NFL Investigating Patriots Over Allegations They Spied On Bengals

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The NFL has launched an investigation into the New England Patriots over allegations a team staffer illegally recorded the Cincinnati Bengals sidelines during Sunday's game.

Of course, the Patriots were at home playing the Chiefs on Sunday -- but the team claims they sent a video crew to FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland to shoot a behind-the-scenes segment on a team scout during the Browns vs. the Bengals game.

FYI, the Patriots are playing the Bengals next week ... which is why the scout was there in the first place.

But a Bengals team official believes there may have something fishy going on -- and reported a possible incident to the NFL, which is now investigating.

ESPN's Adam Schefter says the Patriots were credentialed by the Browns (the home team) to shoot that day for a segment called "Do Your Job" which spotlights key Patriots staffers behind the scenes.

Schefter says a team official for the Bengals saw the videographer -- who was wearing a Pats shirt -- and reported it to the league.

The NFL confiscated the video, according to Schefter and they're currently reviewing the footage to see if there was an attempt to spy.

Earlier today, a reporter asked Bengals head coach Zac Taylor about the incident -- and while he didn't say much, Taylor confirmed a league probe into the matter.

Bengals' Zac Taylor confirms probe

"I'm aware that there was an incident but the league is investigating it, so I've got no comment," Taylor explained.

The Patriots, for their part, tell Schefter there was nothing scandalous about the incident -- suggesting it was just a misunderstanding.

Of course, the Patriots have gotten in HUGE trouble in the past for videotaping another NFL team -- remember SpyGate?

That took place in 2007 when the Patriots illegally recorded NY Jets defensive coaches during a Sept. 2007 game.

Bill Belichick was fined $500k, the Pats were fined $250k and the team was docked a 1st round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Cassie Gives Birth to Girl ... FRANKIE FINE is Here!!!

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Cassie and her husband, Alex Fine, have welcomed their baby girl to the world ... and the little one boasts one of the coolest names ever.

Sources close to the situation tell TMZ ... Cassie gave birth Friday at an L.A. County hospital, and the couple named their first child Frankie -- Frankie Fine.

We're told their bundle of joy weighed in at 8 lbs., 4 oz and measured a smidge over 21 inches long.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

As we've reported, Diddy's ex and Alex announced they were expecting in June, got engaged a couple months later ... then got hitched in Malibu in September.

If you recall ... there was some drama when the 2 began dating last year, because Alex was her former trainer. Any potential bad blood was washed away by the time they revealed their pregnancy news, though ... Diddy gave them a shout-out, wishing them nothing but love and happiness.

The well-wishes seem to be working. Congrats to Cassie, Alex and, of course, Frankie!!!

Boston Athlete Pete Frates Inspired ALS Ice Bucket Challenge ... Dead at 34

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Ex-Boston College baseball player Pete Frates -- the man who inspired millions of people to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge -- has passed away at 34 years old, the school announced Monday.

Frates -- who served as team captain in 2007 -- was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 2012 ... and 2 years later, became the face of the worldwide campaign that raised more than $220 million for ALS research.

Frates didn't create the Challenge but was one of the first to do it -- and he's credited with being one of the most important factors in the Challenge going mainstream.

Huge names from Bill Gates to Lady Gaga to Alex Rodriguez participated in the fundraiser, which required people to dump freezing-cold buckets of water on their heads.

"Pete was an inspiration to so many people around the world who drew strength from his courage and resiliency," his family said in a statement.

"A natural born leader and the ultimate teammate, Pete was a role model for all, especially young athletes, who looked up to him for his bravery and unwavering positive spirit in the face of adversity."

"He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others."

Frates had a successful career as an outfielder for the Eagles -- he had 11 home runs and set a modern BC record with 8 RBI in one game.

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He went on to become the team's director of baseball operations in 2012.

The family is accepting donations to the Peter Frates Family Foundation in his honor.

"The Frates family wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the abundant love, kindness, and support we have been the recipients of during the past eight years."

#RIP

Walmart Yanks Cocaine Santa ... Sorry We Let it Blow, Let it Blow

Santa Claus doing lines of coke on your holiday sweater is NOT what Walmart's all about -- according to the big-box store, which is blaming Canada ... for the fashion blunder.

A sweater depicting a crazed Claus gripping a straw, getting ready to dive into 3 lines of cocaine was being peddled on Walmart's website. Once pissed-off shoppers pointed out the clear drug references ... the company pulled it from its online shelves and issued a mea culpa.

The excuse ... Walmart says the sweater was being sold in Canada by a third-party, adding the garment's message doesn't reflect their values. In other words, this one slipped through the cracks, and let's just blame the Great White North!

What Walmart can't explain away is the product description was reportedly pretty explicit: "The best snow comes straight from South America." And, if that's not enough, how about this phrasing -- "Santa really likes to savor the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade-A, Colombian snow."

