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Sunday, August 2, 2015

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Patriots release emails with NFL complaining about Deflategate leaks

The New England Patriots have gone completely scorched earth on the NFL in response to the league upholding a four-game suspension for Tom Brady.

First team owner Robert Kraft blasted the NFL Wednesday in comments made at a news conference to contest the league’s decision. One of his main focuses was how the league allowed for factually incorrect information leaks to permeate without correcting the record. To that end, the Patriots released emails between their team lawyer and NFL lawyer Jeff Pash that show the team urging the league to stop the leaks/incorrect information.

Pash stated in one email response that he had “no reason to believe” the leaks were coming from the league. Regardless, Pats attorney Robyn Glaser continued to hound him about releasing correct figures regarding the deflated footballs. The public’s perception of the case was greatly influenced by Chris Mortensen’s original report, which grossly misstated the extent to which the Patriots’ footballs in the AFC Championship Game were under-inflated.

Below are the emails as posted by the Patriots:

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Vince McMahon pays his respects to Roddy Piper

Vince McMahon Roddy Piper

Roddy Piper was a beloved figure in professional wrestling despite being a heel. Numerous wrestlers paid their respects to the legend upon learning of his death Friday.

Here is the statement from WWE boss Vince McMahon:

Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

Stephanie McMahon also sent her best:

As did Triple H:

Jordan Hill arrested for reckless driving, caught doing 107 mph

jordan-hill-lakers

Jordan Hill’s Indiana Pacers tenure is already off to an inauspicious start.

The big man was arrested for reckless driving in Atlanta on Friday, according to a report in the Indy Star. Hill was allegedly clock at 107 mph in a 65 mph zone.

The report also claimed that the former Laker gave the arresting officer a fairly blunt justification for his offense.

According to the police report, Hill was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. A police officer from Alpharetta, Georgia, wrote that Hill explained he was “in a hurry.”

Mike Petchenik of WSB-TV shared police dashcam footage of the incident.

Pacers president Larry Bird released a statement shortly after the news broke.

It’s probably safe to assume that the 28-year-old will face a short suspension to begin the 2015-16 season, perhaps in the spirit of 2010 Tyreke Evans.

Hill averaged career highs across the board last season in Los Angeles, posting 12.0 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, and 1.5 assists per game. He signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pacers this offseason. With the departures of Roy Hibbert and David West, the hope was that Hill would combine with rookie Myles Turner to plug the gaping hole in their frontcourt with energy, interior toughness, and youth. But if the Arizona product engages in antics like this off the court, Bird may just pull the plug on him after his contract expires without so much as a second thought.

See what happens when Hill no longer has Kobe Bryant around to keep him in line?

H/T ProBasketballTalk

Roddy Piper had podcast beef with Steve Austin

Roddy Piper Rowdy

Roddy Piper unfortunately was found dead on Friday at his home at the age of 61. Piper died in his sleep, and he recently had a controversy he was dealing with.

Piper pulled his “Piper’s Pit” podcast off Steve Austin’s Podcast One network after being upset about being censored. One of Piper’s last podcast for the network featured comedian Will Sasso doing impressions of wrestlers. The episode was title “Stone Cold,” and Austin was upset about some of the things said about him in the podcast. The podcast was pulled six hours after it was released.

Wrestling Inc explains how Piper’s podcast disrespected Austin:

While impersonating Austin on the podcast, Sasso and Piper joked about Austin’s heat with Vince McMahon, as well as Austin having one friend [his dog, Hershey], Austin quitting WWE a lot and more. Piper also joked that Austin “based his whole career on three damn words.”

Some of those zingers are here at the 14:00 mark.

On his last podcast episode which was released a few weeks ago, Piper said Podcast One did not fire him, but he chose not to work with them because he felt he would be censored.

Here is the explanation (with some bad language – be warned):

Austin said he was not happy with some of the personal stuff mentioned by Piper on the podcast, which is why it was pulled.

LaVance Taylor signed by Chiefs day after tweeting them highlight video

LaVance Taylor, a running back out of Central Missouri, was not selected in this year’s NFL Draft. However, thanks to a seemingly innocent (yet hopeful) tweet, he’s now a member of an NFL team.

On Wednesday, Taylor sent the above highlight video of himself to the Chiefs via Twitter. “@KCChiefs hey my name is LaVance Taylor and I am currently a free agent and I wanted you to check me out,” Taylor wrote. He also included a 12-minute video showcasing his skills.

Fortunately for Taylor, the Chiefs were in need of a running back after Cyrus Gray was released and Keshawn Hill suffered a hamstring injury. Next thing you know, Taylor was participating in training camp with Jamaal Charles.

Taylor rushed for 1,918 yards last year and scored 15 touchdowns. He also caught 38 passes for 427 yards and finished the season as the MIAA’s leading rusher. He also set single-season school records in rushing yards and all-purpose yards. As if the story couldn’t get any better, Taylor is a native of Missouri.

“Love the Chiefs, I love anything Kansas City actually,” Taylor said, via the Kansas City Star. “This is humbling and a blessing.”

Sometimes it’s worth it to take a shot. You never know what might happen. At least maybe that’s what Steven Jackson was hoping.

lavance-taylor-highlight

Video via: Twitter/LaVance_TCT

Rowdy Roddy Piper dead at 61

Roddy Piper

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper died in his sleep at his home in Hollywood at the age of 61, according to a report.

The wrestling icon was found dead at his Hollywood home on Friday, TMZ says.

“I am devastated at this news. Rod was a good friend as well as a client and one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known. This is a true loss to us all,” Piper’s rep told TMZ.

