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USA Gymnastics says it will not fine McKayla Maroney if she speaks out against team doctor

USA Gymnastics said Tuesday evening it will not fine gymnast McKayla Maroney if she speaks publicly about the alleged abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Maroney, who signed a nondisclosure agreement for $1.25 million with USA Gymnastics in in December 2016 in exchange for her silence, is currently suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University with the claim that the nondisclosure agreement she signed after claiming Nassar molested her was illegal. 

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

USA Gymnastics said in a statement it has not and will not seek retribution if Maroney speaks about alleged abuse by Nassar during his four-day sentencing.

As of Wednesday morning, Maroney was not expected to speak at Nassar’s sentencing.

"USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,” the statement to USA TODAY read. “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them."

In response to reports Tuesday that USA Gymnastics could fine Maroney up to $100,000 if she spoke out against Nassar at his sentencing like nearly 100 other alleged victims, model Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine.

>> Read more trending news 

“The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,” Teigen wrote.

After Nassar pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in November, his sentencing on seven sexual assault charges began Tuesday. 

The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.

Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

One after one, gymnasts and other victims of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, 54, stepped forward in a Michigan courtroom Tuesday to recount the sexual abuse and emotional trauma they say he inflicted on them as children.

U.S. Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are among the many women to accuse Nassar of abuse.

>> Read more trending news 

Nearly 100 victims are expected to address the court during the four-day sentencing hearing. 

However, former gold medalist McKayla Maroney may not speak out.

In December 2016, Maroney signed a confidential settlement with the group that trains U.S. Olympic gymnasts to keep allegations that she was sexually abused by Nassar a secret.

The settlement included nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses and Maroney or her parents could be sued for more than $100,000 for violating the agreement. The suit seeks to invalidate those provisions under a California law that prohibits settlements in civil cases that could result in criminal sex offense charges.

Chrissy Teigen, who is from Snohomish, Washington, is offering to pay Maroney's possible fine so Maroney can speak out against Nassar. 

On Tuesday, Teigen tweeted the following about the fine:

"The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla."

Maroney said Nassar's abuse started in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

At least 4 Olympians won’t accept invitation to White House

Controversy has hit the Winter Olympics before the torch has been lit in South Korea, as four U.S. Olympians — plus one “furious” ice skater who didn’t end up making the cut — preempted a White House invite from President Donald Trump by turning it down.

>> Read more trending news

Skiers Gus Kenworthy and Lindsey Vonn, and figure skaters Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon have all said publicly that they will not accept a White House invite from the president in the event that they receive one.

Figure skater Ashley Wagner said the same, but she didn’t make Team USA.

Kenworthy and Rippon, who are both openly gay, said that they do not support Trump’s policies and do not want to appear that they do by visiting the White House.

“I am very proud to represent the U.S. but I don’t stand by Trump and his cabinet and their policies,” Kenworthy said. ”I do not want to feign approval for policies that are in place and things that are being pushed at the moment, by going. If I was invited I would decline my spot.”

Rippon said that he felt it is his “duty” not to go.

“Athletes are given a really special platform. It’s our duty, as athletes, to be role models. I won’t go to the White House,” Rippon told the BBC. “I won’t go because I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome there. I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.”

USA Today reported that Nathan Chen and Ashley Wagner would also decline an invite. In Wagner’s case, it is moot since she did not qualify for Team USA.

Wagner notably missed out on an Olympic appearance, said that she was “furious” about the decision-making by the judges and that she believed that she wasn’t treated fairly.

“I’m furious. I am absolutely furious. I know when I go and I lay it down, and I absolutely left one jump on the table. But for me to put out two programs that I did at this competition, as solid as I skated, and to get those scores, I am furious, and I think deservedly so,” she said. “I am absolutely OK with [judges] being strict on my [jump] rotations […] but you know it needs to be across the board. I don’t necessarily feel like it’s been that way at this event, so we’ll see how things pan out.”

The U.S. Figure Skating selection committee responded that the judges “absolutely made the right call.”

Wagner later changed her tune.

Lindsey Vonn said as early as the beginning of December that she hoped to “represent the people of the United States, not the president.”

