The violent traffic stop of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario has Black veterans demanding changes from law enforcement — reform to ensure Black soldiers aren’t treated like crap.
Several state commanders for the National Association for Black Veterans tell TMZ … something’s gotta change among police departments to avoid a repeat of the treatment Lt. Nazario got in Virginia … getting pepper-sprayed 4 times by cops barking orders.
The commanders, who all saw the incident as blatant racism, suggested different approaches — increasing racial sensitivity training, improving police department hiring practices, shifting police funding and more criminal prosecution of bad cops.
The Kentucky commander we spoke to wants to see funds for tanks and special equipment reallocated and invested into mental health services for cops, plus the creation of a citizens review board.
The Texas commander wants police departments to look closer at prospective officers’ intentions before handing them a badge and a gun, and added … the cops on the Nazario stop looked like they treated the Lt. that way on purpose.
As we first reported … Lt. Nazario’s attorney, Jonathan Arthur, says prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the incident. Once completed, Virginia State Police will submit their findings to the Isle of Wight Commonwealth Attorney for possible charges, or to a special prosecutor.
The NABVETS commanders all told us they don’t believe cops have a lack of respect for those serving our country — but do feel there was a lack of respect given to Lt. Nazario, who is Black and Latino, because of his skin color.
Sen. John Kennedy Calls Out LeBron James for 'You're Next' Post
A U.S. Senator is accusing LeBron James of promoting extreme violence in America — the NBA superstar’s controversial “You’re Next” post was a hot button issue Wednesday in a Senate hearing.
Sen. John Kennedy called out LeBron during the hearing on domestic violence extremism, referencing his infamous tweet about the cop who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio.
As you know … LeBron published and then deleted the tweet last month, but not before explaining that he meant the officer should be prosecuted like Derek Chauvin. His explanation fell on many deaf ears, as he’s catching heat from politicians, like Sen. Tom Cotton, former President Trump … and now Kennedy.
The Senator from Louisiana asked the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, if LeBron’s post “contributes to domestic violence in America.” Mayorkas balked at the wording of the question, but eventually gave Kennedy an answer.
LeBron’s tweet came on the heels of a violent incident outside a home in his native Ohio. Body cam footage showed Bryant in a physical altercation, and it appears she was trying to lunge with a knife at another girl. The officer shown in LeBron’s post pulled his gun and fired 4 shots, killing Bryant.
Sen. Kennedy’s beef seems to be LeBron’s words promoted violence against police before all the facts of the case came out. Kennedy said, “All we had at the time was the video, and we had nothing else.”
For what it’s worth, LeBron has made it clear he was not suggesting violence against the officer, but wanted him brought to justice for the shooting.
Conor McGregor Earned $180 Million in 2020, World's Highest-Paid Athlete
Conor McGregor wasn’t stopped by COVID or a Dustin Poirier loss, ’cause the UFC superstar was the world’s highest-earning athlete in 2020 … reportedly raking in $180 MILLION!!
The 32-year-old earned a whopping $22 million for his UFC 252 2nd-round TKO loss to Diamond, but according to Forbes annual list of the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes … it was the whiskey money that carried McGregor to the top spot on the list.
Conor earned $158 million outside the Octagon … and an overwhelming majority of that cash came from his sale of Proper 12 Irish Whiskey.
This marks the first time McGregor — consistently one of the highest-paid athletes — has topped the list.
In 2018, The Notorious came in 4th … earning $99 million — largely from his superfight with Floyd Mayweather.
Speaking of Money Mayweather … Floyd — who didn’t fight in 2020 — failed to make the list.
As far as the remainder of the top 10 … there are 3 international soccer players, 2 NBA players, 2 NFL QB’s, a race car driver and a tennis player.
2️⃣ Lionel Messi $130 mil.
3️⃣ Cristiano Ronaldo $120 mil.
4️⃣ Dak Prescott $107.5 mil.
5️⃣ LeBron James $96.5 mil.
6️⃣ Neymar $95 mil.
7️⃣ Roger Federer $90 mil.
