<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Sports]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usFri, 20 Oct 2017 21:58:36 -0400Fri, 20 Oct 2017 21:58:36 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Vote for the High School Blitz 'Game of the Week']]> Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:12:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*120/b3139f7492f04e6193f2db01681c64da.jpg

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<![CDATA[Time-Lapse: Changing From Flyers' Ice to 76ers' Hardwood]]> Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:07:39 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/220*120/Wells+Fargo+Center+76ers+Floor+Change.JPG

Cue the music!

Watch in amazement as the 20-person crew at the Wells Fargo Center transforms the South Philadelphia arena from the home off Flyers to the home of the Sixers.

The actual process of turning the floor from ice to hardwood – laying down 550 sheets of protective floor covering and 225 pieces of hardwood takes far longer than this 30-second video.

The Sixers home opener against the Boston Celtics is Friday night.




Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Center]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Advance to World Series for 1st Time Since 1988]]> Fri, 20 Oct 2017 04:38:27 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-863241870.jpg

The iconic words of Vin Scully were first spoken 29 years ago, the last time the Los Angeles Dodgers were in the World Series: "In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened."

After nearly three decades, the wait is finally over — the Dodgers are going back to the World Series.

Enrique Hernandez hit three home runs, including a grand slam, as the Dodgers punched their ticket to the Fall Classic, defeating the Chicago Cubs, 11-1, in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

In 1988, the last time the Dodgers went to the World Series, Clayton Kershaw was just seven months old. Twenty-nine years later, he was on the mound when they won the pennant.

"We've heard 1988 for so long in L.A., it feels good to say that we're getting to go to the World Series in 2017," Kershaw said after the victory. "With four more wins, hopefully we get to bring one home."

Kershaw (2-0), threw six innings, allowing just one run on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts in the third potential-clinching start in his postseason career.

In those games, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is a perfect 3-0 when he takes the mound with a chance to advance his team to the next round.

"To get to be on the mound tonight and get to be going to the World Series on the same night, it's a special thing," Kershaw said. "Who knows how many times I'm going to get to go to the World Series. I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So, I'm definitely not taking this one for granted."


Since 2013, Kershaw had only gotten one run of support in four total starts in the NLCS over the course of his career. In his only two starts in 2017, he got 16 runs of support.

"That's a testament to this team and what we stand for," Kershaw said of the support from the offense. "As a starting pitcher, when you get seven runs, your job is to get them back in the dugout as fast as possible."

In order to end the drought, the Dodgers needed to go through the Cubs, the reigning World Series Champions, a team that slayed their own demons only one year prior. Los Angeles wasted little time dispatching the champs.

After a nine-pitch lead-off walk to Chris Taylor to start the game, Cody Bellinger roped a double down the right field line, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

"What [Taylor] has done for our lineup all year long, settling into the lead-off spot, getting on base, hitting balls over the fence. He's a dynamic player and table-setter," said teammate Justin Turner, who was named Co-MVP of the NLCS along with Taylor. "When he goes, we usually go as a team. I think you guys saw that here in the postseason."


One inning later, Hernandez started off the second inning swinging, as he jumped all over a first-pitch fastball from Cubs' starter Jose Quintana, hitting it to straightaway center for a solo home run.

Hernandez wasn't finished. After an RBI single from Turner gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead, Quintana loaded the bases before leaving the game for Hector Rondon.

Once again, the Puerto Rican was swinging on the first pitch, and this time, Hernandez sent a slider into the basket in right-center for a grand slam home run.

"I blacked out," Hernandez said of the fourth grand slam ever hit in Dodgers' postseason history. "I can't even describe it you know. I was thinking the entire game, 'Man, this is unbelievable.'"

Hernandez not only sent the Dodgers to the World Series with his bat, he also became the first Dodger since Adrian Gonzalez in 2013 to hit multiple homers in a postseason game.

"I don't remember much of the game," Hernandez admitted. "The whole game is a blur. I remember the first two, but I definitely don't remember the last one. It's awesome!"


