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1 hour ago

Sources: Las Vegas Raiders under investigation over unauthorized locker room access

After a week when Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders received heavy fines for violating sideline COVID-19 protocols, the team is now under an NFL investigation for another protocol-related violation - allowing unauthorized locker room access, league sources tell ESPN. The alleged violation occurred after Monday night's win over the New Orleans Saints, when an unauthorized team employee entered the Raiders' locker room without the credentials to do so, according to sources. The NFL will continue to enforce this limitation and will impose discipline for violations, according to a source. The league, with the help of state and federal committees as well as the NFLPA, has established strict thresholds regarding access -- meant to curb and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This season, only 40 employees in each organization are allowed to be in the locker room, based on the NFL policy distributed to all teams. The list of employees allowed in the locker room, aside...
1 hour ago
4 hours ago

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James shrugs at making 10th NBA Finals

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Standing off to the side as his teammate Anthony Davis spoke to reporters about how his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers delivered him the first NBA Finals berth of his career, LeBron James was asked what the 10th Finals appearance of his career means to him. "Right now, it don't mean s--- unless I get it done," James told ESPN following the Lakers' 117-107 Game 5 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday to win the Western Conference crown. "I got to get it done." He certainly finished off the Nuggets. James scored 16 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter, going 7-for-10 from the field in the final frame. He showcased the rest of his skills throughout the game, with 16 rebounds and 10 assists to record his 27th career playoff triple-double, second only to Magic Johnson's 30. But James, the NBA's No. 1 all-time postseason scoring leader, put the ball in the bucket. His final six made field...
4 hours ago
September 27

Israel Adesanya retains UFC middleweight title with TKO of Paulo Costa

Look out, Conor McGregor. The UFC might have its next big breakout star. In a bout billed as one of the biggest in recent middleweight history, the charismatic Israel Adesanya made it look easy. Adesanya dominated Paulo Costa, culminating in a TKO at 2 minutes, 59 seconds of the second round in the main event of UFC 253 on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. With the victory, Adesanya notched his second successful UFC middleweight title defense.  "I told you he's dumb. I'm smart. I understand this f---ing game," said Adesanya, who competed in kickboxing and boxing before coming to the UFC. "This was my 100th win in combat sports all around. ... I'm not a f---ing baby in this game. I've been in this s--- for a long time." Adesanya is now tied with former middleweight champion Chris Weidman for the second-longest win streak in division history (nine), according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Anderson Silva is...
September 27
September 27

Corey Perry, Dallas Stars prevail in double overtime, push Stanley Cup Final to Game 6

Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry don't want to leave the bubble just yet. Pavelski, the 36-year-old veteran, tied it with 6 minutes, 45 seconds left in regulation and then laid out to block a shot in the first overtime before Perry scored the winner in double OT, and the Dallas Stars avoided elimination Saturday night by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 to force a Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final. It was one of two goals on the night for Perry, the 35-year-old veteran, and the victory prevented -- at least for a couple of nights -- Tampa Bay from securing its second Stanley Cup title in franchise history. "Get one, keep going," Perry said. "We start building here and I think we're starting to do something special." Anton Khudobin made 39 saves, and Perry prolonged the series by scoring 9:23 into the second overtime. It was a manner of redemption for the Stars a night after they lost in OT on a questionable penalty call when Tampa Bay scored...
September 27
September 27

Jan Blachowicz stops Dominick Reyes to win vacant UFC crown

The UFC's light heavyweight division might not have Jon Jones -- but perhaps it might still have a dominant champ. Jan Blachowicz (27-8), an overlooked slugger from Poland, defeated Dominick Reyes (12-2) via TKO at 4 minutes, 36 seconds of the second round of their light heavyweight title fight on Saturday at UFC 253 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In doing so, Blachowicz became the first man other than Jones and former champ Daniel Cormier to hold the 205-pound title since 2011. The championship fight, which served as the co-main event of UFC 253, came a little more than one month after Jones willingly vacated the title in anticipation of a move to heavyweight. Blachowicz, 37, has a long way to go to come anywhere close to matching Jones' accolades in the division, but he certainly got his title reign off to a good start. Immediately after, Jones was the first thing on his mind. "The only thing in my mind is, Jon Jones, where are...
September 27
September 27

Corey Perry, Dallas Stars prevail in double overtime, push Stanley Cup Finals to Game 6

Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry don't want to leave the bubble just yet. Pavelski tied it 6:45 left in the regulation, laid out to block a shot in the first overtime before Perry scored the winner in double OT and the Dallas Stars avoided elimination Saturday night by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 to force a Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final. It was one of two goals on the night for Perry, and the win prevented -- at least for a few nights -- Tampa Bay from securing the second Stanley Cup title in its franchise history. "Get one, keep going," Perry said. "We start building here and I think we're starting to do something special." Anton Khudobin made 39 saves, and Perry prolonged the series by scoring 9:23 into the second overtime. It was a manner of redemption for the Stars a night after they lost in OT on a questionable penalty call when Tampa Bay scored on the ensuing power play. Game 6 is Monday night. The Stars did it despite going down to five...
September 27
September 27

Corey Perry, Dallas Stars win in double overtime, push Stanley Cup Finals to Game 6

