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Horse named for Gronkowski qualifies for Kentucky Derby

A horse named for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski earned a spot at the Kentucky Derby, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The 3-year-old colt, named Gronkowski, won the Burradon Stakes in England on Friday, qualifying the thoroughbred for the Run for the Roses on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

For the first time, the Derby is reserving one spot in the 20-horse field to a European horse, ESPN reported.

"We've had this dream, and now the dream is alive," trainer Jeremy Noseda told At The Races after the horse's victory.

The Patriots’ tight end has attended the Kentucky Derby before, attending Millionaires Row with teammate Tom Brady.

The colt won his last four races, with two victories coming in March, ESPN reported.

"It sounds strange, but I haven't yet seen on the racetrack what I believe this horse is capable of. I'm sure there's more to come," Noseda said.

Accountant puts up positive numbers in NHL debut at goalie

A 36-year-old accountant went from crunching figures to putting up big numbers in his first NHL game in goal Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Scott Foster, pressed into action when Chicago lost goalies Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia, stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period to help preserve the Blackhawks 6-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets .

"This is something that no one can ever take away from me," Foster said. "It's something that I can go home and tell my kids and they can tell their friends. ... Just a ton of fun."

Delia got the start in goal after Forsberg was a late scratch, the Chicago Tribune reported. Down to just one goalie, the Blackhawks signed Foster to an amateur tryout contract. Foster played at Western Michigan University from 2002 to 2006, ESPN reported.

“It was opening day for baseball but we had to go to the bullpen a couple of times today,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told the Tribune.

Foster is part of a crew of recreational goaltenders who staff Chicago's home games in case of emergencies for either team. But Thursday night was different for the married father of two..

"The initial shock happened when I had to dress. I think you just kind of black out after that," Foster said.

Carolina Hurricanes equipment manager Jorge Alves became the first emergency goalie to play in a game in the modern era last season, ESPN reported. He closed out the final 7.6 seconds of a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

For Foster, it was a night to remember.

"A few hours ago I was sitting on the computer typing on a 10-key, and now I'm standing in front of you guys having just finished 14½ minutes of NHL hockey," he told reporters.

Deputies: Florida deputy mayor spent $7K museum donation on memorabilia, NFL tickets

A deputy mayor in a Central Florida city was arrested and accused of stealing a $7,000 donation while serving as executive director of a charity and using the money to buy tickets to NFL games, memorabilia and to pay off personal debt, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said that John Tice, 65, the deputy mayor of West Melbourne, was arrested Thursday. In 2015 he was executive director of Melbourne’s Liberty Bell Memorial Museum.

Deputies said they began investigating Tice in May after the Melbourne City Council received a tip that he had diverted the donation from the museum's financial accounts for personal use.

Tice, who was tasked with finding a contractor to repair the museum's roof, secured a proposal from a roofing company to make the repairs, which were to be paid for by the museum and the city of Melbourne, investigators said.

Deputies said the roofing company donated $7,000 to the museum after receiving the first payment for the project, but Tice told the company to take the check back and reissue it to the Brevard Hall of Fame, which was an inactive charity at the time, deputies said.

Tice spent the money on Miami Dolphins NFL season tickets, professional football memorabilia, dining and repaying personal debt, investigators said.

Deputies said Tice was relieved of his position at the museum in February 2016 for an unrelated matter.

"When you're elected to office, you have the public's trust," Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said during a Thursday news conference. "They wouldn't elect you if they didn't trust you. And when you violate that trust, it sends a horrible message.

"When you're taking money meant for a charitable organization and you're using it for personal gain or watching a football team play, there's no explanation for that," Ivey said. "It's absolutely despicable."

Tice was booked into the Brevard County Jail on charges of scheme to defraud under $20,000, communications fraud, depositing an item with the intent to defraud and grand theft. He was released after paying a $20,000 bail.

Although the allegations are unrelated to Tice's duties as deputy mayor, West Melbourne Mayor Hal Rose called the accusations "shocking" and said he was "saddened by the course of events."

A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott said his office is investigating the allegations.

"Gov. Scott expects all elected officials to behave ethically and responsibly," she said. "Our office is reviewing the details, and we will keep you updated on any action taken."

NFL star Richard Sherman marries longtime girlfriend

Former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has married his longtime girlfriend, Ashley Moss

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Former teammate Ricardo Lockette shared a video of the couple dancing at their wedding celebration, writing, “Congratulations To the Sherman’s!!!! [sic] #familia”

>> See the post here

>> Read more trending news 

Sherman signed with the San Francisco 49ers this month

>> Richard Sherman reportedly agrees to contract with 49ers

NFL owners unanimously OK simplified catch rule

Jesse James may have felt robbed last season, but a new catch rule unanimously approved by NFL owners Tuesday will help eliminate controversy over what constitutes a reception, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

James’ catch, fall and reach into the end zone in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game against the New England Patriots last Dec. 17 would have been a touchdown under the new rule adopted by the owners. The catch, made with 28 seconds to play, erased New England’s 27-24 lead, but officials reversed the call on replay; the incomplete pass helped the Patriots hold on for the victory.

The catch rule was proposed by the NFL’s competition committee. There are three guidelines to define a catch, according to NFL.com: control of the ball; two feet down or another body part; and a football move such as a third step, reaching or extending for the line to gain; or the ability to perform such an act.

There were two other rules changes approved, ESPN reported. One was to grant authority to Al Riveron, the league’s senior vice president of officiating, to eject players for non-football acts even at the expense of overruling on-field referees, ESPN reported. The other was to put touchbacks after kickoffs to the 25-yard line on a permanent basis. It was used on a temporary trial run in 2017.

Lance Armstrong's former Austin home on the market for $7.5 million

Want to live in Lance Armstrong’s old house?

>> See a video slideshow of the home here

The cyclist’s former home in west Austin, Texas, is on the market for $7.5 million. According to CultureMap, it was originally listed two years ago for $8.25 million.

>> On Austin360.com: See a photo gallery of the home

The six-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom home across the street from Pease Park was built in 1924 and has since been remodeled. The 8,158-square-foot home has a pool with a fountain, a pool house with a full bathroom and kitchenette and a covered outdoor living area.

>> Read more trending news 

Read more here.

Loyola-Chicago gets blessing to market Sister Jean's name, image

The 98-year-old nun who serves as chaplain for the University of Loyola-Chicago basketball team has given her blessing to license and market her name and image, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the inspirational force behind the Ramblers’ unexpected run to the Final Four gave her approval to school officials to put her image on T-shirts, socks and even bobbleheads.

“We weren't going to do anything until she gave her blessing,” Tom Sorboro, a senior associate athletic director at the school, told ESPN.

"She didn't ask for anything for herself," including compensation, Sorboro said.

The school has approved more than 25 Sister Jean T-shirts from several companies. Fanatics has produced a Final Four shirt with the nun’s signature phrase, “Worship, Work and Win,” ESPN reported. The company has sold more Loyola products in the past 48 hours than it had during the rest of the season, Fanatics spokesman Meier Raivich told ESPN.

>> Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt: 5 things to know

The school gave away Sister Jean bobbleheads in 2011 and 2015. Loyola approved a new bobblehead, to be produced in June by the Milwaukee-based Bobblehead Hall of Fame. 

"Licensing rules prohibit the sale of bobbleheads of college players," Sklar told ESPN. "But Sister Jean's bobblehead really represents the entire team, school and the Loyola-Chicago community."

Rock 'Em Apparel was approved to license Sister Jean socks. It began selling them on its website on Sunday afternoon, ESPN reported.

"Usually it's an athlete or coach that captivates the attention of the sports world," said Steve Rollins, senior vice president for the company. "She brought Loyola's tournament run to the next level by letting the world see her passion for her team. Everyone wants to wear something with her image on it for good luck."

>> Coming soon: Another SIster Jean bobblehead

Licensing royalties for Sister Jean product, except for the bobblehead, are set up to support the Loyola Athletic Fund, which supports the funding of the program's athletes. The bobblehead splits the proceeds between the school's fund and Sister Jean's Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

That Sister Jean has become a sensation during the NCAA Tournament is an understatement. Media tracking company Apex Marketing Group said that there were 20,526 stories that mentioned Sister Jean, ESPN reported. By comparison, there were 5,681 stories that mentioned Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and 9,727 stories reference Kansas coach Bill Self. 

"Sister Jean has risen to the top of the sports world by becoming a must-see and must-mention for sports commentators and news organizations," Apex's Eric Smallwood told ESPN.

As the Ramblers prepare for Saturday’s Final Four game against Michigan in San Antonio, Sister Jean fever continues to rise.

"Sister Jean is the most famous religious licensing icon since the pope," Sorboro said. "She's captured the attention of the entire nation."

Former cheerleader sues Saints, claims team rules discriminatory

A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader fired by the team for posting a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the team of holding its cheerleaders -- who are all women -- to different standards than its male players, The New York Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

Bailey Davis, 22, who cheered for the Saints for three seasons, said she followed team rules by making her Instagram page private, so only people she approved could view her posts. 

When she posted a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit in January, Saints officials accused her of breaking rules that forbade cheerleaders from appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie, the Times reported. The team also accused her of attending a party with Saints players -- the Saints have a rule against fraternizing between players and cheerleaders, either in person or online -- and fired her despite her denials, the Times reported.

According to the Saints’ handbook for cheerleaders, the women are required to block players on social media and are not allowed to post photos of themselves in team gear. Players are not required to do that, the Times reported.

“If the cheerleaders can’t contact the players, then the players shouldn’t be able to contact the cheerleaders,” Sara Blackwell, Davis’ lawyer, told the Times. “The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace.”

“The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis,” Leslie A. Lanusse, a lawyer who is representing the Saints, wrote in an email to the Times. “At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization’s policies and workplace rules. For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender.”

White Sox rehire man who spent 23 years in jail for crime he didn't commit 

A man who spent 23 years in prison for a crime he was cleared of last year was rehired as a grounds crew member by the Chicago White Sox, WGN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Nevest Coleman, 49, worked for the White Sox in 1994 when he was arrested and convicted on rape and murder charges. DNA evidence last year led prosecutors to vacate the conviction, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Coleman was granted a certificate of innocence by a Cook County judge this month, clearing his name, WGN reported.

The White Sox decided to give Coleman his job back.

“We’re grateful that after more than two decades, justice has been carried out for Nevest,” the team said in a statement. “It has been a long time, but we’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to welcome him back to the White Sox family. We’re looking forward to having Nevest back on Opening Day at home in our ballpark.”

Coleman starts tonight.

Former MLB All-Star Albert Belle arrested on indecent exposure, DUI charges

Former major-league slugger Albert Belle was arrested Sunday in Arizona on charges of indecent exposure and driving under the influence, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Belle, 51, a five-time All-Star who played for the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox from 1989 to 2000, was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to jail records.

The Maricopa Sheriff's Office booked Belle, 51, on two counts of indecent exposure, one count of DUI-liquor/drugs/vapor/combo, and another count of DUI with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more, ESPN reported.

Belle had a .295 career average and led the American League in RBIs three times. 

Belle has had legal problems before. In 1997, he settled a class action suit after he was accused of chasing kids with his car and bumping one after they egged his house, ESPN reported. In 2006, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years' probation after admitting to stalking his former girlfriend, ESPN reported.

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