Centers For Disease Control Paid 'NFL Alumni' Assoc. $3.5 Million ... To Promote COVID-19 Vax

The NFL Alumni association was paid a whopping $3,500,000 by the CDC to promote the COVID-19 vaccine, TMZ Sports has learned.

U.S. Federal Procurement docs show the CDC and the NFL Alumni assoc. signed the multi-million dollar deal at the beginning of May.

The total value of the contract is listed at $3.5 mil ... with the money earmarked for "NFL Alumni (NFLA) Health COVID-19 Vaccination Community Outreach and Education Project."

FYI, the NFL Alumni was founded in 1967 by a group of retired football players. The organization's current president is former NY Giants lineman, Bart Oates.

The NFL Alumni's website features pro-COVID-19 vax testimonials from former NFL stars like Franco Harris, Rod Woodson and Harry Carson, amongst others.

The site also has a "Vaccination Tracker" and a link to access vax locations.

The group is a separate entity from the NFL ... though you must have played or coached in the league to be a member.

Prior to awarding the windfall of cash, the CDC issued a Notice of Intent, announcing the grant.

"The [CDC] intends to award a sole source firm fixed price purchase order to The NFL Alumni Association (NFLA). The overall purpose of this contract is to facilitate collaboration among NFL Alumni and federal state and local public health officials as well as other local leaders to address vaccine hesitancy through communication and engagement with communities less likely to get vaccinated."

The notice continues ... "The CDC Vaccine Task Force will work directly with the NFLA to promote community-level and national COVID-19 education outreach and vaccination acceptance."

The agreement with former players is interesting, because many current players and coaches are pissed about the NFL's new COVID vax rules

The league has threatened to take away players' game checks and even force forfeitures if unvaccinated players cause COVID outbreaks.

29-year-old superstar WR DeAndre Hopkins tweeted his frustrations with the rules, even hinting at contemplating retirement. Minnesota Vikings assistant coach Rick Dennison was even reassigned after refusing to get the shot.

We've reached out to the CDC and NFL Alumni for comment ... so far, no word back.

'South Park' Creators Sorry, Casa Bonita Ain't For Sale ... Corporate Won't Let Go

Trey Parker and Matt Stone want to buy a beloved Colorado restaurant featured in "South Park," but it's still just a pipedream ... because we're told Casa Bonita is NOT for sale.

Here's the deal ... the "South Park" creators made it pretty well known this week they want to buy the Mexican restaurant they often shout out in their sitcom, in part because the real Casa Bonita has remained shuttered since the outset of the pandemic.

But, as flattering as their desire to buy Casa Bonita might be, honchos at the restaurant's parent company, Summit Family Restaurant Inc., tell TMZ ... they're not interested in selling, despite filing for bankruptcy.

Since the bankruptcy filing, we're told tons of people have reached out to Summit about purchasing Casa Bonita -- but Trey and Matt weren't among them.

We're told the decision-makers at Summit plan to reopen Casa Bonita ASAP once the current bankruptcy process wraps, with the goal being to get folks back to work in the next month. Summit's owned Casa Bonita for 25 years.

The door's not shut completely on Trey and Matt owning Casa Bonita one day ... we're told if Summit ever wants to sell the joint, the "South Park" creators will be at the top of the list of potential buyers.

Stars and Scars You Be the Judge

Simone Biles triggered a massive conversation about the pressure cooker they call the Olympics, and the Britney freedom train is pickin' up steam. So, we gotta ask ...

Simone Biles ...

Britney Spears ...

Whose Side You On?

There Should Be A Law Requiring Vaccinations

Restaurants Should Deny Non-Vaccinated People Service ...

DaBaby's Homophobic Rant ...

Ben And Jen ...

Best Ron Popeil Product ...

Gamers Recruited For Air Traffic Control ...

Country Star Jake Owen Sued This Legal Mess is 'Made For You'!!!

Country star Jake Owen is going to have to hit pause on celebrating the success of his hit song, "Made For You" ... he's being sued for allegedly stealing it.

Alexander Cardinale and Morgan Reid filed legal docs in Nashville claiming Jake's version lifts the lyrics and melody directly from their 2014 track with the same title.