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Corey Perry scored in double overtime Saturday night, and the Dallas Stars outlasted the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2, to force a Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final. The win prevented -- at least for a few nights -- Tampa Bay from securing the second Stanley Cup title in its franchise history. Joe Pavelski scored his 13th goal of the playoffs with 6:45 left in the third period as Dallas forced overtime. The two teams traded opportunities in the first extra session, before Perry ended it in the second. Pavelski, in the final for the second time in his career after losing in 2016 with San Jose, tied Tampa Bay's Brayden Point for the most goals this postseason. He also moved into sole possession of first among Americans with 61 career playoff goals. He wasn't alone in getting Dallas to overtime. Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin stopped Point on a shot in the final seconds of the second period. Khudobin made six more saves in the...
September 27
September 27

LeBron James leads Los Angeles Lakers to first NBA Finals in 10 years

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- LeBron James is going to a 10th NBA Finals -- and for the first time in a decade, so are the Los Angeles Lakers. James punctuated his 27th postseason triple-double with a big fourth quarter, powering the Lakers to a 117-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night to win the Western Conference finals in five games. James finished with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to become the fourth player to reach 10 NBA Finals. It took him two seasons to make it with the Lakers, after falling short of the playoffs in an injury-plagued first season following eight consecutive trips with Miami and Cleveland. "My teammates said bring us home and it was my responsibility to try to make the right plays and do the right things on the floor to help us win ballgames," James said during a trophy presentation in a mostly empty arena at Walt Disney World Resort, instead of in front of the Lakers' fans at Staples...
September 27
September 27

Los Angeles Lakers reach NBA Finals for first time in decade

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- LeBron James is going to a 10th NBA Finals -- and for the first time in a decade, so are the Los Angeles Lakers. James punctuated his 27th postseason triple-double with a big fourth quarter, powering the Lakers to a 117-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night to win the Western Conference finals in five games. James finished with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to become the fourth player to reach 10 NBA Finals. It took him two seasons to make it with the Lakers, after falling short of the playoffs in an injury-plagued first season following eight consecutive trips with Miami and Cleveland. "My teammates said bring us home and it was my responsibility to try to make the right plays and do the right things on the floor to help us win ballgames," James said during a trophy presentation in mostly empty arena at Disney World, instead of in front of their fans at Staples Center. The Lakers will face either Miami or...
September 27
September 26

Georgia Bulldogs' Stetson Bennett provides spark after replacing quarterback D'Wan Mathis

Georgia's quarterback competition will continue after former walk-on Stetson Bennett replaced starter D'Wan Mathis in Saturday's season-opening win at Arkansas. Bennett entered the game in the second quarter, on the offense's seventh possession. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in Georgia's 37-10 victory. Mathis completed 8 of 17 passes for 55 yards and an interception, mostly during a sluggish first half in which Georgia ran 49 offensive plays but did not record an offensive score until a field goal as time expired. "We thought it would give us some energy," coach Kirby Smart said of the quarterback switch. "[Bennett is] different than D'Wan in some of his experience. He's very decisive with the ball and makes good decisions. Getting to watch them defensively a little bit helped him. We'll decide this week how we're going to go forward. Not all those things that went wrong were D'Wan's fault. Not...
September 26
September 26

Sam Ehlinger rallies No. 8 Texas past Texas Tech in overtime

After Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger took stock of a stunning 63-56 comeback victory over Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday, he figured out the perfect way to neatly summarize it. "It'll be mentioned as 2020 in a nutshell," he said. The senior rallied the No. 8 Longhorns from a 56-41 deficit with just over 3 minutes remaining. He threw two touchdown passes and completed another pass for a two-point conversion at the end of regulation. Then he added one more TD pass in overtime to finish off the Red Raiders. Ehlinger became the first player in Texas history with multiple five-touchdown games in a season, and just the second to do it in his career along with Colt McCoy. Texas coach Tom Herman, who started 2-0 for the first time with the Longhorns, said Ehlinger gave him a similar pep talk after SaRodorick Thompson's 75-yard touchdown run with 3:13 remaining put the Red Raiders (1-1, 0-1 Big 12) up 56-41. "The running back for Texas Tech ran...
September 26
September 26

Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout: 'We gotta get to the playoffs'

The Los Angeles Angels were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, which means that in nine full seasons in the major leagues, Mike Trout -- considered by many the game's greatest player for most, if not all, of those seasons -- has made the playoffs only once. "The biggest thing is getting to the playoffs," Trout said Saturday, moments before the second game of a three-game series against the crosstown Los Angeles Dodgers. "You guys all see it. I see it. It sucks being out of it. It's time. We gotta get to the playoffs." Trout made the playoffs in 2014, when the Angels suffered a first-round sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals. The 2020 season will now mark the fifth consecutive time his Angels have finished with a losing record, even though the offseason additions of manager Joe Maddon and third baseman Anthony Rendon had many believing the team might contend for a...
September 26
September 26

K.J. Costello throws for SEC-record 623 yards as Mississippi State Bulldogs upset LSU Tigers

Mike Leach's Air Raid offense didn't disappoint in its SEC debut on Saturday as visiting Mississippi State upset defending champion LSU 44-34 in Baton Rouge, and quarterback K.J. Costello set a conference record for passing yards in a single game with 623. The previous record was held by Eric Zeier of Georgia, who threw for 544 yards against Southern Miss in 1993. "I'm speechless about everything that happened today," Costello said. "If you were to tell me a year ago today that I'd be sitting here, it's crazy." Costello came to Mississippi State this offseason as a graduate transfer after starting 25 games in three seasons at Stanford. His previous high for passing yards in a game was 381. Costello's 623 passing yards against the No. 6 Tigers was the 11th most in FBS history, and the most in a player's debut. His 60 pass attempts is the most by a Bulldogs quarterback. "I thought it was a really good debut," Leach...
September 26
September 26

