Review Category : National Sports

Tom Brady’s Deflategate Appeal Denied

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Barring an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is all but certain to sit out the first four games of the season when football resumes in September.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Wednesday rejected Brady’s attempt to reconsider an earlier ruling that upheld his four-game suspension over a conspiracy to deflate footballs. In a single paragraph decision, the court said “the petition is denied.”

The quarterback had argued that the commissioner exceeded his authority, and said the decision to punish him affected the rights of all unionized employees.

If Brady wants to continue a multi-million dollar legal battle he can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Otherwise, he would sit out the Patriots’ September season opener against the Arizona Cardinals and subsequent games against the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills.

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Tenor Draws Controversy with Changed Lyric During All-Star Game National Anthem Performance

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — A Canadian singing quartet is facing criticism for a changed lyric in its pregame performance at Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game in San Diego.

The Tenors were singing the Canadian national anthem, when one member of the group changed a lyric and held up a sign proclaiming All Lives Matter. Remigio Pereira unexpectedly sang, “We’re all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great.”

The change caused a stir in the crowd, and after it aired in Canada social media lit up with mostly negative comments. The band said the actions of the singer were shameful and he won’t perform with The Tenors until further notice.

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NASCAR Announces Promotions with Competition Team

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — NASCAR on Tuesday announced a series of promotions within its organization.

Elton Sawyer has been promoted to the role of Vice President, Officiating and Technical Inspection. He previously served as Managing Director of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Among the other promotions: John Probst has joined NASCAR as Managing Director, Competition and Innovation. His past work includes serving as Technical Director for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

“With today’s announcement, NASCAR has aligned the Competition department to meet the ever changing and challenging needs of a highly competitive sports landscape,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.

You can read the full announcement on NASCAR.com.

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Kobe Bryant, Wife Expecting Third Child

Eddie Perlas / ESPN Images)(LOS ANGELES) — Newly retired basketball star Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, are expecting their third child.

Vanessa made the announcement on Instagram Tuesday. “Beyond blessed and excited to share that we are expecting our third baby girl!!! #blessed #babymamba #thankful,” she wrote.

The couple currently has two daughters.

Bryant retired after the most recent NBA season. The Los Angeles Lakers great is set to be honored at the ESPYS Wednesday night.

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Report: Manny Pacquiao Coming Out of Retirement to Fight in the Fall

Jason Kempin/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) — Manny Pacquiao is coming out of retirement.

The 37-year-old, who was recently elected to the Philippines Senate, will un-retire to fight in a match likely in the fall, according to ESPN.

Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, told ESPN there was no set opponent yet, but he was working to come up with a match that worked with his busy senate schedule.

“Manny wants to come back. The problem is he can only come back if it doesn’t interfere with his senate duties,” Arum said according to ESPN. “We had penciled him in for Oct. 15 at Mandalay Bay but we were informed that is no longer possible because he has to spend that week leading up to Oct. 15 formulating the budget in the senate and doing the votes.”

Pacquiao first retired from boxing in April after winning his third fight against Timothy Bradley Jr.

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Court Documents Say Joe Paterno Knew of Jerry Sandusky Abuse in 1976

Rob Carr/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) — Newly released court documents say Joe Paterno allegedly knew about assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s predatory conduct earlier in his career.

According to victims’ depositions, the former Penn State football head coach may have been aware of child sexual abuse by Sandusky in 1976, almost four decades before he was brought to trial.

A man identified as John Doe 150 said in a 2014 deposition he told Paterno that Sandusky penetrated his rectum with his finger while he showered at a Penn State football camp.

“…Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, ‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?'” a lawyer for Penn State’s insurance carrier asked John Doe 150 according to the documents.

“Specifically, yes,” he replied.

In 2011, Paterno told a grand jury he first learned of Sandusky’s predatory conduct in 2001. He was fired in November 2011, and died two months later after complications from lung cancer.

The Paterno family released a statement Tuesday that said in part, “The overwhelming evidence confirms that Joe Paterno never engaged in a cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes.”