8️⃣ Lewis Hamilton $82 mil.
9️⃣ Tom Brady $76.
🔟 Kevin Durant $75 mil.
What’s funny … back in 2016, Conor joked with then highest-paid athlete, Ronaldo … telling the soccer superstar that he was coming for the #1 spot.
Took a few years … but, mission accomplished!
Lamar Odom Looking Polished Ahead Of Aaron Carter Fight, New Sparring Video Shows
Lamar Odom is looking GOOOOOOOD … new sparring footage obtained by TMZ Sports shows the ex-NBA star is really getting the hang of boxing ahead of his bout with Aaron Carter.
The 41-year-old has been training like a mad man for his June 11 Celebrity Boxing tilt against the pop singer at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City … and it’s clear the former hooper has hands!!
Check out the footage … Odom — who by the way is looking svelte and in shape — is stringing together combos and moving around the canvas like a pro.
The power might not be there just yet — but, hey, it’s still a month away from fight night!!
As for Aaron, he’s been taking the scrap seriously too … getting in training sessions constantly and hitting the mitts as well.
In fact, we’ve also obtained some clips from one of Carter’s recent sparring sessions … and he ain’t looking half bad either!!
We know … it’s not exactly Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury here — but the event is still shaping up to be some must-see TV.
Plus, we’re told Ice-T will be on the broadcast providing color commentary!!
Four more weeks away … getcha popcorn ready.
'Martin' Merch Launching in Collab with Detroit Pistons
Martin Lawrence‘s love for the Detroit Pistons has come full circle … with a new line of merch honoring his hit ’90s sitcom!!!
The NBA team’s had a rough season — it’s currently dead last in the Eastern Conference — but its collab with “Martin” should help it go out on a high note.
Nearly 29 years after the iconic show premiered with the city of Detroit as a backdrop … Lawrence is teaming up with the Pistons for this limited-edition clothing line including jerseys, hats, shorts, sweatshirts, T-shirts and more.
As you can see … the merch — available Friday exclusively on Pistons313shop.com — features the famed “Martin” intro text along with hilarious quotes and call-backs to the show mashed up with a Pistons hoops aesthetic.
The comedian says … “Detroit has always shown me so much love and always shows up for me. From stand-up tours to fans on the street Detroit has felt like home. It’s an honor to be part of something that means so much to me to this many years later.”
We should note, Lakers superstar LeBron James is a HUGE “Martin” fan, and launched a shoe with the comedian a few years back — tough to imagine him swapping his purple and gold for Pistons blue and red, though.
NBC Won't Air 2022 Golden Globes Amid HFPA Controversy, Org Responds
3:15 PM PT — HFPA has responded to NBC putting their award show on the shelf for a year, and it looks like the move lit a fire under their ass — ’cause they’ve got a way quicker (and excruciatingly detailed) timeline on what they’re going to do to shape up … and exactly when.
The org says, “Regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes, implementing transformational changes as quickly — and as thoughtfully — as possible remains the top priority for our organization.” They add, “We invite our partners in the industry to the table to work with us on the systemic reform that is long overdue, both in our organization as well as within the industry at large.”
Starting this week, HFPA will begin the process of adding 20 new members (presumably all of whom will be BIPOC) by August … and increasing their membership by 50% in 18 mos. By the end of May, HFPA is aiming to hire a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant, a bunch of other execs, roll out a new code of conduct and train their members up ASAP.
Come June, they’re planning to review new bylaws with an independent firm they’re bringing on, and also form a new credentials committee … while sending out ballots to vote on these changes. In July, they’re hoping all the new bylaws will be adopted and all the changes will go into effect — and when August rolls around, they want to admit their new class of HFPA members. There’s A LOT to do, but HFPA wants everyone to know … they’re on it.
Looks like there will be one less award show next year … NBC just axed the 2022 Golden Globes because of a lack of diversity within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
The network announced its decision to cut ties with the Golden Globes Monday, citing the need for “meaningful reform” at the HFPA, which is stirring outrage in Hollywood due to a lack of people of color among its members.
