ABC - Sports News

(NEW YORK) -- After several months of confidential negotiations, the NFL and attorneys for former players have reached an agreement that will end the controversial practice of race-norming in the league’s landmark concussion settlement program.

The deal, which was filed under seal but obtained by ABC News on Wednesday, also outlines a process for reevaluating past claims for compensation that may have been affected by race-based adjustments to cognitive test scores, which sources familiar with the matter say could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional payouts to former players and their families.

Following an ABC News investigation earlier this year, which uncovered emails and data suggesting that the league’s protocols made it more difficult for Black former players to qualify for compensation, the federal judge overseeing the program ordered the NFL and attorneys for former players into mediation to "address the concerns" about the use of race-norming.

The judge later granted a petition to intervene from attorneys for two Black former players, Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport, who had filed a lawsuit challenging the terms of the original settlement.

Both the league and the class counsel for former players initially defended the practice but ultimately reversed course and sought to reform the program in the face of mounting public pressure and scrutiny.

Spokespersons for the NFL and the attorneys for former players have not responded to requests for comment.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:

 Final  Houston   9  Boston   2

 Final  L.A. Dodgers   6  Atlanta   5

 Final  Milwaukee  127  Brooklyn  104
 Final Golden State  121  L.A. Lakers  114

 Final  Buffalo         5  Vancouver     2
 Final  San Jose        5  Montreal      0
 Final SO  Dallas          2  Pittsburgh    1
 Final  Florida         4  Tampa Bay     1
 Final  Washington      6  Colorado      3
 Final  New Jersey      4  Seattle       2
 Final  Detroit         4  Columbus      1
 Final  Nashville       2  Los Angeles   1
 Final  N-Y Islanders   4  Chicago       1
 Final OT  Minnesota       6  Winnipeg      5
 Final  Edmonton        6  Anaheim       5

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(NEW YORK) -- Family members of a former NHL player who had cocaine and fentanyl in his system when he died are now speaking out to warn people about the risks of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

Jimmy Hayes, a 31-year-old father of two who played seven seasons in the NHL, was found dead at his home near Boston on Aug. 23.

His death was ruled accidental.

"I hope getting Jimmy's story out there can save someone's life," Hayes' father, Kevin, told the Boston Globe. "If this can save someone from the pain, great. It's just so sad. I pride myself on being pretty mentally strong. I'm a street guy. But there's just no formula for this. You have a beautiful, all-American boy who made a terrible mistake and it cost him his life.''

Hayes' wife, Kristen, told the Boston Globe she was "completely shocked" that her husband's death was drug-related, telling the newspaper, "I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn't that [drugs]."

Hayes was a Boston native who played over 300 games in the NHL for four different teams. His dad Kevin told the Boston Globe that Hayes came to him over a year ago and told him he was "hooked" on pain pills, and later sought treatment.

"So he gets help and everything was on the path to recovery, I thought," said Kevin. "But this [expletive] is so powerful.''

Hayes is the latest well-known celebrity to die with fentanyl in his system.

The singer Prince fatally overdosed on fentanyl in 2016.

"The Wire" actor Michael K. Williams died in September of a drug overdose which included fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine.

In February, Dr. Laura Berman, a nationally known relationship and sex expert, shared a warning for parents when her 16-year-old son died after taking what she described as fentanyl-laced Xanax from a person he allegedly met on Snapchat.

What to know about the dangers of illicitly manufactured fentanyl

In the United States, illicitly manufactured fentanyl is the primary driver of the significant increases in drug overdose deaths in recent years. More than 93,000 people died of a drug overdose last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In September, the country's top law enforcement officials announced the seizure of more than 1.8 million counterfeit pills during a coordinated series of law enforcement raids throughout the country since early August.

The pills are often made to resemble real prescription opioid medication like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Xanax or stimulants like Adderall, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Most are made in Mexico, with China supplying the chemicals.

"We cannot stress enough the danger of these counterfeit pills," DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said at a Sept. 30 press conference. "We're seeing these pills being illegally sold in every state in the United States. They are cheap, they are widely available, they can be purchased online and on social media -- so through people's phones, and they're extremely dangerous."

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is used frequently in medical settings. Developed for the pain management treatment of cancer patients, it is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the DEA.

