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Questions abound after Kevin Durant appears to injure Achilles tendon in comeback game against Raptors

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Gregory Shamus/Getty Images(TORONTO) — With the Golden State Warriors facing possible elimination in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors, the night began as a perfect comeback for Kevin Durant, the team’s star forward.

Before he took the court at the NBA Finals on Monday night, he hadn’t played since May 8, after he’d injured his right calf in a Western Conference semifinals game against the Houston Rockets.

But in the second quarter, after scoring 11 points for the Warriors, Durant appeared to injure his right Achilles tendon.

He was helped off the court by teammate Andre Iguodala as well as staff. Even famed Raptors fan and rapper Drake was seen patting Durant on the back as he made his way to the locker room.

“He gave us what he had. He sacrificed his body and we know how it turned out,” said teammate Steph Curry after the game.

In the end, the Warriors were able to hold the Raptors off from their first title win in franchise history, 106-105.

But, there are now questions about whether the Warriors, hoping to win their third straight NBA title, might have brought Durant back from his calf injury too soon — and cost him what could potentially be the entire 2019-2020 season.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who got choked up at times during a news conference after the game, said that Durant had gone through four weeks with the medical team.

“He was cleared to play tonight. That was a collaborative decision. I don’t believe there’s anyone to blame. … But if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department,” Myers said.

In a post to his Instagram stories on Monday night, Durant remained optimistic, saying: “I’m hurting deep in the soul right now I can’t lie but seeing my brothers get this win was like taking a shot of tequila, I got a new life lol. #dubs.”

And in a separate tweet from her own account, Durant’s mother told fans on Twitter that “This too shall pass.”

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The final series has not been without its share of drama.

On Thursday, NBA officials banned a Golden State Warriors minority owner after video showed him shoving a player on the sidelines during the game.

Mark Stevens, a venture capitalist, was sitting courtside during Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, California, when Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry dove into the sidelines to keep the ball from going out of bounds.

As Lowry struggled to regain his balance, video showed Stevens giving him a shove to the left shoulder. Stevens was fined $500,000 and banned from attending games as well as Warriors team activities activities for a year, the NBA and Warriors teams officials said in a joint statement last Wednesday.

Both teams face off again in Game 6 on Thursday in Oakland, California. It’s a game so anticipated, that floor seats are going for more than $100,000.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Women's National Team kicks off World Cup bout amid battle for gender equity

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Alex Caparros – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) begins their run in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France with their first game on Tuesday.

They will be stepping onto the field as defending World Cup champions after their 2015 win in Canada, but are joined by many of their international competitors in a crusade for gender equity.

On the field

The United States’ first game comes on the fifth day of the tournament, after many other nations have already begun competition in the Group Phase of the tournament — where teams are split into six groups to play round-robin style.

The U.S. is in Group F, which also includes Thailand, Chile and Sweden. The teams with the best records in the Group Phase go on to the Knockout Phase, starting June 22, which is a single-elimination round to find the champion.

The USWNT’s first match, Tuesday, is against Thailand — which the U.S. previously beat 9-0 in 2016 — at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.

It will be airing on Fox and Telemundo, starting at 3 p.m. EST.

Off the field

Off the field, the USWNT made headlines in March when players sued the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) — the sport’s governing body — for gender discrimination, including unequal pay and resources.

The suit named the 28 members of the 2015 World Cup team as plaintiffs, including stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, who are all back to compete in this year’s World Cup.

“We feel a responsibility not only to stand up for what we know we deserve as athletes, but also for what we know is right – on behalf of our teammates, future teammates, fellow women athletes, and women all around the world,” Rapinoe said in a statement at the time.

Last month, USSF hit back at the lawsuit, denying the allegations in a response. The group said “U.S. Soccer’s challenged pay practices are not based on sex” and that pay differences were based on “differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams” as well as other factors, according to their response.

“We look forward to a trial next year after the World Cup,” the players said in a statement after the USSF’s response was filed.

Household names

In their lawsuit, the players cited that the U.S. Men’s National Team players get paid more, even though they are less successful. While the U.S. women are entering this World Cup as defending champions, the U.S. men did not qualify for last year’s FIFA World Cup.

The women’s team is more successful on the field, and their profile is also growing. The 2015 Women’s World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan became the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history, per US Soccer.

In a more cultural show of their growing profile, Morgan scored a cover on this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, while Rapinoe, Abby Dahlkemper and Crystal Dunn were also photographed in the issue. In doing so, Rapinoe became the first openly gay woman to pose for the Swimsuit issue.

Meanwhile, as the tournament was about to start, several players launched a new company, re-inc, and dropped a T-shirt with it, as reported by The New York Times. USWNT forward Christen Press is the chief executive, former USWNT defender Meghan Klingenberg is president, USWNT forward Tobin Heath is chief innovation officer and Rapinoe is the chief branding officer.

“We are four World Cup champions whose time on the USWNT has taught us how to fight,” the re-inc website reads. “For greatness. For our identities. For our own value.”

On the field, the players will be wearing new kits made by Nike. Nike, in keeping with its ad campaigns around breaking boundaries and pushing for equality, has debuted new ads featuring players like Morgan and Mallory Pugh.

After Tuesday’s match, the USWNT will be playing Chile on June 16 at 12 p.m. EST and against Sweden on June 20 at 3 p.m. EST. Each match will be airing on Fox and Telemundo.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow convicted of rape, indecent exposure

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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) — Kellen Winslow was expected to be a star in the NFL when he was drafted sixth overall in 2004. Long since proven to be an all-time bust, the former tight end was convicted of rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct in a San Diego courtroom on Monday.

