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The NFL Will Not Host An In-Person Scouting Combine This Year And All Draft Workouts Will Be At Pro Days

The NFL Scouting Combine has become one of the league’s biggest offseason events, as the NFL world descends on Indianapolis for the weeklong festivities to see the best prospects do on-field drills, testing, and workouts, while also getting the chance to interview players on site.

Fans have grown to love the Combine as well, as we all love watching the Underwear Olympics, as Mike Mayock used to affectionately refer to them as, where guys run as fast as they can and jump as high as they can in an effort to boost their draft stock by flashing their athleticism out of pads. This year, however, there will be no Scouting Combine, at least in it’s normal, in-person form. Instead, the league announced on Monday in a memo to teams that they will host interviews via Zoom and all workouts will take place at school Pro Days.

For the top prospects and players from the big schools, this will have little impact on their draft preparation, but it is a blow to those from small schools who get a chance to impress at the Combine with the eyes of the NFL world watching. With workouts only happening at Pro Days, the likelihood of top decision makers watching every school’s Pro Day and having the chance to fall in love with a prospect from a small program is less and that can hurt those guys’ draft stock.

From a team perspective, the biggest hurdle, which the league addresses in the memo, is getting medical info on players, as teams prefer to get their doctors in to poke and prod at players to vet their health themselves. The league will be working out ways to do that themselves and get that information to teams from an NFL level. Media interviews will also take place through the school as players will get a chance to promote themselves that way, which isn’t quite the same as the Combine media room, but it’s a wise choice by the NFL not to have hundreds or thousands of people coming into Indianapolis this spring.

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Conor McGregor Says Him Fighting Manny Pacquiao ‘Is Almost A Certainty’ In 2021

Conor McGregor is gearing up for a fight with Dustin Poirier this coming Saturday in the main event of UFC 257, his first UFC bout in over a year since beating Donald Cerrone on January 18, 2020.

While the one-time pound-for-pound king wants to re-establish himself in the Octagon as one of the lightweight division’s best, he can’t help but also have one eye on a big-time fight with former multi-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao hasn’t fought since July 2019, when he won a split decision against Keith Thurman to retain the WBA super world welterweight title, and has been eyeing two 2021 fights. Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford have both made pushes to get in the ring with the Filipino star, but the massive box office draw of a McGregor fight would likely be too good to pass up.

McGregor confirmed this week that a fight is “almost a certainty” and “should happen in 2021,” with it nearing the phase of contracts being drawn up, via an interview with Sportsnet.

“It’s almost a certainty,” McGregor said. “I’m hearing there’s contracts and all coming. It’s that close. So, I don’t, I haven’t spoke — it should happen 2021. Like I said I want to get my MMA game going a bit more as well. Look, I’m fighting Poirier who’s a southpaw, Manny’s a southpaw. I’ve been fighting professional boxers in the gym, sparring with southpaw boxers in the gym in preparation not just for Dustin but for Manny. I’ve had shorter, 5’5 rockets coming at me, you know what I mean.”

The question seems to be when, not if, McGregor and Pacquiao step in the ring. One would think the two would want to wait until they can do it in front of the biggest possible live crowd because they would surely sellout most any arena they wanted — even if we already saw how McGregor fares in a boxing ring with an elite talent in the Floyd Mayweather fight. That would likely mean a fall date, which could have Pacquiao look for an April or May date with Spence or someone else and McGregor schedule another UFC bout in the spring/summer.

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One Of Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Vagina Candles’ Reportedly Blew Up In A UK Woman’s Home

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop enterprise has inspired a lot of jokes, as well as a lot of concerns about the efficacy — not to mention safety — of many of its pricey and sometimes absurd New Age-y products. But nothing captured the ridiculousness of the company like a line of candles entitled “This Smell Like My Vagina.” Whereas some Goop wares are based on potentially harmful pseudoscience, their “vagina candle” merely seemed like devastating self-parody. But it turns out that too, may be dangerous: As per The Sun (and caught by The New York Post), one of them blew up in the home of a woman from the UK.

One Jody Thompson told the British tabloid that the “vagina candle” burst into flames in her living room. As per The Post:

“The candle exploded and emitted huge flames, with bits flying everywhere,” Jody Thompson, 50, told the outlet.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole thing was ablaze and it was too hot to touch. There was an inferno in the room,” the media consultant from Kilburn, North London, added.

