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March 09

Les Miles out as Kansas Jayhawks' head football coach

Les Miles is out as  Kansas' head football coach three days after he was placed on administrative leave amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female students during his head-coaching tenure at  LSU.  Kansas athletic director Jeff Long on Friday said the university would be conducting a full review to determine the appropriate steps on Miles' future, and late Monday evening announced that they had "mutually agreed to part ways."   "I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program," Long said in a statement. "There is a lot of young talent on this football team, and I have no doubt we will identify the right individual to lead this program." Long said the school will use a search firm to assist in finding Miles' successor. Long did not use a search firm when he hired Miles, a friend from their time together at Michigan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mike DeBord, who was hired last month as...
March 09
March 08

QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys reach four-year, $160 million deal, source says

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott have agreed to a four-year, $160 million contract, including $126 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday. The deal, which is technically for six years but voids to four so as to help Dallas against the salary cap, can be worth up to $164 million, a source said.  Prescott's signing bonus is $66 million, the highest in NFL history, with a record $75 million due in Year 1, Schefter reported. The first three years of the deal average $42 million per year, according to a source.  The Cowboys announced they had agreed to a contract with Prescott but did not disclose terms. The Cowboys will place the franchise tag on Prescott on Tuesday as a procedural matter, a source told Schefter. The Cowboys announced they will hold a news conference Wednesday. Prescott's salary-cap number for this season will be $22.2 million instead of the $37.7 million that would have come along...
March 08
March 08

Washington Football Team places franchise tag on Brandon Scherff

Washington has placed the franchise tag on right guard Brandon Scherff for a second consecutive year, the team announced Monday night.  Scherff will receive $18.03 million in the 2021 season -- a 20% increase over last season. But Washington still hopes to sign him to a long-term deal. It has until July 15 to do so, and a source described talks so far as amicable.  Scherff, who turned 29 in December, played on the franchise tag last season, earning $15.03 million. He also became the first Washington player to be named first team All-Pro since punter Matt Turk in 1996. Scherff has made four Pro Bowls, including the past two. Coaches liked how Scherff played inside, but also how well he blocked on the move in the screen game. But injuries also have been an issue. Scherff hasn't played all 16 games since 2016 and has missed a combined 18 games the past four years. He ended up on injured reserve in 2017 and '18. Washington selected Scherff with the fifth overall pick in the...
March 08
March 08

Sources: Tennessee Titans shipping Isaiah Wilson to Miami Dolphins

The Tennessee Titans have agreed to trade offensive lineman  Isaiah Wilson, their first-round pick last year, to the Miami Dolphins, sources told ESPN on Monday. The Titans will send a seventh-round pick in 2022 and Wilson to Miami for a 2021 seventh-rounder to complete the deal, sources said.  Wilson will need to pass his physical in Miami once the new league year begins next week for the trade to be officially completed. If he doesn't, he would revert back to the Titans.  Tennessee signed Wilson, the 29th overall selection in last April's NFL draft, to a four-year, $11.6 million contract in August. Wilson's time with the Titans didn't get off to a good start, prompting the team to move on from him less than a year later. The right tackle out of the University of Georgia played only four snaps in his rookie season, which culminated in his being placed on the non-football injury list in December. Before that, Wilson found himself on the reserve/COVID-19...
March 08
March 08

Los Angeles Dodgers' David Price open to any role in 2021: Whatever makes us better

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- David Price watched the 2020 season as a spectator and was often struck by the talent throughout the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting rotation. When the offseason progressed and word began to spread that his team might ultimately add Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, Price knew it would create a significant logjam. He reached out to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and delivered a message -- if Bauer signs, Price will take on any role. "Whatever makes the 2021 Dodgers better," Price said, "I'm all for it."   When Price made his spring debut from Camelback Ranch on Monday, retiring all three Chicago White Sox hitters he faced in the fourth inning, the blueprint remained fuzzy. With Bauer and Price, a five-time All-Star who sat out the COVID-19-shortened season, the Dodgers boast at least seven bona fide starting pitchers. Atop the pecking order are Clayton Kershaw and ...
March 08
March 08

Set to turn 28 this week, safety Marcus Maye receives franchise tag from New York Jets, source says

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Safety Marcus Maye, who will turn 28 on Tuesday, received an early birthday present from the New York Jets: the franchise tag, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Maye, poised to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time, is the first Jets player since defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in 2016 to get the designation. The franchise-tag amount for a safety is an estimated $10.5 million, which will be Maye's 2021 guaranteed salary if the two sides can't reach a long-term agreement by July 15. Maye, a second-round pick in 2017, made $6.6 million over his first four seasons. Jets general manager Joe Douglas said last week the organization's goal is to lock up Maye with a new contract, but they apparently determined they wouldn't reach an agreement by Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. That deadline reportedly could get pushed back while the salary cap is finalized. Maye's agent, Erik Burkhardt, was critical of the Jets last week on Twitter,...
March 08
March 08

