After the USWNT’s World Cup win, Twitter users were calling the Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe their president.
Baseball’s best player gets his due
The MLB All-Star Game is a collection of the greatest talent in the sport, and all will be on display at Progressive Field in Cleveland. But there is one main function for the midsummer classic — to provide a national showcase for Mike Trout, the best player of his generation.
Trout is revered in baseball circles, widely considered the greatest talent in baseball. He’s adored on baseball Twitter and by many fans of the sport, but that is only a small niche of the national audience. He’s not a national star like LeBron, not plastered all over our televisions in commercials like Aaron Rodgers.
Part Trout’s relative anonymity is his own doing. He hasn’t typically sought out too many national ads, though he did disco with Andrew Luck for one spot. MLB finally got the clue on how to better market their greatest star this year, first featuring him at the center of their “Let the kids play” campaign, an homage to the great young talent in the sport, prevalent with the young rosters in Cleveland, including a National League lineup that has the youngest average age in All-Star history.
Another MLB ad dropped this week captures Trout for who he is, a down-to-earth baseball junkie who loves the Philadelphia Eagles, the Weather Channel, and tweeting out his baseball travel itinerary.
“Some say I’m the best to play the game,” Trout says in the ad. “Me? I just want to play.”
Those who say Trout is the best are correct. The All-Star Game is most of America’s main chance to watch the star outfielder. The Angels have made the postseason just once in Trout’s career, and they were swept out in the first round in 2014. Trout’s time on national TV with a captive audience has been limited to 11 games: 8 All-Star Game (including Tuesday), 3 playoff games. it’s not enough.
The world needs more Trout in their living rooms, and we get that Tuesday night. For those unfamiliar with Trout, here are some facts to get to know baseball’s best.
My god, the black ink
Sometimes it’s fun just to peruse Mike Trout’s Baseball-Reference page, or his FanGraphs page (what, you don’t have these bookmarked?), just to marvel at his statistical exploits. If you lead a league in a category in any given season, that stat will be in bold on a Baseball-Reference player page, coined “black ink” by Bill James years ago. Let’s boldly take a gander at Trout’s career to date:
Trout is leading the American League in 2019 in home runs (his 28 are an Angels record before the All-Star break), RBI, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, total bases, and if we venture over to FanGraphs he’s also leading in wOBA (.443) and wRC+ (186) too.
This is what Trout does.
Trout has been voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America in the top two in AL MVP balloting six times, including wins in 2014 and 2016. Trout’s worst finish in MVP voting was fourth place in 2017, a season during which he was injured and limited to only 114 games. He missed a month and a half and still was fourth in MVP voting. Legend.
He has been duly recognized as a great, great player, yet still there is an argument that even with those lofty finishes Trout is still somehow underrated.
Master of WAR
We don’t necessarily need Wins Above Replacement to see that Trout is baseball’s best player. On an empirical level Trout does just about everything well — he hits, and hits for power, he has a good eye, he plays above average defensively in center field, he runs the bases well. But a glance at WAR tells us how dominant Trout has been. In his first seven years, Trout led the AL in WAR four times and finished second twice more. His worst finish was fourth place in 2017, a 6.6 WAR year that would be the best season of most players’ careers and was only relatively limited for Trout because he was injured and only played 114 games. He’s leading the AL in WAR again in 2019, too.
Trout already has 70.1 WAR in his career, a remarkable achievement for someone who is still just 27 years old. He has the most WAR through that age-27 season, which for Trout still has 2½ months remaining — the only others close are Ty Cobb (69.0) and Mickey Mantle (68.1). Trout is essentially already an inner-circle Hall of Famer, and he’s only in his eighth full season.
To put Trout’s career WAR in perspective, it’s more than three of the four players inducted to the Hall of Fame later in July, more than Edgar Martinez (68.4), Roy Halladay (64.3) and Mariano Rivera (56.2). Only Mike Mussina is ahead of Trout at 82.8 WAR, though at the pace Trout is at he might pass Mussina by the end of 2020.
This is the eight All-Star Game nod for Trout, and the seventh straight year he was elected to start. He’ll bat third and play center field for the American League.
This is Trout’s seventh actual All-Star Game, since he missed the 2017 game due to injury. He has at least one hit in each of his first six All-Star Games, and at least one extra-base hit in four of his last five midsummer classics. He won All-Star Game MVP in both 2014 and 2015, one of only five players to win the award twice and the only one to do it back-to-back.