Roddy Piper has a wife and four children, including a son who is pursuing a career in wrestling. He previously battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma but was said to be cancer-free at the time of his death.

Just last week, Piper did a radio interview with “The Rich Eisen Show” and made headlines for his comments defending Hulk Hogan. A week later he’s dead.

Piper has a connection to another prominent athlete in the world of combat sports. Ronda Rousey’s nickname is “Rowdy,” which was adopted from Piper. Rousey, who is a huge wrestling fan, says she asked Piper for permission to use the nickname. He granted it to her, and she now wears it proudly.

Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.


Bethe Correia goes nuts on Ronda Rousey at weigh-in (Video)

Ronda Rousey may have more incentive to beat up Bethe Correia than anyone else she has ever faced during her career. After all, nobody has tried to rattle her more than Correia. Take what happened at their weigh-in for example.

After weighing in prior to their UFC 190 fight Saturday in Brazil, the two went face-to-face for their customary staredown. However, Correia went crazy during the staredown and began yelling at Rousey from point-blank range. Her eyeballs were popping out of her head. Meanwhile, Rousey didn’t even blink.

Bethe Correia Ronda Rousey

Between this and what Correia previously said about Rousey, we have no doubt Rousey will be looking for blood Saturday.

Burger King mascot at Floyd Mayweather fight, Belmont Stakes helped boost sales revenue

Burger King mascot Floyd Mayweather

Business for the once ailing fast food chain Burger King is booming, and the company’s new CEO says high-profile appearances by the mascot at sporting events this year have helped boost sales.

Burger King has seen a growth in business across all dayparts, CEO Daniel Schwartz said on a conference call with analysts Monday. He attributes the growth to focusing on new menu items, speeding up remodels of restaurants, and bold new marketing strategies.

What was one of those big strategies? To have the Burger King mascot make appearances in Floyd Mayweather’s entourage for his huge fight with Manny Pacquiao, and also to be with American Pharoah’s group at the Belmont Stakes.

Via The Street:

Further, Schwartz attributed part of the strength in the quarter to the return of Burger King’s somewhat creepy King mascot, which made high-profile TV appearances at the Kentucky Derby in June and the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight in May to much social media fanfare. Same-restaurant sales at Burger King U.S. surged 7.9% in the second quarter, quicker than the 6.9% gain grilled up in the first quarter.

What can we say other than this was brilliant marketing by BK? The mascot’s appearance in Mayweather’s entourage went viral and became a trending topic, second only to this. Then when the mascot appeared at the Belmont in Bob Baffert’s box, it trended again.

Burger King cannot overdo this practice by placing him everywhere, because then it would take away from the novelty. They should continue to be selective about the placement. But the strategy was genius; it got Burger King in the heads of millions, and also made the restaurant seem somewhat cool. Now that is how to do marketing.

Jonathan Papelbon thinks he became ‘scapegoat’ for Phillies

Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon is finally free of the miserable baseball situation in Philadelphia, years after he begged to be traded. Now he says his willingness to speak about the poor situation in Philly — coupled with being a big earner on a bad team — made him the scapegoat in the big city.

Papelbon, who on Thursday recorded his first save with his new team, the Washington Nationals, joined Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan in DC Friday and was asked about his bad reputation.

“I don’t know where it comes from,” Papelbon said, via DC Sports Bog. “I think honestly it came from people just trying to find what was wrong in Philadelphia, and I kind of became the scapegoat. I was the only one in the clubhouse I felt like that answered questions honestly and was honest with who I was as a player, and was honest about where our team was at. I think that maybe took it in the wrong direction because I was honest. I don’t know where it comes from, but the only thing that matters to me is what my peers think and what my teammates think. I just want to win and be a good teammate. That’s all that matters to me.”

Papelbon is in a better situation now and is playing for a first-place team. He’s still an excellent closer and should help solidify the Nats’ bullpen. But he shouldn’t pretend that he doesn’t know where his negative reputation comes from.

Let’s start with the time he called Manny Ramirez a cancer in 2010. Then let’s look at Pap saying the Phillies lacked leadership in his first year with the team. Then during the middle of his second year with the team, he pretty much asked to be traded. And who can forget in April when Papelbon, in his fourth season with the team, said he never felt like he was a Phillie?

And he wonders where the bad reputation comes from. The few things we will say about Papelbon is that he is honest, he is a good player, and he does want to win. At least that all counts for a lot.

Padres don’t sell at trade deadline, reportedly because AJ Preller still believes in team

AJ Preller

Many were wondering whether the San Diego Padres would deal many of their desirable assets at the trade deadline, but they decided to stand firm and not become sellers. A big reason for that reportedly is because GM A.J. Preller still believes the team can make the playoffs.

The Padres are four games under .500 but have gone 8-4 since the start of the second half of the season. They also have a favorable schedule for the next few weeks; they have series against the Marlins, Brewers, Phillies, Reds, Rockies and Braves — all teams with losing records. Preller may believe that his team is coming together and finally starting to play the way he envisioned they would when he assembled the group over the offseason. Does it hurt to give them another few months to see what they can do?

It also sounds like they did entertain trade offers but decided not to sell:

They held onto Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton, and lesser players like Joakim Benoit, Will Venable and Ian Kennedy. It’s not like they completely missed their opportunities to get returns on players, though. They can still get a draft pick as compensation for Upton, and they can still trade players after the season if they choose to.

The chance of the Padres making the postseason may be small — they would have to play around .667 ball the rest of the year to have a chance of making it — but these next few months should serve as a valuable evaluation period for the team. It’s completely understandable why Preller would be reluctant to blow up a project he obviously believed in heavily without giving them a full season to show what they can do.

Photo: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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