Sports

DOJ reviewing decision to not charge agents involved in investigating Larry Nassar

DOJ reviewing decision to not charge agents involved in investigating Larry Nassar

YinYang/iStock

(WASHINGTON) -- Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a Senate hearing Tuesday that the Department of Justice is conducting a review into its decision to not bring charges against agents who failed to investigate allegations of sex abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

Less than three weeks ago, gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman testified before the Senate over alleged FBI failures in handling the case against Nassar.

Monaco's announcement followed widespread condemnation from lawmakers during a blockbuster hearing last month with the gymnasts, who detailed horrific experiences of sexual assault, and a damning inspector general report that highlighted the abuses and how agents initially on the case appear to have mishandled the athletes' allegations.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were deeply critical of the Justice Department last month for declining their invitation to attend the hearing alongside FBI Director Christopher Wray and IG Michael Horowitz.

"I can inform the committee today that the recently confirmed assistant attorney general for the criminal division [Kenneth Polite] is currently reviewing this matter, including new information that has come to light," Monaco said. "In light of that review, I think you'll understand, Mr. Chairman, that I'm constrained in what more I can say about it, but I do want the committee, and frankly I want the survivors, to understand how exceptionally seriously we take this issue and believe that this deserves a thorough and full review."

Monaco further assured Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., there was a "sense of urgency and gravity" with the recently launched review.

Earlier in her testimony, Monaco said she was "shocked" and "horrified" both about the findings included in the DOJ IG's report as well as the experiences detailed by Biles, Maroney, Nichols and Raisman.

"I am deeply sorry that in this case the victims did not receive the response or the protection that they deserved," Monaco said.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 10/5/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 10/5/21

iStock

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

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Boston 6, NY Yankees 2

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PRESEASON
New York 125, Indiana 104
Chicago 131, Cleveland 95
Houston 125, Washington 119
Memphis 87, Milwaukee 77

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
Florida 3, Tampa Bay 2
NY Islanders 3, Philadelphia 0
Final Toronto 6 Montreal 2
Nashville 3, Carolina 2 (OT)
Pittsburgh 5, Buffalo 4 (SO)
Dallas 3, St. Louis 1
Vegas 7, Colorado 4
Seattle 4, Vancouver 0
Arizona 4, Los Angeles 1

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Scoreboard roundup -- 10/4/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 10/4/21

iStock

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PRESEASON
Toronto 123, Philadelphia 107
Boston 98, Orlando 97
Miami 125, Atlanta 99
Charlotte 113, Oklahoma City 97
Minnesota 117, New Orleans 114
San Antonio 111, Utah 85
Sacramento 117, Phoenix 106
Final Golden State 121, Portland 107
LA Clippers 103, Denver 102

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
Columbus 5, Buffalo 3
New Jersey 4, Washington 1
Toronto 3, Ottawa 1
Philadelphia 2, Boston 1 (OT)
Chicago 6, Detroit 4
Minnesota 3, Colorado 1
Edmonton 4, Calgary 3
Anaheim 3, San Jose 2 (OT)

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
LA Chargers 28, Las Vegas 14

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Scoreboard roundup -- 10/03/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 10/03/21

iStock

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

INTERLEAGUE

Final  Boston   7  Washington   5

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Final  Cleveland      6  Texas               0

Final  Houston        7  Oakland             6

Final  N.Y. Yankees   1  Tampa Bay           0

Final  Minnesota      7  Kansas City         3

Final  Detroit        5  Chicago White Sox   2

Final  Toronto       12  Baltimore           4

Final  L.A. Angels    7  Seattle             3

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Final  Chicago Cubs    3  St. Louis      2

Final  Atlanta         5  N.Y. Mets      0

Final  Miami           5  Philadelphia   4

Final  San Francisco  11  San Diego      4

Final  Cincinnati      6  Pittsburgh     3

Final  L.A. Dodgers   10  Milwaukee      3

Final  Arizona         5  Colorado       4

 

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Final  Buffalo       40  Houston         0

Final  Chicago       24  Detroit        14

Final  Cleveland     14  Minnesota       7

Final  Dallas        36  Carolina       28

Final  Indianapolis  27  Miami          17

Final  Kansas City   42  Philadelphia   30

Final OT  N-Y Giants    27  New Orleans    21

Final OT  N-Y Jets      27  Tennessee      24

Final  Washington    34  Atlanta        30

Final  Arizona       37  L.A. Rams      20

Final  Seattle       28  San Francisco  21

Final  Baltimore     23  Denver          7

Final  Green Bay     27  Pittsburgh     17

Final  Tampa Bay     19  New England    17

 

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS

Final  Chicago  86  Connecticut  83

Final  Phoenix  87  Las Vegas    60

 

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Final tie  Nashville              0  New York City FC   0

Final  Philadelphia           3  Columbus           0

Final  Toronto FC             3  Chicago            1

Final  Sporting Kansas City   4  Houston            2

Final  Portland               1  Miami              0

Final tie  Los Angeles FC         1  LA Galaxy          1

Final  Seattle                3  Colorado           0
 

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PRESEASON

Final  Brooklyn  123  L.A. Lakers  97

 

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON

Final  Pittsburgh   5  Detroit    1

Final  Dallas       6  Arizona    3

Final  Vancouver    3  Winnipeg   2

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NBA's Andrew Wiggins gets vaccine after he's denied exemption

NBA's Andrew Wiggins gets vaccine after he's denied exemption

Bill Oxford/iStock

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Andrew Wiggins, an NBA player who has vocally opposed the COVID-19 vaccine, just received a dose, according to his coach.

