Review Category : National Sports

Philadelphia 76ers Land First Overall Draft Pick

Lou Rocco/ESPN Images(PHILADELPHIA) — Following three consecutive dismal seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have finally landed the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The top spot was announced Tuesday night in New York during the NBA Draft Lottery. Going into the night, the 76ers had a 26.9 percent chance of being awarded the first pick.

#PHILAfirst pic.twitter.com/3eJBolBRbg

— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) May 18, 2016

The No. 1 selection gives Philadelphia a chance to rebuild after winning just 47 games over the past three seasons. This past season alone, the team finished 10-72.

Coming in second place in the draft lottery was the Los Angeles Lakers, followed by the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves. The New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks rounded out the top 10.

The 2016 NBA Draft will take place June 23 at 7 p.m. in Brooklyn, New York.

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2016-2017 NASCAR Next Class Revealed

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — NASCAR on Tuesday announced its 2016-2017 NASCAR Next class — an initiative designed to spotlight rising young stars in the sport.

Among the 11 drivers named to the class: Julia Landauer, who once competed on the reality show Survivor.

There are two international drivers, including Alon Day, a native of Israel.

You can check out the entire NASCAR Next class on NASCAR.com.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 5/17/16

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

INTERLEAGUE
Arizona 5, N-Y Yankees 3
L.A. Dodgers 5, L.A. Angels 1
Cleveland 13, Cincinnati 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Houston 6, Chi White Sox 5
Oakland 8, Texas 5
Seattle 10, Baltimore 0
Tampa Bay 12, Toronto 2
Detroit 7, Minnesota 2
Kansas City 8, Boston 4

NATIONAL LEAGUE

San Francisco 5, San Diego 1
Pittsburgh 12, Atlanta 9
Philadelphia 3, Miami 1
N-Y Mets 2, Washington 0
Milwaukee 4, Chi Cubs 2
Colorado 3, St. Louis 1

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS

Cleveland 115, Toronto 84

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

San Jose 4, St. Louis 0

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US Launches Investigation Into Allegations of Russian Doping

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have started looking into allegations of widespread, government-sponsored doping by Russian athletes who compete internationally, ABC News has learned.

The inquiry, first reported by the New York Times, will have prosecutors for the Eastern District in Brooklyn investigate whether American banks were somehow used to facilitate illegal doping, and if any Russian athletes who participated in doping competed on U.S. soil.

The Eastern District in Brooklyn is the same office that launched an inquiry into corruption within FIFA, soccer’s governing body.

When asked about the investigation, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York told ABC News, “It is DOJ policy that our offices do not comment on investigations; therefore, I could not confirm or deny any matter regarding your inquiry about an investigation as reported in that article.”

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MLB Suspends Rougned Odor for 8 Games for Punching Jose Bautista

Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Texas) — Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor has been suspended by Major League Baseball for eight games after Sunday’s brawl against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The news comes a day after the second baseman said he did not regret punching Jose Bautista in the face after a hard slide from the Toronto outfielder to stop a double play at the top of the eighth inning in Sunday’s game.

“I can tell when someone is coming hard to second base, so I was just trying to protect myself,” Odor said Monday according to ESPN.

Players from both sides of the field rushed to the field, and Odor and Bautista were ejected from the game along with Toronto’s Josh Donaldson and Texas bench coach Steve Buechele.

Bautista was suspended by MLB for one game “for his actions during the incident and for his postgame comments.”

Both Odor and Bautista have appealed the suspensions, according to MLB.

When asked Monday if Odor regretted anything that happened, he said, “No,” according to ESPN.

A total of 14 players and staff members of the Rangers and the Blue Jays were disciplined for their roles in Sunday’s brawl. Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez was given a three-game suspension for “intentionally throwing” at the Rangers’ Prince Fielder. Rangers shortsop Elvis Andrus was also suspended for one game “for his aggressive actions during the incident.”

“In addition, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has received a three-game suspension and first base coach Tim Leiper has received a one-game suspension,” said a statement from MLB Tuesday. “Gibbons returned to the field after being ejected earlier in the game and incited further fighting. Leiper returned to the dugout following his ejection. Both Gibbons and Leiper also have received undisclosed fines.”

Fines were given to Rangers pitchers Matt Bush, Sam Dyson, and A.J. Griffin; catcher Robinson Chirinos; and Buechele.

Blue Jays members who were given fines included Donaldson, outfielder Kevin Pillar, and bench coach DeMarlo Hale.

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John McCain Calls for Hearing on Pro Sports and Prescription Drug Abuse

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Sen. John McCain is calling for a congressional hearing on the links between professional sports and prescription-drug addiction, expanding on existing efforts to address opioid abuse and injuries suffered by players in the NFL and other pro sports.

“As a specific relation to professional sports, frankly, I don’t think they’ve done enough” to address painkiller addiction, McCain said on the ESPN/ABC podcast Capital Games.

The Arizona senator said he wants to see the Senate Commerce Committee – a panel he once chaired – to convene broad hearings on drug abuse and addiction, in addition to major injuries such as concussions. McCain last month held a news conference with former athletes to call on the NFL to cooperate more fully in regards to brain research.

