<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Sports]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:57:41 -0500 Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:57:41 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Whiteside Ejected in Heat Loss to Spurs]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:44:39 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509271886.jpg

The Miami Heat lost Hassan Whiteside early and fell to the San Antonio Spurs by a lopsided final score of 119-101 on Tuesday.

Coming off the bench once again, Whiteside picked up a flagrant 2 foul after throwing an elbow. The foul resulted in an ejection, and could also possibly could a suspension as well. The officials determined that Whiteside's elbow into Boban Marjanovic was with intent. This is not be the first time in Whiteside's young career, that he has found himself in potential trouble with the league.

Before being tossed from the game, Whiteside played 25 minutes and had 14 points to go along with six rebounds. Despite being one of the more exciting and talented centers in the league, Whiteside has difficulty controlling his emotions at times. Veterans on the Heat including Dwyane Wade have tried to work with Whiteside in the past, and this may end up another teaching moment.

In a game that was not in much doubt for most of the second half, Miami struggled to get anything going. The Spurs hold the second best record in the NBA at 44-8, and showed why in this one. San Antonio stifled Miami's offense, while scoring at will. It was a display of championship basketball, and it showed a clear disconnect between the teams.

Wade led Miami's scoring with 20 points and five assists in 31 minutes This was the final game before the All-Star break, and Wade will be able to rest for most of the upcoming week.

Wade and Chris Bosh will now head to the All-Star festivities this weekend to represent the Heat. The second half of the season is set to begin on Feb. 19.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Panthers Tally Seven Goals in Win Over Sabres]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:07:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-508072240.jpg

The Florida Panthers posted seven goals to halt their two-game skid with a 7-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

In their two recent losses, Florida struggled to find the back of the net and paid in the final scores. That story changed in a hurry in this one, as the Panthers scored three times in the first period alone. The frenzy of scoring was reminiscent of Florida's high-octane offense during its recent winning streaks.

At the 7:40 mark of the first period, Reilly Smith got Florida on the board first with his 17th goal of the season. Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Trocheck assisted on the goal.

Over the next 12 minutes, Florida added two more goals to make it 3-0 in a hurry. Brian Campbell's fifth goal of the season made the score 2-0 with a helping hand from Alex Petrovic and Nick Bjugstad. Shortly after this score, Jokinen scored a goal of his own to extend the lead. Jokinen's 11th goal of the season was assisted on by Trocheck and Smith.

After the first intermission, Florida entered the second period with a quick goal to make it 4-0. Petrovic's second goal of the season at the 22-second mark came with an assist from Bjugstad.

In its second three-goal period of the game, Florida would add two more goals in 18 minutes. Brandon Pirri put home his 11th goal of the season at the 7:39 mark of the period. Pirri's goal had assists credited to Brian Campbell and Quinton Howden on it.

Not to be outdone, the ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr added Florida's sixth goal of the season at the 17:53 mark of the period. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad picked up assists on Jagr's 17th goal of the season. 

Smith would add an empty-net goal with less than two minutes to go in the final period to round out the scoring on the day.

Florida will host the St. Louis Blues on Friday as it looks to make it two wins in a row.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Soccer Star Solo Might Skip Rio Games: Report]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:53:32 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_58048417797.jpg

U.S. women's soccer star Hope Solo said in an interview with Sports Illustrated she might not go to Brazil for the Summer Olympics because of the Zika virus, the magazine reported Tuesday.

Solo and the women's national team will play Costa Rica on Feb. 10, in their first match of the 2016 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship in Frisco, Texas.

Solo told SI she wouldn't go to Rio "if I had to make the choice today."

She's the first high-profile athlete to comment on Zika and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

The outbreak in Brazil was first reported in 2015, and later linked to a startling increase in infants born with microcephaly, a birth defect that results in babies born with abnormally small heads, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Zika virus is spread to people by mosquito bites and causes fever, rashes, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

There are 26 countries and territories in the Americas listed as zones with active Zika virus transmission by the CDC. Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico are all on the list; Puerto Rico is the only U.S. territory where Zika is actively being transmitted.

"The safety of our athletes and staff is always the highest priority, and we are taking all necessary precautions in regard to the Zika virus," the U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Heat to Retire Shaquille O'Neal's Number]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:02:26 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-53071292.jpg

The Miami Heat announced on Tuesday that they will will retire Shaquille O'Neal's number 32 at the beginning of the 2016-17 season.

O'Neal was part of Miami's first championship team back in 2006, and still is near the top of several team records to this day. Among those marks are field-goal percentage (.596) which O'Neal actually holds the top spot in. The Hall of Fame nominee also ranks third in scoring average, fifth in blocks, and seventh in free-throw attempts.

Besides his strong production, O'Neal also served as a mentor for Dwyane Wade while with Miami. O'Neal's tenure with the Heat began during the 2004-05 season when Wade was still a baby faced new entry into the league. While Wade came in with immense talent, he was able to take his game to another level quickly while playing alongside a center such as O'Neal.

“Shaquille O’Neal is one of the truly elite players in the history of the game and one of the greatest players to ever wear a Heat uniform,” said team president Pat Riley in a statement announcing the number retirement.

O'Neal's time in Miami came to a close during the 2007-08 campaign when the Heat traded him to the Phoenix Suns. It was a move that was necessitated by a dismal 9-37 record at the time. O'Neal's career would keep going for a few more years in multiple stops, before he hung up his basketball shorts for good in 2011.

For the Heat, O'Neal's jersey will be the third retired in franchise history. Alonzo Mourning's #33 and Tim Hardaway's #10 currently hang in the rafters of AmericanAirlines Arena.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hockey Player Helps Stranger]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:44:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Darling.png

There are plenty of stories about professional athletes behaving badly, but if you’re seeking out an example of a player who goes the extra mile, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling seems to be a good candidate.

The goaltender, who has been with the Blackhawks since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, made quite the impression on an Uber driver in the Phoenix area recently. 

Kane Van Gate shared the story on Twitter of how Darling went out of his way to help a stranger.

To his credit, Darling responded, saying he’s fortunate to be able to help people in need.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Panthers Drop Second Straight]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:26:19 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-501807632.jpg

The Florida Panthers fell for a second straight time with their 3-0 shut out loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

After seeing its five-game winning streak end on Saturday, Florida was unable to return to the win column due to its quiet offense. During Florida's successful run in December and January, the team scored goals at a rapid and consistent pace. That wasn't the case in this loss however, as Detroit's goalie Petr Mrazek did a solid job stopping all 23 shots sent his way.

