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Tony Sparano, former Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders head coach, dead at 56

Offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings Tony Sparano died Sunday morning at age 56.

The Vikings said in a statement Sunday that Sparano died unexpectedly.

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Before coaching with the Vikings, Sparano was the head coach for the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He started his NFL career in 1999 as an offensive quality control coach for the Cleveland Browns. Throughout his career, Sparano has coached with the Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys, Jets and 49ers, according to

Related: Photos: Notable deaths 2018

“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony,” Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony's presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”

Sparano is survived by his wife, Jeanette;  his two sons, Tony and Andrew; his daughter, Ryan Leigh; and four grandchildren.

NFL, players union agree to halt new anthem policy for now, seek resolution

The NFL and National Football League Players Association have agreed to halt enforcement of rules regarding the new national anthem policy, after the Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games.

>> Read more trending news 

“The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA's grievance and on the NFL's anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing,” the statement read.

The Dolphins said in a statement: “The NFL required each team to submit their rules regarding the anthem before their players reported to training camp. We will address this issue once the season starts. All options are still open.”

Related: NFL Players Association files grievance over anthem policy

The NFL rule that was passed in May forbid players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during the national anthem, but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish. The new league rules were challenged this month in a grievance by the players union.

The NFLPA said earlier this month that the NFL policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the players union, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

2018 ESPY Awards: Winners list

Athletes and celebrities have once again come together for the ESPY Awards. The 25th anniversary of the show was held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and hosted by Danica Patrick. It’s the first time the show has had a woman host.

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The best in sports were honored not just for their athleticism, but for contributions to society and humanitarian work.

Related: Photos: 2018 ESPY Awards red carpet arrivals

See the full list of winners at the 2018 ESPY Awards below.


Jose Altuve, Houston AstrosJames Harden, Houston RocketsAlexander Ovechkin, Washington CapitalsTom Brady, New England Patriots


Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota LynChloe Kim, SnowboardJulie Ertz, Chicago Red Stars/United States Women’s National Soccer Team

BEST OLYMPIC MOMENTJessie Diggins & Kikkan Randall, U.S. Cross Country SkiU.S. Men’s Curling

Shaun White, Snowboard

USA Women’s Hockey defeats Canada, 2018 Winter Olympics


George Springer, Houston Astros – MLB World SeriesNick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles – Super Bowl LIIKevin Durant, Golden State Warriors – NBA FinalsDonte DiVincenzo, Villanova Men’s Basketball – CBB National Championship


Alvin Kamara, New Orleans SaintsBen Simmons, Philadelphia 76ersDonovan Mitchell, Utah JazzSloane Stephens, Tennis


Houston Astros defeat Los Angeles Dodgers, World Series Game 5USA Women’s Hockey defeats Canada, 2018 Winter OlympicsGeorgia Bulldogs defeat Oklahoma Sooners, Rose Bowl

BEST MOMENTLas Vegas Golden Knights defeat Winnipeg Jets to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals#16 University of Maryland-Baltimore County upsets No. 1 Virginia

Minnesota Vikings defeat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game

BEST TEAMPhiladelphia Eagles, NFLUSA Women’s Ice HockeyNotre Dame Fighting Irish, NCAA Women’s BasketballVillanova Wildcats, NCAA Men’s Basketball

Houston Astros, MLB

Golden State Warriors, NBAWashington Capitals, NHL

BEST COLLEGE ATHLETEJalen Brunson, Villanova BasketballKatie Ledecky, Stanford Swimming

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma Football

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina Basketball

BEST PLAY Philly Special: Eagles fool Patriots with fourth-down TD toss to Foles

Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale hits 2nd buzzer beater to win NCAA women’s national title

FSU’s Jessie Warren makes diving double play in WCWSEvanston Township High school freshman Blake Peters hits 80-foot buzzer beater


Roger Federer, TennisTom Brady, New England PatriotsDiana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury


Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona/Argentina National TeamCristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid/Portuguese National TeamMohamed Salah, Liverpool/Egyptian National TeamNeymar Jr., PSG/Brazilian National Team


Lieke Martens, FC Barcelona/Netherlands National TeamSam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars/Australian National TeamPernille Harder, VfL Wolfsburg/Danish National TeamJodie Taylor, Seattle Reign/English National Team


Tom Brady, New England PatriotsTodd Gurley, Los Angeles RamsAntonio Brown, Pittsburgh SteelersAaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams


Aaron Judge, New York YankeesJose Altuve, Houston AstrosMike Trout, LA AngelsMax Scherzer, Washington Nationals


Alexander Ovechkin, Washington CapitalsSidney Crosby, Pittsburgh PenguinsConnor McDavid, Edmonton OilersMarc-Andre Fleury, Las Vegas Golden Knights

BEST DRIVERJosef Newgarden, IndyCarMartin Truex Jr, NASCARLewis Hamilton, Formula OneBrittany Force, NHRA


James Harden, Houston RocketsLeBron James, Cleveland CavaliersAnthony Davis, New Orleans PelicansGiannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks


Maya Moore, Minnesota LynxCandace Parker, Los Angeles SparksSylvia Fowles, Minnesota LynxSkylar Diggins-Smith, Dallas Wings


Terence Crawford, BoxingVasiliy (Vasyl) Lomachenko, BoxingRose Namajunas, UFCGeorges St-Pierre, UFC

BEST MALE GOLFERJustin ThomasDustin Johnson

Jordan Spieth

Patrick Reed


Shanshan FengInbee ParkAriya JutanugarnSung-Hyun Park

BEST MALE OLYMPIANRed Gerard, Snowboarding

Shaun White, Snowboarding

David Wise, Halfpipe SkiingJohn Shuster, Curling

BEST FEMALE OLYMPIANMikaela Shiffrin, Skiing

Chloe Kim, SnowboardingJamie Anderson, SnowboardingJocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, US Women’s Hockey


Roger Federer


Sloane StephensSimona HalepGarbine Muguruza


Henrik Harlaut (SWE), SkiKelvin Hoefler (BRA), SkateboardDavid Wise (USA), SkiMarcus Kleveland (NOR), Snowboard


Chloe Kim (USA), SnowboardBrighton Zeuner (USA), SkateboardStephanie Gilmore (AUS). Surf


Mike SmithJose OrtizFlorent GerouxFlavien Prat


Dan Cnossen, Nordic SkiingAndrew Kurka, Alpine SkiingDeclan Farmer, Sled HockeyMike Schultz, Snowboarding


Oksana Masters, Nordic SkiingBrenna Huckaby, SnowboardingKendall Gretsch, Nordic SkiingTatyana McFadden, Track and Field

BEST BOWLERJason BelmonteRhino PageTom SmallwoodJesper Svensson

BEST MLS PLAYERNemanja Nikolic, Chicago FireDiego Valeri, Portland TimbersIke Opara, Sporting Kansas CityTim Melia, Sporting Kansas City


Sam Kerr, Chicago Red StarsMegan Rapinoe, Seattle ReignSam MewisAdrianna Franch, Portland Thorns


Jim Kelly


Gymnasts who spoke out against former team doctor about sexual abuse (Sarah Klein, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Tiffany Thomas Lopez and Sarah Klein were among 141 survivors honored.)


Jake Wood, Team Rubicon


Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel and Chris Hixon (coaches at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School)

Photos: American League wins 2018 MLB All-Star Game

The AL pulled out an 8-6 win over the National League at the 89th MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

World Cup final delayed by protesters; Russian punk band claims responsibility

Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia was disrupted briefly Sunday when four people dressed in old-fashioned police uniforms ran onto the pitch, The Independent reported.

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The Russian activist punk band Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the suspension of play at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which occurred during the 52nd minute of Sunday’s match.

“News Flash! Just a few minutes ago four Pussy Riot members performed in the FIFA World Cup final match — ‘Policeman enters the Game,’” the band posted on its Twitter feed.

>> France cruises past Croatia in World Cup final

France was leading 2-1 when three women and a man charged onto the pitch, The Associated Press reported. The protesters were wrestled to the ground by police. Croatia defender Dejan Lovren pushed the male protester, which allowed police to subdue him, the AP reported.

The protesters were dressed in black pants and white shirts. They entered the pitch from behind the net guarded by French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, The Independent reported. One of the women reached the center of the pitch and high-fived French forward Kylian Mbappe.

On Twitter, the group released a statement urging the Russian government to release political prisoners and to end “illegal arrests” of protesters.

>> Photos: 2018 World Cup final -- France vs. Croatia

Russian President Vladimir Putin was watching Sunday’s match at the stadium, along with French President Emmanuel Macron and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, according to the AP.

France cruises past Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

France cruised to its first World Cup title in 20 years and its second soccer crown overall, dominating Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s championship game in Moscow.

