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Warriors’ Stephen Curry scores 23 in long-awaited return from broken hand

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scored 23 points for Golden State in his anticipated return after missing more than four months with a broken left hand, but the Toronto Raptors beat the Warriors 121-113 Thursday night to clinch a playoff spot.

After being sidelined 58 games, Curry led Golden State out of the tunnel to a big ovation – as loud as his neon sneakers, one pink and one yellow. He missed his first two shots but had three quick assists, including a no-look, behind-the-back dish to Andrew Wiggins. He finished with seven assists in 26 minutes.

The two-time MVP hit a 17-footer for his first basket early in the second quarter, then got a huge reaction for a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc shortly before halftime. He was 3 of 11 from 3-point range for the game.

“It feels like the first day of school pretty much all over again,” the 31-year-old Curry said earlier in the day after shootaround. “It’s kind of just getting back to enjoying playing basketball at the highest level. There’s a process to that.”

Norman Powell scored a career-high 37 points for Toronto, which clinched a playoff berth with the win in a rematch of last year’s finals. The Raptors won that series in six games, finishing with a victory in Golden State’s final game at its old arena in Oakland.

Kyle Lowry added 26 points and 10 assists, and Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who won at Phoenix on Tuesday night to end a three-game losing streak.

“Knowing that Steph was coming back, we knew it was going to be a great night, a great atmosphere,” Lowry said. “One of the best players in the league was coming back from injury, we wuitting for Bordeaux.The 33-year-old signed for Bordeaux on Tuesday having previously refused to travel on Arsenal’s pre-season tour to the USA. On social media, Koscielny explained, “I have spent wonderful years with this club, nine years during whiere a little more focused and concentrated on him, but coming in here, it’s a great regular season game.”

Damion Lee scored 23 points and Marquese Chriss had 17 points and 12 rebound for the Warriors, who have lost 10 straight at home.

Golden State trailed 62-55 at halftime but took an 85-83 lead in the third on Eric Paschall’s three-pointer – with Curry on the bench, no less.

After Toronto regained the lead, Paschall tied it at 95 on a free throw with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter, but the Raptors countered with five straight points. A three-pointer by Lowry and a powerful dunk from OG Anunoby helped Toronto stretch the lead moments later.

Curry checked back in with 3:51 left and hit a falling layup with two minutes remaining that pulled the Warriors within 113-108. Wiggins added a three-pointer to make it 113-111, but Pascal Siakam made two baskets in 15 seconds to keep Toronto’s lead safe.

Lee stole the ball from Powell with 25.8 seconds left and was fouled by Powell. But he missed both free throws and then two three-point tries after consecutive offensive rebounds.

Curry practiced Monday with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, then was recalled later in the day in a most anticipated promotion. His return to action came without most of his familiar supporting cast — Draymond Green missed his fourth straight game with a left knee injury, and Klay Thompson remains out with a torn left ACL.

Box-and-one D?

Curry and Lowry chatted recently, and Lowry kidded about pulling a box-and-one defense against Curry again.

“I’m expecting anything,” Curry said. “I talked to Kyle the other day and he joked about it, he might throw it back out there. Obviously last time we played them it was a terrible feeling losing in the finals, but obviously the situation’s different this year, but there’s excitement about what tonight’s going to be, me getting back out there and guys coming off a huge win in Denver, trying to build momentum.”

Tip-ins

Toronted boss Ole Gunnar is eager to get a deal for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire settled.Solskjaer spoke of the England international after their friendly shootout win over AC Milan in Cardiff.”Hopefully, the last little details will be in place to had lost 13 of its last 14 on the Warriors’ home court. … The Raptors are 8-3 on the road v the Western Conference. … The Raptors are the only opponent that swept the season series from the Warriors last season.

Golden State hasn’t won at home since beating Orlando 109-95 on 18 JanuaNew Bordeaux sports chief Hugo Varela has expressed interest in Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud.Off contract in June, Giroud has emerged as a confirmed target for Olympique Lyon and Olympique Marseille.And now Varela has revealed Bordeaux are also keery. They 7-25 at home overall and 2-9 against the Eastern Conference.

Up next

Visit the Kings on Sunday night.

Host the 76ers on Saturday night having lost 115-104 at Philadelphia on 28 January.

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.

Big Game review: Trump, Kaepernick and the NFL as political football

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The National Football League bills itself as a non-taxable trade association that promotes the “”. These days, it may need to add the title of America’s favorite tackling dummy. From the president to to worried parents, the NFL is under a never-ceasing, bone-crushing blitz. Nike’s swoosh hits harder than any middle linebacker.

The game pits Donald Trump, his supporters, predominately white owners and fans, against a labor pool that is 70% black. In the words of the late Tex Schramm, the Dallas Cowboys’ first president and general manager, to the late Gene Upshaw, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman and executive director of the players’ association: “You guys are cattle and we’re the ranchers … And ranchers can always get more cattle.”

Into this morass dives the New York Times reporter . His book is an entertainingly informative bird’s-eye take on the country’s still-favorite sport in the age of uncertainty and never-ending culture wars. As Leibovich observes, professional football has become “a proxy for our national divisions”, adding that “no one buys tickets to watch a morality play”. Apparently, the choice is binary.

A Patriots fan, Leibovich chronicles the five-time champions from the beginning of their 2014 season through their defeat in Super Bowl LII last February. He treats the reader to Tom Brady’s training regimen, football’s concussion problem, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ affinity for Johnnie Walker Blue in 24oz stadium cups, and steaming dollops of Trump. Make no mistake, smooth scotch goes down easier than a teetotaling president.

, NFL headquarters. Quoting fellow author Jeff Pearlman, Leibovich writes that Rozelle saw Trump as “this scumbag huckster” and a “New York fast-talking kind of con man”. Even Tony Soprano got more respect from Johnny Sack’s crew.

Roger Goodell – the current NFL commissioner, a Rozelle protege and the son of an anti-Vietnam Republican senator from New York – is more circumspect in describing Trump. Still, drizzles of disdain are in the air.

When asked about Trump, Goodell volunteered that we live in “interesting times” and smirked when asked if he maintained a back channel to the president. For good measure, Goodell added: “Our focus is on what we do … Our focus is on the game itself.” Yes, we’ve heard that line before. For his woes, Goodell is comforted by $40m annually even without holding any actual equity interest in the game.

