TIME Athletes

Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers Scored on Celebrity Jeopardy!

The quarterback won $50,000 for his selected charity

An astronaut, an entrepreneur-TV personality and a football player walking into a room sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it happened on Tuesday’s Celebrity Jeopardy!—and the athlete came out on top.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers bested Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank and Mark Kelly on the trivia game show with a final score of $8,399, which means $50,000 will go to the charity of his choice, Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, Yahoo Sports reports. (Kelly and O’Leary won $10,000 for their causes.)

Rodgers’ victory wasn’t without a few missteps: he missed questions involving his college (the University of California, Berkeley) and Harley-Davidson (one of the most well-known companies in the state he now plays for). But without his participation, we wouldn’t have this Vine of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek doing his finest Rodgers imitation.

[Yahoo Sports]

TIME Athletes

U.S. Ranks Worst in Sports Homophobia Study

Will gay athletes find acceptance on the field?

Throughout most of high school, Michael Martin—a senior at Musselman High School in Inwood, W. Va.—kept his sexuality hidden from his soccer teammates. “I was afraid I would get harassed, tormented, made fun of a lot,” said Martin, who knew he was gay since middle school. “I wasn’t afraid of physical abuse necessarily. But I thought guys would do stuff like throw the ball at me. On purpose.” Martin says he heard the word faggot all too many times.

According to new research released on Saturday, Martin is far from alone. The study, entitled “Out On The Fields” and billed as “the first international study on homophobia in sport,” is a survey of nearly 9,500 people, mostly from six countries (the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand). The researchers found that 80% of all participants and 82% of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) participants “said they have witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport.” Of those reporting personal experience with homophobia, 84% of gay men and 82% of lesbians said they had received verbal slurs like faggot and dyke. Also, 81% of gay men and 74% of lesbians who were under 22 at the time of the study reported being completely or partially in the closet to teammates while playing youth sports. Nearly half of gay men and 32% of lesbians hid their sexuality while playing youth sports because they feared rejection by teammates. Only 1% of all participants believed LGB people were “completely accepted” in sports culture; 78% said that an openly gay, lesbian or bisexual person would not be very safe as a spectator at a sporting event.

“Unfortunately,” the authors wrote, “the study found few positive signs in any country that LGB people are welcome and safe playing team sports.”

(Participants in the study were not asked whether they identified as transgender, as experts consider transphobia and homophobia distinct forms of discrimination in sports, and the researchers decided to focus the study on sexuality rather than gender identity.)

The study found the U.S. had the highest percentage of gay men reporting that they had received verbal threats in a sports environment, and the highest percentage of gay men who heard slurs. In fact, of the six countries surveyed, the U.S. ranked worst in sports homophobia and discrimination, as measured by the “inclusion score” developed by the researchers. (Canada had the highest score, followed by Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Ireland and the U.S.) “It’s sad that the U.S. fared so poorly,” said Pat Griffin, professor emerita in social justice education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a member of the academic team that advised the study authors. “It feels like we’ve made a lot of progress with the acceptance of homosexuality in sports. But going by these results, we have a long way to go.”

The “Out On The Fields” report comes with caveats. Though the project’s academic consultants insist that they reviewed the survey methodology and results, it’s not a peer-reviewed paper published in an established journal. The lead author is a former journalist who’s a member of the Sydney Convicts Rugby Union Club, Australia’s first gay rugby team. Joshua Newman, a sports sociologist from Florida State University who is unaffiliated with this project, reviewed the document for TIME. “The recruitment and sampling technique used likely resulted in a significant over-representation of higher-earning, racial- and ethnic-majority, pro-LGBT respondents to the study,” Newman writes in an email. “Are those representative of the broader populations in the English-speaking world more generally?”

