Sportress of Blogitude A blog...about sports 2017-08-18T19:43:32Z WordPress Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Mike Tomlin tight-lipped on anthem protests, Charlottesville]]> 2017-08-18T19:43:32Z 2017-08-18T19:29:45Z Read More]]>

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during a Friday press conference if he has any plans to discuss with his players the national anthem protests occurring around the NFL.

“I won’t,” Tomlin succinctly stated.

Tomlin was later asked for his reaction to the events last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., where a rally led by white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis devolved into violence.

The tense situation turned tragic when one person was killed and 19 others injured when James Alex Fields Jr. plowed through a group of counter-protesters. Two Virginia State Troopers also died in helicopter crash while monitoring the situation.

The outbreak of violence and nature of the situation has turned into a new rallying cry for NFL players who are opting to protest the anthem before games.

Tomlin made it abundantly clear he wasn’t interested in expressing his personal opinions on the matter.

“I have no reaction,” Tomlin said. “You know, a lot of people have personal opinions, and it’s just that — it’s personal opinions. If I don’t think mine adds any value to the discussion, I will keep it to myself and not add it to the fray.”

Asked minutes later how the Charlottesville incidents impacted him personally, Tomlin remained tight-lipped.

“Again, I’ve got no comment,” he said.

It’s unclear from his comments if Tomlin would prefer his players to avoid anthem protests, whatever the nature. The Steelers, after all, did not have one player stage any kind of protest during the anthem last season.

How Tomlin truly feels about these issues notwithstanding, one thing is certain: He’s not about to discuss with the media.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Kevin Durant blasts teacher who disparaged him in lesson]]> 2017-08-18T18:52:08Z 2017-08-18T18:25:12Z Read More]]>

Kevin Durant on Friday took to Twitter to blast a Tulsa, Okla., schoolteacher who disparaged him in a handout to students.

The teacher allegedly issued a handout that suggested it was better to emulate Michael Jordan as opposed to the Golden State Warriors superstar (image here).

The crux of the teacher’s argument centered around how Jordan is a better role model than Durant as the former worked hard and persevered to win championships while the latter took the easy way out by signing with the Golden State Warriors to win a title.

Suffice to say, Durant was not impressed, not in the least. In fact, Durant, presumably in a joking or sarcastic manner, argued that a stiff punishment was warranted for the teacher in question.

Suffice to say, incarceration may be a little bit too harsh of a punishment for the perceived transgression. Termination of employment is a little much as well, obviously. But it’s clear from this social media outburst — not to mention some others in the recent past — that Durant isn’t afraid to speak is mind.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[DeMarcus Cousins weighs in on Donald Trump, Confederate statues (vid)]]> 2017-08-18T18:12:41Z 2017-08-18T17:53:48Z Read More]]>

DeMarcus Cousins didn’t hold back when expressing his opinions on President Donald Trump and the current controversy surrounding the removal of Confederate statues and monuments across the country.

The New Orleans Pelicans superstar unleashed a profanity-laden rant against Confederate statues, telling a TMZ camera crew, “Take all them (explietive) down,” Cousins said … “Take ‘em all down.”

Meanwhile, when addressing Trump, who is at the center of the controversy related the recent outbreak of violence in Charlottesville, Cousins made it clear he isn’t a supporter.

“I don’t really want to say too much, but I don’t really respect the guy who’s in the front office,” Cousins said.


The controversy surrounding the removal of Confederate statues and monuments came to a violent head last weekend in Charlottesville. A rally held by white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis turned tragic when one person was killed and 19 others injured when James Alex Fields Jr. plowed through a group of counter-protesters. Two Virginia State Troopers also died in helicopter crash while monitoring the situation.

Cousins, a Mobile, Ala., native, of course isn’t the only high-profile sports personality to weigh in on the issues surrounding the monument issue. Nor is he the the only NBA superstar to recently express an unfavorable opinion of Trump, as Kevin Durant and LeBron James have this week as well.

That said, Cousins won’t be the last sports superstar to weigh in on these two issues, either.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Okla. teacher’s handout: Be more like MJ, not Kevin Durant (pic)]]> 2017-08-18T16:34:56Z 2017-08-18T16:34:56Z Read More]]>

A teacher in Tulsa, Okla., clearly is still holding a serious grudge against Kevin Durant over his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead of the 2016-17 NBA season.

