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#pounditSunday, November 28, 2021

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Baker Mayfield’s wife Emily addresses viral Instagram post

Baker Mayfield poses with his wife Emily

Baker Mayfield’s rough season continued on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns eked out a win over the Detroit Lions, but the quarterback’s wife was quick to defend him. She may have inadvertently done so at the expense of some of Mayfield’s teammates.

After Cleveland’s 13-10 win, a fan praised Mayfield on Instagram for his toughness. The fan also said “maybe the rest of our team should take the hint and get tougher.” Mayfield’s wife Emily shared the post on her story.

The question, of course, is whether she reposted it simply because the fan complimented her husband or if she agreed with everything the fan said. Emily eventually took the post down and sent a tweet about how much she respects every member of the Browns.

Mayfield has been playing through an injured shoulder and other ailments. He completed just 15 of 29 passes for 176 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in the win over Detroit. It’s hard to say exactly how much the injuries have impacted his performance, but he clearly is not 100 percent healthy.

Mayfield’s actions following Sunday’s game indicated he was not overly thrilled with the win.

Emily has defended Baker against criticism in the past, so this is nothing new. Given that her husband is playing hurt, you can understand why she’d be frustrated by some of the backlash this season.

Video: LeBron James ejected for dirty blow to Isaiah Stewart

LeBron James struggles with Isaiah Stewart

LeBron James was ejected for throwing a dirty elbow/slap at Isaiah Stewart during Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons.

The players were lined up under the basket as Jerami Grant attempted his second of two free throws in the third quarter. James was getting boxed out and struggling with Stewart for positioning. Upset about being boxed out, James appeared to throw an elbow/slap at Stewart’s face:

Here is another angle of it:

And this angle pretty clearly shows James nailed Stewart with a spinning backfist move:

Stewart was bloodied by the shot and went after multiple Lakers players (video here).

Stewart and James were both ejected from the game. Russell Westbrook was also hit with a technical foul. Wayne Ellington got to shoot one technical free throw, which he made. For Detroit, Josh Jackson got two technical free throws and went 1-for-2.

The ejection was just the second of James’ entire NBA career. His first ejection came in 2017 after an incident with referee Kane Fitzgerald.

Tiger Woods gets fans buzzing with video on Twitter

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods has been working his way back from serious injuries that he suffered in a car accident earlier this year, and he hit another huge milestone recently.

Woods shared a video on Sunday that showed him hitting balls on the driving range. He had some sort of brace or sleeve on his right leg, but his swing looked as smooth as ever.

A photo of Woods surfaced last month that showed him on a golf course with a club in his hand, but this is the first time we have seen him hitting balls since the accident.

Tiger suffered multiple leg fractures in his February crash. There were questions about whether he would ever play again, but he seems determined to make yet another comeback.

Woods, 45, has overcome his infamous scandal and multiple significant back injuries. He’s likely still a long way from being able to compete at a high level again, if he ever will. Still, it’s a positive sign that he is back to working on his game.

Ryan Day has warning for Michigan after blowout win

Ryan Day

The Ohio State Buckeyes appear to be hitting their stride at the right time, and coach Ryan Day wants his biggest rival to know it.

The Buckeyes throttled the Michigan State Spartans 56-7 on Saturday, turning a clash of top-ten teams into an uncompetitive blowout. Ohio State jumped out to a 49-0 lead before halftime, and quarterback C.J. Stroud asserted his Heisman Trophy credentials by throwing for 432 yards and six touchdowns.

After the game, Day did something unusual. He brought up next week’s opponent, the Michigan Wolverines, more than once, and sent a clear message to his players. The message he sent was to Jim Harbaugh and Harbaugh’s Wolverines team.

Day even added that he had started thinking about the Michigan game even before officially finishing off Michigan State.

This year’s Ohio State-Michigan game will decide the Big Ten East and send the winner to the conference championship game. Beyond that, Day has made the Michigan rivalry a huge priority, much like his predecessor Urban Meyer did. That explains the intensity of his focus on Michigan. It also provides some context as to why the Buckeyes have won 17 of the last 19 meetings between the two schools.

LeBron James tried to get ESPN personality fired?

LeBron James in his Lakers uniform

ESPN has often been criticized for a perceived bias towards LeBron James. It turns out though that James may have actually tried to see just how much influence he had with the network.

