NFLPA’s DeMaurice Smith says work stoppage in 2021 is ‘almost a virtual certainty’

The 10-year collective bargaining agreement signed between the NFL and NFL Players Association in 2011 is reaching its final years and there isn’t much optimism that a new one will be agreed upon without a labor fight.

“I think that the likelihood of either a strike or a lockout in 2021 is almost a virtual certainty,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in an interview with Sports Illustrated posted Thursday.

Walsh did it a second time after making another 52-yarder. This time, teammate Richard Sherman joined him in the shading, livening up an otherwise uneventful second half of an exhibition game.

“I simply was just responding to getting taunted,” Walsh said, via ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia. “I didn’t say anything. When you’ve got guys who were your teammates for five years yelling at you when you’re trying to kick, it’s just odd. And I hope they were in jest. And I hope they didn’t mean it because I didn’t mean anything with mine, but it was definitely not out of nowhere.”

“They were giving him a hard time. They were razzing him a little bit and all that,” Carroll told Kapadia. “He was just having a little fun with it. He’s a really good competitor. I like his mentality, and I think we are very fortunate to have him.”

Here’s my first political cartoon. Dedicated to my brother @mosesbread72 and all of the other athletes using their platform to promote change. As I’ve been saying it seems as if “you can use the platform provided to promote products but not to promote change to the products of your environment.” I’ve read a lot of the hate mail and comments sent to my brother as well as the ones sent to me. This illustration is how I feel about it all. here’s to those willing to risk it all to promote change.

After the game, Britt told reporters that he wasn’t against “against what the flag means and veterans,” but he wanted to show understanding about Bennett’s protest.redskins_006_fd4af6c0f4f988b7-180x180

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NHL trade rumors: David Pastrnak is staying put, Bruins GM Don Sweeney says

There’s no truth to the rumor the Bruins will look to trade David Pastrnak — if one is to take general manager Don Sweeney at his word.

NHL Network analyst Brian Lawton caused a stir over the weekend by stating he would not be surprised if Boston decided to part with its high-scoring winger rather than continue trudging through sluggish contract negotiations. Sweeney shot down that report Tuesday in a succinct email to the Boston Globe.

The U.S. finished 7-0 in winning the WJC for the fourth time and the first since 2013. It beat both Canada and Russia twice. That should be an enormous point of pride, and a confidence booster for the entire USA Hockey program.
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Our country needed us at this point with the hockey, Kieffer Bellows, who scored twice Thursday, told reporters. Kids looking up to us, teenagers, older adults that love hockey so much were looking up to us. We came out on top, and hopefully the country’s proud of us.
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The professional bona fides of the 23-player roster provide another clue to this group’s potential: seven NHL first-round draft picks, four second-rounders and 21 drafted players overall. One of the second-rounders, goalie Tyler Parsons (Flames), blanked Canada in the five-round shootout. Fifth-round pick Troy Terry (Ducks) scored the lone goal in the session; the night before, he put the U.S. in the final with a shootout goal, his third of the session, against Russia.

These guys won’t be ready to represent their country in the 2018 Winter Olympics, NHL or no NHL involvement. By 2020, though, expect to see a few of them in red, white and blue, and very possibly playing for gold again.

They’re going to get a good return for him

Do nothing. Hold onto Darvish and the exclusive negotiating window. It’s tempting to exchange him for prospects, especially ones who might help in 2018, but for every Cliff Lee and Aroldis Chapman who is traded in the middle of the season and comes back, there are roughly 100 pitchers who drift away and never return.

The Rangers have a chance, still, and those notes under what it would take for them to contend next year? They could all happen over the next two months, as well. Really, though, Darvish is too important to their 18 plans to deal, and that’s what should drive them. If they make up ground in the wild card chase, that’s grand. If they don’t, they’ll send a message to Darvish that they’d rather keep him than deal with incubating new prospects. The Giants did this in 2013 with Hunter Pence, and he never made it to free agency.

Jay Novacek Authentic Jersey That’s the plan for the Rangers. But I don’t blame them for being tempted. All they would have to give up is two months of a pitcher they can reacquire in the offseason, and they would get a huge boost to their farm. It sounds so simple, so seductive … how could it possibly go wrong?

As has already been discussed many times over, the A’s want to trade Sonny Gray. He’s out of there. They’re going to get a good return for him, and it’s only the size of that return that is up for debate at this point.

Trading him to the Dodgers would work out nicely for Oakland, especially when taking stock of its other potential trade partners and what they could offer.

With young talent like Willie Calhoun, Alex Verdugo, Walker Buehler, and Yadier Alvarez available, the A’s would be smart to partner with the Dodgers and capitalize on that talent for their rebuilding process.

Dennis Smith Elite Jersey While it was likely before this development, the Dodgers are now definitely looking for starting pitching support now that Clayton Kershaw is once again dealing with a back injury that could derail him for longer than they hope.

2017 MLB All-Star Game odds: AL looks to continue dominance as small betting underdog

The American League is 4-0 both straight up and on the runline in the last four MLB All-Star Games. The AL will go for a fifth straight win and cover this Tuesday night against the National League.

