Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

Friday, 9 June 2017

Mike Schmidt, Jerry Remy split Jerk of the Week for slamming athletes who don’t speak English

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Mike Schmidt, Jerry Remy split Jerk of the Week for slamming athletes who don’t speak English
 Most of the time, a jerk has no idea what he or she is doing, hasn’t the foggiest idea that their actions or words are obnoxious or offensive. Or they simply do not care. This is precisely what makes people who cut you off on the road or who refuse to let you merge in front of them because they’re too busy texting such jerks.

The world of sports gave us two such people this week, who uttered highly offensive and racially insensitive comments on the air basically because they thought nothing of it. They moved their lips, words came out of their mouths, and it never dawned on them until after the fact that what they said was wrong on so many levels. Jerks.

In a radio interview Tuesday morning, Phillies broadcaster Mike Schmidt went in on outfielder Odubel Herrera with a critique so biting that he managed to insult every Spanish-speaking ballplayer on the planet. Schmidt said the Phillies can’t build around the Venezuelan-born Herrera because of the language barrier, questioned his commitment and, ironically, said the kid plays with too much emotion, a heard-before knock that’s been used in the past to insult the passion many Latin players show on the field.

“First of all, it’s a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can’t be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game,” he told WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi. “Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, ‘Man, you gotta run that ball out.’ Just can’t be — because of the language barrier — that kind of a player.”

Later the same day, NESN Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy barked that translators for players who don’t speak English like Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka should not be allowed out to the mound for conferences with coaches and managers.

Both broadcasters issued predictable apologies not long after their bile hit the airwaves.

“It's been made known to me that my answer on a radio interview this morning to the question, 'Can the Phillies build a team around Odubel Herrera?' was disrespectful to Herrera and Latin players in general,” Schmidt said. “I'm very sorry that this misrepresentation of my answer occurred and may have offended someone. I assure everyone I had no intention of that.”

Remy basically said the same thing. Maybe they shop for apologies at the same place. Insult an entire race of people? Sure, we have something for that right over here.

“Last night during the course of the Red Sox-Yankee game I made some comments that offended a number of people in our audience,” he said. “I’d like to apologize to my colleagues at NESN, to the Boston Red Sox, but most importantly to the fans who were offended by my comments. I sincerely hope you accept my apologies. Thank you very much.”

You’ll notice there is no mention of Tanaka or foreign-born players in his apology.

What’s worse is that both broadcasters are paid to speak on the air. Throwing words and opinions around with so little care about how they land is like a cop irresponsibly playing with his gun in public. It’s like a construction worker dumping a pile of bricks on someone because they did not care enough to be a little more cautious.

Using a player’s inability to speak English against them is flat wrong. Not speaking the language fluently should never deter from a player’s worth on the field. Does speaking the language help them to hit or run or throw? No, it does not.

Part of the beauty of sports is that games are supposed to be inclusive. Baseball clubhouses have been melting pots of cultures and nationalities for years, and with that infusion of international talent, times change. More Spanish can be heard. Translators for Japanese-speaking players are necessary to bridge these gaps.

So when you insult people who speak a different language, who may need help communicating with others to do their jobs a bit more effectively, it’s low and crass. It’s ironic that Schmidt and Remy, both fluent English-speakers, understood so little about the toxic words they uttered this week.

Maybe they're the ones who really need translators.

That all makes them aloof. But more than anything, it made them jerks this week.

Brian Burke was a jerk on two fronts this week, all in the same public appearance. Burke, the combustible president of the Flames, told the Canadian Club of Calgary on Wednesday that concussions are a part of hockey. And, if you have a problem with that, you’re just not tough enough.

“It’s a full-contact sport. If you choose a full-contact sport, there is a good chance you’ll have a serious injury,” Burke said. “If you don’t want to get a concussion, you can be a swimmer.”

Ouch. Burke is a smart guy, so it was just as puzzling when he called the NHL an “industry leader in concussion identification and treatment.” The NHL is fighting a lawsuit over its handling of head injuries, and the league has been openly criticized for its protocol during games to identify concussions. An example of this is that players are monitored for head injuries following collisions with the ice, but not the boards or other hard objects.

Wonder if P.K. Subban got checked out after that jerk Sidney Crosby bashed his skull into the ice Thursday night. But, we digress.

Burke wasn’t done. He also threatened the Flames would move somewhere else if local taxpayers refuse to cough up money for a new arena. His honesty, as always, is refreshing, but his message was that of a straight-up jerk.

Finally, the Saudi Arabian soccer team, of all countries, ignored a moment of silence for victims of the most recent London terrorist attack this week.

Instead of observing the attack before a World Cup qualifier Thursday, Saudi players went about their pre-game business while Australian players stood at attention. Saudi officials said "this tradition was not in keeping with Saudi culture and they would move to their side of the field and respect our custom whilst taking their own positions on the field.”

In other words, it was not their tragedy to memorialize. The Saudi soccer federation later issued their own statement of apology.

“The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims or to cause upset to their families, friends or any individual affected by the atrocity," it said. "The Saudi Arabian Football Federation condemns all acts of terrorism and extremism and extends its sincerest condolences to the families of all the victims.”

Just like Schmidt and Remy, the Saudis meant no disrespect. It's basically a darker version of Steve Urkel's "Did I do that?"

