Tuesday’s Sports In Brief
TRUMP & SPORTS
WASHINGTON (AP) Taking on the NFL and football’s Super Bowl champs, President Donald Trump gave the boot to a White House ceremony for the Philadelphia Eagles and instead threw his own brief ”Celebration of America” after it became clear most players weren’t going to show up.
Both sides traded hot accusations about who was to blame.
Trump tried to turn the fracas into a referendum on patriotism and tie it to the dispute over players who have taken a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. However, Eagles players never knelt during the ”Star-Spangled Banner,” throughout the 2017 season and their march to the Super Bowl.
The White House accused Eagles team members of pulling a ”political stunt” and abandoning their fans by backing out at the last minute. Indeed, few apparently were going to come, though some expressed disappointment that they’d been disinvited and complained Trump was unfairly painting them as anti-American.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Stephen Curry and LeBron James spoke their minds last year. They have not changed their minds this year.
No matter whose team wins the NBA championship, neither superstar will be at the White House anytime soon.
On the day when the Philadelphia Eagles were supposed to be there to commemorate winning the Super Bowl – a visit that was canceled by President Donald Trump – Curry and James were among those speaking out at the NBA Finals in support of the Eagles.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The former president of USA Gymnastics refused to answer questions from a Senate subcommittee about how he handled allegations of sexual abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar, and another former executive sat next to him and asserted that her former boss instructed her and others to keep quiet about athletes’ claims.
Rhonda Faehn, the former senior vice president of USA Gymnastics, said she first reported an allegation against Nassar to Steve Penny, her then-boss, on June 17, 2015. Nassar was not arrested until more than a year later. He is now serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography, and hundreds of athletes have said they were abused by him, including Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles.
The revelations about Nassar’s conduct over two decades and the way it was handled by Penny and others have led Congress to call for drastic reforms of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and other sports’ governing bodies.
Faehn said Penny warned her and others not to discuss the allegations against Nassar and that she wrongly assumed he had taken the allegations to law enforcement.
NEW YORK (AP) – Lou Lamoriello moved quickly to shake up the New York Islanders by firing coach Doug Weight and general manager Garth Snow and naming himself the team’s new GM just two weeks after taking over as president of hockey operations.
Lamoriello made the moves that begin to reshape the organization in his image, two weeks to the day ownership said he’d have ”full authority over all hockey matters.” Lamoriello left the Toronto Maple Leafs to run the Islanders and will begin the search for a new coach immediately.
The end of Snow’s tenure seemed inevitable after owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin brought in Lamoriello to oversee the hockey operations department. The Islanders missed the playoffs eight times in Snow’s 12 years as general manager, including the past two seasons.
Weight, who took over for the fired Jack Capuano in January 2017, just finished his first full season as head coach.
NEW YORK (AP) – Something Bob Baffert always dreads has come true ahead of the Belmont Stakes: Justify drew the No. 1 post for the colt’s bid to sweep the Triple Crown.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was made the early 4-5 favorite in the 10-horse field for Saturday’s race.
Baffert is not a fan of the inside post for his horses, no matter what the race.
History, however, may be on Justify’s side. Since 1905, a leading 23 horses have won from the No. 1 post. The last to win from there was Empire Maker in 2003 when he spoiled Funny Cide’s Triple Crown bid.
Justify won the first two legs of the series from the No. 7 post. He ran on sloppy tracks both times and the forecast for Saturday calls for a 60 percent chance of rain.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Pitcher Meghan King settled down after a rough start to complete a record-setting Women’s College World Series, and Florida State beat Washington 8-3 to claim its first national title.
The Seminoles (58-12) won the best-of-three championship series 2-0. They lost their opener before winning six straight to become just the third team to come through the losers’ bracket and take the title.
King broke a World Series record for lowest ERA among pitchers who threw at least 10 innings with a mark of 0.20. She earned four wins and a save in Oklahoma City while allowing just one earned run in 34 1/3 innings.
King was on such a run that Florida State’s ace throughout the season, Kylee Hanson, never had to pitch in the championship series.
Florida State’s Jessie Warren, who hit .520 in the World Series, was named most outstanding player. She went 3 for 4 with a homer on Tuesday.
PARIS (AP) – Novak Djokovic’s neck was bothering him. Then his right leg was.
The way he faltered at the most crucial of moments in the French Open quarterfinals might have hurt him the most against an opponent who never won a Grand Slam match until last week and once was handed a match-fixing suspension later overturned on appeal.
At the site of his 12th and most recent major title, which came two years ago, Djokovic was stunned by 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11) in a rollicking match filled with long points and plenty of drama.
Next up for Cecchinato is No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, who made it to his third consecutive French Open semifinal by beating No. 2 Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.
In the women’s quarterfinals, No. 10 Sloane Stephens beat No. 14 Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-3, 6-1, and No. 13 Madison Keys eliminated unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 6-4. Stephens beat Keys in the U.S. Open final last September, and their rematch on Thursday will be the first all-American women’s semifinal at the French Open since Serena Williams defeated Jennifer Capriati in 2002.