(NEW YORK) -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday questioned whether a group of female track and field athletes in Connecticut has the right to sue over a policy allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls’ athletic events.
“It is a clear violation when a school or school district knowingly lets sexual discrimination proceed. I don’t think we can say that here,” Judge Denny Chin said.
An attorney for the athletes, John Bursch with the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, urged the judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the case to move forward.
“All we need to decide today is whether they get into the courthouse door,” Bursch said.
The athletes -- Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith and Ashley Nicoletti -- said they each felt the impact of the policy by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
“They trained hard to shave fractions of seconds off their race times so they could compete in state and regional meets, stand atop the winners’ podium, and perhaps even secure college athletic scholarships and gainful employment beyond,” the women said in court papers. “Yet those dreams were dashed, as the policy forced them to compete -- and lose -- to biological males.”
They want the chance to sue the state agency and several Connecticut high schools, alleging the policy that allows transgender athletes into competition violates Title IX by failing to provide female athletes with equal treatment.
The state argued the athletes have not alleged any concrete or imminent harm.
“Nothing about track results would affect the plaintiffs’ life prospects,” said Peter Murphy, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference's attorney.
“Is there an injury in fact that you see on this complaint by money damages, if money damages is available?” asked Judge Alison Nathan.
“No,” Murphy responded. “The plaintiffs are alleging they ran a race and lost, and they don’t like the rules.”
Issues involving the transgender community have become a hot-button topic in recent months, as Republican lawmakers have passed legislation seemingly targeting the community.
In April, House Republicans passed the "Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act," which would ban transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams with women and girls.
"Last year, we pledged if we had the opportunity to be in the majority, we would bring this bill forward. We would stand up for fairness, we'd stand up for you; we'd stand up for Title IX," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said outside the Capitol at the time. "We asked others across this country to join with us to help us pass it in the Senate and get it to the president's desk, so every woman is protected in fairness and in competition."
At least 21 states since 2020 have enacted laws or policies that ban transgender athletes from playing on school sports teams with women and girls, according to the Movement Advancement Project.
A growing number of states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee, have passed legislation or policies restricting gender-affirming care for people under the age of legal majority.
The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills around the country.
(NEW YORK) -- The PGA Tour has announced it will be merging operations under a single owner with its rival, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, as well as the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour.
"After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. "This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA TOUR's history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV – including the team golf concept – to create an organization that will benefit golf's players, commercial and charitable partners and fans.
He continued, "Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we've always made – to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game's future."
The controversial Saudi Public Investment Fund will make an investment into the new merged company "to facilitate its growth and success." The new company does not yet have a name, according to the press release.
The upstart LIV Golf league had been locked in a heat rivalry over the top golfers in the world. Players like Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau took the guaranteed money from LIV Golf, while players like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods pledged to remain with the long-established PGA Tour. Players on the LIV Golf tour signed contracts, similar to football or baseball, that paid them regardless of their performance in tournaments. On the PGA Tour, players competed for money in tournaments.
Dustin Johnson, who won two majors and 24 PGA tournaments, jumped to the LIV Golf tour in June 2022 for a reported $150 million. He's made millions more in individual tournaments.
As part of the agreement, the sides agreed to mutually end all pending litigation. The PGA Tour had filed a federal lawsuit in October against Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, while LIV Golf players had filed a federal antitrust last August after the PGA Tour threatened to prevent LIV Golf players from competing in the four majors.
"There is no question that the LIV model has been positively transformative for golf," PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said in a statement. "We believe there are opportunities for the game to evolve while also maintaining its storied history and tradition. This partnership represents the best opportunity to extend and increase the impact of golf for all."
A board of directors will "oversee and direct all the new entity’s golf-related commercial operations, businesses and investments," according to the statement announcing the merger. Al-Rumayyan will be named chairman of the board, while Monahan will become the CEO.
The terms of the agreement have yet to be finalized.
"This is a momentous day," Keith Pelley, chief executive of the DP World Tour, said in a statement. "We are delighted to be able to not only reignite our relationship with PIF, but also to have the opportunity to build on our current Strategic Alliance partnership with the PGA TOUR."
(HONOLULU) -- For 26-year-old Ha'a Keaulana, surfing is practically part of her DNA. She's been around surfing since she was a baby, even before she could walk or talk. Some of her first memories were being a surfboard with her grandfather, Hawaiian surfing legend, Buffalo Keaulana.
"He was raised in a time where a lot of our culture got taken away," Keaulana told ABC News. "You weren't allowed to speak our language. And sometimes, some people couldn't even hula dance. And so that got lost. So I think naturally, he just always connected to his culture through being a waterman in the ocean."
Keaulana represents a growing movement of native Hawaiians celebrating and reclaiming the cultural spirit of surfing that they say has been commercialized and coopted by pop culture over the last century.
"[Surfing is] our church, because that's where we spiritually can connect to something that was always there as native Hawaiians. I feel connected to my ancestors. I feel connected to my culture," Keaulana said.
While films like "Point Break" and "Surfer, Dude" along with music like the Beach Boys' hit song "Surfin' USA" are examples of a modern portrayal of the sport that tie it more to California, drawings from Western explorers in the 1700s and 1800s show that surfing traces its roots back to ancient Hawaii, according to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.
"There's these accounts where they're like people would do these death defying acts on these pieces of wood in waves that sailors were terrified of. The water men of the west would never even attempt it. And these are like young women doing it. And it just blew their minds, literally," said Michael Wilson, the museum's surfing exhibit designer.
The mass arrival of Westerners in the 1800s challenged the native indigenous cultures. As many Hawaiians went to work in the sugar cane fields, surfing dwindled, until one man came along over 100 years later – Native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku – a three-time swimming champion in the 1912 and 1920 Olympics. Kahanamoku promoted Hawaii and surfing while traveling the globe, Wilson said.
Over the following decades, a new generation of Hawaiian surfers emerged, including legends like brothers Clyde and Eddie Aikau, who were the first lifeguards in O'ahu's Waimea Bay.
"We never lost one person in 10 years…We didn't have any jet skis. All we had was fins and a surfboard," Clyde Aikau said.
Eddie Aikau was lost at sea trying to save his friends after their voyaging canoe the Hokule'a capsized in the open ocean, according to the Eddie Aikau Foundation. An invitational surfing competition in O'ahu's north shore was named in his honor.
Clyde Aikau says surfing is sacred place for Hawaiians to go for peace of mind, but the culture has since turned into big business. Surfing as an industry is estimated to be worth over $4 billion, but Clyde Aaiku doesn't believe that money ends up benefiting Hawaiians. When asked by ABC News how much of that financial boon he believes native Hawaiians benefit from his answer was "zero."
Still, some Hawaiians are riding the wave of surfing's future, such as surfing champion Carissa Moore. A native Hawaiian, she took home the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics during the sport's debut. She's now taking her place next to Duke Kahanamoku in surfing history and inspiring a new generation of surfers in Hawaii.
"It was a really huge deal to Native Hawaiians that Carissa brought home the gold. And we are so proud of her," Keaulana said.
(NEW YORK) -- In tennis, love means zero, but for a two-time Grand Slam champion love was a walk in the park.
Spanish-Venezuelan tennis star Garbiñe Muguruza just announced her engagement to Arthur Borges, a fan who wished her good luck during the 2021 U.S. Open while walking by in Central Park.
"My hotel was close to Central Park and I was bored, so I thought I should go for a walk," Muguruza told HOLA! Spain in an interview. "Suddenly, he turns and says 'Good luck at the U.S. Open.' I was left thinking, 'Wow, he’s so handsome.'"
The 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion took a selfie with Borges and asked him for a date the very next day.
"I really couldn't believe it ... having her ask me, 'Hey, you want to see each other tomorrow?' And I was like 'Yeah.' It felt unreal. It's still does when I remember those two weeks," Borges said in an interview.
