Morning Sports Update: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says Krafts apologized to him

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is still talking about his Deflategate story.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is still talking about his Deflategate story.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen stands by his Deflategate story that kicked off a media firestorm in January, Sarah Palin defends the embattled Curt Schilling, a look back at Darryl Dawkins, and the rest of the sports news you need to know to start your Friday.

Chris Mortensen defends his Deflategate report, says Kraft’s apologized to him: “‘Where I get into trouble is the fact that I tweet the 2 pounds under,’ Mortensen said. ‘We clarified and simply went to significantly underinflated. By the way, it was 11 of 12 footballs. The Princeton professor who was hired to disprove the Ted Wells report agreed on which gauge was used, so even then we’re talking about five balls in the 10 [PSI] range, another five that were in the low 11 range. And not only that, we also know the league itself didn’t even get it right when they sent the notification letter to the Patriots and said that one ball was as low as 10 PSI’…

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“He added: ‘In the meantime, I understand the passion of the fanatical nation that is in New England, and certainly anybody who’s going through this. I’ve had both Krafts — Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft — call me and apologize for just the way this thing has gone down.’’’ (WEEI.com)

It’s time for Tom Brady to step up his game against Panthers tonight: “Tom Brady hasn’t exactly been armed with a full assortment of pass catchers in two preseason games, so the starting offense’s struggles are understandable to a degree. Even though, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean much, Brady doesn’t take these things lightly. He is 3-of-9 for 23 yards with one first down in five preseason possessions and was 0-of-3 on third down against the Saints, but the personnel won’t change much. It’d be a surprise if Julian Edelman played tonight and Brandon LaFell is still out. Would they seriously consider breaking glass in case of an emergency and putting Rob Gronkowski out on the field? It might be on Brady to bust out of it with the likes of Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Reggie Wayne and a few bubble players.’’ (Boston Herald)

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Patriots won’t have to face Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant in season opener: “Wide receiver Martavis Bryant was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed. The suspension will begin with the Sept. 10 season opener in New England.

“Bryant, a fourth-round draft choice in 2014, caught eight touchdowns and averaged 21.1 yards per catch in 10 games last season. He practiced with the team Thursday, which, like Bell, he is allowed to do leading up to the week before the start of the regular season. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

NESN remains under fire for terminating fan-favorite Don Orsillo: “The optics were awful. It’s understandable to some degree if NESN was caught off-guard that the news got out. Yet it was common knowledge that Orsillo’s contract was up at season’s end, and there’s been industry chatter for at least a year that the network was considering a change.

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“But it’s not the question of ‘why now?’ that has led to so much backlash. It’s the simpler question that remains unanswered: Why do it at all?’’ (The Boston Globe)

Sarah Palin rips ESPN, defends Curt Schilling in Facebook post:

ESPN IS A JOURNALISTIC EMBARRASSMENT ESPN - what happened to you? Your intolerant PC police are running amok and...

Posted by Sarah Palin on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lucchino scouts Providence site for new PawSox ballpark: “PawSox principal owner Larry Lucchino late Wednesday afternoon walked among the weeds of the Victory Place property in the Jewelry District as he looked for options to the team’s search for a new ballpark site.’’ (The Providence Journal)

After losing starting job to Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett oversleeps and misses practice: “Mallett, who lost the starting job to Brian Hoyer on Monday, showed up later for meetings and will be back on the practice field Friday – business as usual.

“[Texans coach] Bill O’Brien, who was clearly irritated at his quarterback missing practice, didn’t give a reason for Mallett’s absence. ‘That’s between Ryan and I,’ he said. ‘It’s just a personal issue for him.’’’ (Houston Chronicle)

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Former Patriot Brandon Meriweather says he’s not a dirty player: “There will come a moment when a receiver will go across the middle and Brandon Meriweather will have him right in his sights, just the way those Jaguars defensive backs had Odell Beckham lined up last week. His choice will be simple: Go for the ball or hammer the receiver. The reputation of the Giants’ new safety suggests his choice will be easy. But Meriweather insists his reputation is wrong.

“’Everybody pegs me as a dirty player,’ Meriweather told the Daily News on Thursday. ‘But me personally, I don’t consider myself a dirty player. I don’t do stuff like that.’’’ (NYDailyNews.com)

Remembering Darryl Dawkins: “Dawkins oozed charisma. He was glib, with a DJ’s patter. And what endeared him to so many was his disposition. To hear him tell it, Darryl never had a bad day – or if he did he wouldn’t admit it.

“Darryl was a blithe spirit who, as he liked to say, was big even when he was small, and is gone much before his time, at age 58. He leaves behind a legacy of concern for others. On a basketball court he will forever be remembered for the night of Nov. 13, 1979, in Kansas City when he went rolling down on a breakaway and elevated. On defense was Bill Robinzine, who wanted no part of it, and he ran for cover, hands on head. The backboard exploded.’’ (Philly.com)

Usain Bolt talks about getting wiped out by Segway-riding cameraman: “The 10-times world champion did not appear badly injured by the incident, managed to see the funny side and was soon posing for pictures with his adoring crowd again.

“‘It didn’t actually hit me in my Achilles, it hit me in my calf area,’ Bolt said. “It’s all right, I will get over it. Never a doubt [for the relays], never a doubt. I am just going to get it massaged, ice it up a bit and I should be fine.’ Bolt added: ‘The rumour I’m trying to start right now is that Justin Gatlin paid him off.’’’ (TheGuardian.com)

Photo Finish: Belichick yourself before you wreck yourself

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