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UEFA President Urges Soccer Club Owners Not to Start New Super League
04/20/2021 10:41am

In a direct appeal to the owners of the English clubs in the Super League project, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin urged them Tuesday to change their minds out of respect for soccer fans.Ceferin both cajoled and criticized the six-club English group made up of American billionaires, Arab royalty and a Russian oligarch less than 48 hours after the Super League was launched in alliance with three clubs from each of Italy and Spain.Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake, Ceferin said in a speech to European soccer leaders at the UEFA annual meeting. Some will say it is greed, others will say disdain arrogance, flippancy or complete ignorance of Englands football culture. It does not matter.What does matter is that there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes.Ceferin urged them to turn back out of respect for fans in England, aiming another barb at what he earlier called a few selfish people.Come to your senses, he said. Not out of love for football because I imagine some of you dont have much of that.The UEFA president cited an email he received from a fan of Tottenham, one of the six rebel clubs from the Premier League.If you read the email you would be close to crying, Ceferin said of the fan he identified only as Trevor, whom he had given two tickets to the 2019 Champions League final, when Tottenham lost to Liverpool.Ceferin said fans and governments have supported UEFA in resisting the proposed 20-team Super League, which threatens to directly challenge the Champions League and damage the historic pyramid structure of European soccer.We cannot lose this match, said Ceferin, a Slovenian lawyer.The clubs have not said when their planned breakaway league, underwritten by American bank JP Morgan Chase, would kick off.On Monday, Ceferin said he wanted Super League clubs and their players banned from all UEFA competitions as soon as possible.It is unclear if UEFAs legal statutes and Champions League rules will allow that before Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City play in the semifinals next week. Manchester United and Arsenal also play next week in the Europa League semifinals.Earlier Tuesday in a speech that seemed to blame the club owners and absolve players, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he can only strongly disapprove of the Super League.If some elect to go their own way, then they must live with the consequences of their choice, Infantino said. They are responsible for their choice.

Dodgers Drop Second Straight Game, 4-3 to Mariners
04/20/2021 5:36am

Rookie Taylor Trammell homered and added a key RBI double, third baseman Dylan Moore thwarted a Dodgers rally with aterrific defensive playin the seventh and the Seattle Mariners beat Los Angeles 4-3 on Monday night in a matchup of early season division leaders.Seattle handed the Dodgers a second straight loss, the first time on the young season Los Angeles dropped consecutive games. It came on the strength of a couple long balls off Dodgers starter Dustin May and a strong start by Justus Sheffield.Jos Marmolejos got Seattle started with a two-run shot in the first inning that barely cleared the wall in right field. Trammell, one of Seattles top young prospects, added a solo homer to deep left-center in the second inning, and his RBI double with two outs in the fourth capitalized on an error by second baseman Chris Taylor for a 4-2 lead.Sheffield 1-1 threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, three walks and striking out six. His lone mistake was Corey Seagers two-run homer to center field in the third inning. Zach McKinstry added an RBI single in the sixth that ended Sheffields night.The Dodgers threatened in the seventh with two runners on and one out, but Kendall Graveman struck out Justin Turner and Moore made a leaping catch at third base to rob Will Smith of a base hit that would have tied it.Los Angeles threatened again in the ninth against closer Rafael Montero after a walk and hit batter put the tying run at second with one out. Seager grounded into a game-ending double play, and Montero recorded his third save.May 1-1 struck out eight, but the two long balls were the first homers hes allowed this season.FRANCE LEAVESSeattle 3B Ty France was replaced after getting hit on the right forearm by a 98 mph fastball from May in the fifth inning. France initially stayed in the game but was removed before the start of the sixth inning. X-rays were negative.TRAINERS ROOMDodgers: OF Cody Bellinger is traveling with the Dodgers and ramping up his baseball activity. Manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger calf did some light jogging, fielding and took some swings before Mondays game. Today was a good, considerable day. Hopefully he comes out of today feeling good and we just continue to progress, Roberts said.Mariners: Seattle expects AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis to make his season debut Tuesday. Lewis has been out for nearly a month due to a bone bruise in his knee suffered late in spring training. Manager Scott Servais said Lewis played in an alternate site game Monday and appears set to be brought off the injured list. Servais said the team has arranged a vaccination clinic for players and staff following Tuesdays game. The Mariners are off on Wednesday before opening a series in Boston on Thursday. Servais said as of now he doesnt believe the Mariners will get to the 85 vaccination rate among Tier 1 personnel that would lift some COVID-19 restrictions teams must currently follow.UP NEXTDodgers: LHP Julio Uras 2-0 looks to remain perfect on the young season. Uras gave up a season-high four earned runs in his last start against Colorado.Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales 1-1 makes his fourth start of the season. Gonzales was roughed up in his first two starts but allowed just two runs and three hits in his last start against Baltimore.

