Tom Brady grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the midst of the 49ers-Cowboys rivalry, and it’s safe to say that old allegiances don’t go away easily.
Brady, who grew up a 49ers fan, jokingly admitted Wednesday that he has hated the Cowboys “since coming out of the womb” and growing up in San Francisco.
Tom Brady: “I’ve really not liked the Cowboys since coming out of the womb …” pic.twitter.com/Cvi2E08dqO
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) November 20, 2019
The Patriots and Cowboys face off Sunday afternoon. It’s worth noting that Brady has beaten the Cowboys in all four games he’s faced them, including one five touchdown performance in 2007. Extra motivation? Probably not, considering Brady is always pretty motivated and he’s clearly exaggerating a bit here. Plus, he has some other pressing issues about his team that he’s trying to get right. Still, it’s safe to say he enjoys the prospect.
The New York Knicks may have had their undisputed franchise player by now if they had just taken some advice that was given to them a couple years ago.
Appearing Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, ex-Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said that he tried to convince the Knicks to draft Donovan Mitchell, who played for him on the Cardinals, with the No. 8 overall pick in 2017.
The Knicks replied that they could not take Mitchell that high and drafted Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 pick instead. Mitchell then went to the Utah Jazz at No. 13.
The 23-year-old Mitchell has since become a centerpiece for the Jazz and one of the top scoring 2-guards in the league. Ntilikina, meanwhile, has yet to pan out for the Knicks in his third year, doing well defensively but averaging just 5.8 points per game for his career.
The Knicks have definitely been roasted for draft-related reasons before, and while hindsight is 20/20, it has clearly been a pattern for multiple years.
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The Memphis Tigers took a risk and defied the NCAA by playing James Wiseman even after he had been ruled ineligible, and may pay the price for it.
According to Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated, sources familiar with NCAA enforcement procedures said that Memphis is likely to face a “major infractions case” for playing Wiseman despite repeated warnings from the NCAA about eligibility issues.
This stems from the Tigers openly flouted NCAA rulings relating to Wiseman. The NCAA had notified Memphis before their season opener that Wiseman could have an eligibility problem, but played him anyway. Wiseman was then ruled ineligible on Nov. 8 because his family received money from coach Penny Hardaway to move, but Memphis went to court and obtained a temporary restraining order against that NCAA ruling. Wiseman proceeded to play two more games before ultimately dropping the lawsuit and sitting out.
Wiseman was ultimately suspended until January, but that won’t clear the Tigers of potential wrongdoing. Memphis knew the risks of playing Wiseman, a potential No. 1 draft pick, despite those warnings. If the NCAA’s enforcement process isn’t respected, they’re a significantly weaker organization, so this is something they will not take lightly.
An unknown man was spotted on the roof during Dallas Cowboys’ practice on Wednesday ahead of their Week 12 matchup against the New England Patriots, and social media had some fun with it.
Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News shared an image of a single, unidentified figure overlooking the Cowboys’ session from the roof of an adjacent building.
Earlier today we saw someone on the roof at Cowboys practice. pic.twitter.com/1soRBz96n1
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) November 20, 2019
Immediately, Twitter pointed the finger at the Cowboys’ opposition.
I just Zoomed in smh pic.twitter.com/j76FzP2jsp
— (@itsproperlujah) November 20, 2019
— Jim Monticello (@grownsup) November 20, 2019
Patriots are getting sloppy! You can’t let people see you spying on opposing teams practices!!!
— KXNGDope_ (@bondzthegreat) November 20, 2019
There is a growing question whether the Pittsburgh Steelers are truly starting their best quarterback in Mason Rudolph. There have been some growing calls for the Steelers to replace Rudolph with rookie Devlin Hodges, who won his lone start of the season away against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Coach Mike Tomlin, however, has no plans to bench Rudolph as long as he takes care of the football.
“We like Mason. We like what he’s done throughout this team development process,” Tomlin said, via Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports. “He’s earned the position that he holds now, but it’s also something that he will continually earn through play. He understands that and we understand that. He didn’t do a good enough job taking care of the football in the last game, and he’s gotta take responsibility for that, and he understands that. That’s something that can’t be a part of his play moving forward on a consistent basis, but that’s anybody that occupies that role for us … job one is preservation of the football.”
Preservation of the football is actually a reason why some fans are losing patience. Rudolph was intercepted four times in a 21-7 loss to Cleveland last Thursday, and it was a major factor in the team’s defeat, even if it was overshadowed by what happened at the end of the game. Rudolph had four interceptions in his previous seven appearances, and the Steelers will probably be content if that’s the norm for him as opposed to the Cleveland performance.
The NCAA has made its ruling on the James Wiseman situation.
Wiseman has been suspended 12 games and must donate the amount of money ($11,500) his family received from Penny Hardaway to move to Memphis to a charity of his choice.
Wiseman, a top recruit by Memphis and candidate to go No. 1 in the NBA Draft, was initially cleared by the NCAA regarding his eligibility. However, they later ruled that because Penny had previously donated to Memphis — where he played — that made Hardaway a “booster.” So when Hardaway gave money to Wiseman’s family to move, the NCAA decided that was an example of Wiseman receiving money from a booster, which is against NCAA rules.
