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ESPN

NFL reporter Vaughn McClure, who covered the Atlanta Falcons for ESPN, was found dead in his apartment near Atlanta this week. He was 48.

No cause of death was released, but a source said he complained of headaches in the days leading up to his death.

McClure reported on the firing of Falcons coach Dan Quinn on Wednesday. He was a regular contributor on ESPN's television and radio coverage of the Falcons and the NFL.

Tributes poured in on social media from around the sports world.

"We all loved Vaughn," said John Pluym, senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage at ESPN.

"He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters. In the last few hours, we've heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player."

A Chicago native, McClure spent six seasons covering the Chicago Bears for the Chicago Tribune before being hired at ESPN in September 2013.

"Vaughn McClure made you feel like a celebrity every time you saw him. I simply cannot believe he is gone. Absolutely crushing," tweeted Dan Graziano.

McClure's last Instagram post in June detailed his struggle with depression following the deaths of his parents, brother and sister.

He captioned a photo of himself with his late father:

"For me, I'm still trying to get over the depression of losing you, Mom, Mark, & Nona. With my big sis dying at age 38 and lil bro at 27, I wonder sometimes how much time I've got left. I want to live long. I've told myself no matter what, I want to honor the memories of all four of you while I’m alive."

 

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Dad, This is the first Father’s Day without you, and we would have celebrated your birthday Tuesday. But you’re in Heaven, and sorely missed. I’m so glad God allowed me to spend extensive time with you before you joined Him up there. You’re not missing anything down here, actually. This world is messed up. For me, I’m still trying to get over the depression of losing you, Mom, Mark, & Nona. With my big sis dying at age 38 and lil bro at 27, I wonder sometimes how much time I’ve got left. I want to live long. I’ve told myself no matter what, I want to honor the memories of all four of you while I’m alive. The only way to do that is to give everything I have no matter what obstacles I encounter. I don’t know where I’d be right now without the support of Vaurice Patterson, Nick Gialamas, Mike Wells, and Chris Burt. I’d be down and out, honestly. But those guys constantly lift me up. If you were here now, Dad, we would have plenty to discuss. There’s so much hate going on in America, so much racial injustice. It makes me think about the support you gave me the time I got beat down with clubs by six white police officers 20 years ago when I was trying to be a peacemaker and take a drunk friend home. It took a black officer’s phone call to the DA’s office to clear my name when I did nothing wrong in the first place. I’ve held a lot of hate in my heart for years because of that incident, but Mom always told us the Bible said to love your enemies. I regret that you and I didn’t have more discussions about race. Our conversations centered around the Bulls and Bears because sports brought us closer together. But I wish I would have shared with you some of the racial injustices that I encountered, including one even more traumatic than getting beat down by those cops. I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve been the victim of racism all my life. Heck, I deserved some of the bad things that happened to me because I’ve let my anger get the best of me too many times. I was a bad kid/teen/young adult, but I learned from those missteps. You set the example of how to be a strong black man. I have to do a better job of the same. I love you and miss you. Happy Father’s Day.

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Serena Williams abruptly withdrew from the French Open, citing an Achilles heel injury that made it difficult to walk.

Williams withdrew from the French Open three weeks after losing her best chance for a 24th Grand Slam championship at the U.S. Open in New York.

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On Wednesday, Williams, 38, announced she was withdrawing from the French Open and is "struggling to walk" due to the severity of the injury.

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"I really wanted to give an effort here. It's my Achilles that didn't have enough time to properly heal after the (US) Open," Williams said at a press conference. "I was able to get it somewhat better, but just looking long term in this tournament -- will I be able to get through enough matches? For me, I don't think I could. Struggling to walk, so that's kind of a telltale sign I should try to recover."

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Rumors are swirling that there's more than basketball going on between players inside the NBA's "bubble" facility at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The bubble facility was built Disney World to house NBA teams amid the fading coronavirus pandemic. NBA players were cooped up together inside the bubble for two months before their wives and significant others were allowed in to be with them.

Now there are rumors that some of the players choose not to wait for their wives and girlfriends for a little satisfaction at night.

Social isolation among men in the NBA bubble is not much different from social isolation experienced by male inmates in prisons and jails.

There is a high degree of tendency towards consensual sex among men in periods of isolation away from women.

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A study on male homosexuality in prison suggests that a majority of the men don't consider themselves to be homosexual.

According to a recent paper on the subject, "various environmental, biological, psychological, and sociological factors influence sexuality in society, and these factors are further complicated by the experience of [isolation]."

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NFL fans booed the "woke" NFL social justice activism on the field during the NFL's first game of week one on Thursday night.

The boos were the loudest when players from the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans linked arms for a moment of silence for equality (see video below).

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The Chiefs official Twitter page chose to show video of the fans cheering rather than the boos.

MSN called the booing "an unmistakable and shameful moment".

The Houston players stayed in their locker room during the "Star Spangled Banner" and the Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice" prior to the start of the game.

The players said the decision was made to stay in the locker room because they didn't want to insult soldiers who died to protect their country.

All except one Chiefs player stood during the two national anthems. Chiefs defensive lineman Alex Okafor was the only player who kneeled. He also raised his fist in the air.

Texans defensive end JJ Watt said the booing was "unfortunate."

"The moment of unity I personally thought was good," he said after the game.

"I mean the booing during that moment was unfortunate. I don't fully understand that. There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved other than two teams coming together to show unity."

The NFL showed its commitment to equality by emblazoning the words "End Racism" and "It Takes All of Us" at the end of each end zone.

The Super Bowl champion Chiefs won the game 34-20.
 

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WNBA players protested on Wednesday by wearing custom made T-shirts with 7 faux bullet holes on the back, representing the number of times Jacob Blake was shot on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Blake, who is Black, was shot by a white police officer who was attempting to arrest Blake on an outstanding warrant for domestic assault and sex crimes against two minor girls. Blake, 29, survived his injuries but he was paralyzed from the waist down and he will wear a colostomy bag for the rest of his life.

The Washington Mystics lined up at center court on Wednesday in Palmetto, Florida to display their white T-shirts with a letter of Blake's name on the front to spell out "Jacob Blake." They embraced one another before kneeling to reveal the back of their shirts.

The Mystics boycotted their game against the Atlanta Dream Wednesday night before taking to the court to protest.

"We wanted everybody to feel like they were supported," said Ariel Atkins, a guard for the Washington Mystics. "Understanding that this just isn't about basketball. We aren't just basketball players and just because we are basketball players, that's our only platform. We need to understand that when most of us go home, most of us are Black."

The WNBA announced the remaining two games on the schedule were postponed following the news that the NBA boycotted their games on Wednesday and Thursday. The NBA playoff schedule is expected to resume on Friday night at the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida.

The boycotts -- for a man who was wanted for molesting two teenage girls -- rubbed NBA fans the wrong way. Fans say they are boycotting the playoffs, even though TV ratings for the playoffs were already low.

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The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are so emotionally drained over the shooting of an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin that they voted to boycott the remainder of the NBA playoffs.

According to reports, the Lakers and Clippers were the only teams to take such drastic action after Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the other teams voted to continue the playoffs. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted, "The Clippers and Lakers voting on perhaps not continuing with the season was considered more of a polling, than a final vote, sources tell ESPN. The resumption of the playoffs remains still up in the air."

NBA insider David Aldridge tweeted, "Told the players’ meeting ended "ugly," per a source, with uncertainty about what will happen tomorrow. The union will be present at the special Board of Governors meeting, per a source." It appears that the games slated for Thursday will be postponed as well. "Discussions on continuing season will extend into tomorrow, sources tell ESPN, but appears unlikely the three playoff games on Thursday will be played. "Everyone is still too emotional," one high-ranking source tells ESPN. "There needs to be more time to come together on this," tweeted Woj.

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Jemele Hill still feels some kind of way about losing her highly visible job at ESPN.

On Wednesday, she joined former First Take host Cari Champion in bashing former First Take analyst Skip Bayless.

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Vice TV

The two women were promoting their new TV show, Cari and Jemele: Stick to Sports, on Vice TV. But, judging from Hill's past, it's doubtful she will stick to sports.

Hill, 44, wrote a column for ESPN2 and previously co-host His & Hers with Michael Smith.

She also made regular appearances on SportsCenter, ESPN First Take, Outside the Lines and The Sports Reporters.

But Hill couldn't keep her personal beliefs separate from her profession, which caused problems with the higher ups at ESPN.

During the 2008 NBA Playoffs, Hill was suspended after referencing Adolf Hitler in an article.

But she really irked her superiors on September 11, 2017 when she wrote a series of tweets referring to President Donald Trump as a "white supremacist."

ESPN issued a statement about Hill's comments, saying they "do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate."

Hill apologized after realizing her value as a Black female sportscaster was rapidly shrinking.

"My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light," she said.

A month later, ESPN suspended Hill for two weeks for a "second violation of our social media guidelines".

In January 2018, she was demoted to a writer's position at The Undefeated, ESPN’s website.

In October 2018, The Atlantic announced Hill was joining the magazine as a staff writer.

Hill's dramatic fall from grace was complete.
 

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Kemah Siverand is out of a job. Siverand, an undrafted free agent cornerback out of Oklahoma State, was cut by the team after he attempted to sneak a woman dressed as a player into the team hotel.

According to the NFL Network, the Seahawks caught Siverand on video earlier this week trying to sneak a woman into the hotel disguised in Seahawks gear.

Unfortunately, because of her curves in the wrong places, the disguise didn't fool team security, who busted the 25-year-old rookie.

The Seahawks restrictive safety guidelines prohibits visitors in their hotel rooms during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Clear message on the responsibility everyone has in the NFL’s COVID-19 world: Put the team at risk, suffer the consequences," tweeted Tom Pelissero on Thursday.

The safety protocols include extensive daily Covid-19 testing protocols until at least September 5.

Siverand recently created a Youtube channel to document his rookie experience. The videos have since been deleted.

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The NBA unveiled a Black Lives Matter logo on the court at the NBA "bubble" facility at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The NBA's season is set to restart on July 30, with all players quarantined inside the bubble away from their families and friends. The NBA season was suspended on March 11 after two players tested positive for the coronavirus.

The official @NBA Twitter account shared photos and videos of the logo painted in black letters on the court.

ESPN reporter Malika Andrews posted photos of the player's bench that shows seats spaced evenly 6 feet apart.

The bench spacing made no sense to NBA fans.

"I'm all for precautions but what is the point of socially distanced bench when they’re playing hard and physically on each other for 2 hours and all being tested daily?" tweeted one user.

Another user wrote: "What's the point of spacing out bench chairs if it's a contact sport on the court?"

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Black NFL fans were surprised after the NFL announced it would play the national Black anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" before the "Star Spangled Banner."

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the hymn became recognized as the national Black anthem in 1920. But it was popularized by AARP singer Beyonce who performed it at Coachella in 2018.

Chris Conley of the Jacksonville Jaguars took to Twitter to explain the song is a rallying cry for Blacks from the Jim Crow era.

"For those who aren't familiar with it, this song seeks to remind us of our past as a country and to strive to be better. It speaks to all of us not just black people even tho it became a rallying cry for blacks in the Jim Crow era. It is a beautiful message birthed from pain.

"The league taking the oppurtunity [sic] to play "Lift every voice and sing" (the black national anthem) is sweet. It's a great way to honor those who started this movement year and years ago."

But not everyone sees the need for the NFL to play 2 national anthems before every game.

Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino tweeted: "There are many great songs, which mean a lot, to a lot of people, but there is ONLY one National Anthem. The division must stop if there’s any hope for us."

And Texas Senator Ted Cruz called the NFL's plan "asinine," saying "How many national anthems do we have?" and "Is there an Hispanic national anthem?", "An Asian-American national anthem?"

 

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Two weeks ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said if teams are interested in signing Colin Kaepernick, they would have his blessings.

Earlier this week, Mike Silver of NFL Network said multiple teams have shown interest in signing the free agent quarterback. He said interested teams planned to contact Kaepernick.

So far, that hasn't happened. Despite the encouraging words expressed by former and present NFL players in his favor, not a single team has contacted the social activist.

NBC's Pro Football Talk thinks it's possible that teams are waiting for training camps to reopen after the coronavirus hysteria dies down.

Regardless, it's one thing to express interest to a reporter or to anyone else who, you know, isn't the person in whom a team has interest. It's quite another to actually express the interest to the person in whom the interest exists. If/when that ever happens, that will be significant.

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Last year, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell signed rapper Jay Z to a joint partnership with the NFL to produce halftime shows and a social justice campaign.

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Jay-Z and the NFL were reportedly in talks for over a year. But amidst their celebration, Jay Z and Goodell didn't anticipate the firestorm of controversy that would ensue.

Many were upset that Jay-Z didn't bring blackballed quarterback Colin Kaepernick in on the discussions.

Goodell stayed silent and sidestepped the drama, preferring to let Jay Z defend himself.

Kaepernick was blackballed from the NFL for kneeling during the National Anthem.

Now Goodell acknowledges he was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

Goodell also said the phrase "Black Lives Matter" and, he said it was a step forward for the league.

During ESPN's "The Return of Sports" special on Monday evening, Goodell was asked about the possibility of Kaepernick returning to the NFL.

"Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's gonna take a team to make that decision," Goodell said.

He added that teams are free to sign Kapernick if they believe he will contribute to the team. "I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that," he said.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon questioned Goodell's timing.

"I think we should have been questioning why Roger Goodell didn't say black lives matter when he was born, or when he became commissioner or when he was reelected commissioner... It's not cool that Roger Goodell said it. He should've been saying it."

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Two prominent Black sports reporters lost their jobs at major sports networks this week. ESPN sports reporter Josina Anderson parted ways with the sports channel after nearly 10 years, and Jason Whitlock, 53, was shown the door at Fox Sports.

According to reports, Anderson's contract expired with ESPN and it was not renewed. The same goes for Jason Whitlock whose contract expired at Fox Sports.

Anderson, 41, is very active on Twitter.com but she did not acknowledge the news of her departure.

The NY Post reports the network's decision not to renew Anderson's contract was not Covid-19 related.

Whitlock, a controversial and outspoken host, was often criticized for his views about sports personalities such as LeBron James. And Anderson once reported that former NFL player Michael Sam's teammates refused to shower with him because he was in a same-sex relationship.

Whitlock, who hosted "Speak for Yourself" with Marcellus Wiley, slammed James for speaking out about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed while running through a majority white neighborhood in south Georgia earlier this year.

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Former Chicago Bulls player Horace Grant says the recent ESPN documentary about Bulls legend Michael Jordan was "90 percent bullsh*t."

Grant says criticism of Jordan was "edited out" of the final cut the "so-called documentary" titled Michael Jordan: The Last Dance.

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Grant (pictured center) won three NBA championships with Jordan (holding trophy) before joining the Orlando Magic. He said the documentary painted Jordan in a better light than reality.

"I would say [the documentary was] BS in terms of the realness of it," Grant told ESPN 1000's Kap podcast.

"It wasn't real -- because a lot of things [Jordan] said to some of his teammates, that his teammates went back at him. But all of that was kind of edited out of the documentary, if you want to call it a documentary."

The NBA allowed Jordan to "retire" gracefully following the 1992–93 season after it was reported that Jordan had a gambling problem and bet on his own team.
 

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Social media is buzzing over video of CeeDee Lamb reacting to his girlfriend touching his cell phone during the 2020 NFL draft.

For the first time, the NFL draft was held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A nervous CeeDee is seen sitting on a sofa between his mother and his girlfriend as he awaits the phone call that will change his life.

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As the minutes tick by, the Oklahoma Sooners star was anxious that he hadn't been drafted by a team.

CeeDee was expected to go early in the first round. Both CeeDee and the Cowboys were surprised to see he was still on the board.

The star wide receiver was so nervous when his phone didn't ring that he nearly yanked his girlfriend's arm off when she reached over to check if his phone battery had died.

It wasn't just his aggressiveness when he snatched the phone, but the way he cut his eyes at her for having the audacity to touch his phone. The debates were so fierce online that CeeDee defended his woman in a tweet:
 


 

Below is another angle that shows his mother's reaction to CeeDee displaying his true colors on national television.