Utah high school football players could be in trouble for burning pride flag in video

Sports News Utah high school football players could be in trouble for burning pride flag in video https://linewsradio.com/utah-high-school-football-players-could-be-in-trouble-for-burning-pride-flag-in-video/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

Niklas Storm/iStock(NEW YORK) — A pair of Utah high school football players found themselves at the center of a police investigation after video surfaced of a player allegedly burning a pride flag while laughing and yelling “all gays die.”

The Granite School District in Northern Utah asked police to open an investigation this week as the controversial Snapchat video sparked outrage on social media, school officials told ABC News on Tuesday.

Concerned community members notified school district officials on Monday, demanding action when a football player at Kearns High School in Salt Lake City shared the offensive video on social media. Some called for the incident to be investigated as a potential hate crime.

Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said the district opened an independent investigation immediately and notified local police.

“We are having police look at it to ensure that there is no criminal implications,” Horsley told ABC News in an interview on Tuesday. “Looking at the video, whether if it was intended as a joke or as a serious and broad threat against LGBTQ individuals, it’s still a reprehensible act. We need to condemn hatred and bigotry wherever we see it.”

Horsley declined to offer specific details about the two students involved, but he said they were both associated with the football team. He described the student who initially posted the video as an incoming freshman, thought to be about 15 years old, and said the other player was already a student.

It’s too early to say if either student will face criminal charges, but the district said it reserves the right take its own disciplinary actions. The Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, which are investigating, did not return ABC News’ request for comment.

Horsley said punishment by the school district could range from mandated community service to suspension.

“We want those two individuals to understand the implications of their actions and educate them on why it’s inappropriate,” he said. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, the goal of our football team, the goal of our schools, is to create respectful, caring, empathetic individuals with high character and moral standards. And obviously, this type of activity is not conducive for that.”

Some people have called on the school to expel the students, while others urged the school to cancel its football program over the incident.

Kearns High School’s head football coach, Matt Rickards, called it a potential hate crime in an on-camera interview, but he did not say how the students should be penalized.

“There’s no place for that in our program at all, and it won’t be tolerated,” Rickards, who took over the program seven years ago, told Salt Lake City Fox affiliate KSTU on Tuesday. “It’s potentially a hate crime, so it sickens me.”

“We have one rule in our program and that is not to embarrass yourself, your family or your team and, obviously, that rule was broken. So, there’s got to be consequences for that,” he added.

Horsley said the high school and the community had been “dragged through the mud as part of this process,” but said the incident does not reflect the community.

The video surfaced during the heart of Pride Month and amid a rash of pride flag burnings and other hate-fueled crimes in major cities like New York City, pointing to a broader trend of increased hate crimes nationwide.

Police are investigating a similar incident in Burlington, Vermont, where Christopher Vaccaro and Jimmie Searle, a gay couple, said a person torched a pride flag on their front porch earlier this month.

“There’s no question that nationally, cities, towns and states are receiving more reports and are connecting more investigations of reported hate crimes,” said Julio Thompson, assistant to the Vermont attorney general, told the Burlington Free Press last week. “If we look at the numbers that have been publicly reported by the FBI in terms of voluntary reporting from law enforcement, we’ve seen a rise of reported hate crimes by law enforcement in Vermont over the last couple of years.”

Vaccaro and Searle said the city’s police department gifted them with a new pride flag, along with a handwritten note in the wake of the incident — signaling that the city would stand in solidarity with them.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Jun 2019

Suspected money man named in attempted hit on Red Sox icon David Ortiz; mystery on motive remains

Sports News Suspected money man named in attempted hit on Red Sox icon David Ortiz; mystery on motive remains https://linewsradio.com/suspected-money-man-named-in-attempted-hit-on-red-sox-icon-david-ortiz-mystery-on-motive-remains/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images(SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic) — The man suspected of paying a nearly $8,000 bounty to a team of would-be assassins implicated in the botched hit on Red Sox icon David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been named by authorities, but mystery still shrouds the identify of the person who allegedly ordered the brazen shooting in the Dominican Republic — and why.

As Ortiz remains in a hospital recovering from being shot in the back in the June 9 attempt on his life at a crowded nightclub in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Attorney General identified Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota as “the person who presumably paid” to have 10-time Major League All-Star murdered.

Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany Ortiz, released a new statement Tuesday, saying her husband’s condition has been upgraded to “good” by doctors and that he is making progress in his recovery in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston — where the retired baseball player was airlifted after undergoing emergency surgery in the Dominican Republic.

