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1 hour ago

Olympics 2021: U.S. Water Polo makes history with 25-4 win over host Japan

The U.S. women's water polo team made Olympics history with its dominant 25-4 win over host Japan in its opening match of the Tokyo Games. The comfortable victory saw the U.S. topple a number of records at the Games as the team starts the chase for a third consecutive gold medal in women's water polo. Head coach Adam Krikorian challenged the players in the buildup to Saturday's opener at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre by saying "pressure is a privilege," and the athletes answered with a commanding win. In what the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) called the "most prolific offensive attack in Olympics history," the victory saw the U.S. score a record 25 goals (surpassing the 16 scored by China and Australia at the London Games in 2012) and the most goals in a half, 14, four more than the previous record of 10. The 21-point victory also overtook Australia's 16-3 win over Great Britain in 2012 as the most one-sided win in Olympics history. Maggie Steffens and...
1 hour ago
1 hour ago

Tokyo 2020: US Water Polo makes history with 25-4 win over hosts Japan

The U.S women's water polo team made Olympics history with their dominant 25-4 win over hosts Japan in their opening match of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The comfortable victory saw the U.S. topple a number of records at the Games as they start the chase for their third consecutive gold medal at the Olympics. Head coach Adam Krikorian challenged the players in the build up to their opener on Saturday at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre by saying "pressure is a privilege," and the athletes answered with a commanding win. In what the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) called the "most prolific offensive attack in Olympics history" the victory saw the U.S. score 25 goals (surpassing the 16 scored by China and Australia at London 2012) and the most goals in a half, following their 14 against Japan, four more than the previous record of 10. The 21-point victory also overtook Australia's 16-3 win over Great Britain in 2012 as the most one-sided win in Olympics...
1 hour ago
2 hours ago

Tokyo braces for typhoon, reschedules Olympic rowing events

Tokyo 2020 is bracing itself for a typhoon that is set to hit the city early next week, and organizers have already pre-emptively moved around the rowing schedule in anticipation. Olympics organizers have shifted Monday's races to Sunday, with other heats moved forward to Saturday. With the competitors already battling high temperatures in Tokyo, the local organizing committee is also now preparing for a typhoon to hit the Olympics early next week. "Unlike an earthquake, we're able to predict the path of a typhoon so we can make plans, and indeed when it comes to rowing, as a preventative measure, we have decided to change the schedule for the event," said Takaya Masa, spokesperson of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee. "Changing the schedule is not a rare event, and we understand the burden it'll have on athletes. We're looking closely at the path of the typhoon to make decisions as preventative measures. Should it make land, there could be damages, and if that's going to be the...
2 hours ago
4 hours ago

Montreal Canadiens select Logan Mailloux in NHL draft despite teen's 2020 trouble in Sweden

Logan Mailloux was selected by the Montreal Canadiens with the 31st overall pick in the NHL draft Friday night, despite the Canadian teenager asking teams not to pick him after he was fined for an offense of a sexual nature in Sweden last year. Mailloux, 18, was fined by Swedish police for showing a photo to his teammates via Snapchat that depicted him and a woman engaged in a consensual sexual act. The photo was taken without consent of the woman, who went to local police. Mailloux was not arrested but was fined for invasion of privacy and defamation. When he returned to North America, he found NHL teams asking about the incident in pre-draft interviews. After multiple media reports chronicling what happened in Sweden were published, a dozen teams vowed not to have Mailloux on their draft boards. Mailloux decided to "renounce" himself from the draft, in a highly unusual move, because he was still eligible to be drafted. "The NHL draft should be one of the most exciting...
4 hours ago
July 23

Tokyo Olympics hand out 1st gold medal

The first medal events took place Saturday.
July 23
Qian Yang, of China, reacts after winning the gold medal in the women's 10-meter air rifle at the Asaka Shooting Range in the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo.
July 23

Buffalo Sabres select Michigan Wolverines defenseman Owen Power with No. 1 overall pick

The Buffalo Sabres selected University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power with the first pick in the NHL Draft on Friday night. Power, 18, was the No. 1 ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. His selection marks just the fourth time in NHL history that an NCAA player has gone first overall, joining forward Joe Murphy (1986, Detroit Red Wings), goalie Rick DiPietro (2000, New York Islanders) and defenseman Erik Johnson (2006, St. Louis Blues). The 6-foot-6 defenseman is the second blueliner the Sabres have taken first overall in the last four drafts, joining 2018 No. 1 pick Rasmus Dahlin. Power is just the third defenseman to be drafted first overall since 2007. Power played 26 games for Michigan as a freshman last season, tallying 16 points. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, he appeared in 10 games for Team Canada at the IIHF world championships, playing alongside NHL players. His mobility and size have...
July 23
July 23