Chris Sale will start for the American League and is a -105 underdog in Miami at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Max Scherzer is set to start for the National League as a -115 betting favorite.

Tuesday, Chris Antonetti, Cleveland’s president of baseball operations, said Francona, 58, wasn’t going to manage the Indians that night because he was undergoing tests at the Cleveland Clinic. In June, Francona went to the hospital twice after leaving games for light lightheadedness and a rapid heart rate.

Of the four teams he has spent time with, Beltre has hit the most in Texas, with 1,107 total. Second is Los Angeles, at 949, then Seattle where he hit 751. His lone year with Boston brings up the rear at 189 total hits.

The only other active player to surpass 3,000 hits is Ichiro Suzuki with 3,059. Albert Pujols is inching closer at 2,911, but after him it’s the 40-year-old Carlos Beltran, who is more than 300 hits away from reaching the club.

Game Youth Tre’Davious White Jersey Beltre’s quest for 3,000 was briefly interrupted by a fairly ridiculous ejection on Wednesday night, but he wouldn’t be Adrian Beltre if fairly ridiculous wasn’t part of his legacy.
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Adrian Beltre is also the first-ever Dominican-born player to reach 3,000 career hits. Albert Pujols will very likely be the second at some point in 2018, and then Robinson Cano (2,308 hits) is the next best-bet.

Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem

Another season, another controversy surrounding the national anthem.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch remained seated during the national anthem prior to the team’s 20-10 loss to the Cardinals in their preseason opener.

In his first game back since the 2015 season, Lynch was dressed in uniform but did not play. Instead of standing for the song, he sat on a cooler while holding a banana.

Smith, 22, suffered nerve damage when he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in his Notre Dame team’s Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1, 2016, an injury so severe many thought he’d never play again.

The Cowboys drafted him with the No. 34 pick in 2016 and he has been rehabbing the knee since.

Smith has been wearing a brace on his knee during training camp, but participated in drills and scrimmages without issue. He said the brace isn’t limiting him too much and that he “feels explosive” and is moving fast. He ended Cowboys practice Monday with a “sack” of Kellen Moore.

“I’ve been feeling great,” Smith told reporters Monday. “For us it’s just about getting reps. That’s something that I’ve gotten. We’ll finish up this week and see if they’ll let me go.

“I’m really looking forward to be able to contribute this year. When they call my number, I’ll be ready.”

The actions by Adidas show what happens when an organization does not support those tasked with protecting the integrity of the game. We support the referee community. This offensive behavior cannot stand [and] hurts all those involved in basketball.”

It was also an opportunity for us to set the standard for that team coming back and what we want it to be moving forward. We were gonna have a good time together, but we were gonna work. That’s what that trip is all about.dolphins_078

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The Overlooked: Brad Peacock may be the Astros’ most valuable pitcher

Authentic Mason Foster Jersey Little did Jordan Jankowski know that when he taught Astros teammate Brad Peacock how to throw a slider in 2016, he would help turn Peacock into one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball.

Peacock is 10-1 with a 3.20 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 87 innings this year and leads the Astros in wins. If he were to toss a few more innings this year, his 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings would rank fourth in baseball.

Much of that can be traced back to his decision to scrap his old slider and ask Jankowski for help while they were at Triple-A Fresno.

Analysis: At the end of the day, Verlander is making a lot of money. And while he’s still a top-of-the-rotation guy, it’s hard to see someone A) taking the majority of the money he’s got left ($56 million, with a $22 million vesting option for 2020) and B) giving up a ton of prospects for a 34-year-old starter with a lot of innings on his arm.

The Tigers are probably a little unwilling to back down off their trade demands in order to start a full-blown rebuild in coming years, but Verlander also isn’t getting any younger.

It’s hard to see Verlander getting moved unless Detroit eats some of that money, but that seems unlikely, at least this weekend.

Authentic Kenny Clark Jersey Latest rumors: The asking price could be too high for Yankees, according to Fanrag Sports’ Jon Heyman, but they are still seriously considering him. A deal could get done without including Triple A prospects.

Both the Astros and the Brewers are on the periphery, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Analysis: Of all the teams that need a front-end starter to shore up the rotation, it has to be the Astros. They have a great one-two in Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, but injuries have turned out to be a speedbump for the Astros this season. They still have a healthy lead in the AL West, but a Gray-type could put them over the top.

Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock declared cancer-free

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Elite Jonathan Casillas Jersey Lou Brock has never been in a race he couldn’t win, and the Cardinals Hall of Famer has just won his race against cancer.

After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April, Brock revealed Saturday to the St. Louis Post Dispatch that doctors have informed him that he is 100 percent cancer-free.

I consider this a miracle happening — that it would reverse itself this quickly, he said. It was an uphill struggle but we won it. The quest … is not to let it come back.

Brock, 78, broke the all-time steals record in August 1977. He finished his career with 938 stolen bases and held the record for eight years before Ricky Henderson broke it in 1986.

MLB has been working Statcast into everything: highlight reels, social network posts, in-game content, smoke signals, carrier pigeons, hieroglyphics and so forth. The good thing is that the Statcast initiative hasn’t felt forced or overbearing, because MLB is inching it along as opposed to jamming it down viewers’ throats.

