Archive for the ‘gossip’ Category

NHL Forward Thinking Forward


Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins faced an interesting choice after receiving a tweet with a homophobic slur in it. Pete Blackburn explains what the Bruins’ left winger did.usatsi_9743954-vadapt-767-high-0

Towards the beginning of his NHL career, Brad Marchand quickly developed a reputation as being a nuisance on the ice. He established himself as an effective pest and agitator, but also was labeled as “dirty” after a few controversial hits and incidents.

In his arsenal of tactics, Marchand has been known to low-bridge, sucker punch and slew foot opponents. His trash talk game is also tremendous and relentless.

While those aspects of his game haven’t completely been eradicated, in the past few years the Bruins winger has become more recognized for his elite two-way skill. He has developed into a leader for the Boston club and, this past fall, scored the clinching goal at the World Cup of Hockey while playing on Canada’s top line alongside Sidney Crosby.

Marchand, 28, credits that growth to being older and more mature, saying his “priorities have changed” over the years. But it’s not just his on-ice play that has become more admirable.

Recently, Marchand has become somewhat of a champion for people in the LGBT community. In December, the winger was attacked on a Twitter with a homophobic slur. In a since-deleted tweet, Marchand responded to the hate by publicly shaming the person who sent the vitriolic remarks his way, saying “this derogatory statement is offensive to so many people around the world, [you’re] the kind of kid parents are ashamed of.” The response prompted the user to delete his account.

Marchand was applauded for standing up for the gay community and taking a proactive approach to silencing the hate, and ESPN’s Joe McDonald recently spoke to Marchand about the exchange.

“I want to stand up for what I believe in, and I don’t think it’s right when people say things or bash people because of their sexual orientation,” said Marchand, via ESPN. “I have friends who are in gay relationships, and I don’t think it’s right for people to be against that. Everyone is allowed to find love whatever way that is, so I felt like that was a time to say something, especially nowadays. We’re in 2017, and things are a lot different than they were 100 years ago. We’re all evolving to be equal, and that’s the way things should be.”

When asked whether or not an openly gay player would be accepted in an NHL locker room, Marchand delivered a strong vote of confidence in favor of equality.

“Guys would accept that, no question,” Marchand assured. “We’re a team in the [dressing] room and a family. It doesn’t matter what different beliefs guys have, or where they come from, or whatever the case may be. Guys would accept it. Again, in the room we’re a family. That’s the way it is on a hockey team, and that’s the way it will always be.”

There has yet to be an openly gay player in the league, though Marchand says it’s “bound to happen at some point, and when it does, it will be accepted.” The NHL has had a large number of players endorse the You Can Play campaign, which is dedicated to eradicating homophobia from sports, so it certainly appears that Marchand isn’t the only star who feels this way.


Good to Be Goofy White Guy

Friday, Aug 19, 2016 11:33 AM EST
The ballad of “Swim Shady”: Ryan Lochte’s Rio fiasco is more proof that male athletes are a protected class
The Olympic swimmer’s fake-robbery debacle is being brushed off, while gymnast Gabby Douglas is the target of abuse
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Topics: 2016 Summer Olympics, Gabby Douglas, male entitlement, Rio Olympics, Ryan Lochte, Life News
The ballad of “Swim Shady”: Ryan Lochte’s Rio fiasco is more proof that male athletes are a protected class
Ryan Lochte (Credit: AP/Martin Meissner)

It must be a heady thing to have all the privileges of a male athlete. You can pretty much do anything before you’re held even remotely accountable — and then when you do have to face any consequences, you’ll get a nice chorus of despair about your lost opportunities. In what other realm could the misdeeds of a 32-year-old man be gently passed off as the antics of “kids?”

Oh, to be you, Ryan Lochte.

Early this week, reports emerged that the blue-haired Olympic medalist — along with three other members of the U.S. swim team — had been “robbed at gunpoint” early Sunday morning. USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky issued a statement saying that while heading toward the Olympic village, “their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings. All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities.”

