TIME College Sports

Arizona State University Student Now 1st Openly Gay Division I Football Player

Edward "Chip" Sarafin
Edward "Chip" Sarafin in Phoenix. Arizona State University outside linebacker Sarafin has told a local magazine he is gay, making him the first active Division I football player to come out Arizon State University/AP

Edward Sarafin, a fifth-year student working toward a master's in biomedical engineering, is a linebacker for the Sun Devils

Correction appended, Aug. 14

An Arizona State University football player became the first openly gay Division I football player on Wednesday after coming out in an article published in a gay sports magazine.

Edward “Chip” Sarafin is an offensive lineman with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and who is working toward his master’s at Arizona State University. He told Compete, an Arizona-based gay sports magazine, he started coming out to his teammates last spring so they’d hear it from him, rather than through rumors.

“It was really personal to me, and it benefited my peace of mind greatly,” Sarafin said.

Leaders within the Arizona Sun Devils Athletic Department issued statements in support of Sarafin on Wednesday, while members of the Sun Devil Brotherhood tweeted messages of encouragement. “The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him,” vice president of university athletics Ray Anderson said, noting Sarafin’s achievements on and off of the field, including research he’s conducted on football-related concussion.

The football team’s head coach Todd Graham said, “”We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual’s commitment to the Sun Devil Way.”

Sarafin’s openness about his sexuality comes months after the NFL drafted its first ever openly gay player Michael Sam, who is currently a linebacker for the St. Louis Rams. On Wednesday, Sam sent out a congratulatory tweet to Sarafin.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated Sarafin’s position.

TIME NASCAR

Father of Driver Killed After Race Collision: Tony Stewart Was ‘Only One’ Who Didn’t See My Son

Cheez-It 355 At The Glen
The #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet is prepared by its crew in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. Jerry Markland—Getty Images

Kevin Ward, Sr., says his son slept with a smile on his face

The father of Kevin Ward, Jr., who died Saturday after bring struck by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, said Tuesday that his son “was just a very God-gifted kid.”

“I think he slept with a smile on his face,” Kevin Ward told Syracuse.com of his son, in an interview published Wednesday.

Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed after he was struck by Stewart’s car during a race on a dirt track in Canandaigua, New York, about 25 miles from Rochester. Before the incident, Ward’s car was bumped into a wall by Stewart’s vehicle, effectively knocking Ward out of the race. During a subsequent safety lap, Ward got out of his car and stood on the track, seemingly to confront Stewart about the collision — a move that’s not uncommon in local races. However, Ward was struck and dragged by Stewart’s car, and he died later that day.

An investigation into the incident is currently ongoing. Stewart, a NASCAR driver who also often competes on a local level, dropped out of a NASCAR event Sunday following Ward’s death.

“I think the reason [Ward] probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall. He was definitely put into the wall,” Ward’s father told Syracuse.com. “Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him.”

Ward Sr. said he did not see his son get hit because he was busy getting to the spot where the racer’s car had hit the wall. He did, however, watch paramedics perform CPR on his son for some 45 minutes.

“He was a special person to many, and a very special person to his family,” Ward Sr. said.

Ward Sr. and his wife have met with the Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies twice since their son’s death.

“The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?,” asked Ward Sr.

[Syracuse.com]

TIME NBA

NBA to Raptors: Drop Drake As Official Ambassador

2014 ESPYS - Backstage & Audience
\ESPYs host Drake with NBA player Kevin Durant with the award for best Male Athlete at the The 2014 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. \ Kevin Mazur—WireImage

The team was fined after the rapper lobbied Kevin Durant to come to Toronto during a concert

The NBA is none too pleased that Drake took time out from a recent concert in Toronto to ask one of the audience members, reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant, to join the Toronto Raptors—a team for which the rapper is an official ambassador. The league says that Drake was tampering by trying to publicly recruit the Oklahoma City Thunder player.

“You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us,” Drake said at the concert. “I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen.” The crowd cheered in response.

The NBA has fined the Raptors $25,000, but according to The Globe and Mail the league said it would drop the fine if the team strips Drake of his title. Toronto reportedly refused the offer.

[The Globe and Mail]

TIME Football

Washington Redskins Defend Name With Help From Native Americans

"It's a warrior's name"

+ READ ARTICLE

The Washington Redskins premiered a video Monday in which Native Americans explain why they don’t think the team’s hot-button name is offensive.

The video, released by the “Redskins Facts” campaign reportedly funded by the team, features Native Americans from across the country arguing that the moniker is “a powerful name — it’s a warrior’s name.”

