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Joe McKnight Shooter Gets 30 Years in Prison ... for Manslaughter

3/15/2018 8:25 AM PDT
Breaking News

The man who shot and killed ex-NFL RB Joe McKnight could be spending the rest of his life in a prison cell. 

Ronald Gasser, 56, was just sentenced to 30 years behind bars ... less than 2 months after he was found guilty of manslaughter in a Louisiana courtroom. The maximum sentence he faced was 40 years.

Gasser was originally charged with 2nd-degree murder, but the jury elected for the lesser charge of manslaughter after more than 7 hours of deliberation back on Jan. 26.

McKnight -- who played for the Jets and Chiefs from 2010-2014 -- was gunned down by Gasser during a road-rage incident on Dec. 1, 2016, which ended when Gasser shot McKnight 3 times through his passenger side window. 

Joe was only 28.

McKnight's mother, Jennifer, gave a victim impact statement before the sentencing, saying -- "That day, you didn't have to do that. That didn't have to happen. It hurts. It's going to hurt a long time."

Michelle Quick, the mother of Joe's 8-year-old son, also addressed Gasser before leaving the courtroom in tears.

"It will be my life's mission to make sure my son, Jaiden, doesn't grow up with hate for you. Not because you don't deserve it, but because he should not have hate in his heart."

FYI, Gasser's lawyer's filed a motion for a new trial before the sentencing -- claiming he was clearly acting in self-defense -- but the judge rejected their proposal.

They're planning to appeal the 30-year sentence.

Justin Verlander Blasts Danry Vasquez Eff You, Scumbag!

3/15/2018 7:56 AM PDT
Breaking News

Justin Verlander is going OFF on woman-beating baseball player Danry Vasquez -- essentially saying he's a piece of trash who doesn't deserve to play baseball ever again. 

"(Middle finger emoji) you man," Verlander posted on Twitter ... "I hope the rest of your life without baseball is horrible. You deserve all that is coming your way!"

There's a connection here ... Verlander currently plays for the Astros and Vasquez was a member of the Houston farm system at the time of the 2016 attack.

As we previously reported, Vasquez repeatedly brutalized his girlfriend in the stairwell at Whataburger Stadium in Texas while a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks ... Houston's AA minor league team.

The 'Stros organization released Vasquez right after the arrest. But he was picked up by another team in Pennsylvania which JUST fired him this week when the beating video went public.

Vasquez only got a slap on the wrist from prosecutors -- he was only ordered to complete anger management (which he did) and his case has since been dismissed.

But Verlander isn't the only Astros star who's pissed about the Vasquez situation -- Houston pitcher Lance McCullers says the guy should have been thrown behind bars. 

"The issue here is no one cared as much until a video was leaked & now everyone is outraged!? This is the reality of domestic violence. It’s always brutal, always sickening. We must fight for the victims, video or not. He should be in jail. If you need help, find it. People care."

Clyde Drexler Named BIG3 Commish After Roger Mason Firing

3/15/2018 7:44 AM PDT
Breaking News

Clyde "The Glide" Drexler is the NEW man in charge of Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league -- replacing Roger Mason Jr. ... who got the ax earlier this week. 

As we previously reported, Mason and BIG3 are in the middle of a legal war -- so BIG3 removed him from the top spot and had Ice Cube fill in while they searched for a new Commish. 

But, the search is over ... BIG3 tells TMZ Sports the 10-time NBA All-Star has signed a 3-year deal to be the new Commish. 

"As Commissioner he will help lead the BIG3’s basketball operations as well as executing the league’s long-term strategy on all fronts," the league said in a statement. 

55-year-old Drexler was the coach of Team Power during the 2017 season -- so he's familiar with how the league runs. 

"Clyde is a consummate professional, revered businessman, and indisputably one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball," said league Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube.

"We were thrilled to have his early support as a coach for our inaugural season, and couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him to the executive team as BIG3 Commissioner.”

Ex-ESPN President John Skipper Admits Cocaine Problem

3/15/2018 6:56 AM PDT
Breaking News

John Skipper is finally opening up about his shocking exit from ESPN -- and admitting the "substance addiction" that led to his resignation was with cocaine. 

"I did get some therapy. I did go through treatment," Skipper told The Hollywood Reporter

"I thought the best thing to do was to take the time to check myself into a facility, and I was able to understand a bit more about substance use and to think about how it intersected with my life."

Skipper is adamant he never had a problem with alcohol, heroin or opioids -- it was strictly cocaine.

"At ESPN I did not use at work, nor with anyone at work, or with anyone I did business with. I never allowed it to interfere with my work, other than a missed plane and a few canceled morning appointments."

But, Skipper says he knew he had to come clean about his coke habit in December when someone he bought cocaine from tried to extort him. 

The dealer is described in the article as a "strange source."

Skipper also claims rumors of alleged sexual misconduct contributing to his resignation are false.

"My behavior relative to women at ESPN was always respectful. I did not touch anybody inappropriately. I did not tell off-color jokes. I treated everybody with respect."