Seattle Seahawks release DE Carlos Dunlap, create $14.1M in cap space

SEATTLE -- The Seahawks released veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap, the team announced on Monday. The move clears $14.1 million in badly needed cap space but leaves the Seahawks without their most accomplished edge rusher and a two-time Pro Bowl selection. The team is expected to attempt to re-sign Dunlap at a discounted rate once he tests the market. Dunlap had acknowledged the impending move in a tweet earlier Monday afternoon. Dunlap, who turned 32 in February, was scheduled to count $14.1 million against the cap in the final year of his contract, which had no remaining guaranteed money. That cap charge included a $3 million bonus he would have earned had he remained on Seattle's roster by March 21. The roster bonus was added to Dunlap's contract as part of a restructure he agreed to in order to facilitate his trade last October from the Cincinnati Bengals. Dunlap helped ignite the Seahawks' staggering pass rush by recording five sacks...
March 08
March 08

Creighton Bluejays reinstate men's basketball coach Greg McDermott

Creighton men's basketball coach Greg McDermott has been reinstated for all team activities following a one-game suspension for racially insensitive comments he made to his players in late February, the school announced Monday. The decision allows McDermott to coach the Bluejays in this week's Big East tournament. "I am grateful for the opportunity to return to all team activities and rejoin our incredible student athletes, coaches and staff,'' McDermott tweeted Monday night, after the university announced it had lifted the suspension. "I fully understand and recognize that this does not mark the end, but rather the beginning of my work in learning, growing and earning back the trust of those that I have hurt. I am committed to doing better.'' Last week, McDermott said he twice used the word "plantation'' as part of an analogy urging team unity following a loss to Xavier on Feb. 27. "Specifically, I said: 'Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to...
March 08
March 08

UMBC Retrievers' 5-foot-2 guard Darnell Rogers enters transfer portal

UMBC guard Darnell Rogers, believed to be the shortest scholarship player in Division I basketball history, has entered the transfer portal, he told ESPN on Monday. Rogers, who is 5-foot-2, started all 20 games for UMBC this past season. He played seven games last season before suffering a hamstring injury and then battling leg, abductor and groin injuries. Rogers ultimately took a medical redshirt season, leaving him with potentially two years remaining at his next school due to the NCAA granting every winter sport student-athlete an additional year of eligibility. He started his career at Florida Gulf Coast before spending a season at New Mexico Junior College and then transferring to UMBC. This past season, Rogers averaged 9.8 points and shot 40% from 3-point range, helping lead the Retrievers to a share of the America East regular-season title. They were upset by UMass Lowell in the semifinals of the conference tournament on Saturday. "I've played with everybody,...
March 08
March 08

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie wants team to build around QB Jalen Hurts for 2021 season

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has instructed the team to prioritize making Jalen Hurts successful in 2021 as opposed to creating a true quarterback competition, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Hurts is currently the only quarterback under contract in Philadelphia. More quarterbacks will be added, but Lurie wants his staff to build around Hurts and determine whether he is the answer moving forward, the sources said. Appearing on the Adam Schefter Podcast, Hurts said he views the Eagles' decision to trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason as a vote of confidence in him moving forward. "I think it was just an opportunity for me," Hurts said in his first public comments since the trade, when asked whether he was surprised when he heard the Wentz news. "I think it shows the trust and what they think I can be as a player, so I wanna prove them right." Philadelphia agreed to trade Wentz to Indianapolis last...
March 08
March 08

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts speaks out on rise of violence against Asian Americans

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, the son of a Black father and a Japanese mother, is speaking out about the rise of violence against Asian Americans in the United States. "Over the past year, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of hate crimes against Asian Americans and the Pacific Islander community," Roberts wrote in an internal email to the Dodgers organization. "In recent months, those attacks have intensified and have targeted the elderly in California and New York -- such bullying is cowardice." The email, first obtained by The Athletic, was sent out to the entire Dodgers organization, which has not publicly addressed the #StopAsianHate movement. The Los Angeles metro area contains one of the densest Asian populations in the United States, with 11.3% of the population identifying as Asian, according to the 2010 census, and established enclaves such as Koreatown and Filipinotown. A February Facebook post from professional basketball player Jeremy Lin...
March 08
March 08

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts speaks out on rise of violence against Asian-Americans

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, the son of a Black father and a Japanese mother, is speaking out about the rise of violence against Asian-Americans. "Over the past year, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of hate crimes against Asian Americans and the Pacific Islander community," Roberts wrote in an internal email to the Dodger organization. "In recent months, those attacks have intensified and have targeted the elderly in California and New York -- such bullying is cowardice." The email, first obtained by The Athletic, was sent out to the entire Dodgers organization, which has not publicly addressed the #StopAsianHate movement. The Los Angeles metro area contains one of the most highly-dense Asian populations in the United States, with 11.3% of the population identifying as Asian according to the 2010 census and established enclaves such as Koreatown and Filipinotown. A February Facebook post from professional basketball player Jeremy Lin prompted Roberts...
March 08
March 08

Source: Seattle Seahawks to release DE Carlos Dunlap

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks are releasing veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The move clears $14.1 million in badly needed cap space but leaves the Seahawks without their most accomplished edge rusher and a two-time Pro Bowl selection. The team is expected to attempt to re-sign Dunlap at a discounted rate once he tests the market. Dunlap acknowledged the impending move in a tweet Monday afternoon. Dunlap, who turned 32 in February, was scheduled to count $14.1 million against the cap in the final year of his contract, which had no remaining guaranteed money. That cap charge included a $3 million bonus he would have earned had he remained on Seattle's roster by March 21. The roster bonus was added to Dunlap's contract as part of a restructure he agreed to in order to facilitate his trade last October from the Cincinnati Bengals. Dunlap helped ignite the Seahawks' staggering pass rush by recording...
March 08
March 08

