Rob Gronkowski speaks out on racial tensions: ‘You got to all come together as a team’

Rob Gronkowski is getting political, and his thoughts are deeper than you might imagine.

During his Wednesday appearance on the MooseTV channel on Class Act Sport, the Patriots tight end opened up about the ongoing racial tension around the United States and summarized how teamwork could be the solution to influence progress.

“Evil will always just destroy itself,” Gronkowski said. “In sports, a team is surrounded with people with different backgrounds, with different races, with different religion and you know how in order for a team to win is everyone comes together. I feel like that’s what the USA represents — everyone just needs to come together in order to win just like sports teams.

“I feel better about my body and my ability on the field. I don’t have to worry about taking so many injuries from different plays like yesterday where (Fairley) tried to hurt me,” Bryant told ESPN.com. “Just making sure my body feels good and I stay in shape.”

According to Bryant, the play was over when Fairley made an upper-body tackle on him.

“I was already on the ground. It is what it is,” Bryant said. “My foot was already bent. … (Farley) just came in and hit me.”

Bryant, who is the team’s No. 2 receiver after Antonio Brown, is back on the field after missing all of the 2016 season for multiple drug offenses.

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Reggie Bullock re-signs with Pistons for 2-year, $5 million deal, per report

Small forward Reggie Bullock will be a Piston for the foreseeable future, as the Detroit Pistons and Bullock agreed on a two-year, $5 million deal to keep the 26-year-old in the Motor City, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania.
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But McGregor wasn’t wearing a Green jersey. It was an old C.J. Watson one.

That led to McGregor telling Green he didn’t know who he was and to stay in school. (Green is a two-time NBA champion.) He then told Green, I dribble heads off the floor. Not a ball. This is no game here kid.

McGregor’s choice of wearing a C.J. Watson jersey has subtext to it: Watson was linked to Mayweather’s domestic abuse case between him and former partner Josie Harris in 2010. From USA Today:

Harris says she awoke with Mayweather screaming and grabbing her hair. She says he’d read affectionate text messages between her and NBA basketball player C.J. Watson, described in her book draft as her summer love.
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In that sense, this is a victory for the Celtics culture that has taken shape under Brad Stevens. It must be said that Hayward was a special case. He played for Stevens at Butler and cited their history in his farewell letter to Utah. Hayward may be the only player in the league to choose the Celtics specifically because of Stevens, but it never would have entered into his thinking if the C’s were hopelessly adrift.

In April after the Ariana Grande concert, Hayes again went to Parker to find out why there was so much security disparity between black performances and white ones. Hayes said that it directly contradicted the Hawks’ new commitment to racial diversity following so many incidents in the Hawks’ recent history (like Bruce Levenson’s racist emails and Danny Ferry’s comments).

How LaVar Ball uses misogyny to sell T-shirts

LaVar Ball is a parasite. He latches on to bigger and better celebrities in an attempt to lift his name higher, yet his fragility ensures that he calls out a woman for supposedly employing that same tactic. But at the end of the day, the women LaVar attacks and the athletes LaVar likens himself to all possess one thing he never will — real merit. And for the time being, he knows that only soundbites and T-shirts will fill that void.
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While the Nets are useful as a cautionary tale, it is not in the NBA’s interest to have 1/30th of its business moribund for several years, especially when that franchise has recently moved to a prime market. The Nets being so structurally weak is just as damaging to league-wide competitive balance as are the Warriors. The NBA is committed to improving competitive balance. You can’t let teams fall into holes like this if you ever want to achieve it.
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As such, here are three rule changes that could help prevent the next Brooklyn Nets from burying themselves.

NBA 2K18 is set to release on Sept. 19, and over the past few weeks we’ve learned one thing: This game looks sick! With MUCH-improved graphics, new game features, and a stacked music playlist, this game should look and feel as similar to the real NBA as ever. We’ll get to see a glimpse of it soon enough too, as 2K has announced that the Prelude to the game will be released on Sept. 8. We’re scarce on details about the Prelude so far, but it will be different from what was offered in 2K17.

Community manager Ronnie2K along with the game’s developers have been releasing new information about the game every day, and in this space we will keep track of everything we know about the game.

JaVale McGee tried so hard to score on top high schooler Marvin Bagley III, and couldn’t

Mikael Granlund Limited Jersey Marvin Bagley III is having a great summer. In between taking college visits, getting his 7-year-old brother a scholarship offer, and preparing to potentially reclassify to play college basketball next season, the No. 1 high school player in the country has also been playing in LA’s famed Drew League. There, he’s been playing alongside NBA stars like James Harden and Chris Paul … and cult heroes like JaVale McGee and Nick Young.

The majority of African Americans were found to have been wrongly convicted because of faulty drug testing by police departments, lack of DNA evidence at the time of incarceration and incorrect witness identification.

