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Joe Exotic asked Ben Roethlisberger for an autograph from prison

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Joe Exotic of “Tiger King” wrote Ben Roethlisberger a letter.

Joe Exotic of “Tiger King” wrote Ben Roethlisberger a letter.
Image: AP

I forgot Joe Exotic existed. The Tiger King was the king of Netflix for a few months in 2020, and his fame vanished almost immediately afterward. Even Tiger King Season 2 wasn’t enough to bring Joseph “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage back into the forefront of American pop culture. Now, the man is imprisoned, sentenced to 21 years on numerous federal charges of animal abuse as well as attempted murder for hire, but that’s not stopping him from trying to give his stepson a damn good birthday present.

On Friday, it was revealed that Maldonado-Passage sent a handwritten letter to former Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger asking him for a signed jersey for his stepson’s birthday.

The letter, which is dated March 30, 2022, is interesting to say the least. After all, if all Maldonado-Passage really wanted was an autograph for his stepson, why would he feel the need to mention Carole Baskin, PETA, or the Big Cat Public Safety Act at all. It’s almost like there was a different reason for why he sent this letter out. Why not just say “Hey, my stepson is a big fan of yours and it would mean the world to him if you’d give him an autographed jersey. Thanks, bye?” If there’s one thing I can assure Mr. Exotic, it’s that Roethlisberger has no interest in big cat politics and if he did, I’d hope he’d be in favor of introducing a law that protects lions and tigers in the wild. At least he should be.

Furthermore, the letter claims that Maldonado-Passage promised his stepson a signed Roethlisberger jersey. Come on, Joe, you have to know better than to promise things you can’t feasibly get. In your letter, you claim that your fans “helped get everything else he wanted.” You also claim that it costs $600 for an autographed Roethlisberger jersey on eBay. How can your fans get you everything your stepson wanted, yet not have $600 for a jersey? Also, I just checked eBay, and while I can’t speak to the authenticity of the signatures, I saw three jerseys, with viewable, reasonable-looking signatures, going for less than $400 before shipping. Like, how hard did you really look? That took me one search.

I will give Maldonado-Passage some credit though. He does appeal to Roethlisberger’s emotions in the final paragraph of his letter. I’m not talking about the part where he calls Big Ben his stepson’s hero. That’s cliché and played-out. I’m talking about the part where he says, “Can you help a man out that is fighting for his own freedom?”

Big Ben knows all too well about “fighting for his freedom.” He had the “fight of his life” after allegedly raping a woman in his Lake Tahoe hotel room in July 2008 (lawsuit was filed in 2009). He was forced to “fight for his freedom” again in 2010 when a college student accused him of raping her in a bar. How can someone who has been through as much as Roethlisberger not help Joe out now? From a man in prison to someone who could be, this was a brilliant move by Joe Exotic.

I hope Roethlisberger doesn’t give the jersey to Exotic’s stepson. That kid needs a better role model than Big Ben, and if not getting his jersey is what it takes, then that is a sacrifice worth making.



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Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms

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C

helsea have not conceded a goal in the first 270 minutes that Benoit Badiashile has been on the pitch since his £35million move from Monaco.

His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.

The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.

After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.

Impressive start: Benoit Badiashile has formed a promising partnership with Thiago Silva

/ Getty Images

Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.

“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.

That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.

In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.

There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.

However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.

While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.

Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.

With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.



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Reporter’s notebook: Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side showed encouraging signs at times but lack of points cost him his job | Football News

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Jesse Marsch was approaching his one-year anniversary as Leeds United head coach before the decision was taken on Monday to relieve him of his duties.

The defeat to Nottingham Forest a day earlier had been the final straw for the Leeds board, who were all aligned in the view that a change was necessary after almost three months without a Premier League win.

The recent statistics paint a grim picture for Leeds. Seven Premier League games without a win and just two wins in the last 17 league games. And against Forest, although they dominated in the first half and created the better chances, a worrying pattern had started to develop which had become a huge concern for fans. Leeds were producing performances with lots of positives, but not enough points.

There is little doubt that a large proportion of the fan base had lost patience with Marsch, and they made their frustrations clear at the full-time whistle on Sunday with calls for a change of head coach.

What is very evident is that Leeds have not kicked on this season. At times there have been really promising signs, but the fans and the board at Leeds wanted more. Marsch will feel that with time he could have delivered more, but he was also realistic enough to know that he was walking a tightrope.

I got to know Jesse well during his 12 months at Elland Road and it was abundantly clear he cared passionately about the club. He understood what it meant to be head coach of Leeds United and what the club meant to the city and the fans. And he has to be given great credit for keeping Leeds in the Premier League last season.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Leeds.

Although it hasn’t worked out for Marsch this season, there is a strong argument to suggest that the next Leeds boss will be in a great position to move the club forward.

Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra are now fit, and the January additions should make the starting line-up stronger. The club has also invested heavily in young players and one of those, Willy Gnonto, has emerged as one of the shining lights of the season.

Those factors have created an expectation that Leeds are better than their current league position, and that means a reluctance to accept another season fighting to avoid the drop. It also means that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.

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Former Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Robinson believes sacking Jesse Marsch was the right decision as he was given enough time at the club.

The process of finding a replacement for Marsch is already underway and Leeds hope to make a swift appointment. A move for Marcelo Bielsa is highly unlikely, but West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who worked under Bielsa, is a candidate, while Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has also been linked.

It is also worth noting Leeds have a track record of leftfield appointments, so as they work through their list of targets, there is a good chance that a candidate emerges that could surprise everybody.

In the meantime, Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas will take training at Thorp Arch, and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Leeds’ next Premier League fixtures

February 8: Manchester United (A) – kick-off 8pm

February 12: Manchester United (H) – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports

February 18: Everton (A) – kick-off 3pm

February 25: Southampton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 4: Chelsea (A) – kick-off 3pm

March 11: Brighton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 18: Wolves (A) – kick-off 3pm



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Tom Brady in his underwear is taking over Twitter

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Um .. oh.

Um .. oh.
Screenshot: Twitter: Tom Brady

It’s Super Bowl week, and if you thought Tom Brady was going to let this week go by without being all up in your timeline…well. Just a week after announcing he’s retiring from football (you’ll never convince me he didn’t play an extra year just to stick it to Adam Schefter), Tom Brady has dropped his first thirst trap on Twitter. Or, attempted thirst trap. Actually, IS this a thirst trap?

As will many things Tom Brady, the attempt to be cool and edgy just winds up being sterile, boring, and kinda sad. A beige man in a beige room in beige underwear with a “pleass clap” look on his face.

And because OF COURSE:

Yes, Tom. We all knew the plug as coming. I’m not sure what color “heather crimson” is supposed to be, but I believe this is what we used to call “puce,” which… meh. The fact that there is something called the “Brady Boxer Brief” is enough to make me want to stick my head in the oven, because you know there are guys in New England burning up the internet right now to wear the same undies as their hero. And even more so because no amount of refusing to mask during COVID, vouching for Antonio Brown, stumping for Donald Trump, or getting a PPP loan during a nationwide pandemic is enough to get people to stop buying what this guy is selling. He’s even gotten to Jane Fonda, for crying out loud.

Of course, this entire thing was set up by Brady’s own brand:

So…whatever. It’s Super Bowl week and everyone is talking about Tom Brady, which is exactly how he wants it to be.



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