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NFL legend Emmitt Smith rips University of Florida for eliminating DEI positions

Emmitt Smith, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys and former star running back with the Florida Gators, ripped his alma mater after the school fired all Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) positions and administrative appointments.

The university made its decision to comply with Florida law

The Florida Board of Governors passed a regulation in January that limited public funding for DEI, defining them as "any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification."

The Independent Florida Alligator, a campus newspaper, said 13 full-time diversity, equity and inclusion positions were dismissed and 15 administrative appointments were eliminated.

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Smith, on Sunday, slammed the university in a lengthy statement.

"I’m utterly disgusted by UF’s decision and the precedent that it sets," Smith said. "Without the DEI department, the job falls to the Office of the Provost, who already has their hands full, to raise money for the university and continue to advance the academic studies in athletic programs.

"We cannot continue to believe and trust that a team of leaders all made up of the same background will make the right decision when it comes to equality and diversity. History has already proven that is not the case."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made halting DEI a cornerstone of his efforts to overhaul education in the state, wrote on X, "Florida is where DEI goes to die."

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DEI campus proponents argue they help correct systemic inequities and address increasingly diverse student populations, while its foes like DeSantis have said they are a form of leftist discrimination. 

"We need diverse thinking and backgrounds to enhance our University and the DEI department is necessary to accomplish those goals," Smith continued.

"Instead of showing courage and leadership, we continue to fail based on systemic issues with this decision, UF has conformed to the political pressures of today’s time.

"To the MANY minority athletes at UF, please be aware and vocal about this decision by the University who is now closing the doors on other minorities without any oversight.

"And to those who think it’s not your problem and stay on the side lines and say nothing, you are complicit in supporting systemic issues."

Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report.

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Richard Lewis’ wife shares appreciation for ‘loving tributes’ from fans

Richard Lewis’ wife, Joyce Lapinsky, shared her appreciation for the outpouring of love following her husband’s death.

On Thursday on Lewis’ official X (formerly Twitter) page, Lapinsky wrote, "This is Joyce, Richard’s wife. Thank you for your loving tributes. He would be beyond thrilled and so touched, as am I."

She continued, "In response to the many queries , I know Richard would appreciate donations in his memory to the Los Angeles-based charity comedygivesback.com or the charity of your choice."

Comedy Gives Back is a nonprofit that helps provide a "safety net for the comedy community by providing financial crisis relief, mental health and chemical dependency treatment sponsorship and continued community support."

‘CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM’ STAR RICHARD LEWIS’ LIFE, FROM ‘PRINCE OF PAIN’ TO ENTERTAINING ‘GENERATIONS’

The "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star was open about his past struggles with addiction. He sought treatment in 1994 and remained sober until his death.

According to his publicist, Jeff Abraham of Jonas Public Relations, Lewis died peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack.

Abraham stated, "His wife, Joyce Lapinsky, thanks everyone for all the love, friendship and support and asks for privacy at this time."

Lewis and Lapinsky met in 1998, but didn’t marry her until 2005, when he was 57.

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"I was really needy," he told The Washington Post in 2020, explaining the delay in marriage. "It was all about the road, and I came first." 

Lewis praised Lapinsky in a 2020 interview with the Chicago Tribune discussing his pain and surgical issues at the time, saying, "I’m so lucky. I’m so riddled with gratitude that I have a wife who’s doing everything for me, except the rehab.

"When I get down, I think it could be a lot worse, really."

In April 2023, Lewis announced he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and would be retiring from stand up.

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Just before his announcement, he happened to have shared a sweet tribute to his wife on social media.

"I had some great girlfriends so far on 12 seasons of #curb that LD [Larry David] ruined for me, but in real life, my wife, Joyce, has been my dream come true for 25 years," he wrote after joking about his fictional girlfriends on the show.

Larry David praised his "Curb Your Enthusiasm" co-star and longtime friend after the news of Lewis' death.

"Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he’s been like a brother to me," the "Seinfeld" co-creator said. "He had that rare combination of being the funniest person and also the sweetest. But today he made me sob, and for that I’ll never forgive him."

Anthony Kim, who chose LIV Golf over PGA Tour for long-awaited return, finishes last in first event

Anthony Kim put together his best round on the course since returning to professional golf this weekend, but he still finished dead last at his first LIV Golf event. 