Jazz Avenge Loss With 111-97 Win Over Lakers in Rematch
04/20/2021 4:33am

Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points, Joe Ingles added 21 with five 3-pointers and the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Lakers 111-97 Monday night, splitting their series with the defending NBA champs.Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points as NBA-leading Utah avenged the Lakers 127-115 overtime victory on Saturday night. The Jazz rested Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley Jr. and Derrick Favors in the first game on the second night of a back-to-back set, but all three returned for the rematch at Staples Center.We still have a lot of work to do, but I think we can compete with any team in this league, Favors said. I think were going to see this team again down the road, so we just wanted to do the things we needed to get a win.Leading scorer Donovan Mitchell is still out for Utah, while LeBron James and Anthony Davis are still out for Los Angeles.Talen Horton-Tucker scored a career-high 24 points for the Lakers, who dropped to 7-9 without both of their superstars and 14-16 since Davis went down on Valentines Day.These guys are as good as anyone in the league with the read-drive offense, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of the Jazz. Theyre patient. They look for great shots at the rim or great shots at the perimeter. If they dont have it, they work the possession until they get it. Thats why their record is what it is, and obviously we werent good enough tonight.Kyle Kuzma scored all of his 17 points in the first three quarters for Los Angeles, and Dennis Schrder had 15 points and six assists. The Lakers have alternated wins and losses for 12 consecutive games since March 28.I think we kind of gave in a little bit, Kuzma said. On the offensive end, shots really didnt fall, and a couple of bad possessions led to a lack of effort on the defensive end guys getting open 3s, Rudy getting a couple of dunks, guys getting downhill a little bit easier.Clarkson hit nine of his 14 shots and Ingles went 8 for 11 against the NBAs top defensive team for Utah, which never trailed in its fifth victory in seven games. The Jazz doubled their halftime lead to 20 points in the third quarter with 13 from Ingles, who hit three 3-pointers in that stretch.I thought we came out with a good focus at the beginning of the game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. Any time we play a team and we build a little bit of a lead, we know theyre going to raise their level. Thats a good performance for us.TIP-INSJazz: Ersan Ilyasova sat out with hamstring tightness.Lakers: Davis is likely just a few days away from his return, coach Frank Vogel said. The All-NBA big man has missed 30 games with a strained calf. Davis is currently building up his conditioning. Kuzma said Davis had better play this week: Its been a long two, three months. James is doing light work on the court, Vogel said, but his return is not imminent. James has missed 16 straight games since spraining his ankle March 20. Marc Gasol was available, but he sat out his second straight game after breaking a ligament in his left pinky finger last Thursday.ROUGH NIGHTThe Lakers 42 points in the first half were their second-fewest of the season. They never led for the second time in their last three home games, following a wire-to-wire loss to Boston last week.UP NEXTJazz: At Rockets on Wednesday.Lakers: At Mavericks on Thursday.

