<![CDATA[NBC10 Boston - Sports]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcboston.com/news/sports http://media.nbcboston.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC10 Boston https://www.nbcboston.com en-usFri, 21 Sep 2018 12:39:32 -0400Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:39:32 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Legendary MLB Scout Don Welke Dies at 75]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 17:57:42 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Don+Welke+IMG_3576.jpg

Don Welke, the Vice President of Scouting Operations for the San Diego Padres, has died, the team confirmed Thursday.

Welke, who began scouting for major league baseball with the Cincinnati Reds in 1965, worked in the league for more than 50 years.

At some point in his long career, Welke worked for the following: the Texas Rangers, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Baltimore Orioles, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Kansas City Royals and the Team USA Olympic baseball team.

He joined the San Diego Padres in 2014.

San Diego Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler and General Partner Peter Seidler described Welke as a dear friend who was invaluable to the Padres' front office.

"He was a legend in the baseball world," Seidler said in a written statement. "Don was a super scout and a super guy, and we will miss him greatly.”

Padres Executive Vice President & General Manager A.J. Preller described Welke as a visionary.

"Don had a tremendous career in baseball, both as a talent evaluator and in the relationships that he built," Preller said. "Beyond his accomplishments, Don was a loyal and generous friend. Everyone whose lives he touched were better for having known him."

A native of Illinois, the 75-year-old Welke had three children and made his home in San Diego. 

Photo Credit: San Diego Padres
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<![CDATA[Mavs Owner Mark Cuban Donates $10M After Workplace Probe]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:12:57 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/mcAP_18057828367198.jpg

A seven-month investigation into sexual harassment and workplace misconduct allegations within the Dallas Mavericks organization was released Wednesday afternoon confirming "numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct within the Mavericks organization" over two decades.

Key among the findings were allegations of improper workplace conduct toward 15 female employees by the Mavericks’ former President and CEO Terdema Ussery, including inappropriate comments, touching and forcible kissing, and allegations of improper workplace conduct by former Mavericks ticket sales employee Chris Hyde.

Hyde's inappropriate conduct was said to include inappropriate comments to women of a sexual nature, the viewing and sharing of pornographic images and videos, unsolicited and unwanted sexual advances, and violent and threatening outbursts toward co-workers.

Additionally, there were two acts of domestic violence allegedly perpetrated by former Mavs.com reporter Earl Sneed, including one against a team employee.

The allegations are part of a 43-page investigative report by Lowenstein Sandler that was released Wednesday afternoon. The NBA's response to the report was released at the same time.

Investigators said Ussery engaged in a pattern of harassment and that included unwanted touching and massaging, inappropriate comments and forcible kissing and that he found a number of ways to touch and "compliment" women on their appearance. The investigation substantiated claims made by 13 people between 2000 and 2015. Many of the claims were determined to be credible because many women told colleagues about the misconduct when it happened and many contained common threads, even among women who didn't know each other. Ussery denies inappropriate contact and sexual comments but did admit that he complimented women and massaged one woman's shoulders. He also admitted to having one sexual conversation with one woman but added that she initiated it.

“We did a lot of things of wrong. And I wasn’t there to oversee him [Ussery]. And so yeah, everybody has every reason to question me, but I just wasn’t there and that was my fault," said team owner Mark Cuban.

According to the report there was no evidence Cuban knew of Ussery's behavior or that anyone told him about the behavior, but the same can't be said about Hyde's alleged behavior.

The report said 14 current and former employees said Hyde looked at pornographic material on his computer, laptop and phone; another 50 employees said they heard about his alleged behavior. Nine employees said Hyde's monitor was moved against a cubical wall so fewer people would see what he was looking at and seven said he'd made unwanted sexual advances.

Sexually explicit images were found on Hyde's computer when it was searched in 2008 as part of a lawsuit. Lawyers for the team notified Cuban who sent a  "very strongly worded email" to Ussery and Pittman "telling him to stop it or he'd get fired."