Kim finished 16-over par in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, over the weekend, which was 32 strokes behind event winner Joaquin Niemann. 

Kim, a former prodigy on the PGA Tour who disappeared from the game for more than a decade, posted a 4-over round on Sunday, which was better than the 7-over rounds he posted on Friday and Saturday. He also finished even-par in his final 14 holes on Sunday, which some may view as good progress.

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Others, however, may say Kim’s time in professional golf has come and gone. 

But in his first tournament action in quite some time, Kim took his brutal start in LIV Golf in stride. 

"Obviously, it was a rough week," Kim said, per Yahoo Sports. "I’m excited to be playing professional golf again, and I feel pretty blessed I have this opportunity."

ANTHONY KIM, GOLF STAR WHO DISAPPEARED FROM PGA TOUR, PLANNING RETURN TO PRO GOLF: REPORT

Kim’s return to professional golf made waves when ESPN initially reported that he would be returning. However, some took exception to him choosing LIV Golf over the PGA Tour, the latter of which he was a fan-favorite.

Kim had a four-season run on the PGA Tour, where he was almost always near the top of the leaderboard. He finished third in the 2010 Masters and tied for fifth at The Open Championship the following year. 

But the most memorable was his 2008 Ryder Cup performance as a rookie on the team, starting off the tournament with a dominant 5&4 match-play victory over Spain’s Sergio Garcia. The United States ended up defeating the Europeans in the end.

Kim has three PGA Tour victories under his belt, but injuries eventually shut him down from the game in 2012. 

It’s been a while since the days when Kim was once ranked No. 6 in the world on the links, but he’s using this opportunity with LIV, where he’s a wild card who will play as an individual instead of a team for the rest of the season, to make his comeback. 

"I’m definitely hitting the ball well, doing lot of things well. I know scores don’t reflect that," he said. 

Kim will have another chance to prove he’s back to form in Hong Kong next weekend for the next LIV Golf event.

'Star Wars' and 'Gremlins' voice actor Mark Dodson dead at 64

Mark Dodson, known for voicing characters in "Star Wars" and "Gremlins," died Saturday at age 64.

Dodson’s representative, Peter DeLorme of Stellar Appearances, confirmed the news to Fox News Digital.

The agency shared a press release on their social media with a tribute to Dodson.

"Mark's career spanned more than four decades as a radio man, voice actor, producer and fan favorite of convention attendees across the world. Mark was best known for being the voice of some of movies most iconic characters in some of Hollywood's most popular movies. Mark was a loved member of the ‘Star Wars’ universe getting his start in 1983 in ‘Return of the Jedi’ and joined the horror community when he was the voice of many Gremlins in ‘Gremlins’ 1984," the caption reads.

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It continued, "Mark worked on dozens of movies, video games, commercials and advertisements adding his unique voice and sound to each character and script he touched."

"Mark truly loved his fans and enjoyed meeting them at conventions around the world. Mark was honored to be inducted into dozens of the local chapters of the Star Wars 501st Legions over the past several decades."

The statement concluded, "Mark leaves behind a wonderful family, close friends, and adoring fans around the world. The family asks for privacy during this difficult time."

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Dodson was the voice of Salacious Crumb in "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi," a giggling puppet creature that sat alongside gangster Jabba the Hut in the film. That voice led to work in "Gremlins," where he voiced some of the Mogwai, the cute critters that turn creepy if you break their rules, and the "Star Wars" spin-off film, "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor."

The actor also provided voices for video games, including "Star Trek Online" and "Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga."

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According to TMZ via Dodson’s daughter, he died from a heart attack while in Evansville, Indiana, to attend a convention, Horror Con.

She reportedly told the outlet he flew into town for the event, went to his hotel and suffered a "massive heart attack" while sleeping.

TMZ reported that Dodson’s daughter said he "never ceased making me proud" and his legacy will continue through his family.

Kentucky company supplying eyewear to veterans criticized for quota system

A Kentucky-based company that supplies eyewear to veterans has received some criticism for pressuring employees to upsell. 

PDS Consultants was awarded a contract in October to supply veterans with eyeglasses through PDS Optical, replacing Superior. 

Sources close to the matter told Fox News Digital that employees were given a monthly quota and pressured to upsell frames to veterans that are not covered by the VA – meaning that veterans, if the allegations are true, have had to pay more money out of pocket. 