In all, Trout is 7-for-15 with three walks in All-Star Game play, with two home runs, two doubles, and a triple.
Trout is one of only 10 players with a career All-Star cycle — at least one home run, one triple, one double, and one single. If he adds one more triple, he’ll join Willie Mays and Steve Garvey as the only players with at least two of each in the All-Star Game.
The Angels suffered an unspeakable tragedy when pitcher Tyler Skaggs died in his hotel room on July 1 in Texas. After the team took the field one night later, it was Trout who stood front and center, starting the press conference by describing how he felt about Skaggs, with tears in his eyes.
That’s who Trout is.
There should be more fans who wear shirts with Trout’s name on them, or better yet, his face!
This is an 80-grade tee.
— Productive Outs (@ProductiveOuts) July 9, 2019
When you have a chance to be immortalized by 1984 Topps on a shirt even though you weren’t born yet in 1984, you have to take it.
Trout should be celebrated more often. With the Angels treading water at 45-46, they probably aren’t making the playoffs in 2019. So for this year, the All-Star Game is all we have to give Trout his national stage. Watch and enjoy.
Italian Olympic swimmer Filippo Magnini was in the right place at the right time on Sunday when a drowning man needed his help. Magnini, a former world champion, is now being hailed as a hero.
The BBC reports that Andrea Benedetto, who had married his husband days earlier, was floating off the beach when the incident happened: “The pair were floating on an inflatable unicorn when Mr Benedetto fell into the water, which was colder than expected, and he was unable to move his limbs due to a medical condition. A strong wind blew the inflatable away, Mr Pakzad explained, and Mr Benedetto’s husband was left trying to keep his partner’s head above water. His friends’ cries for help were heard by lifeguards, who raced to set off in their rescue raft. But 37-year-old Magnini, 1.88m (6ft 2in) tall, was closer and quickly reached the struggling man.”
Benedetto was in shock from the incident and unable to speak, having swallowed a lot of water.
He told BBC News: “When I became conscious my first thought was about my husband. A few hours after the accident I was at the hospital when I realised that Filippo Magnini was the man who saved my life but I didn’t have any chance to thank him as I have no contact with him. I hope to be able to thank him in person.”
Said Magnini: “I just did what I had to.”
Marco Bencivenga, the editor-in-chief of the Cremona local paper La Provincia also reported the incident on his Facebook page.
The post Italian Olympic Swimmer Saves Gay Newlywed from Drowning appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.
CALL EM IN. House Judiciary Committee to subpoena Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, John Kelly and Corey Lewandowski: “The barrage of subpoena authorizations represents a major expansion of the committee’s Trump-focused investigation, casting a wider net from obstruction of justice to hush-money payments. The committee has faced repeated resistance from the White House as it investigates obstruction of justice allegations against the president.”
BACK TO THE GAY BAR? Adele is throwing Jennifer Lawrence a bachelorette party.
NO BLOCKING. U.S. appeals court says Trump can’t block Twitter followers: ‘The court found that the First Amendment does not permit Trump “to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialog because they expressed views with which” he disagreed.’
JEFFREY EPSTEIN. Bill Clinton and Donald Trump say they know nothing about his crimes.
ALEX ACOSTA. Labor Secretary defends role in securing plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein: “The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence. With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator. Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”
OLD TOWN ROAD. Lil Nas X is #1 on Billboard Hot 100 for a 14th week.
GROTESQUE. U.S. Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits: “The AP was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable, jeopardizing their futures.
AVIAN VIGILANTE OF THE DAY. Cockatoo don’t like anti-bird spikes. “The trail of destruction is magnificent.”
ALBUM ANNOUNCE OF THE DAY. Tegan and Sara. “We recorded over 40 songs when we were in high school. But the cassettes were lost. Unheard for 20 years. In 2019, while writing our memoir High School, they were found.”
NAILED. Michael Henry interviews Eliot Glazer.
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE DAY. Ariana Grande “In My Head”.
TOO HOT FOR TUESDAY. Bryce Willard Smithe.
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Heading to Tennesse this week to reconnect with my Faemily and learn some things. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been back. Meeting the Atlanta Fae community was one of the first times in my adult life that I realized there were other people like me. Queer people who were who they were freely. People who let others be who they are without judgement or shame. I’m thankful I have people like this in my life and I can’t wait to see them again!!! Wonder how many names…? . : @erik_carter . . Ps. @j_robot is meeting my Faemily for the first time! I can hardly contain my excitement!!!
