Dana White Threatens to Sue Manny Pacquiao Over Alleged Conor McGregor Negotiations

Manny Pacquiao’s heralded accomplishments in the ring have him listed as one of the 25 best pound-for-pound boxers of all time in some circles. But his negotiating tactics are not as up to par, and they may land him in some hot water with UFC President Dana White.

When Pacquiao was asked about securing a multimillion-dollar bag similar to the one Floyd Mayweather hauled in for his August fight with Conor McGregor, Pacquiao apparently ruffled some feathers.

“If we can negotiate it, I have no problem,” Pacquiao told AFP wire service. “It is OK with both of us.”

“Pac-Man” then said he reached out to McGregor’s camp directly but they “have not yet had any follow-up conversations.”

According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Pacquiao directly negotiating with McGregor would theoretically pose a problem with White, who has been blunt when addressing the matter of McGregor’s UFC contract.

“That would be weird, because he's under contract with us,” White reportedly said, when told of McGregor directly negotiating with Pacquiao. “If that’s true, I’ll be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever’s representing him.”

That’s a big “if” surrounded by a lot of tough talk. The business of negotiating a fight can be both tedious and complicated. Negotiating the Mayweather-McGregor bout took all kinds of involvement from White, Mayweather, Mayweather’s manager Al Haymon and longtime business partner Leonard Ellerbe, Showtime sports general manager Stephen Espinoza, and Ice Cube. It turns out Cube already had T-Mobile Arena booked for a Big3 event the weekend the fight was scheduled and wanted to be properly compensated for giving up his arena date.

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How Chance the Rapper Helped ESPN’s Holly Rowe Through Cancer Treatment

ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe has been fighting a tough battle with cancer. In May, she announced her cancer had returned and spread after going into remission earlier in the year. The unfortunate news meant more trips to get treatment. In a recent interview with The Players’ Tribune, Rowe revealed the surprising thing that helped her get through this tricky time: Chance the Rapper.

“If I ever meet [Chance the Rapper], I’m gonna just say, ‘Thank you for getting me through chemo,’” Rowe said. She explained that her son, who was helped her through the entire process of chemotherapy this time around, would create personalized playlists during their drives to get treatment. But the most prominent feature on those playlists would be Chance.

“Every day we’d go to chemo—and it’s about a 20 minute drive, and I had to go every day for 30 days—we’d listen to Chance the Rapper,” Rowe said. “Everyday [my son] would be like, ‘all right, what song do you want?’ I’m like, ‘I want “Blessings.”’ I want “Sunday Candy.” We know that whole album.”

Chance, who is known for his charitable acts and insistence on giving back, especially to his hometown of Chicago, has not yet spoken out about Rowe, but we wouldn't be surprised if that happens soon (or has already happened).

Rowe has worked at ESPN as a sideline reporter and play-by-play announcer for nearly 20 years. Just before she announced that her cancer had returned, she received a contract extension that will see her continue to cover college football, basketball, volleyball, softball and WNBA for more years to come.

Another thing that has helped Rowe through her cancer diagnosis has been continuing to work.

“I recently had five days in a row off,” Rowe told the AP in May. “That's a long stretch. I was a mess, I was sitting around thinking about having cancer. It's ridiculous. I've got to stay busy or I'll go crazy. This is the world's best therapy. Every single day I'm working, I'm absorbed in other people. Somebody wins. I need to see people winning and fighting through adversity. That helps me so much.”

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Donald Trump’s Tweets Gave LaVar Ball an Estimated $13 Million Advertising Boost

Aside from being marketed as the biggest retail shopping day of the year, November 24 marked the expected ship date of Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball’s $495 ZO2 Prime Remix. 

Ball Family patriarch LaVar Ball recently took to Twitter to send a not so subtle reminder about the launch.

“The only thing better than finishing this chocolate cake is Big Baller Brand has released the ZO2s,” Ball said via a video he posted to Twitter Friday. “They are in flight…tonight.” 

Lonzo Ball, the actual face of Big Baller Brand, is in the midst of an uneven season punctuated by a historic triple-double and cringe-worthy shooting performances, while his father and BBB founder LaVar Ball has squared off with President Trump and any talking head that would grant him airtime.