Inappropriate? Yes. Kinda freakin' hilarious? Also yes. But, available at Walmart? That's a negative, Blow Snow Rider.

Juice WRLD Allegedly Popped Pills Before Seizures ... Feds Find 70 lbs. Marijuana

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The private jet Juice WRLD flew on to Chicago was loaded down with 70 pounds of marijuana ... and cops say people on the plane told them the rapper had popped several pills prior to suffering seizures.

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Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the FBI confiscated the huge stash of weed from several suitcases that were on board the flight. We obtained this photo of the marijuana and luggage in the private jet terminal at Midway.

According to law enforcement, several members of Juice's team aboard the flight -- which landed around 1 AM Sunday -- told them Juice had taken "several unknown pills" prior to the seizures which led to him getting rushed to a hospital.

DISPATCH AUDIO

Further, we're told one of Juice's associates told authorities the 21-year-old rapper has a Percocet problem. Our law enforcement sources also say a bottle of codeine cough syrup was found on the plane.

Juice has admitted abusing lean, or codeine cough syrup, in the past -- and taking prescription pills like Percocet. His cause of death hasn't been determined ... the Cook County Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy on Monday.

Two men -- Chris Long and Henry Dean -- were arrested for possession of handguns. We're told cops recovered 3 guns in total. Dean was released without bail, and Long is out after posting a $1,500 bond.

Originally Published -- 7:01 AM PT

New England Patriots Pats Fans Fight Each Other ... After Losing to Chiefs

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10:55 AM PT -- Cops tell TMZ Sports no arrests were made in the incident ... a Foxborough PD spokesperson says officers were dispatched to the area, but the combatants had cleared the scene before law enforcement arrived.

First they boo'd the team ... then Pats fans FOUGHT EACH OTHER after Tom Brady's squad lost to the Chiefs -- and it's all on video.

It was peak embarrassment at Gillette Stadium where even the TV announcers calling the game clowned Pats fans for having the audacity to BOO while the team was down at halftime.

But, it got even worse AFTER the game, when a couple of Pats fans in the disappointed crowd turned on each other and began throwing punches right in the stands.

At one point, one of the combatants took TWO left-handed bombs to the face ... and you can hear in the audio, people were pretty disgusted by the scrap.

Unclear how the issues were resolved ... we're still waiting to hear back from the Foxborough Police Dept.

As for the Pats on the field ... it's understandable why some fans are going crazy after their games these days -- Brady and the guys look NOTHING like future Super Bowl champs.

Still, 10 Super Bowl appearances in 20 years with 6 NFL titles ... oh, and they're 10-3 this season, heading to the playoffs AGAIN! Calm down, Beantown!!!!!

Meanwhile, Tom's already claimed the team is focusing on next week's game against Cincinnati ... so, sorry, Andy Dalton.

Originally Published -- 8:41 PM PT

Peloton 'Wife' Monica Ruiz I Feel Really Lucky ... Everyone's Been Nice, Jokes are Hilare!!!

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I'M FEELING THE LOVE
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The "wife" in the derided Peloton ad is taking the mockery in stride, and unlike the "husband" in the spot ... she says everyone's been cool to her about it, and she considers all the hubbub to be a positive thing.

The actress, Monica Ruiz, was out walking her dog Sunday when she was asked about all the backlash to the commercial ... and she pretty much laughed it off like it's no big deal.

SURPRISE!!!
PELOTON

Monica says everyone's been really nice to her since the ad started getting roasted online -- along with being labeled sexist -- and contrary to popular belief ... she feels really lucky to have been part of it.

She also says she saw the jabs "Saturday Night Live" took at the ad over the weekend ... and she thought it was all hilarious.

THEY MISSED THE MARK
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It's interesting, because the actor who plays the Peloton hubby, Sean Hunter, seems to be having the opposite experience of Monica's. He said he doesn't find the situation -- or the 'SNL' jokes --- to be all that humorous, because he's getting flooded with hate mail while the world laughs.

BIKE NOT INCLUDED

Of course, Sean wasn't recruited to be in an ad for Ryan Reynold's Aviation Gin to help make light of the controversy like Monica was ... so he kinda got the shaft there.

It doesn't seem to be sour grapes, though ... because Hunter told us he's proud of Monica for making the most of the situation. She's clearly leaning into all the buzz.

Chris Cornell Widow Sues Soundgarden ... Alleges Unpaid Royalties, Strong-Arming

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The relationship between Chris Cornell's widow and his former band is in black days, to say the least ... because she's suing over money and the rights to 7 unreleased recordings.

Vicky Cornell filed legal docs, claiming the remaining members of Soundgarden are withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties owed to her and Chris' minor children.

