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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."

WWE's Jonathan Coachman I'm NOT a Sexual Predator ... Slams Accuser

3/6/2018 8:13 AM PST
Breaking News

Ex-ESPN anchor Jonathan Coachman is firing back against allegations he was a sexual predator during his time at the network ... saying he's the victim of "vicious lies."

Coachman -- who now works for WWE -- was mentioned in a lawsuit filed by ex-ESPN legal analyst Adrienne Lawrence ... who claims Coachman was part of the "misogynistic and predatory culture" at the network. 

Specifically, Lawrence claimed Coachman hit on her and employed tactics from the "ESPN predator's playbook." She claimed Coachman was a notorious sexual harasser at the office. 

Lawrence is suing ESPN, not Coachman personally. 

But, Coachman is furious and has finally responded to the allegations. 

"In 21 years of being a PROFESSIONAL I have never been more offended in my life," Coachman says. 

"In my 9 years I can count on one hand the amount of times I interacted with anyone other than a co-anchor. To allow someone to spread vicious lies and flat out fabrications is not ok and it’s time someone stood up for themselves."

"I am also offended that someone can dangerously throw peoples’ names into something for the clear attempt at getting headlines."

"My heart goes out to anyone falsely accused of anything. Trust me it doesn’t feel good. But most of you have been incredible and supportive. Onward and upward."

Jemele Hill I Clashed with Chris Berman ... But No Racist Voicemail

3/5/2018 4:11 PM PST
Breaking News

Jemele Hill says Chris Berman NEVER left her a racist voicemail -- despite allegations in a lawsuit -- but admits she did have a "personal conflict" with the ESPN legend. 

As we previously reported, ex-ESPN legal analyst Adrienne Lawrence is suing ESPN -- and while she attempted to paint the company as a bastion of misogyny, she also included an allegation that Berman left a "racially disparaging" voicemail for Hill. 

Now, Hill is issuing a statement on the matter ... saying: 

"A few years ago, I had a personal conflict with Chris Berman, but the way this conflict has been characterized is dangerously inaccurate."

"Chris never left any racially disparaging remarks on my voicemail and our conflict was handled swiftly and with the utmost professionalism."

"I felt as if my concerns were taken seriously by ESPN and addressed in a way that made me feel like a valued employee."

"Frankly, I’m more disappointed that someone I considered to be a friend at one point would misrepresent and relay a private conversation without my knowledge -- in which I simply attempted to be a sounding board -- for personal gain."

ESPN also issued a statement saying the company "conducted a thorough investigation of the claims Adrienne Lawrence surfaced to ESPN and they are entirely without merit."

"The company will vigorously defend its position and we are confident we will prevail in court.”

Lawsuit: ESPN's Chris Berman Left 'Racially Disparaging' Voicemail ... for Jemele Hill

3/5/2018 12:29 PM PST
Exclusive Details

ESPN legend Chris Berman left a "threatening and racially disparaging voicemail" to fellow ESPN star Jemele Hill in 2016 and nothing was done ... this according to a new lawsuit.

The woman behind the suit is NOT Jemele -- it's Adrienne Lawrence -- a former ESPN legal analyst who's suing ESPN for sexual discrimination, hostile work environment and more. 

Lawrence specifically says ESPN host John Buccigross made her life a living hell after she rejected his "unwelcome advances."

In her suit, Lawrence describes ESPN as a company rife with misogyny -- and points to several alleged incidents to make her point. 

One such incident involves Berman and Hill. 

"In early 2016, ESPN's 'The Undefeated' personality Jemele Hill received a threatening and racially disparaging voicemail from Berman on her ESPN phone line."

Lawrence claims Hill notified ESPN executive Marcia Keegan -- who oversaw Hill's show, "His & Hers" -- but ultimately "nothing was done."

Lawrence claims Berman has been involved in multiple incidents involving mistreatment of women -- but "remains a celebrated and welcome ESPN employee."

We've reached out to ESPN multiple times for comment. So far, no word back.

Michael Wilbon NBA's 1-And-Done Rule's Gotta Go ... But, Racist?!

2/27/2018 9:29 AM PST

The NBA's 1-and-done rule is "complicated" and objectionable" and has got to go ... so says ESPN star Michael Wilbon -- but he definitely stopped short of calling it "racist."

We got the "Pardon The Interruption" host leaving Craig's in L.A. -- and asked him about Stan Van Gundy's recent comments about the league's 1-year collegiate mandate being racist ... since most athletes it's holding back are black.

"The '1-and-done' is complicated and it's not good and its gonna go away," Wilbon said ... "I don't know if it's racist or not, but it's objectionable."

The complication? Wilbon points out that such a high percentage of college and pro basketball players are black ... suggesting people arguing against the rule might be able to twist the numbers to make their argument.

Bottom line -- Wilbon believes the 1-and-done is on its way out ... and ya gotta think the NBA's considering it after a bunch of its stars were named in last week's NCAA hoops corruption scandal.

Drake Down with Giving Hero Coach Aaron Feis ESPY Courage Award

2/24/2018 7:10 AM PST

Drake has joined the chorus to give fallen Marjory Stoneman Douglas coach Aaron Feis the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the upcoming ESPY's.

We got Drizzy Friday night in WeHo arriving at Craig's in a super sweet Ferrari Laferrari and asked about the hero coach.

There's a big move to honor Aaron Feis with the award, and Drake is solidly behind the movement. The awards are scheduled for July 11th. 

BTW ... that model Ferrari ... costs as much as $7 mil.

Lil Yachty Give H.S. Shooting Coach an ESPY ... Real-Life 'Superhero!'

