Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Orioles at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball World Series: South Korea vs. Mexico, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Tennessee vs. Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Falcons at Dolphins, 8 p.m. (NBC)
NFL preseason: Cowboys at Seahawks, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Giants owner John Mara went on the defensive Wednesday after receiving widespread criticism for re-signing Pro Bowl kicker Josh Brown despite his ex-wife’s accusations of domestic abuse.

Brown was arrested in May 2015 after allegedly grabbing his then-wife, Molly, by the throat and holding her down with his knee at their Washington home, one of two incidents on consecutive nights. However, charges of fourth-degree domestic assault were dropped days later due to insufficient evidence, reportedly after Molly Brown decided not to pursue the case.

Brown was suspended by the NFL for the first game of this season — despite the league’s new policy that dictates a six-game ban for such issues — and said that while he was “not OK with the decision, I have to respect it.” It then was revealed that Molly Brown told authorities that he had assaulted her at least 20 times, including once in 1999 while she was pregnant.

“Based on the facts that were placed in front of us, we’re comfortable with our decision to re-sign Josh and the league’s suspension,” Mara told the media Wednesday during Giants practice. “The easiest thing for us to do would be to get a new kicker. We’re trying to be fair to Josh. The easiest thing would be to say, ‘Terminate him, get rid of him.’ We’re trying to do the right thing. It’s not always easy.”

The Giants signed the 37-year-old Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract in the spring despite being aware of the issues, as Mara insisted, “We did our homework here.”

“We’re aware that there were allegations against Josh,” Mara said. “We knew that the NFL would conduct an investigation. We’re well aware that there were other [incidents]. One of the things you learn is that there is a big difference between allegations and convictions. It’s important to sort all those things out. We’re not going to get into the number of conversations we had with a number of people. We will live with the results of the [NFL investigation] and move forward.

“A lot of time, people try to make it black and white,” Mara added. “There are two sides to everything. Very rarely you have a Ray Rice video.”

Brown made 30 of 32 field goals and missed only one of his 45 PAT attempts in scoring a career-high 134 points last season, earning him a berth in the Pro Bowl. Former Jets and Titans kicker Randy Bullock was signed to a one-year deal Monday to fill in, as Brown’s future suddenly is unclear. But Mara said the Giants stand behind him.

“Josh knows what’s expected of him,” Mara said. “He’s been going to counseling. He’s been a good citizen since he’s been here. He’s going to conduct himself in a professional manner. We’re an organization that has always tried to do the right thing. It’s not always easy, but we’re going to stick with our decision.”

— U.S. soccer came down hard on Hope Solo, banning the goalie six months from the national team for calling the Swedish squad “a bunch of cowards” after the Americans’ loss in a penalty shootout at the Rio Olympics.

Solo, who has had her share of off-field issues (including one that led to a 30-day suspension early last year), was frustrated with Sweden’s defensive strategy that proved to be effective as it prevented the U.S. from earning a medal.

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.

“Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action.”

The 35-year-old Solo, who was booed by the Brazilian crowd after she expressed concern about the Zika virus, indicated through the players’ union that she will appeal the punishment. She also released a statement in which she said she was “saddened” by U.S. Soccer’s decision.

“For 17 years, I dedicated my life to the U.S. Women’s National Team and did the job of a pro athlete the only way I knew how — with passion, tenacity, an unrelenting commitment to be the best goalkeeper in the world, not just for my country but to elevate the sport for the next generation of female athletes,” Solo said. “In those commitments, I have never wavered. And with so much more to give, I am saddened by the Federation’s decision to terminate my contract.

“I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things. My entire career, I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and the women’s game, and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game.”

— The Arizona Coyotes became the first NHL team to have a full-time female coach with the hiring of skating coach Dawn Braid.

Braid worked part-time for the Coyotes last year after previously serving as a consultant for four NHL teams. She also was director of skating development for Athletes Training Center for seven years, working with players including Islanders center John Tavares.

“It’s something that I’ve wanted to see happen,” Braid said in a statement released by the Coyotes. “The fact that they respect what I do enough to name me as a full-time coach, or to name me as the first female coach in the NHL, I take a ton of pride in that. I’ve worked very hard for this opportunity. It’s been going on for years and I just look forward to going even further with it.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 25, 1995, which Red Sox player hit a home run for the fifth consecutive game, tying a team record held by four others?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think as it pertains to commissioner discipline, I think it’s very obvious now that when there’s an investigation and there’s discipline handed down that there needs to be some kind of third-party, neutral person or entity involved so that it’s not decisions being made behind closed doors. [The league says,] ‘Hey, trust us. [Trust] what we found or the results of this investigation.’ We’ve found that we really can’t trust that.” — Saints quarterback Drew Brees, on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

STAT OF THE DAY: 30 — Home runs this season for 40-year-old David Ortiz, following his first-inning shot in Wednesday’s game against the Rays, making him the oldest player in MLB history to reach that milestone

‘NET RESULTS: Marlins shortstop Adelny Hechavarria makes a fantastic diving catch against the Royals.

South Carolina high school junior Jordyn Adams, a football and basketball star, shows he has some basketball ability as well, as he unleashes a tomahawk dunk of monstrous proportions on a would-be defender.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Jose Canseco (joining Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Dick Stuart and George Scott)

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Elvis Costello was born on this day in 1954.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
We check in with the red hot rook of the Red Sox live from Tampa and talk to him about his first experiences in the big leagues.
We check in with the red hot rook of the Red Sox live from Tampa and talk to him about his first experiences in the big leagues.
We check in with John Farrell from Tampa for our weekly feature as the red hot Red Sox look to keep it going for two more wins at the Trop.
We check in with John Farrell from Tampa for our weekly feature as the red hot Red Sox look to keep it going for two more wins at the Trop.
In honor of the announcement that the Sox will be among the team's at Tim Tebow's workout next week, we look at four pro athletes who tried their hand in a second sport and it didn't work out too well for them.
In honor of the announcement that the Sox will be among the team's at Tim Tebow's workout next week, we look at four pro athletes who tried their hand in a second sport and it didn't work out too well for them.
We close out our program with some of the best cuts of the day.
We close out our program with some of the best cuts of the day.

(NSFW, language)

This thing is a couple of days old and already up to a million and a quarter hits. I post it because I just spent last weekend deep sea fishing off the Cape on my cousin Bobby’s boat with my brothers. And I can promise you that if a frigging seal came crawling up on the frigging stern to escape a couple of frigging orcas, I would not have been anywhere near this calm about it. And, I probably would have kicked him off the boat. Because if Shark Week has taught us anything, seals are the big, juicy bacon double cheeseburger of the sea. Killer whales are the apex predators of the deep, and they’ve got to eat too.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton