What’s Wrong With Patriots’ Special Teams? Bill Belichick Addresses Kick Coverage Woes

Perhaps the most baffling aspect of the New England Patriots’ 2018 season has been their entirely uncharacteristic struggles on special teams.
Traditionally a powerhouse in the kicking game under head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots currently rank near the bottom of the league in both average kickoff return yards allowed (29th) and average punt return yards allowed (31st) through 10 games.
New England didn’t rank lower than fourth in either category in 2016 or 2017 and hasn’t placed outside the top six in opponent kick return average since 2010.
So what gives? Why is the team known for its emphasis on special teams suddenly surrendering big returns — like the 58-yarder Tennessee’s Darius Jennings had on the opening kickoff Sunday — with alarming regularity?
Belichick addressed these issues during his Tuesday morning conference call. He acknowledged the impact of the NFL’s new kickoff rules, which eliminated the running start for coverage players, but said they aren’t solely to blame for his team’s problems.
“(The new rules are) relevant, and they’ve eliminated some things that you can do on the kickoff team that we’ve done in the past,” Belichick said. “I think we’ve had our moments. At times, we’ve covered well. But as you point out, we haven’t (at times) and have probably had more breakdowns in that area than what we are used to having in previous years.
“It’s definitely an issue. It’s an area that we’ve got to continue to work in. I don’t think it’s a rule thing as much as we’ve got to coach it better. We’ve got to play better. The whole operation has to be better. We have six weeks to get it to a high level, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
Jennings’ kickoff return was the Patriots’ most glaring special teams lapse in Sunday’s 34-10 loss to the Titans, but they had other, smaller ones, as well. A missed tackle allowed Adoree’ Jackson to pick up an extra 8 yards on a punt return. Matthew Slater was unable to down a Ryan Allen punt inside the 5.  Stephen Gostkowski, the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Month in October, missed a 52-yard field goal wide right.

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While special teams play often is overlooked by casual football fans, the Patriots’ struggles in these areas have had a very real effect on the team’s success this season. Need proof? Consider this stat, courtesy of Football Outsiders:
The Patriots have ranked among the top six in the NFL in average opponent starting field position every year since 2005. They ranked first in 2016 and 2017, with an average drive against their defense beginning at the 24.87- and 24.62-yard lines, respectively.
This season? Different story.
Patriots’ ranking in average opponent starting field position
2005: sixth
2006: fifth
2007: second
2008: sixth
2009: second
2010: sixth
2011: second
2012: sixth
2013: third
2014: second
2015: second
2016: first
2017: first
2018 (entering Week 10): 28th
Entering the Titans game, the Patriots ranked 28th in that category with an average of 30.27, ahead of only the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills and nearly 6 full yards behind the league-leading Kansas City Chiefs (24.60). That ranking is likely to drop after Tennessee started three drives in New England territory and two more at its own 42.
Those five possessions yielded three touchdowns and one field goal — 24 points, equaling the Patriots’ margin of defeat.
As Belichick mentioned, it hasn’t been all bad for New England’s special teams units, which continue to employ many of the same core players from recent seasons (Slater, Nate Ebner, Brandon King, Jonathan Jones, Nicholas Grigsby, etc.).
They’re averaging the second-most kickoff return yards thanks to Cordarrelle Patterson, they returned a blocked punt for a touchdown last month, and Gostkowski has drilled every one of his kicks from fewer than 50 yards out this season (17-for-17 on field goals; 31-for-31 on extra points).
These coverage issues are a real problem, though — one Belichick and special teams coach Joe Judge surely will be focused on repairing during the bye week.

Derrick Rose Has Been On Court For Three Of Most Gruesome NBA Injuries

Is Derrick Rose a curse?
Maybe, maybe not — but the evidence is mounting.
The Minnesota Timberwolves guard was on the court Monday when Brooklyn Nets forward Caris LeVert gruesomely injured his right foot. LeVert, as it turns out, is (relatively) OK, and even is expected to return this season.
But let’s talk about Rose.
The oft-injured guard now has been on the court for three of the nastiest basketball injuries in recent memory. In addition to LeVert’s injury, Rose was on the floor last year when Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he was there when Paul George broke his leg during a Team USA game in 2014.
(You can click here for visual evidence.)