One source said the company docked opticians’ pay, and opticians were told they could make up the loss in commissions by upselling veterans. 

"For us to have a decent paycheck, we have to try to upsell everything to the veterans just to get a certain percentage of commission from the sales," the source said.  

The source recalled one incident where a veteran was undercharged for eyeglasses, and the company forced an optician to call the veteran back and ask for more money.  

"You feel uncomfortable calling somebody back and asking, ‘can you give me your credit card number over the phone? I undercharged you. You still owe me $60,’" the source said. 

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Another source told Fox News Digital that they "personally found it offensive to do some of the things that [PDS] were doing."

"The upper management was terrible. Basically, called us liars. And then from there, setting sales goals. With the prior contract, with Superior, there were no sales quotas to be met," the source said. 

The same source told Fox News Digital they received negative complaints from veterans "on a daily basis." 

"We went from having a very wide array of frame selection that the veterans could choose from – that were very good frames – to very few frames," the source. 

The source qualified that sales quotas are not bad in and of themselves, but felt that selling should not be the purpose when "you're brought in here to provide a service to the veterans." 

"When you have a contract with a company that does that for the veterans, I mean, maybe I feel like it's wrong, other people may not," the source said. "But I feel that opticians sales on something should be provided to – especially the services, I don't think it's right." 

Internal emails reviewed by Fox News Digital appeared to confirm this portrayal, showing managers encouraging employees to surpass their sales goals from the month prior. 

"As we gear up for December, I'm excited to challenge you to not only meet but surpass our sales goal," one email reads. "Building on your impressive performance in November, let's set our sights on a December goal of $30,000 in sales."  

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Don Overton, President of the Blind Veterans of America, said his organization has been receiving concerns from people close to the process and are displeased with PDS' quota system. 

"We were beginning to learn that the issues weren't just at the interface of the way that these contracts were being awarded, but then it was the demands of the opticians to sell," Overton told Fox News Digital. 

Overton explained a process whereby veterans go in for a pair of eyeglasses that should be part of their comprehensive healthcare benefits, but then are lured into buying a more expensive pair. 

"[The veterans] go down to the optical shop and they see just horrendous antiquated, very inexpensive glasses on the board. And this is what they get," Overton said. "Or then the new shiny board comes out with what anybody is going to want. A better pair of glasses that are going to be more comfortable or are probably going to hold up better." 

"This is how they're making up the difference right on the backs of veterans," Overton said. "And these should be earned benefits." 

The VA employee source who spoke to Fox News Digital said: "It hurts me to my heart to see that because I know a lot of veterans are struggling financially and they say, ‘I gotta see. There’s nothing I can do. I don't have a choice but to pay." 

PDS pushed back against these criticisms when reached for comment by Fox News Digital and defended its business practices, noting that its majority owners are veterans of the U.S. Army, both having served deployments in Iraq.    

"PDS stands by the quality of our eyeglass products and services, creating tremendous value for our Veterans and taxpayers every day," PDS Optical Vice President Robb Yopps told Fox News Digital. 

Veterans are provided "no cost items" as agreed upon in the VA contract, Yopps said. If veterans wish to purchase an upgrade or a second pair, they do so out of pocket because it is in addition to their VA benefit. No veterans, Yopps said, are being pressured into upgrading their glasses or making additional purchases. 

Yopps said allegations that employee salaries are compensated by commission have been "repeatedly rejected as speculative (and untrue) when raised before the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which administers the U.S. government’s bid protest program." 

Yopps added that prices for the VA, contrary to allegations, have "decreased substantially," compared to the previous vendor, benefiting the U.S. taxpayer. 

"PDS is proud of the service we provide to the VA and our nation’s Veterans, providing value to those who served just like us," Yopps said. 

The VA told Fox News Digital it has found no evidence of price increases after PDS won the contract, nor has it received any direct veteran complaints about the vendor. 

"Veterans who are eligible for prescription eyeglasses from the VA do not pay higher out-of-pocket costs because the prescription eyeglasses are provided to veterans at no cost," VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes said. 

Contracts are awarded, Hayes said, based on fair and reasonable prices, subjected to a multi-step analysis. 

The Federal Acquisition Regulation requires that all offers, with separately priced line items, be analyzed to determine if the prices are unbalanced. If price analysis determines a price is unbalanced – where one or more line items are significantly overstated or understated – a contracting officer will proceed to a two-party analysis to consider the risk of paying unreasonably high prices and the risk of unsuccessful performance.  