How do we know? Said teacher issued a handout to students imploring them to be more like Michael Jordan instead of following the path of Durant.

My brother got this handout about behavior at school today.

“If I could be like Mike,” indeed.

The crux of the teacher’s argument that it is better to emulate Jordan over Durant is the former worked hard to win championships while the latter took the easy way out by signing with the Golden State Warriors to win a title. It’s a criticism that has been levied at Durant innumerable times in the past year, obviously.

The most “compelling” aspects of the handout are as follows, each passage coming from the “DON’T BE A … Kevin Durant” and “DO BE A … Michael Jordan,” respectively (via SB Nation):

“KD left the OKC Thunder last summer after falling to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Following the end of the season, he decided it was in his best interest to join the very same team that has just knocked him out of the playoffs. Don’t be like KD. Don’t take the easy way out.”

“The greatest thing this man ever did? Saving the Looney Tunes from a lifetime of servitude to an alien race. Did MJ take the easy way out? Did he ever back down from a challenge? NO! Be like Mike.”

Nice “Space Jam” reference. That deserves to be commended.

For what it’s worth, Jordan recently defended Durant’s “right” to join the Warriors. So there’s that.

As far as this teacher in Tulsa is concerned — and this holds true for every embittered Thunder fan — it’s time to let go on the Durant thing and move on. Right?

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Blake who? Jaguars fan rocks Colin Kaepernick jersey (pic)]]> 2017-08-18T15:58:49Z 2017-08-18T15:37:00Z Read More]]>

Blake Bortles could very well lose his job as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting quarterback, that much is becoming clear. Bortles’ erratically underwhelming play throughout his career has been compounded by an absolutely atrocious training camp and putrid performances in two preseason games.

And it looks like Jaguars fans — arguably rightfully so — continue to turn on the 25-year-old signal-caller. Heck, even one of his teammates called him out during a recent practice.

One Jaguars fan made his feelings on Bortles abundantly clear by rocking a custom Colin Kaepernick jersey during Thursday’s 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Stadium.

Bortles once again failed to impress in an exhibition game, going 8-for-13 for 65 yards. The first-team offense punted on all four of drives Bortles led.

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said after the game that the starting quarterback spot is “right up there for grabs” for Bortles and Chad Henne, at least as things currently stand.

That’s where Kaepernick comes into the conversation, although it warrants mentioning that the Jaguars haven’t expressed any interest whatsoever in signing him, nor do they seem likely to do so.

That aside, Kaepernick of course remains unemployed, arguably in a confounding manner given his pedigree of at least being a competent quarterback, if not more. The Indianapolis Colts were the latest team to pass on signing him, leaving the signal-caller in NFL purgatory.

Kaepernick has been left out in the cold each and every time a quarterback job has opened up. Myriad theories have been forwarded as to why that’s the case, including the notion he’s being blackballed for his national anthem protests and political advocacy.

Until Kaepernick does land with a team, expect the perpetual conversation to continue.

Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, things continue to get uglier and uglier on the Bortles front. It’s gotten so bad popular Jaguars site Big Cat Country posted the following tweet Thursday night.

The post already has been retweeted nearly 2,000 times. Oof.

[CBS Sports]

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Bowling Green kicker earns scholarship by making 53-yard field goal]]> 2017-08-18T14:30:00Z 2017-08-18T14:30:00Z Read More]]>

Bowling Green Falcons kicker Jake Suder was under enormous pressure during a recent practice when making a 53-yard field goal was the only thing standing between him and a scholarship.

And wouldn’t you know it? Suder nailed it.

As Suder’s teammates looked on, Suder readied himself for arguably the biggest pressure kick he’s ever attempted in his college career. Bowling Green head coach Mike Jinks laid it all on the line after watching Suder enjoy a solid practice, Bowling Green spokesman Jason Knavel told Yahoo Sports.

And Suder’s kick was true. In fact, it was better than that, splitting the uprights and clearing the crossbar with plenty of room to spare. And with that, a mad celebration was in the offing as Suder’s teammates enveloped him as they erupted into a celebratory frenzy.

“Coach had two scholarships still available for kids this year and Jake was one of the few kids who they had on their short list as a possibility for those two,” Knavel told Yahoo Sports via email. “There had been no final determination on exactly how those scholarships would be given out.