When asked if she would accept an invite she replied “Absolutely not.”

Simone Biles latest gymnast to claim team doctor sexually abused her

Simone Biles, who won four gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics, went on social media Monday and became the latest gymnast to claim that former team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused her.

>> Read more trending news

“I am one of the many survivors who was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” Biles, 20, wrote on Twitter. “Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak these words out loud than it is now to put them on paper.”

Nassar, who spent more than 20 years working at Michigan State University and as a physician for USA Gymnastics, has admitted to sexually assaulting gymnasts, ESPN reported. 

In December, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on charges of child pornography. He will be sentenced Tuesday for 10 state counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, ESPN reported. Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to those charges in November.

Nassar has been accused by more than 140 women and girls of sexual misconduct. That includes Olympic gymnasts Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, CNN reported.

“For too long I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I too naive?’ ‘Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions,” Biles tweeted. “No. No, it was not my fault.

“No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG (USA Gymnastics), and others .”

In her tweet, Biles also called Nassar’s behavior “completely unacceptable, disgusting and abusive.”

Raisman offered her support to Biles in a tweet. Raisman accused Nassar of sexual abuse in November.

“I stand with you,” Raisman tweeted.

Tonya Harding's mother speaks out about abuse claims

Figure skater Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona “Sandy” Golden slammed her daughter in a new interview on the two-hour special “Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story,” which aired Thursday night on ABC News.

>> Click here to watch

In the rare interview, Golden accused her daughter of lying about being abused as a child, which is depicted in the new biopic, “I, Tonya.”

“I didn’t abuse any of my children,” Golden said. “Spanked? Yes, spanked. Absolutely, positively, you got to show them right from wrong.”

>> Read more trending news 

Harding alleged that her mother once “dragged me into the bathroom and beat me with a hairbrush, literally” and regularly abused her, but Golden denied the allegations, saying, “I spanked her once with a hairbrush at a competition. She wouldn’t know what a beating was.”

Golden continued, “She’s lied so much she doesn’t know what isn’t a lie anymore.”

The figure skater previously claimed that her mother would drink a thermos of coffee and brandy every day when she would drive her daughter to school.

>> On Rare.us: 23 years later, Tonya Harding speaks out about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the Winter Olympics

“I would have coffee, and sometimes I would put brandy flavoring in it. I love brandy flavoring. You can’t get drunk on flavoring. Sorry to disappoint you,” Golden said.

Golden also denied claims that Harding made about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in a trailer.

“We were never trailer trash,” Golden said. “We had a beautiful new trailer. We didn’t live in filth or dirt or anything that I would call unusual.”

Harding said in the interview that she does not want anything to do with Golden, and she wants her mother to stay away from her 6-year-old son, Gordon.

“I don’t want her anywhere near me. I don’t want her anywhere near my son,” Harding said. “She wants forgiveness. She wants to see me. She wants to make amends. She wants to meet and be part of the family. Hell no.”

(H/T PEOPLE)

Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

Keith Jackson, whose Southern drawl and homespun, folksy phrases endeared him to college football fans for more than half a century, died Friday night, ESPN reported. He was 89.

>> Read more trending news

Jackson died surrounded by his family, according to NBC Sports' Todd Harris.

Born in Roopville, Georgia, on Oct. 18, 1928, Jackson was also the first play-by-play broadcaster for “Monday Night Football” when it debuted in 1970 and covered a wide range of sports. He was known for his signature phrase “Whoa, Nellie!” after a big play. Jackson said the origin of the phrase came from his great-grandfather. He also coined the phrase “Big Uglies,” and christened Michigan’s football stadium “The Big House,” ESPN reported.

Jackson called 15 Rose Bowl games and was credited with calling the New Year’s Day game “The granddaddy of them all,” The New York Daily News reported. The final game he broadcast from Pasadena was the 2006 game in which Texas rallied to defeat USC for the national title.

Jackson was named national sportscaster of the year five times, the Daily News reported.

Jackson spent four years in the Marines and later graduated with a journalism degree from Washington State University, where he broadcast the team’s games.

