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Reports: Larry Bird stepping down as Pacers presidentLarry Bird delivers Pacers' All-Star bid via IndyCar

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:25:17 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 17:01:51 GMT

NBA legend Larry Bird has resigned as president of the Indiana Pacers, according to reports from The Vertical and ESPN.

Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard will take over the team. Pritchard joined the team in 2011 as its director of player personnel and was promoted to general manager a year later.

No reason for Bird's departure was given.

Bird, who also coached the team from 1997 to 2000, is expected to serve as a consultant going forward, The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

The 60-year-old Hall of Famer first became the Pacers' president of basketball operations in 2003 and then retired for health reasons in 2012. After a year away, he returned to the position.

The Pacers went 42-40 this season, with their playoffs coming to an end with a first-round sweep by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Delivering an official request by Indianapolis to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Larry Bird drove up to NBA headquarters on Monday in an IndyCar racer tricked out in Pacers' colors.




Joshua vs. Klitschko: 3 heavyweight titles on the lineWhat makes the NFL Draft a TV event?The art of the 'steal': Hidden value in the NBA DraftSanchez-Casal Academy: The making of Andy MurrayWorld Masters Games: Man Kaur wins 100m gold -- aged 101Muslim teen boxer inspires others to never give up

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:48:14 GMTFri, 28 Apr 2017 14:38:48 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 14:16:54 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 14:11:23 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 19:23:32 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 05:09:12 GMT

When Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko face off in front of a record-breaking 90,000 fans at Wembley Saturday, there will be a difference of 50 fights and 314 rounds between them.Now 41, with many claiming his best years are behind him, Klitschko has a wealth of experience on his side to combat Joshua's young legs and explosive power.Ukrainian Klitschko has, at one time or another throughout a glittering 21 year career, held the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.Up until his shock defeat to Tyson Fury 18 months ago, the Ukrainian was undefeated for over a decade -- a run dubbed the "Klitschko era" due to his and older brother Vitali's dominance of the heavyweight division.The 27-year-old Joshua, on the other hand, has not only endured just a quarter of the professional fights Klitschko has, he's barely even had to absorb a punch.Dillian Whyte's powerful left hook, which made Joshua's legs wobble all over the ring during their British heavyweight title bout in 2015, is the only real test of his otherwise untried chin.The age gap between the fighters is such that Klitschko has been boxing for the same amount of time Joshua has been alive. Weigh in The 27-year-old Briton goes into the fight defending his IBF title, while also trying to win the WBA and IBO titles vacated by Fury after he tested positive for cocaine."I don't hate Klitschko, I don't dislike him, but I want to beat him," Joshua told hoards of adoring fans after tipping the scales at 250.1 lbs at Friday's weigh in.It's the heaviest Joshua has been during his short but, so far, straightforward career."I've never seen Anthony this big. He looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his body building prime," Klitschko marveled during the open workouts earlier this week.The Ukrainian, meanwhile, weighed in at 240.6 lbs -- half a stone lighter than his usual fighting weight."You never know how the fight will go," Joshua responded when asked if this bout is his hardest test to date."This could be an easy fight, or I could go out there and something could happen and then maybe a fight that wasn't supposed to be so hard could become harder."All I have to do is make this fight as easy as possible and win in good fashion." Mind games Known for his analytical approach and strategic fighting, Klitschko finds himself in the unusual position of being a challenger once again."Is it a degradation that I'm a challenger and an underdog in this fight? I don't think so. I think it's a great opportunity," he insisted."I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands again as the winner of this fight."At Thursday's pre-fight press conference, the biggest talking point came when Klitschko pulled a USB stick out of his pocket.He claimed, with unnerving confidence, that he had recorded his prediction for the outcome of the fight.The only person who will be able to watch the video, he said, is the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to the Klitschko Foundation, drawing warm applause from the crowd."It's strategy, isn't it?" Joshua said. "I'm just focusing on the fight. I'm not downloading no USB, bringing that to press conferences."I didn't really take it the way he was hoping. It was an attempt at mind games."Klitschko's trainer, Johnathon Banks, has said that defeat would render his career meaningless, while Joshua previously claimed victory would make him an "overnight legend."Whatever happens, Saturday night will live long in the memory.What duller-than-watching-paint-dry event will keep so many people -- 8.3 million of them last year -- glued to a screen? The NFL Draft, of course.The draft "steal." These are the underrated players chosen low in the draft but who go on to have long, successful careers.[...]If the pinnacle of Andy Murray's career so far took place on the pristine green courts of Wimbledon, the world No. 1 ow[...]



Study: Female athletes at 50% higher risk for concussionsStudy: Diabetes, weight can combine to alter brainReport: Drugged driving surpasses drunk driving among crash deathsWill sludge-color packaging deter smokers?Study: Children with high lead levels not being testedWhat energy drinks can do to your body

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:52:11 GMTFri, 28 Apr 2017 14:26:48 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 23:42:02 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 14:51:24 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 11:45:50 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 04:22:07 GMT

New research suggests that female athletes are at a higher risk for concussions than their male counterparts.

The results of the Columbia University study [PDF] were presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Neurology 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston.

Investigators found that among college athletes of both sexes who took part in sports such as soccer, football and basketball, women were 50 percent more likely to suffer sports-related concussions.

However, the study did not suggest a reason for the disparity.

"It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussion than men," Dr. James Noble, who presented the research at the AAN meeting, said in a news release. "The findings from this study highlight the need for more research on the gender differences in concussion."

Noble, a neurologist at The Neurological Institute of New York Taubs Institute in New York City, is one of the investigators who worked on the study.

The study included 1,203 athletes, broken down into 822 men and 381 women, who attended Columbia University between 2000 and 2014.

Of those study participants, a total of 228 athletes (140 men and 88 women) experienced at least one concussion during their college playing career. That represents 17 percent of the men and 23.1 percent of the women.

While the reasons for the difference is still unknown, Noble says there are several hypotheses, including physiological differences in the heads and necks between the sexes to possible differences in the ways men and women report concussions.

Overweight and obese people with early-stage type 2 diabetes have more severe abnormalities in brain structure and cognition than normal-weight people with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

Driving under the influence of drugs was deadlier in 2015 than driving while drunk, a new report found. 

Can the sight of a greenish-brown color really be enough to deter smokers from reaching for their next pack of cigarettes?

In the United States, pediatric health care providers are not doing enough testing of children's blood lead levels in many states, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Pediatrics.

Energy drinks may be popular -- the global energy drink market was worth $39 billion in 2013 and is forecast to reach $61 billion by 2021 -- but they have gotten a bad rep among health experts.




What makes the NFL Draft a TV event?The picks are in, NFL holds 2017 draft

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:38:48 GMTFri, 28 Apr 2017 09:53:26 GMT

ESPN and the NFL Network spent several hours on Thursday night televising a man in a suit standing at a podium and calling out the names of other men, who are also in suits, for hours on end. And for some reason millions of people will watch.What duller-than-watching-paint-dry event will keep so many people -- 8.3 million of them last year -- glued to a screen? The NFL Draft, of course.How could this happen? It doesn't hurt that the NFL is the most popular sports league in the U.S., and the most dominant force on TV generally. But it's also because the Draft is one of the most unpredictable nights of year for America's signature sports league -- and, as Trey Wingo, ESPN's host for the draft, told CNN this week, "the truest reality television show there is.""There is no script, there is no time limit, there is no halftime, there is no score," Wingo told CNN. "For example, you could have made a lot of money last year if you had gone to Vegas and put a prop bet down that everyone in the draft is going to have to use the words, 'gas mask bong,' when talking about a first round pick." (Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, who'd been projected as a top-5 pick, slid after his Twitter account briefly posted a video of him apparently smoking from a gas mask bong shortly before the draft began.)"You can't prepare for that. You can't have that in your arsenal somewhere. 'Hey, what's our gas mask bong policy here?'" Wingo said. "[The draft] is the most unpredictable thing in all of sports television."Plus, though it did have some problems with viewership last season, the NFL is still a ratings monster, with an almost cult-like following that will watch anything from games to its rookie combine."When ESPN first went to the NFL about televising the Draft, the league's response was, 'Why would anyone want to watch that?'" Wingo said. "But the interest in the NFL has grown so exponentially over the last 20 years."The networks are doing everything to feed that interest when it comes to the draft.ESPN, which is broadcasting its 38th consecutive NFL draft, will have close to 500 player highlight packages, more than 30 player live shots, 22 cameras, red carpet interviews, and analysts like Mel Kiper Jr., Jon Gruden, Adam Schefter and Suzy Kolber all joining Wingo.Oh, and the event is taking place in a giant outdoor theater live from the "Rocky steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.The NFL Network is also going all in with 76 hours of live Draft Week coverage, which started last Sunday. That includes live coverage of all seven rounds and analysis from NFL Network host Rich Eisen, its draft expert Mike Mayock and many others, plus war room cameras in 20 team facilities.All this means that, much the same way it is to watch, an event that seems so straightforward can actually be pretty riveting to produce."This event itself is as compelling as anything we do," Seth Markman, ESPN's senior coordinating producer for the Draft, told CNN. "We go in with a game plan where we think who might go where, but then there's that first curve ball that gets thrown out... and then all these crazy dominoes fall because of that one move."Markman added that while the later rounds allow for ESPN's team to catch its breath and go deeper on teams and their picks, the first two days are "as hectic as anything I'm involved with the rest of the year."As amazing as it is that millions tune in for the first round of the Draft, it's arguably even crazier that many keep watching through later rounds, in which players most NFL fans have never even heard of are drafted.Charlie Yook, the producer who oversees the draft for NFL Network, pointed out that the late rounds are still interesting because they might have real impact for teams down the line: Five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady was drafted in the six[...]



Cyclist turns a death sentence into a race against diabetesCyclist Scarponi dies in van collisionReport: Drugged driving surpasses drunk driving among crash deathsWhat energy drinks can do to your bodyStudy: Children with high lead levels not being testedHis son's favorite Blockbuster store is closing, so dad built him one at home

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:47:37 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 14:54:08 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 23:42:02 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 04:22:07 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 11:45:50 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 23:43:00 GMT

When Phil Southerland was 7 months old, he had symptoms of the flu, was urinating frequently and had an unquenchable thirst."My mom took me to one doctor who said, 'Your kid has got the flu. Come back in one week,'" he said.Within days, Southerland's weight plummeted. His mom rushed him to the hospital."They said, 'Ma'am, we've got good news, and we've got bad news. The good news is your son's gonna live for now. The bad news is, he's got diabetes. He's got to take shots of insulin, and most likely he'll be dead by 25. If not, he'll either be blind or have renal failure,'" he said. Racing uphill As he grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, Southerland was determined not to let this death sentence stop him. At 6, he was already managing his Type 1 diabetes on his own."For me, it was all I ever knew. I knew I had to breathe, I knew I had to eat and I knew I had to check my blood sugar and give myself insulin shots."His parents stored only healthy food in the house to keep him from making bad choices. But at 12, Southerland disobeyed the rules and ate a candy bar. That decision would change his life."I figured OK, I don't want to wait two hours for my insulin to kick in. I do want to eat these candy bars. How can I do it?" he recalled.So he hopped on his bike and rode through the neighborhood until his legs got tired."That was my journey to start riding," he said. "The bike for me was freedom."The more he exercised, the less insulin he needed, and the easier it was to manage the disease."The bike gave me the discipline and motivation I needed to control my diabetes," he added.Southerland started competing and won a lot of cycling races. In college, he got the idea to start a nonprofit called Team Type 1 Foundation, based in Atlanta, to empower other athletes with the disease.The first sporting goal of the organization was to have a team of athletes compete in the Race Across America, a 3,000-mile bike trek through 12 states."We lost the race by three minutes," Southerland said. "So we came back the next year a little smarter in how we manage diabetes, a little more experienced in the race, and we set a world record of 5 days, 15 hours and 43 minutes."To ensure safety, the organization provides a medical team to support riders during a race. Cyclists undergo a stringent testing regime in the three hours leading up to a race. They also use continuous glucose monitoring, which will sound an alarm if their levels get too high or too low. Cheating death In 2008, Southerland created a professional team of diabetic cyclists."I was supposed to be dead when we started Team Type 1 as a professional cycling team," he said.But he was far from it. Southerland competed as a professional cyclist for two years until some injuries took him out of the sport.Now 35, Southerland's goal is to field the first all-diabetic team in the Tour de France by 2021."I believe sport can be the unifying point for people with diabetes," he said.Southerland's other passion is helping diabetic kids in Rwanda get much-needed medical supplies."I nearly put our company out of business in 2010 ... because I bought 400 blood glucose monitors, and I took about 40,000 test strips in bike boxes to the Tour of Rwanda," he said."We gave them out to the kids there. Their parents were all in tears because their kids have this tool, which is gonna help them live," he added. "It ripped my heart out."Every year since then, the organization has continued to send supplies to Rwanda."I want every kid with diabetes to know that they are the hero. Every person with diabetes to know that their dreams can come true."[...]Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2011, died in a road collision while training Saturday morning, his Astana Pro Team[...]



Indianapolis Motor Speedway to ban smoking in grandstandsWill sludge-color packaging deter smokers?Larry Bird delivers Pacers' All-Star bid via IndyCarFernando Alonso to miss Monaco GP for Indy 500

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:06:53 GMTThu, 27 Apr 2017 14:51:24 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 17:01:51 GMTWed, 12 Apr 2017 14:48:28 GMT

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Wednesday that it will ban smoking in all of its grandstands starting this fall.

"In recent years, our fans have consistently asked us to provide a smoke-free experience in the grandstands," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. "This is especially true among families bringing younger children to the track. I'm pleased we're making this move and look forward to working with our operational team, fans and partners to implement these changes."

