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2 hours ago

Golden State Warriors' Steve Kerr takes blame for loss to ailing Indiana Pacers

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Golden State Warriors felt good heading into their Thursday night matchup against the Indiana Pacers. They held a home run derby at Chase Center the day before to boost morale after a tough road trip and were ready to build momentum on their dominant win over the Detroit Pistons from two days earlier. But as soon as they stepped on the court against Indiana's depleted roster, all of the positive energy they had evaporated, leading them to a 121-117 loss in overtime. The game -- in which they entered as 16.5-point favorites -- marked the third-largest upset in the Steve Kerr era. And Kerr took all the responsibility. "I blame myself, number one," Kerr said. "I don't think I did a good job of preparing the team to be ready to play." The Pacers were without four of their top scorers -- including forward Domantas Sabonis and starting guards Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert -- making them easier to look over....
2 hours ago
January 21

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic has 'sore' neck after hard fall, hopeful he'll play Sunday

DALLAS -- Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic said his neck was "pretty sore" due to a hard fall after a drive to the basket during Thursday's 109-101 loss to the Phoenix Suns, but he was optimistic that he would not miss any time due to the injury. Doncic landed on his back after absorbing contact from Suns center Bismack Biyombo on a drive to the basket with 1:02 remaining in the third quarter. During the ensuing timeout, Doncic was hunched over on the bench while grabbing the back of his neck. After consulting with the Mavs' athletic training staff, Doncic applied a heat pack to his neck before checking back in with 7:25 remaining and playing the rest of the game. "It's my neck. It's the spine," said Doncic, who had 28 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and eight turnovers in the loss. "When I fall down, I hit my back. It's pretty sore right now." Doncic said he would get "a lot of massages and steam room" over the next few days to prepare...
January 21
January 20

Penny Hardaway takes aim at media, says depleted Memphis Tigers men's basketball team playing hard despite losses

Following Memphis' third straight loss, a 70-62 home defeat to SMU on Thursday night, coach Penny Hardaway sounded off during his postgame news conference, telling the assembled media to "stop asking me stupid f---ing questions." Hardaway was asked by one reporter if he had lost faith he could get the job done at Memphis and whether he was embarrassed by the team's performance. "I think the one thing I can say to this media because this media gets kinda f---ed up sometimes when it comes to me. We don't have our full roster. Y'all know we don't have our full roster. Stop asking me stupid f---ing questions about if I feel like I can do something," Hardaway said in response. "If I had my roster like they did, then I feel like I can do whatever I want to do. I'm coaching really hard, my boys are playing really hard, I'm not embarrassed about nothing. We have four freshmen starting, y'all need to act like it. Act like we got 17- and 18- and 19-year-olds out here trying...
January 20
January 20

Jessica Pegula, daughter of Buffalo Bills owners, into 4th round at Australian Open

American Jessica Pegula advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the second consecutive year with a 7-6 (3), 6-2 victory over Nuria Parrizas Diaz on Thursday. The tournament's No. 21 seed recorded seven aces and 20 winners in the 91-minute clash. She'll next face fifth-seeded  Maria Sakkari, who cruised past  Veronika Kudermetova with 6-4, 6-1 victory.   After the victory, Pegula wrote on the on-court camera in celebration: "Bills you're next." Pegula's parents, Kim and Terry, own the  Buffalo Bills and the team is slated to play the  Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday with a spot in the AFC Championship Game on the line. Pegula, 27, tweeted about wearing Bills' colors during her time in Melbourne earlier in the week. "Coincidence I'm in Bills colors?" she wrote. Pegula recorded her best career major result at the 2021 Australian Open with a run to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual finalist and fellow American ...
January 20
January 20

UFC returns to London as Tom Aspinall, Alexander Volkov headline March 19 event

A heavyweight matchup between English prospect Tom Aspinall and Alexander Volkov will headline the UFC's return to London on March 19, UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Thursday. The UFC has not held a live event in London since March 2019. The promotion's first canceled event of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic had been scheduled to take place at the O2 Arena on March 21 of that year. Aspinall (11-2) originally was set to face Shamil Abdurakhimov on the same card, however the UFC elected to break up that fight in favor of this new main event. Fighting out of Liverpool, Aspinall has won seven in a row and is 4-0 in the UFC. His most notable win came via rear-naked choke against Andrei Arlovski last February. He has finished all four of his UFC opponents. Volkov (34-9), of Russia, is a 12-year veteran of the sport. He has an 8-3 record in the UFC, with wins over Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Roy Nelson. He is...
January 20
January 20

Becky Hammon, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Penny Taylor among 12 finalists for Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

New Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon and fellow former WNBA players DeLisha Milton-Jones and Penny Taylor are among 12 finalists for induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced Thursday. All three are being nominated as players. The inductees will be announced Feb. 14 on ESPN2 during the Maryland at Iowa women's game, which begins at 9 p.m. ET. The induction ceremony is June 11 in Knoxvillle, Tennessee.  Hammon, who played collegiately at Colorado State, competed for 16 seasons in the WNBA for the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars. She played twice for Russia in the Olympics. Hammon, who is in her eighth season as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, will join the Las Vegas Aces after finishing the NBA season. Milton-Jones won the Wade Trophy as a senior at Florida in 1997, then played one season in the ABL before going to the WNBA for 17 seasons. She won WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002. She won two Olympic gold...
January 20
January 20