Wiggins, of the Golden State Warriors, refused to answer reporters' questions about his vaccination status during a news conference last Monday.

"It's my problem...Not yours," he said.

But Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Sunday that the 26-year-old did get vaccinated.

"He just told me today that he was fine with us acknowledging it," Kerr said.

Kerr didn't provide any more details including which vaccine Wiggins received.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health bars unvaccinated residents over the age of 12 from attending indoor events. The rule goes into effect for employees of indoor businesses on Oct. 13, eight days before the Warriors' home opener.

Wiggins applied for a religious exemption with the NBA, but his request was denied, ESPN reported.

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Suspect arrested in connection with Utah football player Aaron Lowe's death

Suspect arrested in connection with Utah football player Aaron Lowe's death

iStock/Kali9

(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Investigators arrested a suspect Sunday morning who they say was involved in the shooting of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe and an unidentified woman.

Salt Lake City detectives arrested Buk M. Buk and charged him for Lowe's death during a house party on Sept. 26. Investigators said Buk, 22, who purportedly was an uninvited guest, allegedly took out a pistol and opened fire at Lowe, 21, and the unidentified 20-year-old woman.

Lowe, a native of Mesquite, Texas, died at the scene while the woman was transported to the hospital and underwent surgery, police said. She is listed in critical condition as of Sunday, police said.

Buk has been charged by police with murder, aggravated murder, and felony discharge of a firearm, according to investigators. Attorney information for the suspect wasn't immediately available.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown told reporters Sunday that the investigation is still ongoing but reassured the public that the shooting was not gang-related and the school wasn't a direct target.

"Those answers will come through the litigation of this case," he said during a news conference.

Lowe was in his third season of playing with the University of Utah. He was the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship, an award created to honor former the University of Utah player Ty Jordan, who lost his life after an accidental shooting in December 2020, ABC affiliate KTVX reported.

The school and student body held memorials last week to honor Lowe.

"We continue to mourn the loss of Aaron, and we miss him dearly. We also remain hopeful for a full recovery for the second victim of the shooting," Mark Harlan, the University of Utah director of athletics, said in a statement Sunday.

Brown added that he talked with Lowe's mother about the arrest and reiterated that his team would continue to find answers in this "senseless killing."

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall also offered her condolences to Lowe's family.

"My heart grieves for you as the mayor of Salt Lake City and as a mother," Mendenhall said at a news conference Sunday. "No parent should have to bury their child."

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Former football player's mission to get others vaccinated after almost dying of COVID

Former football player's mission to get others vaccinated after almost dying of COVID

Courtesy Mel Moon

(Guntersville, Ala.) -- As a former Division I college football player for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, Justin Moon faced many challenges on the field.

But more than a decade later, the 36-year-old step dad may have met his toughest opponent yet, when coronavirus left him fighting for his life earlier this summer just days before he was set to get his first dose of vaccine, he said.

“There's only one other step beyond where I was at, and that's cremation or going in your box,” Moon, who is still hospitalized but on the road to recovery, told ABC News. “I actually died for 4 minutes, and they paddled me and brought me back.”

Moon, of Guntersville, Alabama, was an athlete his entire life, and prior to his COVID diagnosis, he said he had no known underlying health conditions.

“I was never sick, and never missed a day of work,” said Moon, who has spent more than 10 weeks in the hospital, including nearly six weeks on a ventilator. “I could not do anything but blink. I could not talk, did not raise my head up off the pillow. You got to understand, being a 300-pound former athlete… man, that was tough.”

Now he and his wife, Mel, have dedicated themselves to spreading the word about vaccination and said that their efforts have helped encourage some 250 people to get their shots.

'Never dreamt...this would be our story'

What had first seemed to be a sinus infection in July, turned out to be much more severe than anyone could have imagined, said Moon’s wife, Mel.

“We never dreamt in a million years that this would be our story,” said Mel.

When his symptoms worsened, Justin was taken to the hospital, and within six days of hospitalization, he was put on a ventilator.

“At one point, the doctors told my aunt, my stepdaughter and my wife to prepare to get a call in the next 24 hours, to come up here, you know, say goodbye. It is going to happen, it's just a matter of time,” said Moon.

When the vaccines became widely available, Moon said he was hesitant given the mixed messaging on vaccinations in political circles. Even though the company he works for, Waste Connections, encouraged workers to get vaccinated, he chose not to get the shot after avoiding the disease during the first wave of the pandemic.

