TIME NASCAR

NASCAR Distances Itself From Confederate Flag After Massacre

Confederate Flag NASCAR Auto Racing
Rob Carr—AP Confederate flags fly in the infield as cars come out of turn one during a NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., on Oct. 7, 2007

Dylann Roof appeared in photos holding Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags

Confederate flags are as easy to find at NASCAR races as cutoff jeans, cowboy hats and beer.

They fly over motorhomes. They adorn clothing. They are regular fixtures, just like Ford and Chevrolet, and that is unlikely to change any time soon.

NASCAR probably would like to see them go away.

The sanctioning body for the motorsports series backed South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in the wake of the Charleston church massacre. NASCAR issued its statement Tuesday, the same day South Carolina lawmakers agreed to discuss removing the flag and one day after Haley said “the time has come” to take it down. And that is as far as NASCAR appears willing to go for now.

“As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity,” NASCAR said. “While NASCAR recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events.”

International Speedway Corp., NASCAR’S sister company that owns a majority of the tracks, echoed the sanctioning body’s response.

“We join NASCAR in support of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s position on the Confederate flag,” ISC President John Saunders said in a statement. “ISC strives to ensure all fans are welcome to enjoy our events and maintains an inclusive environment at our facilities nationwide. ISC will continue our long-standing practice to prohibit the sale of Confederate flag material on our property.”

Saunders declined a request by The Associated Press for further comment. Other tracks did not respond to requests for comment.

Nine people were slain last week at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is charged with murder. The white man appeared in photos holding Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags, and purportedly wrote of fomenting racial violence.

Big retailers like Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears, eBay and Etsy all said they would remove Confederate merchandise from their stores or websites and politicians across the South called for various steps to move away from the symbol that many associate with racism.

NASCAR has faced criticism over the years for various issues, often involving sponsors. A decade ago, there were questions when hard liquor companies emerged as potential sponsors for a sport built around fast cars and a series whose founding in 1948 gave ex-moonshiners a place to race. More recently, the National Rifle Association drew attention when it struck a sponsorship deal with Texas Motor Speedway not long after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Connecticut.

Confederate flags have been flown by fans at NASCAR races for years. For NASCAR’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Charleston, a Confederate flag theme was part of poster merchandise from the 1950s into the late ’70s.

Tracks have long and detailed rules for fans, but none involving the content of flags. Although NASCAR has eliminated the use of Confederate flags in any official capacity, it could take things a step further and include language in sanctioning agreements that would ban them altogether at tracks.

But that would be difficult to enforce at tracks with hundreds of acres of infield space and sometimes more than 100,000 fans.

“There’s only so much that you can do with an issue like this if you’re NASCAR,” said Brad Daugherty, a former NBA star and current co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing.

“But I will tell you, being an African-American man going to the racetrack and seeing the Confederate flag – and I’m a different egg or a different bird because I’m a Southern kid, I’m a mountain kid, I hunt and fish, I love racing,” Daugherty said Tuesday on Sirius XM radio. “But to walk into the racetrack and there’s only few that you walk into and see that Confederate flag – it does make my skin crawl. And even though I do my best to not acknowledge it or to pay any attention to it, it’s there and it bothers me because of what it represents.”

In 2012, NASCAR and track officials canceled plans to have pro golfer Bubba Watson drive the car from the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard” at Phoenix International Raceway, which is owned by ISC. Officials cited concerns about a negative reaction to an image of the Confederate flag on the roof of the “General Lee.”

“The image of the Confederate flag is not something that should play an official role in our sport as we continue to reach out to new fans and make NASCAR more inclusive,” NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said at the time. Watson said he didn’t “stand for the Confederate flag” and noted that NASCAR was “built on moonshining,” an occasional theme in the TV show.

Former “Dukes” actor and ex-Georgia Congressman Ben Jones criticized that decision.

“As a cast member of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ and the owner of several ‘General Lees,’ I can attest that the car and our show reflect the very best of American values, and that Hazzard County was a place where racism was not tolerated,” said Jones, who played the mechanic Cooter on the show. “This action by NASCAR is a provocative and unnecessary overreaction to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is a disgraceful and gratuitous insult to a lot of very decent people.”

TIME Baseball

Watch This Baseball Fan Effortlessly Catch a Foul Ball While Holding a Baby

LA Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
Nuccio DiNuzzo—Chicago Tribune/TNS/Getty Images Keith Hartley being interviewed by a TV reporter after he snagged a foul ball while bottle-feeding his infant 7-month-old son during the second inning of a Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers game on June 23, 2015

Hartley caught the ball because he was afraid it might ricochet off the railing and hit his 7-month-old son

Although fans catching foul balls in Chicago have historically been much maligned, things went a bit differently for Keith Hartley on Tuesday. Hartley, who caught a foul ball one-handed during a Chicago Cubs–Los Angeles Dodgers game on Tuesday night, is being celebrated largely because of what he had in his other hand — his 7-month-old son.