Winslow, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr., was charged with raping three women and exposing himself to two others. The jury convicted him of raping a woman at his home last year, but deadlocked on the two other rape charges. He was also convicted of indecent exposure and lewd conduct with two women.

He was found not guilty of one count of another lewd act.

Winslow was facing 12 charges in total, with verdicts rendered in four of the 12 cases.

The jury is expected to continue deliberations on the other eight charges, including an alleged rape of a homeless woman last year and of a 17-year-old girl in 2003, on Tuesday.

Defense lawyers argued during the trial that all instances of sex were consensual, and even used a defense that he repeatedly cheated on his wife throughout their marriage.

All five women testified in the case against Winslow, outlining their experiences with Winslow and the allegations they made.

Winslow did not take the stand to defend himself during the nine-day trial.

He was facing life in prison if convicted of all 12 charges.

The University of Miami product was drafted sixth in the 2004 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, ahead of future stars like Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and Los Angeles Rams running back Steven Jackson. But Winslow broke his leg on onside kick coverage just two games into his rookie season.

A year later, he tore his ACL while attempting motorcycle stunts in an Ohio parking lot and missed the 2005 season.

Finally healthy, Winslow’s best season came in 2007 when he finished with 82 catches for 1,106 yards and five touchdowns. He missed much of 2008 with a staph infection, the second in his tenure with the Browns, and was eventually traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who locked him up to a six-year, $36 million deal.

He also had unsuccessful seasons with the Patriots and New York Jets before his career ended after the 2013-14 season.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 6/10/19

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iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Monday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

Washington 12 Chi White Sox 1
LA Angels 5 LA Dodgers 3
NY Mets at NY Yankees 7:05 p.m., postponed

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Texas 4 Boston 3, 11 Innings
Tampa Bay 6 Oakland 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Arizona 13 Philadelphia 8
St. Louis 4 Miami 1
Atlanta 13 Pittsburgh 7
Colorado 6 Chi Cubs 5

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
THE NBA FINALS, GAME 5

Golden State 106 Toronto 105 (Toronto leads series 3-2)

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Santa Anita to continue racing because reforms are 'working,' spokesman says

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Mario Tama/Getty Images)(LOS ANGELES) — Santa Anita Park will not heed the California Horse Racing Board’s recommendation to suspend racing in the wake of two more horse deaths over the weekend because the reforms that were enacted earlier in the year appear to be effective, according to a spokesman.

In March, the park announced a series of changes surrounding horse safety, including a “zero tolerance” policy for the use of medication on racing day in the wake of more than two dozen horse deaths since December 2018.

The California Horse Racing Board further voted to limit whips on racing day as well, a rule that applies to Santa Anita.

After the reforms took place, the park saw up to seven weeks of “clean racing,” Stefan Friedman, spokesman for The Stronach Group, a company that owns the park, told ABC News. In addition, the track has seen 50% fewer catastrophic breakdowns during racing and 84% fewer catastrophic incidents during training, Friedman said.

There were no horse fatalities between April 1 to May 18, when the death toll remained at 23, Santa Anita said in a statement last month. But after that time, the number of horses dying began to climb once again.

On Sunday, 3-year-old Truffalino collapsed in the final stages of the third race and died of a heart attack, Friedman said. The day before, 4-year-old Formal Dude broke down while nearing the finish line in the 10th race and was euthanized, he said.

A total of 29 horses have died at Santa Anita since the start of the racing season.

The chairman, vice chairman and executive director of the California Horse Racing Board recommended on Saturday that Santa Anita suspend racing for the seven remaining race days of 2019, which lasts until June 23, but continue training during that time period, according to a statement from Mike Marten, the board’s public information officer.

“It is our understanding that Santa Anita management, after consultation with certain other industry stakeholders, believes that for a variety of reasons, the future of California racing is best served by continuing to race,” the California Horse Racing Board said in a statement over the weekend.

Under current California law, the board does not have the authority to suspend a race meet or remove race dates without the approval of the race track operator or without holding a public meeting with 10 days’ notice, Marten said.

 Santa Anita’s decision to stay open was made after and “extensive consultation” among the The Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers, according to a joint statement from those organizations.

Friedman described the most recent horse deaths as “really devastating,” adding that the decision to continue racing “was not made lightly.” The park and the California Horse Racing Board have a “really good relationship,” Friedman added.

“The reforms that we instituted are working,” Friedman said. “Do we have a lot more work to do? Absolutely. And everyone at this track, whether it’s the Stronach Group or the horsemen or the trainers or the jockeys, are fully on board and committed to the goal of having zero catastrophic breakdowns.”

In April, PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo told ABC News that the animal rights advocacy group supported the new rules that Santa Anita put into place, calling them the “first step in what needs to be an overhaul in racing nationwide.”

“The reason that we take that perspective is that the broken bones in California are happening all over the country,” Guillermo said, referring to horse injuries.

Friedman argued that if Santa Anita were to shut down the track, it would be a “terrible signal to everyone that these reforms were ineffective, and that’s just not correct.”

“Secondly…to shut down racing and essentially shut down training, you’re taking about closing down a facility and the horses,” Friedman said. “There’s no place for them to go in this juncture in California,” he added.

Nearly 2,000 horses live on site and hundreds of Santa Anita employees live and work on site as well, Friedman said.

Guillermo said in a statement Monday that what’s happening at Santa Anita is a “microcosm of what’s happening in racing nationally: broken bones, death and public outrage.”

“Their bodies litter tracks in New York, Kentucky, Florida, Texas and many other states,” she said, adding that PETA recently called for tracks nationwide to suspend racing until they can implement “long-needed and significant changes that will help end the cruelty and protect horses.”

Santa Anita Park will host the 2019 Breeders’ Cup world championships on Nov. 1 and 2.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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