The post Tegan and Sara, Alex Acosta, Cockatoo, Adele, Jeffrey Epstein, Lil Nas X, Eliot Glazer: HOT LINKS appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.
This just in: Michael Johnson (a.k.a. “Tiger Mandingo”), who was unfairly sentenced to 30 years in prison by a homophobic jury for not disclosing his HIV status to his sexual partners, has been released from prison 25 years early.
Just to recap: Johnson was accused of “recklessly infecting” multiple male partners with HIV while he was a student at Lindenwood University in Missouri in 2013.
The conviction raised questions about America’s HIV criminalization laws, which activists have long said ignore decades of medical science, fail to actually reduce infection rates, and disproportionately punish black men, as HIV rates are higher among people of color.
Both the American Medical Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America have publicly condemned laws criminalizing HIV.
Nevertheless, Johnson began serving his 30-year sentence in July 2015, spending his entire first year in solitary confinement.
Now, after an appeals court ruled his original trial “fundamentally unfair,” tainted with racism, homophobia, and a prosecuting attorney hellbent on getting a harsher sentence than many murders receive, Johnson has been released from prison.
“I feel great,” he told reporters as he exited the Boonville Correctional Center this morning. “Leaving prison is such a great feeling.”
Timothy Lohmar, the original prosecuting attorney who sought a life sentence for Johnson and who, at one point, threatened him with 96 years imprisonment, has since changed his tune.
He now calls the whole case “embarrassing” and says that he was “forced to operate under the current laws,” which he believes are “antiquated, outdated, and based upon something that science would prove is not accurate.”
Lohmar is now lobbying to get Missouri’s laws around HIV changed.
Currently on the table is HB167, which would reduce the punishment for failing to disclose one’s HIV status from a felony to a misdemeanor. It would also take into account whether a condom was used and if a person was taking medication.
Johnson, who must still serve three years of parole, says that if there’s any good to come from his trial, it’s that the state will update its draconian laws to ensure cases like his never happen again.
“Maybe my trial did happen in some way to motivate some change,” he says.
Reflecting on the outpouring of support he’s received over the last six years, Johnson says, “It’s good I had the support of everyone who wrote me letters. There are times when you get down, and it helps that people knew why I was fighting the system.”
With all the big names gone, who’s left? There aren’t many.
The opening eight hours of NBA free agency answered most of the questions we had about the future of the NBA, and the stunning Kawhi Leonard decision to join the Clippers with Paul George answered the rest.
So who’s left on the board? Not too many people, now that the rest of the dominos are falling. Here are the best free agents left.
Last update: July 9, 10:40 a.m. ET
1. Kelly Oubre (restricted)
The 23-year-old forward is still a work in progress, but he could become an excellent role player or even lower-level starter. He scored 17 points per game on 45 percent shooting in 40 games with Phoenix last year. The Suns can match any offer Oubre signs.
2. Kenneth Faried
He hasn’t adjusted to the offensive or defensive ways of modern bigs, but his physicality and interior presence is still effective in spot minutes. He revived his career a bit in Houston last year, scoring 13 points with eight rebounds in 24 minutes.
Sefolosha is a good defensive guard who can fit into any rotation. He averaged a steal in 12 minutes last year, and added four points and three rebounds.
4. Cheick Diallo
Diallo is only 22 and showed promise with New Orleans. He averaged six points with four rebounds on 62 percent shooting last year. Take a chance on Cheick.
At 36, he’s nearing the end of his career, but he was still effective in very limited minutes with Houston last year. He’s a good pickup as a last-resort option for a competitive team.
6. Pau Gasol
Gasol’s season ended early after he had surgery on his foot to repair a stress fracture. And he’s 36 years old. But when healthy, he was still fine last season, averaging four points and four rebounds in 12 minutes.
7. Khem Birch (restricted)
There’s nothing special about his offense (five points per game), but Birch is a really good defender. He’s a good backup center, which is about all that’s left by July 9. The Magic can match any offer he signs.
Jerebko can shoot from deep, making 37 percent of his three attempts per game for the Warriors. Add him for bench depth.
9. Dante Cunningham
Cunningham’s offense isn’t stellar, but defensively, he’s pretty good. He also made 30-of-65 threes he took last year, so maybe he can take (and make) more elsewhere.
10. Nik Stauskas
I’ll never give up on someone who can shoot. He made 37 percent of his threes last year.