As Wrigley Field fell silent as the shrouded dead, one voice could be heard — that of Hernandez's father, Enrique Hernandez Sr., one year removed from a life-threatening battle with cancer, fresh off an evacuation from his homeland because of Hurricane Maria. Despite it all, he stood and cheered.

He just watched his son have the game of his life, in the biggest moment of his career.

"Honestly, I couldn't wait for this game to end so I could give my dad a big old hug," Hernandez said as he fought back tears. "Everything that he's been through the last year or so, and everything he went through for me to be here on this stage right now means the world to me."

Quintana (0-1) lasted only two innings, surrendering six runs on six hits with one walk and one strikeout in his fourth start of the postseason with the Cubs.

"Quintana was a great addition," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon after the game. "[The Dodgers] know what it feels like coming off last year, we were celebrating versus them in this exact same spot."

John Lackey entered the game in the fourth inning for the Cubs and served up a two-run double to Logan Forsythe that gave Los Angeles a 9-0 lead.

The two innings of relief may have been the last ever seen of Lackey as the 38-year-old's contract is up at the end of the season. He could be leaning toward retirement at the end of the year.

"John and I go way back," Maddon said. "John and I were together with the Angels in the 2002 World Series team. So it's really special for me with John. Hopefully it's not his last year, but if it is, having that chance to be with him in that moment is pretty special for me."

Kris Bryant hit his first home run of the postseason in the bottom of the fourth, a laser beam off Kershaw over the scoreboard in left field, for the Cubs' only run of the game.

The Cubs became the first team in Major League history to score all of their runs as home runs in a series that went at least five games.

"Every year is different," Maddon said on why his offense wasn't able to replicate the same success as last year. "We have all these incredible numbers from last year, but every year is different."

Just for good measure, Hernandez hit his third home run of the game off Mike Montgomery in the top of ninth, to put the exclamation point on his historical night. 

"I may have had a great game, but this is not about me, this is about this team," Hernandez said, as his teammates celebrated around him in the winning locker room. "Tonight it was me, but every night its someone different coming up big for us. Luckily enough, tonight it was me."

Hernandez is just the ninth player in MLB history to have three homers in a postseason game, joining like the likes of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols.


Hernandez finished the game three-for-four with three home runs and a league championship record seven RBIs. 

To put that in perspective, the Cubs scored eight runs in the entire series.

"I blacked out and four hours later I had three homers and seven RBI," Hernandez said. "There's a very big God up there that blessed me tonight, and grandpa, I appreciate it because I know you had something to do with it." 

Earlier in the season, Hernandez lost his grandfather and left the team to fly to Puerto Rico to be with his family. 

"Kiké told me before the game, 'Hey, I've got your back tonight,'" Kershaw said. "He said that before I even went out and took the mound. Then he goes and hits three home runs."

Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen pitched the final three innings of the game as the Dodgers bullpen set an NLCS record with 17 scoreless innings of relief. 

"We wanted the defending champs," Jansen said after the game. "We know how much it sucks to lose here and see the fans enjoy it in front of us. We wanted to make a statement. We wanted to come here and we wanted to win in front of them. It's not over yet. Hopefully, we can bring the championship back home."

The Dodgers' pen has a scoreless innings streak of 23, a new MLB postseason record, surpassing the 1977 New York Yankees.

However, the rest of the game was a mere formality as both teams went through the motions before the Dodgers popped champagne — aged 29 years — in the visiting clubhouse.

The victory earned the Dodgers their 22nd National League pennant, the second most in league history behind only their rivals, the Giants, who have 23.

Nearly one year ago, the Cubs clinched their first World Series berth since 1945 against these same Dodgers. That night, as the mob of adoring fans celebrated in Wrigleyville, the Dodgers team buses were unable to leave, so the players had to wait over two hours in the visiting locker room.

During that time, the Dodgers sat and stewed, thinking about this exact moment that could occur one year later, and how great it would be to beat the Cubs on their own field to advance to the World Series.

Revenge is, indeed, sweet.

Up Next:
The Dodgers advance to the World Series, awaiting either the Houston Astros or New York Yankees for Game 1 at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 24.



Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Teams Up With Nike for Charity]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:36:32 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/LISNEAKERS.png

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has teamed up with Nike to celebrate the Pats Super Bowl LI victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The Nike RKK Air Force 1 Flyknit is the fourth collaboration between Kraft and the sneaker company.

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<![CDATA[Full Recovery Expected for Hayward After Injury in Celtics Debut]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:44:04 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-860330888.jpg

The Boston Celtics said Gordon Hayward is expected to make a "full recovery" after undergoing successful surgery on Wednesday night.

The team announced Thursday afternoon that Hayward underwent "successful bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery for the fracture dislocation of his left ankle" sustained in Tuesday night's season opener.

Hayward's father tweeted Thursday morning the surgery was 'a big success,' and his wife Robyn posted her own message on social media saying "He did great with surgery! So now we are starting the recovery process." His agent, Mark Bartelstein, added that the surgery "went really well."

No timetable has been set for his return, but Bartelstein told ESPN it remains unlikely the 27-year-old forward will return this season.

[[451513513, C]]

The Celtics player had arrived at New England Baptist Hospital on Wednesday after flying in from Cleveland, where he and former Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving played their first game in Celtics green.

Hayward came down awkwardly after an alley-oop pass in the first quarter, dislocating his left ankle and fracturing his leg.

In a video message on the Celtics' Twitter page Wednesday, Hayward spoke to his fans from his hospital bed.

[[451569403, C]]

"Wanted to say thank you to everyone whose had me in their thoughts and prayers," he said. "I'm gonna be alright.

"Hurting me that I can't be there for the home opener," Hayward went on to say in his video tweet. "I want nothing more than to be with my teammates and to walk out on that floor tonight. But I'll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck."

[[451531633, C]]

While the team initially tweeted that Hayward had been diagnosed with a broken ankle, Stevens said in a press conference Wednesday that hospital tests had confirmed his actual injuries.

"He put a lot of effort into trying to start his career out well in Boston, but this is a setback," Stevens added.

Despite the setback, the coach said he believes Hayward will be back to full health.

"We are expecting a full recovery," he said. "We know there are going to be a lot of tough days ahead on that recovery, but at the same time, I think, hopefully, he'll improve day to day."

Stevens coached Hayward at Butler University. After spending the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz, Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million contract to play for his college coach in Boston.

As Hayward lay on the court Tuesday night, the Quicken Loans Arena fell silent, with Celtics and Cavs players alike showing their concern. The crowds erupted in applause when he was carried off the floor on a stretcher. The following day, athletes and fans have taken to social media to support Hayward.

"Thanks for all the prayers for Gordon and our family," Hayward's wife, Robyn, tweeted Wednesday. "It sucks, but this is what happens."

Robyn Hayward's tweet included a quote, reading, "When everything seems like it's falling apart that's when God is putting things together just the way he wants it."

In their opener, the Celtics came back from a 16-point halftime deficit and jockeyed with Cleveland for the lead in the fourth quarter. The Cavs won their first game 102-99.

Wednesday night, the Celtics played their home opener without Hayward against the Milwaukee Bucks, but it was clear Hayward was on the mind of everyone.

Love for the forward was evident in every corner of TD Garden, as fans who miss him signed a giant "get well soon" banner for him, gave him a standing ovation, and even chanted his name.

[[451547363, C]]

The Bucks beat the Celtics 108–100.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Goodell: 'Everyone Should Stand for the National Anthem']]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:10:25 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/RGoodell_FULL-150836042626100002.jpg

The NFL Commissioner stated "we believe everyone should stand for the national anthem" at a press conference Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[Olympic Gold Medalist Details Sexual Abuse by Team Doctor]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 21:18:40 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/McKaylaMaroneyfeuerherd.jpg

Two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney says she was molested for years by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor, abuse she said started in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.

Maroney posted a lengthy statement on Twitter early Wednesday that described the allegations of abuse against Dr. Larry Nassar, who spent three decades working with athletes at USA Gymnastics but now is in jail in Michigan awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Nassar also is awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges and has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges, and the dozens of civil suits filed in Michigan are currently in mediation.

