NBC SportsBill May, a 36-year-old Cirque du Soleil performer who took up synchronized swimming at age 10 and came out of a 10-year retirement last year, received his first chance to compete at the World Aquatics Championships on Sunday with men debuting in synchro this year in Kazan, Russia.

And he nailed it.

May and partner Christina Jones, a 2008 Olympian, won the first mixed duet technical World Championship, one year after FINA announced it would add mixed-gender synchronized swimming events to Worlds for the first time. That’s what prompted May’s unretirement.

“It’s unreal, a dream come true!” May said. …

May and Jones totaled 88.5108 points after their 2 1/2-minute routine, beating a Russian pair by .2122 points.

Men are still not allowed to compete in Olympic synchronized swimming.

I could not have been more excited to post the video of Billy May and Christina Jones’ triumph. But unfortunately due to a rights issue, it’s not available, so you’ll have to settle for checking it out here. Click the link and enjoy the best 3:12 of your sports year.

And once you’ve done so, I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that this is a great day to be an American. The rest of the world might be catching up with us economically, industrially, technologically and militarily and have blown right past us educationally generations ago. Hell, they’ve even closed the gap in our own sports. But right now, as of this moment, the U.S. is the best there ever was in the sports of kings, mixed-gender synchronized swimming.

Maybe the Russians can launch men into space and we can’t. But they are .2122 points behind us in the race to put a man into a synchronized swimming competition. And until someone dethrones us, I say we make the most of this. Of course until they close that gap, it’ll probably mean that we’ll be denied seeing mixed-gender in the Olympics. Nobody’s going to allow a new sport where Americans dominate this much. But hopefully someday the Billy Mays of the synchro world will stop being discriminated against and get treated like the equals they are, and then we can own the Olympic podium as well. And then, dare we dream, an all-men’s event.

In the meantime, let’s just enjoy this and be proud that our nation is great at something once again. I cannot wait until the White House visit and the ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes. God bless you, Billy and Christina. And God bless America.


DraftKings Play fantasy baseball every day at DraftKings — official daily fantasy partner of the Boston Red Sox — and win part of $300 million in prizes being paid out this baseball season! FOR FREE ENTRY TO THE $10,000 FANTASY BASEBALL CONTEST, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Shabazz Napier

Shabazz Napier

After just one season with the Heat, Shabazz Napier has been traded to the Magic for a second-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Napier, a Roxbury native who was a first-round selection in 2014 after leading UConn to a national championship, was said to be the preferred choice of LeBron James come draft time in July 2014. However, with James departed for the Cavaliers, the Heat made the trade in order to clear $1.3 million in cap space and to gain roster flexibility.

In Orlando, Napier likely sits as a third option at point guard behind sophomore Elfrid Payton and veteran C.J. Watson. Last year, he averaged 5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 19.8 minutes per game for the Heat.

The Cavaliers made a crucial move Sunday by sending Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller and two second-round picks to the Trail Blazers for two trade exceptions worth $10.52 million and $2.85 million, according to to Wojnarowski.

Haywood’s contract would have become guaranteed on Aug. 1, so the Cavs needed to make a move with it by then. The trade exception they gained by moving his contract is the largest in the NBA. Last season the Cavs used a trade exception to acquire Timofey Mozgov from the Nuggets.

Though Miller is one of James’ closest friends, the Cavs made the move to trade him in order to save roughly $10 million between salary and luxury tax deductions. James was upset in 2013 when the Heat traded Miller for financial reasons, however a source close to James described trading Miller as “the right thing to do” in order to give him career options as he nears retirement.

The Blazers can take on the contracts of Haywood and Miller because they have $25 million in cap space after the departures of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum and Wesley Matthews. They most definitely will waive Haywood in order to reap the benefits of his $10 million non-guaranteed contract, and it is also presumed they will do the same with Miller. If Miller is released, the Cavaliers will not be able to re-sign him for at least one year.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

Mayor Marty Walsh, who has been a staunch supporter of Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics, said Monday that he would not sign a contract with the U.S. Olympic Committee that commits the city to covering any budget overruns.

Martin Walsh

Marty Walsh

Mayor Marty Walsh, who has been a staunch supporter of Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics, said Monday that he would not sign a contract with the U.S. Olympic Committee that commits the city to covering any budget overruns.

Contracts with host cities include a stipulation that the city will cover any additional costs, but in the wake of widespread criticism of and uncertainty about the financial impact to the city, Walsh decided to take a hard stand.

“If committing to signing a guarantee today is what’s required to move forward, then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Walsh said in a press conference, noting that the USOC has pressured him to agree to sign the contract if Boston were to win the bid.

“I cannot commit to putting the taxpayers at risk,” he added.

Boston 2024 organizers have said they plan to have insurance to cover any possible overruns, but that remains a contentious issue.

Despite his hard-line stance, Walsh said he still would like to see Boston host the Games.

“I still feel the same way I did three months ago,” he insisted.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
The band is back together to discuss Colin Cowherd's comments regarding the complexity of baseball and Dominican-born players and a potpourri of other subjects.



