Steve Kerr Criticizes NFL for New Anthem Policy

Wednesday, the NFL rolled out a new policy for the National Anthem. The policy stated players would not be required to be on the field for the anthem, but if they were on the field and they took a knee, their team would be fined. The NFL Players' Association was clearly unhappy with the new policy and stated they had not been consulted.

Philadelphia's Malcolm Jenkins said, in response to the policy, “I will not let it silence me.” But U.S. President Donald Trump, who called for fans to boycott the league in the fall, said players who kneel “shouldn't be in the country.”

The policy has been the talk of the sports world since it was announced. Thursday afternoon, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr—who's always willing to share his political opinions—criticized the measure.

“Basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people, it's idiotic, but that's how the NFL is in the business,” Kerr said. “I'm proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech, about peacefully protesting.”

He continued:

I think our leadership in the NBA understands that when the NFL players were kneeling, they were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality, they weren't disrespecting the flag or military, but our president decided to make it about that, the NFL followed suit, pandered to their fan base, that created this hysteria. It's kind of what's wrong with our country right now: people in high places are trying to dive us, divide loyalties, make this about the flag as if the flag is something is other than what it is.

Check out Kerr's full comments below.

Kerr and the Warriors are currently tied with Houston, 2-2. Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals is slated for Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on TNT.

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Donald Trump Blames Barack Obama on Twitter for Suspected Chemical Attack in Syria

Donald Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for the ongoing conflict in Syria in the wake of a horrific suspected chemical weapons attack that left dozens of people dead on late Saturday in Douma, according to BBC. Trump tweeted on Sunday, “If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”

In 2012, Obama said the use of chemical weapons would “red line.” When Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad performed another attack after this statement was made, Obama did not retaliate.

In two tweets, the president also blamed Russia (he called out Putin specifically) and Iran for the attacks. He said, “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!” Russia denies that it was involved with the chemical attack.

Vice President Mike Pence later tweeted, “@POTUS & I closely monitoring likely chemical attack in Syria. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the assault on innocent lives, including children. The Assad regime & its backers MUST END their barbaric behavior. As POTUS said, big price to pay for those responsible!”

A spokesman for the Syrian Civil Defense said a government helicopter dropped barrels that contained a chemical substance on the rebel-held suburb. Rescuers have reported over 70 deaths, a toll that's expected to rise. Most of the fatalities were women and children. The Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied the use of chemical weapons, calling the allegations a “fabrication,” according to BBC.

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Pro-Gun Parkland Student Tweets Photo With Supreme Court Justice: ‘Second Amendment Won’t Be Touched’

The February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead, but it energized many of the surviving students to fight for gun control. They’ve spun their grief and anger into a national movement and have garnered widespread support, organized massive school walkouts and the massive, nationwide March for Our Lives protest last month. They’re not partisan in any way, but they are pro–gun control and their biggest message is to urge people to vote for politicians who are also pro–gun control.

Not everyone at Stoneman Douglas agrees with them, though. Kyle Kashuv, who also survived the shooting, opposes gun control and has become a pro–Second Amendment advocate since the shooting. Kashuv recently met with conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who told him that the Second Amendment is safe and “won’t be touched.” The two also spoke about some of the cases that Thomas has dissented on.

The topic of repealing the Second Amendment isn’t exactly a priority for the Parkland students or their movement, but it did become the topic of recent heated debate when John Paul Stevens, a former liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice, whose time on the bench was the third-longest ever, penned a New York Times op-ed urging advocate to push for a repeal of the Second Amendment. He argued repealing it would actually bring them closer to their gun reform goals than anything else.

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It’s fair to assume that actually implementing such a repeal would certainly be way more complicated than it sounds. For what it's worth, President Donald Trump once tweeted that the Second Amendment would “NEVER BE REPEALED.” It’s definitely not something a pro–Second Amendment justice like Thomas would support: just days after the Parkland shooting, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case that would challenge California’s 10-day waiting period for firearm purchases. Thomas was annoyed enough to write a 14-page dissent in which he wrote: “As evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court.”

In the meantime, the Parkland students are still facing near-constant bullying by disgusting right-wing and conservative adults, which probably says more about where we are in the gun control debate and as a country than the Second Amendment. 

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LaVar Ball Reignites Trump Feud With ‘#StayInYoLane’ Tweet

LaVar Ball has re-sparked his feud with President Donald Trump that started back in November. Ball took to Twitter Saturday to gloat after an ESPN report revealed that Trump likely overstated his involvement in securing the release of LiAngelo Ball and two other members of UCLA’s basketball team—Cody Riley and Jalen Hill—after a shoplifting incident in China.

“Thank you for what again @realDonaldTrump? #knowyourfacts #stayinyolane,” Ball tweeted, after the ESPN report went live Saturday.

