sports

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From Faith Middleton: You've possibly heard the latest data on “practice” being the key to accomplishment, right down to the number of times you must practice to do something well. The authors of Top Dog, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, say there’s more to the science of winning and losing, and the key is “competitive fire.” The book is a look at how to cultivate competitive fire to go with practice. 

"I'm not a racist," Donald Sterling tells CNN in an interview about the scandal that brought a lifetime ban from the NBA. "I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I've hurt."

Sterling also said he isn't likely to engage in a drawn-out legal battle with the NBA if the league attempts to force him out as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rodrigo Carvalho / Flickr Creative Commons

We start today's show with Eric Deggans, NPR's first full-time TV critic. Eric and I have talked before about the issue of diversity in late night comedy programming and lo and behold, the very intriguing Larry Wilmore has been given his own show. So, we talk about that but Eric's main focus right now is a kind of television agrarian ritual, the unveiling of this year's crop of network shows, most of them to be harvested in the fall. A short description if you've been missing Matthew Perry, Patricia Arquette, Scott Bakula, Tea Leone and Katherine McPhee, just watch CBS.

On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.

Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.

The first round of the NFL brought a few surprises Thursday, after No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina went to the Houston Texans, as many expected. For many, the story of the night was Heisman winner Johnny Manziel – and how the Cleveland Browns wound up with a new quarterback after skipping him with its first pick.

The Browns took a convoluted route to get Manziel: the team traded away its No. 4 pick, then made other trades that slightly shifted their other slots.

"Redskins."

That word sits at the center of a controversy in suburban Philadelphia. It's pitted student journalists against school board members, but has left the school community largely shrugging its shoulders.

Student editors at Neshaminy High School in Bucks County have vowed not to print the word, which is the school's Native American mascot.

The Neshaminy School Board, however, is expected to vote later this month on a policy that would reverse the ban.

The postseason continues for the Los Angeles Clippers, who won a pivotal Game 7 Saturday night, days after the team's owner was banned for life by the NBA. The Clippers ended the Golden State Warriors' season in a back-and-forth game that came down to the final minute.

In a high-octane game that was marked by the Warriors' 3-point shooting and the Clippers' late dunks, Los Angeles held on to win, 126-121.

Steve Slade / University of Connecticut

UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie has been named as a potential candidate for the head coaching job at the Los Angeles Lakers. Mike D'Antoni resigned as the coach of the Lakers earlier this week after two lackluster seasons.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid says the NFL should consider ousting Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Snyder has been criticized — even by President Obama — over the name of his football team, which is considered a racial epithet against Native Americans.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA after he made racist comments.

Sports bans aren't new.

In 1990, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was banned from day-to-day management of the club by Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent.

Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993.

Sterling is 80. He comes from another time and is not only the senior NBA owner –– since 1981 –– but also, although probably this won't surprise you, historically the very worst owner in all of sport.

Current and former NBA players praised the league's decision to punish LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban over racist remarks he made in an audio recording. Commissioner Adam Silver announced the punishment Tuesday, days after the audio emerged.

In addition to the lifetime ban, the NBA also fined Sterling $2.5 million.

We play for each other, for our fans, and for our families — not Donald Sterling.

That was the general message that players for the Los Angeles Clippers reiterated, off-mic, when the Sterling fiasco blew up over the weekend. They were being buffeted by questions about how, exactly, they might respond to allegations that Sterling, the team owner, had been recorded saying that he did not want black people to attend his team's games. Would they boycott? Would they be focused enough to be able to play?

Update at 2:15 p.m. ET: NBA Bans Sterling, Levies $2.5 Million Fine

The NBA is banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, league Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday, saying that its investigation has verified Sterling made racist comments in an audio recording that was made public Friday.

Saying that the NBA's investigation included a discussion with Sterling, Silver stated that the views he expressed "are deeply offensive and harmful."

Calling racist statements that were allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling "incredibly offensive," President Obama says he is confident the NBA will resolve the controversy that erupted after an audio recording of the comments was aired this weekend.

