<![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-usSun, 20 Aug 2017 23:13:35 -0400Sun, 20 Aug 2017 23:13:35 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[America Still in Turmoil a Year After Kaepernick's Protest]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 12:31:20 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/kaepernickfeuerherd.jpg

What started as a protest against police brutality has mushroomed a year later into a divisive debate over the future of a football player who refused to stand for the national anthem and now faces what his fans see as blackballing for speaking out in a country roiled by racial strife.

Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick demonstrated outside the Los Angeles Rams' Aug. 12 preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys, part of calls for boycotts of the upcoming NFL season. Film director Spike Lee is promoting a rally on his behalf.

On the opposing end of a wide range of opinions, some fans say Kaepernick shouldn't have sat or kneeled during the national anthem, while others argue the quarterback's lack of a job is more about his talent.

The once-rising star and Super Bowl quarterback has been unemployed since March, when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent who could sign with any team. At least three NFL clubs have openly discussed the idea of signing him, but the embattled quarterback has yet to sign a contract with training camps well underway.

Just weeks away from the regular season, he has become a symbol of the clash of celebrity, sports and social issues as more people —including players, fans, politicians, team owners and pundits — invoke his name to debate thorny issues of patriotism and race. Other prominent NFL players have sat out or demonstrated during anthems this preseason, one saying his decision was bolstered by a recent white supremacists' rally in Virginia that turned deadly.

"There's a lot going on inside people's hearts right now," said Dan Rascher, a sports business professor at the University of San Francisco. "This may have been a catalyst for that even though it's not about Colin Kaepernick, but about our country and who we are."

Other players who joined Kaepernick in protest are still employed. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins pledged to continue his protests this season, tight end Martellus Bennett signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers and linebacker Brandon Marshall stayed with the Denver Broncos even as he lost two endorsements for kneeling during the anthem.

Still, some fans say they believe Kaepernick has been passed up as punishment for his actions, which initially went unnoticed until the third preseason game last year.

The chorus gets louder every time a quarterback vacancy is filled on an NFL team, such as when the Miami Dolphins brought 34-year-old quarterback Jay Cutler out of a short-lived retirement to lead its franchise. Cutler was out of work — like Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and others — and planned to work as a television analyst before the Dolphins reunited him with coach Adam Gase.

"Either some owners and/or the NFL are punishing him for speaking out, or they've decided that it's best for business to sweep these valid issues under the rug in order not to upset fans who, in our opinion, don't have a valid reason to be upset about Colin Kaepernick being on their team," said Tim Clark, who is organizing boycotts of all 32 teams for the NFL's regular season opener.

Color of Change, an online civil rights organization, flooded Baltimore Ravens headquarters with telephone calls when the team didn't quickly sign him as it openly considered options to react to an injury. The Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network, which demonstrated over the weekend, says it will boycott the Rams and Chargers games at Memorial Coliseum. A change.org petition calling for a season-long boycott of the NFL has collected more than 170,000 signatures.

"We understand the NFL is very important to you. We also understand the purpose of Colin Kaepernick's protest is FAR more important than any games you will ever watch," the petition said.

Elie Mystal, an editor at the "Above the Law" legal commentary website, agreed with the proposed boycotts.

"Kaepernick doesn't have a job because he spoke out about race," Mystal said. "That's the thing you're not allowed to do in our sporting culture and most of our popular culture, unless you're so over-the-top talented that they need you for winning."

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem while Rams defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist during Saturday's game between the two teams.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Martellus Bennett's brother, sat during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the second straight week on Friday. He was joined by two teammates standing by him. Bennett said the death of a young woman protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, underscored his decision.

"First of all, I want people to understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American, but I don't love segregation," he said. "I don't love riots. I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander."

Some fans say Kaepernick has not been signed because he's had an inconsistent career. He played in the 2013 Super Bowl but faded in the seasons leading up to the protests, winning just three games in his last 19 starts.

He had two seasons where he was the starting quarterback for all 16 of his team's games, including the 2014 season that ended with San Francisco missing the playoffs. He suffered from a shoulder injury for half of 2015 and began the 2016 season as a backup, then started 11 games. The 49ers finished in last place for the second season in a row.

"Do these people (complaining) about Kaepernick going unsigned not understand that he sucks, and he's a liability/distraction?" tweeted Joe Patterson, a business management major at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Q Scores Marketing Evaluations, said Kaepernick's popularity has plummeted.

