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fstop123/iStock(BOSTON) -- Boston Red Sox legend and three-time World Series champion David Ortiz gave his first interview after being shot in the Dominican Republic earlier this year.

The retired slugger known as “Big Papi” was shot at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo on June 9. In the interview, he described the moment as surreal and said he wondered if he was going to see the next day.

“For the first five seconds, I thought I was having a nightmare … I was feeling something that I had never felt before in my life, and that was to try to stay alive," Ortiz told Univision in an exclusive interview Friday.

Ortiz was temporarily in a coma following complications from the shooting, and he remained in the hospital for nearly two months, undergoing three surgeries. His gunshot wounds caused damage to his liver and his small and large intestine.

Ortiz told Univision he’s still trying to process the shooting, and why he, as someone who always tried to get along with everyone, could get caught up in something like that.

“I am someone who likes to make friends, I like to be someone who is kind,” Ortiz said. “Someone that gets along with everyone - I am not [a] problematic person. I don't like problems."

Authorities said Ortiz's friend, Sixto David Fernandez, was the target -- and not Ortiz -- but the gunman allegedly told police he got the two confused. The cousin of Fernandez, Victor Hugo Gomez, was arrested on June 28 in the Dominican Republic as the mastermind of the shooting. Hugo Gomez reportedly denied any wrongdoing in July, after a video of him surfaced. Dominican National Police said the investigation is in the "secret phase," in June but have not provided any recent updates on the case against Huge Gomez.

Ortiz said he’s trying to get past the incident.

“The only thing that concerned me is that my country advances. That love that people have for you there. It is not a lie,” Ortiz told Univision.

Earlier this week Ortiz brought the home crowd at Fenway Park to its feet as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch against his long-time nemesis, the New York Yankees.

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iStock/artisteer(BOSTON) -- Hockey great Stan Makita is the latest professional athlete to join the list of Hall of Famers diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease CTE.

The announcement was made Friday by Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University’s CTE Center, one year after Makita died at the age of 78.

Makita, a star of the 1960s who was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, is the first NHL Hall of Famer to have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The list of football Hall of Famers who have been diagnosed with CTE includes NFL greats Mike Webster, Junior Seau, John Mackey and Lou Creekmur.

Other pro hockey players who have been posthumously diagnosed with CTE include NHLers Derek Boogaard, Bob Probert, Jeff Parker and Todd Ewen.

A postmortem analysis of Makita’s brain by Boston University’s CTE Center showed that the Chicago hockey great had stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy; stage 4 is the most severe form.

CTE, which is associated with repeated blows to the head and is known to cause memory loss, violent moods and other cognitive difficulties, can only be diagnosed after death.

Makita was diagnosed with another degenerative brain condition, Lewy Body Disease, in the years prior to his death.

“Stan Mikita was diagnosed with two neurodegenerative diseases that our research has shown are associated with a long career in contact sports such as ice hockey: CTE and Lewy body disease,” said McKee in a statement released in conjunction with the announcement.

Originally a scrapper, the diminutive Mikita became a prolific scorer and went on to capture four NHL scoring titles in a long 22-year career with the Blackhawks.

He led Chicago to a Stanley Cup title in 1961, and in 2017 was named by the NHL as one of the 100 greatest players in league history.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:



LA Dodgers 4, Baltimore 2
Washington 12, Minnesota 6
Cincinnati 11, Seattle 5

NY Yankees 10, Detroit 4
Kansas City 6, Chi White Sox 3
Boston 7, Toronto 4
Texas 6, Tampa Bay 4
Oakland 3, Houston 2
NY Yankees 6, Detroit 4

Milwaukee 3, Miami 2
NY Mets 11, Arizona 1
Pittsburgh 4, San Francisco 2
St. Louis 10, Colorado 3
Chi Cubs 4, San Diego 1
Philadelphia 9, Atlanta 5

Tampa Bay 20, Carolina 14

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Four-time Grand Slam winner Kim Clijsters announced her return to tennis competition Thursday, seven years after announcing her retirement.

