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    Herbert Stempel, a fall guy and whistleblower of early television whose confession to deliberately losing on a 1950s quiz show helped drive a national scandal and join his name in history to winning contestant Charles Van Doren, has died age 93. Stempel's former wife, Ethel Stempel, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he died at a New York nursing home on April 7. She cited no specific cause of death. Stempel’s long life was changed and defined by a TV face-off late in 1956, when he and Van Doren smoothly executed a fraudulent display of knowledge, gaps in knowledge and sportsmanship on “Twenty-One,” part of a wave of programs that offered big prizes for trivia experts. Confessions by Stempel and others badly tainted the young medium, helped lead to Congress’ banning what had been technically legal — rigging game shows — and to the cancellation of “Twenty-One” among others. Interest was revived by the 1994 movie “Quiz Show,” directed by Robert Redford and starring John Turturro as Stempel and Ralph Fiennes as Van Doren, who died last year. The undoing of “Twenty-One” was set off by declining ratings, and a producer’s refusal to uphold a dirty bargain. Stempel, born in New York City and the son of Jewish immigrants, would boast of a “retentive memory” that had made him a quiz show star since childhood and a natural for “Twenty-One.” Hosted by Jack Barry, the program placed two contestants in isolation booths on opposite sides of the stage and challenged them on everything from modern sports to Civil War history. Stempel, identified by Barry as a 29-year-old G.I. Bill college student from Queens, had prevailed for six straight weeks and accumulated $69,500. But audiences were apparently bored and advertisers worried. Producer Dan Enright’s solution was to have Stempel lose to a more charismatic opponent, Van Doren, scion of a prominent scholarly family and himself a rising star at Columbia University. Stempel later said he agreed when Enright promised to make him a question consultant for “Twenty-One,” get him an appearance on “The Steve Allen Show” and allow him to compete on a future quiz program. Stempel and Van Doren were an obvious contrast: The fair-haired and handsome Van Doren, and the relatively plain Stempel, a stocky, dark-haired man with glasses and a flat, nasally accent. Each duly played their parts: looking down, blinking nervously, wiping their foreheads and pretending to think out loud as they responded to such challenges as “Name the three heavyweight champions immediately preceding Joe Louis” and “Name the second, third, fourth, and fifth wives of Henry VIII and describes their fates.” Stempel retained a wry sense of humor, responding “They all died” when asked about Henry VIII’s wives. But one wrong answer was personally painful: Which movie received the Oscar for best picture in 1955? As Stempel would explain, he knew the winner was “Marty,” the low-key drama starring Ernest Borgnine. He had seen it three times and related to its story of a lonely butcher in New York City. But he was told to guess “On the Waterfront,” the Oscar winner of 1954, and a film, ironically, about a boxer who throws a fight. With tens of millions looking on, Stempel muttered “I don’t remember” three times, shook his head and weakly guessed, “On the Waterfront?” Upon Van Doren’s eventual victory, the contestants smiled and shook hands at center stage. Stempel, who still had nearly $50,000 in winnings, thanked Barry and the show’s staff for their “kindness” and “courtesy.” Barry in turn praised Stempel’s “courage” and “fighting spirit.” Van Doren would continue winning for months, and was celebrated in a Time magazine cover story as “TV’s own health-restoring antidote to (Elvis the Pelvis) Presley.” Stempel, meanwhile, found himself shut out entirely. He would acknowledge his decision to speak out wasn’t a matter of conscience, but revenge. When he tried to get back in touch with Enright, he realized that the producer no longer was interested. “He just completely forgot I ever existed,” Stempel later told the Archive of American Television. “He had a picture of Charles Van Doren in his office when I walked in there and all he could do was praise Charles Van Doren, tell me what a great contestant is.” Stempel’s public declarations were initially dismissed, but as contestants on other shows made similar statements, authorities began to take action. A grand jury was convened in New York in 1958 and Congressional hearings began the following year, with Stempel and Van Doren both testifying and acknowledging their complicity. Van Doren, who had no further comment on the scandal until a 2009 essay in The New Yorker, was among those given suspended sentences for lying to the grand jury. Stempel would endure being “treated like a pariah” by his relatives and losing much of his prize money in an investment scam. For years, he lived quietly in Queens with his second wife, Ethel (his first wife, Toby, died in 1980), working as an office manager, public school teacher and on the litigation support unit of the New York City Department of Transportation. He reemerged as a public figure in the 1990s, when “Twenty-One” was featured in a Julian Krainin documentary and in Redford’s movie, for which Stempel served as a consultant. He would say “Quiz Show” distorted his life and personality. “I was a little miffed at the portrayal. I was showed to be a nerd, a square and a hyper little guy,” he told the Television Academy archive, remembering a humorous encounter with Turturro at a screening. “John walked over to me and he said to me, 'If you punch me in the nose I would understand why. ... And I didn’t want any trouble. I realized he played me over the top and so forth. He’s an actor. He’s told by the director, Redford, to play me in a certain way, and that’s how he played it. And I said, ‘No, John, everything’s cool.’ “And my wife, Ethel, is a very feisty woman, and she said, ‘Step aside, Herb, I want to take a crack at him.’”
  • Christo, known for massive, ephemeral public arts projects died Sunday at his home in New York. He was 84. His death was announced on Twitter and the artist's web page. No cause was given. Along with late wife Jeanne-Claude, the artists' careers were defined by their ambitious art projects that quickly disappeared soon after they were erectedthat andoften involved wrapping large structures in fabric. In 2005, he installed more than 7,500 saffron-colored vinyl gates in New York's Central Park. He wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin in fabric with an aluminum sheen in 1995. Their $26 million Umbrellas project erected1,340 blue umbrellas installed in Japan and 1,760 blue umbrellas in Southern California in 1991. They also wrapped the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland and a Roman wall in Italy. The statement said the artist's next project, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, is slated to appear in September in Paris as planned. An exhibition about Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work is also scheduled to run from July through October at the Centre Georges Pompidou. “Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it,” his office said in a statement. “Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories.” Born in Bulgaria in 1935, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia before moving to Prague in 1957, then Vienna, then Geneva. It was in Paris in 1958 where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon. They were born on the same day (June 13) in the same year (1935), and, according to him, “In the same moment” and would become partners in life and art. Christo was already wrapping smaller found objects, like cars and furniture, but after he met Jeanne-Claude, their scale broadened. Within three years they were working together on an installation of oil drums and tarp on the docks in Cologne. Although their large scale outdoor and indoor projects were collaborative, they were all credited solely to Christo until 1994, when they revealed Jeanne-Claude’s contributions. The decision, they said, was theirs and deliberate since it was difficult enough for even one artist to make a name for himself. The pair moved to New York in 1964, where they liked to say that they were illegal aliens in an illegal building in SoHo for a few years. They eventually bought that building and would call the city home for the rest of their lives. The year 1968 would prove pivotal for the couple with three endeavors: Wrapped Fountain; Wrapped Medieval Tower; and Wrapped Kunsthalle. The next year brought Wrapped Coast, which involved 1 million square feet of fabric and 35 miles of rope across a 1.5 mile long section of the Australian coastline, and the wrapping of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Jeanne-Claude died in 2009 at age 74 from complications of a brain aneurysm. After her death, Christo said she was argumentative and very critical and always asking questions and he missed all of that very much. Their works were grand in every respect, from manpower to impact. Over 600 workers were involved in putting up The Gates, and 300 more in dismantling them. More than 5 million people saw the installation and it was credited with injecting about $254 million into the local economy. Running Fence, which was comprised of 2,050 white fabric panels, stretched across 24.5 miles in Northern California in 1976. For the Umbrella project, a total of 1,880 workers were used. That, however, had a more somber end: It was dismantled after a spectator died in California. ″I will live with that tragedy to the end of my life,″ Christo said at the time. In a 2018 interview with The Art Newspaper, Christo spoke about his signature wrapping aesthetic. In the instance of the Reichstag, he said, covering it with fabric made the Victorian sculptures, ornament and decoration disappear and, thus, highlighted, 'The principal proportion of architecture.” “But, like classical sculpture, all our wrapped projects are not solid buildings; they are moving with the wind, they are breathing,” he said. “The fabric is very sensual and inviting; it’s like a skin.” Two of Christo’s planned projects did not come to fruition before he died: Over the River, which would have involved draping translucent fabric above 42 miles of Colorado’s Arkansas River, and The Mastaba, which was conceived in 1977 for Abu Dhabi and would have been the largest sculpture in the world with 410,000 multi-colored barrels forming a “mosaic of bright sparkling colors echoing Islamic architecture.” Christo willingly abandoned the Over the River project in 2017 after 20 years of planning and five years in legal fights. “I no longer wish to wait on the outcome,” the 81-year-old artist wrote on a website for the project. “Here now, the federal government is our landlord. They own the land. I can’t do a project that benefits this landlord.” The two made a point of paying for all of their works on their own and did not accept scholarship or donations. Instead, they sold preparatory drawings, collages, scale models and original lithographs to earn enough to finance their dreams. “I like to be absolutely free, to be totally irrational with no justification for what I like to do,” he said. “I will not give up one centimeter of my freedom for anything.” ___ This story has been corrected to show that Christo installed the vinyl gates in Central Park in 2005, not 2001.
