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Thinking Out Loud: NFL’s feud with Patriots far from over 09.11.15 at 6:55 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to tennis dad/coach Richard Williams?

— OK, Roger. Good job. Call off the Code Red.

— Not for nuthin’, but no one is going to feel much like a winner in this back-and-forth between the Patriots and the NFL. Certainly the fans won’t. And we’re never going to get back the last eight months of our lives, mostly over ball deflation. So I’m crying “Uncle” here!

— It was petty. It was dumb. But it was poignant. Tom Brady was left out of an NFL tweet this past week picturing the league’s top QBs as part of the NFL’s celebration of 50 years of Super Bowls. The tweet was later deleted. But the point was made. League execs don’t like the Patriots, or TB12, or the fact that they’ve been made out to be the bad guys here.

— All of the new Spygate stuff released this week in exposes by ESPN and Sports Illustrated? Does anyone think the NFL, burned by its own incompetence in Deflategate, didn’t feed some additional information to ESPN The Magazine’s crew? If you don’t think this happened to some extent — that the NFL information machine intends to continue to spin things its way — then you haven’t been paying attention. Seems to me to be the league’s modus operandi — act stupidly, get burned, feed more trash to its “partners.”

— That’s editors decided to clip a couple of salient yet non-confrontational points from ESPNBoston reporter Mike Reiss’ opinion piece this week, concerning the ESPN and Sports Illustrated Spygate diatribe — is an absolute disgrace. Reiss questioned the Outside the Lines report alleging that Patriots underlings could sneak into a locker room and steal game plans. It’s preposterous, given the amount of security around the place. I know, I work there. But that bit of his opinion, based on fact and personal experience, was edited OUT of his original story. Smh.

— Hardly a week goes by when journalistic integrity doesn’t take a beating from the Bristol Spin Doctors. Do they even care how they’re perceived? It’s the height of arrogance.

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Read More: Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Patriots fans taunt commissioner with chant of ‘Where is Roger?’ at 7:50 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 Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Blue Jays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Miami at Florida Atlantic, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Utah State at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 3 p.m. (ESPN)


— The NFL explained last week that commissioner Roger Goodell, fresh off his loss to Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association in federal court, would not attend Thursday night’s season-opening game at Gillette Stadium. As league spokesman Brian McCarthy told Fox Sports, “The focus should be on the game on the field and the festivities celebrating the Patriots’ Super Bowl championship.”

Patriots fans took note, and they made sure to rub it in the commissioner’s face as their team was marching to a 28-21 victory over the Steelers.

A chant of “Where is Roger?” broke out midway the fourth quarter, when the Patriots had a two-touchdown lead.

The league said Goodell would be watching the game on television, so it’s likely he was aware of the taunt, as NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth acknowledged it.

Said Collinsworth: “I tend to say I agree with them.”

Goodell is scheduled to attend Sunday’s Packers-Bears game in Chicago.

Meanwhile, according to Bob Costas, Brady denied a request to be interviewed by NBC after the game, in which he completed 25-of-32 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns and set a team record with 19 consecutive completions. The network replaced him with Rob Gronkowski, who caught three of Brady’s TD tosses.

Brady did hold his usual postgame press conference, calling Thursday “a pretty special night” and insisting he holds no resentment toward the league for its aggressive stance against him in the Deflategate case.

“No, not at all,” Brady said. “And I think that would be just as harmful to me as it would be to anybody else. Carrying those feelings and emotions with me are very destructive. I understand everybody has a job to do and everyone is trying to do what they feel may be in the best interests of their own particular position, and I respect that.

“I may disagree with some things, but at the same time I understand they have a perspective on what their decision may be, also. So I don’t think I’m resentful at all.”

— New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton reached out to former tennis star James Blake on Thursday and apologized for his treatment a day earlier, when Blake was tackled and handcuffed in a case of mistaken identity.

“I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident,” Bratton said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Mr. Blake indicated he would be willing to meet with the Internal Affairs Bureau as our investigation continues. Additionally, he said he would be returning the Mayor’s earlier phone call to speak to him. Mr. Blake said he would like to meet with the Mayor [Bill de Blasio] and me at a future date, which we would be agreeable to.”