"I don't feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again," she said on the WTA Insider Podcast. "This is my marathon. This is where I'm saying, 'OK, let's try this.'"

Clijsters, 36, said she will be on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour in 2020, playing in the competitive circuit, but in a more flexible schedule to account for her family.

"If I feel like it's interfering with what's going on with the kids, then I'm not playing. Then I'll wait until it fits," she said.

This will be Clijsters' second return to the sport. In 2007, two years after winning her first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open, she announced her retirement at age 23, citing injuries and her desire to have children.

But two years after that, in 2009, after giving birth to her daughter, Jada, Clijsters, who is from Belgium, made her first comeback -- and it was one for the history books.

In that initial comeback, Clijsters won the U.S. Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011. In doing so, Clijsters became just the third woman to win a Grand Slam after becoming a mother, joining greats Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong (While Serena Williams has been in several Grand Slam finals since becoming a mother, she has not yet won one).

She announced retirement again in 2012 after the U.S. Open, but after continuing to watch competition, she told the WTA Insider Podcast, she's been itching to get back on the court herself.

"Whenever I'm at a Grand Slam ... if somebody asked me, 'Hey, do you want to hit some balls?' I'm the first one to be like, 'I'll hit; I'll be the hitting partner for your practice today.' I still love playing tennis," she said.

Now a mother of three -- to Jada, 11, Jack, 5, and Blake, 2 -- Clijsters has been focusing on getting her fitness back, she said. As her kids are now largely in school, she has more time, and she discussed the decision with them as well as with her husband, team and the WTA.

Clijsters will also be benefiting from her past accomplishments. As a previous champion, she has the right under WTA rules to request wild-card admission into major tournaments, so she doesn't have to necessarily play all of the competitions needed to qualify for the Grand Slams.

"That's the great thing about the system that I didn't know existed. The fact that when you've been No.1, you've won a Grand Slam, and you want to come back then you can ask for wild cards," she said.

This was a factor that similarly benefited Maria Sharapova, who was granted a wild card for the U.S. Open in 2017 as she returned from a 15-month doping ban. She has not won a Slam since her return.

Other notable returns to the sport include Martina Navratilova, who retired in 1994 but returned in 2000. She retired again in 2006, at the age of 49, right after winning mixed doubles at the U.S. Open.

Monica Seles returned to competition in 1995, two years after being stabbed by a man on-court. She went on to win the 1996 Australian Open.

And then there was Bjorn Borg, whose return from an early retirement after eight years was not quite as successful.

While the 2019 tennis season is coming to a close, Clijsters will be seeing where she's at as 2020 starts -- and as the Australian Open kicks off -- to decide if she feels fitness-ready enough to jump into competition immediately.

For now, Clijsters is enjoying the feeling of pushing herself again.

"I'm surprised how, at times when I'm going through a rough practice, how easy it is for me to stick with it and to fight through it and to push through it," she said on the podcast. "It's a very satisfying feeling to have that kind of challenge again."

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:



Baltimore 7, LA Dodgers 3
Washington 6, Minnesota 2
Seattle 5, Cincinnati 3

Toronto 8, Boston 0
Oakland 5, Houston 3
Kansas City 8, Chi White Sox 6
Cleveland 4, LA Angels 3
Texas 10, Tampa Bay 9
NY Yankees at Detroit (Postponed)

Milwaukee 7, Miami 5
NY Mets 9, Arizona 0
Atlanta 3, Philadelphia 1
Colorado 2, St. Louis 1
Pittsburgh 6, San Francisco 3
San Diego 4, Chi Cubs 0

Chicago 105, Phoenix 76
Seattle 84, Minnesota 74


Toronto FC 1, New York City FC 1
Houston 2, Minnesota 0
Colorado 2, LA Galaxy 1
Real Salt Lake 1, San Jose 0

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Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Nine years ago, as the Pittsburgh Steelers opened training camp for the 2010 season, head coach Mike Tomlin assessed the future of sixth-round pick Antonio Brown and Brown's fellow rookie receivers.

