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Tuesday
Aug202019

Alex Rodriguez uses a fake Instagram or 'burner' account to follow his daughters

bigtunaonline/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Um, we have a feeling this won't go over so well at home.

While on the "Chicks in the Office" podcast this week, Alex Rodriguez dropped a bombshell that his two daughters, Natasha and Ella, are sure to roast him for at home.

He not only revealed that his daughters screen what he posts on Instagram but that he uses a "burner," or fake Instagram account, to follow their activity. He said they won't let him follow them or see what they post.

"I have ways," he said of seeing what his girls post. When asked if he has the "dad burner," he replied, "Oh yeah."

The former ball player-turned-investor said that his girls "are like the COO and the CEO of my social media." They even have a "contract" with him to approve what he puts online.

He said they send him direct messages about his posts, writing, "Dad, are you serious?"

He admitted that he has no formula to his social media and "most of the time, I kind of cringe" after he posts something. But not as much as his beloved daughters.

Rodriguez also joked about how his daughters used to love it when he'd walk them to school. Now they make him drop them off "two blocks" away.

"Soon, they'll be walking to class," he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug202019

15-year-old tennis star Coco Gauff says she hopes 'to be the greatest of all time'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- At just 15 years old, Coco Gauff has become a household name in the tennis world after becoming the youngest qualifier in history to make the main draw at Wimbledon -- and the youngest woman to win a Wimbledon match in nearly 30 years.

At her first round match at the Grand Slam tournament last month, the teen defeated one of her tennis role models, five-time Wimbledon champ Venus Williams.

"I feel it's harder to kinda wrap my head around it because I just looked up to her for so long," Gauff told ABC News' Robin Roberts. "Sometimes I'll tell my dad like, 'I got to play Venus. Can you believe it?' So to me, it's crazy."

The high school student from Florida said she is still adjusting to the newfound fame after her performance at Wimbledon.

"It was crazy because growing up, I just thought about winning tournaments and playing Wimbledon and the Grand Slams, but I never thought about all that would come with it," she said. "So I guess I kinda didn't really prepare myself for it ... I'm still getting used to it."

Back home in Delray Beach, Florida, Gauff is back to work preparing for the U.S. Open.

She recalled the first time she picked up a tennis racket at the tender age of 6.

"I was at home when we lived in Atlanta, and the earliest tennis memory I remember is just me hitting against the garage," she said. "I guess -- that's how I started."

Despite garnering international attention for her performances on the court, Gauff said she is always focused on how she can improve her game.

"I always, like, try to push myself," she said. "I know that I'm doing well. But I don't tell myself, 'oh, I'm pretty good I think,' 'cause I think I can always improve."

Gauff said that she is also always focused on winning when she competes.

"I won't step on the court unless I think I can win," she said. "I think it's just silly for me to go into a match thinking that I'm gonna lose or thinking that I'm lucky to be here because it took a lot of work to be here."

In many ways, her years of hard work and dedication are a family affair -- her father, Corey Gauff, is one of her coaches and her mother, Candi Gauff, manages her schedule.

"They always fight over who ... like, gave me the gifts," Coco Gauff quipped. "My dad says I got the height from him. My mom says I got the legs from her and the speed from her. But then he argues that the speed is from him."
 
Corey Gauff told ABC News' Good Morning America that "as former athletes you look at the things that you could have done better."

"So it gives you a chance when you have children to say, 'Okay, these are some of the things I probably wouldn't have done and so I want make sure you don't do those things,'" the father explained. "And I think that's why she's able to be successful, because we always tried to give her the very best that we can afford so ... if she decided not to play again, fine."

"We'd be satisfied that we did our very best to give her the best opportunity to be successful," he added.

Mom Candi Gauff also shared her advice for fellow sports parents, whether they are at her daughter's competitive level or in little league.

"My biggest thing with her is to be grateful, be grateful that you have the opportunity ... to play," she said. "You have to be grateful and appreciative when you're out there on that court and be humble."

"So my biggest advice to parents is be appreciative that you are able to cheer your child onto victory or in defeat and be able to hug them if they lose," she added.

For Coco Gauff's proud grandparents, Eddie Odom Jr. and Yvonne Odom, watching her rise has been a thrill and a joy.

"Oh, I can't believe it. I was teasing Coco. I said, 'Look, G-ma can live off just the crumbs from your table,'" Yvonne Odom told GMA.

Eddie Odom Jr. added that he just tries to support his granddaughter as best he can.

"As far as I'm concerned ... the mom and the dad ... have made some really good decisions, and I know that. So whatever they're asking me to do, I'm willing to do it," he said.