In docs, obtained by TMZ, Cardinale and Reid claim their song and Jake's are strikingly similar. They claim the "notes, structure, harmony, vocal style and rhythm are clear indicators" Jake's song copied their track.

Cardinale and Reid say they released their version on Cardinale's album "Digital Youth" with Hashtag Records. It instantly found success ... so much so, the single was used for a Coca-Cola commercial.

What's more ... Cardinale and Reid say the soda giant chose the record in 2016 as its multi-national "Share a Coke and a Song" ad campaign. They say the hook and title appeared on more than 250 million bottles of Coke, which provided QR codes on the bottles linking consumers to the OG song.

The plaintiffs say the track was re-released worldwide ... to critical acclaim. But, when Jake released his version in 2019, Cardinale and Reid say they instantly recognized the similarities.

Jake would eventually play the tune live on "The Bachelorette" in 2019 and, earlier this year, the country star's version became his third No. 1 hit off his "Greetings from ... Jake" album.

We reached out to Jake for comment, so far, no word back.

Carole Baskin To Joe Exotic Snitch If You Want Lighter Sentence!!!

RAT THEM OUT
TMZ.com

Carole Baskin doesn't like the fact Joe Exotic could potentially get out of prison early, but she says there's something he could do that WOULD warrant an early release -- snitch!!!

We got Carole this week on Capitol Hill and asked about Joe having his 22-year sentence in his murder-for-hire conviction vacated because of trial error.

As we reported ... Exotic's original sentence is being tossed, and the case is getting sent back to a lower court, where he'll likely receive a shorter sentence in the range of 17-21 years. His original sentence was 22 years behind bars.

The 'Tiger King' star says Joe belongs in prison, but if he really wants to get out early, Carole thinks he should rat out anyone who allegedly conspired with him to put a hit out on her.

7/14/21
SO THANKFUL
Law Offices of Phillips & Hunt

As we first told you ... Joe's super optimistic about going home earlier than expected, and he's confident his lawyers will prove his innocence once and for all.

Carole seems to think Joe could get a very light sentence if he snitches, but doubts he will pull a Tekashi69.

There's always bad blood between Carole and Joe ... and Baskin makes sure she gets in a parting shot.

The Best Olympic Game Faces of Tokyo!

Going for gold isn't always pretty and these Olympic athletes are clearly focused on keeping their head in the game ...  and not on how they look in pictures.

There is plenty of determination to be seen at this year's Olympic games, and we're sharing some of the best freeze frame photos from this past week's events.

From athletes such as Russia's Artur Dalaloyan -- Gymnastics and Japan's Mai Murakami -- Gymnastics to Argentina's Victoria Sauze Valdez -- Field Hockey and Great Britain's Andy Murray -- Tennis ... The commitment is crystal clear in these snapshots!

Take a look at all the other athletes making waves as they go for gold by scrolling through our gallery of these iconic faces ... See other stars such as USA's MyKayla Skinner -- Gymnastics, Serbia's Novak Djokovic -- Tennis, USA's Lilly King -- Swimming, and Japan's Naomi Osaka -- Tennis.

In it to win it!

Celeb Dermatologist Dr. Khadavi Arrested for felony criminal threats ... After Disgusting Homophobic Rant

7/7/21
DISTURBING THREATS
TMZ.com

Dr. Alex Khadavi -- the famous cosmetic dermatologist whose homophobic rant was caught on camera -- has been arrested ... just hours after cops swarmed his home.

Deputies from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department hit Khadavi's condo in West Hollywood Friday, but the Dr. was never spotted in cuffs. It's unclear if he turned himself in or was arrested at another location, but nonetheless, he was booked for felony criminal threats.

TMZ broke the story ... Khadavi's homophobic tirade on July 7 included him threatening to "blow their f***ing heads off" at his condo's complex in WeHo. The video, obtained by TMZ, showed him approaching the front desk concierge in a hostile manner and talking smack about people who live in the building. He referred to them with the homophobic f-word.

He threatened to shoot and kill them ... before taking his dog outside. When he returned, his outburst continued in the lobby ... yelling at the front desk attendant.

