Thursday’s Sports In Brief
ZURICH (AP) As defiant as ever, Sepp Blatter resisted calls to resign as FIFA president and deflected blame for the massive bribery and corruption scandal engulfing soccer’s world governing body.
”We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time,” Blatter said in his first public remarks on the crisis that has further tainted his leadership on the eve of his bid for a fifth term as president.
The 79-year-old Blatter insisted he could restore trust in world soccer after a pair of corruption investigations brought ”shame and humiliation” on his organization and the world’s most popular sport. Blatter was expected to win Friday’s election against Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.
A U.S. Justice Department investigation accused 14 international soccer officials or sports marketing executives of bribery, racketeering, fraud and money-laundering over two decades in connection with marketing rights worth hundreds of millions of dollars awarded for tournaments in North and South America. Seven officials – including two FIFA vice presidents and members of its finance committee – remained in custody in Zurich on Thursday. Blatter was not implicated in the indictment.
MIAMI (AP) – For the first time, the relationship between Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat seems murky at best. And his future with the team is now in doubt.
Contract talks between Wade and the Heat are at ”an impasse” and the three-time NBA champion is preparing himself for possibly leaving the team this summer, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither side has publicly released details of the negotiations.
Wade is under contract for the 2015-16 season, and would earn about $16.1 million. He also could opt out and become a free agent. Wade has said many times, including in an end-of-season interview with AP, that he wants to remain with the Heat for the remainder of his career. But Wade has not decided anything, including whether he will opt out, the person said on Thursday.
CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau, saying a change was needed from the strong-willed coach who took his team to the playoffs in each of his five seasons.
Thibodeau went 255-139 with the Bulls, a .647 winning percentage that ranks seventh in NBA history among coaches with at least 200 games. He led the Bulls to the top seed in the playoffs his first two seasons and was the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2011 – the same year Derrick Rose became the league’s youngest MVP.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Adrian Peterson took to Twitter to express his frustration over criticism he is receiving while staying away from the voluntary portion of Minnesota Vikings’ offseason.
The former NFL MVP has come under scrutiny from fans after saying he wanted a long-term commitment from the team despite the fact that he missed most of last season while addressing child abuse charges. He has three years and about $46 million left on his deal, but none of that is guaranteed.
”A (little) crazy how one side has so much power that they can do as they please when it come to the contract!” Peterson tweeted. ”But when the other-side (player’s) feels for whatever reason! Family, Change of scenery or simply – what they feels just might work best for them! Those same laws don’t apply!”
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A slimmer Tim Tebow threw passes in shorts while a horde of reporters critiqued his mechanics and analyzed his arm motion.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner spoke to a large gathering of media for the first time since signing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles last month. Tebow praised coach Chip Kelly and teammates, explained his new appreciation for football after being out of the NFL for two years and emphasized his role is quarterback.
A former first-round pick by Denver, Tebow is hoping to earn a roster spot on his fourth team. Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez are the team’s two top quarterbacks, so Tebow will battle Matt Barkley for the No. 3 job.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady tore his left ACL and will likely miss the season, leaving Denver to search for someone to protect Peyton Manning’s blind side.
The injury happened Wednesday during voluntary practices. This isn’t the first time Clady has blown out his left knee: He hurt it in a pickup basketball game in April 2010, only to return and still start every game that season.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – The Jacksonville Jaguars say Dante Fowler underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee.
The procedure was done Wednesday in Pensacola by Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon who is a specialist in repairing damaged ligaments for professional athletes. Fowler, the Jaguars’ top pick in this year’s NFL draft, will miss the entire 2015 season. He was injured on the first day of the Jaguars rookie mini-camp on May 8.
NEW YORK (AP) – The mayor of Montreal asked Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to consider playing three or four regular-season games in the city next year.
Mayor Denis Coderre, who met with Manfred in New York, says six or seven teams have expressed an interest in playing there in 2016. Montreal had the Expos from 1969 through 2004. The team then moved to Washington and became the Nationals.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The Buffalo Sabres hired Dan Bylsma to become their next coach after the former Pittsburgh Penguins coach spent a second consecutive day meeting with Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula and general manager Tim Murray in Buffalo.
Bylsma, who coached the Sidney Crosby-led Penguins to win the 2009 Stanley Cup championship, takes over a franchise coming off consecutive last-place finishes and attempting to rebuild with youth. He replaces Ted Nolan, who was fired last month, and becomes Buffalo’s third coach since Lindy Ruff was fired in February 2013.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – The San Jose Sharks officially hired former New Jersey and Florida coach Peter DeBoer to replace the departed Todd McLellan.
The decision to hire DeBoer ended a lengthy search that started April 20 when the team and McLellan announced that he would not be back for an eighth season in San Jose. The departure was announced as a mutual agreement and McLellan was later hired as head coach in Edmonton.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner American Pharoah figures to have nine challengers when he runs in the Belmont Stakes next week, trying to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.
Seven of his expected rivals return from the Derby or the Preakness, while two others are new to the Triple Crown trail. The latest horse to join the mix was The Truth or Else, who has two wins in two starts at Belmont Park. He is trained by Ken McPeek, who ended War Emblem’s Triple try in 2002 with 70-1 shot Sarava.
NEW YORK (AP) – Trainer Bob Baffert says ”it’s a shame” that a lawsuit involving American Pharoah owner Ahmed Zayat has become an issue in the buildup to the Belmont Stakes next Saturday.
Speaking on a national conference call, Baffert said some people are ”jealous” of Zayat’s good fortune of owning a Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner about to attempt to win the Triple Crown.
Last week, Zayat asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing him of owing $1.65 million to a man who says he fronted the owner the money for bets placed at offshore casinos. The suit was filed last year by Howard Rubinsky of Florida involving a personal services contract in 2003.