MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Three people who were arrested after Dakota Access pipeline protesters rappelled from the roof of the Minnesota Vikings’ stadium to unfurl a banner were released from jail with charges pending.
The Vikings’ season finale against the Chicago Bears was not interrupted by the protest Sunday, but eight rows of fans seated below the banner at U.S. Bank Stadium were cleared as a precaution.
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The banner urged Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank to divest from the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline. Opponents contend the pipeline could affect drinking water and Native American artifacts. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline will be safe.
Minneapolis police spokesman Officer Corey Schmidt said a 32-year-old man and 26-year-old woman were arrested Sunday for allegedly sneaking up on a truss connected to the roof and rappelling down to unfurl the huge banner. Schmidt declined to discuss the alleged role of a third person who was arrested, a 27-year-old woman, citing the ongoing investigation.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak stepped down from his dream job because of health concerns, saying ”the demands of the job are no longer a good fit for me.”
Kubiak missed a week of work in October after suffering a complex migraine, his second health scare in three years.
Kubiak went 24-11, including a victory in Super Bowl 50, but a 9-7 finish this season kept the Broncos out of the playoffs.
General manager John Elway said he was saddened and disappointed in Kubiak’s resignation, ”but I understand and respect Gary for doing what’s right for him and his family.”
Elway now embarks on his third head coaching search in his six seasons as Broncos GM.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Saints coach Sean Payton said during a radio interview that he plans to be back with New Orleans next season and to honor his contract, which runs through 2020.
Payton’s statement on WWL-AM, the Saints’ flagship radio station, came hours after he gruffly declined to address what he viewed as baseless rumors and speculation about a possible departure following a third straight 7-9 season.
Payton added in an interview with host and former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert that he ”absolutely” has no interest in coaching elsewhere.
Earlier Monday, while on an end-of-season conference call with New Orleans media, Payton stopped short of offering assurances about his future in New Orleans, but insinuated his expectations of returning when he asserted some recent published reports about him contained factual errors.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Hall of Fame Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is stepping away from the team to have lower back surgery.
The school announced the procedure is scheduled for Friday, with an anticipated recovery time of four weeks.
Krzyzewski will coach Wednesday night’s game against Georgia Tech before handing off to associate head coach Jeff Capel for Saturday’s home game against Boston College.
Krzyzewski, 69, will have a fragment of a herniated disk removed at Duke University Hospital. The school says Krzyzewski tried several treatment options during the past month before deciding on surgery.
Krzyzewski said in a statement that he consulted with the university’s medical team and ”together, we have determined that surgery is the best course of action at this time.” He says the Blue Devils will ”be in the capable hands” of Capel and assistants Nate James and Jon Scheyer.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Lane Kiffin isn’t sticking around to run Alabama’s offense in the national championship game.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Kiffin will leave to focus on his new job as Florida Atlantic’s head coach. Incoming offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will replace him for the Jan. 9 game against Clemson in Tampa, Florida.
Saban says he and Kiffin spoke following the semifinal game against Washington. He said with the time demands of handling both jobs, ”we recognized that it is best for our players, and for Lane, that we allow him to turn his full attention to his new head coaching role at FAU.”
Kiffin says it ”was a very difficult decision, but it’s a decision made in the best interests of the program.”