(Reuters) - The National Football League has rejected a request from the players union that Commissioner Roger Goodell remove himself from Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension over the "Deflategate" scandal, the union said on Friday. Brady, the star quarterback for the New England Patriots, received the suspension for knowing about a scheme to deflate footballs in the AFC championship game last January. (Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Marques Haynes, whose incredible skills dribbling a basketball made him a legendary showman with the Harlem Globetrotters, died Friday of natural causes in Plano, Texas, the team announced. Haynes played in more than 12,000 games in almost 100 countries for the Globetrotters during a 46-year career and was the team's first player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, an honor he received in 1998. "Basketball has lost one of its most iconic figures," said Globetrotters chief executive officer Kurt Schneider.
(Reuters) - Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak created some buzz by saying future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant had told him that next season would be his last with the Lakers, but the team said on Friday that was no surprise. "He has indicated to me that this is it," Kupchak said about Bryant told SiriusXM NBA Radio on Thursday.
Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Will Smith was issued an eight-game suspension Friday by Major League Baseball for having a foreign substance on his arm to help him grip baseballs. The 25-year-old left-hander says he will file an appeal to the ban and as a result he will be eligible to play for the Brewers until the appeal process in completed. Smith was ejected from Milwaukee's 10-1 loss to Atlanta on Thursday after the grip-aiding substance, what he described as a mixture of rosin and sunscreen, was discovered on his right forearm after he took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Francesco Molinari recovered from a shaky start to maintain his lead at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday while title holder Rory McIlroy missed the cut for only the third time in 45 events. McIlroy's back-nine 42 was riddled with errors and a miserable three-putt effort from 20 feet at the last hole meant he plunged to a six-over 78 and a five-over tally of 149. Italian Molinari began the second round with a two-stroke cushion over the rest of the field but his chipping was not up to scratch early on and it led to bogeys at the first and third.
* McIlroy crashes out after second-round 78 * Molinari leads by one shot from Korean An (Adds more quotes, detail) By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England, May 22 (Reuters) - Francesco Molinari recovered from a shaky start to maintain his lead at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday while title holder Rory McIlroy missed the cut for only the third time in 45 events. McIlroy's back-nine 42 was riddled with errors and a miserable three-putt effort from 20 feet at the last hole meant he plunged to a six-over 78 and a five-over tally of 149. Italian Molinari began the second round with a two-stroke cushion over the rest of the field but his chipping was not up to scratch early on and it led to bogeys at the first and third.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy suggested he was "probably in need of a rest" after missing the cut by ballooning to a six-over-par 78 in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday. The title holder frittered away stroke after stroke at the European Tour's flagship event and his five-over total of 149 meant he missed the cut by a considerable margin. McIlroy is in the middle of an untypically busy schedule of five tournaments in a row that will end with the Irish Open event he hosts at Royal County Down next week.
Rory McIlroy insisted he would not be too hard on himself after crashing out of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday. McIlroy missed the cut after collapsing to a six-over par second round 78 – only the third time in 45 events he has failed to make the weekend. With the world number one out of the equation Italy's Francesco Molinari takes a one-shot lead into the weekend after adding a 69 to his first round 65 for a two-round total of 134, 10-under par.
(Reuters) - Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith received an eight-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Friday for having an unauthorized substance on his arm in Thursday's 10-1 loss to the Braves, but will file an appeal. The left-hander was ejected after the umpire, responding to a complaint by Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, found a glistening mixture of rosin and sunscreen on Smith's right arm after he took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning. Smith said he applied the substance while warming up in the bullpen to get a better grip on the ball and forgot to wipe it off before entering the game.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England, May 22 (Reuters) - Francesco Molinari recovered from a shaky start to maintain his lead at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday while title holder Rory McIlroy missed the cut for only the third time in 45 events. Birdies were in short supply for world number one McIlroy as he plunged to a 78 that meant he missed the cut on five-over 149. Italian Molinari began the second round with a two-stroke cushion over the rest of the field but his chipping was not up to scratch early on and it led to bogeys at the first and third.
Kobe Bryant will make next season his last with the Los Angeles Lakers after 20 years that have produced five NBA titles, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "He has indicated to me this is it," Kupchak told SiriusXM NBA Radio. The 36-year-old guard has played for the Lakers for his entire NBA career, but has been nagged by injuries in recent seasons and unable to display the form that made him a 17-time All-Star, two-time NBA scoring champion and two-time Olympic champion.
