Thursday’s Sports In Brief
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The two men most responsible for delivering wins for the New England Patriots both said they have no explanation for how footballs used to reach the Super Bowl were underinflated by 2 pounds per square inch.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he has not been contacted by the NFL, even as league officials investigate whether the team cheated against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game.
”I don’t know what happened,” Brady said, answering questions from reporters hours after Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he almost never thinks about football pressure and doesn’t know what happened, either.
”I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” Brady said.
NEW YORK (AP) – The NFL fined Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $20,000 for making an obscene gesture during last Sunday’s NFC championship game, a person with knowledge of the fine told The Associated Press.
The league did not specify what the gesture was in the win over Green Bay, but Lynch grabbed his crotch after scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Lynch was fined $11,000 for a similar gesture in Seattle’s win over Arizona on Dec. 21.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the fine has not been publicly announced.
LONDON (AP) – All three NFL games in London next season will have early afternoon kickoffs in the U.K., meaning fans back in the U.S. will have to get up early to watch.
The NFL announced that the Nov. 1 game between the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs at Wembley Stadium will start at 2:30 p.m. local time – 9:30 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast.
Early kickoffs had already been announced for the Oct. 4 game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins (2:30 p.m. local; 9:30 a.m. EDT) and the Oct. 25 game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars (1:30 p.m. local; 9:30 a.m. EDT).
Jeff Gordon, with a nagging back injury, a young family he wanted to spend more time with and a phenom waiting in the wings at Hendrick Motorsports, knew midway through last season that he had one more year in him.
NASCAR’s most charismatic driver, the man behind the wheel of the famed and sometimes feared No. 24, had decided it was time to call it quits on one of the most successful careers in motorsports history. The four-time champion conferred with Rick Hendrick, the only team owner he has had over 23 years of Sprint Cup racing, and settled on a date.
The 43-year-old Gordon announced that 2015 will be his final season as a full-time driver, saddening legions of fans, fellow drivers and others who watched him became the face of stock car racing as the sport exploded in popularity a generation ago.
Pau and Marc Gasol were voted the first brothers to start in the NBA All-Star game, while Toronto’s Kyle Lowry made a late surge in fan balloting and will start for the Eastern Conference.
Lowry passed Dwyane Wade and will start alongside Washington’s John Wall, the first time the East has had two first-time starters at guard since 2000.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry made his own late surge to pass LeBron James as the overall leading vote-getter, the league announced. Kobe Bryant was also voted to start at West guard, though that’s in jeopardy because of a torn right rotator cuff.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Relatives of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson have filed a lawsuit opposing their ouster from ownership positions on the teams.
Benson’s daughter, Renee, and her two children allege in a lawsuit that Tom Benson’s physical and mental health are failing and he’s being manipulated by his wife of 10 years.
The lawsuit was filed in civil district court in Orleans Parish. It comes less than 24 hours after the 87-year-old owner announced he has rewritten his will to give wife Gayle Benson control of the Saints and Pelicans upon his death.
Tom Benson also has named his wife as a current owner of the clubs while removing from ownership his daughter and her children, Rita Benson LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc.
In a statement posted on the Saints’ website, Benson said he is ”extremely disappointed by the lawsuit” and adds that the ”allegations regarding my mental health are completely meritless and their allegations against my wife equally unfounded.”
Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike underwent microfracture surgery on her right knee.
Ogwumike is expected to make a full recovery and is expected to be sidelined for at least six months. The league’s rookie of the year averaged 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds while playing in 31 games for the Sun this past season. Ogwumike led all rookies in double-doubles (13) and was second in the WNBA in offensive rebounds (123).
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Three players were ejected after a fight broke out at the women’s basketball game between Auburn and Alabama.
With 1:14 left in the first half and Alabama leading 28-15, Auburn’s Hasina Muhammad and the Crimson Tide’s Breanna Hayden got tangled up after a free throw. Video replay showed Hayden throwing a punch that connected with Muhammad’s face.
An official got knocked to the floor as she tried to separate the two. Muhammad threw a punch after chasing Hayden toward the Alabama bench. Both players were ejected. Meoshonti Knight of Alabama was also ejected for leaving the bench.
Jerramy Stevens, the husband of U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo, was driving a team vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence earlier this week, a person familiar with the details of the arrest said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they could not discuss the case publicly.
Stevens, a former tight end for the Seattle Seahawks, was pulled over in Manhattan Beach, California, about 1:30 a.m. Monday for driving without headlights. Solo was the only passenger in the car but she was not arrested or detained. U.S. Soccer on Wednesday suspended Solo from the national team for 30 days. She will not travel to a pair of exhibition matches next month in Europe.