On top of the president wishing Ivanka Trump had paired off with Brady instead of Jared the Middle East negotiator, Big Game spells out that Trump always coveted an NFL franchise but was never viewed as financially worthy. ; in 2014, his gambit for the Buffalo Bills went nowhere.

In particular, Trump lacked the requisite liquidity and transparencm their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.City trailed to an early James Ward-Prowse goal and did not equalise until Sergio Aguero scored with their first shot on target on 70 minutes, with Kyle Walker hitting their late winner.Vestergaard said, “It’s a y to shoulder a team. “Football owners,” Leibovich writes, “… get a much closer look at a candidate’s finances than electorates do.” Indeed, in a with the Securities and Exchange Commission, , Trump’s liquid assets clocked in at $250m, nothing to sneeze at but also not the kind of cash needed to roam the halls alongside the NFL’s titans, who include Paul Allen, a Microsoft founder and owner of the Seattle Seahawks.

For the statistically inclined, Forbes pegs Allen as on its rich list while , the Pats owner, is 281 and the a mere 321. , dropping 200 in a year. Indeed, in the midst of the 2016 presidential race, that his father-in-law was cash-strapped.

Executive time, the Robert Mueller investigation and Stormy Daniels have come with a hefty price. To paraphrase the president, vice and emoluments are expensive.

Actually because of its nuggets, yucks and giggles, Big Game is a dead serious work. Leibovich agonizingly depicts the toll the sport exacts on the life expectancy, mental capacity and health of those brave and talented enough to make it to the pros. The book records the reactions of NFL Hall of Famers whose short-term memories are addled and a front office whose relationship to brain injuries and the truth is all too reminiscent on loan for the rest of the season by the Hornets.However, multiple outlets – via the Watford Observer – in the UK are reporting the move is not sitting well with the Clarets.They do not want to lose Gibson unless they can secure a replacement.He on of Big Tobacco’s approach to cigarettes and cancer.

Ultimately, Leibovich is focused on the question of how long “peak football” can stay on top of its game. He offers no simple answer.

He notes that last season the NFL suffered its lowest Super Bowl viewership in almost a decade and its highest number of concussions in six years. Thursday night’s opener between the champion Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons saw the air during the second half. Michael Bennett, an Eagles defensive end, .

Even as the league’s revenues , interest in pro football has . In 2014, nearly three in five registered voters closely followed it. Now the figure is barely half. Like organized religion, the NFL is larco Silva after signing a three-year contract with the Toffees.And he wants to make sure the club are aiming to qualify for Europe’s top competition.”I am excited to be here at one of the greatest clubs in England, really excited, I enjoy the place,osing its luster.

All this spells “another nonstop Christmas for the NFL doomsayers”. Yet as Leibovich notes, the “league just kept printing money to buy presents … They don’t make doomed sports leagues like they used to.” The fact that football legends Troy Aikman and Brett Favre have voiced concerns about their “hypothetical sons” following in their footsteps barely registers as a footnote on a balance sheet. Yet.

How does it all end? As the story fittingly concludes: “We await the replay.”

Phil Mickelson dropped by Jim Furyk for all Saturday’s Ryder Cup play

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, chosen by Jim Furyk asld be Mohamed Salah, according to former Reds midfielder Don Hutchinson.Speculation continues to build on whether Europe’s biggest clubs will attempt to sign Jurgen Klopp’s dominant side.Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with Salah and Sadio one of his four captain’s picks, has been omitted from all the Ryder Cup pairings on Saturday and his participation in the event is now restricted to a heavy defeat on Friday afternoon plus Sunday’s singles.

The left-hander was also benched for the whole of Saturday at Gleneagles four years ago, which led to his , the then US captain.

The 48-year-old Mickelson lost 5&4 with his fellow wildcard Bryson DeChambeau on Friday and even that represented something of a recovery, as Sergio García and Alex Norén had been six up after 12.

DeChambeau was paired with another car 5-0 win at Europa League opponents LASK last night.The first leg of the Europa League last 16 tie in Linz wasagreed a fee of £8.2m, according to Goal.Mignolet has been desperate to leave Anfield in order to play regular first-team football.The Belgian will return to his homeland after playing 204 times for the Reds following his £9m switch from Sunderland played behind closed doors, due to fears about the spread of coronavirus. “We missed the fans tonight but played strong as a team to give ptain’s pick for Saturday afternoon’s action, Tiger Woods, to play Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood.

Dustin Johnson and were up against Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson faced Sergio García and Alex Norén, while Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were opposed by Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy.

This meant Europe kept the same lineup that allowed Thomas Bjørn’s side to sweep the foursomes session on Friday.

Kieron Pollard’s poor show, the return of NFL and a Gaelic football curse

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1) Kieron Pollard attracted ire for bowling an in the Caribbean Super League, denying St Kitts’ Evin Lewis a chance at a century. Pollard’s no-ball sealed defeat for his Barbados team, leaving Lewis stranded on 97. Back in 2010, Sri Lanka’s Suraj Randiv was banned for one match for to Virender Sehwag.

2) This weekend sees a true Super Sunday, with the return of NFL and a long evening of becoming one with the sofa. The game of week one is Seattits that it would be a challenge for the club to keep Dwight McNeil if top teams come calling.The England under-21 midfielder is being linked with a move to the likes of Manchester United following his impressive displays this season.They want to keele at Green Bay, who memorably met in the 2014 NFastle United striker Ayoze Perez is a target for Napoli.The Northern Echo says sources in Napler a promotion at Chelsea.Chelsea are set to clear the decks for Frank Lampard with Maurizio Sarri’s entire coaching staff set to be released or reshuffled.The Chelsea-remove-Sarris-ENTIRE-coaching-team-Frank-Lampard-set-bring-Jody-Morris.html”>Daily s suggest the Italian giants have been watching Perez over the second half of the campaign.And apart from being near the top of Napoli’s wishlist, he is alC Championship Game. That comeback overtime win for the Seahawks involving , , , and will be hard to top. Red Zone has us covered if the Carolina Panthers utility back (montage warning) gets going, or Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber . Finally, and the worst of pre-season:

3) It’s been a big week for sports that may not actually be sports. There was the and a in – where else – Germany. Central Europe is also the spiritual home of Kaninhop, or rabbit show jumping. That’s right. Enjoy , and even .

