<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usTue, 27 Sep 2016 15:21:06 -0400Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:21:06 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Greg Hardy Arrested on Drug Charges]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:27:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Greg-Hardy-mug-shot.jpg

Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy faces a felony drug charge after he was arrested Sunday night in Richardson, police say.

Hardy, who is an NFL free agent after playing for the Cowboys in 2015, allegedly had 0.7 grams of cocaine in a wallet in his car. It was discovered after a traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal, a police affidavit states.

Hardy was stopped about 11:22 p.m. after turning onto Midway Drive from the 300 block of North Glenville Drive. The officer gave Hardy a verbal warning for the traffic violation but asked for his consent to search his 2010 white Dodge Challenger, the police report says.

He told the officer that he didn't know what the substance was and said he believed he got it while he was at a party Saturday night, according to police. Hardy said he passed his wallet around at the party because he was paying for everybody, and he said that must have been when someone put the substance in his wallet.

Hardy was booked into the Richardson City Jail, where he remained Monday afternoon. Bond was set at $5,000.

Hardy spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers, before joining the Cowboys in 2015.

Hardy hasn't garnered much attention in free agency since he and the Cowboys parted ways after the 2015 season. He recorded six sacks in 12 games while playing for Dallas.

The defensive end made news stemming from a 2014 arrest for assaulting an ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. The charges were eventually expunged from Hardy's record.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Richardson Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Wear No. 16 for Jose]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 07:47:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16270851118909.jpg

No one on the Miami Marlins will ever wear Jose Fernandez’s No. 16 again, owner Jeffrey Loria announced Monday, a day after the star pitcher was killed in a boating accident.

But that will only take effect after Monday night, when Marlins players honored Fernandez by each wearing his jersey number during their game against the Mets, in which he had been scheduled to start.

And second baseman Dee Gordon started the game with an almost unbelievable tribute to his teammate, slamming the third pitch out of the park for a lead-off home run. 

Gordon was overcome as he touched home, hugging his teammates as he walked back to the dugout.

Fernandez and two others were found dead on Sunday morning when the boat they were on, which authorities have said appeared to be traveling very fast, crashed on a jetty off Miami Beach.

That day, the Marlins held an emotional press conference where the players and coaching staff fought back tears remembering the 24-year-old ace. The team also painted his No. 16 on the pitcher's mound and placed flowers alongside the rubber.

Fernandez dazzled on the mound for Miami in his brief career and the team will recognize his achievements in Monday's game.

The Marlins canceled Sunday's game against the Braves following Fernandez's death. Barring a need for that contest in the playoff race, Miami will only play 161 games this season.

The Marlins' gesture to have every player don Fernandez's number is reminiscent of the league's annual remembrance of Jackie Robinson. Every season, every player on every team wears his No. 42 for one day in April.

Fernandez will likely go down in history as the last Marlins player to wear No. 16, besides the players wearing it in his memory. While the team has not announced the plan officially, Monday's gesture points in that direction.

The game Monday night also included a moment of silence.

It's the first time in Marlins history that an active player has died. It is a rare event in sports and one that has no playbook. Miami could opt to hold more tributes for Fernandez next season as well, including at the 2017 All-Star Game.



Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky/AP
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<![CDATA[Elena Delle Donne Opens Up in Video]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:11:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-514542562.jpg

Chicago Sky superstar Elena Delle Donne is well-known for her exploits on the court and her status as the defending WNBA MVP, but what you may not know is the story of how her bond with her sister resurrected her basketball career.

In a new video released by Gatorade, Delle Donne recounts the story of how she walked away from the UConn women’s basketball team to take care of her sister Lizzie, who has cerebral palsy and is blind and deaf.

"Lizzie has always been my strength, but going away to play college basketball meant that I had to say goodbye, and I just wasn't ready," she said. "Everybody thinks I came home to take care of her, but she was the one helping me."

She took a year off from basketball, but ultimately decided to come back to the sport and became a star at the University of Delaware. In the video, she describes how her sister’s love of the wind helped give her a new perspective on life.

"If you close your eyes, and you can't hear anything, and the wind comes across your face and blows your hair, it makes you feel a certain joy. To her, it's just pure joy and it's incredible to watch something that simple make her so happy," Delle Donne shared.

"I'll step outside after a rough practice, feel the wind, and it's like, 'Oh. There you are Liz,'" she added. "Liz has taught me so much. You don't focus on what you don't have - you celebrate what you do." 

Delle Donne has gone through other obstacles in her career as well, including contracting Lyme disease during her sophomore season. Eventually she overcame those challenges and was drafted by the Sky with the second overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft.

