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Report: Atlanta Falcons Investigated For “Fake” Crowd Noise

Report: Atlanta Falcons Investigated For “Fake” Crowd Noise

Leon Halip/Getty Images(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- While national attention has been drawn to the New England Patriots and underinflated footballs, another NFL team is being investigated for cheating.

The Atlanta Falcons are accused of projecting artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome over the past two seasons, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"We were informed during the season that the league office is looking into crowd noise during our games," a Falcons team spokesman said. "We have cooperated fully with them, and we're awaiting the outcome."

The Falcons are alleged to have played phony crowd noise while the opposing team huddled to call its play. 

In a similar fashion to deflated footballs, some question how much of an advantage was gained. Many teams now utilize a silent count by which the offense begins their play based on when the center snaps the ball, rather than the quarterback starting the play with an audible sound.

The Falcons are 6-10 the past two seasons at home. 

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Scoreboard Roundup – 2/1/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 2/1/15Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: New York Knicks 92 (10-38) - Los Angeles Lakers 80 (13-35) Miami Heat 83 (21-26) - Boston Celtics 75 (16-30) NHL: Nashville Predators 4 (32-11-6, 70 pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 0 (28-14-8, 64 pts) St. Loui...

Pitt Upsets No. 8 Notre Dame

Pitt Upsets No. 8 Notre DameG Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH, Pa.)-- The Pittsburgh Panthers have upset the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. With a last second steal by junior guard James Robinson the Panthers took down the Fighting Irish 76-72 Saturday to end a...

NFL Puts Cap On Tone-Deaf Season

NFL Puts Cap On Tone-Deaf Season Christian Petersen/Getty Images (PHOENIX, Az.)-- The NFL has come full circle on an embarrassing 2014-2015 season. In the annual pre-Super Bowl press conference, held Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell was asked by CNN's Rachel Nichols if the league c...

Serena Williams Wins Sixth Australian Open

Serena Williams Wins Sixth Australian Open

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- Top-seeded Serena Williams defeats second-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 (5) to win her sixth Australian Open title.

Williams has now won 19 Grand Slams pushing her past Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert for second most all-time, and putting her four behind Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22.

Williams, who was battling a cold, breezed through the first set before fending off a pesky Sharapova in the second set.

The 33-year-old Williams has now beaten Sharapova 16-straight times.

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Tiger Shoots Worst Round of Career, Misses Cut

Tiger Shoots Worst Round of Career, Misses Cut

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) -- Tiger Woods shot a professional worst 82 during second round play at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Friday.Woods missed the cut and failed to break 80 for just the second time in his professional career."We all have days like this," Woods. "Unfortunately, mine was in a public forum, a public setting. We all have days like this. We take the good with the bad, and the thing is even on bad days like this, just keep fighting, because on the good days you've got to keep fighting, as well."Woods had six bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey Friday. This was Woods' first event of 2015. He is expected to play at next week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

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NBA Announces All-Star Reserves

NBA Announces All-Star Reserves

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thursday night, the NBA announced the final players that were selected to play in the 64th NBA All-Star Game that will be held Feb. 15 in New York City.The Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks led the way with three selections: Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford.Chicago's Jimmy Butler and Golden State's Clay Thompson were both selected for the first time.  Despite playing in only 21 of the Thunder's first 46 games, Kevin Durant earned a spot on the West squad. He will be joined in the front court by Portland's LeMarcus Aldridge and San Antonio's Tim Duncan.Rounding out the West reserves are the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, and Houston's James Harden.The East squad also includes Cleveland's Kyrie Irving and Miami's Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

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Duke Dismisses Guard Rasheed Sulaimon

Duke Dismisses Guard Rasheed Sulaimon

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Duke dismissed junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon from the basketball program Thursday."Rasheed has been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a release. "It is a privilege to represent Duke University and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a certain manner. After Rasheed repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations, it became apparent that it was time to dismiss him from the program."The news comes as a surprise considering Sulaimon wasn't publicly disciplined all season.The 20-year-old from Houston started 50 games during his first two seasons with Duke but became a bench player this season when the blue devils brought in freshmen Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow.Sulaimon played in all 20 of the team's games this season, averaging 7.5 points, two rebounds and 1.8 assists.Sulaimon becomes the first player to be dismissed from Duke's basketball program since Krzyzewski took over as head coach.

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Report: Reliever Casey Janssen Signs with Nationals

Report: Reliever Casey Janssen Signs with Nationals

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Reliever Casey Janssen signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Washington Nationals, MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal tweeted Wednesday.The 33-year-old Janssen has played eight major league seasons, all with the Toronto Blue Jays. During that time he's pitched 493 innings, compiling 90 saves, a 3.52 ERA, 368 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP.Janssen served the last three seasons as the Blue Jays closer, saving 81 of his 91 opportunities.Janssen is expected to serve as a set-up man for closer Drew Storen.Janssen joins a bullpen that lost Ross Detwiler and Tyler Clippard to trades and Rafael Soriano to free agency this offseason.

