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Moving All-Star Game, draft out of Georgia is rather surprising move by MLB

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Moving All-Star Game, draft out of Georgia is rather surprising move by MLB

Major League Baseball announced Friday afternoon that it’s pulling the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft out of Atlanta in response to recent voting legislation passed by the Georgia legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

A new location has not yet been announced. Senate Bill 202 — which you can read in its entirety here — has been widely criticized by voting rights advocates. 

A New York Times piece , summarizing the bill, called it  “… a breathtaking assertion of partisan power in elections, making absentee voting harder and creating restrictions and complications in the wake of narrow losses to Democrats. The New York Times has examined and annotated the law, identifying 16 provisions that hamper the right to vote for some Georgians or strip power from state and local elections officials and give it to legislators.”

MORE: SN’s staff predictions for the 2021 MLB season

This line from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, in his statement, echoes that interpretation of the bill: “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

Still, it’s a somewhat stunning move for MLB, moving the All-Star Game location based on legislation passed by politicians, though it’s not unprecedented in sports in this country. 

The NBA moved its All-Star Game out of Charlotte in 2017, in response to House Bill 2, which was passed by North Carolina politicians and limited anti-discrimination measures in the state. After changes were made, in part because of pressure brought by groups like the NBA, the league hosted its All-Star Game in Charlotte in 2019. The WNBA has been at the forefront of social justice issues, with WNBA players playing a large role in shaping the 2020 Georgia senate election, the result of which has been seen as motivation for the legislation that prompted MLB’s recent action. 

The NBA and WNBA have long been more progressive, active leagues on social issues. For MLB to make this action, the day after Opening Day and just three-and-a-half months before the All-Star Game, is a big step for the league. 

Here’s the full statement from Manfred : 

“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.  In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.

“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.”

Wherever it’s held, the All-Star Game events were already going to be a bit different this year. In addition to the Futures Game (July 11), the Home Run Derby (July 12) and the All-Star Game (July 13), MLB was, for the first time, hosting its draft in conjunction with the festivities.

The Draft had been held in mid-June for decades, but the shift in date was designed to bring a bit more attention to the annual event. A July draft also means players won’t be drafted during the College World Series. 

The news of the move out of Georgia immediately sent shock waves through the sports world, and the responses — applauding and condemning the move — won’t stop anytime soon. Let’s see how MLB handles that. 

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Anthony Edwards has no idea who Alex Rodriguez, potential Timberwolves owner, is

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Anthony Edwards has no idea who Alex Rodriguez, potential Timberwolves owner, is

Anthony Edwards, meet Alex Rodriguez: Your potential future boss. Oh, and only one of the most singularly talented, charismatic and controversial MLB players this millennium.

As Rodriguez and e-commerce billionaire Marc Lore continue to finalize a deal with current Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor to take over the Minnesota franchise, reporters began asking current players their thoughts on their potential new boss.

But Edwards, the rookie out of Georgia, has no idea who Rodriguez is, as this exceptionally funny video showcases:

MORE: Rodriguez, Marc Lore negotiating deal to buy Timberwolves

Hey, at least he’s honest. And the explanation that he simply doesn’t watch baseball — as if only MLB fans know Rodriguez — is pure comedy. It’s not as if Edwards doesn’t understand the sport of baseball, either. In the video below, he describes how he was talented enough as a multi-athlete star to play in MLB had he decided to take that career route:

To be fair, Edwards, 19, wasn’t even born yet when Rodriguez began his MLB career in 1994 with the Seattle Mariners. And he was just 15 years old when Rodriguez hung up the cleats for the final time after the 2016 season.

Still, you’d think he would have at least heard of someone who was a 14-time All-Star selection, three-time AL MVP, two-time Gold Glove Award winner and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, among other accolades. And that’s to say nothing of his controversial PED use, which cost Rodriguez the entirety of the 2014 season due to suspension.

Look at it this way: If Rodriguez ends up gaining ownership of the Timberwolves, Edwards will have plenty of future opportunities to learn more about his new boss.

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Aaron Rodgers has perfect response for ‘Jeopardy!’ contestants who whiff on Packers question

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Aaron Rodgers has perfect response for 'Jeopardy!' contestants who whiff on Packers question

Who are the Green Bay Packers?

Only one of the most historic franchises in the history of the NFL, owner of 13 championships and four Super Bowl victories and the current team of “Jeopardy!” guest host Aaron Rodgers. Oh, and a question on Tuesday’s episode.

MORE: ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant leaves guest host Aaron Rodgers laughing with troll-tastic response

Unfortunately, all three contestants whiffed on the question after Rodgers’ introduction: “In the 1960s, these Midwesterners earned five NFL championship trophies.” Rodgers, of course, referred to Vince Lombardi’s Packers, who won titles in 1961, ’62, ’65, ’66 and ’67 — the latter two Super Bowl victories.

To make matters worse, one of the contestants then managed to correctly guess the Boston Celtics as the team to win the NBA title every year from 1959-66.

At the very least, it afforded viewers the opportunity to watch Rodgers show off his comedic chops. He clearly has picked up a few tricks from his discount double check and State Farm ad appearances. It certainly will do nothing to curb his enthusiasm for hosting the show full-time — while also serving as quarterback for the Packers.

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Jake Paul accused of sexual assault by TikTok star

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Jake Paul accused of sexual assault by TikTok star

YouTube personality-turned-boxer Jake Paul has been accused of sexual assault.

Paul’s accuser, Jasmine Paradise, posted a 20-minute YouTube video on Friday in which she claimed Paul sexually assaulted her at his Team 10 house in Los Angeles. Paradise is a TikTok star with more than 525,000 followers.

In the video, Paradise focused on events she said occurred in June and July 2019; she said she met Paul at his home in July of that year after visiting his house several times with friends starting in June. In the video, Paradise said she and Paul had several awkward encounters at first, but that one night he pulled her into a corner of his studio area and began kissing her. She said she “was fine with that. I did think he was cute.”

Afterward, however, Paradise said Paul took her into his room and began to show frustration at her reluctance to have sex with him. She said he forced her to have oral sex after she told him “No” several times.

“Sex is very special and very important to me,” Paradise said in the video. “But I haven’t had sex with that many people. Normally, everybody respects me when I don’t want to do sexual things, so I thought that it was fine if I went in his room. I thought it would be fine to kiss him, because I thought he would stop if I didn’t want to do anything else.

“He didn’t ask for consent or anything. He knew I didn’t want to do anything with him because he said, ‘If nothing is gonna happen, what’s the point?’ Then he shoves himself in me.

“That’s not okay. On no level at all is that okay.”

Paradise also posted several text conversations between her and Paul, as well as photos and videos of her at his Team 10 house, as proof of her allegations in the video.

Daniel E. Gardenswartz, Paul’s lawyer, said his client “categorically denied” Paradise’s claims in a statement (via the New York Post).

“Our client is aware of the recent allegation against him. While others have already begun to debunk the claim alleged against him, our client categorically denies the allegation and has every intention of aggressively disproving it and pursuing legal action against those responsible for the defamation of his character.”

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