Thompson, who lives with her partner, David Snow, said they threw the flaming candle out the front door.

“It could have burned the place down. It was scary at the time, but funny looking back that Gwyneth’s vagina candle exploded in my living room,” she said.

Neither Paltrow nor Goop have yet to comment on the alleged incident.

The candle launched about a year ago and it runs $75. According to the Goop site, it’s “made with geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed.” The saucy title, the site claims, began as a joke, when Paltrow cracked that it smelled like her nether-regions. That crack, they say, “evolved into a funny, gorgeous, sexy, and beautifully unexpected scent. (That turned out to be perfect as a candle.)” The site also advises users to, in all caps, “KEEP AWAY FROM THINGS THAT CATCH FIRE.”

(Via The Sun and The Post)

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Halsey Congratulated Olivia Rodrigo On Her Success With A Custom ‘Drivers License’ Cake

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere and not paying attention to anything going on in pop music since 2021, then “Driver License” by Olivia Rodrigo has been on your radar since it came out a few weeks ago. The debut song from the former Disney+ star turned bona fide pop phenomenon is already surprising Spotify by breaking streaming records and earning huge co-signs from the likes of Taylor Swift and more, oh, and prompting potential responses from her rumored ex-boyfriend and co-star Joshua Bassett (who is having a less than ideal start to the year).

Well, add another pop star fan to Olivia’s growing list, because today Halsey took the time out of her own busy schedule to send a customized cake celebrating the song’s success. With a frosted take on a potential drivers license for Olivia and a sweet congratulations at the top — plus, are those macaroons embedded in the sides?? — the gift obviously made an appearance on the rising pop star’s Instagram story as a subtle flex.

Instagram

WIth fans who are songwriters themselves like Taylor and Halsey on board, it’s no surprise that ordinary folks are blown away by “Drivers License” too, and I’m pretty sure everyone involved is looking forward to the next new song from Rodrigo. Considering how dark the last several months have been, her success is a bright spot and a moment of hope that one day soon, we’ll be able to see her performing live.

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Houston’s Mayor Is The Latest Person To Criticize Bow Wow For His Massive, Unmasked Concert

As the coronavirus pandemic persists, many venues and clubs have been shuttered for nearly eleven months in order to curb the virus’ spread. There are some businesses, however, that have decided to skirt social distancing protocols and go forward with throwing live events. Over the weekend, Bow Wow was under scrutiny for being at the center of a largely unmasked event after he held a gathering at a Houston nightclub.

Videos of the crowded room circulated on Twitter over the weekend and people were quick to slam the rapper for hosting a potentially dangerous event. Now, Houston’s own mayor is the latest person to chime in on the criticism. Along with reprimanding the rapper, Houston’s mayor Sylvester Turner took to Twitter to scold businesses who are breaking the city’s capacity and social distancing guidelines.

“These events that are scheduled with @BowWowPromoTeam today in Houston are on our radar,” he wrote, tagging Bow Wow’s management. “Other bars/clubs that are operating as restaurants, beyond capacity and social distancing requirements, please expect visits. Today we report 1964 new cases and 17 more deaths.”

Bow Wow seemed to be offended by Turner outing him and was confused why he was the only person named in the mayor’s tweet. “Safe to say the mayor of houston hates my guts,” he wrote. “I cant believe i get the blame for a whole weekend. This is ridiculous.”

Read Houston’s Mayor Turner criticize Bow Wow’s weekend gathering above.

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The MyPillow Guy, Mike Lindell, Was Threatened With A Lawsuit By Dominion For Spreading Election Lies

Mike Lindell, also known as the MyPillow guy to people who have televisions, has staked his entire reputation on the falsehood that Donald Trump won a second term in November but that victory was stolen as result of a massive conspiracy theory. Lindell has spoken at rallies and on TV in defense of Trump and claimed falsely that massive election fraud was responsible for Trump’s sound defeat, and now there may be legal consequences for all of those false claims.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Dominion Voting Systems has threatened to sue Lindell for spreading misinformation involving the company and a baseless accusation that the company had something to do with massive election fraud. Lindell has echoed claims that have circulated across conservative social media, and were even talked about by Trump in a wild call to Georgia election officials days before Trump incited a MAGA rally at the US Capitol.

“You have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign,” the letter said, referring to his continued false claims that their systems were rigged by someone to effect the outcome.