“So, at practice, they were kicking and Jake was nailing them. So when they got to the long one (53 yards out), Coach Jinks out of the blue told him, ‘Knock this one down for a full scholarship.’ It really was organic and out of the blue.”

Suder, a former walk-on, played on a one-year scholarship in 2016 and is entering his redshirt junior year. But now, thanks to his clutch kick, Suder is on a full ride. And even without the 53-yarder, the case could be made he deserves it after going 9-for-12 on field goal attempts and converting 35-of-38 extra points.

“Coach Jinks said that afterwards he realized he had no idea what he would have done had he missed the kick,” Knavel said. “It was a totally spur-of-the-moment event.”

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[St. Louis shelter housing Rally Cat accuses Cardinals of ‘bullying tactics’]]> 2017-08-18T14:05:56Z 2017-08-18T13:46:59Z Read More]]>

The Rally Cat saga has taken a bizarre turn after the animal shelter that currently is housing the feline accused the St. Louis Cardinals organization of “bullying tactics” in its effort to acquire custody of the animal.

St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach, a nonprofit organization, posted a statement on its Facebook page indicating the Cardinals erred with the assumption it would gain custody of Rally Cat once he is released from mandatory quarantine. SLFCO goes so far as to accuse the team of conducting itself in a manner that “seems inconsistent with ‘The Cardinals Way.’”

“It was a disappointment to STLFCO and many of our friends and fans to read the Cardinal’s PR Head Ron Watermon’s comments to the media concerning Rally,” the rather lengthy statement opens. “It was a totally false statement that STLFCO has committed anything to the Cardinals. We have made no decisions about Rally’s long-term placement. It seems inconsistent with ‘The Cardinals Way’ to make such false statements.”

The statement makes reference comments made by Watermon in which he claims the shelter “assured us they will be returning our cat to us after a mandatory 10-day quarantine period.” Apparently, that is not the case.

The feral feline at the center of the controversy became the latest “Rally [Insert Animal Here]” to take Major League Baseball by storm. Rally Cat became a sensation thanks to its appearance at Busch Stadium on Aug. 9 during the sixth inning of the Cardinals’ 8-5 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Since then, the Rally Cat saga has taken on a (ninth) life of its own, with the Cardinals actually issuing an official statement after the cat went missing.

Developments this week pointed to the notion that a looming Rally Cat custody battle was in the offing. It certainly appears with STLFCO’s latest statement that indeed appears to be the case.

Either way, the Cardinals have already designated Sept. 10 as “Rally Cat Appreciation Day.” The hope is the cat will be healthy enough to make it to the event planned in his honor, despite the seemingly lingering animosity.

Rally Cat, everyone.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Report: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving did not meet in Miami]]> 2017-08-17T19:09:38Z 2017-08-17T19:09:38Z Read More]]>

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving apparently were both in Miami over the past weekend. But despite reports to the contrary, the Cleveland Cavaliers teammates — for now — did not actually meet, according to comments made by Stephen A. Smith.

The ESPN commentator reported on “First Take” Thursday that said encounter did not take place, citing a source in James’ camp.

“I just got off the phone with folks about an hour ago,” Smith said, as transcribed by Dime Mag. “They said LeBron James and Kyrie Irving never met at all. They were both in the city of Miami, but I was told that it is quite possible to be in the same city and not see each other. They never met. They never talked.

“LeBron James’ mentality, and according to his camp they want people to know this, LeBron James is fine with whoever comes into camp. Come September when training camp opens, LeBron James will be ready to ball. It does not matter who it is. It does not matter who’s on his team.”

The disputing of the meeting aside, Smith’s final comments bear examining. It would seem that James, if Smith’s sources are reliable, will welcome — perhaps reluctantly — Irving in Cavaliers camp.

James and Irving seemingly have been trading cryptic barbs at one another on social media ever since the original report surfaced concerning the disgruntled point guard’s trade demand (here and here), something that seemingly has a new development with each passing day.

James, however, did continue with his patented cryptic social media musings by refuting reports concerning his purported deteriorating relationship with Irving.

And then there were the events of Wednesday when a report surfaced that James was “100 percent” leaving the Cavaliers after the 2017-18 NBA season. James’ camp of course denied that was the case and the reporter who originally broke the story tweeted some interesting thoughts on why they would do so.

