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[Updated] NCAA Called Out for Disparities Between Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament Accommodations

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  • The NCAA came under fire Thursday after viral images showed the glaring difference in weight room accommodations at its men’s and women’s basketball tournament sites.
  • The photos showed that men’s teams had access to several rows of heavy-duty weight lifting equipment while the women’s weight room consisted of six pairs of dumbbells under 30 pounds and a stack of yoga mats.
  • The organization responded by promising to enhance the women’s workout setup and blamed its current state on “limited space,” though many rejected that claim, including Oregon player Sedona Prince, who posted a viral TikTok showing the vast amount of open room at the practice facility.
  • Both NBA and WNBA stars have slammed the unequal accommodations, with other critics also pointing to the significantly smaller “swag bags” women’s teams were given in comparison to the men’s teams.

Viral Weight Room Photos Spark Criticism

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is facing intense backlash after several basketball coaches, players, and fans criticized clear disparities between amenities at its men’s and women’s basketball tournament sites.

On Thursday, Stanford Sports Coach Ali Kershner posted shocking photos specifically comparing the women’s and men’s basketball weight rooms. The men’s room featured rows and rows of weight lifting equipment. Meanwhile, the women’s weight room (if it can even be considered that) consisted of six pairs of dumbbells and a stack of yoga mats.

“This needs to be addressed,” Kershner wrote in her Instagram post caption after tagging the organization and its affiliated basketball accounts.

“These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities. Not only that – 3 weeks in a bubble and no access to [dumbbells] above 30’s until the sweet 16? In a year defined by a fight for equality this is a chance to have a conversation and get better.”

That post went viral, drawing in criticism from everyday college basketball fans as well as several WNBA players.

Chantel Jennings, a reporter for The Athletic, also released a list of the equipment the final 16 women’s teams were set to gain access to at that stage in the tournament, which was still far less impressive than what the men’s teams already had access to.

NCAA’s Response Draw More Outrage

The growing backlash eventually prompted the NCCA Vice Present of Women’s Basketball, Lynn Holzman, to issue a statement.

“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” Holzman said in a post shared to the organization’s social media.

“In part, this is due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament. However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment.

However, that claim about “limited space” was quickly rejected by people like Will Abrams, the director of player development for the Rutgers women’s team.

He posted a response video giving a glimpse at the vast amount of space available at the women’s practice facility.

That same criticism was echoed by Oregon player Sedona Prince, who posted a now-viral TikTok exposing just how much room was available.

“If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you’re a part of it,” Prince said in the post.

That TikTok was even shared by NBA star Stephen Curry. Meanwhile, reporter Jemele Hill posted a screenshot reminding people of the $500 million deal ESPN and the NCAA agreed to that included broadcasting the women’s tournament.

Other Disparities

Others on social media also noted that the differences in how men’s and women’s teams are treated extend beyond just weight rooms. In fact, many even pointed to images of the “swag bags” provided to players at both tournaments, which showed that the men had been given a large number of items custom-designed for this year’s March Madness tournament. The women’s bag, by contrast, included only a few generic items, including a 150-piece puzzle and a towel that said “NCAA women’s basketball.”

Others pointed to the differences between food options given to women’s and men’s teams.


More outrage spread when reporters learned about differences in the COVID-19 tests being used at each tournament. Women’s teams reportedly take antigen tests while men’s teams take PCR tests. According to the FDA, antigen tests give quick results, but they “have a higher chance of missing an active infection.” Meanwhile, PCR tests are considered “the gold standard” for COVID testing by many medical professionals.


The NCAA caught flack for defending that choice and saying there was no risk difference between the tests.
However, it did say that it followed recommendations from its medical advisory group and collaborated with the CDC as well as local medical authorities for its testing policy. The NCAA’s medical advisory group had advised that either daily PCR or antigen tests were “equally effective models for basketball championships.”

With outrage growing, NCAA Senior VP of Basketball Dan Gavitt apologized for the weight room discrepancies in a Zoom call Friday. He promised to get the facility upgraded as soon as possible, which happened over the weekend.

During that call, other differences were brought up, like the fact that there are 68 teams in the men’s field and only 64 in the women, and the fact that the NCAA pays for the men’s National Invitation Tournament, but not the women’s NIT.

The organization ultimately promised to do better, but conversations about sexism in the sports world have continued, with teams and players continuing to speak out.

