WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama celebrated the World Series champion Chicago Cubs and spoke about the power sports has to unite people.
”Throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided,” Obama said at a White House ceremony for his hometown team. ”Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves.”
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The White House event came four days before Obama hands the presidency over to Donald Trump following one of the most divisive elections in recent memory.
Obama has a home in Chicago, but is a longtime White Sox fan. He rooted for the Cubs after the Sox failed to reach the playoffs.
His wife, first lady Michelle Obama, however, is a lifelong Cubs fan. She greeted Cubs players before the ceremony, which Obama noted was her first appearance at some of the roughly 50 events he has hosted for championship college and professional sports teams.
The Cubs gave Obama two baseball jerseys – home and away – with the number 44, among other gifts. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also wears the number, and Obama referred to Rizzo as ”my fellow 44.” Obama is the nation’s 44th president.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Antonio Brown wanted to let the world in on the party when he live-streamed the giddy celebration in Pittsburgh’s locker room after an 18-16 playoff win over Kansas City.
The All-Pro wide receiver also happened to catch coach Mike Tomlin indelicately describing the New England Patriots, the Steelers’ opponent in the AFC Championship game. Tomlin’s word choice – an expletive – didn’t bother his players as much as Brown’s decision to throw back the curtain on what is usually a private moment.
Brown’s 17-minute video collected more than 900,000 views in a few hours before being removed (though it lives on through YouTube). It included players dancing and Tomlin – who was out of the shot and unaware it was being filmed but who could be heard clearly in the packed locker room – beginning his postgame speech by telling the Steelers to ”say very little moving forward,” and then adding ”we spotted those (expletive) a day and a half.” New England advanced to the title game by beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before the Steelers held off the Chiefs.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick hardly seemed bothered by Tomlin’s comments during a radio interview with WEEI in Boston on Monday.
”I’m not on SnapFace and all that so I don’t really get those,” Belichick said. ”I’m really just worried about getting our team ready to go. I’m not really too worried about what they put on InstantChat or whatever it is.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Organizers trying to land the 2024 Summer Olympics for Los Angeles would include a new football stadium in the games’ ceremonies.
The NFL stadium being built in Inglewood near Los Angeles International Airport would be used for ceremonies along with Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as part of the committee’s concept to create a ”new games for a new era,” LA2024 announced.
The opening ceremony would be held July 20, 2024, and begin with a torch relay down the row of columns of the Coliseum, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.
The stadium is expected to seat 70,000 spectators for a Hollywood-produced spectacle of musical performances and a live viewing and virtual reality experience of all ceremonies at the NFL stadium.
RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman played the second half of the season with an injured knee, although he was never listed on any injury report.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Sherman had an MCL injury in his knee, similar to the ones suffered by quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Tyler Lockett earlier in the season.
Carroll called the injury ”significant” on his weekly radio show on KIRO-AM Monday morning.
The disclosure raised questions of whether the Seahawks circumvented the NFL’s injury reporting policy.
Sherman was not listed on any injury or practice report this season with a knee injury. Sherman typically sat out at least one practice per week starting around midseason, but each of those was given an ”NIR” – not injury related – designation on the practice report.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Draymond Green and LeBron James went at it again in the first half of the Cavaliers’ visit to Golden State.
Their latest confrontation came with 6:55 left in the first half. Golden State led 52-35 when James collided with Green near midcourt, resulting in a flagrant 1 foul on Green. Green’s arm extended across the upper body of James, who went down hard and lay on the court.
”I fouled him to stop the break and he went down, and the aftermath, I told (Cleveland’s Richard Jefferson) to get out of my face, got a technical,” Green explained.
Green reacted by appearing to mock James for flopping .
”Just in the heat of the moment in the game, having some fun, nothing major,” Green said
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Sheryl Swoopes headlines the 12 finalists for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
The six-member class of 2017 will be revealed Feb. 12 and enshrined this summer.
Swoopes was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last fall. She starred at Texas Tech and in the WNBA. Swoopes also won three Olympic gold medals for the U.S.
Other finalists include Kara Wolters of UConn, Crystal Robinson of the ABL and Yelena Baranova, who helped Russia win an Olympic gold medal in 1992. Coaches Joan Bonvicini, Rick Insell, Evelyn Blalock and Rose Marie Battaglia also are in the final 12.
Nora Lynn Finch, who was the first chair of the NCAA women’s basketball committee, and Christine Grant – the founding member of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women – are up as contributors. Louise O’Neal is on the list as a veteran’s pick and official Sally Bell rounds out the group.