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Ichiro dons fake mustache, hoodie to sit in Mariners' dugout

A mysterious man was sitting in the Seattle Mariners’ dugout Thursday night, sporting a bushy mustache and wearing a hoodie. 

>> Read more trending news

And shades -- shades reminiscent of Bobby Valentine’s failed disguise in 1999 when he was ejected from a game and tried to sneak back into the dugout.

The mystery man was no stranger to Mariners fans -- Ichiro Suzuki, now an executive in the Seattle front office.

Suzuki sneaked into the Seattle dugout Thursday to watch the first inning of the Mariners’ game at Yankee Stadium against the New York Yankees, The New York Post reported.

"He was perfect. I never would have known it was him,'' Valentine texted to the The Associated Press.

Officially, Suzuki, 44, is not allowed to be in the dugout during games, ESPN reported. He was removed from the Mariners’ roster in May and moved into the front office as a special assistant to the team chairman, the AP reported.

AP photographer Bill Kostroun spotted Suzuki hiding in the dugout during the first inning. He had exited the dugout by the second inning as the Mariners lost 4-3 to the Yankees.Perhaps Suzuki had dropped a hint when he moved into his new position.

"During the game I will be doing the same preparations I've been doing the entire time. Nothing is going to change for me that I did as a player," Suzuki said. "But I can't say for certain that maybe I won't put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout."

Valentine, who was managing the New York Mets in 1999, was ejected from a game in the 12th inning. He later put on a fake mustache and sunglasses and attempted to sit in the dugout.

Valentine was caught and was suspended for two games. He also was fined $5,000.

Here is how to get into Dayton event featuring Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and nearly 40 other celebs 

Who wouldn’t like a shot to hit a few balls with Jordan or Kobe?

Registration is open for the Jim Cleamons Celebrity Golf Classic and Charity Event set for Aug. 19 to 20 at NCR Country Club, 4435 Dogwood Trail in Kettering.

>> EARLIER: Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Scottie Pippen among celebrities coming to Dayton for new event 

Registrations for 2 to 8 players range from $750 to $5,000 for the event that will benefit Hoopology Camp — former NBA player and coach Jim Cleamons’ Columbus-based charity for student athlete development. 

>> EARLIER: Kobe Bryant, Lenny Wilkens join the guest list for new celebrity golf tournament

HEAR WHAT DAYTON DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST TOM ARCHDEACON SAID ABOUT LEBRON’S MOM

A list of of 40 athletes, including Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, Lenny Wilkens, Kobe Bryant, Willie Reed, Ross Browner and Dennis Hopson are expected to attend. 

>> This former NFL player is tackling Dayton community problems head-on

Members of the University of Dayton and the Ohio State University coaching staffs are also expected to participate, as is Archie Griffin, a former OSU and Cincinnati Bengal player. 

Ron Edwards, the event’s Dayton-based organizer, said a sponsorship registration is required for attendance.

“Unlike major golfing tournaments, this is a private event,” he told this news organization. “You can’t enter without (a team) sponsorship.”

>> Amy Schumer spotted in Yellow Springs 

The presenting sponsor, albatross sponsor and eagle sponsor registration include entrance into a drawing to play with a pro or celebrity, an invitation to the event’s pairing party and auction and other benefits.

The birdie sponsor registration includes an invitation to the pairing party, but does not include the drawing.  

Find package details here. 

Edwards urges those interested in attending to visit the Hooplogy Camp website

Questions can also be emailed to ron@hoopologycamp.org.

Cleamons was an assistant basketball coach for the Chicago Bulls from 1989 until 1996 — during the “Jordan years” — and was the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks a year after that.  Cleamons was also an assistant coach for the Lakers during their 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010 championship seasons.

>>RELATED: Who is Jim Cleamons? 

Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Scottie Pippen among celebrities coming to Dayton for new event 

The organizer of a new charity event say a who’s who of sports figures and entertainers will descend on Dayton in a matter of a few weeks. 

Ron Edwards, the organizer of the Jim Cleamons Celebrity Golf Classic and Charity Event, told us that Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen are among the celebrities slated to be in Dayton for the new event set for Aug. 19 and 20 at the NCR Country Club, 4435 Dogwood Trail in Kettering. 

>> 222 things to love about Dayton

Cleamons is a former NBA player and coach. 

WHO BENEFITS 

The event will benefit Hoopology Camp, Cleamons’ Columbus charity for student athlete development.

The Pink Ribbon Girls, a locally based nonprofit that helps women battling cancer, will also benefit. 

WHY ARE CELEBRITIES INVOLVED?

A marketing professional by trade, Edwards says he and his wife, Arnika Edwards — University of Dayton’s director of  basketball operations — are longtime friends of Cleamons. And so are the celebrities expected to play in the golf event.

>> Jermaine Jackson spotted at iconic local music store

Several were coached by Cleamons or coached with him. 

“All these people want to come and make it happen for Jim,” Edwards said. 

He said he would release a full list of celebrities Monday. 

“We’ve got a great list of celebrities and athletes that will be here,” he said. “It is going to do a big deal. Our plan is to have this for a long time.”