“I was very unsure, so I stood still. And I was wrong,” Moon said.

'COVID doesn't care'

Across the state of Alabama, just 42% of residents have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus as of Wednesday, a reality that drove the state to a record-breaking surge over the summer. Although infection rates are beginning to abate, less than 2% of intensive care unit beds remain available across the state.

The vast majority of the patients who are currently hospitalized at the University of Alabama Birmingham have not been vaccinated, according to the hospital, Brent Patterson, and those who tend to fare better and avoid severe illness are vaccinated.

“COVID doesn’t care. If you are healthy, but unvaccinated, it is gonna take everyone,” Patterson said.

Just prior to his diagnosis, Moon grew concerned by the increasing number of infections in the state. After a colleague tested positive for the virus, Moon said he overcame his skepticism, and made the decision, along with his wife, Mel, to get vaccinated.

His decision, ultimately, came too late, when he tested positive for the virus just days prior to when he planned to get the shot.

“If I had not been unsure of the vaccine, it would have probably gone like a lot of other stories,” said Moon. “Headaches, short breath, laying on the couch.”

'Do your homework'

In an effort to help people truly understand the realities of COVID-19, the Moon family decided to share their story in their community.

“We don't want anyone to ever have to go through what we've gone through. And that's the lesson we learned: don't stand still, do your homework. Don't listen to the wrong forces, talk to your physician, and your family,” Mel said. “There can’t be anything about being vaccinated that is as bad as this.”

So far, Moon’s wife, who is working to get the word out along with his employer, says his story has convinced at least 250 unvaccinated people within the community to get the shot.

Moon's family have been collecting texts and emails from people, who have reached out to let them know that they have got vaccinated after hearing Justin's story. As of this week, they said they have heard from at least 250 newly vaccinated people.

“They hear the entire story of what's going on with me, and, if they were in doubt, or we're just in the same situation that I was, they see me, and see that I very, very seldom got sick or had any issues… if we could affect Justin like this… it can be much, much worse,” Justin Moon said.

Moon still has a long road ahead of him, undergoing grueling rehabilitation, as he works to regain his strength and his sense of feeling in his dominant right arm, which is still completely numb. He is also learning how to stand up and walk again, and he still needs oxygen after walking a few feet.

“Not too many people get a second chance at life,” said Moon. “But it didn't have to be like that. The story could have gone very different.”

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All the details of the Super Bowl 56 halftime show

All the details of the Super Bowl 56 halftime show

EricVega/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will perform together for the first time when they headline the Pepsi Super Bowl 56 Halftime Show on Feb. 13, 2022 in the Los Angeles area.

These superstars have collectively earned 43 Grammys and have created 22 No. 1 Billboard albums.

For the second year in a row, Jay-Z's Roc Nation is serving as the strategic entertainment advisor of the Super Bowl halftime show.

"On February 13, 2022, at the Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, CA, in the new SoFi Stadium, Dr. Dre, a musical visionary from Compton, Snoop Dogg, an icon from Long Beach and Kendrick Lamar, a young musical pioneer in his own right, also from Compton, will take center field for a performance of a lifetime," Jay-Z said in a statement. "They will be joined by the lyrical genius, Eminem and the timeless Queen, Mary J. Blige. This is the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. This is history in the making."

Dr. Dre added: "The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career. I'm grateful to Jay-Z, Roc Nation, the NFL, and Pepsi as well as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar for joining me in what will be an unforgettable cultural moment."

Pepsi and the NFL are also supporting education in LA with the launch next fall of Regional School #1, a magnet high school in South Los Angeles. The high school is based on the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy, founded by Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 9/30/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 9/30/21

iStock

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

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Texas 7, LA Angels 6
Baltimore 6, Boston 2
Houston 3, Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 6, Toronto 2
Detroit 10, Minnesota 7
Cleveland 6, Kansas City 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis 4, Milwaukee 3
Chi Cubs 9, Pittsburgh 0
Atlanta 5, Philadelphia 3
NY Mets 12, Miami 3
LA Dodgers 8, San Diego 3
San Francisco 5, Arizona 4

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
Nashville 6, Tampa Bay 2
Boston 4, Philadelphia 2
Los Angeles 3, Vegas 1
Detroit 6, Buffalo 2
Colorado 6, Minnesota 4
San Jose 3, Anaheim 1

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Cincinnati 24 Jacksonville 21

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
Connecticut 79, Chicago 68
Phoenix 117, Las Vegas 91

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Scoreboard roundup -- 9/29/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 9/29/21

iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:
 
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Chi White Sox 6, Cincinnati 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Toronto 6, NY Yankees 5
Boston 6, Baltimore 0
Minnesota 5, Detroit 2
Tampa Bay 7, Houston 0
LA Angels 7, Texas 2
Kansas City 10, Cleveland 5
Seattle 4, Oakland 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Colorado 10, Washington 5
Miami 3, NY Mets 2
Chi Cubs 3, Pittsburgh 2
Atlanta 7, Philadelphia 2
Milwaukee 4, St. Louis 0
San Francisco 1, Arizona 0
San Diego 11 L.A. Dodgers 9

