From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL fined New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick 50,000 and Washington Redskins assistant Kyle Shanahan 25,000 on Wednesday for their conduct toward replacement officials.The fines come as the league and its referees' union were meeting amid reports they were close to ending the lockout of the regular officials.Belichick grabbed an official's arm at the end of Sunday night's game after the Ravens kicked a winning field goal. Shanahan was cited by the league for "abuse of officials" in Washington's loss to Cincinnati."It was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened," Belichick said in statement released by the team. " I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore."Shanahan, the son of Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for berating officials in the final seconds of the Redskins' 38-31 loss. He also confronted an official in a stadium tunnel after the game."Any time you do what he did you're going to get fined, and that's the nature of the game," Mike Shanahan said. "If you don't abide by the rules, you're going to pay a penalty and usually after a guy pays 25 grand, they usually learn very quickly."Also, the NFL said Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh won't be fined for making contact with a game official during Sunday's 31-30 win over New England. Ray Anderson, the NFL's vice president of football operations, said Harbaugh did not violate the rule regarding abuse of officials.On Monday, the league fined Broncos coach John Fox 30,000 and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio 25,000 for berating officials during a loss to Atlanta on Sept. 17.
Basketball fans got what they wanted with an NBA Finals rematch between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, but the road to get there was mostly a snore. As Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk broke down on Friday, the NBA Playoffs so far have been historically lopsided.
Cavs-Warriors was not only a foregone conclusion, but their dominance through the first three rounds contributed to the fewest pre-Finals games since the NBA expanded the first round to seven games. And by average win margin, it also ranked among the least competitive playoffs ever.
Part of that, one could argue, is due to Kevin Durant joining the Warriors. In doing so, he depleted the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were one of the league's best teams, and consolidated power on the Warriors. They have four stars between Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green when a lot of teams around the NBA have zero.
Durant shouldn't be blamed for all of it, of course. James joining the Cavs and teaming up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had its domino effect. And a lot of teams just plain stink.
Durant issued a strong defense of himself in that regard. He thinks it's unwarranted to say he's the biggest reason. Here is what he told USA Today Sports:
“Like I'm the reason why (expletive) Orlando couldn't make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” he said. “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they're not that good (laughs)? I can't play for every team, so the truth of the matter is I left one team. It's one more team that you probably would've thought would've been a contender. One more team. I couldn't have made the (entire) East better. I couldn't have made everybody (else) in the West better.”
He's right about the Magic and Nets. Yikes, are they terrible. But him leaving OKC did remove one of the best potential matchups in the NBA Playoffs. Their seven-game series against the Warriors last summer was a memorable one and we'll never see it again.
Whether Durant is to blame or not, the playoffs have been anything but great. Ironically, the Wizards' two series against the Hawks and Celtics were probably the best, or at least the most eventful.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is always open to some coaching no matter who it comes from. On Friday that coaching came from Veronica, an 85-year old woman who works at Congressional Country Club and is a die-hard Redskins fan.
Cousins posted a picture of the pair together on his Instagram account Friday afternoon.
Why I love playing for Washington... Just met Veronica, an 85 year old employee at Congressional Country Club, has worked there for 53 years and is a diehard Redskins fan. She had 3 thoughts to share: 1. She coaches me from her couch 2. Wants to be sure I get the ball out when I drop back 3. Wants the new receivers to get involved in the offense I'll see what I can do!
Veronica made some solid suggestions, especially the one about him getting the ball out of his hands quicker.
Despite the rocky contract situation with the team, there's no question that Cousins loves the passionate Redskins fan base.