reporters Tuesday. “That’s his biggest challenge right now. [It's] not his challenge to be here [in front of the media].”
Added Sumlin: “I don’t think right now that him coming here and saying the words would change some people’s opinion about who he is. At the appropriate time, he’ll be able to speak for himself.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 4, 2000, the Red Sox retired a former Sox player’s number for the first time in 11 years, with which legend taking his place among the all-time greats?
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie calls Jets reporter ‘a complete idiot’||08.27.13 at 8:18 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (WGN)
WNBA: Connecticut Sun at Los Angeles Sparks, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Fenerbahce vs. Arsenal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Basel 1892 vs. Ludogorets, 2:30 p.m. (FSC)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
• New Jersey Governor Chris Christie inserted himself in the Jets’ quarterback controversy, blasting New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta for pestering Rex Ryan with questions after Saturday night’s preseason game vs. the Giants.
Co-hosting WFAN’s Boomer & Carlton morning radio show Monday, Christie said of Mehta: “Idiot. The guy’s a complete idiot. Self-consumed, underpaid reporter … the only way he’s empowered is because we’re spending all this time talking about Manish Mehta this morning … who, by the way, I couldn’t pick out of a lineup, and no Jets fan gives a damn about Manish Mehta.”
Christie, who is friends with Ryan, continued: “We shouldn’t be giving this dope, you know, the amount of airtime we’ve given him already.”
Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez, who injured his right shoulder after being hit in the fourth quarter, following his insertion with the second-team offense, hopes to return in time for the team’s regular-season opener.
Sanchez said he was “a little sore,” but he refused to criticize Ryan for rushing him into action Saturday with the backups.
“If they call your number, you’ve got to play,” Sanchez said. “That’s what I do, and that’s what I’ve always done. They said to be ready to play, and I was ready to play.”
• According to an ESPN report, NCAA investigators met with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for about six hours Sunday to talk about allegations that Manziel was paid by memorabilia dealers for his autograph.
Multiple dealers have said they paid the Heisman Trophy winner to sign thousands of items following last season.
Texas A&M administrators reportedly plan to let Manziel play despite concerns that this situation could affect his eligibility.
• The Astros, who have the worst record in the major leagues, are on pace to set a record as the most profitable team in league history, according to a report in Forbes.
With pitcher Erik Bedard the team’s only player making more than $1 million a year and the active payroll sitting at about $13 million (down from $26 million at the start of the season), owner Jim Crane should make $99 million this season, thanks in part to soaring television revenues.
The Astros have steadily decreased their payroll since Crane bought the team in 2011, although he recently told ESPN The Magazine, “Once our minor league system is filled in, we’ll move up into the top five or 10 in payroll.”
The report notes that 64 current major leaguers — including nine Yankees — each make more than the entire Astros roster.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 27, 1967, in another memorable game during the Impossible Dream season, the Red Sox held off the White Sox, 4-3, in the first game of a doubleheader after which Sox right fielder threw out Ken Berry at home in the ninth inning?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets coach Rex Ryan under fire after Mark Sanchez injury||08.26.13 at 7:40 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Reds at Cardinals, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Chelsea at Manchester United, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
• Rex Ryan‘s hot seat just got hotter. There are calls for the Jets coach to be fired after he rushed Mark Sanchez into Saturday night’s preseason game vs. the Giants and allowed him to get knocked around while being protected by the second-team offense.
Sanchez was inserted after Geno Smith failed to impress in his first preseason start, throwing three interceptions in a 24-21 overtime victory. Smith finished 16-of-30 for 199 yards and a 22-yard touchdown pass, but he also took a safety when he stepped out of the back of the end zone while trying to avoid a sack. He finished with a 45.7 passer rating, just 34.8 against the Giants’ first-team defense.
Sanchez replaced the rookie in the fourth quarter and proceeded to injure his shoulder when he was hit by Marvin Austin after eluding two defenders and completing a pass. Sanchez, who was 5-for-6 for 72 yards with one lost fumble, left the game in obvious pain and was taken for an MRI. On Sunday, the team announced that Sanchez was “day-to-day” and would not play in the preseason finale.
“Unfortunately, the best play that he makes, probably all of preseason, he ends up getting hurt on it,” Ryan said after the game. “We’ll see the severity of the injury later.”
Sanchez appeared to warm up quickly upon being told he was going into the game — with one report indicating he did not expect to play. Ryan was questioned afterward about inserting Sanchez with the backups.
“We talked about the [quarterback] competition, and that was something that I felt was important,” he said. “If it wasn’t important, then I wouldn’t have put him in there. I would not have put Mark in if it wasn’t important.”