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
Columbus 5, St. Louis 2
Toronto 4, Ottawa 0
New Jersey 5, Washington 4
Winnipeg 5, Edmonton 1
Florida 4, Dallas 3 (SO)
Detroit 4, Chicago 3 (SO)
Seattle 4, Calgary 3 (SO)
Arizona 4, Anaheim 1

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Toronto FC 3, Cincinnati 2
Atlanta 1, Miami 0
New England 4, CF Montréal 1
D.C. United 3, Minnesota 1
Philadelphia 1, New York 1 (Tie)
Sporting Kansas City 3, FC Dallas 1
Chicago 2, New York City FC 0
Orlando City 2, Nashville 2 (Tie)
Colorado 3, Austin FC 0
Vancouver 0, Houston 0 (Tie)
Real Salt Lake 2, LA Galaxy 1
Portland 2, Los Angeles FC 1
Seattle 3, San Jose 1

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NBA tells unvaccinated players they won't get paid for missed games

NBA tells unvaccinated players they won't get paid for missed games

matimix/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- The NBA is warning players unvaccinated for COVID-19 that they will not be paid for games they miss due to local executive orders governing requirements for shots.

"Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses," Mike Bass, the NBA's executive vice president of communications, said in a statement Wednesday morning.

The new rule, initially reported by ESPN, could pose problems for teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors because New York and San Francisco are among the cities requiring COVID-19 vaccines to enter those teams' basketball arenas.

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Nets' home court, requires one coronavirus shot to enter. At the same time, San Francisco's Chase Center, where the Warriors play, mandates that only fully vaccinated people can enter.

On Friday, the NBA announced it had "reviewed and denied" Warriors player Andrew Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption and that he would not be able to play in Warriors home games until he meets San Francisco's vaccine mandate. The Warriors' first regular-season home game is scheduled for Oct. 21.

During the Warriors' media day on Monday, Wiggins told reporters that his vaccination status is "private" but acknowledged his "back is definitely against the wall."

"I’m just going to keep fighting for what I believe," Wiggins said. "I’m going to keep fighting for what I believe is right. What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other and vice versa."

Wiggins' annual salary is $31.6 million.

Nets star Kyrie Irving, who makes about $34 million a year, was forced to participate in the team's media day at Barclays Center on Monday via Zoom as a result of the vaccine mandate in New York. However, he refused to discuss his vaccine status.

"That doesn't mean that I'm putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team," Irving, vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, said without elaborating.

The Nets home opener is scheduled for Oct. 24.

The vaccine mandates in San Francisco and Brooklyn only apply to players who compete in those markets, according to the NBA. Out-of-town players are exempt from executive orders.

The New York Knicks previously said its entire organization, including all players, is fully vaccinated and in compliance with the New York City law.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James publicly revealed on Tuesday that he got the vaccine.

"I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature," James told reporters. "I know that I was very (skeptical) about it all. But after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and my friends. And, you know, that’s why I decided to do it."

The NBA is set to tip-off its regular season on Oct. 19 and teams are expected to play a regular 82-game schedule for the first time since the 2018-2019 season.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 9/28/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 9/28/21

iStock

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

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Chi White Sox 7, Cincinnati 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Baltimore 4, Boston 2
Minnesota 3, Detroit 2
NY Yankees 7, Toronto 2
Texas 5, LA Angels 2
Houston 4, Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 6, Cleveland 4
Seattle 4, Oakland 2

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

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
NY Rangers 3, Boston 2
NY Islanders 3 Philadelphia 2 (OT)
Carolina 3, Tampa Bay 1
Buffalo 5, Columbus 4 (SO)
Edmonton 6, Seattle 0
Los Angeles 4, San Jose 3
Vegas 4, Colorado 3

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
Chicago 101, Connecticut 95 (2OT)
Las Vegas 96, Phoenix 90

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Simone Biles says she ‘should have quit way before’ Tokyo Olympics

Simone Biles says she ‘should have quit way before’ Tokyo Olympics

LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Simone Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast, said she should have quit competing "way before" the Tokyo Olympics, where she had to withdraw from several events due to mental health struggles.

"If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years, I should have never made another Olympic team,” Biles said in a new interview with LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images). “I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years."

"It was too much," she said. "But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was 6 years old. I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I pushed past that for as long as my mind and my body would let me.”

Biles, 24, was on track at this summer's Olympics to win an unprecedented six gold medals during the Games, with the aim of also becoming the first woman since 1968 to win back-to-back titles in the all-around.

After stumbling on a vault landing in the team competition final, Biles withdrew from three of her event finals, citing her mental health.

Earlier this month, while testifying before Congress, Biles tied her performance in Tokyo to her struggle to recover mentally after being abused by Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor who is now serving up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and women.

