TIME Internet

Oakland A’s Pitcher and Girlfriend Team Up to Fill Stadium on LGBT Pride Night

Oakland Athletics' Sean Doolittle during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Oakland, Calif. on Aug. 5, 2014.
Ben Margot—AP Oakland Athletics' Sean Doolittle during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Oakland, Calif. on Aug. 5, 2014.

The pitcher's girlfriend has two moms who are "diehard A's fans"

The Oakland Athletics are holding their first LGBT Pride Night on June 17, and A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend have found a solution for season ticket holders who want to sell their tickets for that game.

Doolittle​’s girlfriend, Eireann Dolan, has two moms who are “diehard A’s fans,” as she detailed in a blog post.

Dolan writes that after the A’s announced the event on social media, she “was saddened to read some of the replies about their decision to have a night of inclusion for the LGBT community.” She said many season ticket holders expressed a desire to sell their tickets to the game, so Dolan is offering to buy the tickets.

In her blog post, Dolan writes that “everybody is entitled to their own beliefs and as long as nobody is getting hurt, I’m happy … I won’t tell you that you are wrong or that you are not allowed to think or act that way.” From her post:

So, A’s fans; if attending a baseball game on LGBT Pride Night makes you at all uncomfortable, it is probably a good idea to sell your tickets. And I have the perfect buyer. ME!

If you’d like to sell your tickets to June 17th’s LGBT Pride Night game, I will buy them from you at face value. As many as I can. No judgments. No questions asked.

Dolan, who can be reached here on Twitter, said she will donate any tickets she purchases to the Bay Area Youth Center’s Our Space community for LGBTQ youth.

A GoFundMe.com page has also been set up to raise money for the goal of “Filling the Stands on Pride Night.” It appears to be working: as of Tuesday morning, $6,110 had been raised by 110 people over 21 hours and the A’s expanded Pride Night to an extra two field level sections at O.co Coliseum.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

Read next: Celebrate Baseball’s Return With Classic Photos of Ebbets Field

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TIME Football

USC Athletic Director Skipping Football Meeting Over Indiana Law

Cal State Northridge v USC
Jeff Golden—Getty Images Pat Haden smiles on the court before the game between the Cal State Northridge Matadors and the USC Trojans at Galen Center in Los Angeles on Nov. 12, 2013

USC athletic director Pat Haden tweeted on Tuesday that he will not attend a College Football Playoff committee meeting in Indianapolis this week due to Senate Bill 101, the controversial religious freedom law Indiana passed last week by Gov. Mike Pence.

The law, which will go into effect in July, has garnered national attention this month. Proponents say the law protects individual religious freedoms from state and local governments. Opponents say it could allow businesses to refuse to serve LGBT customers by citing the business owners’ religious beliefs.

In the tweet, Haden said he was skipping the meeting as “the proud father of a gay son.”

Haden is one of 13 committee members responsible for developing the weekly College Football Playoff rankings that were introduced last season.

The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis and will hold the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four at the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend, issued a statement last week on the bill.

“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” read the statement from NCAA president Mark Emmert. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

The LGBT sports coalition has since voiced its support for relocating major sporting events from Indiana, and a Change.org petition to move next season’s Big Ten football championship out of Indianapolis has drawn more than 12,000 supporters as of Tuesday afternoon.

On Saturday, the NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever also issued a joint statement on the law. On Tuesday, NASCAR released a statement, saying the organization is “disappointed” by the legislation.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Education

NCAA and UNC Want Lawsuit Over Fake Classes Dismissed

The NCAA logo is shown on the field where the Maryland Terrapins played against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship at Villanova Stadium on May 26, 2013 in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
G Fiume—Getty Images The NCAA logo is shown on the field where the Maryland Terrapins played against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship at Villanova Stadium on May 26, 2013 in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

At least four people were fired as a result of the scandal

The NCAA and the University of North Carolina each filed a motion asking a federal judge to throw out a class-action lawsuit related to the school’s academic scandal involving fake classes for athletes.

The NCAA says in the filing that it is not “subject to liability for the independent actions of its member institutions.”

“And, finally, even if plaintiffs’ allegations were not otherwise facially insufficient to state a claim for relief, plaintiffs’ claims against the NCAA would be barred by the applicable three-year statutes of limitations,” the NCAA said.

In January, the school and NCAA were sued by former football player Devon Ramsay and women’s basketball player Rashanda McCants, claiming breach of contract and negligence, but the NCAA said it was not legally responsible for any academic fraud that may have occurred.

At least four people were fired as a result of the scandal after a U.S. Justice Department report showed that about 3,100 athletes and other students earned artificially high grades for nearly two decades.

North Carolina wants the lawsuit dismissed on the basis of the 11th Amendment, which limits federal courts from hearing cases where a state is sued by an individual from another state or country.

