After five days of deliberations, the jury in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial has reached a verdict. The former New England Patriots tight end has been found guilty.
The trial proceeded over a six-week period, during which prosecutors tried to prove that Hernandez murdered Odin Lloyd and had his fiancee dispose of the murder weapon. The jury found the conviction was warranted by “reason of extreme atrocity or cruelty.”
Hernandez will serve an automatic life sentence without parole. In addition to first-degree murder, he has also been found guilty of numerous gun-related charges.
In their closing arguments, Hernandez’s attorneys told the jury that the 25-year-old witnessed Lloyd being killed but did not pull the trigger. The jury apparently did not buy that narrative.
Rex Ryan has been away from the New York Jets for just over three months, but that was long enough for one of his former players to criticize him for the way he ran the team. Last week, Jets tight end Jace Amaro said there was an “issue” with tardiness under Ryan. Not surprisingly, Rex didn’t appreciate the remark.
During an interview with Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB, Ryan scoffed at the notion that the Jets lacked accountability when he was in charge.
“He’s full of sh–, and I’ll remind him of that when we play him,” Ryan said of Amaro. “Look, we weren’t perfect, and I never said we were going to be perfect. But that’s a f—ing b.s. comment. But, hey, he’s happy that he’s got a different coach in place. We’ll see how happy he is when I play against him.”
As we mentioned before, Rex and new Jets head coach Todd Bowles have contrasting styles. Ryan is widely known as a players’ coach. He loves to joke around with his team and let them speak freely to the media. Bowles takes more of a no-nonsense approach.
Amaro said last week that Bowles “just wants to win.” Ryan emphatically stated that his goal is the same.
“I want to win the damn Super Bowl,” he told Vrentas. “That’s what drives me. I don’t want to just be known as good. I want to be special. For our team, for our franchise here in Buffalo, that’s what we want.”
For what it’s worth, Geno Smith was benched last year after he was late for a meeting with an incredibly lame excuse. There’s no telling if Smith would have been benched if he was playing well, but you can still argue that Rex held him accountable.
Meetings between the Bills and Jets next season were bound to be personal. This likely gives Ryan even more motivation.
A judge has ordered V. Stiviano to pay $2.6 million to Shelly Sterling, the wife of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit that was filed by Shelly roughly one month before Donald’s explosive racist rant was released to the public. The Associated Press reports that Judge Richard Fruin Jr. awarded Shelly money that was community property that Donald secretly used to shower Stiviano in gifts.
Stiviano’s lawyer contended that Donald had given her the gifts — which included a house, a $240,000 Ferrari, two other luxury cars and several spending sprees — while the former NBA owner and his wife were separated. The judge rejected those arguments, and Stiviano’s attorney said an appeal will be filed.
During the hearing, Donald Sterling testified that he paid for an entire $1.8 million duplex in Beverly Hills for Stiviano. He noted that she didn’t contribute “50 cents” to the property, though Stiviano claimed she contributed an unknown amount of cash that she had saved with the help of family members.
Shelly referred to Stiviano as Donald’s mistress, but Stiviano has denied ever having sexual relations with the 80-year-old. Stiviano seemed to indicate on social media last year that she has a child with Sterling, but she reportedly told a court shortly thereafter that she believes he is gay.
Stiviano admitted to hating Shelly Sterling and referred to her as the “Wicked Witch of the West.” Donald called Stiviano his “ex-friend,” which makes Stiviano’s recent Instagram post seem even more bizarre.
When someone inevitably makes a movie about Sterling’s life, it is going to be amazing.
Watching Stephen Curry effortlessly drain 3-pointers never gets old.
Curry, who could be on his way to winning the NBA MVP award during a year in which he broke the record — his own — for 3-pointers made in a season, seems to never miss in practice. On Tuesday, he set a personal record in practice when he nailed 77 3-pointers IN A ROW.
— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) April 15, 2015
Overall, Curry hit 94 of 100 3-pointers during that particular session. Most NBA players couldn’t do that from the free throw line.
Remember two seasons ago when we were impressed that Curry did this in practice? He’s clearly getting better with age, and that’s one of the main reasons the Golden State Warriors have a legitimate shot at winning it all.
- Stephen Curry
Charles Barkley is nowhere near as dumb as he sometimes appears to be on TV, but he certainly fit the bill on Tuesday night.
Ernie Johnson began reading off some of the playoff seeding scenarios on “Inside the NBA,” and the rest of the crew tried to follow along. That was quite the task for Chuck, who was clearly lost as Johnson rattled off the possibilities like the dude from the Micro Machines commercials.
TNT topped it all off with the perfect touch by putting one of those monkeys playing the symbols in his thought box:
- Charles Barkley
Nolan Arenado has won two Gold Gloves playing third base for the Colorado Rockies. After seeing the play he made on Tuesday night against the Giants, it’s easy to see why.
Arenado ran down a pop up by the left field line in the eighth inning and went full-steam ahead into the tarp Derek Jeter-style. Despite nearly killing himself by sacrificing his body on the play, his head was in the game enough to recover and throw to third for a potential double play. Even if he didn’t get the double play, that was still a studly play.
Well done, Arenado. That’s the kind of play that makes people never forget you.
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Jameis Winston is making his case as one of the top quarterback prospects in the last few years, and his Wonderlic test score certainly aids his case.
Yahoo Sports reports that Winston scored a 27 on his Wonderlic, which is a very respectable mark for a QB. That is one point shy of the 28 scored by Super Bowl winners Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees. It’s also equal to what Joe Flacco scored, and it’s two points higher than Ben Roethlisberger’s 25.
