Gabby Douglas Apologizes for Saying Women Should Dress ‘Modestly’ in Response to Post About Sexual Assault

Gymnast Gabby Douglas has apologized for saying women are responsible for dressing “modestly” in response to her Olympic teammate Aly Raisman‘s social media post about sexual assault.

Raisman on Friday wrote that men don’t have the right the “shame or not believe” women who come forward about sexual abuse just because they might have participated in a “sexy photoshoot” or wore a “sexy outfit” previously.

“Women are allowed to feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin, in fact I encourage you all to wear what you feel good in,” Raisman wrote. “I will not put up with any woman or girl being shamed for wanting to wear a skirt, dress, etc. I do not tolerate it.”

Following Raisman’s statement on victim shaming, Douglas weighed in with the opinion that “it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy.”

“Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet, prompting immediate reaction and criticism.

Teammate Simone Biles tweeted: “Shocks me that i’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her.”

After deleting her initial tweet, Douglas apologized, saying, “I didn’t correctly word my reply.”

“I am deeply sorry for coming off like i don’t stand alongside my teammates,” Douglas tweeted. “Regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstance is never acceptable.”

Raisman’s post comes after she became the latest in a string of high-profile gymnasts to accuse former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.

Nassar is currently awaiting sentencing in Michigan after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing his former patients and a family friend.

A lawyer for Nassar told TIME earlier this month that a gag order in his pending case prevented him from commenting on Raisman’s allegations.


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Aly Raisman: Victim Shaming Is Why ‘So Many Survivors Live in Fear’

On Friday, Aly Raisman shared a lengthy message on Twitter in which she asked her followers for their help so that she create change in regards to the treatment of women and victim shaming. In the message, the three-time Olympic gold medalist wanted to clarify that a sexy photoshoot or sexy outfit "does not give a man the right to shame [a woman] or not believe her when she comes forward

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: Aly Raisman: Victim Shaming Is Why ‘So Many Survivors Live in Fear’

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NFL Quarterback Jameis Winston Under Investigation for Allegedly Groping an Uber Driver

(TAMPA, Fla.) — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in 2016, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has denied the allegation on his social media accounts.

The Buccaneers acknowledged the allegation on Friday and released a statement saying they are in the “process of obtaining further information regarding today’s media report. We take these matters seriously and are fully supportive of the investigation that is being conducted by the NFL.”

The NFL also released a statement saying that it has reached out to Uber to request more information.

The Uber driver told BuzzFeed News the incident stems from a 2 a.m. ride after a party in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 13, 2016. Driver said Winston was the only passenger, and that he sat in the front seat and was yelling homophobic slurs at pedestrians. She said he then asked the driver to stop for food, and while waiting in a drive-thru, reached over and placed his hand on the woman’s crotch.

A representative for Winston, Russ Spielman, issued a statement denying the allegations. He said the only reason Winston’s name is attached to the allegation is because his Uber account was used to call the ride.

Winston reiterated his denial in postings on Twitter and Instagram on Friday.

“A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago,” the quarterback wrote. “The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her. The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.

“I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false. While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way.”


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CTE Was Confirmed in a Living Person for the First Time. And It’s a Veteran NFL Player

A former NFL player is reportedly the first living person ever accurately diagnosed with CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the disease found in the brains of dozens of ex football players.

This breakthrough, which was made in 2012, but only published this week in the journal Neurosurgery, could help doctors identify and treat patients while they are still alive. CTE was previously only identifiable through a brain examination after death.

The subject of the diagnosis was not named in the study, but was reported by CNN to be Fred McNeill, who died in 2015 at age 63. McNeill played 12 seasons as a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings before retiring in 1985.

The disease, which is linked to repetitive head injury, has symptoms including memory loss, anger and depression. Another study, published last year, found CTE in the brains of 110 out of 111 deceased NFL players examined. The NFL acknowledged the link between CTE and football for the first time in 2016.

The new breakthrough involves using an experimental brain scanning technique, where a radioactive ‘tracer’ that attaches itself to proteins associated with the disease can be picked up by a PET scan.

The report confirmed that a study of the patient’s brain after his death revealed the CTE diagnosis had been correct. The new scanning process has been used on at least a dozen other retired players, however McNeill’s case is the first to be confirmed via autopsy.