Coco Gauff said she hopes to make a difference in the world on and off the court.

"My tennis dream, I guess, is to be the greatest of all time," she said. "My dad always told me that ever since I was a little girl that one day I will change the world with my racket. So I hope that one day I can do that, and I'm already thinking of ideas on how I can."

Off the court, Gauff said a "big focus for me is mental health."

"I think I want to push that more I guess, especially now. On social media it's a little bit, I guess, toxic," she said. "So I think that especially being young that it's important that people kind of recognize it that it's an issue."

Gauff said she hopes her story inspires others when they watch her play.

"I just want them to feel that anything's possible and that, like, honestly, the sky's the limit," she said.

"Actually no, the sky isn't the limit. You can go as far as you want," she quipped. "I think that anything is possible at any age or any point in time of your life."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug202019

Scoreboard roundup -- 8/19/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Kansas City 5, Baltimore 4
Seattle 9, Tampa Bay 3
Houston 5, Detroit 4
Chi White Sox 6, Minnesota 4
Texas 8, LA Angels 7

NATIONAL LEAGUE
San Diego 3, Cincinnati 2
Washington 13, Pittsburgh 0
St. Louis 3, Milwaukee 0
Arizona 5, Colorado 2

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON
San Francisco 24, Denver 15

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug192019

Jay-Z faces backlash over NFL partnership as Colin Kaepernick remains out of the league

33ft/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Jay-Z is facing backlash from supporters of Colin Kaepernick and critics of the National Football League after the NFL announced last week that the hip-hop mogul and his label teamed up with the league on a new initiative to amplify social justice.

The partnership doesn't include the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback -- a fact that was not lost on his supporters -- and came on the heels of the third anniversary of Kaepernick's historic protest on the field.

Attorney Mark Geragos, who represents Kaepernick, described the deal in a phone interview with ABC News on Monday as "cold-blooded."

"This deal between Jay-Z and the NFL crosses the intellectual picket line," Geragos said, adding that neither the NFL nor Jay-Z reached out to Kaepernick during discussions.

"I can confirm to you that the deal was already done prior to any conversation that [Kaepernick] had with Jay-Z and he certainly didn’t have any conversations with the NFL," Geragos said.

ABC News has reached out to the NFL and Jay-Z's label, Roc Nation, but requests for comment were not returned.

 Kaepernick, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2016, was propelled into the national spotlight when he became the first NFL player to take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem to protest racism and police brutality on Aug. 14, 2016.

His protest sparked a movement, with several other athletes following his example -- the first of which was then-teammate Eric Reid.

Reid, who now plays for the Carolina Panthers, has continued to take a knee and has repeatedly slammed Jay-Z and the NFL over the deal.

 "We never advocated for Colin to lose his job while we fought against systemic oppression. That’s unjust, and where the NFL inserted itself into this. Now the NFL is 'championing' social justice to cover their own systemic oppression in blackballing Colin. So we will fight to get Colin’s job back as well," Reid wrote in a series of tweets responding to a video of ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who pushed back against critics of the NFL and Jay-Z, arguing, "wasn't that the goal that Colin Kaepernick had?"

"Jay-Z knowingly made a money move with the very people who’ve committed an injustice against Colin and is using social justice to smooth it over with the black community," Reid added.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Jay-Z and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed details of their new partnership.

 "I think we've passed kneeling," Jay-Z said when by a reporter asked if the rapper would kneel or stand if he were playing. "Yeah, I think it's time to go into actionable items."

Kaepernick has not directly addressed the deal, but a Saturday tweet with a photo of Reid, and Miami Dolphins players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson taking a knee appears to push back against Jay-Z's statement.

 "My Brothers @E_Reid35 @KSTiLLS @iThinkIsee12 continue to fight for the people, even in the face of death threats," Kaepernick tweeted. "They have never moved past the people and continue to put their beliefs into action. Stay strong Brothers!!!"

Kaepernick filed a grievance against league owners in 2017 alleging that they colluded to ensure that he remains unsigned -- a sore point for activists who point to his status as a free agent to argue that the NFL's efforts to amplify social justice are disingenuous and an effort to save face.

Reid, who became a free agent for several months before he signed a one-year contract with the Panthers last October, also filed a grievance against the NFL in May 2018 alleging that they colluded to keep him out of the league. Both lawsuits have been settled.

Jay-Z, who has supported Kaepernick and the protests, said during the press conference that he is "not minimizing" the protests but added that the protests were "not about a job," but about "injustice."