  • The first time officers shot rubber bullets at MSNBC host Ali Velshi and his crew Saturday night in Minneapolis, he was willing to believe that the officials didn’t know they were press. The second time, Velshi said, they knew and shot anyway. “We put our hands up and yelled, ‘We’re media!’” Velshi said. “They responded, ‘We don’t care!’ and they opened fire a second time.” Velshi, who said he was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet, is just one of many journalists across the country who sustained injuries from police or protesters while covering the George Floyd protests this weekend. And this occurred after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz promised that journalists would not be interfered with following the Friday arrest of a CNN crew on live television and other reports of violence against reporters from the city where Floyd died, including freelance photographer Linda Tirado, who said she is blind in her left eye after being shot at by police. Dan Shelley, the executive director and chief operating officer of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), said while all the attacks on journalists were “outrageous and unacceptable' that he was particularly upset about the Minneapolis incidents that happened after the Governor made his reassurances. “They started deliberately attacking journalists who were clearly identifiable and identifying themselves as journalists,” Shelley said. “We’ve heard a number of instances of police officers, either through their words or actions, saying that they just didn’t care. To be a journalist in the Twin Cities last night, particularly in Minneapolis, if you were just arrested, you were lucky.” Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres tweeted Sunday that he was twice ordered at gunpoint to hit the ground. Serres wrote that he was, “Warned that if I moved “an inch” I’d be shot. This after being teargassed and hit in groin area by rubber bullet. Waiving a Star Tribune press badge made no difference.” His Star Tribune colleague Ryan Faircloth’s car was also hit by what were “likely rubber bullets,” which shattered his window and left him with cuts on his arm and brow. Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessey-Fiske said in a video message on Twitter that she and about a dozen other press had identified themselves as such and that Minnesota State Patrol officers still “fired tear gun cannisters on us at point blank range.” Hennessey-Fiske said she got hit in the leg. She said she asked the officers where they should go but they didn't give the reporters any direction. “They just fired on us,' she said. It wasn’t just Minneapolis where reporters found themselves in harm’s way. Saturday there were journalist injuries reported in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, Detroit and Denver. Although the situation is fluid and developing, the RTDNA has counted more than 60 incidents across the country in the past 48 hours in which reporters have been, “injured, assaulted or harassed by either protesters or police officers.” In Chicago, Vice reporter Michael Adams had a similar interaction to Velshi and Hennessey-Fiske when police raided the gas station he and his crew were sheltering at and said they “didn’t care” that they were press. “After shouting press multiple times and raising my press card in the air, I was thrown to the ground,” Adams wrote on Twitter. “Then another cop came up and peppered sprayed me in the face while I was being held down.” Huffington Post reporter Christopher Mathais was arrested Saturday while covering protests in New York. CNN commentator Keith Boykin was also arrested by the NYPD Saturday after he identified himself as press. In Los Angeles, Lexis-Olivier Ray said an LAPD officer hit him in the stomach after he’d identified himself as a journalist “multiple times.” In Washington D.C., Huffington Post reporter Philip Lewis tweeted that he was hit in the leg with rubber bullets. Detroit Free Press news director Jim Schaefer said several of their journalists showing their media badges were pepper-sprayed by Detroit police. And in Denver, 9NEWS reporter Jeremy Jojola tweeted that he got hit with, “Something fired by police” even though he was holding a camera and lights. Sunday, he reflected that he’ll, “Never truly know if we were intentionally targeted or not. I’ll just say we were not doing anything wrong as we were in an area under curfew.” Since the protests began, eight AP journalists have been hurt, though none seriously. Three have been hit by rubber bullets, one was punched, another was knocked down and others fell. The acts of violence and deliberate harassment are further distressing to Shelley because it’s distracting from the real story. “Journalists shouldn’t be the story,” Shelley said. “It is calamitous to see all of these journalists who are merely serving the public by covering these incidents of civil unrest being wantonly attacked...Journalists are representatives of the public and are there to serve the public and to tell the stories of the protesters and of the elected and other public officials trying to deal with the situation.' He added: “It is really harming the public at large, not just the journalist. It’s interfering with their ability to be eyewitnesses and chroniclers of what’s occurring in this country right now.”
  • A Fox News reporter was pummeled and chased by protesters who had gathered outside the White House early Saturday as part of nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd. For several journalists across the country, the demonstrations were taking an ominous, dangerous turn. A television reporter in Columbia, S.C., was hurt by a thrown rock Saturday and a journalist in Minneapolis was shot in the thigh by a rubber bullet. A television news photographer in Pittsburgh said he was beaten by demonstrators, and police in Louisville, Kentucky, apologized after an officer fired what appeared to be pepper bullets at a television news crew. Fox's Leland Vittert was rattled following the Washington attack that he said was clearly targeted at his news organization. “We took a good thumping,” he told The Associated Press. A live shot he was doing was interrupted by a group of protesters who shouted obscenities directed at Fox. Flanked by two security guards, he and photographer Christian Galdabini walked away from Washington's Lafayette Park trailed by an angry group before riot police dispersed them. Vittert said there were no markings on him or the crew's equipment to identify them as from Fox. But he said during the demonstration, one man continually asked him who he worked for. He didn't answer, but the man found a picture of Vittert on his cell phone and shouted to other protesters that he was from Fox. “The protesters stopped protesting whatever it was they were protesting and turned on us,” he said, “and that was a very different feeling.” He compared it to when he was chased away from a demonstration in Egypt during the Arab Spring of 2011 by a group that shouted, “Fox News hates Muslims.” A correspondent from the website The Daily Caller followed Vittert and the demonstrators as they left the park. At one point, someone took Vittert's microphone and threw it at his back. One woman chasing him wore a t-shirt that said, “I can’t breathe,” a reference what Floyd said earlier this week when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against his neck. Vittert said he was “extremely grateful” to the Daily Caller for documenting the scene; Galdabini’s camera was smashed. “They were putting themselves at risk,” he said. “It makes me proud to do my job and to be a journalist,” he said. “I'm proud to be an organization that is unyielding in our coverage. We're going to keep on telling our story and doing exactly what we're doing.” Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media, said in a memo on Saturday that Fox was taking all necessary security precautions to protect its journalists covering the story. “We are truly living in unprecedented and transformative times and freedom of the press is a vital element to the foundation of our society,” Scott wrote. On Friday, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his two-person crew were arrested while covering overnight protests in Minneapolis. They were quickly released, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized to CNN. CNN's headquarters in Atlanta was damaged later Friday by a group of protesters who also fought with police and set cars afire. While police tried to keep them away from the CNN Center, demonstrators broke windows there and scrawled obscene graffiti on the network's logo. Ian Smith, a photographer for KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, said that he was attacked by protesters who stomped and kicked him at a demonstration there. Smith, who said other protesters jumped in to save him, posted a picture on Twitter showing him with a bruised face and bloody hand. In Louisville, WAVE-TV was on the air covering a demonstration when video showed a police officer aiming a rifle at reporter Kaitlin Rust and her crew. She was heard yelling, “I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot!” and described them as pepper bullets. Louisville Police spokeswoman Jesse Halladay apologized for the incident, and said police would review the video for potential discipline. Two Associated Press photographers have been hit by projectiles while documenting protests, one in Minneapolis on Thursday and another in Los Angeles on Friday. Neither was seriously injured. Demonstrators surrounded the police department headquarters in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday and a scuffle broke out with someone wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Rocks were thrown and Miranda Parnell, a television reporters from WIS-TV, was injured and taken to the hospital, according to a tweet from network anchor Judi Gatson. It was not clear who threw the rock that hit Parnell. In Minneapolis on Saturday, a Swedish journalist was shot in the thigh with a rubber bullet, apparently from a police gun, while covering a protest, according to the Norwegian newspaper VG. Later Saturday night, a CNN crew said some of its members were hit with rubber bullets. ___ AP correspondents Mike Stewart in Atlanta, Jari Tanner in Minneapolis and Bruce Schreiner and Dylan Lovan in Louisville, and Jeffrey S. Collins in Columbia, S.C. contributed to this report.
