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In 1996, Team USA wrestler Kurt Angle won the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics. By the next Summer Games, when fellow U.S. Olympian Rulon Gardner took gold in Sydney with arguably the biggest upset in Greco-Roman wrestling history, Angle was already the WWF Champion.The assumption among fans of the (real) amateur sport and the (fake) professional version was that Gardner — suddenly an American hero and nearly a household name — would follow Angle’s career path. And it almost happened … twice.TheWrap asked the super-heavyweight legend why he never made it to the WWF/WWE.Also Read: WWE Tag Team Champion Montez Ford Tells Us if We'd 'Want the Smoke'“In 2000, right afterwards, they said, ‘Hey, WWE wants you to possibly join up,'” Gardner said of his first opportunity, the one that came while he and his gold medal were adorning Wheaties boxes. “And I’m like, well, I still have Olympic aspirations and I made a commitment to myself to go for two Olympics, and so I just didn’t even take it serious then.”In 2002, midway between Sydney glory and the opportunity to defend in Athens, Gardner faced a horrible setback following a snowmobile accident. Despite suffering severe frostbite on his legs, Gardner ended up losing just one toe, and won bronze at the 2004 Games.“Then in ’04, I got done and retired and Kurt Angle and the WWE team called me and said, ‘Hey, we’d like to have you come down and try out and see what we could do about bringing you on board, because we think you and Kurt Angle would be a good tag team,'” Gardner said. “I went down there and I got to see a showdown in Phoenix. And I got done and was getting ready to leave and they had me do some media stuff on camera, talk on the camera, take a roll. And then it’s like, ‘Dude, you and Kurt Angle would be the tag team Dream Team.'”Also Read: NXT Champion Adam Cole Has the Best Story About His First WWE Gig (Video)“I was offered a really good deal,” he continued. “I got home and said, ‘Mom, what do you think?’ And she said, ‘Is this what you want your life to become? I raised you and you’ve been an amateur wrestler, you’ve been a sportsman.’ And I’ve been, hopefully, a humanitarian. I’m not a person who goes out trying to hurt people.”Gardner says he “really debated” the decision. His one and only mixed martial arts match, a win in late 2004, helped Gardner decide he didn’t want to profit off of inflicting pain.“Yeah, I could have made a lot of money, but at the end of the day, I looked back and my mom was the foundation of me as a person,” he said. “Was I going let her down because I made these bad choices?”Also Read: Owen Hart's Widow Recounts the First 'Fracture' in Her Relationship With Bret HartWe asked Gardner if he was more concerned at the time about hurting others (it still happens in scripted pro-wrestling, but not intentionally), engaging in faux competition after being at the pinnacle of the real deal, or the fact that WWE at the time was doing some raunchy “Attitude Era” storylines that wouldn’t jive with his message?It was the combination of all three, Gardner said.“In the conversation, [WWE] said, ‘We may tarnish you, we may drag you through the mud a bit– not mud, but we’re going to bring you down, because everyone wants to see somebody who comes from failure and hardship and loss.’ It’s like the phoenix rising again,” Gardner said. “You know, Kurt Angle was great and great and then everybody disliked him and he came back as a champion again. That’s what they wanna do with your persona. They wanna figure out what is going to help get people interested because if you’re just like happy-go-lucky, ‘shucks,’ ‘darn’ — and then all of a sudden people probably get bored of that. But if you start that way and then turn ‘evil,’ all these type of things, then people will be like, ‘Oh, he’s such a jerk.’ And then you come back. And it’s part of the professional wrestling journey. And I understand it, I could see it.”When reached, WWE did not provide a comment for this story.Ultimately, as it should, the decision to pass came down to mama.“But at the end of the day, my mom saw the thousands and thousands of young wrestlers and young kids who used to look up and say, ‘Man, that’s what I want to be. I wanna be an Olympic champion. I wanna be a fighter. I wanna be somebody who goes through life and never quits on himself,'” Gardner concluded. “My mom saw that and that’s what she wanted me to kind of remember and stick with.”Stick with it Gardner did. Following a very public battle with his weight — one ongoing to this day — that included a 2011 season of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” Gardner attempted a comeback for the 2012 London Olympics. He fell just a few pounds shy of making weight. Since then, Coach Gardner has dedicated himself to teaching the sport to the medalists of tomorrow.(Editor’s note: Our conversation with Gardner took place in late Spring 2020. It was timed to the planned release of the documentary “Rulon Gardner Won’t Die.” The doc’s Olympic Channel debut has since been delayed multiple times, and it still does not yet have a premiere date.)Read original story Rulon Gardner Explains Why Talks With WWE Broke Down – Twice At TheWrap
