Surgeons Implant Genetically-Edited Pig’s Kidneys Into Brain-Dead Patient

Thanks to medical developments, bacon may not be the only piece of a pig heading into your body. On Thursday, the results of a surgery that saw doctors transplant a genetically-altered pig’s kidneys into a brain-dead patient’s abdomen were published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

The surgery had been conducted back on Sept. 30 in Birmingham, Alabama, while the patient — 57-year-old James Parsons — was declared brain-dead after suffering blunt trauma from a dirt bike race accident.

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The pig’s kidneys were transplanted just as typical human’s organs would be, and the results were certainly encouraging – the kidneys survived over the course of three days until Parsons was taken off life support.

Speaking to the Associated Press, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Dr. Jayme Locke — the lead of the study — explained he had initial doubts, not knowing if the pig kidney blood vessels could withstand human blood pressure force (which they were able to).

While one kidney was damaged during the removal, the other kidney successfully produced urine, while no pig cells or viruses were found in Parsons. For Locke, the operation could signal a huge relief when it comes to transplantations in the medical world. “The organ shortage is in fact an unmitigated crisis and we’ve never had a real solution to it,” he said.

Despite 2021 seeing a record-breaking number of total organ transplants with over 41,000, there are still 106,553 men, woman, and children on the national transplant waiting list, while 17 people die each day waiting for a transplant according to the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)

The study continues the flurry of animal-to-human transplants, also known as xenotransplantation. Earlier this month, a pig’s heart was transplanted to 57-year-old patient David Bennett, who had been deemed ineligible for traditional heart transplant. While the seven-hour transplant was successful, his long-terms odds of survival are yet to be seen.

Surgeons also previously implanted a pig’s kidneys to a pair of blood vessels outside a deceased patient’s body to observe what would happen in October. Like Locke’s transplant, the kidney in this situation functioned normally as well, producing both urine and filtering waste.

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However, the AP noted that there is still some hurdles needed to be jumped before doctors can began implanting pig kidneys into living patients. The scientists also need to determine how long pig organs can function within the human body, and what kind of genetic alterations are needed for each kind of organ.

As for why pigs are frequently used in xenotransplantation, BIO explained that the animal’s ability to breed and mature quickly, along with its organs — which are close in size and functionality to a human’s — make them an ideal specimen. Pigs can also be highly health when bred in controlled environments.

Scientists had looked towards primates as possible xenotransplantation specimens,given their similarities to humans. However, primates’ organs greatly differ in size than humans, and also have a greater chance of spreading disease between the subjects. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a de facto ban on clinical trials between human and non-human primates in 1999.

Despite Skid, Lakers Plan To Keep Head Coach Frank Vogel

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers are not expected to make any drastic changes by firing head coach Frank Vogel, despite the team losing four of their last five games and sitting at 22-23, good for eighth in the Western Conference.

“I don’t feel like I’m under siege,” Vogel responded when asked if he felt like his job security was in jeopardy, adding that in this league and with this team, there will always be outside noise if the level of play isn’t up to par.

“I’m good at blocking it out. I feel good about the job we’re doing, and obviously we believe the results are going to come. But over the course of an 82-game season with a new group, you’re going to have some ugly nights”

For both the Lakers and Vogel, this quick turn of events makes two years ago feel like an eternity, when the team went 51-9 in Vogel’s first year and won the NBA championship — L.A.’s 17th title — during the league’s playoff bubble in Orlando.

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Since that time, however, Vogel has gone just 64-53 with a disappointing first-round exit last year. Following the team’s 111-104 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, Vogel stressed that the blame falls on everyone. “We have to coach better. We have to play better. Everything has to be better.”

Los Angeles has struggled in a number of areas, such as defense. They’re allowing 112.8 points per game, the 27th-worst mark in the league. While it’s easy to blame Vogel, the team has undergone a number of drastic changes in the past three years – just four players from the championship team still remain in L.A.

