The fact that Colin Kaepernick isn’t in the NFL, despite so many quarterbacks with worse resumes being employed instead, does not add up for Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

James firmly believes that Kaepernick, who holds a career passer rating of 88.9, is easily an NFL-caliber player that is being blackballed for his beliefs.

“I love football, but I’m not part of the NFL,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t represent the NFL. I don’t know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that.

“Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that.”

Since opting out of his contract last March, a total of 42 quarterbacks have been signed while Kaepernick waits, according to a study by Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated. Some of those accomplished luminaries include David Fales, Matt McGloin, and Brandon Weeden.

So why isn’t he in the league? James points out the obvious with Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and the systematic oppression of people of color in America.

“The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because the way he took a knee. That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night,” James said.

“I see all these quarterbacks – first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks – that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest.”

James, another socially conscious athlete who uses his platform to affect change, compared Kaepernick’s activism to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali.

“I’ve commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him. Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn’t see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature,” James said.

“When it’s something that’s new and it’s something that people are not educated about or don’t understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you’re doing is wrong.

“For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he’s done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that.”

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Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns has witnessed firsthand how medicinal marijuana can have a positive impact on ones life, which is why he’d like to see the NBA reconsider its stance on the substance.

“I agree with David Stern with marijuana,” Towns told ESPN’s Nick Friedell, echoing Stern’s belief that marijuana should be allowed for medicinal purposes. “You don’t have to actually make it ‘Mary J’ (or) ‘Half Baked.’ You don’t have to do it like that, but you could use the (chemical) properties in it to make a lot of people better. That’s something that Adam Silver has to do, that’s out of my control, but maybe legalizing marijuana.

“Not fully legal where people are chimneys but using (marijuana) as a beneficial factor as an athlete, as a person living daily. I think a lot of times fans forget that sometimes there may be some things that are banned that may not be the greatest for playing basketball, but for everyday living off the court, sometimes those things that are legal could help us.”

Towns has a girlfriend whose nephew is autistic. Some of the treatments used to handle the neurodevelopmental disorder involve properties of marijuana.

“I’ve seen nothing but benefits for him,” Towns added. “And I’m very happy that he finds comfort. He finds that normalcy every day. Just like a father, a mother, a parent with a child, you’d do anything for your child.”

The league’s current marijuana policy involves a mandated substance-abuse treatment program that must be completed following a positive test. A second would result in a $25,000 fine, with suspensions for every infraction from that point onward.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr used marijuana as part of his pain regiment stemming from multiple back surgeries. He believes cannabis is a better solution than prescription painkillers, which could cause more damage to the body.

Towns, meanwhile, admitted he’s never smoked in his life. Nonetheless, having been around his girlfriend’s nephew, as well as children at autistic schools, the 22-year-old knows the positives greatly outweigh the negatives in its usage.

“These guys, just because we’re NBA athletes, we’re not super humans,” he said. “Some of us have conditions that could use (medical marijuana) to our benefit for everyday living, just taking care of our kids and our families.”

Source: Indepedent

Triple H spoke with the Independent on a number of topics including the future of WWE’s UK Division. He talked about how it takes time to put together a division and hoped things would have come together a bit quicker.

“Pete [Dunne] and all of those UK guys are very talented,” Triple H said. “Putting together a product of a television show and live events in the UK and doing what we do takes time. I would love for this to have happened quicker and sooner, but we are where we are.”

Triple H continued that he expects something more consistent to come together for the division in the near future with many of the talent training in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center.

“We’re still in that process but we’re using those guys here and there and they are still doing their other bookings as well as working with us,” Triple H said. “As we move forward, I’m hoping something more definitive for them will be coming soon and we’ll certainly be letting everyone know. They are all very talent kids and a bunch of them are at the Performance Center now, training and constantly working with us as we try to improve them so that, when the opportunity comes, we are ready to go.”

Back in January of this year, WWE held a WWE UK Tournament in Blackpool, England that crowned Tyler Bate as the inaugural WWE UK Champion. Since then, Bate dropped the title to Pete Dunne and the division has been used sparingly, making appearances on NXT, and more recently, on Raw and 205 Live when WWE visited the UK, earlier this month.

You can read the full interview by clicking here.

A group of businessmen with ties to Eastern Canada would like to make the Canadian Football League’s dream of a tenth franchise come true in Halifax.

The group made a presentation to the league’s board of governors several weeks ago in Toronto. Meetings have since taken place with various levels of government in Nova Scotia, including an in-camera session with Halifax city council this week that was attended by CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

“We have had discussions with the CFL’s board of governors and ongoing discussions with commissioner Ambrosie,” said Anthony LeBlanc, a partner in the group and former president and CEO of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

“The conversations have all been very productive. Chief among all we have discussed, we have a clear understanding of the CFL’s requirements for an expansion franchise, and this clarity is allowing us to move our project forward in a thoughtful way.”

Along with LeBlanc, whose family is from New Brunswick and who began his business career in the province, the group includes Bruce Bowser, a Halifax native who is currently president of AMJ Campbell Van Lines, and Gary Drummond, a businessman from Regina who was president of hockey operations for the Coyotes.

A league spokesman confirmed it had received an expression of interest for a Halifax franchise but said that a process and timetable for awarding a team has yet to be established.

One CFL source described the group’s presentation as “very credible.”

The Halifax group is modelling its plan on that of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which received a conditional franchise from the CFL in 2008 and then redeveloped Frank Clair Stadium and the land surrounding it.

It’s believed the Halifax group would like to have a conditional franchise granted before the start of the 2018 CFL season, with a goal of beginning play as soon as 2020.

The potential owners want to brand the franchise to identity not just with Halifax but all of Atlantic Canada.

Halifax mayor Mike Savage has been on record as saying he would like to see his city host a CFL franchise. Sources say discussions with Savage and members of his council have been very positive over the past few months.

Central to the idea is the construction of a multi-purpose stadium, at one of several locations currently being explored – one of which is the Shannon Park, located next to the A. Murray MacKay Bridge.

Commissioner Ambrosie is expected to update the league’s board of governors on the state of the Halifax proposal when they meet the day before Grey Cup Sunday.

Besides expanding the league’s television footprint into Atlantic Canada, a Halifax-based franchise would allow the league to create two five-team divisions and avoid the number of bye weeks required with a nine-team league.

The CFL awarded a conditional franchise to a Halifax group in 1982 under the name Atlantic Schooners but the financing to build a suitable stadium never materialized.

Dating back to the mid-1980s, the CFL has staged exhibition games in Halifax. In 2010, 2011 and 2013 it played three regular-season games in Moncton, N.B.

 

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is believed to have recently met with Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta to discuss the viability of a team in that city, according to Katie Strang of The Athletic.

The meeting reportedly took place within the past few weeks, although Bettman would not confirm when contacted by The Athletic.

He did say the league is not looking to relocate any teams at the moment, but added a caveat in regards to Houston.

“If Houston were to express an interest in having an NHL franchise, under the right circumstances, it’s something we might want to consider,” he said.

Fertitta purchased the NBA team back in September for a reported $2.2 billion, and has expressed a strong interest in bringing an NHL club to Houston.

The Rockets play at the Toyota Center, which opened in 2003 and can hold 17,800 when fitted for a rink.

With his dramatic win at UFC 217 over Michael Bisping in his debut fight at middleweight, many people were quick to proclaim that Georges St-Pierre is the greatest MMA fighter of all time.

While the praise is certainly flattering, St-Pierre doesn’t agree with the claim, mostly because the Canadian star doesn’t think that title actually exists.

“There is no such thing as the greatest of all time,” St-Pierre said on a conference call Thursday. “Even though you are the best, it doesn’t mean you can’t lose and it doesn’t mean nobody can beat you. For example, I fought Michael Bisping Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. On that particular night, at that particular moment, at that particular place I beat Michael Bisping, but that doesn’t mean if I fight him tomorrow, he’s not going to beat me.”

St-Pierre compared the fight game to other sports where even the best teams can lose on any given night. While many feel that MMA is different and the strongest survive each time, the 36-year-old was quick to point out that’s not the case.

“People think fighting is different, ‘This guy is stronger than that guy so he’s always going to win,'” St-Pierre said. “That’s not true. Maybe one day I will make a mistake and lose to a guy who’s not as good as me. Maybe nine times out of 10 I will beat him. There’s no such thing as the greatest of all time, it doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion.”

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger added himself to the growing contingent of NFL players taking issue with Thursday Night Football.

“It’s miserable, it’s terrible, they need to get rid of this game I think,” Roethlisberger said during a radio appearance on a local Pittsburgh station, according to John Breech of CBS Sports. “Just play on Mondays and Sundays. It’s so tough on guys, you’re beat up, you’re banged up. It’s a very violent, physical game we play.”

Roethlisberger and the Steelers are set to face the Tennessee Titans in the Week 11 version of Thursday Night Football. Players from teams all over the league have been vocal about their disdain for the short weeks because of health concerns, with Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin going so far as to say the Thursday nighters should be “illegal.”

“You’ve got to let your body recover a little bit,” added Roethlisberger. “Even a week, you’re still not fully recovered by Sunday to Sunday, you’re still dealing with bumps and bruises and things just continue to build up throughout the season. When you go on such a short week, man, it’s just not good. I don’t know many players that like it. It’s a tough thing to do, but you know, you’ve got to do what the league says.”

Of the 32 teams in the league, 30 were scheduled to appear on Thursday Night Football game this season.

Half-man, half-amazing. Air Canada. Vinsanity.

