Stanford University Axing 11 Varsity Sports ... Due To Financial Hit From COVID-19

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Stanford University just announced it's eliminating a whopping 11 varsity sports after the 2020-21 school year ... and it's all thanks to COVID-19.

The school went public with its decision in an open letter Wednesday ... officially canceling the following programs: men's and women's fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men's rowing, co-ed and women's sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men's volleyball and wrestling.

FYI -- Stanford currently has the second-most varsity sports in the nation with 36 ... 4 sports shy of Harvard.

"This is heartbreaking news to share," Stanford officials said in the letter. "These 11 programs consist of more than 240 incredible student-athletes and 22 dedicated coaches."

"They were built by more than 4,000 alumni whose contributions led to 20 national championships, 27 Olympic medals, and an untold number of academic and professional achievements."

The school says it was already anticipating a $12 million deficit in 2021 ... and the pandemic increased its expectation to a $25 million loss ... forcing the cuts.

Stanford says it will honor all scholarships and contracts for the remaining students and coaches if they decide to stay at the school ... and will help those who decide to leave.

So, why these 11 sports?? The school says it took a number of factors into account ... with fan interest and Title IX requirements being part of the decision.

Stanford joins UConn ... which eliminated 4 sports programs last month.

Aloe Blacc Black National Anthem is a Start ... NFL Needs Real Change from Within!!!

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NOT ENOUGH
TMZ.com

Aloe Blacc likes the fact the NFL is playing the Black National Anthem before every Week 1 game, but says the league needs to go much further to fight for equality.

The singer joined us Wednesday on "TMZ Live" and explained why there's so much more the NFL can do to create an even playing field. Still, Aloe ... who recorded the modern version of "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing," says the symbolism of the league including the so-called Black National Anthem is important.

As in, an important step on the path to ending systemic racism.

Aloe told us, the anthem and the NFL's vow to donate $250 million to social justice organizations is mostly a conversation starter, and there's a real discussion that needs to be had on how to get more black head coaches, executives and quarterbacks in the league.

He did his homework, too, quoting stats that reveal the NFL's own systemic problems. It's true a black QB just earned the richest sports contract ever -- however, money isn't the issue Aloe's talking about here.

While Aloe's got a new album, "All Love Everything," dropping later this year ... he's also really focused on Election Day, and talked to us about the importance of voter registration. You gotta see the biggest change he wants to see come November.

Ex-College Football Player Catches Child Thrown From Burning Building ... Heroic Highlight

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BEAUTIFUL CATCH
Storyful

A former college football receiver just made a LIFE-SAVING highlight -- catching a 3-year-old child thrown from a burning building ... and it was all captured on video.

28-year-old Phillip Blanks -- who played at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA -- was at his home in Phoenix when he saw a nearby apartment was ablaze.

Blanks decided to check out the scene to see if he could help ... and noticed a 30-year-old mother preparing to throw her child off the balcony.

Blanks -- who is also a retired U.S. Marine -- immediately knew what he had to do ... and sprinted to the ground below to save the boy from hitting the ground.

"Instinct. There wasn't much thinking. I just reacted. I just did it," Blanks told ABC7.

"The guy who was there with me ... it looked like he wasn't going to catch him. So that's why I stepped in. I just wanted to make a better catch."

Blanks rushed the child to safety ... but the mother tragically passed away from the fire, according to ABC7.

"She's the real hero of the story," Blanks told the outlet. "Because she made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children."

The woman's 3-year-old and 8-year-old were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

BTW -- according to Blanks' college bio, he's related to Barry Sanders and Mike Conley.

Truly heroic.

Missouri Assault Attacker Turns Himself In ... Dancer Recovering with People's Generosity

Exclusive 7/3/20
ZERO HUMANITY
Michael Crank Curry/Facebook

2:48 PM PT -- The attacker, Cedric Charles Moore Jr., turned himself in Wednesday to the Scott County Sheriff's Office in Benton, Missouri. As we've reported ... he was already charged with felony assault in the second degree and felony child endangerment in the first degree due to the age of the victim and the violence of the act. His bond's been set at $50k cash only.

