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NASCAR team hit with suspension, fine after strong Daytona showing

Ben Rhodes had an impressive day at Daytona in the Camping World Truck Series. After starting 24th, he piloted his number 41 Ford ThorSport Racing truck to a fourth place finish. Unfortunately, the post race inspection didn’t go nearly as well.

According to NBC Sports, Rhodes’ truck was found to be too low after the race, which resulted in an L1 penalty. Crew chief Eddie Troconis will be suspended for one race and was fined $5,000. The team’s top 5 finish will also not count toward playoff tiebreakers later in the season plus 10 driver’s and owner’s points were taken away.

The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is at Atlanta Motor Speedway Feb. 24th.

Related: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s team gets good news ahead of the race in Atlanta

Mel Kiper still has a controversial name at the top of his ESPN mock draft

Mel Kiper is still the conductor of the Josh Allen hype train.

Kiper released his latest top-10 list for the upcoming NFL Draft on Wednesday, which once again has the former Wyoming quarterback listed as the No. 1 overall prospect.

Baker Mayfield is in and Josh Rosen is out in Mel Kiper's latest top 10. pic.twitter.com/YSHWyqNKSJ — NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 21, 2018

Coincidentally, Allen remains atop Kiper’s “big board” one day after a video of him hitting a goalpost crossbar from 50 yards away while kneeling went viral.

this is exactly the type of thing that's gonna get him drafted entirely too high, but damn it, it's cool to see Josh Allen hit the crossbar from the 50 on his knees pic.twitter.com/plMnG8oVDM — Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) February 20, 2018

Allen has been dubbed as both the best quarterback prospect and biggest potential bust in this year’s draft depending on who you ask, sometimes for the same reasons.

While many have looked at his ideal frame and strong arm as a plus, critics have viewed it as a distraction from the fact that he completed less than 60 percent of his passes.

Some have compared him to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz due to their shared ties to Wyoming coach Craig Bohl and having played at a smaller program. Others believe that his lack of elite competition may be less enticing, while his sudden draft hype and ability to “throw well in shorts” is comparable to former draft busts like JaMarcus Russell and Kyle Boller.

Either way, Allen is sure to remain a hot topic leading up to April’s draft. Only time will tell if the Cleveland Browns, who currently hold the No. 1 overall pick, share Kiper’s view on the quarterback prospect.

WWE superstar discusses an important aspect to Ronda Rousey’s new career adjustment

With Ronda Rousey joining the WWE, everyone has their own opinion on the matter. For current superstar Nia Jax, she instead has some advice.

As a guest on Busted Open Radio to promote her match against Asuka at this Sunday’s WWE Elimination Chamber, Jax did give Rousey a raving review about how she aided in changing how people consume women’s sports.

She also said the former UFC star needs to enter the pro wrestling culture knowing the respect that needs to be had in the locker room.

“Respect is number one in this business. You definitely have to walk into the door with a lot of respect: a lot of eye contact, a lot of handshakes, introducing yourself. We are a very tight-knit family at WWE. We are very protective of our family. When an outsider comes in, you want to make sure the outsider is worthy to step into the family. When Sasha Banks says she had nothing nice to say, it’s not necessarily that she wants to go out and be mean, but rather making sure that this outsider is worthy to step into her family.”

The entire episode is good. You should listen to it.

Some WWE talent have already voiced their frustrations over Rousey receiving plenty of national attention despite the former UFC champion claiming to be in this for the long haul.

Rousey will be back in a WWE ring for the first time since the Royal Rumble at Monday Night Raw’s exclusive Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.

As for Jax, she will be fighting Asuka at Elimination Chamber for a chance to enter the WrestleMania title picture.

Before making the jump, Rousey was the pioneer of the women’s UFC division, rattling off 12 consecutive wins before two KO/TKO losses to likely end her career.

For those interested, here are WWE’s reported backstage plans for Rousey at WrestleMania 34.

Giants captain says former first-rounder Eli Apple “needs to grow up”

New York Giants captain Damon Harrison believes cornerback Eli Apple needs to show more maturity.

During an appearance on  “Speak For Yourself” with Colin Cowherdthe defensive tackle discussed Apple’s recent antics and said he believes the former first-round pick will “figure it out” and “learn from his mistakes,” but still needs to make improvements in order to have a successful NFL career.

“A young guy, another one who has to grow up,” Harrison said of Apple. “He’s got to learn from his mistakes and his experience. It isn’t college anymore, nobody’s here to hold your hand. But I think he’s a good young man with a good head on his shoulders. And I think he’ll figure it out.”