Anton Khudobin back in goal as Dallas Stars look to stay alive in Game 5

The Dallas Stars started  Anton Khudobin in goal for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, as they faced elimination against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Khudobin has now played in 24 games for the Stars this postseason. That includes their Game 4 loss on Friday night, 5-4 in overtime to the Lightning, in which Khudobin faced 35 shots. Dallas coach Rick Bowness had kept his goaltending plans for Game 5 under wraps, leading to speculation that the Stars might not start Khudobin in back-to-back games. But regular-season starter Ben Bishop remains "unfit to play" according to the coach. The last time Bishop appeared for Dallas was Game 5 of the conference semifinal against Colorado, which was the back end of back-to-back games. He was pulled in the first period after giving up four goals, and Khudobin finished the game. In his career, Khudobin is 5-6-0 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage on zero days of rest. In this...
September 26
September 26

K.J. Costello throws for SEC record 623 yards as Mississippi State Bulldogs upset LSU Tigers

Mike Leach's Air Raid offense didn't disappoint in its SEC debut on Saturday as Mississippi State upset defending champion LSU 44-34, and quarterback K.J. Costello set a conference record for passing yards in a  game with 623. The previous record was held by Eric Zeier of Georgia, who threw for 544 yards against Southern Miss in 1993. Costello came to Mississippi State this offseason as a graduate transfer after starting 25 games in three seasons at Stanford. His previous career high for passing yards in a game was 381. Costello's 623 passing yards against LSU were the 11th most in FBS history, and the most in a player's debut. His 60 pass attempts are the most by a Mississippi State quarterback. LSU, which lost 17 starters from the team that went undefeated last season, became the first defending national champion to lose its season opener since Michigan in 1998.
September 26
September 26

Virginia Tech's Hendon Hooker among 23 players out Saturday due to virus

Virginia Tech is without its starting quarterback, defensive coordinator and more than two dozen others for Saturday's home game against NC State as a result of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing, among other reasons, the school announced. Starting quarterback Hendon Hooker will not play despite being on the field for warm-ups and on the sideline before the game. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton will miss his first game after taking over for longtime assistant Bud Foster. The Hokies will also be without starting cornerback Jermaine Waller. Caleb Farley, last season's other star corner, opted out early in fall camp. In all, Virginia Tech will play down 23 players as well as three other coaches -- defensive assistant and former Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys, along with a quality-control coach and a graduate assistant. Saturday's game was supposed to be played two weeks ago, but NC State postponed it because of its own...
September 26
September 26

Florida Gators QB Kyle Trask throws for 6 TDs in win over Ole Miss Rebels

Florida had high expectations for its offense with Kyle Trask returning at quarterback. He showed why in the season-opening 51-35 win against Ole Miss on Saturday. Trask threw for a career-high six touchdowns, tying Joe Burrow for the most touchdown passes in an SEC opener (Burrow had six against Vanderbilt last season). The six touchdown passes also tied a school single-game record. In all, Trask had a career-high 416 yards passing, completing 30 of 42 passes, as the Gators set a school record for total yards in an SEC game with 642 in Oxford, Mississippi. Florida coach Dan Mullen was fully aware of that school record during his postgame availability when he gave a quick nod to former coach Steve Spurrier, whose Fun 'n' Gun offenses set the standard in Gainesville. "I would expect when I get home that my neighbor, Coach Spurrier, will have a really nice bottle of wine sitting on my desk if I broke one of his records offensively. That's at least deserving...
September 26
September 26

Short-handed Kansas State rallies to stun No. 3 Oklahoma

For the second straight season,  Kansas State upset a highly ranked  Oklahoma team. This time, the Wildcats did it against a stacked deck. Despite trailing by three touchdowns in the second half and missing eight key players from their two-deep, Kansas State took down the No. 3 Sooners 38-35 on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma. "It's a big win with the circumstances we faced and some of the adversity our guys have gone through," Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said. "Excited that we fought for four quarters. I trust those guys, I believe in them; the biggest thing is they need to believe in themselves. They know we want to give them opportunities, and they made the most of them today." The win was Kansas State's first on the road over a team ranked in the top three of The Associated Press poll. The Wildcats had lost their past 16 such games. It was also their first win as an unranked team against a top-three team in 30 attempts. The Wildcats are just the...
September 26
September 26

Shorthanded Kansas State rallies to stun No. 3 Oklahoma

For the second straight season, Kansas State upset a highly-ranked Oklahoma team. This time, the Wildcats did it against a stacked deck. Despite trailing by three touchdowns in the second half and missing eight key players from their two-deep, Kansas State took down the No. 3 Sooners 38-35 on Saturday in Norman. "It's a big win with the circumstances we faced and some of the adversity our guys have gone through," Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said. "Excited that we fought for four quarters. I trust those guys, I believe in them, the biggest thing is they need to believe in themselves. They know we want to give them opportunities, and they made the most of them today." The win was Kansas State's first ever on the road over a team ranked in the top three of the Associated Press poll. The Wildcats had lost their last 16 such games. It was also their first win as an unranked team against a top-three team in 30 attempts. The Wildcats are just the fifth unranked team to beat an AP...
September 26
September 26