And that, right there, is classic jerk behavior.
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

India v Sri Lanka: ICC Champions Trophy

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India v Sri Lanka: ICC Champions Trophy
35th over: India 188-3 (Dhawan 87, Dhoni 7) Suranga Lakmal is back into the attack, which is a good move. What isn’t is another short and wide delivery that Dhoni can free his arms and swish at, carving it over point for six! Not a bad way to get off the mark.
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J.R. Smith claims account was hacked after tweeting ‘Cavs in 7’ following Warriors’ Game 3 win

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J.R. Smith claims account was hacked after tweeting ‘Cavs in 7’ following Warriors’ Game 3 win
 He erased the tweet quicker than Kevin Durant erased Cleveland’s hopes.

Cavaliers star (and former Knicks fan-favorite!) J.R. Smith took to Twitter immediately after the Warriors’ thrilling Game 3 victory in the NBA Finals to proclaim that his team was going to win the next four games.

Seriously.

The Cavaliers were a mere few minutes from making it a series before Kevin Durant and the Warriors took over.
The Cavaliers were a mere few minutes from making it a series before Kevin Durant and the Warriors took over.

It must of ticked off somebody in the locker room, because only minutes after the message went viral, Smith took the tweet down. Either that, or he was hacked.

"(Smith) says he didn't tweet & account was hacked, but that he likes what the hacker was thinking," the site reported.

The Cavaliers were a mere few minutes from making it a series before Kevin Durant and the Warriors took over.
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British motorcyclist knocked unconscious, sent tumbling off bike at over 140 mph and lives to tell tale

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British motorcyclist knocked unconscious, sent tumbling off bike at over 140 mph and lives to tell tale
 A motorcyclist riding at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, England, was knocked unconscious by the belly pan of another bike and crashed at a speed upward of 140 mph.

Joshua Boyd took to Facebook to count his blessings and also lash out at organizers and the other rider, writing that June 3 could have "easily been my last day."

Video captured the belly pan of a yellow ZX10R darting off camera — striking Boyd in the head.

He comes into the frame unconscious and leaning over the side of his bike.

He veers off the track and falls as bike parts are sent flying all around.

Rider Joshua Boyd is knocked unconscious during a Trackday at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, England, June 3, 2017.

In his post, Boyd wrote, “It’s sickening to think that Trackday Organisers are all to quick [sic] to prevent you from joining the circuit if your noise level is 1 db above the set limit but will not check to see if the machines themselves are fit for purpose.”

“03/06/2017 could of easily been my last day due to the faults of another person,” he added in the post. “This incident was caused by carelessness from the owner of the Yellow ZX10R. Properly fastened and secured bodywork doesn’t ‘fall off.’ ”

He said the bike part struck his head and immediately knocked him unconscious. This forced his body to fall back and lean over the side of the bike.

Boyd said he had no memory of the event and woke up in the hospital with blurred vision — seeing different colors.

“I have been extremely fortunate to come away from the crash without serious injury. I will certainly never do a Trackday again...”

The rider also thanked those who pulled up after the crash.

Boyd concluded, “Poor judgement could end someone’s life.”
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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Jeremy Lin’s perspective on life rocked after seeing horrors of human trafficking during trip to Asia

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Jeremy Lin’s perspective on life rocked after seeing horrors of human trafficking during trip to Asia
 Since Linsanity, Jeremy Lin has used his fame to address many social issues.

The star’s current focus is human trafficking, which he saw the impact of firsthand during a trip to Asia with charities One Day’s Wages and the Hug Project.

Lin took to Twitter this week to say the trip “changed my perspective, for real” and shared a photo of him with Eugene Cho, a leader and pastor at One Day’s Wages.

The photo was taken while the pair walked through one of the Bangkok’s red-light districts of the city, which features nearly 10,000 sex workers, some young children.

“My hope is to shed some light on these issues, and invite you to join me in taking action,” Lin e-maild his fans prior to the trip.

Last season, Lin donated his game check from the Nets’ March 17 game against the Celtics to One Day’s Wages and will do it again this year.

“I was taken back that he didn’t just want to make a financial donation but shared that he and his team also wanted to genuinely learn more about the various issues of global justice — both challenges and hopeful aspects,” Cho wrote on an Instagram post of him with the Nets star.

“We talked about taking a trip together but I honestly didn’t think his team would follow through. Not that I questioned their heart but his schedule is crazy and he’s constantly training. Add my schedule — even without training. But by God’s grace, it happened.”
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A-Rod is victim of $600,000 extortion attempt by ex-girlfriend: report

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A-Rod is victim of $600,000 extortion attempt by ex-girlfriend: report
 One of Alex Rodriguez's ex-girlfriends is "threatening to expose private messages" if A-Rod does not pay her $600,000, according to a TMZ report.

The report does not name the woman, but said that she and Rodriguez broke up in 2014. He was involved with former WWE diva Torrie Wilson as late as December 2013, when they were photographed by the Daily News together at David Ortiz's charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic.
New York, NY - Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez pose together at the 2017 Met Gala held at the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Pictured: Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez Backgrid USA 1 MAY 2017 BYLINE

Rodriguez has two daughters with ex-wife Cynthia, while J-Lo has twins with ex Marc Anthony. Rodriguez's spokesman did not return a call for comment.
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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Jerry Remy, NESN announcer, says Masahiro Tanaka shouldn’t be allowed to have translator during mound visit

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Jerry Remy, NESN announcer, says Masahiro Tanaka shouldn’t be allowed to have translator during mound visit
 At this point, Yankees fans might have a few problems with the underperforming Masahiro Tanaka.

NESN announcer and former Red Sox star Jerry Remy has a completely different issue with him.