Judge dismisses lawsuit over 'race-norming' in NFL dementia tests

PHILADELPHIA -- A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit that challenged "race-norming" in dementia tests for retired NFL players, a practice that some say makes it harder for Black athletes to show injury and qualify for awards. A hearing had been set for Thursday. The judge instead ordered the NFL and the lead lawyer in the overall $1 billion settlement to resolve the issue through mediation. That process would appear to exclude the Black players who sued. "We are deeply concerned that the Court's proposed solution is to order the very parties who created this discriminatory system to negotiate a fix," said lawyer Cyril V. Smith, who represents ex-players Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport. "The class of Black former players whom we represent must have a seat at the table and a transparent process." The demographic factors that doctors consider during testing for dementia often include race. If so, lawyers say, the testing assumes that Black athletes start with worse...
March 08
March 08

Chicago to allow 20% fan capacity at MLB fields in time for Opening Day

CHICAGO -- Chicago is lifting some coronavirus restrictions in time for MLB's Opening Day, allowing fans to attend games at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time in more than a year. The rules, announced Monday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot's administration, take effect April 1, Opening Day for the Cubs. The home opener for the  White Sox is April 8. "As a die-hard sports fan myself," Lightfoot said, "I'm personally excited to have Chicago take its first, cautious steps toward safely reopening our beloved baseball stadiums to fans this season." Capacity will initially be limited to 20% for each venue with at least 6 feet between parties. At Wrigley Field, the oldest ballpark in the National League, attendance will be limited to 8,274 fans per game. The Cubs reported no positive COVID-19 tests among their players in the 2020 season. "Nothing can replace the energy and enthusiasm our beloved fans bring to the Friendly Confines each and every game,"...
March 08
March 08
The NFL logo on the field, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio.
March 08

Indiana football coach Tom Allen gets new 7-year deal with $1 million annual raise

Indiana football coach Tom Allen has agreed to a new seven-year contract through the 2027 season that will pay him an average salary of $4.9 million per year, the school announced Monday. Allen, who was signed through the 2026 season, had an additional year added to his contract after Indiana's Gator Bowl appearance. His average annual salary had been $3.9 million but will climb by $1 million in the new agreement. The increases come in Allen's outside marketing and promotion income, which is added to $500,000 in annual salary and $500,000 in deferred compensation. The 2020 Big Ten Coach of the Year and American Football Coaches Association national coach of the year will make $4.3 million in 2021. His salary will increase by $200,000 per year throughout the contract, topping out at $5.5 million. He will continue to receive an extra year on his contract for every future bowl appearance, at a salary of $100,000 more than the final year of the agreement. Allen, 50, is 24-22 at...
March 08
March 08

Novak Djokovic breaks Roger Federer's record for most weeks as ATP world No. 1

Novak Djokovic has broken Roger Federer's record for most weeks as the ATP world No. 1, holding the top spot for the 311th week in Monday's rankings. Djokovic's record-breaking ranking was guaranteed last month when he won the Australian Open for the ninth time in his career. Djokovic, 33, has held the ATP's top ranking for 36 consecutive weeks since claiming the spot from Rafael Nadal in February 2020, and is in his fifth separate stint as world No. 1. "It really excites me to walk the path of legends and giants of this sport," Djokovic said in a statement released Monday by the ATP. "To know that I have earned my place among them by following my childhood dream is a beautiful confirmation that when you do things out of love and passion, everything is possible." The 18-time Grand Slam champion has finished the season as the world No. 1 six times, tied with Pete Sampras for the most all time. "Novak's many achievements in tennis are nothing short of...
March 08
March 07

Giannis Antetokounmpo, perfect in Team LeBron win, nabs NBA All-Star Game MVP

Thanks to a perfect 16-for-16 performance from the field -- including banking in multiple jump shots -- Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo won his first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, as Team LeBron cruised to a 170-150 victory over Team Durant on Sunday night in Atlanta. "You know, usually it is closed [on Sundays]," Antetokounmpo said with a smile, when asked about the banked-in jumpers, "but for me, it was open extended hours." According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Antetokounmpo shattered the previous record of most makes without a miss in an All-Star Game, set by Hal Greer when he went 8-for-8 in 1968. But Antetokounmpo said his perfect shooting night wasn't something that was on his mind during the game. "It actually wasn't," he said. "I was just trying to just play. When you're around guys like [ Damian Lillard] and [ Stephen Curry] and Chris Paul, it's just easy. Nobody is worrying about me. I'm...
March 07
March 07

Portland Trail Blazers' Anfernee Simons blows a kiss to rim in winning NBA dunk contest

Portland's  Anfernee Simons was all smiles as he became the first Trail Blazers player to win the NBA dunk contest, which took place during halftime of Sunday night's All-Star Game in Atlanta. Simons bested rookies Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks and Cassius Stanley of the Indiana Pacers to bring home the trophy, which Simons called "a dream come true." Simons won the contest over Toppin in the final round via a new rule called the "Judge's choice." Simons and Toppin had one dunk each in the round, and instead of a score, the five judges selected a name, with Simons receiving three votes to Toppin's two. The contest was judged by five former dunk champions: Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins (1985, 1990), Spud Webb (1986), Dee Brown (1991), Jason Richardson (2002, 2003) and Josh Smith (2005). "Having a chance to come in and be a part of it and win it, it's surreal," Simons said. There was some early controversy when Stanley's first dunk, a...
March 07
March 07