4) T20 Blast finals day threw up some stunning catches. Perhaps the best was from Birmingham captain Grant Elliot to dismiss Glamorgan’s Colin Ingram with a . Birmingham eventually lost the final to Notts as Samit Patel to their second white-ball trophy of the season:

5) In Ireland, the GAA season is reaching its climax. In the All-Ireland hurling final, for their first title since 1988. In the Gaelic football final, Mayo will take on Dublin looking which has seen the county lose eight finals since 1951. Last year, they in a draw with Dublin, then lost the replay – so maybe there’s something in it. And if you think that’s unbelievable – here’s Chris Kamara in County Tyrone.

6) Syria’s brave bid to reach the World Cup looked over with the side 2-1 down in Iran – but a late equaliser saw the war-ravaged nation into a play-off with Australia, and it all .

1) In 1964-65, newly promoted Leeds made a surprise title bid, but because there was no TV gantry at Elland Road, they didn’t appear on Match of the Day . Leeds won 2-1 but lost the title to Manchester United, and Norman Hunter was on the receiving end of some very un-Arsenal language (at 38.35, should you want to avoid it).

2) Ali Mabkhout and Ahmed Khalil score two beauties for UAE in their World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia:

3) Guy goes surfing … .

4) Here’s a nice way to .

5) And finally, New Mexico State’s wide receiver Jaleel Scott makes an .

StuartRG, whobroughtoranges, BlackCaeser, garethr,

Guardian YouTube sport channel

Sergio García shines at Masters to raise hopes of end to major drought

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If the weight of experience lurking with intent did not pose such a threat, this Masters could be characterised as a weekend chase for major number one.

Charley Hoffman, , Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler head the event at half way on four under par. At differing ages, positions in world ranking and career victory levels, their combined major haul? Zero. Hoffman is the surprise package, Pieters the surly young pretender, García the routine bridesmaid and Fowler the form horse. Cases can be made for each of them but, crucially, for another 25 competitors, too.

The cavalry in pursuit includes Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. Ths always confident the Barcelona starlet would make it.Fati made his debut at 16 for Sunday’s 5-2 defeat of Real Betis.Luis Pérez Mena, the director of the Seville-based Escuela de FútbolPeloteros, coached Fati as a junior and told Efe: “I’ve been e leaders are not likely to enter relaxation mode.

García’s case, in his 71st consecutive major, is without question the most fascinating. The late, great Seve Ballesteros, who lit up Augusta National when claiming two Green Jackets and triggering a European stampede on the Masters, should be celebrating his 60th birthday on Sunday. If García, forever linked to Ballesteros not only on grounds of Spanish nationality but the level of mesmerising talent as demonstrated from his youth, were to prevail here, one of the great golf storylines of our time would have unfolded. does have a habit of throwing them up.

García returned a terrific run, of 21 opening tournament holes without dropping a shot. On Friday he birdied Augusta’s first three for the first time. At the 12th he conjured up a bunker shot from a plugged lie that he considered “hands down, the best of my career”. So far, so good.

One must, nonetheless, give strong consideration to an alternative outcome, the sort García has become ominously accustomed to. García has never made much secret of his indifference towards Augusta National as a venue despite, it must be stressed, always insisting he tries his best to win here. Essentially García believes the Augusta set-up means even good shots are occasionally not properly rewarded.

Matters seemed to be conspiring against him on Friday as a scoreboard error meant he was awarded a seven rather than the five he did produce at the 10th. “The most important thing is I knew where I stood,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t one under for the tournament, I knew I was three.

“Shane Lowry hit two balls to the left and we were looking for one, we couldn’t find it, we found the second one. We are all dressed light coloured pants and blue sweater, so I can see why they might have made the mistake. But it was fine.”

The number was duly amended, Garcia later signing for 69. It should have been better but for a lame birdie attempt from all of 4ft on the 18th.

Further bad news arrives for García from a key statistic. His third-round scoring average at the Masters is the worst of anyone in three decades, at close to 75. Perhaps if he can get through Saturday, when conditions are predicted to be far more favourable than days one and two, even García himself will take his Augusta challenge seriously. Part of the intrigue around the 37-year-old is that, for one so gifted, he never appears fully confident in his own ability.

“In a lot of these shots there’s such a thin line between a good shot being next to the hole and a good shot being 40 feet away and then having a very difficult two putt,” García explained. “You try to not think about those and try to be as positive as possible.

“Things are happening at the moment. I want to make sure that I keep riding that wave and go out there tomorrow and be positive, be like I’ve been the first two days.”

There is a parallel for García to dratheir clash with Villarreal.The Croatian has started just once this season — at Granada — and has now been replaced by Carles Aleña. “Every week I am asked about those not called up,” the coach said. “If Rakitic is not [in the squad], it’s becausew on. Danny Willett, last year’s Masters champion, had claimed the Dubai Desert Classic two months earlier. It was García who lifted that trophy in the Middle East a matter of weeks ago. García is not carrying the Spanish flag alone. Jon Rahm’s outstanding 2017 shows no sign of slowing down, the rookie signing for a 70 to sit at one under par.

McIlroy was the victim of dreadful misfortune on the closing hole. An apparently perfect approach shot from 140 yards r Milan are ready to slap in a bid for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.Off contract in June, the Dane has refused to consider new terms proposed by Spurs and is ready to leave the Londoners.PSG have been in contact, however Corriere dello Sporhit the pin, causing the ball to bound back down the fairway. McIlroy could understandably barely conceal his rage at making a bogey from there, meaning a 73 and plus one aggregate.

The Northern Irishman has not fully kicked into gear, a fact that should give him confidence given a position within touching distance of the lead with half of the Masters to play.

McIlroy has his mind set on a big Saturday move. “I’m a little disappointed with what happened at the last but these things happen and, if I can get off to a fast start tomorrow, a couple under through three, I’ll be right there,” he said.

“There are still 36 more holes left to go, a long way in this tournament. I know what can happen, good and bad, around this golf course.”

Willett was among those to encounter the negative, with a defence that ended on Friday at plus seven. A quadruple eight on the 1st fatally impacted on his cause.

A year ago Ian Woosnam insisted his Masters playing days were over on what marked the 25th anniversary of his victoryhere.

The Welshman, now 59, duly returned for 36 holes, his Friday 78 meaning a missed cut at 10 over par. “My wife made me come back,” Woosnam said. But will he – or she – do so again? “I haven’t ruled it out.” Wonderfully confusing.

