Review Category : National Sports

Boston Red Sox Acquire Drew Pomeranz from San Diego Padres

Drew Pomeranz (13) competing in the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)(BOSTON) — In the final season of Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz’ career, his team is doing all it can to put themselves in position to win the World Series.

On Thursday, the Boston Red Sox traded one of the top prospects in all of baseball, 18-year-old pitcher Anderson Espinoza, for left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres. The Red Sox are currently in a three-way heat for the American League East title, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays and two games behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said he would have preferred to trade three less highly-touted prospects for Pomeranz, but that “that wasn’t appealing to San Diego. They really wanted more of the focus of the premium guy.”

Pomeranz is expected to make his Boston debut at home on Wednesday, facing the San Francisco Giants.

ESPN MLB Insider Keith Law listed Espinoza 14th on his midseason prospects list. The hurler was one of the most talented arms in Boston’s system and had been compared to Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez.

Pomeranz, once a highly-touted arm himself, built up his value in the first half of this season. He had been a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians, and pitched in the majors for the Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics. He had a career 4.60 ERA before this year, but ranks second in the major leagues this year in opponents’ batting average (.184) and opponents’ On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage (.555).

Pomeranz has now been traded four times in his career.

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ESPN: Broncos to Offer Von Miller $70 Million Guaranteed

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(DENVER) — The Denver Broncos and linebacker Von Miller could reach an agreement on a contract ahead of the Friday afternoon deadline for the Super Bowl MVP to avoid the franchise tag and sign a long-term deal.

ESPN reports that the Broncos offered Miller $70 million in guaranteed money as part of a six-year $114.5 million deal with the sides agreed to in June. The deal would make Miller the highest paid non-quarterback in league history based on guaranteed money.

The offer Denver made to Miller in June included just $39.8 million guaranteed in the first two years.

Miller had been designated as the team’s franchise player after the Super Bowl in February, which came with a one-year guaranteed tender of just about $14 million. He vowed, however, not to play the upcoming season under the franchise tag, prompting negotiations on a long-term contract.

Denver’s first-round pick in 2011, Miller has recorded 60 sacks in his five years in the NFL. He played a key role in the team’s dominant defense last season, and earned the Super Bowl MVP award after his sack and forced fumble against Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton created the team’s first score in the Broncos’ 24-10 win in Super Bowl 50.

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Athletes Reach Back to Push Conversation About Racial Violence Forward

ESPN(LOS ANGELES) — The era of “commerce over conscience” still appears to be slowly waning in U.S. sports, after NBA star LeBron James and others took the stage at ESPN’s ESPY Awards to make a powerful appeal for an end to violence in the aftermath of deadly police-involved shootings across the country.

“It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to make change, and renounce all violence,” James, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ star, told the audience at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles Wednesday night. “We all have to do better.”

Dressed in black tuxedos, James and fellow basketball stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade mentioned the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando in May, as well as last week’s fatal shootings of two black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota and the five law enforcement officers who were shot and killed in Dallas.

The four urged their peers to promote social change, too, referencing several high-profile athletes in the past who were also outspoken activists.

“Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and countless others, they set a model for what athletes should stand for,” Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers said. “So we choose to follow in their footsteps.”

Their message was candid and forthright, more so than an Instagram post. But it was still carefully planned and crafted. The four men had approached ESPN about opening the awards show with this statement.

Carmelo, LeBron, Dwyane Wade & Chris Paul asked to open the ESPYs w/this speech on race/the police. Wanted to call other athletes to action.

— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 14, 2016

Those Who’ve Come Before Them

There have been sporadic and less upfront protests against racism by athletes leading up to this moment. In 2012, James and Wade led the Miami Heat in wearing hoodies in protest of the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen who was fatally shot by a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer while wearing a hooded sweatshirt in Florida.

Some athletes have walked out onto the field with their hands in the air in “don’t shoot” poses. Some have worn T-shirts to games saying “Black Lives Matter” or “I can’t breathe,” referencing Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in a white police officer’s chokehold in New York. Others have posted their statements on social media.

Last weekend, Anthony used Instagram to call on his fellow athletes to “step up and take charge” in the wake of violence. The post has been “liked” more than 75,000 times.

“Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change,” Anthony wrote. “There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone.”

Accompanying Anthony’s striking statement was a photo of the “Ali Summit” in 1967, when top black athletes met with boxing legend Muhammad Ali to show their support for his controversial decision to refuse to fight in the Vietnam War. It was a time when sports stars were less calculated in their political stances and seven-figure endorsement contracts weren’t at stake.

Giving Honor to the ‘GOAT’

Ali became known for his work in and out of the boxing ring. The three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, who died last month, was an outspoken critic of war and racism, and he didn’t let his career compromise his views or his faith. Three years after converting to Islam, Ali refused to submit to the U.S. Army draft in 1967 to fight in Vietnam.