Lochte himself gave an eminently Lochte-ish account of the event, telling NBC, “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground. And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, “Get down,” and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”

And the the tale began to change. On Thursday, Brazilian police said that “It seems that they lied. No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed.” Instead, it appeared the swimmers had vandalized a gas station — USA Today reports “one of them broke down the bathroom door and police found damage to a soap dispenser and a mirror” — leading to a confrontation with armed security guards and a payoff, possibly to cover the damages. The AP reports that “police said the swimmers were unable to provide key details in early interviews, saying they had been intoxicated.”

The response to these hijinks has been generous, to say the least. Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada shrugged Thursday, “Let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you take actions that you later regret. They are magnificent athletes. Lochte is one of the best swimmers of all times. They had fun. They made a mistake. It’s part of life. Life goes on. Let’s go.”
Video: Rio 2016: Swimmer Ryan Lochte’s Crime Story Unravels

I guess if you’re “one of the best swimmers of all times,” you can do whatever the heck you want! P.S. This “kid” is 32.

Celebrity Watching

Went to the opening night of Betrayal:

Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz have caused a stampede to the box office by theatregoers keen to keen to see the husband and wife acting powerhouse in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal.

The show opened on Sunday, in front of a star-studded audience including director Steven Spielberg, musician Bruce Springsteen and US Vogue editor Anna Wintour at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre who were among the lucky ticketholders.

Others I saw included actor Ian McKellen and his husband. Playwright Tony Kushner and his husband, actress Ellen Barkin, actress Patricia Clarkson, actress Candice Bergen, newsperson Chris Matthews, and of course since Mike Nichols was the director, newsperson Diane Sawyer.

But others desperate to see the show have seen theatre lovers pay $2,500 on the black market to see the new adaptation, directed by ten-time Tony Award winner Mike Nichols.

Read more:–tickets-sell-figure-sums-black-market.html#ixzz2j7UHUaSp

Olympics are Great Fun but Not So Gay

Been watching the Olympic Games daily. Enjoying old favorites like gymnastics and soccer to newer games to me like team handball. Saw this great article on Foxsports about gays and lesbian competitors.

It has been a great games for gay Olympians – probably. So few come out that we don’t know who is and isn’t. A survey by Outsports indicated that there are 23 openly gay and lesbian athletes out of 10,000 in the competition.

British equestrian Carl Hesterwon gold in team dressage in London. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe has scored three goals for the U.S. women’s soccer team and several other lesbian players are part of the Dutch field hockey team heading into Friday’s final.

But it’s likely there have been more triumphs by gay and lesbian competitors that the world doesn’t know about.

There are more than 10,000 athletes competing at the London games, but when the gay website set out to count how many were openly gay, it came up with 23.

”It’s an absurdly low number,” said site co-founder Jim Buzinski. He said that compared to the arts, politics or business worlds, ”sports is still the final closet in society.”

Many athletes who come out say it has been a positive experience – and even performance-enhancing. Rapinoe scored two goals in the U.S. team’s semifinal win over Canada.

”I guess it seems like a weight off my shoulders,” she said on the eve of Thursday’s gold medal match against Japan. ”I’ve been playing a lot better than I’ve ever played before. I think I’m just enjoying myself and I’m happy.”

Estimates of the percentage of gay people in any given population vary widely. In a 2010 survey by Britain’s Office for National Statistics, 1.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as gay or bisexual, although many consider that an underestimate.

More scores are in the books, medals around necks. Find out who’s golden, and who’s on their way, with our full Olympics results.

Only a handful of Olympic competitors have publicly identified themselves as gay, including Hester, Rapinoe, U.S. basketball player Seimone Augustus, Australian diver Matthew Mitcham and South African archer Karen Hultzer, who came out to the media during the games.

”I am an archer, middle-aged and a lesbian,” the 46-year-old athlete told OutSports – but said she looked forward to the day when her sexuality was not an issues.

”I am also cranky before my first cup of coffee,” she said. ”None of these aspects define who I am, they are simply part of me.”

Gay sports groups say the London games organizers have been welcoming, including gay, lesbian and transgender volunteers among its staff and sanctioning an official games rainbow pin.

