The 21-year-old Mexican American college football star, a punter for San Diego State and Ray Guy Award winner, has announced that he’ll be entering the 2022 NFL Draft after putting together one of the best punting seasons in college football history.
“These past four years have been a blessing,” Araiza wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to my family and friends for all the years of support. With gratitude, I am announcing my decision to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.”
Araiza, who had one year left of eligibility, set the record for punting average in a season with 51.19 yards per punt. He holds the NCAA record of punts of 50 yards or more with 39 and the record for punts of 60 yards or more with 18. He also had two punts of 80 yards or more this season, including an 86-yarder.
Araiza is a former soccer player-turned kicker from San Diego who made the switch to football early in high school.
“When I made that transition, from soccer to football, it was because I wanted to be in the NFL,” Araiza told ESPN in November.
He said that he studies NFL kickers and models some of his approach after Jake Bailey, who currently kicks for the New England Patriots and has a similar background and body type to Araiza.
Araiza also was selected as a first-team All-American, which triggered bonuses for coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the 29-year-old Puerto Rican singer/songwriter has teamed up with the National Football League for special content geared towards Latinx NFL fans.
The NFL has introduced new partnerships, collaborations and activations that are “designed to celebrate la cultura Latina” throughout the NFL season, including working with Ozuna.
The Puerto Rican chart-topping artist joined the NFL to advise on its season-long content vision her career, music, love and upcoming projects.for reaching Latinx fans.
Additionally, Ozuna, along with NFL legend Victor Cruz, will be featured in the campaign and support promotional initiatives.
“I’m honored to be partnering with the NFL on such a groundbreaking new initiative to highlight the diversity of their fans, especially now during Latinx Heritage Month,” said Ozuna about the partnership. “For the NFL to acknowledge, support, and encourage our culture is meaningful.”
Major League Baseball has revealed the group of celebrities that’ll participate in the 2021 MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game next month, with the 40-year-old half-Cuban American television host, reality television personality, author, actor, and activist making the roster.
The game is scheduled to take place on July 11 at Coors Field ahead of the 2021 Midsummer Classic.
In addition to Karamo, who appears on Netflix’s Queer Eye, is part of a roster that includes rapper Quavo and pop star JoJo Siwa, who will play alongside former MLB players like CC Sabathia, Hunter Pence and Rockies legend Larry Walker.
It’s not just baseball players, either. DK Metcalf of the NFL‘s Seattle Seahawks and Derrick White of the NBA‘s San Antonio Spurs will participate.
Here are all of the 2021 MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game participants:
JoJo Siwa (pop star and dancer)
Steve Aoki (Grammy-nominated DJ and producer)
Ross Butler (actor)
Noah Beck (social media star)
Charles Melton (actor)
Residente (rapper, writer, filmmaker, and activist)
Blake Gray (social media star)
The Miz (WWE star)
Kane Brown (country music star)
Karamo (television host)
DK Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks wide receiver)
Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs guard)
CC Sabathia (former New York Yankees pitcher)
Jennie Finch (former softball pitcher)
Hunter Pence (former San Francisco Giants outfielder)
Larry Walker (former Colorado Rockies outfielder)
Vinny Castilla (former Colorado Rockies third baseman)
On July 11, some of baseball’s top prospects will play in the 2021All-Star Futures Games. Following the prospect showcase, the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game will take place.
The All-Star Celebrity Softball Game will feature former Colorado Rockies star third baseman Vinny Castilla and former reliever LaTroy Hawkins serving as the managers for the teams.
The 51-year-old Cuban American businesswoman and producer, her former husband Dwayne Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners have bought the XFL, a twice-unsuccessful professional football alternative to the NFL fronted by WWE chief Vince McMahon, for $15 million.
Garcia and her business partners were selected as the winning bidder for the assets controlled by Alpha Entertainment, the parent company of the XFL.
The transaction is subject to bankruptcy court approval at a hearing this Friday. Assuming that closing conditions are satisfied, the acquisition is expected to close on or shortly after August 21.
In announcing the deal, Garcia and her fellow projected new owners said they have secured “the ability to option live entertainment intellectual property for further expansion across sports, live events and original entertainment programming.”
The XFL, which had two single-season attempts to go up against the NFL, one in 2000 and the second this year, was fronted by McMahon and the WWE, which owned a 23.5% stake in the league. After starting its season in February, the XFL was forced to shut down due to COVID-19 in March. It filed for bankruptcy in April.
