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File: In this Tuesday May, 20, 2014, file photo Oscar Pistorius outide the HIgh Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Presiding Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to announce her verdict in Pistorius' murder trail after scrutinizing evidence Thursday and Friday given by 37 witnesses in a court transcript running to thousands of pages in a drama that has played out over six months. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide


10ThingstoSeeSports - Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) can't make the catch as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Greg Toler (28) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Denver. The Broncos won 31-24. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney, File)Here's a look at some of the defining moments, exciting scenes, triumphs and defeats from the world of sports.


A DirecTV satellite dishe is seen on an apartment wall in Los AngelesLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - DirecTV extended its exclusive contract to sell the Sunday Ticket package of National Football League games, and sources said the company will pay $1.5 billion a year to keep the popular offering that has helped attract subscribers. The satellite TV provider and the league announced a multi-year deal on Wednesday. Sources familiar with the agreement said DirecTV's annual payments would average $1.5 billion for eight years. ...


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - DirecTV will pay the National Football League an average of $1.5 billion a year over eight years for exclusive rights to sell its Sunday Ticket package of weekly games, a source familiar with the agreement said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Chris Reese)

Carolina Panthers head coach Rivera yells at Alexander after Alexander exchanged words with the Atlanta Falcons players after their NFL football game in Charlotte(Reuters) - Carolina Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander has been suspended 10 games without pay for violating the National Football League's policy on substances of abuse, the league said on Wednesday. Alexander, who missed the first four games of this season due to a previous violation of the policy, will be eligible to return following his team's Dec. 14 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 24-year-old, selected by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, returned from his earlier ban on Monday to be suspended just two days later. ...


Aaron Hernandez appears during an evidentiary hearing at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall RiverBy Daniel Lovering FALL RIVER Mass. (Reuters) - Lawyers for ex-National Football League star Aaron Hernandez squabbled with prosecutors in court on Wednesday over whether law enforcement had legally seized his cellphone as evidence while investigating a shooting death last year. Hernandez, a former New England Patriots tight end, is awaiting trial on charges of murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd last year, and prosecutors want to use the phone as evidence in his trial, due to begin in January. ...


Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson arrives at the 2nd Annual NFL Honors in New OrleansBy David Bailey (Reuters) - Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe spanking a child is acceptable at home and a majority say corporal punishment is tolerable provided it does not involve implements such as the one a National Football League star used on his son, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found. The findings help explain where Americans stand on corporal punishment after the indictment on child abuse charges of Adrian Peterson, a top NFL running back, in a case that sparked a contentious public debate over what is acceptable. ...


Major League Baseball will test rules designed to speed up games during the 2014 Arizona Fall LeagueNew York (AFP) - Major League Baseball will test rules designed to speed up games during the 2014 Arizona Fall League.


Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland lines up a putt during the Ryder Cup golf tournament at the Gleneagles Hotel in Gleneagles, Scotland, on September 28, 2014Los Angeles (AFP) - Back-to-back major titles, with a World Golf Championships crown tossed in for good measure, saw Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy voted the US PGA Tour's Player of the Year by his peers.


Team Europe golfer Rory McIlroy is lifted up by a colleague after the closing ceremony of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles(Reuters) - Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlroy was named on Wednesday as the PGA Tour's Player of the Year for a second time after a stellar 2014 campaign highlighted by two major victories. The 25-year-old, who first landed the coveted honor in 2012, won consecutive majors this season at the British Open and PGA Championship, sandwiched around his victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. McIlroy won out over Billy Horschel, Martin Kaymer, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson in a vote of his peers. ...


Oct 1 (Reuters) - Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlroy was named on Wednesday as the PGA Tour's Player of the Year for a second time after a stellar 2014 campaign highlighted by two major victories. The 25-year-old, who first landed the coveted honour voted upon by his peers in 2012, won consecutive majors this season at the British Open and PGA Championship, sandwiched around his victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. (Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Steve Keating)

The Kansas City Royals celebrate after they defeated the Oakland Athletics 9 to 8 in the 12th inning of their American League Wild Card game at Kauffman Stadium on September 30, 2014 in Kansas City, MissouriLos Angeles (AFP) - The Kansas City Royals advanced to the American League Division Series with a 9-8 12th inning marathon victory over the Oakland Athletics.


MLB: AL Wild Card-Oakland Athletics at Kansas City RoyalsKANSAS CITY (Reuters) - The Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics 9-8 in a thrilling, 12-inning do-or-die Wild Card playoff on Tuesday to eke out a victory in their first postseason game for 29 years. Salvador Perez, who had twice failed to drive in runners on third base earlier in the game, pulled a two-out base hit past diving third baseman Josh Donaldson to score Christian Colon and end a nearly five-hour battle. ...


NBA: Los Angeles Lakers-Media Day(The Sports Xchange) - Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant practiced Tuesday for the first time since his knee injury 10 months ago and said he felt good afterward. "I felt normal. I felt like myself," Bryant said. "That's a good thing." - - Miami Heat center Justin Hamilton is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks after undergoing a procedure Monday to repair an atrial flutter. Hamilton was sent to the hospital after experiencing light-headedness during practice. ...


