ABC - Sports News

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
L.A. Clippers 110, Indiana 99
Boston 110, Cleveland 88
Toronto 93, Chicago 92
Sacramento 119, Houston 118
Milwaukee 110, Orlando 101
Detroit 105, New Orleans 103
Phoenix 125, Minnesota 109
Oklahoma City 104, Utah 90
Memphis 110, Golden State 102

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
NY Islanders 5, Tampa Bay 1
Columbus 5, Washington 2
Ottawa 5, Boston 2
Calgary 5, Colorado 4 -- OT

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Philadelphia 23, NY Giants 17 -- OT

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Photo by Ben Solomon / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Four of college football's biggest stars are heading to New York City for the Heisman Trophy Ceremony on Saturday.

Three quarterbacks -- LSU's Joe Burrow, Ohio State's Justin Fields, and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts -- along with Ohio State's defensive lineman Chase Young, were named finalists on Monday for the award given to college football's most outstanding player.

The four players represent three of the teams chosen to play in this year's College Football Playoff. The only CFP team without a representative is #3 Clemson.

Burrow, whos pent three years at Ohio State before transferring to LSU, tossed an SEC-record 48 touchdown passes and 4,715 passing yards this year. His head coach Ed Orgeron said Saturday that Burrow deserves the award.

"In my opinion, he's going to win it. The best thing about Joe is he's a team plaer. All he wants to do is win this game. Individual awards aere not high on his list. That's what makes him such a great team player."

Burrow would be just the second LSU player ever to win the award.

Hurts, meanwhile, could become the third Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman. He transferred to Oklahoma after spending his first three college seasons at Alabama, attempting to follow in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018). Mayfield and Murray each went on to become the top pick in the NFL Draft.

Fields also transferred before this season, after playing his freshman year at Georgia. He threw 40 touchdown passes and just one interception this season.

Young, meanwhile, is just the fourth defensive lineman to be named a Heisman finalist. None of the previous three finished higher than fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

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batuhan toker/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The National Football Leaue is investigating after the New England Patriots were accused of videotaping in the press box during the Cincinnati Bengals game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Bengals coach Zac Taylor was asked about the alleged activities involving a Patriots team employee on Monday, saying only "I'm aware that there was an incident...But I know the league is investigating it, so I've got no comment on it."

A league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the incident involved a Patriots scout who was being filmed while working on a team feature called "Do Your Job."

The source says the video crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video in the press box, and that a Browns PR person was aware.

The Patriots were punished in 2007 for videotaping the New York Jets' playcalls on the sideline during a game. The NFL forced the Patriots to forfeit their 2008 first-round draft pick in that incident, and also fined the team the maximum amount of $500,000.

New England plays the Bengals this Sunday.

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Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fresh off a World Series win, the Washington Nationals will bring back at least one of their two most desirable free agents.

The team agreed to a seven-year deal with right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg on Monday. The contract is reportedly worth $245 million, surpassing the record seven-year $217 million deal signed by Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price.

That $35 million per year value is the most ever for a pitcher, more than Zach Greinke's $31.5 million.

Strasburg had opted out of the last four years of his contract with Washington, giving up $100 million in the process. He comes off a career-high 18 wins, and a National League-leading 209 innings pitched.

He also became the first pitcher in MLB history to win five games in a single postseason without a loss.

Strasburg was considered the second-best pitcher on the free agent market behind former Houston Astros righty Gerrit Cole.

Cole's deal is expected to top Strasburg's in dollars, average annual value, and possibly years as well.

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cmannphoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After a tumultuous few weeks in the Associated Press Top 25 College Basketball poll, the top two teams stayed in place this week.

In the newest poll, released on Monday, Louisville and Kansas hold the top two spots for the second consecutive week. Last week, Louisville became the fourth team to hold the top spot in a span of five weeks.

This week, those Cardinals knocked off #4 Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and easily knocked off conference rival Pittsburgh.

An undefeated Ohio State team jumped from #6 to #3 with wins over #7 North Carolina and Penn State. That pushed Maryland down one spot to #4, even though the Terrapins remain undefeated at 10-0.

And Michigan dropped from #4 to #5 after that loss to Louisville.

A steep drop came for North Carolina, dipping from #7 to #17.

And two teams climbed into the Top 25 today, with Xavier entering at #23 and San Diego State (10-0) claiming the 25th spot.