Some players say Los Angeles Angels failing in treatment at minor league level, as GM vows to address it

While consolidating the minor leagues during the 2020 season, Major League Baseball claimed that reducing and realigning its developmental leagues would increase player salaries at all levels, increase condition standards at ballparks and clubhouses, and create lower operating costs for teams. Some minor league players in the Los Angeles Angels organization say that is not happening for them. Kieran Lovegrove, an active pitcher for the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, said he is living with six other teammates in a three-bedroom apartment, sleeping on a twin mattress, with one person sleeping in the kitchen and two others in the living room. Others like Shane Kelso -- who spent part of the 2021 season with the low-A Inland Empire 66ers, another Angels affiliate, before retiring due to the living conditions for players -- said four teammates bunked in a camper van in a trailer park while others lived out of cars. "It's gotten to the point now where there are guys who are...
July 23
July 23

Hearing for restraining order requested against Trevor Bauer postponed until Aug. 2

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, embroiled in controversy in the wake of sexual assault allegations that triggered an ongoing criminal investigation, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday to contest the restraining order that had been placed against him in a civil hearing. Bauer wore a burgundy suit while sitting alongside his legal team and kept his gaze forward throughout a half-hour proceeding that ultimately led to a postponement, seemingly avoiding eye contact with the woman who has accused him of sexual assault. The hearing was pushed back to the morning of Aug. 2 after one of Bauer's attorneys, Shawn Holley, requested more time to prepare a defense against witnesses and exhibits that she claimed to have received only recently. Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman set aside Aug. 2, 3 and 19 for the hearing, which is expected to take between two and three days. The temporary restraining order against Bauer will remain in place until the hearing is...
July 23
July 23

Washington Nationals' Starlin Castro has administrative leave extended seven days by Major League Baseball

Washington Nationals infielder Starlin Castro's administrative leave was extended an additional seven days Friday by Major League Baseball through July 29 under its domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. The leave began July 16 under the policy adopted by MLB and the players' association in 2015 and can be the initial step leading to a longer suspension. Castro, 31, was placed on the restricted list June 16 due to what manager Dave Martinez at the time said were "family matters.'' The infielder was reinstated two days later and pinch hit that night against the New York Mets. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that he doesn't plan on having Castro back with the team this season. Castro is hitting .283 with three home runs and 38 RBIs in 87 games this season. He is in his second season with the Nationals after stints with the Cubs, Yankees and Marlins. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
July 23
July 23

New York Mets acquire Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Rich Hill in three-player deal

The pitching-thin New York Mets acquired left-hander Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. The Mets sent reliever  Tommy Hunter and minor league catcher Matt Dyer to the Rays. It's the second trade in two days for the Rays, who acquired slugger Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins in a four-player trade Thursday. Hill, 41, is 6-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 19 starts for the Rays this season. He had been scheduled to start Friday's game against  Cleveland. Hill has pitched just 95⅓ innings this year under limits imposed under the Rays' pitching strategy. This will be his 11th big league team in a 17-season career. "I think a lot of people in the game know the name -- guy that's been around, pitching good baseball, pitching playoff baseball,'' Mets manager Luis Rojas said. "It's a great fit, great acquisition. Our front office is being diligent. One of the needs we've talked about is our starting pitching need and this is a...
July 23
July 23

Miami Dolphins sign ex-Seattle Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin to one-year deal

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins signed former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin to a one-year deal Friday after a successful team visit. The Dolphins also signed veteran cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc on Friday and waived defensive end Nick Coe and long snapper Rex Sunahara in corresponding moves. Griffin had his left hand amputated at age 4 because of amniotic band syndrome, a congenital condition that has left him frequently in pain and with limited function. Now, he joins the Dolphins right before training camp with hopes of making the roster. The signing doesn't guarantee Griffin will be on the Dolphins' final 2021 roster, but it does give him an opportunity to use his pass rush ability and special teams acumen to compete for a depth role. Griffin wasn't tendered by the Seahawks as a restricted free agent this past spring, so he became an unrestricted free agent. After visiting multiple teams this offseason, he...
July 23
July 23

Native American community welcomes Cleveland baseball team name change

The team's new name will be the Guardians, Tom Hanks announced in team video.
July 23
The Cleveland Indians announce their name change to the Cleveland Guardians during a press conference at Progressive Field on July 23, 2021, in Cleveland.
July 23

Rick Dennison out as Minnesota Vikings assistant after refusing COVID-19 vaccine, sources say