He was eventually arrested and convicted for evading the draft. But the boxer fought his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where his conviction was ultimately overturned. In the meantime, Ali was banned from boxing in the United States and was stripped of his world heavyweight title.

Ali didn’t mince words when explaining his opposition to the war in a statement he released in March 1967, shortly before reporting to the Military Entrance Processing Station in Houston, Texas, where he refused to step forward as officials called his name for induction.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” Ali wrote.

This upfront activism seemed to fade from U.S. sports by the 1990s, when basketball legend Michael Jordan famously told a friend, “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” after he declined to endorse Harvey Gantt, a black Democratic candidate seeking office in North Carolina.

The quote, when mentioned during an interview with NPR, bothered basketball Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a longtime friend of Ali who attended the “Ali Summit.”

“You can’t be afraid of losing shoe sales if you’re worried about your civil and human rights. He took commerce over conscience. It’s unfortunate for him, but he’s got to live with it,” Abdul-Jabbar told NPR last November.

Jordan has since joined the political conversation about gender. Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, recently issued a statement on behalf of himself and his team opposing a law in North Carolina that says people must use public restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate, not the gender with which they identify.

‘We All Have to Do Better’

Abdul-Jabbar, 69. presented a tribute in memory of Ali at the 2016 ESPY Awards Wednesday night.

“Some people revel in it. Some people aren’t so comfortable with it. Muhammad Ali spoke fearlessly about injustice and he sacrificed tremendously for his principles,” Abdul-Jabbar said from the stage. “At this day in age, at this moment of history, that’s what I hope everyone remembers. We’re never going to see his likes again waking down the street. But I hope his death spurs his successors to remember what truly made him The Greatest.”

James and others also honored the late boxer and global humanitarian for driving social change, no matter the cost or controversy.

“Tonight we’re honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT [greatest of all time],” James told the audience. “But to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as a call to action to all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence and, most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them.

“We all have to do better.”

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Chaos at Tour de France After Leader Crashes Bike, Then Continues on Foot

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There was pandemonium Thursday at one of the most anticipated stages of cycling’s biggest event of the year when overzealous fans blocked the course, leading to a crash that forced the overall leader of the race to run up the mountain sans his bike.

During a grueling ascent up Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France’s 12th stage, cyclist Chris Froome and two other riders got tangled up with a motorcycle, which reportedly stopped suddenly due to spectators encroaching into the road. The crash happened less than 1 kilometer to the finish line.

News coverage showed footage of a rider slamming into a cameraman, and photos posted to social media show fans standing dangerously close to the course holding signs.

.@ChrisFroome à pieds dans le final de l’étape / @ChrisFroome is running in le Ventoux 💪 #TDF2016https://t.co/o3fgyrRRST

— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 14, 2016

After Froome eventually got a replacement bike from a team car following the racers, he crossed the line 1 minute and 40 seconds behind one of the riders who crashed with him and 44 seconds behind the other rider who crashed with him, according to the BBC. But race officials eventually gave all three riders the same time.

That means Froome kept the yellow jersey, worn by the rider leading the so-called general classification.

Cyclists have expressed anger toward overzealous spectators taking selfies throughout the race, saying it’s dangerous when the fans turn their backs away from the speeding bikes to get a photo. On Saturday, Froome was fined by race officials for punching a spectator who ran alongside Froome on another mountain ascent, almost snagging Froome’s handlebars in the flag that the spectator was carrying.

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ESPYS 2016: Jimmy V. Award Winner Craig Sager Vows to ‘Live My Life Full of Love’

Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images(LOS ANGELES) — Sportscaster Craig Sager spoke of the importance of staying positive while accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2016 ESPYS in Los Angeles Wednesday night.

The Turner Sports reporter, who revealed earlier this year that his leukemia is no longer in remission, explained that his cancer battle has taught him to see each day as a blessing.

Though Sager acknowledged that hardships that have come with fighting the disease, he added that “time is simply how you life your life.”

“If I’ve learned anything through all of this, it’s that each and every day is a canvas waiting to be painted — an opportunity for love, for fun, for living, for learning,” he told the crowd at the Microsoft Theater. “I will continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life as life sucks the marrow out of me.”

He added, “To everybody out there, we are making progress — incredible progress…We are going to find a cure for cancer. But we need your help.”

Sager, 65, paid tribute to his wife, children and other loved ones, and thanked the athletes in the audience for making his job fun. He also urged the audience to continue to donate to cancer organizations to find a cure for the disease, and promised to continue to live his life with a positive attitude.

“I will live my life full of love and full of fun,” he concluded. “It’s the only way I know how.”

