Religion played a key role in two top stories from Wednesday. In one, a Jewish hockey player sued the NHL's Ducks for religious discrimination because he said the team failed to prevent harassment by coaches of the minor league team he was assigned to in 2008-09. Jason Bailey claims he was the target of anti-Semitic comments by Bakersfield Condors head coach Marty Raymond and assistant Mark Pederson. After Bailey complained during the season, the coaches were suspended and wrote letters of apology to Bailey.

 

UConn booster Robert Burton is coming under fire after the publication of his six-page letter to athletic director Jeff Hathaway detailed Burton's displeasure with the hiring of new football coach Paul Pasqualoni. Burton said he want a portion of the $7 million he has donated to UConn returned because his advice was not heeded (he wanted to hire Steve Addazio). Burton, who sent a copy of the letter to Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, also threatened to pull business from the state.

 

This past weekend in his Sunday Globe column, Dan Shaughnessy suggested all Patriots fans should join him in rooting for the Jets to win the Super Bowl. His theory being that if they were to win it all, it would light a fire under the collective asses of the Patriots’ organization to go out and do likewise in 2011. So by Shaughnessy’s logic (and I’m using the term in the loosest sense possible), the problem with the Pats has been that they haven’t been trying to win the Super Bowl.



JERRY THORNTON

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Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, last heard around these parts blasting Tom Brady in the press and then helping his team knock off the Patriots in the playoffs, has a new target. While cleaning out his locker Monday following the loss to the Steelers a day earlier, the free agent expressed anger over the looming lockout.

 

Jets coach Rex Ryan got a sendoff from fans in the town where he lives before the Jets lost Sunday's AFC championship game to the Steelers. Fans were invited to show up outside his New Jersey house Saturday morning for an early morning pep rally. Invitations were sent by the mayor of Summit, N.J., as well as the local high school football coach. The event was approved by Ryan's wife, Michelle, who made an appearance.

 

The Patriots' loss to the Jets on Sunday was a blow to Boston sports' psyches. But it only falls in the middle of the pack in our list of Boston's 10 most devastating losses since 2000. To find out which humiliating losses rank ahead of it — inlcuding setbacks by all four of Boston's major professional teams — check out the entire list at the LEEInks blog.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said his feelings were hurt by criticism from new Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks last month, but Guillen admitted that his son Oney crossed the line when he tweeted details of a meeting in the manager's office with Jenks. Jenks had criticized his former manager's handling of the White Sox pitching staff, and Oney Guillen responded by suggesting Jenks had problems with his drinking and marriage, and that Jenks cried in a meeting in the manager's office.

 

Steelers linebacker James Farrior, a former Jet, said Wednesday that he was looking forward to hearing his old team talk trash in the lead-up to Sunday's AFC championship game and he's disappointed in the silence. "It is always funny to hear those guys talk," he said. "They do a lot of trash talking. If you really look at it, those guys really do a good job of backing it up. They talk a lot. I think it is a lot of smoke and mirrors. If you fall into it and you believe the stuff that they are saying, you'll get beat."

 

According to a recent study, about 40 percent of fans drink alcohol at sporting events, and 8 percent leave a the event legally drunk. Those who attend tailgate parties are 14 times more likely to be inebriated. “Eight percent doesn’t sound high, but translate into how many people are leaving the stadium drunk, and you have thousands of people,” Darin Erickson, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor in epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, told Bloomberg.com.

 

Penguins star Sidney Crosby reportedly is considering skipping the NHL All-Star Game because he is upset at the league for not protecting its players. Crosby has twice been given concussions from hits to the head this season, and neither offending player was suspended. On Tuesday, the league is to name the two players who will serve as captains and pick the teams, and Crosby is expected to be one of them.