In 2011, a condom was seen falling out of Hyde's pants. The incident was recorded on surveillance video and Cuban was notified. According to the report, Cuban said not to make a bigger issue out of it than it was and to put Hyde on probation and warn him of termination should it happen again.

Sometime between 2011 and 2013 Cuban said, "this bullshit with Chris Hyde is going to end," when it was believed Hyde was taking kickbacks from a ticket broker.

In 2014 Hyde allegedly "behaved inappropriately" with a new female employee; Cuban said to fire him.

On Hyde, Cuban told ESPN in a taped interview that aired Wednesday, "Obviously this was a huge mistake on my part. I mean, I was under the impression that he had the first issue with the pornography was resolved and obviously it wasn’t. And I said if anything out of the question happens again, well, what was three years earlier and I hadn’t had any follow up beyond being told that he was being -- from my perspective there weren’t any issues. It was stupid on my part," Cuban said. “I messed up. I should have just fired him on the spot. It was just a huge mistake. There’s just no way to downplay it and if someone were to show me from another company and asked me to read it I would say you can’t make a bigger mistake because that destroys the whole culture of your organization.”

As a result of the investigation, Cuban said he's ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees and has pledged to contributed $10 million to organizations committed to supporting the leadership and development of women in the sports industry and combating domestic violence.

“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “While nothing will undo the harm caused by a select few former employees of the Mavericks, the workplace reforms and the $10 million that Mark has agreed to contribute are important steps toward rectifying this past behavior and shining a light on a pervasive societal failing — the inability of too many organizations to provide a safe and welcoming workplace for women.”

The investigation recommended a number of changes be made at the organization, including increasing the number of women on staff and in leadership positions; Enhancing a formal reporting process for victims of misconduct; Implementing regular employee surveys on workplace culture and expanding and improving the human resources department and instituting clear protocols for investigating allegations of workplace misconduct.

"The report confirms that several of these steps have already been taken, including the hiring of Ms. Marshall and other new senior female leaders, and notes that 'we heard from employees of a sea change in the professional environment at the Mavericks that began almost immediately following' the publication of the Sports Illustrated article," the league said in a statement.

The league is also requiring the Mavericks provide them with quarterly reports regarding the recommendations set forth in the report and their implementation; Immediately report to the league office any instances or allegations of significant misconduct by any employee; Continually enhance and update annual “Respect in the Workplace” training for all staff, including ownership; and implement a program to train all staff, including ownership, on issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

During a taped interview with ESPN, Cuban got emotional discussing how he felt reading the reports and details of what the women who worked for the team went through.

“Just the pain that they went through at my company. It was the same way I felt when I stood in front of Mavs employees for the first time after this came out. I apologized to them. It just never in my wildest dreams that I think that this was happening and it was right underneath me. The pain that people went through, the pain that people shared with me as this happened, the tears that I saw. It just hurt and the way I felt was nothing compared to the way they felt. I mean, I, you know, I guess just my nature, I mean recognizing I made a mistake, learn from it, and then try to fix it.”

Related stories from NBC DFW

The Report of the Independent Investigation of Dallas Basketball Limited


Photo Credit: Ron Jenkins/AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Activists Carry Caskets Outside Cowboys Stadium to Protest Police Shootings]]> Mon, 17 Sep 2018 01:03:59 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/ATT+Stadium+protest+091618+%282%29.jpg

Demonstrators marched outside AT&T Stadium, where the Cowboys hosted the Giants Sunday night, rolling two caskets to protest the police shooting deaths of Botham Jean in Dallas and O'Shae Terry in Arlington.

Terry was shot by an Arlington police officer Sept. 1 after he attempted to flee during a traffic stop and Jean was shot Sept. 6 by Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who said she mistook him for a burglar after she mistakenly entered Jean's apartment.

Lee Merritt, who represented the families of both men, demanded that the Dallas Police Department identify and discipline officers who leaked information a search warrant return about Botham Jean's shooting to the media. The search warrant indicated officers found marijuana, but it's unclear who it belonged to.

Merritt said the protest was also to draw attention to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' policy on players protesting during the national anthem.