Suffice to say, it has been one eventful — and tumultuous — offseason for James, Irving and the Cavaliers. And there appears no end in sight to all the drama.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Bucs offensive line pranks rookies with fake $26,000 dinner bill (pic)]]> 2017-08-17T18:30:15Z 2017-08-17T18:14:51Z Read More]]>

A handful of Tampa Bay Buccaneers players pulled a fast one on two rookies by presenting them with a bogus $26,000 bill at the team’s annual rookie dinner.

Tradition dictates rookies foot the bill for each position group. Wednesday night marked the Buccaneers offensive line’s outing, held at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Jacksonville, Fla.

Once the meal was completed, the veterans on the Bucs O-line presented Korren Kirven and Cole Gardner — both undrafted rookies — with the aforementioned $26K tab.

Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted out an image of the fake dinner bill.

Left tackle Donovan Smith took to Instagram to post a video of the bill. It was captioned, “Rookie dinner. Thanks!”

Kirven posted an Instagram story of the bill along with the message, “Rest in Peace.”

The presumably stunned rookies were of course ultimately informed they were the victims of a brilliant prank. Smith revealed as much in a tweet.

“… it’s a fake bill,” Smith tweeted, “we tricked the rookies.”

The ruse was confirmed by several sources, including the restaurant manager. The tab actually came out to about $3,000, per an ESPN report.

“We didn’t have to pay for anything,” Kirven said of the prank. “We were shocked at first when we saw the bill. We thought we weren’t gonna make it. But at the end, knowing they paid it was pretty cool of them.”

Crisis resolved.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Kris Bryant receives adorable marriage proposal during hospital visit]]> 2017-08-17T18:08:59Z 2017-08-17T17:31:01Z Read More]]>

Kris Bryant and wife Jessica paid a visit this week to the Adult Down Syndrome Center at Advocate Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., where they surprised a group of patients. Perhaps the best — and most adorable — part of the visit is when a young woman named Julie made a marriage proposal to the Chicago Cubs superstar, his wife’s presence be darned.

Both Bryant and his wife played off the proposal brilliantly (via

“You have to ask her,” Bryant laughs, pointing to Jessica who had an infectious smile on her face. By the looks of it, she didn’t seem to mind the display.

The patient used her manners and asked “please,” so Bryant ultimately gave in as the crowd cheered.

Jessica even took to Twitter to react to the sudden turn of events, joking it’s all good between her and Julie in light of the youngster’s thoughtful dinner invitation.

The Bryants were engaged in 2015 and married on Jan. 7, 2017. Despite their heartwarming gesture to Julie, odds are good the newlyweds, who were high school sweethearts, are in it for the long haul.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Photog snaps great pic of first pitch that drilled him in the groin]]> 2017-08-17T17:06:37Z 2017-08-17T16:50:44Z Read More]]>

Photographer Tony Capobianco became an arguably unwilling Internet sensation Wednesday night when he painfully became part of the story he was covering at Fenway Park.

Capobianco, a photographer for the Andover (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune, was standing off behind home plate to capture the moment cancer survivor Jordan Leandre threw the ceremonial first pitch before the Red Sox hosted the St. Louis Cardinals.

Leandre, a high school pitcher, saw his pitch sail high and wide, ultimately drilling Capobianco square in the — ahem — nether regions.

Leandre demonstrated an admirable self-deprecating sense of humor over his airmailed first pitch gone awry when taking to Twitter to acknowledge the gaffe.

Capobianco, despite presumably being in some semblance of discomfort, also took to Twitter to joke about the incident.

Capobianco also showcased how his pain may have been the price he had to pay to capture such a phenomenal photograph of the errant first pitch.

Well played.

The amusing incident Wednesday night at Fenway — at least for everyone other than Capobianco — wasn’t the first time that a photographer recently became as a big of a story as the one they were covering.

Sports photographers rarely get the credit they deserve for how their considerable talents contribute to sports media coverage. Although it’s too bad Capobianco had to take a pitch to the groin to do so.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Reporter: LeBron James’ reps ‘will/must lie to protect his image’]]> 2017-08-17T15:54:33Z 2017-08-17T15:54:33Z Read More]]>

ESPN NBA reporter Chris Sheridan on Thursday doubled down on his report Wednesday that LeBron James is “100 percent leaving” the Cleveland Cavaliers after the 2017-18 season.

Sheridan suggested in his original tweeted report that James’ relationship with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is “beyond repair.”