Unfortunately for Delle Donne, she has more adversity to go through now, as she’s dealing with recovery following thumb surgery earlier this month. The star forward is hoping to return to the court during the WNBA playoffs, but her timetable for recovery is unknown at this point.

Even with that latest setback, Delle Donne proves in the video that she is willing to take on any challenge, and going through adversity is something she’s become very adept at in her career.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[British Open Organizers Pay Tribute to Arnold Palmer]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:58:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Arnold-Palmer.jpg

Organizers of the British Open paid tribute to Arnold Palmer on Monday for his "immeasurable" contribution to golf's oldest major, a tournament that he won twice in the early 1960s and helped bring to international prominence. 

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, called Palmer "a true gentleman, one of the greatest ever to play the game and a truly iconic figure in sport." 

Palmer, who died Sunday in Pittsburgh at the age of 87, won seven majors, including the British Open in 1961 and '62. He last played the Open in 1995, 35 years after his first appearance. 

"His contribution to The Open Championship was, and remains, immeasurable," Slumbers said in a statement. "He will be missed and forever remembered by all at The R&A and throughout the world of golf as a charismatic and global champion of our game." 

Palmer first played the British Open in 1960, finishing runner-up in what he later called one of the biggest disappointments of his career. But his appearance invigorated the British Open, which Americans had been ignoring for years. 

"Without question Arnold's participation in The Open Championship in the early 1960s was the catalyst to truly internationalize golf," European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. "The fact he was loved and recognized by everyone across the globe, whether they be fans of golf or not, is testament to his charismatic legacy that will live on." 

Palmer was made an honorary member of The European Tour in 1995. 

"In this week of the playing of the 41st Ryder Cup in particular, we remember fondly his time as a six-time Ryder Cup player and two-time captain," Pelley said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."

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<![CDATA[Jose Fernandez Remembered by MLB Teams]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:49:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/187*120/GettyImages-610389982.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Ditka on Kaepernick's Protest]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 08:06:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mike+ditka+GettyImages-463267928.jpg

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka has weighed in on the protests sparked by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and he certainly did not hold back. 

"I think it’s a problem, anybody who disrespects this country and the flag," Ditka said in a radio interview Friday. "If they don't like the country, they don't like our flag, get the hell out, that's what I think."

"I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick, he probably has no respect for me," the Hall of Fame coach continued. "That’s his choice. My choice is that I like this country. I respect our flag."

"And I don't see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on," he added. "I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunities. Now, if they don't want to look for them, then you can find problems with anything."

"But this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. Now if you don't work, that's a different problem," he concluded. 

Ditka's disapproval of the protests came just days after three players on the Philadelphia Eagles raised their fists at Soldier Field ahead of the Bears' home opener Monday night. 

That demonstration joined the national conversation ignited by Kaepernick who sat, then kneeled, for the playing of the national anthem beginning in August to call attention to the oppression of minorities across the United States. 

Since then, Kaepernick has been joined by several other NFL players, including four members of the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, and Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall.

While some have expressed support for the message of the demonstrations, the protests have sparked outrage among others, including local police unions in Miami and San Francisco, both of which have threatened some form of boycott. 

A recent poll found Kaepernick to be the most disliked player in the NFL, which was conducted just days before his cover for Time Magazine's October issue was revealed. 

He revealed Tuesday that he has received death threats over his protest, and pledged to donate $100,000 in each of the next 10 months to organizations that work toward goals consistent with his message of fighting racial inequality.

This is not the first time Ditka has spoken out on social or political issues. A well-documented conservative, he has publicly expressed support for Donald Trump and flirted with the idea of speaking at the Republican National Convention in July.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez's Career in Photos]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:21:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/021714+jose+fernandez.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fans, Marlins Mourns Death of Pitcher Jose Fernandez]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2016 15:06:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-488189159.jpg

Baseball fans and players awoke Sunday morning to the tragic news of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez's death.

The ace right-hander was one of three people killed in a boating accident in Miami Beach. The Cuban-born athlete was just 24 years old. 

Miami Marlins players gathered at the team's ballpark to grieve together following the death of their teammate.

"A lot of words were said, meaningful words and emotion and prayer," Marlins president David Samson said at a news conference, surrounded by more than two dozen players wearing black Marlins jerseys. "Jose is a member of this family for all time."

Manager Don Mattingly and president of baseball operations Michael Hill flanked Samson and fought back tears.

"When I think about Jose, it's going to be thinking about a little kid," Mattingly said. "I see such a little boy in him ... the way he played. ... Kids play Little League, that's the joy Jose played with."