This counters the message of a powerful ad paid for by the California tribe Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation during the June NBA Finals called Proud to Be, in which a voiceover said, “Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don’t…” before flashing to an image of a Redskins helmet.

In the Redskins Facts video, Native Americans argue that they have bigger issues to deal with than a football team’s name. “They’ve never asked Native Americans. It’s somebody else who knows nothing about us trying to speak for us, and it’s kind of an insult,” Wade Colliflower, Team Redskins representative from the Chippewa Cree Tribe, said before adding, “If you can help in any other way it would be greatly appreciated.”

Former players including Gary Clark, Chris Cooley and Mark Moseley traveled to Rocky Boy’s Reservation last month as a part of the campaign, The Washington Post reports. Ads for Redskins Facts have been showing up on various media sites as well:

TIME robin williams

Watch Robin Williams Explain Sports

Robin Williams at the Friars Roast for Whoopi Goldberg at the Hilton Hotel in New York City on October 7, 1993.
Robin Williams at the Friars Roast for Whoopi Goldberg at the Hilton Hotel in New York City on October 7, 1993. Walter McBride—Corbis

The late comic went on memorable riffs about golf, baseball, and other games

No one tackled the absurdity of sports quite like Robin Williams. Here’s the comic legend riffing on golf, baseball and other games during his stand-up routines.

(Warning: Lots of NSFW stuff here).

Golf

Oh, so that’s why the shots are called strokes.

The Winter Olympics

Put on a glove, man.

Football

What happens when Tom Landry coaches ballet, and a choreographer coaches football?

Soccer

Williams’ take on flopping and yellow cards, with a detour to Lance Armstrong — pre-PED scandal — and hockey.

Baseball

Baseball had a cocaine problem in the 1980s, and the third-base coach wasn’t helping.

TIME Basketball

Steve Ballmer Now Officially Owns the Clippers

Microsoft Opens New Center In Berlin
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer speaks at the opening of the Microsoft Center Berlin on November 7, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Adam Berry—Getty Images

The deal closed shortly after a court struck down a challenge from former owner Donald Sterling

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer closed a deal to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, the National Basketball Association announced Tuesday, ending a months-long legal battle to pry the team away from disgraced former owner Donald Sterling. The deal is reportedly worth $2 billion.

“The transaction in which Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers closed today following the entry of an order by a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the team,” the NBA said in a brief statement.

In an effort to block the sale of the Clippers, Donald Sterling had challenged his wife Shelley Sterling’s authority to transfer ownership of the team. But that argument was struck down in court, clearing the way for Tuesday’s transaction.

Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after TMZ leaked recordings of a private conversation in which he is heard urging his girlfriend at the time to avoid associations with black people.

The Los Angeles Times reports that NBA also filed a counterclaim against Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust on Monday, demanding compensation for the “incalculable harm” the controversy has caused to the league as well as the legal costs of the subsequent investigation into Sterling’s conduct.

TIME NASCAR

Probe: No Sign of Criminal Intent in Stewart Crash

+ READ ARTICLE

(CANANDAIGUA, N.Y.) — The collision was as common as any in racing. Kevin Ward Jr.’s car spun twice like a top, wheels hugging the wall, before it plopped backward on the dimly lit dirt track.

In a sport steeped with bravado, what happened next was another familiar, but treacherous, move: Wearing a black firesuit and black helmet, the 20-year-old Ward unbuckled himself, climbed out of the winged car into the night and defiantly walked onto the track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

He gestured, making his disgust evident with the driver who triggered the wreck with a bump: three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

Ward, a relative unknown compared to NASCAR’s noted swashbuckler, was nearly hit by another passing car as he pointed with his right arm in Stewart’s direction. As he confronted Stewart in his passing car, disaster struck.

Ward was standing to the right of Stewart’s familiar No. 14 car, which seemed to fishtail from the rear and hit him. According to video and witness accounts, Ward’s body was sucked underneath the car and hurtled through the air before landing on his back as fans looked on in horror.

Ward was killed. Stewart, considered one of the most proficient drivers in racing, dropped out of Sunday’s NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, hours after Saturday’s crash. And the sport was left reeling from a tragedy that could have ripple effects from the biggest stock car series down to weeknight dirt track racing.

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” Stewart said in a statement.

Authorities questioned the 43-year-old Stewart once on Saturday night and went to Watkins Glen to talk to him again Sunday. They described him as “visibly shaken” after the crash and said he was cooperative.

On Sunday, Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that investigators also don’t have any evidence at this point in the investigation to support criminal intent. But he also said that criminal charges have not been ruled out.