The latest defeat sparked additional controversy when Vogel benched nine-time All-Star — and first-year Laker — Russell Westbrook with 3 minutes and 52 seconds remaining. Up to that point, Westbrook had shot 5-17 with 14 points.

Westbrook would leave to the locker room before the game expired, and opted not to stick around for questions after. On the year, the point guard is averaging 18.5 points per game (his worst total since 2009-10) and a .433 FG%.

Sources told ESPN Vogel had been given the green light by management to coach Westbrook as he and the coaching staff see fit. In response to the move, Vogel stated he was playing the guys he thought would win the game. Lebron James, meanwhile, answered cryptically when asked about Westbrook’s benching.

According to the sources, the coaching staff had been considering pulling Westbrook from late-game situations due to his inconsistencies and inability to follow up on scouting reports. For Vogel, the move is certainly a way to shake things up for the better – or it could create more conflict within the locker room.

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Making things more difficult for the Lakers has been Anthony Davis’ sprained MCL. The All-Star center, who’s been limited to 27 games this season, has been cleared for contact but remains without a timetable for return.

The pressure on Vogel — whose contract runs until 2022-23 — will likely continue to ramp up over the next several games. After playing the 8-38 Orlando Magic, Los Angeles will face the Miami Heat (29-16), Brooklyn Nets (28-16), and Philadelphia 76ers (26-18). Further embarrassing losses could spell an end to the 48-year-old’s tenure in Hollywood.

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Starbucks Scrapes Vaccine Mandate After Supreme Court Ruling

A week after a 6-3 Supreme Court ruling temporarily stopped President Joe Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate — which required companies of over 100 workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly — Starbucks is suspending their COVID-19 vaccine or test requirement, they informed employees in a memo sent Tuesday.

Starbucks, which has over 15,000 locations in the U.S., told their 228,000 workers on Jan. 3 that they would need to either be fully vaccinated by Feb. 9, or accept weekly testing. The employees had to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 10.

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“This is an important step we can take to help more partners get vaccinated, limit the spread of Covid-19, and create choices that partners can own based on what’s best for them,” Starbucks CEO John Culver said at the time.

While Culver said in the memo they respect and will comply with the ruling, he also expressed the desire to continue believing in the purpose of the mandate, while urging employees to keep getting shots and boosted against the virus.

“I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate. Thank you to the more than 90 percent of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated.”

The New York Post noted that Starbucks is still requiring employees to wear surgical masks instead of cloth masks. The company — which brought in a 2021 third quarter revenue of $8.15 billion — previously tried to incentivize vaccinations by offering two paid hours off for every dosage received.

General Electric, which has over 170,000 workers, has also suspended their vaccine and testing rules. Like Starbucks, GE encouraged their workers to get vaccinated. Eyes will now turn to see if other major businesses, such Target (409,000 workers) will opt to pull back or suspend their policies in place.

It’s already clear some will not be following the ruling, however. Bankers Citigroup and Goldman Sachs told Forbes they would continue their mandates, while Wells Fargo would continue its testing program as part of its vaccine or test mandate. Meanwhile, Carhartt — which employs over 5,000 — faced both support and backlash for intending to carry on with their vaccination policy.

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Due to the surging omicron variant, the coffee giant has had to reduce employee hours while experiencing supply shortages and sick workers. Other restaurant companies are dealing with the same – McDonald’s cut store hours by 10% on average at 40,000 locations.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), just 36% of U.S. workers are required to be vaccinated by their employer. That number has increased from 5% in May 2021. Meanwhile, 43% of workers say their companies are encouraging vaccinations, down from 66% in May and 55% in August.

Despite the low number of total workers required to be vaccinated, Forbes noted that, somewhat surprisingly, 56% of the 2,200 respondents to a Morning Consult poll said they believe employers should require mandates. Meanwhile, 33% disagreed. Across the U.S., 63% of the population is fully vaccinated, while 75.7% have received at least one vaccine dose and 24.8% have received a booster.

