It was an interesting Monday to start the week as Fox Sports fired a ton of people, Lionel Messi and his charity may have done something really sketchy and illegal, Javy Baez continued to be really good at baseball, and Russell Westbrook was named NBA MVP for the 2016-2017 season.  

Fox Sports eliminates digital writing staff in favor of promoting their debate shows

From our own Andrew Bucholtz over at Awful Announcing:

Fox Sports has axed their digital writing and editing team to create more video positions and promote their on-air personalities. Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw reported the news at 1 p.m. Eastern Monday, citing an internal memo from Fox Sports’ Jamie Horowitz (Fox’s president of national networks, and also the head of Fox digital following Mark Pesavento’s exit) that was actually sent to staffers after the Bloomberg article was published. 

What does that actually add up to? As Shaw notes, it means the elimination of around 20 writing and editing positions, and the creation of similar numbers of jobs in video production, editing and promotion. But this is only the culmination of months-long efforts by Horowitz to shift digital’s focus away from covering news and towards promoting FS1’s on-air personalities. In fact, writers sent to the Super Bowl in February were told once they arrived that they wouldn’t be writing for FoxSports.com, but would be ghostwriting copy for on-air talent instead. Digital executives like Pesavento and Mike Foss (both previously For The Win) have been pushed out as well, top writers like Bruce Feldman have been posting pieces on Facebook instead of on Fox’s site, and FoxSports.com has become more and more about what their debate show personalities say on-air. Awful Announcing will have a longform feature on what’s really behind these changes Tuesday.

Here’s the list of layoffs Awful Announcing has learned of so far, in alphabetical order:

Chris Bahr (editor), Pete Blackburn (writer), Jonathan Bradley (writer), Dan Carson (writer), Cam DaSilva (writer),  Sam Garner (writer), Dan Graf (editor), Tom Jensen (editor), Dieter Kurtenbach (writer), Damon Martin (writer),  Caitlin Murray (writer), Brett Pollakoff (writer), Nate Scott (editor),  Chris Strauss (editor), Nick Schwartz (editor/writer), Aaron Torres (writer), Barry Werner (editor), Aaron West (writer).

Lionel Messi has allegedly hidden tens of millions of euros through his own charity

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JUNE 26: Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina reacts after missing a penalty kick against Chile during the Copa America Centenario Championship match at MetLife Stadium on June 26, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Chile defeated Argentina 4-2 in penalty kicks. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi has had issues regarding money over the years, including a 21-month prison sentence for tax evasion that he doesn’t need to serve unless he commits another crime during that time. Now, it appears that the Leo Messi Foundation, Messi’s charity, is under the spotlight for irregularities that make it appear that the money going into his charity isn’t going to those who it is intending to help.

Spanish newspaper ABC (through AS) reported that Messi’s charity has been allegedly set up in order to bring in millions of euros from various sponsors and cannot be confirmed whether or not the money is going to what the charity is meant for, which is to pay for “social projects to help children with problems.”

This isn’t the first time Messi’s charity allegedly exhibited some shady behavior. In the summer of 2013, Messi had a charity match in Chicago to raise money. Around 80 VIP packages, costing $2,500 each, were sold which included a meet and greet with players, as well as an autographed kit and ball by Messi himself. Instead, they got a cheap ball and a t-shirt with a replica Messi signature and Messi was nowhere to be seen. Messi was in Las Vegas the day before, showed up to play part of the game and then left before the end of the game. Messi’s marketing agency and Soldier Field blamed each other for the disaster.

Javy Baez made two absurd diving catches during the Chicago Cubs’ Monday night matchup against the Washington Nationals

Feast your eyes on Javy Baez.

HOW do you do that!?

Rightfully so, Russell Westbrook won the NBA’s MVP award for the 2016-2017 season

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 28: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder stretches on the court prior to game six of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Russell Westbrook had an insanely good year on his way to being named the 2016-2017 NBA MVP: 81 GP/GS, 34.6 minutes per game, 31.6 PPG (career high), 10.7 RPG (career high), 10.4 AST (tied for a career high).

Here are some of Westbrook’s other incredible feats: most triple-doubles in a season in NBA history (42), fourth most triple-doubles in a career in NBA history (79), 51 points in an April 19th playoff win for the highest-scoring triple-double in playoff history, and finally Westbrook joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with three consecutive playoff triple-doubles in NBA history.

After he won the award, Westbrook was rightfully praised on Twitter in some great and weird ways (*cough* Taylor Swift *cough*):

Quick Hits

– Justine Kish got choked so hard she had an “accident” during UFC fight.

It takes major guts to be an MMA fighter. And you have to give your all to try and overpower your opponent. For Jusine Kish, she was giving her all, and then some, at a UFC fight in Oklahoma City.

Kish was fighting Felice Herrig in Oklahoma City for UFC Fight Night 112. Herrig had Kish in a rear-naked choke hold and that’s when things really seemed to turn crappy.

T.J. Miller gave an inscrutable interview about his ‘Silicon Valley’ character’s exit.

You mentioned your schedule being crazy. How much of it was about that?

I was sick of telling my wife in earnest, “I’m going to slow down the schedule. We’ll have more time to spend in New York.” And even when I thought of leaving, she said, “Look man, this is a character people love. They feel like they’re friends with him.”

And although that makes for a terrible time at the airport because everybody high-fives me, grabbing your ass on the way to your f—ing plane to Omaha, Nebraska, to do standup comedy — these people want to know, “Do you really want to walk from what many would say is the cushiest situation in television? The platinum age of television.” And I said, “Yeah, I think that would be really interesting.” If you’re going to be unsafe and unstable … then let’s see what happens.

Giannis Antetokounmpo predicts Greece will be the team to end USA basketball’s unbeaten run.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is dreaming big. He wants to beat the United States wearing Greek team colors.

”I’ll be the next one to beat them. I’ll be waiting for them somewhere,” the Milwaukee Bucks star said before leading a team in an exhibition game involving Greek and foreign players before 15,000 fans at the Athens Olympic Arena on Sunday.

– John McEnroe said Serena Williams would be ranked #700 on the men’s tour and Serena responded brilliantly.

– The New York Jets are the most depressingly hopeless team in the NFL.

– Could California’s state travel ban to Texas have an impact on NCAA competition?

The main question being asked is simple: Does the ban apply to the coaches of California public university teams?

Those coaches clearly need to travel to Texas. California teams regularly schedule games in Texas. And the state’s ample supply of talented athletes — especially football players — means that coaches from California frequently come here to recruit. Currently, the football rosters at the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Berkeley and San Jose State University have Texans.

In addition, Texas is a regular host of NCAA postseason events that California teams aspire to compete in. San Antonio is hosting the 2018 Men’s NCAA Final Four, for example. And AT&T Stadium in Arlington regularly hosts games in the College Football Playoff.

– Grading draft right after they happen is completely meaningless.

– The Big 3’s opening day reveals much work is needed despite league’s star power, potential.

– Dwayne Johnson is the only person who cannot do an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

Nintendo confirms SNES Classic, which will be released on 9/29 with 21 games.

The SNES will retail for $79.99, and here’s the list of the 21 games that will be included, per Kotaku.

Contra III: The Alien Wars™
Donkey Kong Country™
EarthBound™
Final Fantasy III
F-ZERO™
Kirby™ Super Star
Kirby’s Dream Course™
The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™
Mega Man® X
Secret of Mana
Star Fox™
Star Fox™ 2
Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV™
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®
Super Mario Kart™
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars™
Super Mario World™
Super Metroid™
Super Punch-Out!! ™
Yoshi’s Island™

– If you’re a Washington Redskins and live in the state of Washington, the NFL made the perfect gift for you!

Another AA Q&A: Big 3 reporter, Barstool Sports podcast host Michael Rapaport.

– LaVar Ball goes shirtless in absurd WWE Raw appearance.

D’Angelo Russell doesn’t care what Magic Johnson says about him.

“It is good to be here,” Russell said at the Nets practice facility in Brooklyn. “Can’t really control that, what they say, I’m gone. So it’s the past. I am here now. It’s irrelevant, honestly.”

He elaborated further:

“Wherever they put me, I am going to take advantage of it to the fullest and that’s me being the leader right away,” Russell said when asked if he sees an opportunity to be a leader in Brooklyn. “I am looking forward to the challenge. You saying my leadership is being questioned, this is an opportunity to make the best out of it.”

– Charlie Sheen puts Babe Ruth trade contract, World Series ring up for auction.

– So this is a thing.

Another person died trying to find a possibly made up $2 million treasure in the Rocky Mountains.

– This Brazilian soccer player had one of the worst flops you’ll ever see.

– Bill Russell stole the NBA awards show with some savage trash talk.

A Random “The Office” Video:

WUPHFFFFFFFFFF!

One Last Glorious Moment of Procrastination:

Okay so this is a couple moments of procrastination.

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.