NBC says it won’t air the Golden Globes in 2022, but the network’s leaving the door open for the award show’s return in January 2023, as long as the HFPA follows through with a new plan to increase membership among POC.
Remember, the HFPA — a non-profit made up of international journalists who put on (and vote for winners of) the Golden Globes — has been called out for reportedly having ZERO Black members for several years now.
The hosts of this year’s Golden Globes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, even raised the issue during NBC’s February broadcast.
NBC’s decision to ax the Globes comes the same day Tom Cruise reportedly returned his 3 Golden Globe trophies to the HFPA in a sign of protest.
There’s been growing opposition to HFPA … as we reported, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson recently called on Hollywood to “step back” from HFPA, and the Globes by extension.
Meanwhile, the HFPA says it’s planning to make sweeping changes … like admitting 20 new members with a focus on Black recruitment.
NBC says change at the HFPA “takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.”
See ya in 2023?!?
Originally Published — 12:25 PM PT
2020 Olympics in Trouble, COVID Cases Surge, Tokyo in State of Emergency
Welp, this is bad …
The COVID pandemic is hitting Japan so hard, IOC president Thomas Bach has canceled a trip to the country … leaving many wondering if the Olympic Games will actually happen in July as planned.
After a surge in cases in major cities, including Tokyo, the Japanese government extended a state of emergency from May 11 to May 31 … which leaves less than 2 months before the Games are scheduled to begin on July 23.
Health officials in Japan are concerned the current 4th wave of the infection contains a variant that is spreading very fast and impacting a relatively large number of young people.
Officials say hospitals are overwhelmed and the health care system throughout the country is being pushed to the brink.
IOC President Bach was supposed to be traveling all over Japan next week to meet up with the Olympic torch — but now, those plans have been postponed until Japanese officials end the state of emergency.
As for the numbers in Japan, there are more than 600,000 reported COVID cases and roughly 11,000 deaths.
One of the biggest issues at the moment is the fact only 2% of the 126 million people living in Japan have received at least one vaccine dose according to Reuters.
Japan is still hopeful to get things under control in time for the 2020 Games — Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga saying last week, “We are putting all our efforts into stemming the spread of infections.”
Officer Anne Lewis in 'RoboCop' 'Memba Her?!
New York City native Nancy Allen has a long list of acting credits from the late ’70s and early ’80s, but is best known for her role as the cyborg police partner Officer Anne Lewis — who helps Officer Murphy find himself within the law-enforcing robotic exterior — in the iconic ’80s sci-fi film “RoboCop” … as well as the ’90s sequels “RoboCop 2” and “RoboCop 3.”
Nancy Allen shared the big screen of the futuristic film with some notable actors including Kurtwood Smith as the crime-riddled Clarence Boddicker, Miguel Ferrer as the cop-creator, Bob Morton … and of course Peter Weller as the RoboCop, Officer Murphy.
Guess what she looks like now!
Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Tests Positive For Steroids, Trainer Bob Baffert Suspended
8:52 AM PT — Bob Baffert has been suspended from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack.
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was allegedly juiced up when he won the race, because he apparently tested positive for steroids.
The legendary Bob Baffert, the horse’s trainer, broke the news Sunday that the test results showed the presence of corticosteroid Betamethasone. It’s kinda technical, but the sample came back positive for 21 picograms of the drug. It’s used as an anti-inflammatory.
This means the horse could be disqualified. BTW … Medina Spirit is the only horse in the race to test positive.
Baffert denies doing anything wrong … “I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s something that is not right.” It’s not official till the split sample comes. Usually, we wait for that, but I wanted to get in front of it.”
Facts are facts, and this would be Baffert’s 5th medication violation since May, 2020.
The good news for bettors … they won’t have to give their money back. The bad news for Baffert, the trainer and the jockey … they’ll have to return their winnings if their appeal fails.
If Medina Spirit is stripped of the win, it’d be the first DQ since 1968, when Dancer’s Image won but was later disqualified for an anti-inflammatory drug.
Originally Published — 7:17 AM PT
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