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- 05/27/15--10:43: _DOJ: Money From "Ma...
- 05/27/15--14:24: _Meet The Jordanian ...
- 05/27/15--14:43: _Sepp Blatter, "The ...
- 05/27/15--18:45: _NFL Player Ray McDo...
- 05/28/15--14:07: _17 Things You Need ...
- 05/29/15--15:17: _Atlanta Falcons Rel...
- 05/31/15--11:02: _FIFA Exec Charged W...
- 05/31/15--14:32: _English Soccer Star...
- 06/01/15--09:21: _A 92-Year-Old Woman...
- 06/01/15--10:33: _John Oliver Begs Br...
- 06/01/15--10:47: _Shaq & Kenny Play W...
- 06/02/15--13:09: _Blatter’s Resignati...
- 06/02/15--13:21: _Here Are The Likely...
- 06/03/15--11:15: _A Double-Amputee So...
- 06/03/15--21:26: _A Tale Of Two MVPs:...
- 06/04/15--09:36: _Steph Curry Opens U...
- 06/04/15--21:42: _NBA Professionals R...
- 06/05/15--10:04: _Inside The NFL's "B...
- 06/05/15--16:17: _WNBA Star Brittney ...
- 06/07/15--11:59: _This "Rugby War God...
- 05/27/15--10:43: DOJ: Money From "Major US Sportswear Company" Used As FIFA Bribe
- 05/27/15--18:45: NFL Player Ray McDonald Arrested For Violating Restraining Order
- 05/28/15--14:07: 17 Things You Need To Know About The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup
- 06/01/15--10:33: John Oliver Begs Brands To Get Rid Of FIFA President Sepp Blatter
- 06/02/15--13:09: Blatter’s Resignation Threatens Qatar's 2022 World Cup
- 06/02/15--13:21: Here Are The Likely Contenders For The Next President Of FIFA
- 06/03/15--21:26: A Tale Of Two MVPs: The NBA Finals Are HERE!!!
- 06/04/15--09:36: Steph Curry Opens Up About The Special Impact Riley Has On Him
- 06/04/15--21:42: NBA Professionals Read Mean Tweets About Themselves
- 06/05/15--10:04: Inside The NFL's "Boot Camp," Where Players Become Broadcasters
The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that money paid by the company to a Brazilian-based sports management company was used to bribe a “high-ranking FIFA official.”
Yifan Ding / Getty Images
A major United States-based sportswear company used a Swiss bank account to pay $30 million to a Brazilian sports management executive – who then used a portion of it to bribe a "high-ranking FIFA official," according to a 166-page indictment, made public on Wednesday, outlining corruption and fraud charges against FIFA and corporate executives.
The sportswear company, which was unnamed in the indictment, began sponsorship discussions with the Brazilian Football Confederation after they won the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. (At the time, Brazil's team has an apparel partnership with Umbro.) Negotiations between the sportswear company and the team "lasted into 1996," according to the indictment, upon which a deal was reached "to be one of [Brazilian Football Confederation's] co-sponsors and to be [Brazilian Football Confederation's] exclusive footwear, apparel, accessories, and equipment supplier."
Nike has been the team's official sponsor of apparel, footwear, and more since 1996. A request for comment from Nike was not immediately returned.
The indictment claims there was a 10-year, $160 million agreement reached between the sportswear company and the Brazilian team, but that "additional financial terms were not reflected in the Agreement."
A portion of the $160 million owed to the team was, according to the indictment, paid to Traffic Group, a Brazil-based sports event management company, for "mediating" the agreement.
The sportswear company also agreed to use a Swiss bank account to pay $40 million to an "affiliate" of Traffic, the indictment said. The affiliate received $30 million directly from the sportswear company between 1996 and 1999, the indictment said.
The founder and owner of Traffic, José Hawilla, who has pleaded guilty to charges, allegedly paid half of that money — "totaling in the millions of dollars" — to a high-ranking FIFA executive as "a bribe and kickback," according to the indictment.
The agreement that involved the three parties came to an early end in 2002, according to the indictment.
According to the DOJ press release:
On Dec. 12, 2014, the defendant José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, the Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a four-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Hawilla also agreed to forfeit over $151 million, $25 million of which was paid at the time of his plea.
On May 14, 2015, the defendants Traffic Sports USA Inc. and Traffic Sports International Inc. pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.
If elected, Prince Ali bin Hussein vows to make FIFA more transparent.
Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan is Sepp Blatter's sole competition in the 2015 FIFA presidential election, scheduled to be held May 28th and 29th.
Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein
Dave Thompson / Getty Images
Despite arrests of seven FIFA officials on corruption charges on Wednesday, soccer's governing organization said the election will proceed as scheduled. Presidential elections occur every four years during the year after the World Cup.