"He's very polarizing and much more in the consciences of the general population as well as sports fans and, creating, I would think, a pretty big dilemma for the NFL teams as to where he's going to go," Schafer said.

The fallout wasn't all negative: Kaepernick inspired a movement as high school athletes across the country kneeled during the anthem. Kaepernick had the 17th highest jersey sale in May and came in 39th in all merchandise from May through July 31. He's the only player in the top 50 in sales without a job.

Kaepernick, who is white and African-American, took a stand that was unpopular among many whites, which is what boxing great Muhammad Ali did when he refused to be drafted into military during the Vietnam war.

Ali was convicted of draft evasion, which was later overturned, banned from boxing and stripped of his heavyweight title.

It's uncertain how history will treat Kaepernick. But just as Ali was linked to the "black power" movement, Kaepernick has become linked with the Black Lives Matter movement, says Soyica Diggs Colbert, a Georgetown University professor who is writing a book on black movements.

"When we think about how Black Lives Matter as a political movement gets woven into sports," Kaepernick's certainly the key figure in that conversation, she said.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Butch Dill]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 @ Issue: Delco Trooper Competes Around the World]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 14:59:02 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NBC10_at_Issue__Wheel.jpg

Fresh off a series of competitive races, Pennsylvania State Trooper Jane Altomari talks about rolling to glory in races around the world and her work helping people.

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<![CDATA[Matthews for Darby: Eagles GM Explains Trade]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 08:43:00 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/usa-ronald-darby-howie-roseman-jordan-matthews-eagles-bills.jpg

CSN Philly's John Clark talked to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman about his big moves with the Eagles roster and why he felt comfortable trading wide receiver Jordan Matthews for defensive back Ronald Darby.



Photo Credit: CSNPhilly.com]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles CB Gets Green Hairdo]]> Sat, 19 Aug 2017 14:42:38 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Jalen_Mills_gets_Eagles_Green_Hair_Shape_up.jpg

CSN Philly's John Clark joins Eagles' cornerback Jalen Mills at the barber shop.

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<![CDATA[Cardinals, St. Louis Group in Spat Over 'Rally Cat' Custody]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:52:53 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17222136197280.jpg

A custody battle is brewing in St. Louis over the now-famous cat that darted across the field during a Cardinals game against Kansas City. 

The feral feline who interrupted the Aug. 9 game while the bases were loaded, won the hearts of Cardinal fans when catcher Yadier Molina hit a home run on the next pitch after the delay, helping St. Louis win 8-5. The cat was credited with inspiring the grand slam, and dubbed "Rally Cat."

A grounds crew worker eventually caught the feisty feline, then lost it when he put the cat down to get treatment for bites.

The Cardinals released a statement hoping that the cat would be found so the team could “properly care for it.” A day later, the cat was found by the St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach (STLFCO), the animal organization that is currently caring for the feline.

Now, the ownership of the animal is in dispute, with the shelter and Watermon exchanging catty comments on social media. 

In a Facebook post Wednesday updating fans on Rally Cat's health status, the STLFCO said it had received "thousands of inquiries" about adopting the cat. The next day, Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the center promised to give the cat to the team after a 10-day quarantine ends Monday.

The STLFCO fired back hours later, writing in a Facebook post that they made no such promise to Watermon and noting that making false statements goes against "The Cardinal Way."

"We have neither the PR staff nor the skilled volunteers to engage in a media dialog with Mr Watermon's old-school PR tactics, so this note will be all we have to say on his position," the statement read.

It goes on to say that the group contacted Watermon earlier in the week and "just now got a voicemail reply from him. Our Board Member team consists of non-paid volunteers who have full time jobs outside of STLFCO. Due to our many commitments and complex schedules, we told the Cardinals we'd be delighted to meet later this month, the first time the entire group can meet with them to discuss the situation."

Watermon responded to the STLFCO in an email to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, saying, "It is personally hurtful to me, irresponsible and, frankly, childish," Watermon wrote. "There is no need for the organization to personally attack me for doing my job."

Meanwhile, the team is planning a Rally Cat Appreciation Night at Busch Stadium on Sept. 10. Feral Cat Outreach said it hoped the cat will be well enough to attend the ceremony. But as the spat plays out, it remains to be seen whether the guest of honor will make an appearance.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Oakland Raiders' Sean Smith Charged With Assault: DA]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 21:35:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/sean-smith-us.jpg

Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has been charged with assault, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Smith allegedly beat his sister's boyfriend in Old Town Pasadena on July 4, prosecutors said. He's also accused of stomping on the victim's head in the alleged attack.