Maroney, now 21, says the abuse began while attending a U.S. National team training camp at the Karolyi Ranch in the Sam Houston Forest north of Houston, Texas. Maroney was 13 at the time and wrote that Nassar told her she was receiving "medically necessary treatment he had been performing on patients for over 30 years." Maroney did not detail Nassar's specific actions.

Maroney, who won a team gold and an individual silver on vault as part of the "Fierce Five" U.S. women's team at the 2012 Olympics in London, said Nassar continued to give her "treatment" throughout her career. She described Nassar giving her a sleeping pill while the team traveled to Japan for the 2011 world championships. Maroney says Nassar later visited her in her hotel room after the team arrived in Tokyo, where he molested her yet again.

"I thought I was going to die that night," Maroney wrote.

Maroney did not immediately return an interview request from The Associated Press. Attorneys for Nassar had no comment.

Maroney says she decided to come forward as part of the "#MeToo" movement on social media that arose in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

"This is happening everywhere," Maroney wrote. "Wherever there is a position of power, there is the potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary and disgusting."

Maroney called for change, urging other victims to speak out and demanding organizations "be held accountable for their inappropriate actions and behavior."

Maroney is the highest profile gymnast yet to come forward claiming she was abused by Nassar. Jamie Dantzscher, a bronze medalist on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, was part of the initial wave of lawsuits filed against Nassar in 2016. Aly Raisman, who won six medals while serving as the captain of the U.S. women's team in both 2012 and 2016, called for sweeping change at USA Gymnastics in August.

USA Gymnastics launched an independent review of its policies in the wake of the allegations against Nassar in the summer of 2016 following reporting by the Indianapolis Star that highlighted chronic mishandling of abuse allegations against coaches and staff at some of its more than 3,500 clubs across the country.

In June, the federation immediately adopted 70 recommendations proffered by Deborah Daniels, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw the review. The new guidelines require member gyms to go to authorities immediately, with Daniels suggesting USA Gymnastics consider withholding membership from clubs that decline to do so. The organization also named Toby Stark, a child welfare advocate, as its director of SafeSport. Part of Stark's mandate is educating members on rules, educational programs, reporting and adjudication services.

USA Gymnastics praised Maroney's strength in a statement on Wednesday, adding it is "outraged and disgusted" by Nassar's alleged conduct.

"We are strengthening and enhancing our policies and procedures regarding abuse, as well as expanding our educational efforts to increase awareness of signs to watch for and reporting suspicions of abuse, including the obligation to immediately report," USA Gymnastics wrote. "USA Gymnastics, its members and community are committed to working together to keep our athletes as safe as possible."

The organization had initially agreed to purchase the training facility at the Karolyi Ranch following longtime national team coordinator Martha Karolyi's retirement shortly after the 2016 Olympics ended. The organization has since opted out of that agreement. Steve Penny, longtime president and CEO, resigned in March. A replacement has not been named.

The allegations and fallout have reached Capitol Hill. Two different pieces of legislation are in the works that call for greater responsibility for organizations that oversee Olympic sports to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to law enforcement or child-welfare authorities.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein issued a release Wednesday saying she is putting the finishing touches on a bill she is co-sponsoring that would make failure to report sexual abuse a crime.

"It has become clear that for too long, amateur athletics organizations have shirked their responsibility of protecting young, vulnerable children," Feinstein wrote. "That must stop, and it must stop now."

Maroney, who lives in California and officially retired in 2015, encouraged others to speak out.

"Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long," she wrote, "and it's time to take our power back."



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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<![CDATA[Oldest Woman to Finish a Marathon Dies at 94]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:13:34 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Harriette-Thompson-Marathoner-2017.jpg

A nonagenarian who set a world record as the oldest woman to complete a full marathon has died, her family confirmed in a published report.

Harriette Thompson, 94, smiled and laughed as she crossed the finish line at the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon in San Diego in June.

With her finish, Thompson became the oldest woman to run a half-marathon.

"I guess it's unusual, but I don't know why people make such a big deal," Thompson said at the time. "I feel just like I did when I was 16. But I just can’t move as fast."

