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In New Orleans, an unwelcome mat for Goodell

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In New Orleans, an unwelcome mat for Goodell

NEW ORLEANS (AP) An effigy of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dangles from the front porch of a New Orleans home that is otherwise festively decorated with Saints paraphernalia.

With restaurants and bars gearing up for an influx of Super Bowl XLVII visitors, the ``Refuse to Serve Roger Goodell'' page on Facebook had 107 likes as of Friday.

A portrait of Goodell covers the bull's-eye on the dart board at Parkview Tavern.

And floats in the unabashedly lowbrow Krewe du Vieux parade in the French Quarter last weekend displayed larger-than-life likenesses of Goodell in acts that defy polite description.

New Orleans is celebrating the return of Saints coach Sean Payton after a season of NFL banishment as a result of the ``bountygate'' scandal - when the team ran a pay-for-hits program. But Goodell, who suspended Payton and other current and former Saints players and coaches last year for their roles in the system, is being ridiculed here with a vehemence usually reserved for the city's scandal-scarred politicians.

``They believe he completely used the Saints as an example of something that was going on league-wide,'' said Pauline Patterson, co-owner of Finn McCool's, an Irish Bar in the Mid-City neighborhood where the words ``Go To Hell Goodell'' are visible over the fireplace.

Some of Goodell's critics say the disarray resulting from what they believe were unfair suspensions led to the Saints' 7-9 performance this year - and a missed chance to make history.

``We had a real shot of being the first team in history to host the Super Bowl in our own stadium,'' Parkview Tavern owner Kathy Anderson said. ``He can't give that back to us.''

Goodell suspended the coaches and players after an investigation found the Saints had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned, but the coaches served their punishments.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu is among those saying that people in this city, known for its hospitality and history, should mind their manners and remember the not-too-distant past.

``Roger Goodell has been a great friend to New Orleans, and it's a fact that he's one of the people instrumental to making sure that the Saints stayed here after Hurricane Katrina,'' Landrieu said in a statement. It was a reference to the days after the storm, when 80 percent of the city was underwater and the damaged Superdome became a shelter for thousands of the displaced.

Then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his second-in-command, Goodell, are credited with working to keep the team from abandoning New Orleans for San Antonio.

``If not for Roger Goodell, we would not have this Super Bowl,'' Landrieu added. ``And we will need him since we want to host another one.''

Saints quarterback Drew Brees said the game is validation of everything the city's gone through to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

``There's no question, yeah. And I think people will see that when they come down, as soon as people come down that haven't been there in a while,'' Brees said Friday while in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. ``The city knows how to entertain, knows how to treat people right. The tourism industry's huge, so we're excited to host this big game. Obviously it's the biggest sporting event in the world, and the city will be ready for it.''

But some are in no mood to back off when it comes to Goodell.

Anderson said she understands city leaders' desire to put their best foot forward, but that it also is important for Saints fans to be able to vent.

``Whether I have Roger Goodell's face on my dart board is not going to change anybody's mind about the Super Bowl,'' Anderson said.

People should not take the barbs too seriously, said Lynda Woolard, a Saints fan who has been tracking some of the barbs on social media. ``Nobody's saying there should be violence against the man,'' Woolard said.

``It's tongue-in-cheek,'' Patterson agreed.

Still, some diehards are ready to put it all behind them.

Patrick Brower, owner and manager of the Dirty Coast T-shirt shop, said Friday that he's pushing black-and-gold wear at his shop, choosing to unify Saints fans without bashing the commissioner.

``We've got to look forward here,'' Brower said. ``The more time we spend in the past, it's just not beneficial.''

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

Manny Machado could very well be playing in his final game in an Orioles uniform Tuesday night when he takes the field for the 89th Midsummer Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers are now in the driver's seat as a favorite to land the All-Star shortstop. 

Machado, 26, has gone back and forth on what he does and does not know as front office deals develop and speculation continues to grow. One thing he has made clear is that the rumors have not detracted from his enjoyment of being an All-Star.

Machado is signed through the end of the season, but the Orioles intend to deal him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

For the latest news and conversation surrounding Machado's status and the Orioles, follow along on Twitter

RELATED LINKS: 

2018 MLB All-Star Guide 

Bryce Harper reflects on his baseball career 

Best and worst ASG uniforms 

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All-Star Game Weather: Storms causing traffic havoc, could force delay, postponement

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USA Today Sports

All-Star Game Weather: Storms causing traffic havoc, could force delay, postponement

There is inclement weather in the forecast for Tuesday evening both before and during the 2018 All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.

The rain could, theoretically, force the game to be delayed or even postponed, but the forecast shows the skies clearing up as first pitch nears.

Bad weather and MLB All-Star Games share a history in Washington.

The last time Washington hosted the MLB All-Star Game, in 1969, a bad rainstorm forced the game to be postponed from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon.

Even if the weather does let up and the game is able to start on time, there are sure to be problems with D.C.'s already-dense traffic. Roads are flooding and with more people on them than usual, getting to the game will surely be an issue.

All-Star Game Forecast

The worst of the weather seems to have already happened on Tuesday afternoon. The rest of the evening forecast calls for a slight chance of precipitation, with mostly cloudy skies and, naturally, a lot of humidity.

The issue, if there is any, would likely be with the All-Star Game getting started on time. That said, there's obviously still the chance for delays during the game.

Luckily, a full postponement seems unlikely at this point.

All-Star Game Traffic

There's hardly a worse place to drive in the United States during rush hour than in, around or through Washington. With the All-Star Game in town, there are already significantly more cars on the road than there usually are. Add rain and flooded roads into that equation and things get extra messy.

The George Washington Parkway, a main thoroughfare in the area, has already flooded.

One road in Alexandria, Virginia, is flooded and has cars scattered about.

Public transportation would seem to be the way to go, but even the Capitol South Metro Station in Southeast D.C. is flooding.


A brief history of weather and the All-Star Game

The first and only time the MLB All-Star Game was ever postponed because of rain was in 1969, the last time Washington was the host.

Three other times, the game has either been shortened or delayed because of rain, most recently in 1990 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. That game was delayed for over an hour but was still played.

All signs point to the game being played Tuesday night, but Nationals Park has definitely felt the wrath of this storm already.

On the bright side, if it's light enough when the game starts, there will probably be a rainbow somewhere in-view from the stadium, which should make for some pretty cool pictures for those in attendance.