Sources: MLB Players Association to make counteroffer to league in Monday meeting

The Major League Baseball Players Association plans to make an in-person labor proposal to the league on Monday, sources told ESPN, countering MLB's offer last week that did little to loosen the gridlock that has gripped the sport after the league locked out the players Dec. 2. Should the players' offer do little to advance the negotiations that thus far haven't yielded any substantive progress, the scheduled start to spring training in mid-February will grow that much unlikelier. And the longer discussions on a new collective-bargaining agreement last, the more they jeopardize Opening Day on March 31. The gap between the players and league remains significant, with the union seeking major financial gains in a number of areas and owners trying to hold firm with what they currently pay in salaries. Other issues players have said remain a priority include anti-tanking measures and fixing service-time manipulation. Any concessions players make in their offer could provide a roadmap...
January 20
January 20

Source: NFL fines Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott $25K for comments related to game officials

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been fined $25,000 by the league for his postgame comments related to the game officials following Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers, a source told ESPN on Thursday.  A postgame question to Prescott on Sunday initially indicated the fans were throwing things at his teammates in anger as they walked off the field following the wild-card game, which he called, "sad." However, when he was told the objects were directed at the officials, he said, "Credit to them then. Credit to them." He was given a chance to walk the comments back at the end of his news conference and didn't. On Tuesday, he tweeted three times to his 1.4 million followers to apologize, writing: "I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday. I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair. "I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected...
January 20
January 20

San Francisco 49ers poised to have Jimmy Garoppolo, Fred Warner and Nick Bosa against Green Bay Packers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After a trio of injury scares to key players in the past week, the San Francisco 49ers are likely to have all three of those players available for Saturday night's NFC divisional-round showdown with the Green Bay Packers. Neither linebacker Fred Warner nor quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo appeared on Thursday's injury report, and defensive end Nick Bosa is close to being back, drawing a questionable tag.  That means Warner's sprained right ankle is feeling better and Garoppolo will play through a sprained right shoulder and thumb. Bosa has another step to clear to get through concussion protocol, but coach Kyle Shanahan expressed optimism that will happen. "It's looking good," Shanahan said Thursday. Throughout the week, the Niners expressed confidence that all three players would be able to play in Green Bay, but Bosa's status was the most up in the air given the unpredictable nature of head injuries. Bosa suffered the...
January 20
January 20

Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown says 'there's nothing wrong with my mental health' in wake of sideline outburst

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown said his recent sideline outburst against the New York Jets that resulted in his dismissal from the Buccaneers, and previous incidents he has been involved in, have been miscategorized as "mental health issues." In a preview of an episode of "I Am Athlete" that will be posted in full on Jan. 24, Brown tells former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall that he's not suffering from mental health issues. "Everyone in the world got a different form of reactions of what happened to me. And it's all based upon where you from, how you feel, and no one really gonna know that regardless of who you is," Brown said. "The thing with football players, mental health and CTE is this: These guys are willing to do whatever it take to make some obligated gain. But in the midst of those gains, along that journey, they're being mistreated, there's a lot of stuff that went on that may not have been handled...
January 20
January 20

Kansas City Chiefs' Willie Gay arrested on misdemeanor charge of criminal property damage

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay on Thursday afternoon pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal property damage of less than $1,000 after he was arrested Wednesday night by police. Gay, 23, was released from the detention center in Johnson County, Kansas on Thursday afternoon.  Gay's agents, Maxx Lepsettler and Ryan Rubin, said in a statement that Gay was visiting his son when he got into an argument with the child's mother, who called police.  A police report estimated the total property damage at $225 for a vacuum cleaner, cellphone screen protector, humidifier and damage to a wall and door frame. The mother of Gay's 3-month-old son has requested a civil protection order, which means Gay is not allowed to have contact with either of them until the case is heard by a civil judge. The Class B non-person misdemeanor "constitutes a domestic violence offense," according to court records. He is scheduled to return to court...
January 20
January 20

Tampa Bay Rays say split-season plan with Montreal rejected by MLB

The Tampa Bay Rays' inventive, controversial plan to split their home schedule with the city of Montreal was scrapped by Major League Baseball officials earlier this week, a decision that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg called "flat-out deflating." Rays officials had spent 2½ years hyperfocused on what was called a "sister city" proposal, believing it to be the best path toward increasing revenue without permanently relocating the franchise. Now they must pivot, either by revisiting Tampa Bay-area-stadium talks that had previously stalled or by exploring a new city altogether. Sternberg, who took questions in a video conference for more than half an hour on Thursday afternoon, was noncommittal. "We're certainly gonna be exploring things in the Tampa Bay region," Sternberg said. "I've said since I've owned the team for 17 years that our goal has been to keep it here for generations and generations. We have tried in the past to build in St. Petersburg, we've tried to build full...
January 20
January 20

Arbitrator rules UConn improperly fired Huskies men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie

STORRS, Conn. -- An independent arbitrator has ruled that UConn improperly fired former men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie and must pay him more than $11 million, Ollie's lawyer said Thursday. Attorney Jacques Parenteau called Thursday's ruling from arbitrator Mark Irvings a "total vindication" for Ollie, who was fired in the spring of 2018 after the school reported numerous NCAA violations in his program. Irvings ruled that Ollie is due $11,157,032.95 within the next 10 business days, Parenteau said. UConn said in a statement that it "vigorously disagrees" with the arbitrator's decision. The Huskies were  placed on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for those violations, which occurred between 2013 and 2018. Parenteau said the arbitrator's ruling shows that those NCAA sanctions were "erroneous and unfounded." "This arbitration clearly established -- after 33 days of hearings and the testimony and cross examination of actual...
January 20
January 20

NCAA member schools vote to ratify new streamlined constitution

INDIANAPOLIS -- NCAA members voted Thursday to ratify a new, streamlined version of the association's constitution. The motion passed with 80.4% of members voting in favor, putting an expected stamp of approval on the first part of a two-step process to significantly reduce the responsibility of the association's national office and to overhaul rules at all levels of college sports during one of the most tumultuous times in the industry's history. Each of the NCAA's three divisions will now start working on revising or creating their own rules to align with the fundamental principles laid out in the new constitution. "This needs to be a declaration that we know that now in the coming months we're going to think afresh about college sports," NCAA president Mark Emmert said shortly before the vote during his annual address at the association's convention. The new constitution, which was prompted by significant legal and political losses for the NCAA last summer, is...
January 20
January 20

Nate Diaz scolds UFC, calls for bout with Dustin Poirier; Dana White remains noncommittal

Two of the UFC's most popular fighters continue to express interest in facing one another; however, there are no concrete plans to schedule the bout as of yet. In a social media post on Wednesday, Nate Diaz implored the UFC to book him a fight against former lightweight interim champion Dustin Poirier. Diaz (20-13) has not fought since a unanimous decision loss to Leon Edwards in June, but has made it clear in recent months he's ready to accept his next bout. "[UFC] stop playing wit me, consider this my signature to fight this f---er," Diaz wrote on Twitter. "I been trying to fight for a minute, quit slowing down the real fight game it's time." Poirier (28-7) has also asked for the fight on social media. The potential matchup has been discussed behind the scenes, but has not materialized thus far. UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Wednesday that Diaz will obviously get a fight, but was noncommittal on a date or an opponent. "Of course we're...
January 20
January 20

Penn will work with NCAA to support transgender athlete Lia Thomas' participation at swimming and diving championships

Penn Athletics said in a statement on Thursday that it would work with the NCAA in support of swimmer Lia Thomas regarding her participation at the 2022 NCAA swimming and diving championships in Atlanta in March. Thomas, a transgender woman, has posted some of the nation's best times in the women's 200-yard, 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle events. She has qualified for the NCAA swimming and diving championships in all three individual events. "Penn Athletics is aware of the NCAA's new transgender participation policy," the statement said. "In support of our student-athlete, Lia Thomas, we will work with the NCAA regarding her participation under the newly adopted standards for the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship." On Wednesday, the NCAA released a new policy in which eligibility requirements for transgender athletes will be determined by each sport's national governing body. The requirements go into effect immediately and replace the previous policy, adopted...
January 20
January 20

Chicago Bulls' Lonzo Ball to have surgery on knee, out 6-8 weeks

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has opted to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss six to eight weeks, the team announced Thursday. Ball is expected to travel to California in the coming days to have the arthroscopic procedure to repair a meniscus tear, a source told ESPN. The Bulls and Ball's agent -- Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul -- had discussed options with doctors, but the procedure was deemed necessary after a recent change in nonsurgical treatment didn't allow Ball to play through what's described as a slight meniscus tear, sources said. Ball has missed the past three games with what the Bulls initially deemed was a bone bruise. The team had already ruled him out for its upcoming three-game road trip because his knee was not recovering well from the initial treatment. Bulls coach Billy Donovan on Wednesday night said Ball had changed treatments on the knee, and that doctors were waiting to see how Ball responded to the new...
January 20
January 20

Penn will work with NCAA to 'support' transgender athlete Lia Thomas' participation at swimming and diving championships

Penn Athletics said in a statement on Thursday that it would work with the NCAA "in support" of swimmer Lia Thomas regarding her participation at the 2022 NCAA swimming and diving championship in Atlanta in March. Thomas, a transgender woman, has posted some of the nation's best times in the women's 200-yard, 500-yard, and 1,650-yard freestyle events. She has qualified for the NCAA swimming and diving championships in all three individual events. On Wednesday, the NCAA released a new policy in which eligibility requirements for transgender athletes will be determined by each sport's national governing body. The new requirements go into effect immediately, and replace the previous policy, adopted in 2010, that was a uniform hormone therapy requirement across all sports. USA Swimming's policy, adopted in 2018, utilizes a review panel to make individual determinations on eligibility. Elite athletes are subject to FINA and IOC regulations, which are currently in flux due to a...
January 20
January 20

Cincinnati Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson clears concussion protocol, OK to play Saturday

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals will have their top pass-rusher available for Saturday's playoff game. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson successfully cleared the concussion protocol and will play against the Tennessee Titans in the teams' AFC divisional-round playoff game, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said on Thursday. "He's been in these moments before," Taylor said in a teleconference with local reporters. "He's one of our premier players. It's good to have him." Hendrickson left the team's 26-19 wild-card-round win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Jan. 15 and entered the league's concussion protocol. He made progress toward returning throughout the week, starting with limited participation at Tuesday's practice and then practicing in full on Wednesday. Since signing with the Bengals in the 2021 offseason on a four-year, $60 million deal, Hendrickson has been one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL. In the 2021 season, he tallied 14 sacks, which led the team...
January 20
January 20

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for directing obscene language toward fan

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has been fined $25,000 for directing obscene language toward a fan, the NBA announced Thursday. The incident occurred with 4:19 remaining in the second quarter of the Nets' 114-107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. A fan courtside could be heard heckling Irving, who responded with obscene language. Irving has appeared in five games for the Nets this season, averaging 22 points and 5.4 assists. He scored 30 points in 38 minutes during a 119-118 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Irving is unvaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he can't play in home games due to a mandate in New York City. After Irving was away from the team for almost three months, the Nets reversed course last month to allow him to participate in road games. Wednesday marked the two-week anniversary of his return.
January 20
January 20

Chicago Bulls' Lonzo Ball to decide whether to have surgery on knee, sources say

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball may need arthroscopic surgery on his left knee for a meniscus tear, and a decision on the procedure is expected to come this week, sources told ESPN on Thursday. The scope would sideline Ball for four to six weeks, sources said. The Bulls and Ball's agent -- Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul -- are discussing options with doctors, but the procedure looms if a recent change in nonsurgical treatment won't allow Ball to play through what's described as a slight meniscus tear, sources said. Ball has missed the past three games with what the Bulls initially deemed was a bone bruise. The team had already ruled him out for its upcoming three-game road trip because his knee was not recovering well from the initial treatment. Bulls coach Billy Donovan on Wednesday night said Ball had changed treatments on the knee, and that doctors were waiting to see how Ball responded to the new treatment. "We haven't gotten to that point," Donovan said when asked if...
January 20
January 20

Sources: Kendal Briles reaches new deal to remain Arkansas Razorbacks' offensive coordinator

Kendal Briles has reached a new deal to remain as Arkansas' offensive coordinator after being pursued for the same job at Miami, sources told ESPN. It's a coup for Arkansas to keep Briles, who's been with coach Sam Pittman the past two seasons. The Hogs led the SEC in rushing (227.8 yards per game) a year ago and won nine games. Briles will get another season with quarterback KJ Jefferson, who was in his first year as the Hogs' full-time starter in 2021. Jefferson finished sixth in the SEC in total offense (3,340 yards) and was 10th nationally in passer rating with 21 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Jefferson also rushed for six touchdowns. In Briles' first season as offensive coordinator in 2020, Arkansas averaged 391.5 yards of total offense, more than a 50-yard increase from the previous year. The Hogs increased that number to 441.7 yards per game in 2021 to rank 28th nationally. Briles, a 2015 Broyles Award...
January 20
January 20

Kansas City Chiefs' Willie Gay arrested on misdemeanor criminal property damage charge

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay was arrested Wednesday night by the Overland Park police and charged with misdemeanor criminal property damage of less than $1,000. Gay remained Thursday morning in the detention center in Johnson County, Kansas. He was scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office in Johnson County said. Gay's agents, Maxx Lepsettler and Ryan Rubin, said in a statement that Gay was visiting his son when he got into an argument with the child's mother, who called police.  A police report estimated the total property damage at $225 for a vacuum cleaner, cellphone screen protector, humidifier and damage to a wall and door frame. Gay was not at practice Wednesday and those available to speak with reporters deferred all questions about his status for Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against the  Buffalo Bills to coach Andy Reid, who does not speak to the media...
January 20
January 20

Sources: Kendal Briles reaches new deal to remain Arkansas Razorbacks offensive coordinator

Kendal Briles has reached a new deal to remain as Arkansas offensive coordinator after being pursued for the same job at Miami, sources told ESPN. It's a coup for Arkansas to keep Briles, who's been with coach Sam Pittman the last two seasons. The Hogs led the SEC in rushing (227.8 yards per game) a year ago and won nine games. Briles will also get another season with quarterback KJ Jefferson, who was in his first year as the Hogs' full-time starter in 2021. Jefferson finished sixth in the SEC in total offense (3,340 yards) and was 10th nationally in passer rating with 21 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. The 6-3, 245-pound Jefferson also rushed for six touchdowns. In Briles' first season as offensive coordinator in 2020, Arkansas averaged 391.5 yards of total offense, more than a 50-yard increase from the previous year. The Hogs increased that number to 441.7 yards per game in 2021 to rank 28th nationally. Briles, a 2015 Broyles Award finalist...
January 20
January 20

Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook benched late in loss; coach Frank Vogel had green light, sources say

LOS ANGELES -- Long before Russell Westbrook was benched down the stretch of Wednesday's 111-104 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel was given assurances that the organization would support him in taking a hard line while coaching the star, sources told ESPN. Over the past week and a half, Lakers management has told the coaching staff to coach Westbrook as the coaches see fit, even if that means pulling him from a game, as Vogel did for the final 3 minutes, 52 seconds of the fourth quarter against Indiana, sources told ESPN. One source close to the situation described the message from management to the staff as, "You got to do what you got to do." Westbrook was 5-for-17 from the field when Vogel put in Malik Monk for him with L.A. trailing 101-94. Apart from his offensive struggles, Westbrook failed to execute on the defensive end. The final straw, pushing the staff to honor their instinct to bench him, was...
January 20
January 20

