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Monday
Aug272018

Trump defends Tiger Woods from 'fake news media: 'He is very smart'

Uri Schanker / Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump once again took aim at the "fake news media," this time in defense of golfer Tiger Woods.

"The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "Tiger wouldn’t play the game - he is very smart. More importantly, he is playing great golf again!"

Trump came to Wood’s defense after a reporter last week asked the golf legend about his relationship with the president.

The reporter at the Northern Trust PGA asked Woods what he would say "to people who might find it interesting that you have a friendly relationship with [the president]?"

"He's the president of the United States,” Woods said. “You have to respect the office. No matter who's in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office."

Woods is known to have had played golf with the president before and after Trump's presidency.

"I've known Donald for a number of years," Woods said. "We've played golf together and we've had dinner together. I've known him pre-presidency and, obviously, during his presidency."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug252018

Former Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez's fiancee, lawyer on his final notes before his suicide, CTE diagnosis

Hachette Book Group, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- A new book is revealing chilling new details about the final hours of disgraced NFL star Aaron Hernandez.

Hernandez, once an unstoppable tight end for the New England Patriots, took his own life in 2017 while serving a life sentence for the murder of his friend Odin Lloyd.

“Unnecessary Roughness,” written by Hernandez’s attorney Jose Baez, includes new information about the night Baez’s client was found hanging in his Massachusetts prison cell from a noose made from a bedsheet.

Hernandez was 27 years old when he killed himself in April 2017.

Before he became a convicted murderer, Hernandez was an All-American at the University of Florida, and was drafted onto the New England Patriots in 2010. Just two years later, he helped Tom Brady and the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl.

After only two years in the NFL, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract extension with the New England team, including a $12 million signing bonus, the highest ever for a tight end.

But in June 2013, Hernandez was arrested at his 7,000-square-foot North Attleboro, Massachusetts, home for the execution-style killing of his friend Odin Lloyd, who was found shot to death in an industrial lot nearby. He was released from his big contract with the Patriots almost immediately.

After a two-month trial in April 2015, Hernandez was convicted and given a mandatory life sentence. Baez says if Hernandez was alive today, he believes he could have successfully appealed the case.

“Prosecutors have no idea who pulled the trigger and killed Odin Lloyd. So they prosecuted him under what's called a joint-venture theory, which basically means he was with a group of individuals or did, made some decisions to advance that cause,” Baez said.

However, Hernandez’s time in court was not over. After he was arrested for murdering Lloyd, investigators linked Hernandez to another murder: the 2012 drive-by shooting of two men -- Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado -- who had been partying at the same nightclub as Hernandez and his friends.

Hernandez was found not guilty.

“I know beyond any doubt based on what I've seen that Aaron did not commit the two Boston murders. I didn’t represent him in the Odin Lloyd case, but after reviewing the evidence and seeing what I've seen I have a reasonable doubt that he committed that crime,” said Baez.

Baez continued, “I think when you hang around the kind of characters that he was hanging around you ... expose yourself to that type of activity. When your close friend is a drug kingpin who is involved in multiple shootings, you're going to have problems.”

Just five days after his acquittal for the 2012 murders, Hernandez was found dead.

According to Baez, Hernandez wrote three suicide letters -- one to Baez, one to his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and an emotional, yet cryptic, note to his then-4-year-old daughter, Avielle.

“I think anyone who knew Aaron would tell you that the final letters to Shayanna and Avielle ... that’s a different person,” Baez told ABC News’ “Nightline.”

“I think that he didn't know the extent of his sickness,” Jenkins-Hernandez told “Nightline.”

In the letter to Avielle, Hernandez wrote: “I’m entering into the timeless realm in which I can enter into any form at any time because everything that could happen or not happened. I see all at once.”

Jenkins-Hernandez explained what she thought the sentence meant, saying, “What I get from that is that he's telling Avielle that she will have daddy at any time, no matter how she feels at that moment.”

