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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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Report: NFL teams think Patriots should get picks back, didn’t cheat

Tom Brady Fif

When the never-ending story that is Deflategate first erupted 15 months ago, the general consensus among NFL teams seemed to be that the league should drop the hammer on the New England Patriots once and for all. My, how things have changed.

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report spoke to several NFL executives when the Patriots were stripped of two draft picks for allegedly letting air out of game balls, and he described the reaction of most of them as “massive joy.” Freeman spoke to many of those same sources again recently and learned that most of them have completely changed their stances.

“I hate the Patriots. I despise them,” one NFC team executive told Freeman. “But they really should get those picks back.”

This isn’t just about teams thinking the Patriots were punished too harshly for a minor violation, either. Many executives feel that Tom Brady was not aware of equipment managers allegedly deflating balls. In fact, Freeman reports that a “significant portion of the league” doesn’t even believe the Patriots cheated during the 2015 AFC Championship Game.

As Freeman notes, many executives now feel empathetic toward the Patriots and worry that a similar witch hunt could be carried out against them.

It seems unbelievable that any team would want the hated Patriots to have their draft picks returned. It’s like Tokyo rooting for Godzilla.

The reason, though, is a selfish one. Players, coaches and executives have come to view the Patriots’ situation as a referendum on commissioner power. Many of the sources I spoke to used the same word: “railroaded.” As in, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell railroaded the Patriots. As in, the commissioner used his power unfairly and arbitrarily.

They think, in effect, that what happened to the Patriots could happen to any of them.

One general manager said the Deflategate debacle is a reminder that Roger Goodell has too much power.

“The Patriots aren’t victims, but they are a cautionary tale for the rest of the league,” the exec said. “They’re a reminder the commissioner can do whatever he wants, and there isn’t a damn thing any team can do about it.”

The Patriots aren’t getting their draft picks (a first-rounder and fourth-rounder) back. Goodell made that clear after Robert Kraft wrote him a letter asking the commissioner to reconsider the harsh penalty.

With Brady’s four-game suspension having been reinstated on Monday, it has become clear that the air pressure inside a football is basically an afterthought at this point. Brady is said to be considering all legal options to continue fighting, and it sounds like NFL teams want him to — even the ones that hate him. The case now represents nothing more than a classic labor dispute.

As for whether the Patriots actually cheated or not, we have already gone over that in great detail. Even if they did, we can all agree that Deflategate is well beyond the point of having gotten out of control.

Trail Blazers zing DeAndre Jordan on Twitter over horrible free throw

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan is one of the worst free throw shooters in the NBA, and the Los Angeles Clippers big man put his shortcomings on full display during Monday night’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

And the Blazers let him hear it via their official Twitter account:

Jordan is a career 42 percent free throw shooter, so you know that was not his first air-ball. That doesn’t make it any less embarrassing, especially during a playoff game.

Fortunately for DeAndre, that was not the worst free throw attempt in basketball history. That honor still belongs to this gentleman.

Lane Kiffin Tinder: Woman accuses OC of sneaky Tindering

Lane Kiffin

Does Lane Kiffin, national champion offensive coordinator and former head college football coach, need to use the same methods as the rest of the single population to meet women?

An Auburn graduate named Ashley Spry shared some very entertaining information with Busted Coverage about her Tinder endeavors with Kiffin. The stories are a bit challenging to follow, but basically Spry says she matched with Kiffin on Tinder and believes she was later asked to follow his alias Snapchat account. There was also a Twitter account that Spry claims Kiffin uses to chat with Tinder matches.

According to Spry, Kiffin had a “fake Tinder” from which he asked her if she knew his friend, Lane Kiffin. Coincidentally, Kiffin’s official Twitter account promptly followed her. He also asked her to follow him on Snapchat from an alias name, but Spry says only Kiffin has ever sent her snaps from the account. Kiffin also gave her a phone number to call, and she claims she always spoke to Lane when calling that number.

You can see all of the relevant screenshots here.

And, last but not least, the kicker: Spry says she woke up to a private number calling her multiple times in the middle of the night back in March — roughly two weeks after she had been chatting with Kiffin. When she finally answered, she says a woman named Kasey was on the other end and said she was “going through Lane’s phone and blocking all of his sl–s.”

We have no way of knowing if all of this is true, but it would be a pretty elaborate story to make up. One thing we do know is that it’s fun to think of Kiffin having to go to such great lengths to pick up women after divorcing his incredibly hot wife.

Chris Paul hand injury could keep him out for playoffs

Chris Paul hand

Chris Paul suffered a broken hand during the Clippers’ Game 4 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, and now the prognosis for the injury does not sound good.

ESPN’s JA Adande reports that a source told him the injury could knock CP3 out for the remainder of the postseason:

CP3 will be further evaluated in LA when the team returns home and after swelling goes down (here’s a look at the play).