“I forgot with Tanaka they take out a translator. I don’t think that should be legal,” Remy said in the fourth inning of the Yankees vs. Red Sox broadcast on Tuesday night.

The mound conference, which was no longer than an average one, featured Tanaka’s translator Shingo Horie and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“Learn baseball language. You know, learn,” Remy attempted to explain when follow broadcaster Dave O’Brien slightly challenged the thought.

“It’s pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time.”

O’Brien responded by saying telling Remy he believes translators are “concerned about nuance being lost in some of these conversations.”

Remy wasn’t the only former big league star to turn heads with a controversial statement on Tuesday.

Phillies legend Mike Schmidt said on WIP sports talk radio that he would not build a baseball team around players who don’t speak English, specifically Odubel Herrera.

“First of all, it’s a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can’t be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game,” he told morning show host Angelo Cataldi. “Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, ‘Man, you gotta run that ball out.’ Just can’t be — because of the language barrier — that kind of a player.”
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Rex and Rob Ryan accused of assault after bar fight in Nashville

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Rex and Rob Ryan accused of assault after bar fight in Nashville
 Following their barroom scuffle over the weekend, Rex and Rob Ryan have been accused of assault in a police report filed by one of the bar patrons, according to Bleacher Report.

The patron, Matthew Havel, filed a simple assault report after video surfaced of the two former NFL coaches battling with other bargoers.

“We didn’t say anything like, ‘You guys are bad coaches.’ We were sitting there for an hour, hour and a half, talking, and then it wasn’t with them, it was with the son and the nephew,” Havel said, referring to Rob’s son, Matt, a defensive lineman at Clemson, and James, another member of the Ryans’ family.

“Then we had pictures of Matthew's championship ring on my wife's hand. You don't let that out of your hand for anybody."

Havel, 30, said he wasn’t sure why the brothers attacked him, especially since he felt they had built a rapport between them.

“All of a sudden, they were coming at me in a blur," Havel said. "It happened so quick."

Rob and Rex are disputing his claims, saying Rex got annoyed after "heckling from the uninvited guests" and that he was simply "trying to keep the peace."

Havel said he believes the Ryan brothers’ received special treatment because of their celebrity status.

"If you're an average Joe, anybody else doing that, they would be in jail," he said. "They just sat there, and nothing happened, taking pictures with people coming up to them."
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Monday, 5 June 2017

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell blasted on Instagram for messaging model Karen Vi — ‘Didn't he just have a baby with a beautiful girl?!’

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Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell blasted on Instagram for messaging model Karen Vi — ‘Didn't he just have a baby with a beautiful girl?!’
 Le'Veon Bell thought the New England Patriots defense was tough.

Instagram model Karen Vi took a shot at Steelers running back for sending admiration to her inbox.

Vi shared the direct message attempt to her million plus followers before posting a story on her Instagram talking about the exchange.

"I will never understand why dudes or athletes, especially those with gf's even TRY. Truly makes me sick," she said in a screengrab captured by The Big Lead.

"Didn't he just have a baby with a beautiful girl?!" Vi continued. "Bye Felipe."

Bell missed practices leading up to this year's AFC Championship game to be with his new baby who was born in January. However, Bell is not currently married.

The running back may want to leave the decision to go for it on the football field instead of trying to slide into people's direct messages like Broncos quarterback Chad Kelly.
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Hank Williams Jr. Is Coming Back to Monday Night Football

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Hank Williams Jr. Is Coming Back to Monday Night Football
The rowdy friends are coming back.

Hank Williams Jr. will return to the opening of Monday Night Football with his song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” and its catchphrase “Are you ready for some football?” ESPN had dropped the song six years ago after Wiliams made intemperate remarks about President Barack Obama.

The song had played for more than two decades on Monday Night Football and was closely identified with the show, and with football, for a generation of fans. But in 2011, in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on the Fox News Channel, Williams faulted Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican, for playing golf together. It would be like “Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu,” he said, referring to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

Three days later, ESPN dropped the song, though Williams claimed the decision was his.

Now Williams says he is glad to be back. “I’m feeling at home and it’s a real good thing,” he told The Tennessean. “I hope there will be some happy people on Monday night again.” The new video with Williams for the show was taped in Nashville on Sunday.

Williams initially recorded the song as “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” in 1984. It was first broadcast on Monday Night Football in 1989, when the show aired on ABC. Williams regularly appeared in the show’s opening montage and recorded different versions of the song tailored for each week’s game.

ESPN never really tried to replace Williams and the popular song with anything as flashy. It mostly stuck with the longtime Monday Night Football instrumental theme known as “Heavy Action.”

“Monday Night Football had the most iconic music video in sports television history with Hank Williams Jr.,” ESPN said in a statement “Fans told us they missed it, so we’re excited to bring this popular segment back to ESPN for the 2017 N.F.L. season with some new twists. We expect to make a formal announcement soon.”

Speaking to The Tennessean about a possible backlash because of Williams’s views, Stephanie Druley, ESPN’s senior vice president of events and studio production, said, “I’m sure there’ll be some, but I’m not concerned.”

“It just immediately gets you psyched for the game you’re going to watch and for football fans, that’s a big deal. I think people will be really, really excited about it,” she said.

The song was popular enough to earn a parody on The Simpsons: “Open Wide for Some Soccer” and inspired a host of “Are You Ready for Some ...” headlines and jokes.

