Wednesday’s Sports in Brief

PRO FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks, showed their solidarity with him and his cause at a rally outside National Football League headquarters, demanding that he be signed by the start of the regular season next month.

More than 1,000 people, many wearing jerseys bearing Kaepernick’s name, crowded the steps outside the NFL’s midtown Manhattan offices.

Kaepernick, who once took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, opted out of his contract with the team in March and remains unsigned. Supporters say he is being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.

UNDATED (AP) – Pro Football Hall of Famers Kellen Winslow and Harry Carson are supporting Cyrus Mehri’s candidacy for executive director of the players’ union.

The civil rights attorney who co-wrote the league’s Rooney Rule announced Tuesday that he intends to challenge DeMaurice Smith for the top job at the NFL Players Association. The next day, Winslow, Carson and John Wooten backed Mehri, though they no longer are voting members of the union.

Wooten, Carson and Winslow were instrumental in the creation of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an affinity group of NFL minority coaches, scouts and front-office personnel that advocates for policy changes in the NFL hiring practices.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) – DeShone Kizer will be next through the Browns’ quarterback turnstile.

He doesn’t want it to spin again anytime soon.

The rocket-armed rookie QB from Notre Dame was named Cleveland’s starter for Saturday night’s third exhibition game in Tampa Bay, and barring an unforeseen flop or injury – remember, these are the Browns – Kizer will start the Sept. 10 season opener against Pittsburgh.

After watching Kizer develop over the past month and show poise while delivering some long completions in two preseason appearances, coach Hue Jackson picked him over veterans Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler.

BASEBALL

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Rich Hill’s first 98 pitches left the Pittsburgh Pirates confounded, occasionally fuming and absolutely hitless. His 99th turned a potentially historic night by the Los Angeles Dodgers lefty into something else entirely:

A loss.

After Hill’s bid for a perfect game was spoiled by a leadoff error in the ninth inning, Josh Harrison started the 10th by connecting on an 88 mph fastball over the middle of the plate and sending a drive into the first row of seats in left field. It wrecked Hill’s improbable – and improbably lengthy – try at a no-hitter and lifted the Pirates to a stunning 1-0 win.

”It falls on me, this one – one bad pitch,” Hill said.

Dodgers left fielder Curtis Granderson made a fearless attempt to preserve the no-hitter, banging into the wall going for a catch. When the ball sailed inches past his outstretched glove, Harrison sprinted around the bases after his 16th home run while Hill slowly walked off the field after being handed his first loss in nearly two months.

BOXING

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor aren’t just fighting for money in the boxing spectacle of the summer.

The winner also gets The Money Belt.

The World Boxing Council has created a special prize for this weekend’s 154-pound showdown, which isn’t actually for any real WBC championship.

Instead, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman revealed the gloriously blingy Money Belt , which is studded with 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, 300 emeralds and 1 1/2 kilograms of 24-karat gold on green Italian alligator leather.

Sulaiman grinningly showed off the Money Belt and Mayweather posed for photos with it after a news conference for Saturday’s show.

The WBC also created a similarly shiny monstrosity for Mayweather’s 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather was a longtime WBC champion before his retirement.

SOCCER

England record-scorer Wayne Rooney called time on his often tempestuous international career, retiring from duty after spurning an offer to return to the squad.

”I believe now is the time to bow out,” the former England captain said in a statement. ”I will always remain a passionate England fan.”

A return to form since leaving Manchester United to go back to Everton in the offseason had seen England manager Gareth Southgate approach Rooney about returning for upcoming World Cup qualifiers. But the 31-year-old striker has decided to focus on his club career, quitting England duty with a record 53 goals in 119 appearances – more than any other outfield player.