Review Category : National Sports

Report: Free Agent Guard Kevin Martin to Sign with San Antonio Spurs

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO) — Free agent Kevin Martin could be headed to the San Antonio Spurs.

An NBA source told ESPN on Friday the 33-year-old guard has agreed to sign a deal with the team for the rest of the season.

According to ESPN, Martin chose the Spurs despite being pursued by both the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.

Martin negotiated a buyout contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this week.

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Former Mets Pitcher Jenrry Mejia Calls Lifetime Ban an MLB ‘Conspiracy’

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia has accused Major League Baseball of orchestrating his lifetime ban.

In February, the 26-year-old was issued MLB’s first lifetime ban after his third positive drug test in a year.

In an interview with the New York Times, Mejia claimed he was only guilty of his first doping offense, and he said the second positive was somehow inaccurate.

He told the Times that baseball officials said if he appealed the punishment for the second offense, “they will find a way to find a third positive.”

“I felt there was a conspiracy against me,” he told the Times through an interpreter. “I feel that they were trying to find something to bring me down in my career.”

When Mejia was banned, he was already under suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol and Boldenone in July and had 99 games of his 162-game suspension left. He had previously been suspended in April for 80 games after a positive test for Stanozolol.

Mejia told the Times he asked for help from the players’ union, but representatives said there were no grounds for appeal.

“The association should have done more,” he told the Times, also saying, “They should have found something to appeal for.”

An MLB spokesman told the Times, “No one at M.L.B. or representing M.L.B. has met with Mejia regarding any of these drug violations.”

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Milwaukee Brewers’ Hank the Ballpark Pup Wasn’t a Double After All

Milwaukee Brewers(MILWAUKEE) — The case of the missing mascot has been solved: he was never missing at all.

Earlier this week, rumors surfaced that original Milwaukee Brewers mascot, Hank the Ballpark Pup, had been replaced with a fluffier, shinier model. The team laid those rumors to rest Friday, confirming that it is the same Hank.

“Through the wonders of advanced technology and modern medicine, baseball and dog lovers around the world can now rest easy,” the Brewers said in a press release. “There is only one Hank, The Ballpark Pup.”

The team enlisted the help of Hank’s veterinarian, Dr. William S. Rice, who has cared for the pup since his arrival in Milwaukee. The vet compared dental records from April 2014 and yesterday. They matched. To confirm the news, Hank’s microchip was scanned and its identification matched Hank’s registration.

Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger said they wanted to “reassure everyone through absolute proof that there was no Hank double,” though he conceded that there were “dissimilarities” between earlier photos of Hank and more recent ones.

However, those differences are due to love, a good home and a good groomer.

“In Hank’s case, it’s evident that his transformation is solely due to the loving care he receives from his family,” Anne Reed, president and CEO of The Wisconsin Humane Society, said.

Hank first captured hearts in February 2014, when he found his way to the Brewers training camp in Arizona. He earned the name “Hank” for baseball legend Hank Aaron. After spring training ended that year, Hank the dog moved back to Milwaukee, where he was adopted by the family of Brewers Vice President Marti Wronski. He has been the official team mascot ever since.

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Falcons Apologize After Coach Asks Ohio State CB About His Sexuality

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — The Atlanta Falcons are apologizing after claims that Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple was asked if he was gay by one of the coaches during the NFL scouting combine.

Apple told Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia that a Falcons coach asked him, “So do you like men?”

“It was like the first thing he asked me,” he said to Comcast Sportsnet. “It was weird. I was just like, ‘No.’ He was like, ‘If you’re going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that’s how it is around here. You’re going to have to get used to it.’ I guess he was joking, but they just ask most of these questions to see how you’re going to react.”

On Friday, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn released a statement apologizing to Apple.

“I am really disappointed in the question that was asked by one of our coaches,” Quinn said according to ESPN. “I have spoken to the coach that interviewed Eli Apple and explained to him how inappropriate and unprofessional this was. I have reiterated this to the entire coaching staff and I want to apologize to Eli for this even coming up. This is not what the Atlanta Falcons are about and it is not how we are going to conduct ourselves.”

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Report: Bears Working with Martellus Bennett’s Agent to Trade Him

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(CHICAGO) — The Chicago Bears are reportedly trying to trade tight end Martellus Bennett.

A source tells ESPN the team is working with Bennett’s agent to find a trade partner.

While the tight end is still under contract for another year, he opted out of the voluntary off-season program in 2015 to try and get a new deal.

Bennett, who’s been with Chicago since 2013, had 53 receptions for 439 yards and three touchdowns last season.

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Connor McGregor Swings at Nate Diaz During Press Conference

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(LAS VEGAS) — Things got heated during UFC 196’s pre-fight press conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor took a swing at his opponent Nate Diaz. UFC President Dana White and others had to intervene to stop the scuffle before things escalated even more. The two meet in the octagon Saturday night.