For Starbucks, a vaccine mandate isn’t their only worry. Workers in Buffalo were successful in two out of three union elections, becoming the first unionized Starbucks locations in the U.S. Others in major cities like Seattle, Boston, and Chicago are organizing to follow suit.

Russia Could Invade Ukraine “At Any Point” As U.S. Attempts To Resolve Standoff

As Russia continues to build up troops — which now range near an estimated 127,000 — at the Ukraine border, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stated that while the country doesn’t intend to invade like the West fears, the Kremlin will need guarantees that forbid Ukraine joining NATO.

“For us, it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never, ever becomes a member of NATO,” Ryabkov stated on Monday following an eight hour-long meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Sherman countered Ryabkov’s wishes by emphasizing that the U.S. will “never allow anyone” to close NATO’s open-door policy, and that Russia will not be able to dictate how the U.S. works with foreign countries. “We will not make decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Sherman said.

Despite Ryabkov’s claims that Russia doesn’t intend on invading, the White House believes an attack could be imminent, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki calling the situation extremely dangerous and more stark than previously during her briefing Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Russia has been reducing its embassy staff in Ukraine, with the New York Times reporting 48 workers have left the country since Jan. 5 –  another sign that a head to this conflict could be coming soon. However, Moscow has denied these actions while assuring the embassy is operating normally.

Sherman wasn’t the only U.S. official making diplomatic efforts this week. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and is scheduled to meet with Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday.

Blinken gave Zelenskyy a warning similar to Psaki’s, saying an invasion could come at “short notice.” Blinken also acknowledged that Ukraine is facing an “unprecedented threat” and repeated his sentiments from back in early December, saying Russia still faces severe economic consequences should they go through with their attack.

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France President Emmanuel Macron has urged for a European “collective security” pact. This would include principles that allow the “rejection of use of force or coercion,” giving countries the choice to reject spheres of influence and join alliances or bodies as they wish.

Macron added that “frank and demanding dialogue” between the EU and Russia would be necessary for a collective security pact, and that relying on talks between Moscow and D.C. is simply not enough. Macron expressed hopes of revitalizing a four-way talk between Germany, Russia, France, and Ukraine in order to find a solution.

Experts anticipate Russia which touts an will accuse Ukraine of a provocation before moving forward with any operations. NBC News detailed a number of possible options Russian President Vladimir Putin could take, ranging from blocking off Ukraine’s army and ports to seizing the eastern half of the country.

According to Ukrainian officials, Russia could utilize ally Belarus — which shares a border with Ukraine — as a launching stage for a multi-headed invasion. Moscow has started moving troops to Belarus for joint military drills, where they’ll rehearse repelling attacks. The two countries previously held a Zapad (West) military exercise in September, which consisted of 200,000 troops.

According to CNN, in addition to sanctions that would be thrown down should Russia attack, the Biden administration is also considering providing Ukraine forces with further ammunition, mortars, Javelin anti-tank missiles, and anti-aircraft missile systems through NATO allies.

Other methods of U.S. assistance include additional arms sales and advice in order to stay in the right against a superior and formidable Russian force, an administration official told CNN.

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Factcheckers Slam YouTube’s Allowance And Inaction Regarding Misinformation

More than 80 fact-checking organizations are calling Youtube “one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide,” and asking for the popular video streaming site to be better about stopping misinformation.

In an open letter addressed to Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki, the organizations claim Youtube is allowing unscrupulous actors to “weaponize” the site, thus harming and exploiting other users. The letter stated that Youtube has been insufficient in helping to stop this by not implementing further policies.

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The groups gave a number of examples of how Youtube — which is owned by Google — has become a platform for abuse and misinformation. In addition to conspiracy groups in multiple nations thriving, Taiwan election results were hurt by unsubstantiated claims on the site, while hate speech has spiked in Brazil.

“Millions of other users were watching videos in Greek and Arabic that encouraged them to boycott vaccinations or treat their COVID-19 infections with bogus cures. Beyond COVID-19, YouTube videos have been promoting false cures for cancer for years.”

