Review Category : National Sports

Doctor Says Late NFL Great Ken Stabler Had CTE

Focus on Sport/Getty Images(BOSTON) — Former NFL quarterback Ken Stabler, who died last year at age 69 from colon cancer, apparently also suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University, who examined the former Oakland Raiders quarterback after his death, told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that it was clear he had CTE, which is a degenerative brain disease many believe is linked to repeated blows to the head.

“He had very substantial lesions. They were widespread. They were very classic. There was no question about the diagnosis,” McKee told Outside the Lines in an interview Wednesday. “And in some parts of the brain, they were very well established, meaning that he’d had it probably for quite some time.”

CTE has been found in more than 100 dead football players, including former Giants safety Tyler Sash, who died in fall 2015 at the age of 27.

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Vince Lombardi Trophy: A Tiffany Piece Money Can’t Buy

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It all began in 1967. As legend goes, Oscar Riedener, vice president and design director at Tiffany & Co., sat down for lunch with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozzelle in New York City. That day, the two men started a collaboration that would last 50 years and one that would create the most coveted trophy in sports history: the Vince Lombardi trophy.

“Pete had a vision for the trophy and turned to Tiffany,” Victoria Reynolds, group director of business sales at Tiffany, told ABC News. “The design was sketched on a napkin.”

Reynolds said the process of making the Super Bowl trophy has not changed from the turn of the century. The American jeweler’s silversmiths in Rhode Island hand solder heavy sheet silver, spinning, chasing and polishing the metal to create the 22-inch, 7 pound trophy. The whole process takes four months.

The trophy, which is hollow, features a regulation-size football in kicking position on top. A new trophy is made each year though the design has remained the same. After the Super Bowl winner is determined, the confetti is cleaned up and the fans go home, the trophy is returned to Tiffany to be engraved — and scrubbed clean.

“When we get back the trophy, it’s a cleaning feat extraordinaire,” Reynolds said. “We have never gotten a trophy back that does not have champagne on it.”

The Super Bowl winner, date of the championship game and final score are engraved on the trophy. Some teams prefer to keep the engraving simple; others ask Tiffany to include all the players’ names.

The trophy was named after Vince Lombardi in 1970. Lombardi, the revered football coach for the Green Bay Packers, led his players to victories in the first two Super Bowls.

Tiffany has also been commissioned to design and make Super Bowl championship rings for several teams, including by the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints.

The Lombardi trophy may have the most cachet, but the 179-year-old jeweler has also been the design force behind the World Series trophy, the MacArthur Bowl trophy (commissioned by the National Football Foundation and given to the best college football team as selected by the foundation), the NBA’s championship trophy (re-named the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy), the Samuel Rudin trophy (given to both the male and female winners of the New York City marathon), the U.S. Open Tennis Championship trophy, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, among others.

Right now, football fans can get their photos taken with the Lombardi trophy at the NFL Experience in San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. The trophy will be moved to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday, where guards will assiduously watch over it before it’s presented to its new owners.

Tiffany, of course, will happily polish the silver trophy just in case it becomes tarnished.

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Ex-NFL Players Want to Help You Find a Job

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Two former NFL teammates are tackling the world of technology with a new app called GiiG, which is designed to cut through the obstacles many job searchers and hiring managers face when looking to fill a position.

Brandon King, who began his career as a cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts and Thad Turner, who began as a defensive back, told ABC News they were the perfect partners to work together on their post-NFL venture.

The app is a one-stop platform for employers and job seekers, who can apply to jobs with one click, send a quick video pitch and even interview in the app. This is a built-in messaging feature that allows the hiring manager and job seekers to close the loop after an interview.

Turner, 28, has a background in business development and after his time in the NFL, served as a consultant for a friend who was opening a gym and to the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. King, 29, a self-described geek, said he taught himself how to code by watching YouTube videos after he left the NFL around two years ago.

“The NFL kind of spoils you, it was a great experience. I never wanted to work for anybody once I came out,” King said. “I love the freedom and that led to entrepreneurship. I had to find some way to get there so I taught myself how to code one summer.”

The transition from the NFL to being a founder may seem like two different worlds but both King and Turner said there were aspects of the NFL, such as teamwork, that helped prepare them for their next gig.