The ban will begin with the Red Bull Air Race in October and extend to all races in 2018, including the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Brickyard 400.

Smoking will not be permitted in any grandstand at the speedway and within 20 feet of buildings and reserved seating entrances. However, smoking will continue to be allowed in the track's infield.

The speedway will also offer limited smoke-free family grandstands for this year's IndyCar Grand Prix and the Brickyard 400, but not for the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

Can the sight of a greenish-brown color really be enough to deter smokers from reaching for their next pack of cigarettes?

Delivering an official request by Indianapolis to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Larry Bird drove up to NBA headquarters on Monday in an IndyCar racer tricked out in Pacers' colors.

It is the most glamorous race on the Formula One calendar but this year's Monaco Grand Prix will not feature one of the sport's biggest names.




Garrett taken No. 1 overall by Browns in NFL draft

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 00:47:56 GMT

The Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night.




Maria Sharapova wins in return from doping banMaria Sharapova's comeback leaves women's Tour dividedSerena Williams slams Ilie Nastase over 'racist' commentsCan Serena Williams return to top after giving birth?Petra Kvitova hopes to play at French OpenRoger Federer not certain of competing at French Open

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:50:02 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 14:05:49 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 13:21:31 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:38:45 GMTTue, 18 Apr 2017 14:34:54 GMTMon, 17 Apr 2017 14:16:20 GMT

Her serve was on. She ripped returns for winners, celebrating with a clenched pumped fist.And when she won, she was visibly emotional as she waved to the crowd.Maria Sharapova is back -- and she returned as soon as she possibly could.On Wednesday, her first day eligible to return to the WTA Tour after serving a 15-month doping ban, the 30-year-old Russian defeated Italian Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany. Sharapova finished with 11 aces and had 39 winners. She broke Vinci, a former US Open finalist, at love to close out the match."I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," Sharapova said on court after the win.Sharapova, a former world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion, wasn't allowed at the venue until the morning of the match. She trained off site while her suspension was still in effect. The tournament started on Monday."Yes, you're rusty and you're trying to get the rhythm again," Sharapova said. "It's my first match in a while, but this is what I've done for so long, and when you're in the moment, you try to block everything out, and you compete. And I'm a competitor by nature, even when things are not working. That's what I do."Sharapova has won the Porsche Grand Prix three times, from 2012-2014. She will face Russia's Ekaterina Makarova in the second round Thursday.Vinci falls to 0-3 against Sharapova. Controversial return as a wild card In March 2016, Sharapova announced that she had tested positive for meldonium. She said she failed to realize the heart drug she had taken for more than a decade for various health issues had been added to the prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1, 2016.She initially was given a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation, but it was reduced on appeal to 15 months.Wednesday's match was Sharapova's first since she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals on January 25, 2016.Sharapova's return isn't without controversy.Sharapova was given a wild card for the Porsche Grand Prix main draw by tournament organizers. In tennis, wild cards are awarded to players either in the main draw or the qualifying draw (pre-tournament qualification). Because Sharapova currently is not ranked, she needed a wild card in order to play.Porsche is one of Sharapova's sponsors.Sharapova also has received wild cards for tournaments in Rome and Madrid. Should she accumulate enough points from those tournaments, she could qualify for the main draw of the French Open, the next major on the tennis calendar. Tournament organizers for Roland Garros will announce a decision on Sharapova on Facebook on May 16."There is no reason to make an exception for Maria Sharapova," French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli said Wednesday.Despite her absence from the tour, Sharapova earned $21.9 million in 2016, according to Forbes. Only Williams ($28.9 million) earned more.Maria Sharapova is coming back to tennis after a 15-month doping ban, attracting global media attention yet splitting opinion on the women's tennis Tour.Serena Williams called Ilie Nastase's comments about her pregnancy "racist" and offered her "full support" to the International Tennis Federation's investigation of Romania's Fed Cup captain.Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes of her generation, is expecting her first child and fresh challenges, a new perspective, are before her.Petra Kvitova could make her long-awaited return to tennis at the French Open in May.Will he? Won't he? Roger Federer has cast an element of doubt over whether he will compete in the tennis season's second grand slam -- next month's French Open.[...]



The art of the 'steal': Hidden value in the NBA DraftLarry Bird delivers Pacers' All-Star bid via IndyCar

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:16:54 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 17:01:51 GMT

The draft "steal."

In pro sports, these can make or break a franchise. These are the underrated players chosen low in the draft but who go on to have long, successful careers.

They can provide unexpected value to a team, pushing them into the playoffs or maybe even a championship.

But for every other team, these success stories can bring anguish to their fans and their front office: "How did we not choose this guy? How did we pass him up?"

In many cases, it's their size -- or lack thereof.

Take Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas. He averaged nearly 30 points a game this season and led his team to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. But because he's only 5-foot-9, he was chosen dead last -- 60th overall -- by the Sacramento Kings in 2011.

Even tall guys are overlooked for this reason. Draymond Green is 6-foot-7, but in the NBA that's considered small for the front-court positions he was projected to play. So he wasn't taken until the second round -- 35th overall, in 2012.

It worked out for the Golden State Warriors, though. Green's fiery competitiveness helped lift the team to an NBA title in 2015. This year, he led the league in steals and was an All-Star.

Location, location, location

There are, of course, other reasons that teams might underrate a player in the draft.

Maybe it's because they come from a small school.

Dennis Rodman, perhaps the greatest rebounder in NBA history, played at Southeastern Oklahoma State, located about 90 minutes north of Dallas, Texas, in Durant, Oklahoma. He went 27th overall in the 1986 draft.

Joe Dumars, one of Rodman's former teammates, was taken 18th overall out of McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana, located between New Orleans and Houston, Texas.

Both Rodman and Dumars played for the Detroit Pistons teams that won titles in 1989 and 1990. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

Does experience playing in the US matter?

Maybe players have been overlooked because they weren't playing in the United States.

There weren't many basketball fans who had heard of Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker before the San Antonio Spurs chose them with late picks in 1999 and 2001.

Ginobili played for Argentine and Italian teams before the NBA drafted him. Parker cut his pro basketball teeth in France.

Now both men are household names and surefire Hall of Famers after leading the Spurs to four NBA titles.

Getting better all the time

Sometimes, there's not just one reason players becomes known as draft steals. Maybe they just get to the league and blossom, working on their game, fixing their weaknesses and finding the right role or team that fits their skill set.

Delivering an official request by Indianapolis to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Larry Bird drove up to NBA headquarters on Monday in an IndyCar racer tricked out in Pacers' colors.




Sanchez-Casal Academy: The making of Andy MurrayMaria Sharapova wins in return from doping banSerena Williams slams Ilie Nastase over 'racist' commentsCan Serena Williams return to top after giving birth?Petra Kvitova hopes to play at French OpenRoger Federer not certain of competing at French Open

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:11:23 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 19:50:02 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 13:21:31 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:38:45 GMTTue, 18 Apr 2017 14:34:54 GMTMon, 17 Apr 2017 14:16:20 GMT

If the pinnacle of Andy Murray's career so far took place on the pristine green courts of Wimbledon, the world No. 1 owes much of his success to the rugged, red clay of Barcelona.With too few facilities, opportunities and opponents in his native Scotland, a gangly 15-year-old Murray arrived at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Spain in a bid to boost his career prospects.According to the academy's co-founder -- three-time doubles grand slam winner Sergio Casal -- less than 1% of the kids that he takes on will go on to become a professional.Despite the odds being stacked against each and every pupil at the academy, Casal says he knew Murray was different from the start."You could see that he was great," Casal told CNN, while also revealing that a shy Murray would often have to be found in his living quarters and brought to the practice court."Especially as a junior when he started to play a little bit better and some of the pros were coming here. I remember (Carlos) Moya and (Guillermo) Coria came to practice before the Australian Open."Casal recalls the two players, both clay-court specialists, would ask him for a junior to practice against and he decided to send Murray."After one or two sets, he (Murray) was even winning the set. Okay, the other guys were relaxing a little bit but after losing one set 6-4, the next day it would be 7-5 for him."So that made me think. As a junior, when you play against a professional guy and adapt so quickly to the new game, to the speed of the other play, it looks like they are going to make it." 'Amazing time' This week, ahead of the Barcelona Open, Murray returned to the academy that nurtured him for the unveiling of a tennis court in his name.In a speech given to a few fortunate enough to be present, Murray praised the values the academy and its school instilled in him."I had an amazing time here, I loved it," the three-time grand slam champion said ahead of his last 16 match against Feliciano Lopez Thursday."It taught me a lot. I learned to work hard, I learned about discipline and I did my schooling here as well. It was great."I never expected to get to number one in the world or do anything that I did. I was just trying to become a professional tennis player, I wanted to get to the top 100 in the world and make a living from playing tennis."But it happened and a lot of it started here." Melting pot Built in 1998, the Sanchez-Casal Academy boasts some of the most impressive facilities in the world.The 27 tennis courts, the on-site school, physiotherapy center, doctor and gym mean pupils have their every need catered for right on their doorstep.But enrolling in one of Spain's most well-known tennis academies comes at a cost, with parents spending up to $4,500 per month on their child's training.However, former world No. 2 Alex Corretja believes the facility, a melting pot of around 35 different nationalities, is worth the price -- if players are willing to give their all."If you come here, you know it's going to be painful, this is going to be hard," he told CNN. "People think: 'Oh tennis, it's just a yellow ball.' Not everybody can survive."A lot of players get exhausted mentally. It's not like you're going to be ready in one or two years."If you're not willing to pay the price to be a very good player, then you better think about other things."Maria Sharapova returned to the WTA Tour on Wednesday by defeating Italian Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.Serena Williams called Ilie Nastase's comments about her pregnancy "racist" and offered her "full support" to the International Tennis Federation's investigation of Romania's Fed Cup captain.[...[...]



ESPN cuts familiar faces in major layoffNetflix finally finds a way into ChinaCaitlyn Jenner: 'I would seriously look at a run' for officeMom writes children's book to explain IVF to her sonTwitter stock surges on surprise user growthCiti returns to Saudi Arabia with woman in chargeOutburst by angry Wells Fargo shareholder halts annual meetingBeyoncé's latest drop is four college scholarshipsCredit Suisse is raising $4 billion

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:08:02 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 13:15:23 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 13:13:05 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 13:04:31 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 12:48:41 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 12:25:51 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 19:59:03 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 12:14:09 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 10:37:02 GMT

ESPN is cutting a number of its most familiar faces as part of a larger layoff of 100 on-air personalities and writers.

ESPN didn't release a full list of those let go. But among the cuts are former NFL quarterback and analyst Trent Dilfer, prominent NFL reporter Ed Werder, senior baseball writer Jayson Stark and host Jay Crawford, all of whom shared the news about themselves on Twitter.

Most people affected by the job cuts, including television, radio and online personalities, were informed of the decision Wednesday, and many of the layoffs took effect immediately. A source told CNNMoney that ESPN also plans to cut a limited number of additional off-air employees.

ESPN is shifting its focus toward digital as it faces cable subscriber losses and increased pressure on costs. The network has spent billions of dollars in recent years on rights deals with major sports leagues and college conferences.

Bob Ley, who joined ESPN on its third day in 1979, paused during "Outside the Lines" to make note of the layoffs. He encouraged viewers to "have a good thought for each one of them and for their respective families."

"That's what I'm going to be doing and I think they would appreciate if you did the same," he said. "Think of them."

In a note to employees, ESPN president John Skipper mentioned the changing habits of viewers.

"These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company," he wrote. "I would like to thank all of them for their efforts and their many contributions to ESPN."

Many of the people who were laid off were coming to the end of their contracts and did not want to accept large pay cuts, the source said. For others, ESPN offered to buy them out of their contracts.

Some of the names trickled out on social media. Reporters who cover hockey, college football and college basketball were among those who said they had been laid off.

ESPN employs about 8,000 people around the world.

Jim Miller, the co-author of "Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World of ESPN," told CNNMoney that ESPN believed the moves were necessary "to not only stay competitive, but to help transition their content strategy for the future."

"SportsCenter," ESPN's flagship show, will become more of a digital presence and move away from "a show with many, many, highly paid anchors," Miller said.

"ESPN is arguably one of the greatest success stories in the history of modern media," Miller added. "But now even it can't escape some of the harsh realities of an ever changing technological landscape."

Six months after admitting defeat in its bid to crack China, Netflix has found a way to tap into the vast market.

Caitlyn Jenner told an audience Tuesday night that she would consider running for public office during an interview promoting her new book.

Jo Zmood wanted to find a book to help explain to her son how she brought him into the world.

President Trump's favorite social network is finally winning again.

Citigroup is making a comeback in Saudi Arabia, this time with a woman in charge.

Wells Fargo's annual shareholder meeting was interrupted by an outburst from an angry investor who demanded answers from the embattled bank's board of directors.

It's not a new Beyoncé song. But it's destined to be a big hit.

Credit Suisse plans to raise $4 billion to help rebuild its finances after two years of layoffs and losses.




Brazilian goalie convicted of murder ordered back to jailBarca goalie: Messi is 'greatest ever'UEFA criticizes WADA over Sakho doping caseUS, Mexico, Canada join to launch 2026 World Cup bidMonaco's Prince Albert was secret weapon in soccer signingQatar slashes budget for 2022 World Cup by at least 40%

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:13:59 GMTMon, 24 Apr 2017 16:24:57 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 15:07:23 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 19:06:36 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 14:43:20 GMTWed, 05 Apr 2017 14:49:13 GMT

The Brazilian goalkeeper who was convicted of murder but released on a technicality in February, has been ordered back to jail.

