The weekly edition of the Whiner Line.
The show opened up with Celtics trade deadline talk and Glenn had to fight off both Lou and Mut who were attacking Glenn.
Paul Pierce played his final game at the T.D. Garden Feb. 7. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

Paul Pierce played his final game at the T.D. Garden Feb. 7. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Paul Pierce has finally figured out Twitter, and Draymond Green is still licking his wounds.

Early in the first quarter of the Thursday’s Warriors-Clippers matchup, TV microphones caught Green spewing some trash talk towards Pierce.

“You can’t get no farewell tour, they don’t love you like that…You thought you was Kobe?,” he said.

Pierce fired back on Twitter, reminding Green about the Warriors’ blown 3-1 series lead against the Cavaliers in the Final last year.

Ouch.

The most notable thing about Pierce’s tweet isn’t his diss, but rather his proper emoji use. Pierce revealed his emoji ignorance during the DeAndre Jordan free agency craze two years ago, when he appeared to download a picture of a rocket emoji instead of clicking the icon on his smartphone keyboard.

The Truth has come a long way. He seems to be putting those two cellphones he was spotted with at the Dunk Contest to good use.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to Dougie McBuckets?

— Nothing like making it difficult for the decision-makers, at least when it comes to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (aka March Madness). Here come the Friars, charging hard from the outside.

— Providence’s win at Creighton Wednesday night in Omaha was exactly what PC’s tournament resume needed – a road win against a Top 25 team (also a Top 25 RPI team), and another mark in the left-hand column that gets the Friars closer to .500 in the Big East. But it ain’t over yet.

— Kyron Cartwright’s aggressive offensive play = Providence is a pretty good team. No less an expert on good teams than UConn’s Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun told myself and the Journal’s Kevin McNamara as much this week. So, is that why the current Huskies keep ditching the Friars on future schedules?

— The Friars DO have six Top 50 RPI wins this season, which as we’ve been told recently, is at the TOP of the selection committee’s wish list – Top 50 RPI victories. They also DO have two bad losses, to Boston College and DePaul, that smudge the current resume.

— The only cure for that – is to keep winning. If Providence can do that, and get to a .500 minimum in league play, a school-record 4th straight NCAA tournament is in play. And if the Friars keep winning, this year may be Ed Cooley’s best coaching job in the six seasons he has been at PC, when you consider pre-season expectations.

— Villanova failed to clinch a record 4th straight regular season Big East crown, as Butler (Butler?!?) beat the Wildcats for a 2nd time this season, and the Bulldogs are now responsible for two of Nova’s three defeats. Whoa.

— The Big East now has a legit seven teams in position for post-season play in the NCAA field of 68. That’s an astounding 70 percent of your conference membership. The league, lest we forget, also produced last seasons’ national champ in Villanova. Those who once thought the Big East dead a few years ago, are looking a bit foolish today.

— Or, they’re just plain dumb. Stupid is as stupid does.

— URI’s win over LaSalle Tuesday night was big on two fronts – one, it avenged an earlier, somewhat surprising loss to the Explorers at the Ryan Center; two – the Rams showed some defensive strength that will be needed, if not required, to make a serious push into the post-season.

— While it is true the Rams have only managed to have their pre-season starting five available for 11 of the 26 games (through midweek) they’ve played this season, injuries and illness are a part of every team – every year. Some are luckier than others. Those that aren’t as fortunate need to find other ways to succeed – and in URI’s case, it starts with defense.

— Is late better than never? Or will it not make a difference for Rhody?

— Who’s up for PC-URI, Round Two in the upcoming National Invitation Tournament? Don’t laugh, it could still happen. Those of you who would like to see the two schools face each other twice a year, like in the old-but-long-gone-days, could get your wish this year.

— Can’t imagine either team being happy with that prospect, to be honest. While the NIT is in the business of seeding, ratings and selling tickets just like in the NCAA Tournament, best guess for this possibility would actually be in the 2nd or 3rd round of the NIT.

— If, of course, both teams end up in the NIT. There’s still season left to play, with sights set on loftier goals. But something like this would be yyyuuuge around here, wouldn’t it?

