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Chris Webber NBA Has More Freedom Than NFL 'We Get to Speak Our Minds'

10/18/2017 2:57 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Chris Webber is praising the way the NBA handles social issues -- while throwing shade at the NFL -- saying basketball players have WAY MORE freedom to express themselves than football players. 

"We talk about Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin and see guys wearing 'I Can't Breathe' shirts on the court," Webber says ... "We get to speak our minds."

Webber says NBA superstars like LeBron James have been praised for using the basketball court as a platform to speak out ... while NFL players like Colin Kaepernick get crushed. 

"It is a privilege and a blessing to be in the NBA ... not the NFL." 

Justin Trudeau Breaks Down Over Gord Downie Death

10/18/2017 1:55 PM PDT
Breaking News

Justin Trudeau needs a hug today, and some tissues -- the Canadian Prime Minister completely lost it while talking about the death of his friend, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie.

Trudeau was a huge fan of the beloved Canadian rock band, and went to their last gig a year ago.

He addressed Downie's death Wednesday, saying Gord loved Canada deeply and wanted to make it a better place. As he fought back tears, Trudeau said, "We are less of a country without [him]."

Downie died Tuesday night after an almost 2-year battle with brain cancer. He was 53.

Trudeau's news conference was just the start ... he also posted a heartfelt statement honoring his pal as "a rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country." #RIP

Sen. Marco Rubio O.J. Can Come Back to Florida But He Ain't Gonna Like It

10/18/2017 12:18 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

O.J. Simpson can return to Florida, but he ain't gonna get a sunshiny welcome -- so says Senator Marco Rubio ... who seems pretty against The Juice lettin' loose in his home state.

"What can I do about that?" Rubio told TMZ Sports when we got him in D.C. ... "He has a right to live wherever he wants."

Technically, yes ... though Florida's Attorney General has strongly objected to O.J. coming back to his old digs. 

Marco didn't come at O.J. as hard, but he did tell us there ain't much love for Juice in the area.

Rubio would know ... after politicking in Florida for two decades.

The bottom line -- Marco thinks O.J.'s better off staying in his Vegas 'hood ... where he's been hunkering down since his release.

NFL's Malcolm Jenkins Kaepernick Was Invited to Meeting ... Didn't Show

10/17/2017 12:44 PM PDT

1:08 PM PT -- Kaepernick's lawyer, Mark Geragos, says his client was NOT officially invited to the meeting by team or league officials, but is "open to future participation on these important discussions."

Colin Kaepernick was invited to NFL headquarters to talk about social issues with team owners ... but decided not to show up to the meeting, Malcolm Jenkins told the media on Tuesday.

Several players sat down with owners in Manhattan today to discuss ways to promote positive change ... and both sides agreed it was a step in the right direction, but there's more work to do.

"Those conversations will continue. That dialogue will continue," Jenkins said.

"As players, we'll continue to do the work in our communities. We feel like that's the most American thing to do is to use your platform to influence with the stage that we have."

As for the national anthem demonstrations ... Jenkins says it wasn't the focus of the meeting.

L.A. Dodgers Winning It All 'Great for America' ... Says Former L.A. Mayor

10/17/2017 10:45 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

A Dodgers World Series would be a HUGE win for the entire country -- so says longtime L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. 

Not that he's biased or anything.

We got Mayor V -- who was in office from '05 to '13 -- out at Craig's ... and dude was straight beaming over his Boys in Blue -- declaring them America's team and saying this is absolutely their year.

"It would be great for the city of Los Angeles. It's great for America. Everybody loves the Dodgers," Antonio told TMZ Sports.

Don't know about that ... but we do know one celeb who's on the bandwagon.

Gregg Popovich Donald Trump's a 'Soulless Coward' & 'Pathological Liar'

10/16/2017 4:05 PM PDT
Breaking News

Gregg Popovich is absolutely fed up with President Trump ... calling POTUS a "pathological liar" and "soulless coward" for comments he made while talking about the deadly ambush in Niger.

Here's the deal ... Trump has been criticized for not publicly addressing the 4 U.S. soldiers who were killed in an ambush in Niger on October 4.

Today, POTUS defended himself while calling out former presidents ... claiming he is more caring with families of fallen soldiers.

Popovich -- whose never held back when it comes to Trump -- RIPPED into 45 in a conversation with The Nation about his swipe at Barack Obama and George W. Bush ... and everything else. 

"This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others," Pop said.

"This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner -- and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers -- is as low as it gets."

The Spurs coach went on to say ... "We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day."

Olympian John Carlos Kaep Won't Play in the NFL Again But He's Beyond That Now

10/16/2017 2:58 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

One of the Olympians who iconically raised his fist at the 1968 games says Colin Kaepernick will not play in the NFL again, but adds ... it won't impact his legacy.

John Carlos -- who, along with Tommie Smith, made the most memorable Olympic demonstration -- says Kaep's now waded into social justice territory ... not only by kneeling, but by filing his grievance against the NFL for collusion.

