The Country was shocked confused last night when singer Denasia Lawrence took a knee in front of a half-empty crowd of basketball fans who received free tickets from their bosses to see the long-anticipated pre-season game between the perennially awful Philadelphia 76ers and the newly awful Miami Heat. Donning a Black Lives Matters shirt, and with great poise, Ms. Lawrence knelt in protest of the singing of the National Anthem and then proceeded to voluntarily sing the song she was protesting

“The song is racist and should not be sung,” said Ms. Lawrence after the event. When asked why she sung the racist song that should not be sung, the singer said it was to make a statement about how the song she sung should not be sung. “It was also a really good opportunity for me,” she admitted.

“That logic makes sense!” said someone online who now thinks I’m racist for writing this article. “She is exercising her First Amendment right to protest the racist institutions the United States is founded on and also her right to self-contradiction,” said another commentator who does not find this article amusing. “She is disgusting and despicable and should be physically or emotionally harmed and vilified” said several other internet commentators who had too strong of a reaction to Ms. Lawrence’s protest and have obvious issues with Ms. Lawrence unrelated to her protest and mostly related to her existence.  “I didn’t die fighting to protect our freedoms just to have those freedoms used in a way I think should be restricted!” said the ghost of Vietnam Veteran who symbolically burned his draft card before shipping out to Danang on Twitter.

Ms. Lawrence’s demonstration is the latest in a series of protests dating back to the Summer when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during performances of the National Anthem he was required to hear as part of his employment as a pro-athlete unable to leave the field  minutes before the game. “She’s no different than Collin Kaepernick” said Facebook user Erica Jarvis, noting that both were “standing on principles”. “More like KNEELING on principles, AM I RIGHT FOLKS?” commented her Middle School classmate Javier Lessig to absolutely no one’s amusement. 

Melissa Jennifer Howard, an amateur singer and work friend of Ms. Jarvis’ commented about the difficulty of singing the National Anthem and the required strain it places on the diaphragm, especially at the song’s climax. “Politics aside, I’m impressed she was able to sing so well considering she was on her knees the whole time.” “I wish more women had that sort of stamina while on their knees!” commented Mr. Lessig , causing Ms. Jarvis to unfriend him. As Mr. Lessig refreshed Ms. Jarvis’ thread to see whether his comment received any likes only to realize that he had been blocked he stared at his screen for a few moments thinking about the irony of being blocked from participating in a discussion about exercising one’s First Amendment right to protest before scrolling through his news feed again for about twenty minutes and climbing into his bed. As he drifted to sleep he could hear his mother crying to herself in the living room, as she did every night, and pondered why only 34 people wrote on his wall for his birthday last Friday and whether he would be able to find a friend to see the new Harry Potter prequel with him next month.

The Miami Heat released a statement that they were unaware that Ms. Lawrence would be protesting the song and called the stunt a much needed distraction from the organization’s disastrous off-season failures that resulted in Dwyane Wade leaving for Chicago and the team seemingly trying to prevent Chris Bosh from continuing to play in the NBA. “While I do not agree with Ms. Lawrence’s protest, I value her right to take the attention off of the fact that we just lost the the Philadelphia 76ers,” said Heat President Pat Riley. 

Dwyane Wade’s decision to leave the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls left many Heat fans angered and confused. “I’m going to be rooting for the Warriors this year,” said “Heat Lifer” Arturo Ramirez as he purchased several clearance Wade jerseys he plans on burning later. “Wade was the heart and soul of the Heat. The team won’t be the same without him.” 

Neither will “Wade County”, the officially NBA licensed name of Miami-Dade County, which is set to be renamed the “Dragic Subdivision” before the start of the upcoming basketball season.

The decision to rename Wade County was made by the Miami-Dade County Commission, who narrowly rejected a proposal to sell the taxpayer-subsidized waterfront land to wealthy Chinese investors seeking an embezzlement opportunities.“ It was ultimately decided that we should keep the land, at great taxpayer expense, for the community and the Miami Heat to use,” slurred Miami-Dade Commissioner Pepe Diaz as he hiccupped and little bubbles floated out of his mouth

With Dwyane Wade’s departure, a new namesake for the land had to be chosen. “We needed a player that represented the new, bleaker direction of the Miami Heat,” said Commissioner Diaz. “We briefly considered “Bosh Gardens”, but thought it was too depressing given his uncertain future with the league. We also liked “The Upper Whiteside,” but our lawyers advised us the name was already being used by Miami’s predominantly caucasian Pinecrest community. Heat Point Guard Goran Dragic was the only other player we recognized from the list, so the decision was practically made for us.”

