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Can the Las Vegas Raiders replace the fanaticism of the Black Hole?

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Mark Acasio says he and his gorilla suit are joining the Las Vegas Raiders this fall. Acasio, a long-time fan from Brentwood, California, known far and wide as Gorilla Rilla, has shelled out $3,500 for home-game tickets and $8,500 for a (PSL) for a front-row seat at Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders’ posh new home.

Acasio has not missed a Raiders’ home game in 25 years. Just because the Raiders will now be a one-hour flight from his home instead of a one-hour drive, he is determined to stay loyal to the team and to his comrades moving to Vegas from the Black Hole, the NFL’s most infamous cheering section, at dingy Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

“On the other hand, many other friends of mine have not, and will not, step foot in ,” Acasio tells The Guardian.

They won’t because Las Vegas is not exactly around the corner from the Bay Area, and because tickets in the sections at Allegiant Stadium envisioned as a New Black Hole are about double what they were in Oakland – $218.75 in Vegas, up to $110 in Oakland. There was a PSL in , but as far as anyone can remember, it was not much more than $500.

But that is only half of the issue. Oakland had the Raiders twice: from 1960 until 1982, when they moved to Los Angeles for 13 years, and then again from 1995 through last season. The Raiders won two Super Bowls in their first stinter Danny Murphy has slammed the work of Arsenal boss Unai Emery.Murphy reckons the Gunners would be better off with another man at the helm – and has suggested there is a lack of faith in Emery among the Arsenal players.He told talkSPORT: “[Granit] X in Oakland and another in Los Angeles, but the second stay was pretty bleak, .

Although they knew that Mark Davis, the Raiders’ owner and son of Al Davis, the legendary former Raiders’ coach and owner, had tried in vain for years to replace the obsolete Coliseum, many of the team’s long-suffering fans were enraged that the team abandoned the Bay Area again – and that Davis was hardly nostalgic about Oakland.

“I have a football team, but it’s going to be the Raiders,” Wayne Deboe, a fan for 60 years and the president of the Oakland Raiders Booster Club, tells the Guardian. “They’re called the now, but they’ll always be just the Raiders to me.”

The Black Hole had consisted of four lower-deck sections at the Oakland Coliseum where fans dressed up in freaky silver-and-black outfits and loudly cheered the Raiders: “positive fanaticism”. The Black Hole is also a global fan club with thousands of members.

But the Black Hole is, well, :

We are a STATE OF MIND. Our state of mind has united the entire Raiders Nation over the years. We have grown from a few friends to a worldwide family made up of generations of fans young and old, from all ethnicities, races, and sexes. If you bleed SILVER and BLACK, then we are connected and you are spiritually part of us.

Rob Rivera, a resident of Hayward, California, who is the president and co-founder of the Black Hole, tells the Guardian, “The move has broken our hearts, pissed us off. They proved loyalty is a one-way street in the .”

Deboe was not a Black Hole denizen: “They stand up too long for me,” says Deboe, who is retired and lives in Castro Valley, California. But he feels burned, too. Like Rivera, Deboe figures he will go to one or two Raiders’ home games per season in Las Vegas, probably using tickets purchased by a season-ticket holder (with a PSL).

Deboe is sure he won’t become a San Francisco 49ers’ fan. “That’s definitely out of the question,” he says, laughing. “Nobody will do that.”

The Raiders did not return several emails from the Guardian about duplicating the Black Hole in Vegas. Marc Badain, the team president, : “A lot of the folks that sit in the Black Hole in Oakland bought tickets in the south end zone at Allegiant. Whether that happens organically, we’ll see what happens.”

Deboe, for one, is Champions League winner Harry Kewell says they’re a striker short.Rather than look to strengthen their attacking options in the summer, Liverpool opted to hand Divock Origi a new deal, shortly after he scored the goal to seal victory in the Championsnot optimistic that will happen. He says that is “because Las Vegas is a destination city. A lot of people take trips there from all over the country. Fans of other teams will see a road game in Vegas and will want to make a weekend of it. Oakland was a sold-out stadium of locals.”

There is a Black Hole chapter in Las Vegas, a good start. The chapter president is Cisco “Kid” Ortega, whose job was relocated from the Bay Area to Vegas before the Raiders made Mundo Deportivo says La Real sports chief Robert Olabe is seeking a new left-back and is prioritising Monreal.The former Osasuna defender enjoys great support inside the board room of La Real, where they have been trying to bring the 32 year-old backtheir move. Ortega says the team has not been in touch with him, but when asked about a Black Hole II, he says “We are going to do our best to duplicate that.”

The chapter threw a Super Bowl party at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas just to get the ball rolling, although the coronavirus pandemic scuttled plans for the NFL to host its draft in Las Vegas in April, denying the Black Hole club some inevitable TV screen time and valuable publicity. Ortega is still optimistic for success in Vegas, though he understands the challenges.

“I know I can speak for many of us Oakland fans when I say this second relocation will always hurt,” he says. “Many of us, including myself, will not wear any Raider gear that says ‘Las Vegas’. However, what’s done is done, and we, The Black Hole, have to continue on with what we’ve built in the past 25 years.”

When plans for Allegiant Stadium were revealed, Raiders fans were horrified to note that an area in the stadium outside the north end zone that would be ideal for another Black Hole was taken up by club seating. But the Raiders said there could be a Black Hole at the other end. About 15% of the season tickets in Vegas were sold to fans from northern California.

But will the Black Hole, or can the Black Hole, really ever be the same? Gorilla Rilla will be there, and he is determined to make the place look and sound like Oakland. All the team has to do, whenever or however the NFL season starts, is to win more games and give whoever shows up at its new stadium more to cheer.

“I will continue pounding my chest to the Silver and Black among our Raider Family from Vegas to around the country,” says Acasio, ever the noble warrior to the cause. “I’ve visited 30 stadiums and have stepped foot in Mexico City, London and Germany, and I have always represented my Black Hole Banner and Raider Nation.”

‘I’m saying goodbye’: Maria Sharapova announces tennis retirement

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, who announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday, will be remembered in many corners of her sport with respect more than affection – and it will not worry her much at all.

The 32-year-old Russian who arrived in America from Sochi with her father in 1994 as refugees from the poison of Chernobyl – with $700 and not a word of English between them – won five grand slam titles and was ranked the highest earner in women’s sport for 11 years in a row. But it is her icy demeanour and failure to build on an early victory over Serena Williams that grab the imagination as much as those fine achievements.

Sharapova, who beat Williams to when just 17, then lost 20 of their following 21 matches, was never universally popular in the locker room. She cared little about courting popularity, but she had the professional respect of her rivals for her single-mindedness and fighting spirit. Petra Kvitova, who beat Sharapova to win Wimbledon in 2011, was one of her few rivals to give her warm praise on Wednesday, describing her as a, “big champion”.