By a majority of votes, the first panel of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court revoked Bruno Fernandes de Souza's habeas corpus and ordered the reinstatement of the preventive custody of the keeper.

The decision by the court means Bruno will wait for appeal on his original sentence behind bars.

Video broadcast on Brazilian networks showed Bruno turning himself into police on Tuesday evening, though he was allowed to leave.

He is expected to turn himself back in on Wednesday.

Jail sentence

In 2010, Bruno was arrested and three years later found guilty of homicide, kidnapping and hiding the body of his ex-girlfriend Eliza Samudio.

He was sentenced to 22 years in jail.

Bruno, his lover and his ex-wife were among nine people charged with torturing and murdering Samudio, who had been trying to prove Bruno was the father of her son.

The player's ex-wife, also on trial, was acquitted of kidnapping the child.

Samudio's body was never found, but the goalkeeper's cousin told the court Samudio had been demanding child support payments and that Bruno had helped to dismember her body and fed her to several dogs.

Lionel Messi has been hailed as the greatest ever footballer by his Barcelona teammate Marc-André ter Stegen after the Argentine's match-winning performance against rivals Real Madrid Sunday.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has been criticized for its handling of Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho's positive doping sample a year ago.

The United States, Mexico and Canada are joining together and will enter a bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

It is a scene which would not look out of place in a high-octane spy movie: a prince, a famous footballer and a former diplomat in clandestine talks over a multi-million dollar deal which would shock the football world.

Qatar has slashed its budget for hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup.




MLB: Multiple groups have submitted bids to buy MarlinsReport: Jeter-Bush group wins bid to buy Marlins

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:54:01 GMTWed, 26 Apr 2017 09:19:23 GMT

Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush still haven't touched all the bases in their bid to buy the Miami Marlins. Far from it.Multiple groups have submitted bids to buy the team, and none has yet been accepted, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday. His comments came after Bloomberg reported a group led by former New York Yankees captain Jeter and former Florida Gov. Bush won an auction for the team with a $1.3 billion bid."There are multiple groups interested in acquiring the Marlins," Manfred said in Pittsburgh while attending the Pirates-Cubs game. "One of those groups is the Bush-Jeter group. When we have a resolution as to which bid is going to be accepted, we will announce that."Completion of any sale by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria could take months and would require approval by at least 75 percent of the major league teams. More than half of the winning bid could involve cash because of MLB's debt service rule, meaning the Bush-Jeter group would need to raise a lot of money."You can rest assured that the acquiring group, whoever it turns out to be, will have a financial structure — meaning some debt and the rest equity — that is consistent with the rules that we have, most notably the debt service rule," Manfred said. "And more important than complying with the rules, (that) puts the franchise in a position that it can operate effectively. That's really the commissioner's office's job in terms of approving any potential bidding group, and we are really focused on that issue with respect to the Marlins."The debt service rule was expanded under the new collective bargaining agreement to include club-supported debt incurred by the club or any club-related party.Quogue Capital investment fund founder Wayne Rothbaum has also pursued the Marlins, and talks with him might be restarted if any deal with the Bushes and Jeter stalls. Joshua Kushner, whose older brother is an adviser to President Donald Trump, had a preliminary agreement to buy the team for $1.6 billion before breaking off negotiations.Bush's group includes his 33-year-old son, Jeb Jr., who has worked in politics and real estate. The Bushes and Jeter initially had competing interests in efforts to buy the team before joining forces.Spokesmen for Jeter and Bush had no comment. Marlins manager Don Mattingly — who was Jeter's teammate and coach with the Yankees — declined to discuss the possibility of them joining forces in Miami."Nobody in the front office has told me anything about it," Mattingly said. "It's premature for me to talk about it."Jeter, a 14-time All-Star who retired in 2014 after 20 seasons with the Yankees, has long talked about owning a franchise. Jeter, 42, lives in Tampa and is expected to take an active role in operations of the team.Jeb Bush, 64, served two terms as governor from 1999-2007. He was an unsuccessful candidate last year for the Republican nomination for president, and since the November election he has been working for a Florida law firm. His brother, former President George W. Bush, was controlling owner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 until he became governor of Texas in 1995.Sale of the Marlins would be widely applauded in South Florida, where Loria has become unpopular because of his tight budgets, payroll purges and a financing agreement for 5-year-old Marlins Park widely viewed as unfair to taxpayers.It has been eight years since the Marlins had a winning season, and despite a new ballpark, they've finished last in the National League in attendance 11 of the past 12 years.Loria, 76, bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, part of the Boston Red Sox ownership group t[...]



Report: Jeter-Bush group wins bid to buy Marlins

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:19:23 GMT

A report claims that a group led by Derek Jeter and former Florida governor Jeb Bush has won an "auction" to purchase the Miami Marlins.

Bloomberg reports a person with knowledge of the deal has confirmed the sale.

The Miami Herald reports an agreement has been reached, pending MLB approval, with a $1.3 billion price tag and that Bush would be the team's controlling owner.

Local 10 reached out to Marlins president David Samson who offered a quick reply.

"I have not commented on the process and plan to keep it that way," Samson told Local 10 Sports Director Will Manso in a text.

Earlier Tuesday, Forbes reported that the Jeter-Bush group was the only one remaining with interest in buying the team from Jeffrey Loria.

Loria, who purchased the team for $158 million in 2002, was reported to be looking to sell the Marlins for more than $1 billion.

Forbes claims the Jeter-Bush group currently has just $200 million in equity and is currently looking to raise additional funds to purchase the team.

 




World Masters Games: Man Kaur wins 100m gold -- aged 101Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire at end of seasonLarry Bird delivers Pacers' All-Star bid via IndyCarMaria Sharapova's comeback leaves women's Tour dividedSerena Williams slams Ilie Nastase over 'racist' commentsCeltics' Isaiah Thomas: 'Mentally and emotionally I'm not here'

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:23:32 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 17:23:25 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 17:01:51 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 14:05:49 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 13:21:31 GMTMon, 24 Apr 2017 21:05:22 GMT

Man Kaur is living proof that age is just a number.

The 101-year-old from Chandigarh, India, has made history at this year's World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand, as the oldest female athlete to win a gold medal in the 100-meter race.

She's the oldest athlete at the multi-sport event, which has been labeled by many as the Olympics for veterans. Held every four years, the World Masters Games is for people of varying abilities who are, generally, age 35 or over.

Kaur competed in multiple events at the games, winning the 100-meter dash in 74 seconds on Monday, and seizing gold in the 200-meter dash and shot-put events on Wednesday. On Thursday she'll compete in the javelin throw.

The sprightly great-grandmother has quickly become a sensation at the games, posing with peace signs for fans post-race and showing off her own victory dance to the crowd, while proudly sporting the number 10001 on her jersey.

She was the only competitor in her age category for all of her medals, but her effort and determination have won her much admiration from spectators and other athletes alike.

Never too late

Born in Patiala in the north Indian state of Punjab, Kaur didn't become involved in athletics until she was 93, when her son began taking her to the Punjab University grounds and noticed she could run well.

He'd taken part in the games and encouraged his mother to get involved when he saw other women from around the world competing.

"She trains daily," Kaur's 79-year-old son and coach, Gurdev Singh, told CNN. "We eat good homemade food -- no fried food. No restaurant eating, every day wheat grass, nuts and seeds."

Aside from a healthy diet, Kaur's grandson Nirmal Singh said she also stays positive and keeps busy.

Kaur doesn't receive any professional training, but despite severe osteoporosis and a curved spine, the centenarian's health is good and she remains hopeful she'll continue to enjoy athletics in the future and even improve.

"I will run as long as Guru's (God's) grace is with me. Although I am in such a state of health and I have improved my performance in these games, I will definitely perform better if there is some medical help," Kaur told CNN.

Her accomplishments in New Zealand are being noticed back home. Indian Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu called her inspirational in a tweet Tuesday.

Last summer, Kaur competed in the American Masters Games in Canada in running, shot-put and javelin events.

Her son said she's won more than 20 medals since she started competing in athletics.

Perhaps most proud of Kaur is her large family. She has three children, 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

"I feel very good that she won," said Nirmal Singh. "Whenever she participates, she wins gold."

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring at the end of the season, his team, Hendrick Motorsports, announced in a statement Tuesday.

Delivering an official request by Indianapolis to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Larry Bird drove up to NBA headquarters on Monday in an IndyCar racer tricked out in Pacers' colors.

Maria Sharapova is coming back to tennis after a 15-month doping ban, attracting global media attention yet splitting opinion on the women's tennis Tour.

Serena Williams called Ilie Nastase's comments about her pregnancy "racist" and offered her "full support" to the International Tennis Federation's investigation of Romania's Fed Cup captain.

Isaiah Thomas' shoulders heaved. He sat on the Boston Celtics sideline at TD Garden, sobbing.




Muslim teen boxer inspires others to never give upFLDS community is ordered to reform police department

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:09:12 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 01:25:24 GMT

For this teen passionate about boxing, her fight to go toe-to-toe with an opponent goes far beyond the ring. She's fighting for the right to compete in her hijab.

Amaiya Zafar, 16, started boxing three years ago and is already making waves in the boxing community. Not only is the Minnesota teen competing in a male-dominated sport, but she's also a devout Muslim.

"When I walked into a real boxing gym for the first time, I knew this was it for the rest of my life," she said.

In the ring, Zafar wears a hijab, long sleeves and leggings under her uniform. She was disqualified at a bout in November for wearing her hijab; it violated USA Boxing uniform regulations.

"Why should I have to compromise the sport that I love? This is my life." Zafar told CNN affiliate WCCO. "I go to the gym every single day, why should I have to compromise that for my religion?"

She continued to train several days a week and study matches, just waiting for the chance to compete in the ring.

Zafar, her family, gym (Circle of Discipline) and The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, have been petitioning the USA Boxing Association to add a religious exemption to its policies.

"You know, the battle is not given to the swift but to he who can endure it to the end," Zafar said. "At the end of the day, if I never get to compete but get the rule changed so other Muslim girls in the US can compete, then I have won."

The amateur boxer just won a victory last week that will allow her to compete in her religious attire. The USA Boxing Association granted Zafar a wavier to compete at local matches.

"USA Boxing is excited that our youth boxing programs attract stellar athletes from diverse walks of life, and we are in the process of amending our domestic competition rules specifically to accommodate the clothing and grooming mandates of our boxers' religions," USA Boxing spokesperson Mike McAtee said in a statement to CNN.

"These rules will provide exemptions so that athletes can box without running afoul of their beliefs."

Years in the making, this weekend will be Zafar's first official match where she is allowed to wear her hijab. And she's also making boxing history.

She will be the first boxer allowed to fight in a USA Boxing-sanctioned event while wearing hijab, according to CAIR.

"It starts with one person and it doesn't matter how small you are. It takes one person to spark change," she said.

Zafar has her eyes set on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. She has already started petitioning the International Boxing Association to have a religious exemption added to the rulebook.

Police in a predominantly fundamentalist Mormon community along the Arizona-Utah border must retrain officers and hire an independent mentor after discriminating against non-members of the sect and turning a blind eye to church misconduct, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, stopping short of a 2016 request by the Justice Department to disband the entire force.




Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire at end of season

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 22:02:41 GMT

Dale Earnhardt Jr. abruptly announced his retirement at the end of the season Tuesday, a decision that will cost NASCAR its most popular driver as the series scrambles to rebuild its fan base.At a news conference, Earnhardt said he "wanted the opportunity to go out on his own terms." After missing much of the 2016 season due to concussion-like symptoms, he acknowledged that time off played a role in his decision. He wanted retirement to be his choice rather than something that was decided for him."Having influence over my exit only became meaningful when it started to seem most unlikely," Earnhardt said. "As you know, I missed a few races last year and during that time I had to face the realization that my driving career may have already ended without me so much as getting a vote on the table. Of course, in life we're not promised a vote, and that's especially true in racing."He informed Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick on March 29 of his plan to retire. Earnhardt said telling his boss of nearly 10 years was the toughest part of his decision.Colorful, candid and talented, Earnhardt has been plagued by concussions the last several years and he missed half of last season recovering from a head injury. He had delayed contract talks on an extension to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet, and the two-time Daytona 500 winner will now call it quits when the season ends in November."You deserve everything, all the awards and accolades," Hendrick said. "There will never be another Dale Earnhardt Jr. You're the one."The news shocked and saddened drivers throughout the paddock."Dale Jr. has had a huge impact on our sport — and you can see that every week with his legion of fans and Junior Nation," Jeff Gordon said in a statement released by Fox Sports, where he now works as an analyst after spending much of last season filling in for the injured Earnhardt. "He has a tremendous sense of the history of NASCAR and, while he shares his father's name, Dale has made a name for himself with his accomplishments in racing."A third-generation racer, Earnhardt turns 43 in October, is newly married and has said he wants to start a family. He has lately become a vocal advocate for research into sports-related brain injuries, and the hit he took last June led to months of rehabilitation that gave him a new perspective on his life. The concussions left him with nausea, double vision, anxiety and other symptoms that he has discussed in great detail.His wife, Amy, posted on Twitter shortly after the announcement: "I'm so proud of Dale for working so hard to get back and even prouder for his courage & self awareness to make the decision to retire. I'm sure God has many other great plans for him and us!"The news was the latest blow to the stock car series, which lost two other popular drivers in Gordon and Tony Stewart to retirement the past two years. Now Earnhardt, the last of the true country boys, is following them out the door. Born and raised in North Carolina, Earnhardt has deep roots in NASCAR. His late Hall of Fame father, Dale, won seven titles and, known as "The Intimidator," was one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history. Earnhardt's grandfather, Ralph, ran 51 races at NASCAR's highest level.Earnhardt has won NASCAR's most popular driver award a record 14 times. He has 26 career Cup victories and is a two-time champion of NASCAR's second-tier Xfinity series, where he plans to race twice next year. But the son of the late champ[...]