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Read More: Ikemefuna Enemkpali, James Blake, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady
Thinking Out Loud: Misguided NFL gets its due in Deflategate embarrassment 09.04.15 at 6:49 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if Ludacris really is ludicrous?

— When it comes to the National Football League, power corrupts. Absolute power, Mr. Goodell, corrupts absolutely. It’s a basic, life lesson we learned once upon a time in civics class, and we often forget occurs in all walks of life. Oh, and the arrogance thing? Not a good look. Keep this in mind as you pursue your appeal.

— Inquiring minds need to know. When does the bastion of truth and information, ESPN, decide that its legal analysts now are worthless as teats on a bull?

— If you’ve followed along for any amount of time, you know Tom Brady‘s eventual exoneration was predicted right here. But not because of any special inside knowledge or information gained, really. The legal system had to work, to play itself out. Common sense had to prevail, eventually. The bullies and wannabes within the NFL had to be flushed out, and these things take time. That, and a little faith and persistence from the public. Patriots fans deserve big kudos for keeping this story alive and growing, much like fungus grows on a locker room shower floor.

— And of course, even Patriots haters have caught onto the absolute lunacy of the punishment the league attempted to stick onto TB12’s backside. If Brady’s penalty had been one game for “failure to cooperate”? This would have ended months ago, methinks. Just because Roger Goodell decided he would make an example of the Patriots — and Brady — by doing the bidding of a scorned few within the NFL, tired of getting pasted by the Pats and their ways, he now has opened up a Pandora’s box of litigation anytime he tries to discipline anyone else.

— Um, Rog? Try leading and making your own decisions, rather than following the revenge-fueled mindset of those dopes in Indianapolis, Baltimore and New York. If you had actually done that when this charade began, you wouldn’t necessarily be persona non grata in New England right now and viewed as a toothless shark by everyone else. Stupid is as stupid does.

— Tweet of the Week I, from @ArmandoSalguero: NFL Commissioner’s salary at an all-time high at a time his power may be at an all-time low.

— Biggest winners right now? Maybe those who took the Patriots by just three points over the Steelers in the season opener. Vegas books had that spread just before Judge Richard Berman’s decision came down Thursday. Just after it? New England moved to a 6.5-point favorite. Over/under grew from 48.5 to 51.

Jonathan Kraft said the team might have raised a Brady-themed banner instead of the Super Bowl XLIX banner next Thursday night if his suspension hadn’t been overturned. I almost — almost — wish we could see what that would have said. #FreeBrady?

— Kraft also told the audience it isn’t likely the team will make an attempt to recoup any of the fine or the draft picks deducted by the league. But the banner that read “16-0″ for the 2007 regular season? It’s gone, replaced by a new super box in Gillette Stadium‘s northwest corner. They may send that to Don Shula. Now that’s actually a great idea.

— #FreeBrady? Yes. #VindicateBrady? Nope. Not entirely. The end result is what Patriots fans have hoped for over the past seven-plus months. It is not, however, the truth. As I’ve said before, we’ll probably never know the whole truth. Sure, Brady has always steadfastly maintained his innocence, and the “nice guy” in all of us wants to believe him. But know this: The NFL bungled this so badly, it stretched the boundaries of reality, common sense and fairness. That is, ultimately, why TB12 is free.

— The NFL will appeal the decision, and while it isn’t likely Brady’s court win will be overturned, don’t be shocked if the league tries to “re-punish” him. Since the Patriots haven’t punished Tom for anything, technically speaking, the NFL could go after him again under the collective bargaining agreement’s “one-penalty” clause. No one is accusing Mensa of residing on Park Avenue in New York. But we’ll find out the meaning of the word “vindictive” if the league travels this road. Just sayin’.

— So, how come there isn’t a bigger deal being made over “Orsillogate”? Sorry, kids, but The Boston Globe said it couldn’t “independently verify” that signs mentioning Don Orsillo were actually confiscated at Fenway Park? Did anyone actually attempt to speak with fans holding signs? The Sporting News had the story, and it’s not IN Boston. Social media (admittedly, not always the best source) was rife with stories on placards being removed from the park. Why not check it out?

