Sports World Praying for NBA Star Ja Morant

Fans around the league are expressing concern for Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant after the troubled PG posted cryptic messages to family on Instagram amid another round of gun video backlash.

In stories posted to IG, Morant expressed love for his mother, dad and daughter before leaving off with a photo of himself captioned “bye.”

The NBA world was praying for Ja Wednesday morning.

“Never know what a person is going through,” a user said. “God bless him.”

“Everyone needs to stop speculating about what this means because you don’t know. Just hoping Ja is all good,” tweeted Bryson Wright.

“I hope Ja is ok,” a Nets fan replied.

“Cmon 12 get right gang,” another tweeted. “Prayers to you killer.”

“He’s got a lot of bashers probably but what he’s experiencing rn is something we don’t wanna experience.”

“We love you Ja. Stay up [king],” another user commented.

Morant has since deleted the posts.

Police in Tennessee conducted a welfare check on the Memphis Grizzlies star following his cryptic messages, with officials telling ESPN that he’s just “taking a break from social media.”

Morant, 23, was suspended from all team activities following a video of him holding a gun that circulated on social media on May 13.

The video appeared during an Instagram Live session on the account of Morant’s friend Davonte Pack, with the All-Star flashing a handgun in a car while rapping along with a song. The video was deleted.

Morant left the Grizzlies and entered a counseling program in March after a video showed him holding a gun while intoxicated at a Denver club when the Grizzlies were in town to play the Nuggets. He was eventually suspended eight games after meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who called Morant’s conduct “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”

At the time of the suspension, Morant told ESPN that he realizes “what I have to lose” and said he would try to be “more responsible, more smarter and staying away from all the bad decisions.”

Morant has been involved in several off-court incidents over the past year. He is being sued by a high school prospect after a fight during a pickup game in Morant’s backyard, where Morant and Pack are alleged to have punched the boy in the head. The teenager told police that Morant entered his house after the fight and came back outside with a gun in his waistband.

Morant’s five-year, $194 million max contract is set to begin this coming season. It could have escalated to a supermax if he had made All-NBA this season; he was not voted onto that team, which cost him about $39 million in future earnings. He has endorsement deals with Nike and Powerade, though the sports drink company pulled an ad featuring Morant after the March video and the ad currently is not running.

Morant averaged 26.2 points this season and helped Memphis secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Boston Marathon Icon Dies at 61

Original Article – Rick Hoyt, the man whose father pushed him in a wheelchair for 32 years in the Boston Marathon, has died at the age of 61.

Hoyt died Monday from respiratory complications, his family announced on the Faceboook page for their charitable foundation.

“It is with profound sadness that the Hoyt Family announce the passing of our beloved brother and uncle, Rick Hoyt this morning,” the post read. “As so many knew, Rick along with our father, Dick, were icons in the road race and triathlon worlds for over 40 years and inspired millions of people with disabilities to believe in themselves, set goals and accomplish extraordinary things.”

Rick Hoyt, center, is pushed by his father Dick at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The Hoyt became a fixture at the Boston Marathon and other races for decades.

The father-and-son team began running races in 1977, competing in more than 1,000 marathons, duathlons and triathlons, according to the Team Hoyt website. In a custom racing chair, Rick — who had cerebral palsy that left him a quadriplegic — told his father that running in the race made him feel like his disability disappeared, Dick told HBO’s “Real Sports” in 2005.

The pair participated in their first Boston Marathon in 1980 and became fixtures in the annual April race until their last race in 2014.

“Rick and Dick Hoyt were true icons of the Boston Marathon and together, they inspired people far beyond the borders of Massachusetts,” Gov. Maura Healey tweeted.

Dick Hoyt died in March 2021 at the age of 80.

Eagles Star Threatens to “Retire” Over New NFL Ban

During one of their recent podcasts, Jason Kelce told brother Travis, he is not happy about the idea of losing his favorite painkiller. “My man, every freaking time, I will show over here giving pink pills a bad name. Pink pills had to help me get through 13 years,” he exclaimed.

While Travis tried to convince Jason to come back to the original topic, exclaiming pills are not the only issue in the league, Jason was quick to defend his stance, arguing those trying to stop the use of ‘pink pills’ are just retired players who are out of touch with the realities. “All these guys trying to stop pink pills and all those, these are just guys that have been out of the league. Stop ruining it for people that are still playing,” he exclaimed.

However, Travis warned Jason not to take any of the pills out of anger, as it could have serious consequences. “Aren’t you dare take any of that out, yeah, because then I start to get,” he cautioned.

Kelce brothers’ banter takes center stage

But for Jason, the potential ban is no laughing matter. He even hinted at retirement if he was unable to continue taking the pink pills. “I’m gonna have to retire. That’s what’s gonna happen. A kid vitamin T in pink pills is getting year 13. That’s its only chance. You think I’m playing 13 years in the NFL on turmeric and beet juice? Get the out of here,” he added.

Despite his reliance on ‘pink pills’, Jason did acknowledge the importance of other health practices such as drinking beet juice and taking ginger shots. But for him, the pink pill is the key to his success on the field. “If I don’t get the pink pill, let me tell you, I ain’t practicing. It’s gonna be a bad day,” he declared.

From witty banter to lighthearted conversations about daily life, the podcast of the Kelce brothers provided a much-needed break from the seriousness of the NFL news cycle. While recent news of the NFL draft trade, money, and unfortunate events for some talented rookies may have left many feeling disheartened, episode 37 of the ‘New Heights’ podcast offered a refreshing change of pace.

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College Baseball Player Killed in Tragic Accident

Elon University was dealt tragic news this past weekend. Jackson Yelle, a 21-year-old student, passed away after reportedly being struck by a vehicle. 

According to police, Yelle was trying to cross a highway on foot. The fatal accident occurred at 1:30 a.m. in Myrtle Beach. 

Yelle, a business analytics major, was a member of Club Baseball for Elon. The club’s coach, Adam Faberman, provided a statement on this heartbreaking situation.

“The entire EUCB family is absolutely devastated by the incomprehensible, sudden, and unexpected loss of a brother, friend, and true representative as to everything that the club stands for,” the statement read. “Jackson embodied everything that our club stands for and it was an absolute blessing to know him, be friends with him, and have him as a part of our organization. This loss is genuinely devastating to a club full of brothers who will be doing everything in their power to honor Jackson at all times, make him proud, and ensure that his name lives on forever.”

Yelle’s father, Scott, said he’ll always remember his son for his caring and warm demeanor. 

Our thoughts are with Yelle’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time. 

London Marathon Comes to Defense of Transgender Runner in Women’s Race

Marathon officials are standing behind trans runner Glenique Frank — maintaining that she did nothing wrong when she beat nearly 14,000 women in the female category of a race that is “a unique celebration of inclusivity.”

The runner was accused of “cheating real women out of a place.”

On Sunday (23 April), Frank ran in the female race, finishing the 26.2-mile run in 4hrs 11mins 28secs, which placed her 6,160th among more than 20,000 other competitors.

But the 54-year-old runner’s achievement was met with instant criticism with Mara Yamauchi, the third-fastest British female marathon runner in history, claiming that World Athletics and UK Athletics rules had been broken. 

Misgendering Frank, she told Telegraph Sport: “World Athletics and UK Athletics have rules that post-puberty males competing in the female category is unfair. This male competed under UK Athletics’ transitional arrangements, but it is still wrong and unfair.”

Yamauchi went on to claim that “nearly 14,000 women finished in a worse finish position”, because of Frank. 

UK Athletics declared on 31 March, acting on World Athletics’ lead, that trans women who have been through “male puberty” will be banned from female UK Athletics events.

But the rules included a caveat. Any athlete who had already entered in a category not aligned with their biological sex would still be allowed to take part in the race, so Frank could run in the female race in London. 

‘I feel bad when I run as I don’t have my hair on’

Glenique Frank tells PinkNews she agrees with Yamauchi and believes in same-sex sport, but stated that a transgender category should be created.

The trans woman ran in the female race as she didn’t identify with any other gender marker available on the London Marathon application form, which, this year for the first time included a non-binary category.

“I feel bad when I run as I don’t have my hair on and I get gender dysphoria. When I take my hair off, I just see ugly boy,” she says.

Scrutiny of Frank’s participation in the female category escalated after she was interviewed by the BBC on Tower Bridge. 

In the interview, Frank, who had the trans flagged draped over her shoulders, said she was driven by “girl power”, adding that this was her 17th marathon and announced that her son is having a baby, so will soon be “Granny G”.

Under an Instagram image of Frank after she finished the race, many people commented that her TV interview had inspired them.

Frank says she ran the marathon to raise money for good causes, adding that, in 17 years, she has raised more than £30,000 for UK charities.

A fundraiser set up by Frank aims to reach £2,100 in aid of Whizz-Kidz’s vital services for young wheelchair users. So far, more than £300 had been raised. 

On Facebook, Frank said she had previously entered marathons in New York and Tokyo as a man because her passport still states she’s male, leaving her with no other choice. 

She said her mental health is “stronger” following the backlash, and she’s determined to “fight for all humans and spread joy and happiness and the rainbow”.

Marathon Officials Respond

Hugh Brasher, the event director of the TCS London Marathon, spoke out a day after the 54-year-old trans woman said she feared being stripped of her medal and being banned from future races for entering the competition as female.

However, Brasher told The Post that only elite and championship competitors — which Frank is not — “are held under World Athletics rules, which exclude transgender women from elite female competition if they have gone through male puberty.”

The “mass event” — which Frank ran Sunday — is instead “a unique celebration of inclusivity and humanity,” Brasher said.

It “is an event for everyone and an event where the vast majority of those taking part are raising money for charity,” Brasher said. Frank says she’s raised at least $37,000 for charities in her 17 marathons.

“It is an event that champions inclusivity,” Brasher stressed of the “incredible challenge” of the 26.2-mile course.

“While we do list the place an individual has come, there are no prizes for this,” he stressed. Frank came 6,159th in the female category and noted that — while she did come ahead of nearly 14,000 female runners — she did not “steal any money” or podium spots.

The event director made clear that Frank did not need to remove herself from future runs at the event, including one she planned next year.

“We are committed to making the TCS London Marathon the most diverse, equitable and inclusive marathon in the world,” Brasher said of the run that also has a category for non-binary racers.

Frank ran other marathons — including the November one in New York — as a male because those races required her to register under the name and gender on her passport.

Frank said that although she hasn’t yet had gender reassignment surgery, she has been on her transitioning journey for three years and has known she was in the wrong body since she was six-years-old

Undeterred by the ensuing backlash, Glenique Frank tells PinkNews she is using it to call for equality in sport – which she defines as creating a transgender category – while continuing to raise money for charity.

Brittney Griner Tears Up at Her First Press Conference (VIDEO)

As Brittney Griner prepares for her first WNBA game since 2021, she held a press conference Thursday, speaking publicly for the first time since being imprisoned in Russia for 10 months for carrying cannabis oil vape cartridges through a Moscow airport.

It was an emotional news conference for Griner, who welled up as a reporter tearfully asked what kind of “resilience” Griner relied upon.

“See, you cry and now you made me cry,” Griner joked in response.

“I’m no stranger to hard times,” she continued. “Just digging deep, honestly. You’re gonna be faced with adversities throughout your life. This was a pretty big one. But I just, kind of, relied on my hard work, getting through it. I know this sounds so small, but dying in practice and just hard workouts—you find a way to just grind it out, just put your head down and keep going.”

The seven-time All-Star, who plays center for the Phoenix Mercury, shared how she coped with being locked up for the better part of 2022 until her release in December.

“When I did lose my hope, looking at photos of my family, that brought my hope back,” Griner said. “Just being able to see their faces, that did it for me. In a moment where you want to give up, you look at the photos and it brings you back. You know what you’re waiting on—you’re waiting to be back with your family, with your loved ones in a safe place.”

Griner was part of a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia, which saw the former WNBA champ sent home to Texas in exchange for the release of Viktor Bout, an infamous Russian arms dealer who was being held in United States Penitentiary in Marion. The New York Times reported that Bout was likely the highest profile Russian in U.S. custody prior to his release.

Prior to her arrest, Griner was playing basketball with the Russian Premier League during the WNBA off-season. She said the whole ordeal soured the notion of international play for her.

“I’m never going overseas to play again unless I’m representing my country at the Olympics,” she said.

Four other Americans remain detained in Russia, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested for espionage on March 29, and Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned for more than four years for espionage.

Griner said her team and her agent “have been in touch with [Gershkovich’s] family a lot,” and urged him and Whelan to “stay strong” and “keep fighting.”

“I’m not going to stop bringing awareness to everyone that’s left behind right now,” she said.

Griner said her focus is also on getting back to playing form, with the Phoenix Mercury’s preseason opener less than two weeks away. It’s been an adjustment, she said, having to go from the routine of a detainee in Russia to that of an elite athlete in just a few months.

“It’s still a process, you know, just the little things,” she said. “Because as an athlete, you always want to be where you left off… And I wanted to be that player when I started back. Everybody is telling me to give myself grace, and it’s going to take time. But that’s the hardest thing to do to a pro athlete.”

The Mercury will play the Seattle Storm on May 9 in Phoenix’s first preseason game. Griner, referencing the massive media turnout to her press conference, said she expects “to see the same coverage” for the team’s games.

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Footage Shows Moment ‘Massive’ Tree Topples Feet from Crowd at Masters (VIDEO)

Play was suspended for the second time at the 87th Masters Tournament on Friday after two large pine trees were knocked down near the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the trees were likely knocked over due to high winds and stormy weather in Augusta, Georgia. According to an alert from the Masters, second-round play was suspended at 4:22 p.m. “due to inclement weather conditions,” adding that the grounds were “evacuated.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that rain was moving into Augusta throughout Friday afternoon and evening, bringing a chance of thunderstorms with wind speeds from 14 to 16 mph.

Multiple patrons at the event said that no fans were injured by the falling trees, according to The Augusta Chronicle, which spoke to some of the patrons sitting near the site. August National also confirmed that there were no injuries, according to a statement posted by the Masters on Twitter.

A video of one of the trees falling was shown on Twitter by Scott Abraham, sports anchor at WJLA in Washington, D.C. The pine appears to fall near multiple fans gathered around the 17th hole. Abraham commented along with the 18-second clip, “Holy smokes, this is scary.”

“A massive tree just went down due to the winds,” he added. “I hope nobody was hurt.”

Megan Hill, a patron at Augusta National, told the Chronicle that one of the pine trees fell “maybe eight to 10 chairs to our left.”

“I stood up and screamed and thought, ‘Is it going to fall on me?” Hill said. “It fell to the left of us and it was so scary. If the wind had been blowing a slightly different direction, we might have got hit.”

Another patron, Deshey Thomas, was credited by some people who spoke to the Chronicle for alerting others as the tree was about to fall.

“Pinecones were hitting us in the back, we turned around and looked up and heard a huge cracking noise and the tree basically crushed 10 chairs that were sitting there,” Thomas told the paper. “Luckily we got everyone out of there. We are blessed.”

AP said that there was no sign of rain when play was suspended, but there was a threat of lightning in the area. Friday’s first weather delay lasted 21 minutes before the players were allowed to resume play.

Augusta National said in its statement posted Friday that the second round of play was suspended for the rest of the day, and play will resume at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“The safety and well-being of everyone attending the Masters Tournament will always be the top priority of the Club, which will continue to closely monitor weather today and through the Tournament,” the statement read.

Newsweek has reached out to the communications team at Augusta National for comment.

The Masters is the first major tournament of the 2023 PGA Tour season. Eighty-nine invitations were sent, as well as one spot reserved for Corey Conners, winner of last weekend’s Valero Texas Open.

At the time play was suspended, Brooks Koepka was leading in the clubhouse at 12 under par after completing all 36 holes.

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LSU Star Rejects Jill Biden’s Apology

LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese said she doesn’t accept First Lady Jill Biden’s apology for suggesting the Iowa Hawkeyes women’s basketball team should get to visit the White House too, even though Iowa lost to her Tigers in the championship game. 

