Pirates' Chris Archer On Felipe Vazquez ... 'We're Hoping That Stuff's Not True'

Breaking News
Getty

Pirates ace Chris Archer appeared floored by the child sexual assault allegations against his teammate, Felipe Vazquez ... saying the crimes he's accused of are "heinous" and he hopes they're not true.

"I do have a 14-year-old sister," Archer told media in the Pirates' clubhouse before taking on the Mariners in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. "So, it's something that hits home."

Vazquez was arrested Tuesday morning after authorities in both Pennsylvania and Florida say they have evidence he tried to have a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Felipe is facing MULTIPLE serious charges ... including felony statutory sexual assault, felony unlawful contact with a minor and felony solicitation of a child.

When Archer spoke about the accusations, he told media members, "In the U.S., you're innocent until proven guilty. So, until due process is completely played out, we're hoping that this stuff's not true."

But, Archer added, "These allegations are very, very serious."

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle also spoke with reporters hours after Vazquez was arrested ... but would only say, "It's in our best interest to not have any comment."

As for Felipe, his attorney told WTAE in Pennsylvania they're reviewing the charges and have no comment on the allegations at this time.

Vazquez is currently being held in Allegheny County Jail after a judge denied his bail Tuesday afternoon.

A press conference in Pennsylvania further detailing the allegations against Vazquez is slated for 8 AM PT.

Nick Jonas Rents Out Bears' Soldier Field ... For Bday Football Game

Breaking News

There's a new Monster of the Midway ... Nick Jonas!

The pop star turned 27 this week ... but there wasn't a crazy Vegas bender -- instead, Nick's wife Priyanka Chopra set up a touch football game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Nick says Priyanka set the whole thing up as a surprise -- organizing for more than 20 of his closest friends to hit the field in custom "NJ" jerseys. The game was dubbed "The JonasBowl" with the jumbotron reading, "Happy Birthday Nick!"

Among the people who showed ... Nick's brothers Joe and Kevin -- along with former Chicago Bears player Spice Adams.

Nick posted about the game ... saying, "I’ve been lucky enough to celebrate my 27th birthday over the past couple of days with family, friends, and fans in Chicago and St. Paul."

"My beautiful wife surprised me with a touch football game with some of my closest friends and family on the one and only Soldier Field in Chicago (!!!) followed by a few hours of Topgolf, and then a party where pizza, tequila, cake, and cigars were involved."

"The next day we played a sold out show in St. Paul where so many of you brought birthday signs and sang me Happy Birthday on stage."

"I can’t thank you all enough for the outpouring of love and birthday wishes over the past couple of days. Means the world to have you all in my life. I’m endlessly grateful. Here’s to 27!"

Victor Cruz Tempted To Make NFL Comeback ... I Can Still Play!!!

Exclusive
THE GAMES HAVE JUST BEGUN
TMZSports.com

Victor Cruz tells TMZ Sports he still feels the itch to make an NFL comeback "to this day" ... and says he's confident he's still got the skills to be a successful wideout in the league!!

"I still wake up thinking about it," Cruz said of a possible return to the NFL. "I'm still in good shape. I can still run, jump and do all those things. Absolutely."

Of course, 32-year-old Cruz hasn't played a down in the league since 2016 ... and he knows a comeback ain't exactly probable.

But, Victor was one of the best receivers in the game for a few seasons ... piling up 303 catches, 4,549 receiving yards and 25 TDs from 2011 to 2016.

So, could he REALLY make a run at a return?!?!

"Obviously, I know where I'm at in my life right now," Cruz tells us. "I gotta pay the bills a different way."

We also spoke to Cruz about the Giants, Jets and Bills ... and he tells us why he's putting the brakes on Josh Allen's claims that Buffalo is now New York's team.

Martin Luther King III Boycott The NFL ... Until Kaepernick Signs

Exclusive
IT'S NICE, BUT...
TMZSports.com

Martin Luther King III tells TMZ Sports Colin Kaepernick could get back into the NFL "overnight" if fans just straight-up stopped supporting the league until it signs the QB.

"What would change it overnight is if the public decided, 'Okay, we're not going to watch,'" MLK III says.

Of course, King III knows that's unlikely ... but he's saying drastic measures need to be taken in order for the league to stop "blackballing" the 31-year-old once and for all.

"The industry did blackball him, which is not good," MLK III says ... "He certainly is one of the most talented quarterbacks even today, probably."