— Three words: conflict of interest. Yes, a few positive signs have been spotted over the past couple of games. Does anyone really believe they haven’t been screened first? Any mention of NESN or the Boston Red Sox screwing up this entire escapade, and those cardboard-carrying truths undoubtedly are whisked off to the dumpster. And NESN’s apparent attempt to get Orsillo to agree to say his departure was a “mutual” decision is a poor attempt to cover up a bad move.

— Our worst fears, people, are coming to fruition. The era of an actual, independent press continues to dwindle right before our eyes. The Globe, owned by Red Sox owner John Henry, has some ‘splainin’ to do. Or some actual reporting, if the boss lets the employees do it.

— Tweet of the Week II, from @GlobeKPD: Don Orsillo’s trademark, IMO, is his ease of manner and humor. His legacy: the dignity he has shown in recent days.

— Now, on to “Schillinggate.” ESPN, you’ve outdone yourself. A now season-long suspension for Schilling’s comparison of ISIS “extremist” Muslims to Nazis? While Hall of Famer Cris Carter goes free for his unconscionable words of wisdom to NFL rookies that they should have a “fall guy” for their actions? It’s so terribly obvious who the four-letter network is in bed with. Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow must be turning in their graves from the conflict of interest.

— Most right-minded Red Sox fans realized early on that Hanley Ramirez could not play in the outfield, and a move to first base — if he stayed in the organization — had to happen. That John Farrell and Ben Cherington downplayed or dismissed this should be all you need to know about why change at the top has been made. Now that Ramirez is beginning his voyage on the other side of the diamond, this decision has Dealer Dave Dombrowski all over it.

— Providence basketball forward Rodney Bullock tweeted out this past week he’s been given medical clearance to play, after missing most of the past two seasons with a suspension and a knee injury. If Bullock is actually healthy and close to regaining his pre-injury form, he’ll play a major role for the Friars this season. He looks like he’s on a pogo stick when he heads to the boards.

— And if you need to know just exactly what a pogo stick is, Google it. And try to jump on one.

— Good move by the Big East Conference to launch what it’s calling the Freshman Fundamentals Program, which is designed to help student-athletes transition from high school sports to the demands of intercollegiate athletics. The event will be held in New York next weekend, with all 10 league teams sending selected scholarship athletes to learn about things like media demands, time accountability and balancing life with school and sports. Hope they don’t let Cris Carter in the building.

— If you’re wondering about the Big East hoop schedule, it was released about this time a year ago. Expect the 2015-16 version to be announced in the next week.

— It looks as if the Friars have caught a couple of unfortunate breaks before the season gets started. First, Illinois star guard Tracy Abrams went down with an Achilles injury, putting him out for the year. Now, Harvard senior point guard Siyani Chambers is out for the season with an ACL tear. Chambers also has to actually leave school for the year because of Ivy League rules against athletic redshirts. He’ll apparently attempt to re-enroll for 2016-17 and finish his eligibility. Along with his degree.

— URI’s schedule is complete, with the Atlantic-10 releasing the conference portion of the schedule this week. It was buried in the wake of the TB12 court decision (great timing and awareness, A-10), but nevertheless there will be at least 107 conference games on national TV of some kind. That’s a big step up.

— Valparaiso, Providence, Houston in non-league play for the Rams at home, but for an expected A-10 preseason favorite, road trips (with no return game to the Ryan Center) to VCU, George Washington and Davidson should prove to be challenging. Home-and-home with Dayton will be fun to watch.

— Back to the business of football: ICYMI, four Patriots were named in the NFL Top 100 player rankings, compiled by ESPN through voting from a panel of more than 70 analysts, reporters and stat geeks. To me, anything done by ESPN now is branded with the smell of “agenda,” much like the same burning stench you get when a cowboys’ brand is applied to a cow’s backside. Trust me, something stinks. Nevertheless, Tom Brady ranked No. 3, Rob Gronkowski No. 5, Devin McCourty 56 and Jamie Collins 97.

— Houston’s J.J. Watt was No. 1, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers was No. 2 in the poll. Hard to argue with those findings, no matter the agenda.

