Raiders fire Jack Del Rio as coach; Jon Gruden mentioned as replacement

Published: Monday, January 01, 2018 @ 3:50 AM

Jack Del Rio went 25-23 in three seasons as the Oakland Raiders' head coach.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Jack Del Rio went 25-23 in three seasons as the Oakland Raiders' head coach.(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Oakland Raiders fired Jack Del Rio as coach Sunday after the team’s season-ending 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, The Oakland Tribune reported.

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Speculation immediately focused on ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, who coached the team from 1998 to 2001, as the Raiders’ next coach.

Del Rio, who went 7-9, 12-4 and 6-10 in his three years as Raiders coach, said team owner Mark Davis broke the news to him after Sunday’s game.

“I spoke to Mark Davis after the game and Mark let me know that he’s not going to be bringing me back,” Del Rio said. “He told me he loved me and appreciated all that I did to kind of get this program going in the right direction, but that he felt the need to change.”

Del Rio signed a three-year contract extension following last year’s playoff season.

On Saturday night, ESPN reported that Davis was prepared to pursue Gruden with a strong offer that could include an ownership stake in the team.

A contract including an ownership stake would have to be approved by NFL owners.

Gruden reacted with a chuckle when asked about the report.

“C’mon man, I’m out with my wife. This is crazy,” Gruden told the Tribune in a telephone interview. “I was supposed to be going to Tampa last week. What have they got? I don’t know.

“I’ve got nothing to report. I’m at an Outback Bowl event with my wife.”

USA Gymnastics says it will not fine McKayla Maroney if she speaks out against team doctor

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 7:00 AM

Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast ‘I Was Molested By Team Usa Doctor For 7 Years’

USA Gymnastics said Tuesday evening it will not fine gymnast McKayla Maroney if she speaks publicly about the alleged abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Maroney, who signed a nondisclosure agreement for $1.25 million with USA Gymnastics in in December 2016 in exchange for her silence, is currently suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University with the claim that the nondisclosure agreement she signed after claiming Nassar molested her was illegal. 

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USA Gymnastics said in a statement it has not and will not seek retribution if Maroney speaks about alleged abuse by Nassar during his four-day sentencing.

As of Wednesday morning, Maroney was not expected to speak at Nassar’s sentencing.

"USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,” the statement to USA TODAY read. “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them."

In response to reports Tuesday that USA Gymnastics could fine Maroney up to $100,000 if she spoke out against Nassar at his sentencing like nearly 100 other alleged victims, model Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine.

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“The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,” Teigen wrote.

After Nassar pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in November, his sentencing on seven sexual assault charges began Tuesday. 

The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.

Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 5:45 AM

Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast ‘I Was Molested By Team Usa Doctor For 7 Years’

One after one, gymnasts and other victims of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, 54, stepped forward in a Michigan courtroom Tuesday to recount the sexual abuse and emotional trauma they say he inflicted on them as children.

U.S. Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are among the many women to accuse Nassar of abuse.

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Nearly 100 victims are expected to address the court during the four-day sentencing hearing. 

However, former gold medalist McKayla Maroney may not speak out.

In December 2016, Maroney signed a confidential settlement with the group that trains U.S. Olympic gymnasts to keep allegations that she was sexually abused by Nassar a secret.

The settlement included nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses and Maroney or her parents could be sued for more than $100,000 for violating the agreement. The suit seeks to invalidate those provisions under a California law that prohibits settlements in civil cases that could result in criminal sex offense charges.

Chrissy Teigen, who is from Snohomish, Washington, is offering to pay Maroney's possible fine so Maroney can speak out against Nassar. 

On Tuesday, Teigen tweeted the following about the fine:

"The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla."

Maroney said Nassar's abuse started in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Chrissy Teigen Fast Facts

Celtics great Jo Jo White dead at 71

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 9:32 PM

Jo Jo White was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
Boston25News.com
Jo Jo White was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.(Boston25News.com)

JoJo White, who played with the Celtics from 1969 to 1979 and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, passed away at the age of 71. 

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News of White's passing was first reported by the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, who received word from one of White's former teammates. 

The news was confirmed by the Celtics shortly before the team's game against New Orleans Tuesday night. 

White joined the Celtics after a successful college career at Kansas. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 1970, was named an All-Star seven times and had his No. 10 retired by the Celtics in 1982.

White averaged 21 points per game in the Celtics six-game win over the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA Finals. He was named Finals MVP. 

He played for six Celtics teams that reached the playoffs. He had a 13-year career in the NBA, playing two years with the Golden State Warriors and one with the Kansas City Kings after leaving the Celtics. He averaged 20.2 points per game during his career.

At least 4 Olympians won’t accept invitation to White House

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

Figure skater Ashley Wagner, skier Gus Kenworthy and skier Lindsey Vonn took a selfie during the 100 Days Out 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Celebration in November.
Mike Stobe
Figure skater Ashley Wagner, skier Gus Kenworthy and skier Lindsey Vonn took a selfie during the 100 Days Out 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Celebration in November.(Mike Stobe)

Controversy has hit the Winter Olympics before the torch has been lit in South Korea, as four U.S. Olympians — plus one “furious” ice skater who didn’t end up making the cut — preempted a White House invite from President Donald Trump by turning it down.

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Skiers Gus Kenworthy and Lindsey Vonn, and figure skaters Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon have all said publicly that they will not accept a White House invite from the president in the event that they receive one.

Figure skater Ashley Wagner said the same, but she didn’t make Team USA.

Kenworthy and Rippon, who are both openly gay, said that they do not support Trump’s policies and do not want to appear that they do by visiting the White House.

“I am very proud to represent the U.S. but I don’t stand by Trump and his cabinet and their policies,” Kenworthy said. ”I do not want to feign approval for policies that are in place and things that are being pushed at the moment, by going. If I was invited I would decline my spot.”

Rippon said that he felt it is his “duty” not to go.

“Athletes are given a really special platform. It’s our duty, as athletes, to be role models. I won’t go to the White House,” Rippon told the BBC. “I won’t go because I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome there. I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.”

USA Today reported that Nathan Chen and Ashley Wagner would also decline an invite. In Wagner’s case, it is moot since she did not qualify for Team USA.

Wagner notably missed out on an Olympic appearance, said that she was “furious” about the decision-making by the judges and that she believed that she wasn’t treated fairly.

“I’m furious. I am absolutely furious. I know when I go and I lay it down, and I absolutely left one jump on the table. But for me to put out two programs that I did at this competition, as solid as I skated, and to get those scores, I am furious, and I think deservedly so,” she said. “I am absolutely OK with [judges] being strict on my [jump] rotations […] but you know it needs to be across the board. I don’t necessarily feel like it’s been that way at this event, so we’ll see how things pan out.”

The U.S. Figure Skating selection committee responded that the judges “absolutely made the right call.”

Wagner later changed her tune.

Lindsey Vonn said as early as the beginning of December that she hoped to “represent the people of the United States, not the president.”

When asked if she would accept an invite she replied “Absolutely not.”