Michelle Beadle of The Athletic said in an episode of her “What Did I Miss?” podcast this week that the Los Angeles Lakers star tried to get her fired from ESPN. Beadle’s guest on the podcast, retired Hall of Famer and ex-ESPN host Paul Pierce, brought up that there was a rumor about James supposedly doing so.

“He tried,” replied Beadle. “He did try, yep. He did try to do that. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m honored that I’m even on your mind. Thank you very much, sir. That’s a weird place for me to be.’

“So, my stuff with him started out not personal,” Beadle continued. “I made fun of ‘The Decision’ like 400,000 other talking heads did at the time, and I think for some reason, that was it. So, it wasn’t personal to begin with it. It’s obviously, now it will always be personal, but it is what it is.”

Beadle began at ESPN in 2009 as a co-host of the show “SportsNation” and quickly worked her way up the ranks. She eventually got her own podcast on the network and served as a guest host for several different ESPN programs. Beadle briefly left ESPN to work at NBC from 2012 to 2014 before returning to The Worldwide Leader. She began hosting “NBA Countdown” in 2016 and joined the crew of the show “Get Up!” in 2018. Beadle’s time at ESPN ended in 2019 when she was removed from “NBA Countdown” and eventually agreed to a buyout with the network.

Since Beadle specifically mentioned “The Decision,” James’ infamous ESPN special in 2010 where he announced that he was joining the Miami Heat, it seems likely that James’ alleged efforts to get her fired occurred during her first stint at the network. That would have been long before Beadle became as well-known as she would later be.

Perhaps there is more to the story than Beadle simply clowning James for “The Decision,” which every sports analyst everywhere did indeed do at the time. But we do know that Beadle has also drawn the ire of other superstar athletes before.

H/T Lakers Daily

New detail about Antonio Brown fake vaccine card report emerges

Antonio Brown smiling

Did Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown use a fake vaccination card to skirt the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols? Well, if you were to ask his former personal chef, Steven Ruiz, the answer would be yes.

Ruiz told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that Brown had, in fact, purchased a fake vaccination card and has been using it. He even provided a screenshot of a text message sent by Browns’ girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, asking for a forged Johnson & Johnson card.

“Can you get the COVID cards?” Moreau allegedly asked. The reason they supposedly settled on J&J was due to it being a single shot, limiting the amount of counterfeit paperwork needed.

Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, quickly disputed the allegations. He later told ESPN’s Jenna Laine that Brown would take a booster shot on live television to prove his vaccination status.

But it appears there may be more to this fake vaccination card story yet.

Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network, formerly of the Miami Herald, claims these rumors have persisted for weeks. In fact, he says, Brown even offered his fake vaccination card hookup to others around the league.

The NFL’s Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy told CNN that the league is aware of the accusations and have been in contact with the Buccaneers.

“We are aware of the report and have been in contact with the club. We will review the matter,” McCarthy said.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers released a statement saying the vaccination status of all players had been reviewed with no irregularities found.

Any player who uses a fake vaccination card is subject to punishment under the league’s personal conduct policy. It would also be a federal criminal offense.

Photo: Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown accused of using fake COVID vaccine card

Antonio brown

Antonio Brown is known for making headlines for a variety of reasons, and the latest may or may not shock you.

Brown’s former personal chef, Steven Ruiz, told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccine card so he could avoid having to follow the NFL’s COVID protocols. Ruiz provided a screenshot that he claims shows Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, asking him in a text message to try to obtain a fake Johnson & Johnson vaccination card.

Moreau allegedly texted Ruiz, “Can you get the COVID cards?” She specified that Brown wanted the J&J card because only one dose of the J&J vaccine is needed, which would require less counterfeit paperwork. Moreau said Brown was willing to pay Ruiz $500 for the card, and he responded that he would try to get one.

Ruiz, who had a falling out with Brown over a supposed unpaid debt of $10,000, says Brown was worried about the potential negative effects of getting vaccinated. Ruiz claims he was unable to get a fake vaccination card for Brown but that Brown eventually found one and purchased one for himself and Moreau. Ruiz says Brown showed him the cards days before Bucs training camp.

That same night, Ruiz says Tom Brady’s personal trainer Alex Guerrero came to Brown’s house to help Brown with his rehab from a knee injury. Ruiz claims Guerrero often took photos of players’ vaccine cards and sent them to the Bucs’ head trainer to document the list of vaccinated players as quickly as possible. Guerrero took a photo of Brown’s card, but Ruiz says he does not believe Guerrero knew it was fake.