"We come with an invitation to Jerry Jones, to Dak Prescott, to the entire Cowboys organization to join us in the fight for justice. To ensure these tragedies do not continue to befall our community," Rev. Michael Waters said.

"Let us know that you're not just concerned with making money off of black bodies, but you're concerned about the safety of all black bodies," pastor Frederick Haynes said. "Because, guess what? We are Americans as well."

Demonstrators also called for the Dallas Police Department to fire Guyger and for the officer to face a murder charge. Guyger is currently on administrative leave and faces a manslaughter charge in Jean's death.

"It was murder because if the roles had been reversed and Botham had come into her apartment and killed her, he would be in jail right now and charged with capital murder," Haynes said. "We are saying there is not justice at all if there is not justice for all."

Fans looked on as the group of around 100 demonstrators walked around AT&T Stadium with the two coffins. Demonstrators walked quietly and carried signs that said "Black Lives Matter."

Some fans said they were confused by the demonstrations. Some expressed support.

"Racism has been a problem in this country way too long, it's time we did something about it," said Nathan Barrett who was attending the game. His friend, Jacob Gragg, took off his hat as the caskets went by.

At least one fan could be heard saying, "No politics" as the group went by.

Others told NBC 5 they did not want to be quoted by name, but insisted the demonstration wasn't appropriate after Fort Worth police officer Garrett Hull died in the line of duty. 

"I was married to a police officer for 20 years. We respect police officers, the good ones. But there are some problems and we have to draw attention to it," said demonstrator Leattress Anderson.

Police in Arlington did not try to stop the pastor's group from protesting. Officers on bicycles rode alongside protesters and helped stopped traffic as the group approached the stadium.

Arlington police said officers made nine arrests after a separate group of protesters blocked traffic on Collins Street and Randoll Mill Drive.

Police said that group would not move despite repeated warnings from officers.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Sox Manager Cora Takes Issue with Trump's Hurricane Remarks]]> Fri, 14 Sep 2018 10:00:18 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/180*120/AlexCoraIII.jpg

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora took issue with President Trump's comments about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, a storm which ravaged Cora's native Puerto Rico.

"It's disrespectful," Cora said Thursday. "We see it that way. I know probably he doesn't feel that way. And like I said, 'Hey man, thank you for helping us.' He went down there, he did what he did.

"I hate talking about politics and all that, but I think this is more than politics. This is about a country that really suffered. We still... you see the hurricanes forming now. Everybody's panicking. It's not easy. One thing's for sure, and I told [the media] before, one thing I'm proud, we're standing up on our own two feet. Like, do we need help? Yeah, we do. We know that."

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas, Trump took to Twitter to defend his handling of Hurricane Maria. He disputed the approximate death toll of 3,000 people on the Caribbean Island last year, claiming that there were six to 18 deaths after the storm.

"This was done by Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico," Trump tweeted. "If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!"

"I hate that people make it a political issue," Cora said. "This is about human beings. The people that went through this, they know what happened."

A study completed by George Washington University backs up the government of Puerto Rico's numbers, that 2,975 people died as a result of the Category 4 hurricane.

Cora went to Puerto Rico in January with a Red Sox delegation that included catcher Christian Vazquez, also a native of the island, to distribute aid.

Cora is in his first year as manager of the Red Sox, which own the best record in Major League Baseball at 101-46 through Thursday. It's the franchise's first 100-win season since 1946.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Celtics' Hayward: '100 Percent Healthy']]> Fri, 14 Sep 2018 06:11:10 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000018217282.JPG

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said Thursday he has been playing full-court basketball for the past two weeks and feels 100 percent healthy as he continues his return from a gruesome leg injury suffered in last year's season opener.

Hayward told reporters at the Celtics' practice facility in Boston that while he has no restictions, there are "certain things that are going to take time.  

"The last step for me, as far as a physical standpoint, is the little explosion and that little, juiced bounce that you get, and that's going to take me the longest time," he said. 

Hayward said he has not watched video of the leg injury that caused him to miss last season. He added that he has not experienced fear while ramping up basketball activities. 