The Marlins' game Sunday against Atlanta was canceled. Their home game Monday night against the New York Mets will be played as scheduled, the team said.

"Deep in our hearts there is a lot of pain," third baseman Martin Prado said. "Somehow we've got to overcome that."

Fans, athletes and sports teams took to social media Sunday to mourn Fernandez's death, tweeting condolences and prayers for his family and the Marlins organization.  

"Hands down one of my favorite guys to watch pitch! He brought nothing but intensity and passion," Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price said on Twitter early Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Kaep Joins High School Protest]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:55:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Castlemont+Football.jpg

High school students in the East Bay are following Colin Kaepernick’s lead and helping to shine a light on issues of police brutality and racial inequality in the United States — this time by lying down during the national anthem.

Since August, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback has taken to kneeling before games – something he did alongside the Castlemont High School football team in Oakland on Friday.

When the first strains of the national anthem floated across the field and Kaepernick knelt, the Knights lay on the ground with their hands up in the air.

"It's basically showing our vulnerability ... them being the authority and the power, and us being the citizens," said protest organizer and senior player Jadan Starks.

Head coach Edward Washington supports his team's actions.

“Black men and brown men have been assassinated unarmed, hands on the ground,” he said. “We had to protest and stand against this because it's not right."

Friday’s protest came after nearly a week after the team knelt during the National Anthem before another game and tweeted a picture of it. Kaepernick retweeted the Twitter post and it went viral, sparking a conversation between him and the school.

“He had reached out through a fraternity brother and a mutual friend and he was like, ‘I want to come over and talk to the kids,’” Washington said.

And that's exactly what Kaepernick did, catching the players by surprise.

“This is your family, these are your brothers,” he told the team. “I look at all of you as brothers. I see your strength, I see your power, I see your courage, your confidence.”

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Speaking to the athletes in their locker room before the game, Kaepernick said he attended their game to stand – or kneel as the case may be – in solidarity with them.

“The same way y'all took a stand and stood with me, I had to come out here and stand with you’ll,” he said.

Kaepernick also encouraged his rapt audience to “lift each other up” because “that’s what this is about.”

He assured the Castlemont students that their actions, thoughts and words have value – both on and off the football field.

“You are important. You make a difference. This matters. Everything you do matters,” Kaepernick stressed.

Earlier in the week, a school band of roughly 155 middle and high school students from the Oakland Unified School District knelt as they played "The Star Bangled Banner" before an Oakland A's game on Wednesday.

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San Francisco’s Mission High School football team has also decided to take a knee at every game in the season when the national anthem is played. The Bears are slated to face Millbrae’s Mills High School Saturday.

According to Castlemont coach Bryan Parker, this is just the beginning of a movement among young students and athletes, and those who motivate them.

"We want to keep a dialogue going, getting rid of the dehumanization of black and brown people all around the country, but specifically in Oakland," he said.

School officials say they plan to continue working with community leaders, politicians and law enforcement, going forward.

Social unrest has rocked the U.S. this week. Police shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte have spawned massive demonstrations and even riots. Amid this social landscape, Kaepernick’s ongoing protest has ignited a maelstrom of conflicting reactions.

His face will grace the cover of Time magazine next month, but he has also received death threats and a recent poll reflects his unenviable achievement of being the most disliked player in the National Football League.

Closer to home, the NFLer has had not only the 49ers head coach Chip Kelly in his corner, but even a muralist, who created artwork on the side of an Oakland wall to remind Kaepernick, “We got your back.”

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Photo Credit: Castlemont Football
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<![CDATA[Anthem Protests Spread to Colleges, WNBA Player Sits]]> Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:19:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/colinkaepernick3.JPG

Liberty guard Brittany Boyd sat on the bench with her head bowed during the national anthem before a WNBA playoff game.

Hours earlier, college football players for Michigan and Michigan State, along with a group of students at North Carolina, raised their fists during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner on Saturday. 

Since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem before NFL preseason games, citing racial injustice and police brutality, his movement has slowly spread across fields and courts in the U.S. On Saturday, college athletes and professional athletes joined together to follow his lead after a week punctuated by riots in Charlotte, North Carolina , and the killing of an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Boyd had sat on the bench during the anthem at the team's last home game on Sept. 13, too. Her New York teammates stood, arms locked with their heads bowed before their WNBA playoff game with Phoenix. Mercury players Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone kneeled, just as they had done during their first-round playoff game. Bass was inspired that younger athletes were joining an effort that until this weekend, had been mostly led by the pros. 

