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Saturday, August 19, 2017


Aroldis Chapman removed as Yankees closer

Aroldis Chapman Yankees

Aroldis Chapman has been removed as the New York Yankees’ closer.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Saturday that Chapman is out as closer but will be used in other roles to see if that helps the southpaw improve.

The move appeared imminent. After Chapman fared poorly against the Red Sox on Friday night, Girardi refused to commit to the reliever as the team’s closer. Now he has made it official that Chapman is out.

Chapman has allowed runs in each of his last four appearances. Friday’s outing was his first since hurting his hamstring on Tuesday. Perhaps he needs more of a break before being thrown into such high-stress situations again.

Blair Walsh explains why he taunted Vikings players

Blair Walsh

Seattle Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh had an interesting explanation when asked why he taunted his former Minnesota Vikings teammates: they started it.

Walsh, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Vikings, raised some eyebrows during Friday night’s preseason game when he was spotted gesturing toward the sideline at some of his former Vikings teammates after converting a 52-yard field goal, but according to him, this was all instigated by the other side.

“I simply was just responding to getting taunted,” Walsh said, via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN. “I didn’t say anything. When you’ve got guys who were your teammates for five years yelling at you when you’re trying to kick, it’s just odd. And I hope they were in jest. And I hope they didn’t mean it because I didn’t mean anything with mine, but it was definitely not out of nowhere.

“I felt like it was nothing that was serious or meant to be hurtful, but I wanted to let them know that it just wasn’t going to roll off. I didn’t say anything though. Just looked at them.”

Walsh declined to say the nature of the taunting, implying that the words directed at him are not suitable for publication in a family-friendly outlet.

“Nothing I can repeat here. That’s for sure,” Walsh said when asked what had been said to him.

Walsh, of course, will be remembered in Minnesota for one of the worst missed field goals in recent NFL history, one that his confidence never recovered from and eventually led to his release. It’s easy to wonder if that’s the direction the taunting went in.

Justin Britt supports protesting Michael Bennett during anthem

Justin Britt

Michael Bennett asked for support from white players in seeking recognition of the social issues in America, and he received some.

Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt stood by Bennett’s side during the national anthem prior to the Seahawks’ preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night.

Cornerback Jeremy Lane also stood in front of Bennett and had his back turned to the field during the anthem.

Though Colin Kaepernick, the first player to protest by kneeling for the national anthem, is not in the league, Bennett and others are trying to continue the dialogue about the issues Kaepernick to which the unemployed QB was trying to bring attention.

Bennett sat during the playing of the national anthem in Seattle’s first preseason game and made some headlines, as did Marshawn Lynch. Bennett then said during the week that the country needs white athletes to stand with black athletes in order for matters to progress. The Eagles’ Chris Long took a stand when he put his arm around teammate Malcolm Jenkins during the anthem earlier in the week, and now Britt is doing the same. The center is doing so after signing a 3-year contract extension with the Seahawks on Thursday.

Jay-Z says he bought three pairs of Big Baller Brand shoes

Jay Z

Big Baller Brand apparently has at least one notable celebrity backer.

In an appearance Friday on TIDAL’s “The Rap Radar Podcast,” rap mogul Jay-Z said he bought three pairs of Big Baller Brand shoes. Jay-Z gave credit to and expressed his support for LaVar Ball, as transcribed by JMKTV.

For his part, Hov obviously knows a thing or two about sports business and starting your own company from the ground up. While LaVar, son Lonzo, and the Big Baller Brand are often the butt of jokes, they are at least embarking on an admirable venture, and Jay-Z, for one, respects it.


Kevin Durant fires back after being called out by Britt McHenry

Kevin Durant Warriors

Britt McHenry does not agree with Kevin Durant’s decision to skip the Golden State Warriors’ upcoming trip to the White House, but Durant clearly doesn’t care what the former ESPN reporter has to say.

Earlier this week, Durant revealed that he will not visit the White Houst with his team because he doesn’t “respect who’s in office right now.” On Friday, McHenry tweeted that she believes celebrity athletes like Durant should be using their status to meet with leaders like Donald Trump to discuss differences.

Durant, who has never been one to shy away from criticism on social media, fired back at McHenry.

McHenry is a proud conservative, and she has become more outspoken since she was laid off by ESPN. She even hinted that she believes some of her political opinions contributed to ESPN’s decision to let her go.

Since leaving ESPN, McHenry has embraced creating controversy. While she said her infamous rant against a parking lot attendant going viral had serious effects on her mental and physical health, she recently admitted she enjoys using her popularity (or lack thereof) to spark debates.

Jags coach says Blake Bortles’ starting job is in jeopardy

Blake Bortles’ starting job with the Jacksonville Jaguars is officially in jeopardy.

Jags head coach Doug Marrone said after the team’s preseason game on Thursday that the starting quarterback job is up for grabs.

Bortles was 8 of 13 for just 65 yards on Thursday. Backup Chad Henne completed 6 of 10 passes for 44 yards.

The stats don’t tell the entire story. Bortles missed an open receiver on one occasion and didn’t look good all around.

The first-team offense under Bortles was so mediocre that they ended up seeing more action during the preseason game than expected.

With a new regime in charge, Bortles’ rope is a lot shorter this season.

Report: Aaron Donald has not ruled out sitting out 2017 season

Aaron Donald Rams

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is holding out for a new contract, and it does not sound like that holdout is anywhere close to ending.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Thursday that Donald’s holdout is “threatening to last into the regular season.” One source told Schefter that the possibility of Donald sitting out all of 2017 has not been ruled out.

“One source speculated that he could envision Donald sitting out 2017, though a lot can change in any negotiation in a hurry,” Schefter said. “But the fact that such strong thoughts exist now provides a snapshot into where the two sides are today: not particularly close to a deal. The two sides will stay in touch, but today there is pessimism about how long Donald’s holdout could last.”

Donald is scheduled to make just $8.5 million over the next two seasons, which is nowhere near close to what players of his caliber make. While the Rams have expressed optimism about eventually resolving the situation, some comments their GM made recently did not sound particularly encouraging.

After just three NFL seasons, Donald has already racked up a total of 28 career sacks and four forced fumbles. The Rams can probably get away with paying him slightly less than the top defensive tackle in the league, but Donald will want the gap to be fairly small.

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