TIME NFL

Vikings’ Adrian Peterson Disputes Claims About His Charity

Adrian Peterson Makes First Court Appearance On Child Abuse Charges
From left: NFL player Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings enters the courtroom with his wife Ashley Brown and his attorney Rusty Hardin on October 8, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Petersen is facing charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. Pool—Getty Images

The running back went on Twitter to defend himself

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson went on Twitter late Tuesday night to defend himself after an article was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday detailing some improprieties with his charity and claims of a wild sex party that was paid for with the charity’s credit card.

Peterson says his charity, the All Day Foundation, sent donations to two different charities, despite what the newspaper reported and that the foundation fired an accounting firm that listed recipients on the charity’s 2009 tax returns.

As for the sex party claims, Peterson says his foundation never owner a credit card. Prosecutors looked into an alleged sexual assault from that night but did not pursue charges against anyone.

Peterson also mentioned a story from ESPN.com in August, saying he had changed his way after being promiscuous in the past. The Star-Tribune said Peterson, who got married earlier this year, has fathered at least six children out of wedlock.

“Do not repost the ESPN story from August when I admit I was promiscuous, made mistakes and had to change my ways,” Peterson said in the Twitter post. “Instead repost the story about fathering children out of wedlock…create more buzz and retweets.”

Peterson is expected to plead not guilty on Wednesday to charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child after authorities said he hit his 4-year-old son with a switch. He faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted on the charges.

Peterson is currently on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list until his court case is resolved. He will continue to collect his $11.75 million salary this season while he is inactive.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Athletes

USA Swimming Suspends Michael Phelps

Team USA Pan Pacs Squad Training Session
Michael Phelps looks on during a Team USA Pan Pacs training session at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on Aug. 19, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. Phelps was banned for six months and dropped from the 2015 world championships roster by USA Swimming following a DUI arrest. Chris Hyde—Getty Images

This is Phelps' second DUI arrest in ten years

Michael Phelps will be suspended from USA Swimming-sanctioned events for six months, will withdraw from next year’s FINA World Championships and forfeit funding for six months, USA Swimming announced on Monday.

Phelps was cited for a violation of the organization’s Code of Conduct, specifically for conduct “detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.”

Phelps was arrested on Sept. 30 in Maryland for driving under the influence. He was reportedly driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone.

In addition to DUI, he has been charged with excessive speed and crossing double lane lines.

Michael Phelps arrested for DUI in Maryland

This is Phelps’ second DUI arrest in ten years. The previous incident, during which Phelps was 19-years-old, resulted in 18 months of probation.

In 2009, Phelps was suspended for three months after photos that appeared to show him smoking marijuana emerged.

Michael Phelps going to rehab after DUI arrest

A second conviction for DUI could mean up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine and a six-month suspension of his driver’s license.

Phelps said on Oct. 5 that he would enter a six-week treatment program.

The 29-year-old, who recently began training for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, hold 22 Olympic medals, including 18 golds.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Athletes

Dull Derek Jeter’s New Site Could Actually Be Cool

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
Derek Jeter speaks to the media following his last career game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 28, 2014 in Boston. Jim Rogash—Getty Images

That didn't take long. Three days into retirement, the Yankee great launches a media business. Here's hoping it's more interesting than he's been.

Oh, so that was it. For 20 years, Derek Jeter was one of the most boring athlete interviews in history. We now know why: he was apparently saving the good stuff for retirement — and he’d like to make a little money off it to boot.

Just three days into his post-baseball life, Jeter has stolen some attention from this year’s postseason with the announcement that he’s now the “founding publisher” of a new website, The Players’ Tribune. The conceit: a site where athletes can connect directly with fans, unfiltered, presumably at more than the 140 characters than Twitter currently offers.

“The Players’ Tribune aims to provide unique insight into the daily sports conversation and to publish first-person stories directly from athletes,” says a brief mission statement on the site. “From video to podcasts to player polls and written pieces, The Tribune will strive to be “The Voice of the Game.”

“I’m not a robot,” Jeter writes in an introductory note. So why did he often come across as one? “I realize I’ve been guarded. I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer. I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions. I do think fans deserve more than “no comments” or “I don’t knows.” Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective. Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me . . . We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.”