Florida Gators QB Kyle Trask throws 6 TDs in win over Ole Miss Rebels

Florida had high expectations for its offense with Kyle Trask returning at quarterback. He showed why in the season-opening 51-35 win against Ole Miss on Saturday. Trask threw for a career-high six touchdowns, tying Joe Burrow for the most touchdown passes in an SEC opener (Burrow had six against Vanderbilt last year). The six touchdown passes also tied a school single-game record. In all, Trask had a career-high 416 yards passing, completing 30 of 42 passes, as the Gators set a school record for total yards in an SEC game with 642 yards. Florida coach Dan Mullen was fully aware of that school record during his postgame availability, when he gave a quick nod to former coach Steve Spurrier, whose Fun 'N' Gun offenses set the standard in Gainesville. "I would expect when I get home that my neighbor, Coach Spurrier, will have a really nice bottle of wine sitting on my desk, if I broke one of his records offensively. That's at least deserving of a nice bottle of wine,...
September 26
September 26

Former San Francisco Giants OF Hunter Pence announces retirement, ending 14-year MLB career

Veteran outfielder Hunter Pence announced his retirement Saturday, bringing an end to a 14-year MLB career. "Nothing can really prepare you for this part of your career, when you have say, 'I am retiring from baseball,'" Pence said in a video on Twitter. "I've given it everything I possibly can, and the game has given back to me tenfold." Pence, 37, was designated for assignment in August by the San Francisco Giants after hitting .096 with two home runs and six RBIs in 52 at-bats this season. He was part of two World Series-winning Giants teams, in 2012 and 2014. Six years ago, he hit .444 with a home run and five RBIs in the Giants' seven-game World Series victory over the Kansas City Royals. The four-time All-Star has a career average of .279 with 244 home runs and 942 RBIs in 1,707 games. Along with eight seasons with the Giants, he also played for the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers. The Associated...
September 26
September 26

Dallas Stars to go with Anton Khudobin in goal for Game 5

The Dallas Stars are starting Anton Khudobin in goal for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, as they face elimination against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Khudobin has played in 23 games for the Stars this postseason. That includes their Game 4 loss on Friday night, 5-4 in overtime to the Lightning, in which Khudobin faced 35 shots. Dallas coach Rick Bowness had kept his goaltending plans for Game 5 under wraps, leading to speculation that the Stars might not start Khudobin in back-to-back games. But regular-season starter Ben Bishop remains "unfit to play" according to the coach. The last time Bishop appeared for Dallas was Game 5 of the conference semifinal against Colorado, which was the back end of back-to-back games. He was pulled in the first period after giving up four goals, and Khudobin finished the game. In his career, Khudobin is 5-6-0 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage on zero days of rest. In this...
September 26
September 26

Auburn Tigers' 100-yard interception return negated by targeting call

Auburn defensive end Derick Hall was ejected from the Tigers' game Saturday against Kentucky for targeting. Hall committed the penalty after Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson threw an interception on the goal line that defensive back Roger McCreary returned 100 yards for a touchdown, which would have made it a 14-7 Auburn lead just before halftime. Because Hall committed the penalty in the first half, he will not miss any time next week as Auburn faces Georgia in Athens. The targeting penalty was the second of the day in the SEC, with Florida safety Shawn Davis committing his on the opening drive against Ole Miss. Davis collided with Dontario Drummond and their helmets made contact. The call was upheld on review and Davis left the game. A short while later from the locker room, Davis took to social media and tweeted, "THATS A BS CALL !!!!!!!!" A senior, Davis last season was tied for second on the team with three...
September 26
September 26

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos out for possible Stanley Cup clinching Game 5

The Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup on Saturday night, but they'll have to do it without their captain, Steven Stamkos. The 30-year-old center will not play in Game 5, coach Jon Cooper announced Saturday morning. The Lightning lead the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars 3-1, with the pivotal Game 5 coming on the second night of a back-to-back. Stamkos has been "unfit to play" for the entire Stanley Cup playoffs -- save for his brief appearance in Game 3, in which he played less than three minutes, and scored a goal on his first shot. "We have to get another win, and Stammer knows that he was a big part in us getting this far off the ice, and what he contributed when he played," Cooper said. "But for tonight, he won't be in." Stamkos, who underwent core muscle surgery on March 2, has endured several setbacks that have kept him out of the lineup. He said he experienced "an issue" during the first period of Game 3, which...
September 26
September 26

Florida, Ole Miss football teams jointly take a knee to acknowledge unrest in country

Florida and Ole Miss agreed to jointly take a knee before kickoff Saturday to "acknowledge the unrest in our country surrounding the treatment of African Americans." In a joint statement, the schools said, "As members of the Florida and Ole Miss football teams, we recognize the impact of our personal platforms and are choosing to amplify the issues that directly impact us. Together we have chosen to take the opening series of today's competition to acknowledge the unrest in our country surrounding the treatment of African Americans. We will continue to support social justice efforts as members of the Southeastern Conference and members of our respective communities." ESPN's Marty Smith reported the idea came from head coaches Dan Mullen and Lane Kiffin. Everybody on the field and on both sidelines kneeled together before the game began. Programs across the country have acknowledged the current racial and social justice movements with patches on their jerseys, stickers on...
September 26
September 26