WHO IS JIM CLEAMONS? 

Raised in Columbus, Cleamons played basketball at Ohio State University before entering the NBA. 

He played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets. 

He was an assistant basketball coach for the Chicago Bulls from 1989 until 1996 — during the “Jordan years” — and was the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks a year after that.

Cleamons was also an assistant coach for the Lakers during their 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010 championship seasons.

The Bulls won championships in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996.

>> Amy Schumer spotted in Yellow Springs 

WHY DAYTON?

Edwards said Dayton was selected as the city of the golf event that will include an auction because he and his wife are based here, the Dayton area has quality golf courses and because Cleamons — now a resident of California — remains passionate about helping Ohio youth improve their lives and have bright futures.  

“Everything we are doing is for Jim and his 501(c)(3) and helping the kids in Ohio,” he said.  

Links to register for the event can be found at Hoopologycamp.org.

 

Georgia Tech investigation dismisses claim basketball coach Josh Pastner sexually assaulted woman

An investigation commissioned by Georgia Tech has found “no credible evidence” to support allegations that its head men’s basketball coach sexually assaulted a fan.

A lawyer hired by Tech issued a lengthy report that the school says exonerated coach Josh Pastner. The coach had been accused by the girlfriend of a former friend of groping and inappropriately touching her numerous times between 2016 and 2017.

>> Read more trending news 

Tech said that Athletic Director Todd Stansbury would be meeting with Pastner to discuss access to the basketball program by outsiders.

Pastner had been coach at the University of Memphis from 2009 before going to Georgia Tech.

Click here for updates.

NFL owners approve new national anthem policy, will fine teams that allow players to kneel

Update 4:52 p.m. ET: U.S. vice president Mike Pence has responded to the NFL decision on Twitter, using the hashtag #winning.

Update 1:21 p.m. ET: The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) issued a statement on the new NFL policy:

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new “policy.” NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.

“The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principals, values and patriotism of our League.

Our union will review the new “policy” and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

Original story: NFL owners approved a new policy Wednesday regarding players who wish to kneel during the national anthem, according to a statement by the National Football League

>> Read more trending news 

According to the NFL, individual teams will have the ability to fine players and other personnel who do not stand and, “show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

The change will go into effect for the upcoming season, according to the Washington Post.

Players who choose not to stand during the national anthem may stay in the locker room or off-field while it is being played. 

The official statement from the National Football League states:

“The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities. 

The membership also strongly believes that:

  1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
  3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
  4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

In an official statement on the NFL website, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote:

“The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society. 

The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress. 

It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case. 

This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.

We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it—and on our fans who enjoy it.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s wife announces birth of baby girl

There’s a new Earnhardt on the racing scene.

>> Read more trending news

Amy Earnhardt announced the birth of Isla Rose Earnhardt on Twitter Tuesday morning.

“She’s finally here!” the wife of former NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted. “It feels like a dream. The best dream ever.”

It is the first child for the couple.

Dale Jr. has been busy since retiring from active racing, working as an analyst for NBC Sports Network’s “NASCAR America.” Before that, he covered the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics for NBC.

The baby was due May 2, but arrived a day early. Had she been born on April 29, she would have shared a birthday with her grandfather, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., 43, and the former Amy Riemann, 36, were married on Dec. 31, 2016.

Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro receives Pat Tillman Award at 2017 ESPYs

During the 2017 ESPY Awards Wednesday night, comedian and television host Jon Stewart presented U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro with the Pat Tillman Award for service. 

>> Read more trending news 

Del Toro was severely injured while on tour in Afghanistan in 2005 when his military truck drove over a bomb. Del Toro lost most of his fingers and more than 80 percent of his body was severely burned. He went into a coma for three months and was given a 15 percent chance of survival. When he awoke from the coma, he was told he likely wouldn’t be able to breathe or walk again on his own. 

Del Toro not only did both, he also used sports as rehabilitation, later competing in the Invictus Games, a sports competition for wounded service members. In 2014, he won a silver medal in powerlifting, and in 2016, he won gold in the shot put.

He was awarded Wednesday for his perseverance, military service and athletic pursuits, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“He found a way not just to survive against the odds, but to thrive. He is a study in strength, tenacity, bravery and service,” Stewart said, calling Del Toro “a soldier who has gone through pain and struggling you would not believe just to survive and be here tonight.”

Del Toro said he was honored and humbled to receive the award. 

“Receiving this award is still strange for me. I don’t see myself as someone special,” he said at the awards show. “Thank you for letting this guy who just had a bad day at work feel like someone special tonight.”

Del Toro talked about what it felt like to be tapped for the award last month.  

“I’m humbled for even being considered for this prestigious award named after Pat Tillman, a man I admire, but to actually receive this honor is unbelievable,” Del Toro said in a statement. “When I heard that Pat Tillman gave up a career in the NFL to serve his country after the 911 attacks, it gave me so much pride to call him a brother in arms. He truly is a shining example of Service Before Self. To Mrs. Tillman and the Pat Tillman Foundation, I give you my pledge that I’ll always try to live up to the true meaning of the Pat Tillman Award for Service in everything I do, and to represent his spirit to the best of my ability.”