The London Pride House, a gay hospitality venue, had official approval from games organizers. London organizing chief executive Paul Deighton said the site helped show Britain as an inclusive place ”which welcomes the world’s diverse communities and creates a safe sporting environment for LGBT athletes.”

Looks like the tweeting is getting a little friendlier between the athletes. See their latest tweets.

But activists fear the next host city – Sochi in southern Russia – will be far less gay-friendly. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains strong. Protests by gay rights activists regularly end in mass arrests.

British rights activist Peter Tatchell and a handful of supporters rallied Thursday outside Russia’s Sochi Park pavilion in London to protest Russian authorities’ refusal to allow a pride house at the 2014 Winter Games – a decision that was backed up by a Russian court.

”Quite clearly, this ban is in violation of the Olympic charter, which prohibits discrimination and guarantees equality,” Tatchell said. He said the International Olympic Committee ”doesn’t appear to want to engage with this issue.”

IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said the IOC would not comment ”on private court cases,” but added that ”the IOC is an open organization and athletes of all orientations will be welcome at the games.”


Marc Naimark of the Federation of Gay Games said the IOC should pressure countries to repeal anti-gay laws the way it once excluded South Africa for its racial apartheid policy and, more recently, succeeded in getting all competing nations to include female athletes on their teams in London.

”The lack of ‘out’ athletes in the Olympics is a symptom,” Naimark said. ”It’s not the problem.”

There is a particular dearth of openly gay male Olympians – there are only three men on that London list of 23. The most high-profile is Mitcham, whose Twitter biography calls him ”that gay, 2008-Olympic-gold-medal-winning diver dude.” He’ll be defending his 10-meter springboard title at the games this weekend.

Rapinoe, who came out earlier this year, said it was more difficult for male athletes than for women to be open about their sexuality.

”I think there’s a lot of gay women in sports, and it’s widely known in the team, they can live a pretty open lifestyle without being open in the media,” she said. ”But I think for men unfortunately it’s not the same climate in the locker room.”


There’s also the fear of losing lucrative commercial endorsements. Sponsors would never admit that they would drop an athlete who came out as gay, but few competitors would want to risk it.

Much was made of the fact that former NBA player John Amaechi signed an endorsement deal with razor company HeadBlade after he came out in 2007. But HeadBlade is small potatoes compared to Adidas or other huge sports sponsors.

Times may be changing, however. Adidas spokeswoman Katja Schreiber said the company would stand by an athlete who chose to come out of the closet.

Buzinski thinks the environment for gay athletes is improving. He points to the growing number of athletes, gay and straight, who are prepared to speak out against homophobia.



Outrage: Documentary Few Saw

Outrage: the actions of closeted homosexual, gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians who vote against any legislation that advances the rights and offers benefits to gay people, including gay marriage, benefits, equal protection under the law, gays in the military.

Outrage: closeted homosexual, and out gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians political operatives who run political campaigns that demonize homosexuality and strike fear into people in order to have their candidates win elections.

Outrage: the energy that motivates certain reporters and bloggers to report on the closeted political figures who are hypocritical because they demonize gay and lesbian people.

Outrage: what viewers might feel as they watch the movie Outrage

The argument is that these repressed people with homosexual desires attack the gay, lesbian community more in order to be seen as not gay or lesbian. There is some validity to this, especially for people who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. The outing is a fight back method to force these politicians to end their hypocricy. The belief is that if everyone comes out then it will be harder for people to be anti-gay/lesbian.

There are interesting questions about the psychology of these politicians and political operatives but also about the people who marry them and what there lives must be like being with someone who is leading a double life.

What works less successfully are:

The movie does not address the page scandal that rocked Congress in the early 1980s, virtually forcing Congressman Gerry Stubbs to come out. Nor does it discuss Congressman Bob Bauman and his arrest for attempting to solicit sex from a male prostitute. These would have been interesting to establish context and to discusds how difficult it is for some people to come out.

whether being a Republican means more as an identity to these politicians and political operatives than being gay or lesbian. One could argue that the politicians are being hypocritical but also are Republicians who believe in most of the party’s creed. They care less about their gay identity, if they even have such an identity.

whether the politicians can vote against these laws because they view the laws as having no effect on their daily lives as opposed to the effect that coming out would have on their lives.