"Let me bring attention to injustice. Everyone's saying, 'How are you going forward if Kaep doesn't have a job.' This wasn't about him having a job," Jay-Z said. "That became a part of the discussion. He was kneeling to bring attention to injustice. We know what it is. Now how do we address the injustice?"

Earlier this year, Jay-Z joined forces with fellow rapper Meek Mill and launched a criminal justice reform organization. Its executive board includes Jay-Z and Kraft Group CEO and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

There appears to be a split in the hip-hop community about whether the deal was the right call. Artists like Cardi B and DJ Khaled have voiced their support for the effort.

Over the past three seasons, the backlash against the NFL's handling of the protests and a firestorm against players who take a knee have prompted boycotts of NFL games from both sides.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug192019

Report: Dwight Howard’s reps given green light to talk to Lakers

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Is Dwight Howard's short time with the Memphis Grizzlies close to coming to an end?

League sources tell ESPN the center’s representatives have been given permission to talk to other teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom Howard played for in 2012.

Los Angeles’ interest in the 33-year-old comes after Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL during a workout last week. Cousins had just joined the Lakers last month, signing a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the team.

Howard also joined the Grizzlies in July after being traded by the Washington Wizards for forward C. J. Miles.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug192019

Former NFL running back, University of Texas star Cedric Benson dies at 36

33ft/iStock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Cedric Benson, a former NFL running back and fourth overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, died in Austin, Texas over the weekend. He was 36.

Benson's attorney, Sam Bassett, told ESPN that he died in a motorcycle crash Saturday night. Bassett said he did not have details of the accident.

Benson, who is ranked second in the University of Texas' history for most rushing yards, played for the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers in the NFL. He also led the Bengals to the playoffs in 2011.

“Once he bought into our system, he was like a flower. He just blossomed. He gave us an element we didn’t have" former Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson said in a statement posted on the team's website. "We had complementary guys, but Cedric gave us a missing element. He was a good man. He was one of my guys and it hurts. Life is too short.”

Benson was a star player on the University of Texas Longhorns between 2001 and 2004 under former coach Mack Brown, who in a statement on Sunday celebrated the running back for his "tough" playing style.

"Saddened by the reports on the passing of Cedric Benson. We’ve coached a lot of tough players but none were tougher than Cedric," Brown said in a statement. "He was a true spirit. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family on this sad day."

Tom Herman, the university's current coach hailed him as a "Longhorn Legend" and "one of the best running backs in college football history."

Benson finished his NFL career with 6,017 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug192019

Scoreboard roundup -- 8/18/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

NY Mets 11, Kansas City 5

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Seattle 7, Toronto 0
Tampa Bay 5, Detroit 4
Boston 13, Baltimore 7
Cleveland 8, NY Yankees 4
Minnesota 6, Texas 3
Houston 4, Oakland 1
LA Angels 9, Chi White Sox 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis 5, Cincinnati 4
San Diego 3, Philadelphia 2
Atlanta 5, LA Dodgers 3
Washington 16, Milwaukee 8
Colorado 7, Miami 6, 10 innings
Arizona 6, San Francisco 1
Chi Cubs 7, Pittsburgh 1

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Connecticut 78, Dallas 68
Washington 107, Indiana 68
Las Vegas 100, Chicago 85
Phoenix 78, New York 72
Seattle 82, Minnesota 74

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON
New Orleans 19, LA Chargers 17
Minnesota 25, Seattle 19

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Aug182019

3 dead in soccer riot in Honduras as opposing fans attack team bus

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Three people were killed during riots before a soccer match in Honduras late Saturday when opposing fans attacked a team bus and chaos broke out between spectators and police. At least 10 other people were injured, some seriously, according to the Honduran Red Cross.

The game between Motagua and Olimpia was called off due to the riots.

The rioting broke out after a group of Olimpia fans allegedly attacked the team bus carrying Motagua players at the stadium. Three players suffered minor injuries, according to the team.

The club tweeted photos of their bus with holes in the windows from objects being thrown threw them.

"Motagua Soccer Club will not be present for the match against Olimpia due to the acts of vandalism that our team suffered by fans of the Ultra Faithful on their way to the national stadium, where we have several players injured by glass," the team wrote on Twitter in Spanish.

Defender Roberto Moreira, goalkeeper Jonathan Rougier and winger Emilio Izaguirre were the three players injured by broken glass, the team said. The club shared photos of them in a local hospital being treated for cuts from the glass shards.

Riot police were forced to fire off tear gas to subdue the fans who were fighting inside and outside the stadium.

Liga SalvaVida, the Honduran league both clubs compete in, apologized for the incident.

