Recently retired Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal made his debut as an television analyst a memorable one Tuesday night. During a show on NBA-TV announcing the 2011-12 schedule, O'Neal heaped praise on Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade but made it clear he doesn't consider Chris Bosh in their class. "The Miami Heat, they've got a lot of great players, the Big Two," he said. "They will be back."

Confession time. I’m sure those of you who’ve read my column before, heard me on WEEI and watched the Fanthropology videos I’ve done for this site just naturally assume I’m about the most suave, sophisticated guy in Boston.

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall came under fire in May after sending messages on Twitter criticizing Americans for celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden and insisting there's no evidence bin Laden was behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As part of the fallout, athletic clothing company Champion canceled a sponsorship deal. Now, Mendenhall is suing the company, according to Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV.

Sunday's Women's World Cup final, which the United States lost to Japan in penalty kicks, set a record for tweets per second. Twitter announced that during the climactic moments of the game, there were 7,196 tweets per second discussing it. The record almost was broken later in the day by another soccer match: Paraguay's penalty shootout victory over Brazil in a Copa America men's game.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: 



The NFL appears ready to end its work stoppage, and the Bengals apparently are getting back into off-field form by running into trouble with the law. On Thursday, Bengals free agent safety Marvin White was arrested after arguing with management at his son's child-care facility in Louisiana. On Sunday, running back Cedric Benson was jailed in Texas and charged with repeatedly punching a man who had been living in his house.

The United States blew two leads, the second of which was in extra time Sunday, as Japan won the World Cup on penalty kicks. The score was 2-2 at the end of extra time.

Abby Wambach scored the only goal on penalty kicks for the Americans, as they failed to score on their first three kicks. Japan had three goals on penalty kicks, with the game-winner coming from Saki Kumagai in the fourth round.

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland captured his first major championship on Sunday, firing a final-round 70 to win the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent.

Clarke finished the championship at 5-under par, three shots ahead of Dustin Johnson, who saw his hopes for his first major end when he hit his second shot out-of-bounds at the 14th hole, leading to a double bogey.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell "stupid," a "crook" and a "devil" in a Men's Journal article, apologized Thursday — but his apology was to people who might have been offended by his use of a gay slur. "It was careless use of a slang word and I apologize to all who were offended by the remark," he said. "I am not a homophobic bigot, and I would never advocate intolerance of gay people."

The Marlins, who plan to move into a baseball-only stadium in Miami next year, are closing the upper deck at Sun Life Stadium for all but two games the rest of 2011. The team, which ranks last in attendance in Major League Baseball at 17,101 per game, will open the seats for "Bark in the Park" night on Aug. 12, when fans can bring dogs to the game, and possibly for the Sept. 28 home finale.