USA crush Puerto Rico 8-0 to clinch first ever World Baseball Classic title

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Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament’s highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The US territory finished runners-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament’s MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans’ 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan’s double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The US pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and are hoping to make a move for Southampton defender Matt Targett.The Villa Park club are interested in strengthening their back line, as they will likely lose the 21-year-old and other loan signings from last season.One name that is interesting Dean walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on beforeation Mattis De Ligt is not a target for the Reds.But the London Evening Standard says manager Jurgen Klopp is still on the lookout for defensive players.It is believed the Merseyside club will only part with big money if the signing is a guaranteed their teAubameyang would leave last month.The Gunners captain was linked with Barcelona.But Leno told the London Evening Standard: “I think not too many players talked about this.“Of course there are many rumours and other people talk about this, but youam fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting “U-S-A” when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford’s two-run single that chased JC Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The US tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton’s RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos’ wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen’s RBI single with two outs.

The US defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Ferguson’s Tyron Woodley finds activist voice as biggest fight of career looms

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UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is an African American athlete in the modern age of sports activism. He does not take this responsibility lightly. He grew up in Ferguson, Missouri, and that fact alone gives him a voice on racial matters for it was his town, his neighborhood, his very street where Michael Brown was shot and his body lay for hours baking in the summer sun. As a young black man in he was racially profiled, pulled over needlessly by police and once thrown in a paddy wagon with a group of friends because he says: “We looked like we were up to something.”

He wrestled at the University of Missouri where last 8 November the football team went on strike in support of a black students and forced the school’s president to resign. He is proud of what the football players did at his alma mater, but more importantly, he sees the power their protest gives men like himself – African Americans with fame, money and success – to speak about topics like inequality. He believes they need to use it regardless of consequences.

In September he listened to Donald Trump rambling on about Ferguson as if it was some flaming ghetto and not the racially mixed suburban St Louis town he knows. This angered him and so he said: His comments were dutifully reported by TMZ who ran a picture of him with a clenched fist and a headline that said he Trump. His words made headlines and a few days later, a crowd of mostly white fans booed him in Madison Square Garden’s theater during a press conference for Saturday’s UFC 205.

Woodley seemed startled by gestions that he would sign for Aston Villa in the Premier League.But it appears the 24-year-old is bound for Italy, as the club have come closest to meeting Cagliari’s asking price.Cagliari-immagini?page=2#imgal2″>Gianluca Di Marzio claims the playethe reaction. Was he being booed for saying he might put is fist through Trump’s teeth? Or because he’s a diligent wrestler and therefore less exciting than his kickboxing opponent Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson? Or because he takes months off between fights, drawing criticism that he didn’t deserve the 201 fight against Robbie Lawler that got him the title? It leads some, like fellow welterweight contender Belal Muhammad to say: “I don’t know why the hate.”

Woodley can’t help but wonder if it is something else. Something deeper. Something that still holds back black fighters in a sport that should be colorblind.

“I think that – this is my personal opinion – but sometimes African American athletes are considered overly cocky,” he says. “I have some (things to say) that are blatantly true about African American athletes in our sport. And if I mention those thing then all of a sudden I’m whining, I’m playing the victim, I’m race baiting or it’s somebody else.

“But I don’t think it matters,” he continues. “Because at the end of the day, I’m the champion of the world. I’m a successful individual and maneuvering in a culture where there are some racists. I still find a way to get to the top, whether I go around or weave through.”

The Wonderboy fight is the biggest of Woodley’s career; billed as the co-main event of UFC 205 just below Conor McGregor v Eddie Alvarez and it has his name glowing on the Garden marquee. He’s exactly the kind of fighter the UFC should want to promote: a Christian family man with four children, a burgeoning acting career and a series of broadcasting jobs. And yet he can’t shake a feeling that as important as he’s become he isn’t as free as the lighter faces surrounding him on the card’s promotional poster.

At the UFC 205 press conference Woodley watched McGregor with torrents of profane Ranieri stepped in for Eusebio di Francesco last month.Murillo said, “It’s great to play regularly in a League I have already played in, know well and like a lot.”I’ve played in practically all the games. Things aren’t going as we would’ve liked, butinsults screamed into the roar of an adoring crowd that sees such bombast as part of McGregor’s Irish charm. McGregor’s act amused Woodley even as he rolled his eyes through some of the rants. McGregor is a good businessman and he respects that. He has a saying: “More drama, more commas”. So if McGregor wants to heap clever putdowns while the money falls all around them, by all means let him holler. But Woodley knows he can’t be McGregor, throwing bottles and spewing swear words. Doing so would only make him the angry black man and the boos would only come louder then.

“Name me one African American mixed martial artist who’s been able to get away with the amount of talk Conor has,” he says. “Name me one. You can’t. Rampage Jackson came to the UFC with a brain. He came to the UFC with a huge following from being in Asia with Pride. He was a personality before he came to the UFC. You don’t see them putting marketing money behind him to blow him up. Have you seen Jon Jones taken in any (marketing) direction? Have you seen any African American athlete that appeals to the urban market actually bring that market to the ?”

For years Woodley never made Ferguson a part of his identity. He figured nobody had heard of his hometown and he found it easier just to say he was fighting out of St Louis. But then Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and a neighborhood erupted. There were riots and looters and buildings on fire. In some ways he was conflicted. He knew what it was like to be a young black man in Ferguson – the way the police come down hard sometimes, where the greatest crime an African American kid might have was the color of his skin. “Those things are true, they are happening and Ferguson is notorious for it,” he says. And yet it was also the place where he was raised, the community he loved. He knew every bit of that town, having lived in some of the poorest sections as well as the best. It hurt him to sit it burn.

He knew exactly the rage that many of the protesters brought to the streets, but he also knew that many of those running before the cameras, throwing rocks at windows weren’t from Ferguson or even St Louis. The damage they did was more than just physical. It left an emotional scar. Suddenly little Ferguson was a national flashpoint and the TV commentators were getting the town wrong. They portrayed it as the inner city, a predominately African American ghetto where crime lingered on every corner. That was not his Ferguson. His Ferguson a mixture of white and black spread through blocks of subdivisions; a place where people had to accept each other’s differences and where also those backgrounds collided.

“You go to Ferguson and you look at January-Wabash Park and other areas (they’re) extremely nice and it’s not a war zone,” Woodley says. “They way it’s portrayed is why I have an issue. That’s not Ferguson. I think more so (it is) the way way the community and law enforcement have been at odds for years. They respect hasn’t been there for the law enforcement and definitely there is profiling on the citizens.”