Just 10 days before the fight, McGregor’s original opponent, Rafael dos Anjos, pulled out due to an injured foot. Diaz agreed to be the replacement despite the short notice.

McGregor, previously weighing 145 lbs, jumped to 155 to take on Anjos. With the switch, he packed on even more pounds to meet Diaz at 170 lbs, jumping a total of two weight classes.

The fight begins at 10:00 p.m. eastern at the MGM Grand.

The co-main event stars Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate.

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Sprint Cup Drivers in Las Vegas This Weekend

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) — The 2016 Sprint Cup Series season continues this weekend in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts the Kobalt 400 on Sunday afternoon. Fox’s coverage of the race begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.

After two races, defending Cup champion Kyle Busch sits atop the standings. He has a four-point lead over Kevin Harvick.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 3/3/16

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Miami 108, Phoenix 92
San Antonio 94, New Orleans 86
Sacramento 104, Dallas 101
Golden State 121, Oklahoma City 106

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Buffalo 6, Calgary 3
Boston 4, Chicago 2
Edmonton 4, Philadelphia 0
Pittsburgh 4, N-Y Rangers 1
Minnesota 2, Toronto 1
Tampa Bay 4, Ottawa 1
OT New Jersey 5, Nashville 4
OT N-Y Islanders 4, Winnipeg 3
Anaheim 5, Arizona 1
Colorado 3, Florida 2
San Jose 3, Vancouver 2
Los Angeles 3, Montreal 2

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

(14) Maryland 81, Illinois 55
(18) Arizona 64, (25) California 61
(24) SMU 80, UConn 54

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Carmelo Anthony Says Heckling Apology was Team’s Idea

Scott Clarke / ESPN(GREENBURGH, N.Y.) — New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony announced that the statement issued by the team saying that Anthony should not have responded to a heckling fan was the team’s and owner James Dolan’s idea, ESPN reports.

Anthony said that he only told a disgruntled fan to direct his issues with the failing Knicks toward Dolan at the end of the Knicks’ 104-85 loss to Portland on Tuesday.

“The Knicks,” Anthony said when asked who encouraged the statement. “It was a collaborative effort though. We sat down and we talked about it. Everybody thought it was a good idea to send that apology.”

“It was definitely frustration,” Anthony added when asked what made him talk back to the fan. “As a player, you don’t want to go through that, you don’t want to deal with that. Losing builds up. To hear from a fan, you don’t want to hear that either at that point in time.”

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NFL Appeals Court Ruling Overturning Brady’s Deflategate Punishment

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — A representative for the National Football League (NFL) appeared in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday to appeal a judge’s decision to overturn Tom Brady’s punishment in the Deflategate scandal.

The NFL suspended Brady for the first four games of the 2015 season, but Judge Richard Berman ruled in September that the New England Patriots quarterback received inadequate notice of his alleged misconduct and potential discipline. Berman also determined that Brady was denied opportunities to question one of the league’s lead investigators. The suspension was subsequently overturned, and Brady was allowed to play.

Thursday, the federal appeals court judges handling the NFL’s appeal questioned why they should “second guess” Brady’s punishment and also whether the punishment was “draconian for a few pounds per square inch.”

Paul Clement, who argued on behalf of the NFL, defended Commissioner Roger Goodell, telling the judge that Goodell could have suspended Brady for a year if he wanted to.

The judges seemed to be hardest on Jeffrey Kessler, who spoke on behalf of Brady and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).

“The evidence of ball tampering is compelling, if not overwhelming,” Judge Denny Chin said in reference to Brady.

Brady did not make an appearance in court.

The judges also questioned Kessler on why Brady destroyed his cell phone, saying it “raised the stakes” in the case. Kessler told them that Brady refused to turn over his phone due to privacy and stalking reasons.

Prior to the court hearing, in an argument to affirm the original judge’s decision to overturn the suspension, the NFLPA said Goodell failed “to observe the most fundamental requirements of fair arbitration proceedings.” In response, the NFL called Goodell’s decision “eminently reasonable” and firmly grounded in the collective bargaining agreement.

The league suspended Brady after an investigation into the team’s use of underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship game in January 2015, describing his conduct as “detrimental to the integrity of the NFL” in a statement. The Patriots were also fined $1 million and ordered to forfeit a first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and fourth-round selection in 2017.

After his punishment was overturned, Brady remained eligible to play for the 2015 season, leading the Patriots to a 12-4 record and into the playoffs, where they lost the AFC Championship to the Denver Broncos.

Despite facing relentless questioning from the judges, the NFLPA said it was “very happy with the proceeding” following today’s appearance. Requests for comment from Brady’s agent, Tom Yee, were not immediately returned.

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