Thursday’s Sports in Brief
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Breaking months of public silence, former Baylor coach Art Briles said he could no longer ”remain silent” and insisted he did not cover up sexual violence by his players or try to obstruct any investigations tied to the assault scandal at the nation’s largest Baptist university.
Briles released a one-page letter defending himself against allegations that he ignored incidents of assault and ran a rogue football program full of miscreants. The letter was issued one day after the Texas Rangers, the state’s elite criminal investigations unit, said it had opened a preliminary probe into how Baylor handled assault reports over several years.
”I did not cover-up any sexual violence. I had no contact with anyone that claimed to be a victim of sexual or domestic assault. Anyone well-versed in my work as a coach knows that I strove to promote excellence, but never at the sacrifice of safety for anyone,” Briles wrote . ”I did not obstruct justice on campus or off.”
When alerted to an assault incident, Briles said, his response was that victims should go to the police so it could be prosecuted.
Baylor officials declined comment.
NEW YORK (AP) – Brandon Marshall is on the move again – and the New York Jets’ roster purge of big-name players with big salaries continues.
The Jets are releasing the well-traveled wide receiver and clearing $7.5 million on the salary cap, a person with direct knowledge of the team’s decision told The Associated Press on Thursday night.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not yet announced the move, which was expected to come Friday.
Marshall is the latest star to be cut by the Jets, who have also parted ways with Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Nick Folk and Breno Giacomini this offseason. New York has cleared nearly $46 million in cap space during the past few weeks.
Newsday first reported the move, and also said that Marshall asked for his release – and was granted his request – after weighing his options, including New York being interested in having the receiver return next season.
Marshall has never been to the playoffs in his 11 NFL seasons and could opt to hook on with another team that he considers a possible postseason contender.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Ryan Tannehill is expected to be ready for the Miami Dolphins’ offseason program after missing the final four games of last season because of a sprained left knee, general manager Chris Grier said.
Tannehill was able to avoid surgery, had a successful rehabilitation and isn’t expected to miss any team workouts.
”Ryan has done a tremendous job working,” Grier said at the NFL combine. ”He’ll be there in April when they start with his teammates. He’s fine, he’s good. I saw him the other day and he’s working out. So he’ll be healthy, he’s ready to go, and I know he’ll be excited for next year.”
The Dolphins spent several weeks after the season assessing the extent of their quarterback’s ACL and MCL sprains before ruling out surgery, which could have jeopardized his availability for the start of the season.
CHICAGO (AP) – Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and the Chicago Bulls beat Golden State 94-87 in the Warriors’ first game since Kevin Durant injured his left leg.
Golden State was breathing a little easier after learning Durant probably will play again this season. He was hurt two nights earlier in a loss at Washington.
But the NBA-leading Warriors took another hit when their league-record regular-season streak without consecutive losses ended at 146 games.
Stephen Curry scored 23 points, and Klay Thompson had 13, but the star guards combined to hit just 3 of 22 3-pointers.
The Warriors dropped back-to-back regular-season games for the first time since April 5 and 7, 2015, at San Antonio and New Orleans.
JERUSALEM (AP) – Former NBA player Amare Stoudemire has apologized for telling an Israeli website that he would avoid a gay teammate.
Stoudemire told Walla Sport when asked about the possibility of having a gay teammate: ”I’m going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner.” When asked if he was joking, he said ”there’s always a truth within a joke.”
In a statement released by his current team, Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem, Stoudemire says the questions were ”hypothetical” and all his answers had ”a comedic undertone.” He says he’s ”deeply sorry for offending anyone” and he’s ”open to creating a dialogue to assist the fight the LGBT community encounters daily.”
Stoudemire’s comments drew criticism from gay former NBA players Jason Collins and John Amaechi.
When Stoudemire played for the New York Knicks in 2012, he was fined $50,000 by the NBA after tweeting a gay slur at a fan.
NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA will start keeping stats on officials, too.
The league plans to hire more officials, plus change the way they are scheduled and evaluated.
The NBA will launch an Officiating Advisory Council, among a number of initiatives announced Thursday following a six-month review of the officiating program conducted by Byron Spruell, the president of league operations.
Spruell said after completing negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement, Commissioner Adam Silver’s next priority was the officiating program. Spruell, while praising the refs’ performance, said the NBA has already expanded the data it reviews and another step is ”bringing in more talent to this demanding profession.”
CLEVELAND (AP) – Andrew Bogut is officially chasing a championship with the Cavaliers.
The free agent center signed with Cleveland on Thursday, joining the team he faced in the NBA Finals the past two seasons when he was with Golden State.
A former No. 1 overall pick, Bogut is not expected to make his debut with Cleveland until next Monday when the Cavs host Miami.
The 7-foot Bogut gives the defending champions more depth up front as they wait for Kevin Love to return from knee surgery. A gifted passer, Bogut will be motivated to try and get back to the Finals and face the Warriors, who traded him last summer to make room for Kevin Durant to sign.
Bogut was recently traded to Philadelphia, which waived him. He’s averaged 10 points and 8.9 rebounds in his career.
MEXICO CITY (AP) – Francisco ”Paquin” Estrada, the manager of Mexican League baseball team Bravos de Leon, was found hours after his club and league officials reported him missing.
Authorities, the team and Estrada gave little explanation of what had happened, except to say he was the victim of an extortion attempt.
At a news conference, team officials tried to steer questions away from what had occurred. But pressed by reporters, club President Mauricio Martinez said Estrada had not been kidnapped, characterizing the event as ”extortion” without giving any specific information.
Estrada then gave a sketchy description of events. The manager said he was coerced into staying in a hotel room for three nights. He said he was not kept there by armed abductors, but rather by an unknown person on the other end of the telephone who would not allow him to sleep and constantly quizzed him about what was on television to make sure he was still there.
Estrada gave no other details.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – A South Korean court has handed Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang a suspended two-year prison sentence for fleeing the scene after crashing a car into a guardrail while driving under the influence of alcohol.
The sentence handed down by the Seoul Central District Court was a heavier punishment than the 15 million won ($13,000) fine prosecutors had sought, but still clears the 29-year-old Kang (pronounced Gahng) to join the Pirates for the new baseball season.
”I am sorry, and I am repenting a lot,” Kang told reporters after the ruling.
Kang was twice previously fined on drunk driving-related charges in 2009 and 2011. He is in the third year of a four-year contract he signed with Pittsburgh in 2015 after a stellar eight-year career in South Korean professional baseball.
The Pirates have yet to say when they expect Kang to rejoin the team or whether he will be suspended. Kang was left off South Korea’s roster for the World Baseball Classic which starts next week.
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) – Australia’s Nick Kyrgios used a barrage of 25 aces to defeat top-seeded Novak Djokovic 7-6 (9), 7-5 and reach the semifinals of the Mexican Open.
Kyrgios blasted 16 aces in the first set to beat Djokovic in his first match against the second-best player in the world and will play against American Sam Querrey in one of the semifinals.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal will face off against Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the other.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Andy Murray saved seven match points before beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (4), 7-6 (18), 6-1 to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships semifinals.
The second-set tiebreaker – 31 minutes, 6 seconds long – produced all the high-intensity drama tennis can offer, featuring the seven match points for Kohlschreiber before Murray prevailed on an eighth set point.