Sports – TIME

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NBA Coach: Athletes Who Protest Are ‘Patriots of the Highest Order’

In an article for Time magazine, Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy calls athletes who speak out on social issues such as racial injustice "patriots of the highest order." Van Gundy cites Muhammad Ali,

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: NBA Coach: Athletes Who Protest Are ‘Patriots of the Highest Order’

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Mailbag: Grading the Next-Gen ATP Finals Innovations and Rule Changes

From shot clocks to mid-match coaching and automatic line calls, what did you think of the innovations in Milan? Plus thoughts on Goffin’s season, Azarenka and more.

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Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino will battle Holly Holm in UFC 219

Cris “Cyborg” Justino is finally getting a dream UFC opponent. The company announced its women’s featherweight titleholder will fight former bantamweight champion Holly Holm at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas. The two are arguably the most well-known female fighters in the company and two of the most accomplished women strikers ever in…
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Trump to UCLA Basketball Players: ‘Give a Big Thank You’ to Xi Jinping for Your Release

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is exhorting three suspended UCLA basketball players to thank Chinese President Xi Jinping for their freedom following a shoplifting incident while they were in China.

Trump had tweeted Wednesday: “Do you think the three UCLA basketball p layers will say thank you President Trump. They were headed for 10 years in jail.”

The trio apologized later Wednesday and publicly thanked Trump, who was in Asia last week, for his help. On Thursday morning, the president sent another tweet saying, “You’re welcome. go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible.”

In the same tweet, Trump said, “HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!”


Sports – TIME

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Nelson Peltz wins P&G board seat in vote recount

Now it is Procter and Gamble’s turn to demand a recount. One month after the Bounty and Crest maker declared victory over billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz in the largest proxy fight ever waged, a second vote count has overturned the results and handed Peltz a razor-thin victory, according to a report on Wednesday. Peltz,…
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Wall St. traders secretly used chat rooms to rig Treasury bond prices: suit

Wall Street banks secretly shared client information in online chat rooms in order to rig auctions for the $ 14 trillion US Treasurys market, according to an explosive lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday. The move wrongly fattened the banks’ profits and picked profits from clients, the suit claims. The new accusations, leveled by…
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Colin Kaepernick and the NFL’s Problematic Treatment of Black Quarterbacks

While much of the focus on the NFL this season has been on the African-American quarterback who is not in the league, it is also important to give attention to the ones who are. As much as Colin Kaepernick deserves to be on a team based on his talent, we can safely say that if he's been blacklisted from the NFL it is not because he is black. And we can assume this because many of the

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UCLA Players Return Home After President Trump Intervened When They Were Detained Over Shoplifting Claim

LOS ANGELES — Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting returned home, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the international scandal.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley arrived at Los Angeles International Airport late Tuesday afternoon after a 12-hour flight from Shanghai. They ignored reporters’ shouted questions while making their way through a horde of media outside and getting into a van that took off from the departure level.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the matter “has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities.”

The players were detained in Hangzhou for questioning following allegations of shoplifting last week before the 23rd-ranked Bruins beat Georgia Tech in their season-opening game in Shanghai as part of the Pac-12 China game. The rest of the UCLA team returned home last Saturday.

A person with knowledge of the Pac-12’s decision said any discipline involving the trio would be up to UCLA. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conference doesn’t plan any sanctions.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the school is weighing its options.

“I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law,” he said in a statement. “In this particular case, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students. Such proceedings are confidential, which limits the specific information that can be shared.”

There was no immediate word on the trio’s status for the team’s home opener Wednesday night against Central Arkansas.

The school said the three players, along with coach Steve Alford and athletic director Dan Guerrero, will make their first public comments about the matter at a campus news conference Wednesday, but won’t take questions.

Scott thanked President Donald Trump, the White House and the State Department for their efforts in resolving what he called “the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China.” He indicated that UCLA made “significant efforts” on behalf of its athletes.

It wasn’t clear under what terms the players were freed to return to the U.S.

“We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university,” Scott said.

Trump said Tuesday he had a long conversation about the three players’ status with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Ball, Hill and Riley were expected to have an immediate impact as part of UCLA’s highly touted recruiting class. Instead, they are being talked about solely for their actions off the court.

Ball, a guard whose brother Lonzo is a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers, averaged 33.8 points as a high school senior. The elder Ball played one season in Westwood and left early for the NBA draft.

