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Wednesday
Jun272018

Serena Williams seeded No. 25 after Wimbledon rules amended for maternity leave

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams has been seeded 25th for this year's tournament as she returns to the sport after giving birth to a baby daughter in September.

Ending weeks of debate, the All England Club that organizes the British Grand Slam tournament decided to amend the rules and seed her, instead of following the ranking list that doesn't take into account players’ taking a break for maternity leave.

Williams, the most successful tennis player in history who was ranked No. 1 when she took her maternity leave, is ranked 183rd in the world after returning to the tour in March.

She tweeted Monday: “7 days until Wimbledon. It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years since my first title in London. What I remember most from that day is the genuine happiness and support from my competitor, big sister and best friend @Venuseswilliams.”

Williams has a 9-month-old daughter Alexis with husband Alexis Ohanian.

Williams, 36, told Good Morning America previously that it has been “interesting” to watch the world of tennis adjust its rules for new moms.

“Unfortunately, in the ’90s they changed the rule whereas if you were injured [and] then you came back, you lose your seeding,” Williams said. “But they never took into account women that left No. 1 [because of pregnancy] “and left not for an injury, but to have a great life and not give up tennis, but to come back.”

Katrina Adams, the U.S. Tennis Association’s president, agrees. Players should not be “penalized” for starting a family, she recently told The New York Times.

“We think it’s a good message for our current female players and future players,” she said before today's ruling. “It’s OK to go out and be a woman and become a mother and then come back to your job, and I think that’s a bigger message.”

Williams has an ally in John McEnroe, the legendary U.S. tennis player and three-time Wimbledon champion, who now sits on the tournament’s seedings committee. To him, it’s a straightforward decision.

“I don’t think there would be a player that would complain, especially the top ones, if she was one of the top eight,” he said before today's ruling. “Why in the world would they want to play her in the first, second, third round? Nor should they, in my opinion.”

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki said she totally supports Williams.

“She’s the greatest player to ever play the sport, having won so many Grand Slams and being number one for so many years,” she said before today's ruling. “She deserves a seeding.”

Williams played unseeded at the French Open in May, eventually pulling out of the Grand Slam in the fourth-round because of an injury. Wimbledon runs from July 2 to 15.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jun272018

Man found dead in beer cooler at Atlanta Braves' stadium

ogan Riely/Beam Imagination/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Police are investigating after a man was found dead inside SunTrust Park in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Cobb County Police told ABC affiliate WSB-TV that a third-party contractor was found dead by another worker in a walk-in beer cooler at the stadium, home of the Atlanta Braves.

Police told WSB-TV they believed the man had arrived earlier for an overnight shift.

The man was found hours before the Braves were scheduled to host the Cincinnati Reds.

Police told WSB-TV it was too early to indicate if foul play was involved, and that they were working with the Braves in the investigation.

"There's many avenues that it could go, but at this time, we're just gathering information," Sarah O'Hara of the Cobb County Police Department told WSB-TV.

The game between the Braves and the Reds was played as scheduled.

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Tuesday
Jun262018

Dead body found at the home of New York Giants' Janoris Jenkins, authorities say

WABC-TV(FAIR LAWN, N.J.) -- A dead body has been found at the home of New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, according to authorities.

Authorities in Bergen County, New Jersey, are investigating the death after police found the body at a home in Fair Lawn, the Bergen County Prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Law enforcement officials confirmed that the home belongs to Jenkins, ABC owned station WABC-TV in New York reported.

Prosecutors said the deceased is not the owner of the home. His identity has not yet been released, pending next of kin, authorities said.

"We are aware of and monitoring the situation," the New York Giants said in a statement to WABC-TV.

Neighbors told WABC-TV that Jenkins is currently in Florida.

Additional details were not immediately available.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Tuesday
Jun262018

Super Bowl champ Nick Foles' new memoir, 'Believe It'

Leon Bennett/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Fresh off of his team's first-ever Super Bowl victory, Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback Nick Foles is out with a new memoir.

Foles sustained an ACL injury late in the 2017 NFL season, causing many to believe it was over for the Eagles. Yet, led by Foles, the team went on to win their first-ever Super Bowl in February.

In his new book, Foles gives fans an inside look at how he was able to overcome his injuries and other setbacks to become a Super Bowl champion.

Foles told "Good Morning America" that in the week leading up to the Super Bowl he was prepared to answer questions about Tom Brady and the Patriots, but keeping the focus on his own team helped them "come out on top."

"It was probably the two toughest weeks of football I've gone into preparation for, but it allowed us to keep our head down and focus on our game plan and going out there executing the plays and really just having fun," Foles said. “Our team plays with so much swag. If you're in the locker room you see us dancing around before the game, warming up. We play loose and play with high energy and we play for one another and that's really how we were able to come out on top."

Foles said he told his wife Tori Moore moments after the historic win that their life was about to change, but he made sure their "Friday night date night" would remain a constant.