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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire at end of seasonMaria Sharapova's comeback leaves women's Tour dividedCeltics' Isaiah Thomas: 'Mentally and emotionally I'm not here'Barca goalie: Messi is 'greatest ever'Family leaves note for NFL player after flightTiger Woods undergoes more back surgery, out for six months

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:23:25 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 14:05:49 GMTMon, 24 Apr 2017 21:05:22 GMTMon, 24 Apr 2017 16:24:57 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 23:35:08 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:10:29 GMT

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring at the end of the season, his team, Hendrick Motorsports, announced in a statement Tuesday.

Earnhardt, 42, shared the news with members of his No. 88 team Tuesday morning. A news conference with Earnhardt and owner Rick Hendrick is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Earnhardt, the son of late NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, made his Cup Series debut on May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native raced more than 600 times and has won 26 Cup Series races, which includes two Daytona 500 wins, in his career. He has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times, and has been voted by fans as NASCAR's Most Popular Driver for 14 consecutive years, a record.

He also as two championships in NASCAR's second-tier series, now called the NASCAR XFINITY Series, in 1998 and 1999.

 

Eluding him, though, was a win on NASCAR's Cup Series.

This is Earnhardt's 18th season. He has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since 2008. Earnhardt was sidelined much of last season from the effects of a concussion.

Maria Sharapova is coming back to tennis after a 15-month doping ban, attracting global media attention yet splitting opinion on the women's tennis Tour.

Isaiah Thomas' shoulders heaved. He sat on the Boston Celtics sideline at TD Garden, sobbing.

Lionel Messi has been hailed as the greatest ever footballer by his Barcelona teammate Marc-André ter Stegen after the Argentine's match-winning performance against rivals Real Madrid Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu tweeted a photo of a note he received from fellow passengers on a recent flight.

Tiger Woods has announced he will be out of action for up to six months following surgery to alleviate ongoing "back spasms and pain."




Larry Bird delivers Pacers' All-Star bid via IndyCarCeltics' Isaiah Thomas: 'Mentally and emotionally I'm not here'

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:01:51 GMTMon, 24 Apr 2017 21:05:22 GMT

Larry Bird is certainly an NBA hero in Boston, where he helped the Celtics win three championships in the 1980s. But Bird has never shied away from his Indiana roots. He proved it Monday in New York when he delivered an official request by Indianapolis to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.And to be sure, this delivery was something special.Bird drove up to NBA headquarters on Fifth Avenue in an IndyCar racer, similar to the ones they drive at the Indianapolis 500. Except this ride was tricked out in the Indiana Pacers' blue and yellow colors.Growing up in the tiny Indiana town of French Lick and then later attending Indiana State University, Bird followed his Celtics career by returning home to join the Pacers as coach and president of basketball operations. He is now the team president.On Monday, the 60-year-old Bird somehow crammed his lanky 6-foot-9-inch body into the car's tiny driver's seat and performed the photo op, with onlookers standing by. {"version":"1.0","title":"Larry Bird takes the IndyCar down 5th Avenue to deliver the 2021 All-Star Game bid for Indianapolis.","author_name":"pacers","author_url":"https://www.instagram.com/pacers","author_id":15616632,"media_id":"1500201119812170653_15616632","provider_name":"Instagram","provider_url":"https://www.instagram.com","type":"rich","width":658,"height":null,"html":"&#lt;blockquote class=\"instagram-media\" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version=\"7\" style=\" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);\"&#gt;&#lt;div style=\"padding:8px;\"&#gt; &#lt;div style=\" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;\"&#gt; &#lt;div style=\" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;\"&#gt;&#lt;/div&#gt;&#lt;/div&#gt; &#lt;p style=\" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;\"&#gt; &#lt;a href=\"https://www.instagram.com/p/BTRyPhWDDOd/\" style=\" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;\" target=\"_blank\"&#gt;Larry Bird takes the IndyCar down 5th Avenue to deliver the 2021 All-Star Game bid for Indianapolis.&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt; &#lt;p style=\" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;\"&#gt;A post shared by Indiana Pacers (@pacers) on &#lt[...]



Maria Sharapova's comeback leaves women's Tour dividedSerena Williams slams Ilie Nastase over 'racist' commentsCan Serena Williams return to top after giving birth?Petra Kvitova hopes to play at French OpenRoger Federer not certain of competing at French Open

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:05:49 GMTTue, 25 Apr 2017 13:21:31 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:38:45 GMTTue, 18 Apr 2017 14:34:54 GMTMon, 17 Apr 2017 14:16:20 GMT

Maria Sharapova is coming back to tennis after a 15-month doping ban, attracting global media attention yet splitting opinion on the women's tennis Tour.The 30-year-old Russian will make a highly-anticipated return to the WTA Tour when she plays Italy's Roberta Vinci at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany on Wednesday after receiving a wild card from tournament organizers.Sharapova, who was the world's most marketable female athlete for 11 years with total on- and off-court earnings approaching $300 million, has also been given a wild card by tournament organizers in Rome and Madrid."I don't agree about the wild card here and about the wild card in Rome and the other tournaments," former US Open finalist Roberta Vinci said earlier this week."She made her mistakes for sure, but she paid and I think she can return to play -- but without any wild cards," said Vinci, who trails Sharapova 0-2 in career meetings. 'Little bit strange' Sharapova, who is sponsored by German car manufacturer Porsche, had been training off-site all week in Stuttgart because she wasn't allowed to practice at the tournament venue until her ban expired on April 26.She last played an official match on January 25, 2016, when she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals.Reigning US Open champion and world No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany wondered why Stuttgart tournament organizers hadn't given the wild card to a German player."It's a German tournament, and we (have) so many good German players, so this is also a little bit strange," she said last month in Indian Wells. Meldonium Sharapova, a former world No. 1 and five-time grand slam winner, announced she had tested positive for meldonium in March 2016, saying she failed to realize the heart drug she had taken for over a decade for various health issues had been added to the prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1, 2016.Although Sharapova was initially given a provisional two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation, it was reduced on appeal by the Court of Arbitration of Sport in October, which said the five-time major winner bore no "significant fault" and didn't intend to cheat. Global interest Because Sharapova has no ranking, she is in need of wild cards to play events, including the French Open which starts May 28. Roland Garros organizers will announce their decision in the week of May 15.Sharapova is a two-time champion at Roland Garros and with defending champion Serena Williams now on maternity leave it will be interesting what tournament organizers will do as the Russian has always been one of the biggest draws on the women's Tour.Such is the interest in her return, more than 200 journalists from all the world have asked the Stuttgart event for a media credential. The tournament only has room for about 90.Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, a former world No. 2 who could play Sharapova in the next round in Stuttgart, said the Russian should not be given a wild card by the French Tennis Federation."This kind of entry into the tournament should be available only for players who were dropped in the ranking due to injury, illness or other random accident," Radwanska told Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy last week."Not for those suspended for doping. Maria should rebuild her career in a different way, beginning with smaller events," said Radwanska, who trails Sharapova 13-2 in career meetings."She wouldn't have [...]



Serena Williams slams Ilie Nastase over 'racist' commentsCan Serena Williams return to top after giving birth?Serena Williams is pregnant, will return to tennis in 2018Petra Kvitova hopes to play at French OpenRoger Federer not certain of competing at French Open

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:21:31 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:38:45 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 14:03:21 GMTTue, 18 Apr 2017 14:34:54 GMTMon, 17 Apr 2017 14:16:20 GMT

Serena Williams called Ilie Nastase's comments about her pregnancy "racist" and offered her "full support" to the International Tennis Federation's investigation of Romania's Fed Cup captain.Nastase shocked onlookers Friday when he openly speculated about the skin color of Williams' unborn child as Romanian No. 1 Simona Halep was answering a reporter's question about the 23-time grand slam winner."Let's see what color it has," Romanian and British reporters quoted Nastase as saying. "Chocolate with milk?"Williams, who is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, announced her pregnancy last week. Ohanian is white.World No. 1 Williams addressed the controversy via Instagram Monday, adopting a tone of defiance and saying "I am not afraid unlike you.""It disappoints me to know we live in a society in which people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers," the post says."I have said it once and I'll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers -- however there are a plethora more to go."This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what's right." 'Unacceptable' Nastase may have retired from tennis 32 years ago, but he appears to be still living up to his old nickname: "Nasty."The 70-year-old, a two-time grand slam winner and former world No. 1, was provisionally suspended by the ITF from all its events for his behavior at the Fed Cup match against Great Britain.He hurled abuse at the chair umpire and the opposition during the World Group II playoff clash in the Black Sea resort of Constanta.Nastase had been thrown out of the tie Saturday after he launched a foul-mouthed rant at the umpire, GB team captain Anne Keothavong and British player Jo Konta after both complained about crowd noise.Konta, a top-10 player, was so upset by the abuse, her match against Sorana Cirstea was temporarily suspended."This is unacceptable behavior by a Fed Cup captain," ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement over the weekend.Keothavong told reporters: "We expected a patriotic crowd for the Romanian team but we don't expect abusive language to be used."What he said directed to both Johanna and myself is ... language that is not appropriate for anyone to speak to any other human."Another awkward moment came when Nastase put his arm around Keothavong when both captains posed for pictures after the draw presentation, asking for her hotel room number. Keothavong is pregnant with her second child.Although Konta ended up winning her match against Cirstea Saturday, Britain eventually lost the tie 3-2. 'I don't regret it' On Sunday, Nastase entered the VIP lounge of the Fed Cup venue before being escorted out for a second time, according to the Press Association.Later, the ITF said its internal adjudication panel had issued Nastase with "a provisional suspension under the Fed Cup regulations for a breach of the Fed Cup Welfare Policy."It added: "Under the terms of the provisional suspension, Nastase may not participate in the Fed Cup in any capacity with immediate effect and shall be denied access to, and accreditation for, any ITF event including Fed Cup."The IT[...]



Funeral held for ex-NFL player Aaron HernandezAaron Hernandez's attorney takes steps to sue for negligence over his deathFormer NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs himself in prison, officials sayAaron Hernandez murder conviction likely to be vacatedThe rise and fall of Aaron HernandezAaron Hernandez found not guilty of murder

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:11:02 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 22:52:05 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 16:10:19 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 18:41:31 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 15:04:15 GMTFri, 14 Apr 2017 20:31:55 GMT

Mourners said their goodbyes on Monday to ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of murder in 2015 and killed himself in his prison cell last week.

Also on Monday, a Massachusetts Superior Court Justice ordered Hernandez's purported suicide notes released to this family in time for the private funeral service in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.

Hernandez, 27, the former tight end for the New England Patriots was found hanged in his cell early Wednesday morning. Authorities said he committed suicide. Three handwritten notes were found in the cell next to a Bible authorities said then.

The notes released to Hernandez's family were of a personal nature, but not all were necessarily written to members of Hernandez's family, said Paul Jarvey, a spokesman from the Worcester County district attorney's office.

In a brief statement after the service, Hernandez's family thanked the public for their condolences and said they wished to memorialize him in private, CNN affiliate WTNH reported.

"They love him and they miss him," Harvard Law professor Ronald Sullivan, who was working with attorney Jose Baez on Hernandez's defense, said reading the statement.

Pittsburgh Steeler Center Maurkice Pouncey and his twin brother Mike, a center with the Miami Dolphins, attended Hernandez's funeral. The brothers were teammates with Hernandez at the University of Florida.

Hernandez was a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 and signed a contract extension worth up to $40 million in 2012.

Less than a year later he was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life without possibility of parole on April 15, 2015.

This month, he was acquitted of two other murders.

An attorney for Aaron Hernandez's estate expects to sue state officials for negligence surrounding his apparent suicide and railed against the "salacious" details leaked to the media, he said in court on Friday.

Convicted murderer and former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his Massachusetts prison cell Wednesday morning, just days after his acquittal in a double murder case.

Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction is expected to be dismissed posthumously because of a legal rule called "abatement."

A few short years ago, Aaron Hernandez was destined to be a football superstar and was already one of the NFL's most promising tight ends.

Aaron Hernandez was found not guilty of two counts of murder on Friday in the killing of two men in a drive-by shooting outside a Boston nightclub in July 2012.




Pingalore's sources: Magic look to fill 2 positionsOrlando Magic fire GM Rob HenniganBulls beat Magic 122-75Pacers win 3rd straight, beat Magic 127-112LeBron, Love lift Cavaliers past Magic

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:16:26 GMTThu, 13 Apr 2017 23:13:25 GMTTue, 11 Apr 2017 03:10:56 GMTSun, 09 Apr 2017 01:16:15 GMTWed, 05 Apr 2017 02:17:34 GMT

The Orlando Magic are going to be filling two executive positions at the basketball level, WKMG sports director David Pingalore reported Monday night.

Currently, Alex Martins is the team’s CEO overseeing basketball and the business of the franchise.

When asked during a news conference -- which took place following the firing of General Manager Rob Hennigan -- Martins referenced the scenario of dividing basketball operations and the business side of the organization.

"By the way, that could be a president of basketball operations as well -- that's not out of the question,” Martins said. “We will look at that model and we will consider all of those possibilities.”

Hennigan, who served as the team’s GM for five seasons, was dismissed April 13.

Currently, Matt Lloyd is the interim GM and he’s being considered to remain in that role, but he would eventually answer to the president of basketball operations.

Last week, the Orlando Magic hired the firm Korn-Ferry to narrow down the candidates to be interviewed by Martins and the DeVos family.

"It will play itself out as we identify who is going to lead us,” Martins said. "We are going to find an individual to lead our basketball operations that knows how to win."

The Magic posted a 29-53 record this season.

