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Aaron Hernandez Tortured By Gay Secret

3/17/2018 12:50 AM PDT

Aaron Hernandez was gay -- according to several people close to him ... and his private struggle with his sexuality caused him great emotional pain that may have turned him violent. 

It's all part of the Oxygen documentary, "Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" -- which features interviews with Aaron's close friends, ex-girlfriends and members of his legal team. 

Aaron's college girlfriend, Alyssa Anderson, says she first learned Aaron had a relationship with a man while they were attending the University of Florida ... but he denied it at the time. It was only years later that Hernandez cryptically acknowledged her suspicions were true. 

George Leontire -- an openly gay member of Hernandez's defense team -- says he spoke with Hernandez at length about his sexuality and Aaron opened up like never before. 

"This man clearly was gay," Leontire said ... "[He] acknowledged it. Acknowledged the immense pain that it caused him."

Leontire added, "I think that he also came out of a culture that was so negative about gay people that he exhibited some self-hatred."

Hernandez never spoke publicly about being gay. He was engaged to a woman, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and they had a daughter together.

Aaron was convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2013 -- and there are some law enforcement officials who believe Hernandez executed Lloyd because he knew about Hernandez's sexuality.  

Hernandez ultimately killed himself in his prison cell in 2017. 

"Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" airs in 2 parts on Oxygen, Saturday March 17 and Sunday the 18th.

LaDainian Tomlinson Saquon Barkley's The Next L.T. But, Browns Won't Draft Him

3/17/2018 12:45 AM PDT

LaDainian Tomlinson says Saquon Barkley is basically L.T. 2.0 -- but tells TMZ Sports that ain't enough for him to go #1 in the NFL draft.

We asked LaDainian about all the Saquon comparisons people have been making when we got the Chargers legend at LAX ... and he couldn't agree more.

"He’s a little bit bigger than I am -- but they’re awesome comparisons," L.T. said.

"The lateral movement, quickness, the power, he can catch the ball ... all that stuff."

But even with all that talent, L.T. told us there's a good reason the Browns won't take him with the first overall pick ... and he says that's GREAT news for the Giants at #2.

LaDainian also gave Saquon 1 piece of advice for his NFL career -- and we hope he takes it.

Colin Kaepernick All Smiles After Legal Showdown with Texans Owner

3/16/2018 10:28 AM PDT

Colin Kaepernick sure seemed to be in a good mood in Houston on Friday -- after personally attending the deposition of Texans owner Bob McNair in his collusion case against the NFL. 

TMZ Sports obtained a photo of Kaep after the depo with his attorney, Ben Meiselas -- with some extra pep in their step. 

As we previously reported, Kaepernick had filed a grievance against the league claiming owners and other high-ranking NFL officials were in cahoots to blackball Colin after his national anthem demonstration. 

Kaepernick had arrived in Houston earlier this week -- and even knocked out a QB workout with his trainer. 

As far as the case goes ... McNair isn't the only big name on the witness list -- Kaep's legal team from Geragos & Geragos also subpoenaed Seahawks owner Paul Allen and coach Pete Carroll along with Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft

Stay tuned ... 

Ryan Shazier Crushes Gym Workout ... 3 Months After Injury

3/16/2018 9:39 AM PDT
Breaking News

The Ryan Shazier comeback is underway ... with the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker killin' it in the gym just 3 months after suffering a serious back injury.

Remember, Shazier required MAJOR spinal stabilization surgery back in December after suffering a severe spinal injury while playing the Bengals during Monday Night Football. 

Shazier couldn't feel his legs at first -- and there was a real possibility he could've been paralyzed from the waist down. 

But, Shazier vowed to defy the odds and not only walk again -- but get back to the NFL!!!

He started physical therapy last month and he's already standing on his own.

The upper body gym session on Friday is also a damn good sign. 


