<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usSat, 25 Feb 2017 20:36:55 -0500Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:36:55 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[SMU Beats out UConn 69-61]]> Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:52:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_17056664433141.jpg

The UConn men fell short to SMU on Saturday.

Shake Milton had 20 points and seven rebounds to lead No. 15 SMU over UConn 69-61. The Mustangs (25-4, 15-1 American Athletic Conference) won their 11th straight and haven't lost since Jan. 12 at Cincinnati. Semi Ojeleye had 16 points, Ben Moore added 15 and Sterling Brown had 11.

The Huskies (14-14, 9-7), who have dropped two straight after a four-game winning streak, were led by Kentan Facey's 15 points. Freshman Christian Vital and Vance Jackson each added 14, while Rodney Purvis had 11.

The Mustangs rode the hot shooting of Milton, who made 6 of 7 from 3-point range, to lead 41-30 at halftime. SMU led by as many as 16 points, with Milton's fifth 3-pointer giving it a 31-15 lead with 8:04 to play.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jameis Winston Speech Angers Parents]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:27:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/JameisWinston0224_MP4-148796316337200001.jpg

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is being criticized after comments he made to students at Melrose Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.

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<![CDATA[Rory McIlroy Commits to 2017 Travelers Championship]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:48:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GOLF_AP_16174321480375.jpg

Reigning FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy will be playing in the 2017 Travelers Championship.

It will be his first time teeing it up for the tournament at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

“I’m delighted that the Travelers Championship is part of my schedule this year. It’ll be such a great experience,” McIlroy said in a news release. “The course should really set up well for my game and I’m really looking forward to teeing it up there in June against some of the TOUR’s best players.”

McIlroy, 27, is a four-time major winner and is the number 3 player in the Official World Golf Rankings.

“We’re thrilled that fans throughout the region will have the opportunity to see one of golf’s brightest stars,” Nathan Grube, Travelers Championship Tournament Director, said. “It’s always our goal to bring the best players in the world, like Rory, to Connecticut. He has accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time, and we are all looking forward to seeing Rory in June."

Travelers Championship tournament week is June 19-25.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Charles Oakley Attends Knicks-Cavaliers Game in Cleveland ]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:59:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/oakley+dolan.jpg

Charles Oakley, still at odds with the New York Knicks, watched his former team in his hometown Thursday night.

The Cleveland native sat next to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert as the Knicks played the defending NBA champions.

The former power forward attended his first Knicks game since being arrested after getting into an altercation with security guards at Madison Square Garden earlier this month.

Oakley has a strained relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan, who banned the former player a few days following the incident. Dolan lifted the ban after meeting with Oakley and NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Oakley has yet to accept the invitation and hasn't returned to the Garden.

Oakley became a fan favorite when he played for the Knicks from 1988-98, but has had a falling out with the organization in recent years. He attended the Knicks game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 8. and sat a few rows from Dolan.

Security guards approached Oakley early in the game and an incident ensued. Oakley was restrained after pushing a security guard before being removed from the building and handcuffed.

Cavaliers star LeBron James has come out in support of Oakley. The four-time MVP finished a recent postgame interview with reporters saying, "Charles Oakley for president."

Oakley, who attended high school in Cleveland, tweeted his plans of returning to his hometown Thursday morning.

While Oakley's situation has created another element of controversy in the Knicks' lost season, coach Jeff Hornacek found some humor in the situation.

"He's always said he's a Knicks guy, so hopefully he's cheering for us," Hornacek said before Thursday's game.



Photo Credit: AP/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Jameis Winston: I Used 'Poor Word Choice' in Talk With Students]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:44:48 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-630219098.jpg

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston says he "used a poor word choice" when he told female students at a Florida elementary school that ladies are "suppose to be silent."

While speaking to third- through fifth-graders at Melrose Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Winston intended to inspire the students with his three rules of life: God, school and the idea that "I can do anything I put my mind to," according to the Tampa Bay Times.

But when some of the male students appeared to be bored by the speech, Winston's attempt to energize them seemed to disparage the females in the room, the Times reported.

"But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to," Winston said. "Now a lot of boys aren't supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I'm saying? One day y'all are going to have a very deep voice like this. One day, you'll have a very, very deep voice."

He continued: "But the ladies, they're supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong."

Winston later told the paper that he misspoke and his comments have overshadowed a larger message.

"I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn't seem to be paying attention, and I didn't want to single him out so I asked all the boys to stand up," Winston said. "During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some."

The NFL quarterback has spent much of his pro career trying to rehabilitate his public image after a career at Florida State that was marred by several off-field controversies.

Winston was accused of sexual assault by a fellow student in 2012, but was never charged with the crime. He settled a civil lawsuit in Decemeber  filed by the woman.

He led the Seminoles to a national title and won the Heisman Trophy in 2013. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Tom Brady Compiles Hilarious 'Suspect Board' of Possible Jersey Thieves]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:50:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/brady-jersey-GettyImages-485055278.jpg

Tom Brady has remained fairly quiet about the investigation into his missing Super Bowl jersey that was reportedly stolen from his locker.

The jersey — valued at $500,000, according to a Houston Police Department report — was worn by the star quarterback during the New England Patriots’ 34-28 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 5.

Brady noticed his No. 12 jersey was missing from his bag in the team's designated locker room inside NRG Stadium after the game. He told a team equipment manager he remembered putting it in his locker and that "someone stole it."

And while the Texas Rangers are on the case to find the jersey caper, Brady has compiled his own list of possible suspects.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Brady posted a photo of a “suspect board” of possible culprits. The prime suspect: Julian Edelman, who Brady calls a “sneaky lil squirrel.”

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The hilarious board also lists Gollum from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit,” the "guy who stole Khaleesi's egg" on the HBO series "Game of Thrones,” Lady Gaga, Steve Carrell's character from "The Office,” Michael Scott, Brady's dog Scooby ("always steals Fluffy's food), film shark “Jaws” ("takes things without asking," "violent history”), the Pokemon character Gary Oak ("bad kid!”), the O'Doyle brothers from the Adam Sandler film "Billy Madison,” the clown who stole "Air Bud" ("who steals a dog from a kid?") and even Brady himself. The quarterback pinned his infamous "deflategate" courtroom sketch photo on the board, with the caption "Creepy Me.”



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    <![CDATA[Magic Johnson Takes Lakers Reins Amid Front Office Shakeup]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:53:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lakers-shakeup.jpg

    Lakers legend and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson has been named president of basketball operations in a major front office restructuring for the storied franchise.

    General manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, team president Jeannie Buss' brother, have been relieved of their duties, the Lakers announced Tuesday. The restructuring comes during the worst four-year stretch in franchise history.

    "Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect," Jeanie Buss said. "Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me."

    Kupchak had been the 16-time NBA champion franchise's GM since 2000, when Jerry West left the club. He had been in the front office for three decades, including the last 17 as general manager -- the league's longest current stretch as front office chief. 

    Jim Buss had been in the team's front office for 19 years. 

    The team has already started a search for a new general manager, the result of which will be announced in "short order," Jeanie Buss added.

    Johnson, a beloved fan-favorite who guided the team to five league titles during his 13 NBA seasons, said he hopes to restore the franchise's mystique fter four straight losing seasons.

    "It's a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family," said Johnson. "Since 1979, I've been a part of the Laker Nation and I'm passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions." 

    The Lakers are 19-39 this season after an encouraging start under first-year head coach Walton. They finished 17-65 last season, a franchise low in the last year of Kobe Bryant's two decades with the team.

    The Lakers clinched back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, but then descended to the depths of the NBA -- a dramatic reversal of fortunes for one of the NBA most popular and successful franchises. After an extraordinary trade for Pau Gasol propelled the Lakers to three straight NBA Finals appearances, Kupchak and Jim Buss made a series of high-profile personnel moves that did not pan out. 

    They made a pricey trade for Dwight Howard, who fled the franchise after one year, and another deal for Steve Nash, who barely played thanks to back woes. The Lakers are still feeling the effects of that deal, which will cost them their first-round pick this summer if it isn't in the top three.

    The front officer moves come two days before the league's trade deadline. 

    This will be Johnson's first foray into a decision-making NBA executive role, but he has been a successful businessman and investor since his playing career ended. He also briefly coached the Lakers, but dropped his ceremonial title as a team vice president last June after his frequent criticisms of Jim Buss and former coaches.

    He sold his ownership stake in 2010.

    The Lakers' recent ineptitude didn't hurt their place as Los Angeles' most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide brand, but Jeanie Buss finally tired of the apparent lack of progress. The Lakers have a talented young core with D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson, but haven't been able to translate that potential into wins despite playing an exciting style under Walton.

