TIME NBA

Bulls’ Derrick Rose Wears ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirt During Warmups

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose wears a shirt reading "I Can't Breath" while warming up for a game against the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 6, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago.
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose wears a shirt reading "I Can't Breath" while warming up for a game against the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 6, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago. Chris Sweda—Chicago Tribune/Landov

In support of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man killed by a police chokehold in July

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose sported an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt in pregame warmups before Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. The shirt was in support of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after being placed in a chokehold by police in July.

Protests across the country have collected steam after a grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Garner. Pantaleo placed Garner in the chokehold while arresting him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. “I can’t breathe” were reportedly among Garner’s last words before his death, which was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office.

Last week, a group of St. Louis Rams players made the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture used by protestors in Ferguson, Mo., and across the country in the wake of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced last week that a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Brown.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Soccer

Soccer’s Brightest American Star Chases a Title

Los Angeles Galaxy v Seattle Sounders - Western Conference Final - Leg 2
Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy looks on during the match against the Seattle Sounders FC during the Western Conference Final at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 30, 2014 in Seattle. Otto Greule Jr—Getty Images

Closing time for Landon Donovan

Major League Soccer will get half of its dream matchup in the final of the MLS Cup on Sunday in Los Angeles. In a fitting sendoff, the most important American soccer player in history, Landon Donovan, will play his last game as a professional when his Los Angeles Galaxy team takes on the New England Revolution.

It’s not a stretch to say MLS wouldn’t be the success it is today without Donovan. Now 32, he became the first American soccer star, and the fact that he actually played most of his career in the U.S. was critical. MLS Commissioner Don Garber credits him with making the league a respectable option for pros. “He was the first guy who said: This is a league I want to get behind,” Garber says.

It would have been fitting if the best European player to ever play in MLS, Thierry Henry, was also in the final, but Henry’s New York Red Bulls got eliminated by the dogged Revs in the semi-final by a 4-3 aggregate score. You don’t get to the final because the script says it would a be nice script. Henry has won everywhere everything else—World Cup, European Cup, Champions League, English, French and Spanish championships—but he leaves U.S. empty handed. C’est la vie, Henry.

But there’s still a good European-American story, here. That would be Jermaine Jones, the driving force behind the resurgent Revs, who at one point posted an eight-game losing streak. Until Jones arrived. This son of an American father and a German mother was born and raised in Germany. After the bulk of his career in Germany’s Bundesliga, Jones, 33, was parceled out to New England this summer. “He is so smart tactically,” Revs coach Jay Heaps says. “He can see the game. There are times when we want him to be a little more aggressive attack wise, or times we need him to close a gap defensively. He understands that better than most.”

Jones’ brand of Teutonic tackling and never-say-die American attitude was one of the great stories of the U.S. National team’s World Cup run. This guy could play middle linebacker for Patriots and there are times on the pitch when he seems to confuse the two. But he is relentless, and a guy who will be critical if New England pulls this one off.

So will Lee Nguyen, the Revs attacking midfielder. A Texan who has played in Holland, Denmark, and Viet Nam, he’s become a fixture in New England. If Nguyen scores or gets an assist, the Revs have a good shot at winning.

That’s going to be difficult because L.A. is just reeking with class. Donovan is a proven pressure player, his last gasp goal against Algeria in the 2006 World Cup being one of the great ones in U.S. history. “We’ve done this before,” Donovan said of the MLS Cup. “We have experienced players and great leadership on the team. We know what it’s all about.”

One of Donovan’s strike partners is the2014 MLS MVP Robbie Keane. The Irishman has a wealth of big club experience (Liverpool, Leeds, Celtic, Tottenham), and is exactly the kind of striker made for games like this: Give him an inch and he’ll kill you. He’s scored more than 250 goals in a career that began in 1997. Unlike Donovan, the 34-year old Keane has no plans to hang up his boots, but he’ll probably miss Donovan. “It’s been one of the best partnerships I’ve had,” said Keane. “If anyone deserves to go out on a high note, it’s him.”

The big winner of the day will be MLS itself. This year, its 19th, the league made certain it would have a 20th and beyond with a $720 million television deal with Fox Sports, ESPN and Univision. Its television ratings took a big jump this season, no doubt helped by the exposure given the game by the World Cup. Franchise values have skyrocketed and two new teams, in New York City and Orlando, will join the league next year. Attendance is up to 19,000 a game on average and sellouts are not uncommon.

