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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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Jay Gruden: Robert Griffin was benched for performance, not concussion

Robert-Griffin-dive-fumble

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed on Monday that Kirk Cousins will be the team’s starting quarterback, but not just for Week 1 of the regular season. Gruden tried to simplify things a bit.

“It’s Kirk’s team,” he said.

Gruden said Cousins has “earned the right to be our starter for 2015.” Perhaps more importantly, he openly admitted that the decision to go with Cousins over Robert Griffin III has nothing to do with RG3’s concussion.

The Redskins cannot cut Griffin if he has not been cleared by doctors, but it certainly seems like the writing is on the wall. While there may be hardly any suitors on the trade market for RG3 and his $16.1 million salary for 2016, the situation in Washington has gotten ugly enough.

According to a recent report, Redskins owner Dan Snyder is not blocking the Redskins’ coaching staff or front office from trading Griffin. A report from over the weekend said the exact opposite.

If you want to know how Gruden feels about RG3, just read this. A divorce seems imminent.

Dave Portnoy holds ‘Chris Mortensen lies’ sign on ESPN broadcast (Video)

David-Portnoy-Mortensen-lies

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady met with Roger Goodell and the NFL very briefly in Manhattan federal court on Monday. It took about five minutes to determine that no settlement would be reached, but that was enough time for the official voice of Brady’s defense team to take a shot at Chris Mortensen on live television.

We’re talking about David Portnoy of Barstool Sports, of course.

Portnoy managed to walk up behind ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio with a sign that read “Chris Mortensen Lies” before security quickly shoved him away.

Another Barstool Sports employee later made his way into the shot wearing a “Free Brady” shirt and stood there for quite a while.

If you remember, these are the same guys who literally went to jail for protesting the Brady suspension outside the NFL offices in New York. You can read all about that adventure here.

Of course, Portnoy’s sign was referring to Mortensen’s incorrect report about Deflategate shortly after the scandal first erupted. The longtime ESPN reporter has since denied being played by an NFL source and claimed the Patriots apologized to him.

Judge Richard Berman says he will issue a decision on Deflategate this week.

Hulk Hogan contemplated suicide after racist rant went public

Hulk-Hogan

Hulk Hogan says he contemplated suicide shortly after his racist rant from several years ago went public last month, and the former WWE superstar is asking for forgiveness.

In an interview with Amy Robach of ABC News that aired on “Good Morning America” Monday, Hogan said he was “upset over a situation that happened” with his daughter Brooke and a man she was dating. He referred to the boyfriend using the N-word, which is a decision Hogan said left him alone without his children or estranged wife Linda.

“I was to the point where I wanted to kill myself, you know?” Hulk said, describing how he sat in a bathroom by himself. “I was completely broken and destroyed and said, ‘What’s the easiest way out of this?’ I mean, I was lost.”

Hogan insisted he is not racist but admitted he is “embarrassed” by what he said while his sex tape — which is the subject of a $100 million lawsuit from the wrestler — was being filmed. He said his use of the N-word is a product of where he grew up.

“I’m not a racist but I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it,” Hogan explained. “People need to realize that you inherit things from your environment. And where I grew up was south Tampa, Port Tampa, and it was a really rough neighborhood, very low income. And all my friends, we greeted each other saying that word.”

Hogan made similar comments during a radio interview in 2012. He used the N-word during that interview as well, and many people initially believed that was the reason he had been fired by the WWE. It quickly became clear that Hogan made far worse comments, including some that were homophobic in nature.

“Oh, my gosh. Please forgive me. Please forgive me,” Hulk said when asked about letting down his fans. “I think if you look at the whole picture of who Hulk Hogan is, you can see over all the years that there’s not a racist bone in my body.

“I’m a nice guy. It’s not, you know, not the Hulk Hogan that rips a shirt off and bang, bang, bang, slams giants, you know? I’m Terry Bollea.”

Hogan went on to discuss how his daughter Brooke’s support for him never wavered, as we saw with this poem she wrote. Hulk has also received support from other WWE superstars, though what he said is pretty inexcusable. The comments he made are hard to forget, no matter how sorry Hogan truly is.

Jane Rosenberg has been practicing for drawing Tom Brady again

Tom Brady court sketch

Jane Rosenberg will get a chance at redemption on Monday when Tom Brady once again appears in federal court in Manhattan, and the courtroom sketch artist has been working hard and sleeping very little in preparation.

As you have probably heard, Rosenberg drew a hilariously hideous image of Brady in court earlier this month during a Deflategate hearing. She said she received hateful emails because of the drawing and has been “terrified” of it happening again.

