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Longtime NBA Commissioner David Stern suffers brain hemorrhage

Tar_Heel_Rob/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Longtime NBA Commissioner David Stern suffered a brain hemorrhage on Thursday afternoon and remains in the hospital.

The NBA released a statement confirming the news late Thursday.

"NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery. Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family," the league said in a statement.

A former lawyer, and the league's general counsel, Stern became executive vice president of the league in 1980 and commissioner of the NBA in 1984. He gave up the role to Adam Silver in 2014, but is still officially NBA commissioner emeritus.

Stern, 77, is a patient at the Mount Sinai West location, according to the hospital.

He was taken to the hospital by the New York City Fire Department from a Midtown restaurant in New York City on Thursday afternoon.

Stern led the NBA during a tremendous boom period for the league -- first with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson capturing headlines throughout the 1980s, then Michael Jordan's exploding popularity in the 1990s and into the 2000s with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

He also oversaw an expansion of the league itself, not just in salaries and team revenues, but the number of teams as well. The NBA had 23 teams in 1984, and 30 teams today.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Ten former NFL players charged by DOJ in alleged health care fraud scheme

robertcicchetti/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice announced charges Thursday against 10 former NFL players over an alleged scheme to defraud millions of dollars from the league's health care benefits program.

Prosecutors allege that the players submitted false and fraudulent claims for high-cost medical equipment to the league's Gene Upshaw Health Reimbursement Account Plan for retired players between June of 2017 and December of 2018.

In a press release, the Justice Department said the charges range from health care fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy -- involving over $3.9 million in false health care claims.

Among those charged include former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, 38, former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers, 38, and former Houston Texans safety Ceandris Brown, 36. The government has also filed a notice that it intends to charge former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, 47, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

An attorney for Portis, Mark Dycio, told ABC News Thursday the charges came as a "shock" to his client and that Portis maintains his innocence.

"Mr. Portis had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned medical reimbursement program was illegal," Dycio said.

According to the Justice Department, the former players allegedly offered to submit claims for medical equipment including hyperbaric oxygen chambers, cryotherapy machines and ultrasound machines in exchange for "kickbacks and bribes that range from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more per claim submitted." The players are alleged to have fabricated documents like prescriptions and invoices in order to secure payouts for their claims.

"The defendants are alleged to have developed and executed a fraudulent scheme to undermine a health care benefit plan established by the NFL -- one established to help their former teammates and colleagues pay for legitimate medical expenses," said U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr., for the Eastern District of Kentucky. "The defendants allegedly submitted false claims to the plan and obtained money for expensive medical equipment that was never purchased or received, depriving that plan of valuable resources to help others meet their medical needs."

He added, "We have prioritized the investigation and prosecution of health care fraud in our office, and we appreciate the partnership we share with the Criminal Division and the FBI in pursuing these important matters."

In a briefing with reporters, Justice Department officials said they were alerted to the scheme by the health care company Cigna after it detected anomalies in the types of claims being filed by the players. They noted the investigation remains ongoing, leaving open the possibility others may be charged.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said there's currently no evidence of doctors being aware of or participating in the players' alleged fraud.

Robert McCune, 36, John Eubanks, 36, Rogers and Brown were all arrested, according to a department official, while six others named in the indictments surrendered voluntarily.

The maximum sentence for the charges range from 10 to 20 years, and DOJ noted that all are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

ABC News was not immediately able to reach attorneys for all of the players named in the indictments.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 12/12/19

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

Philadelphia 115, Boston 109
Cleveland 117, San Antonio 109
Dallas 122, Detroit 111
Denver 114, Portland 99

Buffalo 4, Nashville 3
NY Islanders 3, Florida 1
Pittsburgh 1, Columbus 0
Tampa Bay 3, Boston 2
Detroit 5, Winnipeg 2
Minnesota 6, Edmonton 5
St. Louis 4, Vegas 2
Arizona 5, Chicago 2
Calgary 4, Toronto 2
Los Angeles 2, Anaheim 1
Vancouver 1, Carolina 0
NY Rangers 6, San Jose 3


Baltimore 42, NY Jets 21

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

MLB removes marijuana from drugs of abuse; will now test for opioids

iStock(NEW YORK) -- MLB has become the first major American sports league to remove marijuana from its list of drugs abuse.

The league, in association with its players union, announced the changes to its Joint Drug Program on Thursday morning. The drug will still be tested for and could result in punishment similar to its alcohol and violence policies.

"Natural cannabinoids (e.g., THC, CBD, and Marijuana) will be removed from the Program's list of Drugs of Abuse," MLB said in its release. "Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties' Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player's Club or the Commissioner's Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids."

The changes go into effect when spring training begins in 2020.

Many players in other professional leagues have campaigned for similar changes in their sport. The NFL announced in May it would be working with the players association to create a Joint Pain Management Committee that would "conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies."

Among those alternative therapies, the NFL said, are cannabis, cannabinoids and CBD.

MLB also overhauled several other aspects of its drug policy -- some targeted at preventing the tragedy that befell Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Tyler Skaggs in August. The 27-year-old was found dead in his hotel room in Texas while on a road trip. His cause of death was later determined to be due to a mix of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system.

On Thursday, the league announced it will begin testing players for the presence of opioids, fentanyl, cocaine and synthetic THC. Players will not be suspended, however, unless they do not work with the league on a treatment plan.

"Any player who tests positive for one of these Drugs of Abuse will be referred to the Parties' Joint Treatment Board (composed of medical professionals specializing in substance abuse and representatives from the Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association) for an initial evaluation and, if appropriate, formulation of a personalized treatment plan for that Players going forward," the league said. "Only Players who fail to cooperate with their initial evaluation or prescribed treatment plan may be subject to discipline."

All players and team personnel will also be required to attend programs outlining the dangers of using opioids for pain management during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the league announced.

"Players are overwhelmingly in favor of expanding our drug-testing regimen to include opioids, and want to take a leadership role in helping to resolve this national epidemic," Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, said in a statement.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Report: Angels, Anthony Rendon agree on seven-year deal

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Anthony Rendon is reportedly heading out West to play for the Los Angeles Angels.

Citing sources, ESPN reports the 29-year-old third baseman has agreed to a seven-year deal with the Angels worth $245 million.

The contract has a full no-trade clause and does not include an opt-out clause, according to ESPN.

Rendon is expected to undergo his physical on Friday and be officially introduced at Angel Stadium the following day.

Rendon began his MLB career with the Washington Nationals, with whom he played for seven years, including last season, until he opted to become a free agent this past October.

He's played 916 games so far in his career, amassing an .290 batting average with 136 home runs and 546 RBIs.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 12/11/19

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

Houston 116, Cleveland 110
Indiana 122, Boston 117
L.A. Lakers 96, Orlando 87
L.A. Clippers 112, Toronto 92
Charlotte 11,3 Brooklyn 108
Chicago 136, Atlanta 102
Utah 127, Minnesota 116
Phoenix 115, Memphis 108
New Orleans 127, Milwaukee 112
Sacramento 94, Oklahoma City 93
New York 114, Golden State 122 -- OT

Final Washington 3, Boston 2
Montreal 3, Ottawa 2  -- OT
Colorado 3, Philadelphia 1

Arizona 99, Nebraska-Omaha 49
Illinois 71, Michigan 62

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Report: Gerrit Cole agrees to record nine-year deal with the Yankees

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Yankees have reportedly snatched up free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole.

Sources tells ESPN the 29-year-old right-hander has agreed to a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Bronx Bombers.

The contract has a full no-trade clause but includes an opt-out after five years, according to ESPN.

Cole's record deal trumps the one pitcher Stephen Strasburg signed with the Washington Nationals earlier this week for the largest sum of money and annual salary for a pitcher at $36 million.

Cole, who grew up a Yankees fan, began his MLB career with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being traded to the Houston Astros in 2018. This past season, he faced off against New York in the American League Championship Series. The Astros defeated the Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS to move on to the World Series, which they lost to the Nationals.

Cole wrapped up the 2019 regular season with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts.

So far in his career, he has a 3.22 ERA and has struck out 1,336 batters.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 12/10/19

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

Charlotte 114, Washington 107
Miami 135, Atlanta 121 -- OT
Philadelphia 97, Denver 92
Portland 115, New York 87

Tampa Bay 2 Florida 1
Montreal 4 Pittsburgh 1
Buffalo 5 St. Louis 2
Anaheim 3 Minnesota 2 -- SO
Nashville 3 San Jose 1
Winnipeg 5 Detroit 1
Dallas 2 New Jersey 0
Calgary 5, Arizona 2
Carolina 6, Edmonton 3
Toronto 4, Vancouver 1
Vegas 5, Chicago 1
Los Angeles 3, NY Rangers 1

Texas Tech 70, Louisville 57
Kansas 95, Milwaukee 68
Penn St. 76, Maryland 69
Baylor 53, Butler 52
N. Iowa 79, Colorado 76

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dallas Stars fire coach Jim Montgomery, citing 'unprofessional conduct'

ronniechua/iStock(DALLAS) -- The Dallas Stars fired coach Jim Montgomery Tuesday with two years remaining in his contract. In a statement, the Stars said Montgomery's termination was "due to unprofessional conduct."

The team did not provide details about Montgomery's conduct in its statement, but Stars general manager Jim Nill did say Montgomery's conduct was "inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League."

After five seasons coaching at the University of Denver, Montgomery, 50, left collegiate hockey to coach the Stars, where he was currently in his second season, ESPN reports.  

Last season, Montgomery led the Stars to a fourth place finish in the Central Division. In the playoffs, Dallas lost in seven games in the second round to the St. Louis Blues -- the eventual champions.

The Stars are also fourth in the division this season.

As for the future of the Dallas coaching staff, ESPN reports Stars assistant Rick Bowness has been named interim coach. AHL head coach Derek Laxdal will also join the staff.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 12/9/19

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

L.A. Clippers 110, Indiana 99
Boston 110, Cleveland 88
Toronto 93, Chicago 92
Sacramento 119, Houston 118
Milwaukee 110, Orlando 101
Detroit 105, New Orleans 103
Phoenix 125, Minnesota 109
Oklahoma City 104, Utah 90
Memphis 110, Golden State 102

NY Islanders 5, Tampa Bay 1
Columbus 5, Washington 2
Ottawa 5, Boston 2
Calgary 5, Colorado 4 -- OT


Philadelphia 23, NY Giants 17 -- OT

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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