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Deployed troops will be able to watch NFL playoff games

UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will  air the AFC and NFC Championship games.

>> Read more trending news 

The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown. 

ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.

>> Watch the news report here

There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.

Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday

Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue. 

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.

"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.

For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.

"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.

With no one to run it, AFN is off the air. 

>> John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.

Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.

Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.

However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats. 

Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.

"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.

Read more here.

Dennis Rodman arrested on DUI charge

Dennis Rodman reportedly has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

>> On Dennis Rodman says Kim Jong Un is a 'madman'

Entertainment site TMZ broke the news that Rodman was pulled over for a traffic violation late Saturday and ended up being arrested on a DUI chargeThe Associated PressCNN and other news outlets later confirmed the arrest.

>> Read more trending news 

The arrest occurred around 11 p.m. in Newport Beach, California.

Rodman has "struggled openly with alcoholism the past 17 years," Rodman agent Darren Prince told CNN, adding that the former NBA standout has "been dealing with some major personal issues the last month, and I know it's time he checks back into a rehab center to work through them."

Rodman has pleaded guilty and no contest to DUI in the past, and also faced charges related to a hit-and-run.

In his post-NBA days, Rodman has made headlines for increasingly bizarre statements about North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, whom Rodman sees as a friend.

Read more here.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Tonya Harding's mother speaks out about abuse claims

Figure skater Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona “Sandy” Golden slammed her daughter in a new interview on the two-hour special “Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story,” which aired Thursday night on ABC News.

>> Click here to watch

In the rare interview, Golden accused her daughter of lying about being abused as a child, which is depicted in the new biopic, “I, Tonya.”

“I didn’t abuse any of my children,” Golden said. “Spanked? Yes, spanked. Absolutely, positively, you got to show them right from wrong.”

>> Read more trending news 

Harding alleged that her mother once “dragged me into the bathroom and beat me with a hairbrush, literally” and regularly abused her, but Golden denied the allegations, saying, “I spanked her once with a hairbrush at a competition. She wouldn’t know what a beating was.”

Golden continued, “She’s lied so much she doesn’t know what isn’t a lie anymore.”

The figure skater previously claimed that her mother would drink a thermos of coffee and brandy every day when she would drive her daughter to school.

>> On 23 years later, Tonya Harding speaks out about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the Winter Olympics

“I would have coffee, and sometimes I would put brandy flavoring in it. I love brandy flavoring. You can’t get drunk on flavoring. Sorry to disappoint you,” Golden said.

Golden also denied claims that Harding made about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in a trailer.

“We were never trailer trash,” Golden said. “We had a beautiful new trailer. We didn’t live in filth or dirt or anything that I would call unusual.”

Harding said in the interview that she does not want anything to do with Golden, and she wants her mother to stay away from her 6-year-old son, Gordon.

“I don’t want her anywhere near me. I don’t want her anywhere near my son,” Harding said. “She wants forgiveness. She wants to see me. She wants to make amends. She wants to meet and be part of the family. Hell no.”


WATCH: Titans' Marcus Mariota throws touchdown to himself in first playoff game

It took three quarters, but the Tennessee Titans’ offense finally woke up in their Wild Card round game of the NFL Playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs after Marcus Mariota completed a touchdown pass to … Marcus Mariota.

>> Read more trending news 

That’s right, the quarterback caught his own deflected pass before diving into the end zone to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 21-10.

>> Watch the moment here

Tennessee added another score as Derrick Henry scored on a 35-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Titans later pulled ahead with another touchdown pass from Mariota to Eric Decker. 

The Titans ended up winning 22-21.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster takes nearly 200 kids to the movies

Some children in Pittsburgh got to go to the movies with a Steelers star.

>> Watch the news report here

JuJu Smith-Schuster held an advance screening of "Jumanji" with nearly 200 children from the United Way, Bike Pittsburgh and Beyond Type 1.

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

"I didn't think there would be this many people here today. It's a great crowd," Smith-Schuster said. "I'm seeing more and more people wearing my jersey and that's exciting."

>> Read more trending news

The children got the chance to meet Smith-Schuster and then watch the movie with him, with free popcorn and drinks.

WATCH: Seahawks' Quinton Jefferson tries to climb into stands after fans throw concessions

After being ejected in Sundays 30-24 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson jogged toward the tunnel leading to the visiting locker room. 

