Weekend Sports In Brief
NEW YORK (AP) Michael Sam was picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL draft Saturday, becoming the first openly gay player drafted by a pro football team.
Sam played at Missouri, and came out as gay in media interviews earlier this year. His team and coaches knew his secret and kept it for his final college season. He went on to have the best year of his career: He was the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year.
He was taken with the 249th overall pick out of 256. He’ll start his professional career not far from the place where he played his college ball.
President Barack Obama sent his congratulations to Sam, calling his being drafted ”an important step forward.”
MIAMI (AP) – Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones was fined an undisclosed amount Sunday and will undergo educational training after sending a negative tweet about Sam.
Shortly after St. Louis took Sam in the seventh round Saturday, Jones tweeted ”OMG” and ”Horrible.” The tweets were taken down a short time later. Jones apologized for his comments Sunday and described them as inappropriate. The Dolphins said Jones has been excused from all team activities until he completes training related to his comments.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized Sunday for racist comments captured on tape.
”I’m not a racist,” Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in excerpts posted from an interview taped Sunday and set to air Monday. ”I made a terrible mistake. I’m here to apologize.”
In his first public comments since being banned for life from the NBA, Sterling said years of good behavior as an owner should count toward his future.
NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA said if Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers is terminated, so is Shelly Sterling’s.
Hours after Shelly Sterling told ABC News’ Barbara Walters that she would fight to keep her ownership of the franchise even if her estranged husband can’t, the league said that wouldn’t be possible.
”Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement. ”It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.”
Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, responded to the NBA’s statement, saying, ”We do not agree with the league’s self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances.”
Miami’s LeBron James said Sunday that players believe nobody in Sterling’s family should be able to own the Los Angeles Clippers if he’s gone.
”As players, we want what’s right and we don’t feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team,” James said after the Miami Heat practiced for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Brooklyn.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Martin Kaymer produced one of the most unlikely pars on the 17th green at the TPC Sawgrass without ever going in the water. It carried him to a one-shot victory Sunday in The Players Championship that was emotional in so many ways.
Kaymer nearly blew a three-shot lead after a 90-minute rain delay until he holed a 30-foot par putt on the famous island green. He got up-and-down with his putter from short of the 18th green for one last par and a 1-under 71.
Furyk closed with a 66 – he had to wait after the rain delay to rap in a 3-foot par putt – and it looked as though it might be enough to force a playoff, or even win outright when the 29-year-old German began to crumble. Furyk had to settle for a runner-up finish for the second straight week.
Jordan Spieth, tied with Kaymer going into the final round, made his first bogey of the tournament on the fifth hole, and plenty more followed. He closed with a 74.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) – Bethune-Cookman swept the men’s and women’s titles for the second straight year Sunday in the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.
Bethune-Cookman won its seventh title in the Division I men’s competition and its tournament-record 11th in the women’s division, completing a sweep for the fourth time in the 54-hole event.
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – The cost of building Brasilia’s World Cup stadium has nearly tripled to $900 million in public funds, largely due to allegedly fraudulent billing, government auditors say. The spike in costs has made it the world’s second-most expensive soccer arena, even though the city has no major professional team.
Now, an Associated Press analysis of data from Brazil’s top electoral court shows skyrocketing campaign contributions by companies that have won the most World Cup projects. The lead builder of Brasilia’s stadium increased its political donations 500-fold in the most recent election.
The links between construction firms and politicians add to suspicions that preparations for soccer’s premier event are marred by corruption. They also raise questions about how politicians who benefit from construction firms’ largesse can be effective watchdogs over billion-dollar World Cup contracts.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Manchester City won the Premier League for the second time in three seasons with a 2-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday that required far less drama than two years ago.
City won behind goals from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany, meaning Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Newcastle at Anfield was meaningless and City finished two points above the Merseyside club. In 2012, City won the title on goal difference ahead of neighbor Manchester United after coming from behind to beat Queens Park Rangers on the final day.
MADRID (AP) – Rafael Nadal won his fourth Madrid Open title on Sunday after Kei Nishikori was forced to withdraw with a back injury when trailing 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 in the final.
Nadal became the first repeat winner in Madrid, and recovered from two recent quarterfinal losses on clay to win his second title on the surface and third overall this year.
Earlier, Maria Sharapova bounced back from a poor start to defeat Simona Halep 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to win the women’s title.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – James Hinchcliffe’s tough IndyCar start is getting more clouded.
E.J. Viso replaced the injured Canadian on Sunday in the opening practice for the Indianapolis 500 and it’s still unclear when the popular Hinchcliffe will turn his first laps on the famed 2.5-mile oval.
Hinchcliffe was injured Saturday in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis when debris from Justin Wilson’s car flew into the cockpit, striking Hinchcliffe in the head. He was taken away from the track on a stretcher, transported to a hospital and diagnosed with a concussion. He was hoping to be re-examined Sunday, but that never happened and now he’s out until at least Tuesday.