— Preseason football games in the NFL are a modern-day fraud perpetrated on a willing, gullible society. We want — need — football after the offseason. We get it in name only. Because what we witnessed Thursday night in Foxboro was not football. Whatever it was, it was a gross misrepresentation of actual competition. On a night when emotions were running high over TB12’s court victory, the game against the Giants sucked the intensity right out of Gillette Stadium, faster than a Usain Bolt 100-meter sprint to a finish line.

— There is no quick fix to the preseason/exhibition game dilemma. As a season-ticket holder, I will point out that ticket prices are reduced by the Patriots for these games, compared to regular-season games. So there is that. But everything evolves over time, and it is well past time for pro football to follow. We’ve had four preseason exhibitions on the schedule every year since 1978. Time to throw a changeup.

— Players don’t need four games to work themselves into shape, but coaches will argue they need time to evaluate 90 guys trying to make a team. Can a compromise ever be reached, and reduce this charade to two games? Only when the owners and players come to an agreement over one thing: money.

— My buddy “Big E” has trouble with understanding money, even though he’s an accountant. He asked his secretary recently for some math help about a bill he had received. “If I gave you $20,000, minus 14 percent, how much would you take off?” Without missing a beat, his secretary replied, “Everything but my jewelry.”

— Tweet of the Week III, from @Gil_Brandt: Bad news for Rams and Saints: Only one team has finished winless in preseason and gone on to win Super Bowl (1982 Redskins).

— Predictions for the regular season? “Pain,” as Clubber Lang once opined before meeting Rocky Balboa in the ring. Emotion can only carry a team so far. But emotion and a good-sized chip on the shoulder can certainly carry you through some tough times. The Patriots have both going for them. The biggest question? Can the secondary play well enough to keep the other guys from scoring almost at will?

— Tough times right now for former Brown defensive end James Develin, the Patriots’ starting fullback. With a break of his right tibia against Carolina a week ago, Develin was put on season-ending injured reserve by the team this week. I dislike preseason games as much as anyone else, but sometimes getting hurt just can’t be avoided. Tough break, indeed.

— For my friend and tennis fanatic Edward in Johnston, Rhode Island: Serena Williams is NOT the greatest female tennis player of all time. She belongs in the top three or four, absolutely. And she probably inches closer to the GOAT moniker (Greatest of all Time) placed in front of her name if she claims the U.S. Open and clinches the Grand Slam of winning all four major tournaments in a calendar year. For my money, right now I’ll still take Martina Navratilova as the GOAT, and Chris Evert as the FOAT (Favorite of all Time).

— Maybe you missed it around here, but the city of New Britain, Connecticut, lost its minor league baseball team to Hartford, and the Double-A Rock Cats (the Minnesota TwinsEastern League affiliate) will be known as the Yard Goats in a brand new stadium starting next year. Sound familiar? This week, just two days after the Rock Cats played their final home game, New Britain announced it will be getting a new team to replace the old one, an expansion team in the independent Atlantic League.

— It sounds crazy right now, but crazier things have happened around here, haven’t they? If the PawSox build their stadium and move to Providence, what will the City of Pawtucket do with McCoy Stadium over the spring and summer? Maybe the city should place a phone call to the Atlantic League.

— Oh, and not for nuthin’, but that new ballpark in Hartford? Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Damn. Missed out on cornering the market on that one.

— Maybe you like his music, and maybe you think it’s a bit crazy. But rap star Chris “Ludacris” Bridges is the latest big name for Providence College to snag for its upcoming Late Night Madness celebration on Oct. 17, signaling the unofficial start to the college basketball season. Hey, it’s great for the kids and a potential boon for recruiting, to pull in a rap/rock star. But unless you attend PC, you won’t be able to get into Alumni Hall for the performance — it’s for students only. Last year, it was Big Sean. Before that, Nick Cannon. So when does Lynyrd Skynyrd or ZZ Top get an invite?

— There were some great comments this week via social media on the apparent end to Deflategate, the overwhelming majority from Patriots fans. But there was this note on Facebook from Kurt in Queens, New York: “The league is full of [expletive deleted]. I’m not even the least bit surprised. Still [another expletive deleted] the Patriots ALL DAY AND TWICE ON SUNDAYS.” Kurt: Good use of all caps. Appreciate the support, bro. And glad to see you’ve come around to the conclusion that yes, indeed, the NFL is having difficulty in the departments of arrogance and attitude. Thanks for the biology and anatomy lesson, too, by the way. You New Yorkers are so smart.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ’em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster, and on Facebook,

— Don’t forget to join Scott Cordischi and me on Providence’s 103.7 FM every Saturday from 7-9 a.m. for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text us at 37937.

