On Thursday, while he was being accosted by a TMZ cameraman at his own Kevin Durant Day parade in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, Kevin Durant did not mince words when it came to the man currently occupying the White HouseMonday through Friday.
Then, asked if he saw himself getting involved with public criticism at some point, he didn't directly respond while he was signing a shoe. However, it seems that was just a delay, as he basically answered later in the day during an interview with ESPN.
What Durant told the Worldwide Leader is that he wouldn't be visiting the White House if the champs were to be invited, which actually has yet to happen. “Nah, I won't do that,” he said. “I don't respect who's in office right now.”
Durant says that wasn't necessarily a team decision, but rather a personal one. “I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” he said. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me.”
Considering the Warriors will probably win the championship every season for the foreseeable future, we'll see if this is a permanent decision on KD's part, or more of a one time thing.
He also spoke about what happened at Charlottesville this past weekend. “I just wanted to sit back and analyze everything and gather my thoughts,” he said. “I wanted to say something immediately, but I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.
“I'm representing a lot of people. As far as what's going on in our country, for one, as an athlete, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3 [Chris Paul] [and] Dwyane Wade for starting that conversation last year. Russell Westbrook also said something in his speech. A lot [of] guys with platforms have drove the conversation in a good direction. And what's going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.”
With news that not one but two star players from the Cleveland Cavaliers might be leaving NBA, fans have had a lot to discuss in recent days. On August 16, Chris Sheridan of ESPNtweeted that an NBA insider has confirmed LeBron James 100% has intentions of leaving the Cavs due to a strained relationship with owner Dan Gilbert. Folks have pointed out that the disagreement may be, at least partially, political in nature as Gilbert is a fan of reality star Donald Trump. The Cavs owner reportedly donated $750,000 to Trump's campaign. LeBron on the other hand is known for his dislike of the failed businessman turned president.
NBA source said today: “This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair.”
Previous to the news of James' possible departure, there has been considerable amount of talk that Kyrie Irving is also leaving Cleveland. The news of Irving's request to leave the team reportedly “disappointed” LeBron. Rumors of James leaving the Cavs have been around for a while. Some have suggested he might be heading west to the Lakers. Lebron does have a no-trade clause in his contract.
Enter rapper Lil Dicky and Kevin Durant. The two weighed in on the LeBron departure rumors with a frank discussion for all to see via Twitter. The rapper kicked it off by tweeting “If I'm Cleveland, I'm one thousand percent trading LeBron.” Durant responded, “u can't trade a legend. He is Cleveland, he gets to hold the cards.”
Check out the exchange below.
If I'm Cleveland, I'm one thousand percent trading LeBron
Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the National Anthem prior to the Raiders 20-10 preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Various media outlets are assuming the act was a form of silent protest, presumably because former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick similarly sat during the National Anthem in an August 2016 game.
“[Lynch] said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,’” Del Rio said. “I said, 'So you understand how I feel. I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I'm going to respect you as a man. You do your thing, and we'll do ours.' So that's a non-issue for me.”
Kaepernick eventually made the compromise to kneel during the anthem after being accused of disrespecting members of the armed forces by his decision to sit during the anthem. When initially questioned about his refusal to stand for the anthem, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Other players joined Kaepernick in solidarity with acts such as raising their fists and kneeling, however, Kaepernick remains unsigned with at least two teams citing a fear of angering their fans by signing Kaepernick.
In April, the Raiders and Seattle Seahawks finalized a deal to send the then-retired Lynch to Oakland via trade. The Superbowl-winning running back rose to fame during a run of four consecutive seasons with 1,200 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011, but he also became known for a reluctance to engage with media members or grant interviews.
On Friday afternoon, Elliott's lawyer responded with a statement that invoked alleged text messages sent by the Cowboy running back's ex-girlfriend, where she purportedly asked a friend to lie to police about the incident. That statement said, in full:
We just learned of the NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Elliott for six games for allegedly engaging in ‘physical force’ against the accuser. Mr. Elliott and his team of representatives are extremely disappointed with the NFL’s decision.