“For Dwayne, Gerry and myself, this property represents an incredible opportunity. It is the confluence of great passion, tradition and possibility” Garcia said. “Sports and entertainment are the foundations of the businesses I have built. Melding our expertise combined with our commitment to deliver exciting and inspiring unique content, has us all focused on developing the XFL brand into a multi-media experience that our athletes, partners and fans will proudly embrace and love.”
Johnson has a connection to the sport, having played college football at Miami.
“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things – my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”
Jeffrey Pollack, president and COO of the XFL, called it a “Hollywood ending” to the process of seeking a sale.
Garcia and Johnson are co-founders of Seven Bucks Companies, a multi-platform enterprise pioneering original content for television, film, emerging technologies and digital networks.
RedBird was founded by former Goldman Sachs partner Cardinale. He has orchestrated a range of major sports deals over the past 20 years involving his clients and teams like the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys as well as leagues like the NFL.
The XFL was the latest in a long line of failed attempts to dislodge the NFL from its perch as the No. 1 sports league in America. Football fans haven’t tuned in en masse for leagues like the Alliance of American Football, the United States Football League or the World Football League.
The first XFL season, in 2000, provided a brief summertime splash in the ratings for NBC, which was a part-owner of the league at the time, before quickly fading.
The latest iteration of the XFL differed from the first attempt in that it didn’t try to amp up the violence or present more scantily clad cheerleaders. Kickoffs, a routine feature of games that experts have linked to high rates of concussions, underwent a dramatic change in the XFL, with teams lining up close to each other so as to eliminate running-start collisions. Other innovations included microphones on the sidelines, enabling fans to follow the game in more detail.
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez aren’t giving up their Mets quest…
The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar and the 44-year-old Dominican American former-baseball-player-turned-sports-commentator aren’t giving up on their bid to purchase the New York Mets from the Wilpon family.
After the pair reportedly teamed up with billionaire Mike Repole in an ownership group, they’ve now added a group of investors that includes some other big names.
Per ESPN, Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, 2020 Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce, ex-NFL star DeMarco Murray, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas,Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee are all joining the celebrity couple’s bid.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have such high-quality individuals as part of our group,” Lopez and Rodriguez told ESPN on Monday.
The Wilpons have been looking to sell the Mets for months now, but a deal hasn’t been reached despite some interest.
The Wilpons originally had an agreement in place to sell the team to hedge fund investor and billionaire Steve Cohenwhile remaining in control of the club for another five years, but that deal fell apart.
Recently, it was reported that Cohen delivered the family an offer for $2 billion, and was willing to offer an additional $2 billion to also acquire SportsNet New York (SNY). The Wilpons have reportedly been reluctant to give up SNY. However, it now appears the television network would now be included in a potential sale, indicating the Wilpons are more serious about a deal.
The group headed by Lopez and Rodriguez reportedly submitted an initial bid of $1.7 billion. The former New York Yankeesslugger and Bronx-born pop star have reportedly put $300 million of their own money toward the bid.
The Wilpons will review all of the bids, and work with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to determine the next steps in the process. Whoever does end up taking home the Queens-based franchise will need to their purchase to be approved by 75 percent of MLB owners.
The Wilpons reportedly hope to close a deal by the fall and gain Major League Baseball approval for the new owners before the end of the year.
Tony Romois ready to swing his club for a good cause…
The 40-year-old Mexican American former Dallas-Cowboys-quarterback-turned-NFL-commentator is set to take part in a 54-hole fundraising tournament involving a handful of Dallas-area pros and top amateurs.
The golf tournament will take place this week, with entry fees earmarked for the caddies at Maridoe Golf Clubin Carrollton, Texas.
Golf Channelfirst reported the event, and Alison Morrison, managing member at Maridoe Golf Club, confirmed the details of the tournament to ESPN, with 18 holes to play Tuesday through Thursday, mostly by members of the club.
The event, called the Maridoe Samaritan Fund Invitational, was conceived only a little more than a week ago, Morrison said, and quickly turned into a sellout that required the club to turn away potential players.
“We’re a caddie-only club, and our caddies have not been working because of COVID-19,” Morrison said. “We thought, why don’t we have a little bit of a match, so to speak, sharpen our blades, put on a 54-hole, social distancing event. Leave the pins. No rakes in bunkers. Let’s play for them, basically. And within a day, I had 24 members who said yes.”