“Litigation regarding these issues is imminent,” the letter said. Mr. Lindell is only the latest to get a warning letter from Dominion officials about potential litigation, after he and Sidney Powell, the right-wing lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani and others have continued to spread false claims about the integrity of the results the machines showed.

Powell, a Trump lawyer, is already in the crosshairs of legal action from Dominion, to the tune of $1.3 billion. And as the Times noted, Lindell was publicly seen at the White House on Friday carrying notes with some absolutely bizarre suggestions and insurrection ideas.

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No, The Billy Mitchell In Trump’s Mount Rushmore Statue Garden Is Not The ‘Donkey Kong’ Guy

The statue garden Donald Trump announced at Mount Rushmore has a truly bizarre collection of names, but it apparently doesn’t include the guy from The King of Kong. The Trump administration announced the Garden Of American Heroes on Monday as part of an executive order Trump issued in his final days in office.

The command to create a statue garden at Mount Rushmore fulfills a promise he made at the site last July 4 to honor America’s heroes, apparently a response to the removal of confederate statues elsewhere in America. But the garden is ordered to have a hilariously wide array of people on the list, from American founding fathers to sports stars like Kobe Bryant and even Nikola Tesla.

But one name caught the eye of some gaming fans: Billy Mitchell. The controversial star of The King of Kong documentary has had plenty of interesting press in recent years, with his Donkey Kong records initially being stripped from him and lawsuits following that to reinstate them. But as initial questions about whether he would be deemed an American hero and given a statue circulated, word broke that it was all for naught.

Given the weight of importance the garden seems to carry in the eyes of Trump, it’s a very funny clarification to need issuing. Imagine, for a moment, that in their final hours of work in the Trump administration there are employees at the White House who had to check which Billy Mitchell the president meant when creating this absurdly long list of 244 statues to erect in South Dakota.

Meanwhile, the slight buzz that Billy Mitchell’s inclusion on the list made gave way to more people talking about the correction that was necessary here. And honestly, some folks were a bit disappointed.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the only video game joke that was made about the announcement.

While this all is bad news for Mitchell, and maybe upsetting news for the family of the other Billy Mitchell, there is some solace to be had for the controversial The King of Kong star. At least he won’t have to worry about the sculptor making his imaginary statue look like Garrett Bobby Ferguson.

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What’s On Tonight: The Unbridled Chaos Of The ‘9-1-1’ Universe Is Back, Thank God

9-1-1 (FOX, 8:00pm) — Network TV’s getting back on track, and that includes the flagship series of this gloriously chaotic franchise. This week, the Hollywood Reservoir dam breaks, which somehow results in a city bus crash-landing several stories into a skyscraper? Alright, let’s do this thing again.

9-1-1: Lone Star (FOX, 9:00pm) — Meanwhile in Austin, the bull-semen and flaming-burrito loving (as well as Rob Lowe-starring) spinoff goes to the roller derby, where a human pile-up goes down, and yes, a military tank roams the downtown streets.

Bling Empire (Netflix series) — This show revolves around a group of ridiculously wealthy, L.A.-based Asian and Asian-American friends. They’re shopping and traveling the globe, but there are secrets that are being kept and spilled, and soon, all goals will collide with frenemies positioning themselves for more opulent glory.

30 Coins (HBO, 9:00pm) — This week, “the Pope” is on hand for the Spanish horror series, which is directed and co-written by Álex de la Iglesia (The Day of the Beast, The Last Circus). During the course of Father Vergara attempting to face up to the past, he finds that Santoro’s on hand for the aforementioned pope meeting.

The Good Doctor (ABC, 10:00pm) — A patient becomes obsessed with increasing his own lifespan, possibly at a too high of a cost, as Dr. Morgan Reznik discovers.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert — Senator Cory Booker, Infinity Song

Jimmy Kimmel Live! — Dua Lipa, Cynthia Erivo, Local Natives feat. Sharon Van Etten

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon — Alex Rodriguez, Spike Lee, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis ft. Babyface

Late Night With Seth Meyers — James Spader, Anthony Atamanuik, Julia Michaels, Sarah Thawer

In case you missed these recent picks:

WandaVision (Disney+ series premiere) — Marvel fans, prepare for the official launch of Phase Four with this show that will get very weird very fast, while two galaxy-crossed lovers take a rip-roaring ride through decades before this series turns into a full-on action affair. Our own Mike Ryan calls the series “a wickedly retro treat for fans of classic sitcoms,” and there are certain things that fans would like to see happen, especially while viewing the show against the backdrop of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision’s respective roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before you start watching, feel free to check out our timeline of what’s happened so far in the MCU.