Vince Carter is still playing basketball at 40 years old and hasn’t been a member of the Raptors since his trade to the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 17, 2004. Regardless, he still feels a strong bond with the city of Toronto.

“Of course, I’d like for (the Raptors) to retire my jersey,” Carter told Marc J. Spears of ESPN. “You’d always like your jersey retired. That is where it’s started.”

Carter was a fan favorite throughout most of his tenure in Toronto. After being drafted in 1998, he played six-and-a-half seasons with the Raptors and made the All-Star team every year after his rookie campaign. He took the team to the second round in 2001, before missing the final shot in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, things turned sour and Carter’s relationship with the Raptors disintegrated before he was traded to the Nets early in the 2004-05 season. He was booed for years each time he returned to Toronto as a visiting player, although his relationship with the team and its fans has improved greatly in recent seasons.

Overall, Carter averaged 23.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game in 383 total appearances with the Raptors.

His next game in Toronto is coincidentally on the same day he was traded 13 years ago. Carter’s current team, the Sacramento Kings, visits Air Canada Centre on Dec. 17 for what could potentially be his last trip as an opponent.

Paige will return to WWE programming on next week’s Raw, according to PWInsider‘s Mike Johnson.

The former Divas Champion was cleared to return to action in September after a lengthy injury lay-off which dates back to the summer of last year.

It was originally reported that the 25-year-old would be assigned to SmackDown, but PWInsider now believes she will end up on Raw, where could be set for a starring role straight away.

Johnson says his WWE sources have indicated that she has been penciled in for a slot on the Raw Survivor Series team, who will meet the female cast of SmackDown on November 19.

It is reported that Paige could be a last-minute addition to the already-advertised Triple Threat qualifying bout between Mickie James, Bayley and Dana Brooke on Monday.

Whatever the case, fans of the British star will be relieved that she remains in her employer’s plans after a controversy-laden 12 months which appeared to put her future in doubt.

It has also been suggested this weekend that Paige has split from fiancé Alberto Del Rio after posting a Snapchat video in which she indicated she is now single.

Despite receiving a hearty endorsement from former teammate CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez says he hasn’t even considered himself a possible candidate for the New York Yankees managerial vacancy.

“I’ve never thought about that,” Rodriguez told Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post. “I’ve always thought that one day, ownership could be interesting.”

The Yankees have begun interviewing for the vacancy following Joe Girardi’s dismissal last month after a decade with the organization, though it’s not believed Rodriguez is on the list of interviewees.

Sabathia hasn’t been the only one to mention Rodriguez’s name as a future manager. Prior to last season, Girardi, ironically enough, predicted that Rodriguez could one day find himself leading a team.

“I think Alex would probably prefer to manage, if he was going to do anything, because I think he likes all the strategy of the game,” Girardi said at the time. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw him in uniform.”

Since retiring near the end of the 2016 season, Rodriguez has spent some time around the Yankees in an advisory role, but his main ambitions have come away from the team – serving as an analyst for FOX Sports, while also appearing on the TV show “Shark Tank.”

Rodriguez believes the Yankees’ managerial position will be highly coveted, as he considers it one of the most prestigious jobs in sports.

“I will say that being a manager for the New York Yankees is almost like POTUS, like one of those jobs that anybody and everybody should and would pay attention to,” Rodriguez said. “Because the New York Yankees are the greatest franchise in sports, not only in America but in the entire globe.”

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been asked about political topics before, and Monday was no different. Yet, in the wake of the Texas church shooting massacre that claimed 26 lives on Sunday, Kerr told reporters it might be time to view the gun issue as a public health concern, not a political debate over second amendment rights.

Via ESPN’s Chris Haynes:

I think we almost have to look at it like a public health issue. I think too often we get caught up in political rhetoric, second amendment rights, NRA stuff. It has nothing to do with partisanship or political parties. It has got to be a public safety issue, public health issue. I read a great article today that talked about comparing this to the automobile industry. Apparently in the 1950s, about nine or 10 times more people then died in auto wrecks than die right now. So, what changed over 70 years? Well, safety measures, speed limits, auto regulations, seat belts, car seats, driver’s license, registration. Making sure people deserve to drive. I mean all these things are just safety issues and I think we have to somehow get our government to cut through all the crap and get right to the point. The point of fact which is safety, which means a lot of things that we can do without taking away people’s second amendment rights. Lets’ do the sensible thing, but our government has to lead the way and they can’t just cave to the (National Rifle Association) because the NRA wants to make money. They have to put people’s safety and health over the interest of the gun industry. It doesn’t seem like it would be that far of a stretch, but for whatever reason we’re paralyzed and we’re unable to do anything to protect our citizens. It’s disgusting and it’s a shame.

Kerr has been vocal on the topic of gun violence in the past, and it’s something he has personal experience with. His father, Malcolm, was shot dead in 1984 while he was a professor at the American University of Beirut.

The Undertaker will make his first WWE appearance since WrestleMania 33 on January 22nd, 2018, joining Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and a host of other legends in celebrating Raw’s 25th anniversary.

There’s no word on what ‘The Deadman’s’ role will be that night, but the appearance should shed light on what his future holds. ‘Taker was thought to have retired after losing to Roman Reigns at ‘Mania, but has been dogged by rumours of an in-ring return ever since, and this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that Raw’s anniversary show will give a clearer indication.

As per Dave Meltzer, if WWE shoot an angle with Undertaker on January 22nd, they could have him wrestle at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. Finding a suitable opponent could be problematic, though. Reigns would be the logical choice, but he has been pencilled in to face Universal Champion Brock Lesnar all year, and it’s unlikely that WWE will changes those plans.

Whatever happens, here’s hoping the show at least provides closure on the issue, as the only time WWE have officially acknowledged ‘Taker’s retirement came through a single line of commentary on this year’s post-‘Mania Raw.

Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry have both spoken out against President Donald Trump and his policies, and agree on who would be a better fit to run the United States.

That person is none other than San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

“I truly would vote for Pop. He would make a great president,” Kerr said Wednesday of the bench boss with a military background, according to ESPN.com.

“All jokes aside. I would vote for him.”

The Golden State Warriors coach, who played four seasons and won two championships with the Spurs under Popovich, elaborated on why the 68-year-old would make a good POTUS.

“Honesty and integrity,” Kerr said. “Those would be two really key components for any person that wants to become president. Honesty and integrity would be fantastic to see. He would provide that.”

Curry agreed, saying Pop is “great for the NBA and would be even better for the country, probably.”

Trump withdrew the defending champs’ invitation to visit the White House this year in response to Curry’s reluctance to go. Like the Dubs duo, Popovich has been openly critical of Trump, most recently calling him a “soulless coward.”

There’s a mock presidential campaign pushing for Popovich and Kerr to run together in the next election.

What four-year layoff?

Georges St-Pierre made a triumphant return in his first fight since November 2013 at Saturday’s UFC 217, where he put Michael Bisping to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the third round of the main event to win the middleweight crown at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to becoming only the fourth two-division champion in promotional history on a night that saw three new champions crowned, the former welterweight king tied Bisping for the most wins in UFC history with 20, and extended the winning run he’d put on hold to a baker’s dozen fights. Bisping, on the other hand, graciously handled the second submission loss of his 38-fight career – this, after relentlessly trashing St-Pierre in the lead-up to the fight – and maintained he wouldn’t be hanging up his gloves just yet during his postfight interview.

St-Pierre relinquished the welterweight strap following a close split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, and looked like his well-rounded self in a fight he and Bisping had delayed for months due to injury, after GSP had agreed to return to the Octagon on a four-fight deal early this year.

The 36-year-old took the center of the cage and pumped his vaunted jab as Bisping appeared uncharacteristically gun shy in Round 1, which he closed with a Superman jab and a wheel kick that didn’t inflict much damage, but had the Brit retreating and those in attendance clutching their hearts out of sheer nostalgia.

While GSP managed to take Bisping down to the mat in each of the first two frames, the defending champ refused to stay pinned there and ended the second stanza strong as he settled into a rhythm on the feet.

An apparently tiring St-Pierre opened the third with a takedown, only for Bisping to cut him open with elbows from his back that had the Quebec native’s head dripping crimson. But after Bisping fought his way up to his feet, GSP sent him back to the canvas – this time with a counter left hook – and followed up with his patented ground-and-pound. The Brit gave up his back while trying to defend the onslaught, only for St-Pierre to slap on a rear-naked choke that sent him to dreamland and crowned GSP middleweight king at the 4:23 mark.

Saturday’s defeat snapped a five-fight win streak for Bisping, whose reign as the UFC’s first British champion ends with one successful title defense over Dan Henderson.

Few people love a debate more than Mark Cuban, and the Dallas Mavericks owner took issue with recent comments Draymond Green made regarding how the term “owner” is used.

In the wake of Houston Texans owner Bob McNair referring to NFL players as “inmates,” Green took to Instagram to compare the business magnate to disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Green also inferred that labeling a team’s proprietor an “owner” is insulting to players.

“For starters, let’s stop using the word owner and maybe use the word chairman,” Green wrote. “To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It sets the wrong tone. It gives one the wrong mindset.”

Cuban isn’t buying that, pointing out the nomenclature doesn’t refer to the ownership of people.

“For (Green) to try to turn it into something it’s not, is wrong,” Cuban told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “He owes the NBA an apology.”

He added: “We own equity, we don’t own people. And there’s a big difference … people who bust their ass and work hard and get a little bit lucky have enough money to buy enough shares of stock to buy a company.”

