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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Frank Ocean Beats Father’s $14.5 Million Libel Lawsuit Over Gay Slur Claim

Frank Ocean has squashed the libel lawsuit brought against him by his father. Earlier this year, Calvin Cooksey filed suit against the Blonde artist for a 2016 Tumblr post in which Ocean described allegedly hearing his father call a transgender waitress “f****t” when he was a child. Cooksey had claimed the post ruined his future “financial opportunities,” but Ocean's attorney confirmed to Pitchfork Wednesday that his client had defeated the suit.

“It was a super sad case,” Keith Bremer, Ocean's attorney, said. “I am sorry that my client had to go through this and am glad that we could bring closure.” Cooksey lost the $14.5 million libel suit because he had “failed to prove his son had defamed him at all,” TMZ reported. A full written decision from the judge is expected later this week.

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In addition to claims of libel, Cooksey's suit accused Ocean of being a “fraud” and also referred to Tyler, the Creator as a “devil worshiper.” In a response to the suit filed in May, Ocean said the Tumblr post “speaks for itself” and asked for the case to be dismissed. Ocean also asked for his father to cover potential court costs.

In the Tumblr post, shared in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, Ocean recalled allegedly hearing his father use the slur when he was six years old. “I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a f****t as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn't be served because she was dirty,” Ocean wrote. “That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn't shock me if it wasn't. Many hate us and wish we didn't exist.” The post is still live here

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Nelly Arrested for Rape (UPDATE)

Nelly was arrested for rape early Saturday morning.

Police sources told TMZ that a woman claims she was raped on Nelly’s tour bus in Washington, where he performed last night. According to his tour schedule, Nelly is set to perform in Ridgefield, Washington on Saturday, October 7.

According to TMZ sources, the rape occurred early on Saturday morning at 3:45 AM. Nelly was booked on second degree rape charges by Saturday morning around 7 AM, and it appears as though the rapper is now in custody.

Journalist Brandi Kruse has obtained documents that prove Nelly, real name Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr. was arrested at 6:39 AM by the Auburn Police Department.

Q103 Fox Seattle anchor Alexandra Lewis reports that the rape occurred on the rapper's tour bus while it was parked outside a Walmart. 

An attorney working for Nelly, Scott Rosenblum, has released a statement calling the allegations “completely fabricated,” “devoid of credibility,” and “motivated by greed and vindictiveness.” 

 

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Suge Knight Claims Dr. Dre Put a Hit on Him for $20K

According to newly released legal documents, Suge Knight says that he was shown a check for $20,000 that Dr. Dre allegedly wrote to a man named Dwayne Johnson (not that Dwayne Johnson) to have Knight killed. According to TMZ, Suge claims that this purported hit was supposed to go down on the same day (January 29, 2015) that he ran over and killed a man in a Tam's Burgers parking lot, which has led to his current murder trial.

The ex-CEO of Death Row said in legal documents that during a jailhouse visit in July of 2016, both he and a private investigator had Johnson tell them that a check for $20k was given to him as partial payment to kill Knight. Johnson was at the aforementioned parking lot on the date of Knight's hit-and-run that led to his current incarceration.

As TMZ notes about this most recent accusation:

“The upshot of what Suge is arguing … he had reason to fear for his life when he entered Tam's.”

Still, according to the LA Times, Suge says he never got a copy of the check and the PI he mentions “now claims it does not exist.

Knight, of course, is no stranger to throwing out accusations, which has even included a past claim that Dr. Dre hired a hitman to have him killed at the 2014 VMAs pre-party hosted by Chris Brown. At that pre-party, he was shot six times.

Not surprisingly, an attorney for Dr. Dre called these latest claims both “absurd” and “defamatory.”

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O.J. Simpson’s Release From Prison Might Be Delayed

O.J. Simpson has been waiting to get out of jail ever since he was granted parole back in July. But he might be forced to wait a little bit longer due to concerns over what could potentially happen when he leaves a Nevada prison facility at some point in the coming days.

Earlier this week, a report emerged indicating that Simpson was likely going to be released from prison shortly after Oct. 1, which is Sunday. Monday morning seemed like the logical time to release him. But according to a new TMZ report, officials with the Nevada Department of Corrections are now concerned about what might happen if they release Simpson at that time. There is expected to be a huge media swarm following Simpson as soon as he is released, and prison officials believe it could lead to Simpson being chased by the paparazzi.

