Sports News

NFL star JJ Watt signs with Arizona

Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesBY: LEIGHTON SCHNEIDER, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- NFL star JJ Watt announced on Twitter that he is signing with the Arizona Cardinals. 

 

source: me. pic.twitter.com/1Y6okQBUy5

— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 1, 2021

 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the deal is two-years and is worth $31 million with $23 million guaranteed. 

Watt asked for his release from the Houston Texans in February and the team granted him it on February 12. 

He announced the release in a video on Twitter. 

 

Houston, I wanted you to hear this directly from me... pic.twitter.com/YqT3P6Lb6l

— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 12, 2021

 

Watt was drafted 11th overall by the Texans in 2011 and won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards between 2012-2015. He is one of only three players to win the award three times. 

He is a five-time Pro-Bowler and five-time All-Pro and finished with 101 sacks in his Houston career, the most in franchise history.

Watt has dealt with several injuries since 2015, only playing in all 16 games twice since that season.

In 2016, he played in just three games before undergoing season-ending back surgery. 

In 2017, Watt broke his leg in Week 5 and miss the rest of the season. 

In 2019, he tore a pectoral muscle in Week 8, which ended his year.

Arizona now has a formidable duo on the defensive line. Watt joins Chandler Jones, who leads the league in sacks since 2012 with 97. Watt is second with 95.5. 

He also rejoins former Texans teammate DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded to Arizona in 2020. 

Hopkins reacted to the news on Twitter. 

 

Life is good in Arizona!@JJWatt @AZCardinals pic.twitter.com/5xdsljZiXo

— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) March 1, 2021

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tiger Woods breaks silence after crash

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The MatchBy CARMEN COX, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- Tiger Woods tweeted a message of love after fans and fellow golfers took to the final round of the WGC-Workday Championship wearing his signature Sunday red as a tribute to the star athlete.

"It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the tv and saw all the red shirts," Woods tweeted Sunday evening. "To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time."

It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the tv and saw all the red shirts. To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time.

— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 1, 2021

Woods' message of gratitude comes just days after the 45-year-old golfer underwent emergency surgery for injuries he suffered in a serious car accident. Woods is still hospitalized and recovering in southern California.

Watch the report from ABC's Good Morning America:

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 2/28/21

iStockBy ABC News

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Milwaukee 105, LA Clippers 100
Boston 111, Washington 110
New York 109, Detroit 90
Miami 109, Atlanta 99
LA Lakers 117, Golden State 91
Memphis 133, Houston 84
Phoenix 118 Minnesota 99
Charlotte 127, Sacramento 126
Chicago at Toronto (Postponed)

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Boston 4, NY Rangers 1
Philadelphia 3, Buffalo 0
Nashville 3, Columbus 1
Washington 3, New Jersey 2
NY Islanders 2, Pittsburgh 0
Chicago 7, Detroit 2

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Iowa 73, Ohio St. 57
Butler 73, Villanova 61
Houston 98, South Florida 52

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Vanessa Bryant seeks to name LA County deputies who shared photos of Kobe Bryant crash site

iStock/naveen0301BY: JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, is seeking to publicly name the Los Angeles County deputies who allegedly shared the photos of the helicopter crash site that killed her husband, daughter and seven others.

In September, Vanessa Bryant sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department over the sharing of the "unauthorized" photos, seeking damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Vanessa Bryant's lawyers filed an amended complaint on Wednesday that added the deputies and the Los Angeles County Fire Department as defendants in the lawsuit.

The new court documents detailed an internal affairs report by the sheriff's department that states one deputy took up to 100 photos at the scene, several of which were then quickly shared by text and other phone messaging apps over the next two days by deputies.

The names of the deputies were blacked out in the complaint. The court will decide whether the complaint should be sealed.

"These specific deputies need to be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else," Vanessa Bryant wrote in an Instagram story on Saturday.