See the whole Top 25:

1. Louisville (9-0)
2. Kansas (7-1)
3. Ohio State (9-0)
4. Maryland (10-0)
5, Michigan (8-1)
6. Gonzaga (10-1)
7. Duke (9-1)
8. Kentucky (7-1)
9. Virginia (8-1)
10. Oregon (7-2)
11. Baylor (7-1)
12. Auburn (8-0)
13. Memphis (8-1)
14. Dayton (7-1)
15. Arizona (9-1)
16. Michigan State (6-3)
17. North Carolina (6-3)
18. Butler (9-0)
19. Tennessee (7-1)
20. Villanova (7-2)
21. Florida State (8-2)
22. Seton Hall (6-3)
23. Xavier (9-1)
24. Colorado (7-1)
25. San Diego State (10-0)

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Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(New York) -- U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe has been named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year for 2019.

The magazine announced Monday that Rapinoe, co-captain of the 2019 World Cup champions, was honored with "the most prestigious honor in all of sports media," which is bestowed annually upon an athlete, coach or team who "best represents the spirit and ideals of sportsmanship, character and performance."

Rapinoe, who's won two World Cups, was described by Sports Illustrated as a "fan favorite" and one of the national team's "most technical players." She also took home the tournament's top honors: the Golden Boot, for the top scorer, and the Golden Ball, for the best player in the tournament, and in September was named Best FIFA Women's Player for 2019.

"A vocal leader on and off the pitch, Megan helped lead the USWNT to the 2019 Women’s World Cup Championship scoring some of the biggest goals of the tournament," said the press release announcing Rapinoe's latest award.

Sports Illustrated also referenced Rapinoe's tendency to use her platform to advocate for "equality for all."

This year, she's been a stark supporter for gender equality, demanding that the women's national team be paid the same as the men's, and also criticized President Donald Trump, announcing in July that the team would boycott a visit the white house because Trump's "message is excluding people."

Rapinoe appears on the cover of the Dec. 16 issue of Sports Illustrated carrying a sledge hammer that contrasts with a long, pleated white skirt and her signature violet hair.

"Even in a year with many great candidates, choosing Megan as the Sportsperson of the Year was an easy decision," said Steve Cannella, co-editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated. "She is a force of nature on and off the field, a trailblazing soccer player who also proves every day how large and loud a voice a socially conscious athlete can have in 2019."

Rapinoe will be presented with the award Monday at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.

Past Sportspersons of the Year include Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, Wayne Gretsky, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, the Golden State Warriors and the U.S. Women's National Soccer team.

Rapinoe and her teammates are currently preparing for the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



republica/iStock(MOSCOW) -- The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has once again banned Russia from participating in the Olympics, as well as all major international sporting events, over its failure to end the cover-up of doping by its athletes.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has once again banned Russia from participating in the Olympics, as well as all major international sporting events, over its failure to end the cover up of doping by its athletes.

WADA’s executive committee voted unanimously on Monday to accept a recommendation to ban Russia from fielding athletes under its flag and team names at any major international competitions for the next four years, including the Olympics and Paralympics.

In late November, WADA’s compliance board made that recommendation after finding that Russia was still not cooperating with anti-doping authorities and had sought to conceal possible doping violations as recently as last winter.

It means that Russia will officially be absent from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and from the 2022 Winter Olympics, as well as world championships.

WADA has said that Russian athletes able to prove they are clean and unconnected to the doping cover up will still be allowed to compete as “neutrals”.

That is the same decision as during the most recent Winter Olympics in South Korea last year, where Russian teams took part wearing a special “neutral” uniform and the flag and anthem were banned from medal ceremonies. Russia’s official medal score at that Olympics was also zero.

Russia will also be banned from hosting any international sporting events for 4 years.

The decision is a huge blow to Russia’s sporting prestige -- the second time in two years that it will miss an Olympics over the doping scandal that has wrought chaos on the country’s sports since it began in 2015.

Russia has also already missed 2 Paralympics and virtually its entire track and field team was excluded from the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016 -- punishments which had been unprecedented for doping.

It is up to the International Olympic Committee how the ban will be handled but the IOC has already said it will be bound by WADA’s recommendations.

WADA made the recommendation to ban Russia after its investigators said it had found evidence Russian anti-doping authorities were still concealing possible doping by its athletes.