Yahoo points out that other star QBs such as Andrew Luck (37), Aaron Rodgers (35), Tom Brady (33) and Philip Rivers (30) also had very high scores.
Winston had a 4.0 GPA in high school and is regarded as one of the smartest/most mentally well-prepared quarterback prospects in years. These numbers and facts are what make his off-field problems and concerns even more confounding.
- Jameis Winston
Paul Pierce has embraced his role as a bench player for the Washington Wizards this season, and that is partly because it is such a better experience than what he endured last season.
Pierce, along with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets before last season. The three were expected to be extra pieces that would make the Nets a serious contender in the Eastern Conference, but that’s not at all how things worked out. The Nets struggled to start the year but managed to finish 44-38 under first-year head coach Jason Kidd, and they advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the Miami Heat.
In a revealing interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Pierce described his time in Brooklyn as “horrible.”
“I’m much happier,” he said. “It was a tough situation (in Brooklyn) last year. Horrible, really.
“It was just the guys’ attitudes there. It wasn’t like we were surrounded by a bunch of young guys. They were vets who didn’t want to play and didn’t want to practice. I was looking around saying, ‘What’s this?’ Kevin (Garnett) and I had to pick them up every day in practice.”
Pierce says that without him and KG, the team would have fallen apart and “folded up.”
He also was extremely disappointed with Deron Williams, whom he viewed as a potential MVP candidate prior to the trade. After playing with him, he learned that the point guard really lacked desire.
“Before I got there, I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate,” Pierce said. “But I felt once we got there, that’s not what he wanted to be. He just didn’t want that.
“I think a lot of the pressure got to him sometimes. This was his first time in the national spotlight. The media in Utah is not the same as the media in New York, so that can wear on some people. I think it really affected him.”
Aside from Williams, Pierce says he felt the Nets lacked leadership. He says that was a role he and Garnett assumed, which didn’t completely fit since they were no longer the star players.
Those weren’t the only comments Pierce made that will stir up matters. He also said of the Wizards’ potential first-round playoff opponent the Raptors that they don’t really scare him.
Lastly, Pierce says that Ray Allen’s relationship with Rajon Rondo wasn’t the only strained one on the Celtics. He says that Allen really just stuck to his own and was more of an individual rather than someone who spent a lot of time with his teammates. Pierce says the two had a good relationship on the court but weren’t really that close off of it.
After reading that, it makes sense why Allen chose to leave Boston to sign with the Miami Heat; he didn’t feel all that close with his Celtics teammates.
- Paul Pierce
Philip Rivers has been the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers for over a decade, but that run with the team may be coming to an end.
UT San Diego’s Kevin Acee wrote a column Tuesday arguing that the Chargers should trade Rivers now in order to get a return for him.
The QB, who was drafted by the team in 2004, is “dreading a move to L.A.” according to Acee. Though the Chargers are still in San Diego, signs point to the team moving to Los Angeles in a year or two now that Inglewood is beginning construction on a new NFL stadium.
Rivers will be a free agent after the 2015 season and could choose to leave the Chargers, so Acee believes it makes sense for them to deal him now. He points to a potential trade with the Tennessee Titans, who have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, so that the Chargers can draft Marcus Mariota. What’s interesting is that Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt has openly discussed the possibility of the team drafting Mariota. There also has been talk that the Titans like Zach Mettenberger and would be prepared to play him as their quarterback.
Acee speculates that the Chargers could get the No. 2 pick from Tennessee by trading Rivers and still be able to hang onto their No. 17 overall pick. He thinks they might have to throw in a pick from a later round to make it happen.
There have been some rumblings about Rivers wanting to play in Tennessee, which is not far from where he grew up in Decatura, Ala., and close to where his wife’s family is from. Rivers is a big family man and has seven children. San Diego has been his family’s home since 2004. If that continuity is going to be disrupted, it makes sense for him to pick up and move to a place where he wants to be for the end of his career. And at 33, he still should have a good 3-5 years of football left in him.
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- Philip Rivers
Charlie Strong and Kevin Sumlin both have a desire to renew the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry on the football field after taking the last three years off.
The schools first played against each other in football in 1894 and competed every year from 1915-2011, but they took a break after A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012. At the time, reps from both sides did not seem too concerned about not playing the game. Now things have changed.
“Now, moving into Year 4 and listening to our former students and our alumni base and knowing a lot of Texas alums, it’s important that we play again,” Sumlin said via ESPN.com. “I think it will happen somewhere down the road. The tough part for both parties, when we moved, was scheduling. The first two years we scrambled just to get anybody to play, and the SEC hadn’t solidified their schedule until last year. We were at the mercy of whoever would play us.”
Sumlin says that now they’ve figured out their scheduling in the new conference, he thinks the series will resume again.
Strong, who just completed his first season as head coach of the Longhorns, would like to play the series, too.
“That game is so much a part of this state,” said Strong. “Over 100 years, we’ve played that game. Why stop it now because we’re in different conferences? At some point, when it’s right for everybody with the different schedules, I would love to play Texas A&M again.”
It’s understandable why after moving to a more difficult conference A&M did not want to have another tough non-conference team on their schedule, but both sides probably have changed their viewpoints thanks in part to the playoff. With the playoff system, teams with one loss still have a chance of making the national championship game. That combined with the pride factor among both fanbases probably are the biggest reasons for the change. The only issue is because of scheduling, it might take a few years before they’re able to get the game going again.
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- College Football