(Reuters) - Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, has signed a contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, the team said Friday. "With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today," Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. "Not only have we added an outstanding football player, we have added even a better person that brings dignity, character, and heart to our team." Terms of the deal were not released.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Alvaro Quiros had the golfing world at his feet in 2011 but the big-hitting Spaniard seems a tortured soul these days and it is clear his self belief has been battered by three seasons of toil and pain. Quiros triumphed six times in a golden spell between 2007 and 2011, the highlight victory coming at the prestigious end-of-season DP World Tour Championship in Dubai four years ago. "It's been a very frustrating time," the 6-foot-4 (1.91-metre) Quiros told Reuters in an interview after posting a four-under-par 68 for a two-under total of 142 in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England, May 22 (Reuters) - Alvaro Quiros had the golfing world at his feet in 2011 but the big-hitting Spaniard seems a tortured soul these days and it is clear his self belief has been battered by three seasons of toil and pain. Quiros triumphed six times in a golden spell between 2007 and 2011, the highlight victory coming at the prestigious end-of-season DP World Tour Championship in Dubai four years ago. "It's been a very frustrating time," the 6-foot-4 (1.91-metre) Quiros told Reuters in an interview after posting a four-under-par 68 for a two-under total of 142 in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday.
May 22 (Infostrada Sports) - Scores from the U.S. PGA Tour Colonial Invitational at the par-70 course on Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas -6 Jordan Spieth (U.S.) 64 Kevin Na (U.S.) 64 Boo Weekley (U.S.) 64 Ryo Ishikawa (Japan) 64 -5 Ian Poulter (Britain) 65 George McNeill (U.S.) 65 -4 Zachary Blair (U.S.) 66 Ben Crane (U.S.) 66 Luke Guthrie (U.S.) 66 Marc Leishman (Australia) 66 Ben Martin (U.S.) 66 Danny Lee (New Zealand) 66 Colt Knost (U.S.) 66 Charley Hoffman (U.S.) 66 David Hearn (Canada) 66 -3 Jeff Overton (U.S.) 67 Jerry Kelly (U.S.) 67 Tony Finau (U.S.) 67 Kevin Kisner (U.S. ...
(Reuters) - The Golden State Warriors survived a stirring James Harden-inspired fightback to take command of the Western Conference Final with a 99-98 Game Two victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday. This season's MVP runner-up scored 10 of his team's final 12 points and added 10 rebounds and nine assists but again had to accept second billing to Golden State's Stephen Curry. Curry finished with 33 points and teamed with backcourt mate Klay Thompson to swarm Harden on the final play, lifting the Warriors to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors edged the Houston Rockets 99-98 to double their lead in the Western Conference finals. Curry again came out on top in a duel with James Harden, stifling the Rockets star in the moments before the final buzzer to preserve the win. Golden State had to battle to the bitter end.
Masters champion Jordan Spieth drained a 19-foot birdie at the final hole to join a four-way tie for the lead at the $6.5 million Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Playing in front of delighted fans near his hometown of Dallas, Spieth was unfazed by the three-hour delay that pushed back the start of play, recording six birdies without a bogey to tie Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and fellow Americans Kevin Na and Boo Weekley atop the leaderboard on six-under 64. Spieth, ranked number two in the world, drew a massive gallery when he teed off at 3:36 pm, the times pushed back after overnight rain and thunderstorms.
(Reuters) - Disgraced former NFL star Darren Sharper, who has pleaded guilty or no contest to rape and attempted rape charges in three states, is set to change his not guilty plea in a federal rape case in New Orleans next week, court records show. Sharper, 39, has pleaded guilty or no contest to charges in Arizona, California and Nevada in March as part of a series of plea bargains prosecutors have said will land him at least nine years in federal prison. Local prosecutors in New Orleans have said Sharper had reached a plea deal to settle the Louisiana case which, like the others, stems from allegations that he drugged women and then raped them.
(Reuters) - Former champion Boo Weekley took advantage of "good memories" and superb putting to charge into a share of the first-round lead at the weather-hit Crowne Plaza Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday. The 41-year-old American, who won the prestigious PGA Tour event at Colonial Country Club in 2013, piled up three birdies on each nine to fire a flawless six-under-par 64 on a course softened by heavy rain overnight. Weekley, a three-times champion on the highly competitive U.S. circuit, signed off by sinking a 13-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-four ninth, to finish level with compatriots Jordan Spieth, Kevin Na and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa.