“Always outwork your opponent, just the competitive nature of it,” Turner said.

Turner said he saw the issues hiring managers faced when he worked at the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency and wanted to team up with King to help solve many of the pain points of the job search process by using technology. King got to work building the app and receiving input from his teammate along the way.

“It makes everything more convenient with them being able to engage,” King said. “A lot of people are still using Craigslist and now you have a chance to get a video and interview right from the platform. It’s a lot of information early on in the hiring process.”

Right now, many of the jobs available on GiiG are only in Atlanta, however the duo said their focus this year will be on growing the app and making more employers and job seekers around the country aware of its existence and helping them leverage the service to find the best possible talent.

When asked what advice he had for job seekers using GiiG, King, who chatted with ABC News over the app, offered these words of wisdom for making the interview a touchdown:

“Wear a nice shirt,” he said. “And treat it like any other job interview.”

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Scoreboard Roundup — 2/2/16

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Boston 97, New York 89
Houston 115, Miami 102
Toronto 104, Phoenix 97
Portland 107, Milwaukee 95
L-A Lakers 119, Minnesota 115

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

N-Y Islanders 5, Minnesota 3
Philadelphia 4, Montreal 2
New Jersey 3, N-Y Rangers 2
Pittsburgh 6, Ottawa 5
OT Toronto 4, Boston 3
Florida 5, Washington 2
Dallas 5, Winnipeg 3
St. Louis 1, Nashville 0
Chicago 2, Colorado 1
Edmonton 5, Columbus 1
Los Angeles 6, Arizona 2
Anaheim 3, San Jose 2

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

(1) Oklahoma 95, TCU 72
DePaul 77, (11) Providence 70
(14) West Virginia 81, (13) Iowa St. 76
Tennessee 84, (20) Kentucky 77
(22) Indiana 80, Michigan 67
Georgia 69, (25) South Carolina 56

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Fencer to Become First US Olympian to Compete in a Hijab

VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) — A fencer is set to become the first U.S. Olympian to compete in a hijab.

She’s already made history as the first Muslim to compete as a U.S. Olympian in fencing, but in Rio de Janeiro this summer Ibtihaj Muhammad will make history once again.

“I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender,” Muhammad writes in her USA Fencing bio. “I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”

The 30-year-old New Jersey native started her fencing career at Duke University.

“After I graduated from college, I saw there was a lack of minorities in the sport,” Muhammad told TeamUSA.org. “I recognized that I had a skill set, so I started to pursue fencing full time. I felt that it was something the squad needed. There were barriers that needed to be broken in women’s saber.”

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Kings Pull ‘Year of the Monkey’ T-Shirts on First Day of Black History Month

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A culture clash led the Sacramento Kings to cancel a T-shirt giveaway.

During Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Kings were planning to celebrate Chinese New Year with a purple monkey T-shirt giveaway for the Year of the Monkey.

Kings star player Demarcus Cousins said he found the shirts to be racially insensitive since Monday also marked the first day of Black History Month, according to ESPN.

DeMarcus voices his displeasure and to the Kings credit they pull the Monkey T Shirts… pic.twitter.com/bHSz4KVinh

— Marques Johnson (@olskool888) February 2, 2016

Some NBA players and coaches wear commemorative shirts for Black History Month as well.

Staff pulled the shirts from seats at Sleep Train Arena before fans arrived, ESPN reported.

“We all need a lesson in sensitivity,” Kings president Chris Granger said according to the Sacramento Bee. “In an effort to celebrate Chinese New Year, we had some concerns about the T-shirt giveaway, so we pulled them all before the doors opened. Certainly we don’t want to offend anybody, and we acted as soon as we heard the concern.”

NBA All-Star and former Bucks forward Marques Johnson tweeted in support of the decision.

“Good move Kings. Year of Monkey Tees on 1 st day of Black History Month not a good look. Thanks DeMarcus…” he tweeted.

Good move Kings. Year of Monkey Tees on 1 st day of Black History Month not a good look. Thanks DeMarcus… pic.twitter.com/wvqkdgdr7r

— Marques Johnson (@olskool888) February 2, 2016

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NASCAR’s Tony Stewart Hospitalized After ATV Accident

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — NASCAR driver Tony Stewart is being hospitalized after an all-terrain vehicle accident on the West Coast Sunday.