It Is What It IsAccording to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and Colts owner Jim Irsay are the two most vocal owners arguing against the NFL reducing Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.

“[By reducing the suspension] you’re angering some of the hard-core owners out there,” said Paolantonio on San Diego’s Mighty 1090 Friday. “I know who they are and I’m gonna name ’em right now: Jim Irsay of the Colts. Steve Bisciotti of the Ravens and others in the AFC who believe the Patriots have gotten away with murder for years and have not been publicly punished properly.”

AndBisciotti made it clear in no uncertain terms that he is not putting pressure on anyone when it comes to Deflategate.

“I have not and will not put any pressure on commissioner or anyone representing NFL office to take action in Deflategate,” said Bisciotti. “The story circulating that I’ve put pressure on Roger [Goodell] is 100 percent wrong. The reports are unfair to Robert Kraft, who is honorable person and to his franchise. Let’s talk about football and the start of training camp. Fans and people like me want the issue resolved now.”

Let’s review what Steve Bisciotti is asking us to believe with his denial. First of all, his team was embarrassed by the Patriots in the divisional playoff game, twice blowing leads of 14 points due in large part to a double pass by Julian Edelman and some ineligible receiver formations they were not prepared for. Bisciotti’s coach, John Harbaugh, complained that the formations weren’t legal and the referees mismanaged the game.

The Pats played their next game against the Colts, whose coach, Chuck Pagano, used to be the Ravens defensive coordinator. In the lead-up to the game, Colts equipment guy Sean Sullivan fired off an email to GM Ryan Grigson saying he thinks the Patriots are up to shenanigans with the footballs. Grigson forwarded the email, without any notes from him, to the league office. Then all hell broke loose.

So Bisciotti’ s organization had motive, means and opportunity to go after the Patriots. But what he’s now asking us to accept is that while his team discovered the crime, conducted the investigation, set up the sting, found the evidence and got the conviction it was after all along, now that we’re at the sentencing portion, he himself wants no input. This from the man who got his bae Roger Goodell to look the other way when his franchise player was caught on video dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator. And who put Ray Rice‘s victim up to a dog and pony show press conference where she apologized for her “role” in getting knocked out cold. He would now like you to believe that he would never try to influence his Augusta National golf buddy Goodell to go after his chief rival in the AFC because … it would be wrong.

Fine. I want to be fair to Bisciotti. So I’ll admit I don’t have clear and convincing proof he’s lobbying his pal to lower the Ginger Hammer on Tom Brady. Instead let’s just say it’s more probable than not that Goodell is at least generally aware Bisciotti would like to see Brady’s suspension stay at four games and leave it at that. That’s all the burden of proof we need these days.

Oh, and since Robert Irsay is saying nothing, you know he’s guilty.


DraftKings Play fantasy baseball every day at DraftKings — official daily fantasy partner of the Boston Red Sox — and win part of $300 million in prizes being paid out this baseball season! FOR FREE ENTRY TO THE $10,000 FANTASY BASEBALL CONTEST, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

The co-founders of A Call to Men, an organization that strives for men to end violence against women, are backing former Ravens running back Ray Rice in his attempted return to the NFL.

Tony Porter and Ted Bunch, the co-founders of A Call to Men, have worked with Rice since November and believe he is ready to return to the league.

“We have been around a lot of abusive men, but our experience with Ray has been tremendously positive,” Porter told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “We feel strongly about him having the opportunity of having a second chance. He’s deserving of it.”

Rice has become a symbol of domestic abuse over the last year since the video of him dragging his beaten wife out of a hotel elevator was released last February. However, over the past nine months, Rice has spoken at his alma maters, Rutgers and New Rochelle High School, describing the positive manner in which he has learned from his mistakes and refocused his life.

“He’s held himself accountable,” Bunch said. “He is saying everything that you would want him to say and doing everything that you would want him to do. So why wouldn’t he deserve another chance? His work in the area of educating young men is more important than him getting back on the field. He knows that and has said that to us. He is seeing the bigger picture. He has a desire to compete again, but also to make a difference in the world.

“This is what mistakes should be about: learning from them and teaching others. We’ve been in front of a lot of batterers. He is as transparent as I’ve seen, and as sincere as I’ve seen.”

Though multiple teams reportedly have inquired about Rice, none have stepped up to sign him since he was cut by the Ravens last September. Between his noted domestic violence charges and his 3.1 yards per carry in 2013, teams have been wary of Rice’s baggage. However, Porter believes Rice is in better shape, both physically and mentally, and he is ready to rejoin the NFL.

“We’ll catch flak for this,” Porter said. “A lot of people think we should kick him to the curb and his name should be mud forever. But how great would it be if everyone who made a mistake made it their mission to make sure a million people don’t make the same mistake? To use the influence that he has, what a great way to correct that wrong. And that’s what Ray has committed himself to doing. His intentions are real, his heart is pure, and we’re going to help him to move forward so he can have a positive impact on the next generation of manhood.”

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik
Kirk Minihane discusses the premiere of Caitlyn Jenner's reality show.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss the induction of Pedro Martinez into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.