Prince Ali bin Al Hussein was originally one of four candidates running against Blatter, who has held the position since 1998. One candidate, Jérôme Champagne, did not receive enough votes in the preliminary vetting process, and Luís Figo and Michael van Praag withdrew voluntarily.
Figo on Wednesday issued a scathing statement about the election process, which appoints a leader through popular vote from the 209 member clubs. In the first round, a candidate can win by receiving 2/3 of the vote. If that is not reached, the candidate with the majority of votes in the second round is appointed President.
[T]his electoral process is anything but an election.
This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man - something I refuse to go along with.
That is why, after a personal reflection and sharing views with two other candidates in this process, I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in Zurich is not a normal electoral act.
I am seeking the presidency of FIFA because I believe it is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport. [...] The message I heard, over and over, was that it is time for a change. The world's game deserves a world-class governing body — an International Federation that is a service organisation and a model of ethics, transparency and good governance.
The morning of the Switzerland arrests, Prince Ali tweeted about some of FIFA's institutional failings:
We cannot continue with the crisis in FIFA, a crisis that has been ongoing and is not just relevant to the events of today. FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations. Leadership that accepts responsibility for its actions and does not pass blame. Leadership that restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world.
His half-brother, Abdullah, is the current King of Jordan. Their father, Hussein, had 12 children through four marriages. Hussein's first marriage produced a daughter, and Abdullah was his first-born son in his second marriage. Prince Ali is the second child from Hussein's third marriage. Although Abudllah mother is not Jordanian, he was appointed as successor over Ali in 1999.
Prince Ali served in the Jordanian military before attending Princeton University.
Steve Bardens / Getty Images
After U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced charges Wednesday against 14 international soccer officials and corporate executives over alleged corruption at the pinnacle of the world's most popular sport, the first question she was asked by a reporter at her Brooklyn, New York, press conference was about a man not named in the federal indictment: Sepp Blatter.
The 79-year-old has captained soccer's world governing body, FIFA, since 1998, despite his organization being dogged by corruption allegations for years.
"We used to call him years ago the 'Teflon Man' because nothing sticks," one former European senior sports media executive, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak freely on the issue, told BuzzFeed News. "He gets away with everything."
In her response to the reporter's question, however, Lynch made clear that Blatter isn't yet out of the woods: "I'm not going to comment on the status of any individual who isn't named to date, because that would be unfair...[but] I can say this investigation is ongoing. It's continuing."
For years, allegations have simmered about ugly, criminal conduct at the highest levels of "the beautiful game:" bribes and kickbacks from sports marketing companies to FIFA officials in exchange for lucrative contracts; an insular executive concerned only with protecting — and enriching — itself; a bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments marred by purchased votes (a claim Swiss prosecutors are now investigating, in addition to FIFA's Ethics Committee). But, despite it all, no evidence has been found to tie Blatter to any of the alleged criminal conduct.
"He's street smart," the European senior executive told BuzzFeed News. "There is nothing written down because he uses all his idiots around him to do the dirty work so he's never in the firing line."
"He's the 'Godfather,'" the executive added, describing FIFA as a mob-like organization. "He created this system."
Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images
Alexandra Wrage is a corporate governance consultant who was hired by Blatter to sit on a FIFA committee designed to clean up the organization. She ultimately resigned in April 2013 out of frustration at a perceived lack of progress.
Wrage told BuzzFeed News the sport's governing body had been corrupt for years.
“It’s really time for FIFA to draw a line and put this era of corruption behind them,” she said. “Shoddy governance, widespread misconduct, and now clearly illegal conduct cannot continue — and neither can those who have presided over it.”
Before the federal charges were announced Wednesday, Blatter was widely expected to be comfortably re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president at a meeting of officials on Friday. Among those calling for a postponement of the FIFA Congress meeting and presidential elections was the executive committee of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), one of six continental confederations that comprise FIFA.
"There is a need for the whole of FIFA to be 'rebooted' and for a real reform to be carried out," UEFA said in a statement, citing "a strong need for a change to the leadership of this FIFA."
Loretta Lynch and Kelly Currie at Wednesday's news conference.
Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
Also calling for a "new start" for FIFA was Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York, who helped steer the Department of Justice investigation.
"After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organized international soccer needs a new start," Currie said.
"Let me be clear: This indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation," he said, echoing Lynch's comments.
But, under American law, any possible charges against Blatter by U.S. officials will depend on prosecutors finding evidence of not only criminal conduct, but conduct which somehow spread, however slightly, to the U.S. legal or financial/banking system.