Ryan got frustrated after being badgered by the media about the QB competition, at one point turning away from the aggressive questioners.
“I can say anything I want,” he said. “That’s the beauty of this country. I can answer it 100 times. I’ll stand backwards and answer the question. I’m going sideways. We’ll make the announcement when I think it’s the appropriate time.”
• NBA veteran Lamar Odom has disappeared for over three days, leaving family members concerned that he’s using drugs again, according to a report from TMZ.
Odom, a free agent who played last season for the Clippers, rejected an intervention from wife Khloe Kardashian on Wednesday, the report indicates, and dropped out of sight.
TMZ claims Odom has battled drug addition for at least two years, and reluctantly agreed to go to rehab in San Diego last year, although he left after three weeks. The report credits sources as saying Odom has gone on crack cocaine binges since the season ended.
A representative for Odom told the website Sunday that the player is fine, although no information about his whereabouts was given.
Odom, who played one season of college basketball at Rhode Island (1998-99), was suspended twice in 2001 for violating the league’s policy on drugs while a member of the Clippers. He won two championships after joining the Lakers but has seen his career take a downturn in the last couple of years, playing for the Mavericks and the Clippers.
• ESPN analyst John Kruk was taken out from the broadcast booth on a stretcher before Sunday night’s Red Sox-Dodgers game in Los Angeles. Play-by-play man Dan Shulman said early in the broadcast that Kruk wasn’t feeling well but expressed optimism about his condition.
The network issued a statement that read: “John left the booth feeling dizzy and was diagnosed with dehydration. His vital signs are stable and he’s in good spirits. We wish him a speedy recovery.”
Kruk 52, played 10 seasons in the majors before joining ESPN in 2004.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 26, 1945, which Red Sox pitcher won his 20th game of the season, winning the game for himself by hitting an RBI double in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-3, in Game 1 of a doubleheader sweep?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Geno Smith gets start at QB for Jets in preseason game vs. Giants||08.23.13 at 8:04 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League World Series: Washington vs. Connecticut, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Seahawks at Packers, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL preseason: Bears at Raiders, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA: San Antonio Silver Stars at Tulsa Shock, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• Jets coach Rex Ryan confirmed Thursday that rookie Geno Smith, who practiced with the first team all week, will start at quarterback in the team’s preseason game against the Giants on Saturday night, with Mark Sanchez backing him up.
“We’ll see how far we take him into this game this week,” Ryan said. “Mark will play also. I think [Smith] has looked good and seems like the ankle is obviously a lot better than it was this past week. I’m excited to see him play.”
Smith sat out the team’s last preseason game with a sprained ankle, while Sanchez played three quarters in that game.
“We did say all along that it was going to be an equal competition,” Ryan said. “And, I think, obviously, the fact that Geno wasn’t able to play last week, you never really saw him when there were ‘live bullets,’ so to speak. So, it wouldn’t be an equal competition had we not played it out this way.”
Quarterbacks coach David Lee said the team might not be able to decide on its regular-season starter for another week.
“It’s been too close to call,” he said. “I want it clear. I want it cleaner before we make that decision.”
Lee added that the battle has been emotionally draining.
“They come off the field and you’re frowning at one and ‘saying], ‘Atta boy’ to the other,” Lee said. “I’m being honest, it’s kind of been an emotional up-and-down deal: ‘Who’s the best one today? Maybe that’s our guy. We can do this with him and the other one, we can do this with him. We can do more with this guy in the passing game.’ So, that’s an honest answer.”
• Robert Griffin III‘s “patience” cost him this week. The rehabbing Redskins quarterback’s decision to wear a T-shirt reading “Operation Patience” while warming up prior to Monday night’s preseason game instead of approved NFL apparel led to him being fined $10,000.
Griffin, who was fined $10,000 last year for wearing adidas clothing at a postgame press conference (the league has a contract with Nike), did not play in Monday’s game as he continues to work his way back after having surgery on his right knee after last season ended. He has yet to make an appearance in the preseason.
“I’m getting the team reps, and that’s what I wanted, and that’s what the team needed me to be out there doing,” Griffin said. “I feel good. I am confident coach [Mike Shanahan] easing me in has helped, and giving me the extra reps has helped now. My eyes are set on Philly.”
• The Buccaneers hired a cleaning company to sanitize the team’s training facility after two players were diagnosed with staph infections on their feet.