The irony of Derek Jeter, distruster of media, starting a media business is outright comical. (My colleague Jack Dickey nails it here on Twitter). Jeter’s pitch is that the site has “no filter.” But don’t expect real honesty here. Twitter already works too well for that. The reason athletes tend to spout their true feelings — which they often wind up regretting — on Twitter is that Twitter doesn’t give people time to think. The whole operation — the 140-character limits, the endless chatter on your timeline — thrives on quick outbursts. Athletes aren’t going to thoughtfully air grievances with teammates on Derek Jeter’s website, which will apparently be staffed with editors. The editorial process will slow things down, and discourage spontaneity. It gives publicists time to get involved. Readers don’t want glorified press releases.

A certain type of story, however, does offer a win-win proposition to both athletes and fans. Athletes like talking about their craft. And sports geeks like reading about it. If Derek Jeter offers deep insight into how he pulled off all those jump throws, for example, that’s safe stuff for him — nothing remotely controversial about it. And readers benefit. Baseball lovers would eat it up. Parents can share Jeter’s tips with their kids.

(Quick: what are the two most-viewed video clips on TIME’s YouTube channel? Number one — by over a million views — Kobe Bryant offering hoops tips. Number two: Novak Djokovic explaining his serve and giving other insights on his game.)

So I, for one, look forward to seeing what Jeter cooks up. And if it takes a boring athlete to make an athlete-bylined website compelling, so be it. And who isn’t ready for more Jeter right now anyway?

TIME psychology

Ray Rice—An Epic Narcissist

Run away now, Ray: The former raven is paying a price for his self-regard
Run away now, Ray: The former Raven is paying a price for his self-regard Baltimore Sun; MCT via Getty Images

Criminality in professional sports has become an epidemic—and there's one psychological condition more to blame than any other

No one will ever get inside Ray Rice’s head except for Rice himself—and from the looks of things, it’s not a place you’d want to spend any time anyway. It’s up to the former Baltimore Raven himself to figure out how he arrived at the moral point that he was able—and, more troubling, willing—to cold-cock his then-fiancée across the face, causing her head to strike an elevator hand rail and knocking her utterly unconscious. Dragging her to the floor outside the elevator and using his feet to move her limp legs out of the way was a second level of inexplicable ugly.

But there are answers to be found in Rice’s profession—professional sports in general and the National Football League in particular, as I explore in my new book, The Narcissist Next Door. Pro athletes have increasingly earned a reputation as serial lawbreakers, and it’s a rep they come by rightly. The morning’s rap sheet has become a near staple in the sports pages, with regular reports of which athletes got picked up on which charges the night before—charges that range from DWI to weapons possession to drug possession to brawling to domestic violence to, in the most extreme cases, multiple murder.

It’s gotten so bad that the San Diego Union-Tribune has taken to posting a regularly updated NFL Arrests Database, with 719 entries so far, dating back to Denver wide receiver Rod Smith’s Jan. 24, 2000, bust for third-degree assault. For convenience, you can refine your search by date, team, position, name, incident and resolution. This should be parody; it’s not. And it’s all a part of the suite of narcissist behaviors too many athletes exhibit.

There is the look-at-me showboating of the athlete, the body-centric preening of the athlete, the entitlement of the athlete, the unaccountability of the athlete, the regal third-person self-reference of the athlete.

“I wanted to do what was best for, you know, LeBron James, and what LeBron James was gonna do to make him happy,” said, well, LeBron James, about his 2010 decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat—or, as he put it, “to take my talents to South Beach.”

“If they don’t sign me, sorry, but I must go. That’s what Carlos Zambrano thinks,” said, yes, pitcher Carlos Zambrano when he was in contract negotiations with the Chicago Cubs.

Narcissists come by their self-regard in a lot of ways. There’s heritability—with studies showing that genetics play a role in the trait in up to 77% of all cases. There is, too, the so-called mask model of narcissism, with overweening self-regard in fact a masquerade to conceal its exact opposite—a deep well of self-loathing or at least low self-esteem.