Read More: Deflategate, Don Orsillo, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers calls Deflategate dismissal ‘a good day for the players’ at 7:53 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: Phillies at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Diamondback at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Twins at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Pirates at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Charlotte at Georgia State, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Baylor at SMU, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Fordham at Army, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Michigan State at Western Michigan, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Kent State at Illinois, 9 p.m. (BTN)
College football: Washington at Boise State, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Peru at United States, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Euro 2016 qualifying, Germany vs. Poland, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Count Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers among those pleased by Judge Richard Berman’s ruling Thursday that vacated Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension for Deflategate.

Rodgers, who has said he likes his football inflated on the higher end, spoke in general terms about Brady’s case and what it means in terms of taking some power back from the commissioner.

“I think it’s a good day for the players,” Rodgers told the Packers TV network from the sideline during his team’s preseason finale Thursday night. “I think that anytime we can get one of own back, that’s a good win for us. I think there is maybe a little bit of the, too much absolute power that frankly the players, we had a chance in 2011 to really make a difference in the CBA, and we didn’t. We left the commissioner in charge of a lot of those things, but our unions did a good job of appealing and helping our guys out.”

Meanwhile, Falcons owner Arthur Blank acknowledged that it might be time for the league to consider reworking the way it doles out discipline, implying that commissioner Roger Goodell might have to surrender some of his power.

“It’s not healthy for the NFL to be in the kind of litigious position that it’s been for last several years,” Blank told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think that the commissioner is working hard to hold up the respect and integrity of the game, the competitive balance of the game and the shield. Having said that, I think we have to find ways to get to a better place sooner with the NFLPA than the process that we’ve gone through.”

Added Blank: “This Deflategate thing — which isn’t about Deflategate any longer, it’s about what has been collectively negotiated for decades in terms of the commissioner’s responsibility in terms of disciplining players. If we have to look at that differently in today’s light, in today’s environment, as an ownership group we should be prepared to do that. The commissioner should be prepared to do that. … I think the commissioner and the ownership around the league have to be prepared to look at things, look at change, and change may be appropriate.”

— On the same day the NFL was getting its hat handed to it in the Deflategate ruling, the league suspended Broncos safety T.J. Ward one game for an incident last year, and the player is none too happy about it.

Ward was charged with misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace for a May 2014 incident at a Denver strip club in which he allegedly threw a glass mug at a female bartender who told him he could not bring alcohol into the club. The charges eventually were dropped.

“I feel it’s really unfair,” Ward said. “I’m getting punished for being accused of doing something, not for doing something but being accused, and I’ve got to pay the consequences for it. And I just don’t feel the whole process is very fair.”

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Arthur Blank, Deflategate, Roger Goodell
Thinking Out Loud: Patriots no Saints, but feeling toward NFL is mutual 08.21.15 at 10:05 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering where Jeremy Kapstein has been?

— And it may be only preseason, but Patriots fans love their football — Deflategate notwithstanding, and a meaningless exhibition seems to matter little. Ratings for the preseason opener were the highest for local TV since just after the Super Bowl in February for the Grammy Awards. Higher than the NBA and NHL finals. Higher than the Republican debates, too — which means a Pats game is one show around here that Donald Trump can’t take over. I hope.

— Deflategate vs. Bountygate. Or Spygate. In effect, that’s what we had this week in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Some in the media tried to play that angle but didn’t have a lot of success with it. The Patriots and New Orleans Saints stayed and practiced at The Greenbrier resort, where some of the Friars basketball teams in the ’90s stayed when facing the Mountaineers during Pete Gillen’s tenure. There’s not much out there, and it’s darn near perfect if you like seclusion.

— Maybe that’s why there weren’t any notable skirmishes between players, whereas in other scrimmages teams seem to be duking it out with regularity? Pats and Saints players were lulled to sleep, or rather, they may have feared for their professional well-being if they were tossed from practice for fighting.

