Review Category : National Sports

Panthers’ Ron Rivera Would Rather Not Open Season on Thursday

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The Carolina Panthers will face off against the Denver Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch to open the season Thursday night, but Panthers head coach Ron Rivera would rather a different schedule.

“We only have a week [to prepare] where other teams will have 10 days that you kind of need to have,” Rivera pointed out. “It was a mad scramble trying to put your roster together and get your practice squad out there.”

Rivera admitted that he doesn’t get a say in such decisions. “Defending NFC champs, it would have been nice to open the season at home,” he opined. “But it didn’t happen that way.”

“If I had my druthers, I’d have liked to start the season differently.” said Rivera. “But I don’t.”

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Earnhardt Jr.: ‘I Definitely Don’t Belong in a Race Car Today’

Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images(DARLINGTON, S.C.) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he’s doing better in his rehab from a concussion suffered earlier this year, but that sitting out the remainder of the NASCAR slate is the right decision for him.

Earnhardt has missed seven Sprint Cup races and announced Friday that he wouldn’t return in 2016. “I have the passion and the desire to drive,” he said Sunday at Darlington Raceway, “I enjoy it…my heart is there to continue, and if my doctor says I’m physically able to continue, that’s an easier decision for me to make.”

Earnhardt says he isn’t thinking about retirement, that his focus is only on getting better and getting back on the track.

The June crash in Michigan left Earnhardt with balance and vision issues associated with gaze stability.

“I definitely don’t belong in a race car today by any stretch of the imagination,” Earnhardt admitted. “You don’t know how long this process is going to take. We want to be healthy and be able to compete at some point…but we also don’t want to take any risks to reinjure ourselves or put ourselves in a situation where we essentially erase all the hard work we did to get better.”

The 41-year-old has 26 career wins in 595 Sprint Cup starts.

Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman, who have combined to fill in for Earnhardt in the seven races he’s missed, will share the duties for the remaining 11 races.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 9/5/16

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest sports scores and winners:

INTERLEAGUE
Cleveland 6, Miami 5

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 3
N-Y Yankees 5, Baltimore 2
Chi White Sox 13, Minnesota 11 (12 Innings)
Detroit 6, Kansas City 5
Houston 7, Texas 6
Oakland 1, Boston 0
L.A. Angels 4, Seattle 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis 5, Cincinnati 2
Milwaukee 10, Pittsburgh 0
Atlanta 2, Philadelphia 0
Chi Cubs 3, San Francisco 2 (13 Innings)
L.A. Dodgers 7, San Diego 4
Arizona 8, Colorado 5
N-Y Mets 5, Washington 1

TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Texas 50, (#10) Notre Dame 47 (FINAL/2 OVERTIMES)

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US Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe Kneels During National Anthem

@gbpackfan32/Twitter(CHICAGO) — U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe has joined Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest.

Rapino kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner” Sunday night before the Seattle Reign played the Chicago Red Stars.

“It’s the least I can do. Keep the conversation going,” she tweeted in response to writer and civil rights activist Shaun King who supported her decision.

It’s the least I can do. Keep the conversation going. https://t.co/qwfHcqgV6J

— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) September 5, 2016

Kaepernick, a San Francisco 49ers quarterback, gained national attention when he chose not to stand during the anthem in a preseason game, what he said was a protest against racial injustice and police brutality in the country. After a media firestorm surrounding his protest, he decided to continue his protest by kneeling instead at future games.

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Kaepernick Jersey Sales Soar Amid Controversy

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — Sales of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick jerseys have skyrocketed in the wake of his refusal to stand for the national anthem, which he says is protest against America’s treatment of “black people and people of color.”

Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the playing of the anthem, which was first noticed by the media in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on August 26, has added to the debate in America over the subjects of race, patriotism, sports protest and violence by and against police.

News of Kaepernick’s growing marketability, at least in terms of jersey sales, adds an additional layer of complexity to the story of his protest. San Jose Mercury News reporter Mike Rosenberg first noted on Twitter that sales of Kaepernick jerseys had jumped from 20th among 49ers players to first.

Even though he is only a backup quarterback, Kaepernick has now moved to fifth overall among NFL jersey sales, according to NFL.com, jumping from eighth a day ago.

Some fans reacted by burning his jersey and other memorabilia on social media in the wake of news breaking about his protest.

Among the quarterback’s most vocal critics have been police officers. Kaepernick drew additional criticism after photos surfaced of him wearing socks that depicted police officers as cartoon pigs.

“I have two uncles and friends who are police officers and work to protect and serve ALL people,” Kaepernick said on Instagram in defense of the pictures.