Despite its flaws, Newman wrote, “I am inclined to say that the findings are important and the study holds the potential provide a significant contribution. This is the largest study of its kind yet to be undertaken. The results illustrate the extent to which LGB sport participants across multiple nations share common experiences of harassment, bullying, and even physical violence. It reaffirms what most LGB and straight athletes in these contexts already know, that homophobic language and action remain effective techniques for normalizing heteronormative masculinity in the sports domain. If we are going to take issues of (in)equality and civil rights seriously, this study reminds us that there’s no better place to start than on the sports field.”

Jason Collins, the first openly gay active athlete in the four major U.S. sports, has witnessed the power of sports firsthand. As more athletes come out, Collins thinks attitudes and behavior will change. “When I was in the closet, I would hear homophobic language in the locker room,” said Collins, who came out in 2013 and spent part of the 2014 season with the Brooklyn Nets. “However, when I came out, not one of my teammates ever used homophobic comments. It’s hard to change habits, it’s hard to change people’s language. But it is possible.”

Collins believes that sports homophobia would decline if Michael Sam—the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, now a free agent—got a shot. “We need Michael Sam to play in the NFL,” said Collins. “I know he’s been training hard. We just need an owner, a coach, one of the NFL teams to give him an opportunity.” Why is Sam so crucial? “The NFL is very popular in this country,” said Collins. “Just to have his example, as an openly gay NFL player, going out there making plays, helping his team win—it’s another example of somebody living their authentic life. And hopefully it would encourage other NFL players who are in the closet to come forward.”

The study found that many gay athletes chose to stay in the closet because they fear rejection from teammates. Arizona State backup offensive lineman Chip Sarafin, who last year became the first active college football player at a major program to publicly announce he was gay—Sam only told his Missouri teammates—found acceptance. “As long as you put forth the effort,” said Sarafin, “people won’t care about your sexuality.”

What advice do gay athletes have for younger players struggling with their sexuality in sports? “Don’t quit,” said John Fennell, an Olympic luge athlete from Canada who came out to teammates in Russia, of all places, during the Sochi Games. “All too often I hear about talented gay athletes who leave sports because they don’t feel welcome. But they do belong. If I had given up sports, I would have wound up on a very different path. Sports shaped the person I am. My tenacity, ability to set goals and achieve them—I attribute that to my success in sports.”

“My advice is that there’s a lot of love and support waiting for you when you live your authentic life,” said Collins. “I understand everyone has their own path. Trust me, it took me 33 years of my life before I told another human being the words ‘I am gay.’ I hope all of them get to that point of self-acceptance.”

Michael Martin, the high school soccer player from West Virginia, arrived there this fall. He finally told his teammates he was gay—and danced with his boyfriend in front of the school. He has no regrets. “I feel like I played completely better with that weight off my shoulder,” said Martin. “It’s an uplifting feeling. I’m so glad I did it.”

TIME Athletes

Watch Snowboarder Billy Morgan Land the World’s First ‘1,800 Quadruple Cork’

We're dizzy just watching

Olympic snowboarder Billy Morgan has pulled off an amazing feat, achieving the world’s first “1,800 quadruple cork.”

On the slopes of Livigno, Italy, the Brit did four flips on a snowboard while spinning sideways or downwards during five full rotations. The never-before-seen aerial is the world’s first use of the maneuver, but it’s also not an unsurprising trick from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics athlete, who’s been shredding on the slopes since he was a teenager.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 4

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. We’re measuring family poverty wrong. We should measure access to opportunity to find out what’s really working.

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

2. Anxiety, depression and more: “Four to five times more” high school athletes struggle with mental health issues than concussions.

By Gary Mihoces in USA Today

3. They provide social order and an economic structure. What if prison gangs actually make life better behind bars?

By Shannon Mizzi in Wilson Quarterly

4. Scientists have released the genetic sequence of the 2014 Ebola virus to crowdsource solutions to future outbreaks.

By Fathom Information Design

5. If new technology really cut jobs, we’d all be out of work by now.

By Walter Isaacson in the Aspen Journal of Ideas

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Athletes

Lance Armstrong Cited in Hit-and-Run of Parked Cars

Lance Armstrong attends Aspen Art Museum 2013 ArtCrush Summer Benefit on Aug. 2, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado.
Leigh Vogel—Getty Images/WireImage Lance Armstrong attends Aspen Art Museum 2013 ArtCrush Summer Benefit on Aug. 2, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado.