In the interview with New York Magazine, Biles said she is back in therapy and calls her recovery from the abuse she suffered a frustratingly long "work in progress."

"You get surgery, it’s fixed. Why can’t someone just tell me in six months it’ll be over?” Biles said. “Like, hello, where are the double-A batteries? Can we just stick them back in? Can we go?”

Leading up to the Tokyo Games, Biles said she "didn’t feel as confident as I should have been with as much training as we had.”

Once there, Biles said she faced what in gymnastics is called "the twisties," when one loses sense of where they are in the air or in their routine.

"If I still had my air awareness, and I just was having a bad day, I would have continued,” Biles told the magazine. “But it was more than that.”

"It’s so dangerous,” she said. “It’s basically life or death. It’s a miracle I landed on my feet. If that was any other person, they would have gone out on a stretcher. As soon as I landed that vault, I went and told my coach: ‘I cannot continue.’”

Biles faced criticism from some when she withdrew from her Olympic events, but she was mostly applauded for listening to her body and prioritizing her mental health.

To those critics who said she went to Tokyo and quit, Biles compared what she went through to suddenly waking up blind one day.

“Say up until you’re 30 years old, you have your complete eyesight,” she said. “One morning, you wake up, you can’t see ... but people tell you to go on and do your daily job as if you still have your eyesight. You’d be lost, wouldn’t you? That’s the only thing I can relate it to. I have been doing gymnastics for 18 years. I woke up — lost it. How am I supposed to go on with my day?”

In the nearly two months since she returned home from Tokyo, Biles said she has had time to come to terms with what happened, though she said it still feels in many ways like she "jumped out of a moving train."

“Everybody asks, ‘If you could go back, would you?’ ” Biles told New York Magazine. “No. I wouldn’t change anything because everything happens for a reason. And I learned a lot about myself — courage, resilience, how to say no and speak up for yourself.”

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Scoreboard roundup -- 9/27/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 9/27/21

iStock

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

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Cleveland 8, Kansas City 3
Chi White Sox 8, Detroit 7
Seattle 13 Oakland 4

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Cincinnati 13, Pittsburgh 1
Washington 5, Colorado 4

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
Columbus 3, Pittsburgh 0
Montreal 5, Toronto 2
Vancouver 4, Calgary 2
St. Louis 2, Dallas 1 (OT)
Arizona 2, Los Angeles 1

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Dallas 41, Philadelphia 21

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Scoreboard Roundup -- 9/26/21

Scoreboard Roundup -- 9/26/21

iStock

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

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Tampa Bay 3, Miami 2

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Kansas City 2, Detroit 1
Texas 7, Baltimore 4
Chi White Sox 5, Cleveland 2
Toronto 5, Minnesota 2
Seattle 5, LA Angels 1
Oakland 4, Houston 3
NY Yankees 6, Boston 3

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 6, Philadelphia 0
Cincinnati 9, Washington 2
Milwaukee 8, NY Mets 4
St. Louis 4, Chi Cubs 2
San Francisco 6, Colorado 2
LA Dodgers 3, Arizona 0
Atlanta 4, San Diego 3

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
Florida 5, Nashville 4 (OT)
Boston 3, Washington 2 (SO)
Florida 3, Nashville 1
Seattle 5, Vancouver 3
NY Islanders 4, NY Rangers 0
Anaheim 6, San Jose 3
Ottawa 3, Winnipeg 2 (OT)
Edmonton 4, Calgary 0
San Jose 4, Vegas 2

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Arizona 31, Jacksonville 19
Atlanta 17, NY Giants 14
Baltimore 19, Detroit 17
Buffalo 43, Washington 21
Cincinnati 24, Pittsburgh 10
Cleveland 26, Chicago 6
LA Chargers 30, Kansas City 24
New Orleans 28, New England 13
Tennessee 25, Indianapolis 16
Denver 26, NY Jets 0
Las Vegas 31, Miami 28 (OT)
LA Rams 34, Tampa Bay 24
Minnesota 30, Seattle 17
Green Bay 30, San Francisco 28

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
Phoenix 85, Seattle 80 (OT)
Final Chicago 89 Minnesota 76

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Nashville 0, Chicago 0 (Tie)
Seattle 2, Sporting Kansas City 1
Austin FC 2, LA Galaxy 0

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Scoreboard Roundup 9/25/21

Scoreboard Roundup 9/25/21

iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's game's:

   ------

   INTERLEAGUE

Final  Tampa Bay   8  Miami   0

   ------

   AMERICAN LEAGUE

Final  Chicago White Sox   1  Cleveland     0

Final  Kansas City         3  Detroit       1

Final  Texas               8  Baltimore     5

Final  N.Y. Yankees        8  Boston        3

Final  Minnesota           3  Toronto       1

Final  Seattle             6  L.A. Angels   5

Final  Oakland            14  Houston       2

   ------

   NATIONAL LEAGUE

Final  St. Louis       8  Chicago Cubs   5

Final  Philadelphia    8  Pittsburgh     6

Final  St. Louis      12  Chicago Cubs   4

Final  Milwaukee       5  N.Y. Mets      1

Final  San Francisco   7  Colorado       2

Final  San Diego       6  Atlanta        5

Final  Cincinnati      8  Washington     7

Final  L.A. Dodgers    4  Arizona        2

Final  Atlanta         4  San Diego      0

   ------

   TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Final  (22)Fresno St.  38  UNLV  30