  • Forbes magazine, which once declared Kylie Jenner a billionaire on its cover, says she no longer deserves the title, but Jenner is pushing back. Forbes said in a story posted Friday that an examination of financial filings after the reality star and beauty mogul sold a majority share in her cosmetics company revealed that Jenner's worth was inflated. Jenner sold 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics company to Coty in a deal valued at $1.2 billion early this year. 'Kylie’s business is significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe,' the magazine said in the story. “Forbes now thinks that Kylie Jenner, even after pocketing an estimated $340 million after taxes from the sale, is not a billionaire.” Jenner responded in a series of tweets, saying “what am i even waking up to. i thought this was a reputable site.. all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. i’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period.” She later tweeted, “but okay, i am blessed beyond my years, i have a beautiful daughter, and a successful business and i’m doing perfectly fine. i can name a list of 100 things more important right now than fixating on how much money i have.” Jenner’s business and social media prominence have made her stand out even in the exceedingly famous family behind “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” She is the younger daughter of Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, sister to Kendall Jenner and half-sister to Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian. In March 2019, Forbes featured Jenner along with the headline, “At 21, Kylie Jenner Becomes The Youngest Self-Made Billionaire Ever.” On Friday, Forbes offered a starkly different headline: “Inside Kylie Jenner’s Web of Lies — And Why She’s No Longer a Billionaire.' The story acknowledges that the coronavirus crisis and its effect on the cosmetics industry has hurt her net worth. But it says it is “likely” that the “business was never that big to begin with, and the Jenners have lied about it every year since 2016 — including having their accountant draft tax returns with false numbers — to help juice Forbes’ estimates of Kylie’s earnings and net worth.” The magazine said it cannot prove the documents were forged. Jenner's attorney says the story is “filled with outright lies.” “Forbes’ accusation that Kylie and her accountants ‘forged tax returns’ is unequivocally false and we are demanding that Forbes immediately and publicly retract that and other statements,” attorney Michael Kump said in an emailed statement. 'We would not expect that from a supermarket tabloid, much less from Forbes.” Forbes spokesman Matthew Hutchison said in a statement the magazine's 'extensively-reported investigation was triggered by newly-filed documents that revealed glaring discrepancies between information privately supplied to journalists and information publicly supplied to shareholders. Our reporters spotted the inaccuracies and spent months uncovering the facts. We encourage her attorney to re-read the article.” The spat between Jenner and Forbes spilled over to Wall Street, where shares of New York-based Coty Inc. fell more than 13% on Friday. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.
  • The world paused and for the first time in his life Ricky Martin felt anxiety. From his home in Los Angeles, where he worked with his foundation to get protective gear and food to hospitals and people in Puerto Rico and beyond, he followed the pandemic news and tried to hide his distress from his family. “I had never suffered from anxiety, and I left home when I was 12 (to join boy-band Menudo). I have seen things, I have lived, but this is a new level, this is a new monster and to top it all, it is invisible,” Martin told The Associated Press in a recent interview via Zoom. “I spent two weeks with a poker face so my family wouldn't be affected, but finally I was able to raise my head and say ‘eh, something very good has to come out of this, get creative.’ And I started making music and it was my medicine, honestly, because I really felt like I was gasping for air,” he said. The result is “Pausa,” a surprise EP “with a lot of introspection” released Thursday, featuring four new songs that evoke romance, and at times, sadness. It includes collaborations by Sting (singing in Spanish,) Carla Morrison, Diego El Cigala and Pedro Capó, as well as the previously released singles “Cántalo,” with Residente and Bad Bunny, and “Tiburones.” It is the first part of a bigger project that will follow with “Play” — hence his use of the hashtag #PausaPlay in social media. The initial idea was to release a whole album that he had previously been working on for months, but Martin felt that the rhythms were not the most appropriate for the moment. “I said, ‘Sony, lets divide the album in two. Let's start now a little calmer and bring in the party afterward’,” he said. “What I am presenting, these four songs, are little magical things that happened during the quarantine, like calling Sting, like talking to Carla Morrison.' The new songs are “Simple,” with Sting; “Recuerdo,” with Mexican indie-pop singer-songwriter Morrison; “Cae de una,” with Puerto Rican Capó, and “Quiéreme,” with flamenco singer Diego El Cigala. Each embraces the style of the guest. Martin says he got out of his comfort zone “a little” — such as with Flamenco style vocals — but still manages to achieve a natural sound. The songs were recorded with the artists in London, Paris, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with the help of sound engineer Enrique Larreal in New York. “My engineer was able to create a system where everyone — my producer in Miami, me in L.A. — had a sharp, immaculate audiovisual experience. I can be recording and literally see in my laptop the movement he is making in his console table in New York,” Martin said. “What did he do? What did he invent? Well, he's already receiving calls because there's a lot of curiosity.” Martin has been in lockdown with his husband, Jwan Yosef, his four children and his mother, who had come to Los Angeles earlier to care for her grandchildren while the singer was supposed to tour. Aside from his anxiety episode, he says they are having a good time and counts his blessings. “Many people are alone, many people are suffering. We are all living an overwhelming uncertainty, everyone. It’s OK not to feel OK and seek help,” he said. His 2020 agenda still includes a tour with Enrique Iglesias in September. ___ Sigal Ratner-Arias on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sigalratner
  • Lincoln Center artistic director Jane Moss is departing on Aug. 1 after 27 years, leaving the performing arts center without a key leader while it remains shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lincoln Center’s constituent parts have been shut down since mid-March, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center Theater and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The pandemic has caused tens of millions of dollars in operating losses. The 67-year-old Moss oversees Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, American Songbook, Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. All programming has been canceled through August, and the fall season is in danger. “I had begun to consider moving into a new chapter of my life prior to the pandemic. But the multi-year/multi-track cycle of programming never allowed time for a responsible departure and smooth transition,” Moss said in a statement Friday. “Now that our current situation has put a pause on live programming, I feel I can step down. I am eager to make a new kind of contribution to the life and well-being of New York as we face very challenging times ahead.”