"I haven't had any fear as far as cutting or jumping," Hayward said. "It's just working my way back into a groove, finding the certain rhythms and timings of the game."

The Celtics forward said sitting and watching the games while nursing his injury was difficult and there were some dark days wondering about his future, but he was encouraged by the support of his teammates.

"I'm a big doughnut guy," Hayward recounted. "(Aron Baynes) brought Krispy Kremes back from a road trip and drove them over to the house. Just simple things like that."

Boston advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals without Hayward and star point guard Kyrie Irving before ultimately losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In May, Hayward had surgery to remove a plate and screws in his broken left leg. At the time, the team said his leg and ankle were sound, but the plate and screws implanted to help the injury heal were irritating his tendons.

<![CDATA[Fan Struck by Blue Jays Player's Wayward Bat at Fenway Park]]> Thu, 13 Sep 2018 11:40:32 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/206*120/091318+fenway+fan+hurt.jpg

A man was struck in the head with a bat Wednesday at Fenway Park after Toronto Blue Jays’ Devon Travis lost control of his swing.

It was the eighth inning of the Boston Red Sox’s game against the Blue Jays when the incident happened. The man was sitting in the box seats when the second baseman's bat cleared the safety netting and landed 15 rows above the dugout.

Other fans dodged the bat as audible gasps were let out. Security rushed to give the man towels and recover the bat. The man was able to stand up and shake his fist to acknowledge the crowd, which caused an eruption of cheers. He then walked himself to a stretcher that security retrieved for him.

A Red Sox spokesperson said the fan was treated at Fenway then taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His current condition is unclear.

Photo Credit: Jim Davis via Boston Globe]]>
<![CDATA[Brady, Gronk Address Comments from Jaguars CB]]> Wed, 12 Sep 2018 17:54:14 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000018193915.JPG

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski spoke to the media at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday in advance of the Patriots' Week 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville boasts a vociferous cornerback in Jalen Ramsey, one of the top cover corners in the league who took it upon himself to critique numerous NFL quarterbacks in an interview with GQ Magazine last month.

Ramsey deemed that Brady, the five-time Super Bowl winner and three-time league MVP, "doesn't suck" in the story. 

"I never want to suck," Brady said Wednesday when asked about Ramsey's comments. "I don't want to be in that category."

Ramsey also went after Gronkowski, who's been named First Team All-Pro four times at tight end in his eight NFL seasons.

"If that's how he feels, that's how he feels," Gronkowski said. "Obviously there's something out there on film that he saw that I could probably get better at football in certain categories."

Ramsey is in his third NFL season and was named First Team All-Pro for the first time in 2017.

He was on the losing end, of course, of last season's AFC Championship Game between the Jaguars and the Patriots. Gronkowski was knocked out of the game early with a concussion, but Brady and Danny Amendola spearheaded a 10-point comeback in the fourth quarter to send New England to the Super Bowl with a 24-20 win.

"They were a great team last year and gave us everything we could handle," Brady said. "They're at it again this year. They've got the same players, similar scheme and as good a defense as we'll play all year."

In eight career starts against Jacksonville -- including the postseason -- Brady is 8-0 with a 19-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Brady has more wins against the Jaguars without a loss than any other team in the NFL.

Jacksonville is coming off a 20-15 win in Week 1 over the New York Giants on the road.

Kickoff on Sunday is at 4:25 p.m. in Jacksonville. It will be New England's first game in the city since Dec. 23, 2012.

<![CDATA[Millis 370-Pound Lineman Squashing Opponents]]> Tue, 11 Sep 2018 15:00:30 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Millis_370-Pound_Lineman_Squashing_Opponents.jpg

Millis High School lineman Murrell Quashie is 17-years-old and already tips the scales at 370 pounds and is making a name for himself in Massachusetts football and beyond.