Firetrucks collide heading to burning Pennsylvania house, 6 firefighters injured

Two firetrucks collided while responding to a burning house in northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday, injuring six firefighters.

Firefighters were responding to a Luzerne County call just before 2:30 p.m. when "a Spartan rescue truck from Valley Regional Fire & Rescue and a Seagrave Marauder ladder truck from the Hazle Township Fire & Rescue" collided at an intersection along Hunter Highway, which is also known as Route 309, according to a press release from Butler Township Police Chief William J. Feissner. 

Feissner said two firefighters suffered "moderate injuries" and four others were slightly injured. One firefighter was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley and the others to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton.

Feissner said a preliminary investigation indicated the rescue truck entered the intersection on a red light and began to turn left, and the ladder truck had a green light "activated by traffic light pre-emption system on the ladder truck." The ladder truck swerved but hit the rescue truck and then an embankment, leaving the driver of the ladder truck trapped for a short time, Feissner said. Both vehicles had lights and sirens on, he said.

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Butler Township Police are investigating the crash that shut down a portion of Hunter Highway for about four hours. 

"The outpouring of support to our company has been overwhelming," Hazle Township Fire wrote on its Facebook page. "We thank you all for the continued prayers and well wishes for the quick recovery of all members involved."

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On Sunday, Valley Regional Fire asked for continued prayers while wishing all a speedy recovery in a Facebook post. 

The burning house both vehicles were heading to was destroyed by flames, but no injuries were reported, officials said. A woman told The Citizens’ Voice newspaper out of Wilkes-Barre that four people were home when a battery charger started sparking in the garage and exploded, adding that the family tried to put out the flames but were forced to evacuate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Armed gangs jailbreak 4,000 inmates in Haiti after days-long gun battle with police

Armed gangs in Haiti's capital released roughly 4,000 inmates from the country's largest prison after a days-long gun battle with police on Sunday.

The vast majority of the 4,000 men held in the Port-au-Prince jail successfully escaped, according to reports from local media. Many of the inmates were gang members charged in connection with the 2021 assassination of Hatian President Jovenel Moise.

Armed gangs launched their attack against the prison earlier this weekend when Prime Minister Ariel Henry left the country on a visit to Kenya, seeking assistance in the fight against domestic gangs.

Gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, called on various armed groups to overthrow Henry's regime. Gangs attacked both the National Penitentiary and the country's main container port.

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"All of us, the armed groups in the provincial towns and the armed groups in the capital, are united," Cherizier said.

Henry had vowed to step down from his position by the end of February, but he argued the gang violence needed to be overcome before free and fair elections could be held.

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Haiti has not held an election since 2016.

Henry succeeded in negotiating an agreement in Kenya on Friday.

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Kenya had agreed in October to lead a U.N.-authorized international police force to Haiti, but the Kenyan High Court in January ruled the plan unconstitutional, in part because of a lack of reciprocal agreements between the two countries.

Last week's agreement ensures that Kenya will send 1,000 police officers to the troubled Caribbean nation to help combat ongoing gang violence.

Kenyan President William Ruto said in a statement that he and Henry witnessed the signing of the reciprocal agreements between the two countries on Friday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Iowa's Caitlin Clark surpasses Pete Maravich for NCAA scoring record

Caitlin Clark surpassed Pete Maravich’s NCAA scoring mark against Ohio State on Sunday.

The Iowa sharpshooter was only 18 points away from beating out the LSU legend’s 3,617 points. She had all 18 points in the first half and completed it on a technical foul before the half was over.

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To make it even more special, Clark did it at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in her final home game as a Hawkeyes player. It was Iowa’s final regular-season game of the 2023-24 season before the team starts the Big Ten Tournament.

Clark and the team celebrated as the Hawkeyes took a 48-39 lead into the locker room.

Clark passed the NCAA Division 1 scoring mark against Michigan on Feb. 15 and recently surpassed Lynnette Woodard, who set it in the AIAW at Kansas.

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"She is just a phenomenal, phenomenal player who has helped change the women’s game," Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said of Clark. "She has helped bring an enormous amount of light and respect and viewers to the women’s game. She is awesome. She is a competitor.

"You either love her or you hate her, but you normally hate her because of how hard she competes. I have a tremendous amount of respect for somebody who is that competitive and has never met a shot she didn’t like."