Despite the loss, the Panthers remain comfortably ahead in the Atlantic Division with 68 points. Florida's 31-15-6 record is one of the best in the entire NHL, and it is within striking distance of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Washington Capitals currently sit atop the East with their 80 points.

With a back-to-back scheduled for Tuesday, the Panthers turned to Al Montoya in the net for this game. Through the first two periods, Montoya did a great job to keep the score locked at zero. Things took a turn for the worse in the third period however, as Detroit went on to score all of its goals in that final period.

In a span of roughly eight minutes, the game went from 0-0 to a three-point margin. Montoya ended up with 28 saves on 31 chances and will head back to the bench for Florida's next game.

Dave Bolland, Erik Gudbranson, and Shawn Thornton were all out of action for Florida in the loss.

The Panthers will look to wipe away the memories of two straight losses when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres on Tuesday evening.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['South Beach Tow' Star Named Florida's First Female Football Head Coach ]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:19:06 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/020816+miami+jackson+new+coach.jpg

To fans of reality TV, she's known as Bernice, the tough-as-nails, no-nonsense tow truck driver from the show "South Beach Tow."

Now, the woman whose real name is Lakatriona Brunson is making state history as the first female head football coach in Florida. She's been named head coach at Miami Jackson Senior High School.

"We are just here to change the atmosphere around Miami Jackson and get some W's on the board. I know I can do it," Brunson said Monday at a press conference.

Brunson has been working at Miami Jackson as a physical education instructor and girls flag football coach. Both Brunson and her assistant coach, musician Luke Campbell, emphasized this was no stunt.

"It's a woman here, there's going to be a lot of everything going on but guess what? I am going to show you we can do it just as much as anybody else," Brunson said.

"In the neighborhood, she's a legend. She won't tell you that, but she's always been the girl in the neighborhood who played football, from semi-pro to just football in the streets with every other boy," Campbell said.

Student athletes and the principal told NBC 6 they believe in her.

"In the weight room, she makes you go hard in the sprints, she makes you work hard," said Donte Harris, athlete.

Brunson's message to her new team and the Miami Jackson community: "My objective is just to be here to help these kids."

Brunson said her days as a reality TV star are now over. Her focus is solely on the students at Miami Jackson, improving them in the classroom and on the football field. She wants to see more victories next year and improve the 3-6 record the team had in 2015.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Peyton Manning Explains Eli's Reaction]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 11:53:16 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508990438.jpg

One of the most talked about moments of Super Bowl 50 was when cameras captured the reaction of Eli Manning to his brother's team the Denver Broncos scoring a critical touchdown in the win over the Carolina Panthers.

Everyone has an opinion of what's behind Eli Manning's not-so-pleased expression. Not to mention the hilarious memes that have been created because of it.

But on television Monday morning, Peyton Manning put speculation to rest, explaining why his brother didn't appear to be celebrating along with the rest of the Manning family.

“Eli’s just like me. Eli is analyzing the game. He’s thinking about whether we were going to go for two. Whether it was going to be reviewed,” Manning told CBS News.

“Eli’s kinda like me,” Manning continued. “He wasn’t gonna relax until that final second ticked off. I’ve had a great chance to celebrate with Eli. He’s very happy and proud of me just like I’ve always been of him.”

Peyton tied his younger brother Sunday for two Super Bowl rings apiece, leading many to wonder whether sibling rivalry had anything to do with Eli's emotionless face.

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Docs Detail Alleged Manziel Beating]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:39:19 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/JohnnyManziel-AP_324132097739.jpg

NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel hit his girlfriend Colleen Crowley so severely on Jan. 29 that she suffered a ruptured eardrum and still can't hear in her left ear, the woman's attorney said Monday.

"They expect (her ear) to heal but it'll take a while," Dallas attorney Kathy Kinser told NBC 5.

Kinser represents Crowley, who wrote in an application for a protective order that she and Manziel dated for two years and lived together for four months in Cleveland before the alleged attack in Dallas last month.

Dallas police re-opened the criminal case on Friday and NBC 5 has reported that police in Fort Worth are also investigating.

Manziel, the Cleveland Browns quarterback who became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy while playing at Texas A&M, agreed to the order, which forbids him from seeing her for two years.

Crowley's version of what happened that night, including more alleged violence and threats that Manziel would kill himself, is detailed in a sworn statement she wrote to obtain the protective order. Manziel's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

She said the two went to dinner at Victor Tangos restaurant in Dallas with three friends, then went to two bars before going to an "after party" at Hotel ZaZa. The friends left Manziel and Crowley alone.

"We planned to spend the night together in his room there," Crowley said in the statement.

"We started having a discussion about things I had heard earlier in the week about him being with a girl who had caused us problems in the past," Crowley said. "I told (him) that if I was going to spend the night, it would be on the couch."

Crowley said Manziel threw her on the bed.

"He claimed it was 'playfully' but it frightened me and I took it seriously," she said.

Crowley said she decided to leave the hotel but he "restrained" her from leaving.

"I tried to fight him off," she said. "I became very scared that he was going to hurt me."

She said Manziel continued to restrain her and led her down a back stairway to the valet.

"When we got to the valet, I was crying and begged the valet, 'Please don't let him take me. I'm scared for my life," she wrote. "The valet replied, 'I don't know what to do,' and allowed Manziel to "literally throw me in the front passenger seat of his car."

In a statement to NBC 5, Avi Niego, manager at Hotel ZaZa said, "(It) is our policy not to comment publicly on any aspect of our operation."

Manziel and Crowley drove to a nearby bar where she had earlier parked her car, she said.

"I jumped out of the car and ran across the street and hid behind some bushes," she said. "He flipped a U-turn and pulled right in to where I was hiding. He grabbed me by my hair and threw me back into the car."

That's when Crowley said Manziel hit her in the head on her left ear.

Crowley said she tried to hit back but Manziel threw her off and she hit her head on the car window and fell on the floorboard.

"Still fearful for my life, I stayed in the floorboard motionless until (Manziel) pulled me back onto the seat. He was telling me to 'stop' and wouldn't let me have my phone.'"

The two drove down Interstate 30 from Dallas to Fort Worth, where Crowley, a TCU student, has an apartment.

Crowley said she at first told him she hated him but Manziel told her he was going to take her car and kill himself.

"I thought maybe he was on drugs or having a psychotic break so to keep him calm I began telling him, 'I love you. We can figure this out. We can talk,'" she said.

Manziel started laughing, she said.

"I started crying even more and he told me, 'Shut up or I'll kill us both,'" she said.

