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Promising rugby player, 17, is told back injury is actually rare cancer

When talented rugby player George Thompson went to see his doctor with a suspected match-related injury, the last thing he expected to hear was the word 'cancer'.

George Thompson had been playing rugby since the age of six, spending most of his young sporting career at Devonport Services RFC, representing Devon U15s, captaining Devon U16s and Plymouth Albion U18s, before joining the Exeter Chiefs Academy.

The 17-year-old, from Saltash, was set to join his local club, Saltash RFC, but in a devastating and unexpected blow has had to give up the sport he loves after being diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.

The rare type of cancer mostly affects babies and young children, but very occasionally is found in adolescents.

George, who is in his second year of a gas engineering apprenticeship with Plymouth Community Homes, began suffering with lower back pain and was originally told that it was believed he had ankylosing spondylitis - a long-term condition which means the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed.

But after numerous scans and tests, he was told he had the rare cancer, which had also spread to his bones and bone marrow.

He has now been transferred to Bristol Royal Hospital for children where he is undergoing chemotherapy.

George now has a 12-month plan which will include surgery, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

More than £13,800 has been raised on a crowdfunding page - which you can donate to here - set up by George's auntie, Catherine Arris.

George's sister, Rosie, said the "response has been overwhelming".

She said the money will help herself, her mother Julie and father, Martin with travel costs and subsidise their lost income whilst frequently making back-and-forth trips from Cornwall to Bristol, to ensure that they are with George throughout "the intense treatment period".

Rosie said: "This will also enable George to have some quality downtime away from the hospital ward when he is well enough in-between treatments.

"It is important to us that we maintain as normal a family life as possible throughout the difficult months that lie ahead and this is now being made possible by the generosity of so many people.

"There are not enough words to thank each and every person who is supporting us."

Rosie explained that any money which remains at the end of George's treatment will be donated to Clic Sargent, The Teenage Cancer Trust and Neuroblastoma UK.

"These charities are already looking after us, providing accommodation and various support," she said.

George has already undergone four blood transfusions and it is likely he will receive further transfusions.

Rosie said: "We are all signing up to donate blood and would encourage as many people as possible to follow suit. We have seen first hand how important blood donations are.

"In such a short space of time we have been amazed by the generosity and heartfelt messages of support.

"George’s fun loving character and caring nature has been recognised by so many people, some who have never met George."

There are a number of plans for fund-raising events to take place during George’s treatment, to raise money for Clic Sargent and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Plymouth Community Homes is set to arrange an event, as well as a team named 'Run For George' which has entered into the Mudstock Run on June 27, 2020, supported by BH Fitness.

There is also a fund-raising rugby match on April 18, 2020, which has been organised by George's uncle, Richard Thompson.

If you are interested in this story, you may be interested in the crowdfunder for the Plymouth man diagnosed with testicular cancer at just 21 years old.

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'I'm only alive because a 17-year-old Welsh boy who died playing football gave me his heart'

Simon Keith is one of the world’s longest surviving heart transplant recipients and one of the only people to have played professional sport after the operation.

He owes the last 30 years of his life to 17-year-old teenager Jonathan Edward, from Newport, who died following a sudden brain haemorrhage while playing football in the park with his friends.

Their story is an incredible one that reveals how powerful and enduring the gift of life from a transplant can be.

Simon, a former professional footballer, was 21 years old and on the verge of playing in the Fifa World Cup when he was given the devastating news that a rare virus had caused his heart to become enlarged and not function properly.

The gifted striker, who was with the Canadian first team at the time, said the diagnosis meant his lifelong dream of representing his country was in tatters.

"I had to watch my teammates all prepare for the World Cup, and it was devastating to know that I wouldn't be able to play alongside them," he said.

While his former teammates were enjoying the pinnacle of their careers, Simon soon found himself struggling to breathe during training.

It also became progressively difficult for him to warm his hands and feet which were often "ice cold" at the end of sessions.

"I just didn't feel myself. My hands and my feet would just go shockingly white," he added.

"I didn't want to 'crush' people anymore competitively. I just wanted to get through practice."

In March, 1986, just months before the World Cup was held in Mexico, Simon was diagnosed with a condition known as viral myocarditis.

Triggered by viral infection, it leads to inflammation of the heart muscle and reduces its ability to pump blood. Clots can form in your heart, leading to a stroke or heart attack.

In Simon's case, the myocarditis caused his heart to fail to such an extent that only a transplant would save him.

"The doctor comes up to me and says 'we've done everything we can'. You need a heart transplant or you're going to die'."

Simon did not qualify for an immediate heart transplant in Canada, and in the USA there was a huge waiting list of 14,000 patients.

But because he was born in the UK he had dual citizenship which allowed him to be put on the UK transplant list.

"Although my heart's function was slowly deteriorating, I wasn't sick enough to qualify for a heart transplant in Canada," added Simon, who was born in the English coastal town of Eastbourne before moving to Victoria, British Columbia.

"My parents, who were desperate to see me added onto the transplant list, decided to move us back to the UK and I was immediately taken to King’s Cross Hospital in London."

After arriving back in the UK, it didn't take long before a "perfect" donor heart was found for Simon.

"I remember the day it finally came. My parents and I were in the hospital, it was a hot day in July and we'd just about given up all hope," he added.

"It was a strange moment, and one I don't think I'll ever be able to put into words. To be simultaneously celebrating and feeling remorse for the loss of someone else's life; it was a complex thing to feel."

In July, 1986, 21-year-old Simon underwent the heart transplant which proved to be a huge success - and within three years he had miraculously returned to playing football professionally in the USA and Canada.

But over the years he became increasingly eager to know who gave him the chance to continue his football career and allow him to become a dad-of-three.

When transplants were carried out in the '80s and '90s donor families and recipients tended not to get in touch with one another.

He added: "I had always been intrigued to find out whose heart I had beating in my chest, and of course I wanted to sincerely thank the family who made the life-changing decision to donate their son's organs."

In 2011, at 46 years old, he set up the Simon Keith Foundation to support children who have had an organ transplant in resuming an active and healthy lifestyle.