  • Following the arrest of a CNN crew on live television by police on Friday, an apologetic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz promised that journalists would not be interfered with in reporting on violent protests following the death of George Floyd. CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and two colleagues were released within an hour after network chief executive Jeff Zucker called Walz to demand answers about why they were led away and held in a police van. “We have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell this story,” Walz said. Jimenez and colleagues Bill Kirkos and Leonel Mendez were doing a live shot for CNN's “New Day” shortly after 5 a.m. Central Time, describing a night of fire and anger in the wake of Floyd's death after a Minneapolis police office knelt on his neck. Fired officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder in that case later Friday. When first approached by officers, Jimenez, who is black, told them, “put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way.” After being told he was being arrested and his hands were tied behind his back, Jimenez asked why he was being arrested. He did not get an answer. The Minnesota State Patrol said on Twitter that the journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were “clearing the streets and restoring order” following the protests. The patrol said the CNN journalists “were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.” It’s not clear why they were confused: Jimenez was holding what appeared to be a laminated ID card before his hands were secured, and his fellow crew members told police that they were from CNN and showing the scene live on the air. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” CNN “New Day” co-anchor John Berman said. After being released, Jimenez said that he was glad that his arrest was shown on the air. “You don’t have to doubt my story,” he said. “It’s not filtered in any way. You saw it for your own eyes. That gave me a little bit of comfort. But it was definitely nerve-wracking.” At a later news conference, Walz said that “I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like that should happen ... This is a very public apology to that team.” The arrest drew widespread condemnation across the news industry. CNN competitors MSNBC, CBS News and Fox News all issued statements in support of Jimenez, along with the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. CNN accepted Walz's apology, saying the network appreciated the sincerity of his words. Walz's words in support of journalists have impact at a time when the news media is often under attack, said Jane E. Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law and director of the Silha Center at the University of Minnesota. “It's really important for the governor to make that kind of statement to emphasize to everyone, especially law enforcement, that the press has an important job to do ... and they need to be respected,” said Kirtley, who lives blocks away from the protests and could still smell smoke from the fires on Friday. Later Friday, the network was again thrust into the story when hundreds of protesters confronted police outside CNN’s downtown Atlanta headquarters. Activists spray-painted a large CNN logo outside the building, breaking a window and tagging doors. One protester climbed on top of the CNN sign and waved a “Black Lives Matter” flag to cheers from the crowd. As anchor Chris Cuomo opened his prime-time show, he told viewers the network’s headquarters had been “swarmed and defaced.” Footage of the damage outside was mixed with scenes from other protests around the country. Correspondent Nick Valencia reported from inside the building as protesters hurled objects at the building and police. 'This is our home, Chris, you know, this is where we come to work every day, journalists who are trying to tell the truth, trying to deliver information. ... And these demonstrators have decided to come here today to take our their frustration and anger it seems not just on police but on our CNN center as well,” Valencia said. Meanwhile, there were signs Friday that cable news networks, who were spending much of their time covering the story, have become sensitive to the impact of showing witness video of Floyd's treatment by police. News anchors on all three networks usually warned viewers of its graphic nature before showing the video. “I must warn you that this is difficult to watch,” said CNN's Brianna Keilar, “but it is important to remember.” ___ Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee and Aaron Morrison in New York and Television Writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
  • A woman who says Harvey Weinstein raped her when she was 17 is among four plaintiffs in a new lawsuit against the imprisoned movie mogul, the latest court action accusing him of decades of vile sexual behavior. The woman, now 43, alleges Weinstein forced her to disrobe, demanded she perform oral sex on him and raped her in a hotel room in 1994 during what she thought would be a meeting about helping her break into the entertainment business, according to her allegations in the lawsuit filed Thursday in New York City. The woman, now living in Tennessee, alleges that Weinstein was nearly naked when she walked into the room and that he threatened her after the rape. She says that he made her hand over her driver’s license and told her that she’d never act in films and that he would have associates harm her and her family if she told on him. Weinstein’s lawyer said the disgraced film producer — now serving 23 years in prison for a February rape conviction — intends to defend himself against the claims in the new lawsuit, some of which date back even earlier. Lawyer Imran Ansari said some of the claims may be barred by the statute of limitations, though the woman alleging she was raped when she was 17 is suing in state court under New York’s Child Victims Act, which opened a window for people to sue over sexually abuse they say they endured as children, sometimes decades ago. A former model who says Weinstein sexually assaulted her when she was 16 sued him in December under the act, saying she didn’t want to be included in a proposed global settlement that would split $25 million among various accusers because the compensation wasn't enough and because it didn't hold Weinstein and his enablers accountable. In Thursday’s lawsuit, another woman alleges Weinstein jammed his tongue into her mouth and fondled her breasts and vagina as he pinned her against a hotel door at the Cannes Film Festival in France in 1984. The woman, now 70 and living in Ecuador, alleges a friend who worked with Weinstein told her she should keep quiet or be blackballed from the industry. The two other plaintiffs are a woman, now 38 and living in New York, who alleges Weinstein raped her during a supposed business meeting at a Manhattan apartment in 2008; and a woman, now 35 and living in Hungary, who says he forced her to perform oral sex on him in a hotel suite. The women are suing Weinstein; his brother and former business partner, Bob; Miramax, the movie studio they founded; Disney, which once owned Miramax; and 10 “doe corporations,” renewing allegations made elsewhere that they knew of his behavior and didn't stop him. Bob Weinstein's lawyer, Gary Stein, called the lawsuit “yet another attempt to hold our client responsible for alleged sexual assaults committed by Harvey Weinstein' and said 'to date, each and every claim like the ones asserted here have been dismissed against our client. We are confident that the same will be true with respect to the allegations in this complaint.” Miramax declined comment. A message seeking comment was left for a Disney representative. Weinstein, the Oscar-winning producer of “Shakespeare in Love,” was convicted of raping an aspiring actress in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006. His lawyers have said they’ll appeal. An effort by Los Angeles prosecutors to have him arraigned there on charges that he raped a woman and sexually assaulted another in 2013 has been put on hold because of the coronavirus crisis. Soon after arriving in state prison in March, Weinstein tested positive for the virus. He has recovered, his spokesman said. The women in Thursday’s lawsuit are identified in court papers only as Jane Doe I-IV. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission. __ Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak
  • You may need a face mask to see the Mona Lisa. You will have your temperature taken at the Colosseum in Rome. And to see views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower might require taking the stairs. After the cultural deprivation of the lockdown months during which their treasures were hidden away, many of Europe's iconic museums and other tourist draws are preparing to reopen. Government officials hope this will breathe life back into coronavirus-battered economies, and lift the spirits of those who found staying at home to be an ordeal. “Rarely will the French have felt such a need to rediscover the arts and heritage of our country as this summer,” France's Culture Ministry declared Friday, in announcing the reopening of dozens of chateaux, museums and other sites starting from next week. According to the ministry's timetable, visitors will again be able to see how France's kings lived at the Versailles Palace from June 6, fall in love all over again with the Impressionist painters at the Musée d’Orsay from June 23 and get selfies with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre from July 6. All of the re-openings the ministry announced will be days or weeks after France lifts many of its remaining coronavirus lockdown restrictions next Tuesday. Major attractions first need to be made safe for staff and visitors. Some of Europe’s other major cultural sites are also taking their time to reopen. In Rome, the Colosseum is due to reopen on June 1, more than two weeks after the May 18 reopening date approved by the government for Italy's museums. Visitors must wear protective masks and have their temperatures taken, and entrance times will be staggered to limit crowds. Also reopening next week are the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums and pontifical summer villa outside Rome and, in Florence, the Uffizi Galleries that are home to Sandro Botticelli's “Birth of Venus” and other masterpieces. In Germany, the Berlin Wall Memorial museum will reopen next week. There, too, masks will have to be worn. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower likely won't be able to reopen before the second half of June, according to Stephane Dieu, a labor representative for the monument's staff. He said they still need to fine tune with the tower's management how to protect employees and visitors and to maintain social distancing. “For the moment, it's not possible with all of the best will in the world,” Dieu said. When the tower does reopen, sightseers seeking breathtaking views of Paris may be in for a stair workout: the elevators that usually whisk visitors to the three different levels will likely remain closed, Dieu said. The tower's operators confirmed that they plan to reopen this summer but said the date is not fixed. At the Louvre Museum, there will be strict public hygiene rules and visiting “will not at all be as it was before. That’s impossible,” said Andre Sacristin, a labor representative who has been involved in the planning discussions for reopening. He said he expects everyone, staff members and visitors, will have to wear face masks. About 20%-30% of the museum’s rooms might be closed but “of course the Mona Lisa will be open,' Sacristin said. Details will be ironed out in further meetings between management and staff. Adapting major tourists draws to coronavirus imperatives is taking time elsewhere, too. In Madrid, the Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen museums - the so-called “triangle of the arts”- are scheduled to jointly reopen on June 6, two weeks after they were officially allowed to welcome visitors again. Initially, some of their exhibition space will remain closed and visitor numbers will be limited to 30% of their size before the pandemic. While smaller Spanish museums were quick to reopen this month, major ones said they needed more time to prepare protective gear for staff, temperature checks for visitors and crowd-control measures. The Prado, the crown jewel of Spanish museums, housing works by Francisco de Goya, Diego de Velázquez and other masters, has been shut since March 11, its longest closure in eight decades, since the 1936-1939 Civil War. The slogan chosen by the museum for its re-opening is “Re-encounter.” ___ AP writer Aritz Parra in Madrid, Nicole Winfield in Rome and David Rising in Berlin contributed. ___ Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Local News

  • Classic City Today’s Tim Bryant is teaming up with Brad Lee from Extra Special People to raise money for kids to go to ESP camps. Donate here! If he hits his goal, he will jump out of a plane on July 18 as a celebrity skydiver in “The Big Jump.”