Cuban then proceeded to take a Big Ten-related shot at the Golden State Warriors forward (the Mavs owner is a Hoosier, Green a Spartan).

“Draymond can trash-talk on the court, but when he comes into our world, it doesn’t fly,” the tech billionaire said. “I guess it’s because he went to Michigan State and didn’t take any business classes, but you own equity. When you own a team, you own equity, shares of stock. That’s called ownership. Tell him if he wants to take classes at Indiana‘s business school, I’ll even pay for his classes and we’ll help him learn that stuff.”

Alex Ovechkin took to Instagram on Thursday to declare a “social movement” in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba_72RJBE8h/embed/?cr=1&v=7&wp=478#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A10264.705000000002%7D

In the caption, as translated by The Washington Post, Ovechkin says he’s never hid his relationship with Putin and has “always openly supported him.” He’s simply taking that a step further on social media.

I’m certain that there are many of us that support Vladimir Putin. Let’s unite and show everyone a strong and united Russia. Today, I want to announce a social movement in the name of Putin Team. Be a part of this team to me it’s a privilege, it’s like the feeling of when you put on the jersey of the Russian team, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you.

Following a win over the New York Islanders later in the day, the Washington Capitals superstar further explained his public support for the Russian President.

“I don’t try to be politics man or someone like that,” Ovechkin said. “I just support my president and just support my country because I’m from there, and you know, if people from U.S. came to Russia, they care about what happening in U.S. So, I care about what happening in Russia because that’s my home and that’s where I’m from.”

Ovechkin frequently represents his home country in international tournaments, and was very open about his disappointment over not being allowed to play at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea as the NHL will not participate.

Myles Garrett may be ushering in a new era of NFL players who think about their future when it comes to concussions.

The Cleveland Browns star defensive end said he was hesitant to report concussion symptoms after suffering a head injury in a Week 7 loss to the Tennessee Titans. However, after considering what it might mean for his future, Garrett did the right thing and brought the symptoms to his team’s attention.

“It doesn’t really bother me what other people say, whether I’m being a man or not,” Garrett said Tuesday after being cleared from concussion protocol, according to Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal. “I want to have kids one day, and I want to be able to take care of them how I see fit.

“I don’t want to be constricted by my playing and how football has affected my mind. I’ll play through anything. I’ll play through my foot, my arm, anything that’s affecting me below my neck, because I can’t play around with my brain.”

Garrett, who missed Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings in London, said he didn’t experience any of the symptoms – which include loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, and nausea – during the game. Family members noticed he was acting oddly that night.

“I did (hesitate) because I really wanted to play,” he said. “I didn’t want to have something like that be a hindrance to me or my team, so once I still felt it that second day, so on Tuesday, I really felt like I should say something.

“You can deal with a thumb or an arm or a back or a leg. But messing with your mind and allowing those kind of things to carry on, that can do harm for a long time.”

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Source: Metro

Laurel Van Ness spoke with Metro on a number of wrestling topics. Here are some of the highlights:

Making a living as full-time indie wrestler:

“It’s so amazing that to an extent we can compete with WWE. They’re always going to have the mainstream audience, but right now we’ve got so much attention. There is a crazy spotlight on indie wrestling, and that’s amazing because it’s what we love to do, and a lot of us are doing it for a living. We’re trying to make money and entertain people, and for that to be our sole career. It’s crazy how things have changed and we’re now able to do that without having to work second and third jobs. This isn’t just a hobby, this is our life.”

Fans yelling sexist comments:

“One that sticks out to me was when I was wrestling Nicole Matthews in Vancouver. I was very new and there was some very sexual comments made by a couple of drunk fans. As we were wrestling, Nicole stopped and said something to them. It did the trick, they stopped what they were saying. There’s such a fine line between letting it affect you, but staying silent about it. I don’t think it’s right to yell at a female like that, it is our place of work and we’re trying to entertain you. Freedom of speech, sure, but to an extent – you have to be respectful, we are humans and we’re working essentially for you. I do have a time when I hear things in the ring, but me personally I try to ignore it because I find a lot of people are trying to get your attention by screaming profanities or saying sexual things towards women. But I have a limit as much as anyone else, and if someone did cross that line, I think I would have to say something at the time.”

When fans chant “Zack Ryder” (her boyfriend) during a match:

“This is very different from the sexual comments, but another thing that makes me frustrated, and I get this a lot, is that I do get a lot of people doing my boyfriends chants at me. To me, that is very disrespectful and I don’t think people understand that. I have nothing to do with my boyfriend when I step into the ring. I’m not defined by my relationship or who my boyfriend is or where he works. So it’s very disrespectful when a fan does his chants because he’s not putting in the work in that ring, I am, so sometimes when people do the Zack Ryder chants it really affects me, and I have said some things to people. You have to figure out, do they want your attention? And if they do, don’t give it to them, do not give them what they want.”

You can read the full interview by clicking here.

LOS ANGELES (AP) From laughingstock to lift off.

George Springer and the Houston Astros rocketed to the top of the baseball galaxy Wednesday night, winning the first World Series championship in franchise history by romping past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7.

Playing for a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, and wearing an H Strong logo on their jerseys, the Astros brought home the prize that had eluded them since they started out in 1962 as the Colt .45s.

”I always believed that we could make it,” All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve said. ”We did this for them.”

For a Series that was shaping up as an October classic, Game 7 quickly became a November clunker as Houston scored five runs in the first two innings off an ineffective Yu Darvish. Hardly the excitement fans felt during the Cubs’ 10-inning thriller in Cleveland last fall.

Well, except for everyone wearing bright orange. Back in Houston, a huge crowd filled Minute Maid Park to cheer as fans watched on the big video board, and the train whistle wailed when it was over.

”We’re coming home a champion, Houston,” Springer said after accepting the World Series MVP trophy named this year after Willie Mays for the first time.

Star shortstop Carlos Correa turned the party into a proposal. After doing a TV interview, he got down on one knee and asked girlfriend Daniella Rodriguez, a former Miss Texas USA, to marry him.

”Yes?” he said, putting a ring on her finger as she cried.

Altuve, one of four carry-overs from a club that lost an embarrassing 111 times in 2013 after switching from the NL to the AL, and this collection of young stars silenced Dodger Stadium from the get-go.

Altuve was in perfect position for the final out, a grounder by Corey Seager to the 5-foot-6 second baseman.

”I caught the last out for the Houston Astros to become a world champion. It was a groundball to me, I threw to first, and I think it was the happiest moment of my life in baseball,” Altuve said.

The Astros streamed from the dugout and bullpen to go wild, tossing their gloves in the air. A thousand or so fans crowded behind the first base dugout, chanting ”Hou-ston! Hou-ston!”

On the other side, ace Clayton Kershaw and several Dodgers leaned against the railing in the dugout, watching the Astros celebrate. Los Angeles led the majors with 104 wins and a $240 million payroll, and rallied to win Game 6, yet it didn’t pay off for part-owner Magic Johnson and his team.

”Obviously, this one hurts,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”And like I told the guys, when you put everything, every ounce of your being into something and you come up short, it hurts. And it’s supposed to hurt.”

Normally a starter, Charlie Morton finished up with four stellar innings of relief for the win.

”We held down a really tough lineup,” Morton said. ”For my teammates, for the city of Houston, it’s just unbelievable.”

Springer led off the evening with a double against Darvish, and soon it was 2-0.

Springer hit his fifth homer – tying the Series mark set by Reggie Jackson and matched by Chase Utley – when he connected for a record fourth game in a row, making it 5-0 in the second.

That was plenty for Astros manager A.J. Hinch. He pulled starter Lance McCullers Jr. soon after the curveballer crazily plunked his fourth batter of the game, and began a bullpen parade of four relievers that kept the lead.

”I knew yesterday I didn’t have much,” McCullers said. ”I knew I didn’t have much to give other than to gut it out as long as I could.”

Forever known for their space-age Astrodome, outlandish rainbow jerseys and a handful of heartbreaking playoff losses, these Astros will be remembered as champions, finally, in their 56th season.

The club that wears a star on its hat also filled out the Texas trophy case. Teams from the Lone Star State had won most every major crown – Super Bowl, NBA and NHL titles, championships in college football, and men’s and women’s hoops – except the World Series.

Built on the skills of homegrown All-Stars Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel and more, and boosted by the slick trade for Justin Verlander, general manager Jeff Luhnow completed the ascent that some predicted.

Famously, now, there was the Sports Illustrated cover in 2014 – after Houston had lost more than 100 games for three straight years – that proclaimed: ”Your 2017 World Series Champs” and featured a picture of Springer in a bright Astros jersey.

Houston won 101 times this year to take the AL West, then won Games 6 and 7 at home in the AL Championship Series. The Astros joined the 1985 Royals as the only clubs to win a pair of Game 7s in the same year.

When it was over, Bagwell and Biggio posed for pictures together with the World Series trophy.

For the Dodgers, the quest to win a Series for the first time since 1988 fell short.

Kershaw provided four shutout innings of relief for Los Angeles, but it was too late. What the Dodgers really needed was a better starter than Darvish, someone more like the lefty who tossed out a ceremonial first ball: the great Sandy Koufax.

After Springer lined a leadoff double, Alex Bregman hit a bouncer that first baseman Cody Bellinger threw past Darvish for an error, allowing a run to score. Bregman aggressively stole third and scored on Altuve’s grounder, and it was 2-0 after eight pitches.

A double by Marwin Gonzalez helped set up perhaps McCullers’ biggest contribution, a slow grounder for his first pro RBI. Springer followed with a no-doubt, two-run drive into the left-center field bleachers.

