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Derrick Rose ‘thankful that the jury understood and agreed with me,’ ready to move on

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors cleared NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends Wednesday in a lawsuit that accused them of gang raping his ex-girlfriend when she was incapacitated from drugs or alcohol.

The jury reached the verdict in federal court in Los Angeles after hearing dramatically different accounts of the August 2013 sexual encounter.

Rose says he’s thankful that the jury rejected the lawsuit.

He said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was important to prove he did not do what he was accused of, even though he had to share private details of his personal life.

“I am thankful that the jury understood and agreed with me,” his statement said. “This experience and my sensitivity to it was deep. I am ready to put this behind me and focus on my family and career.”

Neither side denied the three men had sex with the woman, but the issue was whether she consented or was too intoxicated to do so.

Defense lawyers tarred the woman as a liar who tried to sway jurors through her tears to get at Rose’s fortune. They claimed she was angry he had dumped her and she set him up and brought the lawsuit in hopes of a big payoff.

The woman’s lawyer called the men “sexual deviants” and says they conspired to gang rape her after she was drunk and incapable of consenting to sex.

The woman, who became emotional and trembled while testifying, had sought $21.5 million when she filed suit, but her attorney did not put a price on the case Tuesday during closing arguments, saying it was up to the jury.

Rose’s lawyer said the future of the Knicks point guard and his whole family was at stake because of a morals clause in his player contract and an endorsement deal with Adidas.

Attorney Mark Baute urged jurors to recognize the suit as a “hoax and a joke” and not even award $20 because that could destroy Rose’s career and trigger financial ruin for the star and the extended family and friends he had pulled out of poverty from Chicago’s south side with his talent on the court.

Lawyers sparred for nearly three hours during the bitter closing arguments.

The woman’s lawyer said the 30-year-old college student was not a gold digger and was seeking accountability for what was morally and legally wrong.

He said the men had never apologized or shown any remorse and said their behavior was reprehensible enough to trigger punitive damages beyond any compensation.

“The three men laughed their way home,” attorney Waukeen McCoy said.

The defense portrayed Rose and his childhood pals, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton, who both work for him, as victims in the case and the lawyers mocked the woman’s lies and demeanor on the witness stand.

“This woman has tried to trick people through much of her life, men especially,” attorney Michael Monico said. “Who is she trying to trick in this courtroom, ladies and gentlemen? You. She doesn’t have any evidence, but she can cry.”

The Associated Press does not generally name people who say they are victims of sex crimes.

Rose, 28, was traded to New York this year after spending seven seasons in his native Chicago, where he won Rookie of the Year honors with the Bulls and was the youngest player to be awarded MVP in 2011.

He has been plagued with knee injuries the past few seasons and is in the final year of a five-year deal that will pay him $21.3 million

Report: NBA ‘snitch’ hotline receiving multiple tips

NBA snitch hotline
Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
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When the NBA created a hotline for players to anonymously report violations inside the bubble, numerous questions emerged. How often would it get used? What consequences would told-on players face? Would other players resent how often Chris Paul called?

Some answers are emerging.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Kings center Richaun Holmes and Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo are each quarantined after breaking protocols. It’s unclear how their violations were detected.

Yes, there is a culture against snitching. That this report is snitching about snitching is truly something.

But there’s too much at stake – health of hundreds of people and a lot of money – to take these protocols lightly. Everyone at the NBA’s Disney World campus is entrusting their safety (and, for players, whose salaries are tied to revenue, livelihood) to those around them. It’s important everyone involved acts responsibly.

Kings forward Harrison Barnes tests positive for coronavirus

Kings forward Harrison Barnes
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The Kings have been hit especially hard by coronavirus.

Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len all tested positive. Richaun Holmes is quarantined after violating the NBA’s bubble protocols at Disney World.

And now Harrison Barnes reveals he was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Harrison Barnes:

Presumably, Barnes was among the 19 players the NBA announced tested positive for coronavirus in July in home markets.

“Primarily asymptomatic” is a strange assessment. Does Barnes mean he’s mildly symptomatic?

The Kings already faced an uphill climb for making the playoffs. At best, several of their players are falling behind in training. At worst, Sacramento will have its rotation depleted when games begin.

Hopefully, Barnes recovers and joins the team as he hopes. He has a personal stake in it. Even during the lengthy hiatus, Barnes stuck with his pledge not to shave or cut his hair until the Kings reach .500 (or, as he amended it, make the playoffs) or the season ends.

Report: Pacers star Victor Oladipo’s remaining salary in dispute

Pacers star Victor Oladipo
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Among the continuing 22 NBA teams, players not playing in the resumption at Disney World essentially fall into two categories:

Pacers star Victor Oladipo lands in the gray area.

Oladipo, who returned from a year-long absence shortly before the season got suspended in March, said he was sitting out due to elevated risk of injury during a quick buildup. But he also traveled with the team to Orlando and is even practicing so well, Indiana is reportedly becoming increasingly optimistic he’ll play.

Is Oladipo healthy enough to play?

At stake for Oladipo:

  • $2,763,158 if the Pacers get swept in the first round
  • $2,993,421 if they play exactly five playoff games
  • $3,223,684 if they play six or more playoff games

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

The union believes Oladipo, who went to Orlando with the Pacers and then cleared quarantine so he could practice, should be paid his remaining salary, sources said.

The league, largely in an effort to set a precedent in case other players who are deemed healthy want to leave Orlando and no longer play, believes Oladipo has opted out and should not be paid, sources said. His public comments about feeling healthy has only solidified the league’s position on the matter, sources said.

The Pacers support Oladipo’s decision and are willing to pay him the salary whether he plays or not, sources said.

Presumably, if Oladipo plays, he’ll get paid like anyone else playing in the resumption. This controversy lingers only if Oladipo doesn’t play.

It’s unsurprising the Pacers don’t want to pick this fight with their star player, especially as he approaches 2021 free agency. Trying to avoid alienating their own players but not necessarily eager to pay for services not rendered, teams collectively want the league to handle these issues.

If teams had ample discretion, the Wizards might have said Davis Bertans – who chose to sit out – had some lingering injury. NBA players are rarely perfectly healthy. There’s always some physical issue to point to. Bertans will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and they want to re-sign him. What an easy way to build goodwill – and maybe even get a discount on Bertans’ next contract.

Obviously, the league doesn’t want those type of shenanigans. That’s why on outside rulings on players’ health can be important.

Oladipo might not be the only borderline case:

Oladipo’s situation might take care of itself if he decides to play. But the league might inquire more deeply into other situations.

Report: Rockets star James Harden ‘feeling fine,’ might travel with Russell Westbrook

Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook
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When Russell Westbrook revealed he had coronavirus, speculation immediately turned to the Rockets’ other star who also didn’t travel with the team to Disney World.

James Harden is “feeling fine,” working out and might travel with Westbrook to Orlando, according to Shams Charania of Stadium:

Was Harden also diagnosed with coronavirus? Is he just waiting for his friend before entering the restrictive bubble? Is there another issue?

These questions beget even more questions.

If both players have coronavirus, they won’t necessarily recover on the same day. Would the first to get cleared wait for the other? Or is traveling together just an idea in case it works out?

If Harden is fully healthy and just waiting for Westbrook, how do their teammates inside the bubble feel about that? Those already at Disney World are spending more time away from friends and family in less-than-ideal conditions.

If there’s another issue… who knows?

The lack of transparency around the situation only invites rumors and guesses.

At least it’s good news that Harden feels fine.