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Irving Nets 55 to Lead Cavs to 8th-Straight Win

Irving Nets 55 to Lead Cavs to 8th-Straight Win

Chris Chambers/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Kyrie Irving scored a career-high 55 points, offsetting the absence of Lebron James, to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94 Wednesday night.The Cavaliers (27-20) have now won eight straight. Irving was on fire most of the game, scoring 29 of Cleveland's 54 first-half points. He also hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Cavaliers the win.Portland (32-14) received an admirable performance from LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge scored 38 points and grabbed 11 boards in the loss.Irving's 55 points is the most scored by any player in a game this season, and also breaks the Quicken Loans Arena scoring record that was held by Allen Iverson.

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Two Former Vanderbilt Football Players Found Guilty of Rape

Two Former Vanderbilt Football Players Found Guilty of Rape

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tn.) -- Corey Batey and Brandon Vandenburg were found guilty on all charges related to a rape case from 2013. 

The two former football players at Vanderbilt University were convicted by a Nashville jury after a little more than three hours of deliberation.

The two were accused of raping a female student in a dormitory.

Batey, 21, was found guilty on five charges of aggravated rape and two charges of aggravated sexual battery. While Vandenburg, 21, was found guilty on the same charges plus evidence tampering as well as unlawful photography.

Two other players are currently awaiting trial on similar charges.

The victim released a statement after the verdict:

"You are my heroes and I am so proud of and grateful for each of you," the statement read. "I am also hopeful that the publicity this case has received will lead to a discussion of how we can end sexual violence on college campuses. Finally, I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame."

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Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron Carter

Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron CarterTom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, In.) -- The Indianapolis Colts are in the final stages of signing wide receiver Duron Carter, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 6'5" Carter is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter,...

Red Sox, Rangers Complete Pitching Swap

Red Sox, Rangers Complete Pitching Swap

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- The Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers have swapped pitchers struggling to find their role.

Rangers vice president of communications John Blake announced via Twitter Tuesday that Boston has sent right-hander Anthony Ranaudo to Texas in exchange for left-hander Robbie Ross, Jr.

Ranaudo, 25, displayed fantastic play in Triple A, compiling a 14-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 111 strikeouts over 138 innings pitched. He made his Major League debut last season, but struggled to find the same groove as his ERA ballooned to 4.81 in 39.1 innings of work.

Ross, 25, struggled last season after a transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Posting a 6.20 ERA in 78.1 innings, Ross failed to find a role in the Rangers injury-riddled rotation.  He will likely resume his role as a left-handed reliever with Boston, a role he excelled in during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In his career, he has a 53.8 percent ground ball rate.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 1/27/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 1/27/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Men's Top 25 College Basketball: (14) VCU 72 (17-3) - George Washington 48 (16-5)

(17) West Virginia 65 (17-3) - Kansas State 59 (12-9)

Xavier 66 (14-7) - (21) Georgetown 53 (14-6)

NBA: Toronto Raptors 104 (30-15) - Indiana Pacers 88 (16-31)

Cleveland Cavaliers 103 (26-20) - Detroit Pistons 95 (17-29)

Milwaukee Bucks 109 (23-22) - Miami Heat 102 (20-25)

NHL:  Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (21-22-3, 45pts) - Washington Capitals 3 (24-14-9, 57pts)

Pittsburgh Penguins 5 (27-12-8, 62pts) - Winnipeg Jets 3 (26-15-8, 60pts)

New York Islanders 4 (32-14-1, 65pts) - New York Rangers 1 (27-14-4, 58pts)

Philadelphia Flyers 4 (20-22-7, 47pts) - Arizona Coyotes 3 (16-25-6, 38pts) - SO

Carolina Hurricanes 4 (17-25-5, 39pts) - Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (30-15-4, 64pts)

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Former NFL Commissioner Tagliabue Critical of Goodell

Former NFL Commissioner Tagliabue Critical of Goodell

NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue provided a candid view of the NFL under the leadership of current Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL ownership.

Tagliabue expressed concern for the league and of Goodell in a GQ article that profiles the current commissioner. Among the chief concerns Tagliabue noted was Goodell's obsession with the NFL gaining profit and finding larger revenue streams; even at the expense of the game itself. Goodell has stated that he would like the NFL to be a $25 billion industry by 2027.

There has been an increasingly hostile relationship between Goodell and NFL players. Goodell has handed out uneven punishment to players for on-field and off-field infractions, depending on his attitude towards the offending party. 

Where Goodell handed out Draconian punishments to the New Orleans Saints in the wake of the Bountygate scandal, he seemingly did a favor to the Baltimore Ravens organization by suspending Ray Rice after a domestic violence incident with his now wife, Janay Palmer.  