Wiliams is currently touring. He plays Durant, Okla., on Friday and Choctaw. Miss., on Saturday. This summer he will be appearing in a number of cities with Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Since leaving Monday Night Football, Williams has not hesitated to continue to make provocative statements. “We’ve got a Muslim for a president who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays, and we hate him!” he said of Obama to concertgoers in 2012.
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Rob Gronkowski intercepts wedding bouquet, spikes it into dance floor

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Rob Gronkowski intercepts wedding bouquet, spikes it into dance floor
 Death, taxes and Gronk spiking something.

The Patriots tight end made that clear after his latest performance at a wedding over the weekend.

Doing his best Charles Woodson impression, Gronkowski read the pass beautifully before smashing the flowers — and the hearts of would-be brides in attendance — into a million pieces.

From bouquets to Busch Lights, Gronk has proven himself as a multi-talented spiker in any situation.
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Solo climber Alex Honnold is 1st up Yosemite's El Capitan without ropes

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Solo climber Alex Honnold is 1st up Yosemite's El Capitan without ropes SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Honnold had dreamed about climbing the mighty El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without any safety gear for eight years. But every time he looked up the massive granite wall, he found it too daunting.

That was the case until this weekend, when the elite rock climber reached the summit in about four hours using only his hands and feet. The 31-year-old on Saturday became the first to climb the 3,000-foot (914-meter) granite wall alone without a safety harness or ropes to catch him if he fell.

"I was pretty much elated," Honnold said of reaching the top in a telephone interview Sunday with The Associated Press. "I was probably the happiest I've ever been. It's something that I thought about for so long and dreamed about and worked so hard for. I mean, it's pretty satisfying."

Honnold, who grew up in Northern California, began preparing for his historic climb two years ago. He scaled the route countless times, rehearsing it while climbing with protective gear and memorizing each hole he had to grab and the way he had to position his body until he felt comfortable enough to attempt the "free solo" climb.

The most difficult part of the route is about 2,300 feet off the ground, where there are very small holds where only a thumb can fit.

But even more challenging was overcoming the mental hurdle, he said.

"Each year I would show up and it would seem just much too daunting," said Honnold, who has been climbing for 20 years. "To walk up to the base of the climb without rope and harness, it just feels a little outrageous. Getting over that side of it was the hardest part."

Observers said his climb has pushed the limits in a sport that requires a high level of athleticism, risk-taking and mental focus.

"This has never been done before ... and it's hard to imagine anybody ever coming close to what he's done," said Daniel Duane, author of "El Capitan: Historic Feats and Radical Routes."

"He is totally alone at the top of his game," he added.

Honnold grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento where he began practicing indoor rock climbing at age 11. He dropped out of the University of California Berkeley to conquer major summits around the world.

He was among several elite rock climbers whose endorsements were dropped by energy food company Clif Bar in 2014 following the release of a documentary about climbers who were risking their lives by forgoing safety gear.

Honnold, who spoke calmly as he recounted his achievement, brushed off criticism by those who say he's being reckless by not wearing protective gear.

"I could see how for a non-climber it might seem completely insane. But I've devoted 20 years to climbing and probably six or seven to this particular project so, it's not like I'm just some crazy kid who in the spur of the moment decided to do this crazy thing. It took years of effort," he said.

The climb up 3,000-foot (914-meter) El Capitan used to take days to complete with the aid of ropes, safety gear and a partner. In the past few decades, speed climbers working in tandem and using ropes have set records in reaching the top of the steep cliff.

In January 2015, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson became the first to "free climb" the Dawn Wall — a particularly steep route to the top of El Capitan — by grabbing just the rock and using ropes only to catch them if they fell. They did it in 19 days.

Honnold is first to climb the iconic rock alone without protection in mere hours.

"To climb without ropes where the slightest slip is literally fatal in that arena requires enormous self-control and focus," Duane said. "It requires this intense cognitive effort to keep fear at bay and focus on the task in front of you."

He said Honnold has a rare ability to control fear and his body for a long period of time.

"He's shown awesome grace under pressure," said Hans Florine, a fellow climber who with Honnold holds the speed record for climbing the Nose route of El Capitan in about two hours and 23 minutes.

The historic ascent will be featured in a National Geographic documentary.
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WATCH: LeBron James embarrasses reporter who asks silly question after Cavs’ Game 2 loss

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WATCH: LeBron James embarrasses reporter who asks silly question after Cavs’ Game 2 loss
 LeBron James knows more than anyone that the Cavaliers need to right the Finals ship in Cleveland.

But one reporter decided it’d be a good idea to ask the Cavs star if his team now needs to win at home after falling 2-0 in the series to the Warriors Sunday night.

LeBron, who scored a triple-double in the 132-113 loss in Game 2, returned the inane question with a verbal undressing from the postgame locker room.
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Sunday, 4 June 2017

WWE Extreme Rules 2017 results, recap, grades: Samoa Joe new No. 1 contender

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WWE Extreme Rules 2017 results, recap, grades: Samoa Joe new No. 1 contender
WWE universal champion Brock Lesnar will have a surprise contender waiting for him at Great Ball of Fire in five weeks with all the expectations for physical fireworks.

Samoa Joe pulled the upset in a fantastic Fatal-5 Way main event at Extreme Rules on Sunday from Baltimore, securing for himself a title shot -- his first since joining WWE's main roster -- at the next Raw-exclusive pay-per-view. The star-studded finale featured no shortage of memorable spots and capped off what proved to be a strong six-match main card.

There were a pair of title changes as well, with the intercontinental championship and tag team championship both going to heels in a couple thrilling matches, one of which was contended in a steel cage.