NCAA updates policy on transgender participation, to let each sport set eligibility requirements

The NCAA announced a new policy Wednesday in which eligibility requirements for transgender athletes will be determined by each sport's national governing body. The new requirements go into effect immediately. The previous policy, adopted in 2010, was uniform across all sports and was based on hormone therapy requirements. The new policy comes at a time when transgender athletes continue to be a focus of national debate. Since 2020, 10 states have enacted laws restricting participation for transgender athletes in school sports, many of which affect collegiate participation at the competitive, club and intramural levels. This winter, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who is transgender, recorded the top times in the country in the 200-yard and 500-yard women's freestyle. Under the NCAA's new policy, Thomas would need to be in compliance with USA Swimming's criteria in order to participate at the NCAA championships in March. USA Swimming did not respond to a request to...
January 20
January 19

Ryan Reaves, New York Rangers, 'proving to the league that we're a contender,' take over first place

NEW YORK -- Ryan Reaves, a quick-witted forward, was brought to the New York Rangers in the offseason to provide toughness, grit, some size on the fourth line and maybe even a few laughs on the bench. Goals were not on that list, and the 34-year-old veteran lived up to that with zero of them in his first 32 games. Game No. 33, though, was a different story. "I didn't really change much," Reaves said. "I had a terrible nap (before the game) and a Red Bull, and I felt good." It showed. The 6-foot-2 Reaves scored the first two goals of his Rangers career, after scoring just one last season for the Vegas Golden Knights, and New York outlasted the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-3, in a battle of Eastern Conference elite teams. "I've been taking my vitamins," Reaves said. With a Madison Square Garden crowd at a playoff pitch, the Rangers rallied from a 2-0 and a 3-1 deficit in the first period to improve to 26-10-4, pulling ahead of the Carolina...
January 19
January 19

NFL moves to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit, calls ex-Las Vegas Raiders coach's claims against league 'baseless'

The NFL filed a motion asking a Nevada court to dismiss former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden's lawsuit against the league, saying accusations that the NFL leaked Gruden's emails are "baseless" and "should be dismissed for failure to state a single viable cause of action." The league responded Wednesday to the suit that Gruden filed in district court in Nevada's Clark County in November. The NFL filed a motion to dismiss the case and also asked the court to stay that motion until it first rules on whether the case should be moved to arbitration. Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders in October with more than six seasons remaining on his 10-year, $100 million contract. He claimed a "malicious and orchestrated campaign" was used by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to destroy his career by leaking the old emails that included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language. The emails were sent to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen and...
January 19
January 19

Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel addresses job security: 'Don't feel like I'm under siege'

LOS ANGELES -- Just 15 months removed from guiding the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA championship, coach Frank Vogel once again found himself answering questions about his job security on Wednesday night. "I don't feel like I'm under siege," Vogel said before the Lakers lost 111-104 to the Indiana Pacers. "It's not hard to do my job; I'm very focused on the task at hand. I've always been that way." Of course the loss to the Pacers, 16-29 overall and losers of 10 of their previous 11 games, caused the questions to persist. Only after the game, it was Vogel's players fielding the queries, too. "Coaching staff has been great," said LeBron James, who led the Lakers with 30 points but shot 3-for-8 in the fourth when L.A. was outscored 35-24. "They put us in position to succeed, and it's up to us to handle the business, so there's always things that we all can do better, but there's no blame." James then took issue with a question regarding any strain...
January 19
January 19

Garbine Muguruza, Anett Kontaveit ousted in second round of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The surprises started early at the Australian Open on Day 4, with third-seeded  Garbine Muguruza becoming the highest-seeded player to exit the women's draw just minutes after No. 6 Anett Kontaveit lost. Muguruza never managed to earn a break point and made a whopping 33 unforced errors, more than twice her opponent's total, in a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Alize Cornet under a bright blue and cloudless sky at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday. "A little bit surprised about my level. I am a little disappointed, too," said Muguruza, who won the season-ending WTA Finals in 2021. "I feel like my shots weren't as accurate and precise. I feel, also, my aggressive game wasn't that aggressive today." Here's how unexpected that result was: Muguruza is a two-time Grand Slam champion and a two-time major runner-up, too, including making it to the final at the Australian Open in 2020. And the 61st-ranked Cornet? She's appearing in her 63rd career major...
January 19
January 19

'Unbelievable from the start,' Joel Embiid scores 50 points in 27 minutes as Philadelphia 76ers win

PHILADELPHIA -- Joel Embiid tied his career high with 50 points in just 27 minutes, leading a dominant third quarter that carried the Philadelphia 76ers to a 123-110 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Embiid also had 12 rebounds and three blocks while making 17 of 23 field goals and 15 of 17 free throws. The MVP candidate and four-time All-Star played just 58 seconds of the fourth quarter. "My teammates just found me," Embiid said. "And I did the rest." According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Embiid's 27:03 of game time ranks second lowest in a 50-point game in the shot clock era. Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson had 52 points on Oct. 29, 2018, in 26:33 of game time. Tobias Harris added 21 points for the 76ers, who have won nine of 11. Philadelphia began play sixth in the East but just 2½ games out of the top spot. Mo Bamba set career highs with 32 points and seven 3-pointers for Orlando. The rebuilding...
January 19
January 19