LSU Tigers star CB Derek Stingley Jr. (illness) hospitalized overnight

LSU star cornerback  Derek Stingley Jr. was hospitalized overnight on Friday and is expected to be discharged soon, the school said in a statement hours before its season-opening game against Mississippi State on Saturday. According to the statement, Stingley became "acutely ill" on Friday night but the condition was not COVID-19 related. While the statement didn't say if Stingley had officially been ruled out of Saturday's game, a source told ESPN that his availability against Mississippi State would be "highly unlikely." Another source told ESPN that "it's up to the doctors." LSU's statement said Stingley's return to activity will come "after a full evaluation by the medical team." Stingley was a consensus All-American as a true freshman last season and was expected to anchor the defense as one of two returning starters. The sophomore started all 15 games for LSU's 2019 national championship squad as a freshman and led the SEC with six interceptions, which ranked fifth...
September 26
September 26

Louisville Cardinals basketball players, coach Chris Mack lead march, call for unity after Breonna Taylor ruling

Louisville men's basketball coach Chris Mack and players David Johnson, Charles Minlend and Malik Williams gave speeches calling for unity, tolerance and equality on Friday, two days after a grand jury in the city decided to not move forward with charges against any police officers for their roles in the death of Breonna Taylor. The Louisville Courier Journal reports that, after the speeches, Mack and his players led Cardinals athletes and others in a peaceful march from Cardinal Stadium to Throws Field and back. The march lasted 45 minutes. Friday marked the 121st day of protests in Louisville, Kentucky, following Taylor's death. Taylor, a Black woman, was killed when she was shot during a police raid on her apartment on March 13. Williams grew emotional while addressing the crowd, according to the Courier Journal. "Over the past three years, I've come to love the city of Louisville. Louisville has become home. Louisville is family," Williams...
September 26
September 26

Boston Celtics 'relax,' take control in second half to keep season alive

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After the Boston Celtics walked into the locker room at halftime of Game 5 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, having produced a second consecutive lackluster first half in a series they trailed 3-1, they knew something had to change. Before they returned to the court for Friday's second half, point guard Kemba Walker had a simple message for his team. "What I remember from halftime is Kemba saying, 'We just need to settle down a little bit,'" Jaylen Brown said. "We just had to dial in a little bit, and once we did, I felt like we were fine." It was a directive that Boston took to heart. As a result, the Celtics have basketball left to play. A 41-point explosion in the third quarter, including 17 points from Jayson Tatum, turned on its head a game that Miami firmly controlled and allowed Boston to surge to a 121-108 victory. The series resumes Sunday with Game 6. Anyone...
September 26
September 26

Miami Marlins make playoffs year after 105 losses, and on anniversary of Jose Fernandez's death

NEW YORK -- Forced from the field by COVID-19, the Miami Marlins returned with enough force to reach the playoffs for the first time since their 2003 championship. A National League-worst 57-105 a year ago, they sealed the improbable berth on the field of the team that Miami CEO Derek Jeter and manager Don Mattingly once captained. "I think this is a good lesson for everyone. It really goes back to the players believing," Mattingly said after a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night. Miami will start the playoffs on the road Wednesday, its first postseason game since winning the 2003 World Series as the Florida Marlins, capped by a Game 6 victory in the Bronx over Jeter and his New York teammates at the previous version of Yankee Stadium. "I can't contain the tears, because it's a lot of grind, a lot of passion," shortstop Miguel Rojas said. "It wasn't just the virus. Last year we lost 100 games. But we came out...
September 26
September 26

Dallas Stars disagree with Jamie Benn's tripping penalty in OT

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn watched from the penalty box as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman  Kevin Shattenkirk's shot floated into the net at 6:34 of overtime to win Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. His teammates believe he shouldn't have been in the box at all. "That's a hockey play. That's what I saw," Dallas coach Rick Bowness said of the controversial tripping call on Benn in overtime. The Stars' 5-4 loss on Friday in Edmonton, Alberta, gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead in the series, with a chance to win the Cup on Saturday in Game 5. Benn was whistled for tripping Tyler Johnson of the Lightning at 5:10 of overtime. They battled for the puck, and Benn, who has 4 inches of height and 22 pounds on Johnson, sent him to the ice. Referee Francis Charron, who was behind the play, seemed to indicate that Benn kicked the skates out from Johnson. "The ref's got a tough job. I see it. It's in front of [referee] Kelly [Sutherland]. He's got a...
September 26
September 26

Louisville Cardinals lead march, call for unity after Breonna Taylor ruling

Louisville men's basketball coach Chris Mack and players David Johnson, Charles Minlend and Malik Williams gave speeches calling for unity, tolerance and equality Friday, two days after a grand jury in the city decided not to move forward with charges against any police officers for their roles in the death of Breonna Taylor. The Louisville Courier Journal reports that, after the speeches, Mack and his players led Cardinals athletes and others in a peaceful march from Cardinal Stadium to Throws Field and back that lasted 45 minutes. Friday marked the 121st day of protests in Louisville following Taylor's death. Taylor, a Black woman, was killed when she was shot during a police raid on her apartment on March 13. Williams grew emotional while addressing the crowd, according to the Courier Journal. "Over the past three years, I've come to love the city of Louisville. Louisville has become home. Louisville is family," Williams said. "I love the...
September 26
September 26