EAGAN, Minn. -- After refusing to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, Rick Dennison is out as a  Minnesota Vikings assistant coach, sources told ESPN on Friday. Dennison had served as the Vikings' offensive line coach/run game coordinator the past two seasons. In a statement Friday, the Vikings said they were still in discussions with Dennison about the league's COVID-19 protocols. Another coach in the league,  New England Patriots co-offensive line coach Cole Popovich, also won't be with his team in 2021 in a decision related to the COVID-19 vaccine and NFL guidelines, league sources confirmed to ESPN. The vaccine is required for all Tier 1 staff, including coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts. Players are not required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but will face strict protocols during training camp and throughout the season that vaccinated players will be able to forgo. In a memo released by the league this summer, the NFL said any...
July 23
July 23

New York Mets finalizing deal for Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Rich Hill, sources say

The New York Mets are finalizing a deal to acquire left-handed starting pitcher Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays, sources told ESPN. Reliever Tommy Hunter and minor league catcher Matt Dyer are headed back to the Rays, sources told ESPN. It's the second trade in two days for the Rays, who acquired slugger Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins in a four-player trade on Thursday. Hill, 41, is 6-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 19 starts for the Rays this season. He had been scheduled to start Friday's game against the Cleveland Indians. Hunter, 35, previously pitched for the Rays in 2017. The 14-year veteran has made four appearances for the Mets this season and hasn't allowed a run. The right-hander has a career ERA of 4.04. The 22-year-old Dyer, drafted by the Mets in the fourth round in 2020, is hitting .194 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs for Single-A St. Lucie this season. The first-place Mets are in desperate need for starting...
July 23
July 23

Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams unlikely to agree to extension at this time, sources say

The Green Bay Packers and star wide receiver Davante Adams are not expected to reach agreement on a contract extension at this time, sources told ESPN. Adams, 28, is scheduled to be paid a base salary of $12.25 million and can make an additional $500,000 in roster bonuses in 2021, the final season of a four-year, $58 million extension he signed in 2017. He has been selected to the past four Pro Bowls and will earn an additional $250,000 if he is selected again this season. With an average salary of $14.5 million per year, he has slipped to No. 18 on the receiver pay scale. Adams' contract talks have been impacted by the uncertainty of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' situation. Rodgers turned down a two-year extension that would have tied the reigning MVP to the Packers for five more seasons and made him the highest-paid player in football, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The extension would have provided the Packers salary-cap relief and possibly...
July 23
July 23

Sources: Miami Dolphins signing ex-Seattle Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin to one-year deal

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins are signing former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin to a one-year deal after a successful team visit, sources told ESPN. Griffin had his left hand amputated at age 4 because of amniotic band syndrome, a congenital condition that has left him frequently in pain and with limited function. Now, he joins the Dolphins right before training camp with hopes of making the roster. The signing doesn't guarantee Griffin will be on the Dolphins' final 2021 roster, but it does give him an opportunity to use his pass rush ability and special-teams acumen to compete for a depth role. Griffin wasn't tendered by the Seahawks as a restricted free agent this past spring, so he became an unrestricted free agent. After visiting multiple teams this offseason, he has found a home in Miami. Griffin became the first player with one hand to be drafted in the NFL's modern era when the Seahawks chose him in the fifth round in 2018,...
July 23
July 23

MLB to test electronic device for catchers to give signals to pitchers

The practice of catchers using their fingers to flash a combination of signs for pitchers to decipher, a strategy that is almost as old as the sport itself, could be on the verge of becoming obsolete. Major League Baseball will begin testing new technology that allows catchers to electronically communicate signs to pitchers at one of the lower minor league levels within the next couple of weeks, a system designed to both quicken the pace of play and suppress illegal sign-stealing methods. A memo introducing the new system, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, was sent to officials of the eight teams that make up the Class A California League on Friday. In it, MLB announced plans to begin testing on Aug. 3 a pitcher-catcher communication device developed by a company called PitchCom. The system, which passed safety tests conducted at the UMass Lowell Baseball Research Center, consists of a transmitter that is worn on a catcher's wristband and two receivers that fit within the...
July 23
July 23

Former salesman pleads guilty to role in doping racehorses

He faces up to three years in prison and forfeited $3 million.
July 23
In this May 4, 2019, file photo, Country House #20, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat, crosses the finish line to win the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. A stewards review disqualified Maximum Security #7.
July 23

Cleveland changing name from Indians to Guardians after 2021 season

Known as the Indians since 1915, Cleveland's Major League Baseball team will next be called the Guardians. The ballclub announced the name change Friday with a video on Twitter narrated by actor Tom Hanks, ending months of internal discussions triggered by a national reckoning by institutions and teams to permanently drop logos and names considered racist. The name change is effective at the end of the 2021 season. Cleveland's new name was inspired by the large landmark stone edifices -- referred to as traffic guardians -- that flank both ends of the Hope Memorial Bridge, which connects downtown to Ohio City. As the team moved closer to making a final decision on the name, team owner Paul Dolan said he found himself looking closely at the huge art deco sculptures. "Frankly, I hadn't studied them that closely until we started talking about them and I should emphasize, we're not named after the bridge, but there's no question that it's a strong nod to those and...
July 23
July 23