"I think it shows that the younger generations are about this and they did it together," she said. "They are understanding what is going on in our society. It's perfect because they are so caught up in their phones. To see them standing up for social injustices and wanting things to be right in their communities I think is awesome." 

Three Michigan State players — Delton Williams, Kenney Lyke and Gabe Sherrod — held their right fists in the air while standing on the sideline before the No. 8 Spartans hosted No. 11 Wisconsin.

"Whether somebody salutes, puts the hand over their heart or does something else, everybody has a choice to make," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio added after the Spartans' 30-6 loss. "Our young people are in college, and I can promise you one thing, that when the flag is presented in some respect, I guess it becomes much more important now. It's not just, oh by the way, we'll just stand for 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'

"All I can do is try and lead the best way I can, and be positive and accepting to our football team and our players," the coach added.

Several players for No. 4 Michigan also had their fists up before facing Penn State in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Among them were Khalid Hill, Mike McCray, Devin Bush, Elysee Mbem-Bosse and Jourdan Lewis.

Most college conferences play the anthem before the teams take the field. The Big Ten is among the exceptions.

The University of Michigan is 6 miles from Eastern Michigan University, where chanting students marched on the field Friday night after the school's 27-24 victory over Wyoming. The students were protesting racist graffiti on the campus earlier in the week.

"We have great respect for our students engaged in the constructive efforts underway to address the issues we face," Eastern Michigan President James Smith said in a statement Saturday.

Before North Carolina hosted Pittsburgh, students wearing black shirts remained seated with fists raised. Some 60 to 70 black and white students participated.

Nebraska players Michael Rose-Ivey, Daishon Neal and Mohamed Barry also kneeled before the No. 20 Cornhuskers' game at Northwestern.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was Kaepernick's coach for four seasons in San Francisco. Last month, Harbaugh said he supported Kaepernick's motivation to speak out but took exception to his method.

After Saturday's game, Harbaugh said he had been thinking a lot about the issue the past couple of weeks and that he supports his players. 

"This is something that's not going away. It's going to keep happening," Harbaugh said after the Wolverines' 49-10 victory. "It's not something that's going to keep them out of heaven. So I'm not going to worry about it. As long as it doesn't keep them out of heaven for supporting their minds, I support it."

Kaepernick was at a high school football game on Friday night. He spoke to players from Castlemont High School and joined them on the sideline before the game. A photo by former NFL linebacker Kirk Morrison on Twitter shows Kaepernick kneeling while the rest of the team laid on their backs with their hands up during the anthem.

Saturday's gestures came a day after it was announced that Tommie Smith and John Carlos will join the U.S. Olympic team at the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama. The raised-fist salutes by the American sprinters on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics became a political flash point.



Photo Credit: Pendarvis Harsha]]>
<![CDATA[Smart Football Helmets]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 16:14:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Smart+Helmet.jpg The Friday night lights will illuminate high school football stadiums across the country this evening -- while new helmet technology is shedding light on one of football's long-time concerns: Concussions.

Photo Credit: CNBC]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron James Executive Produces New Sitcom for NBC]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:45:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-588692562-LebronJames.jpg

Gentrification is a phenomenon affecting nearly every major U.S. city, and apparently NBA champ LeBron James sees it material ready made for television.

Alongside "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence, James is co-producing a new sitcom about a white family moving into a predominately black neighborhood in Cleveland. NBC has picked up "There Goes the Neighborhood" through a script contract with penalty, penned by "Community" veterans Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan and "Powerless" star Ron Funches. 

"There Goes the Neighborhood" must hold a special place in James' heart, as it’s set in his team's city. With its community-centric bent, the sitcom may even prove that "Cleveland is great for the whole family," as James humorously insists in the 2015 film "Trainwreck."

James appears to be on a roll both on and off the court.  Springhill Entertainment, James' company co-led by partner Maverick Carter, also sold a sports medical drama to NBC last week. "There Goes the Neighborhood" will be James’ fifth turn as an executive producer.



Photo Credit: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Utley Makes Ridiculous No Look Play For Dodgers]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 08:20:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Utley+ridiculous+play.png

In case you haven't seen every defensive play in the book from Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley, here's another one for the future Hall of Famer's collection.

The Dodgers were hosting the Colorado Rockies at the Ravine on Thursday night in the opening game of a four-game series, the final homestand at Dodger Stadium.

There were two outs in the top of the fourth inning and the Rockies were threatening to add to their 3-1 lead. Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood was at the plate, and he hit what appeared to be a routine ground ball to Utley at second base.

Only Utley bobbled the ball, but he somehow stayed with the play and tossed the ball behind his back without looking to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for the final out of the inning.

Check out the videos of the play below, the first, complete with the legendary Vin Scully on the call, and the second, a zoomed in replay. Enjoy.

As he came into the dugout, Utley told his manager Dave Roberts that he was sorry for bobbling the ball, and that he should have made the play more cleanly.

Roberts was stunned, but expected nothing less from his veteran second baseman.

"First thing he said was 'I can't believe I missed the ball,'" Roberts said. "He makes this crazy no look pass to first base, and instead of acknowledging the greatness of that play he says he should have made it a lot cleaner."

Utley himself didn't have any answers either.

"It was maybe a little instinctual and maybe a little lucky," he said smiling.

Part of me wants to believe that the 37-year-old bobbled the ball on purpose in order to wow us with his jaw-dropping no-look out, but knowing Utley, he really was more frustrated he had to do what he did.

Utley was also named the Los Angeles Dodgers recipient of the annual Roy Campanella Award on Thursday. The 11-year honor is given to the Dodger player that best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher who played for the Dodgers.

No play exemplifies that spirit and leadership than the remarkable one he made in the game on Thursday night. Utley will be presented the award by members of Campanella's family on Saturday night before the game.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kaepernick Graces Time Magazine]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:31:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/kap-kneel.jpg

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick graces the cover of Time magazine next month, at the same time a new poll shows he’s the most disliked player in the National Football League.

This dichotomy of pride and disdain mirrors the country's reaction to Kaepernick’s controversial decision to not stand during the National Anthem at football games this summer.

Some support his stance, which he said is meant to highlight the issues of police brutality and unfair treatment of people of color in the United States.

"He's shedding light on a situation that is heinous, it shouldn't happen in this country," 49ers head coach Chip Kelly said. 

In his most detailed comments on the issue to date, Kelly on Thursday said he stands behind Kaepernick's ongoing protest.

"You look at what's going on in Tulsa and Charlotte in the last two nights — it's an issue that's in the forefront of our country," Kelly said. "It needs to be addressed. It needs to be taken care of because it's not right."

Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is also following the quarterback's lead. When her colleagues stood for the Pledge of Allegiance at Tuesday's council meeting, she sat down.

"Part of my motivation for sitting in solidarity with him is to say, 'What you're doing is good. Don't worry about the haters because we need to stand up for justice,'" Kaplan said.

A kneeling Kaepernick is the featured Oct. 26 cover of the prestigious magazine. And the piece gives the quarterback credit for inspiring a national conversation “beyond the world of sports.”

However, Kaepernick has faced plenty of criticism with some even making death threats in response to a civil protest they deem unpatriotic.

A poll last week of Americans by E-Poll Marketing Research revealed that Kaepernick was "disliked a lot" by 29 percent of the 1,110 people polled, more than any of the more than 350 players asked about in the survey.

In the dislike category, Kaepernick finished ahead of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (22 percent), Miami Dolphins defensive end Ndamukong Suh (21 percent), New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (13 percent) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (10 percent). In August 2014, the last time the poll was taken, Kaepernick was only "disliked a lot" by 6 percent of the population.

However, among African-Americans, Kaepernick has never been more popular.

The poll shows 42 percent of African-Americans now say they like the 49ers quarterback "a lot," while only 2 percent dislike him "a lot." Two years ago, only 16 percent of African-Americans said they liked Kaepernick "a lot," while 3 percent disliked him "a lot."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Brissett Fills in, Steps Up as Patriots Win]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:21:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-609842438.jpg

Jacoby Brissett made his first start at quarterback for the New England Patriots in Thursday night's game against the Houston Texans, and he did not disappoint.

The rookie, who is replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, who was replacing a suspended Tom Brady, earned a 27-0 victory in his first start.

While he didn't put up Brady numbers, Brissett performed admirably. He ran for 48 yards on eight carries, including a 27-yard touchdown.

In the air, Brissett completed 11 of 19 passes for 103 yards with no passing touchdowns or picks. Wide receiver (and backup quarterback) Julian Edelman made the most catches, adding 38 yards on four receptions.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski made his first appearance, but was a virtual non-factor, being targeted just once and not making a catch.

Running back LeGarrette Blount had another night of fireworks. He carried the ball 24 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Pats held Houston to a mere 15 rushing yards, and quarterback Brock Osweiler went 24/41 for 196 yards and an interception to Jamie Collins. The Texans fumbled the ball twice, turning it over both times.

