National Sports | WRHL National Sports 2014-12-17T11:40:06Z National Sports 10 Things to See in Sports: AP's top sports photos Here's a look at some of the defining moments, exciting scenes, triumphs and defeats from the world of sports. Your Top Plays for Today Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide ADVISORY-Reuters sports awards and yearenders LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - On Thursday Dec. 18 we will publish the result of the Reuters sports awards, voted for by the agency's journalists around the world. Alongside the results we will publish a series of profiles, interviews and factboxes relating to the winners. The award categories are: Sportsman of the year Sportswoman of the year Team of the year Coach of the year Comeback of the year Breakthrough of the year Flop of the year On Friday Dec. ... NFL's 49ers release McDonald amid sexual assault investigation By Steve Ginsburg (Reuters) - The San Francisco 49ers released defensive tackle Ray McDonald on Wednesday after police said he was a possible suspect in a sexual assault case. San Jose police said they were investigating the assault of a woman seeking treatment at a hospital on Tuesday when officers determined that McDonald might have been involved in the incident. Police then searched the San Jose home of McDonald, an eight-year National Football League veteran. No arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing, police said. ... Rory's the story in golf after stellar year Paris (AFP) - Rory McIlroy dominated golf in 2014, winning two majors, recapturing the world number one spot and starring in Europe's latest Ryder Cup triumph. Deep Mavericks lighten load on Nowitzki By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dirk Nowitzki can still fill up the basket in his 17th season with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, but it has become time to lighten the load on the 7-foot German sharpshooter. "Our roster is built on a lot of guys that can make plays. A lot of guys that can contribute, not just one guy to lead every night," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters before Tuesday's road game against the New York Knicks. "Dirk used to be that guy. We've tried to segue him out of that responsibility to carry the team on his back. ... 49ers cut McDonald amid sex assault investigation The San Francisco 49ers dumped veteran defensive tackle Ray McDonald on Wednesday after police said he was the focus of a sexual assault investigation, the latest to hit the NFL. The National Football League team's general manager Trent Baalke said the 49ers notified McDonald and his agent that his contract was terminated. The team had stood by McDonald after he was arrested in August on charges of domestic violence, which were dropped on November 10 due to insufficient evidence. Despite criticism, the 49ers allowed McDonald to continue playing during that investigation. Thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations won't affect baseball right away: experts By Steve Ginsburg WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There will be no immediate flow of top Cuban players into Major League Baseball despite the major U.S. policy shift toward the communist-run island, experts on baseball in Cuba said on Wednesday. Any move to let Cuban players leave their country freely will not happen for at least several years, said author Pete Bjarkman, who has written extensively about Cuban baseball. "I don't think it will have any real visible immediate impact," Bjarkman said of the policy change. "Cuba wants to maintain its strong baseball at home. ... Hefty punishments for brawl in China women's league BEIJING (Reuters) - Twenty three female basketball players in China have been suspended for their part in an ugly, bench-clearing brawl as organizers attempted to clamp down on ill-discipline in the scandal-hit league. The incident came during the Sichuan Whales's home game against the Zhejiang Bulls on Sunday, with the hosts reacting angrily to a heavy foul from the visitors that brought about the melee and led to the referee cancelling the game. ... Grizzlies snap Warriors 16-game streak The Memphis Grizzlies dealt Golden State their first defeat in more than a month, snapping the Warriors NBA winning streak at 16 games with a 105-98 triumph. Spanish center Marc Gasol scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Memphis in the battle between the top two teams in the league. It was the first Golden State defeat since a November 11 setback against reigning NBA champions San Antonio. Memphis clamped down defensively early in the second quarter, forcing 11 consecutive Golden State misses. Bucks rookie Parker out for season with knee injury (Reuters) - Highly regarded Milwaukee Bucks rookie Jabari Parker will miss the rest of the season after the forward tore a ligament in his left knee, the team confirmed on Tuesday. Parker suffered the injury, initially believed to be a sprain, when making a drive to the basket in Milwaukee's win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday. "Parker will undergo surgery to repair the injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season," the Bucks said in a statement. ... Ex-wife of Deion Sanders sentenced to week in Texas jail over custody By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - The former wife of Hall of Fame football player Deion Sanders was booked into jail