|Washington QB Robert Griffin III reportedly will be shut down for rest of season||12.11.13 at 11:42 am ET|
According to multiple reports, Washington has decided to start Kirk Cousins at quarterback Sunday against the Falcons, with Robert Griffin III inactive despite not being listed with an injury.
Coach Mike Shanahan acknowledged Monday that he was considering sitting Griffin to protect him while Washington (3-10) closes out a lost season. Griffin missed the entire offseason while recovering from knee surgery, and he clearly is not the same player he was last year, when he was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Additionally, he hasn’t been protected well by his offensive line, leading to consideration to rest him for the final three games.
“You’ve got your franchise quarterback, and you want to make sure going into the offseason that he goes through a full offseason program,” Shanahan said Monday. “And that’s why I didn’t say [Griffin] was the starter. That’s just something in the back of my mind right now, and I’ll let you know in the next couple of days.”
Added Shanahan: “We had 24 sacks in the last five games, and you go against a [Chiefs] team that had two sacks in the last five games, I’m talking about his health. I want to make sure that he’s healthy. I think that’s the most important thing going into the offseason, that he has his first full season being healthy. If he did play, and something did happen to him, I think it would set our franchise back. That’s not to say I’m not going that way, that’s why I answered it the way I did.”
Griffin has completed 274-of-456 passes for 3,203 yards and 16 touchdowns with 16 interceptions this season.
Cousins, a fourth-round pick in 2012, has started one NFL game. He is 12-for-25 for 107 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions this season, including a stint in the late stages of Sunday’s 45-10 loss to the Chiefs. He reportedly will be backed up Sunday by veteran Rex Grossman.
|NFL roundup: Eagles QB Michael Vick, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III injured; Lions WR Calvin Johnson nearly sets record||10.28.13 at 11:44 am ET|
Michael Vick found himself in a position that’s becoming increasingly familiar midway through the Eagles’ loss to the Giants on Sunday: seated on the bench with an injury.
Vick exited in the second quarter of the 15-7 loss with a hamstring injury.
After the game, Vick explained that he felt a “pop” in his left hamstring, which he originally injured in Philadelphia’s first matchup with the Giants in Week 5. That injury forced him to miss Week 6 and 7.
It’s unclear exactly when the aggravation occurred, although Vick looked hampered from the opening drive.
Backup quarterback Matt Barkley entered the game with 2:24 remaining and Philadelphia trailing 12-0. Vick left throwing the ball 6-for-9 for 30 yards and one interception, which came on the team’s first drive.
Vick started Sunday in place of the injured Nick Foles, who had replaced Vick the last two weeks. In six games, Vick has thrown for 1,215 yards, a 54.6 completion percentage, five touchdowns and three interceptions, and run for 308 yards on 34 attempts.
• After tearing his right ACL last season, Robert Griffin III appears to have dodged a bullet, as he said after Sunday’s game that the left knee injury that forced him out of the Redskins’ 45-21 loss to the Broncos is not serious.
With less than five minutes left in the game, Griffin was driven to the ground by defensive tackle Terrance Knighton while attempting a pass, and Knighton landed on Griffin’s knee.
|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?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony, red-hot Knicks clinch first division title since 1994||04.10.13 at 8:07 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Nets at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI-AM)
NBA: Spurs at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Bruins at Devils, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Knicks won their 13th straight game Tuesday night, in the process clinching their first Atlantic Division title since 1994.
Carmelo Anthony, who averaged 41.8 points per game last week and took over the NBA scoring lead from Kevin Durant with his late-season surge, scored 36 points in the 120-99 victory over the Wizards at Madison Square Garden.
The players returned to the locker room to find shirts that read: Can’t Stop NY Knicks. 2013 Division Champions.
“There’s no reason not to have a smile on your face at this moment,” Anthony said. “We accomplished one of our goals that we set before the season in training camp, so it’s a stepping stone for us.”
♦ In a related note, Anthony’s jersey is the No. 1 seller in the NBA, as the Knicks forwarded unseated LeBron James in the top spot.
