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Saturday, September 23, 2017
 
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iStock/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) --  Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics has become the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the national anthem.

Maxwell dropped to a knee just outside Oakland's dugout on Saturday, adopting a protest started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in response to police treatment of blacks. Maxwell's teammates stood in a line next to him. Teammate Mark Canha, who is white, put his right hand on one of Maxwell's shoulders.

The Athletics released a statement on Twitter shortly after the anthem, saying they "respect and support all of our players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression."

pic.twitter.com/EHXwg8Zpax

— Oakland A's 🌳🐘⚾️ (@Athletics) September 24, 2017


Maxwell's protest comes after President Donald Trump denounced protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two-day rant that targeted top professional athletes.

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Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Trump turned on the NFL commissioner Saturday evening, after Roger Goodell spoke out about the president condemning players who kneel in protest during the national anthem and calling on team owners to fire those players.

In a tweet, Trump said Goodell is "trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country."

Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017

Goodell did not mention the president by name in his statement earlier today.

"Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities."

NFL players across the league and their union -- and even some team officials -- were more direct in their response to Trump's criticism Friday night of the handful of NFL players who have kneeled or sat on the bench during the national anthem performed before games over the past two seasons. The practice was most famously done by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, who is currently unsigned, began kneeling in the preseason in 2016 as a sign of protest over the treatment of blacks in the U.S.

Trump, speaking at a rally in Alabama on Friday, said, "Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now?'"

"You know, some owner ... is going to say, 'That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired,'" the president said to thunderous applause and cheers.

The president of the NFL Players Union, which represents current and former players, released a statement on Saturday: "The balance between the rights of every citizen in our great country gets crossed when someone is told to just 'shut up and play.'"

Union President DeMaurice Smith acknowledged in his statement that “the peaceful demonstrations by some of our players" haven't been universally supported, but "have generated a wide array of responses."

But, he added, "Those opinions are protected speech and a freedom that has been paid for by the sacrifice of men and women throughout history ... No man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights."

Hours later Trump fired back at his critics, tweeting that it was a "privilege" for athletes to earn a lucrative career in professional sports.

If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017

...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York weighed in Saturday afternoon, called the presiden'ts comments "callous and offensive" and "contradictory to this great country stands for"

pic.twitter.com/nrx16iBlkw

— Jed York (@JedYork) September 23, 2017

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross did not refer to the president directly, but said in a statement the country "needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness."

Statement from Miami Dolphins Owner and Founder of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) Stephen Ross. pic.twitter.com/6W3mXwJO6M

— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 23, 2017

Reaction to Trump's comments on social media by players were largely negative:

Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall

Wow https://t.co/enJBSLTTtY

— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshh54) September 23, 2017
 

Lions tight end Eric Ebron

Does anyone tell trump to stick to politics, like they tell us to stick to sports? Smh.

— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) September 23, 2017

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis

Trump!! 😔😔😔😔😔😔😔

— Thomas Davis (@ThomasDavisSDTM) September 23, 2017

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown

Trump stay in ur place... football have nothing to do wit u smh

— Zach Brown (@ZachBrown_55) September 23, 2017

Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (a college teammate of Kaepernick)

I'm a full supporter of the Flag & This country! Trust Me! But this can't be real! https://t.co/GAPkZPB8hz

— Rishard Matthews (@_RMatthews) September 23, 2017

Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward

Smh! Gives more reason https://t.co/TyVCJgQK0L

— T.J. Ward (@BossWard43) September 23, 2017

Vikings running back Bishop Sankey

It's a shame and disgrace when you have the President of the US calling citizens of the country sons of a bitches.

— Bishop Sankey (@BishopSankey) September 23, 2017

Former Texans running back Arian Foster

cloth has more value than people. apparently. https://t.co/PZjeRA9861

— feeno (@ArianFoster) September 23, 2017

Kaepernick did not respond to the Trump's comments in the hours following the speech by Trump.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett recently reignited the debate when he criticized Las Vegas police for racial profiling following an accidental arrest last month.