"Being a mom and doing everything she can at the house, that's a full-time job in and of itself, and I come home [after practice] so we wanted to make sure we had that night to ourselves to go out for a few hours and enjoy one another," the father of 1-year-old daughter Lily said.

"I just knew that with winning a Super Bowl and everyone watching and the platform we have that things will be a little different, but it’s not bad things, it takes some getting used to," he said. "Keeping our priorities straight, our faith, our family and values will keep us grounded," he explained.

In 2016 Foles contemplated stepping away from football, but he said that time of reflection was pivotal to his growth and overcoming his fears.

"When I was going to step away it was a time for me to step back and reflect on just the journey of my life and, you know, what God has done in my life and it was really humbling," he said.

"It was not easy but I was able to come out of it learning a lot and overcoming some fears I had and I think we all have fears we face and -- to overcome them and attack them allows us to grow. That's what I talk about in the book and share with young players and kids."

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Tuesday
Jun262018

Serena Williams wants Wimbledon to change seeding rules for returning moms

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images(NEW  YORK) -- After Serena William's highly anticipated return to tennis last month at the French Open, following the birth of her daughter, Williams, 36, has her eyes set on Wimbledon, which kicks off July 2. The two-time defending champion couldn't defend her Wimbledon title last year because she was pregnant.

Williams told "Good Morning America" it's been "interesting" watching the world of tennis adjust for a new mother returning to the court.

"Unfortunately, in the '90s they changed the rule whereas if you were injured [and] then you come back, you lose your seeding," she explained last week inside New York City's Tictail Market.

Williams had stepped into the Lower East Side marketplace to attend the unveiling of a nearby street mural commissioned by Allstate Foundation Purple Purse. Williams, the program's ambassador, is partnering with Purple Purse to raise awareness of domestic violence paired with financial abuse.

"But they never took into account women that left No. 1" due to pregnancy, Williams added. "And left not for an injury, but to have a great life and not give up tennis, but to come back."

Williams played unseeded at the French Open in May, eventually pulling out of the Grand Slam in the fourth-round due to an injury.

Williams, along with many tennis lovers around the world, is anticipating today's meeting by the All England Tennis Club. The club will decide whether Williams, who currently ranks 183 in the world, will be seeded in the women's singles draw at Wimbledon. The decision will be announced Wednesday.

The new mom told "GMA" she hopes that seeding can be changed so that players won't be penalized for having children during their career.

"I think and I hope -- and it should be under review -- to change these rules. Maybe not in time for me, but for the next person," Williams said. "Maybe she's 25 and she wants to have a baby, but she doesn't want her career to be over. She wants to continue to play. So I think it's important to have those rules" reviewed.

The All England Tennis Club told BBC Sport last month that "the seeding order follows the [women's tennis rankings] ranking list, except where in the opinion of the committee a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw."

Initially, Richard Lewis, the club's chief executive, said it was "unlikely" Williams would be seeded, but that comment drew criticism, including from former Grand Slam winner John McEnroe.

Williams welcomed her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, in September. Three months later, Williams and Ohanian, 35, wed in an intimate New Orleans ceremony.

She admitted that "after the baby, my body changed a lot."

"It wasn't as tight as I was used to. I've played tennis for over 30 years, so I'm so used to [being] incredibly fit," she said. "But I realized everyone is different, everyone reacts differently. I was under the impression that I would be like everybody else. But I realized every single body is different. Every single experience is different. I literally, honestly didn't realize that until a month ago."

Williams credits her daughter for helping her win last year's Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant.

"I think that being pregnant actually helped me win that Grand Slam. That's why I gave my daughter the trophy. I don't think I would've won if I was not pregnant," she said. "It just took away all fear that I had. I just felt like I have absolutely nothing to lose. I've never played so fearless in my life and it was just ... a whole new feeling."

Williams is admittedly still adjusting to being a working mother. But one quality she's already noticed about her new life is her strength.

"I mean, I knew I was strong, but I feel like my threshold for pain went out like the roof and nothing really bothered me. It was weird," Williams said, reflecting on her pregnancy. "It was this whole new strength that I actually never knew I had."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun252018

1st LGBTQ couple featured on cover of ESPN The Magazine's body issue 

Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN(NEW YORK) -- ESPN The Magazine is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its body issue with 10 unique cover images, including one that features the first-ever LGBTQ couple to pose together in the magazine's history.

The power couple of women's sports -- WNBA star Sue Bird and professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe -- were captured together in this year's magazine.

The highly-anticipated body issue, which annually features athletes baring all, always aims to celebrate diversity, and this year includes three other women on the covers: soccer player Crystal Dunn, softball player Lauren Chamberlain, and basketball star Breanna Stewart.

The female athletes are posed as if they are in action -- jumping for a basket or lunging for a kick, with balls or bats alongside them.

Creators say the body issue has always challenged beauty magazines' traditional notions of bodily perfection, and invites readers to celebrate athletic prowess in all its forms.

In the past, transgender athlete Chris Mosier has been spotlighted, and veteran paralympian Kristie Ennis has also posed for the iconic issue.