She said he responded by saying, "I would never kill you. You don't deserve that. I would only kill myself."

Crowley said they arrived at her apartment and continued to fight, which she described as "more verbal than physical."

"He then smashed my phone onto the tile in my apartment entry," she said. "I was in my kitchen so out of fear for my life, I pulled a knife out of my knife block and advanced toward him. He ran out of the apartment."

She said she screamed for help and a neighbor came out. He ran.

Fort Worth police have said officers searched for him with the help of a helicopter but couldn't find him.

"I continue to be extremely concerned for my health and well-being," Crowley wrote.

Manziel signed the protective order, agreeing not to be around Crowley for two years and pay Crowley's attorney's fees of $12,500.

Manziel's attorney, who is listed on the court documents as Brad Beckworth of Austin, did not return a telephone call seeking comment Monday.

Kinser said Crowley met with Dallas police on Friday.

Dallas police have released no new information on the case since announcing on Friday they were investigating.

Colleen E. Crowley's Application for Protective Order

Photo Credit: File – AP
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<![CDATA[Tweet From Seahawks' Lynch May Indicate Retirement]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 23:28:56 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/MarshawnLynch-AP_324019937170.jpg

Leave it to Marshawn Lynch to be at the center of attention in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

Except this time, Lynch may have given the surest sign he's on the verge of retirement.

Lynch, the mercurial Seattle Seahawks running back, sent a tweet during the fourth quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl with a pair of cleats hanging from a power or telephone line, along with an emoji depicting a peace sign. It certainly wasn't a definitive statement that Lynch is ready to call it a career, but it would fit with a mounting stack of evidence that the bruising running back is ready to move on from football.

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Lynch's teammates in Seattle were certainly taking his tweet as a statement of retirement. Doug Baldwin, Bruce Irvin, Paul Richardson and Richard Sherman were among the many teammates to pay tribute to Lynch on social media.

"Salute to my guy @MoneyLynch ... It was an honor sharing the field with you," Sherman wrote on Twitter.

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"To one of the greatest teammates I've ever had the pleasure of suiting up with. Salute. #Beastmode," Baldwin posted on Instagram.

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Messages left for Lynch's representatives were not immediately returned.

The tweet from Lynch also backed statements from Jan. 22 by Seattle general manager John Schneider in a pair of radio interviews that indicated Lynch was leaning toward retirement. Schneider said in separate interviews with two Seattle radio stations that he believes Lynch is leaning toward calling it a career after an injury-filled 2015 season.

Schneider first appeared on KIRO-AM, the team's flagship station, saying the team was going to give Lynch time and leeway to decide what he wants to do, but added he was "under the impression" Lynch was leaning toward retirement.

Later on KJR-AM, Schneider hedged his comments slightly, but reiterated that he thought Lynch was considering stepping away.

"I really, honestly don't know at this point," Schneider said on KJR. "If you put a gun to my head I would say he is leaning toward retirement. But I think with Marshawn you never really know. He's a fierce competitor. We just have to handle it the right way in terms of showing him as much respect as we possibly can for everything he's done for this organization."

ESPN reported earlier Sunday without identifying its sources that Lynch had been telling close friends he was planning to retire.

Lynch will turn 30 in April and is coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season where he was limited to just seven games in the regular season and one of Seattle's two playoff games. Lynch was bothered by hamstring and calf issues early in the season and later missed the final seven regular-season games with an abdominal injury that required surgery. Lynch returned for the NFC divisional playoff game at Carolina but was mostly a non-factor with the Seahawks falling behind 14-0 in the opening moments of the loss.

Lynch was limited to just 111 carries and 417 yards in the regular season, the first season of his career where injuries have been a significant factor.

Lynch would cost the Seahawks $11.5 million against the salary cap for the 2016 season, a massive number for a running back of his age, but Schneider had indicated changes would be needed if Lynch wanted to return. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium Turf Causes Issues for Super Bowl 50 Players]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:50:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/levi-stadium-turf-new.jpg

Players on the Broncos and Panthers were forced to change cleats during the first half of Super Bowl 50 due to footing issues with the Levi's Stadium sod.

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About halfway through the second quarter, CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said, not only were Carolina and Denver players changing cleats mid-game, they were complaining about slippage in the Levi’s Stadium turf.

The 2-year-old stadium has a history of turf troubles. The field was replaced at least six times this season, SI reports.

But Sunday’s problems can’t be blamed on the 49ers. The NFL took over the stadium prior to the Super Bowl and new turf was installed last month ahead of the Sunday's game.

Field issues had the stadium in the spotlight back in October when Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker slipped during a field goal attempt.

During the preseason, the San Francisco 49ers were forced to move the team’s open practice off the turf due to "poor field conditions."

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CSN Bay Area's Scott Bair contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Celebrities at Super Bowl 50]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 09:44:40 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AMBRO_GettyImages-508985750.jpg Famous faces dotted the crowds at Super Bowl 50 as A-list celebrities flocked to see the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Super Bowl 50]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 09:58:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508990588.jpg

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cannabis Activists: Pot Could Help Cure 1 of NFL's Ills]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 09:03:00 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CTE-split-stabler-seau.jpg

With much of the NFL world camped out in the San Francisco Bay Area in the days before Super Bowl 50, researchers released sobering news: late Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler had a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head.

Later Wednesday, another late, great QB, Earl Morrall, also was revealed to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is associated with memory loss, impaired judgment and progressive dementia. Dozens of former players have been diagnosed, some who died in old age, like Frank Gifford, and a few who took their lives, like Junior Seau.

There is no known treatment for CTE, not least because there's no test that can point it out in the living — it's detected in post-mortem brain scans. But to one former player who's sure his nine-year career gave him the disease, there's an obvious treatment that isn't allowed in the NFL, even though it would be easy to score not far from Levi's Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday for anyone with a doctor's note: medical marijuana.

"If cannabis is implemented and (the NFL) can lead the science on this, they can resolve this brain injury situation in a big way," Kyle Turley said.

Turley is at the forefront of a vocal movement arguing that medical marijuana's pain-suppressing and possible neuroprotective benefits make it the only effective treatment for the effects that chronic concussive blows to the head have on football players. As co-founder of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, Turley is the movement's most outspoken member, but it also includes other retired players and rapper/marijuana entrepreneur Snoop Dogg.

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More players' brains are found to show signs of CTE with each year that passes. Researchers at Boston University have found evidence of CTE in 96 percent of the NFL players' brains they examined. At the same time, more states are allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana as a medicine – 23 so far, according to National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

California was the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana, and remains the only medical marijuana-legal state so far to host the Super Bowl. Nearly half of the medical marijuana identification cards issued in California were prescribed in the Bay Area, according to the Department of Public Health.