After their initial meet-cute, the pair continued on dates for the remainder of the tournament before Borges left his job in New York at the Tom Ford fashion house and moved to Geneva, Switzerland, to be with her, eventually traveling the world together for Muguruza's tennis career.
"It was definitely the most unreal two weeks of my life. Full of joy, excitement," he said.
Borges popped the question to Muguruza in March and the pair officially confirmed their news publicly via Instagram over the weekend, with a very fitting Jerry Maguire quote: "You had me at ‘Hello.'"
Muguruza told ABC News' Good Morning America that she cried with joy for an hour after he proposed.
The former world No. 1, who was ranked in the top 10 as recently as last year, announced just months ago she would be taking a hiatus from the sport to focus on her personal life.
As part of that hiatus, she will be skipping the ongoing French Open and Wimbledon in July.
(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Tampa Bay 4, Chi Cubs 3
Atlanta 4, Oakland 2
Milwaukee 4, Toronto 2
Cincinnati 5, Boston 4
Detroit 3, Texas 2
LA Angels 12, Chi White Sox 5
Cleveland 12, Baltimore 8
Minnesota 8, Houston 2
Seattle 1, NY Yankees 0
Pittsburgh 9, San Francisco 4
Washington 10, LA Dodgers 6
Miami 2, San Diego 1
NY Mets 4, Philadelphia 1
Arizona 6, Colorado 0
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Saint Louis City SC at Los Angeles FC (Postponed)
San Jose at Seattle (Postponed)
Houston at Vancouver (Postponed)
New England 3, Atlanta 3 (Tie)
Columbus 3, Colorado 2
CF Montreal 2, D.C. United 2 (Tie)
New York 1, Miami 0
Cincinnati 3, New York City FC 1
Philadelphia 1, Charlotte FC 0
Chicago 0, Toronto FC 0 (Tie)
Austin FC 2, Minnesota 1
Sporting Kansas City 2, FC Dallas 1
LA Galaxy 3, Real Salt Lake 2
(NEW YORK) -- Harry Kane made history earlier this year, becoming England's all-time leading goal-scorer. Now, the star footballer said he has his sights set on the American sport of the same name.
"I was such a big England fan growing up watching [Wayne] Rooney and all those guys scoring goals. So, to be on the top of that list is something pretty special," he told Good Morning America, referring to his title as England's leading goal-scorer.
Kane took the title from Wayne Rooney in late March after notching his 54th career goal for England against Italy in a European Championship qualifier.
The 29-year-old, known as one of the best strikers in the history of the sport, joined GMA on Wednesday to reflect on the past Premier League season -- in which he scored 30 goals with Tottenham Hotspur, which finished in eighth place -- and to look ahead at what may be next in his career.
Fans, broadcasters and Kane's family all know about his unique post-goal celebration, which always includes a kiss of his wedding ring.
"Ever since I've been married, I've got a little tape on the wedding ring, and It's just like a symbol to give something back to my family, my wife, my kids, all their hard work and support has helped me get to where I am now," Kane explained. "It's just a little thing, but every time they see me score, they see me do it."
Soccer has significant global appeal, but with the NFL also growing in global popularity, Kane said he is considering a jump to the American sport down the line, after he eventually retires from soccer.
"It's something I definitely want to explore. I know it will be a lot of hard work. I don't expect to just walk up and start kicking field goals," he acknowledged. "But yeah, it's something I'd love to do. The NFL I have been following for about 10 years now, and I love it, so I'd love to give it a go."
Off the pitch, the England National Team captain runs the Harry Kane Foundation, founded in October 2022, to help transform the stigma around mental health with charities and partners working to normalize conversations and promote positive, supportive habits for mental health.
"It's something I could relate to," Kane said. "Growing up trying to become a footballer, showing resilience, hard work, determination -- it's something I want to try and give back to the boys and girls growing up, and just relay some of my experiences to them."
Finally, Kane, naturally a right-footed player, offered his number one tip for young footballers: "Practice both feet."
"If you can play with both feet at the highest level, that makes the difference between the very top and maybe just the mediocre," he said.