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The French, winning the Cup for the first time since 1998, scored first and then outran the Croatian squad, the smallest country to play in a World Cup final since 1950, when Uruguay defeated Brazil 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro.

France opened the scoring in the 18th minute thanks to an own goal by Croatia. On a set piece after a free kick, Frances Antoine Griezmann kicked the ball toward the goal. The ball glanced off Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic and past goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

Croatia tied the match 10 minutes later when Ivan Perisic rocketed a left-footed shot past Hugo Lloris.

France was awarded a penalty kick when Perisic handled the ball in the box. After a video review, referee Nestor Pitana in favor of the kick.

Griezmann buried his shot past Subasic to give France a 2-1 lead, which it took into the half.

>> Photos: 2018 World Cup final -- France vs. Croatia

France increased its lead to 3-1 in the second half, with Paul Pogba controlling his own rebound of a blocked shot and converting a left-footed shot in the 59th minute.

Six minutes later, Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Brazil’s Pele did it in 1958. That gave the French a commanding 4-1 lead.

>> World Cup final delayed by protesters

Croatia cut the deficit to 4-2 in the 69th minute when Mandzukic sent a shot past Lloris.

Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon men’s final

Novak Djokovic, showing few effects from his marathon semifinal victory 24 hours earlier, won his fourth Wimbledon men’s singles title Sunday, defeating Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3) at The All-England  Lawn Tennis Club.

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It was also the 13th career Grand Slam victory for Djokovic, 31, and the first for the Serb since the 2016 French Open. Anderson, the eighth seed, lost his second Grand Slam final. He lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2017 U.S. Open title match.

Djokovic was coming off a grueling semifinal against Nadal, winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-8 in a 5-hour, 15-minute duel. It was the second-longest semifinal in Wimbledon history that began Friday and had to be resumed Saturday because of curfew rules.

The longest semifinal match was held Friday, when Anderson, 31, topped John Isner in a 7-hour, 36-minute five-set marathon.

Temperatures on Centre Court broke 100 degrees as the two finalists began play.

Celebrities in the stands included Hugh Grant, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Djokovic, the 12th seed, defeated Anderson in 2 hours, 15 minutes and took the first set in 29 minutes.  He improved to 6-1 against Anderson and defeated the South African for the third time at Wimbledon.

Photos: 2018 World Cup final -- France vs. Croatia

France, Croatia meet in Moscow to play in soccer’s biggest game.

Angelique Kerber defeats Serena Williams in Wimbledon final

German tennis star Angelique Kerber beat Serena Williams 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s final Saturday at Wimbledon, taking home her first championship title.

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Williams, 36, fell short of her eighth Wimbledon trophy and a chance to score a record 24th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

The match between Kerber and Williams was stalled for over an hour Saturday, until after the men’s semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was completed.

Saturday’s tournament was Williams’ fourth appearance since she began her comeback after a 14-month hiatus. Williams came into the fortnight ranked No. 181 and was seeded 25th at Wimbledon because of her previous success at the event.

Williams’ victory would have made her the fourth mother ever to win a Grand Slam event.

Williams gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017. She had to deal with a health scare after the emergency cesarean section when small blood clots were found on her lungs, CNN reported.

The last time Williams and Kerber met in a Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon in 2016. That year, Williams won her seventh major title on grass, 7-5, 6-3.

That was Williams’ second straight Wimbledon title, won in the early stages of her pregnancy. She sat out last year’s grass-court tournament after winning the Australian Open several months earlier.

Her first Grand Slam tournament was the French Open. Williams won three matches before withdrawing because of an injured chest muscle.

NFL Players Association files grievance over anthem policy

The NFL Players Association announced Tuesday that it has filed a grievance against the league’s national anthem policy, which was put in place in May.

NFL owners approved the policy May 23. Under it, individual teams will have the ability to fine players and other personnel who do not stand and “show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

>> Read more trending news 

At the time of the policy’s approval, the NFLPA issued a statement against it, saying the owners did not consult the union.

“NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about,” the union said in a statement. “The vote by NFL club CEOs (May 23) contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principals, values and patriotism of our League.

“Our union will review the new ‘policy’ and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

Related: NFL owners approve new national anthem policy, will fine teams that allow players to kneel

In the NFLPA’s announcement Tuesday, the union said the policy infringes on players’ rights:

“Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL’s recently imposed anthem policy. The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.

“In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon.”

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