The event will feature 72 players, who each pay $250 to enter, with those fees going to the club’s caddies. A separate pool is being raised as a purse for the pros who compete in the event, with Morrison expecting portions of any winnings to also go to the caddies.
The club has remained open during the coronaviruspandemic, but there will be strict rules in place, including the various social distancing guidelines that are in effect around the country. The driving range has been converted to a short, par-3 course where players can warm-up — but they will not be permitted to arrive more than 30 minutes before their tee time.
The players will compete in threesomes but are required to carry their own bag or use a pull cart. No caddies will work the event, except as walking scorers in each group. Players will not turn in scorecards.
Three-time major champion Jordan Spiethis a member at Maridoe but won’t be able to compete, Morrison said, though she expects him to attend.
Among the pros who are in the field are Viktor Hovland, Scottie Schefflerand Harry Higgs. Former NBAguard Deron Williamsis also listed among the entries, as is Romo.
The event will be separated into three flights by handicap, including an elite flight in which the various pros in the field will compete for a small purse.
“We believe confidently that we can do this and have a great event and show that this is a fantastic sport to enjoy in these times,” Morrison said. “We hope others embrace it, as well. This is bigger than shooting a good score.”
Texas is scheduled to be the location for the first official PGA Tourevent in June when a revised schedule has the Charles Schwab Challengeat Colonial in Forth Worth, June 11-14. The tournament is to be played without spectators.
“Maridoe embraces the social-distancing responsibilities and is particularly suited to meet all the necessary criteria to have a safe and healthy tournament,” the club’s owner, Albert Huddleston, said in a statement. “This was a beautiful opportunity to contribute to the Maridoe Samaritan Fund and help those caddies who have been affected.”
The 39-year-old Mexican American former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has signed a long-term deal to remain with CBS Sports for the 2020 NFL season and beyond in a reported $17 million per year deal.
CBS’ deal with the NFL expires after the 2022 season, but Romo’s contract goes beyond that. CBS is expected to retain their rights when the next round of negotiations start, which could happen this year once a new collective bargaining agreement with players is finalized.
Romo joined CBS Sports in April 2017 as the lead game analyst for The NFL on CBS, and also called Thursday Night Footballgames during that season.
Romo and boothmates Jim Nantzand Tracy Wolfson have been the lead NFL announcing team for the past three seasons, and called the February 2019 Super Bowl. CBS will also broadcast Super Bowl LVin Tampa, Florida, in February 2021.
The move to the booth has been an instant hit for Romo, who quickly became known for uncanny predictions on upcoming plays and insightful analysis.
ESPNwas expected to make an aggressive bid for him to move to the Monday Night Footballbooth but never got the chance.
Romo spent 14 years as the quarterback for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, working his way up from an undrafted free agent to the starter as of 2006. He led the Cowboys to six playoff appearances and became a four-time Pro Bowler before retiring following the 2016 season.
He currently holds several Cowboys team records, including passing touchdowns, passing yards, most games with at least 300 passing yards and games with three-plus touchdown passes. Romo threw for 34,183 yards and 248 touchdowns in his NFL career.
The 40-year-old part-Spanish actress has been cast as the lead on Netflix’s eight-episode dramedy series Sex/Life.
Written by Stacy Rukeyserand inspired by BB Easton’s self-published memoir 44 Chapters About 4 Men, Sex/Life is the story of a love triangle between a woman, Billie Connelly (Shahi), her husband, and her past, which takes a deliciously steamy new look at female identity and desire.
Shahi’s Billie Connelly is a woman with everything to lose, a suburban mother of two who goes in search of that sexy, single girl in the city she used to be ten years ago. She takes a fantasy-charged trip down memory lane that sets her very married present on a collision course with her wild-child past.
UnReal alumna Rukeyser serves as showrunner on Sex/Life and executive produces with Oscar-winning producer J. Miles Daleand Larry Robins.
Shahi, a former NFLcheerleader, starred on Showtime’s drama series City on a Hilland on ABC’s The Rookie. Her other credits include Fairly Legal,The L Word, Reverie and Life.
At Netflix, Shahi recently starred in the Dolly Partonanthology seriesHeartstrings.She’ll next be seen in the indie film Language Arts, set to premiere at the Manchester International Film Festival.