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Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 5:12 PM
Updated: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 5:12 PM
Simone Biles watched as her friends and former Olympic teammates came forward to detail abuse at the hands of a now-imprisoned former USA Gymnastics team doctor.
Drawing in part from their strength, the four-time gold medalist acknowledged Monday she is among the athletes who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar.
Biles, who won five medals overall at the 2016 Olympics, released a statement via Twitter outlining that abuse. Nassar, who spent more than two decades as a physician at USA Gymnastics while also working at Michigan State University, has admitted sexually assaulting gymnasts, possessing child pornography and molesting girls who sought medical treatment. He was sentenced in December to 60 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography and is facing another 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting seven girls.
Biles, now 20, called Nassar's behavior "completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially from someone whom I was told to trust." She joins a list of high-profile gymnasts who have come out against Nassar, including six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, 2012 all-around champion Gabby Douglas and two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney.
Like her Olympic teammates, Biles detailed abuse by Nassar that he disguised as treatment.
"It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the 'special' treatment," Biles wrote.
Biles is in the beginning stages of a return to competition, a journey that includes visits to the national team's training center at the Karolyi Ranch north of Houston, where she said the abuse occurred.
"It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused," Biles wrote.
USA Gymnastics initially agreed to buy the Karolyi Ranch in the summer of August 2016, following the retirement of longtime national team coordinator Martha Karolyi, but then backed out of the deal. The national team continues to use the facility while options for a replacement are explored.
Biles says she initially wondered if she was to blame.
"For too long I've asked myself, 'Was I too naive? Was it may fault?'" Biles wrote. "I now know the answer to those questions. No. No. It was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others."
USA Gymnastics said in a statement it is "heartbroken, sorry and angry" that Biles and other athletes were harmed by Nassar.
"USA Gymnastics' support is unwavering for Simone and all athletes who courageously came forward to share their experiences," the organization said in a release. "We are our athletes' advocates. USA Gymnastics will continue to listen to our athletes and our members in our efforts of creating a culture of empowerment with a relentless focus on athlete safety every single day."
The organization has taken several steps in recent months. President and CEO Steve Penny resigned under pressure last March and was replaced by Kerry Perry, who took over on Dec. 1.
The organization hired Toby Stark, a child welfare advocate, as its director of SafeSport last summer. Part of Stark's mandate is educating members on rules, educational programs and reporting. The federation also adopted over 70 recommendations by Deborah Daniels, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw an extensive independent review.
That's not far enough for some. Raisman has urged the organization to remove chairman of the board Paul Parilla among others. Biles, like Raisman, wants USA Gymnastics to take a deeper look at the conditions that allowed Nassar's behavior to run unchecked for so long.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:16 PM
Former USC Trojans and now Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing will reportedly be released into free agency.
The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain first reported the news.
The Texans have told ILB Brian Cushing that he'll be released sometime before the league year begins March 14. The emergence of second-year ILBs Zach
Cunningham and Dylan Cole made Cushing expendable. They'll save $7.64 milliion under the salary cap when he's released.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) February 19, 2018
ESPN’s Sarah Barshop added some context with regards to salary cap.
Releasing Cushing will put the Texans at around $64 million in cap space. It’s a good offseason for them to have that much money since they don’t have a draft pick in the first or second round. https://t.co/1q2mgmBdwL
— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) February 19, 2018
Cushing missed 10 games last season serving a suspension for his second violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He finished the year with 16 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Since being drafted out of USC in 2009 as a first round pick by the Texans, Cushing has started 104 games for Houston.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:13 PM
Houston (Texas) Dekaney cornerback Marcus needs more time to evaluate his options.
Originally planning to announce his decision on March 3, Banks Tweeted on Sunday evening that he’ll no longer be announcing at that time.
I will not be making my Decision on March 3rd , Need more time … God Bless .
— Marcus Banks (@MarcusBanks1k) February 19, 2018
A key target for Tom Herman and the Texas, Banks toured the Forty Acres over the weekend for the Longhorns’ junior day. Banks’ update came shortly thereafter posting pictures of himself donning a Texas uniform.
The University of Texas . pic.twitter.com/PlGcjpc0Hl
— Marcus Banks (@MarcusBanks1k) February 19, 2018
A 4-star prospect out of Houston, a city in which the Longhorns thrived recruiting throughout the 2018 cycle, Banks is among the most notable targets for Texas this cycle. As is stands, the Longhorns are considered a frontrunner for Banks, along with Texas A&M, and can even be considered the team to be, as Texas owns all five of Banks’ Crystal Ball projections.
Had Banks stuck with the March 3 decision date, it’s quite possible, even likely that Texas’ 2019 class added its second pledge, but that won’t be the case for now.
