Thursday’s Sports in Brief
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia said Thursday he was ”falsely accused” in a 1996 sexual assault allegation that resurfaced this week, and he indicated that the matter has not been an issue as he has climbed from job to job in the years since.
Patricia held a brief news conference one day after a Detroit News report that he and a friend were indicted 22 years ago by a Texas grand jury on one count each of aggravated sexual assault. They were accused of assaulting a woman on South Padre Island. The accuser did not testify and the case was dismissed.
”I was innocent then, and I am innocent now,” Patricia said.
The Lions said Wednesday night that a pre-employment background check did not turn up the incident. The team said Patricia was 21 at the time and on spring break in Texas. The Lions said they were standing by Patricia.
An NFL spokesman said Thursday the league ”will review the matter with the club to understand the allegations and what the club has learned.”
TOKYO (AP) – The Japanese city of Sapporo seems to be having second thoughts about bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics and could focus instead on the 2030 Games.
Sapporo held the 1972 Winter Olympics and is one of seven cities showing interest in 2026. The International Olympic Committee will decide in October which bids are serious. The winner will be picked in September 2019.
Akihiro Okumura, a spokesman for the city’s bid promotion department, tells The Associated Press that public opinion polls seem to indicate a preference for 2030.
”Sapporo has not made an official decision yet,” he told AP in an email. He said the city and the Japanese Olympic Committee were still mulling all possibilities.
He said recent opinion polls conducted by local media and the Sapporo chamber of commerce indicated ”it might be better for Sapporo to bid for 2030 instead of 2026. This is actually one of the factors we need to consider for the decision.”
The other interested cities are: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; Milan-Turin, Italy; Erzurum, Turkey; Graz, Austria.
UNDATED (AP) – Questions over the integrity of sample-collection bottles led to frustration from athletes this year at Winter Olympics, including two who tightened their bottles so tightly, they cracked the caps.
Independent observers released their report Thursday about the anti-doping operation in Pyeongchang.
In all, there were 3,189 tests conducted that led to 15 positive tests, six of which led to anti-doping rules violations that were upheld. Two of those involved Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky , who gave back his bronze medal after testing positive for meldonium.
Observers said doubts about the credibility of the anti-doping program stemming from the Russian scandal at the Sochi Games in 2014 led to behavior that ”revealed underlying feelings which included skepticism, doubt and fears.”
Among the athletes’ top concerns was the integrity of the urine-collection bottles , which were found to be susceptible to being opened without leaving any evidence. Media reports about the flaw circulated only weeks before the Olympics started. A different style bottle was used in Pyeongchang, but the confusion ”created an atmosphere of suspicion,” and two athletes broke the bottles in an attempt to screw on the lids tight enough to ensure no one could tamper with their samples.
NEW YORK (AP) – Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price says video games may have contributed to his carpal tunnel syndrome, but are not the cause of the condition.
Price is set to start Saturday at Toronto. He has not pitched since May 3.
The 32-year-old left-hander is 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA in seven starts during his third season with the Red Sox. He returned to Boston on Tuesday for tests after experiencing numbness in his pitching hand during a bullpen session and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel.
Price threw about 40 pitches before Thursday night’s game at Yankee Stadium. He will be treated with a procedure similar to acupuncture and hopes to avoid surgery.
The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner is a longtime video game enthusiast. Earlier this season, Price said he and his teammates have been spent many hours playing the popular Fortnite.
Trainer Bob Baffert says Justify is doing well and is still on track for the Preakness after the Kentucky Derby winner was treated for a bruised heel on his left hind foot.
Baffert says Justify was irritated by some gravel on Sunday morning outside the barn at Churchill Downs after winning the Derby on a muddy track. Baffert said on a conference call Thursday that Justify’s feet were tender following the race but added the problem is behind him after quick treatment.
Justify is undefeated in four starts and expected to be a heavy favorite against Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip and others at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 19. He returned to the track at Churchill Downs to gallop Thursday, with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes reporting to Baffert that Justify was sharp.