"The pedigree stands out," Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They show maturity in terms of catching the football and gaining separation ... but they still got miles to go. They're rookies. But I like what they're doing."

Now, nine years later, Brown has separated himself from his rookie class -- and the rest of the NFL -- by fashioning the most prolific six-year stretch for a receiver in NFL history, topping 100 receptions and 1,200 yards receiving in each of the past six seasons.

But Brown's on-field accomplishments have been accompanied by off-field drama so unrelenting that it's had some fans checking their newsfeeds on an hourly basis.

Here's a timeline of recent events surrounding the All-Pro wideout:

JAN. 15, 2017: In the Steelers' locker room after the team's 18-16 playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Brown secretly streams the team's post-game celebration on Facebook Live, including Tomlin's post-game remarks about the Steelers' next opponent, the New England Patriots. Brown is fined for his violation of the NFL's social media policy.

OCT. 9, 2018: Brown faces a pair of lawsuits for an April incident in which he allegedly damaged his leased South Florida apartment and threw items off his balcony that nearly struck a 2-year-old boy.

NOV. 8, 2018: Brown is ticketed for driving more than 100 mph on a suburban Pittsburgh road with a speed limit of 45 mph, after police pull over his black Porsche sports car at 10 in the morning.

DEC. 16, 2018: At a team practice in the week leading up to the Steelers' regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, Brown gets into dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, according to multiple media reports. Brown then skips the week's remaining practices, leading the team to deactivate him for that Sunday's game.

FEB. 12, 2019: In a Twitter post, Brown thanks Steelers fans for the last nine years but says that it's "time to move on," spurring the team to investigate trading the elite receiver, who still has three years left on his contract.

Thank you SteelerNation for a big 9 years...time to move on and forward..........✌🏽 #NewDemands

— AB (@AB84) February 12, 2019

MARCH 10, 2019: The Steelers trade Brown to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft. Later reports suggest the Patriots may have offered as much as a first-round pick for the discontented wideout, but that the Steelers didn't want to trade him to such a close rival.

JULY 26, 2019: After signing a restructured contract that includes $30 million in guaranteed money, Brown arrives at Raiders' training camp in a hot-air balloon -- but the 10th-year receiver can't practice due to a frostbite injury to his feet caused by a mishap during a recent cryotherapy session.

JULY 30, 2019: Brown practices with the Raiders but leaves the field early when he isn't allowed to wear his helmet of choice because the 10-year-old model is no longer certified safe by league. After petitioning the league for permission to use the helmet, Brown returns to practice two weeks later but leaves practice the following week after the league rules against him.

SEPT. 4, 2019: Brown posts to Instagram a letter from Raiders general manager Mike Mayock levying $54,000 in fines for Brown's absences from training camp. "When your own team want to hate ... everyone got to pay this year," Brown says in the post. Later in the day he gets into a confrontation with Mayock on the Raiders' practice field before teammates pull him away from the GM, according to several media reports.

SEPT. 6, 2019:
Brown offers an emotional apology to his Raiders teammates at a team meeting, prompting coach Jon Gruden to say the team is "really excited" to have Brown on board and that they're "ready to move on" together. Then, later in the day, Brown posts a video to YouTube that includes portions of a private phone conversation Brown recorded between him and Gruden.

SEPT. 7, 2019: The Raiders fine Brown $215,000 for conduct detrimental to the team, thereby voiding Brown's $30 million in guaranteed money. Brown then takes to Instagram to ask for his release, saying, "You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what's best for you," and, "I'm not mad at anyone. I'm just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong." Just hours later, the Raiders release him.

SEPT. 8, 2019: The day after being let go by the Raiders, Brown agrees to a 1-year deal with the New England Patriots worth up to $15 million with a $9 million signing bonus. The news comes on the same day that reports surface suggesting that Brown may have sought advice from social media consultants on how to speed up his release from the Raiders.

