ABC - Sports News

ABC NewsBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The Washington Football Team made NFL history Tuesday when they added Jennifer King to their roster as assistant running backs coach.

King, who has been a trailblazer on and off the gridiron, is the first Black woman to coach full time in the league. She follows the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive line coach Lori Locust as the second female coach to hold a full-time coaching position.

King joined ABC News' Good Morning America on Wednesday and described the moment she got the big news from head coach Ron Rivera, and how she had prepared herself for success leading up to that moment.

"Coach called me in and we had a conversation to let me know what was going to happen, so I was really excited about it but, you know, in the middle of a game week things are kind of hectic so I went back to my office and went right back to work," she said.

For someone that may not have direct representation or a role model in their career path, King said her advice is to keep pushing forward despite hardships and struggles.

"Having that personal mantra of really trying to be so good that you can’t be denied. And just keep going -- if it’s something you really want you have to find a way to get it done and not take no for an answer," she said.

As for King's own football career accolades, she's a seven-time All-American quarterback and wide receiver for the Carolina Phoenix in the Women's Football Alliance. In 2018, she made her NFL debut as a coaching intern for the Carolina Panthers.

Folllowing her time in North Carolina, King was named a coaching intern for Washington at the start of the 2020 NFL season where she broke ground as the first Black woman coaching on an NFL sideline.

But when it comes to what's next, King said her aspirations are more immediate team goals.

"Coach always tells us to be where our feet are and that's kind of where I am right now, just focusing on how we can be better next season," she said.

King's historic promotion could also mark a sign of progress in a league where Black coaching candidates have been overlooked for jobs, with just two men -- Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin and Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores -- to hold head coaching positions.

"I'm not sure with the current hiring practices of head coaches, but I really hope that some of these guys who are more than qualified get their opportunities," she said of her hope for diversity around the league.

This comes on the heels of another historic move by the franchise in August when Jason Wright was named the league's first Black team president.

"I've been super fortunate to work with a great group of guys and I think it comes from the top," King said. "That culture they built is fantastic and the guys I've worked with are awesome."

For head coach Ron Rivera, King's experience and dedication made this promotion an easy choice and he said "the sky is truly the limit for her."

"Coach King is well deserving of the promotion to assistant running backs coach. She came to Washington eager for the opportunity to work as a full-year coaching intern and learn from our staff," he said in a press release. "She got the chance to experience not only the in-season work that goes into being a full-time coach in this league but also the countless hours that are spent preparing in the offseason as well. She demonstrated all of the qualities that are needed to work full-time on my staff. She is a hard worker, a great communicator and a quality person. Coach King is always eager to learn and has shown tremendous growth since starting here last season. I know she will continue to be an asset to Coach Turner, Coach Jordan and the running back group, and she earned this opportunity with her hard work."

King said "one of the first things I realized when I got to the NFL was just how high the standard was and I started carrying that over into my life and things kinda took off from there."

"It’s so important to have something that you stand for and that you live by, what you're willing to accept and what you're willing to not accept," she said.

Next up, King will enjoy some time off, but said she's excited to "hit the offseason and make us better" since they had "a little taste of the playoffs, you want to get back and advance."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



iStockBy ABC News

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Atlanta 108, L.A. Clippers 99
Houston 107, Washington 88
Utah 108, New York 94

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Buffalo 3, NY Rangers 2
Philadelphia 5, New Jersey 3
Washington 3, NY Islanders 2
Florida 4, Columbus 3 (SO)
Boston 3, Pittsburgh 2 (OT)
Winnipeg 6, Edmonton 4
Los Angeles 2, Minnesota 1
Nashville 3, Chicago 2 (OT)
Dallas 2, Detroit 1 (OT)
Toronto 4, Calgary 3
Anaheim 1, Arizona 0
Colorado 7, San Jose 3
St. Louis 5, Vegas 4 (SO)

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Oklahoma 80, Texas 79
Alabama 70, Kentucky 59
Auburn 88, Missouri 82
Tennessee 56, Mississippi St. 53
Dayton 76, Saint Louis 71

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Tom Brady, the star quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is currently training hard for the Super Bowl in two weeks. However, little did fans know, Brady was secretly worrying about his parents at the start of the season because they were battling COVID-19.

Tom Brady Sr. opened up about his diagnosis on ESPN Radio's #Greeny about how he and his wife Galynn -- both 76 -- both tested positive for the virus. However, the patriarch revealed he needed to be hospitalized for three weeks because he was "sick as a dog."

The elder Brady said the virus was so severe, it prevented them from watching their son's first two games, something that never happened before.

"We've never missed a game at Michigan or New England or wherever," he explained. "For the first two games when I was in the hospital, I didn't even care if they were playing -- much less missing the game. It was a matter of life and death, just like anybody who goes to the hospital. That's serious stuff."

Galynn, he adds, is a breast cancer survivor and expressed gratitude that the virus didn't affect her nearly as much. He adds that one of his daughters, who is a nurse, cared for her while he was hospitalized.

Adds Tom Sr., his son really struggled during his hospitalization and would "FaceTime me every day on his way to and from practice."

"Tommy fought through it, and so now it's in the rearview mirror," noted the family patriarch, adding that his son was "stressed out" by the ordeal. Now, everyone can focus on the upcoming Big Game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"Getting to the 10th Super Bowl in 19 years of playing is pretty -- it's incomprehensible," said Brady Sr., "It's beyond anything we could ever imagine."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Morgan Hancock/Getty ImagesBy BRITT CLENNETT, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- For decades, Margaret Court was the pride of Australia.

In her 17 years on the professional tennis circuit, the now 78-year-old notched up a record 24 singles Grand Slam titles, making her the most successful female tennis player in Australian history.

But Court’s legacy has been profoundly tarnished by a slew of homophobic comments in recent years.

Court -- now a Christian pastor -- is a vocal critic of transgender athletes and once called the teaching of LGBTQ content in schools the work “of the devil."

Court, who collected her record haul of grand slam wins between 1961 and 1975, wrote an open letter in 2017 saying she would boycott airline Qantas over its support over same-sex marriage. That same year she said tennis was “full of lesbians.”

It is these comments over the years that lost her respect among the Australian public and led to the deluge of anger that broke out after it was leaked that Court would be awarded with the highest possible public service honor, the Companion of the Order of Australia.

Court had already been recognized with an Order of the British Empire honor in 1967 and another Australian service honor in 2007 and she has now received the top accolade on Tuesday, Australia Day, in recognition of her “outstanding achievement and service”.

However, rights groups and the country’s political opposition have voiced their outrage at the expected appointment and it has even prompted a doctor in Canberra to hand back her own award in protest.

Dr. Clara Tuck Meng Soo, a trans woman, says the decision to hand Court Australia’s most prestigious honor "promotes discrimination" to LGBTQ people. Meanwhile, Australian journalist Kerry O’Brien has rejected the honor he was due to receive on Tuesday because of the “deeply insensitive and divisive decision."

Victorian state leader Premier Daniel Andrews said, "I don't believe that she has views that accord with the vast majority of people across our nation that see people, particularly from the LGBTQ community, as equal and deserving of dignity, respect and safety.”

Without naming names, Andrews also took to Twitter to say he doesn’t “want to give this person’s disgraceful, bigoted views any oxygen."

His comments come as Victoria gets set to host the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, where the main arena is named after Court.

Other tennis stars have called for her name to be stripped from the venue -- including John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova -- who said it should be replaced with that of Indigenous champion, Evonne Goolagong.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to wade into the debate, saying: "It is an announcement that will be announced on that day. It is a system that recognizes the full spectrum of individuals across this country."

Speaking to local reporters on Friday, Court insisted she had been unfairly bullied by her critics.

Said Court: “Always remember I’m a minister of the gospel and have been for the last 30 years, I always say what the Bible says.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



iStockBy ABC News

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Orlando 117, Charlotte 108
Detroit 119, Philadelphia 104
Indiana 129, Toronto 114
Brooklyn 98, Miami 85
L.A. Lakers 115, Cleveland 108
Denver 117, Dallas 113
Boston 119, Chicago 103
Oklahoma City 125, Portland 122
Golden State 130, Minnesota 108
Sacramento at Memphis 8 p.m. (Postponed)
San Antonio at New Orleans 9 p.m. (Postponed)

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Vancouver 7, Ottawa 1

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
(8)Virginia 81, Syracuse 58
(11)West Virginia 88, (10)Texas Tech 87

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



artisteer/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Happiness can go hand-in-hand with success and a new Super Bowl ad tapped some of the world's most accomplished athletes, including Peyton Manning and Serena Williams, to show how they have fun off the playing field.