The Patriots improve to 3-0 on the season. Only one game remains before Brady's return, as they take on the Buffalo Bills next Sunday at 1 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots List Garoppolo as Doubtful; Will He Play Thursday?]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:12:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/174*120/Jimmy-Garoppolo-EFE.jpg

The New England Patriots listed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as doubtful for their Thursday night game versus the Houston Texans in Foxborough.

Garoppolo injured his right shoulder when he was tackled in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins on September 18. 

With the news that Garoppolo is doubtful, Patriots rookie Jacoby Brissett, who finished the game against the Dolphins, looks to be the starter on Sunday. NFL.com reports that wide receiver Julian Edelman practiced at quarterback this week and could backup Brissett. Edelman played quarterback in college at Kent State. 

Tight end Rob Gronkowski and linebacker Dont'a Hightower are among the Patriots listed as questionable for the Thursday night game.



Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[US Gymnasts' Doctor, Accused of Abuse, Fired From Univ.]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 21:36:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/219*120/Gymnastics-Beam.jpg

A doctor who for 20 years treated some of America's Olympic gymnasts has been terminated from his post at Michigan State University amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations, NBC News reported.

Dr. Larry Nassar was terminated Tuesday after the school said it learned he was violating "certain employment requirements" brought about after a recent graduate in 2014 lodged a misconduct complaint, which did not result in any charges.

Two more gymnasts, one of them an Olympic medalist who has not been named, recently accused Nassar of having molested them, prompting an undisclosed number of other women to make complaints against Nassar, prosecutors said.

Nassar, the team doctor for USA Gymnastics from 1996 to 2015, has denied any abuse through his legal team and has not been charged with a crime. His new attorney, Matt Newburg, had no comment on his firing.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Kaepernick Reports Death Threats]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 06:47:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/kap-kneel.jpg

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he has received death threats amid his growing protest movement against racial injustices and police brutality.

Kaepernick has refused to stand for the national anthem at 49ers games. Since he started the demonstration last month, the protest became a national story, and other NFL players, along with U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe, have joined in.

“One of the things I’ve noticed throughout this is there’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism,” Kaepernick said Tuesday. “And people want to take everything back to the flag, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking racial discrimination, inequalities and injustices that are happening across the nation.”

The quarterback has slowly amassed support from colleagues, veterans and President Barack Obama, who said Kaepernick has a right to protest.

Kaepernick, who spoke to reporters Tuesday from the 49ers' locker room, referred to the shooting of Terence Crutcher, 40, an unarmed black man killed Friday by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into whether a civil rights violation occurred during the fatal shooting.

“You have a situation like Terence Crutcher, where his car was broken down and he was looking for help and got murdered,” Kaepernick said. “That’s a perfect example of what this is about. I think it’ll be very telling what happens with the officer that killed him."

Kaepernick on Tuesday also said he will donate $100,000 in each of the next 10 months to organizations that work toward goals consistent with his message of fighting racial inequaly. He said a website will also be set up to track where the money is donated, and how it is being spent.

Kaepernick has already promised to donate the first $1 million he earns this season to charity. Kaepernick is slated to make at least $12.3 million this season.

Support for Kaepernick's movement has been challenged by critics who believe the protest is unpatriotic and disrespectful to law enforcement officials.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Almost Game Plan Their Way Out of 16-13 Victory]]> Mon, 19 Sep 2016 16:04:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-602999270.jpg

A win is a win is a win, but man did the Giants go out of their way to secure the 16-13 victory in their home opener against the Saints.

 

One year after Eli Manning (6) and Drew Brees (7) combined for an NFL record 13 touchdown passes as New Orleans beat New York 52-48 in the Crescent City, the two teams largely played a game of field position –- and largely because the Giants seemed to think they were playing the reincarnation of the Bears’ 46 defense. It took until late in the second half for the Giants’ offensive architects to realize running the ball on just about every freaking first down was akin to starting a drive at second and 10. 

I said in previewing this game that New York would be making a mistake if they tried to control the clock by running the ball heavily with Rashad Jennings. Did they listen? No, they have a restraining order against me and I’m not allowed to contact the team in any capacity (which is a long story). But if you had a fantasy roster of Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and, uh, Rashad Jennings, where are you putting your money? If you want to win (or do better than barely escape with a 16-13 victory at home), you’re not trying to play keep away with freaking Jennings. 

Sigh. 

Anyway, let’s hand out some hardware for Hero, Nero, Zero, even though I’m tempted to make this a Nero, Nero, Nero affair with all the honors going to the Giants’ offensive coaches. 