The Czech, who was sidelined from tennis after a knife attack in her apartment in 2016 but has returned to the upper reaches of the game, : “I know how tough it is to come back and play. She has been injured a lot. Of course she wanted probably bigger success than … her body allowed her to have.” She added: “It was a pleasure to be with her on the tour, sharing the court with her. It was always great battles when we play together. So it’s been always nice to share the court with her and I do always have respect to her.”

More than most players on the tennis circuit, Sharapova divided opinion. There were many players who objected to her early return from a drugs ban in 2017, after she had . Sharapova, who protested her innocence, had her two-year ban cut to 15 months, but was never the same player in a comeback that stuttered from one disappointing setback to the next, on the court and off. Her last tournament win was in a low-ranked event in China three years ago.

Long-time problems with her serving shoulder recurred and, towards the end, she was losing to lesser players on a regular basis. There was a suspicion among some of her rivals and critics that she was playing merely for publicity to drive her many commr Kostas Manolas recognises they’re underdogs facing Lazio this weekend.Manolas admits Lazio are having an “extraordinary season”.“We’ll give everything we’ve got to pick up points. It’s a very complicated time for Napoli, but the only way out is tercial interests, although she claimed she played for the love of the game and the competition. That was certainly evident in her trademark screeching and her relentless pursuit of lost causes on court, mainly from the baseline and with a two-handed backhand that was among the best in tennis. She made the most of the weapons she had – including a powerful serve early in her career until injury struck on a regular basis – and was rarely found close to the net. Hers was a game of calculation rather than inspira the battle for exciting Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare.The youngster is rated among the best prospects emerging in French football.LOSC president Gerard Lopez is ready to sell land La Provence says a move to England is likely with United and Spution.

In her last match, a at the Australian Open in January, Sharapova was ranked 373 in the world, a long way from her five separate reigns as world No 1, the first of them in 2005. It was her third first-round exit from a major in a row.

However, five grand slam titles – encompassing all the four venues, on clay, grass and hardcourt – and career earnings of $38.7m tell a story of longevity and persistence, which Sharapova regarded as her greatest asset.

Her rivalry with the younger of the two Williams sister was fierce but doomed – and it defined Sharapova’s struggle. Their last encounter – in the first round of the 2019 US Open, when Sharapova needed pain killers to get on court and could win only two games – summed up the physical decline of the Russian.

“Behind closed doors, 30 minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match,” , her chosen platform to confirm her retirement. “I’ve had multiple surgeries – once in 2008; another procedure last year – and s missing Champions League qualification is a frustrating blow.The Gunners missed their chance after being beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League final.Asked if it was painful to be in the Europa League again, Arsenal midfielder Xhaka said: “Yeah, of pent countless months in physical therapy. Just stepping on to the court that day felt like a final victory, when of course it should have been merely the first step toward victory. I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction.”

It always was. Sharapova regularly turned back questions about her looks as irrelevant, and protested that her many fashion shoots did not form the centrepiece of her career.

“Behind the photo shoots and the pretty tennis dresses, [the courts] exposed my imperfections – every wrinkle, every drop of sweat,” she wrote. “They tested my character, my will, my ability to channel my raw emotions into a place where they worked for me instead of against me. Between their lines, my vulnerabilities felt safe.”

Skater badly injured in Olympic ceremony rehearsal accident

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A female skater was severely injured after falling to the ice from about 16 feet during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne, police said Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Russian woman’s life is in dange is reluctant to return to the Premier League this summer.The Mirror says Bale is being pushed towards the exit at Real Madrid by boss Zinedine Zidane.But the star is determined not to be forced out without his mega contract worth over £600,000-a-wer, police in the canton of Vaud said. An investigation into Tuesday’s incident is being led by police in the city of aking to Bleacher Report in a Q&A, James named manager Frank Lampard alongside three of his current Blues team-mates in an all-time Chelsea dream team.Cesar Azpilicueta earned the nod over James himself at right-back while World Cup winner N’GoloLausanne.

Police said the woman was being hoisted by a cable attached to the ceiling of the main hockey stadium in Lausanne. The skater suddenly lost balance and fell.

The inquiry must try to establish “the reasons, the circumstances and possible responsibilities in this accident,” police said.

The International Olympic Committee said in a statement a female pecan understand Arsenal’s interest in defender Tierney.“Once you’re a top quality player like he [Tierney] is, like what Callum [McGregor] is, what James [Forrest] is, you are always going to get bids. You are always going to get speculation and yourforming artist was evacuated for treatment at a hospital in Lausanne, without detailing the incident.

“The IOC and Lausanne 2020 wish the performer a fast and full recovery,” the Olympic body said.

The two-week games open Thursday with a ceremony at the new arena, which will also host games at the men’s hockey world championships in May.

The fight for potty parity: how sports venue toilets value men over women

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To pee or not to pee?

It’s a question we ask ourselves at concerts, sporting events and other times we don’t want to miss a minute of the action. And when women decide we can’t hold it any longer, we often have to wait longer than men in those daunting arena lines.

Female sports fans were in an uproar after the Edmonton Oilers converted during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Female fans were upset that they weren’t informed of the decision ahead of time, and some said the wait time was up to half an hour.

“When you purchase a ticket, you should expect to get access to a bathroom,” Kathryn Anthony, a professor and author of books such as that discuss gender bias in architecture, said of the wait times. “It’s just unfair, and it makes women feel unwelcome.”

The team said that a survey showed playoff attendance skewed male – a tough thing to prove when you account for re-selling tickets and who ticket holders bring as guests. Representatives for the Oilers did not respond to a request for the survey results or information about ticket holders.

“You’ll never make everyone happy,” Oilers general manager Susan Darrington about the change, adding: “The men are getting through faster, the women are seeing a little more of a delay.”

There are biological reasons why women’s bathrooms lines are typically longer: we need to sit; we menstruate; we pee more often than men, especially when we’re pregnant. Then there are societal reasons: we’re more likely to have children with us; we need to take off more clothing than men, which is often tigoalkeeper Mark Travers admits he’s been working on his passing game to fit into manager Eddie Howe’s system.Travers found the spotlight during the latter stages of last season, having been handed Premier League starts against Tottenham and Crystal Pahter and takes more time.

“People make jokes that we’re vain,” said Soraya Chemaly, an activist whose . “But we’re not standing in line for mirrors. We just need to use the bathroom.”

when renovations brought relief for some female baseball fans, “potty parity” isn’t measured by having the same number of toilets – it’s measured by wait times. Equal speed of access is the key, Anthony argues.

