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Ohio State’s Ryan Day defends Justin Fields, but ends up trashing players who opted out of 2020 season

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Ohio State's Ryan Day defends Justin Fields, but ends up trashing players who opted out of 2020 season

Ryan Day defended his guy — and then went on the offensive with everyone else.

ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky started a firestorm last week in an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” during which he, citing unnamed sources, brought into question Justin Fields’ work ethic and attitude.

Speaking with NBC’s Peter King, the Ohio State head coach did his best to defend Fields against the claims, but in the process levied some irresponsible and football-blowhard commentary best served for Facebook comment sections and other sordid areas of the internet:

The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good work ethic? I mean, to me, that’s crazy. He got done with the Clemson game and he came back and all he did was work to get back to that game. And when those other guys are opting out, what’s he do? He petitions to have a season. He put together this petition that the Big Ten athletes all signed saying that they want to play, but they want to play safely and that they don’t accept canceling the season. It was all led by Justin Fields. Where was everybody else? Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves the game.

MORE: Ranking the top 100 players in the 2021 NFL Draft

Seems bold to question the passion of athletes who already risk broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and career-threatening injuries to not want to put their health on the line long-term any more than they have to. After all, the former three are inherent risks of the game. Playing in the face of a devastating virus is not.

In case you’re waking up from a very conveniently and unfortunately placed coma, the world has been dealing with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic for the better part of the past year and a half. The United States has been hit particularly hard, with more than 550,000 deaths attributed to the illness.

There were also a number of high-profile athletes who decided not to play in the 2020 college football season in the face of the pandemic, including potential top-10 picks Penei Sewell (Oregon) and Ja’Marr Chase (LSU).

Even if deaths have disproportionately affected those of advanced age in the country, college athletes have been affected. In a study conducted by Day’s very own The Ohio State University that included 26 male and female athletes, 30 percent were discovered to have heart conditions after even minor cases of coronavirus.

So, needless to say, sports may not come No. 1 for a lot of college athletes who are already being exploited by big-money schools for their talent and ability.

At best, Day’s comments are a poor attempt to deify Fields and prop his guy up to rebuild his stock before the NFL draft. At worst, it’s a thinly veiled shot at athletes who were apprehensive about taking the field in a pandemic.

Either way you look at it, it’s not great.

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Why are Jake Paul and Ben Askren fighting? A callout lured ex-MMA champion out of retirement

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Why are Jake Paul and Ben Askren fighting? A callout lured ex-MMA champion out of retirement

Jake Paul will look to improve his boxing record to 3-0 on April 17 when he steps into the ring with former MMA champion Ben Askren on Triller’s Fight Club.

Paul started his pro boxing career in January 2020 with a first-round knockout against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib. He followed that with a knockout of former NBA player Nate Robinson in November on the undercard of Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones. This will be the first time that Paul steps into the ring with a former fighter.

Askren is a two-time Division I wrestling national champion who became a champion at Bellator and ONE Championship before finishing his mixed martial arts career in the UFC. He amassed a record of 19-2 before retiring from the sport in November 2018.

How did a fight between a YouTuber and a former MMA champion happen?

RELATED: Jake Paul accused of sexual assault by TikTok star

Why are Jake Paul and Jake Paul fighting?

Before and after his second-round knockout over former NBA player Nate Robinson last November, Jake Paul called out several MMA fighters to step into a boxing ring with him. Among them were Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, Dillon Danis, Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren. Although some suggested they’d take the fight on social media, only the recently retired Askren made it clear that he’d be more than willing to meet the YouTube celebrity for a fight. 

“Boxing, that seems kind of easy,” Askren told Submission Radio about the possibility of stepping into the ring following hip surgery. “Like, I’m sure I could do that. Like, there’s no shots, there’s no slams, there’s not leg locks. I dunno, that seems relatively safe to me.”

Askren wasn’t impressed with Paul’s knockout of Robinson and stated that he’s sure he’d fare much better than Robinson and AnEsonGib, a YouTuber that Paul stopped in the first round last January.