    The team also parted ways with Vice President of Public Relations John Black.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    <![CDATA[Police Value Tom Brady's Stolen Super Bowl Jersey at $500K]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:16:30 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-634604296.jpg

    Houston police have released an official report for the theft of the jersey New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wore during Super Bowl LI.

    The jersey — valued at $500,000, according to the report — was reportedly stolen after the Patriots' 34-28 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in overtime on Feb. 5.

    Brady, who was named the game's MVP, noticed his No. 12 jersey was missing from his bag in the team’s designated locker room inside NRG Stadium after the game. He told a team equipment manager he remembered putting it in his locker and that "someone stole it."

    After searching, Brady told the team's owner Robert Kraft that the jersey had been stolen. Kraft replied, "You'd better look online."

    While Brady walked to the team bus, a reporter asked the quarterback if he had recovered the jersey. Brady later joked with a reporter that it would "be on eBay at some point."

    Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked the Texas Rangers to help the Houston Police Department locate the jersey.

    "Tom Brady's jersey has great historical value," Patrick said in a statement. "It will likely go into the Hall of Fame one day. It is important that history does not record that it was stolen in Texas."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    <![CDATA[SCSU Swimmer With Autism Comes in 2nd in Mile]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:05:38 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tyler+Steskla.JPG

    Tyler Steskla, a junior from Cheshire, says swimming changed his life. He has autism and says the sport has helped him connect with others. On Sunday, the Southern Connecticut State University who has gone the extra mile in life came in second in the 1650 free, or mile race, in the NE10. 

    Steskla was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old and didn’t speak his first sentence until he was 4. The Southern Connecticut State University student says swimming has given him the connection to his fellow athletes that helps him connect with them. 

    Sunday, he finished second in the 1650 free, or mile race, in a time of 16:14.45. 

    In case you missed the story Kevin Nathan did on Tyler last year, you can watch it here. 



    Photo Credit: Southern Connecticut State University]]>
    <![CDATA[Michael Jordan's Top Sports Moments]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 09:11:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TITLEMJ.jpg Air Jordan turns 54 today. From the unforgettable "double nickel" game at Madison Square Garden to the iconic "Flu Game" against the Utah Jazz, take a look back at some of Michael Jordan's greatest moments on the NBA hardwood.

    Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
    <![CDATA[Gymnastics Doc Used Hide-and-Seek Games to Molest: Accuser]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:11:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/gymnasticsdoctormolestor.jpg

    A woman who says the disgraced team doctor for USA Gymnastics molested her as a child testified Friday that he turned games of hide-and-seek in the basement of his home into abuse sessions, NBC News reported.

    "Almost every time I was there for a couple of years, something occurred," the woman, a former family friend, said during a preliminary hearing before a judge ordered disgraced doctor Larry Nassar to stand trial on state sex-abuse charges.

    Nassar, 53, is also charged in federal court with possession of child pornography — more than 37,000 images, including Go Pro video he allegedly made himself.



    Photo Credit: AP]]>
    <![CDATA[Tom Brady: 'Next Year Is Not Going to Be My Last']]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:48:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/what-ap.jpg

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke openly about his future plans and how long he wants to play for in an interview this week with Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

    "I'd like to play until my mid-40s. Then I'll make a decision," said Brady, who is now 39. "If I'm still feeling like I'm feeling today, who knows?"

    He went on to say that he knows for certain that next year "is not going to be my last year."

    Brady also spoke about how he'd like to finish his career with the Patriots, but he also knows that's not entirely up to him.

    "I don't ever want to play for another coach. I don't want to play for another owner," he said. "But this is professional sports. I've seen Jerry Rice play for the Raiders, Joe Montana play for the Chiefs, Brett Favre play for a lot of teams."



    Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
    <![CDATA[Lawsuit Against Lance Armstrong Can Go Ahead: Judge]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 07:35:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lancearmstrongmara.jpg

    A federal judge has allowed a civil lawsuit brought by the U.S. government against disgraced former pro cyclist Lance Armstrong to proceed, tossing aside Armstrong's arguments that the case should be dismissed, NBC News reported.

    The Justice Department alleges in the lawsuit, made under the False Claims Act, that Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, defrauded the government by doping while sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service. The Justice Department declined to comment Tuesday.

    From 2000 to 2004, the Postal Service paid Armstrong's team, the aptly named U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, a little more than $32 million, most of which went to Armstrong because he was the team's star rider, according to court filings.

