Monday Sports in Brief

NFL

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead has been released following his disturbing social media rant after a loss in Denver.

The Browns announced the move Monday, hours after rebuking Whitehead for “totally unacceptable and highly inappropriate behavior” following a 24-19 loss to the Broncos on Sunday.

Whitehead made several threatening and expletive-laden posts on Twitter. One of Whitehead’s tweets was directed at Dustin Fox, a former NFL player who works for the team’s radio network. Fox had sent an earlier tweet criticizing Whitehead’s tackling.

Whitehead started the game in place of safety Damarious Randall, who missed his second straight game because of a hamstring injury. Whitehead missed tackles on two big plays by the Broncos.

Whitehead was in his second season with Cleveland. The Browns signed him last year after he was waived by the Green Bay Packers.

MLB

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump honored the World Series champion Nationals at the White House on Monday, though more than a half-dozen players skipped the ceremony on the South Lawn.

Reliever Sean Doolittle, who along with his wife has worked with Syrian refugees and military veterans and supports gay rights, did not the event. Also among those not listed as being in attendance Monday are National League MVP candidate Anthony Rendon, outfielders Victor Robles and Michael A. Taylor, and pitchers Joe Ross, Javy Guerra and Wander Suero.

Of the 25 players on Washington’s World Series roster, 18 were in attendance. Principal owner Mark Lerner was the only member of the ownership group listed as attending.

Trump applauded the team’s first title in franchise history, calling it a “comeback story for the ages” and predicting it will be the first victory of many. He singled out World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick and others.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Madison Bumgarner has received a $17.8 million qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants, a move that likely will decrease demand for him in the free-agent market.

San Francisco’s decision Monday means a team signing Bumgarner would lose at least one pick in next year’s amateur draft as compensation unless a deal is struck after the draft starts in June. Compensation caused pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel to wait until after the draft to sign 2019 contracts.

San Francisco also made a qualifying offer to left-handed reliever Will Smith, who went 6-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 34 saves in 63 appearances.

Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, all but said his goodbye to San Francisco on the season’s final day.

Bumgarner, 30, wrapped up a $35.56 million, six-year contract singed in April 2012 that included $12 million club options for both 2018 and ’19. The Giants opted not to deal him at the trade deadline.

BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez has decided to keep his contract with the Red Sox instead of becoming a free agent again.

Martinez signed a $110 million, five-year deal after teams had started reporting to spring training in 2018.

In his two seasons in Boston, the 32-year-old slugger has averaged just short of 40 homers and 118 RBIs, along with a .317 average and .985 OPS. He was fourth, behind teammate Mookie Betts, in the AL MVP voting in 2018, when the Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 games and the World Series.

Martinez has three years and $62.5 million remaining on the deal: $23.75 million for 2020 and $19,375,000 for both 2021 and 2022. He had to make the opt-out decision Monday. He also has the option to opt out after each of the next two seasons, as long as he does not spend a lengthy period on the injured list.

AUTO RACING

Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series were sold to Penske Entertainment Corp. in a stunning move Monday that relinquishes control of the iconic speedway from the Hulman family after 74 years.

Tony Hulman bought the dilapidated speedway in 1945 and brought racing back to the corner of 16th St. and Georgetown Ave. after a four-year absence following World War II. Roger Penske will become just the fourth owner of the 110-year-old speedway.

The speedway spun off multiple subsidiaries, including the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions, which are also part of the deal to Penske Entertainment. That group is a subsidiary of Penske Corp., which is owned by billionaire Roger Penske.

“Great day for our family and our team,” Penske said in a text message to The Associated Press.

SPORTS BETTING

BOSTON (AP) — The NBA has agreed to a multiyear deal making DraftKings an official sports betting operator.

The Boston-based company joins a half-dozen others, including MGM and longtime daily fantasy sports rival FanDuel, with deals that allow them the rights to official betting data and NBA logos.

Professional sports leagues have long banned any connection to gambling. But in the past few years they have embraced it and sought to profit from both daily fantasy sports and outright gambling on games. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out a law that in effect prohibited sports gambling in most states.

The league says it will work with DraftKings to protect the integrity of NBA games.

COURTS

VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Former NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to raping an unconscious teen in 2003 and to sexual battery involving a 54-year-old hitchhiker in a deal that spared him the possibility of life in prison.

Winslow initially hesitated and seemed to agonize over his decision.

“I’m sorry. I’m just not thinking very clearly,” Winslow told the judge at one point.

He asked the judge for more time before he finally entered the guilty pleas moments before he was about to be retried on six felonies including kidnapping, sodomy, forced oral copulation and two charges of rape in San Diego County Superior Court that could have sent him to prison for life if he was convicted.

In exchange for his plea, the court agreed to sentence him to between 12 and 18 years in prison for the two charges and dismiss the others.