Lawyers for Los Angeles County have argued to keep the deputies' names sealed because releasing them would make personal information, such as home addresses, public as well, increasing the likelihood that they should be targeted by hackers who may try to gain access to their personal devices and publish the photos, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The county's lawyers also argued that if the defendants were to remain anonymous, the "public will still be able to review the relevant allegations," according to the Times.

The lawsuit also alleged that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva personally assured Vanessa Bryant shortly after the crash that deputies were securing the scene to protect her privacy. The complaint alleged that Villanueva later told Bryant that when he found out deputies took and shared photos he ordered them to be destroyed to prevent them from becoming public, calling the deputies' conduct "disgusting" and "wildly inappropriate."

After the initial lawsuit was filed in September, Villanueva said that the actions the department took "were the correct ones in extraordinary circumstances." Villanueva has also noted repeatedly that the photos did not circulate wider because of his actions, the Times reported.

Several deputies and county firefighters shared images from the crash site from the personal phone, the complaint alleged. One deputy trainee who was guarding a trail that lead to the crash site allegedly shared multiple photos he received of Kobe Bryant's remains to members of the public, including a woman and bartender at a bar later that night, according to the lawsuit. A bar security camera allegedly showed the trainee zooming into the photos as he shows them, and the bartender loudly boasted to patrons and other employees that he had seen Kobe Bryant's body, the complaint states.

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, and seven others -- two teammates of Gianna's, their parents and the helicopter pilot, were killed on Jan. 26, 2020, when the Sikorsky S-76B crashed onto a hillside in Calabasas, California.

Days after the crash, Vanessa Bryant released a statement saying she was "devastated" over a report by the Los Angeles Times that deputies who responded to the scene shared photos of the wreckage and victims' remains.

In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsome signed a bill into law making it illegal for first responders to take unauthorized photos of dead people at the scene of a crime or accident.

The NTSB investigation into the crash, released earlier this month, found that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, became disoriented while flying in thick fog. Zobayan also did not follow training and violated visual flight rules, the investigation found.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jeremy Lin says he was called 'coronavirus' on court, denounces racism against Asians

VCG/VCG via Getty ImagesBy MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Basketball star Jeremy Lin said he was called "coronavirus" on the court in a social media post in which he denounced racism against Asian Americans.

"Being an Asian American doesn't mean we don't experience poverty and racism," Lin shared on social media late Thursday. "Being a 9-year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called 'coronavirus' on the court."

Lin didn't state when the incident took place. The G League is now investigating Lin's claim, ESPN reported.

Racist attacks have soared against the Asian community amid the pandemic as COVID-19 first emerged on the global radar in Wuhan, China.

Between March and December last year, the organization Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate recorded nearly 3,000 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide.

The 34-year-old athlete, who formerly played point guard for the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, now plays for the NBA's G League team the Santa Cruz Warriors, an affiliate of the Golden State Warriors.

Lin encouraged the public to speak up against racist behavior in his post.

"We are tired of Asian American kids growing up and being asked where they're REALLY from, of having our eyes mocked, of being objectified as exotic or being told we're inherently unattractive," he wrote.

"We are tired of being invisible, of being mistaken for our colleague or told our struggles aren't as real," he added.

Santa Cruz Warriors officials did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday he wants the NBA to investigate Lin's claim.

"Really powerful. I applaud Jeremy for his words and echo his sentiments regarding racism against the Asian American community," Kerr said per ESPN.

