Browns Star Odell Beckham to be held out this weekend

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Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be held out against Houston this week, head coach Kevin Stefanski announced Wednesday. 

“[I] just felt like that was the right thing to do,” he said. “Last week, I thought we had a good plan. He was close, working very hard on the side, but felt like it made more sense to have clarity early in the week from a game-planning [and] practice standpoint.

Stefanski said Beckham has not had a setback and will continue to practice this week on a limited basis. 

Beckham has been recovering from knee surgery after he tore his left ACL last season.

He was a game-time decision for the team’s week one game against Kansas City but was ruled inactive for the game. 

“He was pushing to get there, just didn’t feel like he could play a significant number of snaps,” Stefanski said. “I just felt like this for this week, the prudent thing to do was let those other guys get all those reps, although they got a bunch last week and, let’s game plan accordingly.”

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Jaguars Urban Meyer ‘No chance’ he leaves Jaguars for USC

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(JACKSONVILLE) — Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has no interest in the University of Southern California. 

“There’s no chance. I’m here and committed to trying to build this organization,” Meyer said.

USC athletic director Mike Bohn fired head coach Clay Helton on Monday following a 42-28 loss to Stanford on Saturday. 

“As I committed to upon my arrival at USC, during the past two off-seasons we provided every resource necessary for our football program to compete for championships,” Bohn said in the announcement The added resources carried significantly increased expectations for our team’s performance, and it is already evident that, despite the enhancements, those expectations would not be met without a change in leadership.”

Helton went 46-24 in his seven years as head coach and won one conference championship. 

Meyer is in his first season as the Jaguars head coach. He won three national championships while coaching in college at Florida and Ohio State and had a combined 187-32 record 17 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, and Ohio State. 

Jacksonville lost its Week One game to Houston 37-21. 

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Gymnasts testify as Congress investigates FBI’s handling of Larry Nassar sexual abuse

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(WASHINGTON) — U.S. elite gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman are testifying before Congress Wednesday about what they say were failures in FBI’s handling of the sexual abuse case against Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor.

Nassar, a former doctor, was sentenced in 2018 to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and women.

“We have been failed and we deserve answers,” Biles said Wednesday, fighting back tears during parts of her testimony. “Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable. If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across Olympic sports.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is now investigating the FBI’s handling of the Nassar case.

A Justice Department inspector general report released this July found the FBI made “fundamental errors” in its response to allegations against Nassar, which were first brought to the agency in July 2015.

The scathing report accuses FBI field offices in Indianapolis and Los Angeles of failing to respond thoroughly to allegations against Nassar, which allowed him to continue to work with gymnasts at Michigan State University as well as a high school and a gymnastics club in Michigan.

During the 15 months of alleged inaction by the FBI, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said at Wednesday’s hearing, citing information from the inspector general’s report.

“In reviewing the inspector general’s report, it truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect USAG (USA Gymnastics) and USOPC (United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee),” Biles said before Congress. “A message needs to be sent. If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough.”

The FBI responded to the inspector general’s report by saying the inaction by the FBI field offices “should not have happened.”

“The actions and inactions of certain FBI employees described in the Report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization,” the agency said in a statement at the time, according to the Associated Press.

Current FBI Director Christopher Wray is also testifying in Wednesday’s hearing, as is Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general.

During Nassar’s trial, more than 150 people provided victim impact statements, including Raisman and Maroney. Biles first publicly said she was sexually abused by Nassar in a statement on Twitter in January 2018, writing, “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.”

The gymnasts have also spoken out publicly about how the Nassar case impacted their mental health.

Raisman has said she has post-traumatic stress disorder from being sexually abused by Nassar. She opened up last year about the intense therapy she receives as a result, writing after one therapy session, “My body aches.”

Biles said she experienced depression as a result of the abuse by Nassar and takes anxiety medication and undergoes therapy to cope.

“I have my ups and downs,” Biles told “Good Morning America” in 2018, the same year she went public with her allegations.

Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, is the only gymnast among the four who testified Wednesday who continues to compete in elite gymnastics.

She won a silver medal and a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July after dropping out of several competitions because of a mental health issue.

Biles said Wednesday she believes the Nassar scandal played a role in her mental health struggle during the Olympics, saying, I can assure you that the impacts of this man’s abuse are not ever over or forgotten.”

“The announcement in the spring of 2020 that the Tokyo Games were to be postponed for a year meant that I would be going to the gym, to training, to therapy, living daily among the reminders of this story for another 365 days,” Biles testified. “As I have stated in the past, one thing that helped me push each and every day was the goal of not allowing this crisis to be ignored.

“I worked incredibly hard to make sure that my presence could maintain a connection between the failures and the competition at Tokyo 2020,” she said. “That has proven to be an exceptionally difficult burden for me to carry, particularly when required to travel to Tokyo without the support of any of my family.”

“I am a strong individual and I will persevere but I never should have been left alone to suffer the abuse of Larry Nassar, and the only reason I did was because of the failures that lie at the heart of the abuse that you are now asked to investigate,” Biles told senators.

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Scoreboard roundup — 9/14/21

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(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Tuesday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Detroit 1, Milwaukee 0

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Cleveland 3, Minnesota 1
Tampa Bay 2, Toronto 0
Minnesota 6, Cleveland 3
NY Yankees 7, Baltimore 2
Texas 8, Houston 1
Chi White Sox 9, LA Angels 3
Kansas City 10, Oakland 7
Boston 8, Seattle 4

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 6, Cincinnati 5
Washington 8, Miami 2
Chi Cubs 6, Philadelphia 3
Colorado 5, Atlanta 4
St. Louis 7, NY Mets 6
San Francisco 6, San Diego 1
LA Dodgers 8, Arizona 4

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Atlanta 85, Indiana 78

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
FC Dallas 3, New York City FC 3 (Tie)
Miami 1, Toronto FC 0
Columbus 2, New York 1

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Scoreboard roundup — 9/13/21

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(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Monday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE
NY Yankees 6, Minnesota 5
Toronto 8, Tampa Bay 1
Houston 15, Texas 1
Seattle 5, Boston 4

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Miami 3, Washington 0
St. Louis 7, NY Mets 0
San Francisco 9, San Diego 1
L.A. Dodgers 5 Arizona 1

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Las Vegas 33, Baltimore 27 (OT)

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Las Vegas 85, Dallas 75

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Foundation honors high school coach’s legacy to fund athletic programs after he died of COVID-19

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(IN) — Neighbors, first responders, health care workers, teachers and coaches are the strong, quiet heroes that make up every corner of the country, and one Indiana man’s pep talks, booming voice and bear hugs will be greatly missed by his community but long remembered thanks to a new chapter of his legacy.

The student athletes, staff and families of North Central High School lost their beloved coach Paul Loggan, a towering figure in Indianapolis for more than 30 years, to COVID-19.

When his students learned about Loggan’s diagnosis, they did what their coach had done so many times for them — delivered pep talks.

His wife, Kathy Loggan, told ABC News “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, “We had the nurses playing that for him over and over,” hoping the words of encouragement could help keep him alive.

After 12 days in the hospital, Paul Loggan died at 57 on April 12, 2020.

“I thought it would work. I really did,” she said through tears. “There’s nothing that he loves more than his student athletes. Besides his own kids.”

His son, Michael Loggan, added, “At the end of the day, he knew we loved him and we knew he loved us.”

Hours after students first heard the news of Coach Loggan, the school parking lot filled up with their cars to honor his life. In the days that followed, they organized a statewide remembrance at 7 p.m. when the stadium lights would turn on to remember coach Loggan.

The Loggan family set up a foundation in his name to continue his legacy of supporting athletic programs that will provide money for student athletes to pay for sports, uniforms, equipment and more.