"If you look at what happened today," the European executive said, "you only have people from North, Central, and South America who were arrested." (Briton Costas Takkas, attaché to the president of Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, was the only exception.) "They have only indicted people who committed a crime on American soil, involving an American bank — something where the Department of Justice can really get its hands on."
The indictment, the executive said, doesn't apply to the African and Asian football officials who, in his words, "are so much worse than the guys arrested today."
"If you arrested everyone involved with corruption today, you probably wouldn't have a FIFA Congress," he said.
Clive Rose / Getty Images
Blatter has previously made light of the corruption allegations against his organization and critics of his tenure as president.
"Perhaps you think I am a ruthless parasite sucking the lifeblood out of the world and out of football — the Godfather of the FIFA gravy train," he told students at Oxford University in 2013. "There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody. There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich."
However, despite his past tendencies to shake off controversy, the Department of Justice investigation represents the biggest threat to Blatter's tenure as president, one that could also shake the very foundations of FIFA.
"This is a difficult time for football, the fans, and for FIFA as an organization," Blatter said in a statement Wednesday. "We understand the disappointment that many have expressed and I know that the events of today will impact the way in which many people view us."
For now, though, Blatter's somber mood has his detractors celebrating.
"I'm really cheerful today," the sports media executive told BuzzFeed News. "It's a good start. It's only the beginning, but I don't think Blatter is sleeping well at the moment."
McDonald was issued a restraining order on Monday when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman while she was holding an infant. He was released on bail and cut from the Chicago Bears the same day.
NFL player Ray McDonald, who was arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment on Monday was arrested again on Wednesday for violating a restraining order issued after the initial arrest, according to the Santa Clara Police Department.
Christian Petersen / Getty Images
On Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at about 2:52 PM., Santa Clara Detectives learned Ray McDonald violated a restraining order for being at a residence in Santa Clara. Detectives later located Ray McDonald at a nearby Togo's Sandwiches, 2203 Tasman Dr. in Santa Clara. Ray McDonald was arrested without incident and transported to Santa Clara Police Department for processing. He will be booked at Santa Clara County Jail.
The restraining order Ray McDonald violated was issued as a result of his earlier domestic violence and child endangerment arrest which occurred in Santa Clara on May 25, 2015.
Signed in March, McDonald never played for the Bears before being released.
McDonald started his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, but was cut from the team in December when he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman. In August 2014, McDonald was arrested for allegedly assaulting his pregnant fiancee.
Charges were dropped in the August incident because the victim did not cooperate with the police investigation. Formal charges were never brought for the sexual assault allegation, and McDonald later brought a defamation suit against the woman who accused him.
When 49ers GM Trent Baalke explained their decision to cut McDonald in December, he pointed to a "pattern of poor decision making."
In a statement on his release, Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace said:
We believe in 2nd chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear. He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him.
McDonald's signing with the Bears made headlines because of his recent spree of legal issues and an interview given by Bears chairman George McCaskey about how they conducted their interview into the accusations: "An alleged victim, I think -- much like anybody else who has a bias in this situation -- there's a certain amount of discounting in what they have to say."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the NFL for comment. The Santa Clara Police Department said "further information will be released when it is available."
Soccer fans unite. It’s about that time.
The 2015 Women's World Cup starts on June 6...and this is how we feel about it.
We <3 you, Brandi.
This year it will be hosted in Canada for the first time ever.
It's previously been hosted in Germany (2011), the USA (2003, 1999), China (2007, 1991), and Sweden (1995).
CBS / Via gifbay.com
This will be the seventh time the tournament will take place.
It was founded in 1991.
The games will be played at stadiums located in six different cities...
A dog left in the care of Prince Shembo died after incurring what a necropsy determined to be blunt force trauma.
The Atlanta Falcons have released second-year linebacker Prince Shembo after he was charged with killing his girlfriend's Yorkie.
According to a police report, Shembo's girlfriend, Denicia Williams, left her dog, Dior, with Shembo for some time on April 15 and found him unresponsive upon her return.
Dior was alive when Williams returned to Shembo's apartment, but was incapable of moving or reacting, even when she poured a bottle of water on him.
The dog — which Williams was told "had suffered a brain aneurysm" — died at a nearby animal hospital.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, veterinarians ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma:
"The dog had a fractured rib, fractured liver, abdominal hemorrhage, thoracic hemorrhage, extensive bruising and hemorrhage in the muscles in her front leg and shoulders, head trauma, hemorrhage and edema in lungs, hemorrhage between the esophagus and trachea, and hemorrhage in the left eye with internal injuries," according to police.
The next day, Williams called Shembo and it was then that he allegedly told her he had kicked Dior.