Smith faces one felony count each of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury, the District Attorney's Office said. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 29.

If convicted, Smith faces up to seven years in state prison, prosecutors said.

Smith was booked on Thursday and released after posting bail, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The case remains under investigation.

The Oakland Raiders have yet to return calls seeking comment. The team is scheduled to play a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum.

No other information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Olympians Share Their Most Embarrassing School Memories]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:23:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT+EMBARRASSING+SCHOOL+THUMB2.jpg

From bad school pictures to awkward first day wardrobes, Team USA members can now look back on some of their most embarrassing school moments and laugh.

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<![CDATA[Watch: Photographer Hit in Groin After Ceremonial 1st Pitch]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 22:06:30 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520535618.jpg

The ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park missed its target Wednesday night and gave a nearby photographer something to remember.

Red Sox fan Jordan Leandre’s pitch went off course and struck photographer Tony Capobianco in the groin.


The photographer took the hit in stride and had a laugh about it on Twitter that night.

Leandre was also in good humor after the humiliating pitch seen all over the world.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[5 Drugs Found in Tiger Woods' System After Fla. Arrest]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:14:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Tiger_Woods_to_Enter_DUI_Offender_Program.jpg

Golf legend Tiger Woods had five different drugs in his system — including painkillers, a sleeping aid and the active ingredient in marijuana — during his Memorial Day arrest on suspicion of drunken driving near his south Florida home, a newly released toxicology report shows.

Woods had the active incredients of opioids Vicodin and Dilaudid in his system. He also tested positive for the chemicals active in Xanax and Ambien and marijuana, according to the report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, first reported by ESPN.

Police did not say whether Woods had a prescription for the medication, including medical marijuana, which is legal in the state of Florida.

Woods was arrested May 29 after police in Jupiter found him asleep at the wheel of his car at an intersection near his home. He failed a field sobriety test and was unable to tell officers where he was at the time, but blew a 0.00 on a breathalyzer after being arrested.

One of the best golfers to ever play the sport, Woods told police he was taking several drugs after his fourth back surgery earlier this year. He later entered a clinic to deal with prescription drug dependency.

"As I previously said, I received professional help to manage my medications. Recently, I had been trying on my own to treat my back pain and a sleep disorder, including insomnia, but I realize now it was a mistake to do this without medical assistance," Woods said in a statement obtained by NBC News.

“I am continuing to work with my doctors, and they feel I've made significant progress. I remain grateful for the amazing support that I continue to receive and for the family and friends that are assisting me."

Last week, Woods entered a guilty plea to a charge of reckless driving and will enter a first-time DUI offender program that could result in the case being wiped off his record if he completes all requirements.



Photo Credit: Jupiter Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Centenarian: 'I'd Love to Meet Tom Brady' for 106th Birthday]]> Sat, 12 Aug 2017 03:56:04 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Elinor+Downs.JPG

A soon-to-be-106-year-old Boston woman has made a homemade video with one special birthday wish -- a visit from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

"As a surprise for my birthday, I'd love to meet Tom Brady, Patriots star," Elinor Downs said.

NBC Boston caught up with Downs, otherwise known as "Fuzzy" at the Springhouse Senior Living Community.

She says she knows Brady and his family live right down the street.

"After all, they're just neighbors of ours, live just a mile away. I've never seen him," said Downs.

Downs, who got her lifelong nickname "Fuzzy" for her fuzzy hair at birth, calls herself a Patriots super fan. She says she's watched all the games that Brady's played in, and would just like to meet him and his family in person.

Her family member even believes watching a Patriots game last November may have precipitated one of Downs' strokes.

NBC Boston asked her what she likes most about Brady.

"So vigorous and so strong and I like the way handles adversity," she said.

NBC Boston reached out to the Patriots. They say they've seen Downs' video. They also say this week alone, they got four requests from people aged 100 or older, all asking for Brady to come to their birthday parties.

Still, Downs remains hopeful for her special birthday surprise.



Photo Credit: Elinor Downs]]>
<![CDATA[Loria to Sell Marlins to Jeter's Group for $1.2B: Report]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 23:25:13 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-683312888.jpg

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has agreed to sell the team to a group that includes Derek Jeter, according to a report from the Miami Herald.