Bennett was detained by police outside a Las Vegas casino on Aug. 27 after police responded to a report of gunfire in the area. Video obtained by TMZ of the incident shows an officer yelling at Bennett and pointing his gun at him while he is handcuffed. He was later let go by police.

Bennett has begun sitting on the bench during the national anthem in protest of police violence.

President Trump is no stranger to the National Football League. In February, he was seen dining with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and in January just before his inauguration, the president singled out Kraft at a dinner.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the latest scores and winners:

INTERLEAGUE
Boston 5, Cincinnati 4

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Tampa Bay 8, Baltimore 3
Toronto 8, N.Y. Yankees 1
Minnesota 7, Detroit 3
Chicago White Sox 7, Kansas City 6
Houston 3, L.A. Angels 0
Oakland 4, Texas 1
Seattle 3, Cleveland 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis 4, Pittsburgh 3
N.Y. Mets 7, Washington 6
Atlanta 7, Philadelphia 2
Chicago Cubs 5, Milwaukee 4, 10 Innings
Arizona 13, Miami 11
L.A. Dodgers 4, San Francisco 2
Colorado 4, San Diego 1

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON

Pittsburgh 4, Columbus 3
St. Louis 4, Washington 0
N.Y. Islanders 2, N.Y. Rangers 1
Toronto 3, Buffalo 0
Tampa Bay 3, Nashville 1
Calgary 4, Arizona 2
Edmonton 5, Vancouver 3
Anaheim 4, L.A. Kings 2

TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL
(23) Utah 30, Arizona 24

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Boston Globe/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s April suicide marked the last chapter in a dramatic fall from superstardom into a life of violence and incarceration. Now, findings from an autopsy on his 27-year-old brain have some asking whether his football career – and specifically, the blows to the head he received on the field – could be at least partly to blame.

The findings, released Thursday, indicate chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – a condition that is the result of repeated head trauma. In recent years, research has uncovered evidence of a connection between CTE and certain contact sports, most notably professional football. A growing number of former NFL players and their families have come forward, describing the onset of psychiatric conditions and behavior changes believed to be linked to CTE.

But as to whether CTE was to blame in any way for Hernandez’s murder conviction, and later his suicide in prison, experts are split.

“The brain lesions noted on autopsy could be compatible with the psychiatric features, although the mechanism is unknown,” said Dr. Luca Giliberto of the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.

Even though the exact way CTE affects the likelihood of violent behavior is still a mystery, he believes a connection is, at least, possible.

“All data and evidence show that the risk is real,” Giliberto said. “We cannot hide our heads in the sand when we see these cases and say, ‘maybe not.’ If we keep hiding we will keep collecting more cases like Hernandez.”

Others, however, were more skeptical that enough evidence exists to blame violent behavior on CTE.

“Even though there has been speculation about behavioral changes due to CTE, no one has proven any correlation,” said Dr. Anthony G. Alessi, associate clinical professor of neurology and orthopedics at UConn Health. “This is where science breaks down and litigation comes into action.”

Indeed, most in the field agree that the research is only in its very early phases. The largest study so far on CTE in former NFL players, conducted at Boston University, involves the brains of just 111 such athletes. In all of these cases, the athletes themselves or their families volunteered the brains for study after these players had died. While the findings thus far have been revealing – 110 of the 111 brains studied showed evidence of CTE – they are not representative of all professional players in the sport. This means that researchers do not yet know how prevalent this condition is among all players on the professional level, much less among the millions of others who play or have played at the college and high school levels. Nor can these findings provide solid answers yet on the connection between CTE and behavior.

Where both Giliberto and Alessi agree is that sports in which head collisions are common definitely put players at risk of brain trauma and CTE. And they warn that the damage can start early.

“Around a six and half million young Americans are involved in some kind of youth sports associated with a high risk of collision damage to the brain,” Alessi said.

Of particular concern is repeated head trauma before the age of 13, while the brain is still maturing, he said. This can have dangerous future consequences, he noted.