Following the Capitol riot and the U.S. Election, videos that supported the idea of Donald Trump losing the election due to fraud were watched more than 33 million times. Youtube’s lack of inaction could be contrasted to sites like Twitter, which suspended Trump after the events for “inciting violence.” However, Twitter has endured much more reaction for their allowance of misinformation in the past than YouTube.

The groups proposed a number of solutions to the platform, such as Youtube not only supporting independent research about the origins and reach of misinformation campaigns, but also publish its full moderation policy regarding disinformation and misinformation.

Also recommended was acting against repeat offenders, extending efforts against disinformation and misinformation in languages other than English — while additionally providing country- and language-specific data — and superimosing context or offering debunks on videos.

The group of organizations come from over 40 countries, and include Italy’s Facta, Israel’s The Whistle, U.K.’s Full Fact, and France’s Science Feedback. The U.S. has a number of representatives with The Washington Post Fact Checker, Lead Stories, and all participating.

In response, Youtube spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said the company is has “invested heavily in policies and products in all countries we operate to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation, and remove violative videos.” Hernandez also called fact-checking a useful tool, but added it’s just one piece to a larger puzzle in addressing the spread of misinformation.

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On their site, YouTube states it “does not not allow misleading or deceptive content that poses a serious risk of egregious harm,” and relies on clear facts when basing policies. YouTube also claims its policies — which are listed as misinformation, elections misinformation, COVID-19 medical misinformation, and vaccine misinformation — are done in partnership with externals experts and content creators.

A 2020 Pew Research study showed that a quarter, or 26%, of U.S. adults get their news from YouTube. Of that group, 59% said the site is an important way to get news (with 13% saying it’s the most important way).

30% of news consumers also stated they viewed misinformation as a very big problem, while 33% saw it as a moderately big problem. Just 9% didn’t see it as a problem at all, the lowest “no concern” total of all issues touched upon in the study.

YouTube has garnered plenty of criticism for their renovative actions in the last couple of months. The site removed the dislike button from videos, which prompted co-founder Jawed Karim to call it a “universally disliked change” while predicting a decline due to platform interference.


Jason Momoa And Lisa Bonet Announce Split After 16 Years

“Aquaman” and “Dune” star Jason Momoa and his wife, actress Lisa Bonet, have announced on their Instagram account that they’re splitting after 16 years. The couple married in October of 2017.

“We have all felt the squeeze and changes of these transformational times… A revolution is unfolding ~and our family is no exception… feeling and growing from the seismic shift occurring,” the post read. “And so~ We share our Family news~ That we are parting ways.”

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The ex-couple said they didn’t announce the news simply because it’s newsworthy, but because they can go about their lives with “dignity and honesty.” The statement continued, saying that “the love between us carries on, evolving in ways it wishes to be known and lived.”

The couple concluding their joint announcement mentioning their unwavering devotion to life and their children. “May Love Prevail. J & L.” Momoa, 42, and Bonet, 52, met at a jazz club back in 2005 through mutual friends. Since that time, they’ve had two children together – 14-year-old Lola and 12-year-old Nakoa-Wolf.

The couple’s wedding in 2017 was done in complete secret, which was only revealed after a leak. “I thought it would have stayed that way, but some a–hole leaked it and I will find you,” Momoa told Entertainment Tonight at the time.

Hours before the announcement, Momoa’s next blockbuster — “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” — finished the final day of filming, with director James Wan sharing a photo of him, Momoa, and co-star Patrick Wilson laughing.

Momoa first broke out onto the Hollywood scene thanks to his performance in “Game of Thrones” as Khal Drogo, where he formed a lasting chemistry and friendship with co-star Emilia Clarke – who some fans were quick to blame for the couples’ breakup.

Bonet got her start on “The Cosby Show” as Denise Huxtable. Speaking to James Corden in 2017, Momoa said Bonet’s time as Denise was what caught his attention in the first place at the age of 8.

