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Jason Whitlock on Andrew Wiggins: Canadian athletes ‘don’t want it as much’

Andrew-WigginsThe Cleveland Cavaliers seem like they have decided that they would rather pair Kevin Love with LeBron James and hope for instant results instead of developing rookie sensation Andrew Wiggins. The Cavs have reportedly agreed to include Wiggins in any potential trade for Love. Does that have anything to do with Wiggins’ nationality? Jason Whitlock seems to think so.

During his chat with Keith Olbermann on Monday night, Whitlock cited the fact that Wiggins is Canadian as one reason the Cavs should trade him for Love.

“I think that smart basketball people, and I don’t want to attach this to LeBron and his camp — Andrew Wiggins is from Canada,” the ESPN columnist said. “Canadian athletes, I think, among NBA players and NBA people, perhaps don’t want it as much as even some of the European and certainly the American players.”

In other words, the Cavs should take ethnic stereotypes into consideration when pondering Wiggins’ future. Olbermann later reminded Whitlock that Wiggins is only half Canadian and that his father is an American who played in the NBA.

“Andrew Wiggins’ effort and intensity was sometimes inconsistent at Kansas,” Whitlock said. “That may be a personality quirk that he will deal with throughout his entire career and that’s why I think (Cleveland) would probably prefer to play with Kevin Love.”

If Whitlock believes Wiggins lacks a “motor,” that’s fine. He’s entitled to his own opinion and assessment of the player. But if he thinks the Cavs should trade Wiggins in part because he is from Canada, that’s probably something Whitlock is best keeping to himself. Then again, this is the same guy who made an Asian penis joke about Jeremy Lin.

Video via SB Nation

Tony Dungy: I would not have drafted Michael Sam

Michael Sam RamsMichael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams more than two months ago, and we have heard very little about his sexual preference since then. With the exception of his touching speech at the ESPYs, the fact that Sam is gay has seemingly been a nonissue. Tony Dungy must not have taken note of that.

Dungy recently said he would not have drafted Michael Sam if he was still an NFL head coach.

“I wouldn’t have taken him,” the former Indianapolis Colts coach and current NBC analyst said, via Ira Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune. “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”

Not wanting to “deal with all of it” is undoubtedly the reason several teams passed on Sam. While all has been quiet to this point, Dungy doesn’t believe it will stay that way.

“It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen,” he added.

The most interesting thing about Dungy’s stance is that he tried to go down the politically correct road when asked about Sam back in February.

“The NFL has always been based on merit and I think that will continue to be the case whether it’s Michael Sam and the issue of homosexuality or anything else,” Dungy said at the time. “Guys who produce and play well will be welcome in the league.”

I guess what he meant was Sam will be welcome in the NFL, but he wouldn’t be welcomed by me.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and Dungy’s is one that is shared by many but bottled up by most. Fortunately, the Rams were willing to deal with whatever distractions might come with drafting Sam if it means potentially improving their football team. If everyone felt the same way Dungy feels about Sam, an openly gay player would never be drafted.

H/T The Big Lead

Albert Pujols, Mike Trout mock Fernando Rodney with arrow exchange (Video)

There’s a little bit of a beef brewing between the Angels and the Mariners this year.

The teams have been two of the best in the AL this season and are competing for a playoff spot from the AL West. They also had a great 3-game series in Anaheim over the weekend, with the teams splitting 3-2 extra-innings wins the first two games, and the Angels getting a walk-off 6-5 win on Sunday.

Albert Pujols arrowDuring their comeback in the 9th inning Sunday, Angels stars Albert Pujols and Mike Trout even mocked Mariners closer Fernando Rodney, who blew the save and took the loss.

Rodney walked Trout to start the 9th, and Pujols inside-outed a fastball down the right field line for a tying double to make the score 5-5. After Trout scored the tying run, he and Pujols exchanged arrows to mock Rodney, who fires a bow and arrow as his save celebration. Keep in mind that after escaping a jam in the 8th inning, Rodney did his arrow celebration and pointed it towards the Angels dugout.

As @lbsports notes, Rodney did the bow and arrow thing after ... on Twitpic

After allowing the tying run, Rodney gave up a single, intentional walk and got a double play. Following another intentional walk, Grant Green hit a walk-off RBI single to give the Angels their 59th win of the season.

There will be other days for Rodney, but you know this had to hurt. And he has no room to get mad at the Angels for mocking him when he started things by pretending to fire one of his arrows at the Angels dugout.

“Fernando’s animated. Our guys noticed it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after the game.

Angels starter Tyler Skaggs, who took a no decision, had even better quotes.

“I did not,” Skaggs said when asked if he saw Rodney fire the arrow at the Angels dugout, “but I heard about it and I’m glad we scored and won because that’s ridiculous. Just goes to show you — don’t rile up our team because we have a lot of good players. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to the next time we play them.”

What goes around comes around. Also keep in mind that Rodney pitched for the Angels in 2010 and 2011 and was not happy by the end of his stint with the team. After losing the closer job in 2011, Rodney complained about his lack of a role and said the team should trade him. Maybe some of that beef with the coaches still lingers for him.

Here’s another angle for Pujols doing the bow and arrow:

Rory McIlroy’s dad Gerry stands to win big money on old British Open bet

rory-mcilroy-fatherOne of the coolest aspects of Rory McIlroy potentially winning The Open Championship at Hoylake this weekend is that his father will cash in big on a 10-year-old bet.

