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Basketball Player Mo Creek Escaped Ukraine: ‘We Were Just Terrified’

“Coach Terry… picked me up to go to his apartment building which has a bomb shelter in it and that’s when I started the bomb shelter experience.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The crisis in Ukraine has captured the world’s attention, and we’re hearing more and more stories of people escaping the chaos ensuing throughout the country.

Former Indiana University basketball standout Mo Creek talked to Fran Fraschilla for the SiriusXM podcast World of Basketball and talked about how he was one of many who had to flee the nation. Creek had been playing basketball in the Ukranian Basketball SuperLeague for MBC Mykolaiv.

It was a difficult situation for Creek to be in, who told Fraschilla he had nothing but love for the people of Ukraine.

“It’s always been love, even if they couldn’t speak my language and I definitely can’t speak theirs, we found a way to communicate with each other, and that just made it so special,” Creek said. “The people are always going to be good in Ukraine.”

Creek shared his experience from living in the country currently being sieged by the Russian military, having to hunker down for several hours at a time in a bomb shelter.

“We were just terrified and when we heard that the siren went off and you know when that siren goes off that means a war has started,” he said. He was living at the time in a city along the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. “Coach Terry… picked me up to go to his apartment building which has a bomb shelter in it and that’s when I started the bomb shelter experience.”

Creek said once he knew he had to get to the shelter, he texted his family members in case something happened.

“You really learn a lot about yourself when you go in a type of situation like that because, one, I did not know if I was going to survive so the first thing I did before I got in the bomb shelter was I texted my mother, ‘I love you. Tell my family I love them,'” he explained. “Because if something does happen that’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to you, you don’t want to not say nothing. At least they have a memory of your last message to them before you pass.”

Creek had to go through a whole process to get out of his basketball contract so he could leave the country. He was a short distance from the Ukraine/Moldova border. Once he did get out of his contract, his primary focus was getting on an airplane in Romania so he could get back to the U.S.

He said leaving Odessa provided a view of what had been going on in the city.

“You had to see the soldiers with guns. You had to see the tanks,” he said. “See everybody going in the same direction as you so now there’s traffic. So I was scared to death about that because something may have happened. I didn’t want the car to stop moving because I felt like if the car stops we’re stopping our progress, that gives them the opportunity to do whatever they need to do.”

It took several hours of standing in line before he eventually crossed in to Moldova. His first stop back in the States was JFK Airport.

“I got on that U.S. soil, and it felt like a weight was off my shoulders,” Creek said.

It wasn’t until he touched down at Dulles Airport and saw his mom that it really hit him.

“That hug was everything,” he said. “That’s when I knew I was home.”

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Dave Portnoy: Anyone With ‘Unbiased Mind’ Would Look at Accusations and ‘See There’s Nothing Here’

“I’ve come to grips it’ll never ever change.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Dave Portnoy
Courtesy: Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy opened up Thursday about his viral video confronting Washington Post food reporter Emily Heil, saying that it’s crazy that media outlets continue to come after him with stories and accusations from the past that he says are not rooted in truth.

Portnoy in recent years has been the subject of investigative pieces by outlets that paint a picture of Portnoy as a sexual deviant.

On Barstool Radio on Thursday, Portnoy wished people that continue to bring up these accusations would do a modicum of research.

“There is quite literally, if anybody sat down even for 15 minutes, and went through each accusation from the least important to the most important. Anybody with a clear, unbiased mind would be like, ‘There’s nothing here,'” he said. “That’s the only explanation to come from when you look at both sides. They just don’t look at both sides.”

Portnoy continued his assertion from the phone conversation with Heil that a negative story about him was already written by the Post and that they either had no intention of actually talking to him as evidenced by the cancelled interview Thursday morning, or they planned to reach out after they had formed their narrative talking to sponsors of his One Bite Pizza Festival in Brooklyn on Saturday.

He said it’s par for the course when it comes to journalists and outlets that clearly don’t like Barstool or him.

“I’ve come to grips it’ll never ever change,” he said. “Thats just the way it goes, but it is frustrating when you’re trying to do a f–king pizza event that has nothing to do with anybody and people are trying to destroy it.”

Dave has always said he’s caught flack from folks on both sides of the political spectrum, and that it doesn’t matter whether it’s FOX News, the Washington Post or the New York Times. He felt like they’re all of the same cloth.

“If you want to get a straight spin on a story, where do you go?” Portnoy asked.

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Dan Le Batard: Chris Russo is a ‘Caricature of a Sports Media Personality’

“He’s had a rejuvenation – a radiant rejuvenation.”

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Chris Russo
Courtesy: Bedford & New Canaan Magazine

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo has turned heads lately in his First Take appearance, specifically through his “What Are You Mad About?” segment where he waxes poetic on various topics that agitate him. It was during a usual sit-down conversation though that produced a viral segment when he intricately outlined his Saturday plans with his wife being out of town.

Throughout his monologue, Russo insinuated the use of THC gummies, stating that he will have half at 12 p.m. and the other half at 3:25 p.m. in order to watch the college football games. The fact that Russo was allowed to divulge details of such, along with the fact that he is betting $10,000 on ESPN, a network owned by The Walt Disney Company, surprised Le Batard, one of its former employees.

“He’s had a rejuvenation – a radiant rejuvenation,” Dan Le Batard said on Thursday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “He did something yesterday that I’ve never seen, [and] on Disney television – on Disney television!… I have never seen a media member just say, ‘Yep, drinking, drugs and gambling – that’s my Saturday,’ and I’m jealous of him. I want that to be my Saturday.”

Mike Ryan Ruiz, the executive producer of the program, chimed in on the situation and reminded Le Batard that Russo went to many Grateful Dead concerts. In response, Le Batard referred to it as “circumstantial evidence” that did not directly support Mad Dog’s drug use.

“Yes, his performance showed that he had short-circuited and fried all of his brain cells in a way that was obvious, but he wasn’t saying out loud, ‘You know what I’m doing during my sports analysis consumption time? I’m going to come on next week and talk about Colorado, and I’m telling you right now, I was high while I was watching,’” Le Batard said. “Not usually part of the commentary.”

Le Batard referenced former NFL running back Ricky Williams, who smoked marijuana on the night before games and tested positive for the drug three times. The reason he brought him up was to assert that he thinks Russo would have been one of the most likely people to defame Williams’ character.

“[He is] one of the guys most likely to rip him as a character assassination for daring to do marijuana that all of it would get so normalized that my media member who’s on ESPN representing old-timey media [who] can’t shut up about Bob Cousy – that guy is out there saying, ‘Yeah, I’m doing drugs on a Saturday,’” Le Batard expressed.

Le Batard acknowledged his incredulity towards Russo betting $10,000 on a college football game, but understands that he has been successful throughout the years with his time on WFAN, SiriusXM and MLB Network. The style of sports television that has pervaded the airwaves in recent years lends personalities the ability to frolic in palaver and enjoy themselves, a stark contrast from when Le Batard was with the “Worldwide Leader.”

“What I see happening all over television now – sports television – [is that] there are so many people dancing and laughing and having a good time on sports television, genuinely enjoying themselves,” Le Batard said. “It used to be starched and stiff, and now I am watching.”

In a recent conversation with Stephen A. Smith on his podcast, The Stephen A. Smith Show, the First Take featured commentator called Le Batard “sanctimonious.” Reflecting back on the conversation, Le Batard agrees with him because he does not seek broad appeal and adheres to the principles and platforms he views as righteous and worthwhile.

Earlier this week, Le Batard revealed that he declined an interview with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill when he was informed that he could not ask him about off-field issues. Although Russo is one of the most accomplished sports radio personalities of all time, Le Batard is not sure what to think about these types of situations and a new style of sports talk taking the airwaves.

“He has made a lot of money in this industry being a caricature of a sports media personality,” Le Batard said of Russo. “Skip Bayless – before Skip Bayless, man, that dude invented argument television. That started with [Mike] Francesa and Russo on the radio, and it infected everything in the coverage of newspapers, fandom [and] sports television.”

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Dave Portnoy Accuses Washington Post of Tortious Interference

Jordan Bondurant

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Dave Portnoy
Courtesy: Emmy Park

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy went viral on Twitter Wednesday after posting video of him confronting a Washington Post reporter over the phone and accusing her and the newspaper of tortious interference.

Portnoy called Post food writer Emily Heil after he learned that she had been contacting advertisers of his pizza festival in Brooklyn this Saturday. Heil sought comment from those advertisers about doing business with Portnoy, who she wrote in one particular email that Dave “has a history of misogynistic comments and other problematic behavior.”

Heil said she was working with fellow food writer Tim Carman on a piece about the festival, which will feature over 35 pizzerias – all of which Portnoy has featured in his “One Bite” reviews at one point or another. But Portnoy felt like there was more to what she and Carman were up to.

“To me, it’s kind of like tortious interference,” Portnoy said. “Like we’re doing an event. Everyone’s happy about the event. I’ve raised $50 million for small business, I’ve helped pizzerias, none of that. It’s ‘Dave’s misogynic and problematic.’ And I’m happy to talk about it! Because to me nobody would like if someone’s going around sending that email to their sponsors. And again, you’re not questioning it. It’s almost like a statement of fact. This is what I am.”

“You said it in a way that is putting sponsors on the defensive!” he added.

Portnoy felt like Heil and Carman were going to publish something similar to what was posted on nj.com Tuesday calling out sponsors for working with Portnoy. He didn’t believe Heil and Carman would give him a fair shake, that they already had their minds made up about him and that they were only going to contact him after they’ve compiled a mass of negative topics to discuss.

“It seemed like you were going to try to shame sponsors for being associated with me and put them in a box when I know they all love me,” he said. “But nobody wants the Washington Post writing an article, ‘Sponsor associated with misogynic, racist piece of shit.’ Nobody wants that and that’s what you’re trying to do. And even on this call it’s pretty clear that’s what you were trying to do.”

“I’m afraid with what I’m seeing already here all it does is it validates a hit piece,” Portnoy added.

Dave challenged Heil further, who said the one particular email Portnoy was referring to was the most pointed of the emails sent to festival sponsors. She said it was worded that way to try and get a response.

“Sometimes you have to say something like this,” Heil said. “It’s like it’s sort of a reporting tactic. When you want someone to respond, you kind of have to indicate that there might be something negative and then you get them to engage. That’s all I was trying to do.”

“That is a sad state of journalism if that’s a tactic you have to, what I would say is make up something about somebody,” Portnoy responded.

Eventually they settled on a time of 10 a.m. today to conduct an interview. Portnoy said he would be recording the conversation like he was the one on Wednesday, and Heil didn’t have issues with that.

But later Wednesday, Portnoy tweeted that the interview had been cancelled. He said Heil attempted to reschedule for 5 p.m., but since Portnoy had previously agreed to 10 a.m., he stuck with that or nothing at all.

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