  • Construction on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Blue Ridge Campus hit a significant benchmark late last month. The roof and exterior walls were finished, allowing construction to move inside and not be affected by inclement weather. 'We call it 'dried in,'' said Todd Bermann, director of capital planning and project management in the facilities department at UNG. 'It is an important phase because we can start putting up interior walls.' This substantial milestone comes eight months after construction began on the more than 12,000-square-foot building. Bermann said despite rain delays, the new standalone Blue Ridge Campus will be ready for occupancy in August 2020. 'We had built in some weather delays, but we exceeded those in December, January and February,' he said. 'Now, we are expediting other areas to make up for that lost time.' The necessity for a standalone Blue Ridge Campus stemmed from its exponential growth since opening in 2015. For the 2015-16 academic year, 20 students were enrolled. That number increased by nearly 800% with 175 students enrolled in the 2019-20 academic year. 'Not only UNG but the community and region needed to have a standalone campus to provide opportunities in education, economic development and workforce development to help grow this region,' said Sandy Ott, director of UNG's Blue Ridge Campus. 'This new campus is a game-changer because of the expanded access to education that it provides and the resulting impact on the region.' The new building, located off Ga. 515 about 3 miles from the current Dunbarton Road facility, will have four classrooms with one that doubles as a computer lab. A full biology lab that can be converted into a chemistry lab will be available as well. Ott explained with more space UNG can offer more courses to students, which will allow them to spend more time at the Blue Ridge Campus. Currently, UNG students spend between a year and a year-and-a-half there taking required core curriculum classes before they transfer to the Gainesville or Dahlonega campus. 'We will have the ability to expand programs and offer the opportunity to complete courses for a specific major,' Ott said. 'For example, this fall we will offer the introductory major courses in the field of education. Those courses have not been offered in Blue Ridge before.' Other areas not offered in abundance at the current 2,800-square-foot building are shared study spaces. Now they are spread throughout the building. A welcoming entry plaza plus a patio at the rear will be available for students to study, gather or relax between classes. Five dual-occupancy offices are designated for faculty while five offices will be for administration staff. Bermann estimates the facility will be ready for new furniture and equipment to be installed in July. Faculty may move into their offices the first of August as fall classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 17. Students, faculty and staff will have 42 parking spaces at the new site. Many will park there on the half-day of orientation scheduled for Aug. 14. The campus also plans to host the public at its annual Tomato Sandwich Supper on Sept. 24. UNG students, faculty and staff as well as visitors will have easier and safer access onto the campus thanks to a Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) from the Georgia Department of Transportation, announced state Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). The $150,000 will help fund modifications to Ga. 515 including a Reduced Conflict U-Turn (RCUT) intersection, which will allow cars traveling north from downtown Blue Ridge to turn left onto campus.  The Georgia General Assembly funded the $5.5 million project in the 2019 fiscal year. Georgia Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston, a UNG alumnus who represents Georgia District 7, including Fannin County, in the General Assembly, helped secure the money. 'This building will give our students, faculty and staff a home of their own,' said Ken Crowe, assistant vice president of facilities at UNG. 'And this building is a statement to the community. UNG is driving a stake in the ground to say we are here for the long haul.
  • Within weeks of the appearance of COVID-19, five teams of researchers at the University of Georgia’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center put other research work aside to understand the virus, how it gets into our cells, and the changes that occur inside infected cells. This work could help identify patients most at risk early, identify ways to slow down the disease, understand which drugs provide some hope to fight it, and perhaps, in a more distant future, to even develop vaccines for viruses before a disease spreads in humans. With COVID-19, like other diseases, a key part of understanding the disease is understanding the role played by branching structures of sugars called complex carbohydrates or glycans. “There is no human disease that doesn’t in some way involve carbohydrates,” said Michael Tiemeyer, Distinguished Research Professor and co-director of the CCRC. And no center in the world brings together as many world-renowned carbohydrate researchers as CCRC, which this year is celebrating 35 years of being a leader in glycoscience, or the study of complex carbohydrates. CCRC faculty member and GRA Distinguished Investigator Lance Wells and other UGA collaborators are working to study the virus and its coating of carbohydrates that affect COVID-19’s ability to bind to a host. Rob Woods, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and his collaborators are applying 3D computational models they had created to study influenza to understand the novel coronavirus. Their models analyze the position of glycans on the virus’s surface that help it evade the host’s immune system. When a virus tries to infect a cell, it first encounters a wall of glycans that covers the cell. Geert-Jan Boons, UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor in Biochemical Sciences, studies how viruses find a way through this carbohydrate forest. His lab creates complex carbohydrates, like the ones that surround human cells, to test whether viruses can bind to them or not. For the COVID-19 research they are focusing on a class of carbohydrate that they already had successfully produced. Carbohydrates also play a role in how the COVID-19 infection progresses. “The problem my team and I are trying to answer is how to know who should go into the hospital and who shouldn’t,” Tiemeyer said. “Just knowing how much virus someone has isn’t enough, because severity doesn’t necessarily correlate with viral load.” His collaborators, respiratory biologists at the University of North Carolina, discovered that COVID-19 targets glands in the airway. It is not only glands that the disease affects. The metabolism of any infected cell will change, too, and traces of these changes can be found in the blood. The starting point for Art Edison’s group (pictured above) is comparing blood samples from ferret models. Edison’s expertise lies in identifying small molecules in the blood called metabolites—basically any small molecule in our bodies, in our food, or produced by our cells, such as cholesterol and vitamins—using CCRC’s specialized facilities. Edison also stressed that, if collaboration and knowledge sharing are a key part of what the CCRC does, they matter now more than ever. “In this project, more than in any other in my career, we want to make measurements that will make a difference and share our data as soon as it is collected and we know it’s any good,” he said. “It is not the time for personal territory or trying to be the first at publishing.”
  • We don’t yet know how many or which ones will choose to do so, but Athens bars and nightclubs can begin reopening Monday: Governor Brian Kemp has lifted restrictions that had been in place since the outbreak of coronavirus in Georgia. Live music venues, of which there are several in Athens, will remain closed.  From Greg Bluestein and Ligaya Figueras, AJC… Gov. Brian Kemp continued to lift economic restrictions he imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus, signing an executive order Thursday that clears the way for larger gatherings and lets bars and nightclubs reopen if they follow guidelines.  The governor detailed his strategy for a “new normal” at a press conference at the state Capitol, even as recent data show an uptick in the number of cases that some public health experts say could indicate a second wave of the disease.  Kemp's order permits gatherings of as many as 25 people starting Monday, and continues to require larger groups to maintain social distancing. It lets school systems start holding summer courses if they follow state criteria. And it allows bars and nightclubs to reopen next week if they meet 39 measures, including screening workers for illness, limiting occupancy and requiring regular sanitation. Amusement parks can follow on June 12 if they abide by other limits.  Those businesses have been closed since an April 3 statewide order took effect. Live performance venues, he said, will remain indefinitely shuttered. A public health emergency declaration was also extended through mid-July.  Kemp has steadily rolled back restrictions since late April, when he allowed close-contact businesses to reopen and restaurants to resume dine-in services, a move that drew swift rebukes from leaders of both political parties.  The Republican said his aggressive approach in lifting coronavirus limits was “reinvigorating” the state’s stalled economy, and asserted that the damage to the state's economy was starting to outweigh the public safety risks.  Saying that “we can't keep fighting the virus from our living room,” Kemp has said he's confident Georgians can stave off another sharp increase if they adhere to safety rules.  “We don't necessarily have to have a second wave. We can keep mitigating and mitigating and mitigating where the risk is so low, it really allows us to continue to open things up even more than we have,” he said.  “That's what I'm asking people to do.” 'A lot of cases' His remarks come as state figures show an increase in week-to-week cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, though it’s unclear whether it’s a statistical blip or whether it represents a marked change.  Pressed on the increase on Thursday, Kemp described it as a “backlog” from 15,000 tests recently added to state databases that date to late April.  “We're not seeing anything that's concerning,” he said, adding that there could be a potential increase in cases as testing ramps up, particularly among nursing home residents.  “We expect that population's percent of positives is going to be higher than the normal population, so it's not unusual that we're seeing a little bit of flattening of our downward trajectory or perhaps a little increase on a certain day.” Experts say that growth in the state's diagnostic testing system and a recent, one-time spike in reporting from a commercial lab are unlikely to be the only reasons why week-to-week counts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 jumped 26 percent.  Infections are likely increasing now that more Georgians are moving around with the partial end of the state's shelter-in-place order, said Dr. Carlos del Rio, chairman of the global health department at Emory University.  'If a lot of people out are there with a lot of contact, we going to see a lot of cases,' del Rio said Thursday.  New confirmed cases rose from nearly 4,170 the week of May 11 to 5,260 the week of May 18, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis shows.  Preliminary figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health show that the seven-day average of new cases began to rise May 11 and continued through at least May 19.  This measure is based on the date when patients first reported symptoms. Data for the most recent 14 days are incomplete because of a lag in testing and reporting.  'How to live with the virus' While most restaurants are relying on the 39 guidelines that Kemp’s administration outlined to reopen their dining rooms, some have gone further.  Dozens of businesses in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood recently signed a pledge to follow additional safety guidelines when they reopen, which includes stricter ventilation and temperature-screening standards and requirements that customers wear face masks. State authorities have cracked down on some businesses that aren’t complying.  Earlier this week, health officials in Paulding County forced Briar Patch Restaurant in Hiram to close after employees were cited for not wearing face coverings. The dining room remains closed, but the restaurant has since reopened for takeout. And over the weekend, the Georgia State Patrol issued a citation to Escobar Lounge, a Castleberry Hill tapas restaurant owned by rapper 2 Chainz, for failure to enforce social distancing with large crowds.  Georgia began easing coronavirus restrictions in late April, drawing bipartisan condemnation and sharp warnings from public health analysts that the state could risk a second wave. Though the rate of coronavirus-related hospitalizations has dropped, experts say it’s too soon to assess Kemp’s strategy. He, too, has not declared victory over the disease, and has stressed a “methodical” approach to contain the outbreak.  But he also expressed confidence Georgia can avoid more large-scale infections if people use “good common sense,” practice social-distancing and wear a mask.  The improving data, he said, led him to also invite professional and amateur sports leagues to resume play in Georgia if they adhere to regulations.  “If the virus comes back, I don’t see us shutting down our economy anymore,” he told reporters in Columbus. “We’ve got to figure out how to live with the virus. There are some very smart people doing that every day.” 
  • Athens-Clarke County Police say they have received several reports of gun thefts in recent days, with firearms said to have been stolen from unlocked cars on Fourth Street, Timothy Road, Atlanta Highway, and Milledge Avenue in Athens.  Two suspects arrested in Cleveland are charged in a reported assault said to have happened in White County: Aleshia Liby is 28 years old, from Cleveland; Jonathan Wills is 29, also from Cleveland. The alleged assault is said to have happened earlier this month.  A man from Tennessee is facing charges in Lumpkin County: Bobby Rush (pictured above) was caught with what drug agents in Dahlonega say was methamphetamine; also cash and firearms. Rush was arrested after a traffic stop in Dahlonega. 

Bulldog News

  • Tony Grimes included four teams in the long-awaited cutdown of his top four schools on Sunday afternoon. At this time, it looks like his choice is down to four schools: Georgia. North Carolina. Ohio State. Texas A&M. Final 4 @dhglover @Bubblesdnf @Giavanni_Ruffin @RivalsFriedman @BrianDohn247 @DemetricDWarren pic.twitter.com/oiINaCKm3U Tony Grimes (@757EliteDB) May 31, 2020 Grimes released that quartet of options via his Twitter account. He still has established a plan to make his college commitment on December 1, 2020. @Hayesfawcett3 pic.twitter.com/o63R0RlvwG Tony Grimes (@757EliteDB) May 31, 2020 The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior from Princess Anne School in Virginia Beach rates as the nation's No. 1 CB and the No. 7 overall prospect for 2021 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. If you're looking for a quick refresh on all things Grimes, this DawgNation deep-drive profile will define his worth as a young man first and his abilities as a lockdown cornerback second. Grimes has been rated as the top of the board for months now on the weekly DawgNation 'Before the Hedges' program which airs every Wednesday on our Facebook and YouTube social channels. The 5-star prospect had planned to visit Georgia several times over the last few months prior to the global pandemic which sidelined all on-campus recruiting travel. That NCAA ban for both unofficial and official visits has since been extended to July 31. That decision was made by the NCAA over the last week. Grimes had only recently decided to start conducting the weekly zoom and recruiting contact calls he had been making over the last month during the coronavirus epidemic. He had taken a break from that activity. He had visits planned to see UGA in March, April and an official visit was already on the books for June 12. His father, Deon Glover, described an ascending interest level for the family in Georgia at that time. 'We've been to enough schools to say Hey if push came to shove and we need to make a decision now we can make a decision now' and we've been to enough schools multiple times to be able to say that,' Glover said. 'At least with the schools we like. We've been multiple times. With the exception of Georgia.' There is a clear interest here in Kirby Smart's program. 'What's going on at Georgia is elite mimic energy that you see in Clemson and some of the other top programs,' Glover said earlier this month. 'With the program itself. We learned a lot when we were down there the first time and of course, we were going to go back this time in March and go back again in April.' 'We had an official visit set up for June 12. We had put the gas in there with Georgia. Trying to get as much as we can about Georgia in a short period of time. But with those other schools, we have already got enough information on them. For real.' Check out the junior highlight reel for the Under Armour All-American selection below. Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) BREAKING: All-American OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the JT Daniels transfer? The JT Daniels to Georgia buzz seems very real BREAKING: Elite 2022 DB Marquis Groves-Killebrew commits to UGA Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post BREAKING: Nation's No. 1 CB Tony Grimes includes UGA in his final four appeared first on DawgNation.