“The materials released today relating to Joe Paterno allege a conversation that occurred decades ago where all parties except the accuser are now dead,” the statement said. “In addition, there are numerous specific elements of the accusations that defy all logic and have never been subjected to even the most basic objective examination. Most significantly, there is extensive evidence that stands in stark contrast to this claim.”

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John Cena Talks ESPYS, His ‘Accidental’ Career and When to Retire

Kohjiro Kinno / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — John Cena leans over and caresses his grande Starbucks coffee with both hands like it’s the WWE Heavyweight Championship belt. For a man who has won more than 20 titles in his 14 years in pro wrestling, this is saying a lot, but at this very moment, caffeine is worth its weight in gold.

On the day Cena is in New York promoting the upcoming ESPY Awards, he’s been up since 2 a.m., has flown cross country with a crazy plan to fly back that night to do his West Coast media day. After that, it’s off to Tokyo for a match, then back to the States for Monday Night Raw. Such is life for wrestling’s biggest draw.

“For the last three weeks, I’ve done … fly to China … fly to France … fly to Tokyo, and all things in between,” he said. “It’s just to the point where I have to now see things in front of me like I just ask for copies of our daily schedule because I have to compartmentalize like, ‘OK, make it to 5 p.m. We’re good. I’m gonna be alright.'”

Cena’s wearing a white-collared shirt, a gray, pinstripe suit and talks like the VP of marketing for a Fortune 500 company. This is a polarizing contrast for a man who has dominated a billion-dollar sport for more than a decade with a finishing move once called “The FU” and that doesn’t stand for Florida University.

But maybe the contrast isn’t so surprising.

The 39-year-old Massachusetts native is the latest in a line of wrestling stars that have bridged the gap between sport and entertainment. Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are just a few of his predecessors. But Cena is different, very different.

Why is he at the brink of exhaustion, spread so thin, when he clearly has the cache to fully transition into acting, brand promotion or even the WWE front office? The man’s all about lifting his sport up and don’t expect him to walk away from the ring anytime soon.

The 2016 ESPYS

The coveted award show that honors the best and brightest in the sports world could be perceived as the culmination of a career that he has built to this point. Featured roles in films like Trainwreck and Sisters, alongside the best in comedy like Tina Fey and Amy Schumer, coupled with a career in front of millions of adoring fans and a brand that is forged on the principals of “Hustle, Loyalty and Respect” are just a few of Cena’s accomplishments.

So, hosting a national event should be the launching pad any entertainer craves to take it to the next level. Not for Cena, who carries the weight of an industry on his very broad shoulders. He also wears his heart on his enormous sleeves.

“I love what I do so much, and I’m not ignorant to how sports entertainment is perceived,” he explained. “So, an opportunity like this from ESPN to kind of captain the ship on the biggest night of sports and entertainment … it’s vehicles like that that can help change perception, and I don’t look at it like a career goal, I look at it as appreciation for not just myself, for everybody.”

The “perception” that pro wrestling has, that Cena is very open to talking about has slowly changed over the years because of the tireless efforts of its key athletes.

“There’s a lot of situations because we do all of our own promotion, so you can catch certain superstars at media days, at local signings, even just in airports, on the street, in hotels, at restaurants after the shows,” he said. “So it is a real family connection. I think that’s what makes the WWE universe so passionate. They feel like when they get a guy or gal to cheer for, they truly feel like it’s their guy or their gal.”

And that fan base, unlike any other sport, cuts across all demographics and age groups, something this giant, yet approachable superstar completely grasps.

“I’ve met fans that are 9 months old to 90 years old,” he added. “It transcends language because you can essentially watch our show and not understand what people are saying but because we have the ability to use sport for entertainment. You can say, ‘Wow, that guy broke the rules. I don’t like that guy’ or ‘This guy fights this way. I like this guy.'”

And Cena takes care to dabble in side projects that he feels passionate about like hosting the ESPYs. Money and a fast buck do not factor into his decision making.

