TIME domestic violence

NFL Executive Breaks Down While Talking to Congress About Domestic Violence

He described watching "helplessly" as his mother be beaten when he was a child.

A top NFL executive broke down in a congressional hearing on domestic violence as he recounted as a child “watching helplessly” while his mother was beaten.

“Domestic violence was a way of life in my home growing up,” said Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of football operations for the NFL. “My brother and I watched helplessly numerous times as my mother was beaten and knocked unconscious while we dialed 911. We saw how she struggled to seek help and find the courage to say no more.”

The hearing, comes days after a court reinstated former Ravens running back Ray Rice, who in February dragged his fiancee, now wife, out of an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice was initially suspended for only two games before a public outcry led NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to indefinitely suspend him. Vincent outlined several steps the NFL would undertake, including a “thorough review” of its personnel conduct policy with the goal of setting “clear rules” of misconduct for its players. Vincent added that the NFL would oversee a mandatory education program, training “critical response teams” to help prevent sexual and domestic violence, as well as raise awareness through collaborations with groups like No More.

“Recent events have made clear that we have not kept our standards current with our own values,” said Vincent, who added that “we failed” and “the commissioner failed” in his initial punishment of Rice.”We know now that the right people weren’t at the table…we’ve learned from those mistakes.”

Vincent said he expects that ex-FBI director Robert Mueller will come to the conclusion of his independent investigation “shortly” and that he believes the results would be made public.

“We’ve been humbled,” he said at the beginning of his remarks. “We’ve accepted the criticism we’ve received. And we’re committed to being a part of the solution. We will get this right.”

West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who chaired the hearing, called for the four major professional sports leagues to develop uniform policies to “effectively and appropriately” punish players who commit criminal acts against women and children. Many of the senators noted the outsize influence athletes have on America’s youth and lambasted the leagues for its current efforts in responding to domestic violence.

“There is a long list of players in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball who have been charged with, and in some cases convicted of, domestic violence, and the leagues have done little to nothing in response,” said Rockefeller in his opening remarks. “In fact, the press has reported that a culture of silence within the leagues often prevents victims from reporting their abuse to law enforcement. This has to change.”

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller said in the hearing that every minute in the United States 20 people will experience domestic violence, “last night” more than 20,000 phone calls were made to domestic violence hotlines and that one in three women will experience such physical abuse from a partner sometime in their lives.

TIME MLB

Baseball Umpire Comes Out as Gay in First for Pro Sports

Dale Scott
Umpire Dale Scott officiates a game between the Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 7, 2013, in Seattle, Wa. Elaine Thompson—AP

Dale Scott has been an MLB umpire for 29 years

Major League Baseball umpire Dale Scott is the first active male official to come out as gay in the four major professional American sports leagues.

Scott discussed his sexuality in an interview with OutSports published Tuesday. He previously came out in the October issue of Referee magazine, in which the umpire was profiled. Referee, which is subscription-only, has a circulation of roughly 45,000.

A photograph showed Scott with his husband and had the following caption:

Scott’s resumé includes three World Series, three All-Star games, six league championship series and 10 division series. He and his longtime companion, Michael Rausch, traveled to Australia for the 2014 season opener between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

Scott has been an MLB umpire for 29 years. Major League Baseball officials and other league umpires were already aware of Scott’s sexuality even before theReferee magazine story was published, according to OutSports. Scott told OutSports that when the piece ran in the magazine, nobody even mentioned the photo to him.

Scott also said that while he would have been “horrified” if a story came out that he was gay early in his career, individuals around the league have personally given him their support throughout his career, making the decision to go public easier.

The umpire, who was the crew chief for this year’s NLDS between the Dodgers and Cardinals, has worked three World Series.

“I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else and that’s the way it should be,” Scott told OutSports.

Violet Palmer, the first female referee in the NBA, announced in July that she is gay.

No active Major League Baseball player has publicly announced he is gay.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Baseball

Marlins Sign Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the Largest Contract in U.S. Sports History

Miami Marlins v Milwaukee Brewers
Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins makes some contact at the plate during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 11, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mike McGinnis — Getty Images

The 25-year-old slugger is set to make more than $300 million over 13 years

The Miami Marlins spared absolutely no expense this week to ensure that their star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton stayed with the franchise.