That was the Series-most 25th homer in a Major League Baseball season that set a record for home runs. It was easily enough for the Astros to offset pinch-hitter Andre Ethier’s RBI single in the Los Angeles sixth.

Only once have the Dodgers clinched a crown at home, that coming in 1963 when Koufax outpitched Yankees star Whitey Ford to finish a sweep. They’ve never won Game 7 of the Fall Classic at their own park, dating more than a century ago to their days on the streets of Brooklyn as the Trolley Dodgers.

As pockets of Houston fans got louder and louder in the later innings, the crowd at Dodger Stadium was left to repeat the sad, but hopeful cry that used to echo in Brooklyn: Wait till next year.

Just 106 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

The Undertaker will make his first appearance since WrestleMania on Raw’s 25th anniversary special in January, WWE has confirmed.

The longest-tenured wrestler in the company – who is thought to have retired from in-ring competition after defeat to Roman Reigns in Orlando – is one of a number of WWE legends on the show.

Hall of Famers Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash are also set to appear on a broadcast that will emanate live from two separate arenas in New York.

As well as the Barclays Center, part of the Raw action will also come from the famous Manhattan Center, where the company hosted its first ever Raw broadcast in January 1993.

As well as a smattering of ex-stars, wrestlers from both brands are expected to be in attendance on what will be the go-home show ahead of the 2018 Royal Rumble.

With WrestleMania season on the horizon, speculation that ‘Taker could be about to step back into the squared circle is inevitable, but a word of caution: he has made appearances at special shows like these in the past – SmackDown’s 900th episode last year included – before disappearing again.

While not eligible for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame until 2021, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant already has a few high-profile names in mind for who he’d like to present him when he’s inevitably enshrined.

“For me it’s two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson,” Bryant said to Complex’s Liz Levy. “They’ve been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete, but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. ‘Cause I’ve had a lotta help along the way. A lotta lotta help.”

Bryant is widely considered to be the second-greatest shooting guard in NBA history behind Jordan, in whom he modeled a great deal of his own game after. He’s openly admitted to emulating No. 23’s style, telling Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck back in April he copied “damn near 100 percent” of Jordan’s technique.

Jackson, of course, coached Bryant for his five career championships, three of which came with Shaquille O’Neal (2000-02), and the other two with Pau Gasol (2009-10). Their relationship over the years had its ups and downs, though, with Jackson suggesting at one point that Bryant was “uncoachable,” and that he could “feel his hatred” from time to time.

Bryant will have both his No. 8 and 24 immortalized Dec. 18 when the Lakers host the reigning champion Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

A new documentary on “Rowdy” Roddy Piper will include a detailed account from the late WWE Hall of Famer about how he was nearly killed by a fan in the 1980s.

TMZ Sports obtained a clip from the documentary, titled “Roddy Piper: In His Own Words,” in which Piper recalls being stabbed by a man wielding a buck knife outside an arena in Raleigh, N.C.

“First rule of a knife fight – don’t take your eyes off the knife,” Piper says in the clip, which was filmed in 2006. “Broke that rule. I stopped, boom, he got me an inch from the heart.”

Piper passed away in 2015 at the age of 61 after suffering cardiac arrest.

A portion of proceeds from the documentary, produced by Nine Legends Film, will be donated to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

WWE.com has today announced the release of Raw branded superstar Emma.

In an extremely brief boilerplate statement on their website, the company dryly noted that they have come to terms with the performer, before wishing her the best in her future endeavours.

The news comes just a week after Emma was selected as Asuka’s first opponent following her main roster ascension. Essentially a sacrificial lamb for the incoming former NXT champion, it wasn’t exactly a privileged position. After tasting defeat at TLC, she went on to lose a rematch on the following night’s episode of Monday Night Raw.

Emma, born Tenile Dashwood, joined WWE fold as part of their FCW developmental territory, transitioning to NXT when the finishing school was rebranded in 2012. She enjoyed a prosperous time with the yellow and black group, contesting excellent matches with the likes of Charlotte and Bayley, but she was unable to translate her potential to the main roster.

The booking did not help. Emma’s first stint on the big shows came at a time before women’s wrestling was treated with anything approaching seriousness, as she was flung into feuds with unevenly matched opponents such as Aksana and Summer Rae. After a brief spell back in NXT, the Australian returned to main roster, only to be sidelined by injury.

It was clear it wasn’t going to work out for Emma when a rebrand into the pin-up ‘Emmalina’ character was nixed after just one week. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer described the scenario as a “running joke” behind the scenes, with the company seemingly uninterested in pushing the former Shimmer star.

During a set of matches where she was expected to be squashed, Emma was surprisingly competitive in defeat versus Asuka. The context of her sudden release makes this stranger still – though few will be surprised at the news.

Anthony Rizzo appeared deeply honored while accepting the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award on Friday night. Now he’s using the occasion to give something back to Clemente’s homeland during a time of crisis in Puerto Rico.

According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, the Chicago Cubs first baseman will donate the $25,000 bonus he received for winning the award to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico in honor of Clemente, who remains a national hero on the island.

Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, and many residents of the United States territory remain without power or basic supplies. According to a CNN report on Thursday, only 26 percent of the island has had electricity restored.

Rizzo was given the Clemente Award by Major League Baseball in recognition of his tireless work with childhood cancer patients. A survivor of cancer himself, Rizzo established the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation to help pediatric cancer patients, and he continues to oversee the foundation’s operations with help from his family.

At his press conference prior to Game 3 of the World Series on Friday, Rizzo accepted the award from commissioner Rob Manfred and Roberto’s widow Vera Clemente and said the honor now ranks “front and center of anything I’ve ever done on the baseball field,” according to MLB.com.

What appeared to be truly humbling for the 28-year-old was having his name linked alongside that of Clemente, who’s still widely regarded as baseball’s greatest humanitarian.

“When I found out (I won the award), it was really emotional for everyone involved in the foundation and my life and my team,” Rizzo told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Roberto set the bar for all athletes, especially baseball players. Everything he got he gave back.”

Houston Texans left tackle Duane Brown says that his team’s owner, Bob McNair, has made controversial comments regarding players prior to his recent remarks about “inmates running the prison.”

Brown, who recently returned from a holdout, says that after Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States in 2008, McNair expressed to players that he did not share their excitement.

“He came to talk to the team,” Brown told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, regarding the owner. “He was visibly upset about it. He said, ‘I know a lot of y’all are happy right now, but it’s not the outcome that some of us were looking for.’ That was very shocking to me.”

Brown recounted after Los Angles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was ousted from his position over racists comments, McNair shared a rather troubling opinion with the Texans players.

“The message was more to be careful who you have private conversations with, because things that you think are confidential can spread like wildfire,” Brown said. “In my mind, it would probably have been better if he said ‘don’t be a racist’ instead of ‘be a racist in private and make sure it doesn’t get out.'”

Brown says that since he began protesting during the national anthem last season, McNair hasn’t had anything to say to him.

UFC star Ronda Rousey is reported to have signed terms with WWE, ahead of a potential starring role at next year’s WrestleMania.

Neither party has yet commented on the speculation, but fresh rumours surfacing this weekend have claimed the 30-year-old will shortly begin training at the company’s Performance Centre in Orlando.

All of this, so we’re told, is to culminate in New Orleans on 8 April, where WWE will host its 34th annual wrestling showpiece in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Few details aside from the above are currently known, although The Mirror is prepared to entertain the possibility of her being involved in WrestleMania’s first ever female main event.

That is perhaps a little premature, but self-confessed wrestling fan Rousey comes with ready-made storylines left unresolved from her previous appearances in the squared circle, having come to blows with Stephanie McMahon two years ago.

She was also involved in a backstage confrontation with WWE’s “Four Horsewomen” – Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley – after showing up at the Mae Young Classic last month.

Having tasted defeat in her last two UFC outings, MMA pundits have suggested that Rousey may be prepared to call time on her career in the Octagon.

Georges St-Pierre has heard it all before.

The former welterweight king has fielded a bevy of insults from UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping – whom he’ll face at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 – but as he told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of “The MMA Hour,” St-Pierre believes Bisping’s incessant belittlement of his patented takedown-heavy style betrays a fear of it.

“He’s playing always the same song. He’s terrified of me wrestling him. Terrified,” St-Pierre said, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “In every interview he does, he’s begging me to stand and bang with him. In every interview. … I mean, if you don’t know the ground (game), you shouldn’t be in MMA. You should be in kickboxing.

“Fighting on the ground is part of the game, and he’s terrified. So he wants me to be like, ‘Oh, OK, I’m going to stand and bang with you.'”

St-Pierre’s age (36) and four-year layoff have raised endless speculation on how much fight he has left and what he’ll bring to the Octagon in his return. But he’s sure he’ll raise eyebrows and drop jaws come fight night – for all the right reasons.

“I’m much confident in this than I was before. I trained a lot of (aspects in my game) in the four years. People say you can’t reinvent yourself, but I’m going to prove that you can, and I’m going to prove it to everybody. I’m not the same guy that I was before, the last time. I have a lot more tools … and I’m specialized in different things. I have a lot of new tricks that I’m going to bring to the game.”

As for how he intends to make the brash Brit eat his words, St-Pierre all but guaranteed he’ll have gotten his hand raised within the distance – something he hasn’t done since taking his rematch with BJ Penn at UFC 94 well over eight years ago.

“I’m going to finish him, that’s what I believe. Either a knockout or submission.”