More than ever, he was desperate to show his donor's family that their precious gift was having a positive impact on so many other people.

"I noticed that a lot of people were using Facebook to get back in touch with friends and family of years gone by, so I thought 'why not?'

"By that point I was working with a writer to publish a book about my experience, and he managed to track down the family through social media."

It transpired that the heart donor was 17-year-old teenager Jonathan Edward, from Newport, who died following a sudden brain haemorrhage while playing football in the park with his friends.

After contacting the family, Simon, who was now living in Las Vegas, flew back to the UK to meet Jonathan's dad Roger and his best friend Richard Parker.

Simon recalled: "I spent the day with Roger listening to stories about Jonathan, and he even took us to see where he'd gone to school, grown up, and to his final resting place."

Ever since their meeting, the two families have stayed close, with Simon regularly making trips back to the UK to meet Roger and Richard and share his organ donation story with the wider community.

Jonathan's best friend Richard Parker, 49, from Newport, said: "I've become great friends with Simon and his family and now realise what an amazing legacy has come from my friend's passing.

"Simon's son Sean has lived with us off and on over the past couple of years whilst he fulfils his own footballing dreams."

In 2016, Richard and Simon organised a football game, called 'The Match For Life', in Newport which celebrated Simon's 30-year anniversary post-transplant.

He is now one of the world’s longest surviving heart transplant recipients. He was also the first athlete to have played professional sports after having undergone a heart transplant.

Simon is now backing the upcoming British Transplant Games taking place in Newport between July 25 and 28.

It promises to be a "celebration of organ donation", highlighting the health, fitness and wellbeing of recipients who wouldn't have been able to compete without the kindness of donors and their families.

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Soccer Star Benik Afobe's 2-Year-Old Daughter Dies After 'Unexpectedly Developing Severe Infection'

Benik Afobe, a former Arsenal striker, announced on Sunday that his 2-year-old daughter Amora tragically died.

“It is with extreme heavy heart that the Afobe family have today confirmed the devastating news that their first child, their beloved daughter Amora, 2, passed away late on Friday evening,” Afobe said in a statement, which was shared on Twitter by Times Sports’ Henry Winter.

“Amora was taken to hospital for treatment after unexpectedly developing a severe infection,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately she then suffered a number of serious complications and despite doctors doing absolutely everything they possibly could, Amora passed away peacefully with the love of her family by her side.”

The statement also said that the Afobe family was “heartbroken and devastated” and are requesting privacy during this difficult time.

Support and condolences for Afobe and his family were expressed on Twitter, including from Jack Wilshere, a midfielder for West Ham United and a close friend of Afobe’s.

“Benik, my brother, my words will never mean enough to express how deeply sorry I am for your loss, and I know that no words will heal the pain in your hearts right now, just know I am here for you, Lois and your family always,” Wilshere wrote on Twitter.

Arsenal also offered its condolences on Twitter, writing, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Benik Afobe’s daughter, Amora Everyone in the Arsenal family sends love and support to Benik and his family at this heartbreaking time.”

The Wolverhampton Wanderers, whom Afobe previously played for, said on Twitter, “Our hearts break for Benik Afobe and his family following the tragic news of his daughter’s passing this weekend. The Wolves family are with you, Benik.”

According to Bleacher Report Football, Wolves player Matt Doherty dedicated his goal on Sunday to Afobe, his former teammate.

Dele Alli of the Tottenham Hotspur shared a photo of Afobe and his family on Twitter, writing, “So sorry for your loss Benik. Heartbroken to hear the news. My thoughts are with you and the family. Stay strong brother.”

Afobe signed a professional contract with Arsenal in February 2010. In August, he joined Bristol City for the 2019-20 season. However, a ligament injury during training put him out for the season.

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Bodybuilding grandmother with 17 inch biceps was 'shy and awkward' before weightlifting to achieve her 200lb frame finally gave her confidence

A grandmother-of-three has revealed how bodybuilding has given her a new lease of life - as well as a 200lb frame and seventeen inch biceps.

Correctional officer Robin Hillis, 48, from Ontario, Canada, loved sports at school and when she left high school in 1989, she joined a gym to maintain her fitness and soon fell in love with weightlifting. 

Before taking up the sport Robin was shy, but bodybuilding gave her a new lease of life and in 1993 and weighing 135lbs, she competed in her first bodybuilding competition and placed second.

Robin kept in shape during and after her pregnancies with her daughters, Katey, 23,  and Courtney, 21, who, along with Robin's grandchildren, Abel, three, Avianna, two, and Wynter, one, are her biggest supporters and encourage her to be the best she can be. 

She now weighs 200lbs at 5ft 9in and sports 17in biceps, trains six days a week when prepping for a show and five days a week in off-season. Robin competes twice a year and says that bodybuilding has taught her self-belief. 

Robin juggled motherhood and bodybuilding around her children as they grew up and they loved to watch her in competitions and cheer her on from the side lines

The grandmother of three receives largely positive reactions to her impressive physique and she says that having children shouldn't make it harder to achieve such results. 

In 2014, Robin earned her IFBB (International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness) pro card and she now competes in the professional league all over the world. 

'I was tall and skinny but very athletic. I was an average student but I grew up playing basketball, volleyball, running track, baseball,' said Robin.

'After high school I didn't want to get out of shape so joined a gym and fell into bodybuilding and was addicted right away.

'Before this I was quiet, shy and a bit awkward with normal insecurities kids have.

'Now I love how I look and feel. I am very confident and enjoy life and still love to laugh. I get a mixed variety of reactions but mostly positive. I rarely get negative comments on my social media or in person.

'I don't think it's harder to achieve these results after having children but it also depends on everyone's hormonal profile, metabolism and lifestyles.

'Yes I do hope to be an inspiration to moms and grandmothers and I also hope I inspire younger girls to do what they love and not pay attention to people's opinions. I hope I inspire everyone to love themselves and do what makes them happy.'

Robin doesn't count calories but has five meals a day in between her training sessions.