And then there is narcissism that is exactly what it appears to be—a toxic mashup of grandiosity, lack of empathy, and indifference to the rules. This is thought to be what’s behind the behavior of most reprobate athletes because the fact is, they are outside the rules. Spend your life being regularly feted by coaches and classmates, getting waved through college classes you may never even have attended, inking an eight-figure signing bonus just for agreeing to terms with a team for which you’ve yet to do a single day’s work, and why should you think you’re part of the same accountable community as everyone else?

Even when athletes misbehave and the hammer does come down, it’s often wrapped in velvet. Rice’s initial punishment was the NFL equivalent of a traffic ticket—a two-game suspension that would have stood had the latest video not seen the light. The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for using performance-enhancing drugs, but what of it? He’s nearing the end of his career anyway, he’s fabulously wealthy, and he’s free to come back next season, never mind the fact that most fans—to say nothing of the Yanks themselves—would probably love to see the back of him. Even the athletes who do wind up booked and charged often get off easy—which is what millions of dollars to spend on a legal team will get you (see e.g. Simpson, O.J., double murder).

The answer, if there is one, begins with removing the velvet from the hammer. Quarterback Michael Vick served 21 months behind bars for running a dogfighting ring and killing the animals that didn’t please him, and while you may or may not think he ever deserved the chance he’s gotten to play again in the NFL, his sentence sent a powerful message—making it far likelier that the NFL has seen its last dogfighting ring. Rice may come back one day too—though surely not with the Ravens—or he may be finished for good. But in this case the unaccountable player was eventually—if too late—held to serious account.

Narcissistic players have only themselves to blame for their misdeeds. But the first important step in making sure they quit thinking they’re outside the rules is for people in authority to start applying them—and in ways that hurt.

TIME Basketball

Shaquille O’Neal Applies to Join Reserve Police Force in Florida

Shaquille O'Neal
Television personality and former professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal leaves the Sirius XM Studios in New York City on Aug. 11, 2014. Ray Tamarra—GC Images/Getty Images

Would-be criminals, prepare for the Shaq Attack

Retired NBA star and very tall man-about-town Shaquille O’Neal has applied to be a reserve police officer in Doral, Fla.

O’Neal, who is 7 ft. 1 in., will now have to clear a background check, as well as pass Florida’s officer-certification exam, before joining the department in Doral, about 13 miles west of Miami. The test will assess the three-time All-Star Game MVP’s physical and psychological fitness, city spokeswoman Christina Baguer told the Miami Herald.

The doorframe-filling O’Neal will “have to do everything else to be certified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, just like any of our other officers, reserve or not reserve,” said Baguer.

The tests are unlikely to pose a problem, even though “Manny Shaq-iaou” once told the New York Times that “I don’t need to work out.”

In fact, the 42-year-old — who has played for the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers, among others — has passed the exam before, doing a stint as a reserve police officer in Miami Beach.

O’Neal wrote on his previous August 2004 application that his special skills included “laptop computer, binnochulars, master of surveillance.” He also denied having any “savings or checking accounts, any investments, or an automobile,” according to a 2011 feature in the Miami New Times.

In 2011, O’Neal also told the New York Times that he was considering a formal police career and “running for undersheriff in Lake County, Fla.” That is until local journalists pointed out that the job is appointed, not elected.

TIME Football

49ers’ Aldon Smith Gets 9-Game Suspension Following DUIs

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine NFL games following a number of incidents including making a false bomb threat and two arrests for driving under the influence.

“Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for it as a team,” the team’s general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We will continue to support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the season ahead.”

Smith has a long list of transgressions to his name. He was charged with possession of illegal assault rifles and driving under the influence in May and pleaded no contest. He faced another DUI charge in 2012. Smith was also arrested in April at Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly suggesting that he was carrying a bomb, but formal charges were never filed.

The punishment means the 49ers will be without a key player for most of the regular season this year. Smith will be eligible to return to the field in November.

TIME Athletes

Here Are 8 Bizarre Yet Beautiful Photos of Women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics

Gymnasts are known for their incredible flexibility, but rhythmic gymnasts take it to new levels, wrapping their bodies around ribbons, clubs, balls and hoops—all with a dazzling smile.