One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime film) — Regina King directs this fictional account of a historic night, in which Cassius Clay, soon to be known as Muhammad Ali, celebrated a major boxing upset with three friends, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. More than forty years later, the conversations that take place in this film continue to resonate, along with providing a chance to reflect upon the cultural upheaval taking place during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s

Search Party: Season 4 (HBO Max series) — Alia Shawkat’s Dory is missing in the continuation of this highly bingeable series that jumped from TBS to HBO Max without a hitch. This time around, the group of friends must confront their traumatic pasts and become a search party again, this time while attempting to track down Dory. Guest stars will include Susan Sarandon, Busy Philipps, and R.L. Stine.

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The Music World Pays Tribute To Martin Luther King Jr. On MLK Day

Today (January 18) is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and as a result, the civil rights leader has been trending on Twitter all day. As part of that, folks in the music world have taken time to honor the late hero.

Lil Wayne, for example, wrote, “Because he had a dream I am able to live out my dreams. I am forever mindful. Forever grateful. Because he had a dream I’ll never stop dreaming and dreams are forever. King. Forever.” Ice T also tweeted, “Martin Luther King Jr. stood for equality, unity and EVERYTHING we are STILL trying to achieve in America… And they killed him. Let that sink in today..”

The Recording Academy noted that Dr. King is actually a Grammy Award winner, as he posthumously took home Best Spoken Word Recording trophy in 1971 for “Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam.”

Freddie Gibbs also came through with a photo of King sticking up the middle finger and captioned it simply, “Mood.”

Although not music-related, also noteworthy is a tweet from King’s son, Martin Luther King III. He shared a photo of himself with his father and wrote, “My father’s dream is not just a speech he gave or an idyllic view of what could be. My father’s dream is something we must all choose each and every day to work towards. Together, we are all my father’s legacy.”

Check out some more tweets about King from musicians below.

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Tim Cook Explained Why Apple Banned MAGA-Friendly Parler On Fox News: ‘We Don’t Consider That Free Speech’

The online fallout from the failed MAGA coup attempt in Washington earlier in the month has cost Donald Trump his Twitter account and many of his followers their favorite social media site. And now Tim Cook has explained in more detail why Parler was banned from his company’s app store in the first place.

Trump himself never officially joined the platform, even after Twitter deactivated his account and permanently banned him. But the social media site was extremely popular with Trump supporters, and its user base swelled in the aftermath of Trump losing the election in November. As the Apple CEO explained in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Apple’s decision to remove Parler from its app store was a fairly easy one to make in the aftermath of the insurrection in Washington because of the role it played in organizing its users to carry out the coup attempt.

During the interview, Cook called the events in Washington that left five people dead “one of the saddest moments of my life seeing an attack on our Capitol, an attack on our democracy.”

“I felt like I was in some sort of alternate reality to be honest with you,” he said. “This could not be happening.”

Parler’s ban came days after that attack, and 24 hours after Apple warned the company in a letter that it needed to show it had implemented content moderation to limit inciting violence.

“We’re always trying to do the right thing,” Cook said before noting that Apple is not the only arbiter of content online. But to be in their app store, Cook argued that there are certain safety standards they ask millions of other apps to follow.

“We obviously don’t control what’s on the internet but we’ve never viewed that our platform should be a simple replication of the internet,” Cook said. “We have rules and regulations and we just ask that people abide by those.”

Cook said it was clear Parler needed to go after it played a very obvious role in the “incitement to violence” in Washington.

“We don’t consider that free speech,” he said. “And incitement to violence has an intersection.”

Cook also made a point to note that Parler was not permanently banned, making it clear that if the company were to actually moderate content to limit hate speech and threats of violence, they would reconsider adding them back to the store.

“We’ve only suspended them Chris,” Cook said. “If they get their moderation together they would be back on there.”

The larger problem for Parler right now, however, is that they have nowhere to exist online. Amazon ending its association with the company means the site is offline with nowhere to put its data, even if it could get back into mobile stores and find new users.