The moment came in the game’s second inning, as Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez ran to catch a foul ball down the first baseline, ESPN reports. And although it earned the Cubs an out for fan interference, ending the inning, Twitter and Vine still had a Wrigley Field day lauding Hartley’s dexterity and insouciant paternal instincts. Hartley told ESPN he attempted the catch for fear that the ball might ricochet off the rail and hit his son Isaac.

Despite their brief interaction, Gonzalez did not react to Hartley’s catch. “Hopefully he’s not too angry,” Hartley told ESPN. “He is on my fantasy team. I want to keep him happy.”

[ESPN]

TIME Football

Tom Brady Appeal Hearing Ends After More Than 10 Hours

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady looks to pass during the first half of the NFL football AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass on Jan. 18, 2015
Matt Slocum—AP Tom Brady looks to pass during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 18, 2015

This was the latest step in the protracted "Deflategate" scandal

(NEW YORK) — After a 10-hour hearing, Tom Brady now must wait to find out if his appeal of a four-game suspension carried any weight with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Brady was suspended by the league for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game win over Indianapolis. He arrived at the NFL’s Park Avenue offices Tuesday morning, as did attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who is leading Brady’s defense.

It was growing dark when Goodell left the league headquarters after he heard Brady and representatives from the players’ union during the lengthy meeting. League security said Brady also had left.

No details of the hearing were immediately available.

“I think we put in a very compelling case,” Kessler said, adding that no timetable on a decision by Goodell had been given.

Kessler said he would have no further comments Tuesday night, and neither the union nor the league immediately commented.

This was the latest step in the protracted “Deflategate” scandal, and no decisions were expected Tuesday.

Indeed, it is uncertain how soon Goodell will announce anything; he could decide to keep the suspension as it is, reduce it or completely wipe it clean.

With training camps set to open in five weeks, the commissioner has some time to consider the evidence presented at the hearing. But the Patriots also can’t finalize training camp practice plans for the quarterback position until they know Brady’s availability for the 2015 season.

Should Goodell keep the four-game ban — or even if he reduces it but doesn’t dismiss it totally — Brady could go to court. That could delay any solution for months.

On Tuesday, as Goodell was hearing a myriad of testimonies, Brady supporters were outside, some wearing “Free Brady” T-shirts. At least until the rains came, that is.

Some reporters joked that the meeting lasted so long because a summer storm was hitting the city and no one wanted to leave the building in such weather.

But just past 8:30 p.m. EDT, the principles headed out.

The NFL Players Association had asked Goodell to recuse himself from hearing the appeal because he could not be impartial and might be called as a witness. But Goodell said it was his responsibility to oversee the hearing to protect the integrity of the league.

Based on the league-sanctioned Wells report, Brady was suspended and the Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks.

Among the key elements of Brady’s appeal: who ordered his four-game suspension and whether science supports the league’s findings about deflated footballs.

The NFL says Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by league executive Troy Vincent, who signed the letters sent to Brady and the Patriots informing them of the penalties. The NFLPA challenged Vincent’s power to issue punishment, citing Article 46 of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Goodell dismissed the union’s claim.

“I did not delegate my disciplinary authority to Mr. Vincent; I concurred in his recommendation and authorized him to communicate to Mr. Brady the discipline imposed under my authority as Commissioner,” Goodell said in his letter to the union on June 2. “The identity of the person who signed the disciplinary letter is irrelevant.”

The penalties were announced after investigator Ted Wells found that the Super Bowl champions illegally used under-inflated footballs in the AFC title game.

Goodell issued punishments to Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice in recent, high-profile cases involving players violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The league doesn’t consider Brady’scase similar because it involved rules of the game.

Scientific arguments also were a major part of Brady’s defense. Brady’s lawyers tried to shoot down the findings of an independent firm hired to provide scientific analysis of the air pressure inside the footballs used by the Patriots and Colts during the AFC title game.

Brady’s side claimed:

— The evidence collected in the Wells report doesn’t prove Brady violated any NFL rules.

— The punishment is harsher than for similar violations.

While Brady is fighting his punishment, Patriots owner Robert Kraft declined to appeal the team’s penalty, though he defended his franchise player and denied any wrongdoing by team employees.

TIME Sports

See 18 Athletes Who Changed the Game for Women

In honor of Title IX, which became law on June 23, 1972

When Title IX was enacted on June 23, 1972, the federal law changed athletic life for American women, as TIME explained in a 1978 cover story about women and sports:

Only a tiny minority of girls appear to want to play contact sports against boys. But there is no doubt that the girls want and indeed are insisting upon a fair chance to develop their athletic abilities. Their cause is being substantially helped, albeit unevenly so far, by a section of the Education Amendments Act passed by Congress in 1972: the passage known as Title IX. In essence, Title IX forbids sex discrimination in any educational institution receiving federal funds. The prohibition applies on the athletic fields as well as in classrooms.