Banks is arguably the Longhorns top cornerback target.
A 6-foot, 170-pound prospect, Banks is ranked as the nation’s No. 345 player, No. 31 cornerback and the No. 42 player in Texas, per the 247Sports Composite.
The post Key Texas CB target Marcus Banks postpones commitment date appeared first on Diehards.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:06 PM
Peyton Manning took a detour from the football field to the race track this weekend, and was featured as the driver of the pace car at the Daytona 500.
He gave somewhat of a nervous interview to FOX while he was making a lap around the track ahead of the fastest stock cars in the world. But that only added to the hilarity.
“I’ve never been sideways before,” Manning said as he drove the car around a turn.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 18, 2018
AJ Dillon ended up winning the event, the first Daytona 500 victory of his career. Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin filled out the podium.
Manning was in the news earlier this week as the former NFL star is being pursued by both ESPN and FOX to have a role in their NFL coverage for the 2018 season. ESPN is reportedly being more aggressive, and they have a spot to fill after Jon Gruden left the Monday Night Football franchise for the Oakland Raiders.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 2:55 PM
CLEVELAND — Ohio State doesn’t take the idea of losing in-state recruiting battles lightly. The Buckeyes have rarely lost players from the state of Ohio to outside programs during Urban Meyer’s tenure as coach, and they’d like to keep it that way. Unfortunately for Ohio State, the No. 2 prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class, Akron Archbishop Hoban guard Nolan Rumler, has been committed to rival Michigan since the summer before his junior season.
That doesn’t mean the Buckeyes are giving up hope on Rumler, even if the 4-star standout lineman is a solid commitment to Michigan.
“Ohio State has been coming at me pretty hard,” Rumler said. “They want me to play center for them and that’s what they’ve been telling me. They keep saying they really like me and that I’m still a priority for them. They’re still swinging, for sure.”
The No. 4 guard and No. 62 prospect overall on the 247Sports composite rankings, Rumler is an elite talent on the offensive line. He spent much of the Under Armour All-America camp event on Feb. 18 in Cleveland dominating a highly rated defensive line. Rumler eventually left the camp with a coveted invite to the annual Under Armour All-American Game in January, cementing his status as an elite line prospect.
By sheer coincidence, Rumler earned his invite while competing at center (for the first time), the position that Ohio State has said he’s projected to play if he goes there.
“I think I could play center. I would have to work at it, since I’ve never played [the position] before until [Sunday]. It’s weird, but I’d just have to work at it,” Rumler said.
Ohio State has been working to gain traction with the Akron native and make a significant dent in his recruitment. The Buckeyes were heavily involved with Rumler prior to his commitment to Michigan. Although he’s been a lifelong Wolverines fan and Michigan is his self-described dream school, Ohio State is hoping to get him back on campus again for a chance to change his mind.
“I don’t know [if I’d take any more visits while committed]. I’d really have to think about that,” Rumler explained. “I really like Michigan and I’m 100 percent committed right now, so I probably wouldn’t, but you never know what’s going to happen in the future.”
Many would be surprised if anything changed with Rumler’s commitment status. He’s been widely regarded as a lock to sign with Michigan in the future due to his lifelong affinity for the school and the strong relationships he maintains with the coaching staff. Those bonds remain fully intact.
“It’s been going great with Michigan. I was just up there two weeks ago. I’m talking to Coach [Tim] Drevno every week and talking with Coach [Jim] Harbaugh here and there. It’s a really great relationship,” said Rumler. “I’ve spoken with Coach [Ed] Warinner, but I’ve known him since he was at Minnesota, so that’s not too new for me. There’s really nothing with the coaching changes that have affected me since my guy is Coach Drevno.”
That doesn’t mean Rumler will refuse to consider the possibility of further changes. While no one around the Michigan program expects Harbaugh to be gone from Ann Arbor after next season, Rumler must prepare contingency plans should anything strange happen at Michigan on any front.
“If there were any major coaching changes or, for some reasons, they don’t want me anymore, I do have backup options that I would go look at,” Rumler said.
For now, it seems like any possibility of Rumler flipping or de-committing from Michigan is unlikely. He has been keeping most of his focus on improving as a player and teammate and preparing for his senior season at Hoban. His objectives have been clear, culminating in the Under Armour All-American Game invitation.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve wanted to play in this game ever since I can remember. I’ve watched it on TV every year, so I’m very happy right now. It was a fun day and it was very productive. I think I got better. I went against some very tough kids,” Rumler said. “I tried a new position at center and played a little guard, where I’ve never played either of those before in a camp situation.”
Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. Whether Rumler’s recruitment ends in a battle between the two old rivals and Big Ten powerhouses or he chooses to play his college football somewhere else entirely, the young guard from Akron should be bound for great things.