“Our offices have been engaged in this matter since last July and have worked hand in hand with the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL with their respective investigations. Accordingly, we are fully aware of the full body of evidence that exists in connection with this matter.
“The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it ‘cherry picks’ so called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence.
“For example, both the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL investigators expressly concluded and conveyed to our office (and others) that the accuser was lying about an alleged July 22, 2016 incident whereby she accused Mr. Elliott of pulling her out of her car and assaulting her. An allegation that was ultimately undermined by her own friend’s affidavit which stated that no such assault occurred. The affidavit also outlined the accuser’s plan to orchestrate a story to police to in order to corroborate her false allegation of assault. In addition, the NFL’s own medical experts concluded that many of her injuries predated the week in question and likely occurred during a period of time when Mr. Elliott was not in contact with the accuser. During the upcoming weeks and through the appeal a slew of additional credible and controverting evidence will come to light.”
It remains to be seen whether this changes the league's mind or not.
The NFLreleased a statement shortly after Schefter reported on Elliott's suspension. The league revealed it uncovered evidence during its investigation that showed Elliott “engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy.”
Elliott was accused of assaulting a then-20-year-old woman he was reportedly dating in Columbus, Ohio last July. The woman claimed Elliott hit her while she was seated in her car. She denied medical treatment at the scene of the alleged incident, but she told police she had pain in her wrist. She also reportedly had a red mark on her arm.
Elliott denied assaulting the woman, and he was not arrested. But the woman later filed a second police report and accused Elliott of hitting her on several occasions between July 16 and July 20, 2016. She also posted photos on Instagram that showed bruises on various parts of her body.
As recently as this past weekend, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he did not believe Elliott would be suspended by the NFL. But it seems the league disagreed with his take on the situation.
If Elliott’s suspension is upheld, he will be one of three Cowboys players who will be suspended at the beginning of the 2017-18 NFL season. Defensive end Randy Gregory (full season) and defensive end David Irving (four games) will also miss time due to suspensions.
In late July, a report came out indicating that ticket sales for the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegasweren’t exactly going according to plan. Many people expected the fight to sell out rather quickly, but according to the report, there were still thousands of tickets available for it, which seemed to suggest that the promoters for the fight might have issues getting top dollar for them.
But Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe spoke out about the reported slow ticket sales for the fight on Thursday during Mayweather’s open media session at his gym in Las Vegas, and he said that he’s not worried at all. Contrary to what has been reported, Ellerbe said that the fight is currently on pace to break the record for the highest boxing gate ever.
“Right now, we have over $60 million in the box office,” Ellerbe said. “And you tell me, what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow. This isn’t a damn Rolling Stones concert. That’s the only thing that sells out in seconds. When you are talking about tickets going from $500 to $10,000, that’s an expensive ticket. So you have every CEO from every major company. You know, guys, it takes time to plan and get it together.”
Ellerbe also talked about some of the VIPs who have expressed interest in attending the fight:
Ellerbe references Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Lebron James and Kobe Bean Bryant as celebs who have requested tickets.
Additionally, Mayweather echoed what Ellerbe told reporters before his workout on Thursday and said that he believes his fight with McGregor is ultimately going to sell out as we move closer to fight night. Mayweather is also doing his part to continue to promote the fight. Here he is interrupting a live shot on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Thursday to tell people to watch the fight:
ESPNis reporting that, if you want a ticket, they’re not difficult to find right now. There are reportedly still thousands of them available on the Ticketmaster website, and there are also plenty of them available through ticket resale sites like Vivid Seats and StubHub. They’re not cheap, though. Vivid Seats, for example, is reporting that the average ticket sold on its site is going for more than $3,600.
To set a new record for a boxing gate, the Mayweather/McGregor fight would need to eclipse the $72.2 million mark. That’s how much money Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao brought in back in May 2015.
We already ran down reasons why McGregor (almost assuredly) will not beat Mayweather when they meet Aug. 26. For starters there’s the obvious like McGregor’s extreme inexperience and Mayweather’s standing as one of boxing’s living legends. But there are a few legit reasons why the McGregor, a 4-1 underdog, actually has a chance to pull off the upset.