A typical day consists of waking up at 6am and doing high intensity fasted cardio for 20 minutes, followed by her first meal of the day which is a cup of egg whites, two whole eggs and spinach.

Her second meal is five ounces of chicken, cucumbers, sugar free ketchup and spices; then Robin goes to the gym, trains, does 12 minutes of steady state cardio, practices posing, sits in the sauna for up to 10 minutes before having her third meal which is five ounces of steak and three ounces of yams.

Continuing her busy day, she walks her dog, Ping, before having her fourth meal which is five ounces of fish or chicken with cucumbers and rice if she is off season. 

After this Robin makes time for her children and grandchildren before having her fifth and final meal of the day which is a cup of egg whites, one whole egg, spinach and avocado before spending 20 minutes on the treadmill and going to bed.

For cheat meals, Robin loves to indulge in chocolate and sushi, she spoke about how her family has supported her and how she managed motherhood with a strict training schedule.

'My girls are on their own now as they are 21 and 23 with their own families. But when they were younger, I would go to the gym when they were in school or bed and prep my meals before they woke up,' she said.

'I didn't want to take any time from them so prioritised and kept a tight schedule that didn't interfere with our time.

'When my girls were young, they came to every show with me and would scream 'mom'. They would help with my hair, come to the gym with me, and encourage me to keep going.

'I had a rough time building my legs as I am about 5ft 9in so I had to change my mental approach to training them. Meaning I needed to grow some balls and train harder.

'It has taught me patience as it takes time to achieve your goals, and to be persistent when trying to achieve your goals. Lastly it has taught me to believe in myself.

'To anyone who wants to give it a go, seek out help, read and educate yourself, and most importantly be consistent.'

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25-Year-Old Keeps Running After Liver Cancer Diagnosis Gave Him 3 Months to Live

Mark Carles, 25, from West Brighton, Staten Island, was prone to hurl during running, whether it was during his high school cross-country practice, midrace, or afterward.

“I would get sick after every run. I’d throw up after or during every race. It didn’t matter if I ate or didn’t eat,” he says to Runner’s World. “My coaches were old school—if you weren’t puking, you weren’t working hard enough.”

But for Carles, who went on to run for Hunter College’s DIII cross-country team, he’d later learn that the vomiting was due to a tumor on his liver that was blocking two arteries in his intestines, restricting blood and oxygen flow. It was an early sign of liver cancer that would be officially diagnosed in 2018.

Learning of the rare diagnosis was a blow for Carles, but he refused to let the uncertainty rule his life. After he received a motivating message of hope from late pro runner Gabe Grunewald—who passed away in June from cancer—Carles was determined to keep fighting for his life. And running, he learned, was just the way to do it.

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Carles kept pushing through tough practices, not wanting to ease up on his training. Soon, though, his symptoms got so bad that he needed to seek medical help.

“I went to see a gastroenterologist for the puking, who diagnosed me with acid reflux,” he says. “And I also started getting allergy tests because I was getting bloody noses all the time. I was tired.”

By his last cross-country season in 2016, his times started to tank. In 2014, he was running a sub-30 8K, but by 2016, he was five minutes slower.

“I was posting 60-mile weeks with workouts, so it didn’t add up. I thought I was getting old,” he says. “My coaches were really upset with me because they thought I was going out partying because I was throwing up. I was physically unwell, which translated mentally.”

After finishing college, he entered grad school for integrated media arts, was working two part-time internships, and commuting from Staten Island to New York City, all while running 20 to 30 miles a week. But his health continued to decline. Like many runners, he just pushed through—until he couldn’t anymore.

He knew there was a serious problem when a 5K in October of 2018 clocked in at about 30 minutes.

From there, his symptoms grew: enlarged and swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, and terrible pain in his abdomen.

“Everyone thought my appendix burst—I was walking around hunched over,” he says. “I thought I had gallstones or kidney stones.”

Eventually, he passed out, and when he came to, he phoned his dad to pick him up. They scheduled an emergency appointment with his general practitioner for the next morning.

“The doctor took a look at me for less than 15 seconds and was prodding my stomach. He asked, ‘Can you stop flexing?’ And I told him I wasn’t,” Carles says. “He basically said, ‘Uh oh, this might be a tumor.’

Carles was sent to the ER, where he had several X-rays, CT scans, and blood tests. What doctors found was devastating: a 7-pound tumor. It was eventually biopsied and came back with another blow. Carles had a very rare liver cancer called fibrolamellar heptocellular carcinoma, so rare that 1 in 5 million people get it.

In November 2018, he was sent to top cancer surgeons at NYU and Memorial Sloan Kettering. After more scans CT scans, they determined his cancer was stage 4, and had metastasized to the entire right side of his body, into his pancreas, stomach, pelvis, small intestine, and gallbladder. He was given three months to live.

“I was crying. I was with my brother, sister, parents, and uncle. We were all just so sad. What do you do with news like that? We decided to go for sushi, my favorite food,” he says. “When they tell you you’re going to die, it might as well be your favorite restaurant.”

Ultimately, his rare cancer meant that there wasn’t a known treatment, so his doctors started him on chemotherapy later that month.

He was losing weight every week, was always cold due to neuropathy—nerve damage in his hands and feet caused by chemotherapy—and was extremely weak. He used to be able to crank out 70 push-ups in a row, but could no longer do five.

But he still tried to keep running, though at a much lower intensity.

“To do a half-mile, it would take me 16 minutes,” he says

By the end of January 2019, scans showed that his chemo didn’t work at all, and his tumor had grown by 20 percent. He would soon be in liver failure.

It was time for another treatment option: Docs recommended a major surgery to remove the 7-pound tumor. Only one doctor had ever performed it before.

He received the 16-hour surgery on February 27, 2019. It was successful, though it left him with huge incisions across his abdomen, and battling major infections during an extended hospital stay.

It was during his recovery when he received a message of hope from another runner battling cancer who had a similar surgery: Gabe Grunewald.