"It is a very good and effective medicine at relieving pain in appropriate quantities managed by anesthesia," said Dr. Kimberly Sue, medical director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition and an addiction specialist at Yale University. "What we're seeing in the opioid overdose deaths in this country is related to fentanyl that is obtained outside of the context of medical prescriptions, usually on the street."

In the case of an overdose death, fentanyl can cause a person to stop breathing, according to Sue.

Sue said that when people take medications that are not prescribed to them, they are playing "Russian roulette," given the prevalence of illicitly manufactured fentanyl on the streets today.

"In the case of a pill that you buy off the street, people should assume there is fentanyl present even if it is labeled as some other medication," she said. "I've taken care of many patients who think they're buying an oxycodone or heroin and there's nothing in it. It's just fentanyl."

Sue stressed that there are now resources like fentanyl test strips, which identify the presence of fentanyl in unregulated drugs, and naloxone, a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, that can help save people's lives.

"These are really tragic deaths because they are preventable," said Sue. "I tell my patients, 'You have to use all these strategies to try to stay alive and keep your friends alive.'"

If you or someone you love is in need of help, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit HERE to reach SAMHSA's 24-hour helpline that offers free, confidential treatment referral and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention and recovery.

ABC News' Luke Barr, Quinn Owen and Alexander Mallin contributed to this report.


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(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:


Boston 12, Houston 3

NY Rangers 2, Toronto 1 (OT)
Philadelphia 6, Seattle 1
Anaheim 3, Calgary 2 (OT)
St. Louis 7, Arizona 4

Tennessee 34, Buffalo 31

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:


Atlanta 5, LA Dodgers 4 (Atlanta leads series 2-0)

Ottawa 3, Dallas 2

Jacksonville 23, Miami 20
Baltimore 34, L.A. Chargers 6
Cincinnati 34, Detroit 11
Green Bay 24, Chicago 14
Indianapolis 31, Houston 3
Kansas City 31, Washington 13
LA Rams 38, NY Giants 11
Minnesota 34, Carolina 28 (OT)
Arizona 37, Cleveland 14
Dallas 35, New England 29 (OT)
Las Vegas 34, Denver 24
Pittsburgh 23, Seattle 20 (OT)

Chicago 80, Phoenix 74

New York 1, New York City FC 0
Vancouver 2, Sporting Kansas City 1

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:


LA Dodgers 2, San Francisco 1 (LA wins 3-2)

Atlanta 127, Miami 92
Brooklyn 107, Minnesota 101
Denver 113 Oklahoma City 107 (OT)
Sacramento 116, LA Lakers 112

Buffalo 5, Montreal 1
Ottawa 3, Toronto 2
Columbus 8, Arizona 2
Florida 5, Pittsburgh 4 (OT)
Dallas 3, NY Rangers 2 (OT)
Carolina 6, NY Islanders 3
Tampa Bay 7, Detroit 6 (OT)
Final Seattle 4 Nashville 3

Tampa Bay 28, Philadelphia 22

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- Four elite gymnasts are calling on Congress to dissolve the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee's board of directors, alleging the body fostered a culture of abuse and ignored serial sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor.

"We make this request after years of patience, deliberation, and unrequited commitment to learn from our suffering and make amateur sports safe for future generations," Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols, who all testified before Congress last month about what they say were failures in the FBI's handling of the sexual abuse case, wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders Wednesday.

"We believe the Board's past actions demonstrate an unwillingness to confront the epidemic problems with abuse that athletes like us have faced and a continued refusal to pursue true and necessary reform of the broken Olympic system," the letter continued.

Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges. The sentencing came after dozens of girls and women accused him of sexually abusing them.

"Since becoming aware of Nassar's abuse, the USOPC's top priority has been to hide culpability and avoid accountability," the athletes wrote in their letter, claiming the board "took no investigative action whatsoever after learning that Nassar was an abuser."

The athletes wrote that the "ecosystem" that gave shelter to the likes of Nasser "still exists," and they took aim at officials still in positions of power at USOPC and its foundation. They asked that Congress replace the board with one that will investigate "systemic" sexual abuse; otherwise, they said, "athletes will remain at risk."

The four women addressed their letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who co-sponsored a bill signed into law last year that gives Congress the power to dissolve the board.