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas could miss NFL games after ankle surgery, source confirms

METAIRIE, La. --  New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas underwent ankle surgery in June and could miss time at the start of the season as a result, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. Thomas, 28, was plagued by the ankle injury throughout last season, and ESPN's Adam Schefter had  previously reported that he was expected to undergo surgery to repair the torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his ankle. It is unclear why Thomas had surgery so late in the offseason, but the goal is a full recovery. Thomas missed nine games over two stints on injured reserve last season after initially injuring the ankle in Week 1. He finished with 40 catches for 438 yards in the regular season and didn't catch his first touchdown pass until the playoffs. Not having Thomas available would increase the degree of difficulty for Saints quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill as they battle to replace the retired Drew Brees. The...
July 23
July 23

Source: Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns on the verge of making SEC move

Texas and Oklahoma could make their move to the SEC official in a matter of weeks, ESPN has confirmed. The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that a Big 12 source believed talks between the SEC and the two schools had been ongoing for more than six months, though SEC member  Texas A&M had been left out of the discussions. An SEC source told ESPN's Heather Dinich that it's inaccurate that A&M was left out of the conversation. The report also said the move could become official in a matter of weeks. A high-level administrator said his understanding of the situation mirrors that timeline. A Big 12 source told Dinich that neither Texas nor Oklahoma has officially expressed its desire to leave to the rest of the conference membership. ESPN reported Thursday that both Texas and Oklahoma would likely owe the Big 12 upward of $76 million apiece to buy out the remainder of their grant of media rights agreement, which runs until 2025. A new agreement with the SEC,...
July 23
July 23

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas could miss games after ankle surgery, source confirms

METAIRIE, La. --  New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas underwent ankle surgery in June and could miss time at the start of the season as a result, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. Thomas, 28, was plagued by the ankle injury throughout last season, and ESPN's Adam Schefter had  previously reported that he was expected to undergo surgery to repair the torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his ankle. It is unclear why Thomas had surgery so late in the offseason, but the goal is a full recovery. Thomas missed nine games over two stints on injured reserve last season after initially injuring the ankle in Week 1. He finished with 40 catches for 438 yards in the regular season and didn't catch his first touchdown pass until the playoffs. Not having Thomas available would increase the degree of difficulty for Saints quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill as they battle to replace the retired Drew Brees. The...
July 23
July 23

Source: Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns on verge of making SEC move

Texas and Oklahoma could make their move to the SEC official in a matter of weeks, ESPN has confirmed. The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that a Big 12 source believed talks between the SEC and the two schools had been ongoing for more than six months, though Texas A&M had been left out of the discussions. An SEC source told ESPN's Heather Dinich that it's inaccurate that A&M was left out of the conversation. The report also said the move could become official in a matter of weeks. A high level administrator said his understanding of the situation mirrors that timeline. A Big 12 source told Dinich that neither Texas nor Oklahoma has officially expressed their desire to leave to the rest of the conference membership. ESPN reported Thursday that both Texas and Oklahoma would likely owe the Big 12 upwards of $76 million apiece to buy out the remainder of their grant of media rights agreement, which runs until 2025. A new agreement with the SEC, however,...
July 23
July 23

IOC VP Anita DeFrantz cautions Olympic athletes not to protest on the podium

As the Tokyo Olympics begin, the highest-ranking American on the International Olympic Committee cautioned athletes that the medal podium is no place for political statements, and suggested the IOC itself has no business in politics -- even when a host country, such as China, home to the Winter Games in February, stands accused of genocide. The strikingly blunt apolitical case made by Anita DeFrantz, an IOC vice president, mirrors the position of the Switzerland-based association that controls the Games, and comes as the delayed Tokyo Olympics play out amid a pandemic-related state of emergency and lingering global social unrest. "The podiums belong to no one," DeFrantz said during a recent ESPN interview. "If you are fortunate enough to stand on one and you get to soak in that moment for the rest of your life, that moment is yours, but the podium is not yours." That position will likely be tested in the next few weeks by athletes displaying support for Black Lives Matter and...
July 23
July 23

Olympics welcome skateboarding as one of newest sports

The sport will be making its debut in Tokyo.
July 23
Jagger Eaton of the United States practices on the skateboard street course ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games on July 21, 2021, in Tokyo.
July 22

Tom Brady, champion Bucs get glitzy Super Bowl LV rings honoring historic hometown win

