Sports news

Each football season brings exciting plays and game heroes, but Frank Deford says the real heroes are often overlooked.

As another school year and college football season gets underway, Deford looks at the frustrations and challenges facing educators to keep student athletes eligible.

Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue.

Updated At 2:06 pm EST. Nyad Reaches Key West:

Jellyfish stings, an asthma attack and sheer exhaustion all stopped Diana Nyad in the past. But on her fifth try, the 64-year-old Nyad became the first person to swim unaided from Cuba to Florida, a distance of more than 100 miles.

With a cheering crowd greeting her on the beach in Key West, Nyad swam ashore Monday afternoon after more than two full days in the water. The swim began Saturday morning when she jumped off a seawall at the Hemingway Marina in Havana.

Volleyball games are stopping traffic on one of Washington, D.C.'s landmark streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, this Labor Day weekend.

More than 1,000 players from across the U.S. and Canada have gathered in the nation's capital to bump, set and spike in an annual tournament with unusual rules.

The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.

Details of the agreement, which would settle concussion-related lawsuits by former players and still needs a judge's OK, were released by the league early Thursday afternoon.

According to that statement:

For Venus Williams, a three-hour tennis match came down to a third-set tiebreaker against Zheng Jie of China at the U.S. Open Wednesday night. But the world's former No. 1 player couldn't get past 44 unforced errors, and Zheng outlasted her in a rain-delayed match. Williams lost 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5).

In the match's final two points, Williams misfired on successive shots after coming back to even the tiebreaker at 5-5, sending Zheng into the third round. Williams is currently ranked 60th in the world.

There's concern the sport of swimming still may be dealing with a sexual abuse problem in the United States.

It's been three years since revelations emerged in the media. A number of in-depth reports in 2010 likened the situation in swimming to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal: Coaches molesting under-age female swimmers; some of the abuse continuing for years without punishment.

Serena Williams dispatched Francesca Schiavone, 6-0, 6-1, in the first round of the U.S. Open Monday night, in a game played under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

With the win, Serena Williams, 31, joined her older sister Venus in the second round — only the second time this year that both players have advanced past the opening round of a Grand Slam event. That last happened in the Australian Open, seven months ago.

"There is no second chance ... there is no margin of error whatsoever."

Lydia Ko, the New Zealand golfer who last year became the youngest person ever to win an LPGA event, has played her way into the record books again. By successfully defending her title at the Canadian Women's Open this past weekend, Ko, who's now 16, is the only amateur to win two LPGA events.

Would you go to a bar to celebrate a massacre? That's a choice people in Kansas City are facing.

Wednesday marks the 150th anniversary of Quantrill's Raid, a notorious killing and burning spree in Lawrence, Kan., the present-day home of the University of Kansas. It was the worst atrocity in a decade's worth of Kansas-Missouri border fighting between abolitionists and pro-slavery forces.

Emma Green Tregaro, the Swedish athlete who painted her fingernails the colors of a rainbow to show support for gay rights, has repainted her nails red, after track and field's governing body warned that her nails flouted its ban on political statements at events.

Green Tregaro, who finished fifth in the high jump Saturday at the world championships in Moscow, had initially painted her fingernails as a subtle way to protest Russia's recent passage of a law banning gay "propaganda."

As the Ohio State football team continues preparations for the 2013 season, coaches are also studying changes to game's rule on targeting defenseless players.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Russia Invites U.S. To A 'Tank Biathlon'

Aug 10, 2013

Russia has invited the U.S. to participate in a tank biathlon so that both nations may learn to play nice — with heavy artillery.

On the corner of H and 12 streets, across from the auto parts store sits a decently sized Italian restaurant and bar called Vendetta. Inside, there's a wooden bar and brick walls salvaged from churches in upstate New York and Maryland, and authentic Italian advertisements line the walls. Upstairs, old restored Italian Vespas hang from the ceiling.

Stung by fresh accusations that the NCAA makes money off college athletes, the organization promised this week to stop selling jerseys and similar products. The move came days after ESPN analyst Jay Bilas tweeted pics of the NCAA Shop selling jerseys corresponding to current players' numbers.

"You're up next."

Those three words are what any athlete longs to hear. For linebacker Brian Banks, it took more than 10 years for that sentence to be addressed to him by an NFL coach. When he heard it in a preseason game Thursday night, Banks got a taste of the life he once dreamed of — before he became a convicted felon and lost his chance to go to college, and was finally exonerated.

Here's a better look and listen to what it was like Monday night in Chicago when New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup on the same day he was hit with a 211-game suspension for allegedly using performance-enhancing substances (he can play while he appeals that punishment).

(We most recently updated this post at 6:48 p.m. ET.)

New York Yankees' slugger Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball's brightest stars and its highest-paid player, will be suspended through the 2014 regular season because he violated parts of baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the league said today.

A lot of what you'd see at the National Senior Games looks familiar if you've ever watched the Summer Olympics: There's track and field, basketball and swimming. At the Summer Olympics, however, you will not hear voices in the crowd cheering "Go, Grandma!"

Everyone at these games is over 50, and they play some sports that will likely never appear at the Olympics. Here's a sample: