Raiders coach Jack Del Rio somewhat defends CB Sean Smith

Jack Del Rio has defending cornerback Sean Smith for allegedly beating up his sister’s boyfriend. Sort of.

Colin Kaepernick doesn’t think the ongoing national anthem protests are hurting NFL ratings.

During a conference call with Miami Dolphins reporters on Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback was asked about recent reports that suggested his stance is one of the reasons for the decline.

“They’re not watching football because of my stance about fighting systematic oppression and wanting the same equality and freedom for all people? I would say they probably need to look in the mirror at what they value,” Kaepernick said, via the Miami Herald. “You know, if they’re OK with people being treated unfairly, being abused, being harassed, being terrorized, then the problem is more with what they’re doing in their lives than it is about watching football games.”

Kaepernick has been criticized since the preseason for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, which sparked a nationwide movement. The controversial veteran also revealed earlier this month that he didn’t exercise his right to vote in the presidential election, saying “you have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end it’s still evil.”

Ellison is one of those guys who are difficult to value because they don’t really have any comparable players. He basically is a blocking tight end who should make about half the salary and 25 percent of the guarantee. Perhaps the Giants have better ways to use him than the Vikings did, but he needs to make some impact to make this contract worthwhile.seahawks_103

P.J. Tucker, Rockets agree to four-year, $32 million deal, per report

P.J. Tucker has agreed to a deal with the Houston Rockets, according to the Vertical’s Shams Charania. The deal is worth $32 million over four years. Tucker spent the last half of the 2016-17 season with the Toronto Raptors after he was traded from the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline. He and Serge Ibaka were supposed to give the Raptors enough for a deeper playoff run which never came to fruition.
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Now the Rockets get a chance with a solid defender who can shoot from the deep — the perfect recipe for a Mike D’Antoni offense.

Ellis’ effectiveness has tumbled since joining Indiana in 2015. Now 31, Ellis’ days as an explosive attacking guard are fading along with his athleticism, and his jump shot has never been good enough to compensate for those deficiencies. Last season, Ellis shot 44 percent from the floor and 32 percent from behind the arc while barely getting to the free throw line and barely showing up defensively, as has been the trend throughout his career.

Indiana is headed into a rebuilding mode — or retooling, if you think they can quickly rebound from losing Paul George. They’re a virtual lock to lose a lot of games next season, and Ellis’ chucking on a bad team might actively stunt the development of their young players. I’m not sure why they didn’t just eat his salary this season, rather than stretching it out over the next few years. (It’s possible that’s the only way they could have waived his player option money.) But the Monta era in Indiana is done for good.

Youth Joe Greene Jersey As for Ellis, it’s possible someone takes a flier on him. He also fits the mold of someone who might go overseas to China, I would think. We’ll see which option he takes.

Last week I wrote about three rule changes to prevent future iterations of the Brooklyn Nets from coming to be.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is about to land a fat sneaker deal. I’m just here for the Giannis ads.

Kate Knibbs digs deep on Gunnar Peterson, new strength and training director for the Lakers and trainer to the stars.
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Marvin Bagley III is the best high school prospect out there. He was supposed to play his senior year in 2017-18. Instead, he’s committed to Duke, where he’ll try to play this year, all to get eligible for the 2018 NBA draft.

The stretch shooter didn’t exactly pledge allegiance to the organization throughout the rest of the interview. Jackson may be gone, but the after effects could linger beyond his leave. Porzingis wants to see what has really changed throughout the organization when he returns to the states this summer.

For everybody, a lot of things were surprising and a lot of things were unexpected, he told Powell. We’ll see when I get there and start working out with the guys. We’ll see what has changed. It’s hard to say with everything going on in New York, but once I get there I’ll see things more clearer.

Limited Vladislav Namestnikov Jersey More interesting for the liberated fan’s purposes are the key individual matchups. Paul George goes back to Indiana on Dec. 13, and Gordon Hayward revisits Utah on March 28. Chris Paul will make his return to L.A. to face the Clippers on MLK Day. There’s nothing quite like Kevin Durant’s return to OKC to look forward to this season, though you think they would have moved Hayward-in-SLC up to the early part. Ah well.

Kristaps Porzingis and Dirk Nowitzki are working out together; behold the photo evidence

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The two sharpshooting Euro bigs are currently in South Africa for Saturday’s 2017 NBA Africa Game, where they will play together on the World Team.

This is obviously a huge deal for young Kristaps, as he has waited two years to work out with Nowitzki. The two tried to get together last offseason, but their schedules never quite aligned. As soon as the Africa Game rosters were announced and we saw their names together, Knicks fans dared to dream. Could it really happen, at long last?

Philip Rivers Jersey Another issue that has become increasingly problematic in recent years is application of the death penalty. Most sane individuals would agree that a crime does not get more heinous than the brutal rape and murder of a three-year-old girl. The state of Ohio — after a three-year break in executions to search for a combination of lethal-injection drugs that would hasten death and end accusations of cruel and unusual punishment following a death-row inmate who, in 2014, gasped and gurgled for about 25 minutes before dying — restarted executions last week.