    But the government is seeking damages nearing $100 million, about three times what USPS paid in sponsorships to the Postal Service Team during periods that fall within the False Claims Act's statute of limitations.



    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File]]>
    <![CDATA[Charles Oakley's MSG Ban Lifted, But He Wants an Apology]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:04:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/oakley+dolan.jpg

    Charles Oakley is allowed back in Madison Square Garden, though the former New York Knicks star says he wants an apology before he would return. 

    MSG chairman James Dolan banned Oakley last week, two days after the former power forward had an altercation with security guards while attending a game and was arrested. 

    But the sides reconciled, helped by a meeting Monday at NBA headquarters with Commissioner Adam Silver and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. Jordan and Oakley were teammates in Chicago before Oakley was traded to New York, where he became a fan favorite with the Knicks from 1988-98. 

    Dolan then decided Oakley is welcome back at the arena, a person briefed on the discussions told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ESPN.com first reported the decision. 

    Oakley later told ESPN: "It's not about being at the Garden. It's about the fans. I want them to apologize to the fans. I told the commissioner I want them to apologize to the fans." 

    Oakley was asked on "The Dan Le Batard Show" if he would attend Madison Square Garden as Dolan's quest. 

    "Right now, no," he said. "I told him yesterday." 

    "I have never asked for nothing," Oakley added. "I love the fans in New York. They've been supportive. One of the things I told the commissioner, I want to have a press conference and I want him to apologize to me and the fans. They've had my back and they've felt the pain. I really appreciate the people all around who've had my back." 

    The Knicks said they had nothing to add beyond a statement issued Monday by Silver, who said both sides were apologetic about the rift and thanked them for working toward a resolution. 

    Oakley was a popular player in New York but his relationship with Dolan became strained after his criticisms of the team and its management. The Knicks stopped providing him with complimentary tickets and inviting him to team functions. 

    Oakley still attended a few games a year on his own, including last Wednesday's, when he was seated a few rows behind Dolan and was surrounded by security in the first quarter. He shoved a couple of security officials before he was pulled away and handcuffed. 

    Dolan announced the ban during an interview with ESPN Radio on Friday, though he said he hoped to see Oakley return someday. Dolan said he believed Oakley had anger or alcohol issues he first needed to address. 

    The Knicks are on the road this week for their only game before the All-Star break. They don't play at home again until Feb. 25. 

    Dolan welcomed back another estranged former Knick, Latrell Sprewell, on Sunday for the team's most recent game. Sprewell hadn't been back at MSG since 2004 following his falling out with the owner.



    Photo Credit: AP/Getty]]>
    <![CDATA[Jerry Remy Reveals He Is Battling Cancer Again]]> Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:58:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jerry+Remy+021317.JPG

    Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy has been battling lung cancer again this offseason, he announced on social media Monday.

    "I've been diagnosed with cancer again but it's under control," Remy wrote on Twitter.

    Remy previously missed much of the 2009 season as he recovered from lung cancer. In 2013, cancer returned to his lungs.

    Later Monday, Remy invited reporters to NESN to answer questions.

    "The time that the PET scan lit up, and when I thought that the cancer was spreading, that was an horrific time. That was about a 10-day period where you didn't know. And I wouldn't want anybody to go through that. And that happened to coincide with the holidays and New Year's and all of that," Remy said. "Finally, I got the good news back that it had not spread."

    Remy confirmed that he will, indeed, return to the broadcast booth for the 2017 season.

    "I don't see anything that's going to stand in the way," Remy said. "The heavy lifting is basically done, and my next step is just getting clearance to be able to fly and get down to Florida. I'm scheduled to do four Spring Training games, which I'm sure I'll do, and I'm scheduled to do 115 in the regular season, which I'm anxious to do."

    The beloved broadcaster has provided color commentary during Red Sox games since 1988. Before that, he was a second baseman on the team from 1978 through 1984.

    He says he is excited to get back to work.

    "I'm actually looking forward to it," he explained. "The change of pace is going to be awfully nice, to think about baseball and warm weather, [rather] than what I've been thinking about for the last three months."



    Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
    <![CDATA[Former Miami Dolphin Quentin Moses Dies in GA House Fire]]> Sun, 12 Feb 2017 15:41:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/021217+quentin+moses.jpg

    Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Quentin Moses was one of three people killed in a house fire in Georgia early Sunday, authorities said.

    Moses, 33, was found unconscious inside the burning home in the city of Monroe just after 6 a.m. after firefighters arrived, Monroe Fire Department officials said.

    He was moved outside and given CPR then taken to a local hospital where he died. After the roof collapsed, firefighters later discovered the bodies of 10-year-old Jasmine Godard and her mother, 31-year-old Andria Godard, inside the home.

    The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

    Friends and former teammates took to Twitter Sunday to offer their condolences.

    Moses was from Georgia and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round in 2007. He later signed with the Dolphins and stayed with the team through the 2010 season. He registered 3.5 sacks in 44 games.

    "We were deeply saddened to hear about the tragic news involving Quentin Moses. Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time," The Dolphins said in a statement Sunday.

    Moses had most recently been serving as a football coach at Reinhardt University.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    <![CDATA[Marlins: Jose Fernandez's Estate Targeted by Two Lawsuits]]> Sat, 11 Feb 2017 18:22:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/josefernandezfeuerherd.jpg

    Jose Fernandez's estate will be named as the defendant in a pair of negligence and personal injury lawsuits.

    When the former ace of the Miami Marlins tragically passed away in September, two other men perished with him. The parents of both men will be the plaintiffs in the lawsuits. Each lawsuit is seeking $2 million in damages from Fernandez's estate. One lawsuit was filed on Friday, and a second will become official on Monday.

    Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Jesus Macias were the other men with Fernandez on his boat that evening. Rivero who was 25 and Macias who was 27 had alcohol in their systems at the time of the crash, but were not over the legal limit. Rivero's toxicology report showed cocaine, but Macias' did not. Fernandez however was legally drunk and also had cocaine in his body. Both families are being represented by attorney Christopher Royer.

    Fernandez's career was brief, and therefore his earnings were minimal compared to his potential. Estimates of the value of his estate hover around $2.5 million, which would be lower than the demands in the lawsuits combined. A settlement however could be possible and is something Royer mentioned in a statement. 

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    “We remain open to a settlement and are hopeful a prompt resolution can be achieved to spare these families, and that of Jose Fernandez too, from any additional suffering,” said Royer.

    One of the biggest mysteries surrounding that tragic evening, has been the identity of the boat's driver. Ralph Fernandez, who is representing Fernandez's estate believes Fernandez was not driving the boat. A final report on the accident is still pending. The identity of the driver may be a part of that report. The estate's attorney also questions the use of cocaine by Fernandez.

    “There are indications that his cocaine use that night was not voluntary,” Fernandez stated.

    In addition to the tragic losses that evening of the three men, Fernandez left behind a pregnant girlfriend. 



    Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
    <![CDATA[More Patriots Stars Boycott Visit to Trump White House]]> Sat, 11 Feb 2017 09:59:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/newenglandpatriotsfeuerherd.jpg

    Six New England Patriots players have a message for the Trump White House: We're just not that into you, NBC News reported.

    Since the team won an historic fifth Super Bowl with a stunning come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in overtime on February 5th, a growing number of players on the team have told the press that they would turn down an invite to commemorate their victory at the White House.

    On Thursday, running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive lineman Alan Branch said during separate interviews they would not make the trip. Defensive end Chris Long tweeted the same.

    Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower had previously said they would not attend.

    And while some have not explicitly cited President Donald Trump and his policies as the reason — some have — and the number of players planning to boycott a future photo-op is unprecedented compared to years past.

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    Photo Credit: AP]]>
    <![CDATA[Back-to-Back Falls Can't Crush UCLA Cheerleader's Spirit]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:22:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/207*120/02-10-2017-ucla-cheerleader-generic.jpg

    UCLA's win over Oregon wasn't the only impressive comeback Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion.

    A Bruins cheerleader returned to the court during the Pac-12 men's basketball game after taking two frightening spills -- once during a timeout routine, again as she was being carried into the lockerroom.

    The first hard fall happened during a timeout, when she slipped from on top of a team member's shoulders at mid-court. A few seconds later, an assistant carrying her slipped on what appeared to be a bag left near the baseline -- both tumbled to the ground in a heap.

    The cheerleader was checked out by medical staff and returned to the court for the No. 10 Bruins in their come-from-behind 82-79 win over No. 5 Oregon, according to the UCLA Spirit Squad Twitter account. UCLA was down by 19 in the first half before storming back for a key win in the race for the Pac-12 title. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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