In December, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported that the Giants will likely part ways with Apple this offseason, despite entering the third year of his rookie contract

Even though the new #Giants GM & head coach are not in place– thus nothing is certain yet–one team source remains very adamant on their feelings about CB Eli Apple: "He will not be in an NYG uniform next year. Dude is done with NYG. Done." — Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 27, 2017

On Tuesday, ESPN‘s Jordan Raanan also predicted Apple would be traded, which could provide a potential savings of $4.1 million in cap space.

Per Raanan:

“Apple is traded. He still has value, even if it’s not equitable to the first-round pick the Giants used on him just two years ago. He should be able to bring a midround pick back in return.”

Apple was suspended by the Giants prior to the team’s final regular season game in December, which occurred one day after Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins called him a “cancer” during a radio interview with Bob Wischusen.

The former No. 10 overall draft pick called out interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo after playing zero snaps from the cornerback position and only seeing action on special teams in Week 16.

“It was a coach’s decision. That’s all I have to say. Ask the coach, man. Have a good one,” Apple told reporters when asked about being benched on Sunday.

Apple led all defensive backs with nine solo tackles and played 60 of 68 snaps during the Giants’ Week 15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, which led to initial speculation that his benching was due to off-field issues.

“He was going to get in there on some dime situations,’’ Spagnuolo told reporters after the game, via the NY Post. “The guys that have been in there have been playing together for a little bit, the continuity has been good, so we just kinda of left it at that. Probably need to get him in there.’’

It seems inevitable that Apple’s days in New York are numbered, despite the vote of confidence from his captain.

Denny Hamlin fans the flames of a NASCAR feud by clueing in the “idiots”

The Denny Hamlin / Bubba Wallace feud won’t die just yet. At the end of the Daytona 500, Hamlin and Wallace had contact and Wallace ended up in the wall after the finish line. Both drivers were upset about the incident, but neither agreed on exactly what caused it.

Then, video of Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin squaring off  surfaced after the Daytona 500.

@dennyhamlin and @BubbaWallace not too happy with each other after the 500 @NASCARONFOX @espn @NASCARonNBC pic.twitter.com/5uKP9CkWmZ — Ben Black (@ben_black7) February 19, 2018

Everyone assumed the altercation was in response to the on-track incident, but Hamlin took to Twitter to give his side of the story:

Let me clue the idiots on Twitter what I was pissed off about. I had no issue with how the race ended. I was minding my own business on the bottom of the track and out of the blue I get ran into, my tire blown, and perfectly straight car destroyed. I’m good with all that. — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) February 20, 2018 Anyone who wouldn’t take offense to the stupid things that was said has absolutely no backbone. I have one — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) February 20, 2018

Related: Bubba Wallace explains what happened during heated moment with Denny Hamlin after Daytona 500

Hamlin was clearly not thrilled with Wallace about his Adderal joke in a post-race interview:

“I want to see the replay before I say anything stupid but he may need to take some Adderrall for that one,” he said.

That’s a clear reference to Hamlin’s controversial remarks on a BarStool Sports podcast that 70 percent of NASCAR drivers were taking Adderall or some other ADD-type drug. Hamlin later backtracked and said he was joking.

Related: Kevin Harvick thinks a veteran driver should keep his mouth shut following offensive comments

On SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” via NBCSports, Wallace seemed to confirm that the comments, not the on-track contact, are what really sent Hamlin over the edge.

“I was told I cut his tire as I was doing the interview, and I already had my mind made up about what had happened,’’ Wallace said. “Just got into the heat of the battle. At the end of the day, we’re racing and that’s what you do, you go down and sidedraft the guy through the short chute and try to suck him all the way down and get the run and pull away from him and just felt like he had turned right. That was my opinion. He had thought otherwise. He said there was more footage from in-car that I haven’t seen yet. I’ve been looking for and haven’t seen yet.

“At the garage, he was upset with me over the comments I made about something he was joking about, which shouldn’t have been joked about. All in all, that’s all right. We’re actually texting each other right now, we’re still not happy. I’m OK, he’s not. We’re racers, and we’ll go to Atlanta and be battling each other.

“I told him we’ll be racing together for a long time so I wanted to step out and reach out and clear the air. We’ll see how long it takes to officially clear the air.”

On Wallace’s end, he was just upset that Hamlin prevented him from celebrating with his team by crashing him and sending him to the infield care center.

“I told him I was just pumped up with the way we finished and just hated that I couldn’t go out and celebrate the finish with my guys,” Wallace said. “I really wanted to see them. I had Richard Petty running all over pit road and all over Daytona to the infield care center so that was just a bummer. When you have a good finish, the first thing you want to do is get out and hug your guys and give them all the praise that they deserve.’’

So far, neither driver is backing down from their feud.

Four-star linebacker Kalen DeLoach plans visit to SEC school

Four-star linebacker Kalen DeLoach confirmed to GoVols247 (subscription needed) that he’s planned a visit to Tennessee after receiving a scholarship offer from the Vols on Saturday.