Late on Monday, the baseball club announced through their website that the team and Stanton had agreed on a new, record-setting 13-year contract worth $325 million — making the deal the largest in North American sports history, according to CBS Sports.

“This is a landmark day,” said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, according to MLB.com. “I’m happy for the city. I’m happy for him. And I’m thrilled for baseball. We have a player who is committed to us, and we’ve committed to him for the life of his career.”

Miami’s all-out financial offensive to keep one of baseball’s best sluggers on their roster is likely designed to inject new momentum in the franchise’s fan base, after years of disappointment. The Marlins have failed to reach the playoffs since 2003 and recorded the lowest payroll in the league in 2014.

The team is scheduled to hold a formal press conference later this week in Miami to announce the finer details of their new contract with Stanton.

MONEY Sports

NBA Chief Says, ‘Place Your Bets!’

Nationwide legalized U.S. sports betting just got a surprising ally: NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

TIME MLB

The Stream Is Over: A-Rod Admits to Manipulating Drug Tests

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez wipes sweat from his brow as he sits in the dugout before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore on Sept. 11, 2013.
New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez wipes sweat from his brow as he sits in the dugout before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore on Sept. 11, 2013. Patrick Semansky—AP

Alex Rodriguez admitted to using PEDs from late 2010 to October 2012, according to a new report, and described his novel method for beating the tests. The lies will be his downfall

Alex Rodriguez, according to a synopsis of a January meeting between him and the feds cited by the Miami Herald, has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs supplied by Anthony Bosch, a fake doctor who ran a South Florida steroid ring. According to the Herald, Rodriguez copped to using PEDs between late 2010 and October 2012. That A-Rod did drugs will surprise no one–the slugger previously admitted to taking steroids in the early 2000s.

However, what’s especially revealing is the way in which A-Rod says he beat the tests. As the Herald reports:

Rodriguez also described how Bosch gave the ballplayer “tips on how to beat MLB’s drug testing,” according to the DEA report.

The secret? According to Rodriguez, “Bosch advised him to only use mid-stream urine for MLB drug testing. Bosch told Rodriguez not to use the beginning or the end urine stream.”

It worked. A test he took while using the drugs came up negative.

Could this strategy have possibly worked? Victor Conte, founder of the infamous BALCO lab that created designer PEDs, calls it “good instruction” for avoiding detection. “I do think there is a different concentration of metabolites in the first portion of a urine stream,” says Conte. However, Conte doesn’t think submitting the end of the stream would increase an athlete’s likelihood of getting caught.

Don Catlin, former director of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory – the world’s largest PED testing facility – disagrees with Conte’s assessment. He says the chemical makeup of the urine stream is consistent from beginning to end. “I think that’s nonsense,” Caltin says. “But it does speak to the difficulty of urine testing. There are lots of ways to wiggle around the actual test.”

Catlin says he’s seen Olympians carry a “bladder-type device” under their armpits, and squeeze someone else’s clean urine down a rubber tube taped to the penis. You can also stick, say, bleach on your fingers, and put your finger in the urine stream while taking the test, tainting the sample. “The bleach no longer renders urine a pure substance,” says Catlin.

In theory, testers should watch an athlete urinate to make sure the process is pure. “But leaning over and being aggressive,” says Catlin, “sometimes doesn’t happen. That’s the nature of life.”

The troubles with urine testing, says Catlin, eventually forced him out of the testing game. He knew too many athletes were getting away with things. Outgoing baseball commissioner Bud Selig touts his sport’s testing protocol as tough. And yet Rodriguez – and several other high-profile players – have shown they can beat it. No matter how Rodriguez did it, a positive test didn’t catch him. An investigation, and now this reported confession, did. “I don’t have the confidence,” says Catlin, “that baseball is doing it right.” This is coming from one of the pioneers of modern testing. And he says baseball’s not alone: you can’t be certain other sports are clean either.

Still, it’s Rodriguez who’s now going to face Lance Armstrong-levels of public scorn. Few sports fans have ever believed his innocence. But his posturing looks so noxious now. Last November, Rodriguez left a grievance hearing regarding his 211-game suspension after finding out that Selig would not have to testify. He ran over to the studios of WFAN radio, and denied to host Mike Francesa that he used PEDs.