Memphis initially received a temporary restraining order against the NCAA’s ruling and defiantly played Wiseman the first three games of the season before the big man decided to drop his lawsuit against the NCAA and sit out.
The Tigers’ most recent game, which Wiseman sat out, will count towards the 12-game suspension, meaning he will be eligible to return to play on January 12 against South Florida.
The 12-game suspension seems excessive to many for a guy whose family accepted $11,500 to move in high school. The NCAA likely issued a harsher penalty than they originally would have levied due to Memphis flaunting the NCAA’s eligibility ruling by playing Wiseman to start the season.
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- College Basketball
- James Wiseman
Pau Gasol’s career is in limbo as he continues to try to rehab a foot injury.
Gasol was waived by the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday in order to focus on rehab. Gasol said in an Instagram video that he and the team knew that recovery from his foot surgery might be lengthy process, and they had agreed that Gasol should be waived to allow Portland to use a roster spot on an active player.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN added that Gasol and the Blazers are in talks about a coaching role.
Portland has waived F/C Pau Gasol, per Gasol. He’s been unable to successfully rehab left foot following surgery. Blazers had protections in 1-year deal. Gasol, Blazers working on details of coaching role as future HOFer remains in Portland to rehab.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 20, 2019
It seems as if Gasol still has his sights set on playing again, but wants to help the Blazers in the interim. He underwent foot surgery in May, and as he notes in his Instagram video, recovery could take as much of a year. If coaching is something he’s interested in, this is a good opportunity to test it out while he still tries to get ready to play.
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- Pau Gasol
If you needed another suggestion that the upcoming labor negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA are going to be very difficult, commissioner Rob Manfred provided one Wednesday.
According to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports, Manfred told the MLBPA in negotiations Wednesday that there is “not going to be a deal where we pay you in economics to get labor peace.” He also added that “maybe Marvin Miller’s financial system doesn’t work anymore.”
Those in the room came away with the belief that Manfred’s statement on Miller could mean that the owners will pursue a salary cap or significant changes to the free agency and arbitration systems that have been in place for nearly 50 years, though Manfred’s lack of clarity means his words are open to interpretation.
Essentially, get ready for a major labor fight. Players are unhappy at the state of free agency and the reluctance of numerous teams to spend money. One player even suggested that a strike may be the only way to fix the state of the game. If MLB is going to stick to its guns on economic issues, the odds of a work stoppage of some sort increase significantly.
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- Rob Manfred
Mason Rudolph spoke with the media on Wednesday for the first time since his infamous altercation with Myles Garrett last week, and one of the best players in Cleveland Browns history was not impressed with the way the Pittsburgh Steelers handled the situation.
Rudolph began by reading a prepared statement, in which he apologized for his role in the scrum that broke out and said he should have done a better job of keeping his cool. He also explained that he became angry with what he felt was a late hit from Garrett in a game where the Steelers had already lost two offensive players to injury. Both players, receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, landed in the NFL’s concussion protocol after taking helmet-to-helmet hits.
Browns cornerback Damarious Randall was ejected for the hit on Johnson. Smith-Schuster was actually hit in the head by two defenders, but there was no targeting call. In his statement Wednesday, Rudolph said the Steelers had “already lost two of our players to targeting penalties.” Former Browns Pro Bowl offensive lineman Joe Thomas criticized Rudolph and the Steelers for taking nearly a week to release a statement that was factually inaccurate.
If we’re going to do prepared statement apologies 6 days after an incident, wouldn’t the statement being accurate be somewhat important? I mean, they had 6 days to come up with this statement and this is the best they can do? https://t.co/0KM0xkiiEC
— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) November 20, 2019
It’s possible Rudolph simply misspoke, and there probably should have been a penalty on the Smith-Schuster play anyway. No one is saying Rudolph was totally innocent in the matter, but any commentary that strives to place blame on Rudolph or the Steelers is really missing the mark.
Even if Rudolph’s reaction to being taken down late by Garrett sparked the confrontation, Garrett is the one who clubbed Rudolph in the head with a helmet. Thomas and others can criticize Rudolph all they want, but even Garrett’s own teammates and organization didn’t consider coming to his defense. What Garrett did could have left someone severely injured. That’s why he likely will not be playing again in 2019.
Ivica Zubac may have spoiled some significant Los Angeles Clippers injury news Wednesday.
With the status of forward Kawhi Leonard still up in the air, Zubac essentially revealed after the team’s shootaround that the plan was for Leonard and Paul George to finally play together on Wednesday.
Ivica Zubac hinted that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will make their debut together today: "Finally. It'll be great. We're really good with only Kawhi. We're really good with only PG. You put them two together, it's gotta be good. We'll see it tonight. But I'm really excited."
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 20, 2019
Leonard hasn’t played since Nov. 13 as he battles a knee issue. That came at a bad time, as George recovered from shoulder issues to make his Clippers debut the next night. That means the two just haven’t quite been healthy at the same time.
Zubac certainly can’t be accused of being misleading about an injury — which his coach got fined for — when he’s going off-message like this.