According to the police report, "The complainant stated that she asked the suspect if it was just once and the suspect stated 'no.'"
Williams told police she cut off contact with Shembo, who she claims said he "might leave the country because he knows how much time he would do in prison for animal cruelty."
The Falcons released Shembo just hours after the police report and charges against him became public. Their statement on the matter was brief:
We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo. We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.
Shembo was drafted by and played one season for the Falcons.
While in school at Notre Dame, Shembo was the player accused of sexually assaulting Lizzy Seeberg, whose high-profile suicide in the wake of the school's investigation cast a spotlight on how universities handle campus rape.
Shembo, who maintains he never assaulted Seeberg, was never charged.
FIFA is now officially a parody of itself.
Using an article from the fake news website The Onion as evidence, former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner alleged Sunday the U.S. had pursued corruption charges against him and other executives out of spite at having lost the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
After the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday announced charges against Warner and 13 others, The Onion published this parody article.
"At press time, the U.S. national team was leading defending champions Germany in the World Cup's opening match after being awarded 12 penalties in the game's first three minutes," the story continued.
All this was good enough for Warner to record an 8-minute video in which he lashed out at the charges against him.
The video obtained by the Sunday Mirror newspaper shows the three players engaging in sex acts with Thai women while making racist remarks.
The players then shared the video with friends back in the U.K., according to the Sunday Mirror.
Two-time cancer survivor Harriette Thompson is now the oldest woman to ever run 26.2 miles.
A 92-year-old woman on Sunday became the oldest woman to ever run a marathon after finishing the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego.
Harriette Thompson finished the race with her 56-year-old son, Brenneman, by her side as screaming fans cheered her on.
Thompson, who has beaten cancer twice, runs to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Over more than a decade, she's raised more than $90,000 through running 16 marathons.
Jerod Harris / Getty Images
The North Carolina resident told BuzzFeed News she started running when she was 76 after a friend told her she was running to raise money for the charity. She had planned on walking her first race, but ran instead. She even placed first in her age group.
“The Swiss demon who’s ruined the sport I love…” – John Oliver on Sepp Blatter
During the last year's World Cup, John Oliver did a popular segment on Last Week Tonight where he went in-depth on FIFA's shady practices and corruption, calling the tournament organizer "comically grotesque."
In the wake of new corruption charges and the arrests of multiple FIFA officials, John Oliver once again went after the organization on his show Sunday night.
"It's not just the fact of the arrests that was spectacular, it was how they were carried out. Hotel sheets are very much like FIFA officials. They actually should be clean, but really they're unspeakably filthy and, deep down, everybody knows that."
"But maybe the most remarkable thing about all the charges is that they didn't touch Sepp Blatter, who's been president of FIFA for the last 17 years. On his watch, the World Cup has left a trail of devastation."
The NBA on TNT duo chatted with Buzzfeed about Mortal Kombat X, the NBA Finals, and their all-time starting 5.
This is Shaq and Kenny.
NBA on TNT / Via Twitter: @cjzero
They host the very popular NBA on TNT Halftime Report.
NBA on TNT
And they are HILARIOUS.
NBA on TNT
Recently, they spoke to Buzzfeed Sports over Skype about Mortal Kombat X, the upcoming NBA Finals, and their All-Time NBA Starting 5!
Mortal Kombat X: Shaq vs Kenny - Kombat Konfrontation
FIFA President Sepp Blatter was the tiny Gulf State’s main protector. Now sources say leaders of Qatar’s bid committee have been advised not to set foot in the United States, for fear of being arrested in the largest bribery and corruption investigation in sporting history.
Sepp Blatter leaves a press conference after announcing his resignation as president of FIFA.
VALERIANO DI DOMENICO / Getty Images
The fate of the Qatar 2022 World Cup hangs in the balance after the resignation of its chief protector, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, amid the biggest bribery and corruption investigation in sporting history.
Insiders say the leaders of Qatar's 2022 Supreme Committee (or local organising committee) have now been told not to set foot on U.S. soil for fear of being arrested by the FBI in its investigation into allegations that FIFA officials turned football into a "criminal enterprise" and presided over a "World Cup of fraud."
Blatter resigned in a shock move at an emergency press conference at FIFA headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, days after Swiss authorities, acting at the behest of the FBI, arrested seven senior football officials on the eve of his re-election at world football's annual congress in Zurich last week.
Qatar 2022 vehemently denied that its officials have been warned to avoid traveling to the United States. "Your information is incorrect and running a story based on it is irresponsible," wrote spokesperson Nasser Al-Khater. "Neither the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy nor anyone associated with it or the Qatar bid have any reason to avoid travelling to the United States or anywhere else in the world. Any suggestion by BuzzFeed to the contrary is defamatory and will be brought to the attention of our legal counsel."