— There are similarities between the organizations, and not just because of the infamous violations for which they’ve been accused. Sean Payton loves to wear hoodies cut off at the sleeves, as does Bill Belichick. Payton is very guarded and doesn’t talk about injuries, just like BB. And both teams appear to have an organizational chip on their shoulders, when it comes to alleged “fair treatment” by the NFL. Right or wrong, that can be useful.

— The Brady-Goodell Peace Accord goes back to the bargaining table on Aug. 31. When does this charade end? Neither side really cares about budging, although rumors of Tom Brady‘s willingness to compromise (one-game suspension, no admission of guilt) at least SOUNDS magnanimous compared to The League. I don’t see him compromising, but then again, I’m not TB12 with this big, fat albatross hanging around my neck, either.

— No, this goes down to the bitter end. Commissioner Bad-ell (how can anyone really call him Goodell?) loses what’s left of his disciplinary authority if he caves and compromises. Brady is branded a cheater if he caves and compromises — if that hasn’t happened already in 31 other NFL fandoms. Both are standing at the craps table, hoping that Judge Berman rolls a seven or 11 for ’em.

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Read More: Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: NFL on power play in Tom Brady case 08.14.15 at 7:40 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to the two-point conversion?

— Is there any doubt that Deflategate won’t snake its way through the Federal Court system in New York? But here’s the concern you should have, Pats fans. The issue the NFL is attacking is the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA — that says the commish has the authority to be stupid. Or something close to that.

— The NFL is a cartel. The NFL is socialistic. The NFL is Mother Russia. Say whatever you want, but the NFL is most decidedly not democratic. It doesn’t have to be, based on the CBA. That’s what the league is arguing, and it will be up to Judge Berman to decide if the Brady-Goodell Peace Accord is about actual justice, or about injustice being forced down the throats of league denizens.

— Denizens? That’s you, me, the Patriots, the Jets, Ravens, Colts and all other creatures who live in and around Planet NFL.

— Not for nuthin’, but the players now largely feel this thing is way overblown. recently conducted a poll and had 100 players respond to the questions of cheating, guilt and innocence in Deflategate. Bottom line — 60 percent feel there’s nothing to see here, move along. They know all teams look for “advantages.” I think I said that about six months ago.

— I’ve heard the word “integrity” used so many times in the last few months by so many people who have little or no clue what the term means, I’m beginning to doubt what it really means myself.

— Ego is the reason we are where we are. Not Brady’s, but Roger Goodell’s. Had the commish simply imposed a fine on TB12, this would be over with. But because the commish insists upon holding a heavy-handed hammer, he’s pounding his own head (and respectability, integrity, etc.) into the turf, again. One poor decision after another. Precisely WHY he shouldn’t be commish. But he is, and he will be for a while, unless somehow he’s shamed out of it.

— Shoot, if anything, Goodell should be gone because he’s nothing more than a lemming, doing the dirty work for a few greedy, jealous and not-very-smart-or-savvy owners. I mean, here’s a guy that would probably jump off a bridge if Woody Johnson asked him to do it.

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Read More: Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Deflategate finally nears conclusion, with NFL looking bad right to end 08.07.15 at 7:26 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering about the fuss over Donald Trump’s sudden “political correctness.”

— I’d like to say, “I told you so.” So I will. Told ya’ so.

— It’s not over yet, but the fat lady is warming up her vocal chords when it comes to singing the final stanza of the Deflategate song. The release this past week of testimony and documents from Tom Brady‘s appeal hearing with Roger Goodell is damning for the NFL. How can it not be?

— Anyone with an ounce of common sense — whether a hater or not — can detect logic. And there is none of that contained within the NFL’s argument over whether or not TB12 had plausible knowledge of football deflation. Do the Patriots still own some of this? Of course they do. There very well may have been something going on, as has been documented. But the league’s “investigation” was a poorly run, mismanaged attempt at control and pumping air back into its own office hubris, thanks to its bungling of other disciplinary matters.