The card was more exciting than it made sense at times -- at least in terms of stipulations -- but that did little to rob from the high energy and quick pace. The Royal Farms Arena crowd played a big part in that, providing a hectic soundtrack throughout the PPV. And most importantly, the fans went home happy on a high note.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with results. Check out the recap below along with highlights and grades for each match.

Subscribe to my podcast In This Corner with Brian Campbell where we cover WWE every week and will break down Extreme Rules immediately after the show.

Kalisto def. Apollo Crews via pinfall: In a fun showcase of athleticism from both wrestlers, Kalisto took advantage of some disharmony between Crews and his mentor, Titus O'Neil, to steal a victory. The match featured plenty of big spots and near-falls, with O'Neil becoming more animated each time. Late in the match, a Standing Shooting Star from Crews could only get two. O'Neil jumped up on the apron to aggressively counsel Crews, who could only respond with, "I did the flip. What else do you want me to do, man?!" Kalisto used the distraction to hit his finishing move, the Salida del Sol, with an assist from the ring ropes to simultaneously kick off O'Neil and set up the pin.

Intercontinental Championship (No Champion's Advantage) -- The Miz def. Dean Ambrose (c) via pinfall to win the title: Excellent storytelling in this one as the IC title returned to prominence thanks to placement as a 20-minute spotlight match to open the card. After multiple teases surrounding the match's stipulation,the Miz relied on his heel ways to begin his seventh reign as IC champion. Ambrose avoided a disqualification loss on multiple occasions with referee John Cone giving plenty of warnings throughout this well-booked match.

In the end, it was Maryse who played the biggest role. She came up empty in her fist attempt to produce a DQ when she jumped onto the ring apron to purposely slap Miz; instead of helping her husband, she was ejected to the locker room. While on her way up the ramp, Maryse argued with Cone long enough to create a distraction, allowing Miz to push Ambrose into Cone, knocking the referee out of the ring. As Cone walked over to the timekeeper and appeared ready to disqualify Ambrose, who was distracted from the match while arguing with the referee, Miz delivered a Skull Crushing Finale to Ambrose to get the pin.

Backstage -- Bayley: Tonight's challenger explained that she watched kendo stick matches involving Sabu, Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and even Steve Blackman to prepare for her bout with Alexa Bliss. She also said she was inspired by "Wonder Woman."

Sasha Banks & Rich Swann def. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar via pinfall: In a brief match to keep the chains moving after the red-hot opener, the team of Banks and Swann were the last ones standing, reprising their victory dance from Raw the previous week. The match ended with a memorable spot as Banks landed her flying knees from the top rope onto Dar, who had moved Fox out of the way on the floor. Swann immediately threw Dar into the ring and landed a Phoenix Splash for the 1-2-3.

In the ring -- Elias Sampson: The Drifter continued to draw heat for his guitar gimmick as he played a song to a chorus of boos, singing lyrics about his displeasure with Baltimore's blight.

Women's Championship (Kendo Stick on a Pole) -- Alexa Bliss (c) def. Bayley via pinfall to retain the title: Bliss had been saying for weeks that Bayley isn't "extreme" enough to win a match like this, which requires one to viciously utilize a weapon. Turns out she was correct. In a one-sided drubbing, Bliss took advantage of Bayley's initial hesitation to use the kendo stick by hitting her with a spear and followed up with a sustained, deliberate beatdown. Bayley's late attempt to reverse her fortunes via a Bailey-to-Belly suplex proved short lived as Bliss rallied by pushing Bayley into the kendo stick, which leaned up against the ropes. One more kendo shot to the back and a DDT produced an abrupt finish as Bliss looked strong in defending her title. While this incredibly brief match wasn't great from a traditional sense, especially considering the time spent in the buildup, the story it intended to tell was communicated loud and clear.

Tag Team Championship (Steel Cage) -- Sheamu & Cesaro def. The Hardy Boyz (c) by escaping the cage to win the titles: The heel duo of Cesaro and Sheamus regained their titles in match that began as a bit of a cluster but heated up in all the right ways until the finish. The big spots one would expect from The Hardyz were there with Jeff Hardy's Whisper in the Wind from the top of the cage drawing well-deserved "this is awesome" chants. Sheamus added his own big spot with a White Noise on Matt Hardy from the top rope with Cesaro joining him in driving home the impact.

With the stipulation being that both team members must escape the cage in order to win, Jeff deleted his early exit by rejoining the match late. As Cesaro and Sheamus furiously climbed over the cage wall, Matt was forced to drag his lifeless brother (injured from jumping off the cage) to the door in order to beat them out. In a dramatic race, the heels hit the floor first to allow the titles to change hands. The high-energy pace of the match late made up for some early sins.

Cruiserweight Championship (Submission) -- Neville (c) def. Austin Aries via pinfall to retain the title: The King of the Cruiserweights continues his reigns. In an exciting (and likely final) chapter of a rivalry that dates back to March, Neville barely hung on to his title while putting over Aries strong in the process. There was plenty of good storytelling in this one as Aries hung onto his Last Chancery submission attempt even as the two wrestlers rolled outside the ring. Neville to tapped out on the arena floor, but of course the finished needed to take place inside the ring.

From there, Aries badly missed a suicide dive and hit hard against the barrier wall. Neville took advantage, landing a stiff Red Arrow onto the back of Aries inside the ring before applying his Rings of Saturn submission to force the tap. The heartbreaking finish for Aries caps a feud in which he twice lost matches due to cheating from the heel champion. If this is the end, the two cruiserweights just capped the best program the new division has produced to this point.