We’ll start with the age difference. Having turned 29 July 14th, McGregor will enter the ring with 11 years on Mayweather and will undoubtedly be the quicker and more athletic fighter. The speed Mayweather was known for in his prime, throwing and landing punches at a blindingly fast pace and dodging his opponents' punches like he's Neo from “The Matrix,” is a thing of the past.
“This is not the elite Floyd Mayweather,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “He’s 40 years old. He’s been away from the game for two years. He took the fight on short notice. Those things should be accounted for. They will be accounted for.”
McGregor, the bigger man, will look physically imposing standing next to Mayweather when they weigh-in on the Friday before the fight. In his prime and already ripped, McGregor will be an Adonis while Atlas contends that even though Mayweather will look impressive, he can already see Father Time taking his toll.
“In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.” — DANA WHITE
“His body doesn’t even look the same,” says Atlas. “It’s got that softer look when you get a little older. The muscles have changed a little bit. To the eye that knows to look at that stuff it’s noticeable.”
Even if Mayweather might be a tick slower than we’re used to seeing, nobody expects McGregor to outbox one of the greats. But it’s the unknown that could earn the MMA star the unlikely win. Screwy things happen in boxing all the time—and we’re not even talking about some messed up judge’s scorecard. What if a cut opens over the eye of Mayweather from an inadvertent headbutt? What if Mayweather fractures his hand on a punch and is essentially reduced to a one-armed fighter? Boxing fans know Mayweather’s reputation for having brittle hands.
“I’ve seen Floyd fracture both hands in a fight,” says Mayweather CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “I know Conor McGregor is bigger, stronger, thinks he’s faster, and thinks he’s going to knock Floyd Mayweather out. But any damn thing can happen. Floyd could cross his head in the fourth round and not be able to use his right hand.”
Even when his fists aren’t giving him problems, Mayweather isn’t exactly a knockout artist (his career knockout percentage: 53). McGregor, on the other hand, is known to possess impressive punching power. While his devastating blows have come wearing 4 oz. gloves in UFC fights, the 10 oz. gloves he’ll wear against Mayweather won’t do much to slow down the speed of his punches or diminish their power. The question is can McGregor land a clean shot on the chin of the best modern defensive boxer who has never legitimately been knocked to the canvas as a pro?
“He’s not a boxer. At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a fighter,” UFC president Dana White said back at the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.”
And maybe play some mind games. It’s widely expected that McGregor will be the aggressor while Mayweather will be content to play defense and pick his spots. What if McGregor played it cool and conservative the way, according to Atlas, he’s won matches in the UFC, making Floyd come at him?
“Use those principles of trying to be careful and thoughtful and contemplative before you just walk into something then Floyd doesn’t have the foil that he needs,” says Atlas. “[Floyd] needs that caveman so he can bang, bang, bang, catch him coming in and catch him with counters.”
The bottom line is McGregor doesn’t have an easy path to victory and deep down he has to know that. But it’s not inconceivable if the right things happened that he could pull off the improbable upset. It’s boxing. It’s sports. Crazier things have happened than a 4-1 dog getting the w.
Ask those around boxing if Mayweather-McGregor is good for the sport and they’ll give you different answers.
Some think it’s great. Others think it’s nothing more than a farce that only a sucker would pay $100 on Pay-Per-View to watch.
But the one thing those closely associated with boxing can almost universally agree on is the idea that Conor McGregor, the MMA superstar who will challenge an undefeated Floyd Mayweather Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, has almost no chance of winning.
To them, it’s not a matter of if Mayweather will win, but rather how.
“If [Mayweather] wants to stop it in the first round, he can stop it in the first round,” four-division champion Adrien Broner told us last month.
McGregor is stepping onto Mayweather’s turf and agreeing to box him under very specific terms, so the list of reasons why so many in the sport refuse to give McGregor a realistic shot to hand Mayweather his first professional loss is long. And often extremely specific.
While McGregor and Mayweather circled each other for years before making the fight official in June, McGregor’s only been seriously training as a boxer for a few months. And from what we’ve seen on social media and heard from the mouth of his sparring partner Paulie Malinaggi, the results haven’t been particularly impressive.
The idea that a novice to the sweet science and all its nuances can just step into the ring and take down the legendary Mayweather, considered to be the best modern-day defensive boxer and among the all-time greats, is almost impossible to fathom.
“When the bell ring nobody knows that squared circle like me. I know angles. I know where to touch you at. I know what you do good. I know what you don’t like. And I don’t have to watch tapes. That’s something I’m blessed with.” — FLOYD MAYWEATHER
“Not an insult, but there are C-class fighters in my business that I know would handle [McGregor] easily,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “This is the lowest level fighter [Floyd’s] probably ever fought. I’m not trying to insult MMA guys or McGregor. I think McGregor’s a genius. But at the end of the day this is not an elite athletic contest that some people want to believe it is.”
It’s the simple things, many point out, that will likely doom McGregor. Jermall Charlo, who awaits his shot at the winner of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez fight in September, is not the most neutral of observers considering his ties to Mayweather Promotions. But speaking from a strictly analytical perspective, the 28-year-old rising star thinks McGregor’s footwork will cross him up.
““I don’t think technically McGregor stands a chance,” says Charlo, one of boxing's top middleweight contenders. “He's going to trip over his feet more than he’s going to get in shots. He’s going to be all sloppy all over the ring and hopefully he don’t get frustrated to throw an elbow or kick in there and get disqualified.”
Reportedly there are financial reasons outlined in the contract as to why it would be in McGregor’s best interest to not do that. But how much will McGregor, who has been programmed to punch, kick, grapple, and violently force his opponents to submit, be forced to suppress those natural instincts? And how will he adjust to fighting 12 rounds, three minutes at a time? McGregor’s used to fighting fewer rounds and much briefer segments.
“The reason Conor shouldn’t have a chance is he’s not a professional fighter,” says Atlas. “He’s never competed at this realm. He does it in segments, but not for 12 rounds. Mayweather does it for an eternity.”
Those who think McGregor has a chance, or believe he will win, point to the age difference, size difference, and his impressive punching power. But Atlas, having studied McGregor, thinks the x-factor will be the altered persona McGregor carries into the ring.
The first two-division champion in UFC history has, according to Atlas, won by playing it conservatively. The way Mayweather has played defense and expertly waited for his opponents to open themselves up to a counter is the same strategy McGregor has expertly deployed. Against Maywether, he’ll have to be the aggressor.
“McGregor is going to put his fangs out and he’s going to sink them into Floyd. Guess what? He’s not that guy,” says Atlas. “The funny thing is he’s more similar to Floyd than he is to the guy they’re promoting. His mentality is to be careful. I did my homework. His biggest wins are off the counter, being intelligent, being careful, being conservative, being Floyd!”
Whether Mayweather, at age 40, has enough power in his fists to knockout McGregor remains to be seen. Many think Mayweather will simply outlast McGregor over 12 rounds to capture an easy decision. With his 49-0 record on the line and massive expectations riding on him, Mayweather has a lot more to lose than McGregor. But in typical Floyd “Money” Mayweather fashion, he's not particularly worried.
“He can come at me different ways, it’s not going to work,” Mayweather said after the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “When a guy is across from me, you know what he has to say to himself? ‘Damn, I’m fighting Floyd Mayweather.’ When the bell ring nobody knows that squared circle like me. I know angles. I know where to touch you at. I know what you do good. I know what you don’t like. And I don’t have to watch tapes. That’s something I’m blessed with.”
According to Kavanagh, he first learned that McGregor and Mayweather were going to fight at about the same time that the rest of us did. McGregor texted him on June 14 and told him the fight was on, only a short time before he took to social media to let the rest of us in on the news.
And when he did, Kavanagh quickly realized that despite the fact that McGregor would be preparing to fight one of the best boxers of all time, he hadn’t gotten around to putting together a boxing gym where he could train yet. So Kavanagh sprung into action and created a gym in just four days.
To do it, Kavanagh called the owner of his MMA gym and asked to borrow an abandoned car dealership located nearby. Then, he cleaned it up, hung a sheet to create some separation between the dealership’s showroom and the repair bays in the back, and got the water and electricity up and running. He also had a boxing ring shipped from England to Ireland by boat. Finally, he decided that he was going to hire Subset to paint the mural of McGregor punching Mayweather to complete the space.