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Rose acknowledged the bizarre fact after the T-Wolves’ 120-113 win over Brooklyn.

Derrick Rose said he has been on the court for Paul George’s and Gordon Hayward’s gruesome leg injuries as well as LeVert’s injury tonight. “It’s always terrible seeing something like that,” Rose said.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) November 13, 2018

Derrick Rose mentioned that he was on the court for three gruesome leg injuries: Paul George, Gordon Hayward and now Caris LeVert. Rose tonight: "You want to say a prayer. … It kind of messes you up in a way."
— Tyler Mason (@tylermason21) November 13, 2018

Let’s be real: This is nothing but a (very weird) coincidence. Still, superstitious NBA players might want to be extra careful when they’re on the court with Rose.

The Biggest Blunder Of The World Chess Championship Is A Deleted YouTube Video

Game 4 of the World Chess Championship in London began with a fitting surprise: the “English Opening.”
Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the three-time defending world champion and world No. 1, began the game by pushing the white pawn in front of his left bishop to the c4 square — a relatively rare move at the game’s highest levels. Fabiano Caruana, the U.S. challenger and world No. 2 trying to become the first American world champion since Bobby Fischer in 1972, pushed a black pawn to e5. And with that, the English had come. Few bells would be rung for the rest of the game.
Game 4 ended in a draw, just as the three previous games had. It was an uninspired 34-move, 2.5-hour episode. The match for the game’s highest prize remains level, at 2 points apiece in a race to 6.5.1 The boring result failed to overshadow the real drama of the day: the Zapruder film of this world championship.
But first, the chess.
“Carlsen is trying to avoid that really annoying Petroff,” Robert Hess, a grandmaster, said during a broadcast on Twitch. The Petroff Defence is one of Caruana’s favorite chess tools when he has the black pieces, but he can deploy it only when white cooperates by opening with a pawn to e4. Carlsen’s opening move, therefore, was preventive — or “prophylactic,” as chess players like to say. (Bards of the game, one and all.)
The pattern of pieces that developed on the board is called, rather delightfully, a “Reverse Dragon.” The Sicilian Defence has a variation called the Dragon — named after the resemblance of the pawns to the constellation Draco — except in this case its colors were reversed. But the position breathed no fire on Tuesday.
After 10 moves, the game was an exact match of a game that Caruana played against Wesley So, another top American grandmaster, earlier this year — the only such game that had ever featured this position, according to ChessBase. Given how recent and high-profile it was, this was a game that Caruana and Carlsen almost certainly both remembered well.

r1bqr1k1/ppp2ppp/8/2b1p3/3n4/2BP1NP1/PP2PPBP/R2Q1RK1 w – – 0 0

You must activate JavaScript to enhance chess diagram visualization.

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After that, the two entered previously unseen territory. But the uncharted wilderness did not provide much in the way of excitement. Carlsen and Caruana agreed to a draw after 34 moves, in the position below. Despite the many pieces on the board, the grandmasters’ expertise told them that there was only one way this was likely to go.

2r5/5p2/2pbk3/1p2p2p/rP2P3/5PPP/2RBK3/2R5 b – – 0 0

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Here’s how things have gone on the chessboard thus far, and we’ll keep the chart below updated throughout the match.

The day’s humdrum play was overshadowed by some excitement off the board, though. A chess-world controversy — or at least what qualifies as one — erupted. Before the game, the posh Saint Louis Chess Club posted, and quickly deleted, a YouTube video appearing to show aspects of Caruana’s pre-championship preparation sessions. The club is Caruana’s de facto office and was founded by the billionaire retired financier Rex Sinquefield, who also helps fund Caruana’s chess career — both the club and Caruana are totems of Sinquefield’s deep pockets and deep love of chess. A chess columnist named John Hartmann tweeted this screenshot from the video.

It shows a laptop screen, complete with chess ideas in progress — a “Fianchetto Grunfeld,” various Queen’s Gambits Declined (an opening that was played in Game 2), and a number of ideas related to the favorite Petroff. It also shows a number of games from the 2016 world championship, to which Caruana was surely paying close attention.
A clip of the video shows Caruana leafing through a book of Carlsen’s past championship games and then handing it across a chessboard to his grandmaster coach and “second,” Rustam Kasimdzhanov, while grandmaster Alejandro Ramírez sits nearby.