"La Liga SalvaVida condemns the deplorable acts of violence that took place tonight between fans of Club Deportiva Olimpia and Futbol Club Motagua on the outskirts of the national stadium of Tegucigalpa and in which, according to information from the capital's medical centers, there have been victims and those seriously injured," the league said in a statement translated from Spanish.

Motague is refusing to play a makeup game against Olimpia and wants the team sanctioned by the league, ESPN reported.

"La Liga SalvaVida strongly expresses its repudiation of violence inside and outside the stadium, because football must be and will be the passion that unites the Honduran family. To the families of the victims, our sincere condolences and solidarity in these moments," the league added.

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Friday
Aug162019

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s plane bounced at least twice before 'coming down hard' in fiery crash: NTSB

guvendemir/iStock(ELIZABETHON, Tenn.) -- NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s plane bounced at least twice before "coming down hard" on the right main landing gear resulting in Thursday's fiery crash, officials said Friday.

Earnhardt, his wife and their 1-year-old daughter were on board with two pilots during the accident and they all escaped without serious injuries, officials said.

The Cessna Citation took off from Statesville, North Carolina, for a 20-minute afternoon flight before it crashed while landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, Ralph Hicks of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said at a news conference on Friday.

The crash was captured on surveillance video, Hicks said, which showed the plane bounce "at least twice before coming down hard on the right main landing gear."

"You can actually see the right main landing gear collapsing on the video," he said.

The plane then continued down the runway, went through a fence, and came to a stop on a highway, Hicks said.

The Earnhardts were able to evacuate before the plane erupted in flames, Hicks said, adding that the fire appeared to start after the crash.

Elizabethton Fire Chief Barry Carrier attributed the blaze to fuel from the aircraft.

The former race car driver was taken to Johnson City Medical Center with cuts and abrasions. He was the only person on board who was hospitalized, according to the sheriff.

A spokesman for NBC Sports, where Earnhardt works as a NASCAR analyst, later said that Earnhardt was discharged from the hospital.

Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander said it's extremely lucky that no cars were involved in the accident.

"We're just happy everyone walked away and no one on the ground was injured as well," Alexander said at Friday's news conference.

Both pilots on board were professionally-trained, Hicks said, and when interviewed by the NTSB they provided information consistent with the surveillance video.

The Earnhardts were interviewed and their comments were also consistent with the video, said Hicks.

The surveillance footage of the accident will eventually be released to the public, he added.

The plane had a cockpit voice recorder which will be sent to NTSB headquarters in Washington, DC., Hicks said.

Earnhardt's family and employees expressed their relief after the crash.

"We are so grateful for the outpouring of concern and support. Everyone is doing well enough. Lots of hugs. Lots of prayers to the Good Lord," tweeted Mike Davis, a spokesman for the former NASCAR star.

Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt, added on Twitter: "Thank you to God, the angels among us, our pilots, first responders, medical staff, our NASCAR family and everyone that has reached out in whatever way to support us all."

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Friday
Aug162019

Army allows West Point graduate to sign with Philadelphia Eagles

skynesher/iStock(NEW YORK) --  A former West Point offensive tackle has been granted an exception by the Army in order to sign a three-year deal to play football for the Philadelphia Eagles, according to ESPN.

Brett Toth, an Army second lieutenant, graduated from West Point as a nuclear engineer in May 2018 and has fulfilled his first year of active duty service. But an executive order from President Donald Trump has now allowed him to be recruited by the Eagles.

On June 26, Trump issued an executive order that directed the Pentagon to develop a policy that authorizes new graduates of the service academies and ROTC programs to pursue professional sports immediately following graduation but prior to completing their service requirement.

Under the old policy crafted by former defense secretary James Mattis, graduates were required to fulfill two years of commissioned service in the military before pursuing a professional sports career.

"Such cadets and midshipmen have a short window of time to take advantage of their athletic talents during which playing professional sports is realistically possible," Trump said in the executive order. "At the same time, these student-athletes should honor the commitment they made to serve in the Armed Forces in exchange for the extraordinary benefits afforded to them at taxpayer expense at the Academies or ROTC programs. A revised policy will benefit the student-athletes, the Academies and ROTC programs, and the Armed Forces."

The executive order gave the Pentagon 120 days to develop the new policy, which has yet to be implemented. But based on the directive, two military services have gone ahead and granted exceptions allowing their graduates to go pro.

Prior to Toth's exception, the Air Force last month signed an exception for long snapper Austin Cutting, a seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2019 NFL draft.

Army officials did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the exception signed for Toth.

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