But a source close to Qatar's 2022 Supreme Committee told BuzzFeed News that its leaders were "scared about Blatter going because they don't want the World Cup vote to be reopened." He said: "The entire 2022 bid team have been advised not to travel to the USA. ... They are concerned about being arrested and pulled in for questioning."
A second source said that Qatari bid officials had been advised by lawyers not to travel to the U.S. "There is an internal informal advice from the US lawyers working for Q22 to the top officials of Q22 not to go to USA," he wrote in an email.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the young royal who chaired the country's successful World Cup bid, is said to be the only senior figure who is exempted from the ban because he is understood to travel under a diplomatic passport that grants him immunity from arrest.
Blatter's bombshell resignation leaves Qatar exposed to mounting calls for the 2022 World Cup to be moved to a new venue in the wake of an avalanche of evidence that the country's most senior football official, Mohamed bin Hammam, waged a multimillion-dollar vote-buying campaign to rig the ballot in his country's favour. The official Qatar 2022 bid committee has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing and said he was not working on its behalf.
The decision to award the world's biggest sporting tournament to the tiny desert nation of Qatar was greeted with dismay and derision around the world when it was announced by Blatter following a secret ballot of FIFA voters in 2010. The country had almost no soccer infrastructure, no serious professional league, and its searing summer temperatures of up to 122ºF were judged by FIFA's own technical assessors to pose a "high risk" to the health of players. Allegations that the secret ballot had been rigged by bribery and backroom deals soon began to surface.
More than perhaps anyone, Blatter has protected Qatar. Time and again, he has rebuffed calls for the tiny Gulf state to be stripped of the right to host the tournament. Sources say he has shielded Qatar from allegations of corruption since striking a deal with the country's royal family to protect the 2022 tournament if bin Hammam dropped his challenge for the presidency of FIFA in 2011.
"Blatter had told Qatar that he would expose their bid unless they made bin Hammam pull out," a source close to the Qatari billionaire has told me. "He told me there was a deal and he was forced to withdraw."
Bin Hammam pulled out on the eve of the election, and Blatter has since repeatedly refused to consider reopening the World Cup vote despite massive and growing evidence that the original ballot in 2010 was skewed by rampant vote-buying.
Days after the deal was allegedly struck in 2011, Blatter announced that Qatar was "not touched" by corruption allegations, and FIFA would do "nothing" about evidence passed to a parliamentary inquiry by the Sunday Times suggesting Qatar had paid massive bribes to FIFA voters to obtain the right to stage the 2022 competition.
Then last year, when my colleague Jonathan Calvert and I published evidence from a vast trove of leaked documents showing how bin Hammam had used a multimillion-dollar network of slush funds to bribe dozens of officials to support the country's bid, Blatter took no action against Qatar and instead accused us of "discrimination and racism". The story of bin Hammam's vote-buying campaign and the Qatari deal with Blatter is set out in our new book, The Ugly Game.
The full lengths to which Blatter was prepared to go to protect Qatar became clear when FIFA suppressed its own internal report on corruption in the 2018 and 2022 bidding race, submitted to its ethics chamber by the former U.S. attorney Michael Garcia last September.
Blatter refused to publish the report in full but claimed it had cleared Qatar and Russia of any wrongdoing. However, Garcia promptly resigned in a fury, saying that FIFA's summary of his work contained "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts."
Despite international outrage at the handling of the Garcia report, Blatter appeared at a press conference in December last year to confirm that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would not be moved.
With Blatter at the helm, it appeared that the two tournaments were unassailable. A source close to Garcia told BuzzFeed News last week that FIFA would never respond properly to the evidence of corruption until Blatter was deposed. "Nothing's going to change as long as the current administration is there," he said.
Blatter was sailing serenely towards re-election for a fifth term at the helm of world soccer until the U.S. Department of Justice last week indicted 14 football officials and marketing executives accused of corrupting the game over two decades in a criminal enterprise involving an alleged $150 million in bribes. Though Blatter himself was not indicted, investigators refused to rule him out of their enquiries.
At the same time, Swiss prosecutors announced their own investigation into the decision to award the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, and are understood to be planning to pull Blatter in for questioning.
The pressure intensified when the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office announced on Friday that it was actively assessing material related to corruption within FIFA.
Despite the firestorm of scandal engulfing world soccer in the wake of the arrests, Blatter refused to stand aside and was re-elected for a fifth term in office last Friday. But his stunning resignation on Tuesday came after his right hand man, the FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke, was linked to a $10 million payment from the organisers of the South African World Cup to accounts controlled by a key voter, the longtime FIFA grandee Jack Warner.