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry wins NBA 3-point contest; Indiana Pacers' Domantas Sabonis takes skills challenge

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry won his second 3-point contest, while  Indiana Pacers forward  Domantas Sabonis outdueled the  Orlando Magic's  Nikola Vucevic in the final round of the skills challenge prior to Sunday's NBA All-Star Game.  Curry scored 28 points in the final round of the 3-point contest, nailing his last "money ball" shot (worth two points) to beat Utah Jazz guard  Mike Conley's total of 27.  "I could hear the temperature rise a little bit,'' Curry said of the reaction from the small crowd allowed in State Farm Arena.  "It was some awesome competition,'' Curry said. "I'm glad I got it done.'' Curry became the seventh player to win multiple 3-point contests -- his first title came in 2015 -- and the first to do so in nonconsecutive contests. Larry Bird (1986-88), Craig Hodges (1990-92), Mark Price (1993-94), Jeff Hornacek (1998, 2000 -- no contest in 1999), Peja Stojakovic (2002-03) and Jason Kapono...
March 07
March 07

Phil Mickelson falls out of top 100 in World Golf Ranking

Phil Mickelson has fallen out of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since 1993, when he won the International tournament for his second PGA Tour victory. He stayed in the top 100 for a record 1,425 weeks. Mickelson, 50, who did not play this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, fell to 101 after starting the year at 66. In four official worldwide starts this year, Mickelson has missed two cuts and finished tied for 53rd in the other two events. He also played one PGA Tour Champions event, where world-ranking points are not earned. Mickelson, a 44-time PGA Tour winner who has five major championships and is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, is scheduled to play this week's Players Championship. He first entered the world rankings as an amateur in 1990 when he finished 19th at the Northern Telecom Tucson Open. That put him at 540th in the world. The following year, Mickelson won that tournament as an amateur while a junior at Arizona State. He entered...
March 07
March 07

Payne Stewart's family selling items from late golfer's collection

Tracey Stewart, the widow of PGA Tour golfer Payne Stewart, is selling more than 200 items from her late husband's personal collection with The Golf Auction, available now through March 14. Stewart died in a plane crash in 1999 at the age of 42. He was survived by Tracey and their two children, Aaron and Chelsea, and the family is now sharing some golf artifacts they have been holding onto since Stewart's death. "Over the years so many people have reached out to share how much Payne impacted their lives or the lived of their loved ones," Tracey said in a statement. "I am pleased to share these items as a reminder of how much Payne enjoyed golf, but even more, how much he enjoyed people. I hope these will become treasured mementos that will inspire and encourage people in the same way Payne lived his life." Some of the items for sale include Stewart's player's badge from the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, where Stewart famously made a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole on Sunday to win...
March 07
March 07

Former NBA All-Star forward Blake Griffin agrees to deal with Brooklyn Nets

Six-time All-Star forward Blake Griffin has agreed to a deal to join the Brooklyn Nets for the rest of the season, his agent, Sam Goldfeder of Excel Sports, told ESPN on Sunday night. The Nets are using one of their veteran-minimum-contract slots to sign Griffin, sources said. Griffin informed Nets general manager Sean Marks of his decision to join Brooklyn's championship chase on Sunday evening, a reunion of sorts with his former Los Angeles Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan. Griffin had interest from most of the NBA's top playoff contenders and cleared waivers on Sunday night after agreeing to a buyout on the remaining $56.5 million left on his contract with the Detroit Pistons on Friday. The Nets imagine Griffin, 31, as a small-ball center alternative off its bench. Brooklyn has solidified itself as a championship contender with the addition of James Harden to a roster that includes Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Because...
March 07
March 07

Texas Longhorns' Charli Collier, projected top pick, declares for WNBA draft

Texas Longhorns junior Charli Collier declared for the 2021 WNBA draft on Sunday. Collier is the projected No. 1 pick by the Dallas Wings in ESPN's mock draft. Collier, a 6-foot-5 center/forward, is averaging 21 points and 12.2 rebounds this season for the Longhorns (16-8). She is draft-eligible as a junior because she turns 22 this calendar year, in September. "After long consideration, thought and prayer, I've decided to fulfill my lifelong dream and declare for the 2021 WNBA draft," she told ESPN's Holly Rowe. "I feel like it's just time for me to fulfill the next step in my life. You know, it's God's plan. I'm ready." She also announced her intentions via a statement on social media. If Collier is chosen first, she would be the first WNBA No. 1 pick from Texas, and just the second from the Big 12 conference, following Baylor center Brittney Griner in 2013 by the Phoenix Mercury. Collier was ranked No. 2 by ESPN HoopGurlz for the prep class of...
March 07
March 07

Texas Longhorns Charli Collier, projected top pick, declares for WNBA draft

Texas Longhorns junior Charli Collier declared for the 2021 WNBA draft on Sunday. Collier is the projected No. 1 pick by the Dallas Wings in ESPN's mock draft. Collier, a 6-foot-5 center/forward, is averaging 21 points and 12.2 rebounds this season for the Longhorns (16-8). She is draft-eligible as a junior because she turns 22 this calendar year, in September. "After long consideration, thought and prayer, I've decided to fulfill my lifelong dream and declare for the 2021 WNBA draft," she told ESPN's Holly Rowe. "I feel like it's just time for me to fulfill the next step in my life. You know, it's God's plan. I'm ready." She also announced her intentions via a statement on social media. If Collier is chosen first, she would be the first WNBA No. 1 pick from Texas, and just the second from the Big 12 conference, following Baylor center Brittney Griner in 2013 by the Phoenix Mercury. Collier was ranked No. 2 by ESPN HoopGurlz for the prep class of...
March 07
March 07