Jeter would run both the baseball and business sides of the team, despite investing a small amount of his own money. Bruce Sherman, who is a New York businessman, is expected to invest the majority of the money involved in the bid. The price of the team is a reported $1.2 billion.

Major League Baseball is currently awaiting the final paperwork of the sale and that could happen later on Friday. If this deal is concluded, it will put an end to months of speculation and rampant reports. Jeter has been involved from the start, but his chances of winning the team seemed to dip at times.

Local billionaire Jorge Mas had been involved in the bidding process up until Friday's agreement, but was not considered the favorite to win the club. All along it appeared Loria possibly favored Jeter in the process. That thought reportedly led to the exit earlier this week of another group that included former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Should the deal get finalized, Jeter, Sherman and any other investors would need to be approved by Major League Baseball. All 29 other owners will get a vote, but this is considered a mere formality. Jeter is a beloved member of the baseball community and it should end in a unanimous vote.

MLB will hold a meeting with owners next week, but will not take a vote as of yet. These transactions can take some time to complete, especially with the amount of money involved in the sale. However, it is likely that Jeter will be running the team before next season begins.

With a new ownership group on-board, Miami could begin to re-think plans for the organization. After making a series of trades in July, the Marlins still have their core pieces in place. Jeter will need to decide if he wants to try and add to that roster or build something from scratch.

The Marlins have thus far declined to comment on the latest news in regards to the sale.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for TechCrunch, File]]>
<![CDATA[What's Next for Ezekiel Elliott?]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:17:39 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2017-08-11+at+11.51.29+AM.png

Pat Doney discusses running back Ezekiel Elliott's next moves after the NFL suspended the Cowboys star for six games.

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<![CDATA[NFL Suspends Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott 6 Games]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:57:15 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_EZEKIEL_ELLIOTT_SUSPENDED_081117_1-150247039131700001.jpg

The NFL has announced that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be suspended six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Elliott led the NFL in rushing yards in 2016, his rookie season.

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<![CDATA[Heavy Hearts for Phillies Alumni Weekend]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:28:46 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Phillies_Alumni_Weekend.jpg

NBC10's Randy Gyllenhaal tells what is in store for the Phillies' Alumni weekend as the team and its legends pause to remember Darren Daulton.

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<![CDATA[NBA Player Zach Randolph Arrested in LA Altercation]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 15:23:40 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/206*120/08-10-2017-zach-randolph-arrest-lapd-2.jpg

At least two people, including NBA player Zach Randolph, were arrested following a massive police response to a street party Wednesday night near the Nickerson Gardens housing apartment complex in the Watts section of Los Angeles.

Randolph, of the Sacramento Kings, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He formerly played for Portland, Memphis and, briefly, with the LA Clippers and New York Knicks.

Randolph, 36, is a two-time NBA All-Star who was drafted by the Trail Blazers in 2001. He signed with the Kings in July after a successful run that began in 2009 with the Grizzlies.

His bail was set at $20,000. 

"The charges are false and misleading," Randolph's agent and attorney Raymond Brothers told The Associated Press on Thursday. "We're looking at all options to resolve this matter. 

Prop 64, approved in the November election, outlined the recreational use of marijuana in California. A state license is required to grow or sell marijuana.

As for the disturbance that brought police to the neighborhood, the initial call was reported around 10:30 p.m. after an officer requested help with controlling a large crowd at 1590 East 114th Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. LAPD officers first responded to the scene and were met by 100 people tossing rocks and bottles at them after they attempted to get into an apartment.

Randolph and another man ran into a residence at Nickerson Gardens, a large public housing apartment complex about 12 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, police said. A crowd blocked officers when they tried to go in after the two men, according to the LAPD.

Authorities were able to clear the scene by 12:45 a.m. Five LAPD patrol cars and one sheriff's department vehicle were vandalized, according to officials. Aerial video showed at least one patrol car with a smashed back window.

No officers were hurt and no other injuries have been reported.

The second individual in custody was identified as a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Keith Jones Arrives at Lambeau Field]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 23:52:01 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Keith_Jones_Arrives_at_Lambeau_Field.jpg

The Eagles will take on the Packers in the first game of the pre-season on Thursday and the only place to watch it will be on NBC10! Keith Jones is in Green Bay and gives us a little tour around the famed field.

