NFL fines Stokley over swat
The NFL fined Denver receiver Brandon Stokley US$25,000 for making contact with an official that led to him being tossed from last week’s game in Philadelphia. Stokley said he would appeal the fine. The 11-year veteran was upset over the lack of a pass interference call on a third-down play in the first quarter against the Eagles when his route was disrupted by a defender. Seeing no penalty flag, he sprinted down the field and shouted at official Todd Prukop, who pointed for him to go to his sideline. As Stokley moved to leave the field, he turned and waved his right arm in disgust, accidentally slapping Prokop’s hand.
Nix to manage Bills
Three days before ending their season, the struggling Buffalo Bills promoted Russ Brandon to chief executive and appointed national scout Buddy Nix as general manager on Thursday. Brandon had served as chief operating officer and general manager for the last two years, while Nix returned to the Bills as national scout on Jan. 26 after a brief retirement. Team owner Ralph Wilson announced the restructuring of his front office as the Bills prepared to host the Indianapolis Colts (14-1) tomorrow. “This is someone that we needed for a long, long time,” Wilson told the team’s Web site. “Something that fans as well as everyone in the area and myself have wanted, and that’s a GM of football.”
Byrd signs with Cubs
Free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd has agreed to a three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, the club announced on Thursday. Although financial details were not disclosed by the Cubs, local media estimated the deal to be worth US$15 million. Byrd, 32, batted .283 last season with the Texas Rangers while setting career-best totals of 20 homers and 89 RBIs. A versatile player who is experienced in all three outfield positions, Byrd is expected to take over in center from Kosuke Fukudome, who is likely to move back to right field.
Lowell surgery successful
Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell is expected to be fit for spring training after having thumb surgery this week, the American League club said on Thursday. Lowell, the 2007 World Series MVP who came close to being traded to the Texas Rangers earlier this month, had an operation on Wednesday to repair a torn radial collateral ligament. The 35-year-old is scheduled to make a complete recovery in six to eight weeks, the Red Sox announced on their Web site. Lowell, a four-time All-Star who will start the final season of a three-year contract in Boston, is batting .280 with 218 homers and 926 RBIs in 1,528 career games.
Poiree injures back in crash
Former biathlon world champion Raphael Poiree is hoping to undergo surgery today after sustaining serious back injuries in an all-terrain quad vehicle crash, close associates said on Thursday. The 35-year-old Frenchman, who retired in 2007 and is based in Norway, sustained the injuries on Monday when the vehicle he was driving in the southwestern Norwegian town of Eikelandsosen flipped over. He was to have gone under the knife on Wednesday but the operation was postponed owing to heavy bruising. Doctors at the Norwegian hospital to which he was airlifted after the crash near his home described his condition as “serious but stable” on Thursday.
Windies star arrested
West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor escaped starting the New Year in a Jamaican police lock-up after he was arrested, charged and released over an incident at a bar. Taylor was charged with using indecent language, assaulting a police officer, improper conduct and resisting arrest. Police sergeant Clifford Evans said Taylor was a patron in a bar when police ordered it to close as required at 11pm. Taylor, who has played 29 Tests and taken 82 wickets since his West Indies debut, became abusive and matters escalated when police tried to place handcuffs on him. Taylor was later released and scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 12.
Reds’ Johnson sidelined
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez says defender Glen Johnson will be sidelined for at least a month with a knee injury. A scan revealed a tear in the medial ligaments in Johnson’s right knee and he wsa due to see a specialist yesterday to determine when he can play again. Benitez said on Thursday that “we are waiting for another opinion and then we’ll know how long” he will be out. The England defender limped off in the 88th minute of Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Olympic champ retires
Olympic cross-country champion Christian Hoffmann retired from the sport on Thursday after Austria’s national anti-doping agency (NADA) provisionally suspended him for his alleged involvement in blood doping. “I won’t have a chance now to qualify [for the Vancouver Olympics],” Hoffmann told the Austria Press Agency. “And as it would have been my last season anyway, I quit immediately.” The 35-year-old Hoffmann won gold in the 30km race at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and was part of the Austrian relay team that won the world title in 1999. Earlier on Thursday, NADA banned Hoffmann from all competitions with immediate effect until a hearing by the agency’s disciplinary committee has taken place. NADA did not reveal a date for the hearing but Hoffmann’s attorney Hans-Moritz Pott said it would take place on Jan. 29. That would mean that Hoffmann won’t be able to qualify for the Olympics. Hoffmann has never tested positive, but prosecutors in Austria have been investigating possible blood doping by him and other athletes since May. Hoffmann, who has always denied any wrongdoing, says it’s “unfair” to him that he has already been suspended ahead of the committee’s hearing. Hoffmann allegedly colluded with cyclists Bernhard Kohl and Michael Rasmussen and Kohl’s former manager Stefan Matschiner, who was arrested in March and has admitted he helped Kohl with blood doping.
Jones in injury scare
Stephen Jones gave Wales an injury scare just over a month before they begin their Six Nations campaign against England as the Scarlets beat Newport-Gwent Dragons 14-9 in the Celtic League. The British and Irish Lions fly-half had to come off 54 minutes into his side’s away win on Thursday with an injured right shoulder after a heavy tackle in the first-half. Jones had earlier kicked two penalties in a victory where Scarlets full-back Rhys Priestland scored the match’s only try. All of the Dragons’ points came from the boot of fly-half Shaun Connor. Despite this win, the Scarlets stayed second bottom in the Celtic League with Welsh rivals Newport-Gwent in sixth place.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the