John says it's likely Colin put the last nail in the coffin of his NFL career by attacking the league so directly. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- according to John, Kaepernick now has a duty to right the wrongs he feels were done. For himself and others.

Fun fact: Today marks the 49th anniversary of John and Tommie's powerful gesture.  

Kathy Griffin I'm Blacklisted!!! Here's My Proof ...

10/16/2017 1:55 PM PDT

Kathy Griffin claims Hollywood's giving her the shaft, and an email exchange about a speaking engagement she was initially offered proves it.

Kathy says The Hollywood Reporter invited her to speak at its annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 event this year. She posted the email they sent on Sept. 26 offering her the gig -- but just last week she was told it's a no-go. Kathy posted that email as well ... including her response, "Offer rescinded. Good times."

The comedian says she's still reeling from her severed Trump head photo shoot. She says, "I just want to make you laugh, even though I don't have one single day of paid work ahead of me in the United States for the rest of my life."

It's unclear if the change is Trump-related -- we've reached out to The Hollywood Reporter.

Worth noting though -- Kathy was notified last Thursday she'd no longer be speaking. That was just 4 days after she entered a fundraising gig while wearing a Trump mask and waving both middle fingers.

D.L. Hughley Colin Kaepernick Is More Hated Than O.J.

10/16/2017 11:42 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

D.L. Hughley says there's someone America hates MORE than O.J. Simpson, and that man is Colin Kaepernick ... who Hughley thinks is getting the major shaft from NFL owners, and the American public.

As we previously reported, Kaep is gearing up to file a grievance against the NFL, alleging collusion by the NFL owners to keep him out of the league following his national anthem protest.

We got Hughley at LAX, and he told our guy he agrees 100% the NFL honchos are blackballing Colin -- and he has a reason.

"If Kaepernick had gotten an opportunity to try out for a squad and not made it, then this whole thing wouldn't have merit." Later adding, "If he's incapable of playing how come they've never let him prove it on the field?"

D.L. wasn't finished, saying in his opinion Kaep is one of the three most hated black men in America along with Obama and the aforementioned double murderer. But in his opinion, Colin has it worse.

"They hate Colin Kaepernick right now more than they hate O.J."

Daymond John Mark Cuban for President ... I Approve This Message!!!

10/16/2017 6:39 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Mark Cuban just got a ringing endorsement for President from old pal Daymond John ... who couldn't stop singing the guy praises.

We got Daymond outside Craig's Sunday night where the baller "Shark Tank" star ran down a list of reasons why he's hopping on the "Cuban for President" train. Remember ... Mark's seriously flirting with the idea, and if Trump can win, anything's possible.

Check it out ... Daymond says Mark's innate ability to relate and care about people makes him the perfect candidate. It's so eloquently said he's now got us thinking ... Daymond for Veep?!

Colin Kaepernick Files Grievance Against NFL ... For Alleged Collusion

10/15/2017 3:28 PM PDT
Breaking News

4:56 PM PT -- Colin's lawyer, Mark Geragos, released a statement saying ... "We can confirm that this morning we filed a grievance under the CBA on behalf of Colin Kaepernick. This was done only after pursuing ever possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives." The statement goes on to say Colin shouldn't be punished for his peaceful protest, and that he just wants to get back to playing.

Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL alleging the league colluded to keep him out because of his National Anthem protests ... according to a new court filing. 

The filing, obtained by ABC News, alleges the league's owners "colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice."

Kaepernick has also hired celeb attorney Mark Geragos for representation as opposed to going through the NFL Players Association.

As we reported ... Kaep's protest has ignited a national debate about kneeling for the flag. 

Pro Football Hall of Fame Plants 300 U.S. Flags ... On Front Lawn

10/15/2017 12:35 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is clearly trying to send a message when it comes to the flag -- the more, the better.

TMZ Sports has learned ... organizers at the HOF in Canton, OH recently planted more than 300 U.S. flags on the lawn as part of a campaign called "Huddle Up, America."

The HOF says the flags are "a sign of unity to bring all Americans together" -- and the campaign was designed to help the football community "work through issues that are important to our families, community and country."

Guessing Trump approves. 

Jay Glazer Kaepernick Will Play in NFL This Year ... Here's Why

10/14/2017 12:05 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Colin Kaepernick will make it back to the NFL, and it's gonna happen THIS SEASON -- so says NFL Insider Jay Glazer

Jay tells TMZ Sports signing Kaep comes down to a simple formula -- "skill versus circus" -- and that right now, the QB's abilities outweigh the media attention he'd get for his kneeling protests.

"Because of his level of play, yeah -- somebody's gonna have to (sign him)."

But Glazer says Colin can't just sit around ... and urges the QB to help his own cause. 

"You gotta go above and beyond so you can get signed."

"If you ever want to talk about politics? Fine. ... But if he wants to be a football player, TALK FOOTBALL."

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