Good news for MLK III??? There are plenty of teams looking for a quarterback THIS WEEK ...

Pittsburgh just lost Ben Roethlisberger for the year. Saints star Drew Brees is out for the next two months with a thumb injury. The Jets' starter, Sam Darnold, and backup, Trevor Siemian, are both out.

Unclear if any of those three teams have eyes on Kap ... but MLK III is certainly hoping so.

"There are times when you need strategic quarterbacks who have a proven record," King III says. "And, certainly, Colin Kaepernick is one of those."

Sam Darnold Viral Sign Girl Did Not Give Me Mono Never Met Her, I Swear!!!

Breaking News
Getty Composite

You know that hot chick who says she gave Sam Darnold mono??? The NY Jets QB is setting the record straight -- saying he's never met the woman in his life, let alone swapped spit with her!!!

You've seen the pic by now ... a v attractive Jets fan made light of Darnold having the kissing disease during NY's Monday Night Football match-up with the Browns ... holding up a sign that read "I gave Darnold mono."

Of course, for obvious reasons, the claim didn't seem so far-fetched ... so everyone had fun with it.

But Darnold just *had* to play the role of party pooper on Tuesday ... addressing the viral girl's claim on the 'Michael Kay Show' on ESPN.

"I know there was a sign also at the game that some girl claims she gave it to me ... I've never seen that girl in my life. So, I'd just like to set the record straight on that."

BOOOOOOOOO. That's no fun, Sam.

FWIW -- TMZ Sports spoke with the woman (who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity) ... and she says it was all a joke, too ... so case closed.

We're just gonna pretend neither side ever said anything. It's much more fun that way.

Jayson Williams Running Addiction Treatment Facility Better Than Being NBA Star

Exclusive
I'M HAPPY TO HELP
TMZSports.com

Jayson Williams was a rich, famous NBA star ... but he tells TMZ Sports, his job running an addiction treatment center is the most fulfilling thing he's ever done.

"This is the best job I ever had."

It's no secret that Jayson -- an All-Star who played 9 years in the league for the 76ers and Nets -- struggled with alcohol abuse for years, leading to tragedy off the court ... before buddies, Curtis Martin, Charles Oakley and Chris Mullin convinced him to enter rehab back in 2016.

Williams got sober (he's going on 30 months now) ... and the experience made such an enormous impact on his life, the 50-year-old founded his own treatment program called Rebound in Jupiter, FL.

"I'm no guru to this. I'm just a guy who's there telling my story, who's surrounded with a great 9-acre, 105-bed facility with the best doctors, the best psychiatrists, psychologists."

The program -- which treats everything from alcohol and drugs to food, sex and gambling addiction -- ain't your prototypical rehab center ... it's an adventure-based curriculum that uses paddle boarding, wave running, hydro boarding, scuba diving and even skydiving to beat addiction.

"We do probably 19 different activities that you have never done in 30 days, and we do that to breakdown barriers, overcome anxiety, build self-esteem and break up the monotony."

Jayson says friends often tell him to leave Rebound behind and "go coach St Johns, get outta that, it's too much, it brings you down" ... but he says they're all wrong.

"I can't teach a kid a jump hook when a kid is teaching me how to save my life."

Warren Moon Eli Manning Is a Hall of Famer ... He's Got 2 Rings!!

Exclusive
PUT HIM IN!!!
TMZSports.com

If Eli Manning never plays another down in the NFL, his next stop is Canton ... so says Warren Moon, who tells TMZ Sports the NY Giants QB is 100% a Hall of Famer.

The G-Men just announced Manning will ride the pine as rookie Daniel Jones takes over as the starter in Week 3 ... sparking debate over whether Eli will be considered among the all-time greats when he calls it a career.

Moon -- who was inducted into the Hall in 2006 -- says they better start getting Manning's jacket measurements now ... 'cause there's no way he WON'T get in.

"I think he is based off his numbers and what he's able to do as a team as well," Moon told the fellas on the TMZ Sports TV show, airing Tuesday night on FS1.

"He's definitely put together a career that's Hall of Fame worthy."

FYI -- Manning's 8th in all-time TDs passed (362) and 7th in passing yards (56,537). And, oh yeah ... 2 Super Bowls don't hurt either.

"I've just looked at his body of work ... and he's won the championships, which is something very important to the voters when you go into that room," Moon adds.