Former UFC and mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor was arrested in France Saturday in response to accusations of attempted sexual assault and indecent exposure, for which a complaint was filed on Sept. 10.The attempted assault allegedly took place at a bar, according to TMZ, but no other details about the incident have been confirmed. McGregor is being held in custody on the island of Corsica, where he was vacationing, according to reporting from TMZ Sports.A spokesperson for McGregor said in an email to TheWrap, “Conor McGregor vigorously denies any accusation of misconduct. He has been interviewed and released.”Also Read: Another Trump Tweet About Voting Twice Slapped With Warning Label by TwitterAudie Attar, chief executive of McGregor’s management firm, Los Angeles-based Paradigm Sports Management, said in a statement provided to TheWrap, “I am irate and putting out a warning loud and clear: Conor McGregor is not and will not be a target for those seeking to score a headline or a payday.”Corsica officials published a statement to the Agence France-Presse newswire service Saturday, confirming McGregor was taken into custody. “Following a complaint filed on September 10 denouncing acts that could be described as attempted sexual assault and sexual exhibition, Mr. Conor Anthony Mac Gregor was the subject of a hearing by the gendarmerie services.”The full AFP press release, translated to English from French, is available from the Straits Times.Also Read: 'Doom Patrol' Gets Season 3 Pickup and a Full Move to HBO MaxMcGregor is no stranger to encounters with the law or domestic violence complaints. In fact, the mug shot above was taken last March after he was arrested on a felony robbery charge in Miami after smashing a fan’s cell phone. The fighter was also under investigation for a reported sexual assault that was said to have taken place last year at a hotel in Ireland.Though he retired from MMA fighting after winning a match by TKO in January 2019 against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in UFC 246, McGregor has teased a possible return to the sport, tweeting that he’d let the UFC’s drug testers onto his yacht to take samples.McGregor won the UFC title for featherweights in 2015 and 2016, and lightweights from 2016 to 2018. In 2017, he suffered a rare defeat at the hands of American boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, a match which had a whopping $130 million prize pool.Read original story UFC Fighter Conor McGregor Arrested After Accusations of Sexual Assault, Indecent Exposure At TheWrap
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Naomi Osaka said she is "creeped out" by people on social media who urge her to 'maintain her innocence' on her swimsuit pictures.
John Cena took to Instagram to post a photo of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and again without a caption.
The Walt Disney Company has signed a first-look deal with Colin Kaepernick and his production arm, Ra Vision Media.The partnership will focus on telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity, and per ESPN “provide a new platform to showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers.” The deal encompasses multiple Disney platforms including ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated, the company’s website focused on sports and culture.The first project in development as part of this deal is an ESPN-produced docuseries chronicling Kaepernick’s journey. Using extensive new interviews and a never-before-seen archive that documents his last five years, Kaepernick will tell his story from his perspective. Libby Geist, Kevin Merida and Connor Schell will executive produce for ESPN. Former ESPN staffer Jemele Hill will also be a producer.Also Read: Ava DuVernay to Executive Produce Scripted Series Based on Colin Kaepernick's High School Years“During this unprecedented time, The Walt Disney Company remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters,” said Disney executive chairman Bob Iger. “Colin’s experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain, and we look forward to working with him on this important collaboration.”In 2016, Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games to protest police brutality against minorities and racial injustice. That was Kaepernick’s final season in the league, though there has been increased optimism that he could find his way back in light of the NFL’s stronger stance on combating systemic racism.“I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,” said Kapernick. “I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”Netflix is already giving Kaepernick’s life the scripted treatment, with Ava DuVernay producing a series based on his high school years.The six-episode limited series, which will focus on the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s high school years, will be narrated and executive produced by Kaepernick. “Colin in Black & White” follows Kaepernick’s early life as a Black child growing up with a white adopted family. It will chronicle Kaepernick’s football journey during the same years he spent defining his identity, according to Netflix.Read original story Disney Signs Colin Kaepernick to First-Look Deal At TheWrap