Hero: Victor Cruz. 

Late in the fourth quarter, with the score tied 13-13, the Giants finally tired of running to darkness and threw a long pass down the near sideline to Odell Beckham Jr. The ball landed right in his Hamburger Helper mitts –- and he dropped it. It was one of the few deep throws attempted all day by Eli Manning, who probably had the quietest 300-yard passing game in NFL history (368 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions). 

If you have a future Hall of Fame quarterback and this particulate triumvirate of receivers, how are you not taking shots down field on the regular? Most likely Beckham, Shepard or Cruz is going to come down with the pass or at the very least break it up, which is exactly what happened on the play directly after Beckham’s drop. Manning threw long for Cruz and the salsa king of Chicago (is he from the Windy City? Well he should be) went up, tangled with the Saints’ d-back and game down with the ball on New Orleans’ doorstep. 

After killing the clock to assure Drew Brees wouldn’t have time for a game-winning drive, the Giants lined up for the game-winning 23-yard kick from Josh Brown. I’m glad it was only a chip shot for Brown and not something that he deserved praise for afterwards. This game was hard enough to stomach without having to see Brown (who missed Week 1 after being suspended for a domestic violence incident with his ex-wife) feted as a hero. 

Nero: The Giants’ offensive masterminds. 

After the game, Manning and the Giants were saying all the right things, attributing the low-scoring game to the Saints’ defensive game plan. Apparently that game plan involved hoping the Giants would barely take ANY shots down the field. 

In the first half, Jennings had this gaudy stat line: 11 carries for 24 yards, with a long of 7. Manning, meanwhile, was 15 of 18. But by all means, keep running the ball. 

Playing keep away makes sense if you’re a team with a sieve-like defense. The 2015 Giants were that team. The 2016 team are not. New cornerback Janoris Jenkins had a terrific game, breaking up several passes and picking up the ball and returning it for a touchdown after Johnathan Hankins blocked a New Orleans field goal attempt. The Saints were working hard for everything, with fleet-footed star receiver Brandin Cooks (68 yards) and Mark Ingram (9 carries for 30 yards) and Tim Hightower (3 carries for 9 yards) all held in check. 

Meanwhile, the Giants had three wide receivers with more than 86 yards receiving (including Shepard with a game-high 117 yards on 8 catches) – and they won by three points as time expired. 

But if you had Jennings on your fantasy team – final line: 13 carries for 27 yards – you must have been stoked. 

Zero: Offensive touchdowns by the Giants. 

Throw. The. Damn. Ball. Down. The. Field.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The 2016 Ryder Cup Golf Tournament]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 12:20:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1233327.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Collinsworth Talks Packers, Vikings Rivalry]]> Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:44:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Collinsworth+SNF+Preview.jpg Coming up on NBC's Sunday Night Football, the Minnesota Vikings play host to the green bay packers in an NFC central match-up. SNF analyst Cris Collinsworth offers his thoughts on the rivalry between the Packers and the Vikings.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Faces More Abuse Allegations]]> Sat, 17 Sep 2016 18:17:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/219*120/Gymnastics-Beam.jpg

More women have accused Dr. Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, of abuse, officials said Friday, after molestation claims against the doctor first surfaced earlier this week.

The Indianapolis Star reported Monday that two gymnasts, one an Olympic medal winner, had accused Nassar of sexually abusing them during treatment. One of the women filed a police report with Michigan State, and the other filed a lawsuit in California.

Since then, other former patients have gone to police and prosecutors with similar allegations, NBC News reports. Authorities have not said how many complaints have been logged, citing the ongoing investigation.

“We have taken multiple additional complaints,” said Jason Cody, a spokesman for Michigan State University, where Nassar has a sports medicine practice.

Nassar served as team doctor for USA Gymnastics from 1996 to 2015. He has not been charged with a crime. Michigan State reassigned him from clinical duties while it investigates.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Union Chief Asks Police to Stop Escorting Dolphins Until Players Stand]]> Sat, 17 Sep 2016 13:00:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16255729712420.jpg

The head of the Broward County's sheriff's union wants to end police escorts for the Miami Dolphins and is asking members to decline any assignments associated with the team in response to players taking a knee during the national anthem at a game last week.

In a letter Friday, President of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association Jeff Bell called for the "immediate" end of team-sponsored escorts and demanded a code of conduct by the Dolphins and the NFL against players kneeling during the "Star Spangled Banner." 

"As a law enforcement union, we certainly encourage people to exercise their constitutional right of freedom of speech," Bell wrote. "However, in certain professions, an individual’s freedom of speech must take a back seat to the organization or government entity that they choose to represent."