That’s a far cry from when Donovan started in MLS. “I could have never in a million years imagined playing against Thierry Henry in brand new stadiums,” he said. Or playing with stars like Keane, or David Beckham. “If you had said those things in 2001, I would have said ‘you’re absolutely crazy.’”

You’ve got to applaud Donovan for playing his part in that. The next task is to make the quality of the play world class, beyond a couple of marquee players. There’s still a lot of work to do on that count. But given the class of the players who will be on the field Sunday, expect a match that lives up to a title game.

TIME NFL

Miami Dolphins Hire NFL’s First Female Full-time Team Nutritionist

Cortland Finnegan of the Miami Dolphins celebrates with teammates after returning a fumble 50 yards to score a touchdown during the NFL match between the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on Sept. 28, 2014 in London,
Cortland Finnegan of the Miami Dolphins celebrates with teammates after returning a fumble 50 yards to score a touchdown during the NFL match between the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on Sept. 28, 2014 in London, Richard Heathcote—Getty Images

She joins just six other full-time team nutritionists or registered dietitians who work in the NFL

The Miami Dolphins hired the league’s first full-time female team nutritionist, Mary Ellen Bingham, in its efforts to improve player health and performance, the team announced on Friday.

Bingham joins just six other full-time team nutritionists or registered dietitians who work in the NFL and is the first woman to hold the position. Most teams bring on consultants or fill part-time positions to help with players’ diet and nutrition.

Bingham joins the Dolphins after more than four years as the head sports nutritionist at the University of North Carolina, where she worked closely with UNC’s varsity athletic program, providing sports nutrition education, menu planning, supplement review and individual nutrition counseling. Bingham holds a B.S. in nutrition from Boston University, where she was a member of its varsity women’s track and field team.

The trend of monitoring diet and nutrition is becoming more and more popular, as teams such as the Carolina Panthers, and players focus on fueling with specific foods or special diets to gain an edge on the field.

Bingham earned her master’s degree in clinical nutrition from New York University and is credentialed as a registered dietitian (RD) and certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). Prior to working at UNC, she was the campus dietitian and sports nutritionist at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME NFL

Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo Playing With Broken Rib

Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys warms up before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Dec. 4, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys warms up before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Dec. 4, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Joe Robbin—Getty Images

He said the back is almost healed and that his ribs have been feeling better lately

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo admitted that he has been playing with a broken rib for the past two months.

Romo told reporters at a news conference after the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 41-27 on Thursday night that he didn’t know when he suffered the injury, but it was either during their victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 21 or their Week 4 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Romo has also been playing with two transverse process fractures after he was kneed in the back during a Week 8 game against the Washington Redskins. He missed the following week, a 28-17 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He said the back is almost healed and that his ribs have been feeling better lately.

“It’ll be nice when it’s just about the back [surgery] instead of all the other junk,” Romo said, according to ESPN.com.

Romo wore extra padding against the Bears to help protect him against injury and says he took a pain-killing shot this week. “I didn’t last week in the Eagles game, and that was a poor decision I think,” he said.

The Cowboys next play division leader Philadelphia on Dec. 14. Romo is completing 69 percent of his passes for 2,923 yards with 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season for Dallas. His 108.8 passer rating is second in the NFL behind Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Romo detailed his plan for preparation before the team plays the Eagles.

“I’ll probably start on Philly a little tonight on the plane,” Romo said. “Then from there I think I’ll probably do a little bit of work [Friday] during the day. I’ll go ahead and get some treatment and … take off Friday night and Saturday and probably come back on my own on Sunday.”

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Soccer

Player Killed in Argentina’s 15th Soccer-Related Death This Year

A fan of Argentine soccer team Boca Juniors confronts police during riots after celebrations of Boca Juniors Fan Day in Buenos Aires
A fan of Argentine soccer team Boca Juniors confronts police during riots after celebrations of Boca Juniors Fan Day in downtown Buenos Aires December 12, 2013. Marcos Brindicci—Reuters

Soccer-related violence is rife in the South American country

An Argentine soccer player died on Wednesday after being attacked by a group of hooligans, an incident that highlights the South American country’s ever-present problem with violence around the sport.