Former ESPN radio host and commentator Will Cain is the new co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend.” He will make his debut on the weekend morning show on Saturday, August 15, alongside co-hosts Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth.In a Monday statement to coincide with the announcement, Cain said, “I am excited to join the team at FOX & Friends Weekend and look forward to building upon my experience in sports, news and politics on the number one morning show in the country.”Gavin Hadden, vice president of morning programming, also issued a statement: “Will has a unique ability to connect with an audience on a wide variety of topics and will make an excellent addition to the ‘Fox & Friends’ franchise.”Also Read: Fox News' Pete Hegseth Cheers People Defying Stay-at-Home OrdersMost recently, Cain was a personality on ESPN, hosting his own daily radio program, “The Will Cain Show.” He was also a common panelist on the morning debate show “First Take.” Prior to that, Cain was a political analyst on CNN, c0-hosting “In the Arena with Eliot Spitzer” and moving on to “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”Cain is rounding out an evolving cast on the show’s couch: “Fox & Friends Weekend” brought Bila on to the show, which airs Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. ET to 10 a.m. ET, in April 2019.Read original story Former ESPN Personality Will Cain to Co-Host ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ At TheWrap
WWE is “looking into” Candy Cartwright’s accusation that Matt Riddle choked her in a car and pressured her into oral sex in 2018. A person with knowledge of the pro-wrestling company’s booking plans told TheWrap that WWE is not pulling Riddle from his “Friday Night SmackDown” debut on Fox this evening.Tonight’s “SmackDown,” and thus Riddle’s debut, was pre-taped, a second person with knowledge of the plan told us.“We take any allegation of this nature very seriously and are looking into the matter,” WWE initially said in a statement to TheWrap.Hours later, the company sent us this: “Individuals are responsible for their own personal actions. WWE has zero tolerance for matters involving domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Upon arrest for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately suspended. Upon conviction for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately terminated. WWE’s ability to fine, suspend or terminate a WWE talent will not be, however, limited or compromised in any manner in the event incontrovertible evidence of such illegal misconduct is presented to WWE.”Also Read: Owen Hart's Widow Recounts the First 'Fracture' in Her Relationship With Bret HartStill later, Riddle’s lawyer sent us the following statement:“The allegations by this independent female performer are completely false and another attempt to harass and humiliate Mr. and Mrs. Riddle and to try to tarnish their reputation in the community.”“We have been aware for the last two years of this performer stalking the Riddle family.”“In 2019, our firm had drafted a pleading against this performer to seek an injunction for cyberstalking in the Circuit Court for Orange County, Florida.”TheWrap reached out to Cartwright via email, but we did not hear back. We also reached out to Fox Sports for comment regarding the decision to air Riddle’s debut tonight, though we did not immediately hear back.Having joined the “SmackDown” brand, Riddle is now a member of WWE’s main roster. The former mixed martial artist, who calls himself the “King of Bros,” had thrived in the NXT ranks. Riddle has made headlines on wrestling blogs for feuding with legendary professional wrestling Bill Goldberg, known as “Goldberg” in WCW and WWE, away from the mat.Cartwright has wrestled off-and-on in Shine wrestling since 2016. She is currently the Evolve Wrestling social media ambassador.Also Read: NXT Champion Adam Cole Has the Best Story About His First WWE Gig (Video)“I’m posting this because I have been so sad for so long,” Cartwright wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “I didn’t realize that what he did to me was not ok. I realize now, reading these other brave women’s stories, that I can’t be afraid anymore and I have to speakout““Back in May of 2018 I was riding with Matt Riddle and a few other wrestlers. During the van ride, when the 3 other wrestlers had fallen asleep, Matt asked me to ‘hop on his dick,'” she continued. “When I refused (although we had previously been together I was incredibly uncomfortable in that setting ) When I said no, he grabbed me by my throat, choked me and said ‘what if I just made you?’ I ended up giving him oral sex (praying someone wouldn’t wake up) to get out of having intercourse with him. It was incredibly humiliating.”Cartwright concluded her thread: “It is never ok to put your hands on a woman, it’s also not ok to not listen when she says no.”Also Read: WWE Consolidates 'Raw' and 'SmackDown' Creative TeamsCartwright’s tweets are posted below.I’m posting this because I have been so sad for so long. I didn’t realize that what he did to me was not ok. I realize now, reading these other brave women’s stories, that I can’t be afraid anymore and I have to speakout— Candy Cartwright (@CandyCartwright) June 19, 2020Back in May of 2018 I was riding with Matt Riddle and a few other wrestlers. During the van ride, when the 3 other wrestlers had fallen asleep, Matt asked me to “hop on his dick”. When I refused (although we had previously been together I was— Candy Cartwright (@CandyCartwright) June 19, 2020It is never ok to put your hands on a woman, it’s also not ok to not listen when she says no.