James is at No. 2, Durant has the No. 3 most-popular jersey, Kobe Bryant is at No. 4 and the injured Derrick Rose is at No. 5.
The list is based on sales at the NBA Store in New York as well as NBAStore.com since last November. Anthony ranked fourth on last year’s list.
In other jersey news, Robert Griffin III broke the NFL record for most jerseys sold in one year. The NFL did not release the number but indicated RG III beat out Peyton Manning for the top spot. Ray Lewis was third, Colin Kaepernick fourth and Tom Brady fifth.
♦ Rapper and businessman Jay-Z, who recently agreed to represent Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, will sell his minority share in the Nets so that he can represent NBA players, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company has partnered with the powerhouse Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and is expected to make an immediate splash due to his profile in the entertainment world.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, owns a 1/15 share in the Nets, worth about $350,000, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
“It would be disappointing [if he left],” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “I’d be disappointed. He had an enormous amount to do with the rebranding of the team.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 10, 1998, the Red Sox rallied from a 7-2 ninth-inning deficit against the Mariners, winning 9-7 on a walk-off grand slam by which Sox player?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Can FGCU keep coach Andy Enfield?||03.25.13 at 8:01 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Maple Leafs at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Kings at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Heat at Magic, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hawks at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NIT, Robert Morris at Providence, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: NIT, Mercer at BYU, 9 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: NIT, Louisiana Tech at Southern Mississippi, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Orioles, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Dodgers at Royals, 9 p.m (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ With Florida Gulf Coast University’s unprecedented NCAA tournament run, coach Andy Enfield has become a hot prospect for higher-profile schools with an opening on the bench.
The former Celtics assistant (1998-2000) is in the second year of a three-year deal, making $150,000 per season. FGCU reportedly wants to double his salary but would need donations to pour in for that to happen.
Even with that bump in pay, it might be difficult to keep Enfield from departing, following the Eagles’ victory over San Diego State that put the team in the Sweet 16 in its first-ever NCAA tournament.
The players danced around their coach and chanted his name following Sunday’s win.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Enfield said. “We try to have fun, get serious when we have to. Our goal was to make history and we did it.”
♦ With the expected addition of former Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil, the Ravens finally improved a roster that has been stung by the loss of some key starters to free agency, a trade and retirement. Current Ravens players apparently are optimists, as they gushed over the team’s acquisition of Dumervil.
Said defensive end Arthur Jones (brother of Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones): “That’s awesome. It’s like a dream team in the making. I can’t wait until we all get together.”
Added linebacker Terrell Suggs:
“I think this move is awesome. It shows we’re still in the business of winning and we have the best [general manager] in the world.”
♦ Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had surgery to repair two knee ligaments on Jan. 9, is “way ahead of schedule” in his rehab, according to the surgeon, Dr. James Andrews.
“RG III is one of those super humans,” Andrews told ESPN. “First patient I ever had like that was Bo Jackson. And recently I, of course, had Adrian Peterson, who is also superhuman. They have an unbelievable ability to recover, whereas a normal human being may not be able to recover.”
Griffin, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year, set an NFL record for best passer rating by a rookie. Despite spraining his LCL in a Week 14 win over the Ravens, he came back for the first-round playoff loss to the Seahawks, tearing his LCL and ACL in that game.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 25, 1984, the Red Sox acquired Bill Buckner from the Cubs by sending Mike Brumley and which player to Chicago?
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers’ Kobe Bryant mocks rumors of infighting with Dwight Howard||01.08.13 at 8:01 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Lakers at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Northeastern at Drexel, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Clemson at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Alabama at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Ohio State at Purdue, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Notre Dame at Minnesota (NESN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ On the same day it was revealed that Dwight Howard has a torn labrum and will join Pau Gasol (concussion) on the sideline for at least a week, Lakers star Kobe Bryant tried to downplay rumors of discontent on the team.
Responding to a report that he and Howard did not get along and almost got into a fistfight, Bryant on Monday tweeted a picture of the two pretending to square off in the trainer’s room with coach Mike D’Antoni smiling between them.