A small body of research suggests marijuana can heal head trauma, yet Turley wonders why the league isn't investigating the drug as a medicine. To advocates, hosting the Super Bowl in the region is almost hypocritical, given what they see happening to the heads of NFL players and the spiraling lives of some former players.

"The NFL's policy against medical marijuana is stupid and counterproductive," said Dale Gieringer, director of the California chapter of NORML, in an email calling the NFL out of touch with the laws of the state. "There's no doubt NFL players would be better off with medical access to marijuana."

The NFL did not comment for this story.

Jump to: 
Science, the Brain and Medical Marijuana
The NFL, CTE and Medical Marijuana

Hard-Knock Lives

Turley is a former defensive lineman who has been extremely outspoken about his medical struggles after playing for three NFL teams in nine years.

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A New Yorker article from 2009 describes him blacking out at a Nashville concert, feeling much the same way he did when he was kneed in the head during a game years earlier. The former lineman had recently retired and was taking painkillers. He wound up in the hospital, where he said he briefly lost nearly all control of his body.

"Before quitting all the pills and committing to cannabis ... my life was a train wreck, plain and simple," Turley told NBC Owned Television Stations.

Today, Turley has eliminated all other chemicals from his system, from Aleve to Zoloft, he said. The San Diego resident has found strains of marijuana that relieve pain and other strains with effects comparable to the psychiatric pill Vicodin, but without the narcotic effects.

Medical marijuana has fairly well known, though not conclusively proven, pain relieving benefits. But to Turley, the drug also treats mental anguish he believes comes from CTE. There is very little research on that front, but the 40-year-old father insists marijuana has given him stability after recently feeling despondent and suicidal.

"The reality is I don't think about those things anymore. And if it wasn't for cannabis, I wouldn't be where I am mentally," Turley said.

Turley swears that marijuana use is rampant in the NFL – "from players to coaches to owners, marijuana is in the National Football League" – but only a handful of players have spoken out about using it. They emphasize the mental clarity it offers as much as the pain relief.

"I always healed fast, ahead of schedule; was never really very swollen; my mind was very sharp, and after concussions medicated with it," Nate Jackson told marijuana magazine High Times this week, discussing how marijuana helped him in his days with the Broncos in the 2000s.

It's not just young players who swear by pot, either. Jim McMahon, one of the heroes of the Chicago Bears' 1985 championship, revealed last month that he weaned himself off pharmaceutical drugs that left his head feeling fuzzy.

"This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain – or thinking about it, anyway," he told The Chicago Tribune.

But there isn't much medical research to back up their claims.

Science, the Brain and Medical Marijuana
Most medical marijuana advocacy is directed at the drug's pain-relieving qualities, which may be recognized by many states, but not the federal government. The FDA has not approved marijuana as a drug, though it notes there is widespread general interest in its potential as a less addictive alternative to painkillers.

But last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association found only some evidence that medical marijuana and similar drugs help chronic pain, less evidence for help with nausea and brain disorders and a risk of adverse effects, including nausea, fatigue and confusion. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says long-term marijuana use can affect learning, thinking and memory, and has been linked to mental illness and depression.

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Advocates dispute those claims, and in the case of brain trauma, their case is bolstered, in some sense, by the fact that little research has been done on medical marijuana's effects on the brain.

The psychoactive chemical in medical marijuana, THC, was associated with a significantly improved mortality rate in patients who sustained traumatic brain injuries, according to a 2014 UCLA study. A study by Michigan State University researchers found that, in test tubes, THC reduced tau deposits, which indicate CTE and Alzheimer's.

Marijuana advocates cite these and some other studies when describing the drug's purported neuroprotective effects, saying it may be able to protect and heal brain cells in a way no other drugs can.

Other supporters only go as far as saying they intoxicate and sedate patients less than opiates do, and are easier on the stomach than anti-inflammatories, like Berkeley Dr. Frank Lucido, who says he has prescribed marijuana to two former NFL players. Asked about any neuroprotective effects, he noted they were unproven in humans.

Turley and others who do believe the drug can protect or restore neurological function mainly argue that more research needs to be done, and soon. A federal study found in 2012 that retired players were three times likelier to die of neurodegenerative diseases than the U.S. population on the whole.

"NFL pockets are deep enough to support a crash research program to determine that this combination of cannabinoids is effective in preventing the consequences of concussion," Harvard emeritus professor of Psychiatry Lester Grinspoon wrote in an open letter to the commissioner of the NFL in 2014.

For now, marijuana remains a problem in the NFL, subject to fines and suspensions during the season for repeat offenders, just as the federal government continues to classify marijuana as one of the most dangerous drugs.

Turley hopes his Gridiron Cannabis Coalition will help change that position, as much for the players as for Alzheimer's patients and others he thinks can benefit from cannabis.

"The attitude of the active players is the attitude of police forces around our country," Turley said. "It is absurd that this continues to be a reason for a player to be suspended or someone is arrested. We don't want to deal with this anymore."

The NFL, CTE and Medical Marijuana 
On Saturday, the NFL announced that Ken Stabler will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. If last year's ceremony is any indication, CTE will hardly be mentioned at all when he is honored.

The 2015 induction of Junior Seau, who was 43 when he killed himself, was marred by the league's initial refusal to let his family speak at the ceremony. The league cited a long-standing policy, but many noted that the family had sued the NFL, saying his suicide was at least partially caused by repeated hits to the head sustained in his playing days. His daughter eventually did speak, and did not mention Seau's brain.

Though the league settled concussion-connected lawsuits last year involving thousands of former players, about 200 opted out, including Seau's family. The suits claimed players weren't properly protected from concussions or informed of their risks.

The NFL did not admit liability in settling the suits. Since CTE has become associated with football, the NFL has also donated a substantial amount of money to research, including $30 million to the National Institutes of Health – its largest-ever donation to any organization.

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As for medical marijuana use, there are signs that the league's position could change.

A representative for the the NFL Player's Association told NBC Owned Television Stations it is reviewing medical-marijuana policy, though didn't comment further. The union works with the NFL to set the league's drug policy.

And the league that doled out four drug-related suspensions to Ricky Williams – the electric running back whose career is now synonymous with marijuana in the game – has recently expressed more openness toward medical marijuana, if not the drug on the whole.

Commissioner Roger Goodell briefly addressed the issue in the run-up to last year's Super Bowl, saying the NFL could one day condone cannabis as a treatment but that its medical experts didn't yet consider its use proper.