The anti-doping body's president, Sir Craig Reedie, in a statement said the decision showed "determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis."

"For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada's reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response," he said.

The doping scandal began in 2015, when athletes first came forward with evidence of a sprawling cover up of doping and that was later shown to take in dozens of athletes over almost a decade, including at the 2014 Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in Sochi.

Russia has always refused to admit that the cover-up was state-sponsored, instead arguing it was conducted by a handful of officials and coaches. It also claimed the allegations are politically motivated.

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial," Reedie said.

Substantial evidence has emerged over the years showing the scheme was directed by the state. In 2016, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory in Moscow, Grigory Rodchenkov turned whistleblower and showed how he and the lab, as well as Russia’s FSB security service had worked to hide hundreds of positive doping tests.

The cover up as described by Rodchenkov was confirmed by a commission appointed by WADA, led by Richard McLaren in 2016. Another IOC-commissioned investigation also confirmed the broad outlines of the cover up.

Russia has taken some steps to overhaul its anti-doping system since then, but in November WADA said it had found signs, once again, Russia was still hiding violations.

A WADA compliance report in late November 26 said it had found that hundreds of likely positive doping tests had been deleted from a database of results held by Russia’s anti-doping lab given to WADA in 2019.

Russia has since refused to hand over a full copy without the deletions, the WADA report said. In addition, the investigators found that “fabricated evidence” had been planted in the databased provided to WADA in an effort to discredit the claims made by Rodchenkov. Evidence had also been deleted in an effort to exonerate another doping official, who has been playing a prominent role in Russia’s defense, the report said.

On Monday, the first reactions suggested that Russian officials would again seek to contest the WADA decision as unjust by denouncing it as based on ulterior motives.

“It’s a way to squeeze out Russian competitors from international sport,” Pyotr Tolstoy, vice speaker of Russia’s parliament told the Russian news agency, Interfax.

Dmitry Svishchev, a member of the parliamentary committee on sport said that Russia should now appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, international sports highest arbitration court.

But an official at Russia’s national anti-doping agency, RUSADA on Monday seemed to acknowledge there were grounds for the punishment, saying Russia’s “anti-doping culture has not changed.”

“It is yet another reason for the sporting leadership to think again, are we moving in the right or wrong direction," Margarita Pakhnotskaya, deputy to RUSADA's general director told Interfax after the announcement. "I hear the presidents of the federations and experts, who are proudly declaiming about their activity, that they have answered everything, and around them are only enemies who are attacking our athletes. But this all speaks to how our anti-doping culture has not changed, all these years nothing conceptual has been done, except the renewal of RUSADA, for which there aren’t any issues,” she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Brooklyn 105, Denver 102
Atlanta 122, Charlotte 107
Miami 110, Chicago 105 -- OT
Philadelphia 110, Toronto 104
L.A. Clippers 135, Washington 119
Sacramento 110, Dallas 106
Oklahoma City 108, Portland 96
L.A. Lakers 142, Minnesota 125

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Winnipeg 3, Anaheim 2
Florida 5, San Jose 1
Arizona 4, Chicago 3 -- SO
NY Rangers 5, Vegas 0
Buffalo 3, Edmonton 2 -- OT

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Green Bay 20, Washington 15
Minnesota 20, Detroit 7
Atlanta 40, Carolina 20
San Francisco 48, New Orleans 46
Cleveland 27, Cincinnati 19
Tampa Bay 38, Indianapolis 35
Denver 38, Houston 24
NY Jets 22, Miami 21
Baltimore 24, Buffalo 17
L.A. Chargers 45, Jacksonville 10
Tennessee 42, Oakland 21
Kansas City 23, New England 16
Pittsburgh 23, Arizona 17
L.A. Rams 28, Seattle 12

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Virginia 56, North Carolina 47
Gonzaga 83, Washington 76
Michigan St. 77, Rutgers 65
Iowa St. 76, Seton Hall 66
Florida St. 72, Clemson 53
Dayton 78, Saint Mary's (Cal) 68

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Ocean Conservacy(NEW YORK) -- Several NFL players capitalizing on their stardom to raise awareness of ocean conservation are set to unveil customized ocean-themed cleats, beginning on Sunday.

Six players have teamed up with Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, for the fourth annual My Cause My Cleats initiative, which allows players in the NFL to showcase causes that are important to them.