<![CDATA[Bruins Trade Defenseman Adam McQuaid for Steven Kampfer]]> Tue, 11 Sep 2018 11:21:16 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/206*120/GettyImages-946378478+cropped.jpg

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced Tuesday morning that the team traded defenseman Adam McQuaid to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Steven Kampfer, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick and a 2019 conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Kampfer, 29, has skated in 166 career NHL games, compiling 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points with 82 penalty minutes.

Kampfer was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft before being traded to the Bruins in March 2010. He appeared in 38 games with the Bruins in the 2010-11 season, helping the team win the 2011 Stanley Cup.

In the following season, he had two assists in 10 games before the team traded him to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Greg Zanon.

Kampfer then spent 2014 to 2017 with the Florida Panthers before being traded to the New York Rangers in Nov. 2016.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newspaper Slammed for Cartoon of Serena Williams as Toddler]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 22:30:34 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/busted-racket-serena-inset.jpg

A cartoon of tennis great Serena Williams published in an Australian newspaper is sparking backlash on Twitter with accusations of "blatant" sexism and racism. 

Herald Sun editorial cartoonist Mark Knight released the controversial cartoon depicting Serena Williams as a toddler having a tantrum on Monday, following her defeat by Naomi Osaka in the US Open Sunday.

The 23-time winner of the Grand Slam singles title was fined for verbal abuse of chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the final Sunday, and was also fined $3,000 for breaking her racket.

By midday Monday, Knight’s comic had gained international attention, with many on Twitter criticizing his depiction of Williams and his decision to portray Japanese-Haitian champion Naomi Osaka as Caucasian with blonde hair.

“Mark - do you make these same cartoons for every white male athlete who shows intensity during a heated contest? Or are you reserving it for a black women because of your own biases based on gender and race? Ask yourself in a quiet moment. Then do better,” Amy Siskind tweeted.

Other users said they were so offended they had reported the image to Twitter for being racist. The image was compared to the depiction of black people in "Little Black Sambo," an 1899 children's book which sparked a rash of counterfeit versions featuring racist stereotypes of people of color.

“I would say delete this, but this display of racism is so blatant in the year 2018 that it belongs in a museum to raise awareness to future generations about what African-Americans are going through today," Eugene Gu tweeted.

It was not Knight's first time in the spotlight for his cartoons. Earlier this August the award-winning cartoonist's image of carticatured African teenagers was branded racist by local politicians. 

Meanwhile, the Women's Tennis Association has backed Williams' claims of sexism and chief executive Steve Simon stated that "The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men versus women.”

Knight has not yet responded to NBC 4's request for comment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/AFP
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<![CDATA[A-Rod Serves Up Burgers After Losing Bet to Mark Wahlberg]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 17:42:35 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/wahl1.jpg

After losing a bet on a Red Sox-Yankees game, Alex Rodriguez found himself serving up burgers in Boston at Wahlburgers' Fenway location over the weekend.

Actor Mark Wahlberg apparently made a bet with Rodriguez back in August that the Sox would sweep the Yankees. When they did, Wahlberg got A-Rod on the phone and made him report to duty Sunday at Wahlburgers — one of the restaurants he co-owns with brothers Donnie and Paul.

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In a video posted by ESPN, Rodriguez is greeted by Paul Wahlberg, who makes him flip burgers, serve customers and re-fill ice at the bar. A-Rod even attempts to make alcoholic drinks.

On Instagram, Rodriguez said he held up his end of the deal and posted his own clip of the experience.

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<![CDATA[Merrimack College to Compete in Division 1 Sports]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 19:04:16 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/mcollege.jpg

Merrimack College is elevating all of its athletic programs to the NCAA Division I level, the school said Monday.

The private school in North Andover, Massachusetts accepted an invitation to join the Northeast Conference (NEC) beginning in the fall of 2019.

The school already competes in Division I in men's and women's ice hockey in Hockey East, where each team will remain. But the remaining 22 varsity sports offered at the school will transition to the NEC beginning next school year. 

The school will become a full member in 2023 after a mandatory four-year NCAA reclassification period.

"Our student-athletes have enjoyed tremendous success academically and athletically," said Merrimack Athletic Director Jeremy Gibson.