“I’d like to see more attention on the Congress on this whole unique aspect and dangers and hazards that are true in professional sports, especially the contact sports,” McCain said. “Why don’t we make people aware of the dangers of these painkillers, of getting hooked on them? Why don’t we do a better job of awareness?”

NFL officials in particular have begun to focus more on chronic brain injuries, McCain said, particularly after reaching a nearly $1 billion settlement with former players suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

“I’m sure it’s got their attention and I think they are making some progress,” he said.

McCain was also asked about how Donald Trump, a former team owner in the USFL, might approach issues involving pro sports as president. You can download “Capital Games with Andy Katz and Rick Klein” HERE.

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Forget Red Cards: Soccer’s New $500K Green Card for Wealthy Foreigners

Orlando City(ORLANDO, Fla.) — While refs are handing out yellow and red cards to misbehaving soccer stars, wealthy foreigners in expensive seats at Orlando, Florida’s newest soccer stadium could be seeing their own Green Cards, courtesy of the U.S. government, after dropping $500,000 into a controversial immigration program for the rich.

Major League Soccer’s Orlando City club is the first major sports team to use the EB-5 visa program to help fund its planned state-of-the-art, 25,500-person stadium, currently under construction, according to a report by The New York Times.

The EB-5 program is a fast-tracked path to residency in the U.S. that begins with an offer to a wealthy foreign national to invest half-a-million dollars in an approved project and receive legal status to live in the U.S. for two years. If the investment is shown to have created 10 American jobs, the investor can receive a much-sought-after Green Card — permanent residency.

Advocates say the program creates thousands of American jobs and supports a wide range of business ventures that may have never gotten off the ground. But some critics say the program amounts to little more than the sale of U.S. residency to the rich over those with less means, and could represent a dire security threat.

The EB-5 program was the subject of an ABC News investigation in which whistleblowers said it was being used by immigrants suspected of involvement in fraud, money laundering and child pornography and could be exploited by spies or even terrorists. For instance, as ABC News reported in February 2015, an internal Department of Homeland Security document said officials had begun looking into the possibility that the EB-5 program was “abused by Iranian operatives to infiltrate the United States.”

Months later, Senior Special Agent Taylor Johnson in the Department of Homeland Security said she found visa applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan and Malaysia who had been approved in as little as 16 days, even though their applications “lacked basic law enforcement screening.”

“During the course of my investigation it became very clear that the EB-5 program has serious security challenges,” she told lawmakers in June 2015.

Flavio Augusto da Silva, majority owner of the Orlando City club, defended the use of the program.

“For us, it was a business decision,” he told The New York Times. “There was already a demand from people who want to move to the U.S., have a Green Card and have a good opportunity to participate in the growth of the club.”

Orlando’s mayor, Buddy Dyer, said the deal appeared to be a “win-win-win for everybody,” according to the Times.

The Times reported that in addition to the government benefits of the EB-5 program, investors in the stadium will also receive club seats for 10 seasons. Thirty investors already are involved, ponying up $15 million — about 10 percent of the projected cost for the stadium.

A spokesperson for Orlando City confirmed the Times report but declined to comment further to ABC News.

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Alabama Lineman Cam Robinson Arrested on Drug, Weapons Charges

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(MONROE, La.) — An Alabama football player was arrested and reportedly held in police custody Tuesday morning on charges of possession of a controlled substance, illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen gun, ESPN reports.

A police officer arrested Alabama All-SEC left tackle Cam Robinson in his hometown of Monroe, Louisiana, after approaching the vehicle Robinson was driving at a closed park and detecting “the strong odor of marijuana,” according to a police report. Robinson’s teammate and backup defensive back Laurence “Hootie” Jones, an alleged passenger in the vehicle, was also arrested on possession of a controlled substance and illegal carrying of a weapon.

The officer, the report claims, recovered a bag of marijuana and a handgun that were both in plain sight. A stolen handgun was also found under the passenger seat. The stolen handgun carries a felony charge, while the discovery of marijuana and the other handgun will carry misdemeanor charges.

Now in his junior year, Robinson has started in every game since his freshman season in 2014, according to ESPN.

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Report: Atlanta Braves Fire Manager Fredi Gonzalez

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(ATLANTA) — Following a dismal start to their season, the Atlanta Braves have let go of their manager Fredi Gonzalez, a source tells ESPN.

His firing comes after the Braves lost 8-5 to the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday night, pushing the team’s record to 9-28 — the worst in the league.

Gonzalez, 52, has been with Atlanta since 2011. Before that, he managed the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) from 2007 to 2010.

According to MLB.com, Brian Snitker, the manager for Atlanta’s Triple-A team the Gwinnett Braves, has been named the interim skipper.

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NASCAR Reveals Rule Changes to Reduce Downforce and Side Force

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — NASCAR has revealed some rule changes intended to reduce downforce and side force ahead of this weekend’s All-Star events at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In changes that will take effect for the rest of the season, teams must now weld truck trailing arm mounting brackets to prevent movement, and limit the number of cooling fans for brakes, NASCAR.com reports.

Gene Stefanyshyn, senior vice president of innovation and racing development for NASCAR, tells the website that some fans had “actually been creating downforce on the car.”

NASCAR also introduced rear toe alignment changes meant to decrease the amount of skew, or slant, allowed in a car’s setup.

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