Thursday’s Sports in Brief

PRO FOOTBALL

FRISCO, Texas (AP) Jason Witten is retiring after 15 years with the Dallas Cowboys, choosing the TV booth just as friend and longtime teammate Tony Romo did a year ago.

Witten says the ”time has come to pass the torch.”

Just days from turning 36, Witten walks away as the leader in games, catches and yards receiving for a franchise with five Super Bowl wins, but none since the 1995 season. He and Tony Gonzalez are the only tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards.

Witten is tied with Ed ”Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates and the late Mark Tuinei for most seasons by a Dallas player. He’s the only one of those four without a Super Bowl.

Witten was flanked by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett as he announced the decision.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) – The Washington Redskins say they’re concerned by allegations made by cheerleaders in a New York Times article about a trip to Costa Rica for a photo shoot in 2013.

Team president Bruce Allen said in a statement Thursday the organization is immediately looking into the situation. Allen says if the investigation shows any employees acted inappropriately, ”those employees will face significant repercussions.”

The New York Times reported the cheerleaders had their passports collected, were forced to be topless for a calendar photo shoot that included male spectators and were asked to be escorts for sponsors at a nightclub. The story, published Wednesday, quoted cheerleaders on condition of anonymity because they signed confidentiality agreements.

Allen says team officials have had dialogue with a number of current and former cheerleaders and have ”heard very different firsthand accounts that directly contradict many of the details” of the article. Allen says the Redskins ”will continue to take all necessary measures to create a safe and respectful work environment for their cheerleaders.”

BASEBALL

SEATTLE (AP) – Ichiro Suzuki was released Thursday by the Seattle Mariners and is shifting into a front office role with the team, although he is not completely shutting the door on playing again.

The Mariners announced that Suzuki was becoming a special assistant to the chairman effective immediately. The team said Suzuki will have an active presence with the team and assist with outfield play, base running and hitting.

But nowhere in the announcement do they say the 44-year-old is retiring, although Suzuki is precluded from returning to the active roster in 2018.

Suzuki is in his 18th season and had appeared in 15 games this year for the Mariners. Suzuki started Wednesday night and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He hit .205 in 44 at-bats and all nine of his hits this season were singles.

Suzuki has spent parts of 13 seasons with the Mariners. He’s also played for Miami and the New York Yankees.

PRO BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) – David Fizdale is coming back to coaching as the latest pick of the New York Knicks to turn around their franchise.

The Knicks agreed to hire Fizdale on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the details said.

The former Memphis Grizzlies coach will replace Jeff Hornacek, who was fired last month after two seasons.

The Knicks then conducted a lengthy search before agreeing Thursday to a deal in principle with Fizdale, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was not officially announced.

ESPN first reported the agreement with Fizdale.

BOXING

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – Boxing still risks being kicked out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid concerns over the sport’s governing body, the IOC said on Thursday.

The International Boxing Association, known as AIBA, has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, and now has an interim president linked to organized crime.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said issues remained over ”governance, financial and sporting integrity” at the Lausanne-based boxing organization.

The IOC executive board warned AIBA about its Olympic status in February, and a recent update report ”still lacks substance,” said Bach as he asked for a fresh update before the next board meeting in July.

Bach cites ”serious factual issues” as well as concerns about AIBA’s leader. The U.S. Treasury Department has said interim president Gafur Rakhimov of Uzbekistan was involved in heroin trading and froze assets he held in American jurisdiction.

DOPING

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – The International Olympic Committee will appeal to Switzerland’s supreme court against rulings which cleared some Russian athletes of doping sanctions from the Sochi Games.

The Olympic body is ”not satisfied at all” by the verdicts and written explanations from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Thursday after an executive board meeting.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal – also based in Lausanne – can overturn CAS verdicts if legal process was abused, though appeals rarely succeed.

”The chances of winning did not play a role in our discussion,” Bach said at a news conference. ”The only factor which led us to this decision was the protection of the clean athletes who have finished behind the Russian athletes who have not been declared innocent.”