Franco Nieto was attacked Saturday as he was getting into to his car with his wife and one-month-old daughter, the Associated Press reported. Nieto, the captain of Rosario-based team Tiro Federal, had just finished playing a match against Buenos Aires club Chacarita Juniors in which eight players were ejected by the referee for fighting.

The attackers punched and kicked the 33-year-old player before one of them hit him on the head with a stone, according to police in Aimogasta, some 750 miles northwest of the capital. He was taken to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

Nieto’s demise raises the death toll from soccer-related incidents in Argentina to 15 this year, according to an NGO called Salvemos al Football (Let’s Save Football). In a country where the sport is seen as a way out of poverty, and rags-to-riches stars like Diego Maradona and Carlos Tevez are revered, being a part of the Barras Bravas — the gangs that control the streets around stadiums — is considered almost as prestigious.

The gangs, aside from carrying feuding with rival clubs, are also involved in the trade of illegal drugs and weapons as well as money laundering, according to the BBC. This often leads not just to incidents like Nietos death, but often to drive-by-shootings and gunfights in the streets.

The Argentina Football Association has taken steps to curb soccer-related violence, including preventing those with criminal records from entering stadiums and even banning away fans across the country. But many say the widespread corruption among local police and politicians, which has allowed the Barras Bravas to thrive, makes this a somewhat futile endeavor.

TIME College Sports

Accuser’s Attorney: Jameis Winston Violated Confidentiality Instructions

Florida Florida St Football
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston warms up prior to an NCAA college football game against Florida inTallahassee, Fla. on Nov. 29, 2014. John Raoux—AP

Winston's statement marked the first time he publicly gave his side of the story pertaining to the sexual assault allegations

The attorney for the woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexually assaulting her in 2012 alleges that Winston and his attorney have violated confidentiality instructions given by retired Florida State Supreme Court Chief Justice Major Harding.

Winston’s two-day hearing, which was heard by Harding, ended on Wednesday. The quarterback reportedly did not testify, but he did read a five-page statement denying the allegations against him. The statement was obtained by both ESPN and USA TODAY.

The woman’s attorney, John Clune, issued a statement on Thursday in response:

“It apparently took about one hour for Mr. Winston and his lawyer to violate Justice Harding’s confidentiality instructions by emailing out one of the exhibits to the media. Jameis Winston’s crude new recollection of events is as disgusting as it is implausible. He just keeps digging himself deeper. For now we will trust in the strength of our client’s repeated and consistent interviews. The time for Winston, [Chris] Casher, and [Ronald] Darby to fully explain this new story will come.”

Winston had the right to not answer any questions at the hearing. His teammates, Casher and Darby, reportedly refused to testify on Tuesday.

Winston’s statement marked the first time he publicly gave his side of the story pertaining to the sexual assault allegations. He had previously denied the allegations through his attorney.

The purpose of the two-day hearing was to determine if Winston violated up to four school student conduct codes.

Winston was accused of sexual assault in December 2012. In November 2013, the state’s attorney announced that it was investigating the accusation. The investigation was completed a month later, and no charges were filed. Authorities have been criticized for being slow to act on the woman’s claim. In October, a FOX Sports report alleged that university administrators and Tallahassee police took steps to “hide and then hinder” an investigation.

After the hearing, Winston’s lawyer, David Cornwell​, told ESPN there was no evidence in the hearing to suggest the quarterback did anything wrong, while Clune said he expects Winston to be found responsible for sexually assaulting his client.

Harding has up to 10 class or exam days to submit his decision, meaning a decision does not need to be made until January.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME NFL

How NFL Players Stay Warm During the Coldest Games

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings offensive player Jerick McKinnon breaks away from Chicago Bears defensive player Lance Briggs as snow falls in the first half of their game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Nov. 16, 2014. Tannen Maury—EPA

The next time you see a player pop his hands into a muff, chances are good he has a chemically activated heat pack in there

You can have all the high-tech warming gear you want—and we’ll get to that, don’t fret—but sometimes nothing keeps a NFL player warm quite like some good old-fashioned Right Guard deodorant.

With players looking for any edge during the cold weather portion of the season, how to keep feet and hands warm is, well, a hot topic. Spraying Right Guard on your feet can keep them from perspiring as much—and less sweat means less moisture in your socks, moisture that cools and can even freeze.

A former NFL equipment manager says that while a lot of guys are skeptical of the old-school trick, they all love it when they try it. Of course, adding heated insoles creates some extra (cushy) warmth as well.