America's sweetheart, Adam Rippon, posed for this year's issue while nude, skating and gliding on ice. Rippon took home a bronze medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The full gallery of shots from this year's annual body issue is on ESPN's website, here

The magazine hits newsstands nationwide on Friday.

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Monday
Jun252018

Scoreboard Roundup 6/25/18

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

 INTERLEAGUE
 Final  Atlanta   7  Baltimore   3
   ------
   AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  Boston          5  Seattle       0
 Final  Tampa Bay       7  N-Y Yankees   6, 12 Innings
 Final  Cleveland      12  Detroit       2
 Final  Chi White Sox  10  Oakland       3
 Final  Houston        11  Kansas City   3
 Final  Minnesota       2  Texas         0
 Final  Toronto         7  L-A Angels    6, 10 Innings
   ------
   NATIONAL LEAGUE
 Final  Cincinnati      8  Chi Cubs       6
 Final  L-A Dodgers     8  N-Y Mets       7, 11 Innings
 Final  Arizona         3  Pittsburgh     0
 Final  St. Louis       8  Milwaukee      2
 Final  Miami           8  Colorado       5
 Final  San Francisco   3  San Diego      2, 11 Innings
 Final  Washington      8  Philadelphia   6

Saturday
Jun232018

Former all-star Ilya Kovalchuk returns to NHL with the Los Angeles Kings

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Former NHL all-star Ilya Kovalchuk, who left the league to play professionally in Russia, has agreed to join the Los Angeles Kings on a three-year deal, according to ESPN.

ESPN adds that Kovalchuk will receive $6.25 annually on the deal.

Kovalchuk left the NHL in 2013 to play for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Kovalchuk's services were in high demand upon announcing his interest in returning to the NHL. He led the KHL in points last year, according to ESPN, and was a top goal-scorer during his first 11 seasons in the NHL. He additionally was named MVP at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Vice president and general manager Rob Blake said in a statement "We are excited to add Ilya to the LA Kings organization. He gives us an added element of skill and scoring along with a desire to win. We will withhold further comment until July 1."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun232018

Scoreboard roundup -- 6/22/18

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

INTERLEAGUE
Baltimore  10  Atlanta 7   F/15

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Oakland   11  Chi White Sox   2
Cleveland   10  Detroit    0
Tampa Bay   2  N-Y Yankees   1
Boston    14  Seattle    10
Chi White Sox   6  Oakland   4
Texas   8  Minnesota   1
Kansas City  1  Houston    0
L-A Angels   2  Toronto    1
 
NATIONAL LEAGUE
Philadelphia  12  Washington   2
Arizona    2  Pittsburgh   1    F/13
Cincinnati   6  Chi Cubs    3
L-A Dodgers   5  N-Y Mets    2
Milwaukee   2  St. Louis   1
Colorado   11  Miami     3
San Diego   6  San Francisco   2
 
Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun212018

Giving Trump a pardon wish list won't solve systemic criminal justice problems, NFL-er Malcolm Jenkins says

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is exploring better alternatives to creating change within the country's criminal justice system than providing President Donald Trump with a "VIP" list of names, he told ABC News.

On Thursday, The New York Times published an op-ed by Jenkins and three other former and current NFL players in response to Trump's suggestion earlier this month, asking NFL players who have been demonstrating during the national anthem to instead give to him a list of prisoners whom they believe were treated unfairly by the justice system.

"I'm going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs or people that they know about and I'm going to take a look at those applications," Trump said on June 8, adding that if he finds that they were "unfairly treated," he will "pardon them or at least let them out."

Jenkins told ABC News that submitting a list of names to the president is a good way to help the people he knows "directly," but won't do much for the "thousands of people" that were imprisoned for nonviolent offenses and don't have "the luxury of havin' a celebrity as a friend."

In addition, the list doesn't change the system that "wrongfully put them there or put them there for too long" and doesn't address the growing population of elderly prisoners, the majority of whom aren't being released despite posing no threat to society, Jenkins said.

Instead of providing a list to Trump, Jenkins expressed a need to "address the systemic issues" within the policing culture in order to change it.

Jenkins mentioned Kim Kardashian and the successful effort she made when asking Trump to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother who was serving a life sentence on drug charges.

Johnson was reunited with her family earlier this month.

"I think what Kim Kardashian did was great, because you get a person out," he said. "But like I said, it doesn’t change what -- you have that person there who's doin' a life sentence for a first-time drug offense."

Jenkins said he and former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin started the NFL Players Coalition, an organization with about 100 former and current players that focuses on eradicating social and racial injustices, specially surrounding police brutality, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform.

"The biggest thing is, we wanted to create an environment where guys can -- as safe as possible -- get involved in social activism and creating real change in their communities," he said. "We also wanted to give them the tools to know how to get involved."

The coalition has met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "many times," which has included taking him to different cities to meet with grassroots organizations and police departments to show him the work players have been doing in their communities, Jenkins said.

"It has everything to do with our communities, the systemic racial injustices that take part on a day-to-day-to-day basis that have been in place for centuries," he said.

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