The Orlando Magic fire general manager Rob Hennigan after the team failed to make the playoffs during his tenure, the worst five-year stretch in team history.

Emergency starter Jerian Grant had 17 points and a career-high 11 assists on Monday night, and the Chicago Bulls routed the Orlando Magic 122-75 to move closer to a postseason berth.

Paul George scored 37 points and Myles Turner added 23 points and 10 rebounds to help the Indiana Pacers move a step closer to a playoff berth with a 127-112 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

LeBron James notched his second straight triple-double, Kevin Love scored 28 and the Cleveland Cavaliers warmed up for a big game in Boston by dropping 18 3-pointers in a 122-102 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.


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Celtics' Isaiah Thomas: 'Mentally and emotionally I'm not here'

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:05:22 GMT

Isaiah Thomas' shoulders heaved. He sat on the Boston Celtics sideline at TD Garden, sobbing.It was Easter Sunday, and the Celtics, led by the 28-year-old Thomas, were set to start their NBA playoff run at TD Garden in Boston. His team had earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and was preparing to face the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round.But the game all but paled into insignificance. Just one day earlier, Thomas' younger sister, Chyna Thomas, was killed in a single-car crash in Washington state. She was 22 years old. According to police, just after 5 a.m. local time April 15, her vehicle drifted onto the left shoulder of Interstate 5 and slammed into a pole. She was pronounced dead at the scene.Tipoff for Game 1 wasn't far way, but the Celtics' point guard continued to cry. Teammates came by to put an arm around him or give him a hug.It was a heartbreaking sight. Would their point guard play? Could he play?"I never could have imagined a day where my little sister, Chyna, wouldn't be here," Thomas later said in a statement. "She and my family are everything to me, so the pain I am feeling right now is impossible to put into words. This has been without question the hardest week of my life." 'RIP Lil Sis' Even though he's one of the shortest players in the NBA -- he's listed at 5 feet, 9 inches -- Thomas regularly comes up big. It started almost immediately with his namesake.Thomas was named after NBA legend Isiah Thomas when his father, James, lost a friendly wager on a Lakers vs. Pistons playoff game in 1989. He had the famous name, but because of his height, Thomas had to prove to the league that he belonged. He played three years for the University of Washington and was selected by the Sacramento Kings as the 60th and final pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.The Kings traded Thomas to the Phoenix Suns in 2014, and then he was sent to Boston as part of a trade in 2015. He has thrived with the Celtics, leading the team in scoring, and is a two-time NBA All-Star.It was a long road to success. But Thomas had never experienced adversity like this.A day after the tragedy, the TD Garden lights went dark for player introductions ahead of Game 1. A moment of silence was held for Chyna Thomas as her brother continued to wipe tears from his face.And then, with the words "Chyna," "I love you," "4-15-17" and "RIP Lil Sis" visible on his shoes, Thomas took the court. And he didn't just play. He couldn't be stopped.Thomas led Boston with 33 points and the crowd roared every time he scored.The Celtics didn't win Game 1 that night, losing to the Bulls 106-102. They also lost Game 2, 111-97, as Thomas had a team-high 20 points.But despite the devastating loss of his sister, Thomas hasn't missed any games -- he flew out to Tacoma, Washington, to be with his family between Games 2 and 3 -- while giving his all for the Celtics each night.Boston clawed back into the series, winning Game 3, 104-87, thanks in part to his 16 points and nine assists.And on Sunday in Chicago, the Celtics, led by Thomas' 33 points and seven assists, defeated the Bulls 104-95 to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2."Mentally and emotionally I'm not here," Thomas said following Sunday's win. "I just feed off what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence, so I can't do without th[...]



Barca goalie: Messi is 'greatest ever'UEFA criticizes WADA over Sakho doping caseMonaco beats Dortmund on emotional nightUS, Mexico, Canada join to launch 2026 World Cup bidMonaco's Prince Albert was secret weapon in soccer signingQatar slashes budget for 2022 World Cup by at least 40%

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:24:57 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 15:07:23 GMTThu, 13 Apr 2017 15:05:57 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 19:06:36 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 14:43:20 GMTWed, 05 Apr 2017 14:49:13 GMT

Lionel Messi has been hailed as the greatest ever footballer by his Barcelona teammate Marc-André ter Stegen after the Argentine's match-winning performance against rivals Real Madrid Sunday.After taking a blow to the face which left him bloodied and shaken in the first half, Messi scored Barca's equalizer before netting the 500th goal of his club career -- a last-minute winner in the 3-2 victory over Real."I think he's the greatest ever, because there's nobody similar to him," German international goalkeeper Ter Stegen told CNN Sport's Alex Thomas."He loves to play football, he loves to see other people around him playing well. I think he's the best ever because of the talent and the amazing performances he's showing every week."There's a never ending debate as to who is the greatest ever footballer -- and legends such as Argentine Diego Maradona and Brazilian Pele as well as Real's Cristiano Ronaldo all have their advocates.Messi missed out on winning last year's Ballon d'Or to Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo having previously won the award five times.With Barcelona, Messi has won La Liga eight times and has four Champions League titles and his goals in Sunday's El Clasico helped lift the Catalan club above Los Blancos to the top of the Spanish league. Ter Stegen's 12-save triumph Ter Stegen, who signed for Barcelona from German side Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2014, made 12 saves against Madrid -- the highest tally by a Barca keeper in at least a decade.A powerful stop against Luka Modric's fizzing left-footed shot, a strong glove to deny Toni Kroos, and an incredible reaction save keeping out Karim Benzema were amongst the German's heroic highlights.But ter Stegen, who has won nine caps for his country, downplayed his own performance, instead praising the character shown by his team."I think everybody yesterday did their best to perform well, to have success," he said."At the end we made it, we're more than happy that we came closer to Real now that we are the leaders in La Liga, even if Real Madrid has one match [in hand] with Celta Vigo."For the moment we want to put pressure on them, we want to win our matches, and hope we can focus on Osasuna now." Fluctuating fortunes It's been a season of fluctuating fortunes for Barcelona.Only recently has Luis Enrique's side gathered momentum in La Liga; thanks in part to Madrid's erratic recent form in the league, allowing the Catalan side to take pole position.A stunning comeback in the Champions League saw Barcelona recover to beat PSG 6-5 in a thrilling finale at the Camp Nou. But this was followed by a 3-0 aggregate loss to Juventus in the quarterfinals."I think of course we have had some difficult moments this season," admits ter Stegen. "We just need to concentrate on ourselves to win our matches. Then we'll see how it goes until the end. It will be hard as always."We are really focused on it and there will be nothing more to say than we have two more competitions -- La Liga and Copa del Rey -- where we can win the trophies. We'll try our best to do it."The World Anti-Doping Agency has been criticized for its handling of Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho's positive doping sample a year ago.[...]Less than 24 hours after a bomb attack on their team bus, Borussia [...]



College student killed at track and field eventTrump awards Purple Heart during first visit to Walter ReedFlorida wildfires: Rain brings brief reliefStores are closing at an epic pace10-year-old with autism arrested at Florida schoolEnd of the road: 39 days on the run for missing teacher and student

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:15:24 GMTSun, 23 Apr 2017 02:13:08 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 19:17:04 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 21:07:48 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 03:05:03 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 17:37:17 GMT

An Illinois college student is dead after being hit during a hammer throw event, officials said.

Wheaton College identified the victim as Ethan Roser, 19, a freshman transfer student from Cincinnati, Ohio. Roser died after being accidentally struck with a hammer Saturday, according to a Wheaton statement. He had been volunteering at a track and field competition on the campus in suburban Chicago.

Roser was treated by paramedics at the scene and transported to a local hospital, where he died, the statement said.

In the track and field hammer event, athletes throw a metal ball that's attached to a steel wire, according to International Association of Athletics Federation. The thrower usually makes several spins before releasing the ball -- which can weigh between 16 and 8 pounds.

It's not known whether Roser was volunteering at the hammer throw or at a nearby event.

"We ask people to pray for Ethan's family, his friends, and our campus community," Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said.

Students gathered Saturday night for a memorial and vigil for Roser.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday, where the President awarded the Purple Heart to a wounded soldier.

Scattered showers are giving an assist to firefighters battling wildfires in southwest Florida, but officials caution the threat isn't over.

This week it was Bebe. Last month it was Staples. In February, it was JCPenney.

When John Haygood, a 10-year-old boy with autism, was arrested last week at a school in Florida, he kept repeating that he didn't know what was happening, as seen in shaky cellphone video taken by his mother.

They traveled about as far away from Tennessee as they could get in the US, finally settling -- at least for a night -- in a remote cabin on a tree-covered mountainside in Northern California.




Solar Bears lose to Everblades, maintain 3-2 series lead

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 02:08:08 GMT

The Orlando Solar Bears lost 5-1 to the Florida Everblades in Game 5 of the South Division semifinals Sunday.

 

The Solar Bears, who hold a 3-2 lead in the series, will play the Everblades again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Germain Arena.




Cyle Larin scores twice, Orlando City beats NYCFC 2-1

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 00:10:13 GMT

Cyle Larin scored two goals to help Orlando City coach Jason Kreis beat his former team New York City FC, 2-1 on Sunday to move atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Larin has nine goals in seven games against NYCFC (3-3-1). Orlando City (5-1-0) has won three straight and has a two-point lead over Columbus and the New York Red Bulls in the conference. NYCFC had its 11-game (9-0-2) regular season home unbeaten streak snapped.

Larin scored on a cross from Scott Sutter in the 31st minute, and added a header goal in the 51st minute for his sixth goal of the season.

David Villa scored from outside the penalty area with a shot that bent around goalkeeper Joe Bendik to the far post and into the back of the net in the 74th minute for NYCFC.

Kreis returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time since being dismissed in 2015 as NYCFC's inaugural coach.




Pride secures 1-1 draw against Washington SpiritPortland opens NWSL season with 2-0 win over Orlando

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 02:41:09 GMTSat, 15 Apr 2017 21:55:10 GMT

The Orlando Pride secured a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit Saturday with Danica Evans' late-game goal in the first National Women's Soccer League game at Orlando City Stadium.

The team said the equalizer was Evans' first professional goal and its first goal of the season.

"We started the second half really well," head coach Tom Sermanni said. "First time they went up the field is when they scored, and then I thought it was great character from the team to keep plugging away and come back and get the point. I think overall I saw a lot of improvement from last week."

Brazilian superstar Marta made her Pride debut, coming into the match in the 59th minute, the team said.

The visiting Washington Spirit opened the scoring in the 60th minute when Line Sigvardsen-Jensen headed in an initial save from Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris following a Spirit corner kick.

The Pride said Chioma Ubogagu slipped a nice ball in the 86th minute into Evans, who made a first-touch back-heel meg to get in alone with Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.

Evans then took a touch to her right before sliding the ball into an open net, the Pride said.

"One of the reasons that we drafted her was when we looked at her, we felt that she had an ability to finish and an ability to finish in a composed way," Sermanni said. "I think that was highlighted today. For us, it's really helpful to have a player that can come in and make that impact over that short a period of time."

Defender Laura Alleway also made her season debut for Orlando.

The Pride will travel to relocated North Carolina Courage -- formerly the Western New York Flash -- on April 29 before going to FC Kansas City on May 7.

Portland captain Christine Sinclair scored in the 67th minute and the Thorns beat the Orlando Pride 2-0 on Saturday in their National Women's Soccer League season opener.




Family leaves note for NFL player after flightMarch for Science: Protesters gather worldwide to support 'evidence'10-year-old with autism arrested at Florida schoolAmerican Airlines investigates after video shows mom in tearsFreshman posed as med student to treat patients at Denver hospitalMan who killed NFL star Will Smith sentenced to 25 years

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:35:08 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 21:44:03 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 03:05:03 GMTSun, 23 Apr 2017 00:39:10 GMTSat, 22 Apr 2017 17:25:07 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 01:41:52 GMT

After weeks of nightmare flight delays, battered passengers and near-brawls, a heartwarming story is descending from the friendly skies.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu tweeted a photo of a note he received from fellow passengers on a recent flight. The family thanked Sanu for setting a positive example for their son.

The note's author says the family's 10-year-old son sat behind Sanu while traveling to train for an elite hockey team. The boy took note of the professional athlete studying his playbook, making healthy food choices and being polite to everyone, the family wrote.

The note's author thanks Sanu for being an inspiration to their athlete-in-training.

"You are an inspiration to children and for that you should be proud!" the note reads.

Sanu wrote on Twitter that the note "definitely put a smile on my face."

The Atlanta Falcons weighed in on Twitter, calling Sanu "a role model both on and off the field."

Crowds massed in the US capital and around the world Saturday to support science and evidence-based research -- a protest partly fueled by opposition to President Donald Trump's threats of budget cuts to agencies funding scientists' work.

When John Haygood, a 10-year-old boy with autism, was arrested last week at a school in Florida, he kept repeating that he didn't know what was happening, as seen in shaky cellphone video taken by his mother.

American Airlines is investigating after a video surfaced on social media showing a confrontation between a passenger and a flight attendant aboard one of its flights.

An undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Denver was caught posing as a medical student to treat patients at a city hospital, officials said.

The man who shot and killed former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith in a road rage incident was sentenced Thursday in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, according to court documents.




Cyclist Scarponi dies in van collision

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 14:54:08 GMT

Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2011, died in a road collision while training Saturday morning, his Astana Pro Team said in a statement.

Scarponi, 37, was struck by a van near his home in Filottrano in Italy's Le Marche region.

He was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Tour of Alps Friday afternoon in Trento, the team said, before returning home to his family. On Saturday morning, Scarponi went out for a training ride when he was hit at a crossroad.

In their statement, the team mourned the loss of "a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation... He was a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team."