“Twelve years at the top … I’m doing OK,” he said. “The Miz [Michael Mizanin] returned [the other night] on ‘Raw’ and he pulled me aside and he was like ‘Hey man, congrats on the hosting gigs.’ … ‘I hear through the grape vine you were doing “Predator” with 50 Cent.’ I’m like ‘No, man. … I don’t like doing action,’ and he’s like ‘but that will be such a great opportunity.'”

Cena agrees, but he’s also all in with the WWE and doing smaller roles in films like Daddy’s Home, where he’s only in one scene, is where he thinks his talents are best suited. He’s also quick to admit, “if I f— that up I don’t deserve another chance.”

“I run away from enough bullets in the ring, right now it’s not something I want to do away from it. Being able to control a live crowd at the ESPYs, that’s fun. … I just want them to be like, ‘Oh wow, that was a fun ride. The kid did alright,'” he added.

Will He Ever Walk Away?

No matter what you think about pro wrestling, John Cena is 39 years old and has taken his share of beatings in the ring. Just earlier this year, he underwent shoulder surgery but came back earlier than expected to the delight of fans. But is he heading into the twilight of his career? He doesn’t seem to think so.

“It’s taken years and I still can’t jump the hurdle,” he said. “Everybody’s like ‘OK, when are you getting out of wrestling to do movies?’ And they’re baffled when I’m like, ‘I’m not!’ I want it to be acceptable to do both. Why would I turn off 650 million global viewers? Why would I turn off half a billion social accounts? Why would I turn off the fun?”

At the time of the interview, before his video went viral, he said, “All morning, we filmed the PSA advertisement on patriotism. I showed up to the arena last night for ‘Raw’ in the nick of time, like hit the ground … and I’m so exhausted, I’m back there just trying to shake the cobwebs. And the horns hit and then they start singing ‘John Cena sucks’ and it’s like you become alive. And why would I want to shut that off?”

“I’m going to do this as long as I physically can,” he added. “There is a definitive end in sight. But man, I’m gonna milk it for all that it’s worth. And not like, ‘I’m gonna hang on to my spot man.’ … I just want to be involved, I want to be able to contribute because the noise and the appreciation, like that is such wonderful psychology to be able to manipulate.”

The injuries may be have obvious setbacks, but it’s not something on Cena’s mind.

“I think the second that I become self-aware of like, ‘Hey man, what you’re doing is extremely physical.’ That’s the second where my approach to the creative process will change, the product will change … and that’s when the people say, ‘OK, he’s missing stuff,'” he said.

‘Accidentally’ a Legend

Cena got into wrestling like most people would pick up a hobby.

It was “absolute chance,” he said, adding, “no bulls—.”

“I graduated from college with a degree in ex-phys and kinesiology, because it was learning to work out and I already knew how to work out. So, I just wanted an easy degree. I’m sorry but that’s just the way it was,” he said matter-of-factly.

After visiting the West Coast one weekend, he was hooked. At just 21 years old, his father “gave me two weeks.”

“I wish I had four hands to hold up four middle fingers to my dad [at the time],” he added. “‘You don’t know nothing, old man.’ So, I left with 500 bucks and an Army duffle bag, and hit ground in Santa Monica and just started working. No career, just working a job to make money to stay out there to spite my father and the jobs were taking me nowhere. I took the California Highway Patrol exam and didn’t pass, so I tried to be a cop and failed.”

His next move was the Marines, but then fate stepped in.

“I used to work at Gold’s Fitness. I would work the front desk. I was the mayor. I knew everybody. … That was a time when like attitude was at zenith like 1999, 2000. So I mean everybody watched [wrestling], but so did I. And we would just talk about ‘Raw.’ And this kid was like, ‘You know I’m training to be a wrestler? Would you want to do that?’ This was before ‘Tough Enough’ or any of that. I didn’t know you could train to be a wrestler,” he said.