First to be ushered into the death chamber was Ronald Phillips, the man who — at age 19 — committed the aforementioned abominable crime. His lawyers argued for a stay of execution on the grounds that he was a teenager when he committed the crime. Age 43 at the time of his execution last week, the appeal stated that Phillips [now] bears no resemblance to that teenager and that he had become a good man, who was thoughtful, caring, compassionate, remorseful, and reflective.

The lawyers stated that Phillips had tried to atone for his shameful role in Sheila’s death, and in his final remarks, he stated, To the Evans family, I’m sorry you had to live so long with my evil actions.

Nationals’ latest nagging injury is Ryan Madson to the 10-day DL

The Washington Nationals own a comfortable lead in the National League East and are almost certainly playoff bound this season. But their infirmary continues to grow, with reliever Ryan Madson the latest to go down.

Madson was placed on the 10-day disabled list before Thursday’s road game against the San Diego Padres with a right finger sprain, coinciding with right-hander Shawn Kelley returning from the DL.

At the moment, the Nationals are without outfielders Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Adam Eaton, as well as shortstop Trea Turner and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, though all are expected to be ready before the playoffs.

With a 13 ?-game lead over the Miami Marlins entering Thursday, Washington has the cushion to let its players heal. The Nationals are projected with a 100-percent chance to win the National League East per FanGraphs, with Baseball Prospectus slightly less optimistic, at 99.9 percent.

After all, despite not having the best history with race, the Sox do have some great options in this case. There’s Pumpsie Green, who first broke the color barrier on Boston’s roster, or Jim Rice. Or it could be as easy as putting Ortiz’s name on it, especially since (as Henry notes) Dominican fans and players have become an important part of the Boston family.

Whatever the case, it’ll be up to the city to say yes or no. With the increased rate of other cities and organizations removing monuments and changing names, now may finally be the time for this supposed can of worms to be embraced.

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Golden Knights owner Bill Foley critical of Las Vegas footing $750M for Raiders’ stadium

In a landslide, 31 of 32 NFL owners voted Monday to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas to the praises of most outside the Bay Area.

Bill Foley, the NHL’s newest owner whose expansion Golden Knights soon will share the Sin City’s suddenly burgeoning professional sports scene, is looking at the NFL’s relocation through a more critical lens, specifically as it involves the $750 million in public money Las Vegas lawmakers secured to help finance the Raiders’ new $1.9 billion stadium.
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I felt like there were a lot better ways to spend $750 million than bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas, Foley said Monday on Vegas Hockey Hotline. We could spend it on police, firefighters and teachers and have them all be the best in the country. But I guess we’re going to spend it on the Raiders.

John Danks Youth Jersey The Wild, coming off a 106-point season, are on the preseason short list of Cup contenders, eager to make amends for a quick first-round playoff exit.

They made a few tweaks in the offseason, adding forwards Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno via trade. Cullen, by effect, replaces Martin Hanzal, who departed to Dallas in free agency. The Wild also are without Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella, traded to Buffalo for Ennis and Foligno.

The main difference between last year’s collapse and the makings of an rerun is the presence of goalie Carey Price, who was injured most of last season, and defenseman Shea Weber, who was in Nashville then. Price’s play especially has dipped off significantly since 2016 turned to 2017, having allowed three or more goals in 11 of his last 16 starts.

we’ve learned that Mariah Carey doesn’t warm up with some long toss before her shows.

We here at SB Nation have developed the BEANS Score?, which is the Baseball-Endured Aggravation Numerical Standard, and it runs from 1 to 10. You will probably never see a 9 or a 10 because those would require DL time, if not hospitalization, which means it’s stopped being funny. If we’re having fun, an 8 is the maximum.

I’ll admit, I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about how well Carly Rae Jepsen threw a baseball before, and I guess I don’t have to after. It was not a good first pitch, no.

Again, so we’ve learned that Mariah Carey doesn’t warm up with some long toss before her shows. The throw was bad, but there’s something about laughing at it a little too hard that makes me uncomfortable.

In two of those seasons*, Trout was clearly the best player in the league, but he lost because enough voters couldn’t handle the fact that he didn’t personally kick open the door to the postseason and drag the rest of his Marshon Lattimore Jerseys teammates through by their nostrils.

I won’t make fun of voters too much for Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown season because that was an obvious historical outlier.

Here we are, and Trout is kicking on the door to the Adam Shaheen Jerseys postseason, trying to break it down, with his fingers firmly shoved in his teammates’ nostrils. Metaphorically. If he does it, if the Angels make the Wild Card Game, there will be no argument: The Angels wouldn’t have been anywhere close to the postseason without Trout.

Now flip the argument to the leading contender, Altuve. The Astros are 12 games ahead of the Angels, who are in second place. If they had replaced him with, say, Pete Kozma, they would still have a comfortable first-place lead. When the Astros make the postseason, they’ll have done so with the help of one of the best players in baseball, but he wasn’t what pushed them over the top. I mean, if you want to do this meme style …

Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette injured, Marqise Lee carted off field with leg injury

Wide receiver Marqise Lee was carted off the field during the Jaguars’ practice on Sunday, but the extent of his injury isn’t known.