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Scoreboard roundup -- 9/23/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 9/23/21

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(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Chi White Sox 7, Cleveland 2
Seattle 6, Oakland 5
Cleveland 5, Chi White Sox 3
Baltimore 3, Texas 0
Minnesota 7, Toronto 2
LA Angels 3, Houston 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis 8, Milwaukee 5
Arizona 6, Atlanta 4
LA Dodgers 7, Colorado 5
San Diego 7, San Francisco 6
Washington 3, Cincinnati 2
Philadelphia 12, Pittsburgh 6

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Carolina 24, Houston 9

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The Case For Believing In Michigan Football

The Case For Believing In Michigan Football

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(MICHIGAN) --  Michigan football fans are not conditioned in their modern state to feel anything good. The sport so many of them live and die with has burned them too often over the past 20 years for many Wolverines fans to feel truly excited as the calendar flips from month to month in the fall.

This September has put these fans in a tough spot. Michigan football is off to a 3-0 start, and if you’ve watched the games or looked at the numbers, you know it’s been a crisp 3-0. The Wolverines have beaten Western Michigan, Washington and Northern Illinois by a combined 107 points, the largest cumulative margin of victory among Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Michigan was supposed to win all of these games, but there is winning and then there is covering the spread by nearly 19 points per game. Save for losing star receiver Ronnie Bell to a right knee injury for the year, it would be tough to imagine Jim Harbaugh having a smoother first three weeks of a season. 

Yet Michigan fans understand how this goes. Harbaugh was 18-3 in August and September since his takeover of the program in 2015 through last season (though there were no such games for the team in 2020). That was the seventh-best winning percentage in FBS in the season’s opening stretch during those years. The problem was October and November, months in which Harbaugh has gone 30-15 — a nice enough record for most teams but not nearly enough to get Michigan over the Big Ten East hump. Many are understandably circumspect about what lies in store for 2021.

Before we go further, it’s worth doing the necessary Michigan-related hedging. The Wolverines might fall apart and lose three to five games, as they’ve done several times in recent years. They might be great but fall short in their regular-season finale against Ohio State, which is now an annual bit of misery (save for 2020) no matter what’s happened up to that point. In short, Michigan could do what Michigan has done too many times before. These potential outcomes all point to fans shielding their hearts from vulnerability. Why get too serious with a team that has hurt you? But if Michigan fans can stomach it, they should let themselves live a little bit. Three games into 2021, there is no reason Michigan won’t have Harbaugh’s big breakthrough this year. 

In Harbaugh’s first six years, his offenses were good, but not great, and “good” does not win the Wolverines’ division, much less anything beyond that. From 2015 to 2020, Michigan was 19th in FBS in expected points added per game on offense, adjusted for opponent quality. The results varied a bit by year, but its most productive offense by far was in 2016, when Michigan came a J.T. Barrett fourth-down spot away from making the Big Ten Championship. That team produced an adjusted offensive EPA of 15.16 per game. That was the best college offense Harbaugh has ever fielded, save for the 2010 Stanford outfit that had Andrew Luck and various NFL pass-catchers and produced a figure of 20.19. 

The Wolverines have been unable to approach their 2016 level over the last four years. But this year, Michigan leads all of FBS in adjusted offensive EPA and is tracking, at this early date, to produce the most efficient offense by EPA of Harbaugh’s career. Adjusted EPA flattens out the results some, since it accounts for the competition level faced, which means the computers aren’t calling fraud on Michigan’s excellent start.

Along the same line, Michigan’s September success looks like a shift upward even when compared only with its previous nonconference schedules. In strictly regular-season, nonconference games in Harbaugh’s first six years, Michigan’s offense was a combined 44th in adjusted EPA per game. This year, Michigan is second. And again, that’s an opponent-adjusted stat, which suggests that Michigan’s leap can’t be chalked up totally to a schedule that lacks a team like Florida or Notre Dame, two recent season-opener foes for Harbaugh’s teams.

Harbaugh’s new starting quarterback, Cade McNamara, is outdoing his predecessors in a similar way. The junior, a former four-star recruit, threw for 10 yards per attempt in nonconference games and posted a 60.5 Total QBR. Both figures put him ahead of Harbaugh’s previous starting QBs in the same situations: Jake Rudock, Wilton Speight and Shea Patterson. And Michigan’s lead tailback, Blake Corum, has blown away Harbaugh’s previous primary running backs in both yards per attempt (8.5) and missed tackles generated per touch (0.3) against teams outside the Big Ten. In various offensive areas, Michigan is lapping its old self. 