Deaths of woman, 2-year-old son in fall at San Diego Padres' Petco Park ruled suicide, homicide

A woman who fell to her death at Petco Park while holding her toddler son last September died by suicide, according to a statement Wednesday from the San Diego Police Department. Authorities ruled her 2-year-old son's death a homicide. San Diego residents Raquel Wilkins, 40, and her son, Denzel Browning-Wilkins, fell around 3:50 p.m. on Sept. 25 as baseball fans were heading into the stadium for a San Diego Padres game against the Atlanta Braves. Wednesday's statement said detectives "conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation that included dozens of interviews, reviewing of available video footage, and collecting background information to determine what led to the deaths." It said the decision was made in consultation with the San Diego County Medical Examiner. Lt. Adam Sharki said San Diego police will not release any further information on the case. Dan Gilleon, an attorney who represents Wilkins' parents and sisters, expressed disappointment...
January 19
January 19

Deaths of woman, 2-year-old son at San Diego Padres' Petco Park ruled suicide, homicide

A woman who fell to her death at Petco Park while holding her toddler son last September died by suicide, according to a statement Wednesday from the San Diego Police Department. Authorities ruled her 2-year-old son's death a homicide. San Diego residents Raquel Wilkins, 40, and her son, Denzel Browning-Wilkins, fell around 3:50 p.m. on Sept. 25 as baseball fans were heading into the stadium for a San Diego Padres game against the Atlanta Braves. Wednesday's statement said detectives "conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation that included dozens of interviews, reviewing of available video footage, and collecting background information to determine what led to the deaths." It said the decision was made in consultation with the San Diego County Medical Examiner. Lt. Adam Sharki said San Diego police will not release any further information on the case. Wilkins and her son were pronounced dead at 4:11 p.m., about 20 minutes after police were alerted. The...
January 19
January 19

Stetson Bennett announces return to Georgia Bulldogs football team; JT Daniels, Jermaine Burton hit transfer portal

Stetson Bennett said Wednesday that he will return to Georgia for a final season. The quarterback he replaced, JT Daniels, won't be. Daniels and Bulldogs receiver Jermaine Burton both entered the transfer portal Wednesday, with the news officially coming around the same time that Bennett took to social media to say he'll be back in 2022. "One more year," the former walk-on turned starter  wrote on Instagram. "Let's roll."  Bennett replaced Daniels as the Bulldogs' starter in early October and ultimately led them to their first national championship since 1980. Daniels, who transferred to Georgia from USC after the 2019 season, had started three games early in the season but dealt with oblique and lat muscle injuries before being replaced.  In 2020, Daniels returned from a knee injury to replace Bennett and guided Georgia to four wins, passing for 1,231 yards and 10 touchdowns, including a Peach Bowl victory over Cincinnati. Daniels, ESPN's No....
January 19
January 19

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy says he does not see his future with team as an issue

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is operating under business-as-usual conditions after meeting twice with owner and general manager Jerry Jones following Sunday's wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers. McCarthy met with Jones immediately after the game and again on Monday and does not see his future as an issue. "We had very positive conversations and, just, the focus is on the evaluation process," McCarthy said. Speaking on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, executive vice president Stephen Jones said, "absolutely," and "very confident," when asked whether McCarthy would return for a third season. McCarthy has an 18-15 regular-season record in two seasons, including a 12-5 mark in 2021 that saw the Cowboys win the NFC East; however, they were the only home team to lose in the first round of the playoffs. After a 13-year run in Green Bay, McCarthy, who has a 143-92-2 regular-season record and 10-9 playoff mark, understands the...
January 19
January 19

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has shoulder surgery, eyes return to 'my true self'

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield says he is on track to getting "back to my true self" after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the orthopedic surgeon for the NHL's Anaheim Ducks, performed the surgery on Mayfield's left shoulder in California. "Surgery went great. Was a complete success," Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. "Now it's on to the road to recovery. It's one of those steps to get back to my true self. ... This is not the end of my story." The Browns said the likely time period for Mayfield's recovery is four to six months. He will start physical therapy on his shoulder next week and is expected to be cleared by training camp, if not sooner, a source told ESPN. Mayfield, who suffered the shoulder injury in Week 2 and played through it for the rest of the season, will begin light throwing in April and should be able to participate in the off-season program on a limited...
January 19
January 19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians fined $50K for striking safety Andrew Adams

TAMPA, Fla. --  Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has been fined $50,000 by the NFL for swiping his hand at safety Andrew Adams' helmet during the wild-card game against Philadelphia on Sunday. Arians was attempting to move Adams, who was trying to pull a player out of a pile after a muffed punt by Jalen Reagor, which would have drawn a penalty. He can be seen slapping Adams' helmet hard with an open hand and then elbowing him. Adams wasn't penalized on the play. "I'll appeal it," Arians said Wednesday. "It ain't got nothing to do with the game, so we're good." A source told ESPN that the note to Arians stated that he displayed "conduct directed towards your players that fell below standards expected of an NFL head coach." Last month, then- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer came under increased scrutiny when former kicker Josh Lambo told the Tampa Bay Times that Meyer had kicked him during warm-ups at a practice. Meyer...
January 19
January 19