“I’m concerned about facing another week of all this ridicule,” Rosenberg told the Boston Herald on Saturday. “I think it’s going to be hard for me. I’m terrified about being under the microscope. I hate that. I’m not used to that.”

In order to avoid a similar result this time, Rosenberg has actually been drawing Brady at home in her New York apartment. It appears she has gotten the hang of what the four-time Super Bowl champion really looks like.

On Sunday, Rosenberg told WBZ-TV in Boston that she has been losing sleep over her original Brady sketch.

“I’ve had sleepless nights and Tom Brady’s been in my mind in the middle of the night. I get up worrying about it,” she said. “I don’t like knowing people are really watching what I’m doing. I guess people do all the time, but I never think about it ever. But now I feel like everybody’s commenting and they’re really watching.”

Shockingly, Rosenberg said after the first drawing that she didn’t even know who Brady was before that day.

As we mentioned before, Rosenberg’s Brady drawing led to some of the most hilarious memes you will ever see. The fact that she received hate mail over it is a real shame. In reality, she gave us all a gift.

Kirk Cousins named Week 1 starter by Redskins

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins has reportedly been named the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins in their Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins.

According to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com, the Redskins coaching staff informed the players on Monday morning that the team will begin the season with Cousins under center. Robert Griffin III is still recovering from a concussion he suffered during a preseason game earlier this month, though it is unclear if he would have been benched anyway.

With Griffin out in Washington’s third preseason game on Saturday, Cousins completed 20 of 27 passes for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 31-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

To make matters even more awkward, guess who appears on the ticket for Washington’s first game of the season?

A report from over the weekend indicated that Jay Gruden wants to trade or release Griffin, but ownership won’t allow it. A more recent report claims that Redskins owner Dan Snyder would not block an RG3 trade and is allowing Gruden to choose his own starting quarterback.

The Redskins can’t release RG3 while he’s injured, and they may not want to play him to prevent further injury. If Griffin suffered an injury that somehow extended into the 2016 offseason, his $16.1 million salary for next season would become fully guaranteed.

Will Smith’s “Concussion” movie trailer must be terrifying for the NFL

The official trailer for “Concussion” was released on Monday, and the upcoming film must scare the crap out of at least some of the big wigs at NFL headquarters.

The movie, which is based on a true story, stars Will Smith as Nigerian-born neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. Omalu was the first doctor to pinpoint playing football as a cause of significant brain trauma after he studied the brains of several deceased former Pittsburgh Steelers players. “Concussion” follows Omalu as he tried to attack the NFL and convince people that football is inherently dangerous and costing men their lives.

Will-Smith-Concussion

Peter King of The MMQB has already seen the film, and he conducted a very interesting interview with writer and director Peter Landesman. You can read the interview here.

We know how strong of a product the NFL has, and many people doubt if any lawsuit, premature retirement or blockbuster film can change the way people feel about football. There are always going to be people like this Hall of Famer who would do it all over again no matter what the circumstances. That said, don’t be surprised if another fantastic Will Smith acting performance opens plenty of eyes.

Report: Dan Snyder not blocking Robert Griffin III trade

Jay Gruden Robert Griffin III

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden is apparently free to trade Robert Griffin III if he can find a suitor.

According to a report from The Washington Post, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is not forcing his coaching staff and high-ranking team officials to hang onto Griffin. A source told the Post that a previous report suggesting Snyder won’t allow Gruden to trade or release RG3 is “100 percent wrong.”

“It’s up to the coach and everyone is on board with that,” the source said.

New Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan believes that a head coach should have the power to choose his starting quarterback, and Snyder is said to be on board with that philosophy. However, the Redskins may have made it incredibly difficult to trade Griffin by picking up his $16.1 million option for the 2016 season earlier this year.

Very few teams are interested in paying $16.1 million next season — plus the $6.7 million RG3 is owed this year — for an injury prone quarterback who has been terrible during the preseason. Not to mention, Griffin is currently nursing a concussion in the wake of the beating he took during a preseason game last week.

The Redskins could still decide to release Griffin and take a $6.7 million cap hit, but they have to be careful about doing that. They can’t cut him until he is cleared by doctors, and if RG3 suffered some sort of injury that extended into next season his $16.1 million salary for 2016 would become guaranteed.

If what we hear about Gruden’s attitude toward Griffin is accurate, it should only be a matter of time before RG3 is either traded or released.

Troy Aikman: Redskins are more dysfunctional than the Kardashians

Troy-Aikman-Archie-Manning-ResponseIn terms of being successful at what they do, Troy Aikman would take the Kardashian family over the Washington Redskins any day of the week.

