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Dan Shaughnessy

It’s the worst move they could make

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / November 15, 2011

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Picked-up pieces while making plans for the Patriots in the AFC Championship game . . .

Regrettable move by the NBA players, rejecting the latest offer from the owners. It’s more bad advice from agents and labor reps. Forget about 50-50, 47-53, and all those other numbers. Here’s a number for you: Zero. That’s what the players are getting now that litigation has replaced negotiation. Pretty late in the game for union decertification. I still say the players would come back if leadership would allow a show of hands in a group vote of the membership. Owners and players need to remember that America has no appetite for this kind of standoff in today’s economic climate.

Tito, Theo, Papel-Gone. Don’t be surprised if Miss Heidi is next. That’s right, Heidi Watney might be the next member of the 2011 Red Sox cast to depart. Heidi’s contract is up at the end of the month and a person with knowledge of NESN’s upper management says Watney is done after four years as the Sox in-game reporter.

Why did we waste so much time on Albert Haynesworth when we had Andre Carter here all along? When he’s done playing, Carter has a future on television.

There has to be a way for Yale quarterback Patrick Witt to interview for the Rhodes Scholarship and still play in the Harvard-Yale game. Witt withdrew his application rather than miss the 128th playing of The Game in New Haven Saturday, the same day his interview was scheduled. Very noble of him, but The Rhodes is bigger than The Game.

One of the underplayed stories of the year came and went last week when Easy Ed Macauley died at the age of 83 in a St. Louis retirement home. Macauley is one of the underrated figures in Boston sports history. He came to the Celtics in 1950 and was Boston’s first basketball superstar. He was the pivotal figure in Red Auerbach’s masterful trade that brought Bill Russell to Boston after the 1955-56 season. Celtics owner Walter Brown did not want to part with Macauley, but the 6-foot-8-inch center/forward agreed to the deal because he wanted to return to his St. Louis home to care for his disabled son. The rest is basketball history. Macauley’s No. 22 hangs in the Garden rafters above the parquet floor.

Should be some good theater when the Bruins play at Buffalo the night before Thanksgiving. The Sabres need to do something after the way Milan Lucic pancaked Ryan Miller at the Garden Saturday night.

What a story it will be if Jacoby Ellsbury is named American League Most Valuable Player Monday. He’s got a better chance than you might think.

When you win as many games as the Patriots, four years between playoff wins is a long time. The Patriots look like a cinch for 12-4 and their eighth division title in nine years, but it won’t mean anything until they win in January.

Former Sox manager John McNamara delivered a few whoppers in an MLB Network program that first aired last week. “Buckner was the best first baseman I had,’’ Mac said, when asked to explain why Dave Stapleton wasn’t on the field at the end of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. “Stapleton’s nickname was ‘Shaky.’ And you know what that implies. I didn’t want him playing first base to end that game.’’ McNamara had “Shaky’’ at first at the end of the seven games the Sox won in the ’86 playoffs. Johnny Mac continues to insist (“I don’t lie’’) that Roger Clemens asked out of Game 6 after the seventh inning, and maintains that Oil Can Boyd was too drunk to come out of the bullpen in Game 7.

Jerry Sandusky worked at Boston University as an assistant football coach in 1968. Board members on Sandusky’s Second Mile Foundation include Cal Ripken Jr., Arnold Palmer, Franco Harris, Lou Holtz, and Mark Wahlberg. Small wonder many pro athletes are reluctant to have their photos taken or names used for charity purposes. Meanwhile, Nike said last week that it has no plans to change the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center at the corporation’s hub in Beaverton, Ore. The Nike campus also is home to the Tiger Woods Conference Center and the Lance Armstrong Sports & Fitness Center.

Not even the fanboys knew Jeff Tarpinian before Sunday night.

Jerry West’s darker-than-black autobiography insists that West never has set foot in Boston since he retired as a player in 1974.

Newton North and University of Massachusetts alum Anthony Gurley is trying out for the Los Angeles Defenders of the D League.

Next time the Patriots tell you that the media is full of beans on any topic, here’s defensive line coach Pepper Johnson on Haynesworth back in mid-August: “He’s very unlike what a lot of you read about. Albert is a great guy. It’s kind of hard to see some of the things that you hear that are negative about him coming from that person. You need to know both sides of the story.’’ Team president Jonathan Kraft added, “I know things have been written about Albert that are just patently wrong. I think everything Pepper said was right.’’

You’ve got to love the St. John’s basketball team. Coach Steve Lavin has ancient Gene Keady assisting on the bench and 6-9 Nigerian God’s Gift Achiuwa on the court. Lavin calls his big man, “Gift.’’

Saturday’s Brookline-Newton North girls’ volleyball Central/East sectional final was as good at it gets. Led by Jamie Francona (daughter of the Sox ex-manager) and Maya Midzik, Brookline won in five games. It was the third time these Bay State rivals met, and the third time they took it to the limit. Brookline’s Warriors face perennial champ Barnstable tomorrow in the state semifinal.

Appearing at the JFK Presidential Library to promote his new book last week, Stephen King told the crowd, “For a horror writer, the Red Sox are a natural.’’

I’m gonna miss Geno on the big board at the end of Celtics home victories.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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