It’s not the drugs that doom the steroid users. It’s always the lies. Baseball is coming off a charming post-season, with the underdog Kansas City Royals 90-feet away from sending a classic Game 7 into extra innings. Madison Bumgarner’s performance was historic.

Now, this off-season and into spring training, the A-Rod sideshow is back.

Read next: Prosecutors Allege A-Rod Paid Cousin for Silence Over PEDs

TIME MLB

Report: Yankees’ A-Rod Told Feds He Used Banned PEDs

Alex Rodriguez
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) looks on prior to an MLB baseball game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Sept. 27, 2013 in Houston. Aaron M. Sprecher—AP

His reported confession is at odds with his public statements

Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez admitted to federal prosecutors in January that he repeatedly used banned performance enhancing drugs, according to a new report in the Miami Herald, despite 21 months of adamantly denying charges against him.

The “report of investigation” cited on Tuesday states the third baseman came clean on paying Biogenesis of America for human growth hormone injections, testosterone cream and testosterone lozenges. Eighteen days before his sworn testimony, in exchange for immunity, Rodriguez had defiantly issued a public statement: “I have been clear that I did not use performance-enhancing substances … and in order to prove it, I will take this fight to federal court.”

Rodriguez finished serving a 162-game suspension last week, the longest meted out for a steroid scandal because he was considered a repeat offender, and has returned to the Yankees lineup.

Read more at the Miami Herald.

TIME Baseball

San Francisco Braces For Giants’ World Series Parade

World Series Giants Baseball Celebration
San Francisco Giants baseball fans Megan McPhillips, right, and Travis Saracco from Santa Rosa, Calif., wait in the rain for the start of the victory parade for the 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 in San Francisco. Jeff Chiu—AP

The parade from the Financial District to City Hall is expected to draw record crowds

Undaunted by forecasted chilly weather and steady rain, up to a million baseball fans are expected to crowd into downtown San Francisco Friday for a parade to commemorate the Giants’ third World Series win in five years.

The parade, which started at noon, will stretch for a mile and a half from Market and Steuart streets, then up McAllister Street to the steps of City Hall for a celebration including players, politicians and local celebrities.

The National Weather Service says conditions will be “uncomfortable” with steady rainfall and temperatures in the 50s, but organizers don’t expect fans to be deterred.

The Giants emerged victorious over the Kansas City Royals Wednesday after a tense match up that came down to a final pitch in game seven of the series. The fact that the celebration also falls on Halloween—a day for which orange and black-clad Giants fans will come already dressed appropriately—is expected to draw even more partiers to a wild street celebration.

Bay area transit operators expect Friday to be the busiest day ever on Bay Area trains.

[San Jose Mercury News]

TIME Baseball

Jose Canseco Rushed to Hospital After Accidentally Shooting Himself in Hand

The former baseball star was reportedly cleaning his handgun when it went off, taking out most of his left middle finger

Former baseball star Jose Canseco was reportedly rushed into surgery late Tuesday after accidentally shooting himself in the finger at his Las Vegas home.

The former Oakland Athletics outfielder, who retired from the sport in 2001, was cleaning his handgun when it went off and was taken to University Medical Center, KLAS-TV Las Vegas first reported.

Canseco’s fiancée Leila Knight told the Los Angeles Times that doctors have already said he will never have full use of his left hand again. Knight said the middle finger of his left hand, which the bullet hit, would either have to be amputated or undergo full reconstruction surgery.

“I heard the gun go off and saw his middle finger hanging by a string,” she said.

Knight also took to the former player’s official Twitter account to update fans and well-wishers, saying he was still in surgery around 8.45 p.m. local time, soon after his daughter Josie used the social media site to let people know he was “safe and recovering.”