"We are thrilled that they will have the opportunity to pursue excellence through membership in the Northeast Conference, and that our entire community will experience the excitement of Division I athletics across all of our program."

Merrimack, which has some 3,500 undergraduate students, is leaving behind the Northeast-10 Conference at the Division II level.

Other New England schools in the NEC include Bryant University in Rhode Island and Central Connecticut State University and Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

Photo Credit: Merrimack College]]>
<![CDATA[Boos at US Open Final Left Winner Naomi Osaka 'a Little Bit Sad']]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 11:36:56 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/1033598680-Naomi-Osaka-Serena-Williams.jpg

Naomi Osaka didn't see what caused the uproar during the U.S. Open final she was playing against her idol, Serena Williams, so she was confused when it left the crowd booing — apparently for her.

Williams' argument with the match umpire over a coaching violation turned into a point for Osaka, then a game, in a much-maligned coaching decision that helped cement a first Grand Slam win for Osaka. But the 20-year-old said Monday that she had her back turned when the argument unfolded, so she wasn't sure why the New York City crowd was booing during the trophy presentation, which led to her apologizing for the victory.

"I felt a little bit sad because I wasn't really sure if they were booing at me or if it wasn't the outcome that they wanted," she said on the "Today" show. "I also could sympathize because I've been a fan of Serena my whole life and I knew how badly the crowd wanted to win."

Both players cried at the ceremony. Williams asked the crowd to stop booing and salute Osaka to make it "the best moment we can," while Osaka apologized to the crowd.

"I know that everyone was cheering for her and I'm sorry it had to end like this," Osaka said Saturday.

She explained Monday that she was emotional and disappointed with the outcome as well, having dreamt of winning the trophy in a competitive match.

"I felt like I had to apologize," she said.

Williams' argument with umpire Carlos Ramos, which resulted in $17,000 in fines for Williams, completely overshadowed the match, whose first set Osaka dominated 6-2. The second set finished 6-4, with one game awarded to Osaka after Williams repeatedly called Ramos a thief for docking a point for a coaching violation that Williams insisted she didn't deserve.

The Women's Tennis Association joined Williams and a chorus of commentators who said the player was punished for something men get away with all the time.

Osaka said Monday that she hadn't had time to look at the news and form an opinion on what happened in the 36 hours since she won.

Osaka, the first Japanese person to win the U.S. Open (her mother is from Japan and her father is from Haiti), grew up idolizing Williams. She'd played her once before, but she was very nervous because now she was matching up against Williams in a Grand Slam final.

"Right before I was walking onto the court I was freaking out a little bit, but when I went onto the court, it didn't feel like she was Serena, it felt like she was another player," Osaka said.

Williams appeared to comfort Osaka on the dais after the match, hugging her and whispering something in her ear as the crowd booed and Osaka covered her face.

Osaka didn't say Monday what Williams told her, only that it made her happy.

With the win, Osaka rises to No. 7 in the women's tennis rankings, nine places above Williams.

Photo Credit: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Pieces of Patriots Off-Season Puzzle Come Together]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 10:21:27 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1029952276.jpg

At times tumultuous, the off-season is officially in the rear view mirror for the New England Patriots following a 27-20 Week 1 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Prior to the game, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network dropped several interesting nuggets which tied up some remaining loose ends from the chaotic spring and summer.

Rob Gronkowski caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in Sunday's win, and according to Rapoport, that's the only way Gronk would have scored on Sunday. When the Patriots had trade talks involving Gronkowski this off-season, the 29-year-old tight end threatened to retire, ending any discussions before they advanced further.

"He was adamant that he would either retire or remain with the Patriots," Rapoport said on NFL Game Day. The Patriots reworked Gronkowski's contract for the upcoming season, giving him a chance to earn an extra $3.3 million should he reach performance-based incentives.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels accepted the head coaching job of the Indianapolis Colts -- briefly -- in February before opting to remain with the Patriots at the last second. It's suddenly a lot more clear why McDaniels had an about-face, as New England rewarded him with a new five-year contract that makes him the highest paid coordinator in the NFL, according to Rapoport. His salary, in line with what first-time NFL coaches make, will surpass $4 million annually near its conclusion.