The FBI indictment cites the $10 million payment as an alleged bribe in exchange for Warner's vote for the South African bid to host the 2010 World Cup. FIFA initially denied claims of Valcke's involvement, which emerged on Tuesday morning. But within hours a leaked letter surfaced on Twitter apparently showing that the secretary general was told about the payment, which was transferred to Warner via FIFA's own accounts.
The apparent implication of Valcke — Blatter's most senior lieutenant — in the payment of an alleged bribe brings the scandal closer to the door of the president's office than ever before.
Blatter's departure — after 17 years at the helm of world soccer — leaves the fate of Qatar's 2022 World Cup dream in greater jeopardy than it has ever faced.
Qatar's biggest rivals — the U.S. and Australia — are poised to jump straight back into the mix, should a new president decide to take the bold step of ordering a rerun of the vote on the hosting of the world's biggest sporting tournament.
Sepp Blatter, the president of the embattled world soccer organization, resigned on Tuesday, setting up a special election for his successor.
Blatter, 79, had just won re-election to his position four days earlier, on May 29.
The announcement came after U.S. authorities arrested nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives on corruption charges on May 27.
The U.S. also revealed that four other people and two corporations had already pleaded guilty to related charges.
At a news conference in Switzerland, Blatter said that he will create an "extraordinary congress" to pick the next leader of the soccer organization. The election will likely be late this year or early next year.
Prince Ali bin Hussein
Prince Ali of Jordan is perhaps the most obvious candidate because he was the only person who ran against Blatter in last week's election.
Soon after Blatter announced his resignation, a Jordanian official told AFP that the prince is "ready" to run again. The official added that the prince will also be up to the task should FIFA ask him to assume the presidency immediately.
"Prince Ali is ready to take over as FIFA head at any moment, should they ask him," the official said.
The Jordanian prince had the support of the U.S. and the Canadian soccer federations, but Blatter beat him 133–73 in the first round of voting. Ali withdrew his nomination from the second round.
Ali told CNN on Tuesday that Blatter's resignation was the "right move."
"At the end of the day we have to salvage FIFA and we have to bring it back to where it should be," he said.
Ali is fifth in line to the Jordanian throne and currently serves as the vice president of FIFA for Asia.
Dave Thompson / Getty Images
A rumor is circulating on social media that Army veteran Noah Galloway was the “runner-up” for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, but ESPN confirms there is no such thing.
On Monday, ESPN announced that this year's recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs would be Caitlyn Jenner.
The sports network said it was awarding the former Olympian for her bravery in coming out as transgender.
"[Jenner] has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces," ESPY Awards executive producer Maura Mandt said in a press release.
However, soon after ESPN's announcement, people on Twitter began sharing this photo, claiming that Jenner had beaten out Noah Galloway for the award.
Caitlyn Jenner won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The runner up was this guy: Army Veteran Noah Galloway, who lost an arm and a leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq, and now competes in Crossfit events, runs marathons, and competed in the 58-hour Death Race.
For those unfamiliar, Galloway is a war veteran who lost his arm and leg in Iraq. He recently gained fame by competing on ABC's Dancing With the Stars.
What happens when an unstoppable force (Stephen Curry) meets an immovable object (LeBron James).
Let's start at the beginning. Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry basically grew up on the court.
Steph's father, Dell, played for the Charlotte Hornets.
LeBron James was a phenom from a young age, dubbed as "The Chosen One" by Sports Illustrated when he was in high school.
LeBron was one of the most hyped up athletes ever, with college scouts at almost every single one of his high school games.
Amazingly, both stars were born in the same hospital in Akron, Ohio...
Akron City Hospital
...and would grow up to be NBA MVPs.
LeBron has won MVP four times: 2009,2010,2012,2013.
Jesse D. Garrabrant / Getty Images
“She’s always happy to see me when I get home and that kind of makes everything all right.”
Even if you haven't been paying attention to the NBA playoffs, there's a good chance you've seen footage of its breakout star: Riley Curry, the daughter of Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry.
This will never get old.
On Thursday night, Jimmy Kimmel Live! did a third installment of mean tweets with NBA professionals. The results were, of course, hilarious.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! / Via youtube.com
Jimmy Kimmel Live / Via youtube.com
Jimmy Kimmel Live! / Via youtube.com
Cromartie and Douzable
Lindsey Adler/BuzzFeed News
Antonio Cromartie looked out of place. The New York Jets cornerback was dressed more for a social event or fashion shoot — in a sharply tailored navy suit, diamond cuff links, and a shirt with his initials embroidered on the small strip of sleeve his jacket left exposed — but instead, he was standing among bike seats, skateboards, and kayaks in the rear corner of a Sports Authority in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, a sleepy Philly suburb.