“Good Morning America” surprised his wife and son live on Monday with a donation from the Indianapolis Colts for $10,000 to the Paul Loggan Foundation.

“He always wanted to make sure that his student athletes came first and if those kids couldn’t afford to play or they were having financial issues or couldn’t afford those pair of cleats or those spikes for track — we would pay for it personally out of our own fund,” his wife said. “This foundation just helps us continue his legacy and keeping his name alive for all these future student athletes that won’t get to have the honor of actually knowing him and getting his big bear hugs and his big booming voice that always gives you those words of encouragement that he did.”

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Scoreboard roundup — 9/12/21

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(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Sunday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Milwaukee 11, Cleveland 1
Arizona 5, Seattle 4
NY Mets 7, NY Yankees 6

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Detroit 8, Tampa Bay 7
Toronto 22, Baltimore 7
Chi White Sox, 2 Boston 1
Houston 3, LA Angels 1
Kansas City 5, Minnesota 3
Texas 4 Oakland 3

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Washington 6, Pittsburgh 2
Colorado 5, Philadelphia 4
Atlanta 5, Miami 3
St. Louis 2, Cincinnati 0
San Francisco 6, Chi Cubs 5
LA Dodgers 8, San Diego 0

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Arizona 38, Tennessee 13
Carolina 19, NY Jets 14
Cincinnati 27, Minnesota 24 (OT)
Houston 37, Jacksonville 21
LA Chargers 20, Washington 16
Philadelphia 32, Atlanta 6
Pittsburgh 23, Buffalo 16
San Francisco 41, Detroit 33
Seattle 28, Indianapolis 16
Denver 27, NY Giants 13
Kansas City 33, Cleveland 29
Miami 17, New England 16
New Orleans 38, Green Bay 3
LA Rams 34, Chi 14

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Washington 79, Chicago 71
Minnesota 90, Indiana 80
Los Angeles 81, Seattle 53

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Los Angeles FC 3, Real Salt Lake 2

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WATCH: Teen sensations square off in women’s US Open finals

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(NEW YORK) — Canadian Leylah Fernandez, 19, an unseeded player who took down defending champ Naomi Osaka, and Emma Raducanu, 18, will face off in the final.

Watch the report from ABC’s Good Morning America:

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Scoreboard roundup — 9/9/21

iStock

(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Thursday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Oakland 3, Chi White Sox 1
Cleveland 4, Minnesota 1
Kansas City 6, Baltimore 0
Toronto 6, NY Yankees 4

NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis 2, LA Dodgers 1
Miami 3, NY Mets 2
Colorado 4, Philadelphia 3
Atlanta 7, Washington 6

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Tampa Bay 31, Dallas 29

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Connecticut 75, Los Angeles 57

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Brehanna Daniels makes history at NASCAR as 1st Black woman pit member

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(NEW YORK) — Brehanna Daniels says she thinks about how much her life has changed in just five years.

During college, the Norfolk State women’s basketball point guard said she never once thought about NASCAR as a sport, let alone a career.

But here she is, at 27 years old, on the NASCAR pit road, changing tires on race cars and breaking barriers for women and people of color along the way.

“Girl, you are crazy…” she told ABC News about what the person she was at 17 would think about her now, a NASCAR pit crew member.

“Especially, you know, a little black girl like myself at that time. [I] definitely was like, I’m never getting into NASCAR. It wasn’t even a thought in my mind,” she said.

That was until recruiters from NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program showed up on her college campus in 2016 and introduced her to the sport. Her skills on the court were an easy fit for the fast-paced needs in a NASCAR pit crew.

“Brehanna was one of those who embraced it, came through the program, excelled,” said Max Siegel, the manager of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program.

After months of training, in 2017, Daniels became the first Black woman, over-the-wall tire changer in NASCAR’s history. By the end of the year, Daniels would make history again, as part of the first female duo in a NASCAR pit crew.

