Griner apologizes as Russian court prepares to give verdict
KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — American basketball star Brittney Griner apologized to her family and her team as a Russian court heard closing arguments in her drug possession trial said it expected to deliver a verdict Thursday. In her final remarks, Griner said she had no intent to break Russian law by bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil with her when she flew to Moscow in February. “I made an honest mistake, and I hope in your ruling it does not end my life,” she said. Prosecutors asked the presiding judge to sentence Griner to 9 1/2 years in prison.
NFL appeals 6-game suspension for Browns’ Deshaun Watson
A person familiar with the filing told The Associated Press that the NFL is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year plus a fine in appealing a disciplinary officer’s decision to suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter isn’t public. The NFL’s appeal gives Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates authority to impose a stiffer penalty. League spokesman Brian McCarthy said it’s still to be determined whether Goodell or someone else will hear the appeal.
Senators Tuberville, Manchin working on bill to tackle NIL
Senators Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have requested feedback from college sports leaders to be used to craft a bill to regulate how college athletes can be compensated for their names, images and likenesses. Tuberville is a Republican and a former college football coach from the state of Alabama. Manchin is a Democrat from West Virginia who is friends with Alabama football coach Nick Saban. In a letter to Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, the senators said their staffs have already begun drafting legislation. Sankey and Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill during a lobbying trip in May.
Mickelson, others sue PGA Tour over LIV Golf suspensions
The dispute between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series is now in the courts. Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among 11 players who have sued the PGA Tour in federal court in San Francisco. They are challenging the tour’s right to suspend them for joining the rival league. Three other players are seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow them to play in the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs, the PGA Tour’s postseason, which begins next week. The lawsuit was expected as soon as the Saudi-backed league launched and PGA Tour players began taking signing bonuses to play LIV Golf.
Juan Soto promises to bring ‘good vibes,’ winning to Padres
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Juan Soto has arrived at Petco Park promising to bring “good vibes” to the San Diego Padres and issuing a warning to opposing teams. The acquisition of the 23-year-old generational talent in perhaps the biggest deadline deal ever energized the Padres and their long-suffering fans, and there’s more to come. Soto and Josh Bell joined a lineup currently anchored by All-Star slugger Manny Machado. Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. could return from a broken left wrist within a few weeks. Soto says that when that full lineup hits the field, “It’s going to be really tough to go through and I wish good luck to all the pitchers.”
UConn’s Bueckers suffers torn ACL, will miss upcoming season
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn says women’s basketball star Paige Bueckers tore the ACL in her left knee during a pickup game and will miss the entire 2022-23 season. UConn announced Wednesday that Bueckers suffered the injury Monday and underwent an MRI that evening. The school did not say where the junior guard from Hopkins, Minnesota, was playing when the injury occurred. Bueckers was the 2020-21 AP national player of the year. She missed 19 games last season with a knee injury. She returned to lead the Huskies to the Final Four, where the Huskies lost to South Carolina in the championship game. UConn said Bueckers will undergo surgery on Friday at UConn Health in Farmington.
Soto cheered, Drury hits slam as Padres beat Rockies 9-1
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Juan Soto got multiple ovations in his first game with the Padres and Brandon Drury did even better. He hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw with his new team to lead San Diego to a 9-1 victory against the Colorado Rockies on an electric night at Petco Park. The Padres unveiled their new-look lineup with Soto batting second and Josh Bell hitting cleanup, a day after they were obtained from Washington in one of the biggest deadline deals ever. Drury was also obtained on Tuesday, from Cincinnati, and put a charge into the already festive atmosphere with a grand slam.
Murphy’s 3 RBIs off Shohei Ohtani lead A’s past Angels, 3-1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Sean Murphy homered and drove in three runs off Shohei Ohtani, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. James Kaprielian pitched six-hit ball into the sixth as the A’s snapped their three-game losing streak. Ohtani has no victories over Oakland in five mound appearances since 2018. Ohtani yielded seven hits and two earned runs while pitching into the sixth inning of his third straight defeat. He again fell short of his career-best 10th mound victory. The AL MVP struck out seven A’s, which ended his streak of six consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts.
Los Angeles mourning death of Dodgers’ Vin Scully
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Flowers, candles and handwritten messages lie beneath a sign welcoming fans to Dodger Stadium at the main entrance on Vin Scully Avenue. Fans of all ages made their way to the ballpark and other points around Los Angeles to mourn the Hall of Fame broadcaster who died Tuesday night at age 94. Flowers and mementos decorated Scully’s star on the Walk of Fame. Moments of silence were held around the major leagues. The self-effacing Scully would have appreciated the tributes but would have likely found them to be “a little bit embarrassing.” That’s how he described the hoopla surrounding his retirement in 2016.
Cliff Branch’s speed led to Hall of Fame after long wait
Cliff Branch was the epitome of what Al Davis coveted in a receiver during his decades running the Raiders. Branch arrived in Oakland with the game-breaking speed needed to fuel the Raiders’ vertical offense and as soon as he learned to harness that speed and develop reliable hands, there was no stopping him. Branch became one of the best deep threats of his era with some of his biggest performances coming on the game’s biggest stages to earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.