“I was already up to my eyeballs in debt, but I leveraged every credit card I had … paid a promoter out in southern California, and learned the trade,” he said. “Had we never had that conversation, I would have probably been honorably discharged or medically discharged from the Marines.”

He was hooked.

“I knew I was never going to have a real job,” he said.

The Side Most People Don’t See

Cena said that in five years, he’d still like to be doing this same balancing act in and out of the ring.

“I would like to be able to sit at this table and confidently say, ‘See! You can do it all!'” he said, laughing.

The man is humble when it comes to his obvious business acumen, but when partnerships with China and licensing merchandise are brought up, Cena has a full-fledged plan in mind. From “calculated risks” on new shows to analyzing the organization’s subscriber base, he has knowledge of the how the sport operates and sells.

“I design all my own merchandise. … I come up with the marketing of it and … I’m really in tune to our live event. … I love the business,” he said. “You gotta work hard now because the entertainment business, you know, it’s not guaranteed.”

And though Cena appears in reality shows like Total Divas opposite his girlfriend of three years, Nikki Bella, he said “when I go home I turn it off.”

“It seems like I shoot that program a lot [but] they use every frame that I’m in,” he said. “Nicole and Brianna are gifted in that space. … And to do that, they need to showcase their real lives, and I’m part of Nicole’s life. I’m not good at that. It took me a lot of finesse to be like, ‘OK, we’re gonna show people behind the curtain.'”

Cena’s “not there yet,” when it comes to being comfortable opening up his private life to the world.

“When I go home I don’t have any people who visit my house. There’s no wrestling memorabilia, nothing to remind me of my accomplishments, no awards,” he said. “Every accolade I’ve ever received, every military achievement I’ve ever been given, or challenge coin, is all in a small little office at the gym, that I do cherish, but you need to turn it off.”

The John Cena you don’t see is studying other languages, “trying to mess around with the piano a little bit” and other hobbies you may be surprised by.

“I don’t ever want to maybe con myself into thinking, ‘No, I’ve done enough. Look at all this stuff,” he adds.

July 13

With the biggest night in sports just hours away, Cena was very honest when he was given the hosting duties for the 24th ESPY Awards.

“The first thing I did when I sat down with the writing team is like, ‘Guys, I don’t know what I’m doing. You guys know what you’re doing. I would like to have a successful show. How do we do this?'” he said.

“I know that I love live audiences, I love live shows. … I love to show a different side of myself,” he added, citing fans for some time in wrestling itching to see him become a bad guy. “I can’t. But I can over here. … So I think it’s a great way to satisfy my own creative urges of wanting to be a bad guy, and satisfying the consumer of like, ‘Will this guy ever change his demeanor?’ Yes, you just gotta go over here to see it.”

And just like in the ring, Cena wants everyone to bring on the constructive criticism.

“I wanna be tagged on the chin, I wanna be tagged on the nose, no pun intended, because I’m going to tag them,” he said of being playful and fun with other celebs and athletes. “I tell them, ‘You say whatever you want just remember, I’m coming for you.'”

The ESPYs airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Russell Wilson Reveals His Favorite Part of Tying the Knot with Ciara

Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — It’s hard to believe that Russell Wilson and Ciara could possibly pick a favorite part of their wedding, which, from the pictures, seemed to be straight out of a fairy tale.

But the lucky man told E! News that one moment in particular stood out.

“To share a special moment and a lifetime with somebody that you truly love and really cares about you is amazing,” Russell told E! News. “That’s what everybody is searching for. I found that. I was fortunate and blessed to find that and the best part was watching her walk down the aisle.”

He added: “Just to see her face and the long train she had. And then Earth, Wind and Fire took the night away.”

Though the two are getting back to real life, with Wilson preparing to host the Nickelodeon 2016 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, it’s safe to say their fairy tale will continue.

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Gymnast Simone Biles Aims to Make History at 2016 Olympics

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Simone Biles is doing things no other gymnast has ever done.