The Balls’ outspoken father, LaVar, was in China at the time of the incident. He spent some time promoting the family’s Big Baller Brand of athletic shoes with his youngest son, LaMelo, while his middle son was detained.

Forwards Hill and Riley, both four-star recruits, figure to bolster 7-foot senior Thomas Welsh in the frontcourt.

The Bruins traveled to China as part of the Pac-12’s global initiative that seeks to popularize the league’s athletic programs and universities overseas. The China Game is in its third year, and while the scandal was developing the league announced that California and Yale will play in next year’s edition.

The game is sponsored by Alibaba Group, the Chinese commerce giant that both UCLA and Georgia Tech visited before the shoplifting incident occurred.


Sports – TIME

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Nats’ Scherzer, Indians’ Kluber win Cy Young Awards

(Reuters) – Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer won his second consecutive Cy Young Award as the National League’s top pitcher on Wednesday while Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians took home American League honors.


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UCLA Players Apologize for Shoplifting in China and Thank President Trump for Helping Secure Their Release

Three UCLA basketball players have apologized after returning home from China, where they were detained for shoplifting.

UCLA’s Steve Alford said the players, three of his biggest stars, be suspended indefinitely from the Bruins.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were in Hangzhou before a game with Georgia Tech as part of the Pac-12 China Game when they were accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store. They were briefly detained, but then released to their hotel and told not to leave.

President Trump reportedly intervened to secure their release, and on Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted that he doubted the basketball players thank him:

All three players did thank Trump during the press conference, with Cody Riley saying, “To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf.”

Ball, whose brother Lonzo plays for the L.A. Lakers, said, “I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the stores in China. I didn’t exercise my best judgment, and I was wrong for that.”


Sports – TIME

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The Young Bucks on Bullet Club T-Shirts, WWE Rivalry, DIY Wrestling

If you've gone to a pro wrestling show this year, then you've undoubtedly seen a Bullet Club T-shirt in the crowd. The black-and-white skull-style shirts advertising the independent wrestling faction have blanketed pro wrestling crowds in recent years, but never more than in 2017 after Hot Topic inked a deal to sell the shirt in its stores across North America.

The growing popularity of

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: The Young Bucks on Bullet Club T-Shirts, WWE Rivalry, DIY Wrestling

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Donald Trump and LaVar Ball Really Do Deserve Each Other

At the start of this year, if you would have told me I’d be interviewing a China scholar about a deal in which President of the United States asks his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, for help to free three UCLA basketball players who’ve been held in a Chinese hotel for allegedly stealing sunglasses, I would have scoffed. If you said that one of those UCLA players was LiAngelo Ball, son of LaVar Ball — proprietor of $ 495 shoes, controversial and outspoken father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball — I would have laughed even harder.

Bet the under on that one, since I had to call up UCLA’s Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in US-China Relations & Communications, Min Zhou, to talk about LaVar Ball.

In hindsight, however, that LaVar Ball and Donald Trump would cross paths in the frenetic, utterly unpredictable 2017 news cycle was all but inevitable. Before returning home from a 12-day trip through Asia, President Trump on Tuesday confirmed that he asked President Xi, during Trump’s state visit to Beijing, to intervene on behalf of UCLA freshman basketball players Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley, who were arrested on shoplifting charges while in Hangzhou for UCLA’s opening game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 10. “They’re working on it right now,” Trump said. The players boarded a flight back to Los Angeles today.

“What they did was unfortunate,” Trump told reporters before leaving Manila and returning to Washington. Shoplifting penalties can vary greatly in China, but the players could have conceivably faced multiple years in jail.

Yes, Trump’s rescue of the Ball family is shrouded in symbolism. The President and LaVar Ball are classic carnival barkers who relish the media limelight. (Among LaVar Ball’s most outrageous statements: that Lonzo, the Lakers rookie, is the best player on the planet. He’s averaging 9.5 points per game, on an unseemly 31.3% shooting, for the 6-8 Lakers) They both appeared in WWE matches. They’re creations of our reality show world — while Trump had The Apprentice, Ball offers Ball In The Family on Facebook. They provoke strong reactions, positive and negative. Many people on social media have imagined Trump and Ball holding a joint press conference in the wake of the shoplifting charges. That would be quite a show.