Former champion Boo Weekley took advantage of "good memories" and superb putting to charge into a share of the first-round lead at the weather-hit Crowne Plaza Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday. The 41-year-old American, who won the prestigious PGA Tour event at Colonial Country Club in 2013, piled up three birdies on each nine to fire a flawless six-under-par 64 on a course softened by heavy rain overnight. Weekley, a three-times champion on the highly competitive U.S. circuit, signed off by sinking a 13-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-four ninth, to finish level with compatriots Jordan Spieth, Kevin Na and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa.
Japanese Massy Kuramoto was the only player to dip below par in difficult scoring conditions as he carded a one-under 71 for a one-shot lead in Thursday's opening round of the Senior PGA Championship in French Lick, Indiana. The 59-year-old, who won 30 tournaments on the Japan Golf Tour, birdied two of his first three holes before going into damage limitation mode on a cold, wet and windy day at French Lick Resort. Defending champion Colin Montgomerie of Scotland offset a bogey at the eighth with a birdie at the 12th before ending a gruelling day a stroke off the pace in the second of the season's five major championships for senior golfers.
Major companies are now spending more than $550 million a year to get their names on sports stadiums in Europe and the United States, according to a report released Thursday. The amount of money pouring into European football and US basketball, baseball and hockey stadiums has risen by 21 percent in three years with phone companies particularly keen to get involved, according to the Repucom sports data firm. Telecom firms account for about $64 million of the $552 put into stadium sponsorship, said Repucom's annual report on naming rights.
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was suspended for one game without pay by the National Football League on Thursday for a violation of its substance abuse policy. The four-year veteran will miss Buffalo's season opener at home against the Indianapolis Colts but be able to take part in all off-season and pre-season workouts until the week of the opener. "Last year, I made a mistake involving possession of a banned substance," Dareus said in a statement.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Matt Ford had to wait a long time to achieve his golfing dreams and the Briton still gets emotional when describing the trials and tribulations he endured before getting his tour card at the age of 36. Ford twice went close to giving up the game and only six months ago was contemplating the prospect of becoming a postman when he suddenly made the breakthrough he longed for, progressing through Qualifying School at the 10th time of asking. The Kent professional was so fed up with making unsuccessful trips to Q School that he had to be cajoled by his wife Suzie into entering again in November 2014.
Isiah Thomas, an NBA Hall of Famer who was named president of the Women's National Basketball Association's New York Liberty despite a 2007 court ruling he sexually harassed a female colleague, maintained his innocence on Thursday and said he was "proud of the man" he is today. A federal jury eight years ago found that Thomas, then coach of the New York Knicks, made unwanted advances to team executive Anucha Browne Sanders, and it ordered Madison Square Garden and its chairman, James Dolan, to pay her $11.6 million in punitive damages for unfairly firing her after she complained about Thomas.
May 21 (Infostrada Sports) - Scores from the European Tour PGA Championship at the par-72 course on Thursday in Wentworth -7 Francesco Molinari (Italy) 65 -5 Robert Karlsson (Sweden) 67 -4 Yang Yong-Eun (Korea) 68 Jorge Campillo (Spain) 68 Chris Wood (Britain) 68 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain) 68 Marc Warren (Britain) 68 -3 Thomas Bjorn (Denmark) 69 Jerome Lando-Casanova (France) 69 Pablo Larrazabal (Spain) 69 Tommy Fleetwood (Britain) 69 Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 69 Peter Lawrie (Ireland) 69 -2 Ian Ellis (Britain) 70 Gregory Havret (France) 70 Shiv Kapur (India) 70 Jamie Donaldson (Britain) ...
(Reuters) - Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin will be sidelined for the rest of the season after having arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome left shoulder on Thursday, the Major League Baseball team said. The South Korean left-hander, who signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers in 2012, has not played for the team since late March after suffering from a sore shoulder during spring training. Ryu, 28, had surgery in Los Angeles to repair a labral tear in his left shoulder, the Dodgers said in a statement.