Maravich’s mark was set in 83 games across three seasons from 1967 to 1970 without a shot clock or 3-point line. He averaged 44.2 points per game and scored more than 60 four times in his collegiate career.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rihanna performs concert in India at wedding for son of Asia's richest man

Singer Rihanna found love – and reportedly a big pay day – in India.

The musician, who has built her own billion dollar empire as a musician and business owner, was allegedly paid upwards of $6 million dollars to perform at the pre-wedding festivities for Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's youngest son, Anant, per multiple reports. The richest man in Asia, Ambani is the 9th wealthiest person in the world according to Forbes.

Video shared to social media showed the Barbadian singer performing some of her top hits, including "Pour It Up," and "B---h Better Have My Money" to a massive crowd.

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The guest list for the multi-day bash in Jamnagar, India was nearly 1200 people. 

RIhanna's appearance holds significance, as the 36-year-old has shifted away from the music industry for the better part of the last decade. 

Her last studio album, "Anti," was released in 2016, and before her Super Bowl LVII halftime show in 2023, Rihanna hadn't performed live on-stage since 2018.

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In 2022, she released the song "Lift Me Up," for the soundtrack of the superhero film "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Rihanna was not the only billionaire in attendance, as Ambani invited META CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates to the occasion. Ivanka Trump and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan were also in attendance.

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Anant, 28, is expected to marry his long-time love Radhika Merchant, 29, in July. Merchant is the daughter of Viren Merchant, CEO of Encore Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., and entrepreneur Shaila Merchant.

A representative for Rihanna did not immediately return Fox News Digital's request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

'Saturday Night Live' takes aim at Biden, close allies who claim president is sharp 'behind closed doors'

"Saturday Night Live" took aim at President Biden and his allies who argue the president is mentally sharp and energetic "behind closed doors" during their cold open through mock media interviews with Gov. Gavin Newsom and Karine Jean-Pierre. 

"SNL" opened with a parody of CNN's "Inside Politics" with Dana Bash, who was played by Heidi Gardner. She opened the program with an interview with Michael Longfellow, who posed as Newsom, D-Calif., and first argued the president should be judged by his record. 

Gardner then asked Longfellow if Biden can make the same case with the "speed and sharpness" that Newsom could. 

"Dana, he — Joe can do it better. I was just with him and, behind closed doors, Joe is incredible. Yesterday we had a big meeting about the border and, God, he had such command," Longfellow said. "He had charts, tables, PowerPoints, he had an interactive AR display on the Apple Vision Pro – that he programmed himself. The software might be in beta but the man — he’s in alpha."

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Longfellow pointed out that people call Biden "Sleepy Joe," to which Longfellow responded, "well he has to sleep, Dana!" 

"The other day he was taking a nap and I whipped a baseball at him and he caught it like De Niro in ‘Awakenings.’ Lightning quick," Longfellow continued. 

Gardner then turned to interview White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who was played by Ego Nwodim. 

"Hello Dana, pleasure to be with you to talk about the most vigorous man I’ve ever known, Joe Biden," Nwodim said. 

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Nwodim gave viewers a look at Biden's schedule, which she said included Biden teaching a SoulCycle class, speed chess in the park and a meeting with joint Chiefs to discuss military strategy, as well as a push-up contest. 

Marcello Hernández posed as DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who offered a rundown of Biden's recent visit to the border, during the parody interview with Gardner. 

"This weekend we both went down to the border town in Brownsville, Texas. And Joe went into beast mode. He said we’re going to tighten this border. Look how easy I can cross it. Then he parkoured up to the top of the border wall, pro-flipped into the Rio Grande and came back up with a fish in his mouth. But you didn’t report that because it doesn’t fit your little narrative," he joked.

"With all due respect, it doesn’t fit reality," Gardner responded. 

Biden recently sat down for an interview with late night comedian Seth Meyers. During the appearance, Biden shrugged off concerns about his age.

 "Well, a couple of things. No. 1, you gotta take a look at the other guy. He's about as old as I am, but he can't remember his wife's name," Biden responded, sparking cheers from the crowd. 

"No. 2, it's about how old your ideas are," Biden continued. "Look, this is a guy who wants to take us back. He wants to take us [back] on Roe v. Wade. He wants to take us back on a whole range of issues that are 50, 60 years they've been solid American positions."