“I had read her big article in The New York Times in 2017, and I saved it. At the time, I didn’t know I had liver cancer, but something subconsciously connected me to this article and to her. I taped it above my bed,” he says. “Fast forward to when I got sick, and this package comes to me from her. It was incredible.”

His friends had reached out to her to tell his story, and she wrote him a sweet letter in return, which he says meant more to him than anything in his battle.

“Her story was all about why she kept fighting—she had hope. It was really inspiring for me to get out of my hospital bed, do laps in the corridor. To try to walk up and down stairs,” he says. “And when I eventually got out but couldn’t run yet, to go on walks in the park and on my old running trails.”

Grunewald’s inspiration kept him going and motivated him to make his way back to running.

He worked with a physical therapist, who had Carles walk for two minutes, then run for 15 to 30 seconds. Eventually, he built up to running straight through, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Running is easier, but harder at same time now,” says Carles. “It’s easier for me to breathe, and I’m not getting sick anymore. But the surgery cut across muscle in my abs, so I don’t have the same core strength.”

Carles will start more chemo later this fall to try to get rid of the residual cancer in his lungs, lymph nodes, and pelvis. (His pancreas is now cancer-free.)

Besides running, he’s found enjoyment in swimming and riding his bike, which provides lower-impact cross-training. He tracks them all in Strava to keep tabs on his progress.

Throughout all of it, Carles has turned to running for his mental, physical, and spiritual health, and the progress has been encouraging to him. His times have been decreasing—he ran a 5K race in July under 31 minutes, which has dropped to an unofficial 25-minute performance since then—and he’s looking only to build upon that.

“My goal is to break 20 minutes in the 5K again,” he says. “My training is paying off. My body is weaker, but I dig deeper mentally. I close my eyes and just think about every staple being removed after my surgery. There were over 150 of them. I think about all the pain I had in the hospital, and just keep going.”

Carles is considered a terminal patient, but he is not letting that stop him from setting goals and pressing on.

“There are good days, and then there are we’ll call them medium days,” he says. “I’m just happy to be alive.”

Earlier this fall, he helped coach cross country at College of Staten Island High School and offered motivation to the kids and his friends and family.

“I’ve been challenging a lot of my friends and dragging my dad to Spin classes,” he says. “I joke with him, ‘You don’t want someone with stage 4 cancer to beat you, do you?’”

He’s still running, although it’s getting tougher.

“I ran a nice Veterans Day Fun Run in Staten Island with my brother David, and got second place for my age group,” he says. “Other than running, I have been doing a lot of research on my cancer, changed my diet to macrobiotics, and am trying to be the best-looking cancer patient there is.”

[From training tips, to fueling strategies, to improving the mind-body connection, the Runner's World 2020 Calendar will help you run your best all year long.]

And he keeps Gabe’s words close to him.

“Everyone has it bad, whether it be something emotional or physical, but that shouldn’t stop you. It didn’t stop Gabe. She kept doing her thing. No excuses,” he says.

He credits running as a reason to keep fighting.

“It’s helping to keep me alive—me scheduling races is extending my life even more,” he says. “I plan to run the NYC Marathon in 2020 or 2021. I’m gonna make sure I make it.”

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Female footballer stabbed to death by another woman after fight over mobile phone

A member of Jamaica's women's national football team has been stabbed to death in a fight over a mobile phone, police have revealed.  

Tarania Clarke, 20, midfielder for Jamaican club, Waterhouse, was knifed when fighting with another woman in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, Jamaica. 

The stabbing of Clarke, who goes by the nickname Plum Plum, occurred at around 8:50pm Thursday night. 

Clarke was taken to hospital where she later died. 

Officials said the unidentified woman has been detained.

The 20-year-old was the captain of Waterhouse FC in the local Women's Premier League and represented Jamaica in October in the Caribbean leg of the Olympic Qualifiers.   

In a statement, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) said: 'The Jamaica Football Federation is lost for words in expressing its profoundest sadness at the passing of Tarania... The JFF family expresses condolences to the Waterhouse FC; her family; her friends and her colleagues at the senior team.'

'The JFF must give as much support as we can during this time of bereavement to her mother and close friends.'

They described the midfielder as being referred to as 'quiet and warm' by her coaches and managers. 

She recently became set on improving her skills and was planning to go abroad to study in 2020, the JFF added.    

The 20-year-old was the captain of Waterhouse FC in the local Women's Premier League and represented Jamaica in October in the Caribbean leg of the Olympic Qualifiers.   

In a statement, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) said: 'The Jamaica Football Federation is lost for words in expressing its profoundest sadness at the passing of Tarania... The JFF family expresses condolences to the Waterhouse FC; her family; her friends and her colleagues at the senior team.'

'The JFF must give as much support as we can during this time of bereavement to her mother and close friends.'

They described the midfielder as being referred to as 'quiet and warm' by her coaches and managers. 

She recently became set on improving her skills and was planning to go abroad to study in 2020, the JFF added.  

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Wow, This man is running 84km every week to represent the number of male suicides

James Martin has struggled with mental illness for large parts of his life, and now he wants to take his own experiences and turn them into something more positive. James will be running 84km every week to represent the 84 British men who take their lives each week. That’s 12km every day – and the aim is to get people talking and raise vital funds with Mo Running. Last year, James ran 6km a day for Movember to start vital conversations about men’s health – especially mental health, and he was shocked by how much impact that had. Now he wants to take it a step further. ‘On these runs, I got talking to people and was amazed about how much more people (especially men) were able to open up when we were shoulder to shoulder rather than face to face. ‘I spoke to more than 75 people last year and I wanted to do it again. I had found a way to connect with people on this topic and I wanted to use the opportunity while I could. ‘Men are very bad at opening up and I wanted to raise awareness that there are ways to help them do this; be in situations where they are more comfortable, such as exercise, and by “reaching in” and asking them the right questions.’ James says that he almost became a statistic when he was at his lowest in 2010.

