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Patriots’ Tom Brady ‘not talking about’ possible hand injury

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke to the media Friday amid wild speculation about his status after a hand injury was listed earlier in the week. 

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“We'll see,” he said when asked about his status for Sunday's AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Brady was spotted at practice Friday wearing red gloves on both of his hands, but it wasn't clear if he worked out with the team. 

The issues began Wednesday when Brady was included on the Patriots injury report. He met with medical staff while his teammates and coach Bill Belichick spoke with the media. 

When asked why he was wearing gloves, he responded, “I've worn them before.” 

He declined to discuss his injury or anything about practice. 

“Why are you wearing gloves inside?” one reporter asked. 

“She (reporter) already asked that,” Brady said.

Brady’s teammates, including center David Andrews and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, avoided the issue. 

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported Brady jammed his hand during practice and X-rays showed no structural damage.

Brady was listed on the Patriots’ injury report as non-participant at practice Thursday and canceled a second media availability later that day.

Brady has missed practices this season due to various minor injuries, but has not missed any games due to injury since 2008. 

New England, Jacksonville firms make whiskey wager for AFC title game

The "whiskey wagers" are flying back and forth between distilleries in New England and Northeast Florida ahead of Sunday's AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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It began with Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, challenging the St. Augustine Distillery Company to a whiskey wager on Facebook. The stakes: The losing distillery has to send the winning distillery a case of its whiskey AND wear the winning team's gear while they're open for all their guests to see. The St. Augustine Distillery then accepted that wager in a Facebook video.

Then, Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits doubled down on the bet and challenged Manifest Distilling of Jacksonville and offered to throw in some lobsters with the help of Lobsters New England.

Manifest Distilling accepted the challenge and also pulled in Intuition Ale Works and Bold Bean Coffee Roasters, who, at the end of the Facebook video (see full video below), challenged the George Howell Coffee Company in Acton, Mass., to take part in the wager. No word yet on if George Howell accepted the challenge:

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. 

Celtics great Jo Jo White dead at 71

JoJo White, who played with the Celtics from 1969 to 1979 and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, passed away at the age of 71. 

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News of White's passing was first reported by the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, who received word from one of White's former teammates. 

The news was confirmed by the Celtics shortly before the team's game against New Orleans Tuesday night. 

White joined the Celtics after a successful college career at Kansas. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 1970, was named an All-Star seven times and had his No. 10 retired by the Celtics in 1982.

White averaged 21 points per game in the Celtics six-game win over the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA Finals. He was named Finals MVP. 

He played for six Celtics teams that reached the playoffs. He had a 13-year career in the NBA, playing two years with the Golden State Warriors and one with the Kansas City Kings after leaving the Celtics. He averaged 20.2 points per game during his career.

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.

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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.”

Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette involved in multicar crash

The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed that Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was involved in a three-car crash Tuesday on I-295 in Jacksonville. 

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Sgt. Dylan Bryan said Fournette was inside a vehicle involved in the collision. Fournette was able to drive home, a Jaguars spokesman said. 

There were no injuries and Fournette was not at fault, officials said. 

A driver of a black Buick in the crash was cited for careless driving. 

The crash occurred around 11:40 a.m. on I-295 southbound near Heckscher Drive and the Dames Point Bridge, according to FHP. 

The crash temporarily blocked a lane. 

Fournette and the Jaguars will be playing for a spot in the Super Bowl on Sunday when they travel to New England to face the Patriots in the AFC championship game.

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.

Wrong guy: Ohio man tabbed as Tennessee coach on Twitter enjoying the notoriety

An Ohio man has gained notoriety in recent weeks, thanks to a college football coach with the same name.

Jeremy Pruitt of Dayton was mistaken on Twitter by football fans as being the new coach of the University of Tennessee football team, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Another Jeremy Pruitt was named Tennessee’s football coach on Dec. 7.

The mix-up began in November, when rumors emerged that Pruitt the football coach was rumored to be a candidate for the Mississippi State University football job before he took the Tennessee position.

A mistaken Mississippi State fan reportedly sent the Pruitt from Dayton a message on Twitter, prompting him to then tweet about the mix-up.

“No way I’m getting tweeted about accepting the Miss State coaching job lol,” Dayton’s Pruitt wrote.

A columnist at the Tuscaloosa News then retweeted the tweet to his thousands of followers, causing Dayton’s Pruitt to receive dozens of tweets from Mississippi State fans, most of whom realized the mix-up.

Since then, Pruitt has gained thousands of followers on Twitter and he has jokingly changed his profile and cover photos to include Mississippi State logos and images. Pruitt has told news outlets that he is originally from Columbus and is actually an avid fan of Ohio State University.

Along with his explosion of online followers, Dayton’s Pruitt has also received mentions on TV from ESPN and on the sports website SB Nation.

And the “other” Jeremy Pruitt? Here is his introductory news conference when he was named the Vols’ head coach:

NFL commissioner gives 99-year-old Vikings fan tickets to Super Bowl

When it comes to the Minnesota Vikings, Millie Wall has seen it all -- almost.

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The 99-year-old fan was there when the Vikings joined the NFL in 1961. She suffered through four Super Bowl losses in the 1970s, and agonized when Dallas’ Drew Pearson seemed to push off Vikings defender Nate Wright to catch a Hail Mary touchdown pass in a 1975 playoff game to give the Cowboys a shocking victory.

“You just had to bear it,”Wall told WCCO.

Sunday night, she witnessed her first playoff game in person and saw the Miracle of Minneapolis unfold, as the Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints 29-24 on the game’s final play to reach the NFC championship game.

And if the Vikings should defeat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Wall will be in the stands for Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, courtesy of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, WCCO reported.

Wall could be seen during the Vikings game Sunday drinking a screwdriver with her granddaughter, Ashley, WCCO reported. The team had given her two tickets to the playoff game against New Orleans to celebrate her upcoming 100th birthday in July.

How rabid a fan has Wall been? When angered or frustrated by the Vikings’ play, she would throw a foam brick at her television set, WCCO reported.

“There were years I got up all the time so I thought ‘Well, this is dumb,’” Wall told WCCO. “So now I put a string on (the brick) so I can retrieve it.”

If the Vikings reach the Super Bowl, it will be the first time a team will play pro football’s biggest game in its home stadium. And if Minnesota should win its first Vince Lombardi trophy, then Wall truly would have seen it all.

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