After yet another double-double, star center Luka Garza finds out his No. 55 will be retired by Iowa basketball

After No. 5 Iowa's 77-73 win over No. 25 Wisconsin on Sunday, the school announced it would retire Luka Garza's No. 55. Garza, a Wooden Award contender who finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds against the Badgers, said he was emotional after Fran McCaffery told him the news after the game. "I honestly didn't expect that at all," Garza said after the game. "I didn't realize that was a plan or that was going to happen. I was just really happy we won the game. For Coach to tell me that, it was a surreal feeling. Time slowed down, as I heard those words." Garza has helped Iowa, which has won seven of its past eight games, build key momentum entering this week's Big Ten tournament. The win also solidified the 3-seed in the Big Ten tournament for the Hawkeyes. Garza, a 6-foot-11 big man, has made 43% of his 3-pointers this season. "It was a pretty emotional moment for both of us," McCaffery said. "Incredibly heartwarming for me to watch what he's accomplished." Sunday's...
March 07
March 07

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker hopes Tiger Woods can be part of team

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Steve Stricker wore red and black in honor of Tiger Woods on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and said he hopes to have his longtime friend at the Ryder Cup this fall "in one way, shape or form.'' But the U.S. Ryder Cup captain would not go so far as to say this early that Woods would be a vice captain when the United States Ryder Cup team takes on Europe at Whistling Straits in September. Woods is recovering from multiple serious injuries suffered in a single-vehicle crash in Southern California on Feb. 23. "I'm not going to go down that road now,'' Stricker said. "Obviously we're all pulling for him. We're thankful that he's alive. I don't know who said it, but that his kids continue to have a father. Something even more tragic could have come from that. "I'd love to have him around [at the Ryder Cup]. I'm hoping in one way, shape or form. But it's too early to kind of commit to anything.'' Stricker has two vice captain openings after...
March 07
March 07

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons out of All-Star Game due to contact tracing

Philadelphia 76ers teammates  Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been ruled out of Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, the league has announced. The two had contact with a barber who has since tested positive for the coronavirus, sources told ESPN. The barber, located in the Philadelphia area, tested positive after undergoing additional testing Sunday because of an inconclusive positive test, sources said.  Embiid is on Team Durant, while Simmons is on Team LeBron. Though sources said there are no plans to replace Embiid and Simmons on the All-Star Game rosters at this point, New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson will take Embiid's place in the starting lineup for Team Durant. Both Embiid and Simmons traveled to Atlanta on Saturday night in private planes and have remained in quarantine, which was the protocol for every All-Star participant. The NBA has feared an outbreak involving the league's best players in Atlanta and has significant...
March 07
March 07

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons out for All-Star Game due to contact tracing

Philadelphia 76ers teammates  Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been ruled out of Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, the league has announced. The two had contact with a barber who has since tested positive for the coronavirus, sources told ESPN. The barber, located in the Philadelphia area, tested positive after undergoing additional testing Sunday because of an inconclusive positive test, sources said.  Embiid is on Team Durant, while Simmons is on Team LeBron. There are no plans to replace them in the All-Star Game at this point, a source told ESPN. Both Embiid and Simmons traveled to Atlanta on Saturday night in private planes and have remained in quarantine, which was the protocol for every All-Star participant. The NBA has feared an outbreak involving the league's best players in Atlanta and has significant precautions in place to isolate the players on the way in and out of Atlanta for the game.
March 07
March 07

Sources: Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons uncertain for All-Star Game due to contact tracing

Philadelphia 76ers teammates  Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are uncertain for Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta after having contact with a barber, who potentially has contracted the coronavirus, sources told ESPN. The barber, located in the Philadelphia area, tested positive for the coronavirus after undergoing additional testing Sunday because of an inconclusive positive test, sources said.  The league must make a decision still, but it is highly unlikely Embiid and Simmons will be cleared to play today. Sixers coach Doc Rivers, who is coaching Team Durant in the All-Star Game, said it was "not looking great" that either would play on Sunday night. Both Embiid and Simmons traveled to Atlanta on Saturday night in private planes and have remained in quarantine, which was the protocol for every All-Star participant. The NBA has feared an outbreak involving the league's best players in Atlanta and taken significant precautions to isolate the players on the way in...
March 07
March 07

Kobe Bryant rookie card, in 'pristine condition,' sells for nearly $1.8 million at auction

A Kobe Bryant rookie card sold for $1.795 million late Saturday on Goldin Auctions, an online auction house and repository for sports memorabilia, making it one of the most expensive basketball cards ever sold. The "1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors #138 Kobe Bryant Rookie Card -- BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10" is just one of two in the world "at its level of perfection," according to Goldin Auctions. The card's condition report had perfect 10s across the board, qualifying it for the prestigious "black label" recognition. Goldin Auctions had not released the name of the buyer as of Sunday morning. Bryant was one of the most revered athletes in the world before his death last year. The five-time NBA champion died with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in California on Jan. 26, 2020, at the age of 41. Within weeks after his death, Bryant cards were everywhere online, increasing in value by 600%, according to eBay sales data. "Kobe Bryant was one of...
March 07
March 07