This story, however, is more than an amusing sidelight. It does raise questions about selective justice. While the UCLA players go free, what about the human rights activists still imprisoned in China? “It’s easier for China to release American students than political dissidents,” says Zhou, the expert in China-U.S. relations, in a phone interview. “That’s a much more sensitive issue.”

The high-profile status of the UCLA players likely helped expedite their release. The Wall Street Journal noted that Detroit-native Wendell Brown, who was coaching a local American football team in China, is still in a Chinese jail after a September 2016 bar fight (he was charged with intentional assault).

China’s release of the basketball players carries diplomatic consequences as the world’s two largest economies haggle over trade and the North Korea nuclear threat. “It’s very important,” Zhou, a member of UCLA’s sociology department. “It’s a positive sign that the countries can work together.” The timing of the arrests helped the freshmen. Trump was also in China, on a state visit, when goodwill between countries generally ratchets up a level. Zhou’s happy China didn’t overtly use the detained students bargaining chips with the U.S. But don’t be surprised, she says, if China expects something in return down the road. “There’s still some sort of bargaining involved,” she says. “I’m doing you favor.”

Zhou’s thrilled that the students are returning home. “Kids make mistakes, and they should be given second chances,” she says.

Where does everyone go from here? UCLA coach Steve Alford will likely hand down some sort of suspension for his players. But at this rate, go ahead and expect LiAngelo Ball to hit the shot that sends UCLA to the Final Four, while his dad waves his Big Baller Brand kicks in the crowd. It’s November 2017. Anything goes.

 


Sports – TIME

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Detroit Pistons Coach: Athletes Who Protest Are Patriots

I do not claim to be an expert on race in America. But in addition to working to be an informed citizen and learning about the issues that derive from race, I have been coaching for about 20 years in the NBA, a league that is 75% black. I have been in a unique position to hear from players and staff members about the issues they and their families have had to encounter. In a time where bigotry seems on the rise and commitment to racial equality on the decline, I have an obligation as a citizen to speak out and to support, in any way possible, those brave and patriotic athletes who are working to bring change to our country. I believe all of us do.

Many have criticized NFL and WNBA players who have taken a knee, raised a fist or remained in the locker room during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Many have said that these protests dishonor our country and our military men and women. President Donald Trump has said that those who protest should be fired. Several NBA players and two great coaches, Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, have been criticized for speaking out against the President, particularly on his statements regarding race. The patriotism of those who protest or speak out has been questioned. Many have tried to paint these athletes and coaches as villains in an effort to obscure their message.

After reading the book Tears We Cannot Stop; A Sermon to White America, I invited its author, the acclaimed scholar and expert on race Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, to come talk to our team. He discussed the difference between nationalism and patriotism, and it stuck with me. Nationalism, he said, is supporting your country no matter what, right or wrong. Patriotism, on the other hand, is caring so deeply about your country that you take it as your duty to hold it accountable to its highest values and to fight to make it the very best it can be. Under this definition, these athletes and coaches are role models of American patriotism.

Honoring America has to mean much, much more than standing at attention for a song (one which, by the way, contains racist language in later verses). One of the most important freedoms that our military has fought for over two-plus centuries is the freedom of speech. When these professional athletes protest during the anthem, they are exercising one of the very freedoms for which our military men and women fought so valiantly, thus honoring our highest values and, in turn, those who have fought for them.

We should never forget that this country was founded by protesters. Our founding fathers declared independence from Great Britain because they were dissatisfied with the laws and policies that they believed abridged their freedoms. Had they taken the stance that many want our professional athletes to take — to just shut up and honor your country no matter what — we would be living in British colonies. Furthermore, as Dr. Dyson reminded our team, protest has nearly always been the catalyst for meaningful change. And it has always made people uncomfortable. This was true of the abolitionists, the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement, all of which shined a bright and needed light on injustice, demanded that our country live up to its stated ideals and produced our most meaningful change. To be sure, they made people feel uncomfortable along the way, but those were the people who needed to feel uncomfortable. People should never be permitted to feel comfortable while trampling the rights of others.

Those who have been at the forefront of great advances in social justice have been always been willing to make significant personal sacrifices, and that group has always included athletes. Several of our current professional athletes are merely following in their footsteps. Muhammad Ali sacrificed the prime years of his career and presumably millions of dollars in income to oppose the Vietnam War. Colin Kaepernick has been denied employment for the act of taking a knee to draw attention to the issue of police killings of men of color. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were denied employment and advancement in their post-athletic careers because they raised a fist on the victory stand at the 1968 Olympics. These athletes and many others are risking future contracts and endorsement opportunities to speak out on issues of racial injustice because they feel duty-bound to do so. These are patriots of the highest order.