This is not a hit-or-miss, random issue — it is a systemic one.
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On average, innocent prisoners had almost nine years stolen from their lives before they were freed, and roughly 22 percent of prisoners have been exonerated by DNA evidence. But six percent of individuals who were exonerated had been serving time on death row and easily could have been put to death before cleared of charges. Unacceptably, 19 people were declared innocent after they died.

Finally, one in three inmates determined to have been wrongly convicted had been sentenced to prison terms of 50 years or longer. Without the ability to afford good legal counsel and knowing the system is stacked against them, 18 percent of people who were exonerated had pleaded guilty to grab a shorter prison sentence even though they were innocent.

Blair Walsh points at Vikings bench after making field goals for Seahawks

Kicker Blair Walsh is most famous for one thing — shanking a 27-yard field goal attempt that cost the Minnesota Vikings a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings cut him the next year and he signed with the Seahawks this past offseason.

With the two teams facing off in the preseason Friday night, it seemed inevitable that Walsh would take some shots at his former team. Sure enough, he pointed straight at the Vikings’ bench after making a 52-yard field goal in the third quarter.

That’s far from surprising news, but with just three more seasons until the impending negotiations, the two sides are already digging in their heels and looking prepared for a battle.

In May, NFLPA executive George Atallah told SiriusXM NFL Radio that there have already been efforts to prepare players for a work stoppage, and that the lack of preparation for players in 2011 forced the union’s hand in negotiations.

The suspension of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has also given both the NFL and NFLPA a chance to draw a line in the sand. The two sides traded insults over Twitter on Wednesday with the NFL calling the NFLPA “shameful” for victim blaming, and the NFLPA responding by saying the NFL was “stooping to new lows” with the accusations.

Smith’s belief that the negotiation of a new CBA will likely force a work stoppage is more common sense than a prophecy.

Look for extended action from third-string QB Cardale Jones, whom the Chargers acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. He and coach Anthony Lynn worked together in Buffalo, so that’s a connection worth monitoring as Rivers gets up there in age.
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Fight night in Calgary: Matthew Tkachuk in middle as tempers flare between Flames, Kings

The stakes are high for both the Flames and Kings in their anticipated rematch, but first, there was unfinished business to settle.

In their meeting 10 days earlier, Flames rookie Matthew Tkachuk threw an elbow to the chin of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, earning a two-game suspension and a dirty player label from Doughty, who made his displeasure known in a postgame rant about the 19-year-old’s growing reputation for his suspect style.

In accordance with hockey law, Tkachuk was going to pay Wednesday.

It started early with jawing during warm-ups when Kings agitator Kyle Clifford skated over to have a few words with Tkachuk.
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Roy Halladay Jersey Tkachuk then went looking for a fight in the first period, but was rebuffed by Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin. When he found a willing partner in Brayden McNabb, McNabb dropped Tkachuk with a swift uppercut.

I obviously thought he was going to be a candidate for it, and I don’t think there’s a better person for the job, Kunin told Sporting News. I’m very excited for him, and I know that he’s going to do great.

Granato, the head coach of the University of Wisconsin’s hockey team, was formally introduced on Friday by the USA Hockey brass as its 2018 Olympic head coach. Kunin was the captain of Granato’s most recent Badgers team, before he turned pro, signing with the Wild following his sophomore season.

Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge is the Home Run Derby final the universe deserves

Game Jake Gardiner Jersey Aaron Judge is the flavor of the month, the rookie who looks like two Mark McGwires in a trenchcoat trying to sneak into an R-rated movie, and I can respect why everyone is excited. He’s new, he’s fresh, and he looks like someone was screwing with the sliders in the create-a-player setting.

Giancarlo Stanton seems like the Aaron Judge from Christmas past, the T-800 to Judge’s T-1000. That almost rings true, except Judge is just two years younger. Stanton is also an ogre, also eager to flay and skin baseballs just enough that they will go and tell the other baseballs what happened. Stanton has done what Judge is doing, but for much longer.

If there is justice in the universe, Stanton and Judge will meet in the Home Run Derby final, and they’ll be responsible for folktales that are told after the collapse of civilization. Both of them consume whole goats as villagers throw stones at them, and it’s only fair if we get to watch them in the Home Run Derby, sending ball after ball into the spinning-marlin wormhole while kids run into each other below. Let this be one of your baseball wishes for the 2017 season.
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The guys in this clubhouse are unbelievable to me, Bellinger said. They make it really easy on me to be a young guy and let me come in and get my work done. It’s LA, but I’m just having fun with it.

Kershaw’s calm demeanor has been a staple of his 10 seasons with the Dodgers, leading some to call him boring and others to commend him for not getting caught up in on-field scuffles like fiery Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner. Though Bellinger has only been around for less than three months, some Dodgers have noticed that he possesses some of the same quiet leadership traits.