No. 1 Contendership Fatal 5-Way (Extreme Rules) -- Samoa Joe def. Finn Balor (via submission), Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt: Talk about a surprise. The most unlikely of the five superstars booked for a shot at Lesnar's universal championship will get his opportunity at Great Balls of Fire in July as Joe capped a thrilling main event with an upset victory. In a match that perfectly showcased all five elite superstars on Raw with one physical spot after another down the stretch, Joe snuck in from behind to ruin what appeared to be booked as a setup for Balor to go over.

After Balor packaged a Slingblade, missile dropkick and Coup de Grace finisher to set up a pin on Reigns, Joe jumped in the ring and applied a Coquina Clutch from behind to put Balor to sleep. The finish capped 30 minutes of exciting action that featured Balor's running kick to the face on the ring apron against Reigns and Rollins landing a frog splash from the top rope through the announce table onto Wyatt. Joe formed an uneasy alliance with Wyatt for most of the match as the two heels used both a chair and the ring steps to wear down the babyfaces. Eventually, the two turned on each other. In the end, all five contributed to what should be a match of the year contender when 2017 comes to a close.
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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Blunders sink Rice in NCAA regional loss to Southeastern Louisiana

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Blunders sink Rice in NCAA regional loss to Southeastern Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. - Playing well down the stretch run of the regular season earned Rice a familiar spot in the postseason.

An ugly about-face Friday night has the Owls in an unfamiliar spot, though.

Southeastern Louisiana seized advantage of seven Rice errors and seven walks - six with outs that fueled big innings - to roll to a 12-6 victory at Alex Box Stadium in a matchup of the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds.

The loss snapped the Owls' four-game winning streak and puts them in an elimination game Saturday for only the third time since 1994. Rice (31-30) will tangle with Texas Southern (20-33) at 2 p.m. Saturday with the loser's season over and the winner staying alive.

The Lions (37-20) earned a shot at LSU (44-17) in the 7 p.m. game by capitalizing on most of the mistakes the Owls made, and there were plenty.

Dayne Wunderlich seemed to light a fuse for Rice when he sent a rocket over the fence in left-center field for a two-run home run that knotted the score 3-3 in the top of the fifth inning.

The fuse fizzled out, though, when Southeastern turned a slick 3-6-1 double play after Ryan Chandler walked. As much as that hurt, the Owls' issues were just beginning.

Rice starter Matt Canterino appeared well on his way to a shutdown inning when he got the Lions' leadoff and two-hole batters to begin the bottom of the fifth and then worked ahead of Taylor Schwaner 0-and-2. A borderline pitch was called a ball and Schwaner, the 2017 Southland Conference Player of the Year, ripped a single to left field on the next offering.

Canterino and the Owls unraveled from there, with the starter and relievers Kendal Jefferies and Addison Moss issuing walks to five of the next six batters, with Drew Avans smoking a ground ball that turned into a two-run single and three-run play when he also lost the ball when he retrieved it for an error.

Southeastern was on top 7-3 when more Ricer errors proved to be gas on a two-out fire the next inning when the Lions pushed home four more runs.

Schwaner added to his 3-for-4 night (which included a solo homer in the third inning) with a one-out double but reliever Willy Amador struck out cleanup man Carson Crites to inch toward a damage-free inning. Instead, Webb Bobo walked and Amador plunked Derrick Mount to load the bases. Evan Kravetz entered to try to extinguish the threat, but he surrendered a sharply hit grounder by Avans at first baseman Darryn Sheppard that caromed away to plate two runs and Mount also dashed home when Sheppard's throw across the diamond went awry.

Avans sprinted to the plate from second base when Rice shortstop Ford Proctor's throw to first base on a routine grounder was off its target.

The Owls showed some offensive spunk in the last few innings with seven hits, including Dane Myers' solo home run in the ninth, but couldn't break out with a big hit or two needed and stranded four runners. Rice finished with 12 hits, but just one to lead off an inning and three with runners on base.
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This Weekend, Two Of The UFC's Best Fight To Escape From Conor McGregor's Shadow

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This Weekend, Two Of The UFC's Best Fight To Escape From Conor McGregor's Shadow
This weekend’s UFC title fight, Jose Aldo vs Max Holloway is, on paper, one of the best fights of the year. Aldo’s the greatest featherweight of all time, and Holloway is a crafty up-and-comer on a shit-hot winning streak. But it’s also a weird one. Both fighters, after all, got dominated by the division’s absentee ex-king, Conor McGregor.

This is not to say either fighter is irredeemable because they got shut out by Ireland’s favorite professional wannabe boxer and newborn-with-an-Instagram-haver (and, once upon a time, two-division UFC champion, but that feels so long ago). Rather, it’s a fact that gives rise to a chorus of “what ifs,” and MMA is defined almost entirely by “what ifs,” perhaps more so than any other sport. What if that punch hadn’t landed at that angle? What if that guy hadn’t gotten that takedown in the last round? What if so-and-so fought so-and-so? What if they fought again? The problem with McGregor’s victories over Aldo and Holloway is that the “what ifs” unearthed during their respective dust-ups will probably never become anything more. McGregor isn’t a featherweight anymore, and if his big boxing gamble pays off, he’ll be rich enough to retire, easily.
The problem with McGregor’s victories over Aldo and Holloway is that the “what ifs” unearthed during their respective dust-ups will probably never become anything more.