Many citizens were dismayed to hear that their beloved Wade County would be named after a perpetually angry looking Russian man. A statement had to be released clarifying that Dragic is actually from Slovenia and not Russia, but that just further confused everyone.

“I saw a picture of him and didn’t understand why they decided to name Wade County after Edward Snowden. After a while someone explained to me that he was actually just the white guy the Heat was overpaying that wasn’t Tyler Johnson,” said Dragic Subdivision resident Michael Smith.

While some residents, like Mr. Smith, remain cautiously optimistic about the Heat’s new direction, others have started a grassroots effort to lure Dwyane Wade back to Miami by making the City over in Mr. Wade’s hometown of Chicago’s image.

“We’re doing everything we can to convince Wade that Miami can be every bit the city Chicago is,” said founder of the “We Want Wade” action committee. “We’re making a lot of progress improving Miami’s public transit system, making the City more walkable, and drastically increasing the city’s black-on-black murder-rate.” 

The Plantain reached out to Dwyane Wade, who declined our requests for an interview, but said in a statement that while he has great love for the City of Miami and Heat Nation, he looks forward to not winning many championships with his hometown of Chicago.

By Kyle Rambo

As the 2016 Olympic Games draw to a close, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans to distribute silver medals to the residents of Rio De Janeiro that have been permanently displaced by the games for being “such good sports about the whole thing.” The awards will be given during Sunday night’s closing ceremonies.

“It’s a small token of appreciation for the communities we have destroyed,” said IOC President Thomas Bach as he showed us the still incomplete equestrian field built on what was once known as Flavela Dos Pobres, or the Slum of the Poor.

“The IOC is very aware of how these games have affected Rio’s residents,” admitted Mr. Bach as he walked through an area that until last year housed 13,000 residents. “We think these medals will do a lot to boost the morale of Rio’s people,” he said before noticing a group of homeless children begging for food on Olympic grounds. “The people of Rio are very resilient,” said Mr. Bach as he flagged down an Olympic guard to remove the children and bring them to one of the IOC’s secret prisons until the games finished.

“We will have a home for a week?” asked 9-year-old orphan Andres Oliveira jubilantly upon learning he was being taken to prison before adding “Yipee! Yipee! Hooray!”

Since Rio was named as the site of the 2016 Games, nearly 80,000 people have been forced to relocate. The inhumane treatment of Rio’s poorest residents is just one of the many controversies that have plagued this summer’s Olympiad.

“What they are doing to the locals is just awful. Not to mention the country’s inability to stop the spread of the Zika virus, the poor construction quality and unsafe water conditions of Olympic facilities, and the Brazilian government cutting social services to pay for the games. These games have been a complete and total disaster,” said Javier Sanchez, who was visiting Rio from Miami, Florida to cheer for the Colombian track-and-field team.

“The IOC is so corrupt, the entire games have been tarnished by their unethical behavior,” said Mr. Sanchez before stopping to cheer furiously as Colombian racer Caterine Ibarguen took the gold in the women’s triple jump. “This is the best day of my life!” screamed Mr. Sanchez with tremendous national pride as he ran to hug a stranger holding a Colombian flag who sat a few rows behind him.

For many, including local resident Amanda Steinbim, the IOC’s decision to award Rio’s displaced residents medals is a step toward repairing the damage done by the Olympics and quashing the criticism surrounding the more controversial details of this year’s games.

“Who wouldn’t want an Olympic medal?” asked Ms. Steinbim, an devoted Olympic fan who took off work for a week to watch the coverage from her Weston Hills home. “Those Brazilian families are so lucky,” said Ms. Steinbim as she stood up from her leather couch and wiped the layers of Flipz Yogurt Covered Pretzel crumbs that had accumulated on her Lululemon athletic tank since she began watching the men’s rowing competition 6-hours earlier.

“I always wanted to get an Olympic medal,” said resident Tomas Alvarez upon hearing the news that he would be awarded one. “This was much easier.” The medals will be limited to one per household, and will be purchased with Brazilian tax dollars, adding to the many billions the games have already cost the struggling South American country.

By Joey Ganguzza of Villain Theater

Hialeah is abuzz after learning that the 2017 Cockfighting Championship will be hosted in local resident Jose Francisco’s backyard ring.

Mr. Francisco has one of the top-rated cockfighting facilities in Hialeah, mostly because the cops have not discovered it yet and because of its proximity to a Cuban Guys Restaurant.