Del Toro still serves in the military as an Air Force technician.

Pat Tillman, a former NFL player, left the league in 2002 to enlist in the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

U.S. Quidditch Cup, based on Harry Potter books, headed to Texas in 2018

Harry Potter fans, rejoice! The U.S. Quidditch Cup is headed to the Sports Capital of Texas next year.

»RELATED: J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter turns 20 | See how to celebrate

The organization announced the news earlier this week, revealing that the event will be held April 14-15 at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.

>> Read more trending news

“We are honored to host the players, families and fans in Round Rock for the U.S. Quidditch Cup in April 2018,” Round Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Nancy Yawn said in a release. “How exciting that the year of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, the Sports Capital of Texas gets to announce that the magical, competitive Quidditch national championships will be held here!”

U.S. Quidditch announced finalists for the location of the cup in May, which included Lubbock, Round Rock and Wichita Falls. The finalists were selected based on bids, which were evaluated on location of the bid, the quality of facilities, the amount of financial support and the level of community support, according to the release. Round Rock beat out the others mainly because of the ample room of its facility, it says. 

Though Round Rock has yet to start its own official team, the Austin area is home to two national championship winning teams: Texas Quidditch and Texas Cavalry. In the 2016-17 season, Texas had more teams registered with USQ than any other single state in the league, according to U.S. Quidditch. 

The Quidditch tournament, which first came to life in 2005, is a real-world adaptation of the game Harry Potter and his friends played in the popular book series. The magical sport involves two teams who “fly on brooms,” competing to score the most goals. It can be described as a cross between rugby, basketball and dodge ball.

Want to learn more about the competition? Find out about tickets and teams here

ESPN anchor draws ire over network’s soft WWE coverage, drops pro wrestling SportsCenter segment

Pro wrestling fans and writers had questioned World Wrestling Entertainment for several weeks after the disappearance of one of its lead announcers from television, Mauro Ranallo, who was suffering from depression.

Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer said Ranallo may have been the victim of WWE’s bullying culture, particularly John Layfield, his color commentator who made disparaging remarks about Ranallo following his absence on TV and during an out-of-character segment on the company’s streaming network.

The allegations became more rampant after the release of “Best Seat in The House,” a book by former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts. Roberts alleged Layfield bullied him and others regularly, particularly announcers. This behavior and culture was not only tolerated but encouraged by WWE owner Vince McMahon.

ESPN started covering WWE regularly last year, launching its own pro wrestling section on its website, and with a weekly SportsCenter segment by ESPN anchor Jonathan Coachman, a former WWE announcer himself.

ESPN has been questioned for its involvement with WWE, especially its reluctance to cover negative news about the company, almost to the point of sticking to storyline-esque interviews on its programming. The questioning began heating up over the weekend when the story bullying story began to go viral. When asked in a tweet if ESPN would cover the controversy, wrestling journalist Meltzer replied expressing doubt in strong language. 

Coachman wasn’t involved in the discussion, but entered the fray anyway with a shot at Meltzer.

In the middle of his argument, Coachman announced he was dropping the weekly WWE segment from SportsCenter. He deleted the Tweet later, then said he had been planning on dropping it for several weeks because of other projects, but his timing seemed suspect. He pointed fans toward ESPN’s vertical for pro wrestling and WWE coverage.

ESPN has drawn ire for its news coverage, often for its abundance of debate shows during the morning hours and conflict of interest of having TV deals with the companies it covers. The network dropped a planned fictional show based on a pro football team after criticism from the NFL, then later dropped support of a PBS Frontline documentary on accusations the NFL had covered up concussion issues. 

John Cena meets 12-year-old fan with cerebral palsy

WrestleMania 33 is Sunday night, and fans will pack the Amway Arena in Orlando or watch the matches live on the WWE Network. John Cena will be one of the headliners in pro wrestling’s biggest showcase.

>> Read more trending news 

Fans all have their favorites, and John Cena certainly ranks high among WWE fans. Recently, Cena made a 12-year-old fan’s dream come true.

At a WWE card in Johnson City, Tennessee, Cena spotted Payton Marion, who has cerebral palsy, and tossed him a T-shirt and wristband, WVLT reported. After the matches, Cena met with Payton and his father, Justin Marion.

“Payton is super excited about all that, all his friends have been aggravating him, calling him a superstar,” Justin Marion told WVLT. “The fact that my son was able to meet one of his heroes, my heart melts, and it was just crazy.”

Justin Marion explained on Reddit that WWE wrestler AJ Styles set up the meeting between Cena and his son.

“He saw us standing around, and asked if we wanted a picture,” Jason Marion said. “Of course we said ‘yes.’ Then he asked if we got to see everyone.”

When Justin Marion said Payton saw everyone but Cena — his favorite wrestler — Styles invited father and son backstage to the locker room.

Cena arrived and chatted with Payton, capping an exciting night for the boy.

Payton Marion said he uses Cena as motivation during his physical therapy.

Cena is one of pro wrestling’s biggest ambassadors, granting more than 500 requests in the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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