“You’re talking way too fast and saying too much,” Annie Goodrich gently admonished the 6-foot-2-inch, four-time Pro Bowl pick credited with the league’s longest touchdown run.
Goodrich and her husband, Bob, run a media and broadcast training company for professional athletes. It’s all part of the NFL’s Broadcast Bootcamp, in its ninth year, which trains players for possible future careers in radio, television, and game-calling. After the three-day annual course, players leave with a short reel and an understanding of the broadcast industry. Network talent managers have also started using the program as a scouting resource, and NFL’s Player Engagement Manager Samantha Kleinman described it to BuzzFeed News it as “the Combine, but for broadcasting.”
On Wednesday morning, Cromartie interviewed his teammate Leger Douzable, a defensive end, about his prediction for this year’s biggest fantasy football player. Unable to settle on one, Cromartie named Aaron Rodgers for his consistency and Adrian Peterson because “he’s had a year off”; after facing child abuse charges, “he’s ready to play.” They were were given the option to ask five different questions for the exercise — they read the script from a Teleprompter — and were allowed to write their own if they felt none of the questions allowed for them to think quickly while on camera.
While waiting for their turn to rehearse, Douzable and Cromartie freely and casually conversed about the game and the revamped Buffalo Bills, their division rivals. Cromartie had no shortage of carefully considered opinions on fellow cornerback Richard Sherman, who he’d taken to task the day prior while on a Sirius radio program. It was that easy banter that Goodrich tried to capture for the exercises, where each person spent three 90-second segments as interviewer and interviewee.
Show “more energy and personality,” Goodrich told the duo after their first run-through.
“You wandered off your spot,” she told Cromartie after another. He agreed, and looked at the duct tape indicators on the floor knowingly.
“So much feedback,” Cromartie told BuzzFeed News, wide-eyed.
Cromartie said he enjoys the constructive criticism. As a veteran interviewee after games, he is polished and provides concise, straightforward answers. That will, eventually, translate easily to an interviewer or analyst role.
But he’s not there yet. This is where the football-driven work ethics of Douzable and Cromartie came in handy: After each attempt, they picked up the microphone and ran the route again.
Lindsey Adler/BuzzFeed News
Cromartie is approaching his 10th season in the NFL, and admits he has to think about his life after the full-contact sport. “You never know when that play will come,” he said. He was referring to a hit that could end his career without notice. He said he “absolutely” intends to pursue broadcasting after his player career is over.
The NFL Player’s Association claims the average NFL career is “about 3.3 years.” For “players with at least one Pro Bowl appearance,” which includes Cromartie, the average is estimated at 11.7 years.
Dazzling careers can end with a single hit — think Steve Young — and the effects of years of repetitive brain trauma can make it difficult for a player to maintain a comfortable lifestyle after their career.
The money players are contracted to make is hardly indicative of how much they will be left with when they no longer suit up for games. Contracts are not guaranteed, and agents' fees and taxes can drain up to 50% of a contract earning. Ill-advised investments, legal troubles, and learning to curb spending when the big paychecks stop are issues in retirement.
An April 2015 report by the National Bureau of Economic Research said 15.7% of former NFL players have filed bankruptcy within 12 years of leaving the league. Kleinman told BuzzFeed News that “broadcasting is one of the few career paths with an earnings potential” anywhere near what players make in the NFL.
Kleinman argues that the Player Engagement program is not a direct response to the statistics about former player bankruptcy. The initiative has existed since 1991, long before the issue came into the spotlight and received widespread media attention.
Cromartie insists that money isn’t a factor when considering life after the league.
In 2010, he took a salary advance from the Jets to resolve paternity and child support payments for his reportedly seven children in five different states. At that point in his career, he’d made less than $1 million, but now his projected career earnings have increased to nearly $37 million through the 2014–2015 season.
Today Cromartie has ten children from eight women, one of whom has been his wife since 2010. When asked if child support payments for the children not in his custody present a significant financial expense, Cromartie issued a stern “no.”
“It’s about passion,” he said. “It’s the same as with football: If you’re only in it for a check, you’re not gonna last very long.”
Jaworski (left) at the boot camp.
Lindsey Adler/BuzzFeed News
During Broadcast Bootcamp, players report for breakfast at their hotel at 6:30 a.m., then spend the day at the NFL Films campus, based in Mount Laurel, until 6 p.m. or 8 p.m., depending on the day’s programming. For most people who aren’t professional athletes, whose lives are defined — not interrupted — by long, intense workdays, the rigorous schedule would be rough.