Sean Burstyn, Brown’s attorney, told the Tampa Bay Times that the veteran wide receiver is vaccinated and never used a counterfeit card.

“Antonio Brown appreciates the severity of the pandemic, which is why he got the vaccine and supports everyone for whom it is advisable to get the vaccine,” Burstyn said. “Coronavirus has hit close to home as it took him out of a game. He is healthy, vaccinated, and ready to win another Super Bowl.”

There were some questions last year about whether the Bucs held workouts when they shouldn’t have amid the pandemic.

The source obviously needs to be considered, as Ruiz and Brown clearly are not on good terms. Then again, Brown hasn’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt.

Ruiz is not the first chef with whom Brown has had an issue.

Report: Lane Kiffin willing to leave Ole Miss if 1 job opens

Lane Kiffin holds his headset

Lane Kiffin has a coaching gig in the SEC that many would kill for, but apparently he is willing to leave it if a certain job becomes vacant.

Andy Slater of FOX Sports 640 reported on Thursday that Kiffin would be interested in leaving Ole Miss if he had an opportunity to coach at Miami.

This isn’t the first time Kiffin has been linked to Miami. The Hurricanes are in their third season under Manny Diaz and have a 5-5 record. They just fired their athletic director, perhaps signaling they are ready to make a coaching change. An infamous Miami booster claimed recently that Kiffin is the school’s top target.

Ole Miss is 8-2 and ranked 12th in the country. They’re having a great second season under Kiffin. The coach is known for leaving programs quickly, like he did with Tennessee. Would he pull that move again?

You can never say never, and Kiffin did seem to enjoy his tenure at Florida Atlantic. At the very least, he might use the Miami rumors to get more money out of Ole Miss. These rumors become very useful for coaches this time of year, and we heard another one this week about the LSU job.

Ole Miss fans! It’s time to jump aboard the Lane Train! This Lane Train shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend – you can buy it here.

Photo: Sep 18, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffen at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander makes decision on his 2022 team

Justin Verlander smiles

Justin Verlander is staying put for the 2022 season.

Verlander is set to remain with the Houston Astros on a one-year contract. The news was initially confirmed by Verlander’s brother, FOX Sports analyst Ben Verlander. Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston reported that Verlander’s deal is worth $25 million, with a player option for 2023.

It’s easy to see why Verlander took this offer after rejecting Houston’s qualifying offer. The 38-year-old is coming off Tommy John surgery, and to get a $25 million guarantee is quite significant. In addition, he’ll have the opportunity to either remain in Houston for a second season or test free agency again if he proves he is healthy and can still pitch at a high level.

Verlander posted a 2.58 ERA with 300 strikeouts in 223 innings in 2019, his last healthy season. There had been some talk that he may return to the organization where he started his career, and had at least one ex-teammate in his ear about it.

Matthew Stafford’s wife Kelly apologizes for throwing pretzel at 49ers fan

Matthew Stafford and his wife Kelly

Matthew Stafford’s wife Kelly has always been enthusiastic about defending her husband, but it would appear she took things a bit too far during Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.

A witness who attended the game at Levi’s Stadium told TMZ that Mrs. Stafford got into a verbal altercation with a fan who was seated behind her. Kelly got so angry that she turned around and threw a pretzel at the man. Security stepped in and escorted Kelly and her family to other seats.

Another fan who witnessed the incident called Stafford out on Instagram. The fan said Kelly should “show some class and support your husband and his new team with grace.” Stafford responded to the comment and called it a “weak moment” for her.

“Girl I knowwwww I’m an idiot,” she wrote. “He was saying a bunch of things that were aggressive towards our crew but zero excuse. I tried to apologize, but in the end I knew I was wrong. Will always stand up for my guy and everyone I love, but obviously needed to do it completely different! I’m embarrassed too! Sorry you had to witness me in my weak moment!”

Apparently this was not another case of mistaken identity. We saw one TV network accidentally misidentify Kelly earlier this year, but she has confirmed she was the pretzel thrower.

Kelly has been outspoken on social media many times about Matthew’s playing career. As far as we know, this is the first time she hurled a concession item at a heckler.