Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The NFL abruptly dropped its plan Wednesday to challenge approved dementia diagnoses in a landmark concussion case as players’ lawyers accuse it of trying to delay payments and rewrite the $1 billion settlement.
A federal court hearing set for Thursday on the NFL’s appeal was canceled Wednesday afternoon as the league dropped its appeal. Instead, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody issued an order requiring doctors to explain their findings in certain cases.
The NFL had asked to challenge some diagnoses made by settlement-approved doctors and upheld by a court-appointed administrator whose decisions are supposed to be final. The league nonetheless filed an appeal on the grounds that the standards used to diagnose the ex-players with dementia were not being applied consistently.
The NFL argued that it had agreed to remove a $765 million cap on payouts only in exchange for “a clear demarcation of the boundary between compensable and non-compensable levels of impairment.”
Some players’ lawyers said the NFL is having buyer’s remorse as the early payouts surge past early projections in the 65-year settlement.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s three-time Olympic wrestling champion Saori Yoshida has announced her retirement, saying it’s time for the next generation of wrestlers to take the stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 36-year-old Yoshida, who also won 13 consecutive world championships, spoke before a packed press conference on Thursday at a hotel in central Tokyo.
Yoshida said “I realize I have done everything I can as a wrestler and it’s now time to let the next generation of wrestlers take over.”
Yoshida had been taking time away from competition since the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she fell short of a fourth-straight Olympic gold medal and settled for silver. She has been serving as a coach for the Japanese national team in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
She received the People’s Honor Award in 2012 after surpassing Aleksandr Karelin’s record for consecutive world titles. The Russian legend won three Olympic gold medals and nine world championships between 1988 and 1999.
HOUSTON (AP) — Dabo Swinney won the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year award for the third time in four years Wednesday night, two days after leading Clemson to its second national championship in three years.
Swinney is the only three-time winner of the 33rd annual award, with Chris Petersen — the trophy holder in 2006 and 2009 at Boise State — the only other multiple winner.
Swinney was among seven finalists named for the annual award given to the nation’s top college football coach — along with Bill Clark (UAB), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Josh Heupel (UCF), Jeff Monken (Army), Nick Saban (Alabama), and Jeff Tedford (Fresno State).
Frank Beamer, whose tenure as Virginia Tech’s coach spanned 29 years, received the Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement award. It honors a coach for outstanding career accomplishments on and off the field. He won the coach of the year award in 1999.
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees host Baltimore and Washington is at home against the New York Mets on March 28, the first games of the earliest regular major league opening day.
The commissioner’s office announced games times Wednesday for the schedule, which was released in August. The previous earliest regular start was March 30 in 2003, 2008 and 2014.
The season opens with a two-game series between Seattle and Oakland in Tokyo on March 20-21, MLB’s fifth opener in Japan after 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. MLB also has opened in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and Sydney, Australia (2014).
All 30 teams are scheduled for opening day for the second straight year. Two games were postponed on opening day last season because of poor weather.
Baltimore and the Mets are scheduled for first pitches at 1:05 p.m. EDT, followed by St. Louis at Milwaukee (2:10 p.m. EDT); Atlanta at Philadelphia (3:05 p.m.); Detroit at Toronto (3:37 p.m.); Houston at Tampa Bay (4 p.m.); the Chicago Cubs at Texas (4:05 p.m.); the Los Angeles Angels at Oakland (4:07 p.m.); Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Arizona at the Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado at Miami, Cleveland at Minnesota and San Francisco at San Diego (all 4:10 p.m.); and the Chicago White Sox at Kansas City (4:15 p.m.).
The World Series champion Boston Red Sox play at Seattle in the day’s final game at 7:10 p.m. EDT.