In November, Wizards guard John Wall had to be restrained from going after the Celtics, including Marcus Smart. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

In November, Wizards guard John Wall had to be restrained from going after the Celtics, including Marcus Smart. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics scored their biggest victory of the season Tuesday before they even stepped onto the court. The Wizards plan to wear black to their game against the C’s, giving this team an aura of intimidation it has lacked since Kevin Garnett’s prime.

According to the Washington Post, Wizards guard Bradley Beal came up with the idea. Tensions between the two clubs rose following the Celtics’ victory over the Wizards earlier this month, when Jae Crowder and John Wall got into an on-court altercation. The verbal sparring continued as they walked to their respective locker rooms, and police were called to stand guard.

“We’re wearing all black to the game,” Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. said. “So you know where we’re going with that. … We’re wearing all black to the game. It’s a memo that the team is giving away. We’re ready for whatever, man. Round three, let’s get it.”

Isaiah Thomas, who scored 20 points points in the fourth quarter against the Wizards Jan. 11, took the news in stride.

“That’s cute that they’re wearing all black. It’s not a Game 7. It’s not the playoffs,” he said. “I saw the funeral and all black thing last night and I just laughed about it.”

The last time these teams met, Thomas led all scorers with 38 points. Wall, who’s long been considered one of the most talented guards in the league, went 4-for-21 and dropped a season-low nine points in the loss. On Tuesday, Wall said the Wizards were dressing for a “funeral.”

When the Giants dressed in black prior to Super Bowl 42, they were able to back up their wardrobe –– thanks to a dominant pass rush and an all-time great catch by David Tyree. But this stunt from the Wizards seems to channel the 2012 Texans, who wore letterman’s jackets to Gillette Stadium and were promptly blown out by 28 points.

In a lot of respects, it’s even more pathetic than what the Texans did. At the time, Houston was an 11-1 team and wanted to make a statement heading into an important late-season Monday night game in Foxboro. The 24-20 Wizards, meanwhile, are a middling club that’s gearing up for a routine midseason matchup.

Oh, and they’re the home team. That’s right: the Wizards are letting the Celtics get into their heads in their own building. That’s not cute. It’s sad.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Dan Le Batard came close to saying the Patriots have white wide receivers because they’re a racist organization and Boston is a racist city. But then he stopped just short.

On his ESPN radio show Monday, Le Batard talked about the stylistic differences between the Patriots and Falcons, who will face off in Super Bowl 51.

“Is anyone going to, at any point in 2017 America, point out the contrasting styles we have in this Super Bowl? Two very different cities, the wide receiver cores for both teams are very different,” he said. “When is that going to become a thing as we head towards Super Bowl week and we’re going to have to talk about everything and people are going to get tired of the chess match. Is anybody going to dare to wander into that topic? You’ve got Julio [Jones] and Muhammad [Sanu] and [Julian] Edelman. No? We’re going to avoid that?” Le Batard, like other ESPN personalities who have defamed Boston in recent weeks, refuses to defend his words when challenged. On Tuesday, he implied his comments were said in jest.

Given ESPN’s history of disparaging Boston, it’s difficult to give Le Batard the benefit of the doubt. Earlier this month, when Celtics fans cheered soon-to-be free agent forward Gordon Hayward during pregame introductions, several talking heads at the WorldWide Leader brought race into the conversation. Jae Crowder, who took exception to fans applauding an opponent, is black. Hayward, of course, is white. For some, the low-hanging fruit was too much to ignore.

On Highly Questionable, Bomani Jones appeared to say Celtics fans like Hayward because of his skin color.

“Is there another arena in the whole country that would get this charged about Gordon Hayward maybe coming as a free agent? Clapping for Kevin Durant is one thing. But if you put Gordon Hayward on the same level as Kevin Durant, you might be the city that had the Kevin Love welcoming tour when he wasn’t even a free agent yet,” he said.

Writer Israel Gutierrez made a similar connection on Around the Horn.

“It’s Boston. They’re famous for having Larry Bird on their team. Gordon Hayward looks more like Larry Bird than other players in the league. So maybe there’s that Boston connection there,” he speculated.

Never mind that Celtics fans also showered then-pending free agent Kevin Durant with applause last season or that Crowder said he was upset his remarks were interpreted as race-related. Don’t let context or facts get in the way of a good rant, like when NBA analyst Amin Elhassan said in a recent podcast Boston is the most racist city in the country north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

“Somebody asked me, ‘How would you kind of tabulate or kind of quantify how racist a town is?’ I said, ‘Oh that’s easy. Record scratches per square foot.’ Because I’m telling you, it’s a funny thing from movies, but it’s happened to me for real in Boston. You walk in, the music stops, and everybody who’s all in their individual conversations stops and turns to me. I’m talking places not a stone’s throw from the arena.”

Presumably, Elhassan is referring to the T.D. Garden, the place where Celtics fans cheered for Hayward and within a stone’s throw of where they once cheered for Larry Bird. Apparently, it’s improper for fans to like multiple white players per half-century. They can only choose one. (Jones, Gutierrez and Elhassan all declined invitations to appear on WEEI, by the way.)