She hasn’t lost a competition in three years. She even has her own move called “The Biles,” a gravity-defying feat that no one else even dares trying.

“She flips backward with a straight body two times, and on the second flip, she does a half turn and she lands forward,” said her coach Aimee Boorman. “So she’s going backwards. She’s like arched backwards, and she flips and then starts her second flip. And before she finishes the second flip, she turns her body.”

And just this past weekend, she took one more step towards the one thing she hasn’t yet achieved — an Olympic medal. Biles qualified for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team and is heading to Rio next month for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“Sometimes I hear the crowd cheering and most of the time your body’s on auto pilot so sometimes even after I do a floor routine, I’m like, ‘Did I really just do that?’” Biles said. “But it’s very exciting to hear the cheering crowd and stuff like that.”

Biles’ talent and her medals have caught the attention of corporate sponsors, including Tide Pods.

In 2012, Biles was too young to compete in the London Games, but since then, she has been on fire.

The 19-year-old gymnast is a three-time all-around World Gymnastics champion, the first woman to win the title three times in a row. She has earned 14 medals in the World Championships, 10 of which are gold.

She said she works 32 hours a week and she’s been home-schooled since she was 16 years old to focus on gymnastics.

“I was missing out on public school and going to the football games, prom or homecomings,” Biles said. “But I’ve been to three World Championships … so I think it’s like a win-win.”

Béla Károlyi, who has coached nine Olympic champions, including greats like Romanian Nadia Comaneci, said Biles compares to the very best in Olympic gymnastics history.

“Nadia back at the time was considered the absolute perfection,” Károlyi said. “Then Mary Lou [Retton] at her time was considered the wonder child of gymnastics, and now Simone’s time is coming up [to be] considered absolutely the best gymnast in the world.”

Biles’ mother, Nellie Biles, said she was “always jumping, always flipping” from the time she was a little girl.

“I don’t think Simone ever walked up the stairs,” she said.

But discovering gymnastics came as an accident.

“Simone went on a field trip,” Nellie Biles said. “And that day they were supposed to go to a ranch, but it was very hot, and because it was an outdoor trip, it got cancelled, and so they did an indoor trip instead and then ended up going to Bannon’s Gymnastix.”

“I still recall Simone coming home with a note,” she continued. “And it was a note saying … ‘Would we consider her joining the gym?’”

Simone Biles’ biological grandparents adopted her from foster care when she was 5 years old. With their unwavering support, Biles thrived.

“They always travel to my meets and do whatever they need to do for me,” she said. “So I’m really grateful for that and I think whenever I go out and compete, they get very excited when I do well because they know all I put in.”

Boorman remembers when she saw Biles for the first time when she was just 6 years old.

“I was, like, ‘What is with this kid?’” she said. “She did a round-off back handspring her very first time in class, and she said, ‘My brother taught it to me in the backyard.’ So it didn’t take long before we pulled her to have her evaluated for team.”

It’s her handsprings, perfected, that set Biles apart, Boorman said.

“You know how some people have incredible balance? Well, imagine having balance without your feet on the ground while flipping and twisting and knowing exactly when you have to bring your feet down to the floor so that you don’t die,” Boorman said.

Boorman said she knows the countless hours Biles has put in at the gym have been tough on her, forcing her to miss out on certain teenage moments.

“She saw her friends that she grew up with going to prom and homecoming and all that stuff, and she didn’t get to participate in any of that, so I know it was a struggle,” Boorman said. “She is a major rock star. I mean, when you have people like Mary Lou Retton and Béla Károlyi, saying that, you know, she’s probably the greatest gymnast they’ve ever seen in their lives, that’s a really big deal.”

Biles is the favorite to win gold in five of the six Olympic events next month. She needs just three gold medals to become the most decorated American gymnast of all time. Given the chance to take on that Olympic podium, she said she would be very emotional.

“You just kind of feel everything like all your hard work put into that one moment and especially with the team you all get to share that memory together and remember forever,” she said.

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