Sports News


06/21/2018 11:43 AM
Scoreboard roundup -- 6/20/18

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

INTERLEAGUE
Cincinnati 5, Detroit 3
Toronto 5, Atlanta 4
Oakland 12, San Diego 4
Baltimore 3, Washington 0

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Cleveland 12, Chicago White Sox 0
N.Y. Yankees 7, Seattle 5
Houston 5, Tampa Bay 1
Minnesota 4, Boston 1
Texas 3, Kansas City 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Philadelphia 4, St. Louis 3
Chicago Cubs 4, L.A. Dodgers 0
San Francisco 6, Miami 5
Colorado 10, N.Y. Mets 8

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/21/2018 12:52 AM
Banned from stadiums at home, Iranian women attend World Cup soccer matches in Russia

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Before this World Cup, the last time Sara went to a soccer game, she had to pretend she was Korean in order to sneak past security.

The reason is that Sara is in reality an Iranian woman and therefore barred from soccer stadiums in Iran, where women have been forbidden from attending soccer matches and other male-only sporting events in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

So it was an unusual experience for her when she entered Saint Petersburg’s Krestovsky stadium last Friday to watch Iran’s national team win against Morocco in its opening World Cup game. She is among a group of Iranian women who have traveled to this year’s World Cup bringing with them a campaign demanding that women be allowed into soccer stadiums at home.

“It was amazing,” she said of entering the St. Petersburg stadium, when she met an ABC reporter in Moscow this week. "It was like the Truman Show -- when you enter the TV. When two dimensions become three dimensions."

But the excitement of attending was, she said, tinged with sadness by the knowledge that so many of her friends at home could not go. “Imagine how such a simple thing is your dream. It is sad,” she said.

On Wednesday, the women’s World Cup visit though coincided with a breakthrough in the campaign to lift the stadium ban — for the first time since it was imposed, women were let into a Tehran stadium to watch a soccer game alongside men, after a local city council agreed to allow women to attend a screening of Iran’s match against Spain. The mixed screening reportedly almost didn’t go ahead, after authorities tried to halt it last minute, citing “infrastructure problems,” the Washington Post reported. But hundreds of female fans arrived in any case to demand entry to the Azadi stadium and organizers eventually relented, allowing women in to watch the game, which Iran lost 1-0 to Spain.

The event was hailed by some Iranian observers as a notable step forward in the effort to end the stadium ban. Iranian women have been excluded from soccer games since 1981, as the country’s new religious government applied a hardline interpretation of Islamic customs, declaring stadiums inappropriate places for women.

In fact, there is no law against women attending games, but authorities have imposed a de facto ban, with women instead turned away and sometimes arrested. As a result, women wishing to enter have resorted sometimes even to disguising themselves as men. In May, half a dozen young women became heroes among Iran’s secular community after they successfully sneaked into a game of Tehran’s Persepolis club by wearing elaborate fake beards. Foreign women are allowed to attend games, which is how Sara found herself hiding among a group of Koreans during her first stadium game in Iran.

Sara — a pseudonym for the activist who fears punishment for her or her family in Iran — has been running a group called Open Stadiums and campaigning against the ban for 13 years. At the World Cup game in St. Petersburg last week she and another activist, Maryam Qashqaei, attracted attention internationally after they unfurled banners protesting the ban inside the stadium, the first time Iranian women have made such a protest at a World Cup.

On Tuesday though, even as they celebrated the mixed screening in Iran, the activists ran into resistance in the Russian city, Kazan, where the Iran-Spain game was being hosted. Qashqaei said she was detained by security at the stadium and had her banner confiscated from her. Sara was also stopped and body searched for 15 minutes, she told ABC News.

The women were stopped even though they said they had received authorisation for the banners from FIFA, the World Cup’s organiser.

Anton Lisin, a spokesman for Russia’s World Cup Local Organising Committee, told Reuters he was aware of an incident involving Qashqaei but had no further details. FIFA could not be immediately reached for comment.

It was an abrupt shift in the women’s reception in Russia. In St. Petersburg, the two had held their banners for the full 90 minutes of the game. Outside the stadium Iranians, men and women, had cheered on the activists and some had carried their own signs. Among them a husband and wife — seen by the AP — held a placard asking why they had to travel 2,564 miles “to be at the stadium as a family.”

The activists have focused on FIFA recently, trying to push the body into pressuring Iran by linking the issue to the country’s participation in FIFA competitions. The organization has said it wants Iran to lift the ban. In 2017, FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino told reporters that Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani had “promised that women in Iran will have access to football stadiums soon.”

In Iran, however, with authorities have met challenges to the ban with arrests, treating attendance as a political demonstration. When Infantino attended the Tehran game last year, 35 women were detained outside the stadium. Supporters of lifting the ban say they believe the government fears that lifting the ban will fuel demands for change on other restrictions, around requirements on headscarves for instance, which have seen prominent protests recently.

Before travelling to the World Cup, Sara said she had feared she would be arrested in Iran and stopped from going. She said she worried still that she could be detained when she returns to Iran.

"It is really sad that for such a simple thing you have to be worried," she said.

Before she was stopped in Kazan, Sara had also criticised FIFA's efforts as largely words without actions. But on Wednesday she said she hoped the mixed screening at the Tehran stadium would mean a big step toward ending the ban.

Gianni has defended FIFA's efforts by arguing engagement with Iran's authorities on the issue is more productive than simply threatening punishment.

Lifting the ban has acquired support among some parts of the Iranian ruling class. Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2006 issued a decree lifting the interdiction on female fans.

But weeks later, the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, restored the prohibition.

But in the years since support for ending it has built in Iran. When Iran qualified for the World Cup last July, its team captain Masoud Shojaei used a meeting with Rouhani to ask the Iranian president to let women into stadiums. On Wednesday, the Iranian team’s official Twitter account posted a photo of a female fan in the stands at the mixed screening in Tehran. “Azadi stadium now!” the Tweet read.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/20/2018 05:54 PM
Olympic swimmer documents harrowing journey from Syria to Europe in new book

Ker Robertson/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- Before the violence in Syria changed her life, Yusra Mardini was a normal teenager in many ways.

A passionate swimmer since childhood, she trained daily and attended competitions abroad. She came of age with her older sister Sara, putting on makeup and high heels and going to cafes with friends. Yet amid these teenage pursuits, her world was slowly crumbling -- friends were disappearing and her family moved from house to house to stay safe.

In 2015, a rocket-propelled grenade tore through the roof of the swimming pool where she trained. It fell into the water and miraculously did not detonate. This was not Mardini’s first brush with death, but it marked a turning point. Her mother begged her to stay out of the pool.

Two years later, while training in Berlin -- her new home -- she learned she had been selected to swim on the Refugee Olympics team for the 2016 games in Rio. This marked the start of her career as a spokesperson for refugees around the world. Since then, she has met former President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. In 2017, she became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and spoke at the DAVOS World Economic Forum.

“The Olympics were a turning point,” Mardini told ABC News during an interview in Berlin. “I started to get a really strong voice, and a lot of people were believing in what I’m doing.”

Mardini’s journey from Syria to Europe is documented in the new autobiographical novel Butterfly that was published in May and written with the help of a ghostwriter. The story is personal yet reminiscent of the journey made by millions of people attempting to reach Europe at the height of the migration wave in 2015.

She and her sister made the perilous journey from Turkey to Greece on a flimsy rubber dinghy with 18 other passengers. Despite being trained swimmers, they nearly met their deaths when the engine failed and the boat began to sink. The girls and another passenger jumped into the water in an attempt to push the vessel to shore.

Eventually, the boat’s engine restarted and all 20 passengers arrived on land. The sisters were treated as heroes, but their journey was far from over. Hungry and exhausted, they slept in a trench crossing the Hungarian border. They encountered thousands of asylum-seekers stuck at Budapest’s central train station, and narrowly escaped becoming prisoners in a hotel run by ruthless traffickers extorting asylum-seekers for money.

“I realize with a jolt just how vulnerable we are,” Mardini said in the book.

Mardini was initially reluctant to become a spokesperson for refugees. She felt the word "refugee" had negative connotations. During her upbringing, she didn’t really know what a refugee was.

“I felt people would look at me like this person who had no home -- nothing -- and was not educated, and all that,” she said.

Eventually, she embraced the term.

“When I went to the Olympics, I saw how many people are looking up at us and respect what we are doing,” she said. “I wanted to tell people that a refugee is not just a person who doesn’t have money, but a person who fled their home because of violence.”

Mardini’s parents and younger sister were able to join her in Berlin in 2016. Next month, her sister Sara will rejoin them. Sara has been volunteering with the Greek nonprofit ERCI, working as a lifeguard on the island of Lesbos to save refugees crossing the Aegean, just as she once did.