How the 1st Black NHL player overcame discrimination: 'That’s their problem'

The legend, now 86, was honored with a jersey retirement ceremony.
January 19
Willie O'Ree arrives for a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 25, 2019.
January 19

Source: Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians fined $50K for striking safety Andrew Adams

TAMPA, Fla. --  Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has been fined $50,000 by the NFL for swiping his hand at safety Andrew Adams' helmet during the wild-card game against Philadelphia on Sunday, a source confirmed to ESPN. Arians was attempting to move Adams, who was trying to pull a player out of a pile after a muffed punt by Jalen Reagor, which would have drawn a penalty. He can be seen slapping Adams' helmet hard with an open hand and then elbowing him. Adams wasn't penalized on the play. "I'll appeal it," Arians said Wednesday. "It ain't got nothing to do with the game, so we're good." A source told ESPN that the note to Arians stated that he displayed "conduct directed towards your players that fell below standards expected of an NFL head coach." The NFL Network first reported the fine. Last month, then- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer came under increased scrutiny when former kicker Josh Lambo told the Tampa...
January 19
January 19

Ex-TCU football coach Gary Patterson to join Texas Longhorns coaching staff, sources say

Gary Patterson, who had great success against Texas as the head coach at TCU, is set to join Steve Sarkisian's staff with the Longhorns in an off-field role as special assistant to the head coach, sources confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday. Patterson was spotted at a basketball game Tuesday night wearing a Longhorns shirt and talking with UT athletic director Chris Del Conte, who worked with Patterson as TCU's athletic director before taking the Texas job. Patterson, a defensive specialist, beat Texas six out of seven years before the Longhorns won 32-27 this past season in Fort Worth. TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012, and the Horned Frogs were 7-3 against the Longhorns in Big 12 play. Horns247.com was the first to report Patterson's hiring. Patterson in November was pushed out as TCU's head coach in his 21st season when the two sides mutually agreed to part ways. Patterson said he wanted to "stop the noise" with so much negativity surrounding the program after losing...
January 19
January 19

Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry passes test with contact practice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry took another step toward being activated before the team's NFL divisional playoff matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday. The Titans held a padded practice Tuesday and had some of the defensive players bang into Henry as he went through drills during the individual period of practice with the running backs. Coach Mike Vrabel said they wanted to replicate some of the things Henry would be asked to do if he played in a game. "I felt great," Henry said Wednesday. "I just wanted to get some pads on. Haven't them on in a while and got some contact going." Henry was placed on injured reserve Nov. 1 because of a fractured foot he suffered in the team's 34-31 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 8. Henry responded well to the contact in practice -- a key checkpoint in his recovery process. But the Titans want to see him participate in the rest of the practices this week before...
January 19
January 19

GM Howie Roseman expects Jalen Hurts to be Philadelphia Eagles' starting QB in 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said he is going into the offseason with the mindset that Jalen Hurts will be the team's starting quarterback in 2022. "We've got to do whatever we can to continue to help him develop. And how do we do that? By surrounding him with really good players," Roseman said. "Players continue to grow -- that's a huge part of developing. They grow. How they are in their second year is not how they're going to be in Year 4, 5, 6, 7, and they're also products of the people around them. That's on us to continue to build this team." The Eagles have three first-round picks in April's NFL draft (Nos. 15, 16 and 19 overall). That draft capital, coupled with the interest they showed in Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans heading into this season, fueled speculation that Philadelphia might try to acquire an established veteran quarterback in a trade such as Watson, Russell Wilson or Aaron...
January 19
January 19

University of Michigan reaches $490 million settlement in Robert Anderson abuse case

The University of Michigan has agreed to a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually assaulted by Dr. Robert Anderson during his nearly four-decade career at the school, the university and those involved in the settlement announced Wednesday. The university said 1,050 people will share in the settlement, which was reached through mediation. Individuals and their attorneys will determine how to split $460 million, with no input from the university, the school said in a statement. An additional $30 million will be set aside for future claims. The payouts to individuals won't all be equal and will be determined by a third-party allocator based on several variables. Jordan Acker, the chair of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, told reporters that the agreement will resolve all survivor claims. "We must support healing and restoration of trust in an environment where safety is paramount," Acker said. "This agreement is an important step...
January 19
January 19

UFC confirms return to UK for first time in three years

UFC announced Wednesday it will host a fight night in the U.K. for the first time in three years. The event, to be held in London on March 19, is the first of its kind since Jorge Masvidal recorded a stunning knockout win over Liverpool's Darren Till at the O2 Arena in March 2019 at UFC 147. The coronavirus pandemic saw the 2020 event canceled. It was set to be headlined by Leon Edwards and Tyron Woodley. It will now return to the O2 Arena, with it being the UFC's 12th event on U.K. soil. UFC president Dana White said in a statement: "Every time we put on an event in London, it's an unbelievable experience. The fans are incredible, and the fights are always off the charts. "It's a different kind of energy in England. And I can't wait to get back there with a fight card on March 19." No fights have yet been confirmed for the event, with tickets set to go on sale Feb. 4.
January 19
January 19

Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty move into 3rd round, closer to potential showdown at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- For the first set, Naomi Osaka's rediscovered love of the game meant it was anything but fun for Madison Brengle in the second round of the Australian Open. The defending champion conceded only four points in the first four games Wednesday and rifled forehand winners seemingly at will as she breezed to 6-0 in a mere 20 minutes. The second set started with Brengle celebrating a service hold like she'd finished a long-distance race, but gradually the No. 54-ranked American ground down Osaka to a stage in the seventh game where she finally converted a break-point opportunity -- after missing her first nine chances. That triggered a change in the former No. 1-ranked Osaka, who responded by breaking back immediately and winning the last nine points to complete a 6-0, 6-4 victory. She finished with 37 winners and 32 unforced errors. Osaka will next face Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old American who beat Olympic gold medalist ...
January 19
January 19

Australian Open: Madison Keys advances to third round after being revived from 'dark pit of despair'

Madison Keys stormed into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-2 7-5 win over Jaqueline Cristian on Wednesday as the American continued her resurgence after a year in which she sank into a "dark pit of despair" and her ranking plummeted. The former U.S. Open finalist warmed up for the opening Grand Slam of the year with her first title since 2019 at the Adelaide WTA tournament last week and knocked out 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in her opener on Monday. The former world No. 7, who slipped to 87th in the rankings following a disappointing 2021, is aiming to improve on her semifinal finish at Melbourne Park seven years ago. The American ran away with the opening set in 31 minutes and broke unseeded Romanian Cristian for a 6-5 lead in the next to seal the win that set up a clash with Wang Qiang after the Chinese player beat Alison Van Uytvanck 2-6 7-6(5) 6-3. Keys, who missed the 2021 Australian Open due to COVID-19, had said after...
January 19
January 19

Rafael Nadal fends off qualifier Yannick Hanfmann to reach third round at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia --  Rafael Nadal didn't get it all his own way in an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena, needing five match points before beating 126th-ranked German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to move into the third round at the Australian Open. The sixth-seeded Nadal, aiming for a men's record 21st Grand Slam singles title, had two match points on Hanfmann's serve and two more on his own in the next game before finally clinching a spot in the third round when his rival sent a forehand long. Nadal converted only four of his 16 break-point chances, including one of eight in the third set, but faced only two break points on his own serve and fended them both off. For the 35-year-old Nadal, after fatigue and injuries curtailed his 2021 season following the French Open, time on court is more important than anything. "I said here before the tournament started, things are not going to be perfect, but every day that I'm going to spend on court, the...
January 19
January 19

Sources: San Antonio Spurs' Bryn Forbes traded to Denver Nuggets in 3-team deal

The Denver Nuggets are acquiring San Antonio Spurs guard Bryn Forbes in a three-way deal with the Boston Celtics, sources told ESPN on Tuesday night. The Nuggets will send Bol Bol and P.J. Dozier to the Celtics, and the Spurs will acquire Boston forward Juancho Hernangomez and Denver's 2028 second-round pick, sources said. The second-round pick going from the Nuggets to the Spurs is protected Nos. 31-33, and San Antonio receives $2.35 million in the trade -- including $2.15 million via Boston, sources said. The Nuggets are hopeful Forbes can improve their 3-point shooting. Forbes ranks third in 3-point field goal percentage over the past four NBA seasons among players with more than 1,000 attempts, trailing only Brooklyn's Joe Harris and Philadelphia's Seth Curry, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Celtics will save approximately $4.3 million in salary on the deal, which will help them avoid...
January 19
January 18

Free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa hires Scott Boras to represent him

Star free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa has hired agent Scott Boras, Correa told ESPN over the phone Tuesday night. On the 47th day of Major League Baseball's lockout, with transactions frozen and Correa still without a team, the 27-year-old player joined Boras, the veteran agent who before the work stoppage negotiated $630 million in deals for Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Max Scherzer. Correa, who in seven seasons with the Houston Astros made two All-Star teams and won the 2017 World Series, entered this winter on the top of most free-agent boards. While multiple teams expressed interest in Correa, Seager signed the pre-lockout megadeal with the Texas Rangers for $325 million over 10 years. In a statement Correa gave to ESPN, he said: "I have made the decision to hire Boras Corporation to represent me moving forward. Boras Corporation offers the highest level of baseball expertise and proven experience." Correa said he would not...
January 18
January 18

Ashleigh Barty cruises into 3rd round at Australian Open; Madison Keys also advances

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Ashleigh Barty was front and center -- albeit not for very long -- when the Australian Open celebrated its inaugural First Nations Day. The top-ranked Barty has Indigenous heritage, and her second-round match at Melbourne Park's main stadium on Wednesday was among the features of a program dedicated to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. She was on and off the court quickly, beating 142nd-ranked qualifier Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1 in 52 minutes. "Really cool. ... Nice for me to be a part of it in a way I feel most comfortable," Barty said. "On a day when we're bringing culture together ... it was really nice for me to go out and enjoy that. "I was really fortunate to be able to play today." Also Wednesday, American  Madison Keys followed up her first-round upset of 11th-seeded  Sofia Kenin with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over  Jaqueline Cristian. Barty extended her streak of service holds to 48...
January 18

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