Boston Celtics 'relax,' take control in 2nd half to keep season alive

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After the Boston Celtics walked into the locker room at halftime of Game 5 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, having produced a second consecutive lackluster first half in a series they trailed 3-1, they knew something had to change. So before they returned to the court for Friday's second half, point guard Kemba Walker had a simple message for his team. "What I remember from halftime is Kemba saying, 'We just need to settle down a little bit,'" Jaylen Brown said. "We just had to dial in a little bit and once we did, I felt like we were fine." It was a directive Boston took to heart. And as a result, the Celtics still have basketball left to play. A 41-point explosion in the third quarter, including 17 points from Jayson Tatum, turned on its head a game Miami firmly controlled and allowed Boston to surge to a 121-108 victory. The series resumes Sunday night for Game...
September 26
September 26

Miami Marlins make playoffs year after 105 losses, on anniversary of Jose Fernandez death

NEW YORK -- Forced from the field by COVID-19, the Miami Marlins returned with enough force to reach the playoffs for the first time since their 2003 championship. A National League-worst 57-105 a year ago, they sealed the improbable berth on the field of the team that Miami CEO Derek Jeter and manager Don Mattingly once captained. "I think this is a good lesson for everyone. It really goes back to the players believing," Mattingly said after a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night. Miami will start the playoffs on the road Wednesday, its first postseason game since winning the 2003 World Series as the Florida Marlins, capped by a Game 6 victory in the Bronx over Jeter and his New York teammates at the previous version of Yankee Stadium. "I can't contain the tears, because it's a lot of grind, a lot of passion," shortstop Miguel Rojas said. "It wasn't just the virus. Last year we lost 100 games. But we came out...
September 26
September 25

Miami Marlins make playoffs year after 105-loss season

NEW YORK -- Forced from the field by COVID-19, the Miami Marlins returned with enough force to reach the playoffs for the first time since their 2003 championship. An National League-worst 57-105 a year ago, they sealed the improbable berth on the field of the team that Miami CEO Derek Jeter and manager Don Mattingly once captained. "I think this is a good lesson for everyone. It really goes back to the players believing," Mattingly said after a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night. Miami will start the playoffs on the road Wednesday, its first postseason game since winning the 2003 World Series as the Florida Marlins, capped by a Game 6 victory in the Bronx over Jeter and his New York teammates at the previous version of Yankee Stadium. "I can't contain the tears, because it's a lot of grind, a lot of passion," shortstop Miguel Rojas said. "It wasn't just the virus. Last year we lost 100 games. But we came out...
September 25
September 25

Miami Marlins makes playoffs years after 105-loss season

NEW YORK -- The Marlins clinched an improbable playoff berth in their coronavirus-decimated season, beating the New York Yankees 4-3 in 10 innings Friday night to seal a postseason trip on the field of the team that Miami CEO Derek Jeter and manager Don Mattingly once captained. Miami earned its first postseason trip since 2003 when it won the World Series as the Florida Marlins, capped by a Game 6 victory in the Bronx over Jeter and his New York teammates at the previous version of Yankee Stadium. The Marlins had the worst record in the NL last year at 57-105, then was beset by a virus outbreak early this season that prevented it from playing for more than a week. After Jesus Aguilar hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th, Marlins reliever Brandon Kintzler got major league batting leader DJ LeMahieu to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded. Miami players ran onto the field, formed a line and exchanged non socially-distant...
September 25
September 25

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. smashes 495-foot homer, longest in MLB this season

Atlanta Braves center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. belted a tape-measure home run that won't soon be forgotten in the first inning Friday against the visiting Boston Red Sox. Acuna rocked a 495-foot leadoff shot to the top of the left-field seats that measured as the longest homer in Major League Baseball this season and tied for the fifth longest in the Statcast era (since 2015). The home run came on a 3-1 count off right-hander Chris Mazza. It was the 19th career leadoff homer for Acuna. That's the second most in baseball since 2018, when Acuna was National League Rookie of the Year. It is the longest homer at Truist Park, which opened in 2017. "I was in the stands watching," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman told reporters, "and that's the farthest ball I've ever seen hit in person. That was incredible." Braves manager Brian Snitker agreed: "Yeah, that's probably the longest one I've seen here in this ballpark. It was just, 'Oh my God.'" Acuna...
September 25
September 25

Up 3-1, Dwight Howard says Los Angeles Lakers' job 'not finished'

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from going to the NBA Finals for the first time since Kobe Bryant led them past the Boston Celtics a decade ago. As such, it was apt when, in describing how the Lakers are tempering their emotions in the moment, Dwight Howard sounded an awful lot like Bryant on Friday. "Simple," Howard said when asked about his team's mentality heading into Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. "The job is not finished." In the 2009 Finals, after the Lakers went up 2-0 over Howard's Orlando Magic, Bryant was asked by a reporter why he wasn't smiling during his postgame news conference. "What's there to be happy about?" Bryant retorted. "The job's not finished. Is the job finished? I don't think so." The Nuggets team the Lakers are facing has proven resilient when on the brink of elimination. Denver trailed the Utah Jazz 3-1 in the...
September 25
September 25

Channeling Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard says Los Angeles Lakers' job 'not finished'