In Holloway’s case, it’s not so bad. He lost to McGregor when he was a raw, notably less graceful 21 year-old, and unlike most of McGregor’s foes, he didn’t even ride a fist-shaped carriage into night-night land. Since then, he’s grown by leaps and bounds, showing new looks in every fight and sticking a stiff, unyielding fist down the throats of some of the featherweight division’s best—not to mention an ex-lightweight champion in Anthony Pettis. Now 25, Holloway is just entering his prime. He’s one of the UFC’s most cunning, exciting fighters—a stance-switching dynamo with a penchant for isolating opponents’ weaknesses and drawing on a bottomless arsenal of techniques to whittle away at their resolve. Now he’s got a shot at winning the featherweight championship. Against McGregor, he stumbled, but he did not fall.
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Aldo, on the other hand, did fall, and he fell hard. I mean that literally, of course, given that he ran in swinging wild and got knocked unconscious in 13 seconds—one second for almost every year of Aldo’s legendary divisional dominance, if you want to look at it in a particularly sobering fashion—but I don’t think that’s the part that stuck. The loss was bad, sure, but it’s what came before that did the truly lasting damage.

Aldo came into his rivalry with McGregor at the height of his prime as one of the UFC’s most seemingly unbeatable champions, with a cool, distant persona to match. McGregor unraveled all of that. The lead-up to Aldo and McGregor’s eventual title fight at UFC 194 in 2015 is, arguably, the thing that solidified McGregor as a superstar. The UFC poured serious cash into the marketing campaign and took the two fighters on a still-unprecedented worldwide promotional tour. Together.

Aldo tried to be himself: stiff in his demeanor, measured in his pace, comfortable in his dominance. McGregor, meanwhile, waltzed in like he’d already won the fight and found out he could literally shit gold on the same day. He was like a clown with a sniper rifle: loud and wild in his antics, but with gruesome precision that slowly but surely undid Aldo’s placid demeanor. Every time they were in close quarters—and they were in close quarters a lot; that was the whole point, which the UFC capitalized on by having cameras on them 24/7—McGregor needled away at Aldo. He poked and prodded and mocked and cackled. He got Brazilian audiences, typically fanatical in their Aldo devotion, to cheer for him. He was an army of hyenas in an elephant trunk suit.

Then McGregor plucked Aldo’s championship belt right out from under him during a huge press conference, and while Aldo made futile motions in the general direction of getting it back, McGregor raised his arms in victory and laughed like a maniac. As UFC president Dana White pushed Aldo away, his impotent rage was palpable, his strawberry-red embarrassment even more so.
As UFC president Dana White pushed Aldo away, his impotent rage was palpable, his strawberry-red embarrassment even more so.

To make a long story short-ish, Aldo then pulled out of the fight with an injury, and for a moment it seemed like the whole thing was in jeopardy. McGregor, however, narrowly got past noted trapezius muscle that sprouted an entire man because it believed hard enough, Chad Mendes, and Aldo vs McGregor got back on track. There was more trash talk, Aldo had no good answer for it, and he came into UFC 194 with a chip on his shoulder that looked like his pride, but if it’d been recently eaten and thrown up by a dog.

He fought mad, and he lost bad. The defensive maestro with footwork to subtly lead the dance for days was nowhere to be found. In his place was a charging bull, and McGregor was happy to play matador. One well-timed left hand, and it was lights out for Aldo.

That was not, however, Aldo’s most recent fight. Last summer, he returned at UFC 200 and effortlessly won a decision against Frankie Edgar, a hummingbird who was turned into a man by the same fairy who some think played a role in Chad Mendes’ transformation (and also the division’s second best fighter). Aldo looked just as good as ever, pivoting around the ex-champ and future hall-of-famer like he was leisurely doing donuts in a parking lot. McGregor might have knocked Aldo: The Man down a few pegs, but he did not break Aldo: The Fighter. Later that year, McGregor won the UFC’s lightweight belt and was forced to give up his featherweight belt. Aldo was declared champion again, essentially by default.

Legacy, however, is a funny thing in MMA. I’ve seen some very smart writers—like MMAJunkie’s Ben Fowlkes, who I’m a big fan of—say that Aldo’s legacy isn’t secure per se, but it’s close as can be. One punch can’t undo ten years of dominance that literally built a division, right? If we were talking about pretty much any other fighter and any other fight, I would absolutely agree. Unfortunately for Aldo, his own legacy is now and probably forever tied to that of Conor McGregor, who turned him into a laughing stock and then knocked him unconscious. He has the unfortunate distinction of being perhaps the most important secondary character in the history of The Conor McGregor Show—which is now a show that threatens to become bigger than the UFC itself.

That’s not a loss you can just wash away with a couple wins. There will always be scars, more for “Scarface’s” collection. Aldo didn’t do himself any favors, either, by talking mostly about McGregor for a solid year after their encounter and threatening to retire when he didn’t get his rematch. Did he deserve the rematch? Probably. Did demanding it in a self-righteous but kind of whiny way only further transform him into a blurry figure in McGregor’s rearview mirror? Definitely.
Image credit: Getty/Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC.

We’ve actually seen something kinda like this play out in another division. Jon Jones went from light heavyweight champ to super heavyweight chump by making a series of extremely bad decisions and getting suspended. In his stead, Daniel Cormier, who once lost a hard-fought but ultimately decisive battle to Jones, captured the belt, which he still holds. He’s defended it against the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, arguably the toughest test of Jones’ career, and Anthony Johnson, the guy everybody thought might have the best shot at beating Jones. Despite this, Cormier is still not the “real” champion in many fans’ eyes. Granted, the situation is different, given that Jones has been hovering on the periphery the whole time, threatening to come back and pick up where he left off once he finally gets his damn life together, but I think the comparison still holds water. Sometimes, the totality of one’s legacy cannot stand up to a single moment within it, no matter how much it should be able to.
Sometimes, the totality of one’s legacy cannot stand up to a single moment within it, no matter how much it should be able to.