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sporting brand-new Super Bowl LV rings to pay tribute to the NFL's first league championship won in a team's own stadium in front of hometown fans. The rings, unveiled Thursday night in a private ceremony for players, coaches, front-office members, team employees and their families, feature removable tops that allow you to see an entire replica of Raymond James Stadium, with everything from the 50-yard line to seats. The 319 diamonds, which include 15 karats of white diamonds and 14 karats of yellow diamonds, reflect the Super Bowl's 31-9 final score. The twist-off removable top is a first of any Super Bowl ring. On the bottom of the removable top, laser-etched in gold, is the word "HISTORIC," to commemorate the accomplishment. The top also features two Lombardi trophies as a nod to the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl win -- the first in franchise history. Around the top of the stadium on each of the four sides are four game scores from...
July 22
July 22

Big 12 officials meet to discuss possible departures of Oklahoma and Texas to SEC

While Big 12 officials search for answers from Oklahoma and Texas about their possible departures to the SEC, the league made it clear on Thursday it expects its flagship programs to adhere to the conference bylaws and TV contracts that have been signed. The Big 12 athletic directors and their university presidents and chancellors held a videoconference on Thursday evening to discuss the possible moves. Both OU and Texas were invited to the meeting but declined to participate in the call, sources said. In a statement provided to ESPN, the Big 12 said, "There is a recognition that institutions may act in their own self-interest, however there is an expectation that members adhere to Conference bylaws and the enforcement of Grant of Rights agreements." The Big 12 bylaws require any withdrawing member to give the league at least 18 months' notice. There also is a hefty exit fee -- departing schools must pay the league a "commitment buyout fee," which is an amount...
July 22
July 22

New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp dies from injuries suffered when hit by car while biking

New York Jets assistant Greg Knapp, a well-traveled NFL coach who worked with Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young and soon-to-be-inducted Peyton Manning over his 25-year career, died Thursday from injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while biking Saturday in San Ramon, California. He was 58. The affable Knapp, known for his expertise with quarterbacks, was only days away from flying to New Jersey to begin his first season as the Jets' passing-game specialist under new coach Robert Saleh. The Jets' rookies reported to training camp Tuesday. "Greg had such an inner peace about him that people always seemed to gravitate towards," Saleh said in a statement posted to Twitter. "He lived life in a loving way that helped him connect with people from all walks of life in a unique way. "In his short time here, I believe the people in this organization had a chance to experience that connection. Greg, thank you for all that you have shared with us, you will be missed...
July 22
July 22

NFL assistant coach dies following 'horrific' bike crash

Knapp was hired by the Jets this offseason.
July 22
In this Aug. 4, 2016, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp watches during NFL football training camp in Englewood, Colo.
July 22

Clemson Tigers football coach Dabo Swinney wants season shortened if playoff expands

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Thursday he'd like to see additional changes made to the college football schedule if the sport plans to expand its playoff. Swinney and North Carolina coach Mack Brown both came out against the proposed 12-team playoff this month after surveying their players for feedback, but after sitting through a detailed presentation on the proposal from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Wednesday, Swinney said he sees value in the idea if the sport would also eliminate one regular-season game. "Expansion is going to happen," Swinney said Thursday. "Now, what's the best way to do it? For me, it's being driven by money and maybe it's what the fans want, but what I do know is it's not what's best for these players. So if you're going to expand the playoffs, then we need to shorten the season. I don't think you can have both." Swinney said his own experience going through the College Football Playoff in each of the past five years offered...
July 22
July 22

Boston College helped with transfer after Eagles football player declined COVID-19 vaccine

Boston College has vaccinated its entire football team and coaching staff for COVID-19, coach Jeff Hafley said Thursday, though the Eagles did help one player who was unwilling to get the shot to transfer. Boston College has instituted mandatory vaccinations starting with the fall semester, and Hafley said the buy-in from his players was swift. One player, whom Hafley declined to name, refused the vaccination, however, and in June, the program aided in his transfer to another school. "I never gave my opinion about it. I just said, 'This is the school rule,'" Hafley said. "If you don't want to get it, I'll support you. We had one player who didn't want to get it, and we helped find him a new home." The Eagles were among the most successful programs in preventing COVID-19 during the 2020 season, with only one player testing positive throughout the season. On Wednesday, ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said that more than half the 14-team league has reached the suggested 85%...
July 22
July 22

Tampa Bay Rays acquire slugger Nelson Cruz in four-player trade with Minnesota Twins

CLEVELAND -- Nelson Cruz packed up his big bat and joined a contender. The Tampa Bay Rays acquired Cruz, one of baseball's most proven sluggers, in a four-player trade with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night. Cruz was well aware of the likelihood he'd be dealt this month with the disappointing Twins well out of contention. Nonetheless, he told reporters the news still felt "shocking" and "heartbreaking" to him after becoming fond of the organization over his 2½ seasons in Minnesota. "It's a tough one," Cruz said. "I guess it's a new chapter, and I will embrace it the way I embrace everything in my life to go help the Tampa Bay Rays to win a championship." Moments before opening a four-game series at  Cleveland, the Rays, who entered the night just one game behind first-place  Boston in the American League East, announced they got Cruz and minor leaguer Calvin Faucher from Minnesota in exchange for minor league right-handers Joe Ryan and...
July 22
July 22

