Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is giving a voice to the voiceless.
Wilson, who has always been exceptionally charitable, is partnering with the Banfield Foundation to raise awareness for the often unseen victims of domestic violence – pets.
In the United States, less than 10% of shelters for domestic abuse victims are animal-friendly, leaving many sufferers with the difficult choice between staying in a dangerous situation or seeking help, but leaving their beloved pet behind and at risk.
“It’s heartbreaking when you think about how nearly half of domestic violence victims stay in these situations and relationships because they’re worried and concerned about the safety of their pets,” Wilson told AOL.com.
Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz went from an undrafted player to a Super Bowl champion in the span of two years.
So it’s fair to say that the salsa-dancing superstar knows a thing or two about late-round or undrafted talent making a splash in the NFL. This year, the recently retired Cruz has his eye specifically on one 2019 second-rounder, who went 62nd overall to the Arizona Cardinals.
“His name is Andy Isabella,” Cruz told AOL.com on behalf of DSW. “He’s a player, man.”
Isabella first caught Cruz’s attention while playing college football at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where Cruz also played. In his senior year, Isabella averaged nearly 17 yards per reception and scored 13 touchdowns en route to being named to the 2018 College Football All-America Team. His 141.5 receiving yards per game last year led the country.
Crystal Dunn was the final player cut from the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team prior to the 2015 World Cup.
The news was a painful blow to Dunn, who watched from home as the U.S. went on to win the tournament for the third time.
“I was in a low, low place,” she told AOL.com of the days following the decision.
The forward didn’t let her sadness keep her down, though. She still had a season to play with the North Carolina Courage and preparations to make for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I went out and really tried to get back to the basics and perform for my teammates,” Dunn said. “It was important for me to just reset and regroup.”
Defending PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka has his eye on several of his peers heading into the 2019 tournament, which begins on May 16.
A crowded and talented field at the Masters in April saw Koepka finish tied for second place with Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele, just one stroke behind Tiger Woods, who emerged victorious for his first major win in 11 years.
Koepka listed all three of those golfers as his main competition as he heads to Bethpage Black in New York to defend his PGA Championship title.
“Tiger’s playing well, Xander’s playing well, Dustin’s playing well,” he told AOL.com on behalf of Michelob ULTRA. “There’s a lot of guys who are right in that mix. Those guys played well at Augusta and they’ve been playing well for a while.”
When Rachel Heck’s father found out his third child would also be his third daughter, he made a decision: No ballet. No recitals. These girls are going to play golf.
That choice – made before Heck, now 17, was even born – turned out to be life-changing in ways the family couldn’t even imagine.
“I can’t remember ever not wanting to be a golfer,” the rising star told AOL.com.
But what exactly was it that lured Heck to golf at such a young age? Like many kids, she was motivated by food. Her father turned golf practice into a competition between his three daughters, and the prize was always ice cream – mint chocolate chip ice cream, to be exact.
“Every day after work, he would take my sisters and I out to the driving range,” Heck said of her dad. “We would always play some silly little game but the goal, if we won – which we always did because it was probably impossible not to – we got ice cream. So, for me, growing up, golf just meant ice cream.”
Duke Blue Devils freshman phenom Zion Williamson is all but guaranteed to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft whenever he declares.
Many are calling for the young star to leave college after this year and enter the pros, especially after a freak shoe mishap put Williamson at risk for serious injury – but he luckily walked away with just a mild knee sprain, and was able to return to the court just ahead of the NCAA tournament.
NBA players slammed the NCAA after Williamson’s injury and demanded change at the college level. Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz called for players to start getting paid. Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks advised Williamson to sit out the rest of the season, and the Denver Nuggets’ Isaiah Thomas echoed that sentimentwhile also suggesting Williamson turn pro as soon as possible.
Legendary sportscaster Dick Vitale, however, doesn’t think Williamson’s work is done at Duke.
“He loves being a college student,” Vitale told AOL.com on behalf of Bounty. “Why shouldn’t he play at college?”
Sorry to burst your bubble, Patriots haters – a guy who knows a thing or two about Super Bowls (and great quarterbacks) says there’s no use betting against them.
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who has spent his entire career alongside Aaron Rodgers and won a Super Bowl with him in 2011, is picking New England to win Super Bowl LIII.
“The amount of experience they’ve had and how they’ve been able to stay on top is truly remarkable,” he told AOL.com. “Even in the losses they’ve had in the Super Bowl, they haven’t been blowouts.”
As fans of the New Orleans Saints know all too well, one flag – or a flag not thrown – can completely alter the course of a season.
By now everyone has seen or heard about the blown call during the NFC championship game between those Saints and the Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams. The NFL has admitted that the refs made a mistake and subsequently fined Rams defender Nickell Robey-Coleman for targeting on the play.
However, no amount of apologizing can halt what has already begun – a demand for the NFL to change the rules surrounding pass interference. And unfortunately for the league, that wasn’t the only questionable rule or play that the masses took notice of during championship weekend.
During the AFC championship game, Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones was penalized for roughing the passer after grazing the face mask of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots were able to continue the drive and score a touchdown.
The call looked all too familiar to Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers.
Clay Matthews now wears a helmet for a living, but when he was a young boy, not wearing a helmet nearly cost him his life.
When the Green Bay Packers linebacker was a child, an accident while riding his scooter left him unconscious, bloodied and at risk for serious brain swelling.
“I went down a driveway and I must’ve hit a rock,” Matthews told AOL.com. “I went right over the handlebars and unfortunately hit my face and head directly on the asphalt.”
Matthews’ mother had her hands full with him and his four siblings while their father was out of town during his own NFL career. She had told Matthews to wear a helmet, but he didn’t listen. When she rushed to her son’s aid, she found him so severely scraped up that his face looked “like it had gone through a meat grinder.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to address the pass interference no-call seen around the world – and players, both active and retired, are taking notice.
Late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the helmet without looking for the ball and prior to the ball reaching Lewis. It was a blatant rule violation, but no flag was ever thrown.
Had the penalty been called, the Saints could have continued the drive and scored a touchdown, or let the clock run down further. Instead, they were forced to settle for a fast field goal. The Rams tied the game and went on to win in overtime, which many around New Orleans don’t believe would have happenedhad a flag been thrown against Robey-Coleman.
Multiple members of the Saints, including tight end Ben Watson, team owner Gayle Benson and wide receiver Michael Thomas have commented on the fiasco, with Thomas even calling for a do-over of the game.
NFL legend Terrell Owens was similarly bothered by the blatant missed penalty.