Scandalous, I know.
Some chess commentators suggested that it was a huge blunder; others suggested that it was a deft piece of a disinformation campaign. The Saint Louis Chess Club did not respond to my emailed requests for comment, and Caruana’s manager declined to comment. Caruana himself declined to comment at a post-game news conference, and Carlsen claimed that he hadn’t seen it but was aware of its existence.
World Chess Championship preparation is always closely guarded. Kasimdzhanov warned me last spring that anything I might write about Caruana’s prep would be pored over by his Norwegian opponent and his team of hired chess guns for any shred of usable information. A player readying for a championship match typically enters seclusion with a small, handpicked crew of grandmaster aides and other associates. Even revealing their identities could be risky, I was told, because different grandmasters have different chess tendencies, and revealing the grandmasters might signal a game plan to the opponent. When Fischer was readying for his championship match, at a resort in upstate New York where prizefighters trained, he told an interloping New York Times reporter to “shove off” and stopped answering the phone.
In April, FiveThirtyEight was promised access to Caruana’s training camp by Caruana’s managers — a promise that was rescinded in July. That change of heart was not unique to this website. At least one other major online outlet was promised exclusive access to his training camps — another promise that was rescinded in July.
But the players will have to play their moves in public eventually. Perhaps one of them will even win a game of chess.
The match rests on Wednesday, but Game 5 begins Thursday at 3 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time — that’s 10 a.m. Eastern. I’ll be covering it here and on Twitter.

Medina Hospital Has Been Locked Down as Authorities Hunt for Possible Active Shooter

Police are on scene at Medina Hospital responding to a potential active shooter situation in the medical office building. Both the hospital and office building are on lockdown.
We advise no one travel to the Medina campus.
We will continue to share updates.
— ClevelandClinicNews (@CleClinicNews) November 13, 2018

The Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital is on lockdown and police have rushed to the scene amid reports of an active shooter in the clinic’s medical office building.
The clinic confirmed the lockdown in a tweet and urged people to stay away from the area. The tweet said that there was a “potential active shooter situation” in the clinic’s medical office building.
The full text of the tweet said, “Police are on scene at Medina Hospital responding to a potential active shooter situation in the medical office building. Both the hospital and office building are on lockdown. We advise no one travel to the Medina campus.”
ABC News is reporting that the police are searching the building for an active shooter. The outlet says that police were called to the scene because of reports that a woman with a gun was threatening unnamed individuals. So far, police say nobody has been hurt.

Medina Police say officers are going floor to floor at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Medina, Ohio after a report of a female with a firearm was threatening individuals. Police say no shots have been fired. Building is in locked down according to Cleveland Clinic. @ABC7News
— Scott Taylor ABC 7 (@ScottTaylorTV) November 13, 2018

Craig Webb, a reporter with the Akron Beacon Journal, shared a photo of police heading towards the hospital. You can see that at least some of the officers are heavily armed and appear to be wearing body armor:

Police moving toward Medina Medical Center at Medina Hospital. pic.twitter.com/7KKu7zxml8
— Craig Webb (@CraigWebb68) November 13, 2018

Just before 2PM today, the Cleveland Clinic’s alert service sent out a text message warning people that there was a “code silver / active shooter” situation in the clinic. The message called on everyone in the clinic to take immediate action to protect themselves.

active shooter Medina hospital pic.twitter.com/oOkUIDi7pQ
— stephen hudak. (@whoodak) November 13, 2018

The full message read, “There is a Code Silver / Active Shooter situation on Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital. Take immediate action to protect yourselves and others. ALICE options: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. More info to follow.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

You Can Bet on Whether Sixers’ Jimmy Butler Will Make Markelle Fultz Cry

After a headline-filled final stretch with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler is hoping for a fresh start with the Philadelphia 76ers. The newest member of the team’s “big three” is hoping to team up with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to bring a championship to Philly. But apparently, his intense on-court mentality has led to odds being released on whether or not Butler will make one of his new teammates cry.
Not only did oddsmakers release that prop bet as an option, but specifically broke down a few names with odds for each. This prop comes courtesy of Bookmaker.eu:
Which 76ers teammate will Jimmy Butler make cry this season?