She continued, “It strikes me as not normal. So, something was affecting him at that time where it's kind of more or less like he made his decision, but it just I don't know if he knew what was going on.”

In the letter Hernandez wrote to Jenkins, he refers to her as his “soul mate” and “an angel” and tells her, “I want you to love life and know I’m always with you. I told you what was coming indirectly!”

The letter goes on to say, in part, “This was the supreme almighty's plan, not mine (sic)!” and ending with “NOT MUCH TIME! I’M BEING CALLED! JOHN 3:16”

“The letter he wrote to me was weird. I mean it didn't refer to me as Babe or something more intimate. It was, you know, "Shay," it's very direct, not detailed,” Jenkins-Hernandez said. “There was nothing, I don't know, it kind of leaves me. Not having closure.”

And while the letters to his fiancée and daughter may have seemed somewhat delusional, the note Hernandez allegedly wrote to Baez seemed more like it was written by a man who had plans to live.

“As I read his letter to me, it’s typical Aaron. He starts out with, ‘What’s up brotha (sic)?’ He talks about asking me for a favor to help him reach out to certain artists who helped him through very tough times,” Baez said. “Hip-hop artists and rappers that he wanted to thank for their lyrics, which to me indicates he wants he's looking forward to the future.”

When asked about why Hernandez appeared to write suicide notes to his daughter and fiancée, while writing a letter to Baez that appeared to look toward the future, Baez said, “I think that was the disease taking over. I think that when you have a severe brain disease, logic goes out the window."

Baez believes that years of brain trauma from playing football played a role in Hernandez’s suicide.

“What it tells me is that this is someone with a severe brain injury who is manifesting the symptoms that result from repeated injuries to the head,” said Baez.

After Hernandez’s death, Jenkins-Hernandez donated his brain to Boston University to be studied for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that can be caused by repeated head trauma and leads to symptoms such as violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive difficulties.

CTE can be diagnosed only in an autopsy. A 2017 study from researchers at Boston University found evidence of the disease in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were examined.

The NFL responded to an ABC News request for comment with a copy of its fact sheet on player health and safety for the 2018-19 season.

"After a 16 percent increase in concussions during the 2017-18 season, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills issued a call-to-action to reduce concussions," the fact sheet said. "The result was the Injury Reduction Plan, a three-pronged approach to drive behavioral changes" that includes more education about concussion prevention during preseason practice, better helmets and rule changes in the league to prevent potentially risky behavior, the fact sheet says.

CTE has been linked with repeated concussions and involves brain damage particularly in the frontal region that controls many functions including judgment, emotion, impulse control, social behavior and memory.

“We've learned that Aaron had the absolute worst CTE, the advanced stages of someone so incredibly young. They had never seen someone with that advanced stage at his at his age,” Baez said.

Jenkins-Hernandez said she saw behavior in Hernandez that would make her think he had injuries to his brain, such as, “the headaches that he encountered, and the memory loss, which I think go hand in hand.”

“I would say there were was a lot of writing down, so a lot of post it notes around that, you know, we had to then so he could remember some things,” Jenkins-Hernandez said of Hernandez’s apparent issues with memory loss.

Dr. Ann McKee, director of the Boston University CTE Center, led the team that studied Hernandez’s brain.

“These are very unusual findings for an individual of this age,” McKee told “Nightline.” “Individuals with CTE and CTE of this severity have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, a inhibition of impulses or aggression, often emotional volatility, enraged behavior.”

Baez is now suing the NFL on behalf of Aaron Hernandez’s now-five year old daughter, Avielle, asking for compensation because of his extreme CTE that, they say, resulted in his suicide.

The NFL recently filed a motion to dismiss the case.

“What we've learned about CTE is it's not about the concussions,” Baez said. “It’s about the repeated blows to the head. We’re not built to play football.”

For Jenkins, she can’t help but think of the life for her and her daughter that could have been.

“I think that there is a lot of things that he was afraid to personally tell me, things that I could of not necessarily cured, but I could have helped. I could have told [Baez]. I could have, you know, extended my ear out and I just -- it hurts,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug252018

Blind rower's journey from California to Hawaii stalled due to Hurricane Lane

iStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- An ocean rowing team attempting to make history is facing one last obstacle on its way to Hawaii: Hurricane Lane.

Mick Dawson and Steve Sparkes, the two-man crew of the Cockleshell Pacific Endeavor, and both former Royal Marines, are taking part in the Great Pacific Race, which takes participants from Monterey, Calif., to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sparkes, who lost his vision following a diving accident during his time in the Royal Marines, is attempting to become the first blind person to row across the Pacific Ocean.

Chris Martin, the race director of the Great Pacific Race, told ABC News that the team deployed a parachute anchor to prevent the boat from being blown closer to the hurricane. Martin said Dawson and Sparkes later pulled anchor and deployed a drogue, which keeps the boat perpendicular to the waves and would allow them to use winds from the storm to keep moving.

Martin said Friday that the team was resting in their cabin as the weather pushed them along and planned to start rowing again the next day when the waves calmed down.

A tracking map on the race website showed that the team was 137 nautical miles from the finish Friday. An August 23 update on the Great Pacific Race website predicted that the team would arrive in Hawaii in the middle of next week but said it depended on the hurricane.

According to an 5:00 PM EDT update from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center on Friday, Hurricane Lane was a Category 2 hurricane moving north at 5 mph with maximum wind speeds of 105 miles per hour.

An Aug. 22 update on the Great Pacific Race website said the team was outside the radius of the storm, but they were warned to expect waves of 16 feet or more, as well as rain and thunderstorms.

Dawson and Sparkes have faced a series of obstacles since setting out for Hawaii on June 6. In an update from the Cockleshell Endeavor Facebook page on July 2, the team said they had lost three oars and were using their shortest set. An Aug. 19 update from the Great Pacific Race said that Sparkes had dealt with pain in his knee and his shoulder during the journey. Dawson, who previously rowed cross the North Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco and twice rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, picked up the rowing work while Sparkes recovered.

Of the five teams competing in the 2018 race, two have already finished, and two others have withdrawn. The Cockleshell Pacific Endeavor is the only team still rowing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug242018

French Open president says Serena Williams won't be able to wear catsuit

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images(PARIS) -- The French Open appears to be sidelining Serena Williams' famed catsuits, with the tournament's chief saying they "would no longer be accepted."

The tennis pro, 36, wore the Black Panther-inspired bodysuit earlier in May to mark her return to her first major tournament since giving birth to her daughter last year.

But, in an interview with Tennis magazine Thursday, French Open president Bernard Giudicelli said Williams and other players will have to dress more conservatively in future tournaments.

According to the U.K. newspaper The Independent, he singled out Williams in an interview today, saying, "I believe we have sometimes gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place."

Besides allowing Williams to feel like a queen from Black Panther's fictional Wakanda, she said the fitted suit was designed to protect her against blood clots. Williams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After giving birth to Alexis Olympia last September, Williams revealed that she dealt with life-threatening complications related to a pulmonary embolism.

At the French Open, Williams told reporters that the suit was more than just a fashion statement.

"I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don’t know how many I have had in the past 12 months. So it is definitely a little functionality to it," she said.

"I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play, so I can keep the blood circulation going," she added. "It’s a fun suit but it’s also functional, so I can be able to play without any problems."