She calls the move an "unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris' Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away."

The rights to those recordings -- some of Chris' final ones -- are the crux of the dispute between Vicky and the band. According to the docs, obtained by TMZ, she says the 7 tracks were "solely authored by Chris; contain Chris' own vocal tracks; and were bequeathed to Chris' Estate" for the benefit of her and their kids.

Vicky claims she's offered to share the recordings with Soundgarden, so they can be released in a way that respects Chris' wishes -- including having his producer involved -- but she says the band refused.

She also accuses lead guitarist Kim Thayil of putting her family in harm's way by suggesting she's the main obstacle to Soundgarden putting out another album.

In the docs, filed by powerhouse attorneys Marty Singer and James Sammataro, Vicky says those comments are intentionally misleading to Soundgarden's "loyal, rabid fan base" ... and she believes Thayil knows Chris worked on the music solo.

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However, Soundgarden is claiming Chris and the other members had been "working on the files in a collaborative effort." In a letter to Vicky, they say ... "The entire band was feeling very positive about their rekindled artistic energy and creativity" before Cornell died.

It also lists various members as co-songwriters along with Chris on 5 of the 7 disputed recordings.

Vicky's not buying it, and wants the judge to declare Chris' estate the sole owner of the unreleased tracks ... and force the band to fork over the alleged unpaid royalties.

We've reached out to Soundgarden ... no word back yet.

Ex-NBA Player Fined By China Basketball League Didn't Look at Flag During Chinese Anthem

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Ex-NBA player Guerschon Yabusele -- who now plays professionally in China -- was fined by the CBA this weekend for not looking at the Chinese flag during the national anthem.

... but Yabusele insists he was NOT trying to disrespect anyone.

The 23-year-old French baller -- who played 2 seasons with the Boston Celtics -- was fined $1,400 and given a "serious warning" for not meeting the league's requirements for anthem etiquette before the Nanjing Tongxi Monkey Kings' game against the Zhejiang Golden Bulls.

Of course, showing any sort of disrespect to the national anthem has major consequences in China -- a law was passed in 2017 that made it a crime, which carries a maximum 3-year jail sentence.

It's also in the Chinese Basketball Association handbook that players must look at the flag during the "March of the Volunteers."

But, Yabusele says he wasn't trying to make any sort of political statement -- he reportedly clarified in a statement on social media that he was praying during the anthem.

"I have the same routine, I've been doing this my whole career and I wanted to apologize for the people that took it Personnal [sic] because it was not my point," Yabusele said.

"I will show my respect during the Chinese national anthem and keep my head up for now on, Love you guys."

Obviously, this isn't the first major issue with China and basketball this year -- the Houston Rockets were essentially blackballed there after GM Daryl Morey tweeted out support for Hong Kong.

The NBA is currently trying to smooth things out with the Chinese government -- and it'll be interesting to see if this latest incident becomes a factor.

Lizzo Takes a Crack at Dancing Like the Laker Girls ... It's a Thong of Beauty!!!

LETTIN' LOOSE WITH JUICE
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Lizzo damn near blew the lid off Staples Center when she twerked her butt off.

It all went down Sunday night during a break at the Timberwolves-Lakers game ... while the Laker Girls were performing to the rapper's famous track "Juice," Lizzo got all hyped up ... rapping along before going HAM.

Lizzo -- who was sitting courtside -- was right there on the jumbotron for all to enjoy ... dancing before turning around and putting on a twerk show ... proudly displaying a black thong and fishnet tights. The crowd went absolutely NUTS.

BTW ... during an interview with FOX Sports, Lizzo shoots her shot at T'Wolves star Karl Anthony-Towns. Lizzo loves her some KAT ... like, A LOT.

Not to be outdone ... the Lakers steamrolled past the T'Wolves 142-125 behind Anthony Davis' season-high 50 points.

Maybe Lizzo's a good luck BB charm.

R. Kelly's Ex-Tour Manager Yes, I'm Going to Testify ... But I Don't Want Him to Go to Prison

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R. Kelly's former tour manager, Demetrius Smith, will testify on the singer's marriage to Aaliyah in one of his federal trials ... but he doesn't want to see Kelly thrown in prison.

"HE NEEDS HELP"
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Demetrius claims he purchased a fake ID for Aaliyah back in 1994, when she was only 15, so she would be able to marry Kelly ... but he tells us he doesn't want that to be the reason Kelly gets convicted.

As we first reported ... prosecutors say the fake ID purchase constitutes bribery, and they've added the allegation to the racketeering charge against Kelly in the Eastern District of New York.

The way Demetrius sees it, Aaliyah's parents have known about the allegation for over a decade -- Smith wrote about it in his book and spoke out about it in "Surviving R. Kelly" -- and they made their peace with it and moved on ... so he wants others to do the same.