Jan Blachowicz wins, halts Israel Adesanya's bid to become 2-division champion

LAS VEGAS -- Israel Adesanya's meteoric rise to UFC superstardom hit a rather large obstacle Saturday night. Jan Blachowicz beat the previously undefeated Adesanya by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) to retain his light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 259. Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, was attempting to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles concurrently. "It didn't go exactly the way I wanted it to go, but dare to be great," Adesanya said. "You know, the critics are the ones on the sideline, but I'm the one putting it on the line." Adesanya added: "If I was gonna lose to anyone, I'm glad I lost to him. Credit to him. He's a great champion." The story of the fight leading in was that Blachowicz would have a significant size advantage. Adesanya tipped the scales at 200.5 pounds during Friday's weigh-in, 4.5 pounds under the 205-pound limit for a light heavyweight title fight. Blachowicz weighed 205 pounds and said he...
March 07
March 07

Los Angeles Dodgers' Trevor Bauer pitches shutout inning vs. San Diego Padres with one eye closed

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Trevor Bauer immersed himself into a budding rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres with one eye closed. The Dodgers' prized offseason acquisition navigated through his first inning against the Padres on Saturday afternoon by pitching mostly with his right eye closed, a training method he said he uses frequently as a means to make himself uncomfortable. "I figured if they can't score off me with one eye open, it's gonna be difficult to score off me with two eyes open," Bauer said after throwing three scoreless innings from the Dodgers' facility. "Just having a little bit of fun." Bauer didn't go into specifics for why he occasionally chooses to keep an eye closed, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts mentioned that it had something to do with recalibrating his command. "I think there might have been one curveball I think he did with both eyes closed," Roberts said while holding his laughter. "I don't know, but...
March 07
March 07

Aljamain Sterling wins UFC bantamweight title after Petr Yan disqualified for illegal knee

LAS VEGAS -- Aljamain Sterling unhooked the UFC belt from around his waist and let it fall to the Octagon mat with a thud. Sterling then got on his knees and put his head to the canvas. It was not the behavior of someone who had just achieved a longtime dream of becoming UFC champion. But those were the extremely bizarre circumstances of Saturday's UFC bantamweight title fight at UFC 259. Sterling won the title by disqualification at 4 minutes, 29 seconds of the fourth round after  Petr Yan landed an illegal knee to Sterling's head. The ringside physician determined that Sterling, who was visibly rocked by the knee, could not fight on. Referee Mark Smith ruled the foul intentional, making the result a disqualification. Sterling was transported to the hospital for precautionary reasons, according to the UFC.  "Everything I worked for to this point, and to have the fight go like that," Sterling said. "I thought the fight was very close; I thought I was down two...
March 07
March 07

Amanda Nunes submits Megan Anderson via armbar in first round to defend women's featherweight title

LAS VEGAS --  Amanda Nunes, the most dominant female fighter in mixed martial arts history, did her thing again on Saturday in an absolute thrashing of No. 1 featherweight contender Megan Anderson. Nunes (21-4) forced Anderson (10-5) to tap to an armbar at 2:03 of the opening round of their featherweight title fight at UFC 259 inside the Apex. In all likelihood, she could have finished the fight any way she wanted. She rocked Anderson with a right hand in the opening minute, a shot that had the challenger on skates. Anderson was so hurt, she actually shot a takedown on Nunes, which led to a finish on the ground. With the victory, Nunes defended her 145-pound title for the second time. She is also still in control of the 135-pound bantamweight title. She is one of only three champions in UFC history to defend titles in multiple weight classes, and she holds UFC records for the women's divisions in wins (14), finishes (10) and wins in title fights (9). "The plan was...
March 07
March 06

Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson suspended seven games by NHL for hit on Boston Bruins' Brandon Carlo

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was suspended seven games on Saturday for his hit that sent  Boston Bruins defenseman  Brandon Carlo to the hospital. Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Wilson will forfeit $311,781.61. The NHL suspended Wilson under its rule against boarding, saying that Carlo was in a defenseless position. In its video explaining the suspension, the NHL acknowledged the validity of the Capitals' argument that players can deliver legal hits on vulnerable opponents. However, it was the direct contact with Carlo's head that led to the suspension. "While there are aspects of this hit that may skirt the line between suspendable and non-suspendable, it is the totality of the circumstances that caused this play to merit supplemental discipline. What separates this hit from others is the direct and significant contact to a defenseless player's face and head, causing a violent impact...
March 06
March 06

Bryson DeChambeau gets 'chills' after nearly driving Bay Hill's par-5 6th hole

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Bryson DeChambeau has relished the opportunity to try to drive the green at the Bay Hill Club's par-5 sixth hole and celebrated as if he had done so Saturday during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. DeChambeau's drive, which cut across a huge lake, ended up 50 yards to the right of the green but traveled 370 yards and rolled through the fairway and into the rough. The hole measures 555 yards, and no player in the field has hit his tee shot that close to the green. He ended up hitting a wedge shot from the rough to the front of the green and then two-putting for an easy birdie from about 35 feet. "I felt like a kid again, for sure. It was exciting," DeChambeau said after a 68 left him one shot behind 54-hole leader Lee Westwood. "Especially when you pull it off. It was almost like winning a tournament. I got the same chills and feeling when I saw it clear and there was no splash. I gave the fans what they wanted." DeChambeau, the...
March 06
March 06