Must See Movie

Erroll Morris has done it again. Even if you are not a fan of The Thin Blue Line or Fog of War, you will be amazed at Tabloid.

The movie’s pacing is amazing. You are gripped from the very beginning and willingly follow along a zany path.

Sometimes, you think, “What can possibly come next?” then something improbable and crazy happens and you shake your head. Only in the 1970s could this craziness happen!

The movie comments on the British tabloid press which is ironic since Murdoch’s papers are in so much trouble in Britain for their wire tapping, and other illegal activities.

My Mormon friends have never heard of this scandal and they need to see it.

Gervais at the Golden Globes

I don’t watch The Office. Nor am I a big fan of awards shows but I thought Ricky Gervais was very funny at the Golden Globes.

Clearly, he has an irreverent attitude toward Hollywood. He is not fawning and he is not particularly respectful. The Washington Post’s Hank Steuver complained that Gervais told lame jokes. His Scientology joke about the sexual orientation of two actors was spot on as the Brits would say, particularly since people I know have first hand experience with one of those actors. I and others are over these actors hiding their behaviors!!!

Another informal reviewer like myself agrees.

The article says Robert Downey Jr. summed up the attitude so well. Give me a break. Downey’s introduction of the five nominees in the category of best actress by saying that they would have given better performances if they slept with him was Creepy. Oh, the women laughed–except for the much younger Emma Stone, who probably felt the same creepiness that this smarmy man indulged in the old-time male heterosexual pig behavior of viewing her as his sexual play toy that I did.

The Post reviewer agrees Downey’s view of Hollywood. Please let us go on and on about our indulgences. If you dare make biting remarks about us or call us on our indulgences then we’ll snarl at you.

Bruce Willis effectively responded to a funny Gervais. Gervais referred to the actor as Ashton Kutcher’s Dad. Humorous given the Demi Moore tie in. Willis said,”Sometimes Hollywood does provide you with outrageous fortune.”

My respect for Willis shot up immensely. He acknowledged the humor and showed that he knows the world in which he works. In addition, he slyly commented on another part of that world, having to attend award ceremonies and accept jokes about one self!

The Post also included a Hank Steuver review of a teenage television show that is airing on MTV. Whether I agree with the review or not, I think having two articles by the same person in the same section of the newspaper is both too much and lazy on the part of the newspaper and its editorial staff.  This Washington metropolitan area must have many other individuals qualified to write about entertainment that could have written one of these articles, no? Particularly since the review is a teen show and the reviewer admits that his teen years came in the era of the late John Hughes.

Batting for Gays

There are more provacative sportswriters out there than one would believe. Sports are also a great window into cultural and social attitudes.

Racial prejudice openly displayed itself during the early to mid-20th century in restrictions on players in major league baseball and football. In the late 20th century, it came in a more subtle rejection of a League, when baseketball television ratings dropped during the 1970s.

Attacks on gender and sexual difference usually included deriding words. Most players kept their behavior to their self, as we have seen with pro football player Dave Kopay, and Washington Redskins all-pro Jerry Smith in the 1970s and 1980s and Billy Bean among baseball players in the 1990s.  Magic Johnson faced gossip after contracting HIV- and Isiah Thomas raised eyebrows with his kissing.

While female tennis players like Martina Navatrola and Renae Stubbs,and  rugby player Gareth Thomas came out after years, most were finished playing. Ian Roberts of Australian Rules Football declared his sexuality but articles have recently asked why few have followed and Jason Akermanis was recently suspended for anti-gay comments.

I include below sportwriter Jason Whitlock’s recent piece on the travails of an openly gay umpire.


Let’s start with transparency. The analogy comparing black people’s fight for equal rights and gay people’s makes me uncomfortable.

You can’t conceal skin color in a closet or anywhere else. Denying gay people the right to marry doesn’t equate to denying black people freedom, the right to vote, equal education, etc.