In response to the letter, Blumenthal outlined potential next steps, saying Congress should "develop procedures to appoint a new board before dissolving the old one, and must be approved by the House and Senate before being signed by the President."

"We're grateful to these athletes for their continued demand for justice and accountability -- a goal we share," he said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our work together to ensure that USOPC is held responsible for past failures."

Olympians Biles, Raisman and Maroney, as well as world champion Nichols, testified about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Nassar during a hearing last month with the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the FBI's handling of the sexual abuse case.

"Over the past few years it has become painfully clear how a survivor's healing is affected by the handling of their abuse, and it disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over six years later," said Raisman, who cited failings by USA Gymnastics, the USOPC and the FBI.

A Department of Justice inspector general report released in July found the FBI made "fundamental errors" in its response to allegations against Nassar that were first brought to the agency in July 2015.

"We have been failed, and we deserve answers," Biles said during her testimony. "Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable. If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across Olympic sports."

Following Nassar's sentencing in 2018, USOPC (at the time known as the U.S. Olympic Committee) penned an open letter to Team USA athletes to "tell all of Nassar's victims and survivors, directly, how incredibly sorry we are."

"We have said it in other contexts, but we have not been direct enough with you," Scott Blackmun, former chief executive of the organization, wrote. "We are sorry for the pain caused by this terrible man, and sorry that you weren't afforded a safe opportunity to pursue your sports dreams. The Olympic family is among those that have failed you."

The entire USA Gymnastics board resigned in the wake of the sentencing, after USOPC demanded the remaining members step aside or face termination.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

Phoenix 119, Portland 74
Dallas 127, Charlotte 59
Orlando 103, Boston 102
Indiana 109, Memphis 107
New York 108, Detroit 100
Oklahoma City, 108 Denver 99
Utah 124, Milwaukee 120

Toronto 2, Montreal 1
Washington 5, NY Rangers 1
Anaheim 4, Winnipeg 1
Colorado 4, Chicago 2
Edmonton 3, Vancouver 2 (SO)

Phoenix 91, Chicago 86 (OT)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) - Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:


Boston 6, Tampa Bay 5
Houston at Chi White Sox (Postponed)

Atlanta 3, Milwaukee 0
San Francisco 1, LA Dodgers 0

Toronto 107, Houston 92
Miami 104, Charlotte 103
Memphis 127, Detroit 92
Philadelphia 115, Brooklyn 104
Utah 127, New Orleans 96
Sacramento 107, Portland 93
Minnesota 128, LA Clippers 100

Baltimore 31 Indianapolis 25 (OT)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Beth Craig

(NEW YORK) — Boston marathon competitors Barbara Singleton and Beth Craig made history today as the first mother-daughter duo to run the race as one team with a racing chair.

"Team Babsie" consisted of Craig running the 26.2 miles while she pushed her mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, in a specially designed three-wheeled chair known as a Team Hoyt running chair.

Southbridge Tool, based in Dudley, Massachusetts, makes these running chairs. They designed them with Boston running legend Dick Hoyt, who famously pushed his son Rick Hoyt, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, in the special chair in races all over the country, including the Boston Marathon 32 times.

Southbridge Tool co-owner Michael D'Dinato said "it was pretty cool seeing Team Babsie" use the chair for the marathon.

"It was pretty amazing and it feels great," he said. "Dick Hoyt told me one day we're going to change the world with these running chairs and he was right."

Singleton has lived with MS for nearly 40 years and gets around by wheelchair. She and her daughter have been running together for seven years, and were inspired to start after seeing Dick and Rick Hoyt in a race. Dick Hoyt died in March at age 80.

The mother-daughter team has run races in Virginia, Cape Cod and Washington, D.C. together. They even ventured up Mount Washington in New Hampshire, with Craig pushing her mother to the top to watch the sunrise.

At the Boston Marathon today, Craig and Singleton crossed the finish line at 7 hours, 14 minutes and 46 seconds.

"We're overwhelmed with all the cheers that we got on the route, and we're happy to have paid tribute to our Dick Hoyt," Craig said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Andy Cossins/iStock

(NEW YORK) —  The 2021 U.S. Chess Championships are underway and Irina Krush is back to defend her title.

Krush is an eight-time U.S. women's champion and the only female American grandmaster. She told ABC Audio's Perspective podcast that becoming a grandmaster is not easy.