Trump’s infamous “I should have left them in jail” tweet regarding LiAngelo Ball’s shoplifting incident and what was, to his twisted mind, LaVar’s insufficiently obsequious response, may ultimately prove to be a net positive. The tweet from November 19 might have provided eight figures worth of essentially free advertising for the Ball’s upstart apparel company.

“LaVar Ball’s ongoing feud with President Donald Trump is estimated to have given the company more than $13 million in equivalent advertising value, according to a sponsorship evaluation firm,” ESPN’s Nick DePaula and Darren Rovell noted in a recent ESPN report.

To be clear, this wasn’t exactly a feud. A sitting president sent some petty tweets at American citizens for not showing what he deemed the proper amount of gratitude for an international incident he has yet to prove he helped fix

Much has been made over Ball and his father eschewing major sneaker brands to launch their Big Baller Brand imprint. DePaula and Rovell estimate the family’s reported asking price of $1 billion cost them a $10 million guaranteed deal from at least one of the four major sports apparel companies.

You can read DePaula and Rovell’s full report via ESPN.

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N*E*R*D Shares Cover Art and Release Date for New Album

N*E*R*D just announced the release date for their long-awaited new album. NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES will be available on Dec. 15 for everyone who missed its surprise ComplexCon unveiling. The trio also shared what appears to be the album cover, which will certainly look nice saved to one's Apple Music library.

 

A post shared by N.E.R.D (@nerd) on Nov 22, 2017 at 5:00am PST

The album boasts N*E*R*D-worthy contributions from a variety of artists including Future and Kendrick Lamar, as well as André 3000 and Rihanna on the previously released tracks “Rollinem 7's” and “Lemon.” Ed Sheeran, Gucci Mane, Wale, and M.I.A. also make appearances.

You'll find the NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES tracklist below:
1. “Deep Down Body Thirst”
2. “Lemon” f/ Rihanna
3. “Voilà” f/ Gucci Mane and Wale
4. “1000” f/ Future
5. “Don't Don't Do It” f/ Kendrick Lamar
6. “Kites” f/ Kendrick Lamar and M.I.A.
7. “ESP” 8. “Lightning Fire Magic Prayer”
9. “Rollinem 7’s” f/ André 3000
10. “Lifting You” f/ Ed Sheeran
11. “Secret Life of Tigers”

The album marks the trio's first one in seven years, following the 2010 release of Nothing. The 10-track collection was supported by the singles “Hypnotize U” and “Hot-n-Fun” featuring Nelly Furtado.

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Amazingly, we are now a mere two years away from the band's 20th anniversary, a milestone I personally hope results in a tour featuring Pharrell and company shredding through their debut, In Search Of…, in full all across the world. I couldn't possibly be the only person still obsessively listening to “Rock Star” at least once a day.

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A Timeline of Donald Trump’s Beef with LaVar Ball

At some point, you just knew that Donald Trump and LaVar Ball were going to cross paths in 2017. After all of the completely off-the-wall shit that has taken place this year, it wouldn’t be right if we went into 2018 without their names being linked for one reason or another. But we really have to give it up to them: In our wildest dreams, we couldn’t imagine them being connected as a result of a story involving Louis Vuitton sunglasses, shoplifting, and international politics.

And yet, here we are! With still about a month to go in 2017, the inevitable Donald Trump vs. LaVar Ball feud that we all knew was going to happen has happened. The two engaged in a war of words over the weekend, and thanks to their beef, LaVar made an appearance on CNN on Monday night that will more than likely receive a response from Trump.

Let’s take a look at how we got here. Here’s a timeline of Donald Trump’s beef with the head of the Ball family.

Nov. 7, 2017: LiAngelo Ball and two UCLA teammates are arrested in China for shoplifting

During a trip to China to take part in a game against Georgia Tech, LiAngelo and his two teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, were arrested after they were caught stealing from a Louis Vuitton store near their team hotel. They were released from police custody but were ordered to give up their passports and stay at the hotel until an investigation into the shoplifting allegations took place. Initial reports indicated they could face 3 to 10 years in prison.

Nov. 8, 2017: LaVar Ball says LiAngelo’s arrest “ain’t a big deal”

Despite the possibility of the serious prison sentence that was first reported, LiAngelo’s dad LaVar downplayed the situation. “He’ll be fine,” LaVar told ESPN’s Arash Markazi. “Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.”