"He's got 2 of them and he was the MVP in both of those games. That's gonna bode well for him."

Speaking of the Hall, check out the full interview tonight ... Moon weighs in on the Donovan McNabb debate ... and tells us how he think he'd do in today's NFL.

CC Sabathia Dreaming Of WS Ending To Career 'That's Storybook Right There'

Exclusive
RETIREMENT PLANS
TMZSports.com

CC Sabathia says a World Series win to end his career this year would be epic ... telling TMZ Sports, "That's storybook right there."

The Yankees starting pitcher is calling it quits once NY's season ends this fall -- and he's hoping he can ride off into the sunset with one more championship ring on his finger.

"2009 is my ultimate Yankee moment," Sabathia said at his LegaCCy Gala in NY on Monday.

"But, getting another chance to win on the way out, I mean, man. I don't know, that's storybook right there."

The Yanks certainly have a good shot to do it ... everyone in the baseball world thinks they're one of three teams -- alongside the Astros and Dodgers -- that should win it all this year.

As for what 39-year-old CC is planning to do once he wraps up his 19-year Big League career ... he tells us he's got reservations for a boat and a fishing rod already lined up!!!

Justin Crawford Ex-NCAA Football Star Gets Prison ... In Child Sex Case

Exclusive

Ex-West Virginia star running back Justin Crawford was just sentenced to 12 YEARS in prison after pleading guilty to committing a sex act with a 12-year-old girl.

24-year-old Crawford was a huge star at WVU in '16 and '17 -- rushing for 2,244 yards and 11 TDs in 25 games. He was invited to Atlanta Falcons training camp but didn't make the roster.

Getty

But now, his football career is all but over ... after cutting a plea deal with prosecutors that will put him away for the remainder of his prime years.

Here's the deal ... Crawford was arrested in Georgia in October 2018. Officials say Crawford admitted to having sexual intercourse and oral sex with the girl. Crawford claimed it was her idea.

Justin was hit with felony charges of incest, child molestation sodomy and enticing a child for indecent purpose ... and he was facing SERIOUS time behind bars.

But, Crawford cut a deal with prosecutors Tuesday ... showing up to Muscogee County Court in Georgia to enter guilty pleas to charges of child molestation and sodomy.

In exchange for the pleas, a court official tells TMZ Sports Crawford was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was also hit with 20 years of probation, which will begin at the same time as his sentence behind bars.

We're told Crawford is supposed to begin serving his sentence ASAP.

Crawford was named 2nd team All-Big 12 in 2017. After washing out with the Falcons, he briefly played for the Atlanta Legends of the AAF in 2019. That league shortly folded.

MLB Pitcher Felipe Vazquez Arrested For Solicitation of a Child ... Cops ID'd Him By Tattoos

Exclusive Details
Getty

1:31 PM PT -- Records now show Vazquez is facing ADDITIONAL charges in the case ... including felony statutory sexual assault, felony unlawful contact with a minor, felony corruption of a minor and misdemeanor indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old.

1:06 PM PT -- Vazquez just appeared before a Pennsylvania judge ... and was denied bail.

The judge says more charges are expected to come down.

1:04 PM PT -- According to an incident report from the Lee County Sheriff's Office, obtained by CBS in Pittsburgh, Vazquez met the alleged victim at PNC Park and took pictures with her outside of the bullpen.

According to the report, the alleged victim contacted Vazquez on social media and that's how the two began talking.

The report also states Vazquez drove to the alleged victim's house in Pennsylvania on at least one occasion ... where she claims Vazquez pulled down her pants while they were in his car and attempted to have sex with her.

11:27 AM PT -- TMZ Sports has obtained the arrest warrant affidavit which spells out how investigators were able to identify and catch Vazquez ... and it came down to his distinct tattoos.

According to the documents, Vazquez sent 2 photos and 1 video to the girl -- none of which showed the MLB star's face.

However, officials say the images depicted numerous "unique and distinguishable" tattoos on his body ... which they were able to match to Vazquez through public images on the Internet.

Getty/IMAGN

Officials also say the alleged victim's mother was the one who essentially busted Vasquez -- after she discovered the concerning images and video on her daughter's phone.

The mother texted Vazquez to inform him that her daughter is a minor -- and that's when the case made its way over to law enforcement.