Michelob Ultra's newest ad campaign poses the question: "Are you happy because you win, or do you win because you're happy?"

 

Is Peyton happy because he wins, or does he win because he’s happy? pic.twitter.com/G1oqqQLcA2

— Michelob ULTRA (@MichelobULTRA) January 24, 2021

 

"When I look back on my football career, I felt our teams won a lot of games and I played my best games when I was happy. I had a lot of joy during my football career," Manning told Good Morning America on Monday. "There's the old saying, enjoy the journey not the destination. And when I think back on my memories during my 18 years of playing, I think about those plane rides with my teammates, I think about hanging around the locker room, laughing with each other, I think about taking the offensive linemen out to eat on Thursday nights, keeping them well-fed, maybe having a couple of cold beverages and that was well worth it."

He continued, "Those are some of my greatest takeaways. Those happy moments that I felt brought our team together and helped us win more games on Sunday and help us win a championship. And then of course you'll have the happiness after, but I think you can certainly do both."

Manning, who retired in 2016 after leading his Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl title, said "I have no regrets. I left it all out there on the field. But I do miss my teammates."

Now one of his longtime competitors and close friends, Tom Brady, is headed to Super Bowl LV with Tampa Bay in his first year with the Buccaneers to face defending champion Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

"Everyone stepped up to a challenge."

🗣️: @TomBrady pic.twitter.com/uGfKQMwFDB

— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 25, 2021

 

"Tom has just been the ultimate professional -- I give him all the credit. He's put in the time, sacrificed, he's formed a bond with his new teammates in a short period of time, in a pandemic offseason, so he's earned the right to have his team in a Super Bowl in his hometown," Manning said.

He explained that this matchup will make for "a great Super Bowl."

"It's kind of the new guard vs. the old school guard -- Mahomes is just exciting to watch -- a guy that plays with a lot of joy and that's a big part of him playing so well. I can tell you those Chiefs are having a lot of fun," Manning said. "But Tom is Tom, he's been doing it for so long and there's nothing he hasn't seen before. So it's going to be a battle of those two quarterbacks."

 

Are you ready, #ChiefsKingdom? pic.twitter.com/kKDScrKR1J

— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 25, 2021

 

But even he wouldn't make a definitive prediction of whose team will come out on top.

 

W pic.twitter.com/N8PhGC4KGK

— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 25, 2021

 

"Picking against Tom Brady at home I'm not sure anybody can do that, but Patrick Mahomes a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowls. The only guy to do that recently has been Tom Brady, so I have such respect for both of those guys, I can't pick against either one of them," he said with a laugh.

Manning did make a different prediction about Brady's career no matter the outcome in Tampa.

When asked if Brady should retire if he wins, Manning said, "I don't think he will."

"It's such an individual decision, nobody can make that decision for you, I have so much respect for Tom, the battles we had on the field, we formed a friendship off the field as well, always felt he brought out the best in me and vice versa for him," he said. "I don't think he will because it's his first year in Tampa. He's having a lot of fun, he's happy, he's joyous and I can see him doing it for a few more years no matter what happens on Super Bowl Sunday."

Another superstar athlete stressing the importance of happiness, and making an appearance by way of the new Michelob Ultra ad, will be Serena Williams.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner, who is currently quarantining with her husband Alexis Ohanian and her daughter Olympia ahead of the Australian Open, told GMA that they are "a huge contribution" to her success.

"For me, I win because I'm happy," she said. "I love being around Olympia -- It's so good to have this experience with her, because I've gotten so much time to spend with her that I wouldn't have had otherwise -- so it's been really good to have an opportunity to just be with her 24/7."

She and her 3-year-old have enjoyed time on the tennis court as well as exercising their imaginations.

"We, like, make up things -- l look at something and say, 'oh, that's a giraffe,' or that we'll go to the fake zoo. And my imagination has been pushed to its limits," Williams said. "And so it's kind of cool because I feel like I can be a kid again and have imagination."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



33ft/iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- It's a contest of the rising young star quarterback versus the G.O.A.T. -- Austin Mahomes versus Tom Brady -- in the upcoming Super Bowl.

The Kansas City Chiefs will square off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday after emerging victorious over the Buffalo Bills in Sunday's AFC Championship Game, winning 38-24.

Tampa Bay came out strong against the Green Bay Packers, defeating them 31-26 at the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

According to ESPN, Brady, 43, shouted to teammate Devin White as he exited Lambeau Field, "D-White, where we going? We're going home!"

The Bucs are officially the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl hosted at their home stadium -- Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Brady now sets a record for being the oldest player, in any position, to play in a Super Bowl.

Not only that, coach Bruce Arians will officially be the second-oldest coach to head to a Super Bowl, behind Bills' coach, the late Marv Levy.

Should Arians win, however, he will become the oldest coach at 68 to win a Super Bowl.  Should the Bucs win, it'll mark the team's second Super Bowl victory -- the team's first and only appearance at the Big Game was in January 2003.

As for Kansas City, they stand to notch their second consecutive win, as they defeated the San Francisco 49ers last year -- 31 to 20.  If they win, it'll mark their third Vince Lombardi Trophy.  The only other time they won it was back in 1970, when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings.

The Big Game kicks off next Sunday, Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



iStockBy ABC News

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

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Toronto 107, Indiana 102
LA Clippers 108, Oklahoma City 100
Boston 141, Cleveland 103
Charlotte 107, Orlando 104
San Antonio 121, Washington 101
Milwaukee 129, Atlanta 115
Portland 116, New York 113
Sacramento at Memphis (Postponed)

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Chicago 6, Detroit 2
Buffalo 4, Washington 3 (SO)
Vegas 1, Arizona 0
Toronto 3, Calgary 2
New Jersey 2, NY Islanders 0
Pittsburgh 3, NY Rangers 2
Anaheim 3, Colorado 1
Dallas 3, Nashville 2
Los Angeles 6, St. Louis 3
San Jose 5, Minnesota 3
Edmonton 4, Winnipeg 3

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Tampa Bay 31, Green Bay 26
Kansas City 38, Buffalo 24

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Nebraska at Iowa (Postponed)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Hulton Archive/Getty Images)By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Baseball icon and Hall of Famer Henry "Hank" Louis Aaron died Friday. He was 86.

The outfielder from Mobile, Alabama, was one of the greatest power hitters in Major League Baseball history.

"Mr. Aaron passed away peacefully in his sleep. The family asks for privacy at this time," Aaron's assistant said in a statement to ABC News.

 

pic.twitter.com/4hOMsSGnRi

— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) January 22, 2021

 

Aaron held the all-time record for home runs, at 755, for 33 seasons after surpassing Babe Ruth's total of 714 in 1974. Barry Bonds beat Aaron's mark in 2007, finishing his career with 762.

Aaron also holds the career records for most runs batted in, 2,297, most total bases, 6,856, and most extra-base hits, 1,477, finishing with an OPS of 155 and having compiled 143.1 wins above replacement, the fifth-highest WAR total ever, according to Baseball Reference. (An average OPS , which is an adjusted measure of on-base plus slugging percentage and used to highlight a hitter's overall value, is 100.)

Aaron's legacy stretched far beyond the diamond, as he helped pave the way for other Black players to succeed in a sport still struggling to overcome a history of racism. Aaron's career began just seven years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

 

"I don't want them to forget Ruth, I just want them to remember me." - Hank Aaron pic.twitter.com/Uon8dEwnJJ

— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) January 22, 2021

 

As a child, Aaron grew up in the Deep South, which was still segregated, and in the years leading up to his record-breaking home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers he was the target of death threats, receiving thousands of letters with racist messages.

During his iconic moment, after smacking the record-breaking home run, as Aaron rounded second base, two white fans who'd jumped onto the field ran toward him, and, according to ESPN, Aaron's bodyguard, Calvin Wardlaw, watched from the stands with his hand secretly on his revolver, trying to determine if the two men were hostile or friendly. Much to Aaron's relief, they were there to celebrate his historic blast.

"It was supposed to be the greatest triumph of my life, but I was never allowed to enjoy it. I couldn't wait for it to be over," he once said. "The only reason that some people didn't want me to succeed was because I was a Black man."

Earlier this month, Aaron got vaccinated against COVID-19 in Georgia, in hopes that doing so would send a message to other Black Americans that the shots are safe, ESPN reported.

Aaron spent 21 seasons in the National League, with Milwaukee from 1954 to 1965 and then in Atlanta from 1966 to 1974, before finishing his 23-year career in the American League with the Brewers until 1976.

Aaron, who was selected to a record 25 All-Star Games and won three Gold Gloves, won the NL MVP in 1957 when he hit .322 with 44 home runs and 132 RBI. When elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 he was "nine votes shy of becoming the first unanimous inductee," the Atlanta Braves noted in a team statement. No player was elected unanimously until Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera received 100% of the vote as part of the 2019 class.

After retiring, "The Home Run King" became a senior vice president with the Atlanta Braves in 1976.

Honoring Hank Aaron's Legacy


Reactions to the news on Friday included messages from teams, fans and civil rights organizations.

"Hank Aaron represented an era in this nation of Black individuals who broke barriers. He did not only break barriers on the baseball field, but also in the civil rights movement," Derrick Johnson, national president of the NAACP, said in a statement. "I hope that athletes from all sports will follow in his footsteps to use their platforms for social good and to advance the cause of civil rights. ... Hank Aaron was a close member of our family here at NAACP. We know his legacy will continue to inspire many generations to come. He will be greatly missed."

President Jimmy Carter hailed the baseball star as a "personal hero."

"Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Henry Aaron. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, he has been a personal hero to us," the 39th president said in a statement. "A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come."

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement on behalf of his entire family: "Hank Aaron was an American icon and one of Georgia's greatest legends. His life and career made history, and his influence was felt not only in the world of sports, but far beyond -- through his important work to advance civil rights and create a more equal, just society. We ask all Georgians to join us in praying for his fans, family, and loved ones as we remember Hammerin' Hank's incredible legacy."

Tributes also poured in on social media.

A legend on and off the ball field... the best to ever do it... RIP Mr Hank Aaron 🙏🏿 #44 pic.twitter.com/3LH6iB9auV

— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) January 22, 2021

Hank Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball's golden mark, has died.

He was 86. pic.twitter.com/etl7EcdUH8

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 22, 2021

Hank Aaron's legacy transcends his place as one of the greatest in the history of our national pastime. He represents the best of America, with his resiliency, grace, and relentless optimism. An extraordinary life. He is royalty. Always will be. RIP. @MLBNetwork @baseballhall

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 22, 2021

Rest in peace, Hank Aaron. pic.twitter.com/1UNJ5ZqceU

— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) January 22, 2021

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty ImagesBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Despite rising COVID-19 infections in Japan, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Thursday that there is "no reason whatsoever" to believe the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on July 23 as planned.

"This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful," Bach told Japanese news agency Kyodo in an interview Thursday.

However, Bach admitted he could not guarantee that the stands would be full or rule out the possibility that the Games would be held without spectators, according to Kyodo.

Bach's statement comes amid reports that the Japanese government has privately concluded that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled.

On Friday, Japan's Cabinet Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games called those reports "categorically untrue."

"The renewed schedules and venues for the Tokyo 2020 Games, starting with the Opening Ceremony on July 23 this year, were determined at the IOC Session in July last year. All parties involved are working together to prepare for the successful Games this summer," the cabinet secretariat said in a statement Friday. "We will implement all possible countermeasures against COVID-19 and continue to work closely with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in our preparations for holding a safe and secure Games this summer."

The statement follows a report published Thursday evening by British newspaper The Times, which cited "a senior member of the ruling coalition" who said there is agreement that the Games are doomed and the focus now is on securing the event for the Japanese capital in the next available year, 2032.

The 2020 Summer Olympics were supposed to kick off in Tokyo last year on July 24. But in late March, amid mounting calls to delay or cancel the upcoming Games, the International Olympic Committee and Japan's prime minister announced that the event would be held a year later due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, Japan is facing a resurgence of COVID-19. The country of 126 million people reported the highest number of new cases in the Western Pacific region last week. The infection rate -- currently at 32.8 cases per 100,000 people -- increased by 4% over the previous week, according to the World Health Organization's latest COVID-19 weekly epidemiological update.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed 5,662 new cases of COVID-19 as well as an additional 87 fatalities from the disease on Thursday, bringing the cumulative totals to 348,646 cases and 4,829 deaths.

Japanase Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and 10 other prefectures due to climbing case counts and growing death tolls.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.