In 2015, Thompson broke the world record as the oldest woman to complete a full marathon.

The Charlotte Observer reported Monday Thompson died in hospice after suffering an injury in a fall on Oct. 6.

Thompson, a cancer survivor, used her love of running to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Through the years, she raised $100,000 for the organization. She raised $15,000 in 2017 alone.

In June, when she completed the Rock n' Roll marathon with a time of 3 hours, 42 minutes, Thompson was most pleased that she did it surrounded by members of her family.

"I enjoyed running across the finish line," Thompson said. "That’s always the biggest thing. And I really enjoyed having my family with me."



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Carson Wentz Has NFL's Hottest-Selling Jersey]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:50:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Carson+Wentz+Jersey.jpg

The Eagles are on top of the football world, and their quarterback is on top of the jersey world.

Carson Wentz's jersey is currently the best-selling NFL jersey, according to sporting goods retail giant Dick's Sporting Goods.

Dick's maintains a weekly ranking of jersey leaders based on sales at all their stores, and this week's ranking shows Wentz ahead of two other quarterbacks — someone named Tom Brady of the Patriots is second and Dak Prescott of the Cowboys is third.

According to Dick's Jersey Report, Wentz's jersey was No. 2 in the NFL last year behind Prescott, but his nationally televised three-touchdown performance in the Eagles' win Thursday night in Charlotte over the Panthers elevated him into the No. 1 spot.

Rounding out the top 10 currently in jersey sales are Von Miller, Mitch Trubisky, Luke Kuechly, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Ezekiel Elliott and Rob Gronkowski.

Wentz ranks fifth in the NFL with 1,584 passing yards, tied for second with 13 touchdowns, seventh with a 99.6 passer rating and sixth with a 1.45 interception ratio.

The Eagles share the NFL's best record with the Chiefs at 5-1 and own the league's longest current winning streak at four. That has elevated the Eagles into the No. 3 overall jersey team, according to Dick's, behind only the Patriots and Cowboys. Last week, the Eagles were fifth, behind the Cowboys, Steelers, Patriots and Broncos.

Zach Ertz, who caught two touchdown passes Thursday night, is the next-highest ranked Eagle, with the No. 53 jersey in the NFL. Wentz and Ertz are the only two in the top 100.

Former Eagles ranked in the top 100 by Dick's are LeSean McCoy of the Bills (No. 50), Alejandro Villanueva of the Steelers (No. 84), Jeremy Maclin of the Ravens (No. 85), Danny Amendola of the Patriots (No. 92), Sam Bradford of the Vikings (No. 95) and DeMarco Murray of the Titans (No. 100).

Dick's Sporting Goods has 610 stores in 47 states, including 14 in the Philadelphia area.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Lawyers Sue NFL, Helmet Manufacturer]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 09:27:35 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/aaron-ap.jpg

Lawyers for Aaron Hernandez's family have re-filed their lawsuit against the NFL, but the New England Patriots are no longer named in the complaint.

The family's lawyers filed the complaint Monday in Norfolk County Superior Court. They said the Patriots have been removed as a defendant, but a separate action involving the team will be filed at a later date.

Named in the suit are the NFL and several of its subsidiaries, as well as Riddell, the company that manufactured the official NFL helmet from 1989 to 2013. Hernandez played in the NFL from 2010 to 2012.

The suit claims the defendants knew of CTE dating back to the 1960s but intentionally kept that information from Hernandez and other players. The suit accuses them of a "long-running conspiracy" aimed at insulating themselves from litigation and financial responsibility.

"(Aaron's) decisions with respect to football would have been different had there been no intentional concealment for football-exposure risk," the complaint reads. "Defendants' multi-decade-long efforts to justify ignoring these warnings created a time-bomb in Aaron. Defendants did so to perpetuate the industry of football."

Attorneys for the Hernandez family initially filed suit last month in federal court after a brain study showed he suffered from a "severe case" of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Experts said it was the most severe case of CTE they had ever seen in someone his age.

The suit claimed the team and the league deprived 4-year-old Avielle Hernandez of the companionship of her father.