Giliberto noted that entities like the NFL should also take steps to talk openly about the topic, as well as to step up and provide data needed to take advantage of the millions of dollars invested on research in this topic.

“The phenomenon of CTE has been there since times of gladiators,” Giliberto said. “It was just that we never looked at it and admitted that it existed.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt beat cancer and is sharing his story with the hope of inspiring others.

The baseball Hall of Famer was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in 2013, undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Today, he is cancer-free.

Schmidt partnered with the pharmaceutical company Merck and Your Cancer Game Plan to provide people with tools and resources to fight their personal cancer battles.

ABC News recently spoke with Schmidt about his new partnership. He offered tips on how others can work through the disease, and what he learned from his experience.

Schmidt's first tip for those battling cancer is to form a team. He tells ABC News, "Let people into your life... they're good cures for something like we're going through."

Starting with his family, he formulated a team for emotional support. He also researched what melanoma is and how it is treated, better understanding his disease and staying in constant communication with his doctors. Even today, cancer-free, Schmidt speaks with his doctors on a consistent basis.

Schmidt now advocates for consistent and open communication with family members and medical professionals. He tells ABC News, "Team has always been a great thing to me... you have more people trying to reach one conclusion. One goal."

Receiving so much support from his family reminded Schmidt of the power of positive thinking, and recommends others who were recently diagnosed or have cancer to find positive people in their lives for support.

As he gained a better understanding of melanoma through his relationships with his medical team, Schmidt focused on his diet and eating more nutritious foods. Along with positive thinking, he learned how the food and others put in their bodies can make a difference in their health.

Facing the prospect of possibly saying goodbye to his wife and daughter, Schmidt's faith served as a pillar of support as he battled cancer. He would ask himself the question, "Are you gonna make it?"

Fear settled in with both him and his family.

To this day, he still relies on his faith because he faces the possibility of the cancer returning.

For Schmidt, prayer and a reliance on faith was a personal choice. His hope is those fighting cancer turn to faith in whoever or whatever they believe in, but recommends people find grounding and support in any form that is positive and makes them comfortable.

Schmidt shares his own story and talks about the strategies that helped him beat cancer on www.yourcancergameplan.com.

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ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- A blind football player at the University of Southern California (USC) helped lead his team to victory earlier this month, and now he’s opening up about his remarkable story.

Jake Olson, 20, the team's long snapper, made his debut as a Trojan in a game against Western Michigan University.

Late in the fourth quarter, Olson snapped for an extra point. The Trojans won the game 49-31.

"It was emotional," Olson said Friday on Good Morning America.

He added, "Just the pure bliss and just knowing that I accomplished a goal. I was able to give Trojan nation and, really, the entire sports world a message of inspiration and hope."

Olson, now a junior at USC, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma when he was 1 year old and lost one of his eyes. The cancer came back eight times.

In 2009, at the age of 12, doctors told Olson he would lose his other eye.

Before he completely lost his vision at age 12, Jake told his parents that he wanted to see one last USC Trojans game. His wish reached then-Trojan head coach Pete Carroll, and Olson became a part of the Trojans family long before he joined the team.

Olson set a mission to play on his high school football team and tried out in his junior year at Lutheran High School of Orange County.

"I wanted to be out there so badly, and so I started thinking what position could I play that wouldn't require me to have sight," he said. "And then came upon long snapper. I was like, 'Whoa, okay, yeah, it's all feel.'"

After relentless practice, Olson landed a spot on the team.

His teammates supported him by clapping to let Olson know the distance of the snap, and then tapping on his leg to let him know when he could snap.

Olson walked on the USC team in 2015 as a freshman.