Vice President Joe Biden introduced Sager, calling him “a man of courage and loyalty with a hell of a team behind him.” Biden also referred to his late son, Beau Biden, who died last year from brain cancer at the age of 48.

“Till the end, my Beau worried about his family more than himself,” he said. “He lived his entire life by my father’s code, which was, ‘Never complain, never explain, just get up.'”

The Jimmy V Award is given to someone in sports who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination. It is named for Valvano, the NCAA-winning coach who gave an emotional acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPYS that included his famous words “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up!” He died of cancer later that year.

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ESPYs 2016: Biggest Moments from the Show

Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images(LOS ANGELES) — Top athletes from LeBron James to Bryce Harper gathered together in Los Angeles on Wednesday night for the 2016 ESPY Awards.

The show, which featured poignant moments and laugh-out-loud jokes, was hosted by John Cena and was broadcast live on ABC.

[ESPYS 2016: Complete Winners List]

For those who missed the ESPYS or simply want to relive the show, here were five of the top moments of the night:

1. Zaevion Dobson’s mother and NBA players called to end gun violence: The ESPYS opened on a serious note, with NBA stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony calling for an end to police brutality and gun violence. They also urged their fellow athletes to affect change in their communities. “The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new,” Anthony said, “But the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”

Not long after, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage was awarded to 15-year-old Zaevion Dobson, a high school athlete who was killed by stray bullets last year while protecting two young women. His mother, Zenobia Dobson, echoed the players’ sentiments, and pressed for harsher gun laws. “All the athletes in this room — you have a lot of power. People look up to you. I know Zaevion did, and I urge you to think tonight about why he died and what you can do tomorrow to prevent the next innocent young man or woman from being lost as well,” she added.

2. Joe Biden awarded the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance to Craig Sager: Sportscaster Craig Sager, who is battling leukemia, was awarded the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance by Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son Beau last year to brain cancer. In an emotional speech, Sager thanked his family for their support and spoke at length about the importance of keeping a positive attitude. “If I’ve learned anything through all of this it’s that each and every day is a canvas waiting to be be painted – an opportunity for love, for fun, for living, for learning,” he said. “I will live my life full of love and full of fun. It’s the only way I know how.”

3. Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant and Abby Womach win the Icon Award: Justin Timberlake presented the Icon Award to Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant and Abby Womach, all of whom retired this past season. After a moving montage of the athletes’ accomplishments, Bryant, whose name was chanted by the audience, received one of the biggest laughs of the night after poking fun of himself in his acceptance speech. “It’s amazing to be standing here alongside Abby and Peyton. Abby decided to retire after a compelling World Cup victory. Peyton hung up his cleats after an yet another impressive Super Bowl win…. For me, I tend to do things a little differently,” he said. “I felt an impressive 17-for-65 season would be a bold statement to wrap up my 20-year career.”

4. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrated another big night: Just one month after taking home the NBA championship trophy, the Cleveland Cavaliers and MVP LeBron James won big yet again. James won all three ESPY Awards for which he was nominated, including Best Male Athlete, and the team won two, including Best Team.

5. Stars pay tribute to Muhammad Ali: At the end of the show, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke lovingly of his friend, the late Muhammad Ali, before Chance the Rapper performed a song intermixed with the boxer’s interviews. After telling a story about watching Ali perform magic tricks, Abdul-Jabbar marveled at his “ability to make the impossible seem real” in all aspects of his life. He also praised Ali for using his celebrity to enact change. “He spoke fearlessly about injustice and he sacrificed tremendously for his principles,” he said. “In this day and age, at this moment in history, that’s what I hope everyone remembers about Muhammad Ali. We’re never going to see his likes again walking down the street, but I hope his death spurs his successors to remember what truly made him the greatest.”

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NASCAR Driver Michael McDowell and Wife Adopt a Son from China

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NASCAR driver Michael McDowell and his wife Jami McDowell have adopted a 3-year-old boy from China, reports NASCAR.com. Jami has traveled there to bring home their new son, Lucas.

The McDowells currently have three children, Trace, Emma and Rylie. When the couple had their first child they decided to go the adoption route.

Michael says, “That was our plan.” He explains, “We were going to have one and then we were going to adopt one. We felt like with our lifestyle and travel and everything, two is manageable. But God had other plans, and while we were waiting we had two more, so now we’ll be at four. And four is not manageable on the road and all those things. But at the same time, I’m very thankful to be in this sport and have the opportunities that I have.”

Michael adds, “My wife does a great job of caring for our children when I’m out racing around, and I work really hard to be there and be available during the week when I’m not at the shop and not taking care of my [racing] obligations.”

He concludes, “It’s not going to be easy; it’s going to be a challenge. We knew that and were aware of that, but at the same time, it’s going to be worth it.”