In no particular order:
- Carmelo Anthony
- Justin Holiday
- Joakim Noah
- Jeremy Lin
- Trey Lyles (R)
- Monta Ellis
- Amar’e Stoudemire
- Justin Anderson
- Corey Brewer
- Ian Clark
- Iman Shumpert
- Devin Harris
- Andrew Bogut
- Luol Deng
- Shelvin Mack
- Amir Johnson
- Patrick McCaw (R)
- Jose Calderon
- Furkan Korkmaz
- Kosta Koufos
- Raymond Felton
- Jerryd Bayless
- Dragan Bender
- Marquese Chriss
- Greg Monroe
- Jamal Crawford
- Jodie Meeks
- Lance Stephenson
- Sam Dekker
- Wayne Selden
- Zaza Pachulia
- Jerian Grant
- Cameron Payne
- Quincy Pondexter
- Chasson Randle
- Jabari Parker (2 years, $13 million)
- Chandler Parsons (trade with Grizzlies)
- Allen Crabbe (trade with Nets)
- Evan Turner (trade with Blazers)
- Damion Jones (trade with Warriors)
- Kemba Walker (4 years, $141 million via sign-and-trade)
- Daniel Theis (2 years, $10 million)
- Enes Kanter (2 years, $9.7 million)
- Vincent Poirier (2 years, $2.4 million)
- Brad Wanamaker (1 year, $1.45 million)
- Kevin Durant (4 years, $164 million)
- Kyrie Irving (4 years, $137 million)
- DeAndre Jordan (4 years, $40 million)
- Taurean Prince (trade with Hawks)
- Garrett Temple (2 years, $10 million)
- Wilson Chandler (1 year, $2.6 million)
- Theo Pinson (2 years, TBD)
- Terry Rozier (3 years, $57 million via sign-and-trade)
- Thaddeus Young (3 years, $41 million)
- Tomas Satoransky (3 years, $30 million, $25M guaranteed)
- Ryan Arcidiacano (3 years, $9 million)
- Luke Kornet (2 years, TBD)
- Kristaps Porzingis (5 years, $158 million)
- Maxi Kleber (4 years, $35 million)
- Seth Curry (4 years, $32 million)
- Delon Wright (3 years, $29 million via sign-and-trade)
- Dorian Finney-Smith (3 years, $12 million)
- Boban Marjanovic (2 years, $7 million)
- J.J. Barea (1 year, $2.6 million)
- Jerami Grant (trade with Thunder)
- Derrick Rose (2 years, $15 million)
- Tony Snell (trade with Bucks)
- Markieff Morris (2 years, $6.5 million)
- Tim Frazier (1 year, $1.9 million)
Golden State Warriors
- Klay Thompson (5 years, $190 million)
- D’Angelo Russell (4 years, $117 million via sign-and-trade)
- Kevon Looney (3 years, $15 million)
- Glenn Robinson III (2 years, $3.9 million)
- Alec Burks (1 year, $2.3 million)
- Willie Cauley-Stein (1 year, $1.6 million)
- Omari Spellman (trade with Hawks)
- Danuel House (3 years, $11 million)
- Austin Rivers (2 years, $4.5 million)
- Malcolm Brogdon (4 years, $86 million via sign-and-trade)
- Jeremy Lamb (3 years, $31.5 million)
- T.J. Warren (trade with Suns)
- T.J. McConnell (2 years, $7 million)
- Edmond Sumner (3 years, $6.5 million)
Los Angeles Clippers
- Kawhi Leonard (4 years, $141 million)
- Paul George (trade with Thunder)
- Patrick Beverley (3 years, $40 million)
- Ivica Zubac (4 years, $28 million)
- Rodney McGruder (3 years, $15 million)
- Maurice Harkless (trade with Heat)
- JaMychal Green (2 years, $10 million)
Los Angeles Lakers
- Anthony Davis (trade with Pelicans)
- Danny Green (2 years, $30 million)
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2 years, $16.5 million)
- Avery Bradley (2 years, $9.8 million)
- JaVale McGee (2 years, $8.2 million)
- Quinn Cook (2 years, $6 million)
- Alex Caruso (2 years, $5.5 million)
- Rajon Rondo (2 years, $5.2 million)
- DeMarcus Cousins (1 year, $3.5 million)
- Jared Dudley (1 year, $2.6 million)
- Troy Daniels (1 year, $2 million)
- Jonas Valanciunas (3 years, $45 million)
- Jae Crowder (trade with Jazz)
- Andre Iguodala (trade with Warriors)
- Solomon Hill (trade with Hawks)
- Miles Plumlee (trade with Hawks)
- Josh Jackson (trade with Suns)
- De’Anthony Melton (trade with Suns)