“Obviously, there are fake stories coming out, somebody has something against our team,” Howard said. “Me and Kobe don’t have a problem with each other. We’re not beefing. So for somebody to come out with a random story and say me and him got into a fight? It’s ridiculous.”
Said Bryant: “It’s not true. We all try to be professional about what we do. I guess some [journalists] skate around that a little bit.”
The Lakers are 15-18 and in 11th place in the Western Conference.
♦ The Jets made a move to their coaching staff Monday, parting ways with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. A former Patriots backup QB (1978-82), Cavanaugh spent four seasons on the Jets staff, and his contract expires in a few weeks.
There has been speculation that offensive coordinator Tony Sparano also will not be retained, following his one season with the team. He has two years remaining on his contract.
Coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson are scheduled to meet with the media Tuesday for their overdue season-ending press conference.
♦ ESPN “First Take” panelist Rob Parker, who is serving a 30-day suspension for his racially charged comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, appeared on a Detroit TV show and insisted that his comments were taken out of context.
“It was just a conversation that’s had in the black community when athletes, or famous entertainers or whatever, push away from their people,” said Parker, who previously apologized on Twitter. “And that’s really what it’s about. You saw it with O.J. Simpson, and some other people, where they say, ‘Well, I’m not black. I’m O.J.’ So it’s more about that, not about RGIII and what’s going on. It’s more about this thing that we’ve battled for years and why people have pushed away from their people. It’s more about that.”
Added Parker: “The whole thing is, and I want to make this clear, I wasn’t saying that he wasn’t black enough. And so, when people say that, it’s just not true. I was saying these are the conversations that take place once a guy pushes away. It was never aimed at him, or I was calling him that. I’m saying, these are the conversations that take place.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 8, 1944, which Bruins forward was leading the NHL with 53 points in just 26 games when he injured his shoulder during a 12-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, causing him to miss all but 10 games the rest of the season — and finish with 71 points, two points short of the league’s single-season record?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton admits working as an escort||12.21.12 at 8:04 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Bucks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Bulls at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Florida Atlantic at Indiana, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Niagara at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Stanford at Northwestern, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Brigham Young at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, Ball State vs. Central Florida, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The world has not ended, but there are a few individuals in the sports world who probably wish the Internet was destroyed. In the news Friday we have a former Olympian admitting a double life, an ESPN talker learning the duration of his suspension, and another NFL player receiving a death threat on Twitter.
In one of the most bizarre stories of the year, three-time U.S. Olympic middle-distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton admitted that worked as a call girl in Las Vegas for the past year. Favor Hamilton, 44, runs a real estate brokerage firm in Wisconsin with her husband and is the mother of a 7-year-old girl.
She tried to explain her actions on Thursday in a series of tweets after her situation was revealed by the website The Smoking Gun.
I realize I have made highly irrational choices and I take full responsibility for them. I am not a victim here and knew what I was doing. I was drawn to escorting in large part because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging time with my marriage and my life. It provided an escape from a life that I was struggling in. It was a double life.
I do not expect people to understand, but the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression. As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody. I have been seeking the help of a psychologist for the past few weeks and will continue to do so after I have put things together. I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am to anyone I have hurt as a result of my actions and greatly appreciate the support from family and those closest to me. I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend.
♦ A day after ESPN “First Take” panelist Rob Parker apologized for his racially inflammatory comments about Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, the network announced Thursday that Parker has been suspended for 30 days.
“ESPN has decided to suspend Rob Parker for 30 days for his comments made on last Thursday’s episode of ‘First Take,’ ” ESPN said in a statement. “Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made. As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part.
“To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures.
“We will continue to discuss important issues in sports on ‘First Take,’ including race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it on ‘First Take.’ However, we believe what we have learned here and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better.”
♦ Days after Mark Sanchez was the recipient of death threats from a Jets fan, 49ers kicker David Akers retweeted a death threat he received and then disabled his Twitter account.