— Candy Cartwright (@CandyCartwright) June 19, 2020The professional wrestling world was rocked on Thursday and Friday when (mostly) women posted their stories of misconduct and abuse in the business with the hashtag SpeakingOut.“SmackDown” airs Friday nights from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fox.Read original story WWE Is ‘Looking Into’ Candy Cartwright’s Assault Accusation, but Not Pulling Matt Riddle From ‘SmackDown’ Debut (Exclusive) At TheWrap
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CBS News responded Thursday after morning anchor Gayle King tweeted about backlash she received from her Wednesday interview with Lisa Leslie. The network said it is “addressing the internal process that led to this” after King blamed CBS News for only posting a shortened clip of the exchange.“Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant,” the network said in a statement. “An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made.”“I’ve been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant,” King said in a video posted to Twitter Thursday morning. “I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me, too. I am mortified, I am embarrassed and I am very angry. Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview, totally taken out of context and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring.”Also Read: Washington Post Reinstates Reporter, Now Says Her Kobe Bryant Tweet Didn't Violate RulesKing trended on Twitter Wednesday as viewers tore about her interview with Leslie, a former professional basketball player and current studio analyst for Fox Sports Florida’s Orlando Magic broadcasts. In the clip that trended, King presses Leslie on Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case. In the aftermath, the majority of anger directed at King from the public stemmed from Bryant’s inability to speak for himself on the subject, as he died in a helicopter crash last month.The journalist said she was “advised to say nothing,” but felt she had to speak up about what she felt was an out-of-context clipping and posting of a small moment in a larger interview.A representative for CBS News did not immediately return a request for comment.My perspective (1/2) pic.twitter.com/tUYK0yGh9q\- Gayle King (@GayleKing) February 6, 2020Read original story CBS News Responds to Gayle King’s Criticism of Network’s Poorly Edited Clip of Her Lisa Leslie Interview At TheWrap
Super Bowl LIV drew 102 million total viewers on Sunday, counting Fox, Fox Deportes and Fox’s, the NFL’s and Verizon’s digital properties. A(nother) postseason comeback victory by the Kansas City Chiefs kept eyeballs glued to the screen.Sunday’s all-in audience was about 1.3% higher than 2019’s comparable number. The 102-million tally made yesterday’s contest the 10th most-watched Super Bowl in history.Last year’s Super Bowl LIII received 98.2 million viewers on CBS alone, according to Nielsen, marking the first time since 2009 the big game hadn’t surpassed 100 million viewers. Counting streaming, the 2019 game tallied 100.7 million viewers. Those numbers were (both) down 5% from Super Bowl LII.Also Read: What Cable Show Is the Most Watched on Super Bowl Sunday?The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, 31-20. Read our full game recap here.Super Bowl LIV took place in Miami, Fla., with the Chiefs representing the AFC and 49ers the NFC. San Fran had finished the regular season at 13-3, Kansas City was 12-4.This was the first Super Bowl win for the Chiefs in 50 years. It was the first for head coach Andy Reid, who previously coached the Philadelphia Eagles.Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would shake off a rocky start and go on to become the game’s MVP. Each year, the Super Bowl is the MVP among all TV shows. The Oscars, which air on ABC this coming Sunday, will finish runner-up.Also Read: 'The Masked Singer' Season 3 Premiere Lands 23.7 Million Viewers After Super Bowl LIVThe 2020 Super Bowl kicked off around 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. It ended at roughly 10:11 p.m. ET/7:11 p.m. PT.Fox’s Season 3 premiere of “The Masked Singer” followed last night’s Super Bowl. Read that recap — including the big reveal of who donned the Robot costume — here.“The Masked Singer” posted 23.7 million viewers and an 8.1 rating among adults 18-49. Not surprisingly, those numbers mark the unscripted series’ highest rating and largest audience of all time. They were improvements from last year’s debut of “The World’s Best” on CBS.Read original story Super Bowl LIV Scores 102 Million Viewers At TheWrap