Michael currently splits time in the Circle Sport Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Chevrolet in the XFINITY Series.

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Football Player Zaevion Dobson, Killed While Shielding Others, Honored With Arthur Ashe Courage Award at 2016 ESPY Awards

FultonFootball/Twitter(LOS ANGELES) — Zaevion Dobson, the 15-year-old Tennessee high school football player who was killed by gunfire last December while protecting two young women, was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2016 ESPYs.

His mother, Zenobia Dobson, and his two brothers accepted the award in his honor.

In her speech, Zenobia Dobson, who also lost her 12-year-old nephew to a drive-by shooting earlier this year, called for harsher gun laws and urged athletes to do what they can to improve their communities.

“I’m here to fight back. We as a country need to take a stand to consider the effects of gun violence on families throughout America,” she said to wild applause. “All the athletes in this room — you have a lot of power. People look up to you. I know Zaevion did, and I urge you to think tonight about why he died and what you can do tomorrow to prevent the next innocent young man or woman from being lost as well.”

Dobson’s speech was the similar in tone to the one delivered by Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James at the start of the show, calling for an end to police brutality and gun violence. Like Dobson, they encouraged their fellow athletes to use their influence for good.

“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do. But that’s not acceptable,” James said. “It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing to create change?’ Let’s use this moment as call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence.”

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ESPYS 2016: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony Call for an End to Violence

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — National Basketball Association stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony opened Wednesday’s 2016 ESPYS on a somber note, acknowledging the recent police killings of two black men and the sniper attack in Dallas that left five police officers dead.

“We can’t ignore the reality of the current state of America,” Anthony said at the start of the ceremony — an acronym for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award — held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and hosted by John Cena. “The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust, and anger that plague so many of us. The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”

“Enough is enough.”

Powerful message from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. #ESPYS pic.twitter.com/i1sTZTi8ny

— ESPYS (@ESPYS) July 14, 2016

The four NBA stars called for an end to police brutality and retaliatory violence, and encouraged their fellow athletes to use their influence for the greater good.

“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do. But that’s not acceptable,” James said. “It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing to create change?’ Let’s use this moment as call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence.”

James continued, “And most importantly, go back to our communities invest our time, our resources and help rebuild them. Help strengthen them. Help change them. We all have to do better.”

Paul acknowledged the recent fatal shootings by police of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, and said that he, Wade, James and Anthony wanted to follow in the footsteps of athletes like Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali and affect change.

“Generations ago legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, and Tommy Smith, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and countless others, they set a model for what athletes should stand for so we choose to follow in their footsteps,” Paul said.

Wade also took on the heated topic of racial profiling head-on.

“The racial profiling has to stop,” he said. “The shoot to kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention in Orlando, it has to stop.

Wade added, “Now, as athletes, it’s on us to challenge each other to do even more than what we already do in our own communities and the conversation cannot, it cannot stop as our schedules get busy again. It’s wont always be convenient it won’t it won’t always be comfortable but it is necessary.”

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HS Athlete Slain While Shielding Others from Gunfire to Receive ESPY Courage Award

FultonFootball/Twitter(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) — A Tennessee high school football player who died last December while shielding three girls from gunfire will receive this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs Wednesday night.

Zaevion Dobson died while shielding three girls, who were unharmed, from gunfire when several men drove into his neighborhood and opened fire, according to Knoxville police. Police believed the shootings were gang-related and Zaevion, only 15 at the time, was not specifically targeted.

Zaevion’s mother, Zenobia Dobson, will accept the award on her son’s behalf Wednesday night when the ESPYs honor the teen’s courageous act.

Zaevion’s brothers, Zack Dobson and Markastin Taylor, will also attend Wednesday’s ceremony hosted by WWE star John Cena, ESPN announced in a statement.

“Zaevion’s actions to risk his own life for others demonstrate the true meaning of the word courage, and his boundless bravery has inspired many. We are proud to honor him with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYs,” ESPYs Executive Producer Maura Mandt said. “By celebrating Zaevion’s legacy, we hope to bring more attention to this serious issue and continued focus on the tragic loss of lives to gun violence.”

Zaevion was a sophomore in high school and played for the Fulton High School football team, coached by Rob Black, who will also attend the award ceremony Wednesday night, according to his Twitter account.

Zavion’s passing has deeply affected his community, and raised calls from the Knoxville mayor and President Obama to end gun violence.

“He was really one of our success stories,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “Involved in sports, a mentee of one of our organizations in town. But still he falls victim to this.”

Obama honored Zaevion in a tweet, saying, “Zaevion Dobson died saving three friends from getting shot. He was a hero at 15. What’s our excuse for not acting?”

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