“I could not be more proud of what she’s accomplished both as an athlete, but she’s been amazing with her brand and social media and creating awareness and really getting people excited about the fact that if she can do it, there are other people that can do it,” Siegel told ABC News.

That success is what Siegel said he wants for all his recruits who come through the Drive for Diversity program. For the last twelve years, Siegel and his team have worked to recruit, train and support minorities like Daniels to increase diversity in all areas of NASCAR.

Siegel himself was NASCAR’s first highest-ranking Black executive. In a little over a decade, more than 60 of NASCAR’s women and minority drivers have come through the Drive for Diversity program, he said. Since 2009, the program has trained 75 gender and ethnically diverse candidates for NASCAR’s pit crews.

This year, at the Daytona 500, Siegel said he watched proudly when alumni of the program made up 10% of the field, including NASCAR stars like Bubba Wallace, Kyle Larsen and Daniel Suarez.

“I feel like for the first time since I’ve been involved, a lot of those things are starting to be addressed head on and progress is being made,” Siegel said.

While the Drive for Diversity program is keen to celebrate progress, Siegel said that success requires much more work. He said he has faced a lot of resistance in his efforts to bring more diversity to NASCAR but says he remains committed to the mission.

Daniels said she has had to tune out a lot of negativity even while some celebrate her achievements in the sport.

“People were like, ‘oh, she sucks,’ ‘what does it matter that she’s Black?’ It’s like, why wouldn’t that matter? You don’t see that every day in NASCAR. Why wouldn’t that be talked about?,” Daniels said.

Historically, NASCAR hasn’t been a welcoming space for black people. Dr. Ketra Armstrong, a professor of race and inclusion in sports at the University of Michigan, told ABC News.

“NASCAR hasn’t had very much success with the African American community at large because of NASCAR’s association with the Confederate flag,” Armstrong said. “You see that symbol, you know that it evokes these feelings of hatred and racial denigration. If you’re a Black consumer, it’s hard to enjoy the sports or the leisure or the activity when you’re surrounded by this ambiance or this effervescence that’s racially discriminating.”

NASCAR did not respond to a request for comment about Armstrong’s comments.

However, last year, the organization banned Confederate flags at its races.

Over the years, some of NASCAR’s drivers have also been embroiled in controversies about race. Larson, a NASCAR cup series driver and an alumni of the Drive for Diversity program, found himself in the pit fire and was suspended after using a racial slur at a virtual race last year.

Larson, who is half-Japanese, later apologized and said, “I wasn’t raised that way.”

In June 2020, Wallace, another NASCAR driver who also broke racial barriers in the sport, spoke out about racism after one of his crew members reported what looked like a noose hanging in the team’s garage stall. After investigating, the FBI concluded that the rope was a garage door pull rope and did not file any charges.

There are few women and minorities represented across the sport. It wasn’t until 2012, 64 years after NASCAR was founded, that it signed its first female pit crew member, Christmas Abbott.

Since then, only 15 pit crew members have been women, according to NASCAR. Only three have been women of color.

The NASCAR fan base is also overwhelmingly white. Based on NASCAR’s own data, provided to The Associated Press, 25% of fans identify as multicultural, only 9% as Black.

“It is very low. I think that you will get an honest admission from everyone in the sport that there is a ton of work to be done,” Siegel said.

Recently, celebrities like basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and rapper Pitbull have invested in the sport, helping diversify the face of NASCAR’s team ownership — investments that could help drive new interest.

“There was a time where when you think about race and sport, NASCAR would be on the not-so-positive end of the spectrum,” Armstrong said. “I think it’s really becoming more intentional in addressing its past, its racist past and things that they can do better to respond to this multicultural generation in this multicultural market in which it operates.”

As for what success looks like decades from now, the Drive for Diversity program is still writing that chapter but Daniels said she already likes where NASCAR going.

“There’s always room for improvement. But like I said, I’m very proud of NASCAR and for all the progress it’s made … yeah, I love to see it,” she said.

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