According to ESPN, the 44-year-old suffered a back injury and a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing said he was awake, alert, and able to move all his extremities.

Details on the location of the accident or where Stewart was hospitalized were not provided.

The statement also said no further information about Stewart’s condition would be given until Thursday afternoon.

“We have received word from Stewart-Haas Racing of Tony Stewart’s accident and injury,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in a statement. “On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, I wish Tony a full recovery and look forward to seeing him back in our sport when he’s ready to return.”

The NASCAR No. 14 car driver has previously announced that he would retire after this Sprint Cup season.

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Report: Johnny Manziel’s Time in Cleveland Will End in March

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(CLEVELAND) — Johnny Manziel’s future with the Cleveland Browns is not looking good. Citing a league source, ESPN reports that the quarterback will be released from the team come March.

The reported move comes after two rocky seasons for Manziel in Cleveland — both on and off the field — including failure to comply with the NFL’s concussion protocol and, most recently, an alleged assault.

In a statement Tuesday, Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown didn’t explicitly say Cleveland was considering releasing Manziel, but noted that the Heisman Trophy winner’s status with the team will be addressed at a later time.

“We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field,” Brown said. “Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time.”

The mention of league rules may indicate that the Browns are restricted by their salary cap space from letting go of Manziel on Feb. 8, when NFL teams are allowed to release players. The source says the team will make the move on March 9, when the new NFL year begins.

As ESPN explains: “Releasing Manziel in February would count $4.6 million against the cap, and due to the cap’s machinations, the Browns do not have that space — and will not have it in February. The cap will increase in March, which will allow them to release Manziel then.”

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Five Super Bowl Storylines to Watch on Sunday

Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — The score won’t be the only thing to watch when the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos face off this weekend in the Super Bowl.

Amid clashing personalities and clashing helmets, plenty of underlying themes will play out Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Battle of the Quarterbacks

The narrative of the industry old-timer against the relative newcomer holds true this year with 39-year-old Peyton Manning capping his 18th season with a trip to Super Bowl 50.

His counterpoint this year will be Cam Newton, the brash, 26-year-old leader of the Panthers who is in his fifth season with the NFL.

While this is Newton’s first trip to the big game, Manning has made a few previous appearances. This will be his fourth time going to the Super Bowl, having won his one and only ring in 2007.

They have the same pass-completion percentage at 59.8 percent for the regular season, according to the league’s website, but that is the closest point of comparison.

Injuries limited Manning to 10 regular-season games this year, while Newton played all 16, but other numbers highlight their distinct styles.

Newton is known for running with the football, accumulating 636 rushing yards this year. Manning’s total was negative 6 rushing yards. Newton also scored 10 rushing touchdowns and 56 rushing first downs.

But Newton also threw 35 touchdown passes, versus nine for Manning.

And, despite Manning’s abbreviated season, he threw seven more interceptions than Newton: 17 versus 10.

The Best Offense Versus the Best Defense

Manning and Newton are clearly the best-known personalities from their respective teams, but the teams reflect their style differences.

Both the Broncos and the Panthers finished atop their conferences, the AFC West and NFC South, respectively.

Not only that, the Panthers have the league’s highest-scoring offense, with 500 total points in the regular season and 31.3 points per game. The Broncos counter that with their defense, holding opponents to a league-low 283.1 total yards per game.

Touchdown Dance Drama

Newton’s boisterous personality shines through not only in his fashion choices, which were on display when he arrived in California wearing designer zebra-print pants, but also in his end-zone antics.

He received some criticism earlier this season for what some viewers viewed as prolonged touchdown dances.

Known for a move called “dabbing,” Newton has taken some heat for being more demonstrative on the field than most quarterbacks in the league.

Another end-zone issue that dogged Newton this year was unsubstantiated talk that he would be fined every time he handed a touchdown ball to a kid in the stands. The league has a rule banning players from throwing balls into the stands, citing crowd-control concerns, but Newton regularly hands out balls to children as part of his charity’s Sunday Giveaway program.

For his part, Newton said critics have picked on him largely because of pre-existing expectations, or lack thereof.

“I’ve said this since day one. I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” he said last week.

Will Manning Retire If He Wins?

Questions about how much longer Manning will stay in the league have been regularly raised since he underwent neck surgery in 2011.