World number one Rory McIlroy was left frustrated as Italy's Francesco Molinari headed the leader board at the end of the first day of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday. Molinari carded a seven-under par 65 with no bogeys finishing with a flourish with birdies at the 17th and 18th –- both par-5s -– to leave himself two shots in front of Sweden's Robert Karlsson and six in front of McIlroy who had a 71. Karlsson is a shot in front of a clutch of players on four-under including 2008 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez, another Spaniard in Jorge Campillo, England's Chris Wood and Korea's YE Yang.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - Convicted murderer and former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he intimidated a witness in a double-murder case against him by shooting the man in the face. Hernandez, 25, is accused of shooting former friend, Alexander Bradley, in February 2013 after he referred to the 2012 murders in Boston. Hernandez is awaiting trial on the double-murder charge, with a judge urging the trial begin in late November or early December.
(Reuters) - The Atlanta Hawks had cause to celebrate on Thursday when medical tests revealed that forward DeMarre Carroll had no structural or ligament damage after suffering a leg injury in Game One of the Eastern Conference finals Carroll, the Hawks' leading scorer in the playoffs, exited the contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday with 4:59 to play after his left knee buckled as he drove to the basket. "An X-ray was negative and an MRI revealed a left knee sprain," the Hawks said in a statement on Thursday after the small forward was tested. "Carroll will be listed as questionable and his status will be updated as appropriate." Carroll, who was averaging 17.1 points per game this postseason coming into the conference finals, had been diagnosed with a sprained knee on Wednesday night.
Cleveland's LeBron James and Golden State's Stephen Curry, who could oppose each other in next month's NBA Finals, were unanimous selections to the All-NBA First Team roster announced Thursday. Voting by a North American media panel gave James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, and Curry, this season's NBA Most Valuable Player for the league-leading Warriors, the maximum 645 votes from all 129 ballots to the select squad.
Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll, helped off the court in the fourth quarter of a playoff loss with a sore left knee, learned Thursday that he only suffered a bone bruise. The Hawks' playoff scoring leader with 17.1 points a game was running to the basket Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening game of the NBA Eastern Conference finals when his knee buckled on a fast break after a steal off LeBron James. The Cavaliers won the game 97-89.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Francesco Molinari has gone three years without a win but his golfing radar was back in good working order as he raced into a two-shot lead with an opening 65 at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday. The 32-year-old Italian crammed seven birdies in a flawless seven-under-par effort at Wentworth while world number one Rory McIlroy could only manage a 71 on a day of unbroken sunshine on the outskirts of London. Swede Robert Karlsson was in second place on 67, one ahead of Spanish pair Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jorge Campillo, British duo Marc Warren and Chris Wood and 2009 U.S. PGA Championship winner YE Yang.
Denver Broncos defensive end Antonio Smith is being investigated for alleged child abuse by authorities in Texas, celebrity website TMZ and the Denver Post reported Thursday. Smith, 33, signed a one-year National Football League contract worth $2 million with the Broncos last month. Smith, who was named to the Pro Bowl all-star game in 2011, is familiar with changes to the Denver defensive system being made by a new coaching staff and has 44 sacks in 155 career NFL games.
(Reuters) - Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James headlined the list of players selected for the All-NBA team, the league said on Thursday. James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies joined Curry and James on the first team.
A domestic violence charge against Ray Rice, the former NFL star who knocked his girlfriend unconscious in a casino elevator, was dismissed Thursday and dropped from his record. Judge Michael Donio signed off on the move after the former Baltimore Ravens running back completed a pre-trial intervention program, which required a minimum one year of attendance. Rice was charged with aggravated assault in February of last year for knocking out his now-wife Janay.
A New Jersey judge on Thursday dismissed domestic violence charges against Ray Rice brought against the former National Football League star for knocking unconscious the woman he later married after Rice completed a pretrial intervention program. The February 2014 incident involving Rice and Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino's elevator and others involving NFL players prompted the most popular U.S. sports league to toughen penalties for domestic violence and other off-field misconduct. Rice, a 28-year-old running back who was released by the Baltimore Ravens due to the incident, had applied for New Jersey's pre-trial intervention program during a May 2014 court appearance in which he pleaded not guilty to third-degree aggravated assault charges.
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - British fans, starved of top-notch golf for seven months, turned out in their droves for the BMW PGA Championship first round on Thursday and the main attraction was world number one Rory McIlroy. The Florida-based Northern Irishman, back on home soil for the first time since October, was less than satisfied with an opening one-under-par 71 and showed his displeasure with the occasional flash of indiscipline. Defending champion McIlroy tossed his club across the fairway in frustration after playing an errant second at the par-five 17th.