Scarponi was named the winner of the 2011 Giro d'Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of victories in connection with a doping scandal.

British cyclist Mark Cavendish tweeted that Scarponi was "one of the nicest guys you could ever meet."

Contador tweeted he was left "speechless" by the news, and he recalled Scarponi always had a smile that was contagious.

Survivors include a wife and two children.




Aaron Hernandez's attorney takes steps to sue for negligence over his deathAaron Hernandez's brain will be examined for CTEAaron Hernandez found dead near 3 handwritten notesFormer NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs himself in prison, officials sayAaron Hernandez murder conviction likely to be vacatedThe rise and fall of Aaron HernandezEtan Patz case: Hernandez gets 25 to life in prisonWhat are the chances Aaron Hernandez gets out of prison?

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:52:05 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 15:19:09 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 18:38:04 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 16:10:19 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 18:41:31 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 15:04:15 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 01:12:30 GMTSun, 16 Apr 2017 05:34:48 GMT

An attorney for Aaron Hernandez's estate expects to sue state officials for negligence surrounding his apparent suicide and railed against the "salacious" details leaked to the media, he said in court on Friday.George Leontire, an attorney representing Hernandez's family, filed a bill of discovery in Bristol County Superior Court calling on Massachusetts officials to preserve all evidence in the investigation into Hernandez's death.That evidence is relevant to potential legal action for negligent supervision related to the custody of Hernandez, Leontire said.Judge Thomas McGuire Jr. ruled that the state must preserve video of his cell, his clothes, photos of his body and all phone calls for 30 days prior to his death, among other pieces of evidence.Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end, hanged himself by a bedsheet in his prison cell early Wednesday, according to the Department of Corrections. Investigators ruled that his death was a suicide by asphyxiation, and said that three handwritten notes were found in the cell next to a Bible.A failure to communicateLeontire slammed the state's lack of communication with the Hernandez family as well as the "salacious" leaks to media outlets."We have not been told any of the circumstances around his death. We have to read it on Twitter and in the news," he said. "Frankly, I think it violates every code of decency."In particular, Leontire said the family does not know what was on three handwritten notes found in Hernandez's cell. He also said he had not heard from officials whether Hernandez had the biblical reference "John 3:16" written on him, as a law enforcement source involved in the investigation told CNN."We read in a press release that there were suicide notes. No one has called us about those suicide notes. We don't know what those notes say," he said.That press release from Worcester County district attorney's office said there was no check on Hernandez's cell between 8 p.m. and 3:03 a.m. If true, Leontire said, that would be a "extraordinary violation" of procedure.The complaint was filed on behalf of Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and his 4-year-old daughter, Avielle. The defendants are listed as Thomas Turco, the commissioner of Department of Corrections, Daniel Bennett, the secretary of Public Safety, and Steven Silva, the superintendent of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center.Hernandez had been serving a sentence of life without parole for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister. Hernandez's death came less than a week after he was acquitted of two murder charges for the July 2012 killing of two men outside a Boston nightclub.Lloyd's mother speaks outEarlier on Friday, Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, and her attorney, Doug Sheff, said they were moving ahead with a civil suit against Hernandez's estate.Legal experts have said Hernandez's death complicates the status of that case. Because of a little-known legal rule called abatement, the murder conviction against Hernandez is expected to be dismissed because his appeal of the conviction had not been heard at the time of his death.Civil suits often rely on a criminal conviction as its basis of facts, so without it, Lloyd'[...]



Tiger Woods undergoes more back surgery, out for six monthsSergio Garcia beats Justin Rose in Masters playoffDustin Johnson withdraws from MastersMasters Par 3 Contest canceledDanny Willett 'knocked back' by 2016 Masters win

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:10:29 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 14:37:44 GMTThu, 06 Apr 2017 18:45:31 GMTWed, 05 Apr 2017 19:53:03 GMTFri, 31 Mar 2017 17:01:53 GMT

The saga of Tiger Woods back problems continues.

The former world No. 1 has announced he will be out of action for up to six months following surgery to alleviate ongoing "back spasms and pain."

Woods, 41, missed the recent Masters tournament and was last in action at the Dubai Desert Classic at the beginning of February where he completed one round before withdrawing.

"The surgery went well, and I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain," Woods said in a statement on his website.

"When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.  

"I would like to thank all the fans for staying in touch and their kind wishes," Woods added.

"The support I have received has never waned, and it really helps."

The predicted recovery time means Woods will miss the remaining three majors of 2017 -- the US Open, The Open Championship and the USPGA Championship.

This latest setback comes just five months after Woods returned to competitive action at the Hero World Challenge following a 15-month layoff during which time he underwent two back operations.

Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman was one of several fellow professionals who sent their best wishes to Woods.

"Pulling for you bro, hope you have a full and speedy recovery," the South African tweeted.

For so long Sergio Garcia was the nearly-man who many had written off to win a major title, but no longer after the Spaniard finally made his breakthrough with a dramatic Masters victory at Augusta.

Dustin Johnson, the top-ranked golfer in the world, pulled out of the Masters at the last minute on Thursday, a day after suffering a back injury at a rental home.

For the first time in its history, the Masters Par 3 Contest will not have a winner.

He claimed one of the most coveted honors in golf, but winning the Masters led to a year of anguish for Danny Willett.




F1: The art of the two-second pit stopNew 'Fin' helps amputees swimWells Fargo ups its customer settlement to $142 million over fake accounts'X- Files' is returning4 times in 4 days: Russian military aircraft fly off US coastBritain's young royals open up about mental healthTrump administration helps free detained aid worker in EgyptMassachusetts police rally around boy battling cancerMeasles outbreak surging in Italy as officials urge confidence in vaccines

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 16:37:05 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:26:16 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:16:03 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:19:40 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:08:03 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 15:43:18 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 17:16:46 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 15:50:16 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:19:00 GMT

It is one of the marvels of modern Formula One racing -- but blink and you'll miss it.Getting a driver in and out of the pits in the shortest time possible has become a race within a race for rival teams of F1 engineers.The current kings of the pit lane is the Williams team.Not only do the British team jointly hold the all-time pit stop record of 1.92-seconds, set at last year's European Grand Prix in Baku, they are also consistently the fastest, winning the DHL Fastest Pit Stop award at 14 of the 21 races in 2016 and at this season's opening three races."The pit stop is the one time the outside world gets to see what a team sport this is -- like a lot of things in Formula One it's just attention to hundreds of details," Steve Nielsen sporting manager at Williams tells CNN's The Circuit.Back when Formula One started in the 1950s things weren't quite so refined.Drivers arriving in the pit lane would be met by mechanics in greasy overalls wielding hammers to loosen wheel nuts if a tire needed changing with stops routinely lasting up to a minute.Today, in F1's uber-refined pit garages, teams like Williams employ a small army of engineers -- 22 in Williams' case -- on race day, collectively springing into action when a driver pits."They are a hugely competitive bunch of individuals," Nielsen says. "They understand that physical fitness, while not the only thing you need, it's one of the key ingredients that you have to have."It takes dozens of hours of practice for the team to get up to speed and a near constant monitoring of performance."Whenever we do a pit stop we measure everything," Nielsen says."We measure how long the gun man is on the trigger to get the wheel off, how long it takes a old wheel to come off and a new one to on and then the gun trigger to do it up again. How long the jack takes to drop."There is really no where to hide. Much like the driver for the car ... every aspect of the pit stop is measured."So far, this season has been a clean sweep for Williams who have clocking the fastest time in Australia, China and most recently in Bahrain.Williams, like all teams, are always fine-tuning the procedures, shaving off precious hundredths of seconds.In practice, they've clocked 1.78 seconds, but Nielsen says they can go even quicker."We have so much data -- if we take the fastest time of each corner ever achieved we get a time of about 1.6 seconds," he explains."So we know there is a theoretical possibility of going to 1.6 seconds -- there's always something to chip away at."A prosthetic leg will help users swim.Good news for Wells Fargo customers caught up in the fake account scandal: The bank has agreed to sweeten its class action settlement.The truth is still out there.Russian military aircraft were spotted flying off the coast of Alaska for the fourth time in as many days, a spokesperson for the North American Aerospace Defense Command told CNN on Friday.It is rare for the Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, to speak candidly on film. But in a video released Friday, Kate talks openly with her husb[...]



Indiana University bans athletes with history of sexual violenceNCAA returns events to North CarolinaFemale kicker makes college football history with scholarship

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:37:04 GMTTue, 18 Apr 2017 18:23:48 GMTThu, 13 Apr 2017 20:20:15 GMT

Indiana University has implemented a new policy that will disqualify prospective student-athletes with records of sexual violence.

The policy, which was approved by the Indiana University-Bloomington Faculty Athletics Committee on April 12, includes dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or sexual violence as defined by the Indiana University Policy on Sexual Misconduct.

The rule will be applied to a wide range of prospects. According to the new policy, "Any prospective student-athlete -- whether a transfer student, incoming freshman, or other status -- who has been convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence, or has been found responsible for sexual violence by a formal institutional disciplinary action at any previous collegiate or secondary school (excluding limited discipline applied by a sports team or temporary disciplinary action during an investigation) shall not be eligible for athletically-related financial aid, practice or competition at Indiana University."

In addition to banning prospective student-athletes with records of sexual violence, Indiana "will carefully consider whether to recruit any prospective student-athletes with any serious and/or repetitive criminal, school discipline, or other misconduct issues."

"Also consistent with that policy, the sport administrator for the pertinent sport must approve the recruitment of any prospective student-athlete with any serious and/or repetitive criminal, school discipline, or other misconduct issues," the document states.

Indiana is part of the Big Ten Conference. The Big Ten has not adopted a policy like Indiana's, but another conference has a similar bylaw in effect.

In 2015, the Southeastern Conference adopted a rule that prohibits its member universities from accepting transfer athletes who had been dismissed from their previous school for "serious misconduct." The term "serious misconduct" is defined as sexual assault, domestic violence, other forms of sexual violence, dating violence or stalking; or conduct of a nature that creates serious concerns about the safety of others.

The SEC bylaw states that "a transfer student-athlete who has been convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to a felony involving serious misconduct, or has been subject to official university or athletics department disciplinary action at any time during enrollment at any previous collegiate institution (excluding limited discipline applied by a sports team or temporary disciplinary action during an investigation) due to serious misconduct (as defined herein) shall not be eligible for athletically related financial aid, practice or competition at an SEC member institution."

North Carolina is included as one of the states listed to host NCAA championship events between the years 2018-2022, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

Becca Longo, a senior at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, made history Wednesday when she signed a letter of intent to play football at Adams State University.




Aaron Hernandez's brain will be examined for CTEAaron Hernandez found dead near 3 handwritten notesFormer NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs himself in prison, officials sayAaron Hernandez murder conviction likely to be vacatedThe rise and fall of Aaron HernandezWhat are the chances Aaron Hernandez gets out of prison?

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:19:09 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 18:38:04 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 16:10:19 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 18:41:31 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 15:04:15 GMTSun, 16 Apr 2017 05:34:48 GMT

The family of Aaron Hernandez plans to donate his brain to scientists to determine whether he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease linked to a number of NFL athletes.After some disagreement over its custody, the brain will be released to the Boston University CTE Center for further examination, according to the Worcester County District Attorney's Office.Earlier on Thursday, Hernandez family attorney Jose Baez said the brain was being held "illegally" by the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner."It is our position that they are holding Aaron Hernandez's brain illegally," he said. "They have released the body and withheld Aaron's brain."The medical examiner's office said it wanted to complete its investigation into the death before releasing the brain."No one is going to stand in the way of the family's wishes for Boston University to have Aaron Hernandez's brain," Dan Bennett, secretary of public safety and security, said in a written statement.The brain custody battle came a day after prison officials said Hernandez, a former NFL star for the New England Patriots, hanged himself with a bedsheet attached to a window in his prison cell.Hernandez, 27, was serving a sentence of life without parole for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. His death came less than a week after he was acquitted in a separate double-murder trial.Baez, who has been retained by the Hernandez family to investigate his death, had said he may take the medical examiner's office to court.Hernandez's body is at Faggas Funeral Home in Watertown, Massachusetts, according to funeral home secretary Jennifer Smith. CTE examination Baez said the family made arrangements for the Boston University CTE Unit to take possession of the brain, and the medical examiner's office agreed to those plans."The family of Aaron Hernandez has decided to donate to this study so that we could possibly help other young men who decide to play football, and to help further that cause, and also possibly shed light and more evidence on this case," Baez said.The Boston University CTE Center, led by Dr. Ann McKee, has found evidence of CTE in the brains of 200 people, including in high school and professional football players.The degenerative disease is believed to be caused by repeated head trauma, and has been found in famed NFL players including Junior Seau and Dave Duerson. Scientists can only diagnose the disease after death.The CTE Center declined to discuss Hernandez's brain."It is our policy that we do not and cannot discuss any ongoing, completed or potential case(s) without specific consent from the family," the center said.Investigators officially ruled Aaron Hernandez's death a suicide and released new details about the circumstances of his hanging on Thursday.Convicted murderer and former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his Massachusetts prison cell Wednesday morning, just days after his acquittal in a double murder case.[...]Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction is expect[...]