If the problem is so bad, why haven’t we done anything about it? Partly it’s because we are conditioned to think this is normal.

“Women are constantly standing in line, sometimes 60 people deep, and they do it quietly while men breeze through, and you have to ask how it’s possible that we’re still at this stage,” Chemaly said.

When men have to wait in longer lines and they make enough noise about it, the rules change. We’re seeing it now with the Oilers, and we saw it when male Chicago Bears fans were upset about new equal bathroom rules and to men’s at Soldier Field.

from fans, players and staff. Female journalists are at an alarming scale. And when teams do try to include us, we get mansplainy events like – complete with complimentary beauty treatments! – or featuring a soap opera star.

Women on the Seattle city council were told to “rot in hell” and “go back to the kitchen” when they rejected a land-use deal that would have allowed tster City’s clash with Norwich City.Stones has been out of action for the last month with a thigh problem and Nicolas Otamendi was Pep Guardiola’s only senior centre half.But Stones has taken part in full training and is ready to make his comeback athe creation of a pro-basketball stadium, . (Seattle doesn’t even have an NBA team any more and there are no promises they’ll get one anytime soon, which was their main argument for shooting it down.)

Soriller with Ajax.James made history by becoming the youngest Chelsea scorer in the Champions League.Lampard said, “Reece is a fantastic young player. He gives what you saw, and he will get much better because he’s 19.”I felt we needed to change to ge, how can we make these spaces more welcoming for women?

These spaces will become more accommodating for women when building codes and legislation improve, but groups are still pushing to improve the facilities at existing arenas. The American Restroom Association has worked to create more family restrooms in public spaces such as arenas, which can be used when children or people with disabilities need assistance. They have also been used as gender-neutral bathrooms.

Many argue that a gender-neutral bathroom system could alleviate unequal wait times. In such a system, “the next available toilet would go to the next available person,” Brubaker said. “It wouldn’t matter what their gender is.”

And that’s what we should strive for: to have equal and shorter wait times for all. Because we all have to use the bathroom, but nobody wants to miss a goal.

Is Kawhi Leonard the NBA’s most valuable player?

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For most of the season, Kawhi Leonard was having one of the quietest MVP campaigns in recent memory. That changed on Monday night when Leonard scored 39 points as the fought back from a 16-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets.

In the game’s final 30 seconds, he single-handedly secured the 112-110 win with a soon-to-be where he put the Spurs ahead with a three-pointer and then raced to the other end of the floor to block James Harden’s potential game-tying lay-up. The win helped the second-placed Spurs keep pace with the Golden State Warriors, while igniting a long overdue discussion about Leonard’s place in an incredibly competitive MVP race.

Leonard’s time in the spotlight was short-lived. The very next night, Russell Westbrook on the Portland Trail Blazers. He also accounted for all nine of the assists made by the Thunder’s starters in what ended up being a 126-121 home loss.

It’s rare to see two of the best players in the league put up their best individual games of the season on back-to-back nights, but it’s also not often that we have a MVP race as tightly contested as this one. Right now, at least four players have a genuine shot at the honor and their chances fluctuate on a weekly, sometimes even daily, basis. Here’s our unscientific snapshot of how the race is shapinangers have signed Brighton striker Jan Mlakar on a season-long loan deal.The 20-year-old joined the Premier League side from NK Maribor in January, but was loaned straight back to the Slovenian outfit.Mlakar scored 13 goals in 26 league appearances g up so far, but keep in mind that these names could be in a completely different order by the end of the week.

1) Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Let’s start with the offensive numbers. Leonard currently averages 26.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He is the biggest reason why San Antonio have already clinched a playoff spot, something reflected in his usage rate, which measures how many plays a player uses while he’s on the floor. His , the highest in his career, although he hasn’t experienced a corresponding dip in efficiency.

That’s only part of the story. The most remarkable thing about Leonard is that he’s putting up these numbers as the reigning defensive player of the year. What made Monday’s performance so memorable was that he carried the team on his back at the same time he was guarding Harden, one of the most difficult players in the league to defend. It was as complete of a performance as you’re likely to see.

When Tim Duncan retired in the offseason, Leonard became the face of the Spurs. It’s a monumental task to replace Duncan, perhaps the greatest player of his generation, but it clearly hasn’t phased the unflappable Leonard. If anything, it compelled him to raise his game on both ends of the floor. If he doesn’t end the season as the best player in the league, he still should be considered the most well-rounded one.

2) James Harden, Houston Rockets

This has been a rough, rough season for those of us who have spent the last few years rooting against the polarizing Harden, who has answered his critics and then some this season. Harden’s a better scorer than Leonard – his 29 points per game places him just behind Westbrook and the Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas – but that production doesn’t come at the expense of his team-mates. Harden is with 11.3 per game. If the Rockets are looking more and more like a team with a legitimate shot at making the NBA finals, much of that is thanks to Harden.

In the past, the knock on Harden’s game has mostly revolved around his defense, but it’s clear just from the eye test that he’s taken huge strides this season on that end. The numbers back this up as well. For instance, Fox Sports had Harden ranked 125th overall when it came to his defensive rating. This season? He’s , moving all the way up to 53th place. He’s never going to compete with Leonard for DPOY honors, but he’s not the liability he once was.

3) Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Yes, yes, I hear you: could a player averaging a triple-double only be the league’s third most valuable player? Yes, what Westbrook is doing this season is incredibly impressive, historical even. Right now he averages 32.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10 assists per game, he’s literally doing it all.

That’s the problem, though: he’s doing it all because he can’t rely on anybody else on his team doing all that much. Westbrook currently has an eye-popping usage rate of 42.6%. In comparison, Harden, who is also tasked with carrying his team for long stretches, has one hovering around the 34% mark. Westbrook’s racking up video-game minutes, but there’s some inflation going on here: he has far more opportunities.

Also, while this is more of an aesthetic problem than a genuine criticism of his game, it doesn’t help his case that he has a knack of putting up his gaudiest individual performances in losses.

4) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

“LeBron James: still good at basketball” continues to be the biggest “dog bites man” story in the NBA. We simply expect excellence from him on a yearly basis. All he’s doing is averaging 26.0 points per game, 8.2 reboun the elite of football.Milan are again facing missing out on Champions League qualification this season.Baresi told Gazzetta dello Sport: “If (Nils) Liedholm were here, I think he’d say we needed to be patient, because he was a very calm person, evds and 8.8 assists while his team once again has settled on top of the Eastern Conference standings. While it’s hard to rank him above Leonard, Harden or Westbrook at the moment, last year’s finals should have taught us to the most important player in the sport.