“It’s hard to say when you’re going against someone who’s that bad,” Askren said. “I watched the highlights, Nate Robinson, good god. I mean, honestly, it looked like he’d never been boxing before. For someone who’s such an elite athlete – I mean, this guy’s a very elite athlete, he was a great basketball player – he couldn’t box worth a damn.

“Obviously I’m someone who is a high-level fighter, who has a large following, who was maybe not known for his stand-up. I think that’s probably what he’s thinking.”

After a bit of back and forth on social media, it was announced that Paul would return to the ring in April for a fight on Triller against Askren in an eight-round cruiserweight bout. 

Since the fight was announced, the two have ramped up their rivalry on social media with Paul dragging Askren’s wife into the feud. The feud heated up at a March press conference where words were exchanged and it nearly became physical during the staredown. 

Both have made promises to knock out the other but only one will come out victorious on April 17. 

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ESPN’s Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

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ESPN's Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

ESPN reporter Holly Rowe received many a “tres bien” from her confrères in media for conducting a bilingual interview with WNBA Draft pick Iliana Rupert, a France international, on Thursday night.

Rupert was chosen 12th overall by the Las Vegas Aces. With the draft being a virtual event for the second year in a row because of COVID-19, Rowe conducted the post-selection interview in an ESPN studio while Rupert was on camera remotely.

MORE: Why Paige Bueckers was ineligible for ’21 WNBA Draft

Rowe began the interview with “Bonsoir,” or “Good evening,” and asked Rupert in French whether she spoke English. Rupert responded in the affirmative and the interview proceeded in English.

“It’s always been one of my dreams and it’s amazing being recognized,” Rupert said. “I’m really happy to [represent] my country and I’m just excited to finally start this journey.”

After two more questions and responses in English, Rowe switched back to French for the interview’s conclusion, telling Rupert “Bienvenue,” or “Welcome,” to the WNBA. She also gave her regards to Rupert’s family.

Rowe’s media colleagues were quick with the compliments.

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‘It shows how exciting we can be!’ – Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

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'It shows how exciting we can be!' - Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

Bukayo Saka says Arsenal have a real chance of winning the Europa League after their rout of Slavia Prague, and claims their latest performance “shows everyone how exciting we can be”.

Arsenal bounced back from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Slavia in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at Emirates Stadium by picking up a comprehensive 4-0 victory in the Czech Republic on Thursday night.

Saka was among the scorers as the Gunners booked a last-four clash with Villarreal, and he is confident they can now go all the way in the competition after flexing their attacking muscles at the Sinobo Stadium.

What’s been said?

“It was fantastic from start to finish. We did it for all the fans, they all deserve it for all the support they give us. We are really happy to progress,” the Arsenal winger told BT Sport.

“We showed real character. The first one was disallowed, Emile deserved a goal, we kept going and got the first one again. We pretty much killed the game in the first half.

“In the first leg we played well but weren’t clinical, credit to the manager and coaching staff, the way we set up, pressed, they couldn’t get out.

“It shows everyone how exciting we can be, when we play like this it is so amazing to be involved in. We have a chance of going to the final and winning this competition, it is up to us. We look forward to the next opponent.”

Arsenal put Slavia to the sword

The Gunners went at their Czech opponents right from the first whistle in the second leg clash, and found themselves in front after just 18 minutes when Nicolas Pepe dinked the ball into the net after being teed up by Emile Smith Rowe.

Alexandre Lacazette then doubled the visitors’ account from the penalty spot after Saka was fouled in the box, and the teenager got his goal moments later when he cut in from the right-wing before firing the ball low past the goalkeeper at his near post.

Lacazette added extra gloss to the final scoreline with a trademark finish 13 minutes from time as Arsenal progressed to the semi-finals 5-1 on aggregate.

What’s next?

Arsenal will now turn their attention back to the Premier League, with a home fixture against Fulham scheduled to take place on Sunday.

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