In fact, Sheridan even upped the ante by making the accusation that the Cavaliers superstar’s reps “will/must lie to protect his image.”

Sheridan made the controversial claim in tweet posted Thursday morning, also accusing James’ inner circle as being “disingenuous.”

A report that vehemently disputed the veracity of Sheridan’s assertion on James’ future was quickly posted to Twitter via Hoop Hype’s Alex Kennedy.

There’s obviously a lot to unpack in processing the disparate reporting of the past day. James could very well decided to jump ship and leave Cleveland again following next season. That much is true, especially in light of some developments within the Cavs organization this offseason, including the departure of former general manager David Griffin, not to mention the Kyrie Irving trade drama, something that continues to dominate the NBA news cycle.

That said, new Cavs general manager Koby Altman said last month that James “remains deeply committed” the organization.

It certainly makes little sense for the James camp to confirm he’s headed elsewhere after next season. That would be supremely foolish. Whether James’ reps are actually guilty of being “disingenuous” may be an accurate assertion. But without question it’s the only way to go at this stage.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Is Cardinals’ ‘Rally Cat’ in the middle of a looming custody battle?]]> 2017-08-17T15:13:45Z 2017-08-17T15:13:44Z Read More]]>

The St. Louis Cardinals organization are among those behind the “thousands of inquiries” that have been made to a St. Louis animal shelter concerning the ultimate final custody of “Rally Cat.”

The feral feline of course became the latest “Rally [Insert Animal Here]” to take Major League Baseball by storm thanks to its appearance in the outfield at Busch Stadium during last Wednesday 8-5 win over the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning (more on that here).

“Rally Cat,” currently housed at St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach, will eventually be adopted once he is released from quarantine, a standard procedure at the shelter.

But who exactly will take on caring for “Rally Cat” remains uncertain. The shelter posted a statement on its Facebook page to address the issue.

“We’ve had thousands of inquiries from throughout the region, including many great organizations like the St. Louis Cardinals, in addition to many cat-loving individuals about adopting Rally,” the statement read in part.

The statement added the cat is “doing just fine” but hasn’t gained enough weight to be cleared of quarantine.

The Cardinals, who actually issued an official statement after “Rally Cat” went missing after the game, made its case to gain custody of the feline.

“The St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach organization has assured us they will be returning our cat to us after a mandatory 10-day quarantine period,” said Cardinals vice president of communications Ron Watermon, via the New York Post.

It’s obviously unclear at this time if “Rally Cat” will ultimately end up in the custody of the Cardinals organization. Either way, the Cardinals have already designated Sept. 10 as “Rally Cat Appreciation Day.” The hope is the cat will be healthy enough to make it to the event planned in his honor.

Rally Cat, everyone.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Tom Brady greets young cancer patient after Patriots practice (vid)]]> 2017-08-17T14:33:52Z 2017-08-17T14:33:52Z Read More]]>

Tom Brady took a moment after Wednesday’s joint practice between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans to greet a young fan currently undergoing cancer treatments.

Gabe Lester, 11, paid a visit to the Texans’ training camp facility in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. and got the chance to meet Brady.

A devoted Patriots fan, Lester actually had undergone chemotherapy treatments earlier in the day before meeting his NFL idol.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Tom,” Brady said to Gabe before shaking the youngster’s hand before posing for photos with and signing some autographs for Gabe’s family.

“The two things he said, he said he wanted to go to New England and watch the Patriots play, and the second was to meet Tom Brady,” Lester’s father said of his son. “And I said, ‘I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do it, but I’ll do my very best.”

“Nice job, Dad,” Brady responded.

Great stuff. And it’s not the first time Brady has befriended a special child saddled with a devastating illness.

Still, it must have been quite a thrill for the 11-year-old, something made even more impressive in light of his treatments earlier in the day.

Best of luck to Gabe as he continues his brave battle.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Saints fan trolls Falcons over SB loss with cleverly calculated tip (pic)]]> 2017-08-17T14:17:16Z 2017-08-17T14:14:48Z Read More]]>

A New Orleans Saints fan utilized a cleverly calculated tip to troll the Atlanta Falcons over the team’s historic and heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl LI.

The Falcons of course blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead last February, ultimately losing to the New England Patriots in overtime by a score of 34-28 in stunning fashion.