TIME MLB

Facing Series and Game 4 Deficit, Giants Dig Deep, Come Through Again

World Series - Kansas City Royals v San Francisco Giants - Game Four
Juan Perez #2 of the San Francisco Giants makes a catch at the foul line on a ball hit by Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals in the seventh inning during Game Four of the 2014 World Series on Oct. 25, 2014 in San Francisco. Rob Carr—Getty Images

The Giants trailed the World Series headed into game 4 against the Kansas City Royals, but dug deep for a dramatic 4-11 victory in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — There were the Giants, exactly where they didn’t want to be. Oh, sure, they can talk about their infinite pool of belief, but some parts are shallower than others. They admitted afterward: They did not want to have to score three runs against the back end of the Royals’ bullpen. That’s like stealing three steaks from a lion.

The Giants trailed the World Series, 2-1, and Game 4, 4-1, in the bottom of the fifth inning. There is no clock in baseball, but the Giants heard one ticking anyway because this is what the Royals do. They shorten the game. They delete your last chapters. Kansas City relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland loom over everything in this series. You might as well just call them Those Guys, the way the Giants’ Gregor Blanco did: “We were able to accomplish it before Those Guys came around. At the same time, we knew even if Those Guys come, we can do something to get us going.”

Blanco said in the dugout, “We were saying, just keep pushing, just keep playing hard. We knew we just needed something to get us going.”

The Giants were very clear about two things:

1. If they had to try to score three runs against the back of the Royals’ bullpen, then hey, that’s what they had to do.

2. Who the heck would want to do THAT?

So there they were, bottom of the fifth, down 4-1, when the ironically named Joe Panik hit a double. That chased Royals starter Jason Vargas; it was like a wedge in the middle of the Royals’ pitching staff, prying an opening between the starter and shutdown relievers. Jason Frasor came in to pitch. Hunter Pence singled in Panik. Danny Duffy replaced Frasor. A hit, a walk and a sacrifice fly later, Pence scored.

The Giants now trailed 4-3, and that still wasn’t ideal, but it meant that they would at least have a shot if the score held into the eighth inning. As Giants starter Jake Peavy said of Davis and Holland: “They’ve got to give up runs at some point, right?”

The Giants never found out. They added three in the sixth and four in the seventh, and Davis and Holland might as well have gone down the street for some Vietnamese food. It was a reminder that dominant relievers can finish World Series wins, but only if they have something to finish. Ask Mariano Rivera, history’s best postseason reliever, who pitched only one playoff inning in 2002 and one in 2006, and got only one out in 2011 when his team had a lead. He never got the baton.

How did the Giants do it? We have two sources on this, and they tell different versions of the same story. One is the box score, which tells a tale of 16 hits and 11 runs, including a three-hit, three-RBI night for Pence. The other source is the Giants themselves, who sold another gallon of that mushy stuff about teamwork and undying belief and feeding off each other.

You don’t have to buy it. But the point is: They do.

It’s why Peavy says, “We believe in our bullpen the way the world believes in Kansas City’s bullpen.” It’s why nobody cares, or even seems to notice, that star Buster Posey does not have any extra-base hits in the postseason. It’s why Pablo Sandoval fights off a pregame illness and two early strikeouts to get two big singles.

It’s why Yusmeiro Petit has now thrown 12 shutout innings in the postseason and allowed only four hits, and why Petit has so willingly assumed so many different roles. Posey said what Petit is doing is even more impressive than when he retired 46 consecutive batters in the regular season, a major-league record, because of the stakes.

“He’s expected to go in and pitch three, four, five innings, sometimes less,” Posey says. “You never know when it’s gonna be. He’s gotta be ready every game.”

And it’s why first baseman Brandon Belt says: “I guess everybody at this level wants to win the World Series. But it just seems like when it matters most, we dig down deep. We have the ability to dig down deep and get the big hits when we need it, and scratch and claw our way to the top.”

You can look at this World Series so far and figure it’s all just a prelude to the inevitable: A dramatic finish in Game 6 or 7 for these evenly matched teams. And that may be true. But make no mistake: The Giants were in an extremely tenuous position in Game 4. Down two games … down three runs … two of the last three games in Kansas City. If the Giants win their third World Series in five years, they will point to this moment, with the game’s scariest bullpen and an enormous deficit looming, and be proud they didn’t blink.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Baseball

The Best World Series Celebrations of All Time

Winning the Fall Classic sparks a special kind of euphoria.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser