LeBron James Steps Up For NBA Players With A Warning For Owners

LeBron James Warns NBA Owners Over New League TV ContractNBA team owners may have set themselves up with a big payday, but if LeBron James has anything to do with it, the players will get their fair share of the pie.

Multiple reports note that the athlete had a message for owners, who just signed an agreement with ESPN/ABC and TNT on Monday that will bring in $2.66 billion in annual revenue to the league. The new deal, which will go into effect and run through the 2024-25 season, is an extension of the current agreement, which has the NBA making $930 million annually.

Aware of what just happened, James had this to say later that day, according to reports:

“I am kind of the guy that has the power, I guess, without even having to put a name on it. … I’m very educated and I will use what I have to make sure our players are taken care of.

“At the end of the day, we will negotiate. We know it’s going to happen at some point because our deal is ending soon. We would love to do it sooner than later. We don’t want to it to happen like it happened last time when we went into a lockout.

“The whole thing that went on with the last negotiation process was the owners were telling us they were losing money. There’s no way they can sit in front of us and tell us that right now. After we CONTINUE to see teams selling for billions of dollars, being purchased for $200 million, signing for $550, $750 and $2 billion and now (Mikhail) Prokhorov is possibly selling his majority stake in the Nets for over $1 billion. That will not fly with us this time.”

As it stands now, either side can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement that was agreed on in December 2011 after a 161-day lockout, after the 2016-17 season.

With James’ two-year, $42.1 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers set to expire the same time as the existing TV deal (not to mention him being the most popular and high-profile player in the NBA), his comments carry a lot of weight.

Media sources note that there was definitely some thought put into having the end of James’ contract come at the same time as the existing TV deal did not happen by accident.

“It was being a businessman,” James told ESPN of his decision to sign a two-year deal in July rather than a max four-year deal. “I understand the business of this sport. It had a lot to do with it.”

According to Bloomberg, James has put himself in a good position as the shortened deal could result in him making an extra $50 million when he signs his next contract.

Speaking at a news conference announcing the new TV deal, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confessed that James has followed the example of with agreeing to contracts that would expire at the same time with the current TV deal and BANKING on the fact that more money can be made with being going into free agency again.

“Certain agents and players have been timing their contracts,” Silver said.

As for whether James’ strategy will come at the expense of another lockout, the all-star didn’t seem worried about what some feel is the next issue the mind every person with a vested interest in the NBA?

“Clock ticking? The clock never stopped,” James told ESPN regarding the countdown to the summer of 2017. “Even after we came out of the lockout and signed a new deal, the clock never stopped.”

 

Derek Jeter’s Last Home Game: Too Perfect to Be Believed (Watch)

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees celebrates after a game winning RBI hit in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles in his last game ever at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

The game wasn’t even supposed to happen.

Rain had threatened the final home stand of New York Yankees star player Derek Jeter. But miraculously, the skies dried up enough for the future Hall of Famer to make his final appearance before the fans at Yankee Stadium Thursday night – and his final at bat was so perfect and befitting of his 20 year career that both fans and foes were left in awe, if not tears. [Scroll down to watch.]

When the beloved team captain stepped to the plate at the bottom of the ninth against the Baltimore Orioles, the score was tied 5-5, with pinch runner Antoan Richardson on second base.

Jeter hit a perfect single base to right field, allowing Richardson to run home and win the game. The crowd went nuts, and Jeter was embraced by his teammates before being greeted by fellow retired Yankees Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, and his former manager Joe Torre.

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Joe Torre following a walk-off victory against the Baltimore Orioles during a game at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City

Nearly 50,000 fans, many wearing Yankees hats – including Jeter’s young nephew Jalen – that said “Re2pect”, gave Jeter a standing ovation, chanting Jeter’s name as he tipped his cap to them.

“It almost seemed like it was pre-destined,” said the announcer.

There was ample star power in the bleachers as well: Celebs like Jimmy Fallon, Chris Pratt and Jay Z were among the fans who turned up for the historic game.

Among those still reliving the moment may be Jeter himself, who said at a post-game press conference: “I need to get a tape of the game. It was a like an out-of-body experience.”

Watch below:

 

Ray Rice Jersey Trade In Draws More than 7,000 Ravens Fans (Watch)

Ray Rice Jersey Trade In Draws More than 7,000 Ravens FansRay Rice relationship with Baltimore Ravens Fans officially ended Saturday as more than an estimated 7,000 sports fans stood in line to trade in jerseys featuring the player’s name and number.

USA Today reports the fans began lining up as early as 4 a.m. Friday, the first day of the exchange. It is estimated that more than 1,000 people were in line by the time gates opened at 8 a.m. that day. The line, according to the paper, stretched at least halfway around the stadium.

The Ravens handed out 5,595 new jerseys before running out before midday Saturday, then issued more than 2,400 vouchers for fans to pick up their jerseys once new shipments arrive in October.

Although he didn’t reveal an exact figure, team spokesman Kevin Byrne said the Ravens spent “six figures” on the trade-in.

“We anticipated over the two days getting about 5,000 people, so we got about 2,000 more,” Byrne told USA Today. “We just felt it was the right thing to do, and that’s why we did it.”

As for the status of the newly collected jerseys, Byrne said they would be given to companies that deal in scrap materials.

“The NFL licensed jerseys are not recyclable because of certain materials in parts of the jersey, so what we’re going to do is offer them to companies who deal in scrap,” he said. “We’re not getting paid for it. We’ll just give it to them, and they can do with it as they please.”

Despite the turnout, USA Today noted that approximately 15 percent of those who SHOWED up had their jerseys rejected because either they were not officially licensed by the NFL or hadn’t been available through the team’s online or stadium store. As a result, the Ravens offered those fans token gifts in exchange.

“It’s clearly an unusual time for the franchise,” Byrne said. “I think the one thing that we’ve tried to be, historically is that we’ve been transparent. So this is new territory for us. We’re learning as we go.”

According to the Ravens, the most requested jerseys were those of quarterback Joe Flacco , wide receiver Torrey Smith and five other player jerseys, which were also available.

To see interviews with Ravens fans that exchanged their Ray Rice jerseys, check out the video below:

 

Ravens Owner: Ray Rice Behind ESPN Article Claiming Cover-Up

Steve_Bisciotti_Press_Conferece_Ray_Rice_Video

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has addressed ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” article that broke over the weekend claiming that he tried to cover up attempts to have the league go easy on Ray Rice with just a two-game suspension after learning he knocked his then-fiance unconscious in an elevator.

Addressing the media, Bisciotti said he strongly believes the sources for the ESPN article were Ray’s attorney, Ray’s agent and Ray’s friends — who gave the info to ESPN in an effort to get Ray reinstated into the NFL.

Bisciotti says the allegations in the ESPN article are false, but says he believes Ray’s team would push the false stories out because the best way to build a case for reinstatement is to “make everybody else look like they’re lying.”

“The majority of the sources are people that work for Ray,” Bisciotti said. “Almost everything in there is anonymous, but it’s clear from the subject matter that it’s Ray’s attorney, it’s Ray’s agent, it’s Ray’s friends.”

“Outside the Lines” reported Friday that Bisciotti, Ravens president Dick Cass and general MANAGER Ozzie Newsome tried to persuade NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to be lenient on Rice following his February arrest.

The Ravens released Rice earlier this month after TMZ released the second video. The NFL suspended Rice indefinitely shortly after he was released by the team.

According to the OTL report, Ravens coach John Harbaugh urged team officials to cut Rice immediately after the first TMZ video, which SHOWED Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator, was released in February. The report also indicated Harbaugh went to Newsome in March and asked him to release the three players who were arrested this offseason, including Rice.