The crash raised several questions: Will Ward’s death cause drivers to think twice about on-track confrontations? Did Stewart try and send his own message by buzzing Ward, the young driver, only to have his risky move turn fatal? Or did Ward simply take his life into his own hands by stepping into traffic in a black firesuit on a dark track?

The only one who may have that answer is Stewart.

David S. Weinsten, a former state and federal prosecutor in Miami who is now in private practice, said it would be difficult to prove criminal intent.

“I think even with the video, it’s going to be tough to prove that this was more than just an accident and that it was even culpable negligence, which he should’ve known or should’ve believed that by getting close to this guy, that it was going to cause the accident,” he said.

The sheriff renewed a plea for spectators to turn over photos and videos of the crash. Investigators were reconstructing the accident and looking into everything from the dim lighting on a portion of the track to how muddy it was, as well as if Ward’s dark firesuit played a role in his death, given the conditions.

Driver Cory Sparks, a friend of Ward’s, was a few cars back when Ward was killed.

“The timing was unsafe,” he said of Ward’s decision to get out of his car to confront Stewart. “When your adrenaline is going, and you’re taken out of a race, your emotions flare.”

It’s often just a part of racing. Drivers from mild-mannered Jeff Gordon to ladylike Danica Patrick have erupted in anger on the track at another driver. The confrontations are part of the sport’s allure: Fans love it and cheer wildly from the stands. Stewart, who has a reputation for being a hothead nicknamed “Smoke,” once wound up like a pitcher and tossed his helmet like a fastball at Matt Kenseth’s windshield.

“I’ve seen it many times in NASCAR, where a driver will confront the other one, and a lot of times they’ll try to speed past them. And that’s what it appeared to me as if what Tony Stewart did, he tried to speed past Ward,” witness Michael Messerly said. “And the next thing I could see, I didn’t see Ward any more. It just seemed like he was suddenly gone.”

The crash also raised questions about whether Stewart will continue with his hobby of racing on small tracks on the side of the big-money NASCAR races. He has long defended his participation in racing on tracks like the one where the crash happened, even as accidents and injury have put his day job in NASCAR at risk.

Saturday’s crash came almost exactly a year after Stewart suffered a compound fracture to his right leg in a sprint car race in Iowa. The injury cost him the second half of the NASCAR season and sidelined him during NASCAR’s important Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Stewart only returned to sprint track racing last month.

The crash site is the same track where Stewart was involved in a July 2013 accident that seriously injured a 19-year-old driver. He later took responsibility for his car making contact with another and triggering the 15-car accident that left Alysha Ruggles with a compression fracture in her back.

“Everybody has hobbies,” he said last month, adding that “there are a lot of other things I could be doing that are a lot more dangerous and a lot bigger waste of time with my time off do than doing that.”

Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, said Stewart felt strongly he should not race after the wreck. Regan Smith replaced him in his car.

“We’re racing with heavy hearts,” Smith said.

__

AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer, AP Sports Writer John Kekis and AP Writer David Klepper contributed to this report. Gelston reported from Philadelphia.

TIME Auto Racing

As Probe Begins, Stewart Steps Away From the Track

Authorities questioned the 43-year-old Tony Stewart once on Saturday night and went to Watkins Glen to talk to him again the next day

+ READ ARTICLE

(CANANDAIGUA, N.Y.) — The collision was as common as any in racing. Kevin Ward Jr.’s car spun twice like a top, wheels hugging the wall, before it plopped backward on the dimly lit dirt track.

In a sport steeped with bravado, what happened next was another familiar, but treacherous, move: Wearing a black firesuit and black helmet, the 20-year-old Ward unbuckled himself, climbed out of the winged car into the night and defiantly walked onto the track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

He gestured, making his disgust evident with the driver who triggered the wreck with a bump: three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

Ward, a relative unknown compared to NASCAR’s noted swashbuckler, was nearly hit by another passing car as he pointed with his right arm in Stewart’s direction. As he confronted Stewart in his passing car, disaster struck.

Ward was standing to the right of Stewart’s familiar No. 14 car, which seemed to fishtail from the rear and hit him. According to video and witness accounts, Ward’s body was sucked underneath the car and hurtled through the air before landing on his back as fans looked on in horror.

Ward was killed. Stewart, considered one of the most proficient drivers in racing, dropped out of Sunday’s NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, hours after Saturday’s crash. And the sport was left reeling from a tragedy that could have ripple effects from the biggest stock car series down to weeknight dirt track racing.

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,”Stewart said in a statement.

Authorities questioned the 43-year-old Stewart once on Saturday night and went to Watkins Glen to talk to him again Sunday. They described him as “visibly shaken” after the crash and said he was cooperative.

