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Sentencing Nears For Ex-NFL Running Back’s Killer

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GRETNA, La. (AP) — The man convicted of manslaughter in the 2016 road-rage shooting death of former NFL running back Joe McKnight faces sentencing in a suburban New Orleans courtroom on Thursday.

Ronald Gasser, 56, could get up to 40 years in prison.

Gasser was convicted Jan. 26.

Defense lawyers argued that Gasser fired in self-defense when McKnight walked up to his car following a 5-mile rolling confrontation that began on a bridge spanning the Mississippi River in New Orleans and ended with gunfire in neighboring Jefferson Parish.

Witnesses at the trial said McKnight had been weaving in and out of traffic at high speed before the shooting. Prosecutors acknowledged to the jury that he was, in the words of Assistant District Attorney Seth Shute, “driving like a jerk.” But they argued that Gasser escalated the conflict, following him down an exit that he would not ordinarily have taken moments prior to the shooting.

Shute acknowledged that McKnight had a hand on the open, passenger side window of Gasser’s car before he was shot. But he said physical evidence proved Gasser lied during extensive police questioning when he claimed McKnight lunged at him.

McKnight had been a high school football hero at Louisiana’s John Curtis Christian School. He signed with the University of Southern California in 2006. In the NFL, he played three seasons for the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gasser was indicted on a second-degree murder charge in McKnight’s death. The jury voted 10-2 for the lesser verdict of manslaughter.

Gasser did not leave the scene of the shooting and he was released for a time after being questioned. He is white and his release after the shooting of the black athlete sparked protests at the time from some who said race was a factor.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, who has since retired, denied that race played any role and noted that a thorough investigation led to Gasser’s arrest and indictment. Prosecutors later recounted a painstaking investigation including an extensive search for witnesses and physical evidence that eventually led to Gasser being charged.

The case in some ways echoed another New Orleans-area road-rage shooting from 2016. Former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith was gunned down in that April incident. The shooter was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years.

Associated Press

Culture

Colin Kaepernick gets Harvard black culture award

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP/KSAZ) – Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and comedian Dave Chappelle were among eight people who were saluted by Harvard University for their contributions to black history and culture.

The eight recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal were honored Thursday afternoon by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard.

Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, created a firestorm when he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice.

The other honorees are Kenneth Chenault, chairman and a managing director of General Catalyst; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Pamela Joyner, founder of Avid Partners, LLC; psychologist and author Florence Ladd; Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and artist Kehinde Wiley.

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Simone Biles Bothered By New USA Gymnastics CEO’s Anti-Nike Tweet

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Olympic champion Simone Biles is upset about an anti-Nike tweet from USA Gymnastics interim president and CEO Mary Bono.

Bono was appointed Friday to hold the position while USA Gymnastics searches for a permanent successor to Kerry Perry, who resigned under pressure from the United States Olympic Committee in September after spending nine months on the job.

Biles responded Saturday to a tweet from Bono last month criticizing Nike following the release of its advertising campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Bono, a former Republican congresswoman, had posted a photo of herself drawing over a Nike logo on a golf shoe.

Biles quote-tweeted Bono’s photo and wrote: “(asterisk)mouth drop(asterisk) don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything.”

Bono deleted her tweet about five hours later, saying she regretted the post and respects “everyone’s views & fundamental right to express them.”

Nike is one of Biles’ sponsors.

Biles is among the more than 200 women who have come forward over the last two years claiming they were sexually abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar under the guise of treatment. Biles was critical of Perry for not being vocal enough in support of the survivors.

AP

 

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What rock Colby Covington crawl out from under? Calls Colin Kaepernick ‘a spineless sack of sh-t’, disses Nike

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A couple of days ago, athletic brand Nike announced that they had signed up controversial football player Colin Kaepernick to a deal to front the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” campaign. The news got heavy media attention due to Kaepernick’s current status as a divisive figure and the fact that he is currently involved in a lawsuit against the NFL, claiming collusion to keep him from playing in the league.

This entire situation really had little to do with MMA, at least until UFC interim welterweight champion and noted troll Colby Covington got a hold of the news. Covington took to social media to skewer Nike and Kaepernick, calling him a “spineless sack of sh-t” and praising former NFL player Pat Tillman, who quit the NFL in 2002 to sign up for the American Armed Forces following the 9/11 attacks and lost his life in Afghanistan in 2004:

 

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