UNC says in the filing that the plaintiffs claims were “based on an ‘educational malpractice theory’ uniformly rejected under applicable precedent,” and that the case’s statute of limitations has run out.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Basketball

Dwight Howard Honors Young Fan Who Died

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard honored James Fisher, a young boy who died on Monday after a battle with brain cancer, with an Instagram video.

Howard posted the video with the accompanying caption: “Rest in peace lil James Fisher. He passed away a couple hours ago. He was the little kid I picked up to dunk a couple of months ago during pregame warmups. He also gave me the rubber band that says James strong. He was such an inspiration to me and my teammates. I have worn the band everyday since he gave it to me and I will continue to wear this band. You are in a better place. No more pain. No more hospital visits. Just peace love and happiness. And you can dunk as many times as u want. See u in heaven James.”

Howard and Fisher met in December, when Howard helped seven-year-old Fisher dunk a basketball before the Rockets’ game against the Phoenix Suns at the Toyota Center on Dec. 6.

On a Facebook page set up on Fisher’s behalf, his family encouraged funeral visitors to arrive wearing jeans and a Houston Texans jersey or Rockets t-shirt since Fisher “loved” those two teams.

Howard returned to the court last week after missing 26 games with a knee injury. The 29-year-old center is averaging 15.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this season.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Football

Atlanta Falcons to Lose Draft Pick for Piping In Fake Crowd Noise During Games

An Atlanta Falcons' helmet sits on the turf before a game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 16, 2014.
Bob Leverone—AP An Atlanta Falcons' helmet sits on the turf before a game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 16, 2014.

NFL is expected to release its official decision on Tuesday

The NFL is expected to suspend Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay from the league’s competition committee and strip a draft pick from the team for using artificial crowd noise at home games, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.

According to the report, the league is expected to render its official decision on Tuesday, which could also involve a substantial fine.

McCay is the chairman of the NFL Competition Committee, which is in charge of overseeing the league’s rules.

The league has been investigating the claim since November that the Falcons have been using the tactic over the past two seasons while their opponents are huddling or trying to call a play.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank admitted that the team is guilty of pumping in crowd noise, telling the Associated Press that it was “obviously embarrassing but beyond embarrassing it doesn’t represent our culture and what we’re about.”

The Falcons lost three of their seven games at the Georgia Dome this season and were blown out by the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 17 with a playoff berth on the line. They only won three of their eight home games in 2013 on their way to a 4-12 record.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Baseball

Mariners Pitching Prospect Victor Sanchez Dies at 20

Victor Sanchez
Mike Janes—AP Seattle Mariners pitcher Victor Sanchez during practice before an Instructional League game on Oct. 4, 2013 at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona.

He died from head injuries sustained in a boating accident in Venezuela six weeks ago

Seattle Mariners minor league pitcher Victor Sanchez has died, the team announced on Saturday.

Sanchez was 20 years old. He died from head injuries sustained in a boating accident in Venezuela, his home country, six weeks ago.

“The Seattle Mariners are saddened to learn of the passing of Victor Sanchez,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “Victor was a tremendous young man and a wonderful teammate. He was a very talented player who was close to fulfilling his promise as a Major Leaguer. He will be missed by his teammates, and the coaches and staff at the Mariners.”

According to the team, Sanchez was unconscious in a medically induced coma since the accident and underwent brain surgery after sustaining a double skull fracture and brain hematoma. He had been in critical condition in a hospital.

Sanchez signed with Seattle as an international free agent when he was 16 years old. MLB.com ranked him as the team’s No. 11 prospect last year and he spent the 2014 season at Double-A Jackson, going 7-6 with a 4.19 ERA.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Australia

Australia Dedicates Cricket World Cup Win to Late Teammate

Australia v New Zealand - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup: Final
Ryan Pierse—Getty Images Michael Clarke of Australia celebrates with the trophy during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup final match between Australia and New Zealand at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29, 2015 in Melbourne.

Phillip Hughes died after being struck in the head by a ball in November

Australia captain Michael Clarke dedicated his team’s Cricket World Cup victory to the memory of teammate Phillip Hughes, who was killed during a match in November.

“I think for everybody in Australian cricket it’s been really tough few months,” Clarke said, according to the BBC. “Tonight is certainly dedicated to our little brother and our teammate Phillip Hughes.”

Hughes was struck in the head by a ball and was rushed to a hospital for emergency surgery. He remained a medically-induced coma for two days before his death. He was 25.

Australia defeated New Zealand by seven wickets in the World Cup final on Sunday. It was a record fifth World Cup victory for the Australians, and their fourth in the last five tournaments. No other country has won more than twice.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

Read next: Australia Cricketers to Test New Helmet Design Following Phillip Hughes’ Death

 

TIME College Basketball

5 Things That Make Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes Off-Court Star of NCAA Tournament

Wisconsin Badgers forward Nigel Hayes during the a game against Oregon Ducks in Omaha, Neb. on March 22, 2015.
William Purnell—AP Wisconsin Badgers forward Nigel Hayes during the a game against Oregon Ducks in Omaha, Neb. on March 22, 2015.