- Grayson Allen (trade with Jazz)
- Jimmy Butler (4 years, $141 million via sign-and-trade)
- Meyers Leonard (trade with Blazers)
- Khris Middleton (5 years, $178 million)
- Brook Lopez (4 years, $52 million)
- George Hill (3 years, $29 million)
- Robin Lopez (2 years, $9.7 million)
- Wesley Matthews (1 year, $2.6 million)
- Jon Leuer (trade with Pistons)
- Jake Layman (3 years, $11.5 million)
- Noah Vonleh (1 year, $2.4 million)
- Jordan Bell (1 year, $1.6 million)
- Shabazz Napier (trade with Warriors)
- Treveon Graham (trade with Warriors)
New Orleans Pelicans
- J.J. Redick (2 years, $26.5 million)
- Brandon Ingram (trade with Lakers)
- Lonzo Ball (trade with Lakers)
- Derrick Favors (trade with Jazz)
- Josh Hart (trade with Lakers)
- Darius Miller (2 years, $14.2 million)
- Nicolo Melli (2 years, $8 million)
- Julius Randle (3 years, $63 million)
- Bobby Portis (2 years, $31 million)
- Reggie Bullock (2 years, $21 million)
- Taj Gibson (2 years, $20 million)
- Elfrid Payton (2 years, $16 million)
- Wayne Ellington (2 years, $16 million)
Oklahoma City Thunder
- Danilo Gallinari (trade with Clippers)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (trade with Clippers)
- Mike Muscala (TBD)
- Nerlens Noel (1 year, $2 million)
- Nikola Vucevic (4 years, $100 million)
- Terrence Ross (4 years, $54 million)
- Al-Farouq Aminu (3 years, $29 million)
- Michael Carter-Williams (1 year, $2 million)
- Tobias Harris (5 years, $180 million)
- Al Horford (4 years, $109 million, $97M guaranteed)
- Josh Richardson (trade with Heat)
- Mike Scott (2 years, $9.8 million)
- James Ennis (2 years, $4.1 million)
- Kyle O’Quinn (1 year, $2 million)
- Ricky Rubio (3 years, $51 million)
- Dario Saric (trade with Timberwolves)
- Frank Kaminsky (2 years, $9.8 million)
- Aron Baynes (trade with Celtics)
- Jevon Carter (trade with Grizzlies)
- Hassan Whiteside (trade with Heat)
- Kent Bazemore (trade with Hawks)
- Rodney Hood (2 years, $11.7 million)
- Mario Hezonja (2 years, $3.6 million)
- Anthony Tolliver (1 year, $2.6 million)
- Harrison Barnes (4 years, $85 million)
- Dewayne Dedmon (3 years, $40 million)
- Cory Joseph (3 years, $37 million)
- Trevor Ariza (2 years, $25 million)
- Richaun Holmes (2 years, $9.8 million)
- Rudy Gay (2 years, $32 million)
- DeMarre Carroll (3 years, $21 million)
- Marcus Morris (2 years, $19 million)
- Patrick McCaw (2 years, $8 million)
- Stanley Johnson (2 years, $7.5 million)
- Matt Thomas (3 years, $4.2 million)
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (1 year, $1.7 million)
- Bojan Bogdanovic (4 years, $73 million)
- Mike Conley (trade with Grizzlies)
- Ed Davis (2 years, $10 million)
- Jeff Green (1 year, $2.6 million)
- Emmanuel Mudiay (1 year, $1.7 million)
- Thomas Bryant (3 years, $25 million)
- Ish Smith (2 years, $12 million)
- Davis Bertans (trade with Spurs)
- C.J. Miles (trade with Grizzlies)
- Isaac Bonga (trade with Lakers)
- Moritz Wagner (trade with Lakers)
- Isaiah Thomas (1 year, $2.3 million)
- Jemerrio Jones (trade with Lakers)
Homophobic action group One Million Moms has selected its newest target: the lovable characters of Toy Story 4.
The group, an arm of the American Family Association (itself a notoriously homophobic organization) has a long history of anti-gay campaigns, including boycotts of JC Penney over hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesmodel, and Marvel & DC comics for featuring gay characters in their magazines. One Million Moms also has a history of grossly exaggerating its membership. Despite the name, it contains only a few thousand members.
