Thursday Sports in Brief

NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has put the labor ball in the players’ hands.

In a somewhat surprisingly strong decision, the 32 team owners voted Thursday to “accept the negotiated terms on the principles of a new collective bargaining agreement.”

Details of that agreement were not forthcoming from any of the owners or Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Now the onus is on the players, who have a conference call Friday involving its executive committee and player representatives. The NFL Players Association said it would not comment Thursday on the NFL’s announcement.

Such quick action by the owners indicates their eagerness to replace the 10-year labor agreement that concludes in March 2021. Several elements of a new CBA could be implemented for the upcoming season should the players vote in favor of it.

That, of course, is no given. Should the players vote against accepting this proposal or seek further negotiations, the NFL has said the current agreement would remain in place for 2020. A league statement put a deadline on acceptance by the union, saying “since the clubs and players need to have a system in place and know the rules that they will operate under by next week.”

The league’s business year begins March 18.

NBA

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving will have arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and miss the rest of the season.

The Nets made the announcement Thursday before playing the Philadelphia 76ers in their first game after the All-Star break.

Coach Kenny Atkinson said earlier this week that the point guard was still having trouble with the shoulder that sidelined him for 26 games earlier this season and wouldn’t play Thursday.

Irving said pain in the shoulder initially worsened after a game on Nov. 4 and he played for about a week before sitting out for nearly two months.

He was limited to just 20 games after signing with the Nets in July.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson will not play the rest of the regular season, the team said Thursday.

It was expected that Thompson would miss the entire season as he recovers from a torn knee ligament, and the Warriors said it definitively before their game against Houston.

Thompson tore the ACL in his left knee last June during the deciding Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors and had surgery July 2. He was re-evaluated over the All-Star break and the team said Stephen Curry’s Splash Brother “is making good progress and is right on track with his rehabilitation timeline.” Golden State expects him ready to go for training camp in late September.

The question now will be whether Thompson still wants to play in the Tokyo Olympics if he hasn’t returned to game action.

MLB

PHOENIX (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies won their arbitration case against All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto on Thursday, putting teams ahead of players 7-4 this year and ensuring clubs will finish with a winning record.

Realmuto will get a raise from $6.05 million to $10 million instead of his $12.4 million request.

Arbitrators Gary Kendellen, Jeanne Charles and Richard Bloch made the decision a day after hearing arguments.

Obtained from Miami just before spring training last year, Realmuto hit .275 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs, earning his second straight All-Star selection.

SOCCER

Players on the U.S. women’s national team are seeking more than $66 million in damages as part of their gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The damages were included in slew of papers filed Thursday night in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles ahead of a trial scheduled to start May 5.

Among the documents filed were the separate collective bargaining agreements of the U.S. men’s and women’s teams, which had not previously been made public.

Players on the women’s national team sued the federation last March alleging institutionalized gender discrimination that includes inequitable compensation between the men’s and women’s teams.

Each side in the class-action lawsuit asked for a summary judgment in their favor. The estimate of damages, including interest, was provided by Finnie Bevin Cook, an economist from Deiter Consulting Group, which was retained by the suing players.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Former U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo is among the first-time eligible players on the ballot for the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Solo, dismissed from the team following the 2016 Olympics, joins fellow U.S. national team members Brad Davis, Whitney Engen, Herculez Gómez and Clarence Goodson among 14 players first-time eligible players on the 42-person ballot.

Arguably one of the most successful goalkeepers on the international stage, Solo made 202 appearances with the national team with 153 wins and an international-record 102 shutouts. During the 2015 World Cup championship run, she allowed three goals in seven games with five shutouts.

SAO PAULO (AP) — Soccer great Pelé did not attend a ceremony Thursday to unveil a statue of him representing Brazil’s historic 1970 World Cup winning team. The Brazilian has suffered with mobility problems for years, which has forced him to use walkers and wheelchairs in public.

Nine players of that Brazil squad of almost 50 years ago were present at the headquarters of the country’s soccer confederation in Rio de Janeiro, but the 79-year-old Pelé only took part on video.

His spokesman, Pepito Fornos, said it was already agreed that Pelé would not show up for the unveiling of his statue, which was made by a London-based company and is life sized.

TENNIS

Roger Federer will miss the French Open and no fewer than three other tournaments while he is sidelined for at least four months after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

It’s only the second operation for the 38-year-old Federer — the other was on his left knee in 2016 — and one that is certain to raise questions about his future in tennis.

He posted on social media Thursday that his knee had been an issue “for a little while.”

“I hoped it would go away,” he said.

The man who has spent more weeks ranked No. 1 than any other and owns a men’s-record 20 Grand Slam titles said the operation was in his home country of Switzerland on Wednesday. He currently is ranked No. 3 behind rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

“After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery,” Federer wrote.

COURTS

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An attorney for New Orleans’ Roman Catholic archdiocese Thursday strongly defended the New Orleans Saints‘ behind-the-scenes help in dealing with the clergy sex abuse crisis, saying the legal effort to release hundreds of confidential emails between them is aimed at trying to shame those “who had the audacity” to back the church.

Claims that the NFL team’s public relations help was improper are “nothing more than a clear attack on the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church for wrongs of the past that the church has acknowledged,” attorney E. Dirk Wegmann argued.

He added that the emails are private and “should not be parsed through simply for the purpose of annoying or embarrassing — or bringing public scrutiny on — individuals who supported the church.”

The impassioned remarks came amid a court hearing on the Saints’ request to keep secret hundreds of emails the team exchanged with the archdiocese in 2018 and 2019. A special master overseeing the proceeding was not expected to rule immediately.

OBITUARY

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Dan Radakovich, who starred as a linebacker at Penn State in the 1950s before winning two Super Bowls as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, died Thursday. Radakovich was 84.

Robert Morris University, where Radakovich served two stints as an assistant coach between 1994 and 2007, announced his death. A cause of death was not immediately available.

Known as “Bad Rad,” Radakovich — a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Duquesne — played both center and linebacker for the Nittany Lions, moving immediately into coaching following his graduation. He stayed at his alma mater through 1969, helping the school earn its national reputation as “Linebacker U.”

He spent the majority of his career bouncing back and forth between coaching jobs in college and the NFL.