On defense, the Wolverines are under new management this fall. First-year coordinator Mike Macdonald arrived in the offseason from the Baltimore Ravens, where he had worked since 2014 for Harbaugh’s brother, John. (Macdonald was going to be co-defensive coordinator with fellow new hire Maurice Linguist, but Linguist left to take the top job at Buffalo before the season.) Macdonald replaced Don Brown, who’d been Michigan’s defensive coordinator since 2016 and had a reputation for his infatuation with two things: blitzes and man coverage. During Brown’s time in charge, the Michigan defense played man-to-man coverages on 48 percent of opposing dropbacks, the ninth-highest rate in the country. (The average was 33 percent.) In front of all coverages, Michigan blitzed 12.6 times a game, 10th-most in FBS. So far in 2021, the Wolverines have kept playing a lot of man coverage, though less than before — 40.7 percent of the time, which still ranks ninth. Their blitzing has also eased up a bit, to 10.33 times per game (tied for 46th-most).

It’s a little early to know what shape Macdonald’s defense will take the rest of the way, but it looks like his plan is working. In nonconference, regular-season games under Brown, Michigan was fifth in adjusted defensive EPA per game. Under Macdonald, Michigan is 19th in the same situations — a step back overall, but not compared to Brown’s most recent work. There’s no way to make an apples-to-apples comparison from last year to this year because there were no nonconference Big Ten games last fall. But the early returns say Michigan’s defense has cleaned up a 2020 mess where the Wolverines finished the season an ugly 109th in adjusted defensive EPA per game overall. This year, Michigan is 16th, and its straightforward yards allowed per play are down at this point from 5.6 to 4.5. Even if the defense regresses significantly in Big Ten play, it looks like the bleeding from 2020 has slowed.

Michigan has played what looks like a light schedule, but it’s not that hard to look at it in the right light and see something decent. WMU beat Pitt, NIU beat a Georgia Tech team that is probably bad but almost beat Clemson, and Washington looked dysfunctional but has one of the more talented rosters in college football.1

Whatever you think of this schedule, Michigan has pulverized it to an unusual extent. Forward-looking projection systems tend to believe, even if lots of humans aren’t there yet. Bill Connelly’s SP+ and ESPN’s FPI, two opponent-adjusted systems, each have Michigan No. 6 overall. In SP+, the Wolverines rank 12th on offense, eighth on defense and second on special teams. In the AP Top 25, Michigan is 19th, which is fair for now and may turn out to look low. 

The Big Ten might be ripe for the picking, too, or at least more so than usual. The conference has a lot of interesting teams that weren’t at all interesting last year. Penn State looks like a serious contender. Iowa has a punishing defense, Michigan State seems to be getting back to some of its mid-2010s ways, and even Maryland and Rutgers are presently undefeated. But the league’s biggest hoss looks more vulnerable than usual. Ohio State is 37th in Defensive SP+ and has already taken play-calling responsibilities away from its defensive coordinator. 

The Game is in Ann Arbor this year, and that combined with a slightly reduced OSU gives Michigan one of its best chances in a while. Predicting a Michigan win would be foolish, but for a rare change, so would be dismissing the possibility out of hand that the Wolverines give their much more successful rival a lot to handle. 

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Scoreboard roundup -- 9/22/21

Scoreboard roundup -- 9/22/21

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(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Philadelphia 4, Baltimore 3
Final Minnesota 5, Chi Cubs 4
Boston 12, NY Mets 5

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Tampa Bay 7, Toronto 1
NY Yankees 7, Texas 3
Seattle 4, Oakland 1
Houston 9, LA Angels 5 (12)
Chi White Sox at Detroit (Postponed)
Kansas City at Cleveland (Postponed)

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Washington 7, Miami 5
St. Louis 10, Milwaukee 2
Colorado 10, LA Dodgers 5
Atlanta 9, Arizona 2
San Francisco 8, San Diego 6
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (Postponed)

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Nashville 5, Miami 1
New England 3, Chicago 2
New York City FC 1, New York 1 (Tie)

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Is It Time To Go All-In On The Raiders?

Is It Time To Go All-In On The Raiders?

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(LAS VEGAS) -- Four years ago, the poorest owner in the NFL committed over $1.1 billion he didn’t have toward building a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas, at a time when NFL policies forbid team owners, staffers and players from even appearing to have connections to gambling.

Three years ago, he lured the franchise’s famous former head coach out of the announcers’ booth and back onto his sideline with a 10-year, $100 million contract. At the end of the following season, he hired the NFL Network’s top draft analyst to run his front office. Last season, his team played their home games in the brand-new, gleaming black Allegiant Stadium — but without any fans (or gameday revenue to pay down the attendant debt).

Mark Davis bet everything — his team, his fortune, and his father’s legacy — on this season being a success.