Justin Morneau (R) of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated by teammate Rafael Ynoa after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 26, 2014New York (AFP) - Colorado slugger Justin Morneau has been added to the Major League Baseball team which will play a five-game series against a squad of Japanese all-stars in November.


PGA: US PGA Championship-Final RoundBy Mark Lamport-Stokes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the dust settles over yet another Ryder Cup defeat for the United States, PGA of America president Ted Bishop says he would like to see a more "systematic approach" in selecting the U.S. captain for 2016. Bishop, who expressed "absolutely no regrets" over the appointment of the much maligned Tom Watson for last week's Cup showdown with Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland, is also in favor of a much later selection of the 2016 U.S. team. ...


MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers(The Sports Xchange) - Right-hander Max Scherzer will be the Game 1 starter for the Detroit Tigers in their American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, the team announced Tuesday. Right-hander Justin Verlander will follow Scherzer in Game 2, left-hander David Price will get the ball for Game 3 and right-hander Rick Porcello will pitch Game 4 for the Tigers. - - Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton declared himself ready to go for the American League Division Series despite playing just one regular-season game in September. ...


NFL: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs(The Sports Xchange) - The Oakland Raiders announced Tuesday that Tony Sparano will take over as the team's interim head coach. Sparano replaces Dennis Allen, who was fired Monday after the Raiders' 38-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins in London the previous day. - - In an era of billion dollar television broadcasting contracts with the NFL, there is no longer a need for blackout rules regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC eliminated the rule that prevented local network stations from televising games that were not officially sold out. ...


Tony Sparano has been named interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Dennis Allen who was fired just four games into the seasonAlameda (United States) (AFP) - Tony Sparano has been named interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Dennis Allen who was fired just four games into the season.


NFL: New York Giants at Washington RedskinsBy Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to punish broadcasters for using the moniker of the Washington NFL team, the Redskins, a word many consider a slur to Native Americans, the agency's chairman indicated on Tuesday. The FCC, which enforces broadcast indecency violations, has received a petition from legal activist John Banzhaf III, asking that regulators strip local radio station WWXX-FM of its broadcasting license when it comes up for renewal for using the name "Redskins. ...


Husain Abdullah of the Kansas City Chiefs scores a touchdown after an interception against the New England Patriots, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 29, 2014Kansas City (AFP) - Kansas City player Husain Abdullah was wrongly penalized for kneeling in prayer to celebrate his score in the Chiefs 41-14 win over New England on Monday night, the NFL announced Tuesday.


Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez appears at Fall River Superior Court in Fall RiverBy Daniel Lovering FALL RIVER Mass. (Reuters) - Authorities lawfully seized the cell phone of ex-National Football League star Aaron Hernandez days before he was arrested and charged with murdering a man hear his Massachusetts home, a prosecutor testified on Tuesday. The claim came in response to a charge by attorneys for the former New England Patriots tight end that investigators had no authority to seize the phone from Hernandez's attorneys' office the day after police found semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd's bullet-riddled body in an industrial park. ...


Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the FCC on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to eliminate a decades-old rule that has prohibited pay-TV providers from airing some home sports games, such as NFL football, if tickets to those games did not sell out. In a bipartisan 5-0 vote, the FCC did away with a 1975 sports blackout rule that has been backed by the broadcasters and the National Football League but in recent years has faced mounting criticism that it was outdated. ...


New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano looks on against the New York Giants during the second quarter of their pre-season NFL football game in East Rutherford(Reuters) - The struggling Oakland Raiders have appointed Tony Sparano as interim head coach in place of Dennis Allen, the National Football League team said on Tuesday. Allen, who had been in charge since 2012, was sacked late on Monday after the Raiders had lost each of their first four games this season. The Raiders were hammered 38-14 by the Miami Dolphins at London's Wembley Stadium on Sunday, marking the first time the team has started a season 0-4 since 2006. "Tony Sparano has a strong presence in this organization," Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement. ...


NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs(Reuters) - The National Football League admitted on Tuesday that Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for sliding on his knees and bowing in prayer after scoring a touchdown. Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after his touchdown during the Chiefs' 41-14 rout of the New England Patriots on Monday night. NFL spokesman Michael Signora said players are not allowed to celebrate while on the ground but this was different. ...


NFL: Preseason-Baltimore Ravens at Dallas CowboysBy Eric Kelsey LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Americans are tuning into NFL football in greater numbers than last year, according to early season viewership figures, signaling the league's fumbled handling of domestic violence cases has not dented its overall popularity. Through the first three weeks of the season, audiences watching nationally televised primetime broadcasts have risen and nearly all networks have seen an uptick in viewership so far this season. ...


By Eric M. Johnson (Reuters) - Developer Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) asked Los Angeles on Monday to give it more time to lure a pro football team back to the city and start building a $1.2 billion stadium downtown. Los Angeles has been without professional football since 1994 when the Rams and the Raiders both left, to the dismay of legions of fans. AEG signed a deal with city authorities in 2012 to sign up a National Football League (NFL) team by Oct. 18 this year, build the new "Farmer's Field" stadium and improve the aging Los Angeles Convention Center. ...