“I knew when my ex-wife said I had to choose between her and the cockfighting I made the right decision,” said Mr. Francisco after learning that his yard had been chosen to host the annual blood sport. “Y ahora, que, Maritza?”, he said defiantly to himself.

Hialeah beat out Amsterdam and Bangkok to host the tournament. The committee decided that the City’s cockfighting history is what set it apart from the other cities. “When you think about two chickens pecking each other to death in a ring, there’s no city that represents that more than Hialeah,” said Raul “Pollo” Sanchez, The President of the International Cockfighting Committee.

The tournament is expected to bring a huge boost to Hialeah’s tourist economy. Hotels in the area are prepping for the cock watchers by stocking up on Modelo Beer and “Wife-Beater” shirts, roadside fruit vendors expect sales to triple, and artists have begun peppering the “Leah Art’s District,” with cockfighting themed murals. “We look forward to showing the world that the Leah Art’s District is indeed a thing,” said Hialeah councilwoman Annette Perez-Santiago from her car on her way to Wynwood for the night. “Seriously, it’s a thing.”

Since the announcement, Mr. Francisco has been making renovations to his backyard ring. “For seating, I’m hoping to replace my two broken lawn chairs and bring out the inflatable mattress I have in my room.”

In the event that both lawn chairs and Francisco’s used mattress sell out, spectators will still be able to watch the coverage on his little cousin’s Periscope account, which has previously broadcast other local sporting events including last year’s deadly Dominoes World Series and the failed Formula E1 race.

Local chicken “Pin Pam Pum” is heavily favored to win the Championship. “I’m so happy to compete in front of my hometown fans,” said the three-year-old Chicken. “B’kaw, b’kaw, I can’t wait to win that cock ring”, said the muscular rooster with a bird-wink before wandering off to peck at some grass.

By Kyle Rambo

After learning that Dwyane Wade was leaving the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls, self-proclaimed “Heat Lifer” Arturo Ramirez started gathering his collection of D-Wade jerseys from around his house. “I need to burn this traitor’s jersey,” said the 38-year-old waiter. “I just can’t believe he would leave Miami for only $7.5 million more!” said Mr. Ramirez, who left his last job at Buffalo Wild Wings for a waiter position at Johnny Rockets that offered $1.25 more an hour and a free shift milkshake.

As Mr. Ramirez poured lighter fluid over his $69 red replica road jersey, $75 “White Hot Heat” jersey, and $45 throwback “Floridian” jersey, a tear rolled down the divorced father-of-two’s cheek. “It’s such a shame. This is like $200 worth of memorabilia.”

It has been a rough couple of years for Heat fans, and Mr. Ramirez in particular. “I really don’t know how much more of this I can take,” confessed Mr. Ramirez, “financially.”

As he looked down at the pile of expensive athletic wear he was about to needlessly destroy, Mr. Ramirez contemplated the years of rebuilding his favorite team was set to endure, as well as the total value of the jerseys he has burned. “In the last few years alone I burned around four LeBron jerseys, a Norris Cole jersey, and a Tyler Hansbrough jersey just last week. I also recently destroyed my “Feel the Bern” sweater,” admitted Mr. Ramirez.

As the man threw his cigarette onto the stack of Wade jerseys, he sighed “I hope Hassan Whiteside doesn’t do this to us.”

As the pile set ablaze, Mr. Ramirez stared deep into the flames, thinking about his mounting credit card debt and back child support payments, and wondering when he would be forced to burn the pair of Goron Drajic jerseys he purchased last year.

The residents of Cleveland, Ohio awoke Monday morning to the news that their city won its first professional sports championship in 52 years and the stark reality that it changes none of the awful mundanities of living in North Eastern Ohio.

“Cleveland has had it rough,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich. “It has been very difficult for its residents to come to terms with the City’s decline over the last several decades, where it’s gone from rising industrial metropolitan to economically stagnant shantytown. But during this period, the one thing that kept Cleveland going was the beacon of hope that one day one of its teams would win a world championship, and the belief, no matter how silly, that the title would usher into the City a renaissance of art and economic development that would, at long last, make living in Cleveland bearable. The Cav’s championship wrests that hope away from the fine people of Cleveland. Now, there is no hope for these people,” remarked the Governor.

“At first I was elated,” said unemployed steelworker and Cavs fan Cole Hopkins. “For literally my entire life I was told that Cleveland’s troubles would be over as soon as we won a championship. But today I woke up and realized that the plant ain’t going to reopen just because we got a title,” said a dejected Mr. Hopkins. “Nothing is going to bring back those jobs.”