And so, we return to the question of “what if?” What if Aldo wins? He’ll technically be the “undisputed” featherweight champion, but people will still dispute it. They’ll just keep bringing up that damn McGregor loss. He’s gonna have to win a lot more before they’ll stop. And what if Aldo loses, especially in a devastating fashion? Then people will look back at the McGregor fight and say that’s where Aldo broke down. Accumulated wear-and-tear played a role, sure, but McGregor was the hammer that finally drove the nail into the coffin. To some extent, the entire featherweight division faces these questions, regardless of who wins. When the biggest star in the history of the sport—at least, according to pay-per-view numbers—takes off for greener pastures, he’s gonna leave a big void. But by being inextricably linked to McGregor’s rise, and by being at the height of his own powers when it happened, Aldo faces the biggest questions of all. I do not envy him.
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Champions League Final: Juventus goalkeeper looks to become oldest winner

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Gianluigi Buffon has collected every major prize in club soccer, except the Champions League. Time is ticking for the Juventus goalkeeper to complete the set.


Champions League Final: Juventus goalkeeper looks to become oldest winner
If the 39-year-old Buffon finally lifts the European Cup on Saturday following a Juventus victory over Real Madrid, he would become the competition's oldest champion. For a decade, that record has been held by Paolo Maldini, a winner with AC Milan at age 38.

"It would be great joy," Buffon said Friday inside the Millennium Stadium. "There's nothing better in life than getting your reward, because you know how hard you've worked, how much you've sweated for it, and with teammates who've worked even more to get it."

The top priority is likely to be stopping Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, whose 10 European goals this season have made him the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League with 103.

For all Buffon has achieved in soccer, including a World Cup win with Italy in 2006, he's never won the world player of the year title — unlike Ronaldo.

"I'm not that conceited," Buffon said, when asked about challenging Ronaldo for the game's top individual accolade. "I wouldn't dream of putting myself on the same pedestal as Cristiano. We have completely different roles. Mine is to defend, his is to attack. We're complete opposites.

"All I can do is try to not concede goals, but he is able to determine the outcome of a match much more. I'm pleased the media tend to see tomorrow's game as a battle between me and Cristiano, but it's not the reality."

Buffon remains the world's most expensive goalkeeper. Juventus paid Parma 53 million euros (then $44.8 million) for him 16 years ago — a fee that's yet to be eclipsed for another goalkeeper.

Gareth Bale held the title of the world's most expensive player following his 101 million euro (then $136 million) move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013, until that fee was surpassed by Paul Pogba last year.

But Welsh fans hoping to see their home favorite should be prepared for disappointment on Saturday.

Bale has been sidelined since April with a calf injury, having already missed nearly three months earlier this season with a right ankle injury. He has declared himself fully fit for his third Champions League final, but coach Zinedine Zidane still won't say if he will return to the starting lineup. The more creative Francisco "Isco" Alarcon might retain his place in the lineup instead.

"Isco and Bale are two players who can also play together," Zidane said Friday. "In the long run, anything can happen. When I look at my squad, what's good is that they're all ready and willing to play. It's not only mentally, of course. They have to be ready physically, too. That's what I'm interested in right now — everyone in good shape and at a high level."

Juventus is preparing to cope with both Alarcon and Bale.

"Bale's very fast, has great speed and in open field he's devastating," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "In three passes, he can take it from one end of the pitch to the other. Isco is less predictable than Bale but he gives Madrid less defensive order. ... Isco has had a great season and has grown a lot and makes Real Madrid more difficult to read."

Madrid is looking to become the first team to defend a Champions League title and win a record-extending 12th European Cup. This is the team's third final in the past four seasons.

Juventus lacks the Spanish club's pedigree in Europe, winning the top prize only twice and not since 1996.

As UEFA tries to create more of a Super Bowl-style feel to its showpiece, the game will be preceded by entertainment from the Black Eyed Peas.

"There's a lot of eyeballs, a lot of football fans," singer Will.i.am said. "And hopefully we could bring a lot of music fans to watch us, too."
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Friday, 2 June 2017

Did Kevin Durant stare down a heckling Rihanna in Warriors’ Game 1 win?

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 Forget Steph Curry vs. LeBron James, the NBA’s newest rivalry is Kevin Durant vs. ... Rihanna?


 Did Kevin Durant stare down a heckling Rihanna in Warriors’ Game 1 win?
There appeared to be some tension between the two during the Warriors’ 113-91 Game 1 rout of the Cavs.

Apparently, Rihanna allegedly yelled “brick” as Durant was shooting a free throw and he glared over toward her.

Later in the game Durant drained a 3-pointer in front of the pop singer and appeared to turn around and stare her down again, shaking his head.

After the game a reporter asked Durant if anything was going on there between them.

Durant rolled his eyes, shook and his and muttered, “I don’t even remember that.”

The reporter told Durant that social media was “buzzing” over it.

“Really?” a surprised Durant asked.

His teammate Steph Curry, up on the podium alongside him, leaned back and said, “don’t get into that trap.”

“Yeah, I don’t want to get into that,” Durant said. “I’m cool. Have fun with that.”

Either Durant was playing dumb or social media was trying to look for something that may not have been there.
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