— Legally speaking — and I’m no lawyer here — but I’d say the NFL is backpedaling faster than a defensive back in one-on-one coverage of Rob Gronkowski. Now, how to save face — if not jobs? Expect a settlement over the next week. or two, to include NO suspension for TB12. And NFL people will merely say, in the face of utter embarrassment, they only were doing their jobs to protect “The Shield.” This is precisely why other players — and other teams, and their fans — should be very concerned. No one is immune to league incompetency.

— This is precisely why 32 NFL owners should take note. These people didn’t become billionaires through mismanagement. But this is what they currently are supporting. Wise up, fellas, and find competent management for your fortunes, unless you like looking the part of old fools. Gentlemen, your emperor ain’t wearing any clothes.

— In the circus that is sports radio, I happened to hear John Dennis, Gary Tanguay and Kirk Minihane engaged in a little shouting on WEEI’s D&C this week, with Tanguay’s attempt at playing the contrarian a little over the top. His argument — completely unfounded — was that there must be something sinister going on because we haven’t heard from John Jastremski or Jim McNally. Gary, they’re in witness protection. On lockdown. They’d like to resume their jobs, if possible. And probably a little scared and shaken by all of this mess, too.

— And Gare, while we’re at it, sports talk bluster without facts to back up your argument is nothing more than bloviating. Google it. If you want to be taken seriously in anything you do, try having a “take” with evidence to support your claim first. If I want hot air, I’ll roll down my car window. Nice try at playing the bad guy, though. Except, you’re not believable.

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Read More: Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Why should Tom Brady accept a suspension if he’s not guilty? 07.17.15 at 8:47 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Ray Fosse?

— Tick, tick, tock. Still nothing from NFL czar Roger Goodell on the Tom Brady decision, even though we had multiple reports this week saying the ruling would come today — or tomorrow — or by the end of the week. It was none of the above. Trying to predict when news will happen, just so you can say “I’m first!” only creates foolishness, and erodes credibility. Competition causes reasonable people to act unreasonably.

— We did, however, learn that Brady’s legal team and the NFLPA will take the matter to federal court should a suspension of any length be at hand. Can’t say I’m surprised. If you’re not guilty, why accept a plea bargain?

— We’ve maintained in this corner that Brady would fight his four-game suspension to the bitter end. Sure, it would be best to move this along and get it behind us all, but the NFL’s resistance to logic only adds fuel to the competitive fire in Foxboro. So let the tick, tick, tock keep on ticking. The explosion to come could be entertaining.

— I’m not big into awards shows, and the ESPYs have pretty much run their course for me since their inception in 1993. It was cool when it started, even cooler to be a small part of it by interviewing some of the stars on the radio after the show had completed, but in later years it has become passé with athletes mostly trying to outdo other athletes for recognition. The show this year, on Wednesday night, was a bit different.

— Yes, there was the surreal spectacle that was Caitlyn Jenner. Say whatever you want about her, and you’d probably be right. Bravery, however, was at least a small part of her appearance. And for the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Devon Still, whose daughter Leah continues to fight pediatric cancer? If anyone deserves good will, he deserves to have his prayers answered and have a healthy daughter. He’s well-spoken and proud. And seems to be a great dad, too.

— Play of the Year? Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-handed catch? Please. How about an amazing play that actually counted for something — like Malcolm Butler’s goal-line pick in the Super Bowl? It will only go down as the single most memorable play in championship history. But not Play of the Year. Stupid is as stupid does.

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Read More: Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Tom Brady, Roger Goodell must come to compromise 06.26.15 at 8:04 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Vincent Council?

— We wait. And wait. And wait some more. It may be another month — or more — before we find out the results of Tom Brady‘s suspension appeal with the NFL. How can you possibly expect a league mired in its own mayhem to produce anything of a timely nature? You can’t. But you certainly can expect a decision sometime after the Fourth of July, at the very least, with briefs from both sides due by end of next week.

— Here’s a plausible scenario, just for kicks. The American Educational Institute report blew huge holes into the science behind the Wells Report. The Wells Report, more and more, appears to be an investigation into what the league “wanted” to find, not actually what was found. Maybe there was conspiracy, maybe not. Whatever the case, Roger Goodell is backed into a corner — he must reduce and/or eliminate TB12’s suspension based on actual findings and actual science, or he risks federal court proceedings. And if he does reduce and/or eliminate, there’s little bite left in the bark from the commissioner’s office.