Tagliabue, who was appointed by Goodell to hear appeals for Bountygate, sees this as a major flaw.

"If they see you making decisions only in economic terms, they start to understand that and question what you're all about," he said. "There's a huge intangible value in peace. There's a huge intangible value in having allies."

Tagliabue served as commissioner from 1989, succeeding Pete Rozelle, through 2006, when Goodell took over.

"We haven't talked much since I left. It's been his decision," said Tagliabue. "Bountygate didn't help."

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Berdych Upsets Nadal In Quarterfinals

Berdych Upsets Nadal In Quarterfinals

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUSTRALIA) -- The 2015 Australian Open has had a major upset.

In straight sets, Tomas Berdych defeated No. 3 ranked Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6, Tuesday to move on to the semi-finals.

"I was ready for everything and I think that was the difference," Berdych said. "I started pretty well, but when you're playing Rafa you have to keep going to the last point."

Berdych, a 29-year-old from the Czech Republic, had lost 17-straight times to Nadal.  The 18th time, Berdych was focused, showing little emotion during the match and kept Nadal off balance.

"I'm feeling ok, just was not my day," said Nadal, the 2009 winner of the Australian Open. "I didn't play with the right intensity, the right rhythm and the opponent played better than me."

Berdych will face Andy Murray in the next round. 

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Lance Armstrong: I Would Dope Again

Lance Armstrong: I Would Dope Again

Gary Miller/FilmMagic

(NEW YORK) -- Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted he would cheat again if the circumstances were right.

"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to do it again," Armstong said in an interview with the BBC. "If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I would probably do it again."

Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, after years of denying any wrongdoing, that he did dope while winning seven straight Tour de France championships.

Armstrong blames the culture of racing back in the 2000s, during which time he claims the vast majority of cyclists were using some sort of performance-enhancing substance to get an advantage.

"When I made that decision, when my teammates made that decision, the whole peloton made that decision, we get it," Armstrong said. "It was a bad decision in an imperfect time, but it happened."

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and was removed as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation, the charitable organization he founded, after evidence proved he cheated.

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Raiders Bring Back Woodson

Raiders Bring Back Woodson

Jeff Gross/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Ca.) -- The Oakland Raiders are bringing one of the most recognizable names in franchise history back for another season.

The Silver and Black announced via Twitter Monday that Charles Woodson had signed a one-year deal that will see him play his 11th season in Oakland. 

Woodson, 38, left the Raiders in 2006 to spend seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers.  He earned his first Super Bowl ring with Green Bay in 2010.

Last season, Woodson led the Raiders with four interceptions.

Woodson was drafted fourth overall in 1998 by the Raiders after winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Michigan.

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Report: Dan Quinn to Be Named Falcons Head Coach

Report: Dan Quinn to Be Named Falcons Head Coach

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- Once the Super Bowl has concluded, the Atlanta Falcons are expected to name Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their head coach, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Quinn, 44, has served as defensive coordinator of the Seahawks defense for the past two seasons after replacing Gus Bradley, who took the head job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Falcons have already named Kyle Shanahan as the team’s offensive coordinator, though it has been rumored that his hiring is contingent on Quinn being hired.

Raheem Morris, a former player of Quinn at Hofstra in 1990, will likely join the Falcons as defensive coordinator.  Morris was previously head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-2011.

Quinn has been in a bit of a tricky situation because of NFL rules. As a member of a coaching staff that is actively in the postseason, Quinn was only available to interview during the Seahawks bye weeks -- the wild card round and this week leading up to the Super Bowl.  No team was able to hire him until the Seahawks season concluded.

He will replace Mike Smith, who served as Falcons head coach for the past seven seasons. 

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Whiteside Posts Triple Double in Heat Win

Whiteside Posts Triple Double in Heat Win

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(CHICAGO, Ill.) -- On way to a victory over the Chicago Bulls, a remarkable event occurred for the Miami Heat. Hassan Whiteside, a center who has worked on his craft in the Developmental League, recorded a triple double for the Heat in their 96-84 win.

By putting up 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks, Whiteside recorded his first career triple-double. He also did this in 25 minutes of action; achieving the feat in the second shortest period of time in the shot clock era. 

"It's a blessing. Like I told my teammates, you won't believe how things work out in life," said Whiteside. "Three months ago I was at the downtown Y just chilling, working on my game. I couldn't get a team to pick up the phone."

A second round pick of the Sacramento Kings in 2010, many teams chose to steer themselves away from Whiteside because of questions about his attitude. After working on his craft overseas and in the D-League, Whiteside signed with the Heat in November.

“That’s what the team needs,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “It gives us a very different dimension. It’s a credit to him for continuing to work hard and match it with his talent.”

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