on Tuesday after a Texas judge sentenced her to serve seven days for violating a custody agreement by not returning the couple's children on time, his attorney said. Pilar Sanders appeared in court in suburban Dallas without an attorney for a hearing requested by Deion Sanders’ attorney Rick Robertson who requested changes to the divorce decree and an injunction to stop her from disparaging her ex-husband. ... Florida man pleads guilty to helping baseball star Puig flee Cuba By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida man who received $2.5 million after helping to smuggle Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Yasiel Puig out of Cuba pleaded guilty on Tuesday, according to court documents. Gilberto Suarez, 40, faces up to 10 years in prison at a March sentencing for conspiring to bring in or harbor aliens. In his plea agreement, he acknowledged coaching Puig on his 2012 defection from the communist-controlled island. After leaving Cuba, Puig, now 24, signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers. Suarez received about $2. ... Speed up game to attract youngsters: McIlroy World number one Rory McIlroy said on Tuesday that golf should be made quicker at grassroots level in order to attract more young players to the sport. McIlroy, who won the British Open and the US PGA in 2014, taking his tally of major wins to four, added: "The viewership in golf is up, but the participation is down. Cabrera signs with White Sox Former drugs cheat Melky Cabrera, who was slapped with a 50-game ban in 2012 for testing positive for testosterone, officially agreed to a multi-million dollar contract with the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. The 30-year-old Dominican Republic outfielder reportedly signed a three-year deal worth $42 million. "Melky provides us with a professional hitter, who reaches base on a consistent basis," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn on Tuesday. Cabrera spent the past two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, batting .301 with 16 homers, 35 doubles and 73 RBI in 139 games in 2014. Busy White Sox add outfielder Melky Cabrera (Reuters) - The Chicago White Sox crossed another key item off their long holiday shopping list by agreeing with outfielder Melky Cabrera on a three-year $42 million contract, the club said on Tuesday. Cabrera, 30, batted .301 with a .351 on-base percentage for the Toronto Blue Jays last season to go with 16 home runs and 73 runs batted in. The addition of Cabrera, who in 2012 was leading the National League in batting average for the San Francisco Giants before missing the end of the season over a doping violation, was the latest in an offseason overhaul by the White Sox. ... Spanish women shine in dark year for men By Iain Rogers MADRID (Reuters) - In a year when the men's soccer and basketball teams flopped on the biggest stage and Rafa Nadal's season was wrecked by injury and illness, it was the women who helped protect Spain's reputation as a nation of sporting excellence. The standout performers were swimmer Mireia Belmonte, who set two world records at the short course world championships in Doha this month, and badminton player Carolina Marin, who pulled off a huge upset to beat Chinese world number one Li Xuerui and win the women’s singles title at the world championships in Copenhagen in August. ... McIlroy named European Tour's Golfer of Year LONDON (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy has been named the European Tour's Golfer of the Year for the second time in three seasons, capping an outstanding 2014 for the world number one. The 25-year-old Northern Irishman landed the British Open title in July and the U.S. PGA Championship crown in August -- the third and fourth majors of his career -- before winning three points as Europe retained the Ryder Cup in September. ... Brees's Saints march past Bears Drew Brees threw for 375 yards as the New Orleans Saints seized sole possession of first place with a 31-15 victory over the struggling Chicago Bears. Brees also tossed three touchdowns in his 200th career NFL contest for the Saints who vaulted over Carolina Panthers for first place in the woeful NFC South Division. New Orleans now controls their own postseason destiny with two games remaining against division opponents Atlanta and Tampa Bay. Fast-starting Saints tame Bears 31-15 (Reuters) - The New Orleans Saints climbed into first place in the jumbled NFC South after feasting on the struggling Chicago Bears in a 31-15 win on Monday. Drew Brees fired three touchdown passes and the Saints took advantage of the Bears to move atop their division despite their 6-8 record. “We responded, our defense came out and played fantastic. Offensively, we did enough,” Brees told reporters. “You want to be playing for a lot at the end of the year and we are. We control our destiny. ... Highlights of Monday's NBA games (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Monday's National Basketball Association games: Raptors 95, Magic 82 Lou Williams came off the bench to score 18 points as the Toronto Raptors continued their domination of the Orlando Magic with a comfortable victory on Monday. The win was the third in a row for the Raptors (19-6), who defeated the Magic for a 10th consecutive time to remain top of the Eastern Conference standings. Tobias Harris led the Magic with 18 points. ... Bucks forward Parker suffers knee injury in Suns