Lakers star Kobe Bryant has faced enough criticism through his years that he’€™s used to it by now.

After a recent article in ESPN The Magazine said Bryant’€™s play over the last few years is a big factor in Los Angeles’€™ decline, the 19-year veteran just let it slide. Bryant said that so many different stories always come out that it’€™s impossible to dwell on just one.

“It’s not the first one and it won’t be the last one,” Bryant said Tuesday night after a preseason loss to the Suns. “One thing I’ve come to understand over the years is that you’ll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it’s the end of the world and it seems like everybody’s taking shots at you. But time goes by and then you look back on it and it was just a Monday.”

A year after the team finished seventh in the Western Conference and barely clinched a playoff spot, the 2013-14 Lakers missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2005. Times have been difficult for Los Angeles in recent years, and the critics have been tougher on the team and Bryant in particular.

Bryant said he isn’t concerned with the magazine article, instead looking toward winning and getting back into form.

“Stay focused on the bigger picture and things are never as bleak as they seem at the time,” Bryant said. “I just kind of roll with it.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

An arbiter in the Ray Rice case is closing in on a decision if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should have to testify is the running back’€™s hearing.

The proceedings, which are set for Nov. 5 and 6 according to some close to the case, will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones. She will have the final say if Rice’€™s suspension should be rescinded. Union officials believe having Goodell is a key part of the process, saying he should be included in the hearing.

The union is appealing the NFL’€™s suspension of Rice, indicating it punishes him two times for the same crime. Earlier this year, Goodell suspended Rice for two games for hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator.

Once a video inside of the elevator became public in early September, Goodell changed the suspension from two games to an indefinite suspension, citing the league’€™s personal conduct policy. Following the suspension, the Ravens released Rice from his contract.

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano
D&C react to Sausage and Curtis's podcast.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
A heated debate on how hard it will be for a gay person in the NFL.

Here are the highlights from Wednesday’s Headlines on Dennis & Callahan with Kirk Minihane, John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

– Gubernatorial candidates Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker met Tuesday night for a live debate. The two argued on a wide variety of topics, including the case of Jared Remy — son of Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy.

The hosts said they felt Baker did not take a hard enough stance against anything Coakley had to say.

“Charlie and ‘Marsha’ love each other,” said an incredulous Minihane. “What is going on here? What’s he doing? … He’s going to lose because of this. He’s playing defense, and you can’t play defense in this whole thing.”

“You should just come out and say what you are,” Callahan replied. “It should be all pro-business, anti-tax stuff. That’s all he should say.”

The hosts ran a clip of Baker’s response to the question posed if judges should be responsible for what happened in the Remy case.  To say the least, they were not pleased by his lack of emotion toward Coakley.

“Where’s the anger? Where’s the anger from Baker?” asked Minihane. “[Coakley] was district attorney when this happened. What are you doing?”

Replied Callahan: “[Baker] doesn’t even point the finger at her. This is a chance for Charlie to say, ‘blood on her hands.’ ”

– Earlier this week, actress Renee Zellweger faced speculation from fans and media pundits that she underwent plastic surgery on her face. Though she looks dramatically different, Zellweger said the change is because of a healthier lifestyle. The hosts, on the other hand, chalked up her facial differences to surgery.

Said Callahan: “Whoever her plastic surgeon is should use that in his ads because he did a terrific job.”

“She kind of looks like Naomi Watts now, a little bit,” said Minihane. “She looks better than she used to, but she doesn’t look at all like she used to.”

Replied Dennis: “In a much more positive kind of way, she is Bruce Jenner different. The difference between Bruce Jenner then and Bruce Jenner now is about as big as this difference is. But this is good.”

– Three Denver teenagers skipped school this week in apparent attempt to fly to the Middle East and join ISIS. The girls were stopped at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany, before they could reach the terrorist organization. The girls, aged 15, 16 and 17, were questioned by the FBI but won’t face charges.