Fox’s Season 3 premiere of “The Masked Singer” landed 23.7 million total viewers on Sunday, immediately following Super Bowl LIV.See where that ranks historically by clicking here.Last year, CBS launched “The World’s Best” out of Super Bowl LIII. The James Corden-hosted competition series drew 22.22 million total viewers. That was down 18% from the prior year’s “This Is Us” on NBC.On Sunday, Super Bowl LIV scored 102 million total viewers. Each year, the big game provides (by far) the biggest lead-in on all of television. Find our recap of the big game here. A(nother) late comeback victory by the Kansas City Chiefs kept eyeballs glued to the screen.Also Read: 'The Masked Singer' Season 3 Unmasks Its First Celebrity Masked Singer: And the Robot Is... (Video)Last night, rapper Lil Wayne was the first celebrity booted from Fox’s oddball singing competition. He was revealed to be the Robot. The emcee’s new album, “Funeral,” came out on Friday.“Beat Shazam” host Jamie Foxx was a guest judge on the premiere episode of Season 3.The third season lineup of “Masked Singer” contestants includes Llama, Banana, Miss Monster, Frog, Mouse, Robot, Kangaroo, White Tiger, Turtle, Astronaut, Swan, Kitty, Bear, Elephant, Rhino, T-Rex, Night Angel and Taco. Between those 18 competitors they’ve “amassed a combined 69 Grammy Award nominations, 88 Gold records, 11 Super Bowl appearances, three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, more than 160 tattoos and one title in the Guinness Book of World Records,” according to Fox.Also Read: Super Bowl LIV Scores 102 Million ViewersAccording to Fox, the format will be changing slightly in season three. “The contestants will be split into three groups of six – Group A, B, and C. Group A will kick off the first three episodes as they whittle down from 6 to 3 singers,” the studio said in a statement. “Then we will meet Group B as they go from 6 to 3, then Group C. The final 9 contestants from these three groups will then come together and battle it out the rest of the season for the golden mask trophy. As always, one celebrity will still be unmasked in every episode, including the premiere.”A new episode of “The Masked Singer” will air Wednesday at 8/7c on Fox, which is the show’s regular night and time for the rest of the season.Read original story ‘The Masked Singer’ Season 3 Premiere Lands 23.7 Million Viewers After Super Bowl LIV At TheWrap
Do someone need a geography lesson?President Trump congratulated the Kansas City Chiefs for winning the Super Bowl LIV Sunday night, but in doing so, misidentified exactly which of the 50 states Kansas City is located in.In a now-deleted tweet that was captured in numerous screen grabs, the president wrote, “Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure. You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!”Also Read: Mike Bloomberg Super Bowl Ad Tackles Gun Violence With Story of Slain Football Player (Video)While part of Kansas City stretches across the boarder between Kansas and Missouri, the Chiefs play in Missouri and the city and its team are largely considered Missourian. The tweet was deleted and reposted, but with the correct state included. Trump and his gaffe trended on Twitter overnight and into Monday morning as politicos tore into him and appealed to voters in states like Kansas and Missouri to consider the implications of the tweet.Filmmaker and Twitter personality Andy Ostroy wrote that the president “spends bazillions on a SuperBowl ad to convince middle America to vote for him and he doesn’t know the difference between Kansas and Missouri. Typical Trump foot-in-mouth disease…”“I urge the people of Kansas and Missouri to think about this in November,” wrote actor and writer Mike Birbiglia. “He doesn’t know who you are. He doesn’t know where you live. He doesn’t know anything about you.”Former Missouri senator and current NBC News analyst Claire McCaskill summed up her thoughts on Twitter like this: “It’s Missouri you stone cold idiot.”Read original story Trump Mocked After He Tweets the Wrong State Won the Super Bowl: ‘Typical Trump Foot-in-Mouth Disease’ At TheWrap
Super Bowl LIV (that’s 54, for some of you) is here and will see the San Francisco 49ers take on the reigning league MVP in Patrick Mahomes, the Legion of Zoom and the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s been 50 years since the red and yellow were in a Super Bowl game. Here are some of the famous faces that will be cheering them on along with all the drunk would be tailgaters (sorry Chiefs fans) when the team heads to Miami for the big game.Paul Rudd: It would seem irresponsible not to start this list with Paul Rudd, who is arguably the celebrity most know as a diehard fan of not only the Kansas City Chiefs, but the city’s baseball team the Royals as well. When the Royals clinched a playoff spot in 2014, Rudd, who grew up in Lenexa, Kan. and attended the University of Kansas, jokingly invited fans to a party at his mother’s house.Also Read: Will 49ers-Chiefs Stop the Super Bowl's 4-Year TV Ratings Slide?Rob Riggle: The funny man and former Marine grew up just outside Kansas City in Overland Park, Kan. and was also a fixture during the Royals recent two World Series campaigns. Riggle told a Chiefs team blog that he’s been waiting for the Chiefs to go to the Super Bowl his entire life.Also Read: Super Bowl Parties 2020: TheWrap's Ultimate Guide to the Hottest Invites in Miami (Updating)Jason Sudeikis: Though younger than Paul Rudd, Sudeikis went to the same high school in Kansas as the superhero actor. He