He considered taking his own life. So he know exactly how hopeless things can feel, and why support and resources are so crucial. ‘I have been there and I know how hard it is and the pain that goes along with it,’ says James. ‘In my darkest hour, tortured by my feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy and loneliness I did not think that I could talk to anyone, including my wife and family because I “knew” that it would be proof that I was not a man and that I was just a weak, good for nothing, less-than-human. ‘I had worked out my suicide plan and it was only through good fortune and the intervention of my wife, family and a brilliant GP, that I am still here today. ‘I am now in the very fortunate position of being able to tell my story to raise awareness and hopefully persuade those in a similar situation to ask for help as well as friends to check in on their mates if they think something is wrong.’

Last year saw a 13% increase in male suicide and there is still a significant stigma attached to mental ill-health. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, and under-funding for mental health services leaves those with illnesses facing huge waiting times. ‘This has to change and we need to get parity between physical and mental health, says James. ‘We have no problem saying that we are going to see a physiotherapist if we have injured a muscle, but how many of us would freely admit to seeing a psychotherapist when we have a problem in our brain? James thinks the tiredness and physical exhaustion is going to be the hardest part of his challenge, but he knows the mental side will be tough too. ‘Last year, with 6km a day, was hard but this is double the distance every day. I started running two years ago and now run around four times a week, so it is going to be a big step up. ‘I am training, so I feel good at this stage. However, I know it is going to be tough. ‘The mental side is also going to be hard. Most of the runs are going to be at work or at home, and there are only a small amount of routes to take so it may be a little monotonous at times. ‘Added to that is the fact that I am not a social runner, as I use running as my headspace and mindfulness. It gives me peace and a time where I can escape my ever chattering brain. ‘During the challenge, I am going to be running with people and talking with them. It is a challenge for me. ‘The good thing though is that I will be talking to people about a subject that is important and that in itself will give me solace. It may be that one of those conversations will help someone realise that it is OK and good to talk.’ James is hoping that his epic month of running will raise awareness about male mental health and help people feel empowered to get the help they need. ‘I want to stop anyone feeling as I did for much of my life; unable to talk because they do not believe anyone is interested or wants to help,’ explains James. ‘I want to get people talking about this; mates talking to mates, husbands and wives talking to their significant men, sons and daughters speaking to their dads, and dads talking to their children, colleagues checking in on each other at work and teammates putting bravado aside.’

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Jacquez Welch, 17, from St Petersburg, Florida, collapsed

A high school football player in Florida is fighting for his life after he collapsed in the middle of a game. 

Jacquez Welch, a senior and team captain at Northeast High School in St Petersburg, was on the field playing against Osceola High School on Friday night.

Welch and his teammates tackled an opposing player, but he was the only one that didn't get up, reported WFTS.

He was rushed to Bayfront Health - six miles away - where doctors discovered he had a pre-existing condition that caused severe bleeding in his brain after a tangle of blood vessels burst.

The 17-year-old is now on life support and his medical team says they're unsure if he will recover. 

It comes just weeks after another player on Northeast's football team was shot and killed while riding his bike. 

Welch's mother, Marcia Nelson, told WFTS that she was watching the game in the stands when the incident occurred.

She didn't know the situation was serious until one of his coaches told her to come onto the field.  

'There's nothing anyone could have done to prevent this,' she told the station.

'The doctors told me this would have happened whether he was on the field playing or not...It's unfair. Why him?'

Welch was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which occurs when there is a tangle of blood vessels with abnormal connections between arteries and veins.

Normally, arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain, while veins carry oxygen-low blood away from the brain and towards the heart. 

But, with AVM, bloods flows very quickly and directly from the arteries to the veins, bypassing normal brain tissue.  

This can cause the small blood vessels to dilate over time and potentially burst due to the high pressure of blood flow from the arteries.

The cause of AVMs is unknown, but it believed to occur during fetal development, 

Brain AVMs are estimated to occur in less than one percent of the general population, and affect mostly males, according to the American Stroke Association.

There is no cure and treatment consists of controlling symptoms and preventing complications such as hemorrhaging. 

After Northeast won 41-0, the entire team reportedly visited Welch in the ICU.  

'Jacquez is such an incredible kid,' his coach, Jeremy Frioud, told the Tampa Bay Times. 'He does everything right. Everyone is praying for him. He needs a miracle.'

Frioud told the newspaper that Welch has good grades - a 4.0 GPA - and received his first scholarship offer to play football at Concordia College in Minnesota.  

The coach has also organized a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of Welch's medical bills.

As of Monday afternoon, more than $7,000 has been raised out of a $10,000 goal.

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'I thought he was going to kill me': Grandmother relives horror moment she was set upon by a stranger armed with a metal baseball bat in a carpark

She said she owed her survival to a hero couple who rushed to her aid and stopped the man from beating her to death.  

Ms Thorning used her arm to protect herself and her camera gear, which she had been carrying.  

'It was so hard I actually heard the metal hitting my bone and bouncing off,' she said.

'He was just swinging it and swinging it. I thought ''Oh my God, my camera gear. It's going to go".'  

She was taken to Royal Perth Hospital and now faces a long road to recovery.  

Ms Thorning was heading towards the park's nature trail to take photographs, when a man in a car pulled up beside her.

The thug jumped out of the car and started beating her. 

Jimmy Hinch, one of the heroes, said he saw a man dragging Ms Thorning by her leg while she was holding her camera equipment. 

'I ran around the side of me car and grabbed me a stick ... and Kim sort of got Heather away,' the 32-year-old said. 

The attacker sped off after Mr Hinch and his partner came to save Ms Thorning.  

The man police are looking for in relation to the attack is described to be aged between 34-45 years old, 180cm tall with an Australian accent. 

He was unshaven, wore khaki coloured pants and sped off in a red four-door sedan, similar to a Subaru Impreza. 

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Fabio Paim, the player Cristiano Ronaldo said was better than him, has been arrested

"If you think I'm good, just wait until you see Fabio Paim."

They were Cristiano Ronaldo’s words upon his arrival at Manchester United in 2003.

The future five-time Ballon d’Or winner had just signed for United from Sporting but believed there was an even bigger talent at the Portuguese club.

But while Ronaldo went on to become one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen, things haven’t quite gone to plan for Paim.

