Friday’s Sports in Brief
A federal judge blocked Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension over a domestic violence case, setting the stage for a potentially lengthy legal fight with the NFL.
Last year’s league rushing leader was already cleared to play in the opener against the New York Giants on Sunday night before the ruling by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant. It’s uncertain whether an NFL appeal can get the suspension reinstated this season.
Mazzant agreed with players’ union lawyers that Elliott didn’t receive a ”fundamentally fair” hearing in his appeal and he granted the NFL Players’ Association request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction blocking the league’s punishment.
Elliott was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell in August after the league concluded he had several physical confrontations last summer with Tiffany Thompson, a former girlfriend. Prosecutors in Ohio didn’t pursue the case, citing conflicting evidence.
The 22-year-old Elliott denied Thompson’s allegations in sworn testimony during an appeal hearing last week. He also attended the hearing for the restraining order earlier this week in Sherman, about 65 miles north of Dallas.
HOUSTON (AP) J.J. Watt is being honored by the NFL Players Association after raising more than $29 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Watt was named the NFLPA’s Community MVP for his work in the days since the hurricane and flooding devastated Houston and much of southeast Texas.
Watt announced the fundraising page with a video on Twitter after Houston’s preseason game against the Saints in Aug. 26, with a goal of collecting $200,000. As donations kept pouring in, he raised the goal again and again. The number skyrocketed thanks to almost 200,000 donors including Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres, Drake and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul.
Watt also worked with his foundation to fill 12 semi-trucks with supplies, which were brought to Houston and distributed in part by Watt and his teammates on Sunday.
The NFLPA will contribute $10,000 to Watt’s foundation for the honor. He becomes a semifinalist for the Byron Whizzer White Award, given annually by the group to recognize charitable efforts of players.
Tim Duncan is asking for help for the U.S. Virgin Islands and says he will match donations up to the first $1 million.
Duncan writes on The Players’ Tribune that he is donating $250,000 immediately to storm relief efforts after there was extensive damage from Hurricane Irma, and noting that Hurricane Jose has developed behind.
The retired San Antonio Spurs star was born and grew up on the U.S. Virgin Islands, and writes that many of his old friends are suffering. He says that ”no one knows what the place will look like when the rain stops.”
Duncan was raised in St. Croix, which was crippled by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 when he was 13.
Duncan also says he will charter a plane to ship supplies from San Antonio to St. Croix when the weather allows, and put together a team to help manage the relief efforts
NEW YORK – Hurricane Irma has forced next week’s series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays to be moved to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.
The Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday series was set to be played in St. Petersburg, Florida. But concerns over where Irma will hit, and what it will do to the Tampa Bay area, prompted officials to decide that moving the series was best.
Playing at other neutral sites, like the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards and the Chicago White Sox’ Guaranteed Rate Field, was considered. But hotel availability was tough in both series, so the series heads to New York – where only the Rays will need lodging.
The Rays played host to a series between Houston and Texas last month, after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and forced changes there.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Yu Darvish has struck out 1,000 batters faster than any starting pitcher in major league history.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ right-hander fanned Colorado Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez in the fourth inning Friday night to reach 1,000 strikeouts in 128 career games and 812 innings.
It was Darvish’s sixth strikeout of the game. Gonzalez hit a solo homer off the Japanese star in the first inning.
Darvish was making his sixth start for the Dodgers since being acquired from Texas at the July 31 trade deadline.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – A top International Olympic Committee member wants his organization to act with ”more teeth” in response to a vote-buying scheme to land last year’s Rio Olympics. Dick Pound says the Olympic body is taking ”hit after hit in the eyes of the world.”
Carlos Nuzman, an IOC member who headed the organizing committee for Rio, was held for police questioning this week.
The graft inquiry could overshadow the IOC meetings next week in Lima, Peru, where the Summer Games will be awarded to Paris for 2024 and to Los Angeles for 2028.
Pound, a Canadian and the longest-serving IOC member, called the scandal surrounding Nuzman ”a mess” and suggested the Brazilian should be asked to give up his membership.
”We need some more teeth in this because we are taking hit after hit in the eyes of the world and we’re not seen to be doing anything,” Pound told The Associated Press. ”In fact, we probably aren’t doing much other than waiting to see if somebody else tells us that one of our member is offside – or several members are offside.”
The IOC has said it was waiting to be ”fully informed” before it acts on Nuzman.