Now the group has targeted Pixar/Disney for a background scene in Toy Story 4 that shows two moms picking up their child from school. The scene lasts a few seconds at most and contains no special comment on the family other than showing the women hugging their child after class. Still, One Million Moms sees the inclusion as an attack on their religious beliefs.
“The scene is subtle in order to desensitize children,” Monica Cole, a spokesperson for the group said in a statement. “But it is obvious that the child has two mothers, and they are parenting together. Toy Story 4 is the last place parents would expect their children to be confronted with content regarding sexual orientation. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon. It is extremely common yet unnecessary. Disney has decided once again to be politically correct versus providing family-friendly entertainment. Disney should stick to entertaining instead of pushing an agenda and exposing children to controversial topics.”
The proposed boycott has done little to harm the reception of Toy Story 4, which earned rave reviews and had the biggest opening of any movie this year.
Nicki Minaj has pulled out of a concert at Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia, citing the country’s poor record on LGBTQ rights and women’s rights, and its limits on freedom of expression.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” said Minaj to the AP. “While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.”
The Human Rights Foundation called on Minaj to pull out in a statement last week: “The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) considers the Saudi regime to be one of the world’s worst human rights violators and has contacted Minaj, urging her to cancel her performance, refuse the regime’s money, and instead use her global influence to issue a statement demanding the release of the Saudi women activists who are currently in prison. Minaj, who took part in World Pride festivities in her hometown of New York City last month to celebrate LGBTQ rights, will be performing in a country where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or death. In April of this year, at least five men were executed by the Saudi regime for admitting to sexual relations with other men after enduring months of torture.”
Said HRF president and founder Thor Halvorssen: “What is Nicki Minaj thinking? How does she participate at World Pride one week and then hop on a jet to collect millions from a regime that beheaded five gay men this past April? There is no good reason for Minaj to do business with the Saudi dictatorship. If she proceeds with the show, she will be whitewashing the vast array of human rights crimes committed by MBS including torture, rape, extrajudicial assassination, and the slaughter of innocent civilians. HRF’s hope is that Minaj, Liam Payne, and the other headliners will prioritize morals over money, cancel their scheduled performances in Jeddah, and instead use their considerable fame to issue public statements of solidarity with the millions of women living under the oppressive rule of MBS. If Minaj does decide to perform in Jeddah, she should do so only under the condition that the Saudi regime release Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Saddah, and the rest of the Saudi women’s rights activists who have been targeted, harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and sexually assaulted by the government.”
The post Nicki Minaj Pulls Out of Saudi Arabia Concert, Citing LGBTQ, Women’s Rights Abuses appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.
Breaking up is hard to do. Just ask Justin, a member at Vida Fitness in Washington, D.C.
Twitter user Sean Keady recently found the Dear John letter written by Justin’s ex-boyfriend left in the men’s bathroom.
Along with it was a little, ahem, souvenir from the ill-fated romance.
The note read: “Justin, here is your c*ck ring back–I’d rather have a wedding ring. Cannot play your games any longer. Bye, Felicia!”
The note also included an illustration of a middle finger.
Justin I’m sorry there’s some bad news waiting for you in the rooftop bathroom of Vida Fitness pic.twitter.com/VwhAkCyh64
— Sean Keady (@sean_keady) July 6, 2019
The letter (and its accompanying souvenir) was left atop a toilet, presumably for Justin to discover during his workout.
Or perhaps he already found it and forgot it behind? We don’t know anything about this Justin guy, but it sounds like something he might do.
Whatever the story, we’ll likely never know. But one thing is for certain: This may be the gayest breakup in the history of gay breakups.
It seems his Twitter followers are turned on by his tennis wear, his face-smothering thighs, and his prize-winning serpentine tongue.
The post Andy Cohen’s Prize-Winning Tongue Takes on His Fans’ Thirstiest Tweets: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.
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from The Daily Beast Latest Articles.
Unclear. When a judge asked if anyone else would be charged, prosecutors said there was no immediate plan to file a superseding indictment but left the door wide open for one in the future. That would allow them to add new charges against Epstein, as well as new defendants. The indictment refers to three unnamed employees who allegedly helped Epstein arrange the sexual encounters, but their legal status is unknown. Prosecutors could also expand the case to include anyone else who had sexual contact with the alleged underage victims on Epstein’s property.
Well, were other men involved?
That’s the billion-dollar question. A number of women who have publicly accused Epstein in the past say they were essentially shared with the money manager’s rich and powerful friends. A woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges that Epstein kept her as a sex slave and loaned her out to pals, including Prince Andrew and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Both men have vigorously denied the accusation. On Monday night, former President Bill Clinton issued a statement saying that while he had taken four long trips on Epstein’s plane he knew nothing about what Clinton called “his terrible crimes.”