Guard Carl Nicks and kicker Lawrence Tynes have MRSA, a staph infection that is resistant to some antibiotics. Tynes, sidelined by an ingrown toenail on his kicking foot, did not travel to Foxboro last week when the Bucs practiced with the Patriots before their preseason game. Nicks made the trip and practiced but did not play in the game.
Both players are responding to treatment.
“Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our players and staff,” general manager Mark Dominik said in a team statement. “Our players were informed of the situation and we sought the advice of experts, including the NFL’s medical advisor, who provided counsel and approved of our comprehensive measures including the treatment of our practice facility.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 23, 1974, which Red Sox pitcher won his 20th game of the season after outdueling Vida Blue of the A’s, 3-0?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets’ QB battle more confusing after ‘brutal’ practice by Geno Smith||08.15.13 at 8:12 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
Little League World Series: Puerto Rico vs. Panama, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League World Series: Washington vs. Texas, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League World Series: Mexico vs. Australia, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Little League World Series: Connecticut vs. Tennessee, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
NFL preseason: Chargers at Bears, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Golf: U.S. Amateur, noon (TGC)
Golf: PGA Wyndham Championship, 2 p.m. (TGC)
Gymnastics: U.S. Championships, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• The Jets’ quarterback battle continues to take twists and turns on a daily basis. Just when it seemed that rookie Geno Smith might have gotten the upper hand over inconsistent incumbent Mark Sanchez, Smith threw four interceptions in Wednesday’s practice, including three in 11-on-11 drills.
Said coach Rex Ryan: “It was brutal. That was Geno’s worst day.”
Smith suffered a mild ankle sprain in Friday’s preseason opener in Detroit, and although he didn’t miss a practice since and he insisted it didn’t affect him (“Not one bit”), he appeared to be off his game.
“The ankle is part of it, but way too many picks,” Ryan said. “He did not look comfortable today. Obviously, he has to come back from it, and he will come back from it, But it was a bad day. Guys have bad days, but this was a really bad day.”
• Alex Rodriguez‘s lawyers reportedly have threatened to sue Major League Baseball over his 211-game suspension, but it doesn’t appear to be having much impact.
At the quarterly owners meetings Wednesday, team representatives brushed off the report in comments to the New York Daily News.
“I guess he’s chosen to ignore 100 years of history [in which federal judges have routinely dismissed lawsuits against baseball],” one team executive said.
Added an owner: “He’s suing us now? That’s interesting. Good luck to him.”
Meanwhile, A-Rod is expected to be edited out of an animated film about a cancer-stricken boy’s visit to the Yankees in which the boy talks to some team legends. Rodriguez provided his voice for his character, but the producers of “Henry & Me” are said to be concerned about how A-Rod’s inclusion will affect the movie’s marketability and image.
• Rams starting linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, a former Boston College star, was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, although he maintained that his error was a mistake rather than a lapse in judgment.
“I just want to say that I did not take a performance-enhancing drug,” an emotional Dunbar said Wednesday. “I mistakenly took something that prompted a failed drug test.”
Added the 27-year-old who is entering his second season in St. Louis after four years with the Saints: “I sincerely apologize to my teammates [and] the organization. I am deeply saddened by this. But I plan to serve my four-game suspension and get back to playing football as soon as possible.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 15, 1971, the Patriots played their first game in Foxboro, a 20-14 preseason victory over the Giants. What was the name of the team’s original Foxboro home?
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan asks Jets fans to lighten up on Mark Sanchez||08.06.13 at 7:55 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Braves at Nationals, 7:05 p.m (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at White Sox, 8 p.m. (WGN)
Little League Baseball: New England tournament, Maine vs. Vermont, 1 p.m. (NESN)
Little League Baseball: New England tournament, Massachusetts vs. New Hampshire, 4 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Schedule release, 6 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Connecticut Sun, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie criticized fans who booed quarterback Mark Sanchez during Saturday’s team scrimmage in Cortland, N.Y., calling it “bullcrap.” On Monday, coach Rex Ryan asked the fans to give Sanchez a break.
“Our fans have a right to do anything — I’m not going to say I’m disappointed with the fans — but I think we need to move forward,” Ryan said Monday, referring to Sanchez’s 2012 season in which he committed 26 turnovers and was benched late in the season. “The things in the past are in the past. Let’s focus on what we have in front of us. We’re all going to make mistakes. … I had a bad year also last year. Hopefully, our fans are all united 100 percent.”
Sanchez is locked in a battle for the starting job with second-round draft pick Geno Smith, who put up better numbers than Sanchez in Saturday’s scrimmage but threw two interceptions in the red zone in Monday’s 7-on-7 drill. Ryan wouldn’t say who he was going to start in Friday’s preseason opener in Detroit, but he encouraged the fans to support whomever is behind center.