Nov. 9, 2017: LaVar is told not to comment on LiAngelo’s arrest again

Just one day after LaVar said LiAngelo’s shoplifting arrest wasn’t “that big a deal,” LaVar refused to comment further on the situation. ESPN’s Arash Markazi reported that someone had told LaVar not to speak about LiAngelo any further until he was allowed to return to the U.S.

Nov. 13, 2017: Trump asks China’s President Xi Jinping to help settle LiAngelo’s case

Several days after LiAngelo was arrested, The Washington Post reported that Trump reached out to President Xi Jinping of China to try and resolve the case. When asked about it, Trump said that President Xi had been “terrific” with regards to his request. But he said that the shoplifting case was “not something that should have happened” in the first place. He also reportedly referred to LiAngelo and his teammates as “knuckleheads” while speaking with President Xi.

Nov. 14, 2017: LiAngelo and his teammates are allowed to leave China

One week after being arrested, LiAngelo and his teammates were finally allowed to leave their hotel and board a flight for Los Angeles. The shoplifting charges that were originally filed against them were reportedly dropped, clearing the way for them to make their way home.

Nov. 15, 2017: Trump calls for LiAngelo and his teammates to thank him for his help

Almost as soon as LiAngelo and his teammates arrived back in the U.S., Trump sent out a tweet that seemed to suggest he was expecting them to say thank you to him at some point. “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?” he wrote. “They were headed for 10 years in jail!”

Nov. 15, 2017: LiAngelo and his teammates thank Trump

During a press conference in which all three UCLA players apologized for their actions in China, they also offered up their thanks to Trump.

Nov. 18, 2017: LaVar says he doesn’t think Trump helped LiAngelo and his teammates

While speaking with ESPN a few days after LiAngelo’s safe arrival back in the U.S., LaVar said he didn’t believe Trump played a big part in bringing the UCLA players home. “Who?” LaVar said. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

LaVar continued: “As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, 'They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.' I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him.”

Nov. 19, 2017: Trump says he should have left LiAngelo and his teammates in jail

In response to LaVar’s “Who?” comment, Trump responded by saying that he should have left LiAngelo and his teammates in jail in China. “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” he wrote. “I should have left them in jail!”

Trump added: “Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!”

Nov. 20, 2017: LaVar refuses to thank Trump during CNN appearance

During one of LaVar’s most memorable media appearances yet, he refused to thank Trump for whatever role he played in bringing LiAngelo back to the U.S. “Did he help the boys get out?” he asked. “I don’t know. If I was going to thank someone, I would probably thank President Xi.”

Towards the end of the interview, LaVar also said the only way he would have thanked Trump is if he would have personally put LiAngelo on Air Force One to bring him home. “I would have said, 'Thank you,' if he put him on his plane and took him home,” he said. “Then I would have said, 'Thank you, Mr. Trump, for taking my boys out of China and bringing them back to the U.S.' There’s a lot of room on that plane. I would have said, 'Thank you kindly for that.'”

And at one point, LaVar also made a Trump-esque statement by saying that he played a bigger part in freeing LiAngelo than Trump did. “I had some people that had boots on the ground that knew the situation when we first jumped on there,” he said. “I keep those people in mind.”

Trump and Ball both seem like the kind of guys who want to have the last word. So we wouldn’t expect this to end anytime soon.

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Jerry Jones Apologizes For Racially Charged Joke He Made in 2013

On Friday afternoon, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones apologized for a brief clip that was making the rounds which showed him making a racially charged joke while he appeared to be shit-faced. The footage was obtained by a media outlet called The Blast, though (honestly) it was pretty light on background or context.

According to them, Jones was at a Dallas hotel in 2013 when a Cowboys fan, who it should probably be noted is white, approached him and asked if he could offer a congrats to his new fiancée. At that point Jones looks into the camera and says “Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he’s with a black girl tonight, don’t you?” The camera then cuts away to a black dude who Jerry appears to playfully shove before walking away with his coat over his shoulder.

The Blast adds that:

[W]e’re told the fan recently shared it with his group of friends because he thought the current temperature of race in the NFL and the country made Jones’ comments relevant. The friends were shocked after seeing the footage.

It was sent to The Blast because the individuals involved thought it was important for NFL fans to see. The source we spoke with said, “Fuck Jerry Jones.”