Lin, who was born in California to Taiwanese parents, was the first Asian American player to win an NBA championship in 2019 when the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 2/25/21

iStockBy ABC News

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Philadelphia 111, Dallas 97
Brooklyn 129, Orlando 92
New York 140, Sacramento 121
Memphis 122, LA Clippers 94
Washington 112, Denver 110
Milwaukee 129, New Orleans 125

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Chicago 2, Columbus 0
Ottawa 6, Calgary 1
NY Islanders 7, Boston 2
Washington 5, Pittsburgh 2
New Jersey 4, Buffalo 3 (OT)
Florida 3, Dallas 2
Tampa Bay 3, Carolina 1
Detroit 5, Nashville 2
Winnipeg 6, Montreal 3
Edmonton 3, Vancouver 0
Vegas at San Jose (Postponed)

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Gonzaga 89, Santa Clara 75
Michigan 79, Iowa 57
Michigan St. 71, Ohio St. 67
Illinois 86, Nebraska 70
Houston 81, W. Kentucky 57
Colorado 80, Southern Cal 62
San Diego St. 78, Boise St. 66
Houston at Wichita St. (Canceled)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Former USA gymnastics coach John Geddert dead after trafficking, assault charges filed

MattGush/iStockBy MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Former USA gymnastics coach John Geddert, who led the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team to win gold, died by suicide Thursday after charges of human trafficking and sexual assault were announced against him.

Attorney Chris Bergstrom’s office, which represents Geddert, and the Michigan attorney general's office confirmed his death to ABC News.

“My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved.”

Michigan State Police stated Geddert's body was located by troopers at the rest area near the I-96 highway in Clinton County at 3:24 p.m. Police would not comment on the cause of death and said the investigation is ongoing.

The 63-year-old coach was charged with 24 felonies Thursday in Eaton County, Michigan. He was accused of physically, emotionally and sexually abusing gymnasts he coached at his gym, Twistars gymnastics club in Dimondale, Michigan, according to the complaint.

Geddert had been expected to turn himself in at 2:15 p.m. to the Eaton County Sheriff's Department.

His young athletes were allegedly subjected to “excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even while injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault," Nessel said at a Thursday press conference announcing the charges.

As a result, the victims suffered eating disorders, suicide attempts and self-harm, Nessel alleged.

According to the complaint, Geddert was also accused of sexually assaulting a teen with his hands in 2012 and lying to investigators when he claimed that he never heard anyone complain about his associate Larry Nassar, the Olympic team doctor who was convicted of sexually abusing young female athletes.

In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years behind bars for his decades of abuse after more than 150 survivors and family members testified against him.

Geddert and Nassar worked closely for decades and both rose to prominence in the gymnastics world. Nassar worked with gymnasts at Twistars, where hundreds claimed he sexually abused them.

Geddert faced 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor causing injury, one count of racketeering, two counts of criminal sexual conduct for assaulting a girl under the age of 16 and one count of lying to a peace officer.

His lawyer did not respond to ABC News' request for comment on the charges.

Geddert had been under investigation for three years, after victim impact statements shared at Nassar’s sentencing hearings claimed Geddert knew about the abuse.

Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, spoke out about Geddert's death Thursday, saying there was "so much pain and grief for everyone."

"To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you," Denhollander wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for telling the truth. What you have done matters. Please stay safe, you are loved and wanted here."

ABC News' Rachel Katz and Celia Darrough contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Alex Morgan scores first goal for US Women's National Team since giving birth to daughter

Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty ImagesBy GOOD MORNING AMERICA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Soccer star Alex Morgan has scored more than 100 goals in her soccer career, but the one she scored Wednesday may be the sweetest so far.

Morgan, 31, scored her first goal for the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) since giving birth to her daughter, Charlie, last May.

Morgan's goal, her 108th in her career, helped propel the USWNT to a 6-0 victory against Argentina, which earned the team its second consecutive She Believes Cup title.

"First USWNT goal as a momma," Morgan captioned a photo of her goal in an Instagram story.

Morgan told Good Morning America last year that "taking a step back from soccer" while pregnant was "a little different" for her, but added that she was "enjoying it."

"I hope that she's born into a world that she can accomplish much bigger and better things that I'm ever capable of," Morgan told GMA at the time.

Morgan, who is married to soccer player Servando Carrasco, was back in action with the USWNT after taking time off earlier this year to recover from COVID-19, which she said she contracted while in California over the holidays.