Markelle Fultz +2000
TJ McConnell +3000
Ben Simmons +8000
Joel Embid +10000
Field (any other 76ers teammate) +4000
No One Cries -1000

For what it’s worth, I don’t think any of these players will actually cry, and the oddsmakers obviously don’t either considering the field is listed at -1000. It does go to show just how intense Butler is as a player, and also what he could bring to the Sixers on the court, which may be very beneficial.
As far as the other names on the list go, TJ McConnell is a pretty tough guy, and Ben Simmons doesn’t exactly show a ton of emotion. Both of those bets are out the window for me. I also think there’s virtually no chance Joel Embiid is an option – I’m not even sure if he’s ever cried in his entire life.

Jimmy Butler’s Impact on Sixers
While Philly sent two starters in Dario Saric and Robert Covington (among other pieces) to the Timberwolves, the return of Butler will likely prove worth it. There’s obviously the concern that he doesn’t sign longterm beyond this season, but the Sixers can offer him the most money next offseason following the trade.
The immediate impact is positive, as he’ll be able to add a different level of scoring to pair with Embiid, which is a big deal considering Simmons is an elite passer. Philadelphia trading Covington hurts, as he was an All-NBA defender, but Butler is elite in that area as well, helping to make this deal even better for the Sixers.
READ NEXT: Lakers’ Recent Drama May Doom Their Push for Kawhi Leonard?

Travis Jordan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Travis Jordan, 36, was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer who was called to perform a wellness check on him during a mental health episode. Police said Jordan was holding a knife when the officer opened fire, KTSP reports.
According to a 911 transcript, police were called because Jordan was having suicidal thoughts. When officers arrived, police said, they found Jordan holding a knife even though the 911 caller said that Jordan did not have any weapons.
Police opened fire, killing Jordan. A medical examiner determined that Jordan died from multiple gunshot wounds. The Minneapolis Police Department said both officers’ body cameras were on and recorded the shooting.
“It was a wellness check and now our friend is dead instead of alive and getting the help that he needed,” his roommate Allison Reinke told KTSP.
Her husband later identified Reinke as the 911 caller in an interview with KMSP.
Here’s what you need to know:

1. Travis Jordan Was Reported to Be Suffering From Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

Jordan lived with his friend Paul Johnson and Johnson’s wife, Allison Reinke, KTSP reports. Johnson and Jordan worked together in the restaurant industry.
According to a 911 transcript, Reinke the police to ask them to perform a welfare check. Reinke said Jordan had been “having a lot of suicidal thoughts because, um, depression, anxiety, but he’s not taking any pills for that. Um, he’s just taking alcohol for it.”
“He doesn’t want to live, he doesn’t even think about his future anymore,” Reinke said. “I told him I was gonna call the cops, ‘cause I was really worried about him, and he threatened me and said go ahead and call the cops, I’ll talk to them when they get here.”
Reinke added that Jordan wanted to commit suicide at his mother’s house in Minnesota, according to the transcript. “He sent me a text message saying he wanted to plan to go his mom and do this,” Reinke said, “and he put LOL at the end.”

2. 911 Caller Said Travis Jordan Did Not Have Any Weapons

When asked if Jordan had any weapons, Reinke said no.
Later in the conversation, Reinke said, “I’ve looked through his text messages before and he’s asked for like to find him a gun for him from someone. And then I confronted him about that a long time ago and he said he wasn’t gonna do it.”
Asked if Jordan was “violent” or if “anyone else is in danger,” Reinke said, “No… just him.”
Johnson said Reinke later called back to tell police that Jordan said he would get a knife when she told him she called the police.
Police said Jordan was holding a knife when they arrived. He was shot in the front yard of the home.
Police initially said the injuries were not life-threatening but Jordan later died at North Memorial Medical Center, KARE reports.