Armstrong was driving home after a night of partying in Aspen

Police say that cyclist Lance Armstrong hit two parked cars on Dec. 28 but agreed to let his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, take the blame, according to the Associated Press.

According to police, Armstrong was driving home after a night of partying in Aspen when his SUV hit the cars. Hansen told police that she was the one driving, but later admitted that she was lying and that the two had decided to let her take the blame to avoid national attention on Armstrong.

Police then cited Armstrong for the incident.

Armstrong did not respond to a request for immediate comment by the AP.

Armstrong, 43, was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in August 2012 after it was found that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Athletes

Judge Dismisses Domestic Violence Charges Against Hope Solo

Mexico v United States
Patrick Smith—Getty Images Goal keeper Hope Solo #1 of USA against Mexico during the second half of an International Friendly at RFK Stadium on Sept. 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

A judge has dismissed domestic violence charges against U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo, according to Chris Daniels of KING 5 News.

Solo, 33, was charged in June with two counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault for allegedly hitting her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew. In the motion to dismiss filed last month, Solo’s attorney, Todd Maybrown, said the nephew attacked Solo with a broomstick. Solo has denied the allegations throughout the legal process, contending she “used lawful force” in defending herself from her nephew, who is 6-foot-9 and 280 pounds.

Solo was not present in court when the judge announced the decision, according to Daniels.

She had been scheduled to go on trial on Jan. 20.

According to Daniels, Kirkland judge Michael Lambo said that the case was “impermissibly prejudiced” by a lack of cooperation from witnesses, leading the judge to dismiss charges.

Throughout legal proceedings, Solo has continued to be an active member of the U.S. women’s national team, helping the U.S. qualify for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Solo, who plays professionally for Seattle Reign FC of the NWSL, has played in 152 matches with the U.S. women’s national team.

This article originally appeared on SportsIllustrated.com

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 17

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. America needs a national service year: “Citizenship is like a muscle that can atrophy from too little use; if we want to strengthen it, we need to exercise it.”

By Stan McChrystal in the Washington Post

2. It’s time to pay college athletes.

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Jacobin

3. So-called ‘conversion therapy’ to change someone’s sexual orientation is discredited, dangerous and should be classified as torture.

By Samantha Ames in The Advocate

4. Wikipedia searches are the next frontier on monitoring and predicting disease outbreaks.

By Nicholas Generous, Geoffrey Fairchild, Alina Deshpande, Sara Y. Del Valle and Reid Priedhorsky at PLOS Computational Biology

5. Many kids lack an adult connection to spur success in school and life. A program linking them to retired adults with much to offer can solve that problem.

By Michael Eisner and Marc Freedman in the Huffington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Athletes

Watch Lionel Messi Tie Champions League Goals Record

Ajax vs BarcelonaFC Barcelona Lionel Messi celebrates his 2-0 during the UEFA Champions League group F soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona in Amsterdam on Nov. 5, 2014.
Olaf Krakk—EPA FC Barcelona Lionel Messi celebrates his 2-0 during the UEFA Champions League group F soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona in Amsterdam on Nov. 5, 2014.

The goal is Messi's 71st in 90 total Champions League appearances over the course of his career

The UEFA Champions League now has two goal kings. For the time being.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi moved into a tie with Real Madrid legend Raul for the crown of all-time leading scorer on Wednesday, with the second of two goals against Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA. Appropriately enough, the play is archetypical Messi, as the Argentinian started the play at the top of the box before servicing Pedro on the left wing, who in turn fed Messi’s continued run for a simple finish.

The goal is Messi’s 71st in 90 total Champions League appearances over the course of his career, an astounding feat considering that Raul took over 50 more appearances (142) with which to set his own record.