was also a fixture at games during the Royals’ playoff runs and has been a staunch supporter of Kansas City, even wearing a t-shirt of a popular Irish pup in Kansas City’s historic Westport neighborhood in the above photo.Also Read: The Super Bowl Has Generated $3.6 Billion-Plus in Ad Revenue in the Past 10 YearsEric Stonestreet: The “Modern Family” actor grew up on livestock farm in Kansas City, Kan. (which is different from Kansas City, Mo). But if you question his love of Chiefs, just scroll through his Instagram to see photos of him in the locker room and video of him beating the drum during home games.Brad Pitt: If Paul Rudd is the actor most famously known to be a Chiefs fan, then Brad Pitt is simply the most famous Chiefs fan. While walking the red carpet at the 2020 SAG Awards, which happened to be the same day the Chiefs punched their ticket to the big game, fellow Chiefs fans tossed Pitt a hat to rock on the carpet.Melissa Etheridge: The country rock icon, from Leavenworth, Kan., is a longtime supporter of the red and yellow. She even sang the National Anthem ahead of the AFC Championship game last year agains the New England Patriots.Henry Cavill: The Kansas City Chiefs have a Superman, which is fitting, since the comic book character grew up just over the state line in Kansas. Cavill, however, is English from Jersey in the Channel Islands. That however hasn’t stopped him from cheering on the Chiefs via his Instagram.Read original story Super Bowl LIV: Kansas City Chiefs’ Most Famous Fans, From Paul Rudd to Melissa Etheridge (Photos) At TheWrap
Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez was suspended Sunday after tweeting about the 2003 rape case against Kobe Bryant, who was among nine people killed hours earlier in helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.After posting a link to a 2016 Daily Beast story detailing the rape accusations against the Lakers star, Sonmez then posted a screenshot of her work email inbox to illustrate the threats she received as a result, according to one screenshot and an independent reporter.“National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy,” Washington Post managing editor Tracy Grant in a statement to TheWrap. “The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues,” she added.Also Read: Tiger Woods Learned of Kobe Bryant's Death Minutes After Finishing a Round of GolfSonmez’s suspension was praised on Sunday night for being, some believed, a direct result of her posting a link to the April 2016 Daily Beast article that outlined the 2003 accusation of rape against the basketball legend. Bryant was charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment at the time, but the case never made it to trial and it was later settled in a civil lawsuit.Also Read: BBC Apologizes for Using LeBron James Footage in Kobe Bryant MemorialSonmez tweeted a link to the article with no caption, following it up to say she was receiving threats and believed “any public figure is worth remembering in their totality,” according to screenshots of the now-deleted tweets.Those screenshots came from independent journalist Matthew Keys, who wrote that Sonmez “deleted her crass tweets” about the legend, but “screen grabs are forever.”Also Read: Kobe Bryant Crash Fatalities Include College Baseball Coach and His Family, Girls Basketball CoachKeys followed up his statement about what he labeled her “crass tweets” to say she had been suspended, adding in the early hours of Monday morning that a Washington Post employee told him the suspension was not due to the posting of the rape case article. In fact, he said, it was because of the screenshot Sonmez posted of her work email inbox, which showed the names of critics.A spokesperson for the paper did not elaborate on the content of the tweets that Grant had described as displaying “poor judgment.”Read original story Washington Post Suspends Reporter After She Tweets About Kobe Bryant Rape Case At TheWrap
The identities of all nine victims who died with Kobe Bryant aboard a downed helicopter on Sunday morning have been identified by the Los Angeles Police Department and multiple reports.Among those who lost their lives along with Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, who was a club basketball teammate of Gianna’s. Also aboard the helicopter was Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at an elementary school in Orange County, California.The remaining three passengers were identified on Monday as pilot Ara Zobayan and Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton, 13.Riley Chester, the son and brother of the victims, said on Instagram: “Rest In Peace to the most amazing Mother and sister. I love you Pay Pay and Mom RIP,” accompanied by two heart emojis and pictures of them, per the New York Post.Also Read: Michael Jordan Remembers Kobe Bryant: 'He Was Like a Little Brother to Me'Zobayan was an “instrument rated” pilot, according to KTLA 5 reporter Christina Pascucci, which “means he was rated to fly in fog/clouds.” Several of Zobayan’s friends have identified him as the pilot of the helicopter, per Pascucci.The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter carrying everyone aboard was traveling to a basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, when