2/24/2018 12:30 AM PST

There's no debate -- the football coach who died protecting students in the Parkland, Florida shooting is 2018's Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner ... so says Lil Yachty.

"Honestly, bro, if the 'ESPYs' didn't do it -- that’s a problem," Yachy told TMZ Sports.

Yachty calls himself "the face of the youth" ... so the rap star gave us his thoughts on Aaron Feis  -- the coach who gave his life shielding kids from bullets at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School -- when we got him at LAX.

"He was obviously more than just a coach. In my eyes, you do something like that, you a superhero."

FYI, one source connected to the ESPYS told TMZ Feis is a "no-brainer" for the award ... but the show's in July, so the committee won't discuss nominees until April.

Florida School Shooting Hero Coach Feis Deserves ESPY ... Push On to Make it Happen

2/23/2018 12:50 AM PST

Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach who was shot and killed while protecting students in Parkland, FL, is being nominated for an award for courage ... by thousands of people.

There's an online campaign aimed for ESPN to posthumously award Aaron the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year's 'ESPYs.' As we reported, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School coach and security guard shielded students during the rampage.

Sources connected to the ESPYs tell TMZ ... the key award recipients are chosen by an ESPN committee and reps at Maggie Vision -- the production company for the ESPYs. 

One source described Aaron as a "no-brainer" for the honor -- however, the award show is not until July, and we're told meetings about nominees won't start until April.

Previous Arthur Ashe recipients include Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Caitlyn Jenner, Robin Roberts and Michael Sam

Jemele Hill I Still Think Trump's a White Supremacist

2/21/2018 11:59 AM PST
Exclusive Details

Jemele Hill says her opinion of Donald Trump has NOT changed -- she still believes he's a white supremacist ... but she probably wouldn't ever tweet that again.

The ESPN star appeared on "The View" on Wednesday and was asked about the tweet that led to her suspension back in October.

"I still stand by what I said," Hill told Meghan McCain ... adding, "I don't think his supporters are white supremacists."

However, Hill says Trump is surrounded by people with similar beliefs -- including Steve Bannon and others who have "played footsie" with white supremacists.

Hill also said if she had to do it over again, she wouldn't have tweeted -- instead she would have gone to ESPN and asked to write a column so she could have explained her position in greater detail.

We spoke with Hill after the show and she told us ESPN has given her the green light to talk about "issues that intersect with race sports culture and politics" in her new role with ESPN's website, the Undefeated.

And since she's a pop culture fanatic, we also asked Hill about comic books and the new "House Party" remake!

Jamie Foxx Cuts Off ESPN Interview ... Over Katie Holmes Question

2/16/2018 3:57 PM PST
Breaking News

Jamie Foxx was NOT having it when he was asked about Katie Holmes on ESPN -- and straight-up walked away from the camera during the live interview. 

Foxx was on "SportsCenter" talking with Michael Smith -- and everything was cool when they were talking about the All-Star Celebrity Game during NBA All-Star weekend in L.A. 

But when Smith asked if Foxx prepared for the game by hoopin' around with Katie Holmes -- Foxx took off his headset and walked away ... refusing to even acknowledge the question. 

Foxx and Holmes have been VERY private about their relationship -- refusing to "go public" despite the fact everyone seems to know they're together. 

Smith tried to play the whole thing off ... but it was awkward. 

Donovan McNabb Fired By ESPN After Sexual Harassment Investigation

1/5/2018 2:22 PM PST
Breaking News

It's over for Donovan McNabb at ESPN ... the network has officially cut ties with the ex-QB after an investigation into sexual harassment claims during his time at the NFL Network. 

As we previously reported, McNabb was named in a lawsuit filed by a former NFL Network wardrobe stylist who claims several famous employees harassed her ... including Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, Eric Davis and Warren Sapp

With regard to McNabb, the woman claimed he sent her text messages asking if "she was a squirter" and telling her she "looked like the kind of girl that squirted when getting f*cked."

McNabb and Davis had left NFL Network and got new jobs with ESPN -- but they were suspended by ESPN when they learned of the allegations against the 2 men. 

Now, ESPN confirms both McNabb and Davis are no longer ESPN employees. 

Katie Nolan Warned, Not Suspended by ESPN ... For Trump Attack

1/5/2018 12:24 PM PST
Breaking News

ESPN will NOT suspend Katie Nolan after she called Donald Trump a "f**king stupid person" on VICELAND's "Desus & Mero" talk show on Wednesday ... a rep for the network tells TMZ Sports

"We have looked into the totality of Nolan’s comments, they were inappropriate and we have addressed it with her," the rep said. 

The diss came during a discussion about hand gestures associated with white supremacists ... with Katie saying Trump uses the thumbs-up emoji simply because he's "stupid." 

She also appeared to use another offensive word to describe Trump, but that word was bleeped out of the broadcast. 

The incident comes after SC6 host Jemele Hill was suspended 2 weeks for violating the network's social media policy. 

Anthony Jeselnik 'I Take Great Pleasure' ... In Alleged Patriots Drama

1/5/2018 11:44 AM PST

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik is a HUGE Steelers fan ... so how does he feel about the ESPN report claiming Tom BradyBill Belichick and Robert Kraft are beefing behind the scenes?

"I take great pleasure (in it)," Jeselnik told TMZ Sports.

But the former "Last Comic Standing" host ain't saying it's game over for New England.

In fact, he told us a little infighting is common with great teams like Michael Jordan's Bulls ... and he fully expects Brady and co. to keep kickin' ass.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they won 10 more Super Bowls."  

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