encounter (Reuters) - Highly regarded Milwaukee Bucks rookie Jabari Parker suffered a left knee sprain and had to be carried off the court during his team's 96-94 win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Parker, the number two overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, was driving to the basket during the third quarter when his knee buckled and he fell to the court. He finished the night with eight points in 15 minutes. The 6-foot-8-inch forward was averaging 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds entering the game. ... Pacers trounce Bryant's listless Lakers It didn't take long for the Los Angeles Lakers to come down from their high of watching Kobe Bryant pass Michael Jordan for third place on the all-time NBA scoring list. Just 24 hours after Bryant hit a pair of free throws against Minnesota to pass Jordan, the Indiana Pacers compiled a 33 point halftime lead en route to a 110-91 thrashing of Los Angeles on Monday night. "We were just embarrassed with the way we played in the first half," said Lakers coach Byron Scott. The Lakers trailed 60-27 at the half as Bryant shot three-for-13 and the bench was two-for-19. Royal Trophy 'postponed' just days before tee off The Royal Trophy golf team event which pits Europe against Asia has been "postponed", organisers told AFP on Tuesday, just days ahead of the scheduled tee off in China. Played in a similar matchplay format to the Ryder Cup, the Royal Trophy was founded by the late Seve Ballesteros, whose vision was to bring together the continents of Europe and Asia in a team matchplay contest. The eighth edition of the event -- which is sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour Organisation and the China Golf Association and supported by the OneAsia Tour -- was originally scheduled to be held at China’s Dragon Lake Golf Club in the southern province of Guangzhou from Friday to Sunday. Struggling Kings sack head coach Malone Sacramento (AFP) - Mike Malone has been fired as head coach of the Sacramento Kings and replaced by interim coach Tyrone Corbin, the National Basketball Association team announced Monday. Golfer Torrance slams Faldo over Garcia remarks Ryder Cup vice-captain Sam Torrance has strongly criticised Nick Faldo for labelling Sergio Garcia "useless" shortly before this year's tournament, in a magazine interview published on Tuesday. Faldo, Britain's greatest golfer, led Europe to defeat by the United States in the 2008 Ryder Cup and said in September that Spain's Garcia had shown a "bad attitude" during the contest. He subsequently softened his stance, while Garcia said he was willing to "forgive and forget", but Torrance remains angry about the 57-year-old's comments. "To say that right in the middle of the Ryder Cup. Browns receiver defends protest T-shirt Cleveland wide receiver Andrew Hawkins made an emotional defense on Monday of his decision to wear a "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford" T-shirt prior to the Browns' NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The gesture was denounced by the president of the Cleveland police union as "pathetic" and demanded an apology from the Browns. "My wearing of the T-shirt wasn't a stance against every police officer or every police department," said Hawkins, who met with reporters on Monday but did not take questions. Struggling Kings fire head coach Malone (Reuters) - The Sacramento Kings have fired head coach Mike Malone, the struggling National Basketball Association team said on Monday. Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin will take over on an interim basis for the Kings, who have lost their last three games. "This was an extremely difficult decision, but one we feel is in the best interest of the franchise moving forward," Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro said in a statement. "Michael made significant contributions to the organization on many levels and helped foster cultural changes that positively impacted our team. ... Cubs formally introduce pitcher Lester Jon Lester says Chicago has some of the most passionate fans in Major League Baseball and he is fully committed to bringing the Cubs their first championship season since 1908. "I got a good sense of how crazy these fans are about their Cubs baseball," Lester said. The Cubs formally introduced the 30-year-old pitcher at a downtown Chicago news conference on Monday. The Cubs did not provided details of his contract but the US media had reported that it is a six-year deal worth $155 million. Major League Baseball must share documents in Orioles-Nationals TV dispute NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major League Baseball must produce documents relating to a dispute over television rights fees involving the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals before the matter goes to trial next year, a judge ruled on Monday. The regional baseball rivals have been at odds over the amount the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, also known as MASN, should pay the Nationals to broadcast their games. The Orioles control MASN, which broadcasts in the U.S. capital and seven surrounding states. The Nationals own a minority stake. ... Bosh calf strain another injury blow for Heat All-Star center Chris Bosh will be sidelined indefinitely with a strained calf, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Monday dealing another injury blow to the