That suit was dropped on Friday because the lawyers said the issues involved belonged in state and not federal court.

The NFL has said it will "vigorously" contest the lawsuit, saying it would face "significant legal issues from the start."

Riddell said Monday that it is also prepared to defend its reputation.

"More than 15 years ago, Riddell introduced its first helmets specifically designed to mitigate concussion risk and warnings written to raise concussion awareness and promote medical treatment of concussions," the company argued in a statement. "Riddell intends to vigorously and successfully defend its products, its warnings and its reputation from the claims now being made by a handful of plaintiff lawyers."

Hernandez had Stage 3 CTE, the second-most severe out of four stages. That level of degeneration is usually found in players with a median death age of 67. Boston University officials who examined his brain said he also had early brain atrophy and perforations in a central membrane. CTE can be caused by repeated head trauma and leads to symptoms like violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive difficulties.

The 27-year-old former star tight end killed himself on April 19 in the prison cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. He hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to his cell windows.

Hernandez blocked access to his cell from the inside by jamming cardboard into the door tracks, investigators said. They also said there were no signs of a struggle and Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging.

His Bible was found marked with blood at John 3:16, a verse that describes eternal life for those who believe in God. The verse name was also written in blood on the wall and in pen on his forehead.

His death came just hours before the Patriots visited the White House to celebrate their latest Super Bowl victory.

Soon after his suicide, Hernandez's family decided they wanted his brain to be studied by the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.

State officials originally refused to release the brain because it was part of the ongoing investigation into Hernandez's death, but later agreed to release it after his lawyer accused them of holding the brain illegally.

A star for the University of Florida when it won the 2008 title, Hernandez dropped to the fourth round of the NFL draft because of trouble in college that included a failed drug test and a bar fight. His name had also come up in an investigation into a shooting.

In three seasons with the Patriots, Hernandez joined Rob Gronkowski to form one of the most potent tight end duos in NFL history. In 2011, his second season, Hernandez caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns to help the team reach the Super Bowl, and he was rewarded with a $40 million contract.

But the Patriots released him in 2013, shortly after he was arrested in the killing of Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison; the conviction was voided because he died before his appeals were exhausted, though that decision is itself being appealed.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Why Aren't NFL Cheerleaders Protesting During the Anthem?]]> Sun, 15 Oct 2017 06:12:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/168*120/GettyImages-856384992_master.jpg

Millions of Americans have applauded the NFL players who have taken a knee during the national anthem, but not the women whose job it is to root for the teams — the cheerleaders.

They have been noticeably absent from the year-long drama that has divided football fans and outraged President Donald Trump and their reasons range from not wanting to undermine the team — to not wanting to lose their prized spot on the squad, NBC News reported.

"Definitely the financial compensation isn’t high enough where you’re concerned about paying rent … but certainly if you’re creating waves you could lose your spot,” Danetha Doe, a two-season Indianapolis Colts cheerleader, told NBC News.

Doe remembers when it was rare to find an African-American in the rah-rah ranks and understands why a cheerleader might think twice about joining the players' protest against the persecution of black people in America.



Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[US Men's Soccer Coach Resigns After Catastrophic Loss]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 11:05:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/859961824-Bruce-Arena-Resigns.jpg

Bruce Arena resigned as coach of the United States men's national soccer team Friday in the wake of a shock loss to tiny Trinidad and Tobago that left the team outside of contention for next year's World Cup in Russia.

Arena coached the team in the 2002 and 2006 world cups, and was hired in November as the American campaign to qualify for 2018 stuttered. A 4-0 victory over Panama had put the U.S. in position to qualify going into Tuesday's game, for which the U.S. were heavy favorites.

The loss, combined with other results, meant the U.S. wouldn't qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

"Everyone involved in the program gave everything they had for the last 11 months and, in the end, we came up short. No excuses. We didn't get the job done, and I accept responsibility," Arena said in a statement Friday.

Arena took the team to its best World Cup finish, the quarterfinals, in the 2002 tournament in Korea and Japan.

As a Major League Soccer coach, he has won the MLS Cup five times, most recently for the LA Galaxy in 2014.