SEPT. 10, 2019: Brown is accused in a civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting a woman who had worked as his personal trainer on three occasions between 2017 and 2018. Patriots officials say the league has opened an investigation into the accusations.

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Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was cut just days ago by the Oakland Raiders after a host of disciplinary problems, has been accused of rape in a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Florida.

Britney Taylor, who worked as a physical trainer for Brown, alleges that the NFL Pro Bowler sexually assaulted her twice in June 2017 while they were working together, and a third time after a night out in Miami in May 2018.

"He used manipulation and false promises to lure her into his world, and once there, he sexually assaulted and raped her," the lawsuit says of Brown. "These heinous acts have inflicted severe and dramatic damage on Ms. Taylor, irreparably harming her."

Although ABC News does not typically name alleged victims of sexual assault, Taylor's attorney revealed her identity in statements to the press and also confirmed that Taylor filed the suit in her own name.

Brown's lawyer flatly denied the allegations.

"Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit," Brown's lawyer, Darren Heitner, said in a statement. "He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations."

Heitner said any sexual relationship between the two was consensual.

“We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio's representatives," officials with the New England Patriots said in a statement Tuesday night. "We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstances does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.”

Brown's representatives said Taylor approached Brown in 2017 and asked him to invest $1.6 million in her business project, but he turned her down after learning she allegedly intended to pay off a tax lien on her home and cut off communication with her. She approached him again in 2018, though, and the two engaged in "a consensual personal relationship."

Heitner also says the 28-year-old woman stayed at Brown's house after one of the alleged assaults and continued contact with him throughout 2018 and posted photos of the two on social media.

The lawsuit lays out a May 20, 2018, incident in which Taylor says Brown "forced her down onto a bed ... and forcibly raped her" despite trying to resist him and repeatedly screaming and crying throughout.

Brown's lawyer said Taylor invited herself to a strip club with him and his friends and later invited herself to join him in his hotel room, where the two had consensual sex.

The two have known each other since 2010 when Taylor was a freshman gymnast at Central Michigan University and he played for the football team.

The lawsuit lays out detailed information of the pair's relationship and includes graphic text messages Brown allegedly sent to her. She is asking for a jury trial.

Brown, 31, has been in the news almost constantly for the past month as he apparently tried to force his way out of Oakland, where he had been traded in the offseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to deal the discontent receiver just months earlier.

He missed time with frostbite on his feet due to a cryotherapy mishap, petitioned the league to be able to use a now-banned helmet and repeatedly -- and openly -- battled with Oakland general manager Mike Mayock on social media. He was fined multiple times and eventually forced his way off the team by asking for his release on Instagram last week.

The Raiders voided Brown's $30 million contract when they released him.

The defending champion New England Patriots signed the receiver over the weekend. Much of the contract is not guaranteed, and incentive-based.

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8213erika/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- The California Assembly has overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow college athletes to earn income for the first time from their names, images and likenesses -- a proposal praised by NBA star LeBron James but slammed by the NCAA.

The proposal, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, would prohibit California colleges and universities from enforcing NCAA rules preventing student-athletes from being compensated for the use of their names, images and likenesses and from endorsements and sponsorships.

The state Assembly passed the bill on Monday in a 73-0 vote. An earlier version was approved by the state Senate on May 22 and the amended bill will go back to the state Senate for a vote on Friday.

If approved by the Senate, the bill will be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will have 30 days to sign it into law or veto it.

It could go into effect in 2023.

The Assembly voted on the bill after LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers tweeted his support for the legislation last week.

"California can change the game," James, a frequent critic of the NCAA who went straight to the NBA from high school, said in his tweet.

In a statement to ABC News on Tuesday, the NCAA said it is closely monitoring the legislation.

"As we evaluate our next steps, we remain focused on providing opportunities and a level playing field for the nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide," the statement reads.