3. Minneapolis Police Undergo Required Training for Dealing With Emotionally Disturbed People

MPD spokesman John Elder on Officer shooting on north side pic.twitter.com/NjMpJ3CdyU
— Liz Sawyer (@ByLizSawyer) November 9, 2018

Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said in a statement that both officers properly had their body cameras on to record video and audio of the shooting.
Elder added that all Minneapolis police officers have gone through mandatory training to how to handle individuals in crisis. He said that the city gets 3,200 reports of emotionally disturbed persons every year.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.

4. Travis Jordan’s Friends Question Why He Was Killed

“It was a wellness check and now our friend is dead instead of alive and getting the help that he needed,” Reinke told KTSP.
Roommate Paul Johnson questioned why the officers pulled out their guns instead of their Tasers.
“Why are Tasers not pulled out, why is that not what’s in their hand?” he asked. “Why is the lethal form of de-escalating the situation and ending it in their hands and not all the other ways that could’ve been done?”
“A life didn’t need to be lost that day,” he later told KMSP. “He said that he was going to get a knife so she called the police back and warned them that he may have a knife. At that point I believe she called me to see if I could get home quickly. I was just a few minutes away when I hung up. I saw a message from my neighbor to get home quickly and I called him and he said the police had shot my roommate in the front yard.”

5. Mental Health Calls in Travis Jordan’s Neighborhood Treated Differently

Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham called to expand the city’s mental health program, which currently treats calls on the city’s north side differently than its south side, KTSP reports. The shooting happened in the Fourth Precinct, which is not part of the Minneapolis Police Department’s co-responder program. The program dispatches mental health professionals to respond to mental health calls alongside police officers. Only the Third and Fifth Precincts, in south Minneapolis, are part of the program.
According to the Minneapolis Police Department, mental health specialists went with officers on 985 calls and officers only had to use force in two of them. Mayor Jacob Frey said the program had already helped 149 people remain at home instead of being taken to jail.
Frey has proposed expanding the program to the First Precinct, but not the Fourth.
“On the north side, folks of color don’t feel comfortable calling the police when there is a mental health crisis,” Cunningham said. “I think this latest incident actually is an example of why folks don’t feel safe calling.”
The Minneapolis Police Department say they support an expansion of the program to the other precincts.
“MPD will continue to train and educate our officers on public safety tools such as de-escalation and crisis intervention training and to be the best stewards of the public trust,” the department said in a statement. “However, we must do more as a city to invest in mental health services and clinics whose resources and services are available day and night to those who need them. Increasing public safety and reducing community harm goes beyond just policing rather it requires true and authentic collaboration between police and community.”
READ NEXT: Jemel Roberson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Travis Jordan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Travis Jordan, 36, was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer who was called to perform a wellness check on him during a mental health episode. Police said Jordan was holding a knife when the officer opened fire, KTSP reports.
According to a 911 transcript, police were called because Jordan was having suicidal thoughts. When officers arrived, police said, they found Jordan holding a knife even though the 911 caller said that Jordan did not have any weapons.
Police opened fire, killing Jordan. A medical examiner determined that Jordan died from multiple gunshot wounds. The Minneapolis Police Department said both officers’ body cameras were on and recorded the shooting.
“It was a wellness check and now our friend is dead instead of alive and getting the help that he needed,” his roommate Allison Reinke told KTSP.
Her husband later identified Reinke as the 911 caller in an interview with KMSP.
Here’s what you need to know:

1. Travis Jordan Was Reported to Be Suffering From Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

Jordan lived with his friend Paul Johnson and Johnson’s wife, Allison Reinke, KTSP reports. Johnson and Jordan worked together in the restaurant industry.
According to a 911 transcript, Reinke the police to ask them to perform a welfare check. Reinke said Jordan had been “having a lot of suicidal thoughts because, um, depression, anxiety, but he’s not taking any pills for that. Um, he’s just taking alcohol for it.”
“He doesn’t want to live, he doesn’t even think about his future anymore,” Reinke said. “I told him I was gonna call the cops, ‘cause I was really worried about him, and he threatened me and said go ahead and call the cops, I’ll talk to them when they get here.”
Reinke added that Jordan wanted to commit suicide at his mother’s house in Minnesota, according to the transcript. “He sent me a text message saying he wanted to plan to go his mom and do this,” Reinke said, “and he put LOL at the end.”