DeLoach has several other visits already planned, including a trip to Tuscaloosa this weekend, but could possibly split the following weekend into trips to Tuscaloosa and either Baton Rogue or Knoxville.

“The following week, I think I’m going to Florida State on Friday and either LSU or Tennessee on Saturday,” DeLoach said. “Whatever school I don’t get to out of LSU or Tennessee, I’m going to end up going there (later).”

DeLoach has scholarship offers from 17 teams including Auburn, Clemson, Michigan and South Carolina. He has already taken unofficial visits to Michigan, Ohio State and South Carolina, while also attending Junior Day for the Gamecocks and Clemson, according to 247Sports.

The Savannah native currently ranks as the No. 24 outside linebacker, No. 45 player from the state of Georgia and the No. 365 overall prospect for the 2019 national recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.

Despite punishment, ESPN personality stands by calling President Trump a “white supremacist”

ESPN’s Jemele Hill stands by her comments calling Donald Trump a white supremacist on Twitter.

On Wednesday, Hill appeared on the nationally aired television show The View. There, after being prompted to discuss, she elaborated on the entire situation.

After saying her tweet came from an emotional place, and said it was a lesson learned, Hill does feel as though she was largely relaying factual information.

“I don’t think that his supporters are white supremacists,” she told Meghan McCain. “What I would say though, is that they have the privilege, the benefit of the privilege to be able to disassociate themselves from certain issues.” “I didn’t say he was surrounded by all — by everybody who surrounded him was a white supremacist,” she continued. “Obviously Steve Bannon. I could go down the list of people who have at very least played footsie with white supremacists.” “I very much understood why I was suspended,” she told the panel. “You asked me, would I do it again, and I would just do it a different way, I wouldn’t take it to Twitter.” “What I should have done, especially because we were having all these national conversations, is gone to ESPN and asked if I could write a column about it instead … with more breadth and depth explain my position.”

Hill, who is no longer on ESPN’s flagship SportCenter at Six, is one of the most talented personalities the entire network has. A gifted writer, with the ability to be both entertaining and insightful while on broadcasts, she remains a rising star in the industry.

(H/T Uproxx)

As a program is jumping conferences it might be left without a 2018 football schedule

Hampton is currently in a major transition, as the school is currently planning to leave the MEAC for the Big South conference. Apparently the MEAC is not making things easy for Hampton during that transition, and the move could potentially leave the school without a full football schedule for the 2018 season.

“I am appalled that, after a 22-year rewarding and productive relationship and numerous conference championships the MEAC wants to hang Hampton University student-athletes out to dry,” Hampton University senior vice president Paul C. Harris said in the release. “These are the same talented young people whose NCAA appearances have resulted in millions of dollars being poured into the MEAC coffers.”

Hampton reportedly failed to notify the MEAC that it planned to leave the conference before the deadline, which resulted in a fine for the school. The bigger issue here, though, is that the MEAC won’t allow Hampton to play in its conference during its transition season, leaving the university scrambling to put together a schedule.

The university also claims the MEAC refuses to have a meeting to discuss the entire ordeal.

For its part, MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas, when first reacting to the statement put out by Hampton, told the Virginia Pilot, “I have not had an opportunity to review the document, but once I have, I’m sure the MEAC will have an appropriate response.”

This is obviously a still developing story.

Kirk Herbstreit pays tribute to one of the “true greats” retiring from ESPN after 36 years

On Wednesday, ESPN legend Mike Patrick will step away from the company. In addition to being honored throughout the day on the network, Kirk Herbstreit took his turn to talk up Patrick’s incredible 36-year career.

He was 1 of the true greats to call games-When you heard his voice it was a big game w/ a lot on the line. College hoops-NFL & CFB. Always LOVED listening to Mike call games-Added to the game without making it about him. Congrats on a brilliant career bud!https://t.co/06sojcD6Wy — Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) February 21, 2018

Just three years after ESPN launched, Patrick joined the rising network as a play-by-play guy.

Patrick wrapped up his final event for ESPN at the 2017 Liberty Bowl and will be honored during Wednesday night’s Duke-Louisville game.

“It’s wonderful to reflect on how I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” Patrick said to ESPN. “At the same time, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some of the very best people I’ve ever known, both on the air and behind the scenes. While I’m not sure exactly what’s next for me, I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with new life experiences.”

ESPN’s Rece Davis will narrate a tribute that will broadcast throughout the day on SportsCenter before Duke honors him separately this evening during the game.

“No play-by-play commentator in ESPN history has accomplished more than Mike Patrick,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN Vice President, Production.

Patrick worked men’s college basketball games beginning in 1982, was the voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Football coverage from 1987-2005, started Women’s Final Four coverage in 1996, contributed to coverage of the NCAA College World Series and did much more during his tenure with ESPN.

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