Bubbling under

James is clearly the best and most important player in the East, that’s clear, but it’s hard to single out who would be the second most important player. If the Washington Wizards continue to win, John Wall could rightfully emerge as a dark horse. Isaiah Thomas garnered some MVP talk back when he was turning every four quarter into his own one man act, but he gives back a few too many points on defense.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference, the best team in the league, the Golden State Warriors, don’t really have a MVP candidate on their team. Kevin Durant was in the mix, but he will miss of the regular season. Steph Curry has been struggling from behind the three-point line, which is a strange thing to type and an even more surreal thing to witness.

It’s odd especially when we remember that , Curry had all but wrapped up his MVP campaign. This season, however, the honor will probably be up for grabs headed into the final week of the season. Which is great. As fun as it was to watch Curry dominate the gamer United midfielder Paul Pogba.Pogba remains a top target for Zidane, but Real need to sell players this month to fund a bid for the France international.Asked about the prospect of landing Pogba, Zizou replied: “If Pogba will come? I will repeat exa all last year, anything that adds drama and suspense to the often anticlimactic end of the regular season should be celebrated.

Phillies prospect Matt Imhof quits baseball at 23 after losing right eye

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Philadelphia Phillies pitching prospect Matt Imhof has announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 23, just seven months after losing his right eye in a freak training accident.

, Imhof confirmed he was walking away from the game young, but insisted that it wasn’t because of his injury. “My injury is not whcelotti can bring the glory days back to Goodison Park.Sharp’s goals helped the Toffees to two titles, an FA Cup triumph and success in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in a ­decade in which Merseyside led the way, Liverpool winning the First Division at’s stopping me,” Imhof wrote. “The truth is I need a change of pace after 20 years of doing the same thing.”

In June last year, Imhof was taking part in a resistance-training exercise in Florida, where he was playing for the Clearwater Thrashers, when a metal hook broke away from the wall and slammed into his face. He fractured his nose, broke two orbital bones and severely injured his right eye. “Everything went numb as I hit the ground screaming. I could feel the warmth of the blood running down my face and taste it in my mouth,” he wro Marc-Andre Ter Stegen insists there’s no problem between the players and the board.Gerard Pique has accused board members of planting stories in the local press blaming the players for their poor start to the season.But after victory in the Championte.

Doctors in Miami did their best to repair the damage to his e Arsenal legend has just taken charge of Roots Hall.He told the Mirror, “I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a firefighter. I had a couple of interviews in the summer, at clubs whose natural habitat was mid-table, but this job was like a ­boomeraneye, but after learning of the seriousness of the injury, Imhof chose to have it removed. He now wears a prosthetic eye.

published on 30 June, five days after the accident, Imhof revealed the extent of the damage.

“Doctors informed me that the damage to my eye was extreme, and essentially that my eye had been crushed like a grape,” he wrote. “The doctors told me they were going to do everything possible, but in all likelihood I would never regain the sight in my right eye. After discussions with my family, it was decided that the best chance I had to live a normal life was to have my right eye removed and a prosthetic eye put it.”

In his ESPN essay, Imhof said it had been a difficult few months, and recounted the tears and the anger and confusion – but said he was determined not to let the injury define him.

“I had two options,” he wrote. “I could let this injury define me. I could be angry – no one would blame me for that. I could be depressed, feel sorry for myself and live in the past. I could let the rest of my life be defined by the worst day of my life. Or, I could pick myself up, dust myself off and move on.”

Imhof was taken 47th in the 2014 draft. He played two-and-a-half minor league seasons with four different teams, and posted a 13-10 record with a 3.69 ERA.

“I am blessed that I was able to play this game for 18 years and will never forget the lessons it taught me along the way,” he said. “Although I am stepping away from playing the game, baseball will always hold a special place in my heart.”

The Hunters 2016: a look back on a thrilling NBA season

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As we mentioned , the Guardian prefers to wait until the end of the playoffs before handing out our NBA awards. This season ended up being a perfect example of why we wait. Prior to the NBA finals, this year was all about the Golden State Warriors’ quest to put together the greatest season in NBA history. Instead, they ended up being the heavies in the story of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ remarkable comeback.

Most valuable player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

An unfortunate result of the Cavaliers’ Finals victory was that that Steph Curry’s unprecedented season may end up being because his team fell short.

Curry didn’t become the first unanimous MVP in NBA history by accident. At his best, which he was at for practically all of the regular season, Curry looked like he was playing an entirely different sport than the rest of the league. His otherworldly shooting stretched courts to their breaking points. Curry made 402 three-pointers, blowing away the record he set in the previous season (where he hit a mere 286). There were many reasons that the Warriors were able to win in a season, besting the single-season wins record set by Michael Jordan and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, but nobody can deny that Curry was the most important element.

The problem was that unanimous MVP Curry only made occasional appearances in the playoffs after he suffered a knee injury in the Warriors’ first-round series against the Houston Rockets. Whether it was due to that injury, exhaustion after a season where nearly every regular season game had a playoff feel or just an ill-timed slump, Curry clearly wasn’t the same player in the postseason. Even so, the Warriors might have been able to win their second straight championship if they weren’t facing the winner of our next award.

Most valuable player, playoffs: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

wins this distinction for the second straight year. Last year, James almost single-handedly pushed the NBA finals to six games, despite the fact that the Warriors looked practically unbeatable and the Cavaliers had lost Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to injuries. While Andre Iguodala ended up being named the MVP, voters tend to go with someone from the team that actually won, there was no question in who was the best player on the floor.

James was even better during these finals, 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists. He was the leader, MVP and partial architect of a Cavaliers team that beat the team with , came back from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in NBA finals history and brought the city of Cleveland their first major sports championship since 1964. This was the most impressive accomplishment of James’s career, which is saying something considering that his career was pretty darn good heading into this postseason.

Least valuable player: Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers

Maybe no player in the history of sports has ended his career with a more appropriate final game than Kobe Bryant. In the last game of the season, the last day of his HOF career, Bryant in a win over the Utah Jazz. This sounds like a perfect Hollywood ending unless one looks at the box score and sees that Bryant needed 50 shot attempts to get there.

To his credit, that was still one of the few games this year where Bryant managed to be productive enough to actually help, rather than harm, his team. Certain metrics labeled Bryant as in the league for the first half of the season. Bryant’s game was the same as it ever was, but time clearly had taken its toll to the point where his high-volume shooting finally made him a liability as the clangs continued to outnumber the made baskets. The Lakers ended up winning 17 games; only the failed experiment that was the Hinkie-era Philadelphia 76ers won fewer.

