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Mike D’Antoni Not Returning As Houston Rockets Head Coach

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Mike D’Antoni will not return as head coach of the Houston Rockets next season.

What We Know:

  • ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski originally reported the news that D’Antoni informed the Rockets that he would not be back. Wojnarowski also tweeted a statement by D’Antoni and his wife Laurel. D’Antoni’s contract expired at the end of the 2020 season and he will now become a coaching free agent.

  • D’Antoni’s future with Houston has been in question for some time now. Since Tilman Fertitta bought the Rockets in 2017, no agreement has been reached on a new contract for D’Antoni. D’Antoni reportedly turned down multiple extension offers before the 2019-2020 season.
  • There are several head coach positions available in the NBA, including the Bulls, Thunder, Pelicans, 76ers, and Pacers. D’Antoni has reportedly drawn heavy interest from the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers, both of which have playoff-ready rosters and All-Star talent.
  • D’Antoni, 69, became an NBA head coach in 2003. He has been at the helm for the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets. A two-time Coach of the Year winner, D’Antoni is known for popularizing the fast-paced, offense-oriented style of play in the modern NBA.
  • D’Anotni went 217-102 in four seasons with Houston. He won the 2017 Coach of the Year Award and led the Rockets to their most successful seasons since the 90s. The farthest the Rockets got during his tenure was the 2018 Western Conference Finals where they lost in Game 7 to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.

The Houston Rockets’ season ended on Saturday in a crushing Game 5 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. With another disappointing defeat, the Rockets have lost in the second round of the playoffs three out of the last four seasons.

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Sagar is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and Economics. Sagar writes for Black News Alerts and the BNA Daily Podcast.

Coronavirus

NFL Levies Over $1M in Fines Against Teams, Coaches Who Didn’t Wear Masks

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Three NFL teams and their coaches were fined for not wearing face coverings during games this past Sunday.

What We Know:

  • The teams facing fines are the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Denver Broncos. Each team is being fined $250,000 and the head coaches of those teams, Seattle’s Pete Carroll, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan, and Denver’s Vic Fangio, were also each fined $100,000 for not wearing a face-covering during their games. Carroll, Shanahan, and Fangio were all seen wearing their gaiter masks around their necks repeatedly on Sunday.

Kyle Shanahan, without a mask, on the sideline of Sunday’s game. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll celebrates a touchdown without a mask. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio walks the sideline without a mask. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

  • Last week, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, sent a memo to all league clubs cautioning all coaching personnel to wear their masks at all times. In the memo, Vincent said that any team or coach who failed to meet and follow the protocols would be fined.
  • The memo came after the first NFL Sunday in which several NFL coaches were seen not following the league’s protocols for face coverings intended to protect players and coaches alike from the spread of the coronavirus. The NFL protocol is that either a mask or a face shield that covers their nose and mouth must be worn on the sidelines and in the bench area during games at all times.
  • “We must remain vigilant and disciplined in following the processes and protocols put in place by not only the league, union, and clubs, but also by state and local governments,” Vincent said in the memo. “The NFL-NFLPA Game Day Protocol, which reflects the advice of infectious disease experts, club medical staff, and local and state governmental regulations requires all individuals with bench area access (including coaches and members of the club medical staff) to wear face coverings at all times.”
  • During Monday night’s game in Las Vegas, both Saints head coach Sean Payton and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden were seen without face coverings. In March, Payton was the first person in the NFL to publicly share that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Gruden, when asked about it in his post-game interview, said he also previously had the virus and would accept the fine if the NFL ordered it. It is expected both teams will face fines later today.

The three teams have not commented on their fines.

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Crime

Solicitation Charges Against Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Will Likely Be Dropped

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft appears to be victorious in his Florida solicitation case as there likely will not be an appeal by prosecutors.

What we know:

  • The Florida solicitor general has decided not to seek an appeal of the solicitation of prostitution case against Kraft, according to the office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Video evidence in the case was thrown out by a lower court and the state appeals court upheld the decision in August.
  • Solicitor General Amit Agarwal considered appealing the case with Florida’s Supreme Court, according to the attorney general’s press secretary Kylie Mason. Mason said that the prosecution decided to not move forward with the case because a Supreme Court decision against the State “could have broader, negative implications beyond the limited facts of this case, which could affect law enforcement efforts in the future.”
  • Kraft was allegedly caught on secret camera eliciting sex at a West Palm Beach spa in 2019. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution. His legal team successfully argued that being caught on hidden cameras violated his Fourth Amendment rights and Florida law. A Palm Beach County judge ruled that the video could not be used as evidence.
  • The appellate court ruling called the law enforcement surveillance of Kraft “extreme” and that their techniques were unwarranted. With the criminal case against him gutted and the solicitor general not seeking an appeal, the charges will likely be dropped and Kraft will walk away victorious.

Kraft pleaded not guilty during his case and has publicly apologized, saying he has “hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”

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Business

Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin Start NASCAR Team

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Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin will start a new NASCAR team for 2021, featuring Bubba Wallace as their driver.

What we know:

  • Hamlin announced Monday that he was partnering with Jordan for the new NASCAR team, scheduled to debut in 2021. Bubba Wallace will represent the team as their lone driver.

  • Wallace, 26, joins Jordan and Hamlin’s team just days after announcing his departure from Richard Petty Motorsports. He is the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level. He finished the 2020 season 23rd in the series standings and had one top-five finish and five top-10 finishes.
  • Wallace made headlines in NASCAR for being vocal about racial justice and police brutality. He called for a ban of the Confederate flag from NASCAR events, which the organization made official days later. Wallace also discovered a rope tied as a noose in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Michael Jordan continues to expand his empire as he already owns the Charlotte Hornets basketball team of the NBA and his Jordan Brand merchandise is some of the best-selling in the world. This team will be his first jab at NASCAR and he said his family and him have been fans his whole life.
  • In his statement, Jordan emphasized the importance of social change and progress when it comes to NASCAR. “Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing,” he said.

NASCAR rules prohibit current drivers from owning a team and driving for another, but Hamlin has worked it out by having Jordan be the primary owner.

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