The Royals, Rays, and Mariners are tied for a wild card

Elite Andrus Peat Jersey Whereas the NL wild card picture looks a lot like a potential two-team race, the AL’s is a wide-open affair. Maybe Blue Jays fans are a little preemtively hopeful at four games back given they’re well under .500 and behind eight other teams, but that’s also kind of the source of said hope. Despite how many teams are in this thing, four games isn’t all that much with just under two months of baseball to go.

Imagine, then, how hopeful fans of the Royals, Rays, and Mariners are, given the three clubs are now in a three-way tie for the second wild card spot in the American League. All three clubs are just a smidge over an even record, with the trio all boasting a .509 winning percentage. However, all of that is enough to have the group 1.5 up on the O’s and Twins, the two non-wild card teams closest to one.

Until then, he’s figuring out how to entertain himself on the farm by mimicking famous swings.

It’s a pretty good impression too. He should start taking requests while he hangs out in Oklahoma waiting for the call to the bigs. Multiple levels of entertainment for every fan.
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After Marlins Man photographs his way through the gathered crowd, he takes me to his seats behind home plate. In addition to his Mermaids, he’s bringing 39 other people to the game tonight, paying for all of their tickets. He asks me if I need a seat, cracks jokes with the ushers, introduces me to them. He knows them all by name, and they all seem pleased to see him.

Marlins Man is smiling a lot out here, energized by the lights of the park. His tone has softened, his defenses dropped a bit since getting out of the Diamond Club. He seems earnest when he tells me he likes me, and he appreciates that I’ve recorded everything on my phone so I can’t twist his words. I tell him I will do my best not to.

Browns coach Hue Jackson doesn’t want his players protesting

Hue Jackson is a firm believer in patriotism.

EA Sports has an exclusive license with ESPN that allows the company to integrate the authentic ESPN/ABC broadcast presentation — including the commentary team of Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy — in addition to the role “First Take” plays in the game.

The “NBA Live” series has gone through a tumultuous last seven years with cancellations outnumbering actual products released. What was once a proud franchise has been largely forgotten by fans as competitor “NBA 2K” has risen to previously unthinkable sales levels and cultural relevance. A mobile version of “NBA Live'” came out last year and has done very well, but it remains to be seen whether the series can pull itself up off the ground on consoles and avoid the fate that several other sports game franchises have faced over the last decade of contraction within the genre.

James Harden appears on the cover of “NBA Live 18,” which will release on Sept. 15 for just $40 as part of a pre-order bonus. In addition to the new career mode, the WNBA makes its debut in the game. A demo will go live in North America on Aug. 11 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and include the ability to start the career mode and carry over progress to the full game if purchased along with an NBA Finals rematch of Cavaliers vs. Warriors.

The Niners had a pretty good tradition of QBs in the 1980s and ‘90s, but it was a little rough in the ‘70s. Before he was the “Head Ball Coach,” Spurrier was a No. 3 overall pick in 1967 after winning the Heisman at Florida. His pro playing career hit a nader with a winless season in Tampa Bay, but before then, he struggled as a middle passer for nine years in San Francisco. Going 13-12-1, he threw 33 touchdowns to 48 interceptions for a 61.2 rating and major bust status.dolphins_085

Smith gives the Indians their third strikeout-oriented reliever.

Why they’re here: This might be a bit high for the Mariners, but the core of this team is good enough to win a World Series — Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, James Paxton, Kyle Seager, Jean Segura and Edwin Diaz. And this group has been playing good baseball since a sluggish start to the season. Since falling to a season-worst eight games below .500 on May 27, the Mariners have 33 wins; only the Dodgers (44), Astros (35) and Royals (34) have more.

Dave Taylor Kids Jersey Why they’re here: The lineup is dynamic, led by Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. And the trade additions of Pat Neshek and Jonathan Lucroy were smart moves, but it really feels like this team needed to add at least one starter with some type of postseason experience to the rotation. The young starters in that rotation will be very good contributors for the Rockies for years.

Smith gives the Indians their third strikeout-oriented reliever. Cody Allen and Andrew Miller are two of the best relievers in MLB, so Smith will likely see most of his action in the seventh inning along with right-hander Bryan Shaw. With a rotation starting to find its way, and an elite bullpen, the Indians are in position to make noise in the postseason once again.
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Allen added that Francona provides the clubhouse with a stabilizing sense of confidence, whether they’re on a prolonged winning streak or a losing skid.

The dominance of Cleveland’s bullpen is an extension of that confidence.

Miller said Francona was a key reason behind the bullpen’s success last postseason, as he made clear the possibility of interchangeable roles and helped the staff buy into the idea. That approach and success has carried into this season, as the Indians’ bullpen has strung together the sixth-highest relief pitching fWAR (5.0).