According to coach Doug Marrone, the wide receiver was running a basic route when he stopped short and apparently hurt his right leg.

“I know that he was looking to stop,” Marrone said. “I know he stopped and they (the trainers) are evaluating him right now.”

“As a homicide prosecutor and violent crimes prosecutor, I had to try a violent offender or a murderer 100 days after arrest or the person goes free. I know there’s a couple of prosecutors that are working with the league on these personal conduct issues, but I gotta tell ya there’s a whole group of prosecutors and law enforcement folks laughing at them going, ‘Why does it take so long?'”

Smith’s comments echo those of Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones earlier in the week.

“These things are tough for everybody. It’s tough for the league. It’s tough for the team. It’s tough for the player,” Jones said. “I think, at some point, you should be able to get the information in some sort of time frame that it doesn’t carry on like this particular investigation has.”

The Ravens will have Joe Flacco play in a knee brace in his second season back from a torn ACL. Feel free to use that as a metaphor for their 2017 season — they’d better brace themselves, because they’ll be scrambling around to some widespread locations to try to redeem their missed opportunity from last season.

They’re taking a chance on a later bye week instead of an early one following their trip to London to face the Jaguars in Week 3. But it makes sense, because in December they travel back to Pittsburgh on a Sunday night, some 50 weeks after their AFC North chances died on Antonio Brown’s stretch for a last-second game-winning touchdown. Avoiding a third straight playoff-less season is paramount.
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Obviously there’s going to be people that don’t follow the same suit

The Blue Jays scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Angels for a rally capped by Steve Pearce’s walk-off grand slam to life the Jays to victory. It was the second walk-off grand slam for Pearce in four days.

It’s just as good, Pearce said. It’s, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ You’ve got to go up there and attack that at-bat. I went up there and just looked for my pitch. He missed a couple pitches pretty bad early, so I was able to sit on my pitch and unload on it.
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Francois Beauchemin Elite Jersey Just because the Yankees acquired Jaime Garcia from the Twins doesn’t mean the Yankees are done dealing. They are trying to land Gray, but it will be Luis Severino (7-4, 3.03 ERA) taking the mound Monday. Michael Fulmer (10-8, 3.35) will start for the Tigers, who are trying to unload Wilson and may have done so by the time Monday’s game at Yankee Stadium begins.

Pudge Rodriguez is one of the most decorated catchers in major league history. The former Texas Rangers backstop has 13 All-Star nominations and 14 Gold Gloves, both of which are the most for any catcher in MLB history. The Puerto Rico native is entering the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Retiring in 2012, Rodriguez turned a promising beginning as one of the best catcher prospects into a Hall of Fame career playing for the Rangers, Yankees, Tigers, Marlins, Astros and Nationals. He will enter the Hall of Fame as a Ranger.

Rodriguez was named AL MVP in the 1999 season, with a .332 batting average, 35 home runs and 133 RBIs for Texas. Rodriguez later helped the Florida Marlins to a World Series title in 2003.

Hopefully we can continue to do the right thing as a whole. Obviously there’s going to be people that don’t follow the same suit. Don’t be those folks.

Neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacist groups staged a rally Friday to protest the city of Charlottesville’s plans to remove a Robert E. Lee statue from a park. On Saturday, a 20-year-old man drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and wounding at least 19 others. Hours later, two Virginia state troopers were killed when the helicopter they were flying in as part of a large-scale police effort at the rally crashed into a wooded area outside the city.

Pirates reacquire Sean Rodriguez from Braves

The big trade deadline has passed, but there will still be some trades that happen here and there when a player is put on waivers.

One such deal went down Saturday when the Pirates acquired utility player Sean Rodriguez from the Braves.
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Solomon Hill Authentic Jersey Atlanta is 12 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot, so there’s not too much they can do to get into the playoff race with the Diamondbacks and Rockies owning a stranglehold on those two berths.

Seattle entered play Tuesday one game out of the second American League wild card spot. At 57-56, the Mariners are one of a half-dozen teams sitting just outside a playoff spot now that could conceivably make a run by the end of September.

But doing it without Hernandez is not ideal, no matter how much he has struggled this year. During the right-hander’s previous two-month stint on the DL this season, Seattle endured its worst stretch of the year, losing 12 of 16 games at one point and bottoming out at eight games under .500.

Hernandez is in the midst of his worst season in more than a decade, carrying a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts 鈥?only two of which have seen him pitch at least seven innings.

It depends who is running the team, who the GM is, who the manager is and what kind of look they’re going for, Gardner said. What kind of guys are in the lineup besides just the leadoff guy. It depends on what makes the lineup work.

Souza said lineups with significant power six or seven players deep have a better chance of capitalizing on deployment of a leadoff hitter with pop.

We’re blessed with a lot of guys with a lot of power, Souza said. Our 3-4-5 hitters are not going to suffer if one of the leadoff hitters has power. But, not a lot of teams have six, seven players who can hit 20 home runs.