The call comes after four Dolphins players — Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Jelani Jenkins and Kenny Stills — knelt during the anthem at last Sunday's game against the Seahawks in Seattle. The players were following the lead of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said he began the practice in preseason games as a silent protest to denounce police brutality and the oppression of black people in America.

"I can not fathom why the Miami Dolphin organization and the NFL would allow the blatant disrespect of the American flag and what it stands for during the national anthem. It is a privilege to play in the NFL, not a given constitutional right," Bell wrote.

NBC 6 reached out to the Dolphins for a statement Friday but the team declined to comment. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Sunday that he stands by his players.

"I don't think it was any lack of respect," Ross said. "I think everybody here, our team and our whole organization, respects the flag and what it stands for, the soldiers and everything. These guys are really making a conversation of something that's a very important topic in this country and I'm 100 percent supportive of them."

Bell added that law enforcement officials often put themselves at risk while providing escorts, and said some have lost their lives protecting the same people protesting against police officers.

"The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association Local 6020 is seeking the immediate termination of all Miami Dolphin escorts until such time the Miami Dolphins and the National Football League set forth a policy that will not tolerate the disrespect of the American Flag and National Anthem during any sanctioned games or events," Bell wrote. "We no longer support an organization that values financial profit over a minimum conduct standard. What good is it to ask singers to sing the national anthem, honor guards to perform services or ask the United States Air Force to conduct fly overs during the National Anthem if the same organization will not even set a minimum code of conduct for its players? Until further notice, I respectfully ask all members of law enforcement not to work any detail associated with the Miami Dolphins unless ordered to do so."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Rockville at Berlin Plays Football for Deceased Student]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 19:23:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rockville_at_Berlin_Plays_Football_for_Deceased_Student_1200x675_767195203740.jpg The Berlin football team and community will remember Nick Zuk who lost his battle to cancer this summer. Nick would have been a senior on the Red Coats line. The teen played at the varsity level his freshman and sophomore years, but missed playing his junior year when he was diagnosed with cancer. The Berlin team is dedicating a monument to Sage Park on Friday night in Nick's honor. The team will start a new tradition by rubbing the monument before each game. ]]> <![CDATA[Yankees to Honor David Ortiz During Final Match-Up of Season]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 15:59:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-598207400.jpg

Red Sox versus Yankees is one of the biggest rivalries in sports, but the Yankees will honor the career of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz later this month at Yankee Stadium.

Ortiz is retiring at the end of the season and the Yankees announced yesterday that they will honor him with a ceremony on the field on Sept. 29 before the Yankees and Red Sox battle it out in their last game of the season, according to the Yankees’ website

In February, Ortiz told the New York Post that what his wants most of all is for fans in the Bronx to come to their feet for him.

“I would love it if the fans at Yankee Stadium gave me a standing ovation.’’ 

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team has been through this on the other side understands what to expect.

The Red Sox held ceremonies for Yankees stars Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter when they retired.

"Guys have been through it, and we understand why it takes place. He's been a great player for a long, long time, and he's been really good for the game of baseball," Girardi said, according to an article posted on the Yankees’ website.

Big Papi has been a member of the Red Sox since the 2003 season.

The Sept. 29 game at Yankee Stadium starts at 7:05 p.m.



Photo Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Bikini Walk of Shame' ]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 11:07:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-457909326_master.jpg

Some fantasy football leagues have toilet -- or consolation -- bowls to keep losers engaged when it's clear their teams are no longer in contention. In New Jersey, one group goes a step further. 

For the last two years, the loser of a league comprised mostly of pizzeria owners in Ocean County has had to walk down a highway wearing just a pair of bright pink bikini bottoms and holding a sign that reads "I suck at Fantasy Football."

Angelo Boemio, 42, made the bikini walk of shame this Labor Day, trotting along Route 9 in Toms River for 10 minutes as drivers beeped and paused to take photos, he told The New York Post

"One lady with four kids in her minivan drove back and forth five times while her kids laughed in the back," Boemio told the paper. 

He said residents called local police to report a disturbance. 

“People were calling to say there’s some weirdo in a bikini walking down Route 9, but the officers knew it was a product of fantasy loss, so they let us have our walk of shame,” Boemio told the Post. 

The league holds its draft on Labor Day, so whoever finishes last the prior year has all those months between the end of the season and September to build up dread -- or get into shape, as the loser before Boemio did. 

“Now the league is no longer about winning," Boemio said. "It’s just about not coming in last place. No one wants to be mortified.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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