Minutes before the news conference, the Ravens issued a lengthy rebuttal to the OTL report. Included in the Ravens’ statement:

• Harbaugh said he did not recommend cutting Rice after seeing the first videotape, as OTL said he had urged his bosses. “I did not recommend cutting Ray Rice from the team after seeing the first videotape,” Harbaugh said in the statement. Newsome, in the statement, said: “Neither John nor anyone else ever recommended cutting Ray Rice before we saw the second videotape on September 8.”
• The Ravens director of security denied that he received an account of the incident “within hours” of the incident. In the statement, he said that within “a couple of days,” he asked the CASINO and the Atlantic City policy for a copy of the videotape and he was turned down. He said that, on Feb. 25, a police department official offered to view the tape and “describe what he saw.” He said the official described both of them as intoxicated, but that “the officer could not tell from the video whether Ray slapped or punched her, but Ray told me very clearly that he did not punch her.”
• Newsome said that he and Rice talked and that Rice told him he hit his then-fiancee, but that they did not “discuss details beyond that.” “I immediately focused on Ray taking responsibility and making amends,” Newsome said. “I later said Ray didn’t lie to me because he told me he hit her, and that is what the video later showed-although the video was much more violent than what I had pictured.”
• Bisciotti and Cass denied that they lobbied the judicial system in New Jersey or Goodell to go easy on Rice. “That statement is not true,” Cass said.

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti (right) and running back Ray Rice (left) hug during the Super Bowl XLVII celebration at M&T Bank Stadium

Bisciotti also addressed OTL’s report that he texted Ray Rice – one day after cutting him –  basically offering him a job down the road, a move that Rice interpreted as “hush money” and left Rice “flabbergasted.”

Bisciotti confirmed the text exchanges but said they were “told to someone and misquoted” by ESPN in the article. He then published what he says are texts in “verbatim” form.

“I did have an exchange of text messages with Ray, which he initiated,” Bisciotti said. “I felt awful about what had happened. I believed he was, at heart, a good person, that he was capable of redemption, and I wanted to tell him I would be supportive of him. Here are the texts, not as told to someone and then misquoted in the article, but verbatim.”

Those texts, per the Ravens release, read as follows:

Monday September 8, 7:44 pm

Ray: I understand the decision but I am thankful for what you have done for me and my family. Me and my wife will CONTINUE to work on us and being better but I just wanted to say thank you for giving me a chance

Steve: I’m sorry we had to do this. I still love you and believe that you will be a great husband and father If you ever need to talk just call

Tuesday September 9, 10:27 pm

Steve: I just spent two hours talking to Ozzie. It was all about you. We love you and we will always figure out a way to keep you in our lives. When you are done with football I will hire you to help me raise Great young men. I still love you!!!

Ray: I know it’s a rough time for all of us I love all of you and that will never change for life!

Steve: I will help you make it a great life indeed. I give you my WORD

Ray: That means the world to me and my family we greatly appreciate you and thank you.

At his press conference on Monday, Bisciotti addressed the idea of trying to pay off Rice.

“If I cut a guy making $6 million a year — if I’m promising him to be by his side and hire him for $100,000 a year five years from now so he can help Harry Swayne in our player development department — if that is considered worthy of him going along, I find that rather absurd because it would take him 250 years to make back the $25 million that I took away from him by cutting him.”

 

Ray Rice Gets Born Again, Raises Eyebrows Visiting Old High School

Ray Rice Gets Born Again - Ray rice Visits Old High School

Ray Rice has apparently opting for a more positive result from all the attention he’s gotten.

Sources revealed to TMZ Sports that the former Baltimore Raven and his wife Janay have reportedly become born again Christians after their infamous elevator incident. So much so that the couple has done religious mentoring with other NFL players and their wives. Too take it even further, the Rices were baptized in March, following Ray assaulting Janay in the elevator.

The incident has affected Rice so much that sources say he places the blame for the attack on heavy drinking and has since taken to drinking only wine after giving up hard liquor.

As he goes about trying to fix himself and his issues, the elevator assault continues to trail Rice, who decided to visit his old high school.

Although he went to the New Rochelle High School football game on Saturday, FoxSports.com reports that school officials were split on whether the athlete should attend the event.

The blog Talk of the Sound stated that although the New Rochelle’s principal, Reggie Richardson wasn’t in favor of Rice attending game, the school’s longtime head coach Lou DiRienzo invited and hugged the embattled running back, who appeared at the game with Janay and daughter Rayven.

“I don’t know how the word got out” about Rice’s visit, said Richardson, who downplayed any conflicting views about Rice. “The fact is that although we condemn Ray’s actions that he engaged in, we also have to acknowledge the fact that this is his home. New Rochelle is his home.”