Umpire Billy Van Raaphorst 

Umpire Billy Van Raaphorst.

Edmonton Journal 

But I am not a fool. Discrimination is discrimination. Debating degrees of intolerance is pointless and counter-productive.

What happened to Billy Van Raaphorst inside a tiny independent league baseball stadium on July 31 was as despicable as anything Jackie Robinson endured breaking into the majors 60 years ago.

And the story of how Billy Van Raaphorst’s childhood dream of becoming a Major League umpire turned into his nightmare companion illustrates how little progress we’ve made in the super-macho sports world as it relates to tolerance of homosexuals.

On the last day of July, for the second straight game, Van Raaphorst tossed flamboyant Edmonton Capitals manager Brent Bowers in the first inning.

Bowers argued balls and strikes from the dugout on the 30th. A close play at first base set him off on the 31st. On both days, Bowers played to the crowd, rolling up his sleeves and mocking the 6-foot-4, 220-lb Van Raaphorst with a “gun show.”

On the 31st, Bowers took things a step further, launching into an anti-gay tirade that would make Mel Gibson blush.

“You know what I heard?” Bowers screamed. “I heard you are a f—ing (expletive). The rumor from several managers and people at the league is that you are a (expletive) … So what do you do you f—ing (expletive)? Do you take it up the f—ing (expletive), you (expletive)?”

As his verbal meltdown continued, Bowers, a second-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989, bent over and grabbed his ankles.

“Is that how you like it, you f—ing (expletive)?… I know he’s a (expletive),’’ Bowers ranted. “I was told by Garry Templeton (a manager in the league) and Kevin Outcalt (commissioner of the league) that he is a f—ing (expletive).”

Van Raaphorst, a former 290-pound center at San Diego State, resisted the urge to defend himself.

“I kept telling myself, ‘Don’t hit him,’” Van Raaphorst remembered. “I felt trapped. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.”

How appropriate. Van Raaphorst, 34, spent much of his early life trapped by his sexual orientation.

The middle son of former Ohio State and San Diego Chargers kicker Dick Van Raaphorst, Billy was born into the stereotypical, All-American family. His oldest brother, Jeff, starred at quarterback for Arizona State, winning the 1987 Rose Bowl MVP. Billy’s younger brother, Mike, served as Carson Palmer’s backup at USC.

The Van Raaphorst name carried and carries significant weight in Southern California. Billy was not coming out of any closet.
As a kid, he played football and fantasized about calling balls and strikes inside big league ballparks.

He was a good enough player to crack the two-deep and start a few games at San Diego State. He shared a locker room with Kyle Turley, Ephraim Salaam, La’Roi Glover, Az Hakim and several other future pros.

Billy never quite fit in.

“We all kind of assumed there was something different about Billy,” Turley said. “Billy was a good dude, a good teammate, a stand-up guy, but he was just a different cat. There was always something a little quirky about him. He was never the macho, alpha male.”

Van Raaphorst dislocated his right knee his fourth year at San Diego State, quit the team and immediately pursued his passion for umpiring. He enrolled at the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School, the Harvard of umpiring. He graduated No. 1 in his class. He joined the minor league system and began the arduous task of earning his way to the majors.

Things sailed along smoothly until he reached double-A ball in 2001. His ranking plummeted to No. 27. The next year he dropped to No. 45 out of 47 umpires and was released from the minors.

He said his dramatic fall coincided with his decision to live as a gay man.

“I knew I was gay pretty much all my life, but I’d never acted on it until 2001,” Billy told me on Monday. “I’d suppressed it so hard trying to fit in in college football and minor league baseball. I’d never been to a gay bar until 2001. I’d never had a boyfriend.”

He visited a gay bar in early 2001. He started dating a Tulsa man later that year. He began lying to his umpiring crew about his post-game activities and whereabouts instantly.

“I can’t prove that they found out, but it’s my belief they did,” Van Raaphorst said. “I started getting a lot of questions about who I was dating.”

He crashed in double A. An umpire isn’t on the major league radar until he reaches triple A.