What evidence of ‘terrible crimes’ do prosecutors have?
In various documents and statements in court, Manhattan prosecutors indicated that three victims can testify that they were among dozens of young girls trafficked by Epstein. In addition, authorities have secured call records and seized notes and messages from Epstein’s house that they say corroborates the victims’ stories. They are still going through the nude photos to determine how many of the subjects were underage when they were taken; they said they have determined at least one was. Prosecutors also noted that in one room of the mansion, they found a massage table, sex toys, lubricants, and photos—a setup matching the description of the room where accusers say the abuse took place.
Why are there only three victims?
It’s not clear how many girls or women Manhattan prosecutors spoke to and vetted before they obtained the indictment, but the current charges relate only to three. More charges and victims could be added at a future date. Prosecutors say that after Epstein was collared at a New Jersey airport on Saturday night, they received calls from other women, and they encouraged anyone with a story to tell to contact the FBI.
Epstein’s lawyers are trying to get him out of jail. Prosecutors argued that his wealth, his globe-trotting lifestyle, and the seriousness of the charges mean that he’s a huge flight risk who should stay locked up at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (home to drug lord El Chapo). Defense attorneys have to file their request for bail this week and then a judge will decide where he stays until trial when he’s back in court on Monday.
That’s what’s happening in the criminal case. On the civil front, there are a number of lawsuits pending. Last week, an appeals court ordered the release of sealed records in a defamation suit that Giuffre had filed against Epstein’s alleged madam, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. The suit was settled in 2017 and the court sealed 167 documents, but the Miami Herald—which published a major investigation of Epstein and his plea deal—sued to make them public.
How did Epstein get so rich?
Although his exact worth is a mystery, there is no question that Epstein is immensely wealthy. In addition to the seven-story manse on the Upper East Side and the palatial estate in Palm Beach, he owns a spread in New Mexico, a home in Paris, and a private island—yes, the whole thing—in the U.S. Virgin Islands, two planes, and a fleet of fancy cars. How he amassed such a fortune has been a closely guarded secret. We know that after a teaching job he began his career in finance at Bear Stearns, rose up through the ranks, and then left, as Vicky Ward reported in The Daily Beast, under a cloud.
He started his own firm, reportedly managing the money of billionaires for a cut, but to this day, his clientele is largely a question mark. One exception is Victoria’s Secret mogul Les Wexner, his only confirmed client. Wexner previously owned Epstein’s Manhattan home, though The New York Times reports that city records don’t list details of the sale. Prosecutors say the building is worth $77 million—and they are seeking forfeiture of it.
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The Gators have all the pieces to be a national contender this season.
Replacing a legend was never going to be easy for Mike White. Billy Donovan was the coach who changed everything at Florida, winning back-to-back national titles and altering the Gators’ perception from a football school with a basketball program to a legitimate national brand that annually threatened Kentucky’s reign in the SEC. Donovan still had it rolling when he jumped to the NBA, reaching three straight Elite Eights and one Final Four from 2011-2014 before leaving for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
White hit the ground running upon his arrival from Louisiana Tech, helping Florida win 27 games and leading another Elite Eight trip in his second year on the job in 2017. He’s followed that with back-to-back seasons with 20+ wins and trips to the NCAA tournament. The Gators haven’t taken a noticeable step back under White’s watch, but they also haven’t felt like one of the best teams in the sport, a place they occupied often under Donovan.
That could change next season.
There’s a case to be made that no program in America added more talent this offseason than Florida. The Gators already had the No. 7 overall recruiting class in the country before adding the biggest grad transfer on the market last month in big man Kerry Blackshear Jr. All the pieces are now in place for a top-10 team in the preseason polls with the potential to run all the way to the Final Four.
Blackshear is college basketball’s marquee free agent addition
Blackshear is one of the most productive big men in the country. He comes to Florida as a grad transfer from Virginia Tech, giving the Gators an interior anchor who can serve as the hub of the offense while also protecting the rim.
At 6’10, 250 pounds, Blackshear is an old-school big man who can overwhelm opponents on the low block. He was one of college basketball’s most efficient post scorers last season, finishing in the 90th percentile by scoring 1.043 points per possession on such opportunities. He doesn’t rely strictly on raw power, though. He’s able to leverage the threat of his inside scoring to become a dangerous passer who can find open shooters and hit cutters running to the basket.