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not going to accept the apology,” Reese told Paper Route’s I Am Athlete podcast on Wednesday. “You can’t go back on certain things you say.”

Reese added that instead of going to the Biden White House to celebrate their win, she and her teammates could “go to the Obamas” instead.

She continued: “I mean, like, you felt like they should have came because of sportsmanship, right? They can have their spotlight, we’ll go to the Obamas. Imma see Michelle. Imma see Barack.” 

Reese added that the First Lady was supposed to visit LSU’s locker room before the game, but they turned her down, because President Joe Biden “had put somebody else to win the national championship.”

“He didn’t even put us on his bracket,” she noted.

Biden watched Sunday night’s game from a box as Kim Mulkey’s Tigers took down Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes 102-85 to win their program’s first-ever national title. Following the game, Biden told ESPN she wanted to invite Iowa to the White House to celebrate the game and the Tigers’ win. 

“I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House; we always do. So, we hope LSU will come,” Biden said during a speaking engagement at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver on Monday, per ESPN. “But, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come too, because they played such a good game.”

Reese then shared Biden’s comments, calling them “A JOKE.” Critics pounced on Biden’s comments, suggesting there was a double standard and noting that the Tigers are a mostly Black team while Iowa’s players are primarily white.

By Tuesday morning, Biden’s press secretary walked back the First Lady’s invite. 

“Her comments in Colorado were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes. She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House,” Vanessa Valdivia said. 

Former Colts Star, Super Bowl Champion Died Sunday

Former Baltimore Colts star Fred Miller, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, died on Sunday, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed on social media. He was 82. 

Irsay tweeted out a statement in remembrance of Miller:

A Louisiana native, Miller was drafted out of LSU in the 7th round by the Colts in the 1962 NFL draft and made the Pro Bowl as a defensive tackle three straight seasons from 1967-69.

He’s known for being part of the Colts’ 1968 NFL title team which shutout four teams, including the Browns in a 34-0 win in the NFL championship game before losing to the Jets in Super Bowl III.

He was also in Baltimore’s 1970 championship squad that found redemption with a 16-13 win over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V, with Miller making five tackles against Dallas.

“What a bond we had as a team,” Miller told the Baltimore Sun in 2009. “We gave a damn about each other. No cliques. Our wives socialized. We babysat for each other. That didn’t happen on other clubs.”

After 10 seasons with the Colts, Miller was traded to Washington but chose to retire instead.

“Fred never has a bad game, and he’ll never tell you he’s in pain,” the Baltimore Sun quoted head coach John Sandusky, who coached Miller in his 10th and final season, saying.

Miller’s wife of 54 years, Charlene, died in 2017. They had four sons: David, Daniel, Jacob and Luke.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Miller’s family and friends during this difficult time. 

Death of US Swimming Champion being Investigated in the Virgin Islands

The sudden death of former American swimming champion Jamie Cail is under investigation by authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands, authorities said.

The 42-year-old Cail was found unresponsive in a residence she shared with her boyfriend in St. John, the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department said in a statement.

“This case is presently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau,” according to the police statement.

Cail’s boyfriend, whose name was withheld by police, told investigators he left a bar and went back to their residence to check on Cail just after midnight on Tuesday, according to police.

“Upon his arrival, he discovered his girlfriend on the floor,” police said.

The boyfriend and a friend took Cail in a private car to the Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic, where efforts to save her life failed, police said.

Police were notified of the death about 2:39 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

No additional information on Cail’s death was disclosed by police, who urged anyone with any information to contact the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Cail was originally from Claremont, New Hampshire, and was a star swimmer for much of her youth, her family told ABC affiliate station WMUR in Manchester.

She was also a member of the University of Maine’s women’s swim team in the 2000-2001 academic year, according to the school’s alumni association.

As a teenager, Cail was a member of a relay team that won a gold medal at the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships, according to SwimSwam.com, an online swimming news site.

“She was just she was she was a very beautiful person,” a friend told WMUR. “She had a huge heart. She was really loving and kind and well-loved and popular on the island and everybody knows her.”

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