In a way, though, Bryant ended up being valuable in his own way. The Endless Kobe Farewell Tour ended up being a huge success attendance-wise while the Lakers ended up being bad enough that they were able to keep their lottery pick, which they turned into Brandon Ingram.

Worst social media user: D’Angelo Russell, LA Lakers

Heading into this season, many believed D’Angelo Russell would compete for Rookie of the Year. Instead, his most notable accomplishment was that he accidentally helped to break up a B-grade celebrity couple via a poorly conceived .

Coach of the year: Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

The were, before the season began, almost a lock to finish their season well out of the playoffs. LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs, Robin Lopez went to the New York Knicks, Wesley Matthews left for the Dallas Mavericks and Nicholas Batum was traded to the Charlotte Hornets. By all available evidence, it looked as if the Trail Blazers were rebuilding around Damian Lillard.

Then something odd happened: the Trail Blazers kept on winning. Lillard thrived as the team’s undisputed MVP, while CJ McCollum won most improved honors. Not only were the Trail Blazers relevant they ended up clinching the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Once in the playoffs, the Trail Blazers made it to the second round before the Warriors dispatched with them in five games. It was an impressive run for Portland, in the it’s incredibly difficult to rebuild on the fly while still being competitive.

When a team out-performs expectations to this degree, the team’s manager receives a lion’s share of the credit for getting the most out of his roster. Unfortunately for Trail Blazers had coach Terry Stotts, this was the year of the Warriors, so he ended up in place behind Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, despite the fact that Luke Walton was Golden State’s acting coach for the first half of the season when Kerr was recovering from surgery. Stotts really deserved this nod.

: Byron Scott (Los Angeles Lakers), George Karl (Sacramento Kings), Kurt Rambis (New York Knicks)

Rookie of the Year: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

There is no legitimate argument for putting any other player in this category, a fact which the voters recognized by unanimously naming Karl-Anthony Towns as Rookie of the Year. Towns averaged 18.3 points and 10.5 rebounds a game and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month every month of the regular season. When you factor in that the Timberwolves’ also have last year’s Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, he future in Minnesota looks brighter than it ever has.

Defensive Player of the year: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

The debate about this award could end up coming down between Kawhi Leonard and the Warriors’ Draymond Green for the next few seasons. This time around we’re going to go with the guy who didn’t hurt his team by after one too many groin-kick attempts.

Disappointment of the year: New Orleans Pelicans

This was supposed to be Anthony Davis’s year to shine, with even predicting that he would win MVP. Sadly though, injuries once again decimated the Pelicans, who fell well short of the playoffs, and having to practically carry the team on his shoulders may have partially stalled Davis’s development.

Game of the year: Warriors v Thunder, 27 February

In the wake of the Warriors’ failure to win a championship, it’s hard to remember just how gripping their quest to beat the Bulls was. Every Warriors game felt like a playoff game, to the point where there was grumbling whenever it wasn’t covered by national television.

While their regular-season record now feels rather hollow, that shouldn’t take away from just how great some of the individual games were. Most notably, Golden State’s overtime win over the on 27 February. It was an instant classic. The Thunder were in control for much of the game, and they managed to build up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. The fact that the Warriors were in trouble was enough to make the game feel like a rarity: they had only lost five games all season before heading into this contest.

The Warriors, as they did many times during the season, rallied late to make it a one possession game. Still, it looked like the Thunder were just about to pull away with a victory when they fouled Andre Iguodala with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock, putting him on the line with 0.7 seconds left in the game. Iguodala, normally not one of the team’s best free-throw shooters, sank two free throws to tie the game, sending it into overtime.

That’s where Curry hit the shot of the year:

Curry’s three, which was from about 37 feet away, was one that no other player in the league would even attempt in that situation, let alone make. It ended up being the game-winner as the Warriors escaped Oklahoma City with a 121-118 win.

It ended up being a crucial victory, or at least it seemed so at the time. A loss here, and it felt certain the assumed they would be hosting a lot of non-football events at the stadium as a way to pay off the building costs.They will be hosting several NFL games from next season, while the Saracens will play a Premiership match there every year from 2020 forWarriors would end up tying the Bulls record rather than breaking it. The game also became one of those rare playoff previews that actually predicted how their postseason series would play out. When they faced each other again in the Western Conference Finals, the Thunder took an early lead in the series only to see the Warriors battle back and pull of a thrilling comeback.

Play of the year: LeBron James’s block

Of course, the Warriors ended up being on the wrong end of the biggest comeback of the year. The enduring image of the Cavaliers’ Finals run happened in the last few minutes of Game 7, when LeBron James, materializing on the other end of the floor like , violently blocking an Andre Iguodala shot that would have given the Warriors a lead with under two minutes remaining.

It’s a fantastic play just on its own, but it’s also almost symbolic scene, with James coming out of nowhere to reject the shot that represented the Warriors’ last best and fitness of Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah.Garcia has claimed Egypt have had to alter their tactics from the Africa Cup of Nations as Mohamed Salah continues to feel the effects of his long season with Liverpool.The forward made 52 appearances in alchance of getting the lead or maybe even a win, the win that would have solidified their place among the greatest teams of all-time. Instead, with one quick forceful swipe, James flippders are desperate to set up a Europa League playoff against Wolves.Crusaders face Faroe Islands outfit B36 Torshavn in the first qualifying round of the Europa League next month – with the winners facing Wolves in the second round.Belfast-based Cred the script of the entire NBA season.

Philadelphia issues official apology to Jackie Robinson, 69 years on

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is officially apologizing to Jackie Robinson for the shameful way he was treated in the City of Brotherly Love.

The City Council pashead with plans to sign Brighton defender Ben White.The Eastbourne Herald s on the losing end of the final of the African Cup of Nations against Algeria, the Senegal winger is ready to leave Rennes for England.Sarr is eager to see the move happen and has made this clear to Rennes.Watford will now step up negotiations, says ays Liverpool are eyeing Brighton centre-back Ben White but don’t expect them to make a move next month.The Seagulls have reassured Leeds United that the 22-year-old will finised a resolution Thursday naming April 15 as a day to honor Robinson’s achievements and to apologize for the racism he faced while visiting Philadelphia in 1947.

April 15 is the day Robinson broke the color barrier by becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In Philadelphia, Robinson was refused service by a local hotel and then taunted by manager Ben Chapman, who, along with players, hurled racial slurs at Robinson each time he came to bat. Chapman led the bench in abusing Robinson, telling him to “go back to the cotton field.”

42,the head of their youth scouting setup, Steve Morrow.The former Gunners defender, who helped them win the 1993 League Cup, was informed that his services are no longer needed.The Arsenal-AXE-head-youth-scouting-Steve-Morrow-Gunners-ditch-1993-League- the 2013 biopic starring Chadwick Boseman, highlights the hateful reception Robinson received in Philadelphia.