Taeler Hendrix of SHIMMER joined the countless women in speaking out against sexual harassment. In an Instagram post this week, Hendrix admits that she too has been a victimized.

“In my life, I’ve met hundreds of women who have been body shamed, raped, sexually assaulted, &/or sexually harassed. I’m sad to say that I’m one of them. Since a young age I’ve been body shamed, drugged, assaulted & harassed.”

Hendrix, who has previously appeared in WWE and ROH, among other promotions, took to social media to bring to light her own struggles. Sharing a picture of herself and Slinky, she begins her post by informing her followers that her pet is also a registered Emotional Support Animal.

“Anyone that knows or follows me knows my puppy Slinky! What they may not know is that he’s my registered Emotional Support Animal! This rescue dog has rescued me. He’s helped me find my smile. He helps me feel protected. He’s been with me through the worst of things. He saw me through to the point in my life where I’d meet my future husband.”

Hendrix continues, standing up for not only herself, but for others who may not have yet found the courage to share their stories.

“We aren’t toys for your pleasure. WE DON’T Want IT & we certainly aren’t the create-a-player function in a video game. Measure us by our heart & gumption. We’re moms, daughters, sisters. I didn’t ask for my body! My body was God given & I’m pretty sure He didn’t give you permission to abuse his creations. I’ll NEVER be taken [advantage] of EVER again. I’m worth more than a paycheck, a job opportunity, etc…I’ll speak up for others who may think they can’t because at one point, I felt like I had no voice either.”

She ends her brave note with a powerful message to those who have also faced victimization.

“Believe that YOU matter. It’s not YOUR fault. It’s time for a change. Make a choice. Be a voice. #MeToo”

 

Anyone that knows or follows me knows my puppy Slinky! What they may not know is that he's my registered Emotional Support Animal! This rescue dog rescued me. He's helped me find my smile. He helps me feel protected. He's been with me through the worst of things. He saw me through to the point in my life where I'd meet my future husband. In my life, I've met hundreds of women who have been body shamed, raped, sexually assaulted, &/or sexually harassed. I'm sad to say that I'm one of them. Since a young age I've been body shamed, drugged, assaulted & harassed. My ESA Slinky helps me to smile & live every day & see the beauty in a life well lived knowing that I didn't ask for it, I didn't want it, it didn't matter what I looked like, what I wore, who I smile at, what I do for a living, what character I play on TV. None of that is an excuse for such revolting actions against myself, my colleagues, my sister's, my friends, my mentors… stop measuring us by our breast sizes, pants sizes, shoe sizes, ass sizes. We aren't toys for your pleasure. WE DON'T WANT IT & we certainly aren't the create a player function in a video game. Measure us by our heart & gumption. We're moms, daughters, sisters.. I didn't ask for my body! My body was God given & I'm pretty sure He didnt give you permission to abuse his creations. I'll NEVER be taken of EVER again. I'm worth more than a paycheck, job opportunity, etc… I'll speak up for others who may think they can't because at one point, I felt like I had no voice either. My husband & my puppy love me for me. Love pushes forward to a new day. Guts to come forward led to lost friends, jobs, & more. No regrets! Gumption to stand my ground. I've never gone back! Don't underestimate your power. Don't underestimate your voice. Don't underestimate the unconditional love of your emotional support animals. Thank you Slinkers, & to my husband Cory. You both fuel my smile & my positivity to stand tall & fight for a world I believe in. A Dachshund really does make a difference! Unconditional love/acceptance of yourself is an undeniable power. Believe that YOU matter. It's not YOUR fault. Its time for a change. Make a choice. Be a voice. #MeToo

A post shared by Taeler Hendrix (@taelerhendrixroh) on

 

 

 
 

ESPN aired the first part of a Chris Paul docu-series Thursday night, covering the superstar point guard’s offseason and the soul-searching conversations that led up to his decision to leave the Los Angeles Clippers and join the Houston Rockets.

One of those conversations took place between Paul and Jay-Z, with Paul weighing his desire to remain settled in Los Angeles against his desire to find a better basketball situation.

“I obviously like where my kids go to school, my brother’s kids go to school, and all that stuff,” Paul said. “We love it out here. Life is great.

“But basketball … boy. Like, the whole thing with our team – a lot of people see the wins and losses and all that stuff – but it’s the culture of our team.”

Paul specified his frustration in a separate conversation with Disney CEO Bob Iger, who he calls a mentor and close friend.

“I guess because I knew different before I got out here,” Paul said. “When I was in New Orleans, we did stuff together. And that stuff means something. As a team, we did stuff together. So when I brought that up (to the Clippers), guys was like, ‘Do we gotta go?’ And I’m looking, like, ‘Do you gotta go?'”

In pure basketball terms, Paul placed the Clippers fourth out of the four teams he was considering in free agency, after the Rockets, Spurs, and Celtics.

“The only thing that could keep me here,” he surmised, “is life.”

Paul also suggested to Jay-Z that the Clippers didn’t seem particularly interested in taking down the Golden State Warriors (though he didn’t specify whether he was referring to the front office or his teammates).

“If you ain’t trying to contend with the Warriors then what are we doing?” he said. “The Warriors haven’t lost in the playoffs. If you’re not trying to contend with them then what are we doing?”

As Paul started to give stronger and stronger consideration to the Rockets, he explained why playing alongside another elite playmaker like James Harden appealed to him more than remaining the primary facilitator with the Clippers.

“I have the ball in my hands way too much,” he told Jay-Z. “Like, I’m so tired of dribbling, having to do so much. I would love to be able to get on the wing and shoot the ball and stuff like that.”

Ultimately, the pull of a new and improved basketball culture proved stronger than that of comfort and familiarity, and now Paul is free to play off the ball – and maybe even mount a challenge to the Warriors – in Houston.

Jon Jones might be one of the best fighters Dana White has ever seen, but the UFC president couldn’t hide his frustrations with the former light heavyweight champion during a radio appearance this week.

Speaking with “The TSN MMA Show,” White was asked if he considers Jones the biggest waste of talent he’s known.

“Ever. Ever, in all of sports,” White said. “The guy is so talented and gifted. God knows what he’d be doing right now if he had never got in trouble. He could possibly be the heavyweight champion and have the defense record that couldn’t be broken. The list goes on and on of what could’ve been with Jon Jones.”

White didn’t sound optimistic about Jones receiving a short suspension from the USADA for his latest failed drug test.

“Whatever happens, happens,” he said.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan believes there’s a hidden agenda behind President Donald Trump’s perceived war against the NFL.

Khan believes that Trump, who once unsuccessfully tried to purchase the Buffalo Bills, feels jilted by the league and is trying to attack it to avenge a personal vendetta.

“This is a very personal issue with him,” Khan told Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY Sports.

“He’s been elected president, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,” Khan added. “So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.”

Khan also blasted Trump for his domestic and foreign policies that he believes discriminate against Muslims and Jews – an issue that reaches well beyond the realm of football.

“Let’s get real,” Khan said. “The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with – trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”

Khan donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund but it appears he may harbor some regret about that decision.

After defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, Roman Reigns now has his sights set on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Reigns, like Johnson, is a member of the famed Anoa’i wrestling family. He told The Mirror’s Neil Docking he sees WrestleMania as the perfect stage for a potential “money match” between the two.

Yeah I mean, when I first heard about the match with Cena, I immediately was thinking “man, let’s save this, let’s do this at WrestleMania.” But when the time is right, the time is right. But in the same light, I can only see me and Rock going at WrestleMania. Not only because of his schedule, but just the level of that match and the level of superstar that he is and you know, where I’m trying to get. But we also have a deep family tie. We represent the same family tree and having the opportunity to represent our culture, there would obviously have to be a sit down and we would have to express how we feel and the light we want to do this in… because there’s a lot of people we represent watching. The last thing I want to do is make it confusing or anything like that.

But at the end of the day, I know it’s a money match. And I’m the guy who is still in the ring, so if someone who isn’t in the ring every single night wants to come back in the ring, we now call it my yard, so he is going to have to come to me and then we’ll go from there. It won’t go down anywhere other than a WWE ring, that’s all I’m saying. If he wants to get it, then I’m not stepping back for anybody.

Johnson’s last WWE match was an impromptu bout at WrestleMania 32, in which he defeated Erick Rowan in just six seconds.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich hasn’t minced words in the past over his opinion of president Donald Trump, and won’t be starting now.

Pertaining to an ambush in Niger on Oct. 4 which killed four U.S. soldiers, Trump said the following as to why he hadn’t issued a public statement on the matter, as transcribed by The Nation’s Dave Zirin: “President (Barack) Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”

Popovich – a military man who served five years in the United States Air Force – reached out to Zirin so he could vent his frustrations over Trump’s comments, insisting that whatever he said be on the record:

I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this President had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never-ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families, is so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner – and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.

When it was announced that Trump had won the presidency back in November, Popovich mentioned that he was “sick to his stomach” because of the “xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic” things Trump had uttered prior to being elected.

Popovich has also called America “an embarrassment” to the rest of the world, if only because of Trump’s residence in the Oval Office. He’s even questioned how Trump’s supporters could possibly continue to support a man who continuously crosses moral and ethical boundaries.

Source: SPORTbible

Wade Barrett spoke with SPORTbible on a number of wrestling topics. Here are some of the highlights:

Wanting to get back in the ring:

“I have my good days and bad days. There’s days where I think I don’t miss it all and then there’s days like yesterday [at Refuse to Lose on October 2] where you see the kind of reactions the guys were getting and get that desire to get back in the ring. I’m 99 percent certain I will wrestle again at some point, I just couldn’t tell you when. I have those days where I’m like ‘No, everything hurts, I don’t ever wanna get back in a wrestling ring again’ – but I have days where I feel great and can’t wait to get back in. I know at some point I’ll be wanting to get back in, so if the right opportunity comes along we’ll get it done.”