During Sunday’s preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, FOX aired a graphic showing the three quarterbacks — Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy — who made starts for the Redskins last year. Aikman has little hope for their situation.

“It’s pretty bizarre, huh? Someone compared the Redskins to the Kardashians, saying they’re the Kardashians of the NFL,” Aikman said. “I don’t think that’s fair — I don’t think the Kardashians are nearly as dysfunctional.”

Aikman was referring to Redskins studio analyst Trevor Matich, who said last week that the Redskins are “the Kardashians of the NFL” and “an endless dirge of misery.” Matich also said any outsider with no prior knowledge of Washington’s situation would think Cousins is the starter, McCoy is the backup and RG3 is third string.

For what it’s worth, FOX later changed its graphic to make it seem less certain that Cousins has earned the starting job.

As Des Beiler of DC Sports Bog noted, Aikman is certainly right that the Redskins are more dysfunctional than the Kardashians. If reality TV and publicity is the Kardashian’s game, they have been winning at it for years. The Redskins have been doing the opposite.

The cold hard truth is that Redskins coach Jay Gruden wants nothing to do with Griffin, and neither do several high-ranking team officials. Daniel Snyder and the team’s ownership are forcing the coaching staff to stick with their former first-round pick.

Even Jake Arrieta thought Kike Hernandez should have been credited with a hit (Video)

Starlin Castro short hop

Jake Arrieta pitched a no-hitter in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, but even he believes he caught a nice break from the official scorekeeper.

In the bottom of the third, Kike Hernandez drilled a line drive to second that short-hopped Starlin Castro, who was unable to handle the hot shot. Hernandez reached on the play, but it was ruled an error on Castro instead of a hit for Hernandez.

“I thought it was a hit, I really did,” Arrieta said in a postgame interview with ESPN. “I thought it was a tough play. Hernandez hit it well. It was a tough short-hop for Castro, but you know, they scored it as an error. Thankfully so — I was able to finish it.”

Arrieta also said he didn’t realize until a few innings later that the play was ruled an error and not a hit.

Official scorer Jerry White defended his call and said he even watched it twice on replay later to confirm his decision.

I thought it was a terrible call and that Hernandez should have been credited with a hit. There really is no doubt in my mind — when you hit a ball that hard and it short-hops a player, you should get a hit.

The consensus on both sides seemed to be that the ball should have been scored a hit.

“Just ask Arrieta. He said (during a postgame interview on ESPN) it was a hit,” Adrian Gonzalez said via the OC Register. “I asked five of their players when they were on the bases and they all thought it was a hit.”

Though Gonzalez says he thought it should have been a hit, he still points out that the Dodgers would have lost on a 1-hit shutout, which isn’t much better. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the same thing.

“It didn’t change the game at all,” Mattingly said. “If you really want my opinion, I think it’s a hit. But at this point, you get beat and you get no-hit. You’re not going to complain about that after the game. It’s not going to change the game at all.”

Mattingly also said he thought this no-hitter was different from the one less than two weeks ago by Mike Fiers in Houston. He credited Arrieta for having better stuff and shutting the team down, while he felt the players chased bad pitches in the loss against the Astros.

Even though the Dodgers have been no-hit twice in the fewest amount of games since 1923, they do have some fair excuses. In this case, there was a poor scoring decision. In Houston, well, there was this whole issue.

Angels lose two balls in sun during loss to Indians (Video)

Kole Calhoun sun

The Angels got swept by the Indians over the weekend, so it’s no surprise that they looked like a Little League team in Sunday’s 9-2 loss at Progressive Field.

Two outfielders missed routine fly balls during the game, allowing the Indians to score a couple of runs early. The first came when Mike Trout missed a ball in center with one out and a runner on second. His miscue gave Carlos Santana an RBI double and the Indians a 2-0 lead. Four innings later Santana benefited again when Kole Calhoun missed a fly ball in right field. That play allowed the Indians to have runners on second and third with one out. Three batters later, Abraham Almonte hit a grand slam.

Five of the Indians’ nine runs came thanks to the Angels’ miscues.

“I saw it the whole way, I was trying to turn a little bit, and it just kept shifting and went right into the sun,” Trout said of the missed ball, via The Los Angeles Times. “I tried to do whatever I could to catch it, but I had no idea where it was.”

Trout was wearing sunglasses but said it didn’t even matter. Manager Mike Scioscia described it as a “heat lamp.”

Trout went 4-for-4 in the loss with a pair of singles, double and triple, yet the team managed just two runs. The Angels have lost eight of their last 10 games and were swept by the Jays and Indians in that span. Yuck.

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