It’s easy to imagine Florida’s wealth of athletes on the perimeter getting easy looks because defenses are worried about Blackshear’s scoring. Here are a few examples of Blackshear’s passing ability:
Blackshear also has a face-up jumper with developing range. Last season, he made 21 threes at a 33.3 percent clip after making 15 threes at a 30 percent clip the season before. His ability to hit an elbow jumper makes him a true triple-threat with the ball in the low- or high-post. Blackshear can bully you inside, he can hit an open teammate with a pass, or he can shoot. He also finished top-40 in the country in offensive rebound rate.
Defensively, Blackshear has posted a block rate over four percent each of the last two seasons. He lacks the ideal quickness to defend pick-and-rolls, which is why he’s still playing at the college level, but the rest of his skill set is as complete as any big man in college hoops.
Blackshear chose Florida in part because it’s close to his hometown of Orlando. He also saw an emerging cast of young players he knows he can win with.
Florida has a star-studded recruiting class
The last time Florida landed a top-10 recruiting class was 2010, when Casey Prather, Patric Young, Will Yeguete, and Scottie Wilbekin entered the program and eventually led the Gators all the way to the Final Four as seniors. White will be hoping for a similar result with this year’s class, even if this group likely won’t stay in school as long.
Scottie Lewis is the headliner. A consensus top-10 recruit and projected one-and-done lottery pick, Lewis is a 6’4 wing out of New Jersey with electric athleticism, lockdown defensive ability, and the type of intangibles coaches crave. Lewis is going to be dynamic in transition and as a cutter as he develops his shooting ability. He’s also one of the oldest freshmen in this year’s class, turning 20 years old right before March Madness, which should help him be a Day 1 contributor.
You’re going to see clips of Lewis’ incredible dunking ability all over TV and social media this season. He’s going to be one of the biggest freshman stars in the country.
Lewis isn’t the Gators’ only incoming McDonald’s All-American. There’s also Tre Mann, a 6’4 point guard out of Gainesville with advanced pull-up shooting ability. Mann should team up in the backcourt with returning sophomore Andrew Nembhard to give UF two big guards who can pass, shoot, and dribble. It’s possible Mann is Florida’s best three-point threat this season.
Omar Payne is Florida’s third top-50 recruit. A 6’9 big man who played at local prep powerhouse Montverde, Payne is an impressive run-and-jump athlete with length and tons of untapped upside. Learning from Blackshear for a year should be a huge benefit for his development.
Florida is loaded with returning talent, too
The Gators never really hit their stride last season as White tried to merge his returning veterans with an impressive freshman class. Florida only went 9-9 in the SEC and 19-15 overall before sneaking into the NCAA tournament as a No. 10 seed and upsetting Nevada. UF would lose to Michigan in the Round of 32. Now veterans KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, and Kevarrius Hayes are gone and the team fully belongs to White’s newest additions.
Nembhard, a 6’5 point guard, should be one of the best rising sophomores in the country this year. The Canadian finished top-50 in DI in assist rate and hit 35 percent of his threes as a freshman. While he lacks elite quickness, Nembhard has great size and plays with unique poise. He should only get more efficient with a more versatile supporting cast around him this year.
Fellow sophomore Noah Locke, a 6’3 guard, can provide spot-up shooting, though he struggles to create off the dribble. There’s also Keyontae Johnson, a strong 6’5 wing with two-way versatility who can rebound, play off Blackshear as a cutter, and even hit 36.5 percent of his threes as a freshman. These three sophomores give White a strong foundation to build on with his new arrivals.
Florida has a real chance of crashing the Final Four
The SEC is going to be loaded next season. Kentucky is a top-five team in the preseason polls, and LSU, Auburn, and Tennessee should all start the year in the top 25. That means Florida should be battle tested come March.
Florida is likely going to run Nembhard, Mann, Locke, and Johnson around Blackshear. It will give the Gators a lineup with five three-point threats on the floor led by two point guards and one of the best passing big men in DI. This team is going to take and make a lot of three-pointers around Blackshear, who should be as dominant as ever scoring inside. The defense might be question mark, but this team did finish No. 16 overall last season. That unit should take a hit without Hayes around, but you can count on White to figure out a system that will get stops.
The Gators are the rare team with a foundation of returning contributors, an infusion of freshman talent, and the arrival of a veteran big who could be an All-American. No team in college basketball had a better offseason. Only five years after the departure of Billy Donovan, Florida is once again a national championship contender.
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