It didn’t look like it was going to pay off. Head coach Jon Gruden’s first three seasons back in black (19-29, .396 win percentage) were significantly worse than the three years under his predecessor, Jack Del Rio (25-23, .521). General manager Mike Mayock’s transition from mock drafts to real drafts has been bumpy, with Gregg Rosenthal of the NFL Network ranking him and Gruden as the worst-drafting front office in the league. Team President Marc Badain, who had spent all 30 years of his professional career with the organization, resigned days before training camp with little explanation. Mayock admitted before this season that his job likely depended on the Raiders making the playoffs, and FiveThirtyEight’s preseason NFL predictions gave them just a 24 percent chance to do it.

After two weeks, the Las Vegas (née Oakland, née Los Angeles, née Oakland) Raiders are 2-0, having knocked off the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers by a combined score of 59-44. Quarterback Derek Carr leads the NFL in passing yards with 817, nearly 130 yards ahead of second place. The team is No. 2 in the NFL in Sports-Reference.com’s predictive Simple Rating System metric.

Is this a mirage in the desert, or are the Raiders for real?

Right off the bat, there’s room for skepticism: Simple Rating System, predictive as it is, pretty much only takes into account a team’s opponents and average point differential. This early in the season, it’s not even as predictive as point spread or point differential alone.

On the field, the Raiders boast the No. 7 scoring offense and No. 1 yardage offense so far this year. They rank seventh in yards per play and are tied for fifth in per-drive scoring rate. Though they can’t run the ball for beans, Gruden’s play-calling is drawing raves — and has Carr playing the best football of his life. The three-time Pro Bowler has the fourth-highest quarterback passing grade on Pro Football Focus, and he ranks fourth in Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR). (Carr injured his ankle in last week’s win over the Steelers, though, and is currently questionable for Week 3.)

Defensively, the Raiders are closer to the middle of the pack. They are tied for 10th in scoring defense and 16th in yards allowed. They’re 16th in Football Outsiders’ defensive Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). But PFF loves the tape of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s unit, grading them the sixth-best overall defense, with the league’s No. 1 pass rush.

That pass-rush dominance shows up in the stat column, too. Despite blitzing less often than any other team, the Raiders rank 15th in pressure rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. Mayock’s first-ever draft pick — defensive end Clelin Ferrell, taken No. 4 overall in 2019 — may never be productive. But the edge-rusher Mayock took 102 picks later, Maxx Crosby, has blossomed into a stud: two sacks, eight tackles, three tackles for loss, and 10 quarterback hits season alone, not to mention the highest overall PFF grade of any defender in the league. Right behind Crosby, in ninth place, is 2021 free-agent class headliner Yannick Ngakoue.

The Raiders do have significant flaws. Their offensive line ranks dead last in PFF’s run-blocking grades and 16th in pass protection. They’re also the league’s worst tackling team, according to PFF. That’s partly why they’re only a decent defense, despite dominant players up front. All told, the Raiders are still outside of the top 10 in most predictive team-strength metrics.

But look how much these two opening wins have impressed the models:

Vegas has made huge leaps in the models

Rankings and playoff odds in five models for the Las Vegas Raiders before Week 1 and before Week 3 of the 2021 season

 

RANKINGS

 

 

PLAYOFF ODDS

 

 

METRIC

W1

W3

DIFF.

W1

W3

DIFF.

Football Outsiders DVOA

21

19

+2

31.5%

49.5%

+18.0

ESPN FPI

25

19

+6

17.0

50.4

+33.4

PFF Power Rankings

21

12

+9

49.0

59.0

+10.0

Jeff Sagarin

23

13

+10

FiveThirtyEight Elo

24

13

+11

24.0

54.0

+30.0

 

Before Week 1, the Raiders ranked no better than 21st in any of these five predictive team-strength metrics. After Week 2, they’re 12th in both FiveThirtyEight’s Elo projections and PFF’s Power Rankings and at least in the teens everywhere else.

Jeff Sagarin’s model doesn’t predict playoff odds, but the other four metrics do, and after playing two games, the Raiders’ chances of making the postseason have jumped from a range of 17 to 49 percent to 50 to 60 percent. According to Rotowire, the Raiders’ betting odds of making the playoffs are now at +100, with an implied probability of 47.8 percent. Even though those odds are much better than the preseason high of +340, every predictive model we looked at thinks the Raiders are more “for real” than betting markets do.

Is it really the right time to get on board the Raiders bandwagon? Maybe not. But many NFL observers were skeptical of Davis — who, to put it mildly, zigs where most NFL owners tend to zag — and his ability to get a new stadium built without another team involved. Or attract attention in attraction-saturated Las Vegas. Or bring Gruden back into the fold. Or build a roster without the help of longtime Raiders execs like Badain, former general manager Reggie McKenzie or former CEO Amy Trask.

Yet Vegas is the hottest ticket in football, Gruden is prowling the sidelines, and the Raiders have better-than-even odds to make their third trip to the playoffs since Gruden left 20 years ago.

Davis bet it all on (silver and) black, and he’s going to let it ride.

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