“We don’t want another Princess Diana situation,” one official told TMZ, referencing the death of Princess Diana back in August 1997 which came about, in part, because of overzealous paparazzi who chased a vehicle she was driving in and caused a car accident.

There are paparazzi from all over the world expected to gather for Simpson’s release, and it very well could lead to a dangerous situation. TMZ is reporting that the notoriously aggressive European paparazzi, in particular, could present problems, and they are worried that innocent bystanders could end up getting hurt once everyone starts trying to take photos of Simpson and get a statement from him.

For now, the exact date and time of Simpson’s release are under tight lock and key. But it could end taking place a little later than expected.

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Cardi B’s Dentist Also Making Money Moves After Shout-Out on “Bodak Yellow”

Cardi B is absolutely killing it right now. She has officially dethroned Taylor Swift from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with her breakout hit “Bodak Yellow,” making it the first solo woman-fronted rap single to top the chart since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” back in 1998. But Cardi’s song has done a lot more than just make America’s summer better. 

Cardi’s dentist, Dr. Catrise Austin, has reported a significant boom in business due to just one shout-out in the song, proving Cardi B is really out here helping everyone she can make money moves, just like herself. For reference: in one of the verses of “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi raps, “Got a bag and fixed my teeth/Hope you hoes know it ain’t cheap.”

Cardi’s dentist has also done work on DJ Khaled, Common, Toni Braxton, Omarosa Manigault, and Busta Rhymes—but it was only after Cardi B rapped about her work that Dr. Austin noticed a bump in her business. And it’s a pretty significant one: Dr. Austin told TMZ her business has tripled so far, with people Googling and calling her to find out more. She also claims that Cardi’s dental work cost as much as a luxury SUV.

“Just this week, I've got so many calls because people want to know 'who is Cardi B's dentist,'” Dr. Austin said in a video posted to TMZ. She also said Cardi's major dental work last year, followed by the rapper's skyrocketing success, has inspired people of all kinds to come in and change their smile, and consequently “change their lives.” 

 

got a bag & fixed our teeth 😁😂 @iamcardib [shot by @kodaklens]  #BIG3 #FightWeekend #Vegas

A post shared by Fabolous (@myfabolouslife) on Sep 1, 2017 at 3:14pm PDT

Rapper Fabolous realized the genius of the line a while ago when he posted a photo with Cardi to his Instagram with the lyrics as a caption, also pointing to some dental work he had done as well. After all, Cardi is definitely not ashamed of her come-up, nor is she trying to hide the fact that she knows where to spend the money coming in from her burgeoning music career. She's open about the work she's done with Dr. Austin in the past, claiming “if you don't feel comfortable about something, go and fix it.”

But it's a testament to Cardi's confidence that she didn't even seem all that bothered pre-dental work. At least not as bothered as her haters, as she tweeted in 2016. 

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Kanye West and Jay Z Reportedly Trying to End Their Feud

TMZ is reporting that Kanye West and Jay Z are making strides towards ending their feud. It all reportedly started when Kanye reached out to Jay and requested a face-to-face to settle their differences. No word yet on whether Hov has agreed to the meeting. 

Their feud heightened after Jay Z took some not so subtle shots at Kanye on “Kill Jay Z” after 'Ye brought up Beyoncé and Blue Ivy during a rant at the Sacramento stop of his Saint Pablo Tour in November. In his interview on the Rap Radar podcast, Jay explained what led him to putting his beef with his little brother out in the open. “You can't bring my kids, my wife into it,” he said. “Kanye's my little brother…But you brought my family into it, that's a problem.” 

Jay Z also left the door open for reconciliation, admitting that they have always had their fair share of disagreements, but they always find a way to get back on good terms. “You know it’s a problem because me and him would have been talked about it, been resolved our issues,” he said. “And he knows he crossed the line, he knows. And I know he knows. Because we’ve never let this much space go between one of our disagreements and we’ve had many. It's a part of who we are… He’s an honest person and he’s wrong a lot of times.”