"People will become grandmasters by making things called norms, which is a certain performance, a certain high performance," Krush said. [It's] three sets of three tournaments where they're playing against other grandmasters as well," Krush said. "When you make those norms and you get your rating to a certain point, which is a threshold of 2500, then you earn your Grandmaster title for life.”

Krush said she knew from an early age that she was better than most girls and boys in her age group.

"I became a master at age 12, and I won the U.S. Women's Championship for the first time when I was 14," Krush said. "I was very serious about chess from a young age. I spent my weekends playing chess and sometimes my weekends and my weekdays representing the U.S. in world youth competitions around the world since the age of seven."

Since then, Krush has been in training.

"In my eyes, chess is definitely a sport," Krush said. "It really does require a decent level of physical fitness because it is not as easy as it looks to concentrate at your full capacity [for] four or five or sometimes six hours."

According to Krush, becoming a grandmaster requires mastering perfecting all parts of the game, from the opening moves to the middle tactics and the strategy at the end of the game.

"It requires being exposed to better and better competition, so playing people that are better than you," Krush said. "From the time I was a young girl, I was playing adults, and that certainly helped me improve. Going to tournaments, traveling domestically [then] later on internationally. And you know, when you make that your life, you will see results."

And playing chess isn't the only part of her training. Krush said it also requires a physical commitment, too.

"Certainly, from the time I was an adolescent, I started training physically, jogging regularly, playing table tennis, swimming," Krush said. "You're not a basketball player or a tennis player, but you have to be in good physical condition."

The U.S. Chess Championship runs to Oct. 19.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Hockey fans can expect new viewing platforms and updates when they watch games this season. ABC, ESPN, ESPN+ and Hulu are changing the way fans can watch their favorite sport while introducing it to everyone in an exciting way.

Watch the full interview from Good Morning America:

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LONDON) -- After a two-year pandemic break, football is returning to London this weekend as the NFL ventures over for the first of two regular season matchups. The New York Jets will face the Atlanta Falcons at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Atlanta coach Arthur Smith commented on trip options this week, saying in past these games have been treated "like a Bowl Week," and teams would stay the entire week. Smith, however, decided to keep his Falcons stateside all week for practice before traveling to the U.K.

Both teams are currently 1-3. The game kicks off at 9:30am ET.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(ST. PAUL, Minn.) -- Laura Sosalla, of St. Paul, Minnesota, was declared legally blind earlier this year due to long-term effects after a battle with COVID-19 last November.

Sosalla was determined and said she wanted to prove to herself that she wouldn't let the impairment change how she lived her life.

She decided to run a marathon. This spring, Sosalla sent a message to Rachel Bentley, founder of United in Stride, an organization that matches visually impaired runners with guides.

Sosalla and Bentley teamed up, along with Bentley's sister, Natalie Elmore, and Sosalla's neighbor, Laura Brennan.

After months of training side-by-side, the four women ran the last mile of the Twin Cities Marathon together on Oct. 3.

Elmore said many noticed her guide bib and the group was showered in positivity from onlookers.

"I felt like it was really just my job to communicate to her all the excitement of the day," Elmore said, "describing that to her and giving her encouragement in that way."
The group crossed the finish line at 5 hours, 38 minutes. Brennan said she was proud to be in such good company, adding: "It was an honor to cross the finish line with her and be able to witness the look of joy on her face as she realized her accomplishment."

Bentley said she's already looking ahead.

"It was a blast running with these women, and I can't wait to do another race soon," she added.

Sosalla told "World News Tonight" on Friday about the support received while overcoming her hardship.

"What COVID has taught me is even though it took my eyes, it gave me an opportunity to connect with people and share life in a completely different way," she said. "I'm so incredibly grateful for that."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

Houston 6, Chi White Sox 1
Tampa Bay 5, Boston 0

Philadelphia 125, Toronto 113
Memphis 128, Charlotte 98
Miami 113, Houston 106

Tampa Bay 6, Florida 2
Ottawa 5, Montreal 4 (SO)
Detroit 4, Pittsburgh 2
Dallas 3, Colorado 1
Minnesota 3, Chicago 2 (OT)
Edmonton 3, Vancouver 2
Arizona 3, Vegas 1

L.A. Rams 26, Seattle 17

Coastal Carolina 52, Arkansas St. 20

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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