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“I was like, ‘Mommy, I want that one,'” the “Dune” star said. “I’m like, ‘I’m going to stalk you for the rest of my life and I’m going to get you.'” Momoa joked he didn’t tell Bonet this until after she had had the two children.

When they met at the club, Momoa had quite the reaction. “I turned around to my friend and I was like, ‘Ahhh!’ I had f—— fireworks going off inside, man.” The actor had even donned a matching hair style for the occasion.

Bonet will now be going through her second divorce, the first having been with singer Lenny Kravitz in 1993. Bonet shared a daughter with Kravitz — Zoë — who Momoa helped raise. Both Kravitz’s and Momoa became close in the process.

Back in late December, Bonet had hinted at the couples’ pending split in an interview with Marissa Tomei, saying “learning how to be new” was calling her in life. “We’ve eliminated all this extra noise, and now it’s time to grow our roots deeper into our own values,” Bonet said.

Inflation Rises To 7%, Marking The Highest Rate Since 1982

From bacon to your ride, everything just got more expensive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), inflation rose to 7% last year before season adjustments, and has reached the fastest pace since 1982.

Housing, as well as used cars and trucks, were the biggest contributors to the price increases. Housing rose 0.4% in December and 4.1% last year, while used cars and trucks spiked to 3.5% last month and 37.3% overall.

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BLS noted food also contributed, though it’s gone up less than in recent months, rising only 0.5% in December. The food price index saw a total price increase of 6.3%, while grocery prices hit 6.5% (versus 6.0% for food away from home).

Meanwhile, energy costs saw a positive change as they fell by 0.4%, ending months of continually rises -including huge spikes of 4.8% and 3.5% in October and November, respectively. At the end of the year, the energy cost index rose 29.3%. Minus the costs of food and energy, inflation rose to 5.5% (up 0.6% from November), which CNN Business reports is the highest annual jump since February of 1991.

Some bankers and experts expect inflation to fall anywhere from 2% to 3% in 2022, while the Federal Reserve could start to raise short-term interest rates in the summer if inflation rates continue to see spikes in the coming months.

Continually rising prices across major necessities have made life difficult for lower-income families. BLS showed real average hourly earnings went up just 0.1% from November to December, and decreased annually by 2.4% from 2020 to 2021.

The public has become more worried with prices than the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an AP-NORC poll, 37% of Americans said that the virus was one of their top-five priorities heading in 2022, down 53% from the previous year.

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68% of respondents named the economy as one of their top priorities (no annual change), with 14% mentioning inflation in some way. That’s up from less than 1% last year. 24% also mentioned cost of living, up 12% from 2021.

That worry has translated into anger against President Joe Biden and his administration. FiveThirtyEight calculations show a 51.5% disapproval of Biden — up 50.5% from Dec. 19 and 47.6% in August — while 43.1% approve. Inflation will play an inevitably crucial part in this year’s upcoming midterms as the Democrats attempt to continue their hold on Congress.

In response to the report, the White House shifted the blame towards corporations, the ongoing supply chain problems, and the pandemic’s economic slump. “Today’s report — which shows a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month, with gas prices and food prices falling — demonstrates that we are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases,” Biden said in a statement.

“At the same time, this report underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets.”

Biden also stated that other nations are burdened with hiking prices, as well. The U.S. certainly isn’t the only country to be experiencing inflation troubles – among 46 countries analyzed by Pew Research, 39 of them had higher 2021 third-quarter than the third quarter of 2019. However, the U.S. was one of the top three countries in inflation increase during that period (close to +4%).

Pope Francis Criticizes ‘Selfish’ Couples Who Adopt Pets Instead Of Kids

Speaking in front of a general audience at the Vatican Wednesday, Pope Francis took a bold move at upsetting the masses of animal lovers by saying that couples who adopt pets instead of children are showing “a form of selfishness” and that it “diminishes us.”

