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Monday, December 18, 2017

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John Skipper resigns from ESPN over substance addiction

ESPN president John Skipper abruptly resigned Monday, citing a battle with substance addiction. In a statement, Skipper, ESPN’s president since 2012, submitted his immediate resignation as he seeks treatment for a substance abuse problem. “I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do…Read More

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Su’a Cravens says he was victim of police brutality, racial profiling

Su'a Cravens

Su’a Cravens says he was a victim of racial profiling by police officers in Virginia recently, and the Washington Redskins safety is considering filing a lawsuit.

On Wednesday, Cravens shared some footage on social media that he claims he took on his cell phone after he was pulled over for driving 39 mph in a 35-mph zone (the police report said 39 in a 25-mph zone). After he was stopped, Cravens says an officer “slammed” him against his car, handcuffed him and searched his vehicle. The 22-year-old said he was with his younger brother, and police claimed they smelled marijuana.

Cravens said officers allowed him to use his cell phone after they searched his vehicle and did not find anything. You can see the videos he took below, but beware that they contain some inappropriate language:

TMZ Sports confirmed that Cravens was pulled over by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Dept. on Nov. 29. Official records state that he was cited for driving 39 mph in a 35-mph zone and for having illegal tint on his windows. Cravens is now threatening to file a lawsuit against the LCSD.

Cravens has had an event-filled year, as he left the Redskins abruptly earlier in the season to deal with some personal issues. The former USC star also created a buzz on social media last year when he shared a video indicating concussions had left him with permanent damage.

Cravens recently received medical clearance to play after receiving treatment for head injuries, but his future in Washington remains unclear.

Bill Belichick unaware of any issue with Tom Brady’s trainer

Bill Belichick

The internet was full of rumors about an alleged feud between New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s personal trainer, but Belichick himself is denying it.

The story started on Friday when ESPN’s Adam Schefter told WEEI that the relationship between Belichick and Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trainer, was strained. That lingered into Monday when Brady himself refused to comment on those reports.

It was Belichick who issued the closest thing we got to a denial.

Ultimately, the Patriots are still winning, so the team has managed to push the issue — if there even is one — off to the side.

Report: Christian Yelich ‘unhappy’ with Marlins’ offseason

The Miami Marlins have been selling off some of their most precious assets this offseason, and the players they have chosen to keep do not seem pleased about it.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported on Monday that Marlins center fielder Christian Yelich is “unhappy” with the fire sale the team has conducted this winter, but he has not gotten to the point where he wants to demand a trade. Instead, Yelich would like to sit down with Miami’s front office to get a better idea of the direction of the franchise.

Yelich spoke with Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill earlier in the offseason, and a source told Crasnick the 26-year-old is looking to have a “respectful” follow-up chat.

Yelich is a .290 career hitter who has won a Gold Glove, and teams who would be interesting in acquiring him reportedly include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. Teams have reached out, but Marlins officials have said Yelich is “not in play” at this point.

As Crasnick notes, Yelich had established a close friendship with Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon — three players the Marlins have traded this offseason. At least one of Miami’s other top players now wants out, leading many to wonder just how big of a rebuild Derek Jeter’s new ownership group wants to take on. Yelich has four years and a reasonable $44.5 million remaining on his contract, so the Marlins would probably prefer to keep him.

Rishard Matthews, Titans players not happy with direction of offense

The Tennessee Titans have offered far too little on offense for some time now, and some players are getting fed up.

One, wide receiver Rishard Matthews, even went on the record to say that he believes it’s time to give quarterback Marcus Mariota more control over an offense that has been inexplicably slow and stagnant despite the quarterback’s skillset. In particular, the Titans’ reluctance to use a no-huddle offense that Mariota has excelled in has been particularly confusing to players.

“I’d rather have Marcus calling the shots,” Matthews said, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “There’s proof in the success when that happens. I’d like to do no-huddle more. I know we’d all like to do it more. We definitely talk about it a lot. Sometimes we go into it a lot. Sometimes we don’t. This game we stayed in it, and I feel like we were pretty good when were in it.”

Wolfe reports that several Titans are in agreement with this, with a feeling that the Titans have occasionally grown too conservative in their playcalling.

There is definitely some frustration about the Tennessee offense. Perhaps Mariota’s status could have something to do with some of it.

Red Sox re-sign Mitch Moreland, likely out on Eric Hosmer

Mitch Moreland

This probably was not the free agent splash Boston Red Sox fans were hoping for.

The Red Sox on Monday signed Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal worth a reported $13 million.

Moreland, 32, played last season with the Red Sox and batted .246 with 34 doubles and 22 home runs. Those numbers fell in line with his career slash line averages of .252/.326/.413.

Although he has played in the outfield on occasions during his career, Moreland is almost exclusively a first baseman. Re-signing him almost certainly means the Red Sox are out on Eric Hosmer, who was said to be one of their targets.

Boston is said to be looking for an offensive upgrade. The biggest bat available on the market that seems to fit their needs would be J.D. Martinez, who is seeking a $200 million contract.

Ezekiel Elliott reportedly only left Mexico once during suspension

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott is back with the Dallas Cowboys this week, but he has been laser focused on his return for much longer than that.

When his suspension was reinstated by the NFL, Elliott jetted off to Mexico to focus on training and avoid the spotlight. He succeeded — in fact, a new report indicates he only left the country for a total of two days.

We may well see video evidence of Elliott’s work, but he remained a peripheral figure during his suspension. Now he can once again embrace the spotlight.

Jerry Richardson stepping away from day-to-day control of Panthers

Jerry Richardson

Jerry Richardson is stepping away from running the day-to-day operations of the Carolina Panthers in order to focus on a sale of the team.

NFL.com’s Judy Battista reported the news on Richardson Monday, saying longtime team employee Tina Becker will take over control of the operations.

The organization later announced the move on their website.

The changes to the organization have come swiftly as the Richardson matter has become public. On Friday it was reported that Richardson was being investigated for workplace misconduct. Then on Sunday, SI reported that Richardson had reached confidential settlements with four workers over his alleged misconduct, which included both sexual and racial components. Later in the day Richardson announced he would be selling the team after the season.

Richardson, 81, has been the Panthers’ only owner since being awarded the expansion franchise in 1993.

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