The tweet read: IF YOU MISS ONE MORE FIELD GOAL YOU ABOUT TO GET YOUR ENTIRE LIFE ENDED
Akers is 25-for-35 on field goals this season after setting an NFL record with 44 makes last season. The 14-year veteran missed one against the Patriots on Sunday night.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 21, 1996, in their final game of the regular season, the playoff-bound Patriots rallied from a 22-0 halftime deficit to beat the Giants, 23-22. Which Patriots receiver caught eight passes for 124 yards and finished the season with an NFL rookie record 90 receptions?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’ll be honest with you. If we had Tom Brady, I’d be happy with that. We don’t.” – Jets coach Rex Ryan, on his team’s unsettled quarterback situation
STAT OF THE DAY: 3 – Votes by which Michael Phelps edged LeBron James to win the AP Male Athlete of the Year
‘NET RESULTS: Thunder star Kevin Durant gets fouled and throws up a shot that bounces twice off the top of the backboard before falling in during Thursday night’s game against the Timberwolves.
Spike Lee is not happy with Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni‘s purple sneakers, and he lets him know it.
Dirk Nowitzki has Christmas gifts for his Mavericks teammates.
The Nuggets show their lack of singing ability with this Christmas video.
And the Warriors do the same.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Terry Glenn
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Carla Thomas was born on this day in 1942.
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets reportedly will try to trade Mark Sanchez, might have interest in Michael Vick||12.20.12 at 7:55 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Thunder at Timberwolves, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Heat at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Elon at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Eastern Michigan at Michigan, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College football: Poinsettia Bowl, BYU vs. San Diego State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Jets appear ready to start over at quarterback. According to the New York Daily News, the team will look to trade Mark Sanchez after the season — although it likely will be difficult to find a team willing to pay Sanchez the $8.25 million he’s owed. Sanchez, in his fourth season in New York after being drafted fifth overall, has been benched in favor of Greg McElroy for Sunday’s game against the Chargers following his disastrous five-turnover performance in this past Sunday’s 14-10 loss to the Titans that ended the Jets’ playoff hopes.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” Sanchez said after Wednesday’s practice. “At the end of the day, no matter what kind of situation that you’re in, the quarterback has the ball and it’s my job to make good decisions with the football regardless of the personnel situation. … I’m not going to go there. Is every interception the quarterback’s fault? Of course not. But they’re attributed to the quarterback. It goes as my stat. You live with that. You own up to your side of the mistakes and you move on.”
The Daily News also reports that Michael Vick, who is expected to be released by the Eagles when the season ends, would be amenable to joining the Jets, and that Rex Ryan has always admired the speedy QB.
“[Ryan] loves him,” a team official told the paper.
Vick lost his starting job in Philadelphia after receiving a concussion this season.
♦ Suspended ESPN “First Take” panelist Rob Parker apologized for racially inflammatory remarks he made last week about Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Parker, himself African-American, questioned whether Griffin was “a brother or a cornball brother” and brought up the fact that the player has a white fiancee and is rumored to be a Republican.
Wrote Parker on Wednesday:
“I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert’s thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community. The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on First Take, and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one.”
Added Parker: “I’ve contacted his agent with hopes of apologizing to Robert directly. As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner.”
♦ Isiah Thomas, fired by Florida International University in March after going 26-65 in three seasons as coach, will make his debut as an analyst on NBA TV on Friday. Thomas is slated to make several appearances a month and write for NBA.com.
His first appearance comes as a lead-in to the game between the Bulls and Knicks, the last NBA team Thomas worked for.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 20, 1964, the Patriots ended their season with a 24-14 loss to the Bills. Despite failing to score in the game, which Patriots player finished the season with an AFL record 155 points?
|ESPN suspends Rob Parker for comments about Robert Griffin III and race||12.14.12 at 12:22 pm ET|
ESPN suspended “First Take” panelist Rob Parker following Thursday’s incendiary comments about Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Tweeted ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys on Friday morning: Following yesterday’s comments, Rob Parker has been suspended until further notice. We are conducting a full review.
Parker indicated that he felt Griffin was distancing himself from his African-American background and questioned whether RGIII “is a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”
Explained Parker: “He’s black, he kinds of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause; he’s not one of us. He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the kind of guy you want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.”