In November, Trump tweeted that the UCLA players should’ve thanked him for his help in preventing them from serving a 10-year jail sentence for shoplifting in China.

Per ESPN’s report, the charges had been dropped, and LiAngelo Ball, Hill, and Riley were already scheduled to return to America two days before Trump got involved.

Things got increasingly tense between Trump and LaVar when he initially downplayed Trump’s involvement.

“What was he over there for?” Ball replied to ESPN when asked about Trump’s potential involvement. “Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

It’s unclear if Trump knew the matter had pretty much been resolved before he reached out to Chinese President Xi Jinping, but he still had those petty tweets ready.

Months later, UCLA officials confirmed to ESPN that Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly got involved late in the process. The players involved gave Trump the thanks he demanded during a press conference, but LaVar was correct in implying that Trump had very little to do with settling the incident. Given both Trump and Ball’s affinity for getting the last word, it remains to be seen if one of the stranger sports feuds in recent years is finally over.

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MSNBC Anchor Quotes Mobb Deep While Dissing President Trump

MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber used a quote from Mobb Deep’s famed 1995 cut “Shook Ones Part II” to insult President Donald Trump on Friday night during his show, The Beat With Melber. Melber was discussing the president’s abuse of executive privilege within the frame of Nixon’s impeachment.

“[Nixon’s impeachment case is] worth bearing in mind as the Trump White House now stonewalls investigators, but insist it’s not really invoking executive privilege, or it’s trying some kind of modified halfway executive privilege,” Melber said.

He continued, “But there’s no such thing as halfway privilege, just as there’s no such thing as halfway crooks. We know that truth from the great poet Havoc of Mobb Deep who observed that true criminal minds are always thirsty for recognition, but you don’t see longevity from halfway crooks, ‘cause they always end up shook. And that’s the big problem facing any White House pursuing a cover up with halfway privilege.”

Melber revealed materials from President Nixon’s Watergate scandal back in 1972. The materials displayed exactly how exploiting executive privilege can be a crime and an impeachable offense. Executive privilege, per NPR, means, “a president has the right to withhold certain information from Congress, the courts or anyone else—even when faced with a subpoena.”

According to Melber, “the abuse of executive privilege was literally part of the basis for the obstruction articles against Nixon in his impeachment.” The lawyer who wrote the articles of impeachment for Nixon’s case told Melber how Trump may be headed down the same path. Melber used Mobb Deep’s lyrics to show why there isn’t such a thing as “halfway privilege.” The exact Mobb Deep lyrics that Melber referenced were from the song's hook, “Scared to death, scared to look, they shook/‘Cause ain't no such things as halfway crooks.”

Havoc posted a clip to Instagram of Melber quoting “Shook Ones Part II” with the caption, “Just as I was watching the homie @arimelber couldn’t be put any better!! Ain’t no such thing as #halfwaycrooks 🔥 #msnbc.”

Late Friday night, Melber also took to Instagram and posted a photo of himself with the message, “You can’t quote rap too much.” His caption read, “Real quote, although my inbox shows many, many people disagree,” followed by an eye-roll emoji.

 

Real quote, although my inbox shows many, many people disagree 🙄

A post shared by Ari Melber (@arimelber) on Mar 2, 2018 at 9:30pm PST

 

Mobb Deep's Prodigy passed away in June 2017 from accidental choking. You can watch Melber's full segment here.

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LeBron James and Kevin Durant Respond to Fox News Host’s ‘Shut Up and Dribble’ Comment

Both  LeBron James and Kevin Durant  have responded to Fox News host Laura Ingraham's “shut up and dribble” comment about the pair voicing their opinions about President Donald Trump.

Both James and Durant have long been critical of Trump, and their interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion was no different when politics came up. The undertones of Ingraham's words were not lost on either player.  James took to Instagram with a picture of a neon sign proclaiming he's “more than an athlete” and coined a new hashtag on the caption: #Wewillnotshutupanddribble.

 

#wewillnotshutupanddribble

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Feb 16, 2018 at 7:47pm PST

 

Durant spoke about the issue in an interview. “To me, it was racist,” he told USA Today Sports. “What does (skin color) have to do with anything? We all have an opinion, just like she has an opinion that I disagree with.” He went on to explain that as an American citizen, he has just as much right to share his political beliefs as anyone regardless of his position in the NBA. 

“That was definitely an ignorant comment. I do play basketball, but I am a civilian and I am a citizen of the United States, so my voice is just as loud as hers,” Durant said. “I don’t play basketball 24 hours a day. I live in this world, just like everybody else. I don’t get what she’s saying, but I know what she’s trying to say.”

Durant also added that he thinks Ingraham might even be inspired by the two players if she spent time around them. “Not just me or LeBron but guys in our position,” he explained, “anybody of another color who has risen up and done something positive in life…It’s kind of sad that she’s so close-minded.”

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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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