“We don’t want our guys getting booed, especially from our fans because we all wear green and white, including the fans,” Ryan said. “The game is tough enough. We need to support each other. That’s probably where [Cromartie] was coming from.”
Added Ryan: “We can’t worry about what happened in the past. It’s a brand new year. There should be some excitement based on that, not looking at the negatives. I like focusing on what’s in front of us, the positive.
“Of course, we’d like to have a backing from 100 percent of our fans, but our fans can do what they want. They earned that right. They purchased a ticket and they can do whatever they choose.”
♦ In other Jets news, the New York Post reports that running back Joe McKnight was arrested in New Jersey last week when he was stopped for traffic violations and police discovered two outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines related to other vehicular offenses.
McKnight was pulled over at 11 a.m. last Tuesday, when the players had an off day from training camp, after he passed a police officer on the right at a high rate of speed and then changed lanes without signaling, police said.
McKnight was handcuffed and taken to the police station, where he posted bail and was released.
McKnight is the second Jets running back to be arrested this offseason. Mike Goodson was arrested in May on weapons and drug charges after being found sleeping in a car on Route 80. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
♦ The Utah teenager charged with killing a referee during a soccer game in April pleaded guilty Monday to homicide by assault after agreeing to a plea deal with prosecutors. As part of the deal, the 17-year-old will be treated as a juvenile.
“I was frustrated at the ref and caused his death,” the teenager said softly during his court appearance, referring to his punch to the head of 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo. Portillo fell into a coma and died a week later.
The teen’s attorney said he is a “good kid and excellent student who made one terrible mistake.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 6, 2001, which Red Sox player lined into a triple play in the fourth inning of a game against the Rangers at Fenway Park, but then atoned with a grand slam in his next at-bat to rally his team to a 10-7 victory?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Eagles WR Riley Cooper says ‘there’s been no friction’ with teammates after racial slur||08.02.13 at 8:09 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Diamondbacks at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Cubs, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who apologized Wednesday after video surfaced of him using a racial slur, will attend sensitivity training.
“In meeting with Riley yesterday, we decided together that his next step will be to seek outside assistance to help him fully understand the impact of his words and actions,” the team said in a statement Thursday. “He needs to reflect. As an organization, we will provide the resources he needs to do so.”
Cooper said Thursday that he has received support from his teammates after an “extremely emotional” meeting with them.
“There’s been no friction,” Cooper said. “I respect a lot of the guys that came up to me yesterday and today. Numerous, numerous, numerous players said, ‘Coop, we know that’s not the type of person you are. We respect you, and we’re behind you, and if you need anything, call me, text me, you know I’m there for you.’ That definitely felt good.”
However, teammate LeSean McCoy said that while he forgives Cooper, he won’t view him the same.
“Just on a friendship level, and as a person, I can’t really respect somebody like that,” McCoy said. “I think as a team, we need to move past it. There are some things that are going to be hard to work with, to be honest.”
♦ Jets coach Rex Ryan normally is talking big this time of year, but coming off a disastrous 2012 season Ryan has taken a different tone: proving the critics wrong.
“You know what, if you’re a competitor, how does that thing not get you?” Ryan said of predictions that the Jets will have a losing record in 2013. “How does that not motivate you? It’s almost like, ‘OK, well, we’re going to show you.’ ”
Added Ryan: “We don’t believe those [predictions] are true. It’s going to be proven out. It’ll be proven out when the season comes rolling around. We feel that we’ll be much better than that.”
Guard Willie Colon agreed that the players can use the lack of respect as motivation.
“We just have to start winning, we have to shut our mouths, we have to grow closer as a team and we have to be as hard-nosed as we can be,” Colon said. “I’m pretty sure a lot of teams already have us checked off on their schedule. That’s the bottom line. We have to show up on Sunday and punch a lot of people in the mouth and wake them up.”
♦ With Major League Baseball reportedly close to announcing suspensions for the players connected to the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug issue, Real Clear Sports has a list of the 10 biggest frauds in sports.
No. 8 is 1980 Boston Marathon cheater Rose Ruiz. No. 7 is the Spygate-tainted 2007 Patriots. Also on the list: Little League cheater Danny Almonte, disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy, Alex Rodriguez and, at No. 1, Lance Armstrong.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 2, 1923, Harry Frazee‘s controversial tenure as Red Sox owner officially with the installation of a new ownership group led by which man who also served as team president?
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