However, think about how important the right hand is for a right-handed point guard. Having a broken right hand would make it extremely difficult to dribble, catch, shoot and pass. He’s probably going to be out for a few weeks.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Blake Griffin appeared to re-aggravate his left quad injury:

Just some awful, awful luck for the Clippers, unfortunately.

Blackhawks hit both pipes during Game 7 loss, get meme treatment

Blackhawks crying Jordan

The hockey gods just were not with the Chicago Blackhawks this postseason.

With four minutes left in Game 7 against the St. Louis Blues on Monday, a Brent Seabrook shot hit both pipes and then bounced out instead of going into the net for what would have been a goal to tie the game at 3:

This angle shows just how close it was to being a goal:

With that shot ricocheting out of the net, the Blues held on to win the game and series, which they nearly blew after being up 3-1 in the series.

Of course, the puck coming so close to going in but popping out led to plenty of crying Jordan memes:

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Chris Paul suffers broken hand against Portland (Video)

Chris Paul broken hand

Just when you thought the Los Angeles Clippers had caught a break with the knee injury to Steph Curry, something happens to their star.

Chris Paul suffered a broken hand during Game 4 of the Clippers’ playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. CP3 was trying to reach his hand in as Gerald Henderson was driving to the basket in the third quarter and jammed his right hand on the guard’s body.

Paul suffered a broken third metacarpal on the play. That is the bone in the hand that connects the middle finger to the wrist.

The Clippers announced that Paul would be out for the game and re-evaluated when the team returns home to LA.

The winner of the series gets the winner of the Rockets-Warriors series, which could be Golden State, which will be without MVP Curry for around two weeks.

Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant take shots at Charlie Villanueva

Kevin Durant Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant took turns taking shots at Charlie Villanueva during a postgame press conference on Monday night.

After the Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the Dallas Mavericks from the playoffs with a 118-104 victory in Game 4, Westbrook was asked about Villanueva continuing to mess with him. Villanueva on Monday staked out Westbrook during the point guard’s pregame ritual:

Villanueva had done something similar earlier in the series.

Westbrook zinged Villanueva by saying the bench player would watch another 82 games next season, while Durant muttered under his breath that Villanueva might not even be in the league:

Yup, that’s a dynamic duo you don’t want to mess with. In case you were wondering, Villanueva didn’t even register a minute of playing time in the game.

Bryce Harper takes great selfie with fan in his jersey in background

Bryce Harper just endeared himself to DC sports fans with a great selfie.

Harper shared a selfie on Instagram Monday showing himself at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, but the really great part was how he snapped it with a fan in the background wearing a Nationals shirt featuring his name and jersey number.

Bryce Harper selfie

“Just some shenanigans on the off day at the @smithsonian Natural History museum! #DC” Harper wrote as his caption.

He also earned bonus points from fans in the DMV for the Washington football team hat.

Do you think the fan ever realized he was at the museum at the same time as Harper?

Tyler Collins apologizes for flipping the bird to Tigers fans

Tyler Collins flips bird

Detroit Tigers outfielder Tyler Collins apologized after the game Monday for flipping the bird to Tigers fans after being booed for losing a ball in the lights.

Oakland A’s shortstop Marcus Semien led off the sixth with a fly ball to left that Collins lost in the lights. Frustrated with his error and being booed, Collins then flipped off the home crowd.

It probably also didn’t help Collins’ mood that he is hitless in his last 12 at-bats.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after the team’s 7-3 victory that he addressed the gesture with Collins at the time and after the game.

Collins also apologized.

“I’m absolutely embarrassed it happened and I’m very sorry to everybody in Detroit,” Collins said via MLive.com’s Chris Iott.

Collins just better hope his actions don’t lead to a demotion, although that certainly would be teaching him a lesson.

JaMarcus Russell says he would play for free for another shot

JaMarcus Russell Raiders

JaMarcus Russell apparently still wants to have a do-over in the NFL.

Dissatisfied with being labeled one of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history, Russell, a former No. 1 overall pick, seemingly would be willing to do anything for another shot.

In a video interview with SI Films that will be published in full on Tuesday, Russell says he would even be a water boy to get a shot.

“You might see me back. You never know. Whatever it is — I can be a water boy and work my way into a scout team. It doesn’t matter; I could play for free.”

The teaser clip promoted by SI on Monday indicates Russell wrote all NFL teams last year in hopes of getting a tryout without compensation. AL.com says Russell even offered to Jerry Jones to run the Cowboys’ scout team for free just to gain experience in the team’s system.

Russell last took a snap in an NFL game in 2009 after being the first overall pick by the Raiders in 2007. He supposedly is not in football shape but has not let himself go. As of late 2013, he supposedly was looking like an offensive lineman.

Now 30 years old, Russell’s NFL chances of playing in the NFL are long behind him. The last talk of Russell in the NFL came three years ago when the Bears were planning to give him a tryout that never materialized.

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