Stanford’s basketball coach, for instance, issued a statement saying, “Women athletes and coaches are done waiting, not just for upgrades of a weight room, but for equity in every facet of life.”

“With the obvious disparity between the women’s and men’s tournaments, the message that is being sent to our female athletes, and women across the world, is that you are not valued at the same level as your counterparts. That is wrong and unacceptable.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Fox News) (Sports Illustrated)

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California Plans Unprecedented $5.2 Billion Rent Forgiveness Program

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State lawmakers are also debating on whether to extend the eviction moratorium, which is set to end next week, to ensure that Californians are not evicted before their debts can be paid off by the state.


Rent Relief in the Works

The California State Legislature is in the final stages of negotiating an unprecedented $5.2 billion rent forgiveness program to pay off unpaid rent accumulated during the pandemic.

It is not entirely clear yet who would receive the money, which comes from an unexpected budget surplus and federal stimulus funds. After speaking to a top aide for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the Associated Press reported that the $5.2 billion figure would cover all rent.

However, the same aide told The New York Times that the state had federal funds “to help pay the rent of low-income people.”

The outlet also explicitly reported that the program “would be available to residents who earn no more than 80 percent of the median income in their area and who can show pandemic-related financial hardship.”

Newsom offered little clarity, retweeting multiple stories and posts on the matter, including The Times article as well as others that said “all” rent would be paid.

Regardless, the program would be the most generous rent forgiveness plan in American. Still, there remains an unresolved question of extending the statewide eviction moratorium that ends June 30.

Eviction Ban Complications

Starting the new program and distributing all the money will take some time, and California has been struggling to keep up with demand for more modest rent relief programs.

According to a report from the California Department Housing and Community Development, just $32 million of $490 million in requests for rental assistance through the end of May had been paid.

State legislators are debating extending the protections and are reportedly close to a deal, but nothing is set in stone yet.

Tenants rights groups say the move is necessary to ensure struggling Californians are not evicted before their debts can be paid off by the state, and some housing advocates want to keep the moratorium in place until employment has reached pre-pandemic levels.

Landlords, however, have said it is time to end the ban, pointing to the state’s rapid economic recovery, which added 495,000 new jobs since February, as well as Newsom lifting all restrictions on businesses last week. 

But according to Opportunity Insights, an economic tracker based at Harvard, while it is true that employment for middle- and high-wage jobs has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels, the rates for low-income workers are down nearly 40% since January of last year.

As a result, many of the people who have months or even a year of unpaid rent have barely been able to chip away at what they owe.

State Recovery Spurred by Revenue Surplus

Newsom’s new program comes as the governor has proposed a $100 billion recovery package — also drawing from the budget surplus and unspent federal funds — that would pour funds into numerous sectors including education, homelessness, and much more.

California is not the only state that has newfound reserves. According to The Times, at least 22 states have surplus revenue after pinching pennies during the pandemic. Some are still deciding what to do with the funding, but others have already begun to invest it into education, construction, the arts, and more.

While many economists have said these funds will be incredibly helpful tools to get economic recovery back on track and aid those hurt most by the pandemic, Republicans in Congress have argued to those surpluses should go towards paying for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan.

The Biden Administration and most Congressional Democrats have remained adamant that the states keep their extra funding to implement recovery-centered programs. White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons reiterated that belief Monday, telling reporters that state surpluses will not alter America’s infrastructure needs and emphasizing that many states are still struggling economically.

“This crisis has adversely impacted state and local governments, and that is not fully captured by one economic indicator,” she said.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Associated Press) (The Hill)

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Manhattan City Council Candidate Says He’s “Not Ashamed” After BDSM Video Leaks Online

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While many applauded the candidate’s response, others suspect the entire ordeal may have been manufactured for publicity.


BDSM Video Leaks

Zack Weiner, a 26-year-old candidate for Manhattan’s City Council, has caught a flood of attention in recent days after responding to a BDSM video of himself that leaked online.

According to the New York Post, which first reported on the leak Saturday, the video was published by an anonymous Twitter account earlier this month.

“My magnificent domme friend played with Upper West Side city council candidate Zack Weiner and I’m the only one who has the footage,” the tweet reportedly read.

The video was flagged to the Post by Weiner’s campaign manager, Joe Gallagher, the news outlet said. The tabloid also claimed it showed Weiner gagged while “subjecting himself to various abuses by a leather-bound woman who pours wax on him and clips his nipples with clothespins.”