An audio recording that reportedly captures Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling criticizing a woman for publicly "associating with black people" is prompting an NBA investigation into whether Sterling made that and other remarks, including a demand about Magic Johnson: "don't bring him to my games."

"Why are you taking pictures with minorities? Why?" the man asks in the recording, in which a man and woman argue over topics that include photos she posted to Instagram.

Governor Dannel Malloy announced a plan today for the state to play a major role in purchasing and protecting a 1,000 acre parcel, as open space, along Long Island Sound.  The Preserve, located in the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, is considered to be the last, large unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This was a week when Connecticut professors got rambunctious, when pine tar was discovered in places it shouldn't have been, and when President Obama played soccer with a robot. I can't guarantee which of these things will make its way onto our weekly pop culture roundtable, The Nose, except definitely the professors.

This one from UConn mocked and challenged the arguments of a creationist, and this one from Eastern was caught railing against Republicans, calling them "racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing people" and saying colleges will close if the GOP takes over the Senate.

Jeff Montgomery / Creative Commons

The Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure today expanding Connecticut's concussion policy for young athletes. The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote.

When I was a young, cocksure lad in this business, one thing I hated was for anyone in the Old Guard to preface an observation about sports by saying, "It used to be ... "

Invariably, the point was that it used to be better.

I promised myself that I'd never become a "used-to-be" guy. But for the benefit of today's young, cocksure lads in the business, here I go:

It used to be that people always asked me if athletes weren't making too much money. Nobody ever asks me that anymore. The only money issue I hear now is, "Why aren't college athletes paid?"

The 118th Boston Marathon took place today amid heavy security a year after the bombings near the race’s finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

State and local police officers were highly visible—even positioned on the rooftops of some buildings.  Bomb-sniffing dogs checked trash containers. Spectators had to pass through metal detectors to get to some areas.  Authorities said the entire 26.2- mile race course was under video surveillance. Helicopters circled overhead.

The 118th running of the Boston Marathon was completed without incident yesterday and featured the first U.S. citizen in 31 years to win the event.

Former New York City Marathon champion and Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi won in a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds.

When University of Connecticut star basketball player Shabazz Napier told reporters right after winning the NCAA Division I men's basketball national championship he sometimes went to bed hungry, you could almost hear the collective gasp from mothers around the country.

There is no doubt the bombings of last year cast a long shadow on the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

It was an inevitable backdrop: The signs on the buildings that line the course near the finish are usually covered in witty, encouraging posters. This year, they encouraged a greater kind of perseverance.

"Boston Strong," they exhorted.

Libby Baker / Wikimedia Commons

Is there a connection between what happens in youth sports and the locker room bullying of Richie Incognito or the steroid-spattered reputations of Alex Rodriguez and Lance Armstrong?

And, we all know that major college sports have become engines of commerce allowing a lot of people, although not the athletes who drive those engines, to get rich.

But, is there any way in which those dollar signs are sliding down into youth and high school sports.

Dave McGillivray likely knows the Boston Marathon better than anyone else.

McGillivray is the race's director — responsible for all the details of the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world. And for the past 41 years, he has also run all 26.2 miles of the course. For the past 27 years, he's done so after his work duties are done.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a volunteer for the 2013 Boston Marathon, nurse Amelia Nelson thought should would be there to help runners as they came across the finish line.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

One year after the Boston Marathon bombing, Connecticut residents who were there are looking back and remembering. Harold Kramer, Chief Operating Officer of the American Radio Relay League, talked about his experience on WNPR’s Where We Live

On this April 15, Americans are thinking about the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred one year ago.

In and around Boston, people are also looking back on a year of healing. The day's events culminated in a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. ET, the time of the first explosion. Vice President Joe Biden joined other officials in a tribute near the race's finish line.

Yi-Chien Chang / Creative Commons

It's been one year since the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and wounded hundreds more. It also changed the city of Boston, which was essentially shut down during the ensuing manhunt for the bombing suspects. 

We look back at that long week in April, and how things have changed both in Boston and throughout the country since the bombing. We're joined by people who were at the marathon that day, including a local professor who will once again run in this year's race.

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