He's got some endearing quirks

Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes in the most interesting character in the NCAA tournament. The sophomore forward is averaging 13.7 points per game thus far in the tournament, but it’s his off-court antics that have made him a star. Let’s take a look back at five things that make him the tournament’s most lovable player.

He’s fascinated by the press conference stenographer

Here’s how Hayes opened his press conference after the Badgers’ win over Coastal Carolina:

Q. Nigel, obviously if you look just statistically, you’ve taken quite a leap in the 3-point shooting, to whatever, and in other areas. Can you describe just the steps you took to kind of, you know, raise those parts of your game?
NIGEL HAYES: Hello, it works now. Before I answer that question, I would like to say a few words, cattywampus, onomatopoeia and antidisestablishmentarianism. (Laughs). Now, back to your question. It was just a lot of hard work, teammates giving me great confidence, and when you play with players that are very unselfish like the two next to me who also give you that confidence and involve the team, it’s a lot easier to get things done.

Q. Why did you start off saying those things and then I have to followup.
NIGEL HAYES: Well, the wonderful young lady over there, I think her job title is a stenographer, yes, okay. And she does an amazing job of typing words, sometimes if words are not in her dictionary, maybe if I say soliloquy right now, she may have to work a little bit harder to type that word, or quandary, zephyr, Xylophone, things like that, that make her job really interesting.

He might be a little too fascinated with one stenographer in particular

Hayes tried to whisper to Frank Kaminsky that he thought the stenographer in Los Angeles was “beautiful,” but he didn’t realize his mic was on. He looked like he wanted to disappear, which is hard when you’re 6’8″.

He made sure to apologize to the stenographer in question

Hayes realized that his gaffe might have been as embarrassing for the stenographer as it was for him, so he apologized to her on Twitter.

She was totally cool with it, though.

He wants to sleep in Kobe Bryant’s locker

Hayes is sharing Kobe’s locker this week, and hopes to gain some of Bryant’s skills by osmosis.

“Here we are in Kobe’s locker,” Hayes told reporters, according to WKBT. “I will probably sleep in this locker tonight so that way I can absorb Kobe powers and ability tonight and hopefully it will help me play well.”

He’s been doing stuff like this his entire college career

During last year’s tournament, Hayes started interviewing teammates as “Nigel Burgundy.” The videos were a hit, so he kept the act going after the season was over. In May, he helped keep things light during finals week by interviewing students in the library.

How can you not root for the Badgers?

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Football

Michael Sam Says There Are Other Gay Athletes in the NFL

Michael Sam attends the premiere of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" season 20 in West Hollywood, Calif. on March 16, 2015.
Alberto E. Rodriguez—Getty Images Michael Sam attends the premiere of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" season 20 in West Hollywood, Calif. on March 16, 2015.

"There is a lot of us," says Michael Sam

Free-agent defensive end Michael Sam says that he is not the only gay player in the NFL.

Sam became the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

He was cut at the end of training camp after making three sacks during the preseason and was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their practice squad, spending seven weeks with the team before he was released in October.

“I am not the only gay person in the NFL,” Sam said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.”

Last month, Sam told Sports Illustrated‘s Robert Klemko that there were other gay players in the NFL.

Sam worked out at the veterans combine in Arizona last weekend, running a 4.99 40-yard dash. He admits coming out was a “risky move” and didn’t think it was going to be a big deal.

“Maybe I was naive,” Sam said. “Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there’s gay NFL players. There’s gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.”

Sam is currently competing on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

“Dancing with the Stars is my employer,” Sam said. “That’s my main source of income.… I’m unemployed, and I don’t believe I’m out of the NFL because I’m gay. But if it was a reason, it can hurt their livelihood, and you don’t want to take that chance.”

Sam says he has not talked to his father since February 2014, when the New York Times published a story detailing Sam’s upbringing in Hitchcock, Texas.

Sam sent his father a text saying he was gay, prompting Michael Sam, Sr. to tell the newspaper, “I’m old school…. I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.”

The younger Sam says those comments and others made in the article were “unforgivable.”

“I still love him, but I can love him from afar,” Sam said.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Basketball

Washington Wizards Let 13-Year-Old With Brain Cancer Join the Team for a Day

Nitin Ramachandran's wish came true

The Wizards had a very special guest at their 110-107 double-overtime win over the Hornets on Friday. The team signed Nitin Ramachandran, a 13-year-old boy from Virginia with brain cancer, to a one-day contract. He got to hang out with the team throughout the day and even got introduced as part of the starting lineup.

Nitin watched shoutaround and helped coach up the big men.

John Wall better hope Nitin doesn’t take his spot permanently.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

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