New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp dies from injuries suffered in bike accident

New York Jets assistant Greg Knapp, a well-traveled NFL coach who worked with Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young and soon-to-be-inducted Peyton Manning over his 25-year career, died Thursday from injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while biking last Saturday in San Ramon, California. He was 58. The affable Knapp, known for his expertise with quarterbacks, was only days away from flying to New Jersey to begin his first season as the Jets' passing-game specialist under new coach Robert Saleh. The Jets' rookies reported Tuesday to training camp. "Greg had such an inner peace about him that people always seemed to gravitate towards," Saleh said in a statement posted to Twitter. "He lived life in a loving way that helped him connect with people from all walks of life in a unique way. "In his short time here, I believe the people in this organization had a chance to experience that connection. Greg, thank you for all that you have shared with us, you will be missed...
July 22
July 22

Tampa Bay Rays finalizing trade for Minnesota Twins slugger Nelson Cruz, sources say

The Tampa Bay Rays are finalizing a deal to acquire slugger Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins, sources tell ESPN's Jeff Passan.
July 22
July 22

DeAndre Hopkins among players to react to NFL's vaccine memo to teams

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins deleted a tweet Thursday afternoon shortly after posting it that said he would "question" his future in the NFL if it meant not getting the COVID-19 vaccine could potentially hurt his team's chances in 2021. Hopkins' tweet came in the wake of an NFL memo that described ramifications for teams that had COVID outbreaks during the 2021 season that decimate position groups or entire rosters. The NFL said a forfeit will be declared for a postponed game that can't be rescheduled within the 18-game framework of the season and is caused by an outbreak among unvaccinated players of one team. In addition, if a forfeit occurs, players on both teams would lose their game checks. The NFL's new policy caused ripples throughout the league, with players reacting to the news on social media and at training camps. Hopkins' now-deleted tweet read: "Never thought I would say this, But being in a position to hurt my team because I don't want to...
July 22
July 22

Miami Hurricanes S Avantae Williams dismissed from football team after domestic violence arrest

Miami Hurricanes freshman safety Avantae Williams has been kicked off the football team after he was arrested Wednesday on domestic violence charges, the school announced. Williams, 20, is facing three counts of aggravated battery of a pregnant person, according to Miami-Dade County records. "The University of Miami announced Thursday that freshman safety Avantae Williams has been dismissed from the football program," the school said in a statement. According to a Miami-Dade Police Department incident report, the woman, Williams' ex-girlfriend, is 31 weeks pregnant, and Williams was aware of the pregnancy. They have been living together for four months. The woman, according to the report, said she and Williams were arguing about his involvement with another woman when Williams said, "When I return from practice, you need to be gone." She was in her bedroom packing her things to leave when Williams returned from practice, the woman said. According to the report, Williams...
July 22
July 22

DeAndre Hopkins among players to react to NFL's vaccine memo, questions his future in NFL

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins deleted a tweet Thursday afternoon shortly after posting it that said he would "question" his future in the NFL if it meant not getting the COVID-19 vaccine could potentially hurt his team's chances in 2021. Hopkins' tweet came in the wake of an NFL memo to teams that described ramifications for teams that had COVID outbreaks during the 2021 season that decimate position groups or entire rosters. The NFL said a forfeit will be declared for a postponed game that can't be rescheduled within the 18-game framework of the season and is caused by an outbreak among unvaccinated players of one team. In addition, if a forfeit occurs, players on both teams would lose their game checks. The NFL's new policy caused ripples throughout the league, with players reacting to the news on social media and at training camps. Hopkins' now-deleted tweet read: "Never thought I would say this, But being in a position to hurt my team because I don't...
July 22
July 22

Tokyo Games show strides, hurdles in gender equality

Tokyo is the most gender-equal Olympics in the games' history, organizers said.
July 22
People take photographs of the Olympic Rings at Akarenga Park on June 30, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan.
July 22

After Eagles player declined COVID-19 vaccine, Boston College helped with transfer

Boston College has vaccinated its entire football team and coaching staff for COVID-19, coach Jeff Hafley said Thursday, though the Eagles did help one player who was unwilling to get the shot, to transfer. Boston College has instituted mandatory vaccinations starting with the fall semester, and Hafley said the buy-in from his players was swift. One player, whom Hafley declined to name, refused the vaccination, however, and in June, the program aided in his transfer to another school. "I never gave my opinion about it. I just said, 'This is the school rule,'" Hafley said. "If you don't want to get it, I'll support you. We had one player who didn't want to get it, and we helped find him a new home." The Eagles were among the most successful programs in preventing COVID-19 during the 2020 season, with only one player testing positive throughout the season. On Wednesday, ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said that more than half the 14-team league has reached the suggested 85%...
July 22
July 22