“How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them,” Francis said. “And how many spouses wish to be fathers and mothers but are unable to do so for biological reasons; or, although they already have children, they want to share their family’s affection with those who have been left without.”

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Francis — who dived into the topic while discussing Joseph, the foster father of Jesus — called adopting “one of the highest forms a love” a person can give. He also told potential parents to not be afraid of adopting children, and that while there are always risks, there are “more risk in not having a child.”

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, adopting a child can amount anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on the type of adoption, such as private or independent. Around 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year, while there are an estimated 153 million orphans worldwide. Meanwhile, per the ASPCA, around 4.1 million pets are adopted in the U.S. each year (2 million dogs and 2.1 million cats).

For the Church, Catholic families birthing or adopting more children could benefit it in the long run. A Gallup report found that in addition to U.S. membership in houses of worship dropping below 50% for the first time in eight decades, Catholic membership declined by 18 points, from 76% to 58%.

That’s a steeper decline than what Protestants have faced (down nine points from 73% to 64%). Gallup also noted weekly church attendance for Catholics has declined as well, whereas it has remained steady for protestants.

Across the globe, countries are also experiencing what is termed as a “demographic winter,” or falling fertility rates. According to BBC, worldwide fertility rates — which currently sit around 2.4 — are projected to fall below 2.0 by 2050, and to 1.7 by 2100.

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BBC explained that the drop in fertility rates can be credited to more women going to school and working, as well as the greater accessibility of birth control. In May, Francis commented on fertility rates, stressing the need for “a policy, an economy, information and culture that courageously promote birth.”

The Pope has discussed animals several times during his papacy. In 2016, Francis said that a person can’t love their pet more than their neighbor. While some might recall Francis saying that animals — which the Church hasn’t confirmed nor deny have souls — will go to heaven, the quote credited to Francis was actually spoken by Paul VI.

While Francis, who is often seen as much more of a progressive Church leader than those in the past, has neither children nor pets, he was gifted two donkeys by a farming cooperative back in 2014.

Despite Francis’ frequent dismissal of animals, previous Popes have a more affectionate history with creatures. Benedict XVI was well-known for his housing and enduring love of cats, while Pius XII possessed a goldfinch.

Antonio Brown Released From Buccaneers, Accuses Them Of Forcing Him To Play With Ankle Injury

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced the release of wide receiver Antonio Brown following his debacle in Week 17’s game against the New York Jets. Leading up to the release, Brown — a seven-time Pro-Bowler — accused head coach Bruce Arians of attempting to play him despite having an ankle injury. On Monday, Arians stated that Brown had not informed him of an injury on game day.

“While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday’s game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play,” the team said in a press release.

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The wide receiver will now hit the waiver wire, and any team that successfully claims him will have to pay the remainder of his salary.

Brown’s tumultuous time with Tampa Bay came to a head when, during Sunday’s game, Brown suddenly took off his jersey on the sidelines, leaving him shirtless. He then went into the endzone — with both teams on the field at the time — jumped around while engaging with the crowd, and left the game.

Before he left, Brown had a conversation with Arians. While Brown claimed the talk revolved around being forced to play despite being injured — with Arians telling him he was cut when Brown refused — Arian’s account tells a different story.

In his opening statement regarding the release, Arians explained that Brown problem was that he wasn’t getting the ball, and was upset with who was being targeted up until halftime. “That’s when I said you’re done, get the f*** out of here.”

Brown released texts messages between him and the coach on social media, which shows them discussing the injury in question. The messages, which take place from Dec. 30 to Jan. 1, show Brown sent Arians a picture of him receiving treatment on his ankle while saying if he feels better, he wants to be out on the field.Arians told Brown to come see him in the morning and they would “talk it out,” adding he wanted Brown with them if he was ready to play.

Brown’s ankle injury flaring up again is certainly possible, but taking into his history of not being completely truthful about specific instances, it’s more likely there are multiple sides to the story.