On Friday evening, through the Cowboys, Jones expressed his regret at his remarks in the footage. “That comment was inappropriate,” he said. “It's not who I am, and I'm sorry.”

As noted by the Dallas News, Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders (who won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys back in the '95/'96 season) quickly came to Jones's defense. “I refuse to allow a moment to turn into a monument regarding a man I have known for 20 years, not just as an owner, but as a friend,” Prime Time said in an email. “I won't cast judgment, on one moment when a joke went south, to capture who this man represents in a lifetime commitment of love and compassion to all ethnicities.

“A joke that was intended to add humor at the request of a fan in a lighthearted moment was taken totally out of intent. I'm sorry we're in this state of mind as a country, but if you're looking for a racist, Jerry Jones is not that guy.”

This was not a particularly great Friday for the Cowboys' head honcho as, earlier in the day, a long-form story in ESPN the Magazine was published that seemed to detail a potential civil war brewing amongst the league's leadership. Jones has threatened legal action against the NFL if a contract extension for Roger Goodell is finalized. This animosity towards the commissioner reportedly stems from Goodell's handling of Ezekiel Elliott's on-and-off (now on) 6-game suspension:

Phew, lot of info there. Anyways, tons of drama in Big D. As always, really.

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Russell Wilson Called Out for Appearing to Make a Mockery of the NFL’s Concussion Test

During the third quarter of the Seahawks’ game against the Cardinals on Thursday night, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson took a hard hit to the head from Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby. Dansby was flagged for the hit, and Wilson was sent to the sideline after the game’s referee Walt Anderson noticed that he looked a little woozy. He was instructed to undergo the NFL’s concussion test before checking himself back into the game.

But Wilson wasn’t gone from the game for very long. He did run over to the Seahawks’ sideline, and he did get under the medical tent to give the appearance that he was going to take the concussion test. But as soon as the Seahawks’ medical staff put the tent up to begin the evaluation, Wilson ran out of it and appeared to say, “I’m fine,” as he did. He missed just one play before getting right back in the game—without ever taking the test that all NFL players are supposed to take when there’s a chance they may have sustained a concussion.

You can see Wilson’s brief pit stop on the Seahawks’ sideline here.

NBC’s Mike Tirico pointed out what Wilson did to those at home, and many of them wondered if what Wilson did was allowed. They also called him out for seemingly making a mockery of a test that is designed to protect players from taking part in games after suffering concussions.

Wilson is a guy who seems to take concussions seriously. At least, seriously enough to invest in a water company that manufactures a product that is supposed to, in theory, help players recover from concussions. And after the game, he tried to downplay what he did by saying that Anderson sending him to the sideline was just a misunderstanding in the first place.

“I was just trying to move my jaw. I was like, 'Ah, man, it stuck,'” Wilson said, according to ESPN.com. “I think I was kinda like laying down on the ground for a second just trying to get my jaw, and I think Walt thought maybe I was injured or something like that. I told him I was good, I was good, and he said, 'Come off the field.' Walt did a great job, first of all. He made the smartest decision. I was fine, though, 100 percent.”

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But if the NFL allows Wilson to slide for skipping out on his concussion test, they are going to be setting a dangerous precedent by allowing players to determine when they’re “fine.” So we wouldn’t expect the league to allow Wilson to get off here without a fine or some kind of warning about checking out of a concussion test.

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Colin Kaepernick Reportedly Excluded From Meetings Between Players and NFL Owners

On October 25, ESPN reported Colin Kaepernick was expected to be invited to a forthcoming meeting between NFL owners and players scheduled for November 3. The meeting was spearheaded by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins as part of the NFL Players Coalition’s ongoing dialogue with league owners centered on players protesting racial inequalities during the singing of the national anthem. A Slate report filed Sunday cites league emails as well as emails from Kaepernick’s attorney denying any invitation has been extended to Kaerpernick.

The chances of a potential meeting between Kaepernick and a group of NFL owners seemed slim, given that Kaep filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners for reportedly blackballing him for his political beliefs and forms of protests.

It's unclear if this is merely a matter of semantics, as Jenkins previously told TMZ that Kaepernick was invited, while Kaepernick's attorneys are maintaining that no formal invite was ever sent. You can see Jenkins remarks about Kaep being invited in the video above at the 1:46 mark.