After the riots he added Ferguson to his biography – not to capitalize on the unrest but to show people that the town where he grew up was not an awful place. He wanted the world to know that good things and good people came from a community whose very name sparks the tinders of ugly debate. He is sensitive about the impressions everyone gets of a place most have never seen. “I wanted to show that hey, Ferguson is a place where a lot of successful people have been born and raised and built so I wanted to show Ferguson in a positive way,” he says.

Not long after Brown’s death and before the riots, Woodley contacted the UFC hoping to use the organization’s enormous platform to talk about Ferguson, Brown’s death and police relations in general. There needed to be a productive dialogue, he thought, and he wanted to start it. He remembers sitting in an airport, explaining his idea to someone who handles social media for the UFC. “That’s my street, I grconcerned about losing Jurgen Klopp.The Reds manager is being tipped to replace Max Allegri at Juventus this summer.”We don’t really want to discuss his situation publicly, especially so close to the final,” Werner told the Liverpool Echo.”But I thinew up on that street!,” he implored, expecting the UFC to leap at a chance to promote a top fighter with direct ties to Ferguson. They did nothing, he says. The same thing happened a year later when the Missouri players went on strike, he says.

“It’s crazy,” he says, then pauses.

“Let me stop myself,” he says, “I was about to go off.”

He shakes his head. For a moment he says nothing.

“I just thought those were good opportunities to make a positive stance,” he continues, then his voice trails off.

In some ways, the Missouri protest surprised Woodley. African American students at the school have long complained of feeling isolated but he was an athlete in a wrestling bubble and that kept him from the experiencing things that happened to other black students. He had to call his brother-in-law, a doctor, who went to school there. “He told me some stories that I didn’t want to hear,” Woodley says. A few weeks ago, he went back to speak to the wrestling team and was surprised to see that even though he was the school’s first All-Big 12 wrestler and their first top five recruit, his picture was not on the wall with other distinguished wrestlers in the school’s history.

“All of a sudden (the coaches said): ‘Oooh, we got to get a picture of you on this wall,” Woodley says. “It was kind of…” He paused again for moment and sighed. “But it is what it is and it’s about the athletes and thats why I’m there but it was really weird that people couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that these things can happen.”

He drove around the campus that day looking at all the giant new fraternity and sorority houses and couldn’t help that each mansion was only for predominantly white fraternities and sororities. “How many black homes are there?” he wondered. Where were all the big homes from the African American students? He glanced around and realized that even after what happened last fall and the racial awakening of his old college, Missouri still had a long way to go.

Sitting in an empty radio studio in late September, a few days after the Trump comments, about to promote the second biggest fight in the UFC’s biggest card ever, Woodley is probably at the apex of his career. Never will he have a larger voice in sports. Never may minority athletes have a more powerful voice than they do today. As a child of Ferguson he has the platform, he can be a kind of modern-day Ali. Boos be damned. If Donald Trump is going to fire off a shot at Ferguson well by God he’s going to talk about putting his fist through the man’s teeth. That’s not a right, its a responsibility.

“He needs to talk about (race),” Michael Johnson, another African American UFC fighter will later say, unaware of Woodley’s words about Trump. “He’s a champion and his voice needs to be heard. It’s very important to speak up with the things that are happening.”

In the studio Woodley laughs.

“I don’t read social media. Is (the Trump comment) getting buzz?” he asks, the idea Trump could actually be president probably the farthest thing from his mind.

Yes, he is told, his line about putting a fist in Trump’s mouth made plenty of headlines.

He chuckles.

“Well hopefully it made it to him,” he says.

No need to hold back now.

Ryder Cup 2016: US face pressure test as Darren Clarke backs young team

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For all that the involves two sides, it is difficult to deviate from the notion that the narrative of this, the 41st playing of the event, focuses mainly onone.

The desire of the United States to end a dismal run against Europe has taken them from one luminary, Tom Watson, to a taskforce and renaissance man in the form of . The US wildcard process has been modified, Tiger Woods has completed a journey of full circle from Ryder Cup indifference to the heart of the backroom team and an already fevered scenario has been ramped up even further. One is left to wonder what on earth the Americans will do if they have not wrestled back the Ryder Cup when time is called at Hazeltine next Sunday. Abandon all hope, perhaps.

US favouritism may be merited on the basis they have, on paper, the stronger team. They are also at home, but determination can become desperation pretty easily and to a team’s detriment. The involvement of Woods and Phil Mickelson may present Love with an issue over strong personalities above whom he should, in theory, exert authority. One glance at US preparations reveals a seriousness that has so often proved their undoing.

The Europeans have no need whatsoever to modify a team approach that has leaving Tottenham.Kicker says Vertonghen has not featured under Mauricio Pochettino this season despite making 22 appearances last term.Pochettino seems to have axed the Belgian from his first-team plans after several contract refusals from the playereturned the Ryder Cup three times in succession. In Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Sergio García they have a formidable backbone. Lee Westwood would cherish celebrating his 10th appearance with yet another win. For all the fresh-faced nature of the European contingent has been heavily played upon, there is a natural team evolution that need not necessarily be harmful. One of Darren Clarke’s rookies, Daity are moving for PSG striker Kylian Mbappe.El Pais says, however, PSG will attempt to block a huge offer from City for Mbappe by offering him a whopping £860,000-a-week new contract.However, it all depends on Barcelona buying back wantaway Neymar nny Willett, is .

“It’s unquestionable that it’s going to be a very, very big task ahead of us,” Clarke said. “Davis’s team is also shaping up very, very strongly. But with this team, those guys have earned their right to be on the team. They have embraced the challenge. They have got on there and they are world-class players in their own right.

“With adding Thomas Pieters to that list, there are six rookies there, but with the talent that they all possess, I’ve got no worries at all about the strength of that team going to America. I’m proud of that team. It’s a team that’s going to go there and do everything we possibly can to bring that trophy back home again.”

The fearsome length of Hazeltine – it can stretch to 7,600 yards – will only have been intensified by the deluge of rain that has battered that corner of Minnesota in recent days. Still, it would be curious if Love insisted upon the venue playing at its full distance. A slog fest appeals to nobody; birdie and eagle putts to win holes provide enduri form slump after defeat at home to Tottenham.The Hammers held their own for 36 minutes in Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge of the visitors, only to concede twice before half-time to Heung-min Son and Lucas Moura.Harry Kane’s header seemingly putng Ryder Cup memories.