As the entirety of the city’s residents started to realize that they still lived in the center of the country’s taint, local activists began to organize a campaign to have its prodigal son, LeBron James, once again leave the Cavaliers.

“LeBron James has to go,” said lifelong Clevelander Ellen McGuinty as she threw his jersey into a bonfire. “We need to begin another championship draught as soon as possible in order to give Cleveland’s people hope and optimism that the City’s best days are not behind it,” said the 58-year-old former abductee as she basked in the fire’s heat while putting the unbearable 6 months of cold she experiences every goddamn year as far away from her mind as possible.

The Miami Dolphins picked up offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil with the 13th pick in the 2016 draft. The Ole Miss standout was supposed be a top-three draft choice, but he had gotten “a bit too high” shortly before the draft and didn’t make it to the ceremony until a dozen other teams had already made their selections. When Mr. Tunsil finally arrived to the draft clutching a half-full Arby’s bag of French fries, the Dolphins pounced.

In a press conference following his selection, a blurry-eyed Tunsil told reporters that he was “stoked” to move to Miami and looked forward to serving many four-game drug suspensions as a Dolphin. He said he was also excited to work with new coach Adam Gase and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and whoever their replacements would be next year.

Plantain reporters asked Mr. Tunsil to comment on a leaked video of him smoking marijuana from a gas-mask bong, but a giggly Mr. Tunsil ignored the questions, choosing instead to leave the press conference early to watch a few episodes of Family Guy with his mentor Ricky Williams.

Reached for comment about his relationship with Mr. Tunsil, Ricky Williams started talking about how his mentee would be a great pro player, but then got distracted by his own scattered thoughts. The former Pro Bowl MVP then asked this reporter if I wanted to “go to Chipotle,” and started singing Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.

“Don’t worry, about a thing. Cause every little thing is gonna be alright…at Chipotle “, sang Mr. Williams with glee.

Last June, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced his controversial plan to attract wealthy animal hunters to South Florida by offering manatee hunting permits to sportsmen. Describing his plan as a “game changer,” the Mayor predicted that manatee hunting would bring thousands of wealthy adventurists to the County to hunt the majestic sea creatures, and pushed through over $15,000,000 in subsidies to make his vision a reality.

And so, on Monday, Mayor Gimenez will cut the ribbon at Miami’s Marine Stadium and allow the first hunters to wade into the pulverized muck, elephant guns and dynamite in hand, to bag themselves a manatee.

“Bear hunting, deer hunting, big game hunting, they’re great. But we needed something local,” said Mayor Gimenez. “Manatee hunting? That’s so Miami.”

The manatee hunting ordinance was heartedly supported by the County Commission, with only three commissioners voting against it. It was also supported by City of Miami officials, who were just happy to find a use for the long neglected Marine Stadium.

“After years of subsidizing boat shows that destroyed the Stadium’s basin, the useless structure is now the perfect spot for spectators to watch hunters blow up manatees,” said City of Miami Manager Daniel Alfonso. “It’s nice to know that after years of mismanagement, Miami’s Marine Stadium will finally be put to good use.”

For all its controversy, local residents have been extremely vocal of their support of the proposal. “What good are all of these guns if we can’t shoot a manatee every once in a while?”, asked Jose Miranda Fernandez. “Do you know the market price of manatee meat? I’m going to shoot one and put rims on my Nissan.”

Hunters who obtain a permit will be limited to 3 manatees per day, and 10 per season. Manatee season runs from April to September, or until Miami is out of manatees.

Baseball is back in Miami. As the Boys of Summer prepare to take the publicly-financed fields for what will undoubtedly be another non-competitive season, they will be joined by never-Hall-of-Famer Barry Bonds, the controversial all-time home run champion whose playing career was plagued by allegations of rampant steroid use.

“I’m very excited to work with the team and to be back on the field,” said Mr. Bonds, whose head is surprisingly large. “I think I can have a real impact on Giancarlo Stanton’s game. He reminds me a lot of myself during the 1989 season, right before I put on 80 pounds of muscle through hard work and a healthy lifestyle”, Mr. Bonds said with a wink.

“Barry is a legend and the whole team is so grateful to be able to work with him. He has already taught us all so much” said Mr. Stanton, as he pulled down his pants, bent over a chair, and had a Marlins trainer inject him with what he assured us was “just a B-12 shot.”

“We’re going to be more competitive than people think,” said new head coach Don Mattingly. “We’re ready for the season. We have put in thousands of vials worth of hard work. We’re ready for this.”