Each participant in this year's initiative has his own special reasons for wanting to promote healthy oceans, which are conveyed in their cleats designs.

Jacksonville Jaguar wide receiver Chris Conley told ABC News his love for surfing, a hobby he picked up regularly earlier this year after an initial foray during a vacation in Hawaii, played a role in wanting to be apart of Ocean Conservancy's cause. A trip in June to St. Barth's, where he went scuba diving and interacted with other divers, caused him to take "an inventory" of his life and how his daily habits were contributing to the problems inundating the oceans.

"The more you learn, the more you see the effects we have on [the ocean], negatively and positively," Conley said. "If I can see an opportunity where I can help a little bit, then I'll do it."

Although Conley mostly surfs in Jacksonville's Neptune Beach, which tends to be on the cleaner side due to the conscientiousness of the residents, he's seen trash on overseas beaches, such as in the Dominican Republic, he said. He hopes by wearing the cleats, which feature ocean waves and a humpback whale, during Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers, he'll be able to "help educate some people about the effects we can have."

Conley also does his part by picking up errant debris he sees lying on the beach or even on the side of the road, encouraging others to do the same because they're "eventually going to get washed down to the rivers and into the [ocean] water," he said.

Other players taking part in "My Cause My Cleats" on Sunday include San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, whose cleats are decorated with sharks to pay homage to his hometown in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, known as the "Shark Bite Capital of the World," as well as waves to represent his passion for surfing.

 Detroit Lions linebacker Jahlani Tavai will wear cleats adorned with the eight main islands in Hawaii, which pay homage to his time at the University of Hawaii. The pod of Killer whales on Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Kaleb McGary's cleats highlight the marine life near Puget Sound, where he grew up, and Geremy Davis' cleats feature sea turtles, his favorite marine species.

Miami Dolphin Jonathan Jenkins will be wearing his cleats, which feature a variety of iconic Florida wildlife as well as scenery from the Gulf of Mexico, during the Dec. 22 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, his team's next home game.

 Most of the players collaborated with designers to for the final rendition of their cleats, but Mostert designed his entirely on his own.

Working with the NFL allows the Ocean Conservancy to "broaden the message," given the scale and scope of what's happening in the world's oceans, George Leonard, the organization's chief scientist, told ABC News.

 The decline of ocean health is the product of "putting too much in and taking too much out," Leonard said. Globally, the oceans are being harmed by overfishing as well as by too much carbon dioxide entering the ocean, which is linked to climate change.

To mitigate pollution, Ocean Conservancy has set a goal to remove and divert 54 tons of plastic and other waste from Florida's coasts and waterways s part of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee’s Ocean to Everglades environmental initiative.

The organization is using the platform for the "biggest sporting event on the planet" to highlight the importance of a healthy ocean, which generates half of the earth's oxygen and about 30% of the "primary protein" to 3 billion people, Leonard said.

"We think this is something that all of us can be concerned about," he added.

Conley reminds people all over the country that there are several ways that they can help conserve the ocean, including participating in something as simple as a beach cleanup or by limiting their use of single-use plastics, such as replacing plastic straws, which can't be recycled, with metal ones.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- After nearly 15 years as a professional tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki is retiring from the sport.

"I’m ready to move on to the next chapter in my life," Wozniacki, 29, said Friday on ABC News' Good Morning America. "Australian Open 2020 is going to be my last tournament."

Wozniacki, currently ranked number 37 in the world, won her lone Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open, defeating top seed Simona Halep.

After turning pro in 2005, Wozniacki went on to win 30 Women’s Tennis Association singles titles and was the runner-up at the 2009 US Open and the 2010 WTA Tour Championships.

Wozniacki has also faced good friend Serena Williams numerous times, including at the 2014 US Open, where she lost to Williams in the final.

She and Williams also attended each other's weddings, with Williams serving as a bridesmaid in Wozniacki’s wedding earlier this year.

Wozniacki married former NBA star Daniel Lee in June in Italy.

In addition to being a newlywed, Wozniacki is also pursuing other interests off the tennis court, including studying at Harvard Business School.

She said she also hopes to continue to be an advocate for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Wozniacki revealed in 2018 that she had been diagnosed with RA, an autoimmune disease that causes swelling and pain in and around the joints, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

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