NFL commissioner's wife was using anonymous tweets to defend him

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's wife has been using an anonymous Twitter account to defend her husband.

Jane Skinner Goodell called the use of the account a passionate act done out of love.

"It was a REALLY silly thing to do and done out of frustration -- and love," Jane Skinner Goodell said Thursday afternoon in a written statement to the Wall Street Journal. "As a former media member, I'm always bothered when the coverage doesn't provide a complete and accurate picture of a story. I'm also a wife and a mom. I have always passionately defended the hard-working guy I love -- and I always will. I just may not use Twitter to do so in the future!"

The Journal's investigation of the Twitter account @forargument, found that Goodell had used the account 14 times to defend her husband. The account has since been deleted from Twitter after the Journal's publication of the story.

Last month, when NBC Sports blog Pro Football Talk tweeted it was "on the commissioner" to mollify the recent national anthem controversy, Goodell used the account to reply.

"Please do better reporting," Jane Skinner Goodell, a former anchor for Fox News before her retirement in 2011, tweeted. "He is already doing this. You are behind."

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Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliot suspension restored by federal appeal court

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(FRISCO, Texas) -- A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court's injunction in the case of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Court also directed the district court to dismiss the NFL player's union's lawsuit which was filed on Elliott's behalf. Elliott's suspension will begin immediately. The NFL can now impose its 6-game suspension of Elliott.  

The Cowboys are currently on a bye week, so Elliott would miss the games against the San Francisco 49ers, the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Falcons, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Chargers. He would be eligible to return in Week 13 against the Redskins.

Following the court's decision, Elliott's attorney said in a statement, “We are currently exploring all of our legal options and will make a decision as to what is the best course of action in the next few days. Until that time we have no further comment on the 5th circuit’s decision.”

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John Farrell out as Red Sox manager 

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(BOSTON) -- After five seasons as manager for the Boston Red Sox, John Farrell is out of a job. Farrell lead the team to back to back division titles for the first time in franchise history but also consecutive first-round playoff elimination.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Wednesday that Farrell was dismissed with one year left on his contract.
In a statement, Farrell thanked the Red Sox's ownership group, the team's front office and Boston's coaches, players and fans.

"Despite an end to this season that we all wanted to be different, I am proud of this ball club and the resiliency shown," Farrell said in the statement. "I have enjoyed every moment of this job -- its peaks and its valleys. There are few, if any, positions in life that create so much passion on a daily basis."

Farrell had a 432-378 record over his five-year tenure that included a World Series championship in 2013 and two last-place finishes. He is the only Red Sox manager to win three American League East crowns and ranks sixth on the club's all-time wins list.

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Former NFL coach Mike Ditka says he has 'absolutely' seen oppression

Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Legendary NFL coach Mike Ditka is walking back claims he made Monday that “there has been no oppression in the last hundred years.”

The comment, made before a "Monday Night Football" game, came as team owners grapple with President Trump’s calls to discipline players that protest during the national anthem. Ditka said he wouldn’t tolerate kneeling on his sideline.

“All of a sudden, it has become a big deal now, about oppression … there has been no oppression in the last hundred years that I know of,” he said.

Historical counterexamples quickly flooded social media: Jim Crow laws, sanctioned lynchings, denying women the right to vote, Japanese internment, among others.

In a statement Tuesday, Ditka said “the characterization of the statement that I made does not reflect the context of the question that I was answering and certainly does not reflect my views throughout my lifetime. I have absolutely seen oppression in society in the last 100 years and I am completely intolerant of any discrimination.”

The former Chicago Bears coach went on to apologize “if anyone was offended,” saying the interview was specifically about the NFL, and “that’s where my head was at.”

The question Ditka answered was specifically about athletes commenting on larger social issues, from Muhammad Ali to Jesse Owens. Ditka did not mention the NFL in his answer: “If you want to work, if you want to try, you can accomplish anything.”

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath was one of many to admonish Ditka for the remarks, telling Fox News, “Look up the definition of oppression and you will understand that it obviously has taken place.”