  • QB room is gonna be full.' That was one family member's response Thursday afternoon when a text from one of my brothers passed along the surprise word that the Dawgs are getting another quarterback. Actually, observations about Georgia having a 'crowded' quarterback room were a fairly widespread reaction nationally, even among sports media types, as former Trojans starting quarterback JT Daniels announced he was transferring to UGA from the University of Southern California. After all, Daniels, a redshirt sophomore, will be joining a position group that already included four scholarship QBs as well as several preferred walk-ons (including Will Muschamp's son, Jackson, who turned down a scholarship at Colorado State to walk on at UGA). Currently on the roster are presumed starter Jamie Newman, a recent graduate transfer from Wake Forest; junior Stetson Bennett, last year's backup; redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis, who finally has been cleared to play after recovering from brain surgery; and incoming freshman Carson Beck. The Dawgs also have a commitment from 5-star Brock Vandagriff of Bogart, who's set to join Kirby Smart's team for the 2021 season. So, yes, that's a jam-packed QB room for new offensive coordinator Todd Monken to oversee , but I remain convinced of one thing: It will thin out. Let's face it, in an age when each of the past three Heisman Trophy winners and three of last year's Heisman finalists all had transferred from another school, you're not going to see any program stockpile highly rated QBs like FSU did in its heyday. You can carry a bunch of tailbacks successfully, because at least three of them probably will see considerable playing time, but that doesn't happen with quarterbacks, as the Dawgs have seen in recent years with Jacob Eason and Justin Fields transferring elsewhere when they couldn't dislodge Jake Fromm from the starter's spot. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if to see Georgia lose at least one of the quarterbacks currently on its roster before the season begins. And, looking ahead to next season, when Newman's one-and-done time at UGA is over, the eventual winner of the battle for the starter's job will be lucky to have even one of the current scholarship QBs sticking around to back him up. To borrow a phrase we've heard all too often over the past couple of months, that is the 'new normal' in college football. Very few elite QBs are inclined to wait on the sideline a couple of years for their chance to be the starter. That's why the transfer portal is so busy these days. So, yes, it's good for Georgia to have all these QBs on the roster right now, but it probably won't last very long. If Daniels gets his NCAA waiver, he'll be the most experienced QB on the roster after Newman, and he'll have three seasons of eligibility left. That's sparked a lot of speculation that Bennett may see the writing on the wall and decide he'll need to transfer elsewhere in order to see playing time. And, unless Mathis wows the coaches in camp and moves into starting contention, you've got to wonder if he'll stick around past this season, too. After Newman is gone, if the 2021 starting QB competition ends up being between Daniels, Beck and Vandagriff (assuming he doesn't take a redshirt year), you're talking about two 5-star players and a 4-star player. Nobody gets the luxury of carrying a QB roster like that anymore, so chances are that at least one, if not both, of the players who don't win the starting spot will move elsewhere as well. Yes, any coach would love to have a pair of highly rated backups as an insurance policy, but, again, that's not the new normal in college football: If you have an established starter, you're probably going to have to keep recruiting highly rated talent to compete with him, knowing that those who lose out are unlikely to be content sitting on the bench or playing mop-up duty more than one season. And, while Smart has been aces at drawing top QB talent to UGA, he so far hasn't been successful in keeping a highly rated backup from going elsewhere. CBS Sports' Barton Simmons summed it up nicely when he tweeted about Daniels' move: ' This is the way you have to recruit (if you're able to). Load the room with the best guys you can and assume some attrition.' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly noted in 2018, 'When you're recruiting, you're going to have to have it in your mind that if your No. 2 doesn't feel like he's going to get a shot, you may lose him. I've come to grips with it a couple years ago. I don't see it changing.' As for what Daniels' arrival in Athens means for the 2020 quarterback situation, there's been a lot of speculation that he might challenge Newman for the starter's spot, if he's given a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately for UGA. Some even have floated the idea that Smart brought Daniels in because he has concluded he needs an option besides Newman. I'm skeptical about that idea, however. Yes, Daniels was the third highest rated QB in the 2018 class (behind Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields), and only the second true freshman quarterback to start an opener for the Trojans. And, he did that after graduating one year early from the vaunted Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California (which also produced Bama's Bryce Young ) . Still, his freshman numbers were solid, but not spectacular (the USC team wasn't very good that year). And, while he did win the initial battle to keep the starting job last season, he lost it due to injury. Rising sophomore Kedon Slovis, who stepped in for Daniels and proceeded to shatter USC's freshman records on his way to Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year honors, was widely expected to retain his starting job this year, leaving Daniels as the odd man out, according to Ryan Kartje, the USC beat writer at the Los Angeles Times. Thus, Daniels transferred. Meanwhile, Newman is a dual passing-running threat who put up some impressive numbers the past couple of seasons at Wake Forest, and already is drawing NFL interest. If Daniels is eligible and physically able to participate fully in preseason camp, I'm sure he'll be given a chance to compete for the starter's job, and competition usually makes the eventual starter better (certainly, Fromm played better the two seasons when he had to beat out highly rated competition). However, the biggest reason I'm skeptical about Daniels' chances of taking the starter's spot this season is simply the fact that he's coming back from a major injury. Assuming preseason practice begins sometime in July or August (based on the current prevailing wind favoring starting the season on time), it still will be less than a year since Daniels suffered a season-ending ACL injury in USC's first game of last season. Had USC been able to hold spring practice this year, Daniels wouldn't have been cleared to participate fully, because he still was recovering from a second clean-up surgery on his knee. He is expected to be good to go by August, but it's the rare athlete who gets back in top form that quickly after rehabbing a knee. Remember, as good as Nick Chubb was in 2016, returning from knee surgery, it wasn't really until the 2017 season that he was his old self. And it wasn't until late last season that Zamir White, also coming back from knee surgery, appeared to be regain his form fully. So, while Daniels might be available as a backup in 2020, if needed, I tend to think that, in bringing him in to the program, Smart really has his eye more on 2021, and the chance to have an experienced QB behind center when the Dawgs open with Clemson in Charlotte. Finally, there's one more reason for Bulldog Nation to celebrate Daniels' arrival in Athens: Tennessee, which has been drawing considerable hype with its own recruiting lately, was hoping he'd wind up in Knoxville after he entered the transfer portal in April. Instead, we get the latest example of the stratospheric level at which Smart is recruiting these days. The post UGA quarterback room likely won't stay crowded' very long appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Dylan Fairchild is a state heavyweight wrestling champion and an All-American football player out of West Forsyth High School. Needless to say, he is a priority target for the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2021 recruiting cycle. He was so well-regarded by Georgia line coach Matt Luke, that Luke wanted to make sure he offered him in person earlier this year. When he told DawgNation this week he was ready to make his college decision, he spoke with a conviction and a clear purpose that we rarely hear from a recruit. Especially not one rated as the nation's No. 2 OG and the No. 40 overall prospect (247Sports) for the class of 2021. Toss in the global pandemic denying all the college visits he thought needed to take. Sprinkle in the fact that he never thought he'd be committing this early regardless of the COVID-19 concerns. Fairchild just knows. He makes a very telling case. 'It was always Georgia and Auburn,' Fairchild said. 'I think it was those two. Those were the closest but I think that Georgia was there. I think I was sitting there and I don't think I had that two hour or three-hour conversation with other schools like I did with coach Matt Luke and coach [Kirby Smart] to get to know each other.' 'To get to really really know each other. The more I am around Coach Luke and I see his style and the way he coaches and takes care of his kids, the more I have grown closer with him. We've built a very good bond.' The 4-star prospect becomes the ninth public commitment of the 2021 recruiting class in Athens. That moves the Bulldogs up to the nation's No. 12 class for 2021 on the 247Sports Team Composite rankings. 'Georgia is going to be the best of both worlds for me,' he said. 'Even with football, I am picking a school that even without football I would want to go too. You never know what could happen. This football life could end in one moment. I think I am going to go to a place where I am going to be happy with football and I am going to be happy with school, too.' 'I think Georgia is really the best of both worlds. I think all the pieces of a national championship are falling right into Georgia's hands. I want to be a part of that and do something special over there. I think that me and a few other guys have that same mindset. I'm just ready to go.' 