Thompson reports that Subset knocked it out in just one session, paint fumes be damned:
The artists laughed the first time they saw the space, wondering what Floyd's gym must look like, making jokes about Rocky training in the snow. The mural got painted freehand in one 12-hour burst, the fumes leaving the painters bent. Kavanagh wants that image to work in Conor's mind.
While speaking with ESPN the Mag, Kavanagh also talked about what happened when he showed McGregor the painting for the first time. You can see his reaction in the clip above, but Kavanagh said the big reveal didn’t go as planned at first. It seems McGregor thought the guys from Subset were in his gym to jump him when he first walked on. And one of the Subset members, who spoke with ESPN the Mag, said that that led to an awkward first encounter with McGregor. The member said he had never met anyone like McGregor before.
“I’d never been in someone’s company before who was purely male energy,” the Subset member, who was not identified by name, said. “There was no female energy. And not in a macho way. He wasn’t fronting up. He’s running off this raw, food chain, evolution, strongest-survive energy. He’s cold. That’s what he’s like. He was open, a gentleman, but he’s cold at the base of it.”
Thompson’s entire piece in ESPN the Mag provides an interesting look into how McGregor got to where he’s at today. We all know McGregor hails from Ireland and endured a lot before finally landing in the UFC. But Thompson takes a look at everything from McGregor’s past ties to local gangs in Dublin to his disdain for the upper class in Ireland to provide some context for why McGregor is the way he is now. You can check out the whole story here.
Paulie Malignaggi claims he didn’t intend to steal the spotlight when he agreed to fly to Las Vegas earlier this week to take part in a sparring session with Conor McGregor. But that’s exactly what the former world champion has done over the last few days.
On Tuesday, a report came out indicating that Malignaggi had been involved in a sparring session with McGregor that got “out of control.” A day later, Malignaggi spoke with several media outlets, including ESPN, and confirmed that report. He also said that he was involved in a second sparring session with McGregor on Tuesday that included “a lot of violence.” And on Thursday night, Malignaggi continued to make headlines when he abruptly announced that he was no longer going to help McGregor in the weeks leading up to his Aug. 26 fight with Floyd Mayweather.
“I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” Malignaggi told ESPN. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on—I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.”
Malignaggi isn’t simply upset over all of the media attention he has received this week, though. Rather, he’s upset because a couple photos surfaced on Thursday afternoon that appeared to portray McGregor in a very favorable light during his sparring session with Malignaggi. One of them, captured by UFC photographer Brandon Magnus, shows McGregor hitting Malignaggi in the face:
It’s important to note that McGregor himself didn’t post either of the photos on social media. But Malignaggi is still upset about the fact that they got out. He’s also upset about how they seem to suggest that McGregor knocked him down when he says that, in reality, he ended up on the ground after McGregor pushed him. He has urged McGregor to release a video of their sparring session to show what really happened in the ring:
Its not nice 2 paint a pic that isn't true, this was a pushdown in sparring, post the whole video rounds 1 through 12 UNEDITEDhttps://t.co/R82BLiMMVm
And since releasing that statement, Malignaggi has stuck to his guns and refused to back down from the allegations he made over the photos in question, even as he has been hounded by McGregor fans online. Malignaggi has responded to many of those fans on Twitter on Friday morning:
Looks like he got caught talking shite and got put on his back 😂
There’s no way McGregor is going to release any video of his sparring session with Malignaggi. Not this close to his fight with Mayweather, at least. So we’ll probably never know the whole truth behind the photos that have Malignaggi so riled up. But in one interaction with a fan on Twitter on Friday morning, Malignaggi said he suspects McGregor’s camp knew all of this controversy was going to take place long before it did:
They all planed that shit before you even knew you gonna be his sparring partner
That may or may not be true. But either way, this dramatic McGregor/Malignaggi storyline is adding even more intrigue to the Mayweather/McGregor fight, and we’d guess that both fighters are thrilled about it.