— Congrats are in order for Ken Collins, who has hosted local sports events and talk shows in Westerly, Rhode Island (lately on WBLQ, formerly on WERI) for decades. Collins has been chosen for induction into the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame Sunday at the Radisson in Warwick, as the organization of Rhode Island sports writers, sports broadcasters and sports publicists holds their annual awards ceremony.

— Among those to be honored Sunday night are the Brown men’s lacrosse team and their run to the Final Four as the Story of the Year for 2016, Hendricken’s Kwity Paye as the Schoolboy Athlete of the Year, Olympic swimmer Elizabeth Beisel as the Female Athlete of the Year and former Friar Kris Dunn as the state’s Male Athlete of the Year.

— Oh yeah. Congrats to my 28-soon-to-be-29-year broadcast partner on Friar radio broadcasts, Joe Hassett, as the two of us join Ken Collins in the Hall of Fame. It’s always an honor to be recognized by peers, but hey, we’re both old and have been around the block once or twice. It’s been a helluva ride, though.

— Boston College athletic director Brad Bates has announced he’s stepping down at The Heights, effective in June. Bates will become a Vice President for a search and consulting firm, Collegiate Sports Associates.

— He is responsible for the hiring of football coach Steve Addazio and basketball coach Jim Christian, and while BC hasn’t quite set the athletic world on fire with those hires, the Eagles did make a bowl game this year – and the hoop team beat PC and Syracuse by double-digits in back-to-back games.

— Still get the feeling, however, that he’s getting out of town at just about the right time. BC has never been more irrelevant in New England athletic circles than they are at the present time. What are they doing with all of that ACC money, anyway?

— Patriots owner Robert Kraft told HBO’s Real Sports this week that the Deflategate saga bothered him deeply. “I go back to my Dad and he said, ‘the most important thing you can earn in life is a good name.’ That (was) impacting our good name or our reputation. And it wasn’t something I appreciated.”

— To which I would respond to Mr. Kraft in-kind – revenge is a dish best served cold. Just sayin.’

— Loved Chris Gaspar’s recent column in the Boston Globe, pointing out Seattle getting off for not reporting Richard Sherman’s late-season injury correctly to the NFL. Double standard much, @nflcommish?

— So Tom Brady’s pilfered jersey is worth a half-million bucks? My zen question of the week – who could cash in on something like that, when everyone in the free world knows it’s stolen?

— Sports Business Daily reported this week there will be a new book – and movie – chronicling TB12’s last couple of years, culminating with the Super Bowl LI overtime win. A “fall from grace and return to the pinnacle” type of story. How do you think NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should be portrayed in this thing? Like Snidely Whiplash?

— And not for nuthin,’ but Pro Football Talk reported a producer has purchased the rights to tell the life story of Malcolm Butler for a film currently being called “The Secondary.” To the victors go the spoils, I guess.

— And to the victors, go the new gigs, too. Offensive assistant Brian Daboll is headed for the college game, as he’ll work for Nick Saban and Alabama as the Crimson Tide’s new offensive coordinator.

— Don’t you just love team-bonding stories? I need a “sarcasm” font for that line.

— Still, the Red Sox had a team-bonding moment at Spring Training in Fort Myers this week, viewing the movie “Patriots Day” together. If this movie screening was complete with David Ortiz shouting “This is our (bleeping) city!” I’m all in.

— A-Fraud is back. No, not as a player, but as a very expensive, part-time roving instructor for the Yankees at Spring Training. Whoopee. Hey Alex, do you show the rookies where to stick the needle so the tracks don’t get seen? Do you bond with the players by giving them the inside scoop on where to get the “good stuff?” Please.

— So, in case you haven’t been counting along at home, Bruce Cassidy finally lost one as the Bruins’ head coach. That’s wonderful and all, but wake me up when the Stanley Cup playoffs get here.

— Here’s a feel-good story – the radio voice of the Dallas Stars, Dave Strader, has returned to the airwaves after battling cancer since the start to this season. With Dallas all-but-out of the playoff picture, Strader’s comeback – after grueling treatments for his illness – is a great tale of what having positivity and attitude can do.

— Magic Johnson, the now-woebegone Los Angeles Lakers turn their lonely eyes to you. But if you think Larry Bird or Danny Ainge will trade with you, you’re nuts. Good luck with that.

— If you think the NBA has problems, the WNBA now apparently has issues, too. Did you read where former women’s star Candice Wiggins told the San Diego Union-Tribune that she was harassed – even bullied – for being heterosexual? As a straight woman, she said she was forced to play in a “toxic” environment. Somehow, I don’t think this is the look women’s hoops was hoping for.

— My buddy “Big E” sez he was on a crowded elevator recently when his wife became increasingly furious with him. Why? Because he seemed to be delighted to be pressed against a beautiful blonde who squeezed onto the elevator at the last minute. When the elevator stopped on their floor, Big E got off and immediately got slapped by Mrs. E, who said “that will teach you to pinch!” My buddy was a bit bewildered over that, only because he didn’t pinch anyone. While trying to spit that out to his wife (“I, I, I didn’t pinch that girl!”), she stopped him cold in his tracks. “I know you didn’t, honey,” she said, consolingly. “I did.”

— Why the uproar over the Celtics’ non-moves before the trading deadline? Number one, I’m not surprised – pleasantly – that Danny Ainge decided to hold onto his current hand. To get, you must give, first.

— Yes, the Celtics need inside help right now. No, the Celtics are not a championship contender right now. But mortgage the future for the present? No way, not against the Golden State Warriors or even Cleveland Cavaliers – the de facto NBA finalists. The Celtics have their future ahead of them – thanks in large part to Ainge swinging his aging veterans to Brooklyn and getting big picks in return.

— Relax. The Celtics are building again. They’re on the right track, so enjoy the journey.

— Also not surprised that the NBA trade deadline passed Thursday without any major, earth-rattling moves. The NBA is following the NFL’s trade-deadline model – much ado about nothing.

— Any why is this? Too many teams are nervous to swing major deals, involving major players even if the money works out, for fear of screwing up. Fear of repercussion. Fear of public scrutiny. Fear of losing a job. Fear of being ridiculed in this day-and-age of social media that never forgets.

— Big East and Creighton fans will certainly remember Dougie McBuckets, aka Doug McDermott, as he led the Blue Jays in their first Big East campaign to the conference tournament finals (where they lost to Providence) and NCAA’s while being named the National Player of Year. But his start in the NBA hasn’t been what he would have hoped it would be – a knee injury during his rookie season in Chicago slowed his progress considerably, and while he did have enough playing time (over the next season-and-a-half) to become a favorite of Bulls’ head coach Fred Hoiberg – who was very much like McDermott during his playing days – McDermott was traded before this week’s deadline to Oklahoma City, led by former Friar Billy Donovan. It was a five-player extravaganza, orchestrated in part by OKC GM Sam Presti (an Emerson College alum) and McDermott perhaps now finds an opportunity to contribute on a playoff-contending team. Has Dougie McBuckets now become Dougie McLucky, too?

— PC grad Joe posted on Facebook this week in response to the Friars’ come-from-behind, last-second win at Creighton Wednesday night: “Wow, have they grown up during the course of this year.” Joe: It’s one of the great pleasures I get for doing what I do over the past three decades, and that’s watch these young men grow up right before my (and all our) eyes. This year’s team has done that. While I imagine there’s still some growing to do this season, it has been fun to see a team learn how to be tougher on the floor, and turn that into wins. Does this growth translate into an NCAA appearance again? It might, but even if it doesn’t, it has been fun to watch. Might as well play the games, you just don’t know what will happen at any given moment!

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to john.rooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke …

— Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text us at 37937.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke
Tom Brady refuses to reveal who he voted for in the presidential election. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady refuses to reveal who he voted for in the presidential election. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady was one of the first high-profile celebrities who expressed support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, stuffing a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker in September 2015.

The Trump Train wasn’t very crowded back then, with most conservatives opting to support his 16 primary opponents. That is, except members of the alt-right, a loose collection of far-right ideologues that includes anti-semites, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. They were Trump’s top early political backers, sticking with him through the end.

Even though Brady has never publicly revealed his political views –– he hinted last month he may disagree with some of Trump’s policies –– the alt-right seems to feel a kinship with him. Or, at least, they want him to run for senate.

In an editorial on Breitbart, the right-wing news website formerly led by Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, one columnist says it would be exciting to see Brady challenge Elizabeth Warren for her senate seat in 2018. That is, assuming his conservative credentials check out.

“Brady over Warren is the no-brainiest of all no-brainers, and forcing the radical Warren from the Senate would be cause for much rejoicing. Still, it probably behooves most on the right to know a bit more about what Brady the politician would look like, before we arrive at that point,” Dylan Gwinn writes.

Infowars, the website run by conspiracy-theoriest and informal Trump advisor Alex Jones, who’s accused the U.S. government of orchestrating 9/11 and the Sandy Hook Shootings, also seems enthused about a hypothetical Brady run. In a video, one of site’s contributors talked about how exciting it would be to see Brady enter the political arena.

“I thought the notion of athletes, including Brady, to defeat some of these stalwarts like Warren might be the antidote we need,” says Owen Shroyer.

Brady, of course, almost certainly isn’t going to challenge Warren in 2018. He says he wants to play football for at least five more years, and doesn’t seem interested in entering politics.

But that doesn’t mean Warren won’t face a Boston sports legend when she’s up for reelection in two years. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has routinely talked about his interest in running against her. A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll shows Warren with a 58-24 edge in a theoretical matchup between the two.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

It’s sometimes difficult to take Caitlyn Jenner seriously, considering she’s spent many years of her life exploiting her name on the Kardashian family’s reality show. But in a world bereft of prominent transgender voices, she plays an important role. That was on display this week, when she pushed back against the Trump administration’s decision to overturn federal protections for transgender students that let them use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

In a video posted to Twitter Thursday, the two-time Olympic gold medalist rails against the revocation of the Obama-era order. Jenner, who supported President Donald Trump during the election, calls the policy a “disaster.”

“I have a message for President Trump, from one Republican to another,” Jenner said. “This is a disaster. And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me.”

Throughout the campaign, Trump disingenuously presented himself as a pro-LGBTQ candidate. In his speech at the Republican National Convention, he pledged to protect the community from Islamic terrorism, while ignoring his own vice president’s hostile record on gay rights. He also named Jeff Sessions attorney general, who was one of the most anti-LGBTQ members of the senate and reportedly pushed for the reversal of President Barack Obama’s transgender guidelines.

Despite those actions, Trump gave the transgender community lip service in an interview last April on NBC’s “Today.” He said if Jenner were to visit Trump Tower, she could use any bathroom she chooses. Apparently, he doesn’t feel transgender kids should have that same right when they go to school.

After those comments, Jenner said she thought Trump would be more pro-LGBTQ than his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. But her previous endorsement didn’t preclude her from condemning the Trump administration’s policy.

“You’re sick. And because you’re weak, you pick on kids, you pick on women or anyone else you think is vulnerable,” she said in her video. “Apparently even becoming the attorney general isn’t enough to cure some people of their insecurities.”

Transgender kids are some of the most vulnerable people in the U.S. More than 80 percent of transgender students say they feel threatened at school, and 41 percent of transgender people say they’ve tried to commit suicide at least once in their lives. The suicide attempt rate of the overall U.S. population is 4.6 percent.

Jenner may not be the most intellectual spokesperson for the LGBTQ cause, but that’s OK. After hiding her identity for over 60 years –– she says she used to wear women’s clothing as a teenager –– Jenner seems proud of who she is. It’s important for people to see that.

There’s no singular moment in the gay rights movement that’s led to mainstream acceptance. With each person who comes out, the stigma around homosexuality continues to decrease.

Jenner is perhaps the most famous transgender person in the world. Her advocacy is meaningful, even if it comes in the form of a video recorded in her kitchen.

“I have a message for the trans kids of America: You’re winning,” she said. “I know it doesn’t feel like it today or every day, but you’re winning. Very soon, we will win full freedom nationwide and it’s going to be with bipartisan support.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

In this month’s issue of Sports Illustrated, “Fencesis included in the Extra Mustard about sports movies at the Oscars. Of the nominees for Best Picture this year, SI writes it is “the closest any come to sports,” but should it be considered a sports movie?

Baseball is a defining element in Troy Maxson’s life and he talks about it A LOT, but the story is about moving on from sports and how to live without them. Troy is no longer an athlete and he has to get over it and stop speaking entirely in baseball metaphors.

This is not a sports movie. It is actually an anti-sports movie.