The apology will be presented to Robinson’s widow, Rachel.

For the thrilling Dallas Stars, it’s all-out offense. But is their strategy doomed?

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Prior to their New York road trip, the were the NHLside club have been monitoring the 17-year-old, per The Sun.While Hope has not played for his club’s senior side, he was on the bench for a recent EFL Cup tie.The young left-back is also a target for Middlesbrough.It remains to be seen whether Everto leaders, a team who had spent the first months of the season overpowering teams with their dominant offense. After three straight losses, adding up to five in their last seven, they are left wondering whether their offense-heavy strategy is the right formula for winning a Stanley Cup.

Head coach Lindy Ruff told the media his team’s performance in the 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers was “embarrassing”, something he’d clearly expressed during the game by benching his top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp for the last 12 minutes.

Benn, the captain, didn’t exactly mince words either.

“We played stupid hockey and it’s not good enough. It’s pretty plain and simple,” he said.”

The Stars have scored 146 goals this year, 22 more than the Washington Capitals. That’s the same as the difference between the Capitals and the league’s 17th-ranked offense, the Edmonton Oilers. Dallas is on track for over 280 goals this year, which would be the most by an team since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13. Benn and Seguin are second and third in the league in points, trailing only Patrick Kane.

But the Stanley Cup playoffs are typically not kind to high-octane offenses. Not since the Pittsburgh Penguins powerhouse of 1991-92 has the No 1 offense won the Stanley Cup. That’s not to say that recent winners didn’t have offensive prowess. Reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks had both Jonathan Toews and the aforementioned Kane, but they also had the No 1 defense in the NHL, which shut down Tampa Bay Lightning in game six. In fact, the past six winners were all in the top five in goals against, with three taking the top spot.

That’s where the Stars have their work cut out. Although they’ve surged to 16th in the league in goals against, a big jump from last year’s 29th, Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers showed what awaits them if their top players go cold and their defense and goaltending can’t stop difference-makers like Rick Nash and Derek Stepan.

After a 6-5 loss to the Islanders on Sunday, Ruff was asked if he was worried if his defense was trending downwards. He sidestepped the question and blamed bad penalties that let the Islanders score two power play goals. After the Rangers game, he singled out his top scorers.

“We need those guys,” Ruff said, referring to Seguin and Benn. “They’re our best players. Most nights they’re the ones who can push you through, and they’re going through a tough spell.”

Last year, Dallas was the only team with a top 10 offense to miss the playoffs. To fix their defensive woes, they brought in Antti Niemi to be their starting goaltender. Although he’s been an improvement over last year’s starter and current back-up Kari Lehtonen, the game against the Rangers dropped Niemi’s save percentage to a pedestrian .913, good for only 25th among all goaltenders.

Still, Ruff didn’t want to put the blame solely on Niemi, who didn’t get much help from his defensemen Tuesday night.

“I thought he made some great saves to let us hang around. We knocked one in, we deflected one in,” he said referring to some of the bizarre goals the team let in. “I think if you look at the breakaway saves and the tough saves he made, he gave us a chance when the game was still 2-1, 3-1.”

The Stars have been a breath of fresh air in a season where NHL administrators have lamented the decrease in scoring, and publicly floated proposals to increase the size of the nets or decrease the size of goaltender equipment. The league average continues to creep towards five goals per game, meanwhile the average Stars’ game has six goals per game. You’re far more likely to see them score six goals, which they’ve done four rs.The locker room were shocked last week over claims the board hired an online PR company to disparage both current and former players critical of the current regime.Mundo Deportivo says Bartomeu met with the squad’s four leaders, Lionel Messi, Sergtimes, than being shut out, which only happened once against St Louis Blues.

But in the playoffs, where series often come down to low-scoring overtime games, opponents will be looking to shut down Dallas’ skilled players. Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers’ goalie who stopped 21 out of 23 shots against the Stars, explained it best.

“I think against a team like Dallas, the best scoring team in the league, you have to be smart with the puck. Your awareness has to be really high especially in your own end,” he said. “I think we played with poise and awareness. They have some really high-skilled players and if you let them play it’s going to be a tough game.”

Following a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals passed the Stars for the best regular season record in the NHL. Under head coach Barry Trotz, the team has remodeled itself into an excellent defensive team.

A few seasons ago, under Bruce Boudreau, the Capitals were the poster child for trying to win the Cup by playing great offensive hockey. In 2010, they won the President’s Trophy for the best regular season record by scoring an incredible 318 goals, only to be upset in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens and their stellar goaltending. The Capitals let in 233 goals that year. This year, they have conceded the fewest goals, 85, at the midway point of the season.

But the Stars’ style of play has still propelled them to first place in the Central division by eight points, which is a more than welcome change for a team that has only made the playoffs once in seven years. Attendance at the American Airlines Center is up by almost 1,000 and despite the recent struggles, this is still their best start since the Stanley Cup-winning season of 1998-1999.

A Sunday.Sigurdsson, who was one of a number of players to join up with the Everton squad this week, struck the bar and the post after coming on as a half-time substitute at the Stade Saint-Marc in Le Chable.”I think we played alright, a lot of the bofter three road games in four nights, Ruff is hoping the team can regain momentum back in Dallas with a few division games. But he’s worried there’s not enough time to “regroup”, as he put it.

“When you get out of this, you usually need a few days to let your team rest and come out of it, but we don’t have that luxury,” he said.

New York Knicks forward Cleanthony Early shot in early-morning attack

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small forward Cleanthony Early was held up at gunpoint and shot in the right leg during an early-morning attack in Queens on Wednesday.

Early, 24, who had played 29 seconds inrs are holding firm in their demands for Aston Villa target Alfredo Morelos.The Premier League side are determined to sign a new attacker, with the Colombian international the man they believe can get them enough goals to stay in the league.But Footb the Knicks’ 108-96 victory over the Pistons earlier that night, was shot in his right leg while traveling in an Uber car, detectives said. The attack took place at about 4am after Early left a strip club in the Maspeth neighborhood of Queens.

According to the New York Daily News, Early, 24, was surrounded by four to six people wearing ski masks and robbed of his items and jewelry – including a gold necklace and gold caps on his teeth, souool defender Glen Johnson has backed Manchester United’s move for Harry Maguire before the end of the summer window. United and Leicester City are still haggling over terms for the England international.“If United have come calling again, they knowrces said. Early was taken to Elmhurst hospital in stable condition, and was later being transported to another hospital. His injury does not appear to be life-threatening.