'I've been talking with Brock [Vandagriff] and Micah Morris and a few other guys and we are all with this. We are ready to be a part of something really special at Georgia.' Dylan Fairchild: This is one committed member of the class He actually knew he wanted to be a Bulldog before he got his first Georgia hat. The West Forsyth rising senior called the Georgia staff at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. That was a private chat and he made his commitment. He then joined DawgNation for a special recruiting announcement on its Facebook and YouTube social channels. When Fairchild sent out his tweet letting the world know he was a Bulldog, he was live on the air with DawgNation. 'If I were to do this without the whole coronavirus thing going around I would go see the Georgia coaches and do it in person,' Fairchild said. 'It just wanted to give them that respect and call them. Person to person. Just tell them I was 100 percent with this and ready to go. I'm ready to get to work already.' It was a bit unexpected here, but he said the fact he couldn't visit the Georgia coaches in person actually helped him come to that decision faster than he ever expected. 'The Zoom meetings really helped me more,' Fairchild said. 'It really made it feel like I was doing a one-on-one with the coaches on a recruiting visit. I don't think it would have been the same for me with that if I was on a recruiting visit on the campus at Georgia. You can really ask the questions you would really want to ask face-to-face and in some circumstances it helped even more than doing it when you are around a bunch of people and have a lot of activities going on.' 'I think in my case the Zooms actually helped me more.' Fairchild ranks as the nation's No. 7 OG and the No. 135 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He grew up a Georgia fan with his family barking at the TV every Saturday in the fall. His family is made up of mostly Bulldogs with a few Georgia Tech fans sprinkled in. 'I don't know it is just like it kind of all matches up,' Fairchild said. 'There's just no way that if I went to any other school. There's no way at any point that I would regret it if I went to Georgia. It was just meant to happen. All the recruiting put aside, I just think that degree from Georgia is just going to be the best fit for me. I've never been more excited about something.' Check out his junior highlight reel. Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. The post BREAKING: Elite OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Quarterback JT Daniels has what it takes to compete and win in the SEC, according to USC beat writer Ryan Young. Young, who previously covered the Florida Gators SEC Country, followed Daniels' recruitment to the Trojans and brief career leading up to his commitment to transfer to Georgia made on Thursday. RELATED: Details emerge on JT Daniels commitment to Georgia football 'His strength is being decisive, scanning the filled quickly and making competence decisions on where he wants to go with the ball, he's not going to freeze,' Young told DawgNation during Thursday night's Special Presentation. 'I wouldn't say he has the biggest arm in the world. I would say his strength is accuracy, and spearing the ball around and making good decisions.' The question is, will Daniels be in the mix to compete for the starting job this season? Kirby Smart has said enough times over that the quarterback competition is open, even though Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman would seem to have an advantage with his experience. Young said Daniels, a former 5-star prospect and true freshman starter at USC, is fearless when it comes to competition. But when Daniels entered into the transfer portal, on April 16 as reported by Young on the Rivals.com Network, many thought it was because the one-time transfer rule was expected to be passed last week. instead, the measure was shelved, meaning Daniels will need to get the same sort of waiver for immediate eligibility that Justin Fields and Tate Martell received last season. Rivals.com beat writer Ryan Young DawgNation Georgia QB Derby Social media split reaction on JT Daniels commitment to Georgia D'Wan Mathis fully cleared for games, ready for whatever lies ahead Brandon Adams Podcast: Georgia fans should appreciate drama-free recruiting Sentell's Intel: The buzz is real with USC quarterback J.T. Daniels The post WATCH: QB transfer JT Daniels accurate, cerebral,' per USC beat writer Ryan Young appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis has received clearance to take part in games after undergoing an MRI one year after his emergency brain surgery. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the positive results of the MRI on Thursday. Mathis had been cleared to go through practices since last November, and Smart said indicated he would be a full participant in spring football drills before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all collegiate sports activity on March 12. RELATED: Mind Game, how UGA's D'Wan Mathis is overcoming brain surgery UGA does not typically tackle its quarterbacks to the ground in practices. The Bulldogs go full speed and 'thud,' players wrapped up without being taken to the ground to avoid injuries. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Mathis was rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital last May after the UGA medical staff, led by director of sports medicine Ron Courson, diagnosed his symptoms as life threatening. 'The honest truth, waking up in a hospital bed, and seeing my parents, and seeing how my head looked and everything, man, it was humbling,' Mathis, whose skull surgery involved a metal plate secured by screws, said following the Sugar Bowl. 'I was like, wow you are so blessed, be thankful that you are still here.' Terence Mathis, D'Wan's father, stated simply that 'Georgia saved my son's life.' The comeback D'Wan was in the ICU unit for days following the surgery and lost more than 20 pounds after his skull was cut open to remove the life-threatening cyst. It took months for him to gain back his weight and strength but Mathis was determined to return to practice. By November and into the bowl season, Mathis was working out with a modified helmet and running the scout team, earning the praise and confidence of Georgia coach Kirby Smart throughout the offseason. 'D'Wan's been scout-team quarterback the last couple of weeks now and has done a tremendous job,' Smart said last November. 'He helped with the Bo Nix scout team stuff. He's able to simulate some of these guys we've played, so that has been a big bonus for us.' Smart indicated during a virtual G-Day Game telecast last month that Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman had not yet clinched the starting job. RELATED: Kirby says we don't really know what we have at QB' ' You evaluate our quarterbacks, and you look at it and you say I've got a guy who had a major surgery, I got a guy that just came out of high school, I've got a guy that's been a No. 2 last year, Stetson, and then I have a transfer from Wake that we don't know a lot about, as far as in our system,' Smart said. 'So we have a lot of unknowns at that position.' QB competition Smart's assessment of the QB competition wasn't much different on Thursday, just hours before USC transfer J.T. Daniels announced his commitment to Georgia. 'W e don't even know the threshold or the capacity of some of our players,' Smart said. 'We did not get to go through spring ball with necessarily some of the positions, especially on offense, of guys to see what they can handle.' RELATED: Smart says there's going to be a good QB competition' More than once source close to the team told DawgNation that Mathis was throwing the ball equally well if not better than Newman in the team's voluntary workouts outside of the supervised winter conditioning. Mathis ran the 100-yard dash in 10.8 seconds in high school and his running skills and athleticism were on display in the 2018 G-Day Game Mathis was 15-of-28 passing for 113 yards in the game and caught a double-reverse pass from Matt Landers for a 39-yard touchdown. D'Wan, he's explosive,' Jake Fromm said of his former understudy. 'I think he converted three or four first downs in a row with his legs. 'The guy can run the ball, he can throw it 70 yards, he's going to be a great player.' Investing in Georgia Mathis made his commitment to Georgia quarterbacking duties clear when he chose to stay in Athens after on-campus activity was suspended. Mathis applied for and was granted a special exemption. It provided insight into the trust he has built with Courson and the UGA medical staff, and his comfort in living in Athens. 'D'Wan came back on spring break and told me he loves where he is from, but that he needed to go back to Georgia,' Terence Mathis said in a March 28 interview. 'Georgia could have given up on my son, but instead, Kirby and his staff have treated D'Wan as though he was their own son. They've used every possible resource to stay behind him and keep him engaged with the team after saving his life.' But now Daniels is in play, and there are suspicious the UGA quarterback room may have reached its tipping point. If Daniels receives a waiver for immediate eligibility its hard to imagine four quarterbacks getting repetitions as Georgia competes for a national championship this season. Freshman Carson Beck is also expected to be in the mix, along with redshirt junior Stetson Bennett. Mathis was Ohio State's quarterback of choice in the 2019 signing class before Justin Fields jolted Georgia by transferring from the Bulldogs' program following his freshman season. RELATED: D'Wan Mathis shares signing day story, Ohio State denied interest in Justin Fields Mathis determined the Buckeyes were not being forthcoming in December of 2018 when they said they were not recruiting Fields, and he chose to trust in Georgia, signing and enrolling in January of 2019. It remains to be seen how Mathis' future will play out, but the Oak Park, Mich., product is once again healthy and ready to compete full-go on the football field. The post Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis fully cleared for game action after MRI appeared first on DawgNation.