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#pounditMonday, April 12, 2021

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Aaron Rodgers says this helped him keep Shailene Woodley engagement a secret

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers shocked the NFL and gossip communities two months ago when he casually revealed he was engaged during his MVP Award acceptance speech. Many people did not even know the Green Bay Packers star had been dating anyone after his split with Danica Patrick, so how did he and Shailene Woodley manage to keep their relationship so quiet?

Apparently the pandemic helped.

Rodgers was asked about keeping his engagement under wraps during a recent interview with USA Today’s Gary Levin. He pointed to the fact that he and Woodley did not travel much and were wearings masks whenever they went out in public.

“Well, COVID was a big help with that, because it just wasn’t the same amount of travel. Wearing a mask all the time gives you just a little bit more anonymity,” Rodgers said. “But we spent a lot of time together during the season, and then she was off doing a movie really shortly after we got engaged.”

You can certainly understand why Rodgers wasn’t in a rush to take things public. It’s even more impossible for athletes and celebrities to find privacy once they’re in a relationship, so he likely wanted to enjoy the peace and quiet as long as he could.

Rodgers has typically tried to keep his personal life under wraps, but his own brother even made that difficult at one point.

Gossip sites will be anxious to see when and where Rodgers and Woodley get married, but the quarterback says the two have not set a date. When they do, we’d be surprised if Rodgers volunteered that information.

H/T Egotastic Sports

Deshaun Watson admits to having consensual sexual encounters with some accusers

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson has maintained his innocence despite 22 different women accusing him of sexual assault, but the Houston Texans star has now admitted that his relationship with some of the massage therapists was not exactly professional.

Watson’s legal team held a press conference on Friday afternoon in which they enthusiastically defended the quarterback’s character. Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lead defense attorney, said there were times when Watson had “consensual encounters” with some of the alleged victims.

“We deeply, deeply do not believe this guy ever did anything nonconsensual with any woman during any of this,” Hardin said. “He didn’t coerce them. We don’t believe he used his position. We don’t believe he intimidated them. We simply do not. Were there sometimes consensual encounters? Yes.”

Some have questioned why Watson needed so many different massage therapists, and Hardin also addressed that. He attributed it to spas being shut down during the pandemic and Watson searching for therapists via direct messages because “millennials live on Instagram.”

The identities of at least a dozen women who have accused Watson of sexual assault will soon be revealed. Nine of the alleged victims have volunteered to publicly reveal their identities, and several others will have to due to a court ruling on Friday.

One of the alleged victims, Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement this week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see that video here.

Watson’s defense is that he had consensual sexual encounters with some massage therapists and that all of the 22 women are lying in some form. Hardin previously claimed that Watson was the victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the case.

Bryson DeChambeau gets meme treatment over Masters struggles

Bryson DeChambeau Masters

Bryson DeChambeau is once again struggling at the Masters, and you can probably guess how much sympathy fans are showing him.

DeChambeau is known for his unique style of play and ability to hit monstrous drives. Because he can hit the ball so far, DeChambeau said last year that he views Augusta National as a par-67 course for himself rather than a par-72. His rationale was that he can reach all four of the par-5 holes in two shots and nearly drive the short par-4.

“I’m looking at it as a par 67 for me because I can reach all the par-5s in two, no problem,” DeChambeau told the media leading up to the Masters last November. “If the conditions stay the way they are, that’s what I feel like par is for me. That’s not me being big-headed. I can hit it as far as I want to …”

He has not played well at Augusta since making those comments. After barely making the cut last year and finishing T-34, DeChambeau posted a 4-over 76 in the first round of the 2021 Masters on Thursday. He struggled a bit on Friday as well. Twitter showed no mercy.

DeChambeau’s length obviously gives him an advantage, but that’s only one aspect of golf. He still has to hit solid shots and putt well. The latter proved to be particularly difficult in the first two rounds of this year’s Masters, as the greens were extremely firm.

DeChambeau had one of the worst breaks you will ever seen during the Masters last year (video here), but he knows no one is going to feel badly for him.

Several more of Deshaun Watson’s alleged victims will reveal their identities

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s attorney has filed a motion seeking to force several of the women who have accused the quarterback of sexual assault to reveal their identities, but no court ruling will be necessary for several of them.

Tony Buzbee, the lawyer who represents the 22 women who have filed sexual assault lawsuits against Watson, said Friday that nine more of the alleged victims have chosen to voluntarily reveal their identities.

One of the nine women is Ashley Solis, who delivered a powerful statement this week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

A hearing was held on Friday regarding 12 of the women who have filed lawsuits against Watson. A judge ruled that all 12 must refile their lawsuits and attach their names to them, according to Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. That means the three women who did not volunteer to publicly reveal their identities must now do so as well.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, maintained that the quarterback is innocent in a statement issued on Thursday. He accused Tony Buzbee of using “anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson.” Hardin has been saying for weeks that Buzbee should have to provide the names of the accusers so Watson can defend himself properly.

All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said last week that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Mike Trout hit a home run into an elementary school

Mike Trout

Mike Trout smashed a baseball into orbit during the Los Angeles Angels’ win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, and it is a good thing school wasn’t in session when it happened.

The Blue Jays have been playing their “home” games at minor league facility TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., this season due to the pandemic. Curtis Fundamental Elementary School is located right behind the park in the direction of the home run Trout launched in the top of the fifth inning on Thursday night.

The home run traveled an estimated 444 feet. Someone did the math on the distance the ball went using a satellite view of the ballpark, and it is safe to conclude that it hit the elementary school.

If you remember, Trout had a funny exchange with David Price recently (see it here) about MLB supposedly taking some of the juice out of baseballs. Anyone who was inside Curtis Fundamental Elementary School at the time of Trout’s moonshot might question whether that actually happened.

The home run was Trout’s third in seven games.

Former 76ers GM shares awesome Allen Iverson story

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson was one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA during his Hall of Fame career, and we were reminded of that again this week with a great story that former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Billy King told.

King was a guest on the “Audacy NBA Show” with Ryan McDonough on Friday, and he spoke about how difficult it was to keep Iverson sidelined when the former point guard was injured. King said the Sixers had to literally hide Iverson’s game jersey from him to prevent him from suiting up.

“When he was injured and we knew he couldn’t play we used to hide his jersey. Because he would come to the locker room looking for his jersey, we’d lock it somewhere so he couldn’t get it,” King said.

The former GM then recalled a specific instance where the 76ers wanted Iverson to sit out a game in New York. Iverson was able to find his jersey but not his game sneakers. He tried everything he could to find a pair of shoes he could use.

“One time, in New York, he found his jersey but didn’t have any shoes,” King said. “He was trying to send the ball boy to the Foot Locker around the corner. He said, ‘Just give me a pair of their Reeboks. I can play in those.’ Then he pointed to an attendant (and said), ‘What size are you, just give me those shoes,’ because he wanted to play so bad.”

There were many questions about Iverson’s level of commitment during his career. We’re all familiar with his famous “practice” rant, and there were certainly some troubling reports about his state of mind when that happened.

All that said, anyone who played against A.I. knows how dominant he was and the effort he gave night in and night out. Clearly, he never wanted to leave the court or be held out.

Deshaun Watson’s legal team wins important ruling in sexual assault scandal

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s attorney filed a motion earlier this week seeking to force the quarterback’s alleged sexual assault victims to reveal their identities. A judge ruled in Watson’s favor in one of the cases on Friday morning.

Harris County Judge Dedra Davis ruled at an emergency hearing that one of the 22 plaintiffs who is suing Watson for sexual assault must identify herself by refiling her lawsuit with her name attached, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. The alleged victim had previously been referred to as Jane Doe in her lawsuit.

A similar hearing regarding at least 12 of the other plaintiffs will be held later on Friday.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, maintained that the quarterback is innocent in a statement issued on Thursday. Hardin also accused Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the alleged victims, of using “anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson.” Hardin has been saying for weeks that Buzbee should have to provide the names of the accusers so Watson can defend himself properly.

Watson has been sued by 22 women who say he sexually harassed and assaulted them while they were giving him massages. Two of the alleged victims publicly revealed their identities on Tuesday. One of the women, massage therapist Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

Marcus Morris sends funny tweet after getting ejected on same night as brother

Marcus and Markieff Morris have accomplished a lot together during their lives, most notably starring on the basketball court in high school and college before going on to enjoy successful NBA careers. But on Thursday night, the twins found a new — albeit unintentional — way to bond.

Marcus and Markieff were both ejected during the fourth quarter of their teams’ respective games. Markieff got into an official’s face over a non-call late in the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Miami Heat. Marcus had a similar incident in the Los Angeles Clippers’ win over the Phoenix Suns.

You can see both ejections below:

After the game, Marcus quickly caught wind that his brother had also been ejected. He sent a funny tweet about it:

The Morris twins are known for having tempers, so seeing them get into it with an official or opponent is certainly nothing new. The fact that they were both ejected in the fourth quarter of different games on the same night is something they are unlikely to forget.