Miami Hurricanes S Avantae Williams dismissed from team after domestic violence arrest

Miami Hurricanes freshman safety Avantae Williams has been kicked off the team after he was arrested Wednesday on domestic violence charges, the school announced. Williams, 20, is facing three counts of aggravated battery of a pregnant person, according to Miami-Dade County records. "The University of Miami announced Thursday that freshman safety Avantae Williams has been dismissed from the football program," the school said in a statement. According to a Miami-Dade Police Department incident report, the woman, Williams' ex-girlfriend, is 31 weeks pregnant, and Williams was aware of the pregnancy. They have been living together for four months. The woman said she and Williams were arguing about his involvement with another woman when Williams said, "When I return from practice, you need to be gone." She was in her bedroom packing her things to leave when Williams returned from practice, the woman said. According to the report, Williams was angry that she was still in the...
July 22
July 22

Chicago White Sox rookie Yermín Mercedes back with Triple-A team day after stepping away from baseball

CHICAGO -- One day after announcing he was stepping away from baseball, Yermín Mercedes was back with the Chicago White Sox's Triple-A affiliate Thursday. The White Sox confirmed Thursday that Mercedes, the surprising rookie who carried the team with his booming bat early in the season and then got sent to the minors after a prolonged slump, was in uniform for the Charlotte Knights' 5-3 loss to the Durham Bulls. Mercedes, who did not play Thursday, also apologized in an Instagram post. "I'm never going to give up," he wrote. "I spent 10 years in the minor league and I have always understood that this is a big and long process but the talent that I have shown speaks for itself. With the greatest humility and speaking from the heart ... my dream is to be an established player in the major leagues. I asked God to give me that opportunity and I've got it 3 months ago. I owe myself to my family, my organization and my fans. I asked again for...
July 22
July 22

Former Texas A&M official: Texas, Oklahoma joining SEC would break 'gentlemen's agreement' among league schools

If Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC, it would break a long-standing "gentlemen's agreement" between SEC schools that gives conference members "absolute veto power" over the addition of another school from their state, according to a former Texas A&M official. R. Bowen Loftin, who helped steer the Aggies into the SEC in 2011 while serving as A&M's president, said the oft-discussed unwritten rule was a "specific conversation" during expansion talks in 2010-11 when he was involved. Loftin also served as chancellor at Missouri in 2014-15 after the Tigers made the move to the SEC. "There's this understanding among the membership -- at least it was 10 years ago -- that you don't admit a school from the same state as a member school unless that member school's OK with it," Loftin told ESPN.com on Thursday. "We talked about it from time to time among ourselves, that this was the way it was going to be, that if we had another school in Texas wanting to enter the SEC,...
July 22
July 22

New Orleans Pelicans officially name Willie Green as next head coach

The New Orleans Pelicans officially named Willie Green as their next head coach Thursday. Green is coming off a stint as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns, who just made a run to the NBA Finals, which delayed the timing of the Pelicans' announcement. "After an extensive and collaborative search, Willie stood out among an impressive group of candidates as the best person to lead our team moving forward," Pelicans governor Gayle Benson said in a statement. "We are very happy to welcome Willie as our new head coach and we look forward to working with him to guide our team on the court as we work towards bringing a championship to New Orleans." Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin called Green, a 12-year NBA veteran, one of the "most respected assistant coaches in the NBA." "He brings a vast amount of basketball knowledge and experience to our team as both a coach and former player, along with exceptional leadership qualities and...
July 22
July 22

Mychal Kendricks sentenced to one day in jail, three years' probation in insider trading case

Free-agent linebacker Mychal Kendricks was sentenced Thursday to one day in jail, three years of probation and 300 hours of community service as a result of his 2018 guilty plea to insider trading charges. Kendricks' agent, Doug Hendrickson, told ESPN that the linebacker is serving his one-day jail sentence Thursday. Hendrickson said that not knowing what kind of sentence to expect made it a "very emotional day" for Kendricks. "Clearly, Mychal is very happy with the outcome and he's ready to continue playing football for someone," Hendrickson said. The sentence, handed down by Judge Gene Pratter in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, came after numerous postponements. Pratter said the time Kendricks has waited to be sentenced "must be a very significant punishment itself," according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. One source familiar with the situation told ESPN in 2018 that Kendricks could be facing 30 to 37 months in prison -- as had...
July 22
July 22

NFL warning to teams: COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players could lead to forfeited games