“Weren’t they aware ISIS enslaves girls?” asked Callahan.

Asked Dennis: “Aren’t they aware that they were probably more likely to be beheaded and raped than given guns to march?”

– Comedian Hannibal Buress is facing criticism for calling actor and comedian Bill Cosby a rapist during his show last week in Philadelphia. This stems from the fact that Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by at least 13 women over the last decade.

“How is TMZ or somebody not all over this?” asked Dennis. “Is that not a big story? … Thirteen is a big number.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Welcome to Wednesday’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.

Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
World Series: Giants at Royals, 8 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-FM)
NBA preseason: Nets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Cavaliers at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA preseason: Suns at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Flyers at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Real Madrid at Liverpool, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Openly gay linebacker/defensive end Michael Sam expressed his appreciation for his opportunity with the Cowboys after the team released him from its practice squad Tuesday.

Sam had been on Dallas’ practice squad for seven weeks after being released at the end of the preseason by the Rams, who had drafted him in the seventh round.

“I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates and fans for their support,” Sam wrote in a series of tweets. “While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday.”

The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Missouri, Sam had three sacks in the preseason but has not yet found his way onto a 53-man roster.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

After initially making headlines when he returned to his home state to join the Cowboys, Sam has not appeared in the news much since.

“Comes to work every day and practices hard,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said last week. “One of 10 practice roster guys that we have, so he’s working on his skills, trying to develop, but also doing a lot of other things. Playing offense, defense, playing the kicking game. That’s what a lot of those guys do.”

– The Panthers were sure Luke Keuchly’s ejection from Sunday’s game was wrong, and now the league has backed up the team.

The NFL on Tuesday told Panthers coach Ron Rivera that Keuchly should not have been ejected and will not be fined for making inadvertent contact with an official. Rivera had said there was “zero chance” Keuchly would be fined.

Keuchly, the former Boston College star who was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, swung his arm as he was being restrained by an official in the third quarter of a 38-17 loss to the Packers. Keuchly said he didn’t realize it was an official who had grabbed him from behind as he tried to free himself from a scrum.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know who was grabbing me,” he said after the game. “I was trying to get out of there a little bit. You’ve just got to stay calm in those situations and just walk away and let it take care of itself.”

– The major professional sports leagues and the NCAA are going all out to stop legalized sports betting in New Jersey. The organizations on Tuesday filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Monmouth Park from accepting bets this weekend.

The state is due to respond Wednesday, then the leagues will file another reply Thursday. U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp will review the filings and could request oral arguments before making his decision on whether the sports will be irreparably harmed by the gambling.

Two years ago, Shipp ruled that the leagues’ reputations faced damage in a case the leagues went on to win.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 22, 1975, the Red Sox lost Game 7 of the 1975 World Series to the Reds, 4-3. Which rookie pitcher surrendered the game-winning run in the top of the ninth?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I kind of chuckle a little bit at some of the reports that were out there about Yoenis. And we’€™€™re fortunate that he’€™€™s on our club and very much looking forward to him being part of our offense going forward.” – Red Sox manager John Farrell, on rumors that the Red Sox are shopping Yoenis Cespedes

STAT OF THE DAY: 21 – Consecutive World Series innings Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner had gone without allowing a run until he surrendered a home run in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 7-1 victory over the Royals

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): As shown in Tuesday’s Mashup, basketball player Blaz Mahkovic of Union Olimpija Ljubljana in the Adriatic League hit a ridiculous shot during a weekend game. In practice Monday, he recreated the shot and hit it again.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Jim Burton

SOOTHING SOUNDS: The late Bobby Fuller was born on this day in 1942.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Join Gerry Callahan of the Dennis & Callahan Show for a live chat, Wednesday morning at 11:30. Callahan answers any and all questions, so get involved now …

Live Blog Gerry Callahan live chat, 11:30 a.m.
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI
We check in with SI/MMQB's Peter King for his weekly take on the Patriots and all things NFL.