“We remain grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal, both in the Dominican Republic and here in Boston,” Tiffany Ortiz said in her statement. “David’s journey to good health has been bolstered by the many expressions of love that have come to us from across the globe. Your support has lifted his spirits tremendously during this challenging time.”

A massive search in the Dominican Republic continued Tuesday for Rodriguez Mota and two other suspects in the alleged attempted hit job — Luis Alfredo Rivas-Clase, who also goes by the nickname “The Surgeon,” and Maria Fernanda Villasmil Manzanilla, authorities said.

Ten other suspects are in custody, including Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaino, who surrendered to police on Friday and made his first court appearance on Monday in the Dominican Republic. Also in custody is 25-year-old Rolfy Ferreyra Cruz, who authorities say confessed to being the one who shot Ortiz.

While Dominican investigators suspect Rodriguez doled out the money to the suspects who stalked the 43-year-old Ortiz to the Dial Bar and Lounge, where he was shot, they have not publicly pegged him as the ringleader.

In a statement released Monday, officials in the Dominican Attorney General’s office said police continue investigating the motive and “intellectual authors” of the alleged attempted hit on Ortiz.

Surveillance video that captured Ortiz’s shooting shows a gunman police identified as Ferreyra Cruz walking up behind Ortiz, who was sitting at the bar, and opening fire before running away. In the footage, Ortiz appears to grab his stomach before collapsing.

Ortiz was rushed to a hospital in Santo Domingo and underwent an operation in which doctors removed parts of his liver and small and large intestines, officials said.

The Red Sox team chartered an air ambulance jet to fly Ortiz to Boston, where he underwent a second surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In a statement last week, Tiffany Ortiz thanked the doctors and medical staff at the Abel Gonzalez Clinic in Santo Domingo for saving her husband’s life.

“Without you, our story could have had a tragic ending,” she wrote. “You will forever be our guardian angels.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Jun 2019

Luis Tiant discusses path to MLB, hardships, and Hall of Fame

Sports News Luis Tiant discusses path to MLB, hardships, and Hall of Fame https://linewsradio.com/luis-tiant-discusses-path-to-mlb-hardships-and-hall-of-fame/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

Scott Clarke/ESPN Images(BOSTON) — Luis Tiant recalls taking the mound at Fenway Park. Every fifth day, it was more than a start. It became an event. The energy with which he pitched brought fans to their feet before the ball even left his hand.

They called him, “El Tiante.”

“My delivery–nobody can do that. And people come to see me… The day I pitch, I got maybe ten, twenty thousand people than the day before.”

Before “El Tiante,” however, there came a steep uphill climb to the majors.

The popular right-hander details his illustrious 19-year MLB career in his new autobiography, Son of Havana: A Baseball Journey from Cuba to the Big Leagues and Back, and hopes to give readers a deeper sense of the hardships he endured on his path to stardom.

“People would say, ‘You’re lucky, you’re lucky, you played baseball. You need luck, but you have to work for it. And I had to work… Nobody gave me anything. “

In a conversation with ABC News, Tiant talks about coming to the United States from Cuba, and the racism and bias he faced from his days in the minors through the rest of his time in baseball. One of the biggest obstacles: communicating with teammates.

“[For today’s baseball players] it’s a piece of cake compared with what I had to go through. You come here, you’re speaking the language. I remember the players used to tell me, ‘Speak English, you’re in America…’ It was a tough time. I remember the manager used to go to the mound and talk to me, and the only thing I would do is move my hands up and down and say, ‘OK, OK, OK.’ I don’t know what he said. He might’ve called me a lot of stuff I don’t want to hear.”

Tiant further describes the racial tension he faced in the Deep South and being separated from his family for almost two decades. He highlights memorable moments from his playing days as well.

Tiant finished his MLB career with 229 wins and a 3.30 earned run average (ERA). The former All-Star is hopeful his on-field accomplishments will be honored one more time with a plaque in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Previously on the ballot for over a decade, Tiant, now 78, told ABC News it would be an honor earn a spot, but if he gets there posthumously, he does not want his family to attend the ceremony:

“I told my family, if they put me in there after I die, don’t go… I see these guys, they miss it by one vote, then they die then get in… I just don’t get it.”

Tiant now spends much of his time in New England with his family and wife, who he credits as greatly helping him endure the hardships he faced during his career.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Jun 2019