In a letter sent to state Assembly leaders in June, NCAA President Mark Emmert warned that if the legislation becomes law there could be severe consequences for the state's colleges and universities, including prohibiting athletic teams from participating in NCAA championships.

“We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that has been the subject of litigation and much national debate," Emmert wrote in his letter.

"Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships," Emmert wrote. "As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist."

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, a co-author of the bill, said the proposed law would level the playing field for student-athletes against "unfair rules that exploit college athletes and allow the NCAA, universities, TV networks, and corporate sponsors to pocket huge sums."

She said the rules have "disproportionately harmed students from low-income families," including many who live below the poverty line while attempting to simultaneously fulfill their dreams in the athletic arena and the classroom.

"They’re particularly unfair to female athletes because, for many young women, college is the only time they could earn income since women have fewer professional sports opportunities than men,” Skinner's statement reads.

The action taken by California lawmakers appears to be gaining national traction.

In March, U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., proposed the Student-Athlete Equity Act, bipartisan legislation that would remove the restriction on student-athletes using or being compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses.

Some athletes have previously sued the NCAA and video game makers in attempts to get paid for the use of their names and likenesses.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon, who led the school to an NCAA Division I men's basketball championship in 1995, was the lead plaintiff in an anti-trust lawsuit that challenged the NCAA's right to use athletes' names, images and likenesses without compensation. O'Bannon claimed his name and image were illegally used in video games years after he graduated and without him ever being compensated.

A judge presiding over O'Bannon's case found in 2014 that amateurism rules for college sports violated federal antitrust law and ruled that student-athletes could be compensated as much as $5,000 annually. But an appeals court struck down the plan to pay student-athletes.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:



LA Dodgers 7, Baltimore 3
Minnesota 5, Washington 0
Seattle 4, Cincinnati 3

Detroit 12, NY Yankees 11
Toronto 4, Boston 3
Chi White Sox 7, Kansas City 3
Oakland 21, Houston 7
Tampa Bay 5, Texas 3, 11 innings
Cleveland 8, LA Angels 0

Philadelphia 6, Atlanta 5
NY Mets 3, Arizona 2
Milwaukee 4, Miami 3
Colorado 2, St. Louis 1
San Francisco 5, Pittsburgh 4
San Diego 9, Chi Cubs 8, 10 innings

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FILE photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(BOSTON) -- Beloved Boston icon David Ortiz brought the crowd at Fenway Park to its feet after making a surprise appearance three months after he was shot in the Dominican Republic.

Ortiz, the retired Red Sox slugger, was met with roaring applause and a standing ovation Monday night when he came out to throw out the first pitch ahead of the team's game against the New York Yankees. It was his first public appearance since the shooting on June 9.

"First of all, I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be able to be here with all of you," Ortiz said before the game. " I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family, they have always been there for me, supported [me]. With what happened to me, they were the first supporting me. Thank you very much, Red Sox family."

Ortiz, who is affectionately known as "Big Papi," was sitting at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo when a gunman came behind him and opened fire. An investigation into the shooting revealed that Ortiz was not the intended target and the bullets were meant for his friend, Sixto David Fernandez.

Oritz underwent at least three surgeries after he was shot in the back. He was released from the hospital nearly 7 weeks after the shooting.

Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz, 25, of New Jersey, was arrested and identified as the alleged gunman who shot Ortiz. Thirteen other suspects have also been arrested for their alleged involvement in the shooting.

Mookie Betts, the right fielder for the Red Sox, posted a tribute to Ortiz welcoming him back.

"So glad to have you back! Love you big bro," he wrote on Instagram.

Red Sox fans were pleasantly surprised at both the appearance and how good he looked on Monday.

"Everybody stood up. It was unbelievable," one Red Sox fan told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB. "Everyone was just cheering. It was crazy."

"He actually looked really good when he came out," the fan said. "I was surprised. I thought he’d be, like, maybe limping or with someone helping him, but he ran right out there."

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