In the great tradition of the civil rights movement, these athletes are using non-violent, peaceful protest to work toward specific changes they want to see in their communities and their country. Because of this “controversy,” people are forgetting what these protestors are trying to change. It’s important for us to talk about it every day until it resonates, until change happens. Their demands are important, and today, I am adding my voice in support.

What is it that they want? Simply and succinctly: equality. Equal rights. Equal justice. Equal treatment by police and others in authority. Equal opportunity. The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence starts with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” In over two centuries, from slavery to segregation to lynchings and police brutality to the mass incarceration of people of color, we have not even come close to that ideal. It is our systemic racial inequality, not athletes kneeling during the national anthem, that dishonors our country. If we truly want to honor our country, this must change. As Dr. Dyson said to our staff, “We just want you to be true to your words.”

The Players Coalition, a group of about 40 NFL Players led by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin, the latter of whom recently gave up his football career to work full-time on criminal justice reform, are now doing the hard work behind the scenes to try to influence political leaders to make legislative and policy changes focused on criminal justice reform. They have done so because they have seen it as the greatest civil rights problem of their time, a problem that has harmed their loved ones, friends, communities and families. You cannot escape it if you are a person of color in the United States. These players are in the process of bringing athletes and coaches from other leagues to join with them, forming powerful alliances to lead to meaningful change. On virtually every Tuesday during the NFL season (the NFL’s traditional off-day), these committed athletes are using their platform as professional athletes in town halls, statehouses and even Washington, D.C., to listen, learn, meet with leaders, advocate for change and put the issues of criminal justice reform in the spotlight.

They are advocating for several specific changes:

  • Ameliorating harsh sentencing guidelines and ending mandatory minimum sentences. Increasingly long sentences and harsh mandatory minimums — a minimum term of years people must serve before release — are major drivers of mass incarceration. According to the National Research Council, half of the 222% growth in the state prison population between 1980 and 2010 was because of an increase in time served. And these harsh policies do not treat people equally. While people of color make up less than 40% of the U.S. population, they currently make up 67% of the prison population. Many mandatory minimum sentences specifically targeted people of color, such as the lengthy sentences imposed for crack possession in the 1980s and ’90s. We should dial back these policies.
  • Enacting clean slate laws. Exacerbating the problem of mass incarceration is that, even after someone is released from prison, the stigma of a misdemeanor or felony conviction makes finding gainful employment difficult, if not impossible. This affects not only the individual but their family and community. The Players Coalition is working in support of legislation that would expunge convictions after a certain period of time of good behavior.
  • Eliminating cash bail. Holding people presumed to be innocent in jail pre-trial simply because they cannot afford to pay their bail extracts huge human and financial costs. It costs taxpayers $ 38 million a day and $ 14 billion a year. Being in jail often also costs the accused their jobs and their ability to support their family — all without being convicted of a crime. It isn’t necessary — in Washington, D.C., they have eliminated cash bail. People are held if they are a flight risk or a danger to the community. Otherwise, they are released, can work and go to school, and come to court. In addition, bail hasn’t even been the most effective method of getting people to appear in court. Text message reminders have proven to be more effective.
  • Reforming juvenile justice. As of 2015, states are five times more likely to lock up black kids in a juvenile facility than white kids. About 2,300 people have been sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. In Wayne County — which includes Detroit — we have the second-largest concentration of people sentenced to die in jail as kids, and 92% of them are black. With studies showing that the human brain doesn’t reach full maturity until about age 25, essentially ending all hope of productive lives for these kids when they are still teenagers is not only harsh but wrong. It is also costly in terms of both taxpayer dollars and human capital.
  • Ending police brutality and racial bias in police departments. This was the issue that started the current player protests. The athletes have been urging police departments to change and modernize their hiring practices and training in order to reduce racial bias among officers. In 2017 already, there have been about 200 police killings of black people, who are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. This disparate effect extends beyond police shootings, permeating all aspects of police-community contact. According to a Stanford University study, for example, officers stop black people for speeding at higher rates than white people, and they are 20% more likely to get a ticket. In Chicago, black and Hispanic drivers who were pulled over were four times more likely to be searched as whites, even though city police department data shows that contraband is found on whites twice as often.