Demetrius also says he hates to see Aaliyah's name getting dragged into Kelly's case all these years after her tragic death ... and he thinks prosecutors are just trying to lock Kelly up without looking at the bigger picture.

Instead of a prison sentence, Demetrius thinks Kelly needs to get mental help.

'Empire' Actress Busted for DUI ... Leaving the Scene

Amanda Detmer -- the actress who plays Tracy on "Empire" -- is in hot water after cops say she left the scene of an accident ... and was driving under the influence.

Detmer was arrested for DUI Sunday night in Chico, CA, after allegedly smashing her vehicle into a utility pole and then taking off. Law enforcement tells TMZ ... it responded to a report about the pole and conducted a search of the area, eventually locating a vehicle with severe front-end damage.

Cops say Detmer was driving it, and when they pulled her over they confirmed she was responsible for the collision. Their investigation also determined she was drinking and driving.

She was placed under arrest and is now facing charges of DUI and leaving the scene of a traffic collision.

Amanda's best known recently for her role on "Empire," but also for supporting roles in films like "Final Destination," "The Majestic" and "You, Me and Dupree."

Mohamed Hadid Splits from GF Over Kids ... I Have Enough!!!

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Gigi and Bella Hadid won't be getting any little siblings ... their dad and his fiancee called it quits in part because they couldn't agree on starting a family together.

Sources close to Mohamed Hadid tell TMZ ... he and Shiva Safai parted ways about a year ago -- even though she didn't confirm it publicly until this week. We're told the 39-year-old absolutely wanted to be a mom, but Mohamed wasn't looking to go down that road again.

As you know ... Mohamed is already a father to 5 beautiful children -- daughters Bella, Gigi, Alana and Marielle, and son Anwar.

Another reason for the breakup, sources close to Shiva tell us, was her reaction to a woman who publicly claimed she had a relationship with Mohamed. We're told it made Shiva reevaluate things, before having a heart-to-heart with him about their future.

It's still unclear who broke up with who, but we're told Mohamed and Shiva both agreed they were on different pages.

The now-exes got engaged way back in 2014, but we're told he came to the realization he didn't want to be married again -- he's already got 2 under his belt.

Our sources say he hopes Shiva can find Mr. Right, get married and have kids.

One last bit of accounting ... the ring. We're told Shiva's engagement rock is a Hadid family heirloom, and she gave it back to Mohamed, and he's passed it on his eldest sister.

For what it's worth, Shiva's now dating a new guy -- Niels Houweling -- but she and Mohamed are on good terms.

Russia Banned from 2020 Olympics, World Cup ... Over Doping Scandal

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The Russians are OUT at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo AND the 2022 World Cup -- at least for now -- because they're HORRIBLE cheaters, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

WADA has voted unanimously to hit Russia with a 4-year ban from all major international sporting events ... including the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup.

Here's why ... WADA officials say Russian authorities TAMPERED with a laboratory database in an effort to cover up HUNDREDS of potential doping cases involving Russian athletes.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last month the investigation revealed "flagrant manipulation" of the lab data.

Now, The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has 21 days to appeal the ban -- and Russian officials have strongly suggested they will fight the punishment.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie is digging in his heels -- saying in a statement, "For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport.

"The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA's reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today."

It's not the first time Russia has been accused of cheating and banned from the Olympics -- they were blocked from the 2018 Winter Games after a similar doping scandal.

Steve Harvey Miss Universe Costume Mess Up ... Show Says Nothing Went Wrong

6:43 AM PT -- A contest source says Philippines actually WAS the winner of the contest, telling us part of the broadcast, Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon's national costume was also featured. Miss Sekhon wasn't aware Philippines would be showcased first, so she jumped the gun when Mr. Harvey started with that news ... no mistakes regarding the national costume contest winner were made by him, the prompter or production.

Steve Harvey had flashbacks of 2015 all over again -- announcing the wrong winner of Miss Universe's costume contest -- but he's blaming the screw-up on the teleprompter.

Prior to Sunday's winner being crowned ... Harvey revealed the winner of 2019's costume contest. Reading from a prompter, Steve announced Philippines as the winner, the audience cheered, but the woman wearing the costume seemed very confused.

The woman then grabbed the mic from Steve, and corrected him, saying she was actually representing Malaysia.

Steve was clearly pissed, and pointed out the prompter he was reading from clearly stated Philippines as the winner, he followed it up with a, "Y'all gonna quit doing this to me."

It was back in 2015 when Steve announced Miss Colombia as Miss Universe when Philippines was the actual champion. He made note of the flub at the beginning of Sunday's show, which was his fifth time hosting the event.

For what it's worth ... there were no mess-ups in announcing South Africa as the overall winner of Miss Universe at the end of the night.