Being unhappy in WWE and leaving just after WrestleMania 32:

“I didn’t really ask to be released. My contract was coming to an end, I’d been there just over nine years at that point – I was not happy with the way my creative had gone and not happy with some stuff behind the scenes, and the way I’d been treated by certain people there, so in my opinion it was time to move on and do something else, at least for a while. I’d been offered a new contract by them, I didn’t want to sign; I told them, I was upfront with them. I don’t think they were thrilled about it but there’s not a lot you can do – I felt that I was wasting my time there. There’s a lot of guys who are not happy with their lot there, I wasn’t happy with my lot there for several years but always believed I was capable of getting to the next level through my work or through my performances, and my ability to get over. It got to the point where I didn’t believe I was getting the opportunities to get to the level that I wanted to and I think once I’d seen the writing on the wall from that perspective, it was a very easy decision for me to leave and I’m guessing it was the same for guys like Ryback, guys like Del Rio, guys like Cody, who perhaps, like me, decided it was best to move on too.”

Downfall of Bad News Barrett:

“The problem with Bad News was that I was getting a babyface reaction. It was one of those things where it was supposed to be a heel thing but I think people were so entertained by it that they started cheering it and look forward to it, even though I am insulting them. Vince never wanted me was a babyface, he thought I wrestled like a heel and I was English. He didn’t want me to be a babyface at all, which was fine and I was happy being a heel. But I think sometimes the crowd dictates things and even though Vince wants me as a heel, you can’t put me as a heel and the only way we could really turn me back into a heel, and stop them cheering for me, was to take away ‘Bad News’. At that point, I was just a guy who had nothing, so I was coming out, I wasn’t allowed to do the catchphrase or anything like that. I was just a very bland guy. So they gave me King of the Ring as something to do, I suppose, but doing a King of the Ring in this day and age just doesn’t work. It might have worked in the 80’s but I think wearing a crown and scepter in this day, to me, it doesn’t work.”

You can read the full interview by clicking here.

Source: US Magazine

Former star Barbie Blank, f.k.a. Kelly Kelly, has split with her husband, former NHL ice hockey player Sheldon Souray. According to US Weekly, Blank is dating again.

“They separated a couple months ago,” a source told US. “Barbie is already going on dates with other guys.”

Blank, 30, and Souray, 41, got married in Cabo San Lucas on February 27, 2016 after being engaged for over a year and a half. The wedding and the events leading up to it were documented on the second season of the E! reality series, WAGS. While Blank hasn’t commented directly on the split, she posted the photos below on her Instagram hinting at the split:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZUibrfnlGG/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=7&wp=574#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A12727.325%7Dhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BZdY9L1nmEW/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=7&wp=574#%7B%22ci%22%3A1%2C%22os%22%3A12803.405%7D

Blank made her WWE television debut at the age of 19 in 2006. She left the company in September of 2012. She appeared at Axxess and the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony during WrestleMania weekend earlier this year, and was featured in an episode of Table for 3 this past June with Maryse and Eve Torres.

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Houston, we want a hockey team.

Tilman Fertitta – the new owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets following a record $2.2-billion sale – is interested in adding another sports franchise to his portfolio.

“I would put an NHL team here tomorrow,” Fertitta told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “This one has got to work. But I’d love to have the other dates in the building.

“Do I want to see Toyota Center filled up 300 nights a year? Definitely. We’ll do whatever we can do, but whatever we do has to make sense … Will we be aggressive? Yes. That’s my nature.”

The NHL recently completed an expansion phase, adding its 31st franchise in Las Vegas, while deferring a bid from Quebec City. No other expansion applications, including Houston, were submitted to the league.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke on expansion as recently as Wednesday on Fox Sports, stating, “Could it happen some point? Yes, but it’s nothing we are focused on right now,” per Sportnset’s John Shannon.

Adding a team in Houston – the fourth-most populous city in the United States – would be a first for the NHL, however hockey itself is not unfamiliar with the area. The city was previously home to the WHA’s Houston Aeros from 1972-78 and a minor-pro team of the same name from 1994-2013.

Houston would also provide some intriguing benefits to the NHL. Not only would the city offer a major television market, but Houston is also a natural Texas rival to the Dallas Stars, and the team could also bring some balance to the Central Division – currently home to seven teams, while the other three divisions carry eight clubs.

The NHL was previously linked to Houston in 2015, when Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who chairs the NHL board of governors, told Nicholas Goss of NESN, “I’d love to see (a team) in Houston, but we can’t get into that building.”

With Rockets’ ownership now changing hands, it could open the door for the NHL’s entry into Houston and the Toyota Center. The 2003-built arena seats 17,800 for hockey and is home to only one major-league tenant.

“We have to make sure hockey fans in Houston, Texas and Houstonians will come out and support an NHL team,” Fertitta added. “When the Aeros left they were drawing 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 a game. If we have an NHL team, we have to put 16,000 in that stadium every night, 17,000, 18,000.

“If I go out and get an NHL team, I’m going to ask the citizens of Houston to make sure they commit to help me do it. None of this is successful without the fans out there.”

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Boy, is Kyrie Irving glad to be out of Cleveland.

The All-Star point guard was traded to the Boston Celtics in the offseason after informing the Cavaliers he wanted to be dealt. It’s believed he grew tired of playing in LeBron James‘ shadow and wanted to be the focal point of another squad.

Ahead of his fourth preseason game with his new team, the 25-year-old raved about Beantown.

“Boston, I’m driving in and (thinking), ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?” Irving said Wednesday, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.

The 2016 champ wasn’t done there.

“A lot of different cultures, food, and people. You get it all, especially in Boston. You would go to Cleveland and it would be at nighttime and things would be going on, but you just see a vast difference.”

Irving paced the C’s with 16 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and a steal in their 108-100 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. With the win, Boston finished the preseason undefeated, while his former team is 0-4 in exhibition play.

Of course, none of those results matter. They will, though, in the regular season, which begins Tuesday when the Cavaliers host the Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena.

Hopefully, Irving can find an alternate route to the stadium around the bridge he burned.

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Hall of Fame head coach Mike Ditka questioned the validity of social activism and oppression in America on Monday, and Joe Namath was not going to let it stand.

After the 77-year-old said, “there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” in regards to players protesting during the anthem, Namath called out Ditka’s understanding of those very social issues on Tuesday.

“Look up the meaning of oppression,” Namath told Fox News, according to John Bowden of The Hill. “Look up the definition of oppression, and you understand that it’s obviously taken place.”

While Namath said he believes owners have the right to tell players not to protest at their workplace, he sympathized with Colin Kaepernick‘s protest and the initial reasoning for the quarterback’s kneeling.

“Going back to what Colin Kaepernick initially did, it was to point out some injustice that’s being done to the black race,” Namath said. “Or to people that obviously when you look – and I say obviously, some of these dash cams and shootings that were done to unarmed people. He was reaching out to try to get it more investigated. So that’s where this oppression thing comes in.”

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Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin has received some gut-wrenching hate mail from fans who disagree with his decision to protest during the national anthem.

The 22-year-old rookie has not been welcomed to professional football warmly by some fans, though Reeves-Maybin says he’s not letting them ruin his first year in the league.

“People are saying, like, ‘I hope you get CTE,'” Reeves-Maybin told Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “Or, ‘I hope you can’t play with your kids when you get done playing,’ Stuff like that. But, yeah. It doesn’t bother me.”

The fourth-round pick also confirmed that, like Washington Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor, he has been the target of racial slurs.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” said Reeves-Maybin. “Yeah. All day. But, I mean, I can handle it.”

Lions owner Martha Ford had asked that all her team’s players stand for the national anthem last week, though Reeves-Maybin and fellow linebacker Steve Longa felt that continuing to kneel was the correct course of action.

“I feel like the right thing for me to do is kneel,” Reeves-Maybin said. “I really don’t like the state of social inequalities and justices that go on here.

“I didn’t want it to be about what President Trump said, and I felt like at the time, the week when you saw all the demonstrations, I feel like it more so made it about that and that’s not the idea of what it should have been.”

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As “The Star-Spangled Banner” played at Quicken Loans Arena prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ open scrimmage Monday, J.R. Smith was seen standing a few feet behind the rest of his teammates.

The 32-year-old veteran guard had his reasons for doing so.

“I don’t feel like the flag represents what it’s supposed to at this point,” Smith said following Friday’s shootaround, according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “We obviously didn’t discuss what we were going to do as a team, and I definitely, I don’t feel, it’s not an easy situation for me with the national anthem.

“Especially coming from where I come from, it’s just not. I don’t feel like it’s represented the right way, obviously it’s a tough conversation for everybody, and it still needs to be, I wouldn’t say talked about, because there’s been a lot of conversations about it, it’s time to start doing. What efforts are we going to put toward it?”

Smith has shared his feelings about the state of America and President Donald Trump in the past on social media, not shying away from letting his displeasure be known on a number of political and social matters currently at the forefront of people’s minds.

He went on a Twitter rant back in August after people took to the streets in Boston to protest hate speech following the attacks and riots in Charlottesville involving white supremacists. Smith took shots at Trump – albeit without calling him out directly – and the irony of the president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan while hate continues to seep across the country.