The boot camp is part of the NFL Player Engagement department, which offers classes in continuing education, personal finances, counseling, and transitions to and careers for post-NFL life — players learn about franchising businesses, coaching, or broadcast, for example. Participation is optional, but Kleinman told BuzzFeed News that “nearly 15%” of players enroll.
For the broadcast classes, players are split into groups and are shuffled around from one hourlong session to the next. Classes like “your studio voice,” writing for Teleprompters, on-site broadcast rehearsal, tape study, game calling, and others are all crammed into the boot camp.
Ike Taylor, a cornerback who retired from the league in April after 12 seasons with the Steelers, joined Douzable and Cromartie this year.
Group photos of Bootcamp alumni run across a wall in NFL Films’ far wing. Few faces are recognizable. In each frame 25 men stand in suits with hands clasped behind a studio desk that reads “PLAYER ENGAGEMENT.”
The final day of this year’s class focused on game analysis — the path to getting a coveted spot breaking down games every Sunday during the NFL season.
Ron Jaworski, a former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and longtime analyst for ESPN, told the players that a single game can require 80 to 90 hours of preparation. Up to 40 hours of that, he said, is watching game tape to familiarize yourself with play-calling trends and position schemes.
Jaws, as he is known, said the way an analyst watches film is a “180 from preparing as a player.”
“As a player, you are worried only about your own position,” Jaws said. “As an analyst, you have to be tracking everything.”
While watching a set of plays from a 2014 Cowboys–Giants game, players shouted out observation on routes, coverage, and formations, each revealing how they see the game as a player.
“It wasn’t double coverage on Odell [Beckham Jr.],” Jaws said about the New York Giants wide receiver.
“It was just single-high coverage, and he ran a terrible route,” a player echoed.
“You see Eli [Manning, the Giants quarterback] look over in Odell’s direction, but then throws an incomplete,” Jaws pointed out. To be able to accurately understand, analyze, and sometimes even predict what will happen during any given play, an analyst must be dedicated to film, he said.
Greg Cosell, who produces NFL Matchup, a preview show of upcoming games, reminded the players that they have to learn to explain schemes and formations beyond football jargon. “And you only have 10 seconds to do it,” he said.
Jaws added they have to learn to become storytellers. If a play is not particularly noteworthy — say a two-yard run on first down — then use that opportunity to talk about the running back or another game narrative.
“For me, John Madden humanized the game,” Jaws said. “He brought fans football, and he brought us fun.”
As an example, Jaws told a story about Jon Gruden, former player, head coach, and current Monday Night Football color analyst.
“Gruden is one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met,” Jaws said, already laughing a bit. “But when he started, he would run to [the device announcers use to draw arrows, x’s and o’s] and grip it and get ready to jump into the details of a play.”
Through laughter, Jaws recalled, “his producers had to help him tone it down.”
Twenty-five years into his own career, Jaws told the players they are getting a “master’s degree education” during the boot camp.
“I wish that I’d had this opportunity while I was making my own career transition.”
Griner filed for the annulment from fellow WNBA player and wife Glory Johnson on Friday after just 28 days of marriage. Griner claims she was pressured into the wedding.
WNBA star Brittney Griner has filed to annul her marriage to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson after just 28 days, the Maricopa County Superior Court confirmed to BuzzFeed News Friday.
Just hours before the paperwork was filed, Johnson shared an Instagram with a photo of Griner leaning on her pregnant stomach:
The couple announced the pregnancy in another Instagram photo on Thursday.
Last Wednesday, Glory & I agreed to either legally separate, get divorced, or annul our marriage. I can confirm that today I filed for an annulment.
In the week prior to the wedding, I attempted to postpone the wedding several times until I completed counseling, but I still went through with it. I now realize that was a mistake.
A video of Australian rugby player Georgia Page playing with a broken nose is getting a ton of attention. Now, Page says she hopes she can inspire girls to try out the sport.
Georgia Page plays women's rugby for Lindenwood University in Missouri. However, after this weekend she is now known as the "Rugby War Goddess."
The Australian was playing in a match on Thursday when she broke her nose in the first tackle of the game.
"I remember falling down and thinking, oh my god, my nose is on the other side of my face," Page told BuzzFeed News.
She added that she was also playing with separated AC joint that day.
However, Page was undeterred and kept playing. She even made another tackle before she was taken off. "I just got up and started playing again," she said.
USA Sevens Rugby shared a video of Page with blood pouring down her face, and dubbed her the "Rugby War Goddess." The video soon blew up online.
USA Sevens Rugby / Via Facebook: USASevens