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.
Politicians are meant to kiss babies, not crash into children, but on the campaign trail yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison barrelled into a young boy during a friendly kickaround, eliciting a chorus of stunned “ooohs” and “aaaws” from spectators. Morrison was playing five-a-side soccer in northern Tasmania, where he is trawling for votes ahead of Saturday’s election. At first, Morrison — shorn of his jacket, but still sporting a shirt and tie — sauntered around the field somewhat aimlessly, trying to get a toe on the ball here and there as it ping-ponged from boy to boy. However, then the 54-year-old stepped
Taiwanese Hsu Le on Tuesday won the women’s 100m hurdles at the Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, snagging Taiwan’s first gold medal at this year’s Games. The 19-year-old hurdler finished in 13.91 seconds, breaking the Deaflympics record of 14.20 seconds. Hsu already holds the world deaf record for the women’s 100m hurdles, which she secured at the biennial National Athletics Championships in New Taipei City in 2020 with a time of 13.19 seconds. The Deaflympics is her first international competition. On Sunday, she won a bronze medal in the women’s 100m, finishing in 12.31 seconds. She is also to compete in
Being shot in both eyes and completely blinded did not stop Zion Ricks-Gaines from skateboarding. It made him want to do it even more. “I still want to go pro, I still want to accomplish being a professional skateboarder,” the 19-year-old said as he readied a kickflip at a skate park in San Francisco. He wants to share that enthusiasm with everyone he meets. “I want to start more skate after-school programs for students. I feel like I wouldn’t have really looked in that direction if I had my sight,” he said. Ricks-Gaines’ life was derailed outside a bar late last year when a
Taiwan’s Chuang Chih-yuan on Sunday clinched the men’s singles title at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Feeder Westchester tournament in New York state after defeating Benedikt Duda of Germany in the final. Chuang, 41, known as Taiwan’s “godfather of table tennis,” edged out 25-year-old Duda 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 in 55 minutes, 54 seconds at the Westchester Table Tennis Center. The win was Chuang’s first men’s singles title since he won the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest in 2016. It was his second title in Westchester following a victory in the mixed doubles final with