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<![CDATA[US Sanctions Mexican Soccer Star for Alleged Ties to Drug Kingpin]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:25:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_Mexico_Drug_Trafficking_V4-150230960518100001.jpg

Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez and popular norteño band leader Julion Alvarez were among 22 people sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged ties to a drug trafficking organization run by Raul Flores Hernandez.

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<![CDATA[Serena Williams Slammed for 'Real Woman' Childbirth Comments]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 10:24:57 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-675655876-serena.jpg

Mom-to-be Serena Williams created a stir on social media Tuesday after saying giving birth will make her a "real woman."

In a cover story for Stellar magazine, the tennis star opened up about the significance of having a baby in her life and as a woman.


"I am about to be a real woman now, you know? It's going to be something incredibly impressive to go through," Williams said.

But social media users criticized the comments, pointing out that many women often cannot or do not want to have children.


The Grand Slam champion has not publicly addressed the social media backlash.

Williams, engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, announced she was expecting in April after a Snapchat photo of her with a small baby bump was spotted by users.

The tennis star won the Australian Open in January while pregnant, according to The Washington Post.



Photo Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Spike Lee Promotes Rally for Colin Kaepernick in New York]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 10:26:57 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/spikekape.jpg

The Colin Kaepernick saga shows no sign of taking a knee.

Film director Spike Lee announced Monday he's promoting a rally in front of NFL headquarters in New York on Aug. 23 in support of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Kaepernick became a hot button issue in the NFL and across much of the country last year with his decision to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick said he was spurred by a desire to draw attention to societal issues facing African Americans, including police violence. 

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Kaepernick was released by the 49ers during the offseason and has yet to sign with another team, leading many to speculate he's being blackballed by the league. Most recently, his name was floated for possible openings with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. But those teams filled their vacancies elsewhere.

Not everyone is convinced Kaepernick's social stance is the only reason he's no longer in the NFL. Recently, 49ers great Joe Montana said he believed Kaepernick's sub-par play was another factor keeping him out of the NFL.

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While Kaepernick has said his kneeling would not carry into the upcoming NFL season if he's back in the league, that hasn't stopped him from being vocal on social media. Most recently he tweeted on the Fourth of July that he couldn't celebrate a holiday that "intentionally robbed our ancestors" of their independence.

He also fired back at former NFL QB Michael Vick, who suggested he should get a haircut if he wanted back in the league.

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<![CDATA[Is Darren's Daulton's Death Part of A Pattern?]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 08:39:02 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Mourning_The_Death_Dutch_Daulton_1200x675_1019752515864.jpg

Now that the initial grief has passed, fans are wondering if Darren Daulton's Death is part of a pattern. Dutch is the fifth Phillies player to have fought brain cancer. Some doctors say the occurrence of brain cancer with these players is too close not to raise any concerns.

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<![CDATA[Olympians Share 'Tails' of Pet Adoption]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 10:16:30 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/Olympians+CTS.jpg

As part of NBC's "Clear the Shelters" pet adoption drive, we asked Team USA to share their own "tails" of pet adoption and how these animals have impacted their lives.

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<![CDATA[Countdown to Pyeongchang: Six Months to Winter Olympics]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:09:00 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/pye-6-months.jpg

In just six months, snowboarders, slalom skiers, speed skaters and others will arrive at Pyeongchang in pursuit of Olympic gold. We’ll watch as athletes from around the world compete in 15 winter sports, catching their dreams or seeing them dashed on the mountains of South Korea during the 2018 Winter Games

Olympians who fell short at the Sochi Games four years ago will be focused fiercely on dazzling this time, aiming for that highest perch on the winners’ stand. Look for performances from the American veterans of past games, from the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team to the affectionally dubbed Shib Sibs, ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani.

What you won’t see? Hat tricks or any goals from National Hockey League players, at least not with the NHL's blessing. The league will not interrupt its season for the Pyeongchang Games.

The opening ceremony will be held on Feb. 8, and every event will be broadcast on NBC's TV and digital channels. Here’s what’s in store:

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Sound Like a Native Speaker
If you’ve never been to South Korea and you’re not sure of your Korean pronunciations, we’ve got a guide for you.