As Kaepernick remains unsigned in favor of less accomplished quarterbacks, the perception that owners conspired to keep him out of the league has only grown in some circles. Meanwhile, an email obtained by Slate states Kaepernick’s attorney group has confirmed he “is open to participating in, and discussing the ideas he has led, at the next meeting in a meaningful way.”

The proposed meeting comes as players and ownership remain divided on the protests initiated by Kaepernick last season in response to multiple incidents of unarmed black citizens being killed by police during routine stops. The situation has been further inflamed as several NFL owners co-opted Kaepernick’s kneeling protest to use as a response to President Donald Trump saying owners should fire players engaging in such protests. 

With Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatening to bench any player he felt disrespected the flag, things intensified. A subsequent revelation that Houston Texans owner Bob McNair referred to players as “inmates” further angered other players.

Whether or not Kaepernick attends Tuesday’s meeting, there appears to be a clear rift between owners unhappy with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the protests. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter report Jones is spearheading a group of 17 owners intent on halting Goodell’s contract extension. Given how Goodell has botched the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, brokering peace between players and ownership over peaceful protests and “Deflategate,” Jones' actions aren’t particularly surprising.

Depending on how the next round of meetings plays out, there is a potential scenario where both Goodell and Kaepernick would both be out of the league within two years of the protests Kaep initiated last season.
You can read Stahl’s full report via Slate.

 

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Jemele Hill: ‘I Put ESPN in a Bad Spot, I’ll Never Take Back What I Said’

ESPN is expected to lift Sportscenter co-host Jemele Hill’s two-week suspension Monday, October 23. And while there has been much speculation about what went on behind the scenes and if Hill would leave the marquee sports network after her second suspension in a month for political remarks on Twitter, we haven’t heard much directly from Hill. Aside from a few re-tweets and a cameo appearance on Cari Champion’s Instagram Stories feed, Hill’s Twitter has been relegated to a few re-tweets since October 10.

“I deserved that suspension,” Hill told TMZ during an impromptu airport interview. “I violated the policy. Going forward, we’ll be in a good, healthy place. It’ll be fine. The only thing I apologize for is I put ESPN in a bad spot. I’ll never take back what I said. I put them in a bad spot, and that’s the truth of it. I regret the position I put them in. I regret the position I put a lot of the people I work with and our show in. I’ll never take back what I said.”

Hill drew her initial suspension for calling President Donald Trump a white supremacist and a bigot via Twitter on September 11. The suspension led to Trump calling for her to be fired, and Hill’s supporters essentially asking, “Where is the lie?”

Weeks later on October 8, Hill tweeted that those offended by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ threat to bench players kneeling during the national anthem should boycott his advertisers. Shortly afterward, ESPN hit Hill with the two-week suspension.

The suspensions come amid conservatives claiming the network leans liberal. ESPN has struggled with handling the perception, notably removing play-by-play announcer Robert Lee from a Virginia vs. William & Mary game in August because he shares the same name as the infamously defeated Civil War General.

Read the full story, which also includes Hill's thoughts on athlete activism, at TMZ.

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Dannon Swaps Cam Newton for Dak Prescott After Sexist Remarks

Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton lost his Dannon endorsement deal after making sexist remarks to Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue during a news conference last Wednesday, but it appears the company has quickly found a replacement.

One day after saying, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like … it’s funny,” Dannon dropped Newton, who was the pitchman for their subsidiary Oikos.

“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women,” read a statement from Dannon released in the wake of Newton’s comments. “We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”

So yeah, take a good look at the ad below, because Dannon will likely be replacing it and any accompanying ads very soon.

Newton released an official apology for his Neanderthal-like remarks Thursday, and some of Rodrigue’s previous racist tweets were brought to light also, although the latter received far less coverage. The Panthers QB also revealed he’d lost additional sponsorships besides Dannon.

The refrigerated dairy company moved quickly and reportedly signed Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to replace Newton. The move should be familiar territory for Prescott, who already has endorsement deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Beats.

According to ESPN, no NFL player has more endorsement deals than Prescott, and a cursory glance at his Twitter feed backs up that statement. Sponsored tweets from Keurig, AT&T and other companies dominate Prescott’s timeline. The Dallas QB is reportedly shooting his first commercial this week with Dannon, as the company continues to distance itself from Newton by removing existing advertisements.

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