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Scoreboard roundup -- 10/10/17

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


Indiana 108, Haifa Maccabi 89
Toronto 116, Detroit 94
Chicago 108, Cleveland 94
Orlando 103, San Antonio 98
Oklahoma City 96, Denver 86
Utah 105, L.A. Lakers 99


Columbus 2, Carolina 1
St. Louis 3, N.Y. Rangers 1
Chicago 3, Montreal 1
Nashville 6, Philadelphia 5
Dallas 4, Detroit 2
Ottawa 3, Vancouver 2
Vegas 5, Arizona 2

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49ers' Eric Reid defends taking a knee during national anthem: 'We want to make our country better'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- San Francisco 49ers' player Eric Reid, one of the first players to join teammate Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, defended the ongoing silent protests on The View.

"We love this country so much that we reserve the right to criticize her perpetually," Reid said, paraphrasing from writer James Baldwin. "We just want to do that -- we want to make our country better."

On Saturday, Dallas Cowboys' owner and general manager Jerry Jones said any player who "disrespects the flag" won't be allowed to play. Reid weighed in on the situation, saying, "That's a poor decision on Jerry's part."

"We have a constitutional right to protest. And that's all we're doing -- exercising it," Reid said. "It's a peaceful protest.... We're simply trying to raise awareness around the issues that our country face[s]."

Reid says those issues "include police brutality, systemic oppression of black and brown people," making clear that "it's not about the anthem the flag or the military."

The 49ers' strong safety said he was first inspired to join Kaepernick's protest in the aftermath of Alton Sterling's death in Reid's hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"At that point, I knew I needed to do something," Reid said. "I need[ed] to use my platform to speak out for people who didn't have a voice."

In an New York Times op-ed, Reid discussed receiving advice from "Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former NFL player," on the best way to protest.

"When we first started this process we decided to kneel as a sign of respect," Reid said. "It's very confusing for me that it's been misconstrued as disrespectful."

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NFL teams to review proposed plan of action on national anthem protests next week 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The NFL will address player protests during the national anthem at its annual fall meeting next week, according to a letter commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to all 32 teams.

In the letter obtained by ESPN, Goodell made it clear that he believes “that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game.” He did not elaborate on how the league might change the existing policy. The NFL's anthem policy now states that players "should" stand for the anthem but they are not required to do so.

Goodell wrote in the letter, dated Oct. 10 and directed to chief executives and club presidents, that the league has developed a plan to address other ways for players to voice their opinions on social issues. “We want to ensure that any work at the League level is consistent with the work that each club is doing in its own community, and that we dedicate a platform that can enable these initiatives to succeed. Additionally, we will continue the unprecedented dialogue with our players,” he said.

The league’s proposed plan, which the teams will review next week, is the result of "many discussions with clubs and players,” Goodell added.

“At our September committee meetings, we heard directly from several players about why these issues are so important to them and how we can support their work. And last week, we met with the leadership of the NFLPA and more players to advance the dialogue,” he wrote of the National Football League Players Association, which represents the players.

The situation was thrust back into the news Sunday when Vice President Pence left the Indianapolis Colts game after multiple players on the San Francisco 49ners kneeled during the anthem. Additionally, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would bench any player who did not stand for the anthem.

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, tweeted a statement Monday that "no player is disrespecting our country or our flag" and that he looks "forward to the day when everyone in management can unite and truly embrace and articulate what the flag stands for: liberty and justice for all."

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5 things to know about Morgan Hurd, 16-year-old US gymnastics world champ

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Meet the up-and-coming star of the USA women’s gymnastics team who helped keep their long-standing win streak at the World Championships alive in her first-ever appearance at the competition.

Newcomer Morgan Hurd, 16, stepped up to the mat for the women's all-around competition when Ragan Smith, the reigning U.S. national champion, injured her ankle during warm-ups.

Hurd, who was adopted as a toddler from China, competed and took home her first-ever gold medal in the individual all-around final in Montreal, Canada, on Sunday.