NFL Offseason Programs Begin With Mixed Player Involvement
04/20/2021 12:33am

With groups of players from 20 NFL teams saying they will skip in-person attendance, voluntary offseason programs began Monday across the league. Through the NFL Players Association, players from the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, 49ers, Rams, Seahawks, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Chargers, Raiders, Broncos, Falcons, Saints, Steelers, Browns, Ravens, Giants, Eagles,Vikings, Bears and Lions posted statements that they would not be on hand at team facilities for voluntary work. Those statements did not cover every player from those clubs.On Monday, for example, some players reported to the Cowboys, Patriots, Raiders and Panthers facilities.Wed like to hope that we create a great environment for them, said Cowboys executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones. But at the end of the day, this is not a mandatory time of the year for our players. And historically, its never been mandatory and historically, though, we still have a large number of players who chose to work out here.We have a lot of guys down here, looks like to me. Im overlooking the field and a lot of guys are out here working out. Just want to provide them a great opportunity here to get better. Every player, every teams different.Its interesting because we all know OTAs are voluntary. Thats strictly up to the players. They certainly have the right to make those decisions. Im sure our players have talked at length about it.Meanwhile, the league and players union continue talks about adjustments to the offseason. Obviously its virtual right now, so we have a little time to think about it and figure out the best plan as a team, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. Were in talks with the NFLPA and figuring out whats best not just for us but the whole league.Last week, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams saying the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual. The plan is to then transition to in-person work at team facilities something Browns center JC Tretter, the union president, has said is unnecessary. Last year, the offseason programs were all done virtually and training camp was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, organized team activities can begin May 24 for 10 sessions, and minicamps, which are mandatory, can be held until June 18.Whether players show for any of those workouts is uncertain. Tretter, who spoke with Browns management about the players viewpoint, has been adamant that the 2020 approach should be continued.The good news for our sport is that while the NFL season looked and felt noticeably different from previous years, he wrote last month on the NFLPA website, we learned that the game of football did not suffer at the expense of protecting its players more than ever before. Our process is to follow the science on what is safest for our guys, and many of the changes this past year like no in-person offseason workouts/practices, the extended acclimation period before training camp and no preseason games gave us a year of data that demonstrates maintaining some of these changes long term is in the best interest of the game.Noting that on-field experience is the most valuable teaching too, Chiefs coach Andy Reid expressed faith in his players doing their part in preparing for next season.I trust theyre going to be on the calls for right now, which I think is important, Reid said. We can go over scheme evaluation we spend endless hours on that thing trying to make it right. I think thats important and thats the crawl before you walk when hopefully youre able to get the guys in one of the other phases. But for right now this ends up being the most important thing as we move forward.Gil Brandt a longtime NFL executive, Pro Football Hall of Fame member and current league draft analyst is a great believer in the in-person offseason sessions.Its where players improve, Brandt said Monday during a SiriusXM conference call. And you know, we had a bunch of players on our team that were changing positions Pat Donovan is an example. Four-time Pro Bowler, small school Fort Valley State. Herbert Scott, small school Virginia Union. And I think if it werent for the offseason program, I dont think they would have achieved the stardom that they did and helping win football games like they did if it wasnt for that tune-up.But I think that the new president of the players association, Tretter, with his Cornell background, I think hes a thinker, and hes always thinking of ways to make it easier for the players yet not hurt their overall performance.AP Pro Football Writers Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Arnie Stapleton and Barry Wilner, and Sports Writers Steve Reed, Dave Skretta and Tom Withers contributed.

Rockets Say Sterling Brown Was Attacked, Injured in Miami
04/20/2021 12:22am

The Houston Rockets say that guard Sterling Brown was assaulted by unknown individuals after the team arrived in Miami late Sunday night, suffering cuts to his face.Brown was not playing Monday against the Heat, though the team said that was because of a recent knee injury that has kept him out for a total of five games and not the altercation.Last night, Sterling Brown was the victim of an assault, the Rockets announced in a statement issued Monday evening. He had no prior knowledge of or interaction with the assailants. He suffered facial lacerations but will make a full recovery.The team did not divulge any other details. It was not immediately known if any incident reports were filed with police.The NBA said it was gathering information on the incident and was hopeful that Brown makes a full recovery.Brown sued officials in Milwaukee after getting taken to the ground, shocked with a Taser and arrested during an encounter surrounding a parking violation with police in 2018, contending in that lawsuit that police used excessive force and targeted him because he is Black.Brown illegally parked in a disabled spot outside a store and was talking with a group of officers while waiting for his citation when the situation escalated. He did not immediately remove his hands from his pockets, as ordered, and officers used a stun gun. Brown and the city agreed on a settlement where he would receive $750,000 plus an admission from the city that his civil rights were violated was agreed to last November.Brown was among a small group of NBA players invited to the Vatican last fall to speak with Pope Francis, who hailed them as champions for social justice. Brown told the pope about what he and the Milwaukee Bucks went through in the NBAs restart bubble particularly when they decided to sit out a playoff game against Orlando in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.Rockets coach Stephen Silas said he spoke with Brown on Monday and was relieved that he would be fine.Heart-wrenching. Rips your heart out, Silas said. Its one of your guys, someone on your team that you care about, someone that youre with every day. As far as how Im feeling and how the team is feeling, were all just thankful, No. 1, that hes going to be OK and also down about what happened.Brown is averaging a career-best 8.2 points this season, his fourth in the NBA and first with the Rockets. He spent his first three NBA seasons with Milwaukee.

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