United Airlines New Pet Carrier Policy Coming After Dead Dog Tragedy

3/14/2018 12:59 PM PDT
Breaking News

United Airlines says its flight attendant did not hear or understand the woman whose dog was placed in an overhead bin -- but it's taking new steps to avoid a repeat disaster ... TMZ has learned.

United tells us by April it will start issuing "bright colored bag tags to customers traveling with in-cabin pets." The idea is the visual tag on a pet carrier will help flight attendants know for sure when someone's traveling with an animal.

The airline says that's exactly what didn't happen in the case of Catalina Robledo and her French bulldog, Kokito. United says after speaking to passengers and crew members, it believes Catalina did tell the flight attendant she had a dog in her tote bag carrier -- but the flight attendant "did not hear or understand [Catalina]."

United also repeated its earlier statement ... that the flight attendant did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin.

Barack Obama Reveals NCAA Bracket ... Picks Mich. State!

3/14/2018 1:26 PM PDT
Breaking News

Donald Trump (45) won't do one ... but Barack Obama (44) is still filling out his March Madness bracket -- and he's picking Michigan State -- a 3 seed -- to win it all!!!

"Just because I have more time to watch games doesn’t mean my picks will be better," Obama wrote ... "but here are my brackets this year."

So, who's he got? There are some upsets in there including Loyola-Chicago (11) over Miami (6). 

He also has Texas (10) over Nevada (7). 

Obama also has Syracuse (11) beating Arizona State in the playoff game and then beating TCU (6). 

His Final Four -- Virginia (1), North Carolina (2), Villanova (1) and Michigan State (3). 

The official tournament starts Thursday.

Of course, President Obama went to Harvard ... but they suck at basketball and didn't make the NCAA tourney. 

Maybe next year?

Shaq Put Cops in Schools to Stop Shootings ... And Don't Ban Guns!

3/14/2018 11:05 AM PDT
Breaking News

Shaq says he has the answer to stopping mass school shootings like the one we saw in Parkland -- placing armed police officers on school grounds.

"The quick fix ... the government should give law enforcement more money," Shaq said on WABC Radio's "Curtis and Cosby" show

"Give more money, you recruit more people, and the guys that are not ready to go on the streets, you put them in front of the schools. You put 'em in front of the schools, you put 'em behind the schools, you put 'em inside the schools."

"I would like to see police officers in schools, inner cities, private schools."

Shaq says he got the idea from growing up on a military base -- where the cops they had on campus were very effective at stopping any violence that broke out. 

What Shaq does NOT want the government to do is ban semiautomatic weapons -- like the one Nikolas Cruz used to gun down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS -- arguing they'll become even more dangerous on the black market. 

"There's a lot of those weapons already on the streets. So it's not like, if you say, 'OK, these weapons are banned,' people are gonna go, 'Oh man, let me turn it in.' That's definitely not going to happen."

FYI, Shaq's always been a huge supporter of cops ... and in 2016, was sworn in as a sheriff's deputy in Clayton County, Georgia.

Boxing Champ Oscar Valdez Shows Gruesome Post-Fight Fist (Gotta See The Other Guy)

3/14/2018 10:35 AM PDT
Breaking News

Here's undefeated boxing champ Oscar Valdez proving even winning hurts in boxing -- showing his totally jacked up fist (and face) following a big win in an absolutely brutal fight this past weekend.

Valdez gutted out a tough victory over Scott Quigg Saturday night in a controversial and dangerous bout -- mostly because Quigg came in overweight for the fight and made it a slugfest.

FYI, Valdez (24-0) and Quigg (34-2-2) were supposed to fight at 126 lbs ... but Quigg missed weight and then ballooned up to 142 lbs on fight night while Valdez DID make weight. 

Oscar won on points to keep his featherweight title, but had to have his jaw wired shut after the fight -- and judging by these recovery room pics, dude might have someone opening his sodas for a while.

As for Quigg, he also posted a post-battle photo -- and, although he does look a little like Mr. Magoo, he's not in the hospital. He did suffer a broken nose. 

Still wanna be a boxer when you grow up?!

Nick Gordon's GF Begs Judge to Let Him Off the Hook It's My Fault, I'm Bipolar

3/14/2018 9:27 AM PDT
Breaking News

Nick Gordon's girlfriend -- the one he was arrested for beating -- has fired off a letter to the judge saying it was all her fault.

Laura Leal filed docs in Seminole County, Florida ... and they include the letter asking the judge to lift the no-contact order. Laura says she needs Nick's love and guidance and wants to speak to her boyfriend again.

In the letter, obtained by TMZ, Laura says the case against Nick is not accurate, particularly when it comes to her alleged injuries on the night of Nick's arrest. She writes, "Pictures were taken of my face the night of the incident because cops stated my lip was 'bleeding' when in all reality my lips were chapped and dry ... There was no marks on my face." 

Laura says she suffers from severe anger issues and the whole thing was a misunderstanding. She wrote, "I am seeking help and determined to take the condition seriously as I have been diagnosed bipolar. He is not at blame, and should not be pushed into any trouble or consequences due to my actions."

This all seems to line up with what Nick said when he called 911. TMZ broke the story ... Nick sounded frantic, and cried as he said he "sounds so lame because I'm getting beat up by a woman."