O.J. Simpson Rips Colin Kaepernick 'Bad Choice Attacking the Flag'

3/16/2018 9:28 AM PDT
Breaking News

O.J. Simpson says he agrees with Donald Trump -- Colin Kaepernick "made a mistake" taking a knee during the national anthem ... and completely disrespected the American flag. 

"I think Colin made a mistake," Simpson told The Buffalo News ... "I really appreciate what he was trying to say. I thought he made a bad choice in attacking the flag."

"I grew up at a time when deacons were in the KKK. I don't disrespect the Bible because of those guys. The flag shouldn't be disrespected because of what cops do. The flag represents what we want America to be."

"When he did it the first time I thought, 'Well, you took a gamble, and I give you credit.' But it was him continuing to do it where he made the biggest mistake."

"I'm a firm believer of doing what you think is right, but I would always stand for the flag."

As far as his relationship with Trump, O.J. says he was friends with Donald back in the day and even went to Trump's 1993 wedding to Marla Maples

But Simpson says he doesn't see eye-to-eye with Trump when it comes to politics. 

"Somebody asked me if I'd have voted for him ... Probably not, but I only know two of my friends I'd vote to be president. Some of my best, best besties I would not vote to be president. That has no bearing on it, you know?"

Stan Lee Missing Pooch Found & Returned By NFL Legend Jim Brown!!!

3/16/2018 1:00 AM PDT

Stan Lee needed a real-life superhero to find and return his lost dog. Enter the immortal football legend, Jim Brown, who proved not all heroes wear capes.

Sources close to Stan tell TMZ ... the comic book legend's Mini Pomeranian, Charlotte, went missing last week, though it's unclear how she got loose. In any case, Stan's peeps canvassed the Hollywood Hills neighborhood where he lives and his business partner Keya Morgan posted "Lost Dog" flyers everywhere.

A few days passed, but the posters garnered zero leads ... leaving Stan resigned to the idea Charlotte was gone for good. But, not so fast.

We're told the NFL Hall of Famer and his wife, Monique -- who live about a mile away from Stan -- found Charlotte in their yard ... scared with no collar. The couple sprung into action ... first firing off an email to a bunch of their neighbors, but that fetched no clues.

The Browns were undeterred, and brought Charlotte to a vet, who found a microchip planted near her neck, but, again, no luck there either because the chip wasn't registered.

The Browns then went old school and canvassed several neighborhoods and BAM ... they saw the posters, called the number and just like that, Charlotte was reunited with Stan. 

No word on whether Jim gets a reward!

Josh Norman Alex Smith Is 'Underrated'

3/16/2018 6:07 AM PDT

Josh Norman is already getting behind his new QB -- telling TMZ Sports he feels Alex Smith is "underrated" for everything he's done in his career. 

We spotted the Washington Redskins star cornerback in Atlanta and asked how he felt about the big quarterback moves in the NFL ... including his old QB Kirk Cousins getting an $84 million deal with the Vikings. 

Norman looked a little bummed out (why not? he's a good quarterback) but explained, "It's business. Everything is business."'

He also explained why Cousins is worth every single penny. 

By the way ... Norman -- super nice guy. 

Broncos' Brandon Marshall All NFL Players Support Kaepernick

3/15/2018 3:54 PM PDT

The owners might be scared ... but virtually all the players in the NFL support Colin Kaepernick and want him back in the league ... this according to Denver Broncos LB Brandon Marshall.

Marshall has been tight with Kaep since college and told the guys on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs tonight on FS1) that he's 100% confident C.K. is ready to compete with the best in the world.

But Marshall doesn't think Kaep's job status has anything to do with his skill -- it's the owners who are too afraid to stand up for the QB.

As far as the players go, Marshall says everybody he's spoken with in the league has voiced support for Kaepernick ... and wants to see him back in the NFL where he belongs.

Tom Benson Dead at 90 Owned Saints & Pelicans

3/15/2018 2:19 PM PDT
Breaking News

Billionaire businessman Tom Benson -- who owned the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans -- has died, his family has confirmed. 

The 90-year-old passed away peacefully Thursday at Ochsner Medical Center in Louisiana with his wife, Gayle Marie Benson, at his side after falling ill with the flu. 

Benson started out as a bookkeeper at a Chevy dealership in New Orleans -- but went on to become a dealership owner and expanded the business into a billion-dollar empire. 

Benson bought the Saints in 1985 -- when they weren't exactly winners (remember the Aints?). The team posted their first winning record in 1987 and made the playoffs that year. Of course, they got better and won the Super Bowl in 2010. 

In 2012, Benson bought the New Orleans Hornets and changed the name to the Pelicans. 


Colin Kaepernick Ripping Passes In Houston ... 'Training Every Day'

3/15/2018 1:18 PM PDT
Breaking News

Colin Kaepernick wants everyone to know he's still NFL ready ... and he's showing off his rocket arm during a training session in Houston.

Kaepernick hit the field with Josh Hidalgo -- Head of Sports Performance at William Paterson University -- and threw some darts with a team of pass catchers. 

Hidalgo says he's been training Kaep every single day since January 2017 -- adding, "We haven't stopped throwing, training and preparing."

"To say he's dedicated is an understatement ... Even when we’re traveling we put in that work."

Kaepernick hasn't taken a snap in the NFL since 2016 -- before he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers. 

Kaep has said he wants to get back in the league and compete for a starting job again -- and now he wants the world to see he's still got the talent that took him to the Super Bowl.

Drake Fortnite Sesh w/ Ninja Was No Fake Love, Just God's Plan

3/15/2018 10:08 AM PDT

Drake broke the Internet this week by hopping on a computer game with its most popular player -- but the virtual appearance wasn't a planned plug ... Papi's just a big fan.

Sources over at Fortnite -- the battle-royale type combat game that's super popular on the streaming platform, Twitch -- tell TMZ that Drizzy's Wednesday night sesh with Ninja was not a sponsored event or a pre-planned gimmick ... on the contrary, it happened organically.

We're told Drake personally reached out to Ninja last week on Instagram to set up a mutual time to nerd out and blow stuff up on Fortnite. Apparently, he's a big fan of the game ... following its accounts on social media and even having his own profile -- TheBoyDuddus.

Our sources say Drake and Ninja did not signal they'd be online together Wednesday, and that the pairing came as a complete surprise. But, the love didn't go unnoticed (or unappreciated) ... we're told Fortnite's sending Drake a bunch of swag as a thank-you.

Fortnite's also in the process of setting a celebrity NBA-style "Party Royale" gaming event in mid-June with around 50 celebs and 50 pro gamers. We imagine Drake will get an invite -- Travis Scott and Steelers player Juju Smith, too ... who also played with D&N last night.

As for how Drake did ... word around the water cooler is that folks were making fun of him for being low-key trash. No biggie ... he's rich ... and weirdly well-rounded.

Brent Celek Guarantees He'll Return to Eagles ... In Emotional Goodbye

3/15/2018 9:34 AM PDT

Eagles star Brent Celek is taking a line from "Terminator" in his heartfelt farewell to Philly -- telling fans not to be sad about him getting released 'cause, "I'll be back."

Brent -- who missed only 1 regular-season game in 11 SEASONS with the team -- says he's not 100% on continuing his playing career ... but no matter if it's on the field or off, he's gonna fly with the Super Bowl LII champs in the future. 

"One day I'll be back with the Eagles in some capacity," Celek told TMZ Sports

"When -- who knows? But, I love that organization ... I owe it to 'em."

Brent's also got nothing but love for Philly and its hardcore fans -- saying they've been great to him since he got drafted by the team in 2007.

Case in point -- the standing O they gave him at the 76ers game on Tuesday ... just hours after he was released.

Brent described everything it meant to him ... and you're gonna need some tissues. 

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.

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