There's also some more clarity surrounding Brady's personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, and his situation with the team. Perhaps the chief cause of the strife in Foxboro, Rapoport said there's been a compromise of sorts reached between Brady and the team as it pertains to his guru. Brady -- and Gronkowski -- still get to use Guerrero whenever they like, and Guerrero will be allowed to travel with the team, although he may not go on quite as many trips as in previous years. Guerrero was on the Patriots team plane to North Carolina for their preseason game vs. the Panthers in August.

"The goal for everyone is to make sure there's no more Alex Guerrero issue discussed during this coming season," Rapoport said on NFL Game Day.

In other news, wide receiver Dez Bryant remains unsigned through Week 1 of the regular season following his release from the Dallas Cowboys. Bryant took to Twitter on Sunday to take several jabs at his former team, which lost 16-8 to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. When he responded to a Cowboys fan imploring him to return to America's Team, it was clear Bryant has moved on from the Cowboys. Among his preferred destinations? Foxboro.

The play of Phillip Dorsett on Sunday (seven catches, 66 yards and a touchdown) certainly eased concerns on New England's depth at wide receiver, but until Bryant finally does sign with another team, the clamoring likely won't stop. Bryant, 29, caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns with the Cowboys in 2017.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Pats Running Back James White Overcomes First-Game Jitters]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 09:00:15 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000018118257_1200x675_1316639811625.jpg

New England Patriots running back, James White, expressed how he didn’t let some first-game jitters get to him against the season’s first home game Sunday. The Pats beat the Houston Texans 27-20 and White spoke his thoughts on fellow player Tom Brady.no description

<![CDATA[Celtics' Jabari Bird Remains Hospitalized After Arrest]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 17:20:33 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_17284536885839.jpg

Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird remains hospitalized after his arrest Friday for what police are calling a domestic incident and it is unclear when he might be arraigned.

Bird, 24, faces several charges, including strangulation, assault, battery and kidnapping, according to the Boston Police Department. He remains at an undisclosed hospital, according to the Boston Globe.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Bird and the alleged victim had a romantic relationship. The Celtics said they were notified of the arrest and have conducted an investigation.

"We are aware of the incident involving Jabari Bird and are taking it very seriously," the team said in a statement. "We are actively gathering information and will reserve further comment at this time."

Bird was expected to appear before a judge on Monday in Brighton, but the Suffolk District Attorney's Office said he is still hospitalized and they are not sure when he will be discharged and transported for arraignment.

Fans expressed their disappointment with the NBA guard's arrest.

"You make it all the way to the NBA and just throw it all away with both hands. I just don't get it," Jim Barry said.

Others agreed.

"That's crazy," Celtics fan Veronica Harry said. "it's a bad message to be sending to your fans."

Bird was evaluated at a nearby hospital following the alleged incident and the victim was treated at a separate hospital.

The Boston Celtics drafted Bird 56th in 2017 in the NBA draft. The two-year deal was reportedly for $3 million, USA Today reported at the time. Bird was reported to become a restricted free agent in 2020.

Bird, 24, is listed as 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 200 lbs., according to NBA stats. He played for the University of California, Berkeley's California Golden Bears before joining the Celtics.

NBC10 Boston reached out to Bird's agent but hasn't yet heard back.

Bird did not have an attorney on file, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File]]>
<![CDATA[Pats Fans Celebrate First Home Win of 2018 Season]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 14:25:12 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Pats_Fans_Celebrate_First_Home_Game_Win.jpg

Thousands of New England Patriots fans filled the parking lot outside Gillette Stadium Sunday afternoon, hours before they left screaming moments after the Patriots’ win against the Houston Texans in the season opener.

“I’m expecting a little revenge,” said fan Jerry Pajotte ahead of Sunday’s game. “I think a lot of people are still hurting [after last season]....”

Caryn Peterson got up at 3 a.m. to start preparing food.

