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WNPR News sports coverage brings you a mix of local and statewide news from our reporters as well as national and global news from around the world from NPR.

Lisa McHale

This hour: the National Football League.

Just hearing those words once beckoned vivid mental images -- scenes of athletes entertaining millions with their heroic throws and jaw-clenching tackles.

In recent years, however, the NFL's image has darkened -- clouded by concerns surrounding athlete behavior and a brain disease known as CTE. 

Russia hosted the last Winter Olympics, in 2014. But the country is banned from being represented at the 2018 Games that start in February, after the International Olympic Committee said it found a widespread culture of Russian cheating through performance-enhancing drugs.

The International Olympic Committee has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee "with immediate effect," essentially banning the country from the upcoming Winter Olympics over Russia's system of state-supported cheating by athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes can compete in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the IOC said Tuesday — but the athletes will have to pass strict scrutiny, and instead of wearing their nation's uniform, they will compete under the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

Courtesy Nicholas Bolt, Norwich Free Academy

Pumpkin pie, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, and football -- Thanksgiving Day’s four basic elements. While pro football dominates the airwaves, it’s the hometown high school games that genuinely capture the spirit of the day.

The Boston researcher who examined the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez says it showed the most damage her team had seen in an athlete so young.

Hernandez, whose on-field performance for the New England Patriots earned him a $40 million contract in 2012, hanged himself in a prison cell earlier this year while serving a life sentence for murder. He was 27 years old.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Netflix announced this week that it has suspended production on the sixth and final season of its award-winning drama series "House of Cards." Its lead actor, Kevin Spacey, apologized for an act of sexual misconduct with a 14 year old while simultaneously coming out as gay, and things have only gotten more complicated since.

And then, a University of Hartford freshman, Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe, has allegedly suffered some truly nightmarish -- and racist -- bullying, harassment, and, I guess, vandalism at the hands of her roommate, Brianna Brochu. Brochu has bragged on Instagram about putting moldy clam dip in Rowe's lotion, rubbing used tampons on Rowe's backpack, and putting Rowe's toothbrush places "where the sun doesn't shine," among other things.

Keith Allison / Creative Commons

It was June 11, 2011. And the University of Connecticut Huskies had a lot on the line that night. A win would send them to the NCAA Super Regional -- a contest UConn had never reached. And the Major League Baseball draft was happening at the same time. George Springer was playing centerfield. He was also about to become a multi-millionaire in the draft.

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET

The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 of the World Series, winning their first championship crown in the team's 55-year history (and 56th season).

The Astros jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings and held on for the rest of the game watching the Dodgers squander multiple opportunities to score.

"We held down a really tough lineup," said Astros pitcher Charlie Morton, who pitched four innings in relief, giving up the Dodgers' only run. He struck out four batters, walked one and earned the win.

Marco Verch / Creative Commons

Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates surrendered Monday morning to special counsel Robert Mueller after he asked them to do so. The New York Times reports the charges are for money laundering, tax and foreign lobbying. 

The indictments come after CNN reported Friday night that a federal grand jury had approved the first charges in the Russia investigation led by special counsel and former FBI director, Robert Mueller. 

Netflix

Netflix's new 10-episode series "Mindhunter" tells the story of the beginnings of criminal psychology and criminal profiling at the FBI. As such, at its heart, it's really just a police procedural. But, with David Fincher as one of its producers, the show rises above a well-worn genre with its look and feel reminiscent of movies like Se7en and Zodiac.

Feng Wei / Creative Commons

President Trump decertified the internationally-supported Iran nuclear deal Friday but didn't walk away from it. Instead, he kicked it to Congress to determine whether to reimpose sanctions even though the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran was in compliance with the deal.

Alcon Entertainment, LLC., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Columbia Tristar Marketing Group, Inc.

That's not really true. LOTS of other people went to see Denis Villeneuve's "Blade Runner" sequel. It grossed almost $82 million in its opening weekend. But for a movie that cost going on $200 million to make -- and that's been anticipated on and off for 35 years -- those kinds of ticket sales mean it's probably headed toward box-office-flop status. Still, though: It's certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

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