There’s no ignoring Boston’s repulsive history when it comes to its treatment of African-American athletes. The Red Sox were the last team to integrate and Bill Russell endured a disgusting amount of hardship. One night, vandals wrote racial slurs on his walls and smeared feces on his bed.

While these shameful episodes shouldn’t be forgotten, it’s reckless to use them as ammunition to support the lazy narrative about Boston being unwelcoming towards black athletes. David Ortiz might be the most beloved Red Sox player of all-time, with Pedro Martinez finishing a close second. Kevin Garnett, who originally didn’t want to play for the Celtics, now says Boston will always have a special place in his heart.

Few black athletes are more outspoken than Martellus Bennett, and he’s seemed to embrace Boston with open arms. This week, in fact, he made a t-shirt that says as much.

If Bennett spoke ill of Boston, race-baiting provocateurs like Le Betard and Jones would probably discuss his comments ad nauseum for the next two weeks. But since he didn’t, his shirt and accompanying tweet likely won’t be mentioned on their respective shows.

At ESPN, slandering Boston sports fans and teams seems to be part of the mission statement. And instead of defending his wild insinuation about the Patriots preferring white receivers, Le Batard decided to deflect. It’s par for the course.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

FOX Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews revealed she battled cervical cancer during the NFL season in an interview with Emily

Erin Andrews revealed she had surgery for cervical cancer. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Erin Andrews revealed she had surgery for cervical cancer. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

FOX Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews revealed she battled cervical cancer during the NFL season in an interview with Emily Kaplan of MMQB.com.

Andrews underwent surgery for the cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 11 and was back on the sidelines five days later.

“Should I have been standing for a full game five days after surgery? Let’s just say the doctor didn’t recommend that,” Andrews said. “But just as I felt during my trial, sports were my escape. I needed to be with my crew.”

All of this comes after Andrews settled last year with two hotel companies that were found partially liable for a stalker posting secretly recorded nude video of her online.

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Hour 4. It's book review Tuesday with Kirk, Gerry, and Trenni. Dan Le Batard insinuated Boston is racist.
Hour 2. Trenni takes on Gerry. Headlines with Kirk. SNL's tribute to Obama was sad.
Hour 1. Trenni, Kirk, and Gerry discuss the attention Brady's interview received. ESPN's political policy is constantly violated.
Hour 3. Trenni, Kirk , and Gerry analyze the Oscar nominees as they are announced.
Hour 2. Trenni takes on Gerry. Headlines with Kirk. SNL is sad.

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A photo posted by Johnny Manziel (@jmanziel2) on

Here is a recap of what Johnny Manziel has been up to the past few days: It begins, as all moments of clarity after torpedoing your NFL career do, with an interview with TMZ:

   

The next day, Manziel officially launched his comeback and sent these tweets, which have since been deleted due to events that happen later in this recap. Buckle your seat belts.

“Haven’t been this happy in a long time man. I appreciate all the people in my life who reached out during the truly rough patches in ’16″ — Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 19, 2017

“No lie.. I was a douche in 2016 I’m just trying to be a good PERSON again#LostInTheSauce” — Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 19, 2017

Saturday he went to the Patriots game and documented most of it on Snapchat:  

Sorry @stevebreezyy I’ll make sure my tat man ready for that GOAT tattoo #tb12🐐 hahahaha don’t test me boiiii

A photo posted by Johnny Manziel (@jmanziel2) on

Then he posted that owl picture and I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS. It could mean a lot of things or it could easily mean nothing. But my best guess is Manziel is trying to say he’s returning to his football roots and is now wiser because of all the stuff he’s done. Like the money phone. If he’s trying to say he’s wiser, he went real subtle with it. Very on the nose with the huge owl.  Then on Monday he respectfully tweeted some advice to Donald Trump: “Yo, POTUS. Even I know to stay away from the notifications section on twitter. [Expletive] will drive you crazy, lead the country and let them hate.”   “Control what you can control and let the rest fall by the wayside,” the next tweet said.   Then George W. Bush’s White House press secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted back in agreement with Manziel. Johnny Manziel.

AND THEN Manziel did the unthinkable and completely deleted his entire Twitter account. People don’t usually do this when times are good but then his spokeswoman, Denise Michaels, told ESPN he did it for the right reasons, so that was a relief.

“He told me [Twitter is] not a priority and he’s trying to eliminate distractions,” Michaels said. Very Belichickian of him.

No word yet on whether he’s getting a Brady tattoo, but his tat man certainly knows he better be ready at all times. Here is Manziel getting an enormous tattoo on a private plane last June:

✈️💉

A photo posted by Johnny Manziel (@jmanziel2) on

Next up on Manziel’s #LostintheSauce comeback agenda is a scheduled appearance in Houston for the Super Bowl to sign autographs and take selfies at two area malls, which is a clear sign your life is on an upswing.

It’ll be a long journey back to the NFL but at least he seems to be moving in the right direction for now.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge