Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Stephen A. Smith apologized on Monday for making a racist comment about MLB star Shohei Ohtani's use of an interpreter ahead of the All-Star game.

Ohtani speaks some English and Spanish but he has used a Japanese interpreter since 2017. Ohtani leads the major leagues with 33 home runs and is 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 starts.

Smith's remarks were criticized on social media and he hastily backtracked after his own colleagues called for his suspension.

It all started when the outspoken ESPN host criticized the Los Angeles Angels pitching and hitting sensation for using an interpreter to handle questions from the news media.

Smith said during Monday's episode of "First Take" that the interpreter "harmed" the game of baseball.

MLB Photos via Getty Images

Smith was angry that Ohtani, pictured with his interpreter, is the No. 1 superstar attraction in Major League Baseball.

"I don't think it helps that the number one face is a dude that needs an interpreter so you can understand what the hell he's saying in this country.

"The fact that you got a foreign player that doesn't speak English, believe it or not, I think contributes to harming the game to some degree, when that's your box office appeal."

The public reaction was furious. Smith was accused of being xenophobic in light of the violent anti-Asian attacks in the United States.

Former ESPN host Keith Olbermann tweeted:

"I've supported @stephenasmith when he's been big at @espn and when he hasn't, and when he's been right and when he's been wrong.

But this, about Shohei Ohtani, is straight up racism at a time of dangerous anti-Asian violence.

This requires an apology, and a suspension. Now."

By Monday evening, Smith, 53, wrote a lengthy post in which he apologized profusely for putting his foot in his mouth.

Smith, who earns $12 million per year, said he had screwed up royally.

Photo may have been deleted

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Sha'Carri Richardson's name was left off the roster for the 4x100 relay team at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The American sprinter received a 30-day suspension for a failed drug test after she won the 100-meter dash at the U.S. trials in Eugene, Oregon last month.

Richardson tested positive for THC, an ingredient found in marijuana. The positive test meant she would lose her spot on Team USA's 100-meter dash.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 21-year-old held out hope that she would still be part of the 4x100 relay team since her suspension was up before the start of the relays on Aug. 4.

However, her name was left off the roster USATF released on Tuesday.

Richardson received the bad news over the weekend. She sent out a series of tweets that suggested she didn't take the news well.

Richardson told her followers the Olympic Games will not be the same without her.

"The support [from] my community I thank y'all, the negative [people] forget y'all and enjoy the games because we all know it won't be the same... I'm sorry, I can't be y'all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I'll be your World Champ next year... All these perfect people that know how to live life, I'm glad I'm not one of them!"

Photo may have been deleted

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Rachel Nichols has reportedly lost her coveted NBA Finals hosting gig amid ongoing racial drama at ESPN.

Nichols will not be at courtside when the Phoenix Suns face the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Finals tonight in Phoenix.

Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The NBA Finals sideline gig will go to ESPN reporter Malika Andrews (pictured). Andrews checks all of the diversity boxes.

"We believe this is best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host "The Jump," ESPN said in a statement on Monday.

Nichols has hosted ESPN's daily basketball show "The Jump" since 2016.

The drama ensued when Nichols was caught on a hot mic complaining about Black reporter Maria Taylor getting the 2020 NBA Finals gig.

Photo may have been deleted

Getty Images

Nichols, who is white, sought advice from Adam Mendelsohn in a secretly recorded phone call at a hotel near the NBA Bubble in Orlando in July 2020.

She accused her bosses of giving Maria Taylor the 2020 NBA Finals gig because of the color of her skin and ESPNS's "crappy" history of "diversity."

Unbeknownst to Nichols, a video camera in her hotel room was still on and recording her phone call with Mendelsohn. The recording, which was live-streamed to a server at ESPN's headquarters, soon made the rounds at ESPN.

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Nichols is pictured interviewing actor Michael B. Jordan at the Staples Center on December 25, 2019 in Los Angeles.

She struggled to keep her emotions in check on "The Jump" on Monday, as she apologized profusely to Taylor and ESPN's viewers.

"So, the first thing they teach you in journalism school is don't be the story. And I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals," Nichols said.

"But I also don't want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN. How deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team."

Photo may have been deleted

Instagram

Stephen Jackson deleted a video saying "F**k ESPN" and blamed the network for creating the racist drama between its top female anchors, Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.

A leaked phone call between Nichols and Adam Mendelsohn, an adviser to LeBron James, sparked outrage on social media.

Nichols forgot a video camera was still recording in her hotel room when she complained to Mendelsohn about ESPN giving Taylor the 2020 NBA Finals hosting gig.

Nichols suggested that ESPN favored Taylor because of the color of Taylor's skin and ESPN's "crappy" history on diversity.

"I just want them to go somewhere else — it's in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing," Nichols told Mendelsohn.

Jackson, a retired NBA star, defended Nichols on social media after speaking with her by phone.

He initially posted a video saying "F**k ESPN" and called himself "Team Maria."
 

Jackson deleted the video and shared another video in which he defended Nichols. He said ESPN gave Taylor a "sympathy job" due to the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd.

"We all ramble and we say things when we're frustrated, and Rachel did deserve that job, it's just plain and simple, I've talked to Rachel and I know a lot of things she was saying out of frustrations because ESPN put her in a bad position and they even put Maria in a bad position by trying to give Maria a sympathy job, they were trying to make themselves look good because of the Black lives Matter and the George Floyd stuff was going on. So ESPN tried to make themselves look good by taking the job from Rachel that she had already had - that they already told her she had... ESPN is behind all this. It's all they fault... ESPN, y'all some suckers!"

 

Photo may have been deleted

Getty Images

A racial firestorm is brewing between ESPN anchors Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.

Rachel Nichols is a well-known NBA sports reporter, anchor and host of ESPN's daily sports magazine "The Jump."

Her sports IQ and professionalism has earned Nichols the respect of top tier athletes who know her on a first-name basis.

Most sports fans had never heard of Maria Taylor until someone leaked Nichols' private phone conversation from last year.

In the audio clip, obtained by the New York Times, Nichols voiced her disappointment that Taylor was given NBA Finals hosting duties in 2020.

Lance King/Getty Images

Nichols, who is white, believed that Taylor, who is Black, got the coveted gig because of the explosive protests following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Taylor is pictured interviewing Grayson Allen of the Duke Blue Devils in 2018.

Nichols made the comments last July in a private phone conversation with Adam Mendelssohn, an adviser to L.A. Lakers star LeBron James and his agent Rich Paul.

At the time, Nichols was in quarantine at a Walt Disney World resort near the NBA bubble in Orlando, as part of the NBA's Covid protocol.

Alone in her room, she used a video camera to host "The Jump" and appear in ESPN's pregame and post-game shows.

Nichols was seeking advice from Mendelssohn on how to handle the tense situation with Taylor.

Photo may have been deleted

Facebook

She suggested that ESPN favored Taylor because of the color of Taylor's skin and ESPN's "crappy" history on diversity.

"I just want them to go somewhere else — it's in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing," Nichols told Mendelsohn.

During a pause in their conversation, Mendelsohn, who is white, said, "I don't know. I'm exhausted. Between Me Too and Black Lives Matter, I got nothing left."

Nichols laughed, apparently in agreement.

Unbeknownst to Nichols, the video camera was still on and recording her phone conversation with Mendelssohn. The recording was live-streamed to a server at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Conn., according to the NY Times.

Multiple ESPN staffers had access to the server. Someone used a cellphone to record the audio off the server. The audio clip soon made the rounds at ESPN.

The audio clip was not made public until now.

Lance King/Getty Images

The leaked audio clip confirmed the suspicions of several Black ESPN employees who believe their white colleagues support Black Lives Matter in public but act differently behind closed doors.

Nichols has apologized to Taylor via email and text, but Taylor has not responded.

Taylor, who is holding out for "Stephen A. Smith money", will likely part ways with ESPN when her contract expires in three weeks.

David Becker/Getty Images

One ESPN source told the Times ESPN's decision not to punish Nichols was an "active source of pain".

The only person to be punished was Kayla Johnson, a Black digital video producer, who confessed to ESPN's human resources that she sent the audio clip to Taylor.

Johnson was suspended for two weeks without pay, and demoted to a less desirable position, according to the Times.

Johnson later quit her job, along with several other Black ESPN staffers who tendered their resignations.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Celebrities and politicians are calling on Joe Biden to show support for track & field star Sha'Carri Richardson following her suspension for smoking marijuana.

The 30-day suspension means Richardson is out of the Tokyo Olympics where she was the favorite to win a gold medal in the 100-meter dash.

Republican congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted Friday:

"The press who love to bathe in the intersectionality of race-gender-sports should ask @JoeBiden if he believes Sha'carri Richardson should be barred from representing America for using a drug legal in most states that doesn’t impact performance.

I sure as hell don't."

Last week, Biden showed support for disgraced track and field athlete Gwen Berry after she turned her back on the American flag at the U.S. trials.

So far, the 46th president has not responded to Richardson's 30-day suspension.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Other celebrities and notables who defended Richardson include actress Gabrielle Union who tweeted:

"Weed is great for many a thing but running faster isn't one of them. LET HER RUN!!! #ShacarriRichardson."

And ex-ESPN journo Jemele Hill tweeted:

"Between Sha'Carri Richardson and this, the Olympics really are sending quite the message to black women."

Sponsor Nike is standing by its athlete: "We appreciate Sha'Carri's honesty and accountability and will continue to support her through this time."

Others noted say the suspension is karma for Richardson's anti-Lil Nas X tweet in March.


 

Photo may have been deleted

SOUL CAP

An Olympic committee is catching flack for banning swim caps designed by a Black-owned company for athletes with natural hairstyles.

The Federation for International Water Sports Competitions (FINA) banned the oversized swim caps due to the cap's unusual size which "does not follow the head's natural form."

SOUL CAP's oversized swimwear are designed for athletes with afros, dreadlocks or braids extensions, which may not fit under traditional swim caps.

Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed, the founders of SOUL CAP, expressed their disappointment and questioned the sport's equality and inclusivity.

The entrepreneurs say they designed the caps after meeting a Black woman who was "struggling with the size of her swim cap."

They claim the Olympic committee's decision may discourage young Black swimmers from seeking a career in swimming.
 

Copyright Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the photograph(s) or video(s) used in this post. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" of photographs for purposes such as parody, criticism, commentary, news reporting, education, and research.

Photo may have been deleted

Instagram

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson apologized to her fans for failing a drug test, that resulted in a 30-day suspension.

A source tells NBC that Richardson tested positive for THC, the main ingredient in marijuana, after she won the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon last month.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The positive test result means Richardson won't be allowed to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games which kicks off on July 23 in Japan.

The 21-year-old Dallas native issued an apology on NBC's "Today" show on Friday morning. "I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did. I know what I'm supposed to do. I know what I'm allowed not to do, and I still made that decision."

Richardson blamed her mother's sudden death last month for her lapse in good judgment. She said learning of her mother's death sent her into a state of "emotional panic."

Harry How/Getty Images

Richardson, who was raised by her aunt and grandmother, added:

"(I'm) not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case, but, however, being in that position in my life, finding out something like that, something that I would say is probably one of the biggest things that have impacted me ... that definitely was a very heavy topic on me. I greatly apologize if I let you guys down, and I did."

She dismissed rumors that she used performance-enhancing steroids. "It's never been a steroid. It will never be a steroid."

"Don't judge me because I am human. I'm you, I just happen to run a little faster."
 

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson may miss the Tokyo Olympic Games this month after she reportedly tested positive for a prohibited substance.

According to The Jamaican Gleaner, Richardson, 21, tested positive for cannabis, aka marijuana, and could miss her chance to win a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games which kicks off on July 23 in Japan.

Richardson faces a 30-day suspension from international competition.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

She has already withdrawn from a track and field meet in Stockholm, where she was scheduled to run in the 200-meter race.

Speculation ran rampant on social media that Richardson tested positive for performance enhancing drugs such as steroids.

However, it was reported by Reuters on Thursday that Richardson tested positive for cannabis at the U.S. Trials in Eugene, Oregon last month.

Richardson won the women's 100-meter dash in 10.86 seconds at the U.S. Trials.

Reuters also reported that the U.S trials' 4th place finisher Jenna Prandini was already asked to fill in the third spot on the USA Olympic team if Richardson is disqualified.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Richardson's agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, former NFL star and record holder in the 110 meters, did not respond to Reuters' request for a comment.

The news prompted anger on social media. Many users questioned why Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was allowed to compete in the Olympics after he admitted to smoking marijuana in 2009.

Phelps was suspended for 6 months in February 2009, but his suspension occurred during the off-season.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Caitlyn Jenner slammed controversial athlete Gwen Berry for turning her back to the American flag during the national anthem at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

Berry, who took third place in the hammer throw, angered Americans after she protested the national anthem playing during the medal ceremony.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Berry, left, complained that "The Star-Spangled Banner" played as she stood on the podium alongside first place winner DeAnna Price, center, and silver medalist Brooke Anderson, right.

Price broke her own world record during the trials to secure her spot at the Tokyo Olympics this month. However, her achievement was overshadowed by Berry's antics.

Photo may have been deleted

Reddit.com

"They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there," Berry said. She added that the American flag and national anthem were offensive to Black Americans.

But Olympic officials asserted the national anthem was played at the same time daily at the trials.

After the public backlash, Berry tweeted, "I never said I hated this country!"

Tony Duffy/Allsport

Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, who won the decathlon event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, ripped Berry for focusing the attention on herself.

Honestly, it's disgusting," Jenner said on Wednesday.

"I love this country, I love this state. I was the first person ever to put the American flag up at the finish line in 1976 and I've very proud of that because I'm proud of my country. I'm proud that my country gave me the opportunity to grow up to be who I am."

"I don't like political statements on the podium. We shouldn't do that. This is the greatest gathering of people and countries in the world... The other two girls ahead of her are so much better, and there's other ones around the world in the hammer throw. So I think that was kind of her last hurrah."

Jenner, who is running for governor of California, was criticized by LGBT+ groups for saying male-to-female transgenders should not compete against biological girls in sports.

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Jalen Rose has apologized after making a racist comment about Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love.

Rose made the comments last week on his Jalen & Jacoby podcast.

The ESPN analyst lit up Twitter when he said Love was a token on the USA men's basketball team.

During the podcast last week, Rose declared the USA Basketball governing body should send an all-Black team to Tokyo to represent the U.S. in the Olympics next months.

"Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism. Don't be scared to make an all-Black team representing the United States of America."

Rose justified his comments by saying Love was not qualified to earn a spot on the Olympics team.

"Anybody that watched the league this year knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team and did not necessarily deserve to be on this squad," Rose said.

He claimed USA Basketball only saw Love's white skin color, even though the entire 2016 USA men's basketball team was Black.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Love won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA at the 2012 London Games. Additionally, the Cavaliers, with Love and LeBron James, won the 2016 NBA championship against the Golden State Warriors.

Rose, a former NBA player, apologized on Monday, saying, "But you know why I'm apologizing right now? To the game. Because I'm what the game made me. I was raised by the all-time greats, and you know what I would never want to do? Disappoint [Rose's late mother] Jeanie Rose or disappoint the all-time greats that raised me."

Twitter accused Rose of jealousy because he was never an all-star, he never won an NBA ring and he was never on the Olympic team.

In the 2000 NBA Finals, Rose intentionally tried to hurt Kobe Bryant by putting his foot under Bryant, when the Lakers star went up for a jump shot.
 

NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Former NCAA track & field champion CeCe Telfer was ruled ineligible for the Olympic trials due to higher than normal testosterone levels.

Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced in the testicles that stimulates male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and body hair, deep voice, and muscular upper body build.

Biological women produce tiny amounts of testosterone in their ovaries.

Under World Athletics guidelines released in 2019, athletes can't compete for the USA in international women's events if their testosterone levels are high.

Testosterone levels must be below 5 nmol/L for a span of 12 months. In biological women, the normal testosterone range is 0.06 to 1.68 nmol/L.

Photo may have been deleted

YouTube

Telfer, a Jamaican-born male-to-female transgender, is the first openly transgender male bodied person to win an NCAA women's title.

While a student athlete at Franklin Pierce University, Telfer first competed in the men's track and field division from 2016 to 2017 before transitioning, and winning first place in the women's 400-meter hurdles event in June 2019.

Helfer, who was raised by a single mother, is one of three children. The family moved from Jamaica to Canada when Telfer was 12.

Telfer's lawyer, David McFarland, said Telfer would respect the decision.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers 103-96 in Game 7 on Sunday to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Atlanta is headed to its first Eastern Conference finals since 2015.

Hawks star guard Trae Young scored 21 points despite dismal 5-of-23 shooting from the field.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Joel Embiid scored 31 points in a losing effort for the No. 1 seed Philadelphia.

This marks the first time since 1973 that both No. 1 seeds will not make the East conference finals. The No. 4 seed Los Angeles Clippers defeated No. 1 seed Utah Jazz 131-119 at Vivint Arena in Game 7 on Friday, June 18.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Atlanta takes on No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the conference finals. The Bucks eliminated No. 2 Brooklyn Nets 115-111 in overtime in Game 7 at Barclays Center on Saturday.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Trade rumors ran rampant on Twitter.com after star point guard Ben Simmons phoned in another dreadful game on Sunday.

Philly had coach Doc Rivers seemed to second guess his star's skills during the post-game conference. Rivers has lost nine Game 7s in his career.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Philadelphia blew a 26-point lead as the Atlanta Hawks defeated the 76ers 109-106 to take an improbable 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Philadelphia collapsed in the 4th quarter, as Atlanta - led by scrappy guard Trae Young (pictured), began their incredible comeback.

The Hawks trailed by 22 points at halftime of Game 5 at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. The 76ers led by 26 points three minutes into the third quarter.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Hawks outscored the 76ers 40-19 in the 4th quarter. Young scored 25 of his 39 points in the 4th to give the Hawks a 3-2 series lead.

Young scored 13 of his fourth-quarter points in the final 4:30 to silence the crowd for good. Young hit five free throws in the final seconds to seal the win and hand Philly its worst playoffs choke in team history.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Philadelphia's star power forward Joel Embiid was hobbled by a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. But Philly head coach Doc Rivers wasn't concerned about Embiid's knee prior to Game 5.

"I have no more [concern]," Rivers said on Tuesday. "I really don't. Obviously, he's not going to be exactly what it was all the time with the injury, but I'll take what we have. So I have no concern."

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

NBA expert Jack Maloney praised Hawks veteran Lou Williams (#6) who came off the bench to score 13 points in just over four minutes.

"Williams did what he's been doing his whole career, and got hot in a hurry," Maloney wrote, "there's no way the Hawks win this game without him. This was a big time performance from the veteran."

"Nobody was hanging their heads. Nobody was pouting on the bench," Williams said. "You couldn't tell from the body language that we were down big throughout the majority of this game."

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

NBA legend Allen Iverson watched as his beloved 76ers let Game 5 slip away on the 76ers home court.

"These guys just don't give up. They continue to fight," head coach Nate McMillan said in the post-game press conference.

Atlanta can close out the series in Game 6 at home on Friday, June 18, at Philips Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Watch Game 5 highlights below.
 

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Chris Paul entered the NBA's health and safety protocol after testing positive for Covid-19, according to the Phoenix Suns.

Paul received both Pfizer mRNA vaccine shots, said a source speaking anonymously to The Associated Press.

Covid mRNA vaccines do not protect against contracting the virus or transmitting the virus. However, the CDC continues to urge people to take the still experimental shots.

Paul could be cleared to return quicker than someone who tested positive for the virus but didn't take the shots.

In March, after all teams chose to receive the vaccines, the NBA said "if an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the previous protocols apply” — meaning anyone with those symptoms “may be subject to quarantine” regardless of their vaccination status.

Phoenix practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday without Paul, in preparation for the start of the Western Conference finals next week.

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Paul embraced Head coach Monte Williams after scoring 37 points in Game 4 to help the Suns sweep the Denver Nuggets in the Conference semifinals on June 13 at Ball Arena in Denver.

The Suns will take on the winner of the Eastern Conference semifinals.