it went down in the nearby foggy hills west of the San Fernando Valley Sunday at about 10 a.m. PT, officials said.Also Read: Grammys Open With Kobe Bryant Tribute at Staples Center: 'Tonight Is for Kobe'The crash caused a wildfire that was contained to the Calabasas crash site, which was not near any homes or major roadways. When authorities arrived at the mountainside area, they found no survivors in the fiery wreckage.Investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner quickly arrived at the scene and personnel from DMEC’s Special Operations Response Team recovered the bodies.Also Read: Kobe Bryant Remembered by Laker Legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-JabbarThe site is still being preserved for federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.Read original story All 9 Victims in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Victims Identified At TheWrap
While authorities have yet to officially confirm the identity all of the people killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, information is coming out about some of the other people who lost their lives on Sunday.Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa were killed in the crash, according to the college. Altobelli’s family confirmed their deaths to the school.“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” OCC athletic director Jason Kehler said in a statement. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none — he treated them like family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Altobelli family during this time of tragedy.”Also Read: Grammys Open With Kobe Bryant Tribute at Staples Center: 'Tonight Is for Kobe'Altobelli coached at OCC for 27 years, leading the school to four state titles. Altobelli coached New York Yankees star Aaron Judge as well as New York Mets all-star Jeff McNeil at one point during their careers.In addition, Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Corona Del Mar, Calif., died in the crash as well, Mauser’s husband said on social media. He wrote on his Facebook page, “My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much.”Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted about Mauser’s passing, writing, “This devastating tragedy gets worse by the hour. So much pain for so many local families. Our hearts are broken & grieving for the families impacted.”I just learned that our amazing Matt Mauser of TiajuanaDogs lost his wife Christina in the crash. She coached the girls team. This devastating tragedy gets worse by the hour. So much pain for so many local families. Our hearts are broken & grieving for the families impacted.— Mayor Katrina Foley (@KatrinaFoley) January 27, 2020Also Read: Kobe Bryant Remembered by Laker Legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-JabbarDr. Jonathan Lucas, Los Angeles County Coroner, said the recovery effort of the bodies could take days to complete due to the terrain of the crash site. He added, “Our next priority after recovery is identification and notification of the families.”The helicopter was traveling to a basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., when it went down in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley on Sunday at about 10 a.m. PT, officials said.The crash caused a wildfire that was contained to the crash site and was not near any homes or major roadways. When authorities arrived at the mountainside area, they found no survivors in the fiery wreckage.Bryant’s death came just one day after he was passed on the NBA’s all-time scoring list by current Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.Read original story Kobe Bryant Crash Fatalities Include College Baseball Coach and His Family, Girls Basketball Coach At TheWrap
Jack Nicholson had the best seat in the house at Staples Center for much of Kobe Bryant’s illustrious NBA career. As he put it, “I sat right behind his jump shot on the lefthand side.”Nicholson, who is almost as well known for being a Los Angeles Lakers fan as he is a prolific and Oscar-winning actor, gave a rare telephone interview on Sunday after Bryant’s untimely passing on Sunday, sharing his feelings about the Lakers superstar he watched up close and personal for 20 years.“My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A.,” Nicholson told CBS2‘s Jim Hill. “Where everything was solid, there’s just a hole in the wall.”Also Read: Shaq 'Sick' Over Kobe Bryant's Death: 'There's No Words to Express the Pain I'm Going Through'Nicholson reminisced with Hill, recalling the first time he met a young Bryant: “I remember him in totality as just how great a player he was. But you know I teased him the first time we met. It was in the (Madison Square) Garden in New York and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy.”The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said nine people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., that killed the former Lakers star and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.During his 20-year career with the Lakers, Bryant won five NBA championships. Two years ago, he shared an Oscar with animator Glen Keane for the animated short “Dear Basketball.”An investigation into the crash is still ongoing.Read original story LA Lakers Superfan Jack Nicholson Reacts to Kobe Bryant’s Death: ‘It’s Just a Terrible Event’ At TheWrap
Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has purchased a 60-second commercial slot during Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LIV next month, a rare move for a presidential campaign given the plus-size cost for advertising on TV’s most-watched show.A rep for Bloomberg’s campaign confirmed that it decided to launch a one-minute commercial during the Super Bowl after learning that Donald Trump’s re-election campaign had booked its own 60-second spot which was reported by Politico. The Trump campaign later confirmed on its official Twitter account that it had purchased the ad time.“The biggest point is getting under Trump’s skin,” Michael Frazier, a spokesman for the Bloomberg campaign, told The New York Times, which first reported the ad buy. “The ad is part of Mike’s strategy of running a national campaign that focuses on states where the general election will be decided, parts of the country that are often overlooked.” Frazier did not say how much the campaign spent on the ad, only that it was “market rate,” according to the Times.A rep for Fox did not respond to a request for comment. Typically, the network that airs the Super Bowl does not divulge who buys ad time for the big game.Also Read: The Super Bowl Has Generated $3.6 Billion-Plus in Ad Revenue in the Past 10 YearsFox had previously stated that 30-second commercial spots for the Super Bowl were going for north of $5 million, which would put Bloomberg’s ad buy at more than $10 million.The Super Bowl will be held Sunday, Feb. 2. The first primary is set for Feb. 3 with the Iowa Caucus, followed by New Hampshire on Feb. 11, Nevada (Feb. 22) and South Carolina (Feb. 29). The Super Bowl is annually watched by more than 100 million viewers (though last year’s game fellow below that mark on TV).The first week of Bloomberg’s candidacy included more than $30 million in TV ads from Nov. 25-Dec. 3, the most ever for most ad dollars ever spent by a political candidate in a single week. It far outpaced the old record of $24 million by Barack Obama during the last week of his 2012 re-election campaign.Bloomberg, a media mogul whose net worth Forbes has pegged at $54 billion, is largely self-financing his long-shot presidential campaign.Also Read: Why the 2020 Election Will (Briefly) Stem the Tide of Television's Declining Ad RevenuePolitical advertising spending is expected to near $10 billion in 2020 (a 63% increase from 2016), with TV looking to get the biggest chunk. The influx of campaign money has led GroupM, the largest media-buying firm, to predict that TV ad revenue will increase by more than 5% in 2020. That $10 billion may only be the tip of the iceberg. By the time we hit Election Day in November, that amount could be much, much higher.Typically, political TV ad dollars are funneled towards local TV — GroupM’s Brian Wieser says “maybe half” of all political TV ad spending will be on the local level — and targeted towards primary voters, and then later, voters in swing states like Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio. Then you factor in elections on the local level, from Senate and House seats to State Legislatures. But Wieser says the deep-pocketed Bloomberg is taking on a different tactic.“It looks like that campaign’s play is to go for Super Tuesday. That means you’re going to run ads nationwide, and that means national TV may very well be a primary beneficiary,” he said.Read original story Mike Bloomberg Buys a 60-Second Super Bowl Ad for $10 Million At TheWrap
New Orleans-based sports reporter Carley McCord was among the five people killed on Saturday when a small plane crashed into the parking lot of a post office in Lafayette, Louisiana, the Associated Press reported.McCord — who covered the New Orleans Pelicans and the New Orleans Saints and freelanced as a sideline reporter for a number of networks, including ESPN and WDSU — was on her way to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl game between Louisiana State University and University of Oklahoma when the plane went down shortly after takeoff.KATC TV3 reported that the Lafayette Fire Department identified McCord as a victim, and her husband, Steven Ensminger Jr. confirmed her death to the AP.Also Read: Lee Mendelson, Producer of 'Peanuts' and 'Garfield' TV Specials, Dies at 86McCord’s father-in-law, Steve Ensminger, is the offensive coordinator for LSU. Before the start of Saturday’s game, he took the field in tears with members of the team and watched them warm-up.“We are devastated by the loss of such an amazing talent and valued member of our WDSU family,” WDSU president and general manager Joel Vilmenay said in a statement. “Carley’s passion for sports journalism and her deep knowledge of Louisiana sports, from high school to the professional ranks, made her an exceptional journalist. As we reflect on her impressive body of work, we offer our deepest condolences to her family.”Kevin Jackson witnessed the crash and told KLFY-TV he heard a “massive explosion” and saw a “big old ball of flame” when the plane crashed.Read original story Carley McCord, New Orleans-Based Sports Reporter, Dies in Plane Crash at 30 At TheWrap