And Manning himself hinted that this really may be his last time around.

After the Broncos beat the Patriots in the playoffs, Manning spoke to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and their exchange was caught on camera.

“Hey, listen, this might be my last rodeo. So, it sure has been a pleasure,” Manning is heard saying to Belichick.

Tying Up the Family Ring Records

Even though the rivalry on the field between Manning and Newton may be the focus of the game itself, there’s a separate rivalry going on off field, proving blood is thicker than water.

Peyton’s little brother, Eli Manning, has two Super Bowl rings himself from his time with the New York Giants, and was named the game’s MVP both times. Peyton could tie that up this week.

Either way, both sons have had more Super Bowl success than their father, Archie, who played in the league for 13 years but never made it to the big game.

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Why Stephanie McMahon Had to Fight ‘That Much Harder’ to Prove She Belonged at WWE

Desiree Navarro/WireImage(NEW YORK) — It’s no secret that the world of professional wrestling is dominated by men, but a woman is playing a key role in transforming the image of one of its most iconic organizations: the WWE.

Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of WWE legend Vince McMahon, is the company’s chief brand officer.

“Women play an integral role in WWE, both in the corporate side as well as, you know, on television …,” McMahon told Good Morning America‘s Amy Robach. “There’s a lot of girl power at WWE. And we’re proud of it.”

The interview was part of Robach’s #GIRLPOWER series, which highlights women and girls who are agents of change in fields ranging from humanitarian and public service to business and the arts.

The WWE Network — a video streaming service — launched in 2014. It is in more than 180 countries and has 1.3 million subscribers, and the goal is to take the network to the rest of the world within the next 18 months, McMahon said.

Robach asked McMahon about what women contributed in the male-dominated world of wrestling.

“I think what women bring to the table is perspective,” McMahon replied. “I think that it’s so important for women to have a voice at the table and in the room. And oftentimes, women feel insecure, like they don’t belong at the table with men. And why? Is your opinion any less valuable than anybody else’s? No. It’s actually more valuable because you’re the only woman … And I think that the best way to really come to the best decision is to have that diversity in the room.”

Robach asked McMahon whether she had to fight particularly hard for anything because of her gender.

“I think not only because I’m a woman, but because I’m the boss’s daughter, there is a perspective that everything’s been handed to me. So that makes me have to work and fight that much harder to prove why I belong,” she said.

McMahon fought her way up the ladder. She started out as an intern and even developed an on-air story line in the ring, playing a character that people love to hate.

“I think that there’s nothing more fun than what I get to do. WWE’s mission is to put smiles on people’s faces. Now, those smiles are usually at my expense in my character role, because I play a villain. I’m mean. I am really hateful,” she said, chuckling. “So it’s good if you don’t like me when you’re watching the show, it means I’m doing my job.”

Behind the scenes, McMahon said she loves being able to represent the brand before diverse audiences and venues.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” she said.

McMahon has three daughters, and under her leadership, more than 40 percent of WWE viewers are now women.

“I hope that my daughters see that you can be a strong, confident woman who’s not afraid to go out and have new experiences … I’m showing my daughters that a woman can do anything,” she said.

Robach asked McMahon whether she struggled to balance being a mother and an executive.

“Absolutely I struggle with it … I’m no different than anybody else. And it’s never going to be perfect. Sacrifices have to happen along the way, whether it’s a sacrifice at work or a sacrifice, you know, at home,” she said.

She laughingly added: “But … where I think women can be better at home is allowing our husbands to do more.”

McMahon’s husband is fellow wrestler, Triple H. Together they’re paving a new path for women in wrestling and are fighting against stereotypes with the Divas Revolution, the umbrella term used by the WWE to refer to its female performers.

“The Divas Revolution came where … we embraced our fans who asked us to do more with our female performers, to feature them as athletes, to give them more meaningful characters and story lines,” McMahon said. “They’re not just eye candy, we want more. And we are doing everything we can to super serve that need.”

McMahon said she believes “girl power” is about confidence.

“Even when we aren’t aware that we’re having an impact, we are. Little girls who see, you know, women in the ring, or they see strong female characters, that’s just the way it is. There’s no reason why they can’t be like that. You know, I think that us just having that presence means more than we even realize,” she said.

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