He is also the author of a book about his experience, Open Your Eyes to a Happier Life.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the latest scores and winners:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Cleveland 4, L.A. Angels 1
Baltimore 3, Tampa Bay 1
Kansas City 1, Toronto 0
Minnesota 12, Detroit 1
Chicago White Sox 3, Houston 1
Texas 4, Seattle 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE

L.A. Dodgers 5, Philadelphia 4
St. Louis 8, Cincinnati 5
Atlanta 3, Washington 2
Chicago Cubs 5, Milwaukee 3, 10 Innings
San Diego 3, Colorado 0

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
L.A. Kings 5, Vancouver 2
Boston 2, Philadelphia 1
New Jersey 4, Montreal 1
Minnesota 1, Winnipeg 0
Chicago 6, Detroit 1
Colorado 5, Dallas 1
San Jose 5, Vegas 2

TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL
(21) South Florida 43, Temple 7

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Los Angeles 41, San Francisco 39

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Getty Images(LINCOLN, NE) -- The University of Nebraska has fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst, the school announced Thursday.

In a statement, university chancellor Ronnie Green said “"Our fans and our student-athletes deserve leadership that drives the highest levels of competitiveness, as well as excellence across all facets of Husker athletics” and that Eichorst’s "efforts have not translated into on-field performance."

The Huskers started the season with a 1-2 record, most recently losing to Northern Illinois 21-17 last Saturday.

"While I am deeply disappointed in the decision today, I am grateful for the wonderful years that my family and I have spent at Nebraska," Eichorst said in a statement. "I am proud of how our student-athletes, coaches and staff represented this great university and state, and I am confident that the future is bright for Nebraska athletics."

Eichorst was hired from the University of Miami in 2012.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the latest scores and winners:

INTERLEAGUE
Tampa Bay 8, Chicago Cubs 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE
N.Y. Yankees 11, Minnesota 3
Oakland 3, Detroit 2
Boston 9, Baltimore 0
Kansas City 15, Toronto 5
Houston 4, Chicago White Sox 3
Cleveland 6, L.A. Angels 5
Texas 8, Seattle 6

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Miami 9, N.Y. Mets 2
San Francisco 4, Colorado 0
Pittsburgh 6, Milwaukee 4
Philadelphia 7, L.A. Dodgers 5
St. Louis 9, Cincinnati 2
Washington 7, Atlanta 3
Arizona 13, San Diego 7

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESEASON
N.Y. Rangers 4, New Jersey 3
Philadelphia 3, N.Y. Islanders 2
N.Y. Islanders 3, Philadelphia 2
Washington 4, Montreal 2
Pittsburgh 6, Detroit 5
Tampa Bay 4, Carolina 3
St. Louis 3, Columbus 2
Edmonton 4, Winnipeg 1
Vancouver 5, Calgary 3
Arizona 5, Anaheim 1

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Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A young girl was struck by a line drive foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, during the game between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.

The girl was taken to a nearby hospital where there was no update on her condition provided.

The child was attending the game with her grandparents, ESPN reports, when a foul ball off the bat of Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier hit her in the face. The game was delayed, and several players on both teams looked visibly distraught.

Yankees outfielder Matt Holliday was seen wiping away tears.

During a postgame news conference, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he was told by team security staff that the girl was doing okay.

Frazier spoke to reporters after the game with tears in his eyes. He said the moment made him think to his own two children. "It was terrible. I was shaken up a little bit. I hope she is all right," Frazier said.

"It is something that I wish never happened. It was tough. Tough to watch. Tough to be a part of, to be honest."

At Yankee Stadium, protective netting extends from home plate on each side to each team's dugout. Calls have been issued in recent years for expanding protective netting at all parks.

"Either one, you don't bring kids down there, or number two, every stadium needs to have nets," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said after the game. "I don't care about the damn view of a fan or what. It's all about safety."

Brian Dozier calls for mandatory protective netting after Yankee Stadium incident with foul ball hitting young fan. https://t.co/Ggyk1zVixe

— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) September 20, 2017


"I still have a knot in my stomach," Dozier added. "I hope the kid's okay."

In 2015, Major League Baseball issued recommendations to extend the netting to the ends of the dugouts closest to home plate. The Yankees have been examining the issue, while their crosstown rival New York Mets have already extended netting beyond the outfield ends of the dugouts this season.

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