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from going to the NBA Finals for the first time since Kobe Bryant led them past the Boston Celtics a decade ago. So, it was apt when, in describing how the Lakers are tempering their emotions in the moment, Dwight Howard sounded an awful lot like Bryant on Friday. "Simple," Howard said when asked about his team's mentality heading into Saturday's Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Denver Nuggets. "The job is not finished." In the 2009 Finals, after the Lakers went up 2-0 over Howard's Orlando Magic team, Bryant was asked by a reporter why he wasn't smiling during the postgame news conference. "What's there to be happy about?" Bryant retorted. "The job's not finished. Is the job finished? I don't think so." The Nuggets team the Lakers are facing have proved to be resilient when on the brink of elimination. Denver trailed the Utah Jazz in the first...
September 25
September 25

Mid-American Conference to play six-game football season starting Nov. 4

The Mid-American Conference will begin its football season on Nov. 4 and play a six-game, conference-only schedule, with a championship game on Dec. 18 or 19, the league announced Friday. The university presidents unanimously approved the decision based on the recommendation of the league's medical advisory panel. A full schedule will be released later, but sources told ESPN that MAC games will take place on weeknights through the first few weeks of November and move to Saturdays in December. "I am pleased to inform our student athletes, coaches, and fans, that the Mid-American Conference will resume the fall football season," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement. "Our decisions, in August and again today, have been guided by an overriding concern for the well-being of the student athletes, institutions, and the community at large. Our medical advisory group, presidents, directors of athletics, and others, have worked hard to develop a plan that provides the...
September 25
September 25

Source: Mid-American Conference to play six-game football season starting Nov. 4

The Mid-American Conference will begin its football season on Nov. 4 and play a six-game, conference-only schedule, according to ESPN and multiple reports.  The conference championship game will be held the weekend of Dec. 18-19, a source told ESPN. The university presidents unanimously approved the decision, the source said. The MAC on Aug. 8 became the first FBS conference to postpone the fall football season because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
September 25
September 25

Thom Brennaman resigns from Cincinnati Reds games after using anti-gay slur

Thom Brennaman has resigned as a Cincinnati Reds broadcaster, he told WCPO on Friday, one month after he used an anti-gay slur on the air. "My family and I have decided that I am going to step away from my role as the television voice of the Cincinnati Reds," Brennaman said in a statement to the network. "I would like to thank the Reds, Reds fans and the LGBTQ community for the incredible support and grace they have shown my family and me." On Aug. 19, Brennaman used the slur moments after the Fox Sports Ohio feed returned from a commercial break before the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader at Kansas City. Brennaman did not seem to realize he was already on air. He later apologized. The Reds took Brennaman off the broadcast in the fifth inning of the second game, handing his duties to alternate play-by-play man Jim Day. On Friday, Brennaman said he was "so very sorry" for his comment and hoped to continue as a broadcaster. "And if I'm given...
September 25
September 25

Conor McGregor tweets he's going to fight Manny Pacquiao in a boxing match

UFC star  Conor McGregor is in serious talks to fight boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, but the bout isn't a done deal yet, McGregor's manager, Audie Attar, told ESPN on Friday. McGregor said Friday on Twitter that he is "boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East." The McGregor-Pacquiao boxing match would take place in late December or early January, said Attar, who represents both fighters. The Middle East is one of a few locations being discussed to host the fight, he added. Attar recently told ESPN he had talks with the UFC about McGregor's future. On Friday, he said McGregor fighting Pacquiao in a boxing match was, in fact, one of the topics discussed; according to Attar, the UFC was on board with the idea. In 2017, the UFC co-promoted a McGregor boxing match versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. along with Mayweather Promotions, Showtime and McGregor Sports & Entertainment. That fight ended up being one of the highest-grossing combat sports events of all time. A specific...
September 25
September 25

Conor McGregor tweets he's going fight Manny Pacquiao in a boxing match

UFC star  Conor McGregor is in serious talks to fight boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, but the bout isn't a done deal yet, McGregor's manager, Audie Attar, told ESPN on Friday. McGregor said Friday afternoon on Twitter that he is "boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East." The McGregor-Pacquiao boxing match would take place in late December or early January, Attar said. The Middle East is one of a few locations being discussed to host the fight, he added. Attar recently told ESPN he had talks with the UFC about McGregor's future. On Friday, he said McGregor fighting Pacquiao in a boxing match was, in fact, one of the topics discussed; according to Attar, the UFC was on board with the idea. In 2017, the UFC co-promoted a McGregor boxing match versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. along with Mayweather Promotions, Showtime and McGregor Sports & Entertainment. That fight ended up being one of the highest-grossing combat sports events of all time. A specific weight for this...
September 25
September 25

Rob Gronkowski on slow start with Buccaneers: 'I'm here to block, baby'

TAMPA, Fla. --  Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski doesn't appear to be fazed by his slow start in Bruce Arians' offense -- one that has rendered him with just two catches for 11 yards on four targets and 33 routes run in two games. He's taking things in stride and treating it with some humor. "I'm a blocking tight end. I came here to block, baby," Gronkowski joked Friday. "So four targets is four more than I thought I was gonna get." It's the lowest production of the five-time Pro Bowler's career through the first two weeks of any season. In his seven other seasons in which he's played in Weeks 1 and 2, he's averaged 8.7 catches on 13.4 targets, 127 receiving yards and 1.85 touchdowns. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Gronkowski and quarterback Tom Brady have linked up for the fifth-most touchdowns by a QB-receiver duo in NFL history with 78. Gronkowski has reached 1,000 receiving yards four times -- one of just four tight ends in NFL history...
September 25
September 25