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As we reported ... it was one of Khadavi's neighbors -- a gay man himself -- who filed a restraining order against the doc for himself and his husband. According to the docs ... the neighbor claimed the concierge specifically asked about him and his husband while allegedly threatening to kill gay people.

Some of Khadavi's famous celeb clients over the years have included Scott Disick and Lance Bass.

His bail was set at $50,000.

Biz Markie Celebration Of Life Set For Monday ... Family, Celebs Say Goodbye

Biz Markie is getting a grand sendoff from his famous friends and family ... his celebration of life is set for Monday in New York City.

Sources tell TMZ ... Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy and celebs like Fat Joe, LL Cool J, Papoose, Big Daddy Kane, Al B. Sure! and Leland Robinson will be front and center to pay their respects to the trailblazing rapper.

It sounds like Biz will have an open casket ... we're told he will be dressed in a custom outfit designed by Harlem fashion icon Dapper Dan. Biz, of course, was one of Dapper Dan's biggest supporters when their careers were both getting off the ground.

There's a private family viewing set for Monday from 11 AM to 1 PM ET and the funeral service is scheduled to begin at 1:30 PM and run until 3:30 PM. TMZ and BET will be live streaming the celebration of life starting at 2 PM.

TMZ broke the story ... the "Just A Friend" rapper died earlier this month following a series of complications from diabetes.

Bob Odenkirk I'm Recovering From Heart Attack ... But I'm Going To Be OK

12:59 PM PT -- Bob Odenkirk says he suffered a heart attack when he collapsed on the set of "Better Call Saul" ... but he says he's going to come out of this OK thanks to a group of doctors in New Mexico.

Bob just shared an update on his health, saying he's recovering from a "small heart attack" and thanking doctors who he says knew how to fix the blockage without surgery.

Odenkirk says he's going to take some time off while he's on the mend, but he says he'll be back to work soon ... and he's thanking everyone who sent positive wishes his way, saying he could feel the overwhelming love and support.

Good news, folks ... Bob Odenkirk is in such good spirits he's now joking around with friends, according to one of them ... actor David Cross.

Cross says the "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" star is doing so good, in fact, fans will soon be hearing from him. Cross updated Bob's legion of fans Friday morning saying, "Just got off the phone with Bob and he's doing great!"

David added, "Both [Bob] and his family are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and concern everyone has shown. You will be hearing from him soon. But he's doing really well!!!"

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That's welcome news considering what he's gone through over the last couple of days. TMZ broke the story ... Bob was rushed to the hospital after collapsing on the set of "Better Call Saul" while filming in New Mexico.

We later learned the emergency was a "heart-related" incident. For a moment it was touch-and-go. He was not conscious during his initial hours in an Albuquerque hospital before he eventually woke up -- and Cross now sounds confident Bob will be back to his old self.

As we reported ... there was an outpouring of support following the medical scare. "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston shared a pic on Instagram and asked fans to "please take a moment in your day today to think about him and send positive thoughts and prayers."

Message delivered.

Originally Published -- 11:47 AM PT

Gloria & Emilio Estefan $core HUGE Payday ... After Selling Miami Pad for $35 Mil!!!

Gloria and Emilio Estefan's investment nearly 3 decades ago on a Miami mansion has paid off big time ... TMZ's learned the couple sold it for a whopping $35 million.

According to property records ... the famous couple sold their 6-bedroom, 10-bathroom crib on Miami's Star Island last week. The Estefans sure got top dollar for the nearly 8,000-square-foot mansion especially when you consider this -- property records show the couple bought the house in 1993 for $1,840,000. #ChaChing.

We're told ... as of late Gloria and Emilio used the home for guests when they visited the famous couple, who aren't going anywhere 'cause they have another property down the street. The area, of course, is a major enclave for celebs like Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille O'Neal and Sean Combs, to name a few.

As for the corner-lot house itself ... it sits on a 58,332-square-foot lot. It offers sparkling waterfront and unobstructed views to Biscayne Bay and the downtown Miami skyline.