Williams, who just arrived in New York for the U.S. Open, has not yet commented on Giudicelli's remarks. But on social media, "French Open" was a trending topic as fans reacted critically to the tournament president's remarks, calling them misogynistic and even racist.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug242018

Scoreboard Roundup -- 8/24/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:
  
   AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  Boston      7  Cleveland       0
 Final  Detroit     7  Chi White Sox   2
 Final  Tampa Bay   4  Kansas City     3
 Final  Minnesota   6  Oakland         4
   

   NATIONAL LEAGUE
 Final  Philadelphia    2  Washington   0
 Final  San Francisco   3  N-Y Mets     1
 Final  Colorado        4  San Diego    3
 Final  Atlanta         5  Miami        0
 Final  Chi Cubs        7  Cincinnati   1
   

   WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS

 Final  Washington   96  L.A. Sparks   64
 Final  Phoenix      96  Connecticut   86


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Wednesday
Aug222018

Ohio State suspends head football coach Urban Meyer for 3 games over handling of abuse case

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer has been suspended for three games over his handling of domestic violence allegations against an assistant coach.

The university also suspended Athletic Director Gene Smith without pay from August 31 to September 16.

Ohio State's investigation concluded that neither Meyer nor Smith violated any school policy, laws, or contractual obligation connected to allegations of abuse against Zach Smith involving his ex-wife Courtney Smith.

A statement on the findings of the investigation said: "Although Coach Meyer made significant misstatements about his knowledge of the 2015 events relating to Zach Smith and his former wife at the Big Ten Media Days, they were not part of a deliberate cover-up effort to keep Zach Smith on the coaching staff in the face of evidence of domestic violence by him that Athletic Director Smith and Coach Meyer credited."

At a press conference Wednesday night, Meyer apologized to the Buckeye Nation, saying he "followed my heart and not my head."

"I take this responsibility very seriously, and I will do better."

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Monday
Aug202018

'I hit dingers' Little Leaguer enjoys a bit of fame after introduction goes viral

ESPN(NEW YORK) -- The 71st annual Little League World Series is underway in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, but one player in particular has been getting a ton of shine online and off for his catchy introduction.

Before the players hit the field, they introduce themselves. The introductions show a bit of creativity, humor and personality, and it was Alfred Delia's introduction that stole the show this year when it aired on ESPN on Aug. 10.

"Hi, my name is Alfred Delia. At home, they call me 'Big Al.' And I hit dingers," said Alfred, 12, of Middletown, New Jersey.

Unfortunately, his team was knocked out of the tournament, but Alfred was already a star.

His video introduction went viral thanks to ESPN and the Little League, and even captured the attention of "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

The rising seventh-grader, who plays third base, pitcher and left field, told Kimmel recently that he did not think the introduction would go viral.

"I woke up one day, the next day after we lost, and I was like, 'Hey, I'm viral,'" he said.

Alfred told Kimmel that he'd made up the line on his own -- with the help of his teammates -- and that he didn't run it by anyone beforehand.

During a SportsCenter interview, he said he was busy meeting people and even signing a few autographs and taking pictures.

"I'm just always getting like noticed by everybody... people come up, I'm eating my sandwich and they're like, 'Yo, Big Al. What's up?'" he said.

Alfred, who said he'd gotten the nickname from his father and grandfather, shared some helpful advice to other future Little Leaguers hoping to hit dingers.

"Keep your front shoulder in. Try your best and just keep your eye on the ball," he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug202018

Nun who threw perfect pitch before White Sox game says she was picked for 'youth' and agility

ABC News (CHICAGO) -- Sister Mary Jo Sobieck isn't on the Chicago White Sox roster, but it sure looks like they could use her.

The nun at Marian Catholic High School took the mound for the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the team's game Saturday against the Kansas City Royals.

Sobieck, who was celebrating her school’s “Night with the White Sox” at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, confidently strolled to the mound wearing a traditional habit and donning a white Marian Catholic High School jersey.

Sobieck, wearing No. 60, was so confident in her skills that she gave the fans and players a treat -- by doing an arm-bounce trick before the pitch.

"I had to do something to take my mind off it," the nun told "Good Morning America" about the move. "I mean, it's too awkward to just stand and throw from the jump. So I had to do a little something to put me in motion."

The righty hurler fired off a perfect strike to the plate.