Sergeant Joey Hann with the Cape Girardeau PD said he "hopes that this arrest offers a sense of peace and security to the young victim and his family. Our department would also like to thank the large volume of information we received from the public on Cedric Moore. Your concern for decency and your tips on his whereabouts left this violent suspect with nowhere else to hide and helped to lead to his peaceful surrender."

It's impossible to make sense of the brutal, random act of violence against a 12-year-old dancing in the street, but humanity's shining through to help out the victim.

The tough kid's name is Ethan, and his mother, Stephanie Hagler, tells TMZ ... more than 400 people -- family, friends and strangers alike -- have raised more than $14,000 so far to cover his medical bills and more.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Ethan's mom says the remainder of the money raised will go toward his tuition at the Fingerprint Urban Dance Studio, in Cape Girardeau, MO for the next several years. The studio will get some improvements too -- like a new security system -- and Ethan wants to put some cash toward its annual festival.

As for his health, Stephanie tells us her son's still shaken up over the assault, and fearful to perform. She says he's afraid someone out there may try to hurt him again, and the disturbing ordeal is requiring daily therapy sessions.

Ethan's also dealing with the effects of a concussion -- dizziness and headaches -- but his mom says the "overwhelming support from friends and community members has been making Ethan feel better." We're told folks have been bringing him gifts, as well ... including a painting by one of his friend's parents.

As we reported ... Ethan was with his dance instructor, Micheal Curry, Friday night when he was sucker punched by a man police ID'd as Cedric Charles Moore Jr. -- who's been charged with felony assault and felony child endangerment for the attack. Cops are still searching for him.

Curry, who recorded the video of the assault and is the owner of Fingerprint, tells us his group of dance kids is hitting pause on all street performances for now.

However, Curry says he and Ethan are scheduled to perform a DJ set at a local joint in August ... and he hopes it will help Ethan regain his confidence, while giving the community an opportunity to show support.

He says he's worked with Ethan for 4 years, and he's thankful for the support they've already gotten -- but his main focus is helping his kids regain their trust in humanity.

Originally Published -- 12:50 AM PT

Kanye West Planned Parenthood Remarks ... Get Blistering Response from Org

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Kanye West likened Planned Parenthood to a Satanic baby-killing cult put in place by racist forces, but the org is calling BS ... saying the real threat is talk like his.

ICYMI ... Kanye tackled the issue of abortion during his Forbes interview, saying ... "Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work."

Welp, PP's response comes from Nia Martin-Robinson ... the Director of Black Leadership and Engagement at PP's national HQ. She tells TMZ, "Black women are free to make our own decisions about our bodies and pregnancies, and want and deserve to have access to the best medical care available."

Martin-Robinson adds, "Any insinuation that abortion is Black genocide is offensive and infantilizing. The real threat to Black communities' safety, health, and lives stems from lack of access to quality, affordable health care, police violence and the criminalization of reproductive health care by anti-abortion opposition."

REFORM THE CULTURE
Big Boy TV

Of course, Ye's expressed similar sentiments before ... in regards to the so-called Plan B pill.

What's interesting here is how at odds he appears to be with his wife, Kim Kardashian, who's publicly supported Planned Parenthood in the past -- notably, in 2017.

So far, she hasn't said anything publicly about Kanye's stance on PP ... or about anything else he told Forbes. Ya gotta imagine there are some interesting convos going on today in their household.

NoHo Church Members Threaten to Call Cops on Black Woman ... For Sitting on Church Lawn

SIMPLY SITTING
Alex Marshall-Brown/Facebook

A group of Christian church members went to extreme lengths to remove a black woman peacefully sitting on "their" grass ... and it all played out on video.

The woman's name is Alex Marshall-Brown -- a stunt woman and voice actor here in L.A. -- and on Tuesday, she documented her North Hollywood encounter with the churchgoers ... who seemed to grossly overreact to her chilling out on church grounds.

She was working on her laptop, sitting under a tree and minding her business ... when a couple guys who apparently work for the church came out with a "No Trespassing" sign just for her. Alex questions why they're booting her, but they don't seem to have a good reason.

The men say they don't want strangers on their property, period -- insisting that them telling her to scram isn't anything personal ... that they're just doing their jobs and protecting the church.

But then it took a disturbing turn ... one of the guys dropped the ol' "All Lives Matter" on her.

