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Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett killed in crash during race

Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett was killed in a crash Thursday night during an event at BAPS Motorspeedway in York Haven, Pennsylvania, the World of Outlaws said in a news release. He was 49.

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Hodnett, from Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, was a five-time champion at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania and was the 1993 World of Outlaws top rookie, ESPN reported. He won 20 World of Outlaws races during his career.

“To me, Greg represented the true gentleman competitor in the pit area,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said in the news release.

A statement on Hodnett's website said: "Please keep (wife) Sherry, the entire Hodnett family, and the Heffner racing team in your thoughts and prayers. Greg was a professional in every sense of the word, and will be desperately missed!"

Drought over: Browns win first game since December 2016

Here are two words that haven’t been back to back in the same sentence since Dec. 24, 2016: Browns win.

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Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield rallied Cleveland from a two-touchdown deficit in his NFL debut Thursday night to lead the Browns to a 21-17 victory against the New York Jets, ESPN reported.

The victory snapped a 19-game winless streak and ended a 635-day victory drought.

Joe Schobert’s interception of Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold with 1:21 to play and a Terrance Mitchell pick with 11 seconds left sealed the victory, sending Browns fans into a frenzy, ESPN reported.

"We finally put the pieces together a little bit," Mayfield said. "This crowd deserved to see that first win here at home."

Only 10 players on Cleveland’s roster were with the team the last time the Browns (1-1-1) won a game, ESPN reported. The Jets fell to 1-2.

Mayfield led the Browns on their winning rally by completing six of eight passes in a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Carlos Hyde’s second touchdown with 2:04 to play.

Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak was the NFL’s second-longest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their first 26 games.

Houston Texans players rip superintendent for ‘you can’t count on a black quarterback’ post 

Houston Texans football coach Bill O’Brien and several players criticized a Facebook post made by a Texas school superintendent after the team’s 27-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, that read in part, “you can’t count on a black quarterback,” the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

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Lynn Redden, the superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District, apparently was reacting to the final play of Sunday’s game, when Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson held on to the football as time ran out.

The incident occurred Monday, when the Chronicle posted a meme about the play.

Matt Erickson, of Houston, commented that he never watches the "perpetual dumpster fire that is the Houston Texans," KTRK reported.

Redden, who is white, then replied in a public post, “That may have been the most inept quarterback decision I've seen in the NFL. When you need precision decision making you can't count on a black quarterback."

The Chronicle obtained a screenshot of the comment, the newspaper reported.

At his Wednesday news conference, O’Brien criticized the comments.

"I don't want to waste any time responding to ignorant, idiotic statements," O’Brien said. "Deshaun represents everything that's right about football and life. It's amazing that BS exists, but it does."

At the same news conference, Watson said he had experienced racism before but did not comment about the superintendent’s post.

"That's on him – let peace be with him," Watson said. "I'm all about love."

Texans defensive star J.J. Watt said the post “does not deserve any attention from any of us.”

“It's a very ignorant comment that doesn't deserve any more play,” Watt said. “It's very unfortunate. I trust (Watson). We all trust him."

Redden told the Chronicle in a telephone interview that he regretted making the post, which has been deleted, and thought he was responding to a private message. He told the newspaper he deleted the comment as soon as he realized it was public. He said that he was referring to the statistical success of black NFL quarterbacks, adding that they "have had limited success" throughout the league's history, the Chronicle reported.

The Onalaska ISD school board will discuss Redden's contract during a closed meeting Saturday, the Chronicle reported. In a statement to KPRC, the school board said that it “does not condone negative comments or actions against any race.”

"The district values every individual and therefore the district will take the appropriate measures to address the situation expeditiously and completely," the statement read.

NBA star Russell Westbrook, wife Nina expecting twin girls

NBA star Russell Westbrook and his wife, Nina, announced Tuesday they are expecting twin girls in a YouTube video produced by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The video is called "The Westbrook Family." Nina lets out the news they're having twins 2:12 into the video. Russell mentions they will be girls at the 2:28 mark.

> Watch the video here

The couple already have a 1-year-old son named Noah.

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Russell had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. The seven-time All-Star and former MVP is expected to miss preseason and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. The Thunder's first game is Oct. 16 at Golden State.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge sets world mark in marathon

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge set a world record in the marathon Sunday, winning the Berlin race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds, ESPN reported.

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Kipchoge, 33, an Olympic champion, broke the previous world record set in 2014 by 1:18 to become the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours, 2 minutes.

"I lack words to describe this day," said Kipchoge, who also won the Berlin Marathon in 2017.

Improving the world record by 78 seconds was the largest improvement to the marathon world record since 1967, when Derek Clayton shaved 2:23 off the time, The Guardian reported.

Gladys Cherono won the women's race in 2:18:11, ESPN reported. That was a women’s record for Berlin and the fourth fastest time in women’s marathon history, The Guardian reported. Only Paula Radcliffe, Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba have run the women’s marathon in faster times. Mizuki Noguchi of Japan set the previous record 13 years ago, The Guardian reported.

Colin Kaepernick's 'I'm With Kap' jersey sells out in hours

New jerseys supporting Colin Kaepernick are sold out hours after being announced for presale, and he’s still a free agent in the NFL.

USA Today reported that Kaepernick announced that jerseys with “#IMWITHKAP” across the front were up for presale Monday. They have the athlete and activist’s number, 7, on the back, as well as his last name.

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Kaepernick posted on Twitter that a portion of proceeds for the limited edition jerseys, which sold for $99.99 in youth sizes and $174.99 in adult unisex sizes, will benefit the Know Your Rights Camp. The campaign, founded by Kaepernick, raises awareness on self improvement and education and provides instructions on how to properly interact with law enforcement in varying situations.

Hours after the announcement was made, Kaepernick said in a follow-up tweet that the jerseys were instantly all out of stock, adding that all profits would now go to Know Your Rights Camp.

This is the latest in activism and awareness work for Kaepernick. He is the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary of the brand’s “Just Do It” campaign, and appeared in a commercial for the brand that aired during the NFL season opener game Thursday. Since the campaign was announced, online Nike sales are up 31 percent, despite a number of boycotts across the country.

Photos: Serena Williams through the years

Images of tennis icon Serena Williams throughout her career and time in the public eye.

Iowa boy, 11, who wanted casket decorated with racing stickers dies

An 11-year-old Iowa boy suffering from leukemia who wanted to decorate his casket with racing stickers died Monday morning, KCCI reported.

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Caleb Hammond, of Oskaloosa, died at 2 a.m. Monday, his mother, Holly Kempf, wrote on Facebook. The boy was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2017, according to the Des Moines Register. Caleb went through several months of unsuccessful chemotherapy treatments and a bone marrow transplant, before he and his family decided to discontinue treatment, the newspaper reported.

Kempf wrote on Facebook Monday: "Our little Mr went peacefully in his sleep at 2:00 a.m. today surrounded by our families. Before I was woken up being told he was getting ready to pass, he was smiling at me while I was dreaming. With my hand on his chest, I felt his last breath and a few last heartbeats."

>> Boy dying from leukemia wants racing stickers for his casket

Caleb received hundreds of stickers from all over the country, including some from NASCAR and IndyCar drivers, WXIN reported. He also was given the chance to drive a race car on a dirt track and ride in a $3 million race car, KCCI reported. Ferrari dealer Garrett Hayim sent the race car, a driver and a racing suit to Iowa so Caleb could ride at the Iowa Speedway, the television station reported.

On Facebook, NASCAR Off-Track posted that the #TeamCaleb car decal will be run in the boy’s honor Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Twelve NASCAR race cars will honor Hammond today at IMS during the Xfinity race and Brickyard 400, WXIN reported.

Several NASCAR drivers and teams tweeted their condolences Monday.

Funeral services are pending, KCCI reported.

Who is Naomi Osaka, U.S. Open champion who beat Serena Williams?

She’s now the champion of the U.S. Open but who is Naomi Osaka, the tennis player who beat Serena Williams in the finals?

Williams was fined $17,000 for three code violations during her loss to Osaka Saturday during the U.S. Open women’s singles final -- $4,000 for receiving coaching, $3,000 for racket abuse and $10,000 for verbal abuse, ESPN reported.

Williams had asked for an apology after being given a warning by chair umpire Carlos Ramos. He said Williams received coaching during her Grand Slam match. She took issue with the allegations and called Ramos a thief during an argument.

Williams then smashed her racket later in the match after she had a bad game, ESPN reported.

Osaka went on to beat Williams 6-2, 6-4 for her first Grand Slam title.

>>Read: Serena Williams fined $17K for code violations at US Open final

Here are five facts about Naomi Osaka:

Her parents: Leonard Francois, her father, is Haitian. Tamaki Osaka, her mother, is Japanese. The couple met when Francois was a college student studying in New York who was visiting Hokkaido. Tamaki Osaka’s father said she had brought disgrace to her family when she was dating a foreign person who was black. They moved to Osaka, where Naomi Osaka was born, The Washington Post reported.

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She shares her name with her hometown: Naomi Osaka has said she grew up in New York, then moved to Florida when she was either 8 or 9 years old. But her last name, Osaka, is the same as the city of her birth, Osaka, Japan. She has joked that everyone who is born in the city shares the last name, The Washington Post reported. Despite having a home in Florida, she plays for Japan, The New Yorker reported.

Turned pro: Naomi Osaka turned pro at the age of 15 in 2013. She had a first-round win in 2014 against 2011 U.S. Open Champion Samantha Stosur, according to Bleacher Report. She has also beaten big tennis stars like Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams, according to Bleacher Report.

“Newcomer of the Year:” Many who are not regular watchers of tennis may not recognize Naomi Osaka, but she’s been around, winning the “Newcomer of the Year” title at the Women’s Tennis Association Awards in 2016. That same year she was also named WTA “Breakthrough of the Month” after entering the Australian Open and reaching the third round of the French Open and US Open.  That year she ended the season ranked 48th.

First Japanese player to win Grand Slam title: With her defeat of Serena Williams, Osaka is now ranked seventh in the world for singles women, according to the WTA. She has a singles record of 25-10 and two WTA singles titles under her belt. So far this year, she has made more than $5.7 million in prize money, taking home more than $7 million over her career. In March 2018, she was the first Japanese woman to win the Indian Wells Masters in California. It was her first WTA title, according to the New York Times. In that tournament, she was unseeded, the Times reported.

Nike online sales rise by 31 percent

Despite some early backlash and a slight dip in sales, Nike’s online sales increased by 31 percent from Sunday through Tuesday of this week, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The company introduced controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” advertising campaign. President Donald Trump, police officers and many football fans objected to the choice, arguing that Kaepernick taking a knee to protest police brutality and racial injustice was out of line. 

>> Colin Kaepernick face of Nike’s new ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign

The ad, released Monday and featured on television for the first time during Thursday’s NFL opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, featured a close-up, black-and-white image of Kaepernick with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” 

On Friday, San Francisco-based Edison Trends revealed that after an initial drop in sales, Nike recovered strongly. Its 31 percent rise is nearly double its 17 percent gain over the same time period in 2017.

“There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales,” Edison Trends co-founder Hetal Pandya said in a statement. “The data does not support that theory.”

>> Nike campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick sparks boycott

But after Nike’s stock fell 3.9 percent to touch a low of $79 per share on Tuesday, it rebounded to end the week at $80.30 per share, The New York Post reported.

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