Panthers sign Shockey
The Carolina Panthers signed four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey in a bid to give their sputtering offense a boost, the NFL team said on Thursday. Shockey, who was released by the New Orleans Saints last week, joins a Panthers squad that finished last in the 2010 season and an offense that had an NFL-worst 196 points. “We are very pleased to add Jeremy to our football team,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said in a report posted on the team’s Web site. “He is a highly competitive player with a good skill set and a wealth of experience. He should make a solid contribution to our offense.”
No men in women’s team
FIFA on Thursday confirmed that there were no men in the Equatorial Guinea women’s team that qualified for June’s World Cup in Germany, despite allegations from rival countries. “There are no men in the Equatorial Guinea women’s team,” said Jurg Nepfer, who is responsible for education and technical development at FIFA. “There’s no proof. It doesn’t exist. We can’t comment, there are no comments to make.” Nepfer was speaking during a tour of countries that have qualified for this summer’s women’s World Cup. Equatorial Guinea were accused of having two male players in their women’s team during November’s Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The country’s soccer federation, Feguifoot, flatly rejected the accusations. At the time, Feguifoot media officer David Monsuy said: “They are saying that Genoveva Ayong Man and Salimata Simpaore are men. It was the press in Nigeria who started it, with Cameroon following afterwards.”
Tough guy had brain disease
Bob Probert, who made his living for 16 seasons by pounding on other hockey tough guys, suffered from a degenerative brain disease when he died last year, a new report revealed on Thursday. The hard-drinking former NHL enforcer officially died of heart failure at age 45. However, Probert was battling other demons at the time of his death and that’s why he asked that his brain be analyzed once he died. Boston University researchers said on Thursday that analysis of Probert’s donated brain revealed that he had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Probert, who played nine seasons with Detroit and seven with Chicago, is the second hockey player from the program at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy to be diagnosed with the disease following his death. Reggie Fleming, a 20-year veteran who carved out a career in the 1960s, also suffered from CTE.
Pique tight-lipped on Shakira
Spanish World Cup star Gerard Pique on Thursday told reporters that he would prefer to talk about soccer than discuss his burgeoning romance with singing superstar Shakira. The 24-year-old Barcelona center-back has become the focus of intense media attention in Spain this week after pictures of him hand in hand with the 34-year-old Colombian singer were published in gossip magazines. “I’d like it if people only talked about me from a sporting perspective but I get the impression that, ultimately, it’s inevitable,” said Pique during a press conference at Barca’s training center. “I think that the other aspect sells more.” He added: “I accept that people can criticize me for sporting reasons but what I don’t like is when they use an easy excuse and say that my performances are affected by my private life. If we’re here it’s to talk about football.”
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.