Parker has been inundated with criticism since the show aired. He tweeted a response to one critic, referring to the individual’s comments as “typical and uneducated.”
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Rockets, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Grizzlies at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Div. 3 championship, St. Thomas vs. Mount Union, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: FCS semifinal, Georgia Southern at North Dakota State, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ ESPN host Rob Parker is the talk of the Internet following his analysis of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III as it pertains to the black community.
RGIII responded to a reporter’s question Wednesday by saying:
“I am [aware] of how race is relevant to [some fans]. I don’t ignore it,. I try not to be defined by it, but I understand different perspectives and how people view different things. So I understand they’re excited their quarterback is an African-American. I play with a lot of pride, a lot of character, a lot of heart. So I understand that, and I appreciate them for being fans.”
Speaking on ESPN’s “First Take,” Parker — who also is African-American — said Thursday:
“This is an interesting topic. For me, personally, just me, this throws up a red flag, what I keep hearing. And I don’t know who’s asking the questions, but we’ve heard a couple of times now of a black guy kind of distancing himself away from black people.”
Added Parker: “My question which is just a straight honest question: Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”
Asked to elaborate, Parker said: “I want to find out about him. I don’t know, because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. Then there was all this talk about him being a Republican, which there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.”
Stephen A. Smith, who was part of the discussion, tried to distance himself from Parker’s words.
“Well first of all let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said. “RG III, the ethnicity, the color of his fiancée is none of our business. It’s irrelevant. He can live his life any way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kind of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.”
ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys responded to media requests Thursday night by tweeting: “The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps.”
♦ The Packers and Bears have been chirping at each other this week in advance of Sunday’s matchup in Chicago. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley started the latest round when he implied that the Bears are better off without injured linebacker Brian Urlacher.
“Urlacher is at the end of his career right now; he’s playing a little slow out there,” Finley said Wednesday. “I don’t think they’re losing too much if he’s out. Putting another guy in there might help them a little.”
Responded Bears linebacker Lance Briggs: “[Finley's] an idiot. Just suit up and play ball. His comments aren’t going to change the outcome of the game, they’re not going to help him or anybody else play better. Doesn’t really matter.”
Finley tried to play down the controversy on Thursday, tweeting: Urlacher is a hall of fame player and person. I meant no disrespect to him in previous comments, I was simply trying to explain that his replacement in the lineup is a good player as well.
Meanwhile, Urlacher might have gotten in the last word, noting that the Packers played pretty well without Finley when they won the Super Bowl in February 2011.
“Just like a couple of years ago, I think, [Finley] tore his ACL and the Packers were actually better without him. You know, they won the Super Bowl,” Urlacher told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I hope we can duplicate that as well because it won’t hurt my feelings if we go on and win the Super Bowl without me like they did without him.
“People can say what they want. It feels like I deal with something like this every year. Someone’s always saying something about me.”
♦ Rutgers suspended basketball coach Mike Rice three games and fined him $50,00 for a violation of department policy, specifically a pattern of “inappropriate behavior and language.”
Rice, known for his intensity, apologized for his actions, the specifics of which were not revealed.
“Since becoming a coach at the age of 21, I have taken great pride in not only helping young men learn the game of basketball but also in teaching them about character, respect and hard work,” Rice said. “To the extent that my conduct has ever been in contrast with those principles, I have failed my players — and myself — and I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the terms of my suspension.
“I will learn from my mistakes and I will become a better coach, teacher and role model.”
Reportedly, former Providence College star Eric Murdock — fired over the summer as the team’s director of player development — threatened to release taps of Rice mistreating players.
Said Murdock to the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger: “There is some concern for these players — that’s the biggest thing — as far as how they’re being treated. Eventually a lot of stuff will come to light and it’s not going to shed a good light on Rutgers University.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 14, 1960, the first expansion draft in baseball history was held. The Red Sox lost four players each to the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators. One of the players they lost to the Angels went on to a long career as a manager of four major league teams. Who is he?
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