“If we don’t win, if Europe doesn’t win, Darren and I are going to have a lot of explaining to do,” said Love. “That’s part of it. But we’re used to the pressure. We’re used to wins and losses. One thing [the sport psychologist] Bob Rotella told me: if you’re going to base your happiness on winning and losing, golf is not a good sport to be in because you’re going to lose a lot. Tiger Woods has won more than anybody but he’s lost a lot of tournaments.

“But we enjoy the challenge and we love being on the stage and you’ve got to take the wins with the losses. I certainly hope that these 12 guys understand that this is their team. It’s not about me. I’m not playing. Tiger Woods is not playing.”

Mickelson is and, coincidentally, the USA’s horror shows have matched the left-hander’s involvement. Mickelson first featured in the Ryder Cup of 1995; in 10 appearances, the USA has won twice. Two years ago Mickelson’s provided an epic Gleneagles denouement. But here is the crunch; having been so outspoken and taken on increased prominence thereafter, Mickelson has a pressure of his own to deliver.

Since announcing his captain’s picks in late August, Clarke has been absent from the public eye. A perfectionist to the point of obsession on occasion – there is no chance whatsoever of a Medinah/Rory McIlroy-esque timing issue at Hazeltine – Clarke will leave nothing to chance. By his own admission, though, the challenge is a formidable one, not least because the next European captain who does not continue a run of glory will automatically be criticised.

There is logic behind bookmakers having a fancy for the US. There is considerably more in the sense that such an outcome would benefit the Ryder Cup as a whole. Nonetheless, recent history has served valuable lessons; they all intensify focus on Love and his players. Three intense days will tell whether or not Europe can quietly benefit from that.

Woeful Ryan Fitzpatrick throws six interceptions in Jets loss to Chiefs

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Ryan Fitzpatrick is not known for his accuracy and he excelled himself against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, throwing six interceptions as the New York Jets lost 24-3 to the .

Fitzpatrick was coming off a good game against the Buffalo Bills, in which he threw for two touchdowns and 374 yards. But against the Chiefs completed telli could’ve been a worldbeater.Eto’o was still with Inter as Balotelli, now with Brescia, was breaking through as a teenager.He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Mario loves me like a little brother, but he never showed even 10% of his qualities.”The Majust 20 of his 44 attempts and was picked off six times. He does, at least, find himself in good company: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Joe Namath (three times) .

Elsewhere, Russell Wilson threw for 243 yards and a tore leading the race to sign Lemar.Lemar, 24, has been a long-term target of the Gunners after a bid while he was at Monaco in 2017.He joined Atletico a year later in a £60m deal but has failed to live up to expectations since moving to the Spanish cuchdown before suffering a left knee injury as the rolled to a 37-18 rout of the .

Wilson was injured with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter getting pulled down awkwardly on a sack by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. Harold was called for a horse collar penalty, but the bigger concern was how he fell on Wilson’s left leg.

Wilson stayed down on the field for a few moments before walking off. Wilson missed the first play of his career due to injury, but returned to throw one more pass. The completion led to the third of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals for a 27-3 lead and after that Wilson’s day was done.

Wilson had a brace placed on his left knee, and he never saw the field again, giving the fio land Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer.The Mirror says United are preparing to pay up to £70million to land Grealish this summer.The attacking ace has been in superb form for Villa this term after inspiring them to promotion last seasonal 1 ½ quarters of the blowout to rookie Trevone Boykin.

Wilson finished 15 of 23 passing, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham. Boykin also threw the first TD pass of his career, hitting Doug Baldwin on a 16-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Baldwin had eight catches for a career-high 164 yards.

It was a big day for Seattle’s offense that slogged through the first two weeks, in the first 120 minutes of the season. The Seahawks nearly matched that total in the first 11 minutes of the game thanks to the first two touchdowns of Christine Michael’s career.

Getting the start with Thomas Rawls out because of a shin injury, Michael had TD runs of 41 and 4 yards on Seattle’s first two drives. Michael rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries, the second 100-yard game of his career.

Carlos Hyde two TD runs in the fourth quarter for San Francisco, but the 49ers had just five first downs entering the fourth quarter and missed on their first 10 third-down attempts. of 12 straight games with a touchdown pass ended as he was 14 of 25 for 119 yards and an interception.

In Philadelphia, Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, a fierce defense shut down Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and the Eagles beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 to remain unbeaten.

The rookie No2 overall pick connected with Darren Sproles on a and tossed a to Jordan Matthews.

After beating the Browns (0-3) and Bears (0-2) in the first two games, the Eagles (3-0) proved they could compete with the big boys. The Steelers (2-1) averaged 31 points the first two weeks and are considered Super Bowl contenders.

Pittsburgh was 19-2 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004. But Wentz is no ordinary rookie.

Everyone is jumping on the Wentz wagon in Philadelphia. And he was the No3 quarterback until Sam Bradford was traded to Minnesota just eight days before the season opener.

Sproles finished with six catches for 128 yards and Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood each had their first career rushing TDs.

Roethlisberger had 257 yards passing, one interception and no TDs after tossing six in the first two games. Brown caught 12 passes for 140 yards, most of which after the outcome was decided.

Why Real Salt Lake’s journalist ban damages the credibility of MLS

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Banning journalists seems to be something of a trend in American politics right now. Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Politico, and the Washington Post at one point or another over the past year or so, with the Republican presidential nominee serving banning orders like Oprah hands out book prizes. It’s an ethos that has seemingly seeped into American soccer, too.

Last week, Real Salt Lake last week of Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson for Saturday’s league fixture against the New England Revolution. In response, the Tribune decided to remove all its staff from the game, instead covering RSL’s goalless draw against the Revs off the television.

The fact that such a sanction was imposed against Monson, who has been critical of the club’s owner, Dell Loy Hansen, is troubling. “The man with the deep pockets wants to run the club the way he wants to run it, not the way it should be run, not the way it’s best run. His ego is behind the wheel,” Monson wrote in August 2015. RSL maintains that Monson’s relationship with the club’s former owner – Monson co-hosts a sports radio show with Spence Checketts, the son of former RSL owner David Checketts – means he is a less than objective observer.

But this isn’t the way to go about things. That those in charge at should feel the sting of such condemnation isn’t surprising, particularly excited to be taking charge for their Carabao Cup clash with Aston Villa.Critchley will take charge of a youthful Reds team at Villa Park, with Jürgen Klopp and the first-team squad in Qatar to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup this week.Critchwhen Monson has more than once criticised Hansen, but serving banning orders helps nobody, least of all the club.