This year, sprint speed and catch probability have been the new stats on the block; MLBN has included them when necessary and naturally — always powered by AWS, mind you — without dominating telecasts. Purinton believes that strategy has helped create an effective approach to MLB Network broadcasts.

When [fans] see a fantastic catch, they want to know what the catch probability was on that, he said. As you push that information into a telecast, it slowly starts to become accepted, and that kind of goes for all the analytical data.

Jordan Hicks is the best NFL player nobody’s talking about. That’s about to change.

Rocky Bleier Kids Jersey Jordan Hicks may not be a household name, but he’s come up big for the Philadelphia Eagles in his short career. Hicks has become an interception magnet — he led the team with five in 2016 — and in his third year, he should be an even bigger contributor, on and off the field.

Game Los Angeles Chargers Jersey At the middle linebacker position, Hicks is responsible for identifying formations and putting his teammates in a position to make stops. He’s grown to be the more vocal and confident leader that comes with the experience of a full regular season under his belt. But more importantly, he should also have a clean bill of health.

Jones also made an entire music video with Migos for their song 11 Birds which is about the Atlanta Falcons and Jones. They’re tossing the football around in the street with random break-ins of them eating at the Busy Bee Cafe in Atlanta — because we all need good soul food in our lives.

During the summer, Jones showed up at the BET Awards in support of Migos. If you haven’t realized it by this point, Jones takes his Instagram game seriously with all of these spicy captions.

Things got more interesting than him just showing up at the BET Awards. Migos and Joe Budden got into what can barely be called a scuffle. One of the hosts, DJ Akademiks, had the audacity to ask Takeoff (Migos rapper for the uninitiated) why he was left off of Bad and Boujee, and then make him repeat his answer. Though to be fair, it did seem loud in there.

In eight starts for the Browns in 2016, Kessler was 0-8 but he actually wasn’t that bad. Six touchdowns and two interceptions is a better statline than most rookies would’ve posted in that situation. Green Bay can attempt to groom Kessler into something to work with.

Sean Payton’s obsession hinges on a better Saints defense

Sean Payton turns 54 on Dec. 29 and is in his 12th season as New Orleans Saints head coach. He was an NFL assistant coach for nine seasons before that. He was a college coach for nine seasons before that.

But the way Payton views it, he is only in the middle of his NFL coaching career. A Super Bowl XLIV championship in 2010, a “Bountygate” suspension for the entire 2012 season, an undisputed status as one of the NFL’s cleverest offensive minds, and three straight 7-9, non-playoff seasons entering Saints training camp on Thursday morning coalesce to form his view on the game and his “obsession.”

Penn, 34, was a Pro Bowler at left tackle for the Raiders in 2016, but is running out of time to get significant chunks of money in his NFL career. He’s in the second season of a two-year, $11.9 million deal and is set to make $7.15 million in 2017.

But other offensive linemen on the team like Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson received huge contracts worth $58 and $55 million, respectively, over five years each.

Yet the Raiders still have more than $9 million in salary cap space after dishing out those contracts and the blockbuster deal that Derek Carr received earlier in the offseason.

Other stars on the team like Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper are due for contracts soon, but adding a year or two on Penn’s contract, or restructuring to dish out a little bit more in 2017, is doable.

Penn, like most other holdouts, doesn’t have a ton of leverage, but he’s due to become a free agent in 2018. If the Raiders want to keep him protecting Carr’s blindside beyond 2017, it may be wise to throw him a bone.
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Stanley Cup gets wholesome treatment from Chris Kunitz and kids

Think of all the tales of debauchery you’ve heard about the Stanley Cup. Through the years it’s served up beer, tequila, wine and other libations. Some title-winning New York Rangers in 1940 allegedly urinated in the Cup, which supposedly evoked a half-century curse on the team.

More recently, Detroit Red Wings star Kris Draper put his newborn daughter in the Cup in 2008, where she promptly pooped.
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Luckily, Lord Stanley’s trophy can be easily sanitized, which brings us to this wholesome image of how former Penguins star Chris Kunitz began Monday with the Cup.

Ben Lovejoy (New Jersey Devils-$2.67 million): Lovejoy is solid defensively, right-handed, a former Stanley Cup champion, and absolutely terrific in the locker room. Put a letter on his jersey and let him go to work. Other Devils considered: LW Michael Cammalleri and D Jon Merrill.
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Alexey Marchenko (Toronto Maple Leafs-$1.45 million): Marchenko, the 25-year-old Russian, is still feeling his way after splitting last season between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. He can compete for a spot on the right side. Other Maple Leafs considered: D Martin Marincin.

Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles Kings-$1.7 million): The 6-foot-5 McNabb is a bruising presence on the back end, though one who suffered a fractured collarbone last season. Other Kings considered: RW Dustin Brown, C Nick Shore and C Trevor Lewis.

Marc Methot (Ottawa Senators-$4.9 million): Methot will slot in on the Golden Knights’ top defensive pairing and also be one of the leaders of this team. A solid get in the expansion draft. Other Senators considered: RW Bobby Ryan.