On Sunday, Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that investigators also don’t have any evidence at this point in the investigation to support criminal intent. But he also said that criminal charges have not been ruled out.

The crash raised several questions: Will Ward’s death cause drivers to think twice about on-track confrontations? Did Stewart try and send his own message by buzzing Ward, the young driver, only to have his risky move turn fatal? Or did Ward simply take his life into his own hands by stepping into traffic in a black firesutsuit on a dark track?

The only one who may have that answer is Stewart.

David S. Weinsten, a former state and federal prosecutor in Miami who is now in private practice, said it would be difficult to prove criminal intent.

“I think even with the video, it’s going to be tough to prove that this was more than just an accident and that it was even culpable negligence, which he should’ve known or should’ve believed that by getting close to this guy, that it was going to cause the accident,” he said.

The sheriff renewed a plea for spectators to turn over photos and videos of the crash. Investigators were reconstructing the accident and looking into everything from the dim lighting on a portion of the track to how muddy it was, as well as if Ward’s dark firesuit played a role in his death, given the conditions.

Driver Cory Sparks, a friend of Ward’s, was a few cars back when Ward was killed.

“The timing was unsafe,” he said of Ward’s decision to get out of his car to confront Stewart. “When your adrenaline is going, and you’re taken out of a race, your emotions flare.”

It’s often just a part of racing. Drivers from mild-mannered Jeff Gordon to ladylike Danica Patrick have erupted in anger on the track at another driver. The confrontations are part of the sport’s allure: Fans love it and cheer wildly from the stands. Stewart, who has a reputation for being a hothead nicknamed “Smoke,” once wound up like a pitcher and tossed his helmet like a fastball at Matt Kenseth’s windshield.

“I’ve seen it many times in NASCAR, where a driver will confront the other one, and a lot of times they’ll try to speed past them. And that’s what it appeared to me as if what Tony Stewart did, he tried to speed past Ward,” witness Michael Messerly said. “And the next thing I could see, I didn’t see Ward any more. It just seemed like he was suddenly gone.”

The crash also raised questions about whether Stewart will continue with his hobby of racing on smalltracks on the side of the big-money NASCAR races. He has long defended his participation in racing ontracks like the one where the crash happened, even as accidents and injury have put his day job in NASCAR at risk.

Saturday’s crash came almost exactly a year after Stewart suffered a compound fracture to his right leg in a sprint car race in Iowa. The injury cost him the second half of the NASCAR season and sidelined him during NASCAR’s important Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Stewart only returned to sprint trackracing last month.

The crash site is the same track where Stewart was involved in a July 2013 accident that seriously injured a 19-year-old driver. He later took responsibility for his car making contact with another and triggering the 15-car accident that left Alysha Ruggles with a compression fracture in her back.

“Everybody has hobbies,” he said last month, adding that “there are a lot of other things I could be doing that are a lot more dangerous and a lot bigger waste of time with my time off do than doing that.”

Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, said Stewart felt strongly he should not race after the wreck. Regan Smith replaced him in his car.

“We’re racing with heavy hearts,” Smith said.

— AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer, AP Sports Writer John Kekis and AP Writer David Klepper contributed to this report. Gelston reported from Philadelphia.

TIME golf

McIlroy Wins PGA in Thrilling Show on Soggy Turf

PGA Championship Golf
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, holds up the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville on Aug. 10, 2014 John Locher—AP

The final two hours were filled with eagles and birdies, with tension and chaos

Rory McIlroy stood over a 10-inch putt in gathering darkness to win the PGA Championship as flashes from thousands of camera lit up Valhalla like a rock concert.

Everyone wanted to capture a moment from golf’s latest coronation.

In his biggest test, McIlroy played his best golf Sunday to win his second straight major and establish himself as golf’s next star.

And what a stage.

The final major was pure theater with an All-Star cast — Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson all with a share of the lead on the back nine. The final two hours were filled with eagles and birdies, with tension and chaos.

McIlroy never had to sweat so much to win one of golf’s biggest events. And that’s what made this major so much sweeter.

“It is the most satisfying,” McIlroy said. “To win it in this fashion and this style, it means a lot. It means that I know that I can do it. I know that I can come from behind. I know that I can mix it up with the best players in the world down the stretch in a major and come out on top.”

The final par — the easiest shot he faced all day — gave McIlroy a 3-under 68 to outlast Mickelson by a stroke and beat the darkness that threatened to spoil this show. He became only the fourth player in the last century to win four majors at 25 or younger. The others were Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones, three of the game’s greatest players.