The secret to their rubber-band like contortions? Hours and hours of training, including more time spent in splits—hanging from bars or stretched across foam blocks—than the rest of us would consider humane. These athletes, competing at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, represent the eight top-scoring qualifiers in mind-bending acrobatic routines in the individual all-around finals.

TIME health

NCAA Proposes $70M Concussion Fund To Settle Lawsuit

NCAA President Mark Emmert News Conference
NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks to the media during a press conference at AT&T Stadium on April 6, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Jamie Squire—Getty Images

The settlement includes funding for testing current and former college athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will pay $70 million for concussion testing as part of a proposed settlement over an ongoing head-injury lawsuit, the organization announced Tuesday. The money would pay for symptom identification for current and former college athletes.

If accepted, the proposed deal, which would also offer $5 million for concussion research, would put an end to an ongoing class-action lawsuit facing the NCAA in federal court. According to the plaintiffs in that case, a 2010 NCAA internal study showed that almost half of college trainers put athletes with signs of concussions back on the field. The suit has been riding a wave of accusations that the NCAA and college teams across the country have put players at risk of brain injuries.

“Student-athletes — not just football players — have dropped out of school and suffered huge long-term symptoms because of brain injuries,” the lead plaintiff’s lawyer, Steve Berman, told The New York Times. “Anything we can do to enhance concussion management is a very important day for student-athletes.”

The settlement would affect men and women across all NCAA divisions. In addition to football, ice hockey and soccer squads, the settlement also affects basketball, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse teams. All current and former athletes in the NCAA would be eligible for concussion screening and possible damage claims under the proposal.

As part of the deal, college athletes will be required to take a baseline neurological test at the beginning of each year, which will help doctors monitor the effects of potential concussions during the season. Concussion education will also be required for coaches and athletes.

“We have been and will continue to be committed to student-athlete safety, which is one of the NCAA’s foundational principles,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline in a statement. “Medical knowledge of concussions will continue to grow, and consensus about diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions by the medical community will continue to evolve. This agreement’s proactive measures will ensure student-athletes have access to high quality medical care by physicians with experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions.”

TIME celebrities

And America’s Highest Paid Athlete Is…

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Marcos Maidana
Floyd Mayweather reacts to his unanimously decided victory over Marcos Maidana during their fight on May 3, 2014. Harry How—Getty Images

Boxer Floyd Mayweather tops Fortune‘s and Sports Illustrated‘s Fortunate 50 list of the America’s highest paid athletes for the third time.

Mayweather, a 37-year-old five-division world champion, earns a total of $105 million from his salary alone—he doesn’t even have endorsement deals. The staggering sum comes from a mere 72 minutes of fighting time against Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana, Forbes reports.

In second is Miami Heat’s LeBron James with $57 million total earnings, and in third, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant with $50 million total earnings.

Tiger Woods, who is ranked 7th with $35 million total earnings, had occupied the no. 1 spot every year from 2004, when the list debuted, until 2011.

[Fortune]

TIME South Africa

Judge Orders Pistorius to Undergo Mental Examination

Oscar Pistorius Is Tried For The Murder Of His Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius leaves North Gauteng High Court after the judge ordered tht he should undergo mental evaluation on May 14, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Christopher Furlong—Getty Images

Athlete's trial will be postponed until June 30, as mental health experts determine whether he can be held criminally responsible for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee champion runner, will check into a state psychiatric institution in South Africa next week, a judge ruled Tuesday, where a panel of experts will determine if he can be held criminally responsible for killing his girlfriend.

Judge Thokozile Masipa ordered the former Olympian to report to Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria Monday through Friday of next week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The ruling will postpone the trial until June 30.

ABC News reports that the decision comes after the defense team’s expert witness, Dr. Merryll Vorster, testified that Pistorius suffered from generalized anxiety disorder which might have caused him to panic in a threatening situation.

Pistorius maintains that he thought intruders had broken into his house when he fired shots through a closed bathroom door, killing his 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.

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