Review Category : National Sports

Dion Waiters Will Sit Out Next Game Following His Brother’s Death

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) — Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dion Waiters will sit out the team’s matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday as he mourns the death of his brother, ESPN reports.

Waiters said goodbye to his brother in a post on his Instagram.

“The call I just got about my lil brother wasn’t expecting this s—…..crushed my heart I never question why…. But this hurt…. I promise I got Yu mark my word….. Love Yu kid… r.i.p,” Waiters wrote.

“We feel for Dion, man,” Thunder teammate Kevin Durant said. “He’s our brother and it’s tough for anyone to go through that, and we have his back on everything. He’s got our love and support throughout it all and he knows we’re here for him.”

The Thunder organization has been rocked by tragedy over the past couple of weeks. Assistant coach Monty Williams’ wife was killed in a car accident on Feb. 9, and part owner Aubrey McClendon died in a car crash on March 2.

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Notable NFL Free-Agency Deals Ahead of Official Season Start

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With the official start of the National Football League’s 2016 season upon us, many free agents are making deals.

Here are some notable acqusitions as reported by ESPN:

  • Janoris Jenkins cashes in with the Giants, pocketing $12 million per year.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul will return to the Giants. He is expceted to sign a one-year deal for up to $10.5 million.
  • Tamba Hali will stick with the Chiefs. Hali has reached a three-year deal that will enable the linebacker to finish his career in Kansas City.
  • Offensive tackle Donald Stephenson is leaving Kansas City to sign with the Denver Broncos.
  • Chris Ivory will join Jackson Jaguars’ backfield after setting career highs with the Jets last season for carries and rushing yards.
  • Raiders acquire Bruce Irvin to pair with Khalil Mack.
  • Former Houston center/guard is headed to the Tennessee Titans on a four-year deal.
  • 42-year-old kicker, Adam Vinatieri, agreeing to a deal extension with the Colts.
  • Charles Johnson staying in Carolina, despite visiting the Giants and Buccaneers.
  • Mario Williams agrees to two-year deal with Dolphins after being released by Buffalo.
  • Leodis McKelvin headed to the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Benjamin Watson agrees to deal with Ravens.
  • Richie Incognito staying in Buffalo with a three-year deal with the Bills.
  • Malik Jackson headed to Jacksonville in a deal expected to average $15 million per season for a five- or six-year contract.
  • Kelechi Osemele to sign with Raiders in a a five-year deal reportedly worth a maximum $60 million.
  • Roman Foster is sticking with the Steelers, after nailing a three-year deal.

Free-agent signings will be made official Wednesday afternoon, when the new league year officially begins.

To follow all of the NFL’s free agent acquistions and ESPN analysis click here.

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Pop Warner Youth Football League Settles First Concussion-Related Lawsuit

iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wis.) — The Pop Warner youth football league has settled its first concussion-related lawsuit.

The suit was filed in Wisconsin federal court in February 2015 by the mother of 25-year-old Joseph Chernach. Chernach played in Michigan for Pop Warner — the largest youth football league in the United States — for four years starting when he was 11.

He committed suicide on June 7, 2012, and was later diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.

CTE has been found mostly in athletes who play contact sports, such as football. The issue has become a significant concern for professional and youth athletes.

Chernach’s mother, Debbie Pyka, described seeing a sudden change in her son during his time in college.

“I just couldn’t understand why a happy kid turned into someone so depressed,” she said in an interview with ABC News last year.

The family sued Pop Warner for $5 million. The lawsuit claimed Pop Warner failed to properly train coaches, use the “safest helmets” or “enforce limitations on hitting in practice.”

The suit also claimed Pop Warner’s conduct was “deliberate, an actual disregard of the plaintiff’s right to safety, health or life….”

It is not clear when the suit was settled or for how much. Citing confidentiality agreements, the Chernach family declined to comment to ABC News.

In an interview with ABC News last year, the family’s lawyer, Gordon Johnson, said: “Pop Warner allows children who still have to sit in the backseat of a car to play tackle football with helmets — that is the problem.”

Johnson added: “We just want to children to play. We don’t want children to engage in combat.”

ABC News legal expert Dan Abrams said the settlement was “entirely a financial decision by Pop Warner” and said it could “encourage other parents to file suit against Pop Warner or others.”

In a statement to ABC News, Pop Warner wrote that it was committed to the safety of its players and had led the way in making the youth football safer.

“We have established protocols and rule changes aimed at improving coaching education, limiting contact and requiring any player who suffers a potential head injury to be examined by a medical professional trained in concussions before returning to play. Combined with our coaches education through Heads Up Football, we are focused on making this game accessible and safer for those who love football,” the statement added.

In 2010, Pop Warner began benching any player suspected of having a concussion and not allowing him or her to play until he or she is cleared by a doctor.

In 2013, the league put limits on contact during practices. The rule changes prohibit full speed head-on blocking or tackling drills in which players are lined up more than three yards apart. The amount of contact allowed at each practice was reduced to a maximum of one-third of the practice time.

