Wakeup Call: Sherman calls banning 'n' word 'atrocious idea'

Wakeup Call: Sherman calls banning 'n' word 'atrocious idea'
March 4, 2014, 6:45 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, March 4:

BASEBALL

MLB's expanded-replay system passes its first test in a Twins-Blue Jays exhibition game. Two calls were reviewed, both were upheld, and the game was only stopped for about 2 1/2 minutes each time. (AP)

Astros prospect Jon Singleton, who served a 50-game suspension at the start of last season after a second positive test for marijuana, says "it's pretty evident to me that I'm a drug addict" and that "I have to work against that." (CSN Houston)

It took a strained calf to do it, but Zack Greinke gets his wish: He doesn't have to go to the Dodgers' season-opening series in Australia. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

I know, I know; it's two spring-training starts. Still . . . (AP)

Johan Santana's been rumored to be headed here, there and everywhere this offseason, but his less-than-stellar workout performances -- reports are that his fastball tops out in the low 80s these days -- have kept him unemployed. Now, however, the Orioles may be prepared to take a flyer on the former Cy Young Award winner. (CSN Baltimore)

The oft-injured Cameron Maybin is at it again: He ruptures his left biceps tendon and will be lost to the Padres for at least two to three months. (AP)

The Reds remain hopeful that Mat Latos will be ready for Opening Day. (Hardball Talk)

Old friend Nick Punto, now with the A's at age 36, is still playing the game with the joy and abandon of a kid. (CSN Bay Area) 

A pro baseball career in addition to being a Super Bowl-winning quarterback? Russell Wilson, working out with the Rangers these days, says "never say never." (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

No changes at the very top of the AP Top 25 poll this week, but there were some at the bottom: Connecticut and Oklahoma are back in, while Ohio State and Texas are out. (AP)

All's well that ends well -- I suppose -- for No. 14 North Carolina. (AP)

But, boy, nothing ended very well for on-the-bubble Xavier last night. (Yahoo! Sports)

Same for Pittsburgh. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

Bad news for No. 8 Kansas: Not only will Joel Embiid miss the last two games of the regular season because of a lower back strain, but he could be out for the entire Big 12 Tournament, as well. (AP)

That storming-the-court nonsense after beating Kentucky -- the Wildcats, incidentally, have dropped from 17 to 25 in this week's poll, in large part because of that loss to the Gamecocks -- will cost South Carolina $25,000. (AP)

Let the offseason coaching carousel begin, though, as first shots go, this one's pretty quiet: UT Martin fires Jason James after an 8-23 season and a five-year record of 37-117. (AP) 

In the women's UPS Performance Index, Tennessee is moving on up. (AP)

Not past Connecticut, though, as you'll see in the five things you need to know about this week's women's poll. (AP)

The reality is, women's basketball is UConn's world and we're all just living in it . . . as last night's 20-point victory at No. 3 Louisville starkly demonstrates. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Meet the new quarterback. Same as the old quarterback. (AP)

Urban Meyer has fluid removed from a cyst on his brain, but Ohio State says he's fine and will be on the field when the Buckeyes begin spring drills today. (AP)

Starting QB Cyler Miles is still suspended, so Washington will begin spring practice without him. (AP)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, saying he wants his QBs "thinking exactly like you want them to think," prohibits Nick Marshall from working with quarterback guru George Whitfield -- whose stable includes RGIII, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston and Johnny Football -- this offseason. (NBC's College Football Talk)

GOLF

So how bad is Tiger hurt? Only he knows . . . and he's not saying. (AP)

HOCKEY

It doesn't appear John Tortorella's system is catching on very well in Vancouver, does it? (NHL's Pro Hockey Talk)

Ryan Kesler reportedly will waive his no-trade clause for a handful of destinations -- Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York -- but Columbus isn't one of them. And his blood feud with former college linemate and current Blue Jackets star R.J. Umberger is apparently a big reason. (Pro Hockey Talk)

How about the Blackhawks as a landing spot for Kesler? (CSN Chicago)

Must have been sweet for Lindy Ruff to record his 600th NHL coaching victory against Buffalo, since the first 571 came with the Sabres before they fired him. (AP)

The Kings continue their post-Olympic-break winning streak by beating the Canadiens. (AP)

As do the Wild, against Calgary. (AP)

Marian Hossa hurt that old upper body in the Blackhawks' outdoor game with the Penguins and will be sidelined two to three weeks. (CSN Chicago)

Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov is suspended two games for boarding the Flyers' Brayden Schenn. (AP)

From the Florida Panthers to Jay Z's Roc Nation: Quite the journey, there, Michael Yormark. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL

Last night's 61-point performance may put LeBron James back into the hunt for the MVP Award, which had all but been awarded to Kevin Durant. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

LeBron's night, by the numbers. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Wonder if these folks will be as enthused as the Miami fans who were chanting "M-V-P!" last night: James may return to the scene of the crime -- Cleveland -- when the Cavs retire the jersey of his old teammate and friend Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Saturday night. (AP) 

Jason Collins gets a rousing welcome in Brooklyn as he plays the final minutes of the Nets' victory over the Bulls. (AP)

There haven't been many highlights for the Lakers this year, but last night was one of them. (AP)

On Sunday it was the Suns and Hawks giving us an old-style, run-and-gun, 1970s NBA shootout. Last night it was the Timberwolves and Nuggets. (AP)

The losing continues in New York. (AP)

And in New Orleans. (AP)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- who had very little use for the human race during his Hall of Fame career -- continues trying to say hello at a time of life when most folks are saying goodbye. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL

Richard Sherman thinks banning the 'n' word, which the NFL is contemplating, is not only "an atrocious idea" but it's also "almost racist . . . Why wouldn't all curse words be banned then?" (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Sherman's teammate, Doug Baldwin, agrees: "Whether whoever wants to agree with it or not, we (African-Americans) have turned it kind of into a term of endearment." (Pro Football Talk)

Never a good thing when you unveil your new uniforms and the first two words out of everyone's mouth are "Arena League." (Pro Football Talk)

Anquan Boldin "kind of laughed" at reports of discord in the 49ers' locker room over Jim Harbaugh. "I don't think anybody in our locker room has an issue with Coach Harbaugh," he said. (CSN Bay Area)

Good thing, because Harbaugh says he's not going anywhere. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Colin Kaepernick is looking for a raise, and he's figuring that an 1,800 percent increase -- from $973,000 a year to $18 million -- is about right. (Pro Football Talk)

Here are the six guys who received the franchise or transition tags yesterday. (Pro Football Talk)

Brian Orakpo was one of them, and it may be the start of a long, drawn-out negotiating process between he and the Redskins. (CSN Washington)

Jimmy Graham was another, and he may file a grievance over the fact he was tagged as a tight end and not a wide receiver. (Pro Football Talk)

Told ya he'd pass. (AP)

That old softie Bernard Pollard gets downright gleeful on Twitter after re-signing with the Titans. (AP)

SOCCER

Put on one of those new U.S. jerseys and you'll be just as much at home on the links as you will on the pitch. (Yahoo! Sports)

Ukraine has a friendly scheduled against the United States in Cyprus, but -- understandably -- the match may not come off. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

TENNIS

Lindsay Davenport was in a hospital, about to give birth to her fourth child, when she was told she'd been named to the Tennis Hall of Fame. Now that her daughter Haven is nearly two months old, she has a little more time to reflect on the honor. (AP)

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic put on quite the exhibition at Madison Square Garden. (AP)