“We are aware of what occurred with Cleanthony Early this morning and are relieved that he is not in a life-threatening situation,” the Knicks said in a statement. “We ill not comment any further until we receive more information.”

Early, who grew up in the Bronx, is in his second season with the Knicks. He was drafted in 2014 after attending Wichita State.

The theft comes about 10 days after Knicks forward Derrick Williams was robbed of $617,000 in jewelry from his home. He had taken home two women from a Manhattan club. Police are still looking for suspects.

Williams has declined to comment on the theft, but the case raised questions about whether players should have a curfew like other professional sports. In April, Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copelay Maguire feels they’d be further up the table if not for defensive lapses this season.He would much prefer a few ugly wins and a festive charge that puts United bang in the top-four picture.Ahead of today’s trip to Watford, Maguire admitted: “Thatnd, his girlfriend and another woman were stabbed following a late-night argument on the street near a Manhattan nightclub.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher was asked about the policy at a news conference after Williams was robbed.

“I don’t really have to get into our policies of what you can and can’t do,” he told reporters last week. “We don’t have a curfew like in the NFL or other sports do on certain nights. It’s an unfortunate incident.”

NWSL: Mark Parsons set for Portland job after leaving Washington Spirit

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The Washington Spirit announced on Wednesday the departure of head coach Mark Pak.The former Gunners midfielder made the return earlier this week.Edu told arsenal.com, “Yes, for me in the beginning, to start that role, it’s important to understand the club first. “Because if you don’t understand the club and you don’t understandrsons, and the Guardian understands he is in line to take over at the Portland Thorns.

The Thorns have not made the hire yet, but the front office has all but settled on Parsons withl assistant manager Pep Ljinders says Harvey Elliot is learning from the club’s seasoned midfielders.The 16-year-old was impressive on debut in the Carabao Cup third-round win over MK Dons.He is set to start against Arsenal tonight in the fourth-roun an announcement expected as early as next week, said a source, who declined to speak on the record because the announcement is pending.

“Mark has done a lot in DC, and Portland thinks he has a lot of upside,” the source said. “He’s young, tactically smart and the players respect him. There’s a much bigger spotlight in Portland, but he is very ambitious.”

A Thorns spokeswoman told the Guardian: “The club will not be providing any updates on its head coaching search at this time. The team expects to provide an update next week.”

After missing the playoffs for the first time, the Thorns opted not to renew coach Paul Riley’s contract earlier this month. Riley amassed a 16-17-11 record in two seasons at the helm in Portland and earned criticism for failing twice to land in the championship, despite the Thorns being perhaps the best-supported team in the league.

The Thorns, which are backed by the well-resourced Timbers organization, in former US women’s national team coach Pia Sundhage, but she has publicly announced her intention to stay with the Swedish national team until her contract ends in 2016. Tom Sermanni, also a former US national team coach who is now a consultant for Canada’s national team, was said to be interested in the Portland job, but the Thorns pursued Parsons.

Parsons, as season.Pep Guardiola’s side have accrued an incredible 198 points over the past two campaigns, winning two Premier League titles.But Belgium international thinks it will be a tighter competition this season.De Bruyne said: “We don’t need to beat thn Englishman who spent six years in various coaching positions with Chelsea Ladies before moving stateside, led the Spirit to back-to-back semi-finals in the past two National Women’s Soccer League seasons. He took over in 2013 when last-place Spirit fired then-coach Mike Jorden midseason.

“On behalf of the Spirit organization, we’d like to thank Mark for his tremendous efforts to build a championship team from the pros to the academy,” said Ashlee Comber, vice president of operations, in a statement. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Mark. He is an amazing human being, and we wish him and his family all the best.”

The Thorns were looking for a coach with experience in working with NWSL players and a proven track record, according to a source. The Thorns roster was plagued with injuries this year, which exacerbated gaps caused by the Women’s World Cup, something their next coach will need to address with the Olympics looming ahead next season.

“There will probably be a fair amount of player activity in this offseason,” the source said. “The Thorns are a talented team, but there are some chemistry issues.”

After the Guardian broke news that Orlando City SC , rumors and speculation began immediately that star Thorns striker Alex Morgan could make a move to Orlando, where her husband, Servando Carrasco, plays. A source said that any trades will be up to Parsons once he’s in place, but Morgan is a highly valued player in Portland and the club is not currently looking at a transfer.

The source indicated the Thorns will wait until after the NWSL championship to make the new head coach announcement. Portland will host the NWSL final on Thursday between FC Kansas City and Seattle Reign, to be broadcast at 9.30pm ET on Fox Sports 1.

Deflategate: NFL to appeal after judge overturns Tom Brady’s ban

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Tom Brady’s decision to take the Deflategate scandal to federal court has paid off, with US district judge Richard Berman ruling that the quarterback’s suspenidfielder Lucien Agoume.Agoume, 17, has been one of great revelations inside French football this season and his emergence has caught the eye of Europe’s biggest clubs.Le 10 Sport says Inter are in contact with the Agoume family about a move to Italysion should be nullified after the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, had dispensed “his own brand of industrial justice”.

Brady had been suspended for the first four games of the NFL season after a report, conducted by investigator Ted Wells, found that he was “generally aware” that officials deliberately deflated footballs during the team’s victory over the Indianapolis Colts in last season’s AFC Championship game.

When Brady appealed to the league against the suspension Goodell and said that Brady had deliberately destroyed his cell phone after it had been requested by Wells and his staff. Following the Goodell’s ruling, .

However, Berman ruled that the had gone too far in its punishment of Brady and the suspension was “premised upon several significant legal deficiencies”. The judge also said Brady had no notice that he could receive a ban for participating in, or being aware of, ball deflation. “Because there was no notice of a four-game suspension in the circumstances presented here, Commissioner Goodell may be said to have ‘dispensed his own brand of industrial justice,”’ Berman ruled.

“Brady also had no notice that hl Jesus says he’s ready to step up to cover injured teammate Sergio Aguero.City meet Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League tomorrow night.Gabriel said, “I’m not happy because Sergio is injured, I don’t like it when my friends are injured, but I’m is discipline would be the equivalent of the discipline imposed upon a player who used performance enhancing drugs,” the judge added.

Goodell has confirmed that the league will appeal against Berman’s decision. “We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today’s decision,” Goodell said. “We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner’s responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end.”

The Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, was bullish as he welcomed the news that Brady will be available for das for the first time in 25 years after signing a bumper deal with the sportswear giants.The impressive red and white kit bears similarities with the shirts worn during the early days of the Premier League, with a white v-neck collar.The sleeves arethe entire season. “As I have said during this process and throughout his Patriots career, is a classy person of the highest integrity. He represents everything that is great about this game and this league,” said Kraft. “Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline. Judge Richard Berman understood this and we are greatly appreciative of his thoughtful decision that was delivered today. Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field.”