The footage was filmed at Parthenon studio in Midtown, which the Post described as known for its high-quality BDSM dungeons, and Weiner actually confirmed the video’s authenticity to the outlet, saying it was filmed at that location in 2019 with a former girlfriend that he met during a Halloween party.

Weiner Says He’s “Not Ashamed”

Weiner took to Twitter on Saturday to address the private video head on.

“Whoops. I didn’t want anyone to see that, but here we are,” he wrote.

“I am not ashamed of the private video circulating of me on Twitter. This was a recreational activity that I did with my friend at the time, for fun. Like many young people, I have grown into a world where some of our most private moments have been documented online.”

“While a few loud voices on Twitter might chastise me for the video, most people see the video for what it is: a distraction. I trust that voters will choose a city council representative based on their policies and their ability to best serve the community,” he continued.

In his comments to the Post, he added, “I am a proud BDSMer. I like BDSM activity.” He also said he had no idea how the footage surfaced, saying “It’s definitely a violation of trust.”

Praise and Suspicions

Many people online have applauded Weiner for refusing to apologize for private consensual acts. One, for example, tweeted, “Yeah – as long as this was between 2 (or more) consenting adults – I don’t care one bit. If this info ALONE would cause you to vote for somebody else, then I am FAR MORE worried about YOUR participation in Government than his!”

In fact, many have said they would vote for him after learning of the video and slammed critics, as well as the tabloid, for “kink-shaming.”

It’s worth noting that the Post’s article described Weiner as someone who “has mostly been a nonentity in the race for the Upper West Side’s 6th District.” It pointed to the fact that he has no endorsements and that his campaign barely raised $10,000 — most of which allegedly came from himself and his campaign manager.

Because of this, along with Gallagher’s contact with the Post, some have speculated that the entire ordeal may have been some kind of stunt manufactured for publicity.

See what others are saying: (New York Post) (Insider) (HITC)

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Supreme Court Rejects Third Challenge to Affordable Care Act

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In the 7-2 decision, the justices argued the Republican-led states that brought the challenge forth failed to show how the law caused injury and thus had no legal standing.


SCOTUS Issues Opinion on Individual Mandate

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the third Republican-led challenge to the Affordable Care Act to ever reach the high court.

The issue at hand was the provision of the law, commonly known as Obamacare, that requires people to either purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty: the so-called individual mandate. 

The individual mandate has been one of the most controversial parts of Obamacare and it has already been before SCOTUS, which upheld the provision in 2012 on the grounds that it amounted to a tax and thus fell under Congress’ taxing power.

However, as part of the sweeping 2017 tax bill, the Republican-held Congress set the penalty for not having health care to $0. As a result, a group of Republican-led states headed by Texas sued, arguing that because their GOP colleagues made the mandate zero dollars, it no longer raised revenues and could not be considered a tax, thus making it unconstitutional.

The states also argued that the individual mandate is such a key part of Obamacare that it could not be separated without getting rid of the entire law.

The Supreme Court, however, rejected that argument in a 7-2 decision, with Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissenting.

Majority Opinion Finds No Injury

In the majority decision, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the Republican states had no grounds to sue because they could not show how they were harmed by their own colleagues zeroing out the penalty.

“There is no possible government action that is causally connected to the plaintiffs’ injury — the costs of purchasing health insurance,” he wrote, adding that the states “have not demonstrated that an unenforceable mandate will cause their residents to enroll in valuable benefits programs that they would otherwise forgo.”

Breyer also argued that because of this, the court did not need to decide on the broader issue of whether the 2017 tax bill rendered the individual mandate unconstitutional and if that provision could be separated from the ACA.

The highly anticipated decision will officially keep Obamacare as the law of the land, ensuring that the roughly 20 million people enrolled still have health insurance. While there may be other challenges to the law hard-fought by conservatives, this latest ruling sends a key signal about the limits of the Republican efforts to achieve their agenda through the high court, even with the strong conservative majority.

While the court has now struck down challenges to Obamacare three times, Thursday’s decision marked the largest margin of victory of all three challenges to the ACA.

For now, the ACA appears to be fairly insulated from legal challenges, though it will still likely face more. In a tweet following the SCOTUS decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) vowed to keep fighting Obamacare, adding that the individual mandate “was unconstitutional when it was enacted and it is still unconstitutional.”

See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Washington Post) (The Associated Press

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