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says 'most players' will get COVID-19 vaccine, but aren't required to do so

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday the NBA will not require anyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but he believes "most players" will ultimately choose to do so. "We're seeing this now, both in the actual numbers of people getting vaccinated in the United States and opinion polls, that people are becoming more willing to get vaccinated," Silver said during his All-Star Weekend virtual news conference from Atlanta. "I think, as to those who have been hesitators, as tens of millions of people now in the United States have gotten the vaccine, that people are seeing, at least in the short term, what the impact is, and they're hearing about how incredibly effective these vaccines are. "My hunch is that most players ultimately will choose to get vaccinated. They have to make personal decisions at the end of the day -- and I take that very seriously, and I take concerns very seriously. But my sense is most [players] will, ultimately, decide it is in their interest to get...
March 06
March 06

Vegas Golden Knights scramble to switch lodging after a San Jose landmark hotel declares bankruptcy

In the midst of a two-game set against the Sharks, the Vegas Golden Knights had to scramble and switch hotels in San Jose because the league's designated place of lodging suddenly filed for bankruptcy, according to multiple reports. Citing financial difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fairmont Hotel, a landmark in downtown San Jose, closed its doors, but said it will reopen and resume operations in two to three months, according to the San Jose Mercury News. That puts a dent in the NHL's plans to house visiting teams in San Jose, and the Golden Knights, not long after their 5-4 overtime win over the Sharks on Friday night, had to gather their belongings and switch their place of lodging. "It was a surreal experience," Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer told the Las Vegas Sun. "Hopefully this is the end of the COVID year, but it was almost the topping on the cake for what the last year has been for everybody in the world. Just another thing thrown at...
March 06
March 06

Jake Odorizzi reaches 2-year deal with Houston Astros, source says

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi and the Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year deal with a player option, a source familiar with the deal told ESPN's Jeff Passan on Saturday. The Astros have already lost starter Framber Valdez for an indefinite period of time after the left-hander suffered a fractured left ring finger during his spring training debut on Tuesday. Houston also is without ace Justin Verlander, who likely will miss the entire season after having Tommy John surgery on Sept. 30. Odorizzi will join a rotation that likely includes Zack Greinke, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers Jr. and Jose Urquidy. After accepting a one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer from the Minnesota Twins last offseason, Odorizzi, who turns 31 on March 27, was limited to four starts in 2020 due to bruised ribs and a blister, going 0-1 with a 6.59 ERA in 13⅔ innings. His lost season began when he was drilled in the side by a...
March 06
March 06

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid donates $100,000 in All-Star winnings to homeless shelters

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has committed to giving his winnings from Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta to several Philadelphia homeless shelters, meaning $100,000 will go to the various organizations. Later Saturday, the Sixers said they will donate an additional $100,000 to the same groups. "So many have fallen on such hard times during the pandemic," Embiid said in a statement released by the team announcing his donation. "I felt it was important to provide more support for individuals and families struggling with homelessness and food insecurity. I'm continually grateful for all of the support that Philadelphia and the fans have given me not just around All-Star but all my years in the league. I will continue to help in any way I can." Embiid, who is playing for Team Durant in what will be his fourth All-Star appearance, is donating to Project HOME, Sunday Breakfast Mission and Youth Service Inc. His donation will provide 15,000 meals; 4,000 essential...
March 06
March 06

UConn Huskies star Paige Bueckers only freshman on Wooden Award top-15 list for women's college basketball

UConn's Paige Bueckers is the only freshman among the 15 women's college basketball players on the Wooden Award national ballot, which was released Saturday. South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston and Stanford guard Haley Jones were the only other underclassmen on the list. Stanford was the only school with multiple representatives, as senior guard Kiana Williams also was included in the top 15. The Pac-12 led the way with four players on the national ballot, including conference player of the year Aari McDonald of Arizona and fellow senior Michaela Onyenwere of UCLA. The SEC and Big 12 each had three players on the ballot. Louisville's Dana Evans, who earlier this week was named the ACC player of the year for the second consecutive season, is one of seven seniors in the top 15. Kentucky's Rhyne Howard, the SEC player of the year for the second season in a row, is one of five juniors. Bueckers has led UConn to a 21-1 record and the No. 1...
March 06
March 06

Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson gets in-person hearing for hit on Boston Bruins' Brandon Carlo

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson will have a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for a hit that sent Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo to the hospital on Friday night. While there are no "in-person" hearings due to COVID-19, Wilson was technically offered one on Saturday. While phone hearings typically indicate that the NHL is considering a suspension of five games or fewer, an "in-person" hearing means it's considering one of a greater length. Carlo was released from the hospital Saturday, after spending the night. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Carlo was back home and did not attend practice, the day after the game. Wilson is the NHL's player-safety lightning rod. From September 2017 to October 2018, he was suspended four times for illegal hits in a 105-game span, culminating in a 20-game suspension for a hit to the head of St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist that was eventually reduced to 14 games by an arbitrator. With...
March 06
March 06

UConn Huskies star Paige Bueckers only freshman on Wooden Award top 15 list for women's college basketball

