Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette’s appeal of a one-game suspension for fighting has been denied, meaning he will sit out Sunday’s game against Indianapolis.
Fournette was suspended without pay for leaving the sideline, running across the field and punching Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson. Fournette appealed, but retired NFL receiver James Thrash affirmed the one-game punishment that will cost Fournette close to $100,000.
The NFL and NFL Players’ Association appointed Thrash to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan handed down the penalty Monday, saying “sportsmanship is the cornerstone of the game and the league will not tolerate game-related misconduct that conveys a lack of respect for the game itself and those involved in it.”
Fournette and Lawson were ejected in the third quarter of Buffalo’s 24-21 victory and continued jawing at each other as they exited the field and entered the tunnel to the locker rooms.
Fournette will be eligible to return to the team’s active roster Monday.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Tony Clark’s contract as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association was extended through 2022, a year past the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement with MLB.
The former All-Star first baseman became executive director after previous union head Michael Weiner died in 2013, and Clark led negotiations for a labor contract covering 2017-21.
“As much as anything, the engagement of our guys, the interest that they have, both now and moving forward, being connected to that, supportive of that, and leading them through that is something that I’m grateful for the opportunity to do,” Clark said Wednesday after the MLBPA finished its annual executive board meeting.
This week’s meeting was at the same North Texas resort hotel where Clark and the MLPBA met two years ago with management and reached a verbal agreement on the current labor contract. In August, the union made a key addition to its staff when it hired Bruce Meter as senior director of collective bargaining and legal.
ATLANTA (AP) — Paul Johnson, the longest-serving Georgia Tech coach in a half-century and architect of a triple-option offense that was an anomaly among Power Five schools, announced his retirement after 11 seasons with the Yellow Jackets.
The 61-year-old Johnson revealed the surprising decision after meeting with his players. It came just four days after Georgia Tech closed the regular season with a lopsided loss to No. 4 Georgia .
Johnson, who also coached at Georgia Southern and Navy, compiled a career record of 82-59 at the Atlantic Coast Conference school, including eight bowl appearances and three trips to the league championship game.
He will stick around for another month, leading the Yellow Jackets for the final time in their bowl game. Most projections have them going to the Military Bowl on Dec. 31.
“After 40 years of coaching, it’s time to take a break,” Johnson said in a statement. “My family has sacrificed a lot over the years. I want to watch my daughter (Kaitlyn, a professional opera singer) perform and do some things with my wife (Susan) that we’ve never had a chance to do. It’s been a great run for the last 11 years here on the Flats. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and am looking forward to having the chance to coach this team one last time at our bowl game next month.”
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Fire have re-signed Bastian Schweinsteiger as a designated player for 2019, keeping the German star for at least one more season.
Schweinsteiger earned $6.1 million last season, according to the MLS players union. In a statement, Schweinsteiger insists Chicago can win a championship and says “let’s raise a trophy.”
The 34-year-old midfielder has seven goals and 12 assists in 55 regular-season games over two seasons with the Fire.
A World Cup champion with Germany in 2014, Schweinsteiger helped the Fire reach the playoffs after joining them in 2017. But Chicago finished with eight wins, 18 losses and eight draws this year.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Willie Naulls, the former UCLA star who was a four-time All-Star with the New York Knicks and won three NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, has died. He was 84.
Naulls died on Thanksgiving at his home in Laguna Niguel, south of Los Angeles, UCLA said. The cause was respiratory failure resulting from Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare condition that can restrict blood flow to vital organs and tissues.
There was a moment of silence for Naulls before UCLA’s basketball game Wednesday night.
After playing for UCLA from 1954-56, Naulls was selected with the ninth overall pick in the NBA draft by the St. Louis Hawks.
But he spent just 19 games with the Hawks, calling it a “culture shock” to see the segregation that existed in St. Louis, the likes of which he hadn’t seen since he was eight before moving from Dallas to Los Angeles. He was then traded to the Knicks.
Boston won titles in 1964, ’65 and ’66, Naulls’ final three seasons.
Along with Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones and Tom Sanders, Naulls comprised the first all-black lineup in the history of integrated pro sports in December 1964 when Naulls replaced injured Tom Heinsohn as a starter.