Brady has vehemently maintained his innocence over the incident. “I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight,” he said before taking his case to federal court. Negotiations between the league and Brady, represented by the NFL players’ union, lasted for a month but the two parties failed to reach a settlement. The decision is a surprise to many, and that could include Brady himself who was reportedly willing to take a reduced suspension of one game.

“The rights of Tom Brady and of all NFL players under the collective bargaining agreement were affirmed today by a Federal Judge in a court of the NFL’s choosing. We thank Judge Berman for his time, careful consideration of the issue and fair and just result,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.

“This decision should prove, once and for all, that our collective bargaining agreement does not grant this commissioner the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading. While the CBA grants the person who occupies the position of commissioner the ability to judiciously and fairly exercise the designated power of that position, the union did not agree to attempts to unfairly, illegally exercise that power, contrary to what the NFL has repeatedly and wrongfully claimed.

“We are happy for the victory of the rule of law for our players and our fans. This court’s decision to overturn the NFL commissioner again should signal to every NFL owner that collective bargaining is better than legal losses. Collective bargaining is a much better process that will lead to far better results.”

Brady will now be available for the Patriots’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on 10 September. Before the decision came in the Patriots had been expected to start with Jimmy Garoppolo, who had failed to stand out in his pre-season performances. The news was quickly welcomed by Brady’s team-mates with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tweeting his delight:

Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks to have played in the NFL, and has won four Super Bowls with the Patriots. He has also been named league MVP twice and selected for the Pro Bowl 10 times.

The Patriots were fined $1m and docked two draft picks for their role in the scandal but chose not to appeal their punishment.

Deflategate: Tom Brady’s four-game suspension upheld by NFL

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Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension over the Deflategate scandal has been upheld, and the Super Bowl champions will be without their best player for a quarter of the regular season.

The league said in a statement Tuesday that “Brady wre beaten 3-1 by AFC Bournemouth thanks to goals from Harry Wilson, Callum Wilson and a Pascal Gross own-goal, and the Australian says it is vital the team uses this break in action to learn where they can improve.He said, “It was disappointing becas aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules,” based on evidence presented at an appeal hearing and the 243-page report compiled jointly by executive vice-president Jeff Pash and prominent attorney Ted Wells.

NFL commissioner , who heard the appeal, cited “important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing” that had previously been withheld.

The league confirmed that Brady “directed the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed” on the day of his 6 March meeting with Wells and his colleagues, adding the destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until 18 June, or nearly four months after the electronic information (including nearly 10,000 text messages) had been initially requested.

“The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relvant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs,” the league said.

The NFL’s report into the Deflategate scandal, , had found “it is more probable than not” that at least two Patriots employees improperly deflated footballs in the team’s over the Indianapolis Colts and that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the wrongdoing.

That led to a four-game suspension for Bradinsists he’s happy to stay with Manchester City next season.Despite there being just over a year to run on his current deal, the midfielder says he wants to stay”Personally, I do not set a deadline for day X or Y, I’m relaxed as I still have a year. y and a $1m fine for the Patriots. The team was also stripped of two draft picks.

It’s now expected that Brady will challenge the as and they have been unsuccessful in their search thus far.Names such as Chris Hughton and Lee Bowyer are being linked to the club.According to Sky Sports, West Brom want Northern Ireland boss O’Neill to take the job.He has already met with the club’ppeal in federal court. An NFL Players Association source that Brady’s argument for a reversal would center on five points:

The league’s policy for ball inflation pertains to club personnel and not players and thus doesn’t apply to Brady.The Wells Report’s finding that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the wrongdoing is an insufficient legal standard.If it’s determined the league’s policy for ball inflation did apply to Brady, he was issued a punishment without precedent, which is illegal under the collective bargaining agreement.The NFL will argue the punishment was arbitrary citing the example of the Minnesota Vikings, who last year received a letter from the league and no further reprimand after being caught playing balls in a dryer.The NFL doesn’t have proper techniques and standards for measuring the inflation and deflation of footballs.

While the Patriots accepted their punishment, Brady chose to contest his suspension with the backing of the NFLPA.

er United defender Chris Smalling.Smalling’s perma

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outfielder mad a bit of history with teammate Troy Tulowitzki Wednesday against the Reds. Gonzalez hit three home runs and Tulowitzki added five hits and two home runs, the first time in major league history a pair of teammates has combined for those numbers in a game.

Gonzalez went 3 for 5 with three RBI and three runs scored in the game, his second career three-homer game. The Rockies won the game easaser Forster to leave on-loan for Celtic.Forster joined Celtimits he loved his time with Hamburg.So much so, that he admits he never wanted to leave the German giants.”Actually, I never wanted to leave Hamburg because I felt very good there,” he recalled to Spox. “That’s why the exit hurt so much.”Son left forc for the season in the summer and played out of his skin to ensure the Hoops beat Rangers in last weekend’s Scottish Cup final. Hasenhuttl said: “First, I am very happy that after a longily, 12-4. 

Gonzalez is now hitting .313 with 17 home runs, a mark that puts him second in the National League.  

More News 03/13/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 03/10/2020 • by RotoWire Staff drid ace Saul Niguez admits he grew up basing his game on Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.Saul also says it was dream come true when Fernando Torres returned to the club.He said, “With Torres at Atleti I started to love Gerrard and I thought I wanted 02/11/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 01/28/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 07/03/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 06/29/2019 • by RotoWire Staff

Brighton have pushed on with plans to sign Reece J

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catcher homered in the fourth inning and singled in the seventh inning of Monday’s win over the Pirates to reach 1,000 career hits (in 3,582 at-bats). The home run was the seventh of the season for McCann, who has hit .280 in 75 at-bats this season.

More News 10/10/2019 • by RotoWire Staff coach Zinedine Zidane’s outburst on Sunday.The Welshman has fallen out of favour since Zidane’s return as manager with the Frenchman saying the forward was ‘very close’ tot Real Madrid.The Belgian moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid last summer, but he has yet to impress with his performances, while he has also struggled with injuries since his arrival.”If Hazard is not playing well, something happens at Real Madrid,” h leaving over the weekend.That remark prompted Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett to 09/27/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/25/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/22/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/21/2019 • by RotoWire Staff seeing Wolves star Adama Traore moving to Real Madrid this summer.The Barcelona-ante-race-sign-Adama-Traore-fear-rivals-Real-Madrid-landing-winger.html” target=”_blank”>Daily Mail says the Catalan giants are considering a summer move for the Wolves s 09/19/2019 • by RotoWire Staff