Photo Credit: Ashley Allen/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Injured Marine's New Challenge: 31 Marathons in 31 Days]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 09:00:32 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/robjones.jpg

Rob Jones never liked running. He didn’t like running when he grew up on a farm in Lovettsville, Virginia, and he didn’t like it by the time he graduated from Virginia Tech in 2007.

The 32-year old former Marine said he only ran to prepare for the test to join the United States Marine Corps.

All of that hasn’t stopped Jones from embarking on an ambitious journey of running 31 marathons in 31 cities — in 31 days.

Running multiple marathons back-to-back is remarkable but not unprecedented. A couple in Australia reportedly ran a marathon every day in 2013 and a man ran 401 marathons in as many days to raise awareness about the effects of bullying.

But Jones is not only planning to run a combined 812.2 miles in a month. He is doing so without his legs.

After kicking off his first run in London on Thursday, he's set to visit Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas and other cities in the coming days and weeks. His last run will be on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C.   

Jones’s life changed forever in 2010 when he was critically injured as part of a team of combat engineers, whose primary task was detecting IED’s in a heavily Taliban-controlled area in Afghanistan. He came across a landmine that detonated and resulted in both of his legs being amputated.

After hours of surgery and a year and a half of rehabilitation, Jones was ready to get back to his life, though he couldn't picture exactly where his recovery would take him.

“I wasn’t sure exactly of the specifics,” he said. “All I knew was that I was going to do everything I could to get back to being able to take care of my own, be self-sufficient.” 

After his accident, Jones rehabilitated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was fitted with prosthetics. He recalled having to learn to walk again, but this time with bionic knees.

“I also used the time to relearn how to do other things with my new challenge including riding a bicycle, running, and rowing," Jones wrote on his website.

Running a marathon wasn’t something that Jones had on his mind, following his accident. He wanted to do more weightlifting or rowing, which he took a liking to.

After being honorably discharged from the military in 2011, he trained for the 2012 Summer Paralympic games in London, where he won a bronze medal for Team USA in mixed double sculls.

Despite being an Paralympic medalist, he wanted to do something for veterans. He set a goal to raise money for wounded veterans and thought that running successive marathons was a great start.

Jones said it was important to dispel the myth that all veterans are physically and mentally damaged.

“What I’m setting out to do here is to be an example for other veterans and millions alike,” Jones said.

He is a veteran who went to war and is still in the fight, he said.

He started training a year and a half ago by doing running an hour a day, three to four times a week, until he got to a point where he was able to run five back-to-back marathons in as many days.

“There are plenty of people who have done similar stuff and run similar distances,” Jones said. “It’s about preparation.”

Jones doesn’t know anyone who has done this type of ultramarathon, but he’s watched a lot of documentaries on people who have and said he is ready for the challenge.

While most marathoners run nonstop, Jones is taking a different approach once he starts on Oct. 12. He plans to pace himself while completing each leg of his run and could break up his run over the course of a day. He will monitor his distance by using fitness watches with GPS functionality.

Jones said he knows he couldn’t do this alone and is relying on his family for support. His wife, Pam, helps get his story out to the public, and his mother, Carol Miller, will be her son’s massage therapist.

“My wife is my number one supporter,” he said.

He also is working on a way for fans to watch his amazing run online, whether through Facebook Live or other live streaming services.

Jones has also received support from his prosthetists, physical therapist and other runners who were inspired by his story, among them Mirna Valerio, a runner and author of the book, “A Beautiful Work in Progress.” 

“He’s going to get up there and do it and challenge his body and spirit,” Valerio said. “They’re using their bodies and showing the world that despite what somebody might see as a challenge they’re just doing it anyway.”

Jones maintains close friendships with those he served with in Iraq and Afghanistan and knows they back him, even though they may be tired of his antics.

“I think they probably expect it at this point,” he said jokingly. “They’re not that impressed anymore.”

He is glad for his continued relationship with the Marines.

“You know the saying in the Marine Corps is, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine,” he said. “It remains to be a tight-knit brotherhood for me, and that is what the Marine Corps is all about.”


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