We can only hope that this practice does not spread throughout the league. As something of a crossover between the soccer world and the American sporting sphere, Major League Soccer has always been an anomaly of sorts. It borrows certain aspects of its identity from European soccer while retaining a distinctly North American character. Nowhere is that better demonstrated than iva says he’d welcome the chance to be registered with the club.Silva is in Madrid after completing his loan with Cruzeiro.He told Marca: “The truth is that I have a team, and it’s Real Madrid. There were some offers, but most have been just enquiriesn the league’s media approach.

In fact, is held aloft as an example of media relations done right – at least as far as soccer goes. Its sporting reputation might not transcend borders just yet, but the league is renowned in press circles across the globe for its accessibility and openness. That is seen as a manifestation of the American way and is welcomed by those who are not afforded such access in European soccer.

Using personal experience as a gauge, MLS clubs understand the role of the media and how it can be used to their own benefit. When I wrote a story prior to the first ever Hudson River Derby between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC last year, players were actively offered up by both clubs for interview. Media days were arranged, with individual schedules accommodated for as clubs did their best to present whoever, whenever.

Much of this comes from MLS’s need to compete in a crowded media marketplace, against leagues and sports of longer-established heritage. But nonetheless, this is the image that Real Salt Lake are in danger of damaging. Furthermore, they’re hurting their own fans by blacklisting members of the local media, particularly writers for such locally important publications as the Salt Lake Tribune. If MLS clubs are desperate to ensure their roots touch their local communities, banning a loheffield United boss Chris Wilder says Jack Rodwell must work his way into their first team plans.Wilder says new signing Jack Robinson and Rodwell will not simply be handed appearances for Sheffield United this weekend in the FA Cup against Millwallcal columnist is at odds with that ethos.

European clubs are learning, but progress is slow. Manchester City hosted a media day to make the most of Pep Guardiola’s unveiling as their new manager, but even then the message still felt strictly controlled. MLS still sets the precedent, at least giving the impression of access and openness. And there is no league anywhere in the world that wouldn’t benefit from such a trait.

It’s therefore not the media Real Salt Lake are hurting with their actions, but fans, and the overall image of North American soccer as well. Journalists might be the target of such flak, but the real damage is felt elsewhere. Fans need the media to hold their teams to account. They also need the media to provide access, as well as an emotional link to those they watch play every week. It might sound like self-righteous hyperbole, but soccer needs the media as much as the media needs soccer.

This is why Real Salt Lake’s decision to ban Monson makes so little sense. Accessibility is one of MLS’s key selling points (the league is aware of Monson’s ban and says it takes access seriously). Players guest on fan podcasts, locker rooms are opened up to the press within minutes of the full-time whistle, with coaches and general managers even hosting Reddit AMA sessions from time to time. Without that selling point, MLS and North American soccer as a whole is a less attractive, less appealing product. It goes against the grain of the game’s media mantra in the United States and Canada. The MLS All-Star game in San Jose later this month will provide the perfect illustration of just how far ahead the league is in terms of its media approach. A week-long series of fan and media events won’t just act as promotion for the game itself, but for the league in general. This is the kind of thing at stake if RSL’s actions were repeated elsewhere.

Of course, MLS’s centralised structure helps with the organisation of such events, but clubs must recognise how important accessibility and positive media relations are to almost every aspect of North American soccer. Monson’s blacklisting is about more than just one journalist having his credentials stripped. This concerns the image and spirit of MLS. The disconnect exposed by Real Salt Lake’s media ban is about more than just one empty seat in the press box.

Abby Wambach, world’s all-time leading goalscorer, announces retirement

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Abby Wambach, the predatory forward whose 184 goals are the most scored by any man or woman in the history of international soccer, has announced her retirement.

Wambach, 35, has made 252 appearances for the United States women’s national team since debuting against Germany in September 2001.

“After much deliberation and talking with my friends, family, teammates and our coaching staff, I’ve decided to finally bring my soccer career to an end,” Wambach said in a statement. “While we still have more work to do for women’s soccer, after bringing the World Cup back to the United States this summer, I’m feeling extremely optimistic about the future of our sport. It’s been an amazing, wonderful ride and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of my life brings.”

Wambach will appear with the team for all four of its scheduled matches in December, with her farewell appearance coming on 16 December against China in New Orleans, the final leg of the US team’s 10-city victory tour to celebrate their .

Wambach appeared in four World Cups over a decorated 15-year international career and won gold medals in both her Olympic appearances at the 2004 and 2012 Games, scoring 23 goals in 35 appearances in those six tournaments. She missed the 2008 Olympics with a broken leg.

The most famous of her 184 international goals came in stoppage time of a 2011 World Cup quarter-final against Brazil with the United States trailing 2-1. Wambach’s 122nd-minute header off a 40-yard cross from Megan Rapinoe sent the match to penalties, where the US prevailed to book a place in the last four.

The Rochester, New York native was named Fifa World Player of the Year in 2012, becoming only the second American to capture the sport’s highest individual honor after Mia Ha fringe player who is expected to play at Celta Vigo and his coach is happy with the season he’s having.”[Malcom] has improved, as mucinho has won his first two games in charge after replacing Mauricio Pm France.The former Lille man arrived with a big reputation and for a club record fee.But he has failed to show the kind of form that made him one of the most wanted attackers of the summer transfer window.And Pepe admits the language has been a barrochettino last week.Lo Celso, on loan from Real Betis, told Sky Sports News: “We know that it takes time when you’ve got a new coaching staff, a new head coach.”It takes time for thh playing as training,” he said. “He hasn’t had as many opportunities as others and he’s good enough to be here. He’mm. A three-time All-American at the University of Florida, Wambach helped the Gators to the program’s first NCAA championship in 1998.

“Abby is a player who has transcended our sport and her legacy as one of the world’s greatest players is set forever,” USA coach Jill Ellis said. “What she has done for women’s soccer and women’s sports overall with her amazing talents on the field and her personality off it has been inspiring to watch. I am just extremely happy that she could end her career with that elusive World Cup title and go out on top, right where she deserves to be.”

Wambach will speak publicaly on her retirement on Thursday at the National Press Club Luncheon at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies in Washington DC.