Baseball Player Caught Beating Girlfriend On Stadium Surveillance

3/14/2018 8:22 AM PDT
Breaking News

A professional baseball team in Pennsylvania has cut outfielder Danry Vasquez after a 2016 video surfaced showing him beating the hell out of his girlfriend IN A STADIUM. 

Vasquez was arrested for domestic violence in Texas back in August 2016 -- and despite the fact officials had the video showing him backhanding the woman in the face and continuing to beat her while dragging her down a stairwell ... he basically got off with a slap on the wrist. 

FYI, at the time of the incident, Vasquez was playing for the Corpus Christi Hooks -- the AA minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros. The team released him days after the incident. 

Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez tells TMZ Sports the victim did NOT want to cooperate with prosecutors and wanted the case dropped. 

Prosecutors WANTED to press but felt it was an uphill battle with the victim not wanting to press charges. Ultimately, Vasquez was ordered to complete anger management courses ... and that's basically it. 

Gonzalez says Vasquez has now completed the terms of his probation and the case was formally dismissed on March 6.  

"At that point, probation checked with us, and he had done everything we asked him to do so I was forced to dismiss the case," Gonzalez told KRIS 6 News

Vasquez went on to sign a contract with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. They have now released Vasquez in the wake of the video being released ... saying, "Upon being made aware of the nature of the incident, the Barnstormers made a prompt decision to cut ties with the 24-year old."

Manager Ross Peeples added, "There is no choice but to sever the relationship. Neither I, nor the Barnstormers' organization as a whole, can condone or associate with that behavior."

The Atlantic League of Pro Baseball is not affiliated with MLB -- but very high-profile players have competed in the league including Rickey Henderson and Roger Clemens

Stephen Hawking Dead at 76

3/13/2018 9:16 PM PDT
Breaking News

Stephen Hawking, the world's most famous theoretical physicist -- celebrated for his black hole discoveries -- has died ... according to his family.

It appears Hawking died early Wednesday. His 3 children released a statement saying, "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today." 

Hawking had suffered from a rare early-onset form of ALS most of his life, which left him wheelchair-bound and almost entirely paralyzed. He could still communicate with the aid of a computer and the muscles in his cheek.

The world-renowned British scientist wrote several landmark books, including "A Brief History of Time." His black hole theories and discoveries were so vast ... the radiation that comes from them is called Hawking radiation.

Stephen guest starred on several TV shows as himself, such as "The Simpsons" and "The Big Bang Theory." He was also written into an episode of "Family Guy," but Seth MacFarlane did the voice.

The 2014 movie about his life, "The Theory of Everything," was nominated for Best Picture, and Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking, won the Oscar for Best Actor.

Hawking had reportedly turned down Knighthood, and, amazingly, never won the Nobel Prize. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom here in the U.S.

Hawking was 76.


U.K. Royal Family & Politicians Boycotting 2018 World Cup ... Over Spy Poisoning

3/14/2018 6:52 AM PDT
Breaking News

U.K. prime minister Theresa May just laid down the gauntlet to Russia -- saying NO members of the British government OR the royal family will attend the World Cup over a chemical attack on a double agent living in England. 

May is FURIOUS over the attack on Sergei Skripal -- a former Russian spy who was jailed in Russia in 2006 for selling state secrets to British intelligence officers. 

He was released in 2010 as part of a spy swap -- and was living in England. He was being visited by his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, when they were both poisoned in an attack British officials are blaming on Russia. 

May has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country -- and has blocked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from his upcoming planned visit to Britain. 

But, May REALLY let the Russians know she's pissed when she called off plans for high-ranking British officials and Royals to attend the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

"There will be no attendance by ministers or indeed members of the royal family at this summer's World Cup in Russia," May proclaimed in a speech to Parliament. 

It seems the England team will compete as scheduled -- but those plans could change, too ... and that would be a HUGE deal in the U.K. where soccer is life.

Miley Cyrus Sued 'We Can't Stop' Is a Rip Off My Hit ... Says Jamaican Singer

3/13/2018 3:17 PM PDT
Breaking News

Miley Cyrus needs to stop making money off "We Can't Stop" ... according to an Jamaican dancehall artist who claims her hit would be nothing without his 1988 classic.

The singer from Jamrock goes by Flourgon, and in his lawsuit he says Miley's 2013 song borrows heavily from his tune, "We Run Things." Mind you, Flourgon's song never charted in the U.S., and it came out 4 years before Miley was born, but anyway ... here's his claim.

In the docs, Flourgon isn't saying Miley stole his music, or even a single line from his song. Instead, he says she jacked his "unique and creative lyrical phraseology in order to establish an overarching and pervasive theme ... in the realm of self-discovery and self-governings."

We'll try to translate. Mr. Flourgon seems to thinks Miley's declaration of not stopping ... is the same thing as him saying he runs things.

Hmmm ... listen to the songs, and decide for yourself. Flourgon is suing Miley and Sony to block further distribution, sales, and performances of "We Can't Stop" ... and, of course, for money.

They have really strong weed in Jamaica, right?

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