>> WATCH: Injured Ryan Shazier celebrates Steelers' AFC North win from hospital

Then Jefferson abruptly stopped and took off his helmet after it appeared a drink was thrown at him by a fan in the stands. 

Jefferson moved toward the stands and began yelling when more fans threw concessions at him. 

>> Click here to watch

Seahawks staffers held Jefferson back as he tried to climb into the stands before he ultimately walked away into the locker room. 

>> Read more trending news 

Asked about Jefferson after the game, head coach Pete Carroll said, "I don't even know what happened. ... He just kind of lost it." 

Carroll went on to say, "It's really unfortunate how it ended. We had a chance to get the ball back. We have to be more poised than that." 

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson also was ejected late in the fourth quarter after officials said he threw a punch at a member of the Jaguars. 

The (8-5) Seahawks return home to CenturyLink Field next Sunday to face the NFC West-leading (9-4) Los Angeles Rams. 

WATCH: Injured Ryan Shazier celebrates Steelers' AFC North win from hospital

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Ryan Shazier has been hospitalized for nearly a week after a hit left him with a spine injury in a Monday night game against the Bengals.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Steelers' Ryan Shazier strapped to board, taken to hospital after scary hit

The team and fans have rallied around the young star linebacker, but other than a tweet and social media comments from family members, he hasn't made any public comments since he was carted off the field in Cincinnati.

That changed Sunday night.

>> Read more trending news

After the Steelers clinched an AFC North title in a thrilling 39-38 victory over the rival Baltimore Ravens, Shazier FaceTimed with his teammates congratulating them on the victory. That moment was caught on social media.

>> See the post here

Teammates said Shazier has been in good spirits despite the injury, and honored him in a number of ways before and during the game.

It looks like he was in even better spirits after it.

Tomi Lahren slams Beyoncé, Colin Kaepernick as 'police-hating' after awards ceremony

Colin Kaepernick was this year’s recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, which he accepted in person from surprise presenter Beyoncé on Tuesday night.

>> Watch the clip here

Prior to the ceremony, Sports Illustrated writer Michael Rosenberg praised Kaepernick for making “his truth known” with his controversial national anthem protests. Explaining the award, Rosenberg wrote, “Each year, SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world.”

>> WATCH: Beyoncé presents Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali award

This sentiment was reflected in the short introductory speech given by Beyoncé, who said the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback “took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better.”

“With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people, because my platform is the people,” Kaepernick said.

Several hours later, political commentator Tomi Lahren weighed in on the award with a controversial tweet.

“Police-hating Beyoncé presents police and America-hating Kappy with a ‘legacy’ award. This is how far we’ve fallen. Wow,” she wrote.

>> See the tweet here

Both Kaepernick and Beyoncé have said they neither hate the military nor the police, both praising members of the respective institutions.

Lahren has been a vocal critic of Kaepernick's protests for more than a year.

>> Read more trending news

In March, Lahren was fired from The Blaze, the news outlet where she gained a following for, among other things, speaking about Kaepernick. After settling a legal dispute with her formal employer, she went to work for Fox News.

Read more here.

Steelers' Ryan Shazier strapped to board, taken to hospital after scary hit

Pittsburgh Steelers star linebacker Ryan Shazier was carted off the field and taken to a hospital early in Monday night’s game after making a scary hit.

>> Watch the clip here

>> Head to for the latest on this developing story

Shazier went in to make a tackle, striking Cincinnati receiver Josh Malone with the crown of his helmet and immediately appearing to go limp as he fell to the ground facedown.

>> Read more trending news

According to Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert, Shazier suffered a back injury and was taken to the University Medical Center. He had a CT Scan and an MRI to evaluate his condition.

He said Shazier will not require surgery and continues to improve.

He will stay overnight and will hopefully return to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Shazier reached around to his lower back as he rolled over.

There was no immediate word about the extent of his injury. The team said his status was "unavailable."

WPXI's Chase Williams later reported Shazier was taken from the stadium to a nearby hospital with a back injury.

Shazier was the Steelers' first overall pick in 2014 out of Ohio State University. He made his first Pro Bowl last season.

Goodbye, Georgia Dome – thanks for the memories!

As we say goodbye to the Georgia Dome after a quarter-century, it’s only fitting we look back at some it its most memorable moments.

The Atlanta landmark was demolished at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The last event was held in the 25-year-old building in March, and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened next door in August.