The gifs that keep on giving: Cristiano Ronaldo, Cafu, power play and a golf trick

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Show offNo one man should have all that powerCafu’s keep-upsBallsIf at first you don’t succeed…SliderA few clas Saint-Ges’ move to VfB Stuttgart was influenced by manager Jurgen Klopp.Phillips, the son of Bolton Wanderers hero Jimmy Phillips, is on a season-long loan with VfB.”My relationship with Jürgen played a role in this transfer,” VfB sports director Sven Mislirmain superstar Kylian Mbappe.Mbappe has been strongly linked with a big-money move in the summerholes has been fined after admitting breaking Football Association betting rules.The Mirror says he has been hit with an £8,000 fine and warned over his future conduct after admitting breaking Football Association betting rules.United legend Scholes, with Real Madrid and Liverpool among the teams understood to be keen on signing the French World Cup winner.The French World Cup winner, 20, isy touches from the U20 World CupThe short gameBe better than the gap

NCAA charges North Carolina with five violations linked to fraud scandal

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The has charged North Carolina with five violations connected to the school’s long-running academic fraud scandal, including a lack of institutional control for poor oversight of an academic department popular with athletes.

The school released a 59-page notice of allegations on Thursday that it received from the NCAA, which uses the document to specify violations uncovered during an investigation.

The charges include providing improper benefits in the form of counselors making “special arrangements” with staffers in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department to offer courses or obtain assignments for athletes, as well as a counselor working with the women’s basketball program providing improper help on research papers.

All five charges are considered Level I violations, described by the showing any solidarity with Henrikh Mkhitaryan ahead of their Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku.The Arsenal-plans-support-Henrikh-Mkhitaryan.html” target=”_blank”>Daily Mail says the Gunners were planning to wear shirts with Mkhitaryan’s n NCAA as a “severe breach of conduct.”

Chancellor Carol Folt and athletic director Bubba Cunningham issued a joint statement, saying the school takes allegations “about past conduct very seriously” and noted the school has implemented more than 70 reforms since the end of academic irregularities in the AFAM department ended in 2011. UNC has to file a response to the NCAA within 90 days of receiving the notice.

“Although we may identify some instances in the NCAA’s notice where we agree and others where we do not, we are committed to continue pursuing a fair and just outcome for Carolina,” the statement said.

The five chargelayers upon his return to the club.The Hornets fought back from 2-0 down at home to Arsenal last Sunday to gain just their second Premier League point this season in Flores’ first game in charge.He said: “I think when you are in the bottom of the tabs listed in the NCAA’s notice are:

— There was a lack of institutional control in failing to “sufficiently monitor” the AFAM department as well as the academic support department for athletes, noting athletes received “preferential access” to the department’s irregular courses.

— Academic counselors leveraged relationships from the fall semester in 2002 to the summer session of 2011 with AFAM department faculty and staff to provide athletes with benefits “not generally available to the student body.” Those benefits included suggesting assignments to the department, turning in papers for athletes and recommending grades.

— Academic counselor Jan Boxill, who worked with women’s basketball, provided improper assistance by sometimes adding content to athletes’ papers. Also, in at least one case, she recommended a gr will eventually coach in Italy.Guardiola has been linked with Juventus, though shut down the speculation last week.But Toni told TuttoJuve: “For Juventus he would be a bargain, everywhere he’s gone he imposed his football and a new way to play it. “ade for submitted work.

— Former AFAM office administrator Deborah Crowder, one of two department staffers most directly linked to irregular courses in the department, didn’t cooperate with NCAA investigators.

— Former AFAM department chairman Julius Nyang’oro, the other staffer most directly linked to the department’s irregular courses, also declined to cooperate with the NCAA probe.

The NCAA reopened an investigation into academic misconduct last summer connected to the AFAM department. The focus was courses often treated as independent studies that required no class time and one or two research papers, with many operating that way despite being scheduled as lecture classes.

An eight-month investigation conducted by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein stated that Crowder — not a faculty member — typically handed out assignments then high grades after only a scan of the work. Wainstein’s October report found problems running from 1993 to 2011 and affecting more than 3,100 students, with athletes accounting for roughly half the enrollments in the problem courses.

Both Crowder and Nyang’oro cooperated with Wainstein’s probe.

The arrival of the NCAA notice will ultimately lead to a hearing for the school with the infractions committee, which would then issue a ruling and any potential sanctions within a time frame of weeks to months.

The school announced May 22 it had received the notice of allegations, but it didn’t release the document publicly until Thursday to redact information to comply with privacy laws.

‘Scapegoat’ Lance Armstrong a victim of USADA ‘witch hunt’, says Pat McQuaid

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Banned cyclist was the victim of “a witch hunt” and made a scapegoat by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, says former International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid.

A cancer survivor and once a hero to millions, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by USADA after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

“He was very much made a scapegoat, there was a witch hunt after Armstrong,” McQuaid told BBC Radio 5 live, before adding that he had “ard cannot be considered for the No7 shirt.The No7 has been worn by some of the greats over the years including George Best, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo.And Saha believes Lingard can’t just demand the shirt because certain sympathy” with the American.

Irishman McQuaid, UCI president from 2006 to 2013 before being replaced by Brian Cookson, made his comments a day after Armstrong had told the BBC he would not have needed to resort to doping in the sport’s current era.

Following his return from cancer in the late 1990s, Armstrong was regularly subjected to claims of doping, which he stoutly refuted until the release of USADA’s “reasoned decision”.

The 200-page document – supported by a further 1,000 pages of evidence – finally led to Armstrong’s confession in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.

“That’s the way it was,” said McQuaid. “USADA wanted a big name. They weren’t really interested in the smaller riders and also they made deals with the smaller riders in order to get the information they needed on the big guys.

“I can have a certain sympathy because I don’t think in sport, people in those situations, I think they should be treated equally.”

On Monday, Armstrong said he regretted the “unacceptable and inexcusable” behaviour with which he subjected other riders and figures within the sport during numerous attempts to rubbish their allegations of doping.

“I would want to change the man that did those treportedly rejected to the chance to speak with Real Madrid about Gareth Bale.Real bosder Dominik Szoboszlai has revealed the interest of Serie A clubs.The youngster admits a move to Italy tempts him.He said, “I like it Italy. I spent my summer holidays there. But I don’t know now which direction my career will go when I change clubs s Zinedine Zidane does not want the Wales international at the Bernabeu next season.United have long been linked with four-time Champions League winner.However, ESPhings, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted,” he continued. “The way he treated people, the way he couldn’t stop fighting. It was unacceptable, inexcusable.”

Armstrong’s seven Tour victories between 1999 and 2005 have been rescinded but not assigned to anyone else because of the prevalence of doping at the time.