The union for Santa Clara, California, Police Department officers — the police who work San Francisco home games — said that its members would consider boycotting their duty to police the stadium if the 49ers don’t discipline Kaepernick for his actions.

Santa Clara Police Chief Michael Sellers offered a rebuke of that position on Saturday, saying that “officers are here to protect the rights of every person, even if we disagree with their position,” but also expressed sympathy for the union’s sentiment.

Kaepernick was scheduled to speak at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco Sunday in front of a largely black congregation that included members of the NAACP, but he canceled, citing scheduling concerns.

The other speakers at Third Baptist church today addressed Kaepernick’s stance with words of support, and voiced criticism over the police, and Donald Trump and his supporters, who one woman called “bigots.”

49ers coach Chip Kelly announced this weekend that Kaepernick would be the team’s backup quarterback, ahead of third-stringer Christian Ponder, and behind starter Blaine Gabbert. Kaepernick is guaranteed $11.9 million in salary for this season and can earn another $2 million in roster bonuses depending on playing time, according to NFL.com.

Some analysts thought that Kaepernick could be cut by the team because of the attention he was receiving, but that has not turned out to be the case so far.

Dave Zirin, a sports editor for The Nation and a historian on sports protests, told ABC News in an interview last week that Kaepernick’s precarious spot on the 49ers roster only served to strengthen the power of his protest.

“He’s really risking something by doing this,” Zirin said. “It’s all the more admirable that he could be cut by the 49ers.”

The 49ers are scheduled to host the Los Angeles Rams in a game on Monday, September 12. He is expected to continue to protest the anthem at that game.

“When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country, I’ll stand,” Kaepernick told reporters one week ago.

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Cheryl Burke Talks Working With Ryan Lochte for ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Craig Sjodin/ABC(LOS ANGELES) — Cheryl Burke is back on Dancing with the Stars and has a celebrity partner that has been in the news just a bit as of late — Ryan Lochte.

“I couldn’t be happier,” the dancer, who left the show in 2014 to explore other opportunities, wrote in a blog for People magazine.

“In a way, it feels like I’m doing the show for the first time. I’m excited again — and I’m ready to go out there and give it my best shot,” she wrote.

As for working with the polarizing Olympian, she adds, “I’ve worked with athletes like Chad Ochocinco and Emmitt Smith in the past and I’ve always been impressed by their work ethic — and Ryan is no different. He shows up on time, ready to work, takes constructive criticism well and wants to keep practicing until he’s perfect.”

Burke says working with Lochte reminds her of when she was paired with Rob Kardashian. Then, the consummate professional addressed the elephant in the room — the backlash Lochte has faced from his actions in Rio.

“The Olympics are over, so we luckily don’t have to balance our rehearsals with Ryan’s training schedule. But with everything going on in his life right now, there is a lot on his mind,” she adds. “I’m really glad that I can be there now as a distraction. The show has given him something else to focus on: getting ready to dance in front of millions of people. I think this opportunity came at the perfect time for him.”

Lochte has said he made a “very big mistake” when he claimed to have been held up at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics but thinks the ensuing scandal was blown out of proportion.

“I did lie about that one part,” Lochte told Good Morning America. “I take full responsibility. I’m human. I made a mistake. A very big mistake.”

He added, “It’s been dragged out way too long. The media has taken this to a whole new level, and I just want to put this behind me and move on and move forward.”

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A Brief History: How the College Football Playoff Began

MariuszBlach/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – The college football season begins this weekend as teams begin their quest to reach the College Football Playoff.

The College Football Playoff was created to try and put an end to the convoluted systems of naming a champion that plagued the sport for over a century.

Believe it or not, Division I college football is the only sport the NCAA does not award a championship to, which has led to outside forces taking matters into their own hands. For decades, the champion was determined by the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll, which led to many years of dual champions.

Then in 1997, the six biggest conferences joined forces to create the Bowl Championship Series, or BCS. Using a complex equation, it pitted the top two teams against each other in a championship game. The winner of the game was recognized as champions by the Coaches Poll, but the AP Poll did not always agree.

In 2014, the college football playoff was born and unlike the BCS, no polls or computer rankings are used. Instead, a 13 member committee, which includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is used to pick the four playoff teams on selection day.

The new format seems to be a winner with over 30 million Americans watching the championship game last season, and an even bigger audience expected for this season’s championship.

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Syracuse QB Gets Emotional Surprise Before Season Opener

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) — On the first day of a new era of Syracuse football, quarterback Eric Dungey was brought to tears before the game even kicked off.