>> Watch a video of the implosion here

>> Head to for complete coverage of the implosion 

From Super Bowls, to NCAA Men’s Final Fours, to the Summer Olympics, the dome has hosted some incredible sporting events

1996 Summer Olympics

The 70,000-seat Georgia Dome was basically divided into two separate arenas.

On one side, “The Magnificent Seven” captured America’s first victory ever in women’s team gymnastics.

The team – made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps – is probably best known for Strug landing a vault on one foot to clinch the gold medal. She was famously helped off by coach Bela Karolyi.

>> On Crews make last-minute preps for Georgia Dome implosion

On the other side, “The Dream Team” won its second gold medal in men’s basketball.

The team – coached by Lenny Wilkens – defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and David Robinson played on this team and the original 1992 Dream Team.

Super Bowl XXVIII

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13, earning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.

After trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Cowboys closed the game with 24 unanswered points. Emmitt Smith scored twice and was named the game’s MVP.

The crowd of 72,817 saw Natalie Cole sing the national anthem, Joe Namath do the coin toss and a halftime show featuring The Judds, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker.

Super Bowl XXXIV

The second Super Bowl hosted by the Georgia Dome was one of the most memorable in history.

The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson just short of the goal-line on the game’s final play.Quarterback Kurt Warned threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was named the game’s MVP.

>> Read more trending news 

The crowd of 72,625 saw Faith Hill sing the National Anthem and a halftime show featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.

An ice storm hit Atlanta during the week of the game and many doubted the city’s ability to host the event. Despite the concerns, the Super Bowl will return to Atlanta in 2019.

Tornado hits downtown Atlanta

Thousands of basketball fans were inside the Georgia Dome when an EF-2 tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in March 2008.

The 130 mph tornado killed one person near downtown, blew out dozens of windows from high-rise buildings, tossed trees and cars and damaged homes in the area.

Inside the Georgia Dome, fans were watching the Southeastern Conference college basketball tournament. The game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in overtime when the tornado struck around 9:40 p.m.

The storm ripped open a panel on the side of the dome, shearing bolts and causing insulation to fall into the arena.

The game was completed after the storm moved through. The rest of the tournament was postponed.

The dome, along with several other downtown buildings, underwent repairs while staying open for business in the years after the tornado.

Sugar Bowl moved to Georgia Dome

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers was played at the Georgia dome in January 2006. It was the first time the “South’s Biggest Bowl Game” was played outside of the state of Louisiana.

That week, within a four day period, the dome hosted three games. Along with the Sugar Bowl, the dome also hosted the Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami and an NFL game between the Falcons and the Panthers.

2012 NFC Championship game

The Georgia Dome has seen its share of Falcons successes and frustrations. The 2012 NFC Championship was one of the franchise's biggest accomplishments and toughest defeats. It was the first-ever NFC championship game in Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers. The lead wouldn't last, and after failing to make a play at the end, the Falcons lost 28-24 and missed the Super Bowl. 

2017 NFC Championship game

In 2017, the Falcons would not squander a chance to return to the Super Bowl. In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

In this game, the Falcons again jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but this time they never looked back. They took a 24-0 at halftime and held on for a convincing win to close out their time at the Dome. 

NCAA Tournaments

Atlanta has hosted 85 NCAA men's tournament games, fifth most of any city. Thirty of those games were played at the Georgia Dome. Six NCAA Regionals, three men's Final Fours (2002, 2007 and 2013) and one women's Final Four were played at the Dome. The Dome's final tournament in 2013 set records. A crowd of 74,326 beat the record for the largest ever for a final game. 

State Championships

The Dome has been home to the finals since 2008, but the stadium's 25-year history with Georgia high school football dates back to the building's opening in 1992. On Sept. 5, 1992, the Corky Kell Classic matchup between Brookwood and McEachern was the first regular season football game in the Dome. Until then, Georgia high school football rarely was played on such a big stage. 

In the 25 seasons, 169 Georgia high schools have participated in the Dome's 298 high school football games, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. 

Soccer at the dome

Eleven soccer games were played at the Georgia Dome since 2009. The first competitive soccer games were held during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. men's national team made its first appearance in Atlanta since 1977 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at the Dome. 

In all, the Dome hosted Mexico's "El Tri" four times, Mexico's Club America twice and the U.S. men's and women's national teams once each. Notable visitors also include European clubs A.C. Milan and Manchester City.

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