Jaguars linebacker Leon Jacobs tore ACL against Dolphins, out for season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Leon Jacobs will miss the rest of the season after tearing his right ACL during Thursday's loss to  Miami, the team said Friday. Jacobs was hurt on the seventh play of the game, a 7-yard run by Dolphins back  Myles Gaskin. Jacobs stayed on the ground for several minutes and was taken off the field on a cart. Jacobs, 24, has started two of the Jaguars' three games and has three tackles. He has started 12 games since the Jaguars drafted him in the seventh round in 2018. Cassius Marsh, whom the Jaguars signed to a one-year deal in March, replaced Jacobs in the lineup. The Jaguars did get good news regarding safety Andrew Wingard. The core muscle injury that he suffered against Miami was not as serious as feared, and coach Doug Marrone said Wingard will try to practice on Monday. Wingard is the replacement for Jarrod Wilson, who is on injured reserve with a hamstring...
September 25
September 25

49ers to start Nick Mullens at QB; George Kittle out again

SANTA CLARA, Calif. --  Nick Mullens will start at quarterback in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday against the New York Giants. Garoppolo will not be active for the game, leaving C.J. Beathard as Mullens' backup. All-Pro tight end George Kittle also has been ruled out, the team announced Friday. Kittle, who is working his way back from a sprained left knee, practiced on a limited basis the past two days. The Niners also will be without running backs Tevin Coleman (knee) and Raheem Mostert (knee), linebacker Dre Greenlaw (quadriceps) and defensive end Dee Ford (back). From that group, Ford and Kittle are the only ones who also did not play last week. Garoppolo, Mostert, Coleman and Greenlaw suffered injuries against the New York Jets in Week 2. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is also listed as questionable because of a hamstring injury. Of most...
September 25
September 25

Victoria Azarenka says having fans at French Open makes her nervous for health reasons

Victoria Azarenka, a former world No. 1 in the midst of a career resurgence, said on Friday at the French Open that the tournament's policy of allowing 1,000 spectators to attend makes her "nervous." "Obviously, having spectators and playing in front of fans, it's always what I would prefer to do," Azarenka said in her pre-tournament meeting with the media. "But I feel like, as all players, [we] are a little bit nervous about the health situation ... [and] having these circumstances." Tournament organizers originally envisioned hosting up to 20,000 spectators, a number that health officials began to whittle down as France and the Paris region (the tournament is held on the outskirts of the city) began to experience a spike in positive tests for COVID-19. Health and civil officials including those in the office of Prime Minister Jean Castex reduced the number of fans to be allowed in recent weeks, first to 11,500, then to 5,000, and on Thursday to 1,000. It's unclear if those...
September 25
September 25

Victoria Azarenka: Having fans attend French Open makes her nervous for health reasons

Victoria Azarenka, a 31-year former World No. 1 in the midst of a career resurgence, said on Friday at the French Open that the tournament's policy of allowing 1000 spectators to attend makes her "nervous." "Obviously having spectators and playing in front of fans, it's always what I would prefer to do," Azarenka said in her pre-tournament meeting with the press. 'But I feel like, as all players, [we] are a little bit nervous about the health situation. . . [and] having these circumstances." Tournament organizers originally envisioned hosting up to 20,000 spectators, a number that health officials began to whittle down as France and the Paris region (the tournament is held on the outskirts of the city) began to experience a spike in positive tests for COVID-19. Health and civil officials including those in the office of Prime Minister Jean Castex reduced that number of fans that would be allowed in recent weeks to 11.500, then 5,000 and, on Thursday, to 1000. It's unclear if...
September 25
September 25

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos 'unfit to play,' ruled out of Game 4

Steven Stamkos will not play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, coach Jon Cooper said, but the Tampa Bay Lightning captain has not been ruled out for the rest of the series. Cooper made the announcement Friday morning, saying that Stamkos is "unfit to play" in Game 4. The Lightning have a 2-1 series lead against the  Dallas Stars with Games 4 and 5 being held on back-to-back days, Friday and Saturday. Stamkos had not played all summer before making his 2020 postseason debut in Game 3 on Wednesday. Stamkos scored on the first shot he took as the Lightning rolled to a 5-2 win. He became the first player in 80 years to score while playing his first postseason game of the year in the Stanley Cup Final. However the 30-year-old Stamkos took only five shifts, totaling less than three minutes of playing time, and did not play in the second or third period. He said he was held out because he encountered "an issue." Stamkos remained on the bench with his teammates...
September 25
September 25

Ravens DC says Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes 'underpaid' even if $1B

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Patrick Mahomes signed the highest-valued contract in American professional sports in July when he struck a 10-year, $450 million extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale, who faces Mahomes on Monday night, considers that a bargain. "They could've paid him a billion," Martindale said Friday. "I'd still think he's underpaid." Martindale has a lot of respect for the reigning Super Bowl MVP because Mahomes is the one quarterback who has consistently gotten the better of Baltimore. The Ravens have allowed the third-fewest passing yards in the league (203.7) since Martindale took over as defensive coordinator at the start of the 2018 season. Baltimore has given up over 350 yards passing only three times during that span -- and two have come against Mahomes, who has thrown for five touchdowns and one interception in two victories over the Ravens. Mahomes passed for 377 yards in 2018 -- the...
September 25

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