In Berlin, Mardini spends her time learning German and swimming. Although the war and her journey interrupted her training, she still hopes to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. To stay motivated, she thinks about why she started swimming in the first place and the early years training with her father in her hometown of Set Zaynab.

“Now I have a big responsibility because I’m representing people,” she said. “I’m just hoping for the best, and we will see what can happen.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/20/2018 11:55 AM
Scoreboard roundup -- 6/19/18

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

INTERLEAGUE
Washington 9, Baltimore 7
Atlanta 11, Toronto 4
Cincinnati 9, Detroit 5
L.A. Angels 5, Arizona 4
Oakland 4, San Diego 2, 10 Innings

AMERICAN LEAGUE
N.Y. Yankees 7, Seattle 2
Cleveland 6, Chicago White Sox 3
Minnesota 6, Boston 2
Tampa Bay 2, Houston 1
Texas 4, Kansas City 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
L.A. Dodgers 4, Chicago Cubs 3
Milwaukee 3, Pittsburgh 2
St. Louis 7, Philadelphia 6
Chicago Cubs 2, L.A. Dodgers 1, 10 Innings
Colorado 10, N.Y. Mets 8
San Francisco 6, Miami 3

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
N.Y. Liberty 79, Atlanta 72
Washington 88, Chicago 60
Minnesota 91, Dallas 83
Las Vegas 89, Seattle 77
L.A. Sparks 74, Indiana 55

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/19/2018 04:23 PM
NBA player Sterling Brown files federal civil rights lawsuit over stun-gun arrest

Milwaukee Police Dept.(MILWAUKEE) -- Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee and multiple local police officers after they used a stun gun on him during his arrest earlier this year.

Brown's attorney, Mark Thomsen, alleged racially based excessive use of force during the Jan. 26, 2018 incident, which took place in a Walgreens parking lot. The NBA player, who was unarmed, was confronted by officers for parking in spots reserved for people with disabilities.

"He was attacked -- his neck grabbed, he was kneed in the groin, he was tased, handcuffed, left on the cold, wet pavement," Thomsen said at a news conference Tuesday.

An officer then stood on the NBA player's ankle for over 2 minutes and Brown was left on the ground for 12 minutes, Thomsen said.

Thomsen called the alleged bad police work a "stain" on the city and an "insult" to "good" officers.

"This kind of conduct must stop," Thomsen said. "Mr. Brown would hope that the city would act swiftly and that when he hits the floor this next season in our new stadium, that we celebrate that Milwaukee is an example to the country of what a city can do to turn itself around."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in response to the lawsuit, "I'm hopeful this incident will be a turning point and allow us to take those actions necessary to improve police community relations."

Neither the Milwaukee Police Department nor the union represented its officers immediately responded to ABC News' request for comment about the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Brown, 23, is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages



Milwaukee police last month released video from the incident, which shows an officer’s waiting by Brown's car in the drugstore parking lot.

Brown's car was parked horizontally across two parking spots reserved for people with disabilities.

When Brown left the drug store, the officer asked him why he parked that way. The officer repeatedly told Brown to "back up," before telling him, "I will do what I want, all right? I own this right here."

In the video, other officers arrived and can be seen talking to Brown near his car when one of them shouted for Brown to take his hands out of his pockets.

A scuffle broke out and an officer repeatedly yelled, "Taser!" as Brown can be heard moaning on the ground.

One of the officers briefly took his gun out of his holster during the confrontation, new body-camera footage released by Thomsen shows.

Sgt. Sheronda Grant of The Milwaukee Police Department said per their standard operating procedure, "Police members may draw or display their firearms in circumstances where they reasonably believe it may be necessary to use their firearm in the performance of their duties."

The NBA player was arrested on a possible misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer, but after police reviewed the confrontation -- including the body camera footage -- they declined to refer the case to prosecutors for charges. Ultimately, Brown was cited for a parking violation.

"I was defenseless," Brown told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts last month. "Whether I park illegally or not... it shouldn't have led to what it led to."

The Milwaukee Police Department later apologized to Brown and announced that three of the officers involved were disciplined.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the officers' behavior "has no place in our city."

"As a human,” he said, “I was offended by what I saw on the video.”

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has called for an extensive review of the incident.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/19/2018 11:12 AM
Scoreboard roundup -- 6/18/18

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

INTERLEAGUE
Final  Washington    5  N-Y Yankees   3
Final  N-Y Yankees   4  Washington    2
Final  Arizona       7  L-A Angels    4
   
AMERICAN LEAGUE
Final  Cleveland   6  Chi White Sox   2
Final  Houston     5  Tampa Bay       4
Final  Texas       6  Kansas City     3
    
NATIONAL LEAGUE
Final  Philadelphia   6  St. Louis       5, 10 Innings
Final  Pittsburgh     1  Milwaukee       0
Final  N-Y Mets      12  Colorado        2
Final  Miami          5  San Francisco   4
L-A Dodgers  at  Chi Cubs   8:05 p.m., postponed

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/18/2018 07:08 PM
Firefighter from Massachusetts plays in US Open

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(BROCKTON, Mass.) -- Brockton, Massachusetts firefighter Matt Parziale is not only a full time firefighter but a U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship golfer who gave his dad the greatest Father’s Day gift, playing in the U.S Open.

After winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur last October, Parziale earned his first U.S. Open start and is the first Mid-Amateur champion to receive a U.S. Open exemption. His win also earned him an invitation to the 2018 Masters but he missed the cut.

Firefighter Parziale played all 18 holes at Shinnecock Hill in New York on Father’s Day Sunday with his father Vic Parziale as his caddie. Both father and son are firefighters, although Vic is now retired and Matt is on leave as he plays the U.S. Open and a few other tournaments.

After the 18th hole on Sunday, Parziale learned his four-day, 16-over-par landed him in a tie with Luis Gagne, earning him a trophy for low amateur honors.

Matt Parziale is no stranger to golf -- he played in college at Southeastern University in Florida and also won the 2017 Massachusetts Amateur at Charles River County Club.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/18/2018 03:02 PM
Mexican World Cup fans' 'massive jumps' may have set off manmade earthquake

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images(MEXICO CITY) -- Mexico's upset World Cup victory over Germany was literally earthshaking.

Super-sensitive earthquake sensors registered seismic activity at two sites in Mexico City that coincided with what proved to be the winning goal by Mexico's star player, Hirving Lazano, in that team's 1-0 triumph over defending World Cup champion Germany on Sunday.

The Institute of Geological and Atmospheric Investigations described the tremor in a tweet as an "artificial" quake possibly set off by "massive jumps" of fans watching the live broadcast of the white-knuckle match in Mexico.

Lozano's victorious strike came in at the 35-minute mark of the first half of the game at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, roughly the same time, 11:32 a.m. local time, that a quake registered 6,661 miles away in Mexico City, officials said.

The fan-generated shaker registered a magnitude 2, which would have been undetectable to the thousands of jubilant fans packed into Mexico City's Zocalo Square but was enough to move the needles on the Richter scale, officials said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/18/2018 11:08 AM
Scoreboard roundup -- 6/17/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:
   
INTERLEAGUE
 Final  Baltimore  10  Miami        4
 Final  Toronto     8  Washington   6
 Final  Texas      13  Colorado    12

AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  Cleveland   4  Minnesota       1
 Final  Tampa Bay   3  N-Y Yankees     1
 Final  Detroit     3  Chi White Sox   1
 Final  Houston     7  Kansas City     4
 Final  Oakland     6  L-A Angels      5, 11 Innings
 Final  Boston      9  Seattle         3

NATIONAL LEAGUE
 Final  Atlanta         4  San Diego     1
 Final  Cincinnati      8  Pittsburgh    6
 Final  Philadelphia   10  Milwaukee     9
 Final  San Francisco   4  L-A Dodgers   1
 Final  N-Y Mets        5  Arizona       3
 Final  St. Louis       5  Chi Cubs      0

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


06/16/2018 04:06 PM
Scoreboard roundup -- 6/15/18

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

INTERLEAGUE
Miami 2, Baltimore 0
Toronto 6, Washington 5
Colorado 9, Texas 5

AMERICAN LEAGUE
N.Y. Yankees 5, Tampa Bay 0
Minnesota 6, Cleveland 3
Detroit 4, Chicago White Sox 3
Houston 7, Kansas City 3
L.A. Angels 8, Oakland 4
Seattle 7, Boston 6

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 3, Cincinnati 2
San Diego 9, Atlanta 3
Milwaukee 13, Philadelphia 2
Chicago Cubs 13, St. Louis 5
Arizona 7, N.Y. Mets 3
L.A. Dodgers 3, San Francisco 2

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
L.A. Sparks 97, Washington 86
Dallas 77, Las Vegas 67
Seattle 103, Connecticut 92
 
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