Despite his feelings about the flag, Smith did lock arms with his Cavaliers teammates during the anthem ahead of their preseason opener Wednesday.

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One of the greatest players in the history of the Colorado Avalanche believes the club should do more to address the Matt Duchene situation.

”Doubtful that he should be allowed to play (with the Avalanche),” Peter Forsberg said Saturday on Swedish television, as translated by Expressen’s Robin Lindgren via Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.

“Put him in the stands,” Forsberg continued. “If I were playing with a player that I know doesn´t even want to be in the team, it´s not like he is going to throw himself on the ice and block shots with his head. It is mostly difficult to have a player like that in the team, although he is skillful and is doing his best. I would rather play with someone that wants to be there. I would put him on the bench and trade him.”

Duchene, who has been on the trade block since last season, said he was “here to honor (his) contract,” when he reported to training camp last month.

The center notched a goal and an assist in Colorado’s season-opening win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night, and was held off the score sheet Saturday in a loss to the New Jersey Devils, despite firing five shots on goal.

Forsberg is the NHL’s all-time leader in points per game among qualified Swedish players (1.25), and he ranks second on the Avalanche’s franchise list for points per game (1.28), only behind Quebec Nordiques legend Peter Stastny.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.

The 2016 ESPYS - Arrivals

Ric Flair and his family have been through a lot since he was hospitalized in August, but fortunately, the WWE Hall of Famer appears to be getting back to his old self.

His daughter, wrestler Charlotte Flair, opened up about her father’s health scare while on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast to promote their new book, “Second Nature,” revealing that Ric didn’t recognize her after regaining consciousness. He did, however, remember a few details from the 1980s.

“When he was first taken off the machine and the doctors wanted to have him walk around, obviously he needed help and support but he didn’t even know who I was, and he was just pushing the walker and quoting numbers of towns from shows in the ’80s,” Charlotte said, per John Canton of Uproxx. “I was like, that’s great he can quote me the numbers from a show in Chicago in the ’80s but he doesn’t know who I am?

“I would just sit there and listen to him quote the numbers and was just like this is crazy. So, he is pushing the walker with the nurses and he is pushing and pushing and then he just stops and starts strutting in the ICU. He doesn’t know who I am, isn’t really talking but just does the strut and I was just like this isn’t real.”

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Lamar Odom is doing well these days, and on Wednesday he appeared on an episode of Complex’s “Everyday Struggle” to discuss everything under the sun.

When it came to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ off-court fiasco from two seasons ago when D’Angelo Russell surreptitiously recorded and broadcast video of Nick Young talking about a woman who wasn’t his girlfriend, he said Young didn’t go far enough in administering punishment.

“If I was Nick Young, I would’ve put my hands on him,” Odom said. “And I was expecting motherfuckers on the team to put their hands on him. That would’ve showed camaraderie.”

These were the Bryon Scott-coached 2015-16 Lakers of Kobe Bryant’s swan song, youthful pieces like Russell, and jokester journeymen like Young. They finished 17-65, the worst record in franchise history.

“Maybe they would have won a couple more games,” Odom added.

When asked about another Lakers scandal, Odom said Shaquille O’Neal also should’ve roughed up Bryant after he reportedly discussed O’Neal’s alleged extramarital activities during his 2003 sexual assault case.

Odom was traded by the Miami Heat to the Lakers for O’Neal in 2004, and played seven seasons with Bryant. Russell and Young no longer play for the Lakers.

The 37-year-old Odom, who is approaching the second anniversary of nearly dying from a drug overdose, said he wishes nothing but the best to ex-wife Khloe Kardashian – now reportedly pregnant with the child of Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson.

“From a distance I wish her well,” he said. “Still got love for her.”

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Derek Jeter and new controlling owner Bruce Sherman spoke publicly during a press conference for the first time on Tuesday after their group’s $1.2-billion purchase of the Miami Marlins.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports the former New York Yankees shortstop revealed the team may be in line for a shake-up.

Said Jeter: “Moving forward there will be at times unpopular decisions,” made for the “betterment” of the franchise.

Jeter acknowledged he didn’t like the term “tear down,” but did mention the possibility of a rebuild.

“Some things you keep private. We will sit down with me and (president of baseball operations) Mike Hill and his staff. We do have to rebuild the organization. It starts with player development and scouting. We will build it from top down and bottom up,” he explained.

One certain topic of discussion will be the future of home run king Giancarlo Stanton in Miami. Earlier this week, Stanton said he didn’t want to be involved in a rebuild.

“I don’t want to rebuild,” Stanton said Friday, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. “I’ve lost for seven years.”

When asked about Stanton’s future with the Marlins, Jeter was discreet.

“Unbelievable season. I don’t know him well. I haven’t spoken to the players. I haven’t spoken to him. Anything we’re going to do moving forward with the organization, I will discuss with Mike Hill.”

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The New York Daily News has today reported that last year, Shane McMahon filed a lawsuit against a legal marijuana company after they apparently swindled him out of $500,000.

Shane injected the half-million sum into Connecticut-based company EnviroGrow in 2015, a firm which profits by selling pre-fabricated pot incubation modules to states where the drug is legal, either for medicinal or recreational use.

The on-screen SmackDown Live GM’s involvement was kept hush-hush – or perhaps, hash-hash – until it was made public through his initiation of legal proceedings against founded Joseph Palmieri. It’s likely Shane wished to keep the stimulus recondite on account of his mother, Linda McMahon’s, position as SBA head for the Trump administration, many of whose cabinet have been firm in their stance against decriminialising ganja.

McMahon’s case accused Palmieri of tricking him about the true state of the company, having discovered that the ‘state-of-the-art’ modules advertised to him were in fact non-existant when he visited EnviroGrow’s facility in Fort Collins, CO. After making the startling discovery of, well, nothing, Shane demanded a return of his backing, which Palmieri refused.

Palmieri has denied all allegations in the lawsuit, with EnviroGrow CEO Dan Williams reporting that the company has already sold modules to four states. The McMahon legal team has thus far failed to comment.

We’ll be back with the straight-dope as it develops.

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Don’t tell Damian Lillard to stick to sports.

The Portland Trail Blazers star has been vocal about his thoughts on politics and current affairs, and doesn’t plan on holding back just because some people think athletes aren’t qualified to speak on such matters.

The 27-year-old point guard called the notion “very saddening” and compared it to slavery.

“Looking at it now, how they just want us to go out and play basketball and you know, ‘put that jersey on and be proud’ and ‘don’t represent anything,’ ‘don’t stand for anything,’ ‘don’t have an opinion, just be respectful,’ and ‘go out there and play for me’ – it makes me think about kind of the way it was with slavery, when it was, they want the young, strong and you know, ‘His arms are long and he’s got big calves.’ It reminds me of that,” Lillard told Oregon Public Broadcasting, as transcribed by Willamette Week’s Sophia June.

“They want us to go out and do what we’re built to do. We’re good athletes; we’re physically strong; we’re very capable … They don’t want to know what we think; they don’t care how we feel about something. It’s just ‘Go out there and do what your job is.'”

Lillard has spoken out about many issues, including police brutality after an officer shot and killed Philando Castile last year. More recently, he called out President Donald Trump for his profane attack on anthem protesters.

“I think it’s sad that with all that’s going on in the world, our president is concerned with football and basketball,” Lillard told reporters at Media Day.

The two-time All-Star also trolled the president after he withdrew his invitation for the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House, because Stephen Curry did not want to go.

Asked if he’d go to the Oval Office if invited by Trump, Lillard replied:

“No. I would not.”

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Oklahoma City is one of the smallest cities in America to boast a professional sports team, but it’s clear the Thunder‘s bankroll is anything but tiny. Even after reportedly agreeing to a five-year extension that brings Russell Westbrook‘s outlook to an NBA-record $233 million over the next six seasons, the franchise may have its sights set on new financial stratospheres.

The Thunder’s ownership group is reportedly committed to taking on a massive luxury-tax bill next season, according to former NBA general manager and current ESPN analyst Bobby Marks.

That suggests the Thunder don’t envision recent offseason additions Paul George and Carmelo Anthony as rental players and will attempt to retain their new core past 2017-18. George and Anthony each have player options for the 2018-19 season reportedly valued at $20.7 million and $27.9 million, respectively.

George will almost certainly decline his option, entering unrestricted free agency. The Thunder hold his Bird Rights, allowing them to go over the salary cap to re-sign him, and if he makes an All-NBA Team, he’ll be eligible for the Designated Veteran Player Extension – what Westbrook reportedly agreed to Friday.

Anthony may very well decide to execute his player option, as he’ll be 34 years old next summer and, depending on how this year with the Thunder goes, may not be able to attract a significantly better deal on the open market.

The 2018-19 luxury tax threshold is projected to be $123 million, based on the league reportedly informing teams to budget for a $101-million salary cap. Teams whose salaries exceed the tax limit pay additional fees based on how much they overspend. Unless the Thunder dump about $13 million in salary before the end of this season, they’ll have to pay the even more exorbitant repeater tax, after being a tax-paying franchise in three of the past four seasons.

For instance, the Thunder would pay an additional $2.50 per dollar every dollar over the tax limit, up to $5 million; the taxes become increasingly punitive for each tax bracket, eventually reaching $4.25 per dollar for teams that spend greater than $20 million over the tax limit. If the Thunder entered 2018-19 with a $143-million team salary, they would pay approximately $65 million in luxury taxes.

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The CFL announced Wednesday it won’t register any contract for former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel this season, and will only allow him to play in the league next year if he meets certain conditions spelled out by the commissioner.