Pyeongchang is in the Taebaek Mountains, which fittingly for the Winter Games are sometimes called the Korean Alps, in a region east of Seoul in Gangwon-do, or Gangwon Province. Gangwon is known for its resorts (and Buddhist temples) and is popular with skiers and snowboarders. To help the influx of visitors avoid confusion with the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, Pyeongchang rebranded itself with a capitalized “C." (The city's official name still has a lower-case "c," however.)

Competition will be divided between Pyeongchang and Gangneung on the coast, with the opening and closing ceremonies to take place at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Many of the events in the mountains will center on the Alpensia Resort. Hockey, curling and speed and figure skating will be in Gangneung.

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Coming Back From Heartbreak
U.S. Olympians certainly had their low points at the Sochi Games. The U.S. speed skating team won only one medal in short track, though it had been favored in a number of events. The U.S. Women’s Hockey lost gold to its Canadian rivals in overtime, after giving up a two-goal lead.

Russia took 33 medals, 13 of them gold, more than any other team, though international anti-doping watchdogs have since offered evidence of Russian cheating. A state-sponsored doping program involved more than 1,000 athletes from 2012 to 2014, leading 19 national anti-doping agencies to demand that Russia be excluded from the Pyeongchang Games. That’s a possibility for its Paralympic team.

For the U.S. athletes who failed to reach first place at Sochi, Pyeongchang offers another chance at the podium.

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J.R. CELSKI: American speed skater J.R. Celski was the top medal hope for the United States in the men’s short track speed skating in Sochi. Instead, he dropped from the lead in the 1,500 meter and finished fourth.

He and his teammates did win a silver medal in the 5,000-meter relay, the only medal for the Americans. And Celski has two bronze medals from the 2010 Vancouver Games.

“Sochi was a rough time for all the speed skaters out there,” Celski told NBC. “We had a lot of expectations and I think we were expecting to go in there and do really, really, really well and not a lot of us did so yeah, it was tough time. There’s a time to reflect and learn what you can and carry that going forward and there’s also a time to let it go and focus on what you need to.”

SHAUN WHITE: Snowboarder Shaun White similarly had a disappointing Games at Sochi. White had hoped to win his third straight halfpipe title, but ended up in fourth place. He was aiming for the first-ever gold medal in the slopestyle event, which debuted at Sochi, but, worried about an injury on the dangerous course, he withdrew.

In February, he told NBC Olympics that he has never gotten over the loss, but has learned from it.

“So it’s a part of me now, which is great,” he said. “As hard as it was, I’m thankful that it happened because it taught me a lot.”

And he said on NBC's "Today" show: “Obviously not performing the way I’d like in Sochi really inspired me and I got re-focused, recalibrate and I’m back at it.”

LINDSEY VONN: Celski and White fell short at Sochi, but Lindsey Vonn didn't get to the games at all. She injured her right knee months before the Olympics.

The speed skier won two medals in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and was expected to be a star in Sochi. Instead, she faced surgery, and has struggled with injuries ever since. She earned a bronze medal in the downhill at the 2017 World Championships. 

Despite fighting through injuries for most of the past five years, she's considered one of the sport's stars. In May, she was named the first International Games ambassador for the 2018 Games, and she called the course challenging with lots of jumps.

“It would mean the world to me if I could get back on the podium in Pyeongchang after missing the last Olympics in Sochi,” Vonn told NBC. “After being injured for almost all of the last five years I’ve definitely been through my share of obstacles and have overcome most of them. But one thing I haven’t done is been able to do the Olympics after I won gold in Vancouver. So if I could win again or even be on the podium, it would be incredible.”

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MAIA AND ALEX SHIBUTANI: Finally, there are the Shib Sibs, Maia and Alex Shibutani, who made their Olympic ice dancing debut in Sochi, when Maia was 19 and Alex, 22. They placed ninth.

“Our first Olympics was so inspiring,” Maia Shibutani told NBC. “It was a dream come true to be a part of Team USA, and from that we really discovered how we wanted to approach these four years.”

Maia Shibutani, who describes her brother as her best friend, learned to skate when she was 4 and loved the sport immediately. Alex Shibutani was slower to embrace it — he wanted to be a basketball player — but when he saw how much fun his sister was having, he thought he’d give it a try.

“Walking in the opening ceremonies, that was a dream come true, competing on Olympic ice, it was highly motivating and I think since that time we’ve really matured,” he said. “And it really informed us on how we wanted to approach our career, following those Games and leading up to Pyeongchang. And so we’re so excited. We’re ready. We’ve reached another level and so we’re excited to see how things go.”

