FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady took the fight over his ”Deflategate” suspension to social media and federal court on Wednesday, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft backed the three-time Super Bowl MVP, saying ”I was wrong to put my faith in the league.”
One day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected Brady’s appeal, the star quarterback posted a 507-word statement on Facebook with his firmest denial yet, writing: ”I did nothing wrong.” Kraft followed with an unscheduled address to the media gathered at Gillette Stadium for the opening of training camp and the team’s defense of its fourth Super Bowl championship.
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”It is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players, and a man for whom I have the utmost respect,” the Patriots owner said. ”I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just.”
Just before the courts closed in Minnesota, the NFL Players Association asked the court to overturn Brady’s four-game suspension – or at least put it on hold until the case can be heard. The union asked the court to throw out the suspension before Sept. 4; that would keep Brady from missing any practices before the Patriots’ Sept. 10 season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) – Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry returned to the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice field Wednesday, just eight months after a cancer diagnosis threatened to derail his career.
Berry walked down the long hill from the locker room to the practice fields at Missouri Western State University, wearing his familiar No. 29 and with his helmet in hand. He stretched with rookies and select veterans, then joined them for parts of the workout.
”He looked pretty good out here with the work that he had,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
Berry passed a battery of tests before he was cleared to practice late Tuesday, but it remains unclear when he will be a full participant in practice. Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said Berry will be monitored constantly, especially during the early portion of camp.
MIRACLE ON ICE
NEW YORK (AP) – The American flag that goalie Jim Craig wrapped around his shoulders after the U.S. Miracle on Ice victory at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics is on the auction block.
The flag is one of 19 items in ”The Jim Craig `Miracle on Ice’ Collection,” which also includes Craig’s Olympic gold medal, the jersey he wore against the vaunted Soviet Union and in the gold-medal win against Finland. Also included are the only mask Craig wore during the Winter Games, his skates and goalie equipment, and the goalie sticks from the games against the Soviets and Finland.
Asking price for the collection is $5.7 million. The items are on display through Sunday at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.
Lelands.com announced the private sale on Wednesday.
One of the centerpieces of the collection is the flag Craig draped over his shoulders as he skated around the rink searching the stands for his father after the Finland game. The image is well-known in American sports history and is valued at $1 million to $1.5 million.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The Winter Classic is coming to the home of the New England Patriots.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined officials from the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday to say the Original Six rivals would meet at Gillette Stadium on New Year’s Day. The Bruins will be the first team to host the event twice. They also hosted it in 2010, at Fenway Park.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft also spoke at the ceremony, just hours after his impassioned ”Deflategate” defense.
Bettman notes that the three organizations are among the most successful in their sports, with 34 championships. The Canadiens have won 24 of those, but the Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs.
Bettman also says the league has extended the game’s title sponsorship with Bridgestone for another five years.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from his scheduled start against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday due to hip soreness.
Kershaw will start Friday in the Freeway Series opener against the Los Angeles Angels, the Dodgers say.
Mike Bolsinger (5-3) stepped in for the start against the A’s.
Kershaw has pitched 29 consecutive scoreless innings for the Dodgers after taking a perfect game into the seventh inning of a win over the New York Mets last week. He has thrown two shutouts in his past three starts with 38 strikeouts and no walks.
After winning the NL MVP and Cy Young awards last season, he is 8-6 with a 2.51 ERA this season. He also leads the majors with 185 strikeouts.
OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) – Triple Crown winner American Pharoah received star treatment as he arrived to prepare for the $1.75 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday at Monmouth Park.
After landing at Atlantic City airport, racing’s biggest attraction was led off the plane, then escorted by New Jersey State troopers for the final leg of the journey. The van he was loaded into was decked out like Taylor Swift’s tour bus with his name splashed across the side.
A cluster of reporters awaited him when the van pulled into the Monmouth barn area shortly after 4 p.m.
As usual, American Pharoah was cool and collected, even on a blazingly hot afternoon on the Jersey Shore. He calmly stepped off the van, took two short turns outside the barn where he will reside through the race before heading into the shade for a bath and a nap.
MONTREAL (AP) – Roger Federer pulled out of next month’s Rogers Cup hard-court tournament on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for Tennis Canada, Valerie Tetreault, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that Federer ”wants to make sure he will be (in) top shape for” the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam tournament, which begins Aug. 31.
”I am disappointed that I won’t be playing in Montreal because it’s a tournament and a city that I really enjoy and has incredible fans,” Federer said in a statement released by Tennis Canada. ”I hope to be back in the future.”
Federer, owner of a record 17 major championships, has not competed since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final on July 12.