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Furniture Row Racing Withdraws Appeal of Penalties

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — Furniture Row Racing has withdrawn its appeal of the penalties handed down by NASCAR last week against Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief.

Cole Pearn was suspended for one Sprint Cup Series race and fined 50 thousand dollars. He will now serve that suspension this weekend and will miss the Cup race at Phoenix. Former FRR crew chief Todd Berrier, now with Joe Gibbs Racing, will fill in for him.

NASCAR had also docked Truex 15 driver points and penalized Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser 15 owner points.

The penalties stemmed from a violation, involving the roof flap of Truex’s car, that was discovered during a pre-race inspection for last month’s Sprint Cup event at Atlanta.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 3/8/16

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Toronto 104, Brooklyn 99
San Antonio 116, Minnesota 91
Atlanta 91, Utah 84
Denver 110, New York 94
OT Portland 116, Washington 109
L-A Lakers 107, Orlando 98

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Columbus 5, Detroit 3
N-Y Rangers 4, Buffalo 2
2OT Carolina 4, Ottawa 3 (SO Carolina 2-1)
N-Y Islanders 2, Pittsburgh 1
OT Boston 1, Tampa Bay 0
OT Montreal 4, Dallas 3
Nashville 4, Winnipeg 2
San Jose 3, Edmonton 0

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Pelicans Guard Eric Gordon Out for the Season for Broken Finger

Stacy Revere/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) — The New Orleans Pelicans have lost shooting guard Eric Gordon for the season because of a broken finger.

The 27-year-old fractured his right ring finger during Saturday night’s loss against the Utah Jazz. According to a statement, he underwent a successful surgery on Tuesday to fix the fracture.

He broke the same finger earlier in the season causing him to miss 16 games.

Gordon has averaged 15.4 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 45 appearances out of 62 games.

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Minnesota Vikings Release Wide Receiver Mike Wallace After One Year

Jon Durr/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) — After only a year with the Minnesota Vikings, wide receiver Mike Wallace has been released.

The team announced the news on Tuesday and will now have $11.5 million in salary cap space for next season without the 29-year-old.

During his short run with the Vikings, Wallace caught 39 passes for 473 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was with the Miami Dolphins from March 2013 to 2015 until he was traded to the Vikings.

The Vikings also announced Tuesday that T Austin Wentworth would be waived.

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Sponsors Drop Support for Maria Sharapova After Positive Drug Test

Joe Kohen/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — After Maria Sharapova’s shocking announcement that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, many of her sponsors have begun to pull their support.

Sharapova, who is the highest paid female athlete in the world, is already facing suspended sponsorships from Nike, Porsche, and more.

On Monday, the 28-year-old tennis star revealed that she did not look at a list of changes to drug tests for 2016, and was taking meldonium for 10 years prescribed to her by a doctor for “several health issues” that was not on the banned substances list.

“I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game,” she said Monday.

Nike suspended its sponsorship with Sharapova Monday night. A statement from Nike Media Relations said, “We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova. We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

A statement from Porsche said, “We regret the current news about Maria Sharapova. Until we know further details and can analyse the situation, we’ve decided to suspend planned activities.”

According to BBC, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer’s sponsorship with Sharapova expired in December, but the company would not renew “in view of the current situation.”

Evian, another Sharapova sponsor, did not say if the company was severing ties with the athlete.

“We were surprised by the announcement from Maria Sharapova at her press conference on March 7th 2016,” said a statement. “Evian has partnered with Maria Sharapova for several years and to this day we’ve had a trustworthy professional relationship. Evian attaches great importance to the health, integrity and transparency and we will closely monitor the progress of the investigation.”

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FIFA Match Agent Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A FIFA match agent pleaded guilty to corruption charges on Tuesday, marking the 42nd individual charged in the sweeping investigation into soccer’s international governing body.

Miguel Trujillo pleaded guilty “to one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with his participation in multiple schemes to bribe soccer officials,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement Tuesday.

He also pleaded guilty to tax charges and agreed to forfeit $495,000.

Trujillo arranged soccer matches between clubs that belong to different FIFA associations. Since 2008, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York said he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to high-ranking FIFA officials for the media and marketing contracts for those matches.

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Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson Announces Retirement

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(ALLEN PARK, Mich.) — After nine seasons in the NFL, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is retiring.

“After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football,” Johnson, 30, said in a statement Tuesday. “I have played my last game of football.”

“Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision,” he continued. “As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.”

The Lions said Johnson filed his retirement papers with the league on Tuesday, a day before the new league year begins.

Reflecting on his career, the six-time Pro Bowler thanked his family, teammates, coaches and fans.

“I loved playing in Detroit and will forever be a Lion. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to help give our fans a championship,” Johnson said. “But I do believe the future of the Lions is bright and with the leadership from people like Rod Wood and Bob Quinn, who I have gotten to know over the past few months, I am confident that our fans will soon be rewarded with the championship you deserve.”

He concluded, “From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for everything.”

Nicknamed “Megatron,” Johnson was drafted by Detroit in the first round in 2007. In his nine-season career, he had 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns.

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