Well, some snarky Saints fan who happened to be dining out at an Atlanta restaurant decided to calculate his gratuity in such a manner to become the latest wisenheimer to troll the Falcons over the historic blown lead.

Boom. Roasted. The patented “WHO DAT” message of course was especially fitting.

One could argue that any Falcons fans at said restaurant could put the Saints fan in his place by simply stating, “Well, at least we made it to the Super Bowl.” The Saints, after all, have posted three consecutive 7-9 records and haven’t sniffed the postseason since 2013.

Then again, a fitting retort to that barb would be that the Saints actually won when they made it all the way, beating the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV back in 2010. The Falcons have lost both times the team has made it to the Super Bowl, following the 1998 NFL season and again last year.

That said, it warrants mentioning this isn’t the first time in the recent past that Saints fans have gone all-in on trolling their NFC South rivals.

New Orleans T-shirt company Dirty Coast recently launched a campaign to get the following billboard erected near the Falcons’ new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Cold-blooded. Suffice to say, don’t expect the “28-3” trolling to end anytime soon.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Michelle Wie debuts patriotic ‘bling shoes’ before Solheim Cup (pics)]]> 2017-08-17T13:44:13Z 2017-08-17T13:44:13Z Read More]]>

Michelle Wie will make her fifth consecutive appearance in the Solheim Cup this week at Des Moines Golf & Country Club. As patriotic as they come when it comes to such events, Wie is going all-out touting a style befitting a role on Team USA.

And to kick it off for Wie, it’s gotta be the shoes.

Wie on Wednesday showcased a sparkly pair of sneakers that she refers to as “bling shoes.”

“The bling shoes, I love them,” Wie said Wednesday ahead of the biennial event that starts Friday, via SB Nation. “I don’t know if I’ll be playing in them just because I took them out to the range and they were very bright.”

Wie will in fact not be wearing the Nike high-top “bling shoes” during the competition, opting instead for a less flashy but still patriotic pair of kicks.

As documented in the above tweet, Wie’s shoes aren’t the only way she’s getting into the spirit of things. Wie took to Instagram earlier this week to showcase her star-spangled hairstyle, resplendent with red, white and blue braids.

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie says her Solheim Cup style “shows my personality” and reflects how the competition boasts “more excitement” and “more intensity.” It’s abundantly clear just how much the 27-year-old enjoys the event.

“Solheim Cup, it means everything to me,” Wie said. “It’s pretty obvious that it means the world to me. I think representing my team, being able to represent my country and being able to represent my team, it’s so amazing. I feel extremely lucky.”

And if that wasn’t clear enough, just check out those “bling shoes” again.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Rasheed Wallace: Ex-teammate Zach Randolph ‘ain’t no dope dealer’]]> 2017-08-16T19:13:36Z 2017-08-16T19:13:36Z Read More]]>

Rasheed Wallace came out in defense of former teammate Zach Randolph, saying the Sacramento Kings forward “ain’t no dope dealer.”

Randolph, 32, was arrested and charged last week in Los Angeles with felony marijuana possession with intent to sell after police allegedly found upwards of two pounds of pot on his person.

Raymond Brothers, Randolph’s agent and attorney, called the charges “false and misleading.”

“We’re looking at all options to resolve this matter,” Brothers told The Associated Press last Thursday.

It would appear that Wallace, who was Randolph’s teammate with the Portland Trail Blazers for a few seasons in the early 2000s believes as much as well.

“It seems to be — no matter who you are — the bigger the paycheck, the bigger the party,” Wallace told a TMZ Sports camera crew. “… I know for a fact he ain’t no dope dealer.”

It merits noting that Wallace was donning a “Healers Not Dealers” shirt during the interview.

Randolph signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Kings in July after playing the past eight seasons with Memphis Grizzlies.

It goes without saying the NBA will closely monitor Randolph’s case as it progresses through the court system. Randolph obviously will be subject to discipline per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which could at worst for Randolph lead to an outright ban from the NBA.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[James Harrison ‘fine’ with potentially backing up T.J. Watt]]> 2017-08-16T18:35:20Z 2017-08-16T18:29:12Z Read More]]>

James Harrison claims he’s “fine” with how the Pittsburgh Steelers appear intent on having him play the role of backup to rookie T.J. Watt at outside linebacker.

Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter announced earlier this week that Watt will start with Harrison, 39, spelling him in certain situations.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t yet confirmed that’s the plan going forward. Harrison also remains atop the official depth chart, for what that’s worth.