11:26 AM PT -- Now, Vazquez is facing two 3rd-degree felony charges (and possibly more) -- and each count carries a possible 5-year maximum prison sentence.

11:12 AM PT -- Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly says Tuesday the team was "made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vazquez and his subsequent arrest."

"We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously."

"We have informed the Commissioner's Office of the investigation and arrest. The CO will immedatetely place Felipe Vazquez on Administrative Leave (and, as a result, Restricted List) pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy."

"We need to be respectful to all involved and the ongoing legal proceeding. As a result, the organization, our staff and players cannot comment any further at this time."

Pittsburgh Pirates all-star pitcher Felipe Vazquez was arrested this morning in Pennsylvania on some truly disturbing charges including solicitation of a 13-year-old girl.

The 28-year-old closer -- considered one of the best pitchers in baseball -- was taken into custody in Pittsburgh stemming from an arrest warrant out of Florida.

Officials say they were investigating allegations Vasquez had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl in Lee County, Florida.

According to officials, the girl, now 15 years old, WAS continuing to have a relationship with Vasquez and had received a video in July from the MLB star performing a "sex act."

Officials say Vasquez also sent the girl text messages suggesting they would meet for sex after the MLB season ended.

Several electronic devices were seized from Vasquez's apartment in Pittsburgh during the investigation.

Officials say Vasquez was arrested on 1 count of "computer pornography - solicitation of a child" and 1 count of "providing obscene material to minors."

Officials say more charges could follow depending on what they find in the continuing investigation.

Vasquez is a 2-time All-Star who was having a great season for the Pirates in 2019. He currently has a 1.65 E.R.A., 28 saves and 90 strikeouts. He signed a 4-year, $22.5 million contract in 2018.

Originally Published -- 9:34 AM PT

Master P Saints Need to Sign Colin Kaepernick ... After Drew Brees Injury

Exclusive
WE NEED KAEP
TMZSports.com

Master P says there's one guy who can save the Saints from failing without Drew Brees ... and that guy is COLIN KAEPERNICK.

New Orleans is in need of some QB help after the 12-time Pro Bowler went down with a thumb injury this past week ... leaving Teddy Bridgewater to take the reigns under center for at least several weeks.

TMZ Sports spoke with the NOLA legend about the state of his team on Tuesday ... and while he insists they'll "be back," he knows a guy who can help out big time.

"Kap, we need you." Percy tells us out in NYC. "I'm going home to let him know that right now. We need Kap!!"

Of course, the controversial QB's name has been thrown around with many starting QBs going down in the first 2 weeks of the season -- from Brees to Ben Roethlisberger to Sam Darnold.

We know Kap's ready ... he's been training like a maniac and has been posting workout vids proving he's still got it.

So ... hit the dude up??

Antonio Brown Rape Accuser Meets with NFL Officials ... In 10-Hour Session

Breaking News
IMAGN

The woman accusing Antonio Brown of rape met with NFL officials on Monday in a 10-hour marathon session, where she spelled out her case against the Patriots star.

Britney Taylor did NOT travel to the league office in New York -- instead an NFL representative flew out to meet her, according to Yahoo Sports.

When they finally sat down, Taylor detailed her allegations against Brown in a 10-hour meeting, according to CNN.

As we previously reported, Taylor -- AB's former personal trainer -- is suing Brown, claiming he sexually assaulted her 3 times between 2017 and 2018 ... including a violent rape in May 2018.

Brown has denied the allegations, claiming Taylor is out for a money grab -- and says she's just bitter he wouldn't invest in her business plans for a gymnastics training center.

For what it's worth, Brown's accuser did not file a police report before filing the civil suit and law enforcement officials are not conducting a criminal investigation at this time.

The NFL is reportedly trying to set up a meeting with Brown as well to get his side of the story in person. No word on if/when that meeting will take place.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots -- which signed Brown days before the lawsuit was filed -- are sticking by AB, and even used him as a part of the offense during the Week 2 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Kurt Warner Rips Giants For Benching Manning ... He's Not The Problem!!!

Breaking News
TMZ/Getty

Kurt Warner is going to bat for Eli Manning -- the guy who replaced him as the starting Giants' QB back in the day -- saying Eli definitely was NOT the problem in New York this season.

"If u watched the film, ELI was one of the few guys playing winning fball for that team!!" Warner said.

"Maybe I’m biased but there is nothing worse in fball than a team making the QB the scapegoat for losing when it’s WAY bigger than that!!"