Running back Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 14, 2014Phoenix (AFP) - Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been officially charged in connection with a domestic dispute inside an Phoenix apartment in which his girlfriend suffered a broken nose.


Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs is tripped up by Logan Ryan of the New England Patriots during their NFL game, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 29, 2014Kansas City (AFP) - Jamaal Charles, who returned from an ankle injury, scored three touchdowns as the Kansas City Chiefs routed the New England Patriots 41-14 in a National Football League contest Monday night.


NFL: Preseason-Baltimore Ravens at Dallas CowboysSep 29 (Reuters) - Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension for domestic violence will be heard by a neutral arbitrator, not NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he appoints, ESPN reported late on Monday. In a copy of an email obtained by ESPN, NFL Players' Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told the union's executive board it was the first time a neutral arbitrator had been appointed in a personal conduct disciplinary case. ...


NFL: New England Patriots at Kansas City ChiefsSep 29 (Reuters) - Alex Smith completely outplayed three-times Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady while Jamaal Charles grabbed three touchdowns as the Kansas City Chiefs hammered the New England Patriots 41-14 on Monday. Playing in front of a pumped up home crowd the Chiefs shot out to a 17-0 halftime lead and were never headed. Charles had a rushing and receiving touchdown before halftime and added another reception shortly after halftime but he was not alone in having a productive game for Kansas City. ...


Manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals walks off the field after their game against the Oakland Athletics, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 11, 2014Los Angeles (AFP) - Ned Yost says he is not too concerned by the long odds faced by the wild card entrants as the Kansas City Royals return to the playoffs for the first time in 29 years.


Jamie Donaldson with his trophy after Team Europe won the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland, on September 28, 2014London (AFP) - Jamie Donaldson was left reflecting on a "dream" Ryder Cup debut after starring in Europe's victory.


Former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger takes the stage during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, IllinoisLondon (AFP) - Paul Azinger said he would consider a second spell as captain of the United States' Ryder Cup team after his leadership skills were praised by Phil Mickelson in a thinly-veiled attack on this year's losing skipper Tom Watson.


Arizona Diamondbacks manager AJ Hinch argues with home plate umpire Mike Everitt in the third inning during a MLB baseball game in Phoenix(Reuters) - The Houston Astros have appointed A.J. Hinch as manager in place of Bo Porter, who was fired earlier this month, the Major League Baseball team said on Monday. Hinch, 40, managed the Arizona Diamondbacks from May 2009 until July 2010, compiling an 89-123 record, and was then vice-president of professional scouting for the San Diego Padres for the next four years. "I couldn't be more excited to be the manager of the Houston Astros," Hinch said in a statement. "We have a lot of work to do to bring winning back to the city of Houston and Astros fans everywhere. ...


A makeshift memorial for Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher is seen outside his mother's home in West Babylon, New YorkBy Steve Ginsburg (Reuters) - A Kansas City Chiefs football player who fatally shot his girlfriend in 2012 before committing suicide showed signs of a degenerative brain condition found in other deceased NFL players, an attorney for the family said on Monday. A post-mortem analysis of Jovan Belcher's brain revealed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), said Dirk Vandever, who is representing Belcher's young daughter. Belcher, 25, shot and killed girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his then-3-month-old daughter Zoey. ...


Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer is pictured in this undated handout photoBy David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been indicted for felony aggravated assault over accusations he broke his wife’s nose during one of two alleged domestic incidents in July, court documents showed on Monday. Dwyer, 25, also faces eight misdemeanor charges, including assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct, stemming from the July 21 and 22 incidents at the couple’s Phoenix apartment, according to a state grand jury indictment. ...


By David DeKok HARRISBURG Pa. (Reuters) - A well-known former Philadelphia sports broadcaster admitted in court on Monday that he defrauded more than 200 people and several local charities of more than $300,000 in a scheme that promised cheap tour packages to the Super Bowl and other events. Don Tollefson, 62, of Glenside, worked for several Philadelphia TV stations and the Philadelphia Eagles football team, but he was best known for his work for WPVI Channel 6 Action News from 1975 to 1990. He was a popular figure outside the Philadelphia area thanks to cable systems that carried the station. ...
(Reuters) - Schedule of Wild Card and Division Series games in the 2014 Major League Baseball playoffs. Wild Card Sept. 30 - (American League) Oakland at Kansas City Oct. 1 - (National League) San Francisco at Pittsburgh - - American League Division Series Los Angeles Angels vs. AL Wild Card winner Oct. 2 - at Los Angeles Oct. 3 - at Los Angeles Oct. 5 - at AL Wild Card winner Oct. 6 * at AL Wild Card winner Oct. 8 * at Los Angeles - - Baltimore vs. Detroit Oct. 2 - at Baltimore Oct. 3 - at Baltimore Oct. 5 - at Detroit Oct. 6 * at Detroit Oct. ...
(Reuters) - Brief profiles of the 10 teams that qualified for the 2014 Major League Baseball playoffs. ...

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