The skill players, though—those hands-on guys—want a little something extra for their fingers. The next time you see a player pop his hands into a muff, chances are good he has a chemically activated heat pack in there.

When exposed to the oxygen in the air, the pack is activated and warms to a comfortable level. Over the course of a frigid game, teams go through hundreds of these packs, which are used by both coaches and players.

For the rest of the body, players turn to thermal-regulating baselayer clothing. While a variety of companies offer variations on cold-weather workout gear, including Under Armour, Adidas and others, Nike has the contract with the NFL for all uniforms, sideline gear and baselayer equipment. So you’ll see only the Swoosh—within the rules, anyway—in the NFL.

New this year, Nike created what it calls the Hyperwarm Flex, which goes with the company’s Pro Combat line for insulation and warmth in the toughest of climates. Using seamless welding construction, Nike can more easily map out the zones of the body and then build in the right fabric combinations for specific areas.

The Hyperwarm Flex comes as a top-and-pant combination with breathable mesh in some places so the body can release heat, knitted panels in the shoulders, elbows and knees for flexible movement and a Dri-Fit Max fabric across the rest to wick moisture away from the body to keep the player dry. A dry player—whether kept that way through moisture wicking or with an application of Right Guard—is a warmer player.

Even against a mixture of tricks for trying to stay warm, the tough weather in Green Bay, New England, Denver, Baltimore and many other locales can still easily win. That’s why you see players sitting on heated benches or standing in front of hot-air blowers.

The most popular bench heater in the NFL uses hollowed fiberglass benches and pumps heat in through blowers at 170,000 BTUs. These benches include a tray that slides out and allows the blowing air to shoot up and fill a player’s parka. Those little posts on the back of the bench to hang your helmet are for more than decoration. They get heated too, keeping the air-filled bladders in the helmet warm and soft.

For a little extra heat, teams also use kerosene-powered blowers that pump heat out at up to 600,000BTUs. With a pair of those, each at the 30-yard line blowing in, teams can keep the bench area near 50 degrees, even when the rest of the stadium—and poor, poor fans—endures below-freezing temperatures.

So far the players have gotten all the warmth, but the fields get a little too. Lambeau Field was the first stadium to heat its playing surface, now a practice across the Northeast. Commonly the fields—either natural grass or artificial—have hydronic heating systems buried six inches to a foot under the surface to keep soil temperatures above freezing with the flow of a heated water and chemical mixture.

Each team uses the system slightly differently, with Lambeau Field’s head groundskeeper keeping his system at a still rough-and-tumble temperature of 38 degrees, just enough to keep players safe from a frozen field, while in Baltimore and Denver, expect the turf to rise to over 50 degrees. In Philadelphia, the turf has been known to reach 60 degrees.

And, oh, one little tip on the cold weather: Those kerosene heaters can melt nearly anything in its path if you get too close.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Soccer

David Beckham Is Confident He Can Establish a Miami Soccer Team

David Beckham poses on the red carpet as he attends the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2014 in London on Nov. 30, 2014.
David Beckham poses on the red carpet as he attends the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2014 in London on Nov. 30, 2014. Justin Tallis—AFP/Getty Images

But local politicians have already rejected two proposed stadium venues

David Beckham remains confident that he can bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to Miami, in spite of the rejection of two proposed waterfront stadium venues by local government leaders.

MLS commissioner Don Garber suggested that the former England and L.A. Galaxy star choose a new city for his team but Beckham’s representatives have ruled that out, according to Sky Sports.

“Miami is still David’s number one choice and it will happen,” said a spokesman for investment group Miami Beckham United. “The fans and the people of Miami are behind us and we hope to announce some positive and exciting news soon.”

Beckham’s efforts to set up his club in the city are part of the planned MLS expansion to 20 teams.

[Sky Sports]

TIME celebrities

Tom Brady Stars as Telemarketer Named Gary in Hilarious New Ad

Tom Brady can do it all

Tom Brady can do it all. Not only is the New England Patriots quarterback having an MVP-caliber season on the field, but he is starring in a commercial for a fantasy football app as “Gary,” a telemarketer whose demeanor is eerily similar to Super Creepy Rob Lowe.

We’re also treated to the return of Brady’s glorious long hair, which he previously rocked circa 2010. As “Gary” says in the commercial, “boom shakalaka.”

This article originally appeared on SI.com

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