Of course, Kurt and Eli were teammates during the 2004 season. Kurt started the first 9 games but was eventually replaced by Eli (a rookie at the time) after a 2-game losing streak.

Getty

Kurt left NY and signed with the AZ Cardinals the next season. Eli has been starting in NY ever since.

... until Tuesday, when the 0-2 Giants announced Manning will ride the bench this weekend and 1st round draft pick Daniel Jones will start.

Kurt never specifically says who's to blame in NY, but calls on Giants brass to start taking a harder look at the roster before benching Eli.

"Guess I am just a believer in playing best guy and if u gave him the job & he didn’t lose it by playing badly - start replacing some other guys first!"

Warner added, "[Manning] has earned better than two games in his last season (if it is his last there which we would all expect)!"

Giants officially kick off the Jones era at 1 PM PT against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Getchya popcorn ready.

Didi Gregorius Mike Trout Deserves AL MVP Have You Seen His Stats?!?

Exclusive
CHAMPIONSHIP OR BUST
TMZSports.com

Didi Gregorious says a season-ending foot surgery ain't going to hurt Mike Trout's MVP chances ... the Yankees shortstop tells TMZ Sports the Angels star is definitely deserving of the award!!

"I mean, he got good numbers, right?" Didi says ... "Why not?!"

Trout had been having a historic season until a foot injury this month cost him his final at-bats of the year ... but a lot of people are saying he still deserves the MVP award.

Count Didi in as one of those guys ... 'cause he says Trout's 45 homers, 104 RBIs and .294 batting average are more than good enough to lock up the honor.

Of course, it's high praise from Didi ... seeing as most people consider his NY teammate, DJ LeMahieu the other favorite for the AL's MVP.

We also spoke with Gregorious about his Yanks team ... and he tells us he's stoked that a bunch of injured guys are coming back -- and says of the World Series, "We gotta win!"

LeBron James Honors Nipsey Hussle with Custom Crenshaw Jersey

Breaking News

LeBron James is paying tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle while on his yacht vacation ... rockin' a dope custom Crenshaw jersey on Tuesday to honor the rapper.

Nipsey was gunned down in front of his Marathon Clothing store in South L.A. back in March. After his death, several high-profile athletes including LeBron, praised Nipsey for being a respected community leader who always gave back.

Clearly, his memory is still strong with LeBron who paid homage to Nipsey with the new personalized threads.

"I know you smiling down back at me my G! The Marathon will Always Continue all around the world with me! #TMC," LeBron said on Instagram.

The jersey is sick -- featuring Nip's famous Crenshaw logo on a blue Lakers alternate jersey.

And now, with Bron's stamp of approval, don't be surprised if people push to see these in an NBA game.

After Nipsey's death, LeBron spoke out on the tragedy ... calling it "one of the most unfortunate events that has happened in American history."

LBJ also wore a shirt to honor his friend at a Lakers game in the days that followed.

Getty

Nipsey was only 33.

#RIP

Austin Rivers to Lonzo Ball ... You're Not 'Damaged Goods'!

Exclusive
DAMAGE CONTROL
TMZSports.com

Austin Rivers has a message for Lonzo Ball -- you're NOT "damaged goods," no matter what your father tells you.

Everyone was talking about LaVar Ball on Monday after he got into it with the New Oleans Pelicans player about the state of the family business, Big Baller Brand, during an episode of "Ball in the Family."

Lonzo floated the idea of changing the company name as part of a BBB relaunch, and LaVar shot that down ... taking a swipe at his son in the process.

"That’s like people saying, ‘Oh, hey, change Lonzo’s name to Alfonzo on the fact that he been damaged goods for the last two years."

Yeah, not good ... people are upset at LaVar saying he crossed a line.

So, when we spotted Austin leaving Poppy in L.A., we asked the Houston Rockets star how he would have reacted if his famous father would have said that to him.

"That'd be messed up," Rivers says.

Austin doesn't trash LaVar -- he's actually complimentary, but reinforces with Lonzo that he's not "damaged goods."

"He's a great player," Rivers says of the 2017 #2 overall NBA Draft pick.

For his part, LaVar issued an explanation through his rep, Denise White ...

"'Damaged goods' was an analogy. The comment is being misconstrued and taken out of context. LaVar is getting ready to spend time with his son in NOLA and their relationship couldn’t be better."