UEFA criticizes WADA over Sakho doping caseMonaco beats Dortmund on emotional nightUS, Mexico, Canada join to launch 2026 World Cup bidMonaco's Prince Albert was secret weapon in soccer signingQatar slashes budget for 2022 World Cup by at least 40%

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:07:23 GMTThu, 13 Apr 2017 15:05:57 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 19:06:36 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 14:43:20 GMTWed, 05 Apr 2017 14:49:13 GMT

The World Anti-Doping Agency has been criticized for its handling of Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho's positive doping sample a year ago.The French international tested positive for a fat-burning substance -- higenamine -- in a sample taken after a Europa League match with Liverpool against Manchester United on March 17, 2016.A detailed and highly critical report published by UEFA Wednesday revealed the case would not have come to light had Sakho's sample been sent to another laboratory.UEFA revealed that the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne did not test for the substance at all while Cologne, where the former Liverpool defender's sample was sent, did.Sakho was provisionally suspended for 30 days on April 28, 2016, but UEFA ruled in July that it had "decided to dismiss the case against the player" in light of the evidence.The suspension caused the 27-year-old, who this season has been on loan at Crystal Palace having fallen out of favor with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, to miss the Europa League final as well as Euro 2016, having been omitted from France's squad during his temporary suspension. 'Unreasonable' The France international accepted that higenamine was in his system but insisted it had not been an anti-doping violation as the substance was not on WADA's prohibited list, stating it was not a beta-2 agonist under Category S3, all of which are banned by the doping organization.UEFA ruled that higenamine was "not expressly mentioned by name on WADA's prohibited list," calling on Cologne Laboratory's Dr. Hans Geyer and Lausanne lab boss Dr. Martial Saugy to give evidence.In its findings, UEFA said Dr. Saugy had expressed "his own doubts about the categorization of higenamine as a beta-2 agonist, and also questioned the steps that WADA had taken to reach its conclusion."Meanwhile, the report added Dr. Geyer had "explained that after the sample tested positive for higenamine, he needed to check with WADA if higenamine was actually a prohibited substance before making his determination."In conclusion, UEFA stated: "Fundamentally, it is unreasonable to expect an athlete to have a greater understanding of a substance than a WADA accredited laboratory and its scientists." 'Specific circumstances' However, WADA has defended its position over the Sakho case.In a statement to CNN, a spokesman for the agency said: "With regards to the case of Mr Mamadou Sakho, WADA, with the support of its list expert group, thoroughly reviewed the full case file along with recently published articles on higenamine."WADA supported the list expert group's unanimous view that higenamine is a beta-2 agonist and does indeed fall within the S3 class of the prohibited list."It was decided, however, after careful review of the specific circumstances of the case that WADA not lodge an appeal."However, WADA also said that in early August 2016, it had "requested its network of accredited laboratories to implement systematic testing for higenamine."[...]



Can Serena Williams return to top after giving birth?Serena Williams is pregnant, will return to tennis in 2018What elite athletes can teach us about pregnancyPetra Kvitova hopes to play at French OpenRoger Federer not certain of competing at French Open

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:38:45 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 14:03:21 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 19:47:53 GMTTue, 18 Apr 2017 14:34:54 GMTMon, 17 Apr 2017 14:16:20 GMT

It is July 2008. Five months have passed since Kim Clijsters gave birth to her first child, and the Belgian is back on the tennis court for the first time.Movements which were once as natural as flying is to a bird are now off limits. There will be no lunging towards tramlines, or stretching every sinew to serve at speed. The grand slam champion has to begin from the very beginning. She is starting from zero.She attempts to hit the ball in quick succession, but her heart rate bursts to 180 beats per minute. A no-go zone for the new mother. A gentle two-shot rally with her coach is her maximum.Clijsters' return to professional tennis will be measured, calculated. Progress will be made at a crawl.For a 27-year-old woman who has already been world No.1, life will, sometimes, be frustrating, but there is no fast-track to sporting success, even for a talent such as Clijsters.It will be another seven months before she is ready to play competitively, to challenge herself against her peers.Serena Williams has all of this to comeOne of the greatest athletes of her generation is expecting her first child and fresh challenges, a new perspective, are before her.Williams has said she will make her tennis comeback next year, but will a 35-year-old who has won it all really return to the sport in which she made her name?Wim Fissette, Clijsters' former coach, believes we have seen the last of Williams at grand slams, dazzling with her flawless serve, overpowering opponents with her destructive groundstrokes. What is left to motivate the woman who has won it all? The American will not be too old, or too weak to put her body through punishing training regimes. She won't lose her ability to serve with venom. Her once-in-a-generation talent will remain, but her iron will may not.What, asks Fissette, will motivate her to be the best in her field again when, for the last 20 years, she has already proven to be one of history's finest champions, winning 23 grand slams.Having won one major title and been retired for two years, Clijsters felt she still had something to prove, as does two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka, another of Fissette's former charges who, aged 27, will make her comeback in July, having given birth to a baby boy in December."What I found the most important with both players was that they still had a lot they wanted to, and believe they could, achieve," Fissette -- Clijsters' coach when the Belgian won three grand slams during her comeback from pregnancy -- told CNN Sport."They had big dreams and big goals and they used that motivation from the moment they were pregnant, to stay fit and start training quite shortly after giving birth."With the right motivation, anything is possible."Science is at a point where you can be very fit at 37 or 38. If she has that goal to come back next year she will be fine but, personally, I don't see her coming back."She's achieved everything. She's the best tennis player of all time, who will be 36 in September and is about t[...]



Football for breakfast: NFL keeps early start in LondonMan who killed NFL star Will Smith sentenced to 25 yearsAaron Hernandez found dead near 3 handwritten notesPatriots' Alan Branch skips White House visit over Trump's sexist remarks

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:24:54 GMTFri, 21 Apr 2017 01:41:52 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 18:38:04 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 12:08:57 GMT

Good news if you like your breakfast with a side of football.

The NFL will keep a 9:30 a.m. ET start time for three games in London this season. That means more than 12 hours of football on those Sundays.

There had been speculation that the NFL would move the games to 1 p.m. ET.

By keeping the early start for American viewers, the NFL can also broadcast three live games in prime time for Asian markets.

The NFL claims to have a British fan base of more than 13 million people. It's adding a fourth game in London this year. That game will start at 1 p.m. ET.

The four London matchups:

-- Sept. 24, Ravens vs. Jaguars at Wembley Stadium (9:30 a.m. ET)

-- Oct. 1, Saints vs. Dolphins at Wembley Stadium (9:30 a.m. ET)

-- Oct. 22, Cardinals vs. Rams at Twickenham Stadium (1 p.m. ET)

-- Oct. 29, Vikings vs. Browns at Twickenham Stadium (9:30 a.m. ET)

The NFL will also stage a game in Mexico City, with the New England Patriots facing the Oakland Raiders at Estadio Azteca on Nov. 19.

London game times may be mostly staying the same, but the NFL is making changes after suffering a ratings slump last season.

The presidential election and poor matchups took a toll on ratings early last season. They rebounded over Thanksgiving and during the postseason.

In a letter to fans in March, Commissioner Roger Goodell pledged to cut down on commercial breaks to speed up games. Last season, he suggested that change might boost ratings.

The man who shot and killed former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith in a road rage incident was sentenced Thursday in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, according to court documents.

Investigators officially ruled Aaron Hernandez's death a suicide and released new details about the circumstances of his hanging on Thursday.

New England Patriots player Alan Branch said he chose not to visit the White House Wednesday because of President Donald Trump's past sexist remarks that were caught on an Access Hollywood video.




Report: Kelly Slater rescues big-wave surfer in Australia

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:47:32 GMT

One of Central Florida's most famous sons is grabbing headlines, but not for his legendary surf skills.

According to various news sources in Australia, Cocoa Beach surfer Kelly Slater played a pivotal role this week in rescuing a big-wave surfer who wiped out in 15- to 18-foot waves.

The incident -- reported by The Australian and  Newcastle Herald as well as Surfline.com -- took place at Port Campbell in Victoria, Australia, where surfer Russell Bierke, 19, was challenging the waves and was knocked unconscious by his surfboard.

Bierke was hospitalized, and reportedly is in stable condition.

Slater, 45, an 11-time world champion, recently completed his third event at the start of the 2017 World Surf League schedule where he was eliminated in the third round by Mick Fanning. 

Slater was joined by Ross Clarke-Jones and Ryan Hipwood, who pulled Bierke onto a ski and took him to shore, the website Swellnet reported.

It wasn’t Slater’s first attempt at a rescue. In January of 2016, Slater saved a West Australian mother and her 22-month-old son after a freak wave slammed into them in Hawaii.




Man who killed NFL star Will Smith sentenced to 25 years

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 01:41:52 GMT

The man who shot and killed former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith in a road rage incident was sentenced Thursday in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, according to court documents.

Cardell Hayes was sentenced to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole for manslaughter in the death of Smith, and 15 years for attempted manslaughter in the shooting of his wife, Racquel Smith.

Judge Camille Buras ordered the sentences be served concurrently.

Hayes had faced a maximum of 60 years in prison, 40 years for manslaughter and 20 years for attempted manslaughter, according to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

Racquel Smith was not happy with the sentence. A statement provided to CNN affiliate WVUE said in part:

"My family and I are extremely disappointed with today's sentencing and the leniency showed by Judge Buras for the defendant. While we know nothing will ever bring Will back, we were hopeful that Judge Buras would have issued a stronger sentence to more justly reflect both the nature of the crimes and the tremendous loss and pain that my family has suffered as a result of Mr. Hayes' violent actions on the night of April 9, 2016.

"This ordeal has been a nightmare for me and my family. There are no winners here today. Today's sentencing does not bring back Will and leaves another child to grow up without a father. I pray for the other families of New Orleans that are dealing with the same tragedy that comes with the loss of life at the hands of senseless violence. Will loved this city and we must do better together to enact serious change so that Will's unnecessary murder is not in vain."

Smith, as well as her late husband's aunt, sister and sister-in-law, among others, testified Wednesday, each giving victim impact statements, court documents show.

Hayes' mother and others spoke to his character on Thursday, and WVUE reported that a weeping Hayes took the stand and addressed the victim's children, saying, "To not have a father around, I know what you're going through. I wish that night had never happened."

Hayes was originally also charged with second-degree murder, but the jury returned a guilty verdict on the lesser charge of manslaughter in December 2016.

The district attorney said several things probably led to that decision: Testimony that a hit-and-run involving the two men happened before the shooting, that Smith got out of his vehicle in an aggressive manner and that Smith had a blood-alcohol content well above the legal level.

Both Hayes and Racquel Smith testified in the high-profile case, which drew national attention and cast a harsh spotlight on violence in New Orleans.




Aaron Hernandez found dead near 3 handwritten notesFormer NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs himself in prison, officials sayAaron Hernandez murder conviction likely to be vacatedThe rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 18:38:04 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 16:10:19 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 18:41:31 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 15:04:15 GMT

Investigators officially ruled Aaron Hernandez's death a suicide and released new details about the circumstances of his hanging on Thursday.

In particular, investigators found three handwritten notes next to a Bible in the prison cell. It was not immediately clear what those notes said.

That information comes from a joint statement from Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Col. Richard McKeon, and Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett.

Hernandez's died early Wednesday morning after he hanged himself by a bedsheet in his prison cell, the Massachusetts Department of Correction said. The former tight end for the New England Patriots had been serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted in the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez was found dead with the words "John 3:16" written on his forehead, according to a law enforcement source directly involved in the investigation into the former NFL star's death.

The notation is believed to refer to the words in the Bible from John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Law enforcement personnel told CNN's Deborah Feyerick that inmates often use this verse.

According to the joint statement, Hernandez was locked in his cell about 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, and no one entered the cell until he was found by a correction officer at 3:03 a.m. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead about an hour later.

Cardboard had been jammed into the door tracks of his single-inmate cell to impede entry, according to the statement. There were no signs of a struggle and he was alone at the time.

Hernandez's death came just five days after his acquittal in the 2012 slayings of two men outside a Boston nightclub in a separate case.

This article has been updated to better characterize details about the manner in which the Bible verse was written. CNN continues to gather reporting to clarify the information.

Convicted murderer and former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his Massachusetts prison cell Wednesday morning, just days after his acquittal in a double murder case.

Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction is expected to be dismissed posthumously because of a legal rule called "abatement."

A few short years ago, Aaron Hernandez was destined to be a football superstar and was already one of the NFL's most promising tight ends.




Serena Williams is pregnant, will return to tennis in 2018Famous mothers of twinsPetra Kvitova hopes to play at French OpenRoger Federer not certain of competing at French Open

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:03:21 GMTThu, 16 Feb 2017 07:00:40 GMTTue, 18 Apr 2017 14:34:54 GMTMon, 17 Apr 2017 14:16:20 GMT

She won a grand slam while pregnant, so it is perhaps no surprise that Serena Williams aims to return to tennis next year and become a grand slam-winning mom.The tennis great announced Wednesday that she and fiancé Alexis Ohanian are expecting their first child "this fall."Williams, 35, posted a side profile shot of herself in a yellow swimsuit on Snapchat with a caption that read "20 weeks" before deleting it.A spokesperson for the tennis player later confirmed the American was pregnant.If Williams' 20-weeks post was accurate, it would suggest she was about eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open in January.While Williams will not play again in 2017, meaning she will miss the year's remaining three grand slams -- the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open -- her publicist did say she would return to the tour in 2018.Williams has not played since winning her 23rd grand slam in Melbourne, withdrawing from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California, and the Miami Open citing a knee injury. 'Baby GOAT' Williams, who is second only to Margaret Court on the list of women's all-time grand slam singles titles, has received congratulatory messages from around the world.Former world No.1 Andy Roddick tweeted: "There's gonna be a baby GOAT... We are so happy and we know @serenawilliams will be a great mother."Christ Evert, 18-time grand slam winner, said it was a "very special year ahead" for Williams.Steve Simon, Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chief executive, said: "We're excited for Serena. This is wonderful news and we wish her the very best. We'll look forward to seeing her when she's back competing again."Williams will not be the first player to return to the tennis tour after giving birth.Belgium's Kim Clijsters triumphed at the US Open in 2009 to become only the third mother to win a grand slam, following in the footsteps of fellow tennis moms Court and Evonne Goolagong.Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka is also set to make her comeback in July after giving birth to her first child in December.Williams' latest news comes after she surprised fans in December by announcing her engagement to Ohanian, Reddit's co-founder. The pair had kept their romance out of the spotlight.She had alerted the world of her impending nuptials on Reddit, with tech entrepreneur Ohanian posting on his Facebook page, linking to her Reddit post and adding: "She said yes."With George Clooney's wife Amal and Beyonce each expecting twins, take a look at some of the famous mothers of twins they will be joining.Petra Kvitova could make her long-awaited return to tennis at the French Open in May.Will he? Won't he? Roger Federer has cast an element of doubt over whether he will compete in the tennis season's second grand slam -- next month's French Open.[...]