“It’s a significant accomplishment and speaks to his talent that he reached the double A level,” said Pat Courtney, a spokesman for Major League Baseball. “There are only 68 major league umpires. It’s a select group.”

Billy wanted to complain and fight his 2002 release.

“There were certain family members and friends who didn’t want all of the attention that would’ve brought,” said Van Raaphorst, who is now regarded as a top-flight collegiate umpire. “The worst two decisions of my life were to not come out (as gay) and to end my (Tulsa) relationship because I was scared.

“I don’t make decisions out of fear anymore. I try to make fearless decisions now.”

Good for Billy. Bad for Brent Bowers.
The Golden Baseball League initially suspended Bowers for two games and fined him $500. The punishment did not satisfy Billy or common sense. Umpires across the GBL rallied in support of Billy and threatened a work stoppage. The league and the Edmonton Capitals forced Bowers to resign.

“I wish I had those 10 minutes back,” Bowers said from his home in Chicago. “It was just heat of the moment. I felt like (Van Raaphorst) hurt me and hurt my team, kicking me out of the game two days in a row. It doesn’t justify it. It was totally wrong. I apologize. I would apologize to anybody. I’ve grown up so much in the past week.”

The Edmonton Capitals announced they were making all of their employees go through diversity training. They might want to make room for a former employee.

“I didn’t care that (Van Raaphorst) was gay,” explained Bowers, who has yet to apologize directly to Van Raaphorst. “My mom works with a lot of gay hairdressers and I joke around with those guys all the time. My cousin, she’s a lesbian. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as people are happy.”

Let’s end with transparency.

I’ve been the neanderthal idiot in the locker room. I’ve been the neanderthal idiot employee suspended and banished to diversity training after a 1998 taunting exchange with New England Patriots fans.

Intolerance is a disease, whether sexual, religious or racial, that we all must fight on a daily basis. The cure is for each of us to realize we’re all capable of being just as stupid as Brent Bowers.


E-mail Jason or follow him on Twitter. Media requests for Mr. Whitlock should be directed to Fox Sports PR.

Martin, Paquan Declare

Who’s surprised with the declarations of sexuality by Ricky Martin and Anna Paquan? We saw the news and a few blogs but does anyone really care?

Did people know already? Certainly, one article seems to claim that both members of the gay and lesbian community and also straights in great numbers had a good sense of the sexual interests of many stars.

I think many people could read between the lines in the 1920s and 1930s if stereotypical behaviors and coded words were used as I argue in my book Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream.

Two one-time big stars express their gay and bisexual interests and inclinations and activities. Gossip column mentions but little stirring among the chattering classes. While the standards appear different between gay men and women with gay interests, it appears that Paquan will still be in True Blood and has a few movies opening.

Martin will certainly release new songs to presumably his faithful following.

Celebrity and Athletes

After weeks of running Tiger Woods stories on its front pages, the media has realized the gold mine of revealing the sex lives of athletes. Here comes TMZ.

As Tony Kornheiser said on ESPN Pardon The Interruption (PTI), athletes are physical people. It’s likely that there are many stories to be told that will rivet audiences. If people want to know about actors and actresses and they find out about politicians then of course they would want to hear about sports stars.

When Mets Manager Bobby Valentine said that Major League Baseball would be ready for a gay player, speculation ran rampant for days. Mike Piazza announced that he was not gay. Years later, the media ran the story of the accusation that Roberto Alomar had AIDS and the media recalled the Valentine statement and wondered if the Met he might have been talking about was Alomar.

Will this exposure hurt all athletes. As Sally Jenkins reminds us in her Tiger Woods piece, athletes are often spoiled and thought that they are invisible. A true recipie for exposure of their foibles.

There have been athletes that have relished exposure of their private lives. My top dog is Joe Namith, who enjoyed bachelorhood in New York City during his time with the New York Jets football team in the late 1960s. While it helped that Namith was a bachelor, the positive exposure might have also been because of the heyday of free love.

Titillation and scandal has always sold. There are more outlets for displaying this now. Gossip comes to sports on a regular basis—watch out everyone!

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