He joined ABC’s college football announcing team in 1966, but also called NBA games, auto racing and was a staple on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” He also announced World Series games, 10 Olympics and traveled to 31 countries, ESPN reported.

Jackson also had fun playing off his signature phrase, as this commercial for Miller Lite demonstrates:

Tributes to Jackson rolled in on Twitter:

Japanese kayaker banned for 8 years after spiking rival's drink

A Japanese kayaker was hit with an eight-year ban for spiking the drink of a rival so he would fail a drug test, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

According to the Japan Anti-Doping Agency, Yasuhiro Suzuki spiked the drink of rival Seiji Komatsu with an anabolic steroid at last September’s national championships, causing him to fail a doping test.

The Japan Canoe Federation began investigating after Komatsu tested positive but denied taking drugs. The federation said Komatsu's suspension and records that had been stripped have been restored.

After Komatsu tested positive, Suzuki admitted putting a muscle-building supplement containing the banned steroid methandienone in his drink, ESPN reported. 

It is the first time in Japan that an athlete failed a doping test because of deliberate contamination, JADA said.

Suzuki and Komatsu were considered among the top candidates to represent Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ESPN reported.

Olympian Ryan Lochte grateful for fresh start

Ryan Lochte’s son and fiancee are clearly the lights of his life, and a new photo of his bouncing baby boy is proving that.

>> Read more trending news

Lochte, 33, regularly gushes about his 6-month-old son Caiden Zane and his fiancee Kayla Rae Reid on his Instagram page.

The highly decorated Olympic swimmer said he’s grateful for a fresh start after landing in hot water for his drunken behavior at the Rio Olympics.

In 2016, he was suspended for 10 months from domestic and international competitions, according to the New York Times.

In an interview with People last year, the swimmer said he was looking forward to becoming a dad, seeing it as a new beginning.

“I think everyone deserves a clean start and that’s what I love about this,” Lochte told People.

Six months into being a father, Lochte seems to be loving it.

Lochte recently shared a photo of his son Caiden smiling up at his dad from a bouncy seat.

“That smile from my son warms my heart so much!” Lochte wrote. “Makes everything better! #blessed #czl #happybaby.”

According to People, Lochte is currently house hunting in Los Angeles. He plans to pursue acting there while he trains for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

On Thursday, Reid also shared a touching photo of Lochte and Caiden Zane.

Back injury forces Lindsey Vonn to drop out of World Cup race

After injuring her back in a World Cup race Saturday, skiing champion Lindsey Vonn withdrew from another scheduled super-G event Sunday before the race was canceled because of fog.

>> Read more trending news

Vonn tweeted her decision 45 minutes before Sunday’s race was to start, saying she was focused on being healthy for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Vonn, 33, hurt her back during her run in Saturday’s super-G race, CNN reported. She made it to the bottom of the slope, but slumped to the snow after crossing the finish line.

Related: Skier Lindsey Vonn says she won't represent Trump at Olympics

Vonn later tweeted she had an "acute facet (spinal joint) dysfunction. I got compressed on the 6th gate and my back seized up,” CNN reported.

Vonn finished 24th in Saturday's race, more than a second behind winner Jasmine Flury of Switzerland.

The Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea will be held Feb. 9-25. The American star won the downhill title at the 2010 Vancouver Games but missed the 2014 Sochi Games because of injury.

USA Gymnastics doctor sentenced to 60-year prison term

A judge sentenced a Michigan sports doctor to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes, one of three criminal cases against a man who also has admitted to assaulting female gymnasts.

>> Read more trending news

Larry Nassar worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Federal Judge Janet Neff followed the government’s recommended sentence Thursday. The Michigan sports doctor admitted he molested gymnasts and kept a staggering collection of child pornography — investigators found more than 37,000 images of child porn on Nassar’s electronic devices in 2016. Separately, he has pleaded guilty to molesting gymnasts with his hands in the Lansing, Michigan, area under the guise of treatment.

Neff said Nassar, 54, “should never again have access to children.”

In January, he will be sentenced for the cases related to his molestation of former gymnasts in his care.

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