“The specifics of those conditions are confidential and will not be disclosed,” a statement from the league read.

Manziel, who had an in-person meeting with commissioner Randy Ambrosie, will remain on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats‘ exclusive negotiating rights list until Nov. 30, according to the statement.

Known as Johnny Football, Manziel is intent on resuming his career after addressing numerous off-field issues. He worked out for the Tiger-Cats in August, but Hamilton said at the time it chose not to offer him a contract.

Manziel released the following statement Wednesday:

I recently had a really positive meeting with Commissioner Ambrosie and welcomed the chance for us to get to know each other and have an in-depth talk about a possible future with the CFL. I love this game and want to be back on the field in a situation where I can help a franchise in the long term. Over the past months, my agent helped me vet all of my options for playing, figuring out where I could be most effective and get back to having the most fun with the game I love. I’m ready to play today, but we all agreed with the Commissioner that it made no sense for me to join a team with only a month left in the season – it wouldn’t have been fair to my teammates, coaches or the fan base. I want to come into a team and earn my job day one, like everyone else. I look forward to preparing myself as best I can and look forward to what the future holds.

A former Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M, Manziel spent two years with the Cleveland Browns before being released. The Browns drafted him in the first round, 22nd overall, in 2014.

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The NBA sent a memo to teams Friday reminding them of the rule to stand for the national anthem, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who obtained a copy.

The document indicates that players, coaches, and trainers must stand for both the U.S. and Canadian national anthems and “do not have the discretion to waive” the rule. Violators can be penalized by the league office.

In the memo, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum also offered alternative means of addressing the protest movement that’s become prevalent in the NFL and other leagues. He suggested players and coaches spread a message of unity through a joint pregame address or video tribute.

The memo aligns with commissioner Adam Silver’s message, as he said Thursday he expects players to stand for national anthems.

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last season when he began kneeing during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. He’s since been exiled from the league, but his message lives on, with players, coaches, and owners showing solidarity last weekend.

Over in The Association, many NBA players have spoken out against President Trump, including superstars LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant. The latter two, as well as the rest of the defending champion Golden State Warriors, won’t visit the White House after Trump withdrew their invitation over Curry’s hesitation to attend.

Team owners have been less vocal as to not alienate pro-Trump fans, sources told ESPN. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts has encouraged players to discuss issues that matter to them, and said the union is prepared to respond if the league disciplines players for protesting.

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The Wrestling Observer are reporting that former WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn could be on her way back to the promotion sooner rather than later.

Discussions have been held internally about bringing Kaitlyn (real name, Celeste Bonin) back into the fold, and the avid bodybuilder recently worked out in a wrestling ring for the first time in 4 years at the Main Event Training Center in Florida.

Bonin signed a WWE developmental deal in July, 2010, but left the promotion almost exactly 4 years later to focus on her marriage and new Celestial Bodiez fitness clothing line. Recently, her return to wrestling training has caught the eye of WWE management.

As Kaitlyn, Bonin held the Divas Title for 153 days in 2013. She is best-remembered for a quality match against AJ Lee at Payback that June, and for her time on the old NXT show.

It was previously reported that WWE were planning to put former NXT Women’s Champion Asuka on the Raw brand, because the general feeling is that the female roster needs more depth. If that’s the case, then Kaitlyn would probably appear on Raw too.

LaVar Ball says he knows what type of coaching his son, 20-year-old rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, needs to be successful in the NBA, but thinks that isn’t what the Los Angeles Lakers are currently providing him

“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him,” LaVar said Friday after the Lakers fell to 6-10 with a 122-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. “I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”

The head of Big Baller Brand added that he has no problem with Lakers head coach Luke Walton, but that he does with losing games.

After falling to the Suns, Walton said it’s important for his younger players to learn from their errors, and not to get too low each time they lose.

LaVar would apparently take a different approach with the impressionable roster, saying he would hold them more accountable for their mistakes.

“What I mean by babying (Lonzo), ‘He’ll figure it out,'” LaVar said. “It ain’t about that. ‘Be patient with him?’ Ain’t no patience if you’re winning.”

“They’re letting it go too easy, saying they’re a young team,” he added. “Forget about that. Put the (onus) on them. Say, ‘You guys need to win. You’ve got enough talent. Win some games.'”

LaVar added that losing at home “ain’t OK,” and said there aren’t any moral victories in a loss. “That’s why they’re so cool with losing by five or six, (to) say, ‘We was in the game.'”

Lonzo followed up his six-point performance against the Suns with his second triple-double of the 2017-18 campaign, ending Sunday’s 18-point blowout of the Denver Nuggets with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in just under 40 minutes of action.

He’s averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.5 steals for the 7-10 Lakers, although his 31.3 field-goal percentage and his 22.8 3-point percentage has left a lot to be desired.

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant took some time to reflect on leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then he let everything out.

Durant admitted he was upset by how OKC fans turned on him after he chose to sign with Golden State, but he’ll ultimately look back fondly on his eight seasons with the Thunder.

“That stuff right there is going to last forever,” Durant told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. “That stuff is way, way more important than a championship. Me and my family didn’t just erase those eight years in OKC. D.C. and OKC is where we grew up – my mom, my brother, me.

“I am OKC. I’m still OKC. That blue is going to be in my blood forever. That place raised me. I have people there who would take a bullet for me and vice versa. But there’s a point in a young man’s life, just like when he goes off to college, or when he moves to another city to get a job, he’s got to make a decision for himself. You’ve got to make a decision that’s best for yourself and you would expect the people that love you the most to say they understand.”

The response from Thunder fans was similar to that of Cleveland when LeBron James left for Miami in 2010, after Durant’s announcement on The Players’ Tribune that he would take his talents to the 73-win team that eliminated the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. Durant instantly went from being their favorite son to being hated, as fans responded by burning his jersey, flooding his social media mentions, and one person went so far as to fire an automatic rifle at his old uniform.

His former Thunder teammates followed suit. Russell Westbrook, who Durant once called his brother, played up the rivalry at every possible opportunity, which further endeared him to Thunder fans and made his bitterness toward Durant into a national storyline.

For better or for worse, these are people in his life that he’ll cherish, regardless of whether he gets the same love in return, or not.

“Those people really mean a lot to me to this day. No matter if they talk to me or they’re mad at me. Whether it’s Sam Presti or Troy Weaver or Russell Westbrook or Nick Collison. Whether it’s Wilson Taylor or Clay Bennett and his family, I love them from the bottom of my heart. We’re not talking, but eventually we will,” Durant said.

A legal battle is brewing between Ric Flair and his former management team.

The WWE Hall of Famer is suing Legacy Talent and Entertainment, the agency that represented him from 2009 to October 2017, over money he believes he’s owed from his recent ESPN “30 for 30” special, according to TMZ Sports.

Flair claims Legacy Talent received $25,000 from First Row Films, the company that produced the documentary, but he wasn’t informed of the payment or given his cut. He also hired a lawyer to look into his finances and discovered a $12,000 royalty advance from Jake’s Fireworks, with whom he signed an endorsement deal earlier this year.

After reaching out to Legacy Talent about the money, Flair says he was told it was being used to cover legal bills – something he says he never authorized.

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway attempted to take responsibility for calling his players “soft.”

Elway told reporters last week that the team had gone “soft” during their losing streak and called the Broncos out for the manner in which they were competing.

He attempted to clarify his remarks Tuesday after many players balked at the implication.

“I was talking about everybody in the organization … when you’ve had success sometimes you get soft,” Elway said on Orange and Blue 760.

“I knew before I said it that some guys were not going to like that.”

The Broncos began the season 3-1, but have since lost their last six games and slumped to the bottom of the AFC West. Denver fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Monday.

Researchers say former NFL linebacker Fred McNeill was the first living person identified with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

A case study was published this week and Dr. Bennet Omalu, credited with discovering the disease in football players, confirmed to CNN’s Nadia Kounang that the unnamed subject in the report was McNeill, who died in 2015.

Only a brain exam after death can confirm the diagnosis of the degenerative brain disease. However, the presence of CTE was first discovered in 2012 through an experimental brain scan that revealed the presence of tau, a signature protein of CTE.

McNeill played for 12 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, from 1974-1985.

Source: TV Insider

Carmella spoke to TV Insider on a number of wrestling topics and working on Total Divas. Here are some of the highlights:

Finding out about Big Cass tearing his ACL:

“It’s a struggle. When I did find out he got injured, it was minutes before a match. We had a live event at the same time as Raw was going on. I’m a professional and at the end of the day you have to keep going. The show must go on. So, I’m going to put on my mean face and walk through that curtain and carry that briefcase. You have to make the most of it because the show must go on.”

Who brought the “drama” out of her on Total Divas:

“I said from Day One I wasn’t one to get involved in drama. But one person who seems to bring it out of almost everyone from what I’ve seen is Lana. You’ll be able to see a little bit of drama between myself and her on this show. I’m not going to say over what. I’ll just say I had to put her in her place, which doesn’t happen very often. But when something like that happens I have to stick up for myself. … Overall, it’s the women making history and showing week after week that we deliver in and out of the ring. It’s going to be a great season.”

Being the first women to win the Money in the Bank Contract:

“I’m getting emotional thinking about. All I ever wanted to do was make history and be a part of history. This women’s revolution is happening and it’s going full force. To even be a female wrestler in the industry is crazy, never mind making history twice. My name will forever go down in the history books. For that, no matter in the future, I will always remember that. Now having that documented on Total Divas is something I will have forever.”

You can read the full interview by clicking here.