From Comcast SportsNetLAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- Brandon Marshall wishes he would have just stayed quiet. So he'll chalk up this spat with Warren Sapp as a learning experience.The Chicago Bears receiver apologized for retaliating with some harsh comments after being called a "retard" -- even though he wasn't backing off what he said."I really meant everything I said, but I think it would have helped (Sapp) more if I would have kept it private," Marshall said Thursday. "I apologize to Warren Sapp for saying that publicly. Like I said, I meant everything I said, but where I'm at in my life, you know, I need to learn from that and keep that privately."Marshall has acknowledged receiving treatment for borderline personality disorder and anger management, and after Sapp called him a "retard" in a radio interview, he didn't hold back.He said in an online video posted Monday that he couldn't discuss finances with Sapp "because he filed for bankruptcy" or marriage "because he filed for divorce." He also said in the video on that he couldn't speak to him about becoming a father some day because "he's not active in his children's life," and he posted on Twitter later that day that Sapp apparently challenged him to a fight.On Thursday, Marshall said he had exchanged emails with Sapp, an NFL Network analyst, before posting the video and that it didn't go well. All that stemmed from an interview with the syndicated "The Dan Patrick Show" in which Sapp ripped today's players in general for not respecting the past and teed off on Marshall in particular for "talking about Shannon Sharpe" for apparently not realizing this: "He's the first 100-catch receiver (tight end) back to back, retard."It appeared he actually confused Shannon Sharpe with his brother Sterling, an NFL Network analyst who had questioned Marshall's effort in the Dolphins' loss to the New York Jets a year ago. Marshall responded at the time, saying the commentators need to stop worrying about stuff they know nothing about.But the spat was just the latest round of drama for a player who just can't seem to avoid it. Marshall came to Chicago with a checkered history and found himself in the headlines when a woman accused him of punching her in the face at a New York City nightclub. His attorney said that was not true, and nothing ever came of the incident.Now, this."Some people say I have the talent to do that job when I'm maybe done, but it will be really tough for me because I know that when it is all said and done, I wasn't perfect," Marshall said. "I didn't play perfect football. You definitely have to criticize and give constructive criticism, but when you criticize guys like you've never made mistakes before, it just puts you in a bad position. I wish there was another way to do it. I know there is another way to do it, but would expect a lot from guys that have played the game before and understand how tough it is mentally and physically week in and week out. So like I said, we definitely need to use our words, whether you are a football player or not, to uplift and not to destroy because our tone is so powerful."
Wayne Gretzky is in town with the Oilers as they faced the Capitals, and he joined CSN's Alan May before the game. Topics included Sidney Crosby, the NHL's rising stars and, of course, Alex Ovehckin.
"Well, listen, it’s no secret to anyone that I love the way he plays and I’m a big fan of his and I'm a good friend of his." Gretzky continued, "What I love most about Alex [Ovechkin] is that he wants to win a Stanley Cup. There’s a lot of guys that say they do, but that really deep down maybe they don’t. He’s one guy that would do and pretty much give up anything and everything to get his name on a Stanley Cup."
Gretzky also mentioned Ovechkin's leadership and the way he plays the game are both something to appreciate.
"Those are the kind of guys, kind of leaders that you want in your organization. The thing I appreciate most about his game is that he plays hard each and every night." He also paid Ovechkin a compliment, "The greatest compliment we can get as a professional athlete is when people comes up to you and say 'I saw you play and you worked really hard.' That’s what Alex does every game."
In the past, rightly or wrongly, fans and pundits have gone after Ovechkin for the way he plays in the playoffs. It seems like Gretzky would disagree strongly.
"We all have bad games, we all have off nights. He thrives under pressure. He knows he is the focus of this hockey club and they are having another spectacular year."
Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.
In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.
"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."
He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late.
"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.
"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."
Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.
He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.
So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.
"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."
While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city.
"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."
The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.
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