Here are five fun facts about Hurd:

1. She loves Harry Potter

The young gymnast is a big Harry Potter fan and her recent gold medal performance captured the attention of the magical author herself, J.K. Rowling.

2. She shares her July 18 birthday with National Hamilton Day.

The talented gymnast shared her complete competition pump-up playlist with ESPNW, and it included a variety of Lin-Manuel Miranda's songs from the hit Broadway musical. Earlier this year, she also shared a video of her and a friend lip-syncing one of the songs.

3. Hurd's Twitter handle shows off her nickname, Morgi.

4. In 2014, Hurd live-blogged the very same competition that she won the all-around title for on Sunday evening.

5. Hurd was featured on the cover of International Gymnast magazine when she was just 15.

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MLB Playoffs: Dodgers sweep, Astros advance while the Cubs win and Yankees extend their series

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On a day that featured four playoff games, fans saw two teams advance to the Championship League Series (ALCS), one team take control of the National League Division Series (NLDS), and another swing momentum in their favor as they head for a winner-take-all Game 5.

The Houston Astros defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Monday afternoon, winning their American League Division Series (ALDS) matchup three games to one. On a long, rainy day at Boston's Fenway Park, in a game that lasted over four hours, Houston was just three outs away from securing their first ALDS appearance since 2005.

Up 5-3 to start the ninth inning, infielder Rafael Devers hit an inside-the-park home run to lead off the inning, cutting the Astros' lead to one run. Closer Ken Giles then got through the inning, retiring second baseman Dustin Pedroia to secure the final out and clinch the series.

In New York, the Yankees won their Game 4 matchup with the Cleveland Indians 7-3 behind seven strong innings from starter Luis Severino and a home run from catcher Gary Sanchez.

The best-of-five series is currently tied 2-2. The Yankees had trailed 2-0 and were facing a sweep, but a home run from Greg Bird in Game 3 pushed them to Game 4, which the Yankees took handily.

The Indians and Yankees will play a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday night. Two of the top pitchers in the series, Cleveland's Corey Kluber and the Yankees' CC Sabathia, will face off.

The Los Angeles Dodgers rolled over their division rivals in the National League Division Series (NLDS), completing the three-game sweep over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Dodgers starter Yu Darvish, pitching on the road at Arizona's Chase Field, allowed just two hits in five-plus innings to send Los Angeles back to the NLCS for the second straight year.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs are just one win away from forcing a 2016 NLCS rematch with the Dodgers after taking their Game 3 matchup with the Washington Nationals 2-1 Monday night.

Despite four errors and a base running mistake, Cubs starter Jose Quintana went head-to-head with Nationals' ace Max Scherzer, and an eighth inning RBI bloop single from Anthony Rizzo put the Cubs ahead and made the difference in the game.

Chicago will look to win the series on their home field Tuesday at 5:30pm ET.

The Yankees and Indians will face off in the series finale in Cleveland on Wednesday at 8:00pm ET.

The ALCS begins on October 13. The NLCS starts a day later on October 14.

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New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall to miss the rest of the 2017 season

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- ESPN reports New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall will undergo season-ending surgery on his ankle on Tuesday.

Marshall made the announcement on Instagram.

The injury occurred in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers as Marshall was attempted to make a one-handed catch. His ankle landed awkwardly on the play.

Marshall underwent tests on his ankle Monday, but it still comes as a surprise that he will miss the season after head coach Ben McAdoo called his injury a "sprained" ankle shortly after the team's loss Sunday.

Signed to a two-year, #11 million deal with New York this past offseason, Marshall finishes his season catching just 18 passes for 154 yards without a touchdown. After the team's Week 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Marshall told reporters, "I haven't played a solid game since I've been here."

The Giants, who had Super Bowl hopes prior to the season but currently hold a 0-5 record, are in desperate need for wide receivers.

Marshall and fellow star Odell Beckham Jr. will miss the rest of the season with injuries, and receiver Sterling Shepard is also dealing with an ankle injury.

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