2. 911 Caller Said Travis Jordan Did Not Have Any Weapons

When asked if Jordan had any weapons, Reinke said no.
Later in the conversation, Reinke said, “I’ve looked through his text messages before and he’s asked for like to find him a gun for him from someone. And then I confronted him about that a long time ago and he said he wasn’t gonna do it.”
Asked if Jordan was “violent” or if “anyone else is in danger,” Reinke said, “No… just him.”
Johnson said Reinke later called back to tell police that Jordan said he would get a knife when she told him she called the police.
Police said Jordan was holding a knife when they arrived. He was shot in the front yard of the home.
Police initially said the injuries were not life-threatening but Jordan later died at North Memorial Medical Center, KARE reports.

3. Minneapolis Police Undergo Required Training for Dealing With Emotionally Disturbed People

MPD spokesman John Elder on Officer shooting on north side pic.twitter.com/NjMpJ3CdyU
— Liz Sawyer (@ByLizSawyer) November 9, 2018

Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said in a statement that both officers properly had their body cameras on to record video and audio of the shooting.
Elder added that all Minneapolis police officers have gone through mandatory training to how to handle individuals in crisis. He said that the city gets 3,200 reports of emotionally disturbed persons every year.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.

4. Travis Jordan’s Friends Question Why He Was Killed

“It was a wellness check and now our friend is dead instead of alive and getting the help that he needed,” Reinke told KTSP.
Roommate Paul Johnson questioned why the officers pulled out their guns instead of their Tasers.
“Why are Tasers not pulled out, why is that not what’s in their hand?” he asked. “Why is the lethal form of de-escalating the situation and ending it in their hands and not all the other ways that could’ve been done?”
“A life didn’t need to be lost that day,” he later told KMSP. “He said that he was going to get a knife so she called the police back and warned them that he may have a knife. At that point I believe she called me to see if I could get home quickly. I was just a few minutes away when I hung up. I saw a message from my neighbor to get home quickly and I called him and he said the police had shot my roommate in the front yard.”

5. Mental Health Calls in Travis Jordan’s Neighborhood Treated Differently

Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham called to expand the city’s mental health program, which currently treats calls on the city’s north side differently than its south side, KTSP reports. The shooting happened in the Fourth Precinct, which is not part of the Minneapolis Police Department’s co-responder program. The program dispatches mental health professionals to respond to mental health calls alongside police officers. Only the Third and Fifth Precincts, in south Minneapolis, are part of the program.
According to the Minneapolis Police Department, mental health specialists went with officers on 985 calls and officers only had to use force in two of them. Mayor Jacob Frey said the program had already helped 149 people remain at home instead of being taken to jail.
Frey has proposed expanding the program to the First Precinct, but not the Fourth.
“On the north side, folks of color don’t feel comfortable calling the police when there is a mental health crisis,” Cunningham said. “I think this latest incident actually is an example of why folks don’t feel safe calling.”
The Minneapolis Police Department say they support an expansion of the program to the other precincts.
“MPD will continue to train and educate our officers on public safety tools such as de-escalation and crisis intervention training and to be the best stewards of the public trust,” the department said in a statement. “However, we must do more as a city to invest in mental health services and clinics whose resources and services are available day and night to those who need them. Increasing public safety and reducing community harm goes beyond just policing rather it requires true and authentic collaboration between police and community.”
READ NEXT: Jemel Roberson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Philadelphia 76ers Should Trade Markelle Fultz, Says Stephen A. Smith

Former Washington Huskies star Markelle Fultz hasn’t quite lived up to expectations in the NBA. Ever since the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Fultz in 2017 with the first-overall pick, he’s visibly regressed, more than he’s improved during his short stint in the pros. And as the Sixers continue to make “win-now” moves, Fultz could be on his way out as well.
The Sixers aren’t rumored to have Fultz on the trading block, and they never have. Then again, the team didn’t have a general manager sitting in the front office over the offseason. While the Sixers were searching for their newest employee, the head coach Brett Brown played the role as a temporary GM. Knowing how close Brown is with his team, there was no possible way that they would move Fultz in a trade during the offseason.
With Elton Brand in the picture now though, he’s showing that “The Process” players are not exactly set in stone. Robert Covington and Dario Saric were a part of the master plan moving forward, but Brand used them as trade bait, instead of key contributors for winning games in the future. It was a great move that took guts to make. Now, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith suggests that Brand should purge the process a little bit more by getting rid of Fultz as well.
Sixers Should Trade Markelle Fultz?