And it’s not even a movie. It’s a play. This movie has the exact stage direction and script as the play and you might as well just go see the live production except the cast is excellent in this film. But the whole time I felt like I was watching the play.

While Troy’s life is defined by baseball and his son plays football, this should not be categorized as a “sports movie” because no one actually plays sports in the movie/play. There is a Hit-Away type set up in the backyard that is used a couple times, Troy and his son Lyons get into a physical fight and Lyons shows up in a football uniform at the end but that’s the extent of the visual athletics in this movie.

The story is about Troy’s life with his family after baseball, not his life as a baseball player.

And the fences in the movie are not sports related, they are picket fences. I’ve read the play a million times and I know there are many metaphorical fences here to keep some people out and everything you love in and this includes fences surrounding baseball fields. But we don’t see those in this movie. The sports elements have to be visual to add to the case for sports movie. Building a fence around your house while talking about not striking out in life doesn’t count.

The true measure for me is the Netflix Test. Go to Netflix and click on Sports Movies. Look at the movies. Would you put “Fences” in with these movies? I would not. These movies are either about athletes actually playing sports or about the characters’ lives improving through playing sports. Baseball did not improve Troy’s life at all and he doesn’t live his life according to his baseball values. And he talks to his sons about the lessons of sports but then doesn’t allow Lyons to go to college on a football scholarship, killing his dream of playing sports. Anti-sports movie.

(The Netflix Test can be misleading though because “Lilo and Stitch” is listed in Sports Movies, but they surf in that movie so even that makes it more of a sports movie than Fences).

If Fences wins Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday, it will not be a win for a sports movie. Sports movies are “Million Dollar Baby,” “Rocky,” “The Natural,” “Happy Gilmore.”

I would put this in Dramas on Netflix.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

It seems as if Max Kellerman is trying to be the ESPN’s No. 1 Patriots troll. It’s no easy feat, but after declaring last year Tom Brady is “going to be a bum in short order,” he’s on the fast track.

The “First Take” co-host went on a rant against Patriots fans Thursday, shouting at the top of his lungs about New England’s persecution complex.

“Dear citizens of New England: I am here on behalf of a beleaguered sports nation with a message for you. No one, anywhere in this country, feels any sympathy whatsoever for you and your teams,” he said. “There are sympathetic characters, and then there are all of you. Want to know? Every single one of your major sports franchises has won a championship in the last 10 years. Yet somehow, you still play the persecution card.”

Kellerman was reacting to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who said this week on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” he’ll remember everybody who disparaged his organization during the Deflategate saga. The Patriots went on to win their fifth Super Bowl this year after Tom Brady missed the first four games of the season.

“First, your best ever quarterback did or did not cheat on the way to your fourth Super Bowl title,” Kellerman said. “Next, there was an investigation during which said incredible quarterback destroyed evidence. Then, the league commissioner suspended the quarterback. The quarterback fought the suspension, and lost. The commissioner did indeed have the power vested in him, in part by owners like Robert Kraft and also by the players’ union.

“So the 39-year-old quarterback sat the first four games of the season, the team went 3-1, and the backup quarterback increased his potential trade value to first-round pick level. The rested healthy star quarterback returned, and basically ran the table, giving a fifth chip to Mr. Kraft and all of stubbornly self-pitying New England.”

Kellerman’s thesis about Deflategate working out well for the Patriots is correct. Given Brady’s health at the end of the year and the possibility of trading Jimmy Garoppolo for a first-round pick this offseason, it may have even been a blessing in disguise.

But it’s asinine for Kellerman to question why Kraft would still be bitter about seeing his star quarterback get his reputation sullied for playing with slightly under-inflated footballs. He also, unsurprisingly, is wrong about the details of the investigation. While Brady destroyed his cell phone, he offered to help the NFL collect missing text messages. Roger Goodell declined that overture.

Facts can’t get in the way of a good rant, of course. Kellerman closed with an exclamation point, saying people aren’t jealous of Boston sports fans. They just hate their attitude.

“There’s a reason why everyone hates you guys. It’s not that your teams are so good, it’s that you handle it all so badly. Get over yourselves. Sincerely, everyone else,” he said.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.
Hour 3. The guys take more calls on transgender bathrooms. Evan Drellich joins the show...again.