For the new owner's guests ... there's a 2-story guest house with 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and 1.5 baths complete with a spacious living room and private dining room. It's also got killer views. And, if the new owner has a boat (guessing yes), there's also a private dock at this one-of-a-kind estate.

Helluva score.

Paul Anka 80th Birthday Tributes Pour In ... Aniston, Kimmel, Travolta & More!!!

Paul Anka is celebrating a huge milestone ... which explains the incredible response and tributes from across Hollywood.

An impressive list of friends and admirers reached out Friday to wish the legendary singer and songwriter an awesome 80th birthday. Jennifer Aniston, Jimmy Kimmel, Alec Baldwin, Quincy Jones, John Travolta, Jason Bateman and Simon Cowell all recorded a tribute video. Paul even got a shoutout from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet!

THE ULTIMATE CELEB SHOUTOUT

The entire birthday tribute can be seen on Paul's YouTube channel. His new album -- "Making Memories" -- was also supposed to be released on his birthday, but that's now been pushed to August 13.

Paul still has plenty to celebrate ... the new album will include a cover of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" -- which was written by Paul -- featuring Michael Bublé and Andrea Bocelli.

Ya gotta say, he's having a great 2021 -- having already teamed up with Olivia Newton-John back in May for a duet of his classic "Put Your Head on My Shoulder." The re-recording came on the heels of his tune going viral on TikTok.

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Paul gained a new generation of fans after Doja Cat remixed his 1959 hit, and it became the soundtrack for TikTok's #SilhouetteChallenge.

Regrets? None this year -- happy 80th, Paul!!!

Air Traffic Controller Video Game Skills Got Me This Job ... FAA Wants More Gamers Like Me!!!

A NATURAL FIT
TMZ.com

Marcus Brice helps Air Force One take off and land almost every day as an air traffic controller ... and he says it's all because he spent hours playing video games.

The FAA is recruiting the next generation of air traffic controllers, like Marcus, and they're specifically targeting gamers because as it turns out ... skills honed by video games are coming in handy at airports.

Marcus joined us on "TMZ Live" Friday and put a face and a cool story to the FAA's "Level Up" hiring campaign, which seeks to hire 4,300 new air traffic controllers over the next 5 years ... with heavy recruitment going towards gamers, women and minorities.

It's pretty cool ... Marcus explained which video gaming skills set him up with the tools to be an air traffic controller at Joint Base Andrews. And, while the stakes are much, much higher ... he says air traffic control is very much like certain games.

Another bonus Marcus was too humble to brag about ... the gig pays pretty well, with the FAA saying the median annual wage for air traffic controllers is just over $138,000.

See kids, you're not necessarily wasting your time on that screen -- here's a guy who turned it into real-world benefits!!!

Michael Che Shares Tasteless Simone Biles Jokes ... One References Larry Nassar

Michael Che is half-heartedly trying to do damage control after sharing some harsh and tasteless jokes about Simone Biles dropping out of Olympic events.

The 'SNL' star announced late Thursday night on social media he intended to try out some Simone jokes on stage in NYC. That apparently set off a bunch of his followers ... who suggested some material he could add to his act, and Michael reposted them -- including one referencing now convicted molester, Larry Nassar ... Simone being one of his victims.

Che reposted, "Larry Nasser understands Simone Biles better than anyone. He too had to quit doing what he loved at the pinnacle of his career because of mounting pressure."

He critiqued it, writing ... "goddamn, that's rough. absolutely tasteless," but gave it a 9 out of 10. Again, Nassar was convicted of molesting 10 young women in the U.S. gymnastics program.

Che also shared a far less brutal "joke" when he reposted, "Who said black don't crack?"

It's unclear if he actually followed through and tried his, or any of his followers', material onstage. He claimed to have about 3 minutes worth of Biles material on his own.

Che clearly knew there would be severe online backlash for taking shots at such a beloved athlete. Early Friday morning he posted, "I got hacked today. can't believe they got me. yall kno I only do jokes about whites and cops."

The "hack" claim is clearly an attempt at humor. The fact is Che dared to go "there" ... as comedians do. We'll see if he suffers any consequences for it.

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