Scroll down to see pictures of Ray and Janay Rice’s visit to New Rochelle High School below:

 

Mayweather Says NFL Overreacted on 2nd Ray Rice Video

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) arrives for a work out at the Mayweather Boxing Club on September 2, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Floyd Mayweather Jr. believes the NFL should have stuck with its original discipline of Ray Rice, saying the league was overly influenced by new video showing the running back knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator.

The boxer — who has had his own domestic abuse issues — said Tuesday he didn’t think Ray Rice’s original two-game suspension should be changed by the NFL because of video.

“I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households, also,” Mayweather said. “It’s just not caught on video, if that’s safe to say.”

Mayweather, who spent two months in a Las Vegas jail in 2012, still maintains his innocence even after pleading guilty to reduced domestic abuse charges stemming from an attack on his former girlfriend while their children watched. Had Mayweather not taken the plea bargain, he would have gone to trial on felony charges that could have gotten him up to 34 years in prison.

Mayweather also was named in a civil lawsuit last week by his former fiancee, who said the fighter assaulted her and kept her from leaving his Las Vegas mansion. In addition, Shantel Jackson said the boxer publicly humiliated her by posting online a sonogram showing her pregnant with twins and then claiming she aborted them.

Mayweather said he has been falsely accused many times.

“Like I’ve said in the past, no bumps, no bruises, no nothing,” Mayweather said. “With O.J. and Nicole, you seen pictures. With Chris Brown and Rihanna, you seen pictures. With (Chad) Ochocinco and Evelyn, you seen pictures. You guys have yet to see any pictures of a battered woman, a woman who says she was kicked and beaten (by Mayweather). So I just live my life and try to stay positive, and try to become a better person each and every day.”

Mayweather made his remarks before a small group of reporters at the MGM Grand hotel, where he made a formal fight week arrival for his rematch Saturday with Argentina’s Marcos Maidana.

And now…Stephen A. Smith’s “disgust” this morning on ESPN’s “First Take”:

 

Calls to Domestic Violence Hotline Spike After Ray Lewis Video

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The National Domestic Violence Hotline has seen an 84 percent increase in phone calls in the two days since TMZ posted the video of former NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator.

Katie Ray-Jones, the CEO of the hotline, said it normally receives 500 to 600 calls a day from domestic violence victims and their concerned friends or family members. But after the Rice video was circulated online Monday, the hotline received over 1,000 phone calls, reports The Huffington Post. The numbers continued to climb on Tuesday.

“We had an outpouring of women saying, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t realize this happened to other people.’ They thought they were living a life that was very unique to them,” Ray-Jones told The Huffington Post. “One woman called in who is married to a [mixed martial arts] fighter. She said, ‘I just saw that video, and I know my husband could do worse, and I need help.”

Ray-Jones said the hotline does not have enough advocates on staff to field the calls, which continue all night long. There are 15 to 18 staff members answering calls during the day and seven or eight overnight, but they were already overwhelmed before the surge of calls began earlier this week. The hotline also has a “relief staff pool,” but it doesn’t have the financial resources to sustain it for any significant period of time.

“Last year, we didn’t answer over 77,000 calls due to lack of resources,” Ray-Jones said. “Our advocates were really busy before, so they’re definitely feeling the impact of the video now. This is a situation where women are holding longer on the lines and waiting for an advocate to be free. But we don’t have the financial resources to bring in more staff, so we’re at a place where we’re just encouraging advocates to do the best they can.”

The National Domestic Violence Hotline receives a large portion of its funding from the federal government, but its budget was cut last year due to the automatic cuts under sequestration. Congress gave the hotline a funding boost for next year that will go into effect on Oct. 1, however, and that will hopefully provide some relief to the overworked hotline staffers.

The good news, Ray-Jones said, is that the video of the Ray Rice incident is sparking a national conversation about domestic violence and encouraging more women to reach out for help. She hopes the attention on the issue will pressure Congress to give more funding to domestic violence programs and to pass legislation that would take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

“We need to take the survivors’ voices to the Hill,” she said. “This is real. This issue has a face. And people saw a face with Ray Rice and the imagery of what people are experiencing.”

 

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