The incident comes weeks after Brown was suspended for violating the NFL and NFLPA’s COVID-19 protocols by possessing a fake vaccination card. Brown remained silent about the suspension, simply saying he didn’t want to talk about it.

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Brown has also gone after teammate and quarterback Tom Brady, who played a significant factor in bringing Brown to Tampa Bay in the first place. Brown released messages of him talking to Alex Guerrero — Brady’s trainer — accusing him of charging $100,000 while not working with Brown.

However, Brown’s caption and that texts seem to contradict each other. In the messages, Brown asks for $50,000 back, seemingly showing that Guerrero worked with Brown in some capacity, just not up to the full amount agreed upon.

In seven games this season, Brown has accumulated 42 receptions, 545 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Along with the suspension, Brown also missed several weeks due to the ankle injury.

Even if Brown wins this dispute, his chances of reappearing in the NFL look bleak. In addition to potential fines and a suspension heading his way for his actions, teams were already wary of the 33-year-old’s controversial past.

American Kennel Club Adds Two New Dog Breeds To Purebred Registry

On Jan. 1, the American Kennel Club (AKC) fully recognized two newest furry members to their prestigious purebred lineup – the Mudi and the Russian Toy. Both breeds are now eligible to compete in numerous U.S. dog shows, such as the National Dog Show and the Westminster Kennel Club show.

The Mudi — pronounced “moody” — comes from Hungarian roots. You might be learning about it for the first time, because there’s a good chance you haven’t spotted one in person. There are only an estimated 450 Mudik (the proper plural) in the U.S., and just 3,000-4,000 worldwide. The breed now belongs to the Herding Group.

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“If not mentally and physically challenged, the Mudi can be barky and demanding,” Mudi Club of America corresponding secretary Susanne Bergesen told AKC, emphasizing the breed is not one for first-time dog owners. “They are thinkers, love to learn, learn quickly, and do not need lots of repetitions to acquire most skills.”

When it comes to appearances, AKC said that black is the predominant color of the Mudi. It goes through numerous changes from puppy to adulthood, with its once floppy ears becoming pointed. The Mudi is a natural herder, guarder, and hunter –  only fitting given its invigorous personality, coupled with a hardworking, protective attitude.

Mudik compete in a variety of physical dog sports, including agility, obedience, dock diving, frisbee, and fly ball. If they sound like a breed you’d want, be warned – with its rarity comes an uptick in price. Costs for one can go up to $2,500.

The Russian Toy now becomes one of AKC’s smallest dog breeds — weighing up to only 6.5 pounds — and enters the Toy Group. Like the Mudi, the Russian Toy is uncommon – there are just an estimated 775 in the U.S., and generally range within the same price.

The Russian Toy can trace its heritage back to the English Toy Terrier. The breed has two varieties — a long-haired and short-haired — and comes in a variety of colors such as black, brown, red, sable, and even blue. Typically, you can find the Russian Toy competing in events like nose work, agility, and obedience.

While many small breeds have long held a tendency of less-than-stellar personalities — Chihuahuas and Terriers in particular — Russian Toy owners would disagree. “They’re extremely affectionate. They’re funny, [and] they have quite the attitude,” Russian Toy Club of America member Nona Dietrich told the Associated Press.

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AKC holds the claim of being the oldest U.S. purebred registry. With the two added dogs, the Club now has recognized 199 breeds. There are a number of hoops (literally) a breed must go through to be added to the registry.

The breed must have a “demonstrated following and interest,” with at least 100 household members in the form of a National Kennel Club. The breed needs to possess a minimum U.S. population of 300-400, while also being geographically diverse by being located in 20 or more states.

The Mudi and Russian Toy moved up from the “Miscellaneous Class,” which breeds compete in for around one to three years after passing the AKC’s criteria. Following further requirements of both the breed and clubs, full recognition is awarded.

While AKC stands by its mission and integrity, the Club has been criticized in the past, namely from registering the litters of extremely questionable puppy breeders and mills that put animal welfare in jeopardy.