UConn's Paige Bueckers is the only freshman among the 15 women's college basketball players on the Wooden Award national ballot, which was released Saturday. South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston and Stanford guard Haley Jones were the only other underclassmen on the list. Stanford was the only school with multiple representatives, as senior guard Kiana Williams also was included in the top 15. The Pac-12 led the way with four players on the national ballot, including conference player of the year Aari McDonald of Arizona and fellow senior Michaela Onyenwere of UCLA. The SEC and Big 12 each had three players on the ballot. Louisville's Dana Evans, who earlier this week was named the ACC player of the year for the second consecutive season, is one of seven seniors in the top 15. Kentucky's Rhyne Howard, the SEC player of the year for the second season in a row, is one of five juniors. Bueckers has led UConn to a 21-1 record and the No. 1...
March 06
March 06

Iowa's Luka Garza, Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham among finalists for men's basketball's Wooden Award

The national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award -- awarded to college basketball's top player -- was revealed Saturday, with 15 players including Iowa's  Luka Garza and Oklahoma State's  Cade Cunningham among those featured on the list. Garza, the runner-up for the Wooden Award last season to Obi Toppin, has delivered on his status as the Wooden front-runner throughout the 2020-21 campaign. The 6-foot-11 center enters the final weekend of the regular season averaging 23.9 points per game, best in the Big Ten, to go along with 8.4 rebounds per contest. Garza's fifth-ranked Hawkeyes have spent most of the season in the AP top 10 and are a No. 2 seed in Joe Lunardi's most recent NCAA tournament projection heading into Sunday's regular-season finale with Wisconsin.  Also in the mix for the award is Cunningham, whose sensational freshman season has helped establish him as a prime candidate for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft. The...
March 06
March 06

Claressa Shields routs Marie-Eve Dicaire, becomes two-division undisputed champ

FLINT, Mich. -- Claressa Shields wanted to make history on Friday night on multiple levels. The first part she handled before she even stepped in the ring, headlining an all-women's pay-per-view card. The second part she took care of in the ring in a way similar to all of her fights before. Shields defeated Marie-Eve Dicaire by unanimous decision to become the first boxer in the four-belt era (since 2004), male or female, to be an undisputed champion in two divisions. Shields retained her WBC and WBO junior middleweight titles while claiming Dicaire's IBF crown and the vacant WBA world title. "I did it," Shields said in the ring after the fight, which marked the first time in 20 years a women's boxing match was the main event of a pay-per-view. All three judges scored the fight 100-90, a clean sweep for the fighter who calls herself the greatest of all time. Shields landed 116 of 409 punches, and Dicaire landed 31 of 263. Shields landed double-digit punches in seven of the 10...
March 06
March 06

Liberty Flames make NCAA men's basketball tournament even before playing in Atlantic Sun finale

Liberty will face North Alabama in the Atlantic Sun tournament championship game Sunday, but it already has clinched a spot in the NCAA men's basketball tournament even before stepping on the court. The Flames beat Stetson 77-64 in the semifinals Friday in Jacksonville, Florida, and since North Alabama -- a school transitioning to Division I athletics -- is ineligible for the NCAA tournament, Liberty was granted the league's automatic berth.  North Alabama joined the Atlantic Sun and commenced its move from Division II to Division I in the 2018-19 season. Per NCAA rules, a Division II program making the jump to Division I cannot compete in the NCAA tournament until it has completed the four-year transition requirement. The potential scenario that unfolded for Liberty was anticipated entering the tournament, but most assumed the conference's regular-season champion ultimately would have to go through a different ineligible team -- Bellarmine, not North Alabama,...
March 06
March 06

Liberty Flames make NCAA men's tournament before even playing in Atlantic Sun finale

Liberty will face North Alabama in the Atlantic Sun tournament championship game Sunday, but it already has clinched a spot in the NCAA men's basketball tournament before even stepping on the court. The Flames beat Stetson in the semifinals Friday in Jacksonville, Florida, and since North Alabama -- a school transitioning to Division I athletics -- is ineligible for the NCAA tournament, Liberty was granted the league's automatic berth.  North Alabama joined the Atlantic Sun and commenced its move from Division II to Division I in the 2018-19 season. Per NCAA rules, a Division II program making the jump to Division I cannot compete in the NCAA tournament until it has completed the four-year transition requirement. The potential scenario that unfolded for Liberty was anticipated entering the tournament, but most assumed the conference's regular-season champion ultimately would have to go through a different ineligible team -- Bellarmine, not North Alabama, which...
March 06
March 05

Boston Bruins' Bruce Cassidy calls Tom Wilson's shot on Brandon Carlo 'a predatory hit'

Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy ripped Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for what he called "a predatory hit" on defenseman Brandon Carlo in Friday night's game at TD Garden. Carlo went down after Wilson went hands-high to his head in the corner behind the Boston net, smashing the defenseman's head into the glass with 90 seconds left in the first period. Carlo absorbed a cross-check from Jakub Vrana on his way to the ice and remained there for several minutes. Cassidy said Carlo left the arena in an ambulance and went to a hospital but could not confirm that he suffered a concussion. "Clearly looked to me like he got him right in the head. A defenseless player, a predatory hit from a player that's done that before," Cassidy said of Wilson. "I don't understand why there wasn't a penalty called on the ice. They huddled up, but I did not get an explanation why." During his eight-year career with the Capitals, Wilson has been one of the most...
March 05

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