He was being scouted by the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid at the age of 14 and, at the age of 19, joined Chelsea on-loan under Luiz Filipe Scolari.

But he failed to break into the first-team at Stamford Bridge, making a handful of reserve appearances during his four months in west London.

And it was the start of a downward spiral for Paim.

He had unsuccessful loan spells at Rio Ave and Real Massama before he was released from Sporting in 2010.

He signed for Portuguese third division side S.C.U Torreense, making three appearances before leaving.

In the following eight years, he played in seven counties - China, Angola, Malta, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Qatar and Brazil.

But Paim just couldn’t justify Ronaldo’s comments from 2003.

Sixteen years on, the former wonderkid has now been arrested on suspicion of 'drugs trafficking', according to Portuguese paper Correio da Manha.

Police reportedly found 12 grams of cocaine, weighing scales, 900 euros and a BMW whilst searching the house searches following his arrest.

The police confirmed a man aged 31 and a woman aged 43 had been arrested on suspicion of drugs trafficking - and a number of Portuguese newspapers identified the man as Fabio Paim, who is said to have been under investigation for months.

Oh dear.

Two years ago, Paim gave an interview blaming his fall from grace on the lack of support he received.

“I often trained with the first team but I didn’t play," he said.

“I wanted to play. I felt I could do more. Jorge Mendes took me to Chelsea. I was getting good money and he had a player at the club and that was good for everyone.

“If it had been today I would have had more patience. But at the time, the more free time I had, the more stupid things I did.”

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I Have Two (2) Sons - They Will Play For Ghana If They Follow In My Footsteps - Michael Essien

Michael Essien has revealed his sons will choose Ghana over any nation if they follow his career path in future. 

The 36-year-old has two sons with wife Akosua Puni Essien.
The Chelsea legend, who is in South Africa on an ambassadorial role for giants American beverage company Budweiser, has revealed his two sons will choose his native country if they decide to play football in future.

"I have two sons actually. Why not? Their father comes from Ghana. So they will play for Ghana,"  he told South Africa based

"We have to wait and see. They are very young at the moment. And I don't even know if they want to play football. We just have to wait and see."

Essien, who is currently serving as player-coach at  Azerbaijani Sabail FK, has enjoyed an illustrious career playing for top clubs in Europe including Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan.

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Male basketball star banned two years after drug test revealed he was pregnant

An American basketball player was suspended after an attempt to cheat at a urine drug test backfired spectacularly ­– revealing he was pregnant.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) banned Donell “DJ” Cooper Jr, a 28-year-old point guard who last played for AS Monaco, for two years for “fraud” after a urine sample was found to contain a hormone commonly associated with pregnancy.

Cooper, a Chicago native and former college standout, had gone undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft but developed a successful pro career in Europe.

He played in Greece and Russia before landing with AS Monaco and tallied several accolades during his European years – including being named Most Valuable Player of the French basketball league (French Pro A) in 2017.

But Cooper suddenly announced in September 2018 that he would leave AS Monaco for “family reasons”.

“I decided to take a step back from basketball and terminate my contract […] for family reasons,” he said in a farewell statement released by the club.

“At the moment, my mind and concentration are not on basketball and I don’t want to be a source of disruption for the team … this team that I love, this team that represents the extraordinary Principality of Monaco that gave me unique life experience.

“This team represents a professional organisation led by invested, passionate and rigorous people.

I wish my teammates and coaches the maximum success.”

But FIBA recently revealed what hid behind the “family reasons”.

Cooper had applied for Bosnian citizenship in 2014 and was looking to join the Bosnian national basketball team as a naturalised player, for which he had to undergo a drug test.

His urine sample revealed unusually high levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone (hCG), a hormone that is commonly produced by cells in the placenta during pregnancy and can be detected by blood and urine tests some two weeks after conception. 

FIBA suspended Cooper on the spot and he won’t be cleared to play again until 24 June 2020.

A FIBA spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that the sanction started in June 2018 and that Mr Cooper was suspended for “fraud”.

Slovenia’s national broadcaster RTV reported that Cooper submitted his girlfriend’s sample to the drug test, but FIBA declined to confirm or deny the claim and said it would not release any further information or make any comment about the case.


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Kevin-Prince Boateng bids Sassuolo emotional farewell after Fiorentina switch

Ghana forward Kevin-Prince Boateng has bid an emotional farewell to US Sassuolo after completing a move to AC Fiorentina in the ongoing transfer window.

The 32-year-old enjoyed a stellar six months at Sassuolo last term after joining as a free-agent from German side Eintracht Frankfurt.

Boateng left the Neroverdi to join FC Barcelona on loan during the January transfer window but failed to glitter.

The Ghana international returned to the Mapei Stadium after the loan spell but was told to look for a new club after coach Roberto De Zerbi made it clear to him that he is not in his plans ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Boateng left the club to join AC Fiorentina on a two-year deal worth €1 million.

The former AC Milan and Tottenham attacker took to his Instagram page to bid farewell to Sassuolo after completing the move in Wednesday.

"It ends today with a wonderful experience. I want to thank all my friends and companions, all the people who work every day to make this company really special. I thank Giorgio Squinzi and his wife Adriana, the CEO Giovanni Carnevali and the DS Giovanni Rossi for their availability and professionalism.”

“Thanks to Mister De Zerbi, it was a privilege to work together with a great coach like him, with whom I created an indelible relationship that goes beyond football.”

“Finally I want to thank all the fans #neroverdi for the affection received, I will take you forever with me! Sassuolo Calcio.”

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Bruno Fernandes Breaks Down In Tears After Sporting's Game Amid Manchester United Speculation

Fernandes was reduced to tears after Sporting CP's last pre-season game, and his actions immediately sent United Twitter into meltdown.

"Bruno Fernandes crying after tonight's game. Hey @ManUtd your move now," one Twitter user wrote. 

A second tweeted: "Bruno Fernandes cried at the end of the match between #Sporting and #Valencia tonight. Goodbye?"