Dungey started seven games as a true freshman last season, and earned the starting job for the Orange under new head coach Dino Babers. Looking to show he could handle the up-tempo style offense Babers is known for — an offense that resembles the Baylor offense that Babers helped create as an assistant coach to Art Briles — Dungey had plenty on his mind ahead of the season opener against Colgate. But when he got off the team bus and walked into the Carrier Dome, it wasn’t football that brought tears to his eyes.

Dungey’s brother, Matt, was waiting there to greet him, having received a month off from his service in the U.S. Army — all unbeknownst to the Syracuse quarterback. Matt Dungey is stationed in Germany and hadn’t seen his brother since Christmas 2014 — meaning he’d never seen Eric play college football in person.

Dressed in a blue Syracuse polo, Matt Dungey greeted his brother, telling him how proud he was to be there.

Dungey proceeded to complete 34 of 40 passes for a career-high 355 yards and two touchdowns. Afterwards, he said the pregame moment was “surreal.”

“It was awesome,” Dungey said. “I was locked in, got off the bus, saw my brother. I hadn’t seen him in years, so that was really cool — overwhelming, surreal to be honest.”

“Then,” Dungey added, “I had to lock back in and get ready for this game.”

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Lena Dunham Responds to Backlash Over Story About Odell Beckham Jr.

Rich Barnes/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Lena Dunham is pushing back after many on social media are criticizing the “Girls” creator for comments she made about Odell Beckham Jr.

During a witty conversation with fellow comedienne Amy Schumer for her newsletter Lenny, Dunham recounted how she sat with the NFL player at the Met Gala back in May.

“I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards,” Dunham wrote. “He was like, ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.'”

“It wasn’t mean – he just seemed confused,” Dunham, 30, continued. “The vibe was very much like, ‘Do I want to f— it? Is it wearing a… yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.’ It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie.”

“I was like, ‘This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes,'” the actress deadpanned.

While many Dunham fans understood her snarky sense of humor, others on social media condemned the self-described feminist for being reverse sexist and for making wild assumptions about the New York Giants wide receiver.

By Friday night, Dunham tried to clarify her comments.

“.@OBJ_3 is talented, stylish, seems super awesome and wasn’t into chatting with me at a fancy party,” she said, using Beckham’s handle. “My story about him was clearly (to me) about my own insecurities as an average-bodied woman at a table of supermodels & athletes.”

“It’s not an assumption about who he is or an expectation of sexual attention. It’s my sense of humor, which has kept me alive for 30 years,” she concluded.

.@OBJ_3 is talented, stylish, seems super awesome and wasn’t into chatting with me at a fancy party.

— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 2, 2016

My story about him was clearly (to me) about my own insecurities as an average-bodied woman at a table of supermodels & athletes.

— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 2, 2016

It’s not an assumption about who he is or an expectation of sexual attention. It’s my sense of humor, which has kept me alive for 30 years.

— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 2, 2016

So far, Beckham, 23, has yet to reply to Dunham on Twitter.

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Colin Kaepernick Announces $1Million Donation as Part of Plan to Take His Protest ‘a Step Further’

Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced plans to take his peaceful protest against racial injustice and police brutality “a step further” at a postgame news conference Thursday night.

Kaepernick, 28, who has refused to stand during the national anthem at two NFL preseason games, said he would donate the first $1 million he makes this season to organizations assisting communities affected by racial injustice and police brutality.

He said he wanted to make sure he was not “just talking about” these issues but was also “actively being involved” and “actively trying to make a change.”

“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and be able to make the kind of money I do,” Kaepernick said. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed.”

He also said he was “definitely considering” accepting invitations to meet with police and other law enforcement officers.

The San Francisco Police Department has had “a lot of issues,” Kaepernick said, adding that he wanted to address the alleged “racist text messages that have been passed back and forth between PD members.”

Kaepernick began his protest last week when he sat down during the national anthem before a game.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

He continued his protest by again refusing to stand, instead kneeling, as “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sung before last night’s preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers. He was joined by teammate Eric Reid, who also knelt.

Kaepernick, who was born in Milwaukee to a white mother and a black father, said at Thursday night’s news conference he believed his protest has been falsely painted as “anti-American and “anti–men and women of the military.”

“I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put their selves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for them. I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.”

Kaepernick added that he and his teammate had a conversation before Thursday night’s game with a veteran, Nate Boyer, who helped them come up with the idea to kneel.

“We were talking to him about ‘How can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from pride in our country but keep the focus on what the issues really are?'” Kaepernick said. “Once again, I’m not anti-American. I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better.”

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