If the league did decide to reverse course on the issue, it would still face a major hurdle: the federal ban on marijuana would mean players without contracts might gravitate to teams in states where medication was legal.

Not that that should stop the league from trying, said Turley, a fiery speaker about the cause.

"It would have been an amazing opportunity for the NFL to have dealt with this proactively, instead of allowing this to be another thing that shows their desire to really change things is very lackluster," Turley said.

Turley, Williams and McMahon will all talk about their experiences with marijuana this month at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo in Dallas, the first marijuana conference in a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana medicinally, according to Rory Mendoza, the event’s organizer.

Their goal, for now is to slowly raise awareness about how the drug helped them, like a football team grinding out a long drive a few yards at a time.

And on Sunday, Turley will be watching the Super Bowl at home with family and friends, avoiding intoxicants and drugs – except the one he believes can save his life, which he long ago dedicated to football.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Broncos Player Surprises Fan With Super Bowl 50 Tickets]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 13:22:35 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/vernon+1.jpeg

A Denver Broncos player visited a cancer and heart transplant patient the night before the Super Bowl and was moved to tears by the encounter.

Alex Walter, who is undergoing treatment at Lucile Packard Children Hospital Stanford, is an ardent Broncos fan who had long dreamed of meeting a team player.

His surprise came in two parts.

Walter, 18, was first bowled over Tuesday when Vernon Davis decided to stop by.

The Montana teen again was left dumbfounded Saturday when the tight-end handed him two tickets to watch Super Bowl 50 between Davis' Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

Walter said he has been a Broncos supporter since he was 2 years old and is particularly in awe of wide-receiver Demaryius Thomas as well as Davis, for whom he made a bracelet out of his Beads of Courage.

Deeming the experience "cool," Walter said he was excited for the Broncos to defeat the Panthers and to be able to watch them do it. He said he plans to give his second ticket to a friend who is also a patient at Lucile Packard.

Meanwhile, Davis teared up looking at the beaming teenager.

"It brings joy to my heart ... to be able to give him the tickets," he said. "It means a lot to me … to see everything come to fruition for him."

[[367953961, C]]

Davis said also that he makes a conscious effort to be compassionate and uplifting and found himself filled with gratitude at being able to "share this experience" with Walter.

Pediatric oncologist Sheri Spunt recalled Walter predicting that he would "freak out" if he ever met the Broncos, prompting hospital officials to take to social media earlier in the week to get the team’s attention.

Walter, who attends classes at Lucile Packard, has to undergo chemotherapy for a year and also been through radiation therapy, she said.

"He was born with congenital heart disease and had multiple heart surgeries and, ultimately, required a heart transplant," Spunt said. "Then unfortunately several years after that he was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a relatively uncommon type of childhood cancer."

A lifelong Broncos fan herself, Spunt quipped that she was jealous that Walter would be at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday.

"Going to the Super Bowl is awesome and I know that he is going to be very excited," Spunt said."He’s the kind of guy who comes even during the off-season wearing his Broncos gear. So I know he will be absolutely thrilled to go to the Super Bowl and see his favorite team."

For her part, Walter’s mother Ronda also shared in her son’s amazement.

"He is so excited about the whole experience!" she said.

NBC Bay Area's Robert Beasom contributed to this report.

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Photo Credit: Robert Beasom]]>
<![CDATA[Olympic Gymnast Danell Leyva Sits Down With NBC 6]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:56:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/020516+danell+leyva.jpg Hometown gymnast and bronze medalist Danell Leyva is obsessed with winning gold at the Olympic Games, but this time around, he's switching things up and hopes to makes history with his own special move on the parallel bars. NBC 6's Julia Bagg has the story.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[JMH Fires 2 Workers for Accessing Pierre-Paul Records]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:38:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-455434102.jpg

Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami has fired two employees in connection with the release of the medical records of New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul last year.

The employees weren't identified in a statement released Friday by Jackson Health System.

"During the investigation of a breach that occurred in July 2015, Jackson Health System became a party to related litigation. It is our policy that we do not comment during pending litigation. That litigation has now been settled," the statement read. "As part of our investigation into the breach, it was discovered that two employees inappropriately accessed the patient’s health record. That finding resulted in the termination of both employees. Protecting the privacy of our patients is a top priority at Jackson Health System. Any time we have allegations of a breach, we immediately and thoroughly investigate."

Pierre-Paul was injured while lighting fireworks during during July 4 celebrations in Coral Springs. He later had his right index finger amputated.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Booker T. Washington Football Victory Parade]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:29:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/020516+booker+t+victory+parade.jpg The Booker T. Washington football team took home its fourth consecutive state title this year, making history. NBC 6's Erika Glover was at their victory parade celebration.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Time-Lapse: Watch the Demolition of Candlestick Park]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:24:11 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CANDLESTICK+GIF_18147279.gif

As the San Francisco 49ers’ new home, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, gets ready to host Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, the development company building a new mixed-used complex released time-lapse video of Candlestick Park being torn apart.

The video, provided on Thursday to NBC Bay Area by Lennar Urban and shot by OxBlue, shows about two minutes of the ‘Stick being taken down, seat by seat, and 19 seconds of what the future site should look like, including sweeping views of the San Francisco bay.

The eight-month demolition of Candlestick Park was finished in September to make way for a new urban mixed-use project at Candlestick Point in the southeast corner of San Francisco. More than 95 percent of the materials used to build Candlestick were recycled by the demolition firm, Silverado Contractors, according to Lennar Urban spokesman Dave Satterfield. The entire project should take 20 years and $8 billion to complete, thought the retail mall portion is expected to open in 2018, Satterfield said.

The complex, being built by Macerich Corp., will include an Africa diaspora-themed shopping marketplace, a hotel, movie theaters and 12,000 new homes at the site and nearby at the former naval shipyard of Hunter’s Point.

The 49ers left Candlestick Park after the 2013 season for a new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara. The Super Bowl will be played there on Sunday between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

Photo Credit: Lennar Urban]]>
<![CDATA[Road to Rio's Olympics: Six Things to Watch ]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:07:51 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/RioAthletesZika-AP_469134667784.jpg

The first Olympics to be held in South America will take place in August, when 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will compete in Rio de Janeiro.

The 2016 Summer Games will feature such iconic venues as Copacabana Beach for beach volleyball and Maracaña Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies and medal soccer matches. (The most successful World Cup nation with five titles, Brazil has never won a men’s or women’s Olympic soccer title.)

Golf and rugby will return, golf for the first time since 1912 and rugby since 1924. But it will likely be the last Games for American Michael Phelps, who enters as the top-ranked swimmer in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley, and for Jamaican Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, who swept the 100-meter dash and 200 meter dash at the World Championships in August.

Brazil is in a financial crisis and costs have been a problem. Organizers have cut $500 million to balance an operating budget of $1.85 billion, and the number of seats in some venues has been reduced.

And the appearance of the Zika virus has added a new anxiety.

So six months out, here are six ways to follow the 2016 Summer Games now:

The Olympic Torch will be lit from the sun’s rays on April 21 in the Greek city of Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient games. It will tour Greece before the relay officially begins on May 3 in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. About 12,000 torchbearers will cover more than 22,000 miles by road and air. The torch itself — made from recycled aluminum and resin — expands as it is passed to reveal the colors of Brazil. The relay will end on Aug. 5, when the last torchbearer will light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony at Maracaña Stadium.

How does the flame remain burning throughout? The torch itself is extinguished at night or while on planes but the flame is still lighted in enclosed lanterns, which are closely guarded.

Will Rio be ready to host the Games?

One worry is the sewage-infested water that athletes will be swimming and boating in — near Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, off Copacabana beach and in Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. Tests commissioned by The Associated Press -- the results of which were released in July and again in December -- discovered high levels of viruses and bacteria from human feces, up to 1.7 million times what would be considered dangerous on a Southern California beach. The contamination was found not only close to land but also offshore, where sailing will take place. In August, some athletes participating in pre-Olympic rowing and sailing events became ill with vomiting, fevers and diarrhea. 

Olympic and World Health Organization officials have not followed through on promises to do their own viral testing, according to the AP. WHO says Brazil needs only to test for bacterial “markers” of pollution.

Adding to the health concerns is the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which arrived in Brazil last year and is now “spreading explosively” across the Americas, according to WHO. Brazil reported a surge of babies born with microcephaly — marked by unusually small heads and severe brain damage — though exactly how many is in flux. The virus may also be causing another serious condition, Guillain-Barre syndrome, which leaves some patients unable to move.

Brazil’s health minister said the country would send 220,000 troops to eradicate mosquitoes but he also was quoted this month in the country’s major newspapers as saying the country was badly losing the battle.

Transgender athletes should be able to compete without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, according to guidelines announced by the International Olympic Committee in January. 

The guidelines were changed to reflect current scientific, social and legal attitudes about transgender issues, the committee’s medical officials told The Associated Press.

Previous guidelines, approved in 2003, required transgender athletes to have surgery followed by at least two years of hormone therapy before they could compete.

Now, female-to-male athletes are eligible to compete as males without restriction. Male-to-female athletes must show a testosterone level below a certain cutoff for at least a year before their first competition.

The guidelines, not regulations, are meant for international sports federations to follow.

Accusations of doping by Russia prompted U.S. Olympic athletes to call for officials to broaden their investigation, the AP reported. The Americans wrote to the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency the week of Jan. 25 in response to a two-part report detailing doping inside Russia’s track team, allegedly with the state’s participation.

The Americans want the investigation to be expanded to sports beyond track and field.

Follow along as athletes earn their way to Rio, beginning with the U.S. marathon trials in Los Angeles on Feb. 13. Trials for other popular events: diving, June 18 to 26 in Indianapolis; men’s gymnastics, June 24 to 26 in St. Louis; swimming, June 26 to June 3 in Omaha, Nebraska; track and field, July 1 to 10 in Eugene, Oregon; and women’s gymnastics, July 8 to 10 in San Jose, California.

The U.S. women’s soccer team will compete in Olympic qualifying matches to be held from Feb. 10 to 21 in Dallas and Houston, while the U.S. women’s water polo team will be competing for a berth from March 21 to 28 in Gouda, Netherlands.

A surfeit of talented players in some sports will make it tough to finalize Olympic teams.

Superstars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are among the 30 finalists for the U.S. men’s basketball team. The list features 18 players who have won 29 Olympic or World Cup gold medals. Other marquee names vying for the 12-member roster: Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City Thunder and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Likewise, the qualification system for golf will eliminate some top players. The 60 men and women will be chosen from the top official world rankings, but there is a limit of four players per country. The cutoff for qualifying is July 11.

Refugee athletes will have the chance to compete in the Games. Three potential athletes have been identified so far and up to 10 are expected to qualify, according to the IOC. A group of refugees will march together in the opening ceremony, a refugee will carry the torch during the Greek leg of the relay, and the torch will make a stop at a refugee camp in Athens, the president of the IOC said on Jan. 28 during a three-day trip to Greece, the AP reported.

The IOC has pledged $2 million to help refugees.

Nick Zaccardi contributed information for this article.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Panthers Keep Rolling With Fifth Straight Win]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:17:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-508446592.jpg

The Florida Panthers had another big night on Thursday with a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings for their fifth straight win.

Florida has now won 17 of its 21 games dating back all the way to Dec. 15 and has 67 points overall. The Panthers who remain atop the Atlantic Division now have padded their lead to seven points.

Not only has Florida won games at an exceptional pace, but it also done so with impressive scoring efforts. This was the fourth consecutive game that the Panthers scored at least five goals and they have outscored their opponents 25-8 during the win streak.

At the 8:30 mark of the first period, Brandon Pirri got the scoring started for Florida with his tenth goal of the season. Pirri's goal came with assists from both Alex Petrovic and Jaromir Jagr.

A little more than two minutes later, it was Aleksander Barkov's 15th goal of the season that gave Florida a 2-0 lead. Reilly Smith and Aaron Ekblad picked up assists on the power play goal.

Vincent Trocheck's 16th goal of the year rounded out the scoring in the first period with an assist from Jagr. This goal came only 25 seconds after Barkov's and gave the Panthers a quick 3-0 advantage.

It would take some time for Florida to score again as the next goal would come at the 16:13 mark of the second period. With the score 3-2 at the time, Derek MacKenzie gave Florida some breathing room with his fifth goal of the season. Pirri and Corban Knight helped out with this goal.

Jagr completed another big day with his 16th goal of the season in the third period. The veteran was assisted by Trocheck and Jussi Jokinen on the score. Trocheck would add an empty net goal of his own in the final minutes as well. The second of the day and 17th goal of the season for Trocheck had assists from Smith and Jokinen on it.

The Panthers will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night in search of their sixth straight victory.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heat: Chris Bosh to Enter All-Star Three-Point Shootout]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 20:22:11 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/4884902789.jpg

All-Star Weekend just became more interesting for the Miami Heat as Chris Bosh will take part in the Three-Point Shootout.