Of course, there were plenty of great female athletes before Title IX—and its passage didn’t mean that women stopped breaking new ground. Those who wanted to play found a way, despite limited options and sometimes-violent opposition. Here are just a few of those pioneering women.

Read the full 1978 story here, in the TIME Vault: Comes the Revolution

TIME Soccer

U.S. Advances to World Cup Quarterfinals With 2-0 Win Over Colombia

Alex Morgan, Angela Clavijo
Jason Franson—The Canadian Press/AP Alex Morgan kicks the ball in front of Colombia's Angela Clavijo during a World Cup round of 16 match in Edmonton, Canada, on June 22, 2015

The U.S. is seeking its third World Cup title, but first since 1999

(EDMONTON, Alberta) —Alex Morgan scored her first goal of the Women’s World Cup and the United States advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Colombia on Monday night.

Abby Wambach’s penalty kick early in the second half went wide after Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez — a backup herself — was ejected for a foul on Morgan. Stefany Castano, who replaced Perez in goal, got a hand on Morgan’s shot five minutes later, but couldn’t stop the goal to put the United States up 1-0.

Carli Lloyd also scored for the second-ranked Americans, who will face No. 16 China on Friday in Ottawa. The United States is seeking its third World Cup title, but first since 1999.

The Americans have not allowed a goal in 333 minutes.

Colombia has never won soccer’s premier tournament, but the No. 28 Las Cafeteras pulled off one of the biggest upsets in any World Cup in the group stage when they defeated third-ranked France 2-0.

Morgan and Wambach started up top for the United States, which used the same starting lineup as it did in the group-stage finale against Nigeria — a first since Jill Ellis became coach.

It was Morgan’s second straight start after working her way back from a bone bruise in her left knee. Morgan came in as a sub in the first two matches of the tournament.

Perez, a 20-year-old junior at Miami, started because regular goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda was serving a suspension for yellow-card accumulation. Sepulveda had six saves in Colombia’s win over France. Castano had started in Colombia’s World Cup opener, a 1-1 draw with Mexico.

The teams played to a goalless first half, with the United States unable to finish several good chances.

Wambach was ruled offside for her attempt at a rebound goal in the fourth minute. Morgan later had a chance, but her shot bounced in front of Perez, who tipped it up and over the crossbar. Perez made three saves in the first half.

The United States was hurt in the 17th minute when Lauren Holiday got a yellow card, her second of the World Cup. She’ll have to sit out the quarterfinal, and it happened again in the 41st minute when Megan Rapinoe got her second yellow.

Perez was sent off at the start of the second half after sliding into Morgan, who was charging toward goal. After Castano took over, Wambach fooled her on the right side but the penalty kick sailed well left of the post.

After Morgan’s goal in the 53rd minute, Lloyd scored on a penalty kick in the 66th, Lloyd’s first goal of the tournament.

The U.S. had won each of the previous two meetings. When they met nearly three years ago in the London Olympics, Colombia striker Lady Andrade sucker-punched U.S. star Abby Wambach in the eye, drawing a two-match suspension.

In the days before the match in Edmonton, some of Colombia’s players said they felt they’d been disrespected by the Americans ever since.

“Because of something that happened three years ago, they’ve said things that have not been taken by us in the best way,” midfielder Yoreli Rincon said. Andrade told reporters she thought the Americans had “belittled” the Colombians.

Colombia, the third-place finisher in Group F behind France and England, was making its second World Cup appearance; it finished in 14th in 2011 in Germany. Colombia had never won a match in the sport’s premier tournament until the upset of France.

The second-ranked Americans finished on top of the so-called Group of Death, with victories over Australia and Nigeria and a 0-0 tie with Sweden.

China, the Americans’ next opponent, has played in six World Cups, but missed out four years ago. The Steel Roses have never won a title, but they made the final in 1999, losing memorably to the United States on penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl.

 

TIME Baseball

Pete Rose Gambled on Baseball as a Player, Report Says

While he previously admitted betting as a manager, he denied doing so as a player

Newly obtained documents indicate Pete Rose, the all-time Major League Baseball leader in hits, bet on baseball while he was a player, according to a new report that bats against his 26-year denial of doing so.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports that the documents—copies of pages from a notebook of Michael Bertolini, a previous associate of Rose—refutes Rose’s past claims that he only placed bets while he was a manager on the Cincinnati Reds—never as a player. Even that admission came after nearly 15 years of denials; Rose was banned for life from the league in 1989.