A third added: "Fernandes crying tonight. This could be his last game for Sporting and United bound."

While another said: "This €62M 'agreement' with #mufc could have some truth. Farewell game for Fernandes?" 

Well, Sporting manager Marcel Keizer is hoping the 24-year-old attacker remains in Portugal but he's unsure whether he'll continue to ply his trade for the club.

"We hope to keep Bruno Fernandes but I don't know at this moment," he said after his side's defeat to Valencia.

It has been claimed that a £63 million agreement has been reached with Sporting for Fernandes.

Reports suggest the player is ready to land in Manchester to undergo a medical before completing a summer transfer.

Fernandes enjoyed a prolific campaign last season. He weighed in with an impressive 31 goals and 17 assists in 50 games from midfield.

Manchester City have also been strongly linked with Fernandes though it appears their cross-town rivals are on the verge of securing his services.

It remains to be seen whether Fernandes will be a replacement for Paul Pogba, who continues to attract interest from Real Madrid.

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Arsenal lead birthday cheers for Papilo Nwankwo Kanu

Arsenal Football Club on Thursday led the chorus of ‘happy birthday’ cheers for Nigeria international and former captain, Nwankwo Kano, fondly called Papilo.

The gangling striker, who is almost 6feet 6inch tall, who was among the seven African soccer legends named in June as AFCON ambassadors by CAF clocked 43 today.

Kanu opened the floodgate of greetings and celebration when he announced on Twitter that he has clocked yet another year.

“Another year. I thank God for this day. I will keep working for others”, he wrote.

Arsenal tweeted: “Happy 43rd to you @papilokanu”. Kanu spent five years with Arsenal(1999-2004) scoring 37 goals in 119 appearances.

Kanu was born in Owerri, Imo state.


He began his footballing career with Iwuanyanwu Nationale in 1992, and then went on to play for Ajax Amsterdam,(1993-1996) where he won the UEFA Champions League in 1995, Inter Milan(1996-1999), Arsenal(1999-2004), West Brom(2004-2006) and Portsmouth(2006-2012).

He is arguably one of the most decorated Nigerian footballers. He was among the Nigerian youth team that won the World Cup in Japan in 1993. He was also in the Olympic team that won gold in Atlanta in 1996. He was named African Footballer of the Year same year. He won the award again in 1999.

One of his best known charitable work was the Kanu Heart Foundation, borne out of his own career-threatening heart ailment that required some corrective surgery. At Inter Milan, Kanu underwent a medical examination which revealed a serious heart defect; he underwent surgery in November 1996 to replace an aortic valve and did not return to his club until April 1997.

At Arsenal, Kanu won the 2003 FA Cup with Arsenal. Along with other famous players, such as Henry and Robert Pires, Kanu is a member of the “Invincibles”, the Arsenal side that finished the 2003–04 season of the Barclays Premier League undefeated.

Arsenal were not the only people remembering their ‘invincible’. There were others as well.

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Kidnappers of Siasia’s mother demand N70m ransom

The kidnappers of the mother of former Super Eagles striker and coach, Beauty Siasia have established contact with Samson Siasia and demanded for N70 million to before they could release the woman.

Reports had it that Sisia had spoken with his mother and two others abducted from their homes in Odoni community in Sagbama Local Government Area Bayelsa State by gunmen.

It was gathered that one of the gunmen reportedly called Siasia with a foreign number, and asked for asked for N70m for the release of his 76-year-old mother.

Siasia’s mother was first abducted in November 2015 and was released 12 days after a ransom was paid.

The 76-year-old woman was kidnapped again two days ago by unidentified armed men from her home in Odoni, Sagbama Local Council of Bayelsa State.

Mr. Dennis, the younger brother to Samson Siasia, who confirmed the abduction of their 76-year-old mother, said the kidnappers whisked away their aged mother without taking along her Blood Pressure (BP) drugs and mobile phone.

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Barcelona Superstar Lionel Messi 'Attacked' in Night Club

There was pandemonium at a night club in Ibiza as Barcelona and Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi was reportedly attacked by an unknown person during a party. The incident occurred in the late hours of Sunday, July 28, 2019. 


The footballer has been holidaying in Ibiza with his wife Antonela Roccuzzo, 31, and their three children;Thiago, 6, Mateo, 3, and Ciro, 1, as well as some of his teammates. 

In viral videos online, the striker was seen as he was being escorted away from the attacker as people gathered around the scene. It is unclear what prompted the incident, and there is no suggestion if Messi did anything wrong to spark the drama during his night out on the Spanish island.

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Kwabena Owusu exposes Sports Ministry over $80k appearance fee

Ghanaian attacker, Kwabena Owusu has stated categorically that none of his teammates received $80,000 as appearance fee at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament but rather $20,000.

One of the stories that came up during the AFCON in Egypt was that the Stars were paid an amount of $80,000 as appearance fee but the player who was speaking on GHOne TV monitored by said that the players received $20,000 instead of the speculated amount of $80,000.

“I was shocked when I heard the rumour that we received $80,000 as an appearance fee. We did not get $80,000 as appearance fee, our appearance fee was $20,000” he said.

According to him, though they were eliminated from the AFCON they were eager to bring AFCON trophy to Ghana saying they didn’t play with the heart of Ghanaians.

He said, “Black Stars Players have received a lot of insults from Ghanaians after the AFCON tournament because Ghanaians lack knowledge about football.”

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Former Black Stars goalkeeper ‘Olele’ arrested at East Legon tunnel

A former Black Stars goalkeeper and current goalkeeper trainer Richard Kingston also know as Olele has been arrested together with 21 errant drivers at the East Legon tunnel as part of CITI TV’s war against indiscipline campaign.

One would have expected that since the Police has already held operations in this area, residents would be more law-abiding.

Also caught in the web was the driver of a V8 with a Commissioner whose identity isn’t immediately known.

The impounded vehicles have been sent to the East Legon police station while 18 of the errant drivers have been processed for the Abeka motor court this morning for their various offences.

ASP Simon Tenku of the Police Public Affairs Directorate spoke to CITI News after today’s operations said most of the drivers implicated today were neglecting the road mappings.