Still, Harrison appears to read the writing on the wall and claims the assumed reduced role doesn’t bother him.

“I just found this out when you all (in the media) told me,” Harrison said late Wednesday morning. “That’s fine…. I’m not worried about that; whatever (the coaches) want me to do. Thirty-nine years old, still playing football.”

Harrison started the past few seasons designated as a backup at the outside linebacker position, only to see his name ultimately atop the depth chart as the season progressed.

“That’s what (coaches) felt at the time,” Harrison said of the situation in years past. “So that’s what it was going to be. Turned out not to be that.

“Things changed.”

The veteran linebacker continues to defy Father Time through a combination of an awe-inspiring workout regimen and arguably some luck. Even if Harrison, the Steelers’ all-time sack leader, is in fact relegated to a backup role, there’s no reason to believe he can’t still produce when the opportunity presents itself.

And it goes without saying that if Watt does struggle a bit in his rookie campaign, Harrison is one phenomenal backup plan, even at his advanced age.

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Report: Kristaps Porzingis ‘off limits’ in potential Kyrie Irving trade]]> 2017-08-16T16:58:37Z 2017-08-16T16:58:37Z Read More]]>

The New York Knicks reportedly have declared Kristaps Porzingis “off limits” in any potential trade for Kyrie Irving, according to a Newsday source.

Porzingis reportedly is among the Cavs’ top targets in a potential trade to ship out the disgruntled point guard with the word being Cleveland is on the hunt for a young star in exchange for Irving. The belief is such an acquisition in exchange for Irving would serve as an insurance policy for LeBron James’ potential departure after next season.

But the Knicks understandably are reluctant to deal the rising star, per Newsday’s report.

The Knicks don’t appear interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis, including a possible deal for Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, according to a league source…

“[Knicks president] Steve Mills and [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry on the record were very clear that Kristaps was part of the future,’’ the source said in reference to comments made last month by both executives. “In all the discussions since then — there were other rumors before that Cleveland would want Kristaps — and it didn’t seem that [the Knicks] were interested at all in a conversation.’’

The Knicks were among a handful of teams Irving reportedly identified as preferred destinations when his trade demand was first reported. There have been several permutations and developments since then, though, and the drama hasn’t subsisted one bit.

The latest development suggests Irving may be willing to sign an extension should a trade with the San Antonio Spurs be accomplished.

That aside, the Knicks considering any trade talk involving Porzingis as a nonstarter makes perfect sense. After all, Phil Jackson reportedly was fielding offers for the young Latvian shortly before the Knicks finally decided to cut him loose.

Porzingis has also expressed a desire to remain with the Knicks, albeit in a lukewarm manner, saying New York is “now home.” And given this recent report, it appears Porzingis’ new home, if there ever is one, won’t be Cleveland.

[Pro Basketball Talk]

Jason Rowan <![CDATA[Brewers got weird for team’s ‘Game of Thrones Night’ (pics)]]> 2017-08-16T17:04:54Z 2017-08-16T16:15:01Z Read More]]>

The Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night hosted “Game of Thrones Night” at Miller Park during their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. And let’s just say that things got really weird, albeit it in an amusing, yet surreal, manner.

Among the highlights of the themed evening that paid tribute to the smash HBO series included folks portraying prominent “GoT” characters.

The Brewers, though, were mostly responsible for how things got strange. Highlighted on the team’s Twitter account, the Brewers portrayed several players as prominent “Game of Thrones” characters.

Travis Shaw was portrayed as Sir Davos Seaworth, Zach Davies as Bran Stark n/k/a The Three-Eyed Raven, Manny Pena as Petyr Baelish and Keon Broxton as Brotherhood Without Banners leader Ser Beric Dondarrion.

But the best of all without question was “Neil White Walker.”

Wow. That’s … something.

It appears that a special giveaway also occurred where select fans received a bobblehead depicting Bernie Brewer seated upon the Iron Throne.

The Brewers kept up with the “Game of Thrones”-themed silliness on Twitter with several recognizable references to the show.

“Game of Thrones” of course has become a veritable cultural phenomenon that has made serious inroads into the world of sports on myriad levels. Interestingly, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Tampa Bay Rays slugger Evan Longoria actually have had recent dealings with teammates over potential “Game of Thrones” spoilers.