The notebook seized from Bertolini’s home covers March to July 1986, with documentation that for at least 30 different days, Rose gambled on at least one MLB team. On 21 of those days, the report notes, Rose bet on the Reds’ games—many of which he was playing in.

Read more at ESPN’s Outside the Lines.

TIME Crime

Former MLB Player Found Dead in Domestic Murder-Suicide

Darryl Hamilton
Larry Goren–AP Darryl Hamilton, then playing on the San Francisco Giants, during a game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California during the 1997 season.

Darryl Hamilton, 50, and his girlfriend Monica Jordan, 44, were found dead in Jordan's home outside of Houston

Darryl Hamilton, a former Major League Baseball player and MLB analyst, and his girlfriend, Monica Jordan, were found dead on Sunday in Jordan’s home outside of Houston.

Hamilton, 50, appeared to have been shot multiple times, according to investigators. Jordan, 44, died from self-inflicted gun wounds. The two were parents of a 13-month-old boy, who was found unharmed in the home and has since been handed over to Child Protective Services.

Hamilton played in the MLB from 1988 to 2001, and was on four playoff teams, including the New York Mets, the Texas Rangers, the San Francisco Giants and the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2013, he joined the MLB Network as an analyst.

TIME Bizarre

This Soccer Team’s New Mascot Will Haunt Your Every Waking Moment

Kingsley
Jeff Holmes — Partick Thistle Football Club

Meet "Kingsley"

The Scottish soccer team Partick Thistle has a new mascot, and it’s caused quite a stir on social media.

The new mascot was designed by artist David Shrigley and was unveiled Monday after the Scottish team signed a new six-figure sponsorship deal with the California-based company Kingsford Capital Management.

The mascot is named Kingsley, and it’s pretty unclear what exactly Kingsley is. It’s been described by some as “absolutely terrifying.”

The new deal includes front shirt sponsorship, branding around the stadium, and the selling of your soul to Kingsley the Yellow King of Carcosa.

TIME sponsorships

Why Jordan Spieth’s U.S. Open Win Was Huge for Under Armour

The Masters - Final Round
Ezra Shaw—Getty Images Bubba Watson presents Jordan Spieth of the United States with the green jacket after Spieth won the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.

The athletic gear company is making bold sponsorship deals

Under Armour’s bet on golf phenom Jordan Spieth is looking like a very savvy investment indeed.

The 21-year-old golf prodigy won the U.S. Open over the weekend, his second major in a row in a victory that’s surely being celebrated by his athletic gear sponsor, Under Armour. Under Armour has backed Spieth since he turned professional, and even signed a 10-year sponsorship extension earlier this year for an undisclosed amount of money.

Spieth isn’t the only Under Armour athlete with big wins recently. NBA Point guard Stephen Curry, also an Under Armour athlete, took home his league’s championship with the Golden State Warriors — and brought his young daughter along to press conferences for some adorable antics. And ballerina Misty Copeland, who appeared in a widely watched Under Armour ad last year, is reportedly poised for a key promotion with the American Ballet Theatre.

But Spieth’s dominance on the green is particularly exciting. Last month, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank told investors that part of the athletic gear maker’s success is attributed to signing athletes like Spieth, at times inking deals well before athletes are proven professional stars. Under Armour’s stock is up about 1.5% at noon ET Monday.

“Knowing that we have Jordan Spieth as the face of Under Armour Golf into the future solidifies our presence in the category,” Plank said.

Sponsorships are costly to big apparel and footwear makers like Under Armour. The company’s marketing costs jumped to $333 million in 2014 from $246.5 million in 2013, primarily due to increased global sponsorship of professional teams and athletes. But Under Armour justifies those costs by saying the sponsorship of high-performing athletes and teams results in a sales windfall due to high exposure at live sporting events, ad campaigns, and as athletes appear on television and on magazine covers.

TIME MLB

Could This French Shortstop Be the MLB’s First Female Player?

Melissa Mayeux, 16, became the first female player to be included in the MLB's international registry

After over 150 years, Major League Baseball might have taken a step closer to finding its first female player.

Melissa Mayeux, a 16-year-old shortstop on the French U-18 junior national team, made MLB history on Sunday as the first female player on the international registration list.

Her addition to the list means she is eligible to be signed on July 2, although MLB.com reported that it is unlikely she would be signed next month. However, the site says only players with serious potential to be signed usually make it onto the international registry. There is no official rule that women cannot play in the MLB.

If signed, Mayeux, who has been watched by the MLB’s Director of International Game Development Mike McClellan for two years, would probably not play professional baseball until she is 18. If she is not signed, she would still be able to play for a U.S. university.

Mayeux speaks little English and is, according to MLB.com, “unaware that her presence on the registry might be seen as newsworthy in the United States.”

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