“That was awesome,” White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito, who was on the receiving end of the strike, told MLB.com after the game. “She had a whole routine. She had it planned out. I was just lucky to be back there. She threw a perfect pitch.”

The White Sox tweeted: "One of the most impressive first pitches of all time."

After leaving the mound and shaking Giolito's hand, Sobieck took in the cheers and pointed to the stands.

In addition to being selected by the Marian Catholic administration because she is one of the sisters who is still there 60 years after its founding, Sobieck said they asked her to throw the first pitch thanks to her youth and athletic ability.

"Well, George I think it's I think it's probably because I have a little bit of athletic ability," she said laughing with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. "I was probably the most likely candidate because of my youth and my agility."

Her performance left people wondering whether she had previous experience with the sport.

“She was pretty good, actually,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria told MLB.com. "I'm like, 'Wait a minute.' He (Giolito) threw it back to her and she fielded it barehanded.

Sobie comes from a large athletic family, according to an article published in 2008 by The Times of Northwest Indiana. She played both volleyball and softball while attending The College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota after her graduation from Cathedral High School in 1987.

The White Sox -- who played the rest of the game without Sobieck -- lost to the Royals, 3-1.

After the game, Renteria joked about adding the nun to the team.

"I was like, 'OK, she looks like she can play a little bit,' so we started talking to her," he said. ""I think she said, 'I played center and short.'

"I said to her, 'Can you play for us?'" he continued. "She said, 'Sure.'"

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug202018

Scoreboard Roundup 8/20/18

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

  INTERLEAGUE
 Final  L-A Dodgers  12  Seattle   1
   ------
   AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  N-Y Yankees    10  Toronto       2
 Final  Tampa Bay       2  Boston        0
 Final  Cleveland       8  Baltimore     0
 Final  Minnesota       5  Detroit       4
 Final  Chi White Sox   7  Kansas City   6
 Final  Texas           4  L-A Angels    2
 Final  Houston         9  Oakland       4
   ------
   NATIONAL LEAGUE
 Final  Cincinnati  11  San Francisco   4
 Final  Pittsburgh   2  Chi Cubs        1, 11 Innings
 Final  Colorado     4  Atlanta         2
 Final  Miami       12  Washington      1
 Final  Milwaukee    2  St. Louis       1
 Final  Arizona      4  San Diego       3
 Final  N-Y Mets     8  Philadelphia    2
   ------
   WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 Final  Connecticut   89  L.A. Sparks   86
 Final  Atlanta       93  Las Vegas     78
 Final  Phoenix       96  N-Y Liberty   85
 Final  Indiana       97  Chicago       92
 Final  Seattle       84  Dallas        68
 Final  Minnesota     88  Washington    83
   ------
   MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Final  Atlanta    3  Columbus    1

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Aug192018

Scoreboard roundup -- 8/18/18

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

INTERLEAGUE
Seattle 5, L.A. Dodgers 4, 10 Innings

AMERICAN LEAGUE
N.Y. Yankees 11, Toronto 6
Oakland 7, Houston 1
Baltimore 4, Cleveland 2
Kansas City 3, Chicago White Sox 1
Boston 5, Tampa Bay 2
Detroit 7, Minnesota 5
L.A. Angels 11, Texas 7

NATIONAL LEAGUE
N.Y. Mets 3, Philadelphia 1
Miami 7, Washington 5, 10 Innings
Pittsburgh 3, Chicago Cubs 1
Colorado 5, Atlanta 3, 10 Innings
Cincinnati 7, San Francisco 1
St. Louis 7, Milwaukee 2
San Diego 7, Arizona 6

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Chicago 115, Indiana 106

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON
Jacksonville 14, Minnesota 10
L.A. Rams 19, Oakland 15
Cincinnati 21, Dallas 13
Tampa Bay 30, Tennessee 14
Houston 16, San Francisco 13
Chicago 24, Denver 23
L.A. Chargers 24, Seattle 14

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Seattle 5, Los Angeles 0

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