According to TMZ, their feud has nothing to do with Kanye's financial dispute with Jay Z. That is reportedly “being hashed out.” 

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The Wildest Conspiracy Theories About the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor Fight

Even if you're actively trying to avoid the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, chances are you've developed a firm stance on the bout by now. There are very few people out there who are thinking to themselves, “You know what, I think I need more information before I take the plunge on the pay-per-view fee.” And if you are still thinking that, I'd have to ask you what the rock you've been living under is like.

Every possible angle has been exploited. We've talked about Mayweather's domestic violence, McGregor's history of racism, their sparring partners, sexual habits, even the damn suits the fighters have worn to press conferences. And now all that's left to debate is one simple question—who's going to win?

The odds are heavily in Mayweather's favor, and why wouldn't they be? He's 49-0 and one of the best boxers of all-time, facing a near amateur in a new sport. That should be the start and end of it, but to keep themselves interested in the fight, a lot of observers are clinging to crazy beliefs, hoping the fight will somehow live up to their expectations. I get it, because you're not going to drop $100 on a pay-per-view if you're just expecting a mundane win from Mayweather.

So for those of you trying to search for a reason to care about the fight, here are a few conspiracy theories people have. They might make it worth tuning in!

Mayweather will throw the fight to make more money

From Mayweather's perspective, this might make the least sense of any theory, because he has everything to lose going into the fight. Though it has been overshadowed by the trash talk, Mayweather has a chance to pass Rocky Marciano's mythical 49-0 record and go to 50-0, a number that is revered within boxing circles. Several prominent fighters have fallen just short of equaling or passing that number, including heavyweight great Larry Holmes, who lost his 49th fight in a controversial decision to Michael Spinks. It's a number that matters deeply to boxers, even if it doesn't to casual fans.

And yet, this might not be the biggest thing on Mayweather's mind. Should he lose to McGregor, it would set up another huge payday in a subsequent fight. Mayweather will reportedly make a minimum of $100 million for this fight, and that number could multiply depending on how the sales for the bout play out. Would you be able to turn down making a sum of money like that a second time, knowing all you had to do was lose once?

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There's reason to believe Mayweather has motivation to extract as much money out of this as possible. He has had to issue denials that he's in trouble with the IRS, and he will reportedly have to use a big chunk of the McGregor fight money just to pay off his past tax liabilities. It would stand to reason that these issues might keep popping up, since at this point they seem to occur no matter how much income Mayweather generates.

Assuming Mayweather would win the second fight, throwing the first one would likely set up the pair of fighters for a third bout way down the road, and trilogies tend to be huge draws, because you see a real rivalry build over time. These are big assumptions—but again, you just have to follow the money, and both fighters would be set for life if they brought in the sort of revenue they're about earn for just the three potential fights.

Mayweather might not even have to do this on his own. He tends to fight for decisions, and any time you can put the outcome in the hands of just a few people, there's a chance for shenanigans. 

McGregor has only been pretending to be a bad boxer

Yes, some people truly believe that McGregor hasn't actually shown what he can do. The belief is that the guy who is a professional fighter and constant trash talker actually wants you to believe he's unequipped to be a boxer, and will use that reputation to surprise Mayweather on Saturday night.

You really have to believe in this to think McGregor has a realistic chance against Mayweather. Sparring partners of McGregor's have shared footage of them working out with the converted MMA fighter, and McGregor looks pretty bad.

The footage looks so bad, in fact, that Mayweather's camp even sort of believes it's not legit. That's what the fighter's team said during a radio interview in June, claiming their camp would not slack in their fight preparation even if McGregor looks bad on the tape.

“I looked at it, but to me it looked [like] it’s a possibility it could be staged,” said Mayweather's trainer, Nate Jones. “We don’t fall for that, we prepare for anything. Please believe me, I looked at it and I came up with my opinion that it could have been for real but it could have been staged. I don’t know. His style is a different style from Floyd. I don’t want nobody messing with Floyd. He may be more difficult than Floyd’s gonna be for him.”

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That's exactly the problem with believing the footage is staged: Mayweather's camp doesn't really care what it looks like one way or the other. He didn't amass a 49-0 record by taking his opponents lightly, and Mayweather has consistently noted McGregor will be a threat when interviewed about the fight. He's confident in his ability, but he has given no indication of slowing down or easing up on his opponent.

