Tuesday’s Sports in Brief
CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving was tired of being teammates with LeBron James.
Now he has to figure out how to beat him.
Cleveland’s All-Star guard, who asked owner Dan Gilbert to trade him earlier this summer, was dealt to the Boston Celtics for fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick.
Irving, whose late 3-pointer helped Cleveland win the 2016 NBA championship – and the city’s first title since 1964 – is on his way to Boston, where he’ll join a Celtics team that lost to the Cavs in last season’s conference finals.
And as fate will have it, the Cavs will host the Celtics in their season opener on Oct. 17.
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) – ESPN broadcaster Robert Lee will not work Virginia’s season opener because of recent violence in Charlottesville sparked by the decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
A spokeswoman for ESPN said Lee has been moved to Youngstown State’s game at Pittsburgh on the ACC Network on Sept. 2. The network said the decision was made ”as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name.”
Plans to remove a statue of Lee led to a protest in Charlottesville earlier this month that attracted what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade. Violent clashes erupted between a large gathering of white nationalists and hundreds of counter protesters.
ESPN said the decision to put Lee on another game was made ”collectively.” It also said it’s ”a shame that this is even a topic of conversation.”
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Jon Jones could face a lengthy suspension from mixed martial arts after the UFC light heavyweight champion was notified of his second potential violation of the promotion’s anti-doping policy.
Jones is widely considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in his sport. The potential violation stems from a sample collected after his weigh-in July 28 for his title fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California.
Jones beat Cormier with a vicious third-round head kick, reclaiming his 205-pound belt after sitting out the previous year under suspension for his first failed doping test. The victory appeared to be a return to glory for a fighter who has repeatedly hindered his stellar career with misbehavior outside the octagon.
Jones was stripped of his belt in 2015 after his arrest for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident. He was scheduled to fight Cormier for the title in July 2016, but was pulled from the UFC 200 card and eventually suspended for what he claimed was a failed test due to a sexual enhancement pill.
Last month, the 30-year-old Jones emphatically denied he has ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Civil rights attorney Cyrus Mehri, who co-wrote the NFL’s Rooney Rule, says he plans to challenge DeMaurice Smith for his job as executive director of the NFL Players Association.
Mehri told HBO’s ”Real Sports” he felt compelled to become a candidate for the position after examining the league’s most recent labor deal with the union. Mehri said the players ”went backwards economically in a massive way,” and Smith gave Commissioner Roger Goodell ”a blank check” when it comes to player discipline.
Mehri played a key role in the implementation of the Rooney Rule, which mandates that teams interview minority candidates for coaching and general manager positions. That rule also has been expanded to other NFL jobs.
Smith became the executive director of the NFLPA in 2009 and was elected to a second term three years later.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Steelers star Le’Veon Bell has suggested on Twitter that he will return to the team on Sept. 1, the day after Pittsburgh’s final preseason game.
Bell hasn’t signed his franchise tender and has been holding out through training camp. Responding to a fan asking when he plans to end his holdout, Bell wrote: ”9-1-17” and added a wink.
The franchise tender offered Bell will guarantee him $12.1 million for the upcoming season. The two-time Pro Bowl running back has been seeking a long-term deal.
Bell rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns last season and also caught 75 passes for 616 yards and two TDs.
DETROIT (AP) – Commissioner Rob Manfred says Major League Baseball plans to issue a policy on fan behavior for all ballparks next season.
Manfred spoke while visiting Comerica Park before Detroit hosted the Yankees.
Manfred said he didn’t want to talk about the details of what will be in the code of conduct for spectators.
Individual teams have their own policies governing fan behavior, and those rules often are posted on the scoreboard or announced over the public-address system.
Earlier this season, Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones was targeted by racial taunts during a game at Fenway Park in Boston. The Red Sox later banned a fan for life after he used a racial slur while talking to another man.