F1 stars support campaign for injured teen racerSarah Palin, Ted Nugent and Kid Rock walk into the White House ...North Korean nuclear test site now ... a volleyball court?They're books, Bond booksSerena Williams is pregnant, will return to tennis in 2018Bruce Springsteen's protest song to Donald TrumpSources: Fox News payout to Bill O'Reilly will be tens of millions of dollars4/20 is Black Friday for marijuana merchantsSnoop Dogg: Patron saint of 4/20

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:29:24 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 14:20:59 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 14:20:22 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 14:13:53 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 14:03:21 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 14:03:08 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 17:36:51 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 13:58:51 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 13:54:23 GMT

A tragic motorsport accident has been met with a heartfelt and generous response by Formula One stars including Jenson Button and Max Verstappen.

Seventeen-year-old Billy Monger had his lower legs amputated after plowing into the back of a fellow driver's car at high speed during a British Formula 4 race at Donnington Park last Sunday.

The teenager was trapped in his car for 90 minutes following the crash, according to reports, before being airlifted to the nearby Queen's Medical Center in Nottingham.

Monger remains in a critical, but stable condition.

In the wake of the accident, Monger's racing team JHR Developments has set up a donations page on the crowdfunding website JustGiving to help aid the young driver's rehabilitation from his life-changing injuries.

At the time of writing more than 12,000 people had donated in excess of £500,000 ($640,000).

Among the scores of donors were 2009 F1 world champion Button who donated £15,000 ($19,000) as well as posting on his Instagram account urging people to give money.

"This guy needs our help so if you can please donate, I will be doing as much as I can to help this dude out ..." Button wrote.

Mercedes driver and three-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton also lent his support.

"Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, @BillyMonger," Hamilton tweeted Wednesday.

Red Bull Racing's Verstappen donated £5,000 with the message: "My thoughts go out to you and your loved ones. Stay strong Billy!"

Monger's cousin Vicky posted a message on her Facebook account thanking well-wishers for the outpouring of support.

Formula 4 is an open-wheel single-seater racing category for junior drivers sanctioned by motorsport's world governing body the FIA.

The series was launched in 2014 as a way of bridging the gap between karting and the Formula 3 European Championship.

Sarah Palin, with Kid Rock and Ted Nugent in tow, visited President Donald Trump at the White House Wednesday for dinner.

After readying a possible nuclear test, it seems that North Korea's nuclear technicians are entitled to some downtime.

She won a grand slam while pregnant, so it is perhaps no surprise that Serena Williams aims to return to tennis next year and become a grand slam-winning mom.

Bruce Springsteen has new music out and it's taking aim at Donald Trump.

Bill O'Reilly will be paid tens of millions of dollars on his way out of Fox News, two well-placed sources told CNNMoney.

Marijuana entrepreneurs are capitalizing on 4/20, the annual pothead holiday, as an opportunity to sell even more weed than usual.

Snoop Dogg isn't the only celeb to be open about his love of weed, but he's definitely the OG.




Patriots' Alan Branch skips White House visit over Trump's sexist remarksPatriots player crashes White House press briefing

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:08:57 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 19:05:07 GMT

New England Patriots player Alan Branch said he chose not to visit the White House Wednesday because of President Donald Trump's past sexist remarks that were caught on an Access Hollywood video.

"It's disgusting the way that he talks about women and I just can't deal with it and that's why I have no interest in going and shaking his hand," Branch told CNN's Don Lemon on "CNN Tonight." "I've gotta go back home and look my daughters in the eye, and I don't want them to view me in a different light just because I did that."

Branch was referring to Trump's taped comments that were caught on a hot mic in 2005 while he awaited an Access Hollywood interview. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the video last October during the 2016 presidential campaign. In the video, Trump is heard making offensive comments about women.

The video triggered instant backlash and ultimately caused the then-presidential candidate to issue an apology.

"I don't understand still to this day, especially with how many women went out there and voted for him," he said. "I'm a man, and I was sickened by that and it still happened. Everybody has their free choice of who they wanted, but that's not a person I want to represent me even though he is. He is President of the United States. He happens to represent me, but I'm not going to go out of my way to go meet the guy when I don't have to."

Branch is among numerous Patriots players who opted out of the visit for various personal and political reasons. Not all of these players had chosen to speak about their decisions, but Branch felt he needed to.

"I just felt like I had to say something just because I don't want my daughters to see me and be like, 'that's my dad and he doesn't believe in women being treated like this,' because I don't. I'm very against it and I'd hate for my son, you know, to see me go to the White House and act like it's okay to do whatever you want if you're a celebrity," he said.

Asked if he had concerns about repercussions from the Patriots organization for speaking out, Branch was confident in his decision.

"I'm just saying what I feel and I feel like the organization is a great organization and, you know, I don't think that's their organization that would give me repercussions for saying something I felt during my own off time and they usually have everybody have their own voice there, as long as it's not distracting towards the season or anything and we're not playing right now, so I feel like I'm pretty good."

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing Wednesday.




Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs himself in prison, officials sayAaron Hernandez found not guilty of murderAaron Hernandez trial heads to jury

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:10:19 GMTFri, 14 Apr 2017 20:31:55 GMTThu, 06 Apr 2017 20:37:03 GMT

Convicted murderer and former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his Massachusetts prison cell Wednesday morning, just days after his acquittal in a double murder case.The 27-year-old former tight end for the New England Patriots hanged himself with a bedsheet attached to a window in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, the Massachusetts Department of Correction said. His body was discovered at 3:05 a.m."Lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez, and he was transported to UMass Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.," the correction department's statement reads.Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence, was alone in his cell in a general population wing and had "attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items," the statement reads.Massachusetts State Police are investigating his death. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death, the Worcester County district attorney's office said.Jose Baez, an attorney for Hernandez, has been retained by the athlete's family to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death and will act as the executor of his estate, according to a statement from Baez."The family and legal team is shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron's death," Baez said in the statement. "There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible."Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death."His death marks one of the most dramatic falls from grace by an athlete in recent memory, and comes the same day that many of his former teammates visit the White House as Super Bowl champions. A life sentence for Odin Lloyd murderHernandez's life sentence was for his conviction of first-degree murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée.A jogger found Lloyd's gunshot-riddled body in a Massachusetts industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home on June 17, 2013. Hernandez was charged with murder nine days later, and the Patriots released him.He was found guilty in April 2015 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole."This is a shocking and sad end to a very tragic series of events that has negatively impacted a number of families," said Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn, who prosecuted the Lloyd case.In May 2014, prosecutors charged Hernandez with two murder counts in the July 2012 deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, two men who were killed in a drive-by shooting outside a Boston nightclub[...]



Patriots player crashes White House press briefingBill O'Reilly out at Fox NewsAgainst its wishes, Auburn hosts white nationalist Richard SpencerBritish leader says no to televised debatesWhere in the world is the USS Carl Vinson?Who could replace Bill O'Reilly at Fox News?

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:05:07 GMTThu, 20 Apr 2017 00:59:02 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 08:41:23 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 18:12:19 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 17:59:02 GMTWed, 19 Apr 2017 17:41:24 GMT

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing Wednesday.

While White House press secretary Sean Spicer was answering a question from a reporter, the football player poked his head around a corner to lend a hand.

"Sean, need some help?" Gronkowski asked, prompting laughter from the journalists.

"I think I got this," Spicer replied.

"You sure?" Gronkowski pressed.

"Maybe," Spicer joked.

The surprise visit came shortly after the Patriots' arrival at the White House, where the team was scheduled to meet President Donald Trump in celebration of their 2017 Super Bowl win.

After Gronkowski left the room, Spicer -- who is a Patriots fan -- laughed for a moment before regaining his composure.

"Alright, that was cool," Spicer said. "How do you follow that?"

Bill O'Reilly's 21-year career at Fox News has come to a sudden and ignoble end.

Three people were arrested Tuesday at Auburn University amid mostly peaceful protests over the appearance of white nationalist Richard Spencer, whose speaking events have sparked an outcry at other schools.

If British voters were hoping for televised debates to help them decide in the election that was just announced, they'll be disappointed.

The ship that was coming to take on North Korea made a stopover first.

Speculation over whether Bill O'Reilly will keep his job at Fox News has given way to a new question: Who will replace him as the network's biggest star?




Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected for HBO's 'Hard Knocks'Windy but beautiful day for Orlando City Lions' debut in new stadiumCrew beats Orlando City SC 2-0Orlando City signs goalkeeper Joe Bendik to a 3-year extension

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 19:22:58 GMTSun, 05 Mar 2017 14:12:29 GMTSat, 01 Apr 2017 23:22:08 GMTMon, 13 Mar 2017 18:14:27 GMT

It's official: HBO is heading to Tampa this summer.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Wednesday that they will be the team featured in the 12th season of HBO's "Hard Knocks."

News 6 meteorologist Madeline Evans gives Central Florida's Sunday forecast.

Justin Meram scored a goal in each half and the Columbus Crew beat Orlando City SC 2-0 on Saturday.

Orlando City extends Joe Bendik's contract until 2020. 




Aaron Rodgers, Oliva Munn reportedly break upSee Don Rickles' last projectKate Hudson wants to empower women to get fitAnn-Margret finds happiness with trio of co-stars in 'Going in Style'Mike Epps apologizes for kangaroo incident'Buffy' photo reunion revives Angel vs. Spike debate

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 15:37:23 GMTFri, 07 Apr 2017 15:12:12 GMTFri, 07 Apr 2017 14:41:24 GMTTue, 04 Apr 2017 22:43:15 GMTMon, 03 Apr 2017 17:20:06 GMTThu, 30 Mar 2017 14:30:56 GMT

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and actress Olivia Munn have broken up, according to a report from People magazine.

A source close to the situation told the magazine described the split as amicable and said that the couple remains close friends.

Rodgers, 33, and Munn, 36, began dating at the end of 2014.

There had been engagement rumors in January after Munn was spotted wearing a diamond ring on her left-hand ring finger, People reported.

Don Rickles, who died Thursday from kidney failure at 90, completed work on a new show with AARP before his death.

Kate Hudson wants to share her passion for fitness and clean living with women of all shapes and sizes.

Big screen icon Ann-Margret talks about working with a new set of grumpy old men in the new comedy "Going in Style."

Turns out not everyone thinks bringing a kangaroo on stage is funny.

The cast of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" reuniting for a 20th anniversary photo shoot for Entertainment Weekly has fans once again debating #TeamAngel versus #TeamSpike?




Dustin Johnson withdraws from MastersThe 2017 Masters: Scenes from AugustaMasters Par 3 Contest canceledDanny Willett 'knocked back' by 2016 Masters win

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 18:45:31 GMTMon, 10 Apr 2017 01:03:56 GMTWed, 05 Apr 2017 19:53:03 GMTFri, 31 Mar 2017 17:01:53 GMT

Dustin Johnson, the top-ranked golfer in the world, pulled out of the Masters at the last minute on Thursday, a day after suffering a back injury at a rental home.

Johnson, who has won his last three starts, made a go of playing, but was clearly in pain during a short warmup session, according to The Associated Press.

Despite that, he still walked to the first hole in the opening round's final group to tee off with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker.

However, while Watson and Walker were teeing off, Johnson left the hole and headed back to the clubhouse.

Johnson's first-round tee time is 2:03 p.m. ET Thursday. He hopes to play, according to his agent/manager David Winkle.

"At roughly 3 p.m. today, Dustin took a serious fall on a staircase in his Augusta rental home," his agent/manager David Winkle said in a statement emailed Wednesday. "He landed very hard on his lower back and is now resting, although quite uncomfortably. He has been advised to remain immobile and begin a regimen of anti-inflammatory medication and icing, with the hope of being able to play tomorrow."

While you may not be able to attend Masters in person, click on to take in some of the sights at Augusta from this year's tournament.

For the first time in its history, the Masters Par 3 Contest will not have a winner.

He claimed one of the most coveted honors in golf, but winning the Masters led to a year of anguish for Danny Willett.




Tim Tebow homers in first minor-league at-bat

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 10:33:18 GMT

Tim Tebow hit a home run in his first at-bat as a New York Mets minor leaguer.

The former NFL quarterback connected for a two-run drive Thursday night for the Columbia Fireflies in a Class A South Atlantic League game against Augusta.

With a 15 mph wind blowing out, Tebow launched a shot and stopped at second base, thinking it was a double. But the ball hit a railing just above the fence in left-center field and an umpire twirled his hand to indicate the homer.

Tebow pumped his fist in the air as he rounded the rest of the bases in the second inning as the crowd went wild. He started the game in left field.

Tebow played three seasons in the NFL. The former Florida Gator and Heisman Trophy winner left football for broadcasting after the 2012 season, before deciding to pursue a career in a sport he last played as a junior in high school.

In spring training for the Mets, Tebow batted .148 in 27 appearances. He struck out eight times and didn't have an extra base hit or an RBI.