The styles comment from Jones is interesting, though, because of one theory a lot of fans seem to have about the fight.

McGregor will use an MMA move at some point during the fight

As the old saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. McGregor deserves respect for his accomplishments as an athlete in his sport, but that doesn't mean he can break the habits that have been built into him over years and years of training.

Sports books are banking on the expectation that McGregor reverts to MMA tactics, and are taking bets on whether he'll throw a kick or an elbow during the fight. It makes a degree of sense, because while he has been exclusively training as a boxer for months now, you can't truly plan for how you'll react once you start to get fatigued. Should he get desperate in the later rounds, maybe he lashes out with a kick at Mayweather's ankles.

This idea has popped up repeatedly among fight fans, who have discussed the possibility for months.

The big reason this probably won't happen? It would cost McGregor a fortune. UFC boss Dana White has said from day one that any sort of MMA moves are strictly forbidden.

“There is no way that will happen. That is absolutely in the contract, number one. Number two, this is a boxing match under the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” said White. “When you talk about a guy like Floyd Mayweather, the lawsuit if that ever happened… You all know how much Conor likes money. Conor would depart with a whole lot of money if that ever happened.”

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No amount of laughs McGregor would generate by busting out a kick would fill the hole in his bank account. This isn't happening, but there's one more wrinkle to consider.

Mayweather and McGregor might be in on this whole charade together

If Mayweather throwing the fight on his own isn't crazy enough for you, boy do we have a conspiracy theory for you! There are people out there who believe the fighters may be working behind the scenes to set up the best possible outcome for their futures, which would necessitate Mayweather taking a proverbial dive. But it would need to look real for it to not be an obvious fix, so it would necessitate both guys planning for the possibility ahead of time.

Other world-class athletes are worried about that exact possibility. Golfer Rory McIlroy was asked about the fight over the weekend, and his concern is that we're all being fooled by the circus.

“I just fear that they do all this trash-talking and they go behind the scenes and they are having a laugh and thinking: I can’t believe we are talking all this public for a ride,” said McIlroy. “We are all buying into it and they are like, can you believe these people believe this? I just hope it doesn’t turn into it and I hope it’s not in any way fixed.”

Count Terry Crews in the fix camp too. He told TMZ that he believes the two fighters are “trying to get another one,” and believes McGregor will ultimately get a decision victory to set up more fights in the future.

Boxing is a sport with a reputation for shady dealings; in early July, Manny Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to relative unknown Jeff Horn, despite most boxing analysts believing Pacquiao had won the fight easily. There have been countless examples of similar shady decisions over time, and this is a real possibility in a fight with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

Never, ever rule out corruption in the boxing world. Mayweather may give McGregor the beat-down most expect, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll walk away with a victory on the scorecards. 

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Quavo Is Ready to Bless America With a New National Anthem

Quavo wants to write a new national anthem for “all races.”

As you may recall, my article earlier this month about a petition calling for Quavo to be featured on “The Star-Spangled Banner” was taken so seriously by Trump cult members with extremely limited reading comprehension that I received multiple suggestions to immediately kill myself. Tuesday, Quavo finally issued an extended response to the petition, meaning we get to talk even more about this exciting development.

Sadly, Quavo's latest comments were given to TMZ, so I'll have to mention TMZ at least twice in this article. That's just the sad, twisted world in which we live. “It's just a lot going on behind the national anthem,” Quavo explained when asked how “serious” he was about his support of the petition. “I would love to do it, but I wanna do like a 2017 national anthem for both people, for all races, you know what I'm saying? And put it together.”

Quavo initially expressed support of the petition earlier this month with a simple command of “let's roll.”

The petition, started by Kentucky resident Sean Gray, simply called for a Quavo feature on the national anthem. Quavo's latest comments, however, suggest the Migos member is down to redo the whole damn thing. Quavo said Tuesday he'd want to give the nation “something that's representing now” if this all comes to pass. “I think if I get with some good musicians and just write something that's very strong and powerful, you know,” he added.

Thankfully, I've already suggested a fine assortment of musicians to do exactly that.

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