The NFL has added an additional COVID-19 vaccination incentive for players, threatening forfeits and the loss of game checks if an outbreak among unvaccinated players causes an unresolvable disruption in the regular-season schedule. Commissioner Roger Goodell informed clubs of the new policy Thursday in a memo. The league has encouraged vaccination for players but has not required it, per an agreement with the NFL Players Association. Instead, the league has set up a series of incentives. As of Thursday, Goodell wrote, more than 75% of NFL players were at least partially vaccinated and more than half of the league's teams have player vaccination rates above 80%. Unvaccinated players will be subject to severe protocols during training camp and the regular season, including daily testing, mask-wearing and travel restrictions. Thursday's memo made it clear that unvaccinated players could, in theory, be responsible for the losses of games and paychecks as well. The new policy drills...
July 22
July 22

Philadelphia Flyers send Shayne Gostisbehere and picks to Arizona Coyotes

The Philadelphia Flyers traded defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and two draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes and received nothing in return. The Flyers sent a second-round pick in 2022 and a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft, previously acquired from the Montreal Canadiens, to the Coyotes on Thursday. Once considered a top offensive defenseman in the NHL, Gostisbehere had seen his production steadily decrease in the last three seasons. He has 219 points in 381 games, but only 46 of those points were tallied from 2018 to '21. Gostisbehere, 28, who was a third-round pick by the Flyers in 2012, was recently left exposed in the Seattle expansion draft. "This was a difficult decision but one we thought was necessary given the reality of the salary cap," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement. "Shayne has been a quality player for this organization since the moment he arrived in Philadelphia and has been a part of many special...
July 22
July 22

Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason back surgery, will start training camp on PUP list

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will open training camp on the physically unable to perform list because of offseason back surgery, the third of his career. "It's more of a cleanup, so there's no high concern," coach Mike McCarthy said before the Cowboys' first training camp practice. "He looks great. It's probably more us than him as far as the timeline of him coming back." Lawrence did not participate in the organized team activities or minicamp, but the surgery was not disclosed until Thursday. Lawrence had back surgeries in 2016 and '17 that helped correct an issue that first appeared in 2015. He had a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2017 and followed that up with 10.5 sacks the next season before signing a five-year, $105 million contract extension in 2019. Lawrence had 6.5 sacks last season. Kicker Greg Zuerlein, 33, will also open camp on the PUP list due to offseason back surgery, forcing punter Hunter Niswander...
July 22
July 22

Sources: Texas, Oklahoma reached out to SEC about joining conference

Oklahoma and Texas have reached out to the SEC about possibly joining the conference, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN. The Houston Chronicle, which first reported the story, cited an unnamed college official and said an announcement could come within a couple of weeks. Both Texas and Oklahoma released similar statements on Wednesday, but officials at both schools declined further comment to ESPN. "Speculation always swirls around collegiate athletics," a Texas spokesman said in a statement. "We will not address rumors or speculation." Said Oklahoma in a statement: "The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don't address every anonymous rumor." A source told ESPN that Big 12 athletic directors and administrators are meeting Thursday evening to discuss the situation. On Wednesday at SEC media days, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said he will be "diligent in our approach to protect Texas A&M." "We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas,"...
July 22
July 22

Miami Hurricanes S Avantae Williams suspended after domestic violence arrest

Miami Hurricanes freshman safety Avantae Williams has been suspended by the team after he was arrested Wednesday on domestic violence charges, the school said in a statement. Williams, 20, is facing three counts of aggravated battery of a pregnant person, according to Miami-Dade County records. He is being held on $10,000 bond, according to records. "We are aware that football student-athlete Avantae Williams has been arrested by the Miami-Dade Police Department," a university spokesperson said. "He was immediately suspended from all team activities." According to a Miami-Dade Police Department incident report, the woman, Williams' ex-girlfriend, is 31 weeks pregnant, and Williams was aware of the pregnancy. They have been living together for four months. The woman said she and Williams were arguing about his involvement with another woman when Williams said, "When I return from practice, you need to be gone." She was in her bedroom packing her things to leave when...
July 22
July 22

Miami S Avantae Williams suspended after domestic violence arrest

Miami safety Avantae Williams has been suspended by the team after he was arrested Wednesday on domestic violence charges, a university spokesperson told multiple outlets. Williams is facing three counts of aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, according to Miami Dade County records. He is being held on $10,000 bond, according to records. "We are aware that football student-athlete Avantae Williams has been arrested by the Miami-Dade Police Department," the spokesperson said in a statement. "He was immediately suspended from all team activities." The 20-year-old did not play for the Hurricanes last season after medical issues were flagged during a preseason exam. He said on social media in March that he had been cleared to play. Williams joined Miami as a four-star recruit and the nation's top safety in the Class of 2020.
July 22

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