Last year, Morgan relocated to England, where she played several games with Tottenham Hotspur Women. It was confirmed in December that she would be returning to the U.S., where she is a member of the Orlando Pride.

Morgan scored her goal Wednesday in Orlando, in front of her hometown fans.

 

Loved getting my first US goal at home in Orlando. Thanks for all the love this tournament. Back to work with @ORLPride now! https://t.co/975cdq2XFV

— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) February 25, 2021

 

She is not the only Pride player to now be playing as a mother.

Morgan's teammates, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger, announced earlier this month that they welcomed their adopted daughter.

The couple, who wed in 2019, shared the news on social media that their daughter, Sloane Phillips, was born on Feb. 12, weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces.

USWNT star Megan Rapinoe gave Sloane a shout-out when Rapinoe scored a goal earlier in the She Believes Cup. After her goal, Rapinoe ran to the cameras and held her arms like she was cradling a baby.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Report: J.J. Watt has received offers from multiple teams

Allen Kee / ESPN ImagesBy JEANETTE TORRES-PEREZ, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- It’s been nearly two weeks since the Houston Texans released J.J. Watt and already, the defensive end has reportedly received offers from multiple teams.

Citing league sources, ESPN reports that the biggest deal is believed to be worth between $15 million and $16 million.

Among the teams interested in Watt are the Cleveland Browns, according to ESPN, although it is not yet known if the Browns have submitted an offer to the 31-year-old.

Watt, who was drafted by the Texans in 2011, requested to be released from the team and his wish was granted earlier this month. In his 10 years in Houston, he won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards (2012, 2014 and 2015) and became the team’s all-time sacks leader.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Shaq names his ideal 'Big 3,' talks new ad, NBA predictions

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Any former teammate of Shaquille O'Neal would likely tell you that having him on the court was the sports equivalent of a great insurance policy.

The NBA Hall of Famer told ABC News' Good Morning America that "trust and credibility were very important" throughout his 19-year NBA career, and now he's applying those values to a new campaign with a brand that's been by his side since college.

"In 1989 when I bought a used Ford Bronco 2, I didn't have insurance, went to all these places I couldn't afford, then I went to The General and they gave me an affordable policy, and it was great. I never had to use it," he said with a laugh. "But hey, I had the full coverage I needed."

Shaq first teamed up with the brand nearly a decade ago.

"I'm watching Maury Povich, 'cause that was my routine every day, and I would hear the jingle with The General commercial, and I said, 'Hey I'd love to let the world know about the quality insurance that your company offers' -- and we've been in a relationship every since," he said.

But now, the company known for its computer-animated ads is evolving its image with the help of the 15-time NBA All-Star and a couple of his friends from Inside the NBA.

Shaq said "it was a lot of fun" filming on set with fellow NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.

"We had a lot of outtakes. But it's also great to tell your friends 'I told you so,'" Shaq said. "A lot of people look at the commercial and think they're too cheesy, but nope, they're quality insurance."

Thinking about other famous basketball trios, the four-time NBA champion said if he could build his own Big Three with any other players of all time, it would be "Me, Michael Jordan and Jason 'White Chocolate' Williams."

One real-life matchup on Shaq's calendar is his All Elite Wrestling in-ring debut. He's wrestling Cody Rhodes on March 3 in a mixed tag-team bout, "so I'm gonna have to beat him up," he said.

When asked about his training, he said "I can't tell ya, I'll just have to show ya."

Although the 2020-21 NBA "season is still young" Shaq said that "Utah, the Lakers and Brooklyn are all playing well."

Shaq will be in on the All-Star Weekend action and back with Inside the NBA on TNT for the second part of the regular season, but he said "there are about four or five teams in contention to become champions."

"I'm biased," he said after seeing the Lakers take home the title last season, "but I want to see the best players shine and the best team win."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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