NBA team. Bosh, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, felt tightness in his left calf after the Heat's victory in Utah on Saturday, and was kept out of Sunday's defeat at home against the Chicago Bulls. "He's still sore," Spoelstra said of Bosh. Injured Eagles quarterback Foles still not ready for return The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles won't play against the Washington Redskins next Saturday after not being passed fit as he recovers from a broken collarbone dealing a blow to the Eagles hopes of taking the NFL's NFC East division title. "He's not cleared, he's out this week," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said on Monday, a day after Philadelphia lost 38-27 to Dallas to fall a game behind the Cowboys in the division race. McIlroy wants to speed things up to attract more youngsters LONDON (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy has urged golf's rule-makers to quicken the game up at grass-roots level in order to make it more attractive to youngsters. More people are watching the sport on television these days but fewer are taking to the fairways and the 25-year-old Northern Irishman believes something needs to be done to reverse the trend. "Everything's so instant now and everyone doesn't have as much time as they used to so you maybe try some way of speeding the game up," McIlroy told BBC radio. "The viewership in golf is up but the participation is down. ... Sy Berger, who designed modern baseball card, dies (Reuters) - Sy Berger, a 50-year employee of the Topps Company and the man credited with creating the look of the modern baseball card, died of natural causes at the age of 91, the company said. Berger's design of the 1952 Topps set was a game-changer. It had color photos of the players with names, team logos, and positions on the front of the card, with statistics on the back, a form still used today. Baseball cards had been around since the 19th century but it had not caught on as a popular hobby until the 1952 Topps set, said baseball historian Marty Appel. ... Golf-McIlroy wants to speed things up to attract more youngsters LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy has urged golf's rule-makers to quicken the game up at grass-roots level in order to make it more attractive to youngsters. More people are watching the sport on television these days but fewer are taking to the fairways and the 25-year-old Northern Irishman believes something needs to be done to reverse the trend. "Everything's so instant now and everyone doesn't have as much time as they used to so you maybe try some way of speeding the game up," McIlroy told BBC radio. "The viewership in golf is up but the participation is down. ... Players' union sues league over Peterson ban The NFL Players Association has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn a ruling which upheld the suspension of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. NFL-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson on Friday upheld the sanction, saying the ruling was neither unfair nor inconsistent. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, however, chastised the player for showing "no meaningful remorse" for his conduct. NFL players union files lawsuit challenging Peterson suspension By Steve Ginsburg (Reuters) - The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit against the National Football League on Monday challenging an arbitrator's decision to uphold the league's suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Filed at the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the lawsuit claims arbitrator Harold Henderson, a former NFL executive hand-picked by Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the case, was not impartial. ... Bryant passes Jordan for third on all-time scoring list Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant passed NBA icon Michael Jordan on Sunday for third on the league's all-time scoring list -- and lifted his team to a victory. Bryant, a five-time champion in his 19th season, came into the contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves needing nine points to surpass Jordan's career total of 32,292. He tied and passed the Hall of Famer with a pair of free throws that gave the Lakers a 38-32 lead with 5:24 remaining in the second quarter. He finished with 26 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer lofted over Andrew Wiggins with 1:02 to play as the Lakers triumphed 100-94. Warriors work overtime to keep NBA streak alive New Orleans (AFP) - The Golden State Warriors rallied from a late fourth-quarter deficit, beating New Orleans 128-122 in overtime on Sunday to extend their NBA winning streak to 16 games. Dez Bryant scores three touchdowns to clip Eagles' wings (Reuters) - Fired-up receiver Dez Bryant scored three touchdowns to ignite Dallas’s 38-27 win over the rival Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday as the Cowboys regained control of the NFC East. Bryant got into a pre-game shouting match with Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins and carried his rage onto the field where his 114 receiving yards gave the Cowboys their biggest win of the season. “I was focused,” Bryant told reporters after his first career three-touchdown effort. “We knew this game was going to be big. From here on out there’s big games. We have to block everyone else out. ... WRHL 2014-12-18T04:40:06Z