This is the first time in Bosh's career that he will be a part of the famous contest. In previous All-Star Games, Bosh has participated in other events such as the skills challenge. Bosh who will also play in the All-Star Game itself, had great success in those skills events in recent years.

Miami has a long and prosperous history when it comes to showing off its three-point ability. Not only will Bosh be the seventh Heat player ever in the event, but he could become the fifth to win it. Previous Miami winners include James Jones, Daequan Cook, Jason Kapono and Glen Rice.

Bosh's three-point ability has been a game-changer for Miami, and has allowed the team to spread its offense out. Bosh is not only able to dominate on the inside, but he's reliable from deep. The 11-time All-Star leads Miami in three-pointers this season with his 78, which also is a career-high for Bosh.

Not only is Bosh draining threes at a good pace, but he is doing it with efficiency. Bosh is making over 36 percent of his trey attempts which ranks him 23rd in the Eastern Conference in that department.

The other competitors that have been confirmed for the Three-Point Shootout include Devin Booker, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, J.J. Redick and Klay Thompson.

The Three-Point Shootout will be part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 13.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Snoop Dogg, Super Bowl Reporter]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:13:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/snoop5.jpg

Rapper Snoop Dogg turned into a Super Bowl 50 “reporter” during the Broncos and Panthers press conference in Santa Clara Thursday, chatting up Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and telling Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis to “go to work” with a broken arm.

"That's your spirit. Go to work. And when you get a sack, dab with your broken one, for me," he told Davis, referring to the "dab" dance move newly popular with football players and other athletes.

The rapper tweeted a photo of him shaking hands with Manning: “Legend. #TurfdUp,” he wrote, referring in the hashtag to his YouTube sports show. His next tweet was a selfie, followed by a photo of himself acting as a reporter for DirectTV's "The Rich Eisen Show."

Snoop also sent out a couple of tweets promoting Merry Jane, his Marijuana lifestyle platform he hopes will act as an icebreaker for people who take pride in their love for marijuana.

One said: “ganja proving 2 help athletes with sports related injuries,” with a photo of a rolled up ball of weed.

The tweets were removed from his timeline after some time. It wasn’t immediately clear why the rapper took the tweets down.

The NFL has a strict drug policy, but many question whether it is out of date. According to media reports, marijuana is coveted by NFL players as an invaluable painkiller, and for younger players, smoking weed is normal.

"There are so many people in the closet, and we are giving them an opportunity to come out of the closet and just admit they like to smoke," Snoop said at the Merry Jane launch at TechCrunch Disrupt in September. "I’m a smoker, my name is Snoop Dogg, and I’m a stoner."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors Honored at White House]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:27:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/AP_82877935622.jpg

In a season of memorable moments for the Golden State Warriors, the 2015 NBA Champions can add a White House visit to that list.

President Obama welcomed the team to the East Room Thursday and honored them for winning the championship title. [[367690421, C]]

"Dub Nation is well represented here," the president said, noting Warriors' fans House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, were in attendance. 

"It's a bipartisan affair," Obama said.

The president also praised interim coach Luke Walton, who led the Warriors to a record-setting 24-0 start this season — none of which will count on Walton's officials record due to NBA rules that credits wins and losses to head coaches only.

“You defied the cynics, you accomplished big things, you racked up a great record and you don’t get enough credit. I can't imagine how that feels," Obama quipped, drawing parallels between his presidency and Walton's leadership.

The Warriors were already in D.C. for a game against the Washington Wizards Wednesday night, where reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry lead the team past the Wizards 134-121 for their eighth straight victory.

Obama took the chance to mock Curry’s celebrations during his 51-point performance.

“For those of you who watched the game against the Wizards last night, he was — to use slang — he was clowning,” Obama said, mimicking Curry's jumps. [[367711371, C]]

This wasn't Curry's first White House visit, nor the first time meeting President Obama. The star guard swung by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in support of the president's Malaria Initiative last year, and the two also played a round of golf with Curry's dad and former Boston Celtics captain Ray Allen. [[367690921, C]]

“It will be fun, I’m looking forward to it,” he told reporters Wednesday evening after the game. “Everybody, besides Coach Kerr and Luke Walton, it’s their first time [at the White House] so we’ll be excited.”

Celtics forward David Lee, who spent five years on the Warriors roster, joined his former team in D.C.

“It’s certainly a thing that I definitely can’t pass up, especially since we have the off day, and it’s a chance, one of the final times to kind of celebrate what was accomplished last year,” Lee told the Boston Globe earlier this week.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Jerry Rice Poses as Lyft Driver]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 15:01:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/jerry-rice-lyft-driver-super-bowl.jpg

A handful of lucky Lyft riders got a huge surprise in the Bay Area recently.

The rideshare service used hidden cameras to capture reactions when Hall of Famer and 49ers legend Jerry Rice went undercover as a driver.

Introducing himself as simply J, Rice didn't let on to his riders who he was, but he still managed to charm them before revealing his true identity.

In an interview Wednesday with NBC Bay Area, the "greatest wide receiver of all time" said: "I was just curious to see if a hat and pair of shades and people wouldn’t recognize me."

He recounted one ride with a customer, where he joked around and pretended he was simply an actor.

"I think one guy – he was in the car with me he – said something about his favorite team is the San Francisco 49ers," Rice said, "and I looked at him and said,' You know, I really don't even like football.' "

[[367559841, C]]

Photo Credit: Lyft / YouTube
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<![CDATA[Broncos Player Sent Home After Questioned in Prostitution Sting]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 02:31:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ryan-murphy.jpg

Ryan Murphy, a member of the Denver Broncos' practice squad, was questioned and released by Bay Area sheriff's deputies during a prostitution sting Tuesday.

Authorities determined Murphy was not involved in illegal activity at the Motel 6 off Brokaw Road in San Jose and he was released, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force was conducting the sting, authorities said. 

Sources tell NBC Bay Area Murphy was seen with his brother and a female passenger in a vehicle at the Motel 6. The woman went into the motel and then returned to the car, sources said. At that point, members of the task force swooped in on the car and its passengers.

Murphy's brother and the female were cited for alleged prostitution activity but were not arrested. The brother and woman allegedly knew each other.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. James Jensen said there have been several stings conducted over the last few days in which 10 men were cited and released, and 20 women acting as prostitutes were offered help.

Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak in a statement late Tuesday said the team sent Murphy back to Denver.

"Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him," Kubiak said in a statement. "Ryan is returning to Denver but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time."

Murphy, a Bay Area native who attended Oakland Tech, was drafted 248th by the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Broncos will face the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in nearby Santa Clara on Sunday. Coincidentally, former NFL safety Eugene Robinson, who was arrested the night before the Super Bowl in 1999 for solicitation of a prostitute, spent part of the day Tuesday warning Panthers players "not to do what I did."

Photo Credit: Getty/file
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<![CDATA[Manning Calls HGH Allegations 'Complete Junk']]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 21:46:17 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/199*120/0201peytonmanning2.jpg

With Super Bowl 50 week upon us, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning wants to make it clear that the allegations made against him in an Al Jazeera documentary about sports doping are "complete junk."

Accusations regarding the superstar NFL athlete first surfaced in "The Dark Side," a documentary that investigates "the secretive world of doping in sports and raises questions about whether medical professionals are linked to some of the greatest sports heroes." Al Jazeera reported that Manning's wife received human growth hormone (HGH) from an Indianopolis clinic in 2011.

During Super Bowl Media Night in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, according to NFL.com, Manning said, "I welcome this NFL investigation, because I know the rules of the NFL and I respect the rules, they're important to me. And so what this report alleges that I did is simply not true. It's fabricated. It's junk. It's garbage. I could give you a long list of other words for it. I can guarantee this investigation, what it will find is an absolute big, fat nothing. That's how I feel about it."

When asked if he would let the league have his records from the Guyer Institute, where he and his wife were both patients, Manning told reporters in attendance, "I haven’t got any of them. They can have whatever they want to have. Like I said, it’ll all take place after the season. Whatever they’ve got to do, I welcome it 100 percent."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[3 Broncos Buses Collide in Bay Area]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 02:14:07 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/2016-02-01_14-54-41.jpg

Three Denver Broncos team buses collided with each other in Sunnyvale shortly after leaving a Super Bowl 50 practice session Monday.

California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers were providing a security escort for the team when they encountered slow moving traffic around 1:45 p.m. on southbound U.S. Highway 101 near State Route 237, according to the CHP.

A preliminary investigation shows that a Toyota RAV-4 driver may have made an unsafe turn. The two vehicles leading the motorcade were able to avoid colliding, but the three buses that followed them were not. 

None of the players were injured but one bus was disabled and had to be towed from the scene, the CHP said. The passengers on that bus hopped aboard one of the other team buses and the Broncos players continued to their hotel.

A CHP motorcycle officer, who was involved in the collision, was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries. He was clipped by one of the Broncos' buses as a result of crash, according to the CHP.

Players from both the Broncos and the Carolina Panthers are slated to attend Super Bowl Opening Night at SAP Center in San Jose later Monday evening.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Heat: Dwyane Wade Named Player of the Week in East]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:11:19 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-4608602581111.jpg

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday following an exceptional series of games.

This is the 19th time in Wade's career that he has taken home the weekly honors. It comes after a week that saw Miami win four straight and go 4-0 overall. The Heat did that work mostly on the road, and during a barrage of injuries.

During the week, Wade averaged 24 points, seven assists, 4.8 rebounds and two steals. The 12-time All-Star led his team at both ends of the court on a daily basis. Perhaps most impressive for Wade, was the ability to score when it mattered most. Wade eclipsed ten points in three of the fourth quarters played this past week. The strong finishes from Wade helped his team secure much-needed victories.

Wade will be headed to the upcoming NBA All-Star Game after being voted in by the fans. It is not only Wade's 12th game, but also his 12th starting assignment. While Wade likely grabs some votes due to his overall popularity, he still continues to produce at a high level which warrants his star status.

In Sunday's win over the Atlanta Hawks, Wade led Miami with eight assists. This was critical as Goran Dragic struggled not only with foul trouble, but also with his production. Wade took over the job of running Miami's offense, and did it admirably. Dragic is working his way back from an extended absence which will take time, and Wade makes that wait easier to bear for Miami.

Wade's Heat will be back in action on Tuesday night when they take on the Houston Rockets in a nationally televised game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Panthers Put on Show at NHL All-Star Game]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:43:16 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-507811114.jpg

The Florida Panthers received solid performances from three of their stars at the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday in Nashville.

With their head coach Gerard Gallant watching, Aaron Ekblad, Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo all had moments of greatness in a pair of short games. Gallant coached the Atlantic Division team and appeared to relish the opportunity.

In this year's format, the All-Star teams were broken up into divisions in 3-on-3 games. The contests consisted of two ten-minute periods in a miniature tournament involving three games overall.

First up on the day was Gallant's Atlantic Division team against the All-Stars from the Metropolitan Division. The Atlantic would come away 4-3 winners in that opening game with goals coming from both Jagr and Ekblad. In the net for the Atlantic stars in the first period was Luongo who stopped eight of ten attempts.

By advancing to the finals, the Atlantic Division next took on the Pacific Division. The result of this one didn't go so well for Gallant and his team as they fell 1-0. Luongo did his part however stopping all 12 tries sent his way in the first period. The lone goal of the game came in the second period off Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With the All-Star festivities out of the way, Florida will now set its sights back on the regular season. The Panthers who sit atop the Atlantic Division with 63 points will take on the Washington Capitals on Tuesday evening.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Cruise to Fourth Straight Victory]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:40:00 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-507815926.jpg

The Miami Heat made it look easy in their 105-87 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday to extend their win streak to four games.

Miami wasted no time by jumping out to a quick lead that resulted in a ten-point advantage following one quarter of play. That lead will only grow bigger going into the half as Miami gave Atlanta no chance to claw its way back.

The win was a team effort for Miami with three players scoring 17 points or more, and five eclipsing double digits. The leading scorer for the Heat was Chris Bosh with his 18 points to go along with seven rebounds. The Heat did all of this without Hassan Whiteside who remained sidelined.

Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade each contributed 17 points to help Miami win. Wade was busy dishing the ball as well with eight assists which easily led the team. Also going into double digits with points in the win were Amar'e Stoudemire (13) and Justise Winslow (10). The latter also was busy on the inside with nine rebounds.

Goran Dragic was limited by foul trouble and only played 23 minutes. Dragic who is still working his way back into playing shape looked rusty. The guard was 4-10 on his attempts for nine points along with four assists.

This game marked Miami's return home following a long stretch of road games. It was a short stay however as the Heat will head right back onto the road. Miami had played 11 of its 12 games on the road before this game, and now will begin a three-game road trip.

Miami will look to make it five wins in a row when it travels to Houston on Tuesday to take on the Rockets.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>