U.S. WOMEN'S HOCKEY: The U.S. Women's Hockey Team won the first-ever women's hockey gold medal in 1998. They haven't been back on top of the podium since.

The team settled for silver in 2002, 2010 and 2014, and bronze in 2006. 

Megan Duggan, who played on the 2010 and 2014 teams, said that the second-place finishes in the last two Olympics were pushing the women to perform.

“It’s the number one motivation,” she said. “It dictates training every single day. It’s no secret to anyone that the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team wanted gold in the last two Olympics and certainly came up short. So that’s the number one motivator for us looking forward to 2018. It’s gold or bust.”

Helping the American women hockey players prepare for this year's Olympic Games is Colleen Hacker, a sport psychology consultant and mental skills coach. Every sport has unique demands, Hacker said.

“Hockey, it is immediate, explosive, dynamic, high intensity, high performance,” she said. “It has to happen the instant, the instant your skates hit the ice.”

Among hockey’s particular aspects: its shifts, the roughly minute-long bursts of time on the ice that team members cycle through, and its periods.

“The nature of the shifts, they’re short,G they’re intense and you have to be 100 percent on in a millisecond,” she said. “That’s very unique to hockey.”

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Tensions With the North
North Korea's repeated missile tests, including a recent one of a missile that appeared capable of reaching Los Angeles, have added a disquieting layer to the games this year. The U.S. has responded by increasing military and economic pressure but the North's leader Kim Jong-un, who hopes to force the U.S. to drop sanctions and withdraw troops from South Korea, said the country will not negotiate its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

After the United Nations Security Council approved new sanctions against North Korea — banning imports of coal, iron and other goods by UN members — the isolated regime warned it would take “physical action” in response. President Donald Trump tweeted praise for the sanctions while Japan warned that the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons had entered “a new stage.”

Meanwhile, the new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, elected after his predecessor was impeached, is trying to revive a policy of engagement leading to reconciliation with the North. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered to open negotiations with Pyongyang and assured it of its security if the country gives up its nuclear weapons.

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The NHL to Stay Home
The National Hockey League made it official in April that it would not participate in the Winter Olympics. The league had wanted to be compensated for interrupting the regular season so that its players could travel to South Korea for the games. The league also was dissatisfied with being unable to use the Olympics for marketing because of sponsorship rules.

The players union called the decision shortsighted, impeding the growth of the game by giving up a chance to reach sports fans worldwide.

"NHL players are patriotic and they do not take this lightly," it said in a statement.

Dick Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee, chastised the NHL in a column in the Montreal Gazette on August 3.

“It is not sufficient for the NHL to be content with plucking the low-hanging financial fruit, but to fail to invest in the future of the game,” he wrote. And he called the decision to prohibit individual players who want to represent their countries heavy-handed, an abuse of its economic power and disrespectful to the rights and dreams of the players.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has said he plans to play for Russia, a position the Capitals owner, Ted Leonsis, supports.

USA Hockey expects to fill its team from the ranks of college players.

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Preparation Near Completion
Who can forget the photos that journalists tweeted of unfinished hotel rooms at the Sochi Olympics? No heat, no water, no lobby in one hotel, and when U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn found himself trapped inside a men's room due to a jammed door, he was able to break through shoddy construction.

Nor was Russia the only country to build venues right up until the last moment -- just think Rio, Athens or Montreal.

But in South Korea, much of the work is already done and athletes have been trying out the facilities.

"We're almost 100 percent ready to host athletes," Ji Jue Lee, with the Pyeongchang organizing committee, said in May.


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<![CDATA[2018 Winter Olympics Are Six Months Away]]> Mon, 07 Aug 2017 14:07:49 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_OLYMPICS_6_MONTHS_OUT_PROMO-150212384940700001.jpg

With the 2018 Winter Olympics just six months away, Team USA Olympians share their thoughts and hopes for the games.

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<![CDATA[Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Venue Pronunciation Guide]]> Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:44:43 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/olympic+pronunciation.jpg

As we get closer to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, here is a pronunciation guide for some of the venues at the Winter Games.

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<![CDATA[Pyeongchang 2018: The Comebacks]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:07:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMEBACK+THUMB1.jpg

With the Winter Games six months away, we take a look at some of the athletes who fell short of their goals at the Sochi Games and are looking to make comebacks in South Korea.

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