Alex continued to point out she's not threatening anyone, and that escalating the situation by calling police -- which the men say was already happening -- wasn't necessary.

She noted she was asked by some bike cops to leave at first, or else she'd have a run-in with "Cop cops" -- but our law enforcement sources tell us no one in LAPD was even made aware of this. Instead, it sounds like Alex just had to deal with the church staffers.

She went on to say it's ironic a church, of all places, was being so unwelcoming.

Now, head honchos from this parish -- St. Paul's First Lutheran Church -- have already weighed in, and they say their workers on the ground got this one wrong. The church says they strive to spread the love of God, and they're saddened by the way this went down.

SPFLC also makes a point to say ... they're gonna train their staff better going forward.

R. Kelly Case Feds Want Jurors Protected They're in Danger of Kelly's Tactics!!!

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The feds in R. Kelly's case want to keep potential jurors protected -- even by armed guards, at times, because they feel Kelly's legal team poses a threat to jurors, but the singer's team's not having it.

The feds filed legal docs in the Eastern District of NY requesting the jurors remain anonymous and partially sequestered because they fear Kelly's team could mess with the jurors.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, the feds say they want the jurors' identities, addresses and places of employment to be kept under wraps from the defense and prosecutors. They also want the U.S. Marshals to escort the jury in and out of the courthouse, and make the jurors eat lunch together so they're not bombarded by intense media coverage.

The feds insist the jurors' identities are not crucial to the jury selection process and argue "these measures are necessary to safeguard the jurors and the fair administration of process."

The prosecution claims Kelly and his associates have previously attempted to obstruct justice ... calling Kelly "the leader of a racketeering enterprise he created and used for decades to sexually abuse and exploit women and girls for his own sexual gratification, including through the use of bribery, kidnapping and forced labor." The judge has yet to sign off on the government's request.

Remember, the government in the past has contended Kelly "has a history of coercing women to write letters containing false and embarrassing allegations" so he can later use them as blackmail.

R. Kelly's lawyer, Steven Greenberg, tells TMZ ... he's all for the Marshals walking the jury in and out of the courthouse saying, "They don't have to put up with [the] circus of outside influences and agitators like the Weinstein jurors."

But, he also says, "It's absurd not to know where people are from or what kind of employment they are engaging in. Those are essential things to understand -- how people think and view things. Imagine if there's an FBI agent on the jury or a district attorney or someone who works for a battered woman's shelter. The stuff about Kelly tampering and being dangerous is just a regurgitation of their same argument which we disagreed with all along."

Kanye West Dumps Trump ... Deets on Presidential Campaign

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Kanye West says he's done supporting President Trump -- but there's even more he's spilling that's just as surprising in terms of his run for the White House. Oh boy, where to begin ...

Ye sat down with Forbes in a verrrry wide-ranging interview, but primarily about his Presidential campaign ... and the would-be candidate declared he's "taking off the red hat." The only specific he offered as to why was that he doesn't like what he heard about 45 hiding in a bunker recently.

He also says, "One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community." As Kanye's stated before, he hates the fact that Democrats assume all black people have to vote for them.

He added he was down with POTUS because "I like Trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby."

As for HIS presidential run ... he says he IS serious, and that he's got some unconventional ideas to help get him there. Buckle in, 'cause this gets weird.

He told Forbes he's running as part of a new party called the Birthday Party, because ... "[W]hen we win, it’s everybody’s birthday."

He also says he's having Elon Musk help with his campaign and is considering using him for his own space program. He's already got a VP in mind ... a Wyoming preacher -- and showing a little campaign bravado, he kinda bashed Joe Biden as "not special."

Politics aside, Kanye says he contracted the coronavirus in February -- but didn't say if he learned that from getting tested -- and sounded like quite the anti-vaxxer. He called any coronavirus vaccine "the mark of the beast."

He goes on to explain, "They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven."

One thing he didn't cover, but clearly relevant for a Presidential candidate, is his mental health. Kanye has publicly said he's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and he's also said -- notably on "TMZ Live" in May 2018 -- he doesn't take his medication sometimes because it dulls his creativity.

Also ... interesting that Kanye talked with Forbes, which has been at war with his sister-in-law, Kylie, over her status as a billionaire -- and even called out his wife a couple weeks ago on the same topic.

Disney's 'POTC' Noose Necklace Pulled from Collectibles Site ... Who the Hell OK'd This?!?

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A Disney accessory depicting a noose is now in slightly less circulation after a collectibles site took action -- but the question remains ... how did this ever get made in the first place???

Back in 2006, when "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" was released, the Mouse House also dropped a limited couture jewelry line as part of the promotional rollout. It featured rings shaped out of swords, pendants made to look like locks and keys ... basically, gimmicky 'Pirates'-themed bling that sold like hot cakes.

Now, one of those items was a 14k gold-plated 20" necklace with a noose pendant attached ... and it couldn't be any clearer as to what it is if you look at it for yourself.

Most of these 'Pirates' items sold out while being hawked at stores like Disney's online shop, Kitson and Nordstrom -- but some of the pieces are still floating out there ... including this noose necklace, which was recently spotted on the collectibles site, WorthPoint.

You can't buy anything from there -- it's a company that mines for old collectibles and antiques, providing stats, prices, and photos about any particular item -- including this noose.

When we reached out to WorthPoint to see why they were featuring the offensive and racist item, they told us they'd take it down immediately ... which they did. A rep went on to tell us it probably never should've been up, but might've slipped through their algorithm cracks.

Now, back to the real issue ... how something so racially charged could've ever found its way to the marketplace? We reached out to Disney ... radio silence.

The answer's probably in the movies themselves. If you've seen any of them, you know there are several scenes where people -- including Johnny Depp's character, Captain Jack Sparrow --  are set to be put to death by hanging. It's a recurring theme throughout the franchise.

Still, the move to sell noose-related products whatsoever is so obviously a bad one -- and it comes off as especially tone deaf in 2020.

Selena's Father Keep Trump Stumping Away from Her Statue!!!

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The father of the late singer Selena is going after a man planning a rally for Donald Trump at her memorial statue ... threatening to sue if he goes through with it.

According to a cease and desist letter sent by Abraham Quintanilla, Jr.'s legal team to Joe Michael Perez ... Abraham owns the rights to his daughter's name, image, likeness and trademarks.

He claims Perez is infringing upon all of the above by organizing his "Trump Supporter Gathering" at Selena's statue in Corpus Christi, TX. It's scheduled for July 11, and Perez is using Selena's name and image to promote it on Facebook.

In the letter -- obtained by TMZ -- Selena's dad says her name and "treasured legacy" have never been associated with partisan politics and claims Perez has associated her with Trump without permission by promoting his event ... which features an image from last month of Perez putting a Trump hat on her statue.

Abraham also says linking Selena to a single politician -- "particularly with the divisiveness and discord commonly attributed to Donald J. Trump" -- is damaging to her brand and her name.

The letter also points to Perez using "Bidi Bidi Trump Trump" as a promotional slogan, claiming it infringes upon her famous "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" song ... and accuses him of using her image to sell merchandise, as well.

Selena's father's warning Perez to delete his Selena-themed July 11 Facebook event page -- and stop selling Selena-related gear -- or else ... a lawsuit's on the way.

Perez tells TMZ, he's ignoring the cease and desist letter and ... "We are going to continue with our gathering on July 11 at the Selena Statue in Corpus Christi, Texas to show support for Trump for all races and ethnicities."

Perez says he's expecting at least 150 people.

Mary Kay Letourneau Dead At 58 ... Had Stage 4 Cancer

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Mary Kay Letourneau -- the former teacher imprisoned after pleading guilty to raping her student, whom she later married -- is dead after battling stage 4 colon cancer ... TMZ has learned.

Mary's now-estranged husband, Vili Fualaau, previously shared her stage 4 cancer diagnosis on Instagram, sharing a photo of himself wearing a medical mask with the caption, "Praying for a miracle."

Her attorney, David H. Gehrke, tells us Mary Kay had been in hospice care for the past month, and Vili had been by her side ... helping take care of her.

Mary and Vili notoriously made headlines in the late '90s, as she was 34, married and had 4 children when she began having sex with him -- her 6th grade student. He was either 12 or 13 at the time.

She pled guilty in 1997 to 2 counts of felony second-degree rape of a child and ended up serving 7 years in prison.

Mary gave birth to 2 of Vili's kids, and they wed in 2005 after she was released from prison. TMZ broke the story ... the couple split in 2017.

