Another White House Official Resigns Over Domestic Abuse Claims

Yet another White House aide is stepping down. David Sorensen, a member of President Donald Trump's speechwriting team, has resigned amid claims of domestic abuse, according to multiple Friday night reports.

Sorensen's ex-wife claimed that he “ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine's coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life,” according to the Washington Post.

Sorensen denied all the claims in a statement released to media. “I have never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life,” he wrote. “In fact, I was the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her.”

Spokesperson Raj Shah said in an official statement that the White House knew about the allegations before long the Washington Post reached out about them. “Before we were contacted by the media, we learned last night that there were allegations,” the statement read. “We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today.” 

Earlier this week, another staffer Rob Porter stepped down over similar claims. White House Staff defended Porter despite abuse claims from both of his ex-wives. When a photo of the black eye of one of the ex-wives surfaced, the White House changed their tune, saying they were concerned about the allegations at that point. Still, Trump offered support for Porter, saying he “found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well and it's a tough time for him,” 

Like Sorensen, Porter has also maintained that all allegations were untrue. The president appeared to reference the domestic abuse scandals in a tweet this morning that asked, “Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

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Eagles White House Protest; Gilbert Arenas Fixes LeBron’s Cavs; Brady’s Pats SB LIII Faves? | Out of Bounds

Even before Nick Foles and the Eagles upset Tom Brady and the Patriots, several Philadelphia players said they would decline an invite to President Donald Trump’s White House if they won. Outspoken safety Malcolm Jenkins has now joined teammates Chris Long and Torrey Smith in saying he would not attend. The #OutofBounds crew weighs in on champions refusing to visit Trump’s White House, and Gilbert Arenas has an unexpected and thought-provoking take on the highly politicized issue. Next, the guys discuss the Super Bowl’s relatively low ratings, and what they indicate about interest in the NFL, before tackling Vegas odds that make the Patriots — with 40-plus-year-old QB Brady — favorites to win next year’s Super Bowl. Finally, with LeBron’s Cavs struggling mightily and appearing to unravel, Gil gives advice on how to fix things in OOB’s newest segment, “The Pull-Up.” Gil being Gil, his assessment of Cleveland is far from your standard sports talk show take.

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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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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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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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Chrissy Teigen Is Boycotting Twitter in Support of Abuse Victims

In light of actress Rose McGowan’s Twitter suspension after she made comments about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment allegations, several women have joined forces in solidarity by going silent on Twitter in protest of women’s voices not being heard.

Chrissy Teigen, who has close to eight million followers on Twitter, is one of those celebrities promising to not post anything on the social media platform for an entire day.

On Thursday night, Teigen sent a series of tweets revealing her reasons for joining the boycott. She hopes that the platform can make adjustments in the future.

Teigen wants to stand with victims who have been harmed by sexual assault and online harassment. She also points out that Twitter needs to do better in its suspension policies, explaining that President Donald Trump can still tweet freely about nuclear threats, even if she can’t see them. Trump blocked her account in July.

Teigen received some early criticisms by her followers, but she wanted to reiterate that she was serious about the movement.

For further proof, she shared a screenshot of her mentions and settings. While people tweeted some nasty things at her, she stood her ground. “This is why,” she wrote.

Teigen is joined by other women like Alyssa Milano, as well as men: Mark Ruffalo, John Cusack, Terry Crews, and Michael Ian Black to a name a few who have pledged to the #WomenBoycottTwitter hashtag.

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Discuss Eminem’s Trump Diss on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska give a full breakdown of Eminem's BET Hip Hop Awards cypher verse where the Detroit legend took full aim at President Donald Trump. The crew also discuss the other cyphers from the BET Awards, including Fat Joe and 6lack. Additionally, Budden and Akademiks dive into the video of Birdman going off about the Lil Wayne situation. 

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Los Angeles Lakers Plan to Lock Arms for National Anthem All Season

In the midst of being historically trash for three consecutive seasons while ownership has endured a familial power struggle, the Los Angeles Lakers have shown some semblance of unity. D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young patched up their differences last season before both of them eventually ended up on different teams, and the squad found a rallying cry in Metta World Peace’s “I love basketball” mantra.

As the Lonzo Ball-led Magic Johnson regime began with Saturday night’s preseason game, the Lakers embraced a type of unity with a bit more of a serious tone by locking arms during the national anthem.

“We are in this together,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton told ESPN before his team played a preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I think they chose to show that we are united in this and that obviously, they have a ton of respect … well I will let them speak for themselves but I have a ton of respect for the country, the flag, the military.”

The gesture appears to fit within the confines of a memo the NBA sent to all 30 teams on September 29 reinforcing a longstanding rule that players are required to stand for the singing of the national anthem. The memo advised players and/or team officials to give pregame speeches or conduct community events in lieu of kneeling or remaining in the locker room during the anthem.

The Seattle Seahawks began the process of interlocking arms during the anthem on September 11, 2016. The gesture was viewed as an alternative to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling in protest to bring awareness to conditions impacting black American citizens and other people of color.

“By locking arms, I feel like we are showing that there are issues in this country and it is a chance for us to raise awareness and still make it a talking point,” Walton said. “If you do nothing, then it kind of goes away and if it goes away, then nothing changes.”

The Lakers’ actions come eight days after President Donald Trump rescinded an invitation to the White House that several members of the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors preemptively declined.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement expressing regret that the Warriors wouldn’t visit the White House, while LeBron James opted for stronger rhetoric, referring to Trump as “U bum.”

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South Carolina Teacher Suspended for Asking Students to Justify the KKK

The same state that proudly flew a Confederate Flag over the state capitol grounds for half a century is making news again thanks to one teacher’s questionable lesson plans.

A fifth grade teacher at Oak Pointe Elementary in Irmo, South Carolina has been put on administrative leave after giving her class a homework assignment with the following question:

“You are there… You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African Americans is justified?”

A Facebook user named Tremain Cooper shared pictures of the homework assignment, eliciting a strong response from those who interpreted the question as the same type of “gotta hear both sides” rhetoric President Donald Trump issued after violence caused by white nationalist protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

While the possibility exists the teacher was playing devil’s advocate, Cooper didn’t seem particularly convinced.

“How can she [the teacher] ask a 5th grader to justify the actions of the KKK,” Cooper wrote in the caption to his photos, which appear to have since been deleted.

The assignment featured a grid of questions asking students to speculate on the Klu Klux Klan’s “purpose and motivation.” Other questions ask students to reflect on the KKK’s “effects on the opportunities of African Americans” and ask students if newly freed black citizens are satisfied with their new lives.

South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK,” wrote Lexington-Richland School District 5 director of communication Katrina Goggins in an official release about the teacher’s suspension. “We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools. We understand the seriousness of this matter particularly in light of the events taking place in our country at this time. We want to ensure that our students, parents, staff and community know that we are giving this matter our full attention.” 

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