Even more astounding is that the record may add a third holder before long, as Ronaldo lurks just behind Messi and Raul with 70 goals in 107 Champions League appearances. Given that and both players’ youth (Ronaldo is 29, Messi is 27), it is likely that the La Liga rivals will trade the all-time mark between them over the remainder of their careers.

Ronaldo has had the better season of the two thus far, though, having gone on an absolute tear with 23 goals (and seven assists) in 16 games across all competitions.

Ronaldo will have his chance to equal (or perhaps surpass) Messi and Raul’s record on November 26, when Real Madrid takes on FC Basel. But even then, the mountain may be higher — Messi and Barcelona play APOEL Nicosia the day before.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Sports

Watch Newly Released Footage of Kobe Bryant Playing Basketball in High School

Spoiler alert: He was good.

New footage has surfaced of Kobe Bryant playing in a high school district playoff game in 1996, not long before he got drafted to the NBA. Footage from the same period first surfaced in August. Though that footage included a post-game interview with the star, this new video covers a full-length game.

The video reveals one of Lower Merion High School’s key tactics: get the ball to Bryant. To his credit, though, unlike many a high school star, Bryant does pass the ball from time to time. In addition to receiving several awards for his playing, Bryant became the sixth player to go straight from high school into the NBA. He also took Brandy to his senior prom.

Bryant sports jersey number 33. You can also pick him out because he’s the one scoring all the points.


Vikings’ Adrian Peterson Pleads No Contest to Misdemeanor

Adrian Peterson, Ashley Brown Peterson, Brian Wice
Pat Sullivan—AP Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, center, arrives at the courthouse with his wife Ashley Brown Peterson, right, and attorney Brian Wice, Nov. 4, 2014, in Conroe, Texas.

It's unknown if Peterson will face further discipline from the Vikings or the NFL now that his case has been resolved

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson pled no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault on Tuesday, thus resolving his alleged child abuse case.

Per terms of the agreement between Peterson and the prosecution, the plea makes no reference to family violence or violence against a minor. Peterson must pay a $4,000 fine, will be placed on probation and will be ordered to perform 80 hours of community service.

Peterson does not have to serve jail time.

ProFootballTalk.com initially reported Tuesday morning that Peterson would agree to the deal the same day. It was reported Sunday that Peterson and his representatives were having discussions about a potential plea agreement and that one could be completed as soon as Tuesday.

Peterson was indicted by a grand jury in Texas in September on felony charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child after authorities said he hit his 4-year-old son with a switch. He faced up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the charges. A tentative trial date of Dec. 1 had been set, but the plea deal ends the legal process before any trial.

In the period following Peterson’s indictment, a newspaper report referenced alleged improprieties with his charity and other claims of illicit behavior, and prosecutors attempted to have Peterson arrested again after he admitted to smoking marijuana. Late last month, prosecutors attempted to have Judge Kelly Case recused from the case after alleging he was biased against them, though the request was denied.

While expressing remorse for his actions, Peterson maintained that he was merely disciplining his child and committed no crime. After his indictment, the Vikings deactivated Peterson for their Week 2 game against the New England Patriots before reinstating him the following week.

Pressure from the public, media and team and league sponsors, including Nike and Anheuser-Busch, led to Peterson being placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list until his legal case was resolved, effectively placing him on paid leave.

Only NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to remove Peterson from the list. It’s unknown if Peterson will face further discipline from the Vikings or the NFL now that his case has been resolved. It was reported last month that Peterson could be suspended by the league even if found not guilty of the charges against him.

News of Peterson’s alleged child abuse came in the midst of controversy surrounding the NFL and the issue of domestic violence, initiated by the Ray Rice case. Earlier in the week in which Peterson was indicted, video showing Rice striking his then-fiancée was released, leading to Rice’s release from the Baltimore Ravens and his indefinite suspension from the NFL.

The incident led to renewed attention on the domestic violence case of Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, who was also then placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list, and on the NFL’s domestic violence policy in general.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

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