— There has to be a compromise. Either one game, or no games and a fine for Brady’s initial refusal to completely cooperate with a sham investigation conducted by Ted Wells. Followed by the pronouncement from the commissioner that Brady did nothing wrong, to assist in clearing his name and reputation. It’s the only way in which both sides can claim a victory. It could have been done months ago. And trust me, right now both sides want to “win” this — badly.

— Uh, Brad? You meant “twit” when you referred to Ian Poulter‘s complaints about the greens during last week’s U.S. Open, right? Faxon’s comments this week on WEEI were apparently aimed at Poulter not only because of his griping about the putting surfaces, but also because Poulter has apparently used the bad word himself. In this case, the word used was not meant as a derogatory comment toward a part of the female anatomy, but used to describe someone who is obnoxious. Clears that up.

— He could be playing, but Fax is back on Fox Sports this week for the U.S. Senior Open in Sacramento, where his Newport, Rhode Island, buddy P.H. Horgan found himself in early contention. He is contracted for eight events, including the USGA’s majors — the Open, the Women’s Open, the Senior Open and the Amateur. Rogue comments aside, reviews on Faxon as a golf commentator have been pretty solid.

— You can say he was lucky. You can say Dustin Johnson choked away a major with a three-putt to lose the U.S. Open. But you also have to say Jordan Spieth is just what the sport of golf needs right now — a young, good-looking, nice guy, a potential glamor boy for a sport that has been haunted for too long by the specter of Tiger Woods‘ bad-boy misdeeds.

— Watching Tiger play is akin to rubbernecking on the highway. Sure, we want to see the accident. But let’s move on, people. Nothing more to see here.

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Read More: Brad Faxon, Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mavericks PG Rajon Rondo benched after verbal exchange with coach 02.25.15 at 7:58 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: Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Clippers at Rockets, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Spurs at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UMass at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: UConn at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Virginia at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: VCU at Richmond, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Central Florida at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Tulane at Tulsa, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Marquette at Butler, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Duke at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Baylor at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Florida State at Miami, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Freso State at Wyoming, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at UCLA, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oregon at California, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Penguins at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Monaco at Arsenal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Rajon Rondo‘s honeymoon in Dallas appears to be over.

The former Celtic, who has a history of run-ins with coaches and teammates, had a profanity-laced exchange with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle during a third-quarter timeout and then was stuck on the bench the rest of the night as his team rallied for a 99-92 victory Tuesday night over the visiting Raptors.

The incident started early in the third quarter. With the Mavs trailing by nine, Rondo dribbled the ball past midcourt as Carlisle appeared to call for a play only to be brushed off by his point guard. The coach then abruptly called a timeout and the two argued as the team returned to the bench. Carlise would only say that they had a “difference of opinion.” As for why Rondo did not return to the game, Carlisle said: “Because I’m the coach and that’s the decision I made at that time.”

Added Carlisle: “I thought it worked out well. The other guys stepped up and we were able to win.”

Rondo, who finished with four points, four assists, two turnovers and three fouls, reportedly has been frustrated with his lack of play-calling responsibilities. He did not speak after the game.

Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 18 points, said: “Stuff like that is never good. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. It’s about how the team responds.”

Owner Mark Cuban played down the issue, saying: “It’s an emotional game and sometimes emotions come out. It’s happened many times in the past and will happen many more in the future.”

Carlisle indicated he doesn’t plan to change his rotation for the future, implying the Rondo will start Wednesday night’s game against the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks.

Said Carlisle: “That’s what we brought him here for.”

— Keith Olbermann, no stranger to controversy for his behavior, was suspended by ESPN for insulting Penn State students on Twitter.

Olbermann responded to a tweet from a Penn State alumnus about students raising more than $13 million to fight pediatric cancer by writing that Penn State students are “pitiful,” and that their fundraising “doesn’t change the school’s reputation.”

He eventually apologized, tweeting: I was stupid and childish and way less mature than the students there who did such a great fundraising job.

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Read More: Keith Olbermann, rajon rondo, Rick Carlisle, Roger Goodell