We contacted a spokesperson for Vili and they would only say it's a very hard time right now.

Netflix's 'Unsolved Mysteries' Hot New Tips Flooding In ... Alonzo Brooks Case Could Crack 1st

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Netflix's revival of "Unsolved Mysteries" might need to change its name to "Case Closed" -- because the team's getting inundated with new leads that may very well crack some of these cases.

The show's original creator, Terry Dunn Meurer, is once again heading up the rebooted series ... and she tells TMZ that skyrocketing popularity and renewed interest has yielded some actual tips she and her team believe could lead to more clues -- or, in some cases, arrests.

Terry says 'Unsolved' has received upwards of 1,500 tips over their 6 new episodes up on the streaming service -- and of those ... she tells us about 50 were flagged as possibly legit and forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

And, get this ... she says the one that is most likely to get buttoned up first is the case of Alonzo Brooks ... who disappeared from a Kansas party in the early 2000s.

If you're unfamiliar ... 22-year-old Alonzo and a group of friends went to a party in rural Kansas, where he ended up being the only black guy there among what's described as a bunch of rednecks and cowboy types ... with one of whom he almost fought.

His pals eventually dispersed -- and Alonzo never made it home. A month later, his body was found in a creek. He'd been murdered.

The killing was considered a hate crime, but investigators could never link it to anyone -- the case went unsolved for years. Terry, however, says that could change soon -- as her crew has forwarded names to the FBI ... which recently reopened his case.

Here's another thing -- one uber-popular installment in the new 'Unsolved' series chronicles the supposed suicide of Rey Rivera ... whom many fans speculate might have planned and carried out his own death after the '90s flick, "The Game," and its famous rooftop jump scene.

Rey mentioned the movie in a goodbye letter, which is why sleuths have been running wild with the theory. Terry says neither she nor Rey's wife, Allison, believe there's any truth to that. They maintain he was murdered and it was made to seem like he killed himself.

'365 Days' Star Michele Morrone Lands 6-Figure Modeling Gig ... With Guess By Marciano

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Michele Morrone is quickly learning it pays to be tall, dark and handsome ... the "365 Days" star just scored his first big-time modeling gig, which comes with a fat payday!!!

Famous fashion designer Paul Marciano tells TMZ ... Michele just signed a deal to be the next male model for a couple holiday campaigns this year with Marciano and Guess by Marciano.

Paul says Michele, fresh off his stunning performance as Massimo in Netflix's No. 1 movie, will start shooting the campaign next week at a lavish villa in Lake Como, Italy.

We're told Michele's shoot will include 2 female models ... and he'll be modeling dressy clothing items -- fine menswear only for his debut with the company.

No surprise, but we're told Paul's wife gave a big thumbs up when he flew to meet MM in Switzerland to negotiate the deal. She's a fan after seeing '365.'

Our sources say Michele scored a 6-figure deal ... which will have him doing photoshoots, social media obligations, public appearances and possibly a runway show. And yes, he is getting paid more than the average male model -- thanks to his smash hit movie role.

Here's how quickly the guy's life is changing ... Michele told Paul that before his big movie break, he was making $600 a month as a gardener and was prepared to go back to the low-paying job if needed.

That same day, Michele went to a Marciano fashion show and impressed everyone with the way he worked the room. A few hours later the deal was sealed.

Gardening's gonna have to wait.

Celebs Go Green It's Quarantine Gardening Thyme!!!

From baking bread to playing board games, the early days of self-quarantine were highlighted by indoor activities to pass the time ... but now that it's nice out, people are showing off their green thumbs -- celebrities included.

Plant yourselves right there for some horticultural inspiration during these trying days of the relentless COVID-19 pandemic. There's no shortage of impressive gardening and top-notch nurseries from the likes of supermodel Bella Hadid, 'Jersey Shore' star Vinny Guadagnino, Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.

Need more motivation to get growing? Check out the greenery from Eva Longoria, Antoni Porowski, Adrian Grenier, Danny Trejo, Beth Behrs, Yolanda Hadid, Robin Thicke, Kat Dennings, Brooke Burke and Tiffany Haddish.

As always, stay safe out there ... but don't be afraid to get your hands a little dirty.

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