[email protected] would trade last year's No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz if he were the 76ers. pic.twitter.com/MuVXfpqffg
— ESPN (@espn) November 13, 2018

As Fultz continues to look like an average player and a lousy shooter, many continue to criticize the 20-year-old guard. Although many believe that Fultz’s struggles are more mental than physical, there’s a ton of doubt regarding his future with the Sixers franchise. Coming into the NBA, Fultz was known for his shooting being great. Now that he’s in the NBA, he gets clowned for his shot and form on a nightly basis.
Fultz is a project player, and the Sixers made it clear they are trying to win now. Should they actually trade Fultz while his value isn’t too damaged like Stephen A. said? Or should the Sixers continue with his development in hopes of Fultz panning out as the season goes on? We shall wait and see what happens, but don’t rule anything out with Elton Brand now in the picture.

George Wagner & Family Accused in Ohio Rhoden Murders

George Wagner III, Angela Wagner, and the couple’s two sons – George Wagner IV and Edward Wagner – are accused in the murders of eight people, seven of whom belonged to the Rhoden family of Ohio.
The break in the 2-year-old case came on November 13, 2018. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wrote on Twitter, “The suspects – a husband, wife, and their two adult sons – are now charged with killing eight people: seven members of the #RhodenFamily and the fiancée of one of the victims. We will release more information later today.”
Here’s what you need to know:

The Rhoden Family & Other Victims Were Murdered in 2016

The suspects – a husband, wife, and their two adult sons – are now charged with killing eight people: seven members of the #RhodenFamily and the fiancée of one of the victims. We will release more information later today. #PikeCounty pic.twitter.com/IKf6luYSXQ
— Ohio AG Mike DeWine (@OhioAG) November 13, 2018

In a press release, Ohio AG DeWine, Pike County Sheriff Charles S. Reader, and Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk announced the arrests of the four people “for the murders of eight people in Pie County on April 22, 2016.”
The members of the Wagner family are from South Webster. They were “taken into custody this afternoon (November 13, 2018) and are charged with planning and carrying out the murders,” the release says, naming the accused as:
George “Billy” Wagner III, 47
Angela Wagner, 48
George Wagner IV, 27
Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26
The victims were named as: Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 37; and their three children, Hanna May Rhoden, 19; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20. Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20, was also murdered, as was Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and cousin Gary Rhoden, 38.
Authorities have not yet specified a motive or what led them to the Wagner family, butt hey scheduled a news conference to release more details, and this post will be updated once they do.

LIC Politicians Voice Anger: ‘We Weren’t Elected to be Amazon Drones’

Local politicians in Queens, New York have been voicing their anger at Jeff Bezos’s plan to bring a mega-million dollar headquarters to Long Island City.
On Tuesday morning, Amazon announced that it would create two new East Coast headquarters: one in Long Island City, New York, and another in Crystal City, Virginia. New York City is providing Amazon with 1.7 billion dollars in tax credits and grants for the company to set up shop in Long Island City. Amazon is also expected to move in some 50,000 people from out of town to work at the new Long Island City Headquarters — a move which will likely put a strain on the already tight housing market in the area. Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio have been pushing for the deal with Amazon. But some Queens residents — and politicians — are already up in arms.
Ahead of the official announcement, a few choice words were issued by State Senator Michael Giannaris — whose district includes Long Island City — and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Long Island City for the City Council.
Giannaris and Van Bramer said that the deal with Amazon amounts to “corporate welfare” and that it is “just plain wrong” to help out one of the wealthiest corporations in the world at a time when New York State has its own grave needs. They expressed anger that New York had effectively wooed and courted Amazon, instead of looking after New Yorkers’ real needs.
“As elected officials representing Long Island City and its surrounding neighborhoods, we have serious reservations about the reported deal to bring Amazon to LIC,” the politicians wrote. They added, “Corporate responsibility should take precedence over corporate welfare…we cannot support a giveaway of this magnitude.”
You can read their full statement here.