“We’re ready to have a much better ending....” she said of this season.

One couple decided to use the venue to celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary.

“It’s a great experience just to be here with my wife,” said Richard Zaleski, a season ticket holder.

<![CDATA[IMAGES FROM WEEK 1: Patriots vs. Texans]]> Sun, 09 Sep 2018 16:42:28 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1029952276.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DOWN TO THE WIRE: Pats Beat Texans 27-20 in Season Opener]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 10:45:52 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1029926686.jpg

Never had an off-season needed to end as much as the one the New England Patriots just endured. Similarly, perhaps never have calls for the end of the Patriots Dynasty looked more foolish.

New England did one of the many things it does best, knocking off the Houston Texans 27-20 to open up the 2018 season with a win.

Reports surfaced on Sunday morning that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski would only keep playing if he stayed in Foxboro, squashing trade talks with other teams before they ever really began. You can’t blame No. 87, not when he still has Tom Brady – now 41 years old – still throwing in his direction.

Gronk proved a nightmare for the Houston defense all afternoon long, catching seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. He was Brady’s preferred target on a day that also saw Phillip Dorsett put together arguably his finest game as a pro.

After catching just 12 passes for 194 yards in his first season in Foxboro, Dorsett is more than already halfway to last season’s total after grabbing seven passes for 66 yards. He also scored his first career touchdown as a Patriot, helping Brady inch closer to yet another milestone.

“Anybody can make plays and their confidence gets a boost, but the only thing really that matters is that we got the W,” Dorsett said.

Dorsett became the 69th player to catch a touchdown pass from Brady in the regular season, moving him within one of one of his former backups in Vinny Testaverde.

“Being here for a full season, I mean I got here a couple days before the first game [in 2017] and didn’t know anything,” Dorsett said in reflection of his journey in Foxboro. “I was learning as I go, I missed all the installs last off-season. I learned so much this off-season, honestly. Learning the ins and outs of the offense, how to run this route and that route, honestly helped me a lot.”

Gronkowski’s 21-yard touchdown grab in double coverage broke open the game’s scoring just over three minutes into the first quarter. It came on third-and-12, after New England’s first five plays from scrimmage were runs. Dont’a Hightower recovered a fumble after the Patriots initially went three-and-out to resuscitate the offense.

Brady connected with James White to make it 14-3 New England early in the second quarter, while Dorsett’s debut touchdown grab came with 19 seconds left in the first half to make it 21-6 heading into the locker room.

New England’s defense also had a banner day for the most part, taking advantage of Houston’s porous offensive line to get to DeShaun Watson with relative ease. The Patriots hit Watson 12 times in his return from an ACL injury, sacking him on four separate occasions. Deatrich Wise Jr. finished with 1.5 sacks for the Patriots, while Trey Flowers had 1.5 total sacks (tree half sacks) and Lawrence Guy had two half sacks.

“It was a strategic plan of closing the pocket and if he scrambled, being there when he took off,” Wise said of the team’s approach to holding Watson in check.

Watson finished 17 for 34 for 176 yards and an interception which came on a heave to the end zone that Stephon Gilmore ripped away from teammate Eric Rowe.

Stephen Gostkowski, who at 13 seasons officially became Brady’s longest-tenured teammate on Sunday, connected on field goals from 39 and 35 yards out in the second half to extend New England’s lead. He passed Kevin Faulk, who played with Brady for 12 seasons between 2000 and 2011.

The only bad news out of Gillette Stadium Sunday was the knee injury suffered by Jeremy Hill in the third quarter. He exited after teammate James Develin got knocked into his knee following a fumble by Gronkowski. Hill was helped off the field by trainers and while he walked to the locker room on his own, he was ruled out from returning rather quickly.

The Texans were also able to keep things interesting late in the game, thanks in part to Riley McCarron’s muffed punt at New England’s 16-yard line with 4:32 left in regulation. Houston was able to score six plays later and pull within a touchdown, 27-20.

The Patriots are off to Florida to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. next Sunday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>