Boy Wonder appears on his way to belonging in that group.

“I didn’t think in my wildest dreams I’d have a summer like this,” said McIlroy, only the seventh player to win the last two majors of the year. “I played the best golf of my life. I really gutted it out today.”

But one of the greatest shows on soggy turf came with a most peculiar ending.

Three shots behind as he stood in the 10th fairway, McIlroy got back in the game with a 3-wood from 281 yards into 7 feet for eagle. He took the outright lead when all three of his challengers eventually made bogey, and finally gave himself some breathing room. With a 9-iron from a fairway bunker to 10 feet for birdie on the 17th, he took a two-shot lead going to the par-5 closing hole.

Because of a two-hour rain delay earlier, darkness was falling quickly and it wasn’t certain McIlroy would be able to finish.

McIlroy was allowed to hit his tee shot before Mickelson and Fowler had reached their drives. Both were only two shots behind, still in the game. McIlroy came within a yard of hitting in a hazard right of the fairway.

Then, the PGA of America allowed McIlroy to hit his second shot. Mickelson and Fowler had to stand to the side of the green.

“We were cool with hitting the tee shot,” Fowler said. “We weren’t expecting the approach shots.”

Fowler had a 50-foot eagle attempt to tie for the lead. He was well off the mark, and missed the short birdie putt attempt that cost him his third straight runner-up finish in a major. Mickelson was short of the green, and his chip came within inches of dropping for an eagle that would have tied him for the lead.

Mickelson appeared upset that they had to wait to finish the hole — not standard procedure in a PGA Tour event — and he made two references in a TV interview that this is the only championship the PGA of America runs all year.

“It didn’t affect the outcome of the championship at all, I don’t think,” Mickelson said. “It’s not what we normally do. It’s not a big deal either way.”

Mickelson closed with a 66 and was runner-up for the ninth time in a major.

Fowler became the first player in history to finish in the top five at all four majors without winning one. He closed with a 68 and tied for third with Stenson, who fell out of a share of the lead by missing a 3-foot par putt on the 14th hole. Stenson shot a 66.

McIlroy hit his second shot into a bunker, and he had to two-putt from 35 feet for the win. He lagged the first one to tap-in range, and the major was his. McIlroy repeatedly pumped his fist before letting out a scream above the gallery that had been treated to a Sunday it won’t soon forget.

McIlroy won his first two majors by eight shots at the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship. Only a month ago, McIlroy took a six-shot lead into the final round of the British Open and completed a wire-to-wire win with only a brief scare.

This was different.

“I think I showed a lot of guts out there to get the job done,” he said.

It might not have been possible without a 3-wood on the par-5 10th hole. McIlroy watched Fowler make a 30-foot birdie putt ahead of him for the outright lead and knew it was time to get going. He hit his 3-wood lower than he wanted, and further to the left than he wanted, but it turned out perfect.

Once he joined the leaders with a birdie on the 13th, none of the contenders made another birdie the rest of the way until it was too late.

All that was left after an exhausting day of raw emotions was for McIlroy to summon enough energy to hoist the 27-pound Wanamaker Trophy. He crouched before the presentation, trying to collect his thoughts at the last month. Not since Woods in 2008 has anyone won three straight tournaments, and they were big ones — the British Open, a World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship. He played them in a combined 48-under par.

“He’s better than everyone else right now,” Mickelson said.

TIME Boxing

Boxing Promoter Frank Maloney Reveals Gender Change

"Living with the burden any longer would have killed me."

Frank Maloney, the boxing promoter who guided Lennox Lewis to a world heavyweight title, has revealed he now lives as a woman named Kellie and is undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

“I was born in the wrong body and I have always known I was a woman,” Kellie said in an interview with British newspaper The Sunday Mirror. “What was wrong at birth is now being medically corrected. I have a female brain. I knew I was different from the minute I could compare myself to other children.”

Maloney, 61, retired from involvement in boxing last October and led several fighters to titles, including Lennox Lewis.

Maloney ran for mayor of London as a candidate for the rightwing UK Independence Party in 2004, and was condemned for making homophobic remarks during his campaign. He refused to campaign in the borough of Camden, saying there were “too many gays” there.

“I don’t think they [gay people] do a lot for society. I don’t have a problem with gays, what I have a problem with is them openly flaunting their sexuality,” Maloney said at the time. “I’m more for traditional family values and family life.” He lost his bid for mayor, capturing less than 3% of the vote.

In her interview with the Mirror, Maloney said, “I can’t keep living in the shadows, that is why I am doing what I am today. Living with the burden any longer would have killed me.”

[The Sunday Mirror]

 

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