“Today we didn’t get a lot of people driving on the shoulder, most of the drivers were just neglecting the road mapping and using the wrong directions and I am also glad that today we didn’t get a lot of uniform persons to compare to the last time we were here which is an improvement and we are happy about that and so far we have arrest 21 drivers process 18 for court today,” he said.

On Tuesday, Some security officials, including police, customs and military officials, were arrested for breaching various traffic regulations at East Legon.

These officials were among those who were arrested by the police team that is part of the War Against Indiscipline campaign.

The leadership of the Ghana Police has cautioned officers in the Service to desist from breaking traffic regulations under the guise of “emergency” situations.

According to an internal memo from the police which was sighted by, any police officer found flouting any of the traffic laws will be sanctioned.

The Police Service in the memo also warned the officers that video recordings of any violation will be shared with the general public.

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A boxer who kissed a female reporter

Kubrat Pulev, a Bulgarian heavyweight boxer who kissed a female reporter on the lips while she was interviewing him in the ring last March, was unanimously cleared to fight again by members of the California State Athletic Commission, which warned that another offense would bring a lifetime ban from North American competition.

Jennifer Ravalo, a Vegas Sports Daily contributor who uses the byline Jenny SuShe, was conducting a video interview after Pulev’s heavyweight victory over Bogdan Dinu in Costa Mesa when he reached for her face and planted a kiss on her lips. She also alleged that he groped her. Although she smiled as she wrapped up the interview, Ravalo called for his suspension, saying at the time that she was “immediately shocked and embarrassed and I did not know how to respond.”

Video of the incident was widely quickly shared and Pulev apologized during Monday’s hearing in San Diego.

“I’m very sorry for this kiss,” the 38-year-old fighter said (via Reuters). “And I must to say to Ms. Ravalo, please, excuse me and sorry for the kiss, because it was my mistake, 100 percent.”

Pulev, who was suspended in May for six months for conduct considered a “discredit to boxing,” also was fined $2,500 and ordered to attend a sexual harassment awareness course. In lifting the punishment, one commissioner told Pulev to “continue to learn from this please, sir, and talk about it to others. We could use your help on that.” Pulev can now reapply for his license, but further offenses will bring a lifetime ban from fighting in North America, the commission said.

“It’s disappointing he didn’t do the full six months,” Ravalo told the New York Daily News. “I don’t know if he’s really sorry. I won’t know until I see how he acts.”

To fulfill the training requirement, Pulev and his managers, based in Las Vegas, contacted UNLV and he participated in a Women in Journalism panel July 3 at the school’s UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. “I knew before the incident,” Pulev said (via the Las Vegas Sun). “I knew this is a mistake. I know this. But I did it because I was happy and very excited. But this is not an excuse for what I did. I do it, and now I understand that while I am happy and I do something happy, for the other side this is maybe not happy, not so funny.”

The fighter whose nickname is The Cobra had just improved to 27-1 with the biggest victory of his career when the incident occurred. In May, he called Ravalo a friend and tweeted about what he said was “the most commented kiss in the world.” “The reporter, Jenny, is actually a friend of mine and after the interview, I was so elated, I gave her a kiss,” he tweeted. “Later that night, she joined me and my other friends at my post-fight celebration. On the video, after our kiss, we both laughed about it and thanked each other. There really is nothing more to this.”

Ravalo denied that friendship during a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred in May. “I was immediately shocked and embarrassed, and didn’t know how to respond. Next, I walked to the table to put my items in my backpack. He grabbed both of my buttocks and squeezed with both of his hands,” she said in a statement at the time. “Then he walked away without saying anything to me and laughed.

“It made me feel uncomfortable and frustrated that Kubrat Pulev would treat me in such an unprofessional manner. I did not encourage or consent to Mr. Pulev grabbing my face, kissing me, or grabbing my backside. I was there at the event covering the boxing match as a professional member of the press. Kissing a woman on her lips without her consent and grabbing her is not acceptable.”

Ravalo, whose bio on the Vegas Sports Daily website describes her as “web host, contributor, writer and sushi chef,” said she had not met Pulev before the weigh-in on the eve of the fight, but said she did attend the post-fight party because it gave her “an opportunity to interview more fighters” and interacted with Pulev.

“He acted like nothing happened but later at the party he asked me to remove the kiss from the interview [video],” Ravalo said. “I did not remove it and instead posted it because I wanted people to see what he had done to me. I wanted him to be accountable. I didn’t want him to get away with it.

“What he did to me was disgusting. I felt humiliated. No woman should be treated this way. Mr. Pulev and I were not friends and we were not in a romantic relationship. He had no right to kiss me.”

In a statement to CNN in March, the CSAC said that Pulev had been “notified that, before he will be licensed to fight in California again, he must appear in front of the commission and demonstrate that he conforms to this principle of respect.” By a 6-0 vote, the commissioners determined he had done so. “This was a good learning experience,” Pulev said during the seminar. “I think my mistake can help people learn not to do this. This is a big mistake. Now people can speak about it.”

Since the incident, Ravalo, who attended the hearing, said she has been bullied online and falsely accused by Pulev’s agent, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. In an iFL TV clip posted in June on YouTube, he claimed she had been “fooling around” with Pulev during training and “acting as his semi-girlfriend.” He also claimed that video showed Ravalo giving a lapdance to a member of Pulev’s group during the post-fight party. Allred called that “blatantly false” and noted that both the fighter and Ravalo told the commission that they met the day before the Dinu fight. Arum, who noted in the interview that he has daughters and granddaughters and is “sensitive to real sexual harassment,” has not commented since Monday’s decision by the CSAC.

“Mr. Arum cares little about sexual harassment at all,” Ravalo told the commission before the vote, citing his recent comment that he did not believe “that a 6-foot-4, 250-pound boxer grabbing the face of a 5-foot-2 reporter and forcibly kissing her with his bloody mouth was sexual harassment. I would like to see if he would think differently if a large, bloody man did the same to him without his consent.”

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