As we wrote back in 2011, McIlroy’s father, Gerry, combined with three friends to place a £400 bet that Rory would win The Open Championship by the age of 25. Each person threw in £100 on the bet, and they received 500:1 odds. The payout is £200,000 — which should come out to £50,000 apiece.

We wrote about the story back in 2011 because that was the year Rory won his first major. He captured the US Open in 2011 and the PGA Championship in 2012, but the closest he’d come to winning The Open Championship was when he finished third in 2010.

Until now.

Rory is 25, so this is his last chance to make good on his father’s wager. He enters the final round on Sunday with a 6-shot lead. Those who saw McIlroy blow a 4-stroke lead in the final round of the 2011 Masters know you can’t give him the Claret Jug just yet, but he sure has a great chance of winning. And how awesome would it be for him to win the bet on the last year he can?

Cavs reportedly willing to include Andrew Wiggins in Kevin Love trade

Andrew-WigginsThe Cleveland Cavaliers are still interested in acquiring Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they may be willing to pay a steep price for the star forward. According to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald, the Cavs are now open to including No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins in a potential trade for Love.

Finnan also reports that LeBron James wants Love on the Cavs roster, which could ultimately be the reason a deal gets done.

The Cavs were originally trying to finagle a trade with Minnesota that would allow them to hold onto Wiggins, but it quickly became clear that the Timberwolves have no interest in working out a deal with Cleveland if the former Kansas star is not involved. Given how many teams have expressed interest in Love, that is not a surprise.

Wiggins has already drawn comparisons to Kobe Bryant, despite never having appeared in an NBA game. The 19-year-old has tremendous potential and has looked pretty sharp in summer league games, averaging 13.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. That said, Love has already proven that he can dominate at the NBA level.

LeBron will turn 30 next season. If the Cavs hang onto Wiggins and allow him to grow alongside LeBron and Kyrie Irving, there’s a chance he could become one of the better players in the league. However, the thinking with acquiring Love is that the Cavs will be a better team in the short term and may not need as much time to be championship ready.

Personally, I don’t think the Cavs can lose whichever way they go. They might end up kicking themselves five years down the road if they trade Wiggins, but the hope would be that they have a championship or two to help soften the blow.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Adam Wainwright admits he grooved fastball to Derek Jeter, backtracks

Derek Jeter’s storybook farewell to the All-Star Game will go down in history with an asterisk thanks to Adam Wainwright.

Jeter started at shortstop and batted leadoff for the American League Tuesday in Minnesota, and he got his team started with a line drive down the right field line for a double. Mike Trout tripled him in, and then Miguel Cabrera smacked a 2-run home run off Wainwright, who had a bad first inning that put the NL in a 3-0 hole.

Later in the evening, Wainwright told reporters he intentionally gave Jeter a pitch to hit.

“I was gonna give him a couple of pipe shots. He deserved it,” said Wainwright. “I didn’t know he was going to hit a double or I might have changed my mind.”

The pitch tracking data supports Wainwright’s admission; his first pitch (taken for a ball) was 94 mph, while the second was 87 mph and down the middle. Jeter cracked the second for a double.

Adam WainwrightAfter all the Wainwright chatter started making the rounds, he wanted to clear things up. During an interview with Erin Andrews, the Cardinals pitcher backtracked from his previous admission.

“Sometimes my humor gets taken the wrong way. I feel terrible about this. If anyone’s taken any credit away from what Derek Jeter has done today or off me or anything … it was mis-said. I made a mistake by that,” Wainwright said.

“I hope people realize I’m not intentionally giving up hits out there. I know this game means something. I’m guessing people think I’m trying to give up home runs to Miguel Cabrera, too.

“It’s a distraction and I did not want to be a distraction. If anything was taken away from his moment, then I sincerely apologize. At no point in my career have I gone out and intentionally given up hits.”

If you ask me, I think Wainwright gave Jeter a pitch he could hit. Jeter still did the hard work by turning it into a double, but I think Waino helped him out. Wainwright just screwed up by telling the media he did that.

After the game, Jeter was told about Wainwright’s comments and gave a great answer:

Jeter also got a hit in the third and finished the game 2-for-2. And now Wainwright goes down in history in the same conversation as Chan Ho Park.

Dwyane Wade will re-sign with Heat

dwyane-wadeLike Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade is not jumping ship just because LeBron James has returned home to Cleveland. On Tuesday afternoon, Wade announced on social media that he will be staying with the Miami Heat.

“Home Is Where The Heart Is…,” he wrote on Instagram. “My Home,My City,My House..#HeatLifer.”

Brian Windhorst of ESPN added that Wade has finalized his new deal with the Heat and expects to sign as early as Tuesday afternoon. D-Wade opted out of the remaining two years and roughly $42 million remaining on his last contract, and his new deal will reportedly help the Heat free up cap space by costing about $5 million less per season over a longer-term deal.

When LeBron announced he was returning to the Cavaliers, it appeared the Heat could be on the verge of falling apart. It looked like Bosh was going to sign with the Houston Rockets until the Heat made him a priority and offered him a max contract. Wade also drew some interest from the Chicago Bulls, whom he seriously considered signing with earlier in his career.

Wade, 32, looked old and slow during the playoffs last year. If he can get healthy during the offseason, he should still have a few good years left in his legs. Life will obviously be a lot more difficult for the Heat with LeBron gone, but Bosh and Wade should keep them in the hunt if they have the right supporting cast.