I stand with these athletes — in support of both these causes and their patriotism. I hope others will join me in supporting them. These athletes could take the easy route and not placed their livelihoods at risk by standing up for what they believe in. They’ve put in their hard work. They could accept their paychecks and live lives of luxury. Instead, they are risking their jobs to speak up for those who have no voice. They are working to make America live up to its stated ideals. We should all join them in ensuring their collective voice is heard.


Sports – TIME

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See Bill Murray Heckle, Cheer Players in New Unscripted Baseball Series

Bill Murray and his brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, are taking their love for baseball on the road in a new, unscripted series called "Bill Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray's Extra Innings."

Extra Innings

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Panthers’ Cornerstones Come Up Big in Dominant Win Over Dolphins

A healthy Luke Kuechly and a Cam Newton performance reminiscent of his 2015 MVP campaign were too much handle for the Dolphins in a 45-21 shellacking on Monday Night Football. 

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Derek Jeter working to figure out how to deal his biggest star

Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said his new boss, Derek Jeter, “is in the office every day” Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and that he has a good line of communications with the former Yankees star. The largest immediate item on the docket for the franchise is learning what teams are interested…
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Aly Raisman Opens Up About Sexual Abuse by USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar

Aly Raisman says the knock came at eight o’clock at night. The future Olympic gold medalist was competing in Rotterdam, Netherlands in her first year at the coveted senior level, the group from which world and Olympic teams were selected. She was thousands of miles away from home, nervous about the competition to come, and without her usual support system of her parents and siblings. She opened the door and saw the team doctor for USA Gymnastics, Larry Nassar.

“I thought you could use a massage,” she says he told her. She was 16.

It wasn’t the first time she says Nassar had appeared at her door at night, offering a massage under the guise of therapy. And it wouldn’t be the last, as Raisman disclosed in an interview with TIME and in her new book, Fierce.

It first happened several months earlier, when she was competing in Melbourne, Australia. At that meet, an official with USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, saw Raisman wincing through practice with sore heels and an aching back and suggested that she see Nassar. He was a great doctor, Raisman says the official told her, and she should consider herself lucky that he would work with her. So when Nassar appeared at her door again, Raisman opened it and let him and let him “work” on her, the term that USA Gymnastics and the gymnasts used for Nassar’s treatments.

Those treatments, it turns out, weren’t necessarily treatments at all. According to Raisman and other gymnasts who have described the procedures, Nassar’s so-called therapy seemed to consist primarily of invasive massage, touching the girls around their pelvic areas and vagina. Gymnasts were sent to Nassar for any pain — whether it was in the back, hip, or muscle — and he often suggested massage as the treatment, according to interviews with gymnasts. He rarely used gloves when working with the girls, and would touch them with his bare hands, including penetrating their vagina with his fingers.

Raisman is the latest high-profile gymnast to accuse Nassar of sexual abuse. In October McKayla Maroney, her teammate on the squad that won gold at the 2012 London Olympics, said Nassar abused her for years, beginning when she was 13 years old. In all, more than 100 athletes have filed suit against Nassar and USA Gymnastics, alleging that the organization was complicit in not addressing reports of sexual abuse adequately. The plaintiffs in the various lawsuits also include athletes at Michigan State University, where Nassar had been employed.

Nassar pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in July and is awaiting sentencing in Michigan. He pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing former patients and a family friend.

Nassar resigned from USA Gymnastics in the summer of 2015. When contacted for this story, Nassar’s attorney said a gag order in his client’s pending case prevented him from commenting on Raisman’s claims.

Raisman, 23, opened up about her experiences in a recent interview with TIME at her family home in a quiet wooded neighborhood in Needham, Mass., outside of Boston. A rec room off the kitchen is filled with mementos from her record-setting career: with six medals won at the 2012 and 2016 Games, she’s America’s second-most decorated female Olympic gymnast. But as her mother, Lynn, lit a fire in the living room, Raisman settled into a deep brown leather couch and talked about how it could have all been derailed by abuse.

She says Nassar often closed his eyes and would be out of breath while working on her. Unaware that she was being molested, and still believing she was receiving medical treatment that would help her, she attributed his behavior to his being tired or jetlagged from the trips to competitions around the world.

Now Raisman says she knows better. “I know people will say ‘Why didn’t she tell her mom? Why didn’t she say anything?’ But those questions are unfair,” she says. “The fact is I didn’t really know it was happening to me. What people don’t get is that he was a doctor. I would never have imagined that a doctor would abuse me or manipulate me so badly.”

After years of making excuses for what she calls Nassar’s “weird” behavior during the treatment sessions, in July 2015 — three years after winning three medals at her first Olympics — she says she finally realized that Nassar had been sexually abusing her. Raisman says she received a call from USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, who asked her to speak to an investigator who would be coming to Raisman’s home. He wouldn’t tell her what the visit was about.

She says the investigator, who was hired by USA Gymnastics to address complaints about Nassar, asked if Raisman felt safe, and if anyone had been making her feel uncomfortable. Then she asked specifically about Nassar, about what he did, how he treated her, how many times, and whether other people were present during the treatment sessions. At first Raisman continued to make excuses for Nassar, admitting that she often felt uncomfortable but also adding that he was a doctor, and didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable, and frequently brought her and the other girls gifts.

When the investigator left, Raisman thought back on her encounters with Nassar and realized that the treatments had not been medical in nature but that she had been sexually abused. She declined to go into detail about the nature of the abuse. When Raisman called USA Gymnastics back the following day and asked to speak to the investigator again, she says she was told that the investigation was ongoing. She also received a text from an official asking her to stop talking about her experiences with Nassar, so as not to jeopardize the investigation. Requests for comment to Penny’s attorney were not immediately answered.

Raisman says that the culture of success at all costs, and the power that USA Gymnastics wields over the gymnasts and their families vying for coveted Olympic spots, can allow sexual abuse to go unchecked as victims feel that it’s easier and potentially beneficial to stay quiet.

Raisman says she now feels betrayed, by both Nassar, whom she trusted as a doctor, and by USA Gymnastics, whom she trusted not to put her in harm’s way.

Nassar, who was a licensed osteopath, was a volunteer at USA Gymnastics. Throughout her career, Raisman was told by the organization’s officials that Nassar was a talented doctor, one that the gymnasts were fortunate to work with. She trusted that advice, as did her parents. “When I went to a parents meeting, they would tell us your children are so lucky to have the best doctor, they are so lucky to work with Dr. Larry,” says Lynn Faber Raisman.

Nassar went out of his way to exploit that trust, according to Raisman and others who worked with him. He attended many of the elite training camps at the secluded Texas ranch run by the influential coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi, who led the U.S. Olympic team. The camp was invitation only, and a call to attend was considered a top honor for Olympic hopefuls. Once a month during the season, elite teams would gather at the ranch with their coaches and national trainers — but no family — for five days of intensive drills. The gymnasts lived in spartan dorms and their days consisted of little more than training, eating and sleeping. Cell service is spotty, so athletes barely communicated with their families during camp.

In that setting, Raisman says Nassar became their confidante and cheering squad, bestowing gifts and sweets, and much-needed encouragement and support. For young girls whose entire lives consisted of hours and hours of performing to impress others, Nassar seemed like an ally.

“He was always, always, always on my side,” says Raisman. “He was always that person who would stick up for me and make me feel like he had my back. The more I think about it, the more I realize how twisted he was, how he manipulated me to make me think that he had my back when he didn’t.”

Raisman says she is still processing her experience, and admits to being anxious about seeing male doctors. She has not yet retired from gymnastics, and has not ruled out trying to make a third Olympic team in Tokyo 2020. She hopes that her story, and those of others who have come forward, will change the way USA Gymnastics addresses reports of sexual abuse.

In response to Raisman’s claims, USA Gymnastics said in a statement, “We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career. In the past year, Aly has become an advocate for many issues, and sharing her personal experience of abuse takes great courage. We are committed to doing what is right, and we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.” The organization has adopted a Safe Sport Policy meant to prevent similar instances of abuse, and Steve Penny resigned as president in March 2017. Kerry Perry, a former sports marketing executive, was appointed the new president and CEO beginning Dec. 1.

Those decisions are a start, says Raisman, but she wants to see other steps, including the creation of a separate body independent of USA Gymnastics that is responsible for handling reports of sexual abuse. “One day when I have a daughter I want to put her in gymnastics,” she says. “I want to make the sport fun, and make it safe. I love the sport, but winning doesn’t make the abuse OK.”


Sports – TIME

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