|Jul 30|| Michel Platini confirms he will run for FIFA president|
GENEVA (AP) Michel Platini has launched his campaign to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, aiming to give the scandal-hit governing body "the dignity and the position it deserves."
Platini, the UEFA president and a FIFA vice president, wrote to member federations in Europe on Wednesday saying he will stand in the election and is counting on their support.
The FIFA election is on Feb. 26 and would-be candidates must apply by Oct. 26.
"There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands," wrote Platini, who turned 60 last month. "I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of FIFA."
Platini has for years been the obvious candidate to succeed Blatter, his mentor in FIFA politics. But a rift between the long-time allies deepened when Blatter broke a promise to leave office in 2015.
The former France great chose last year not to oppose Blatter, who won a fifth presidential term on May 29. Four days later, Blatter announced his resignation plans under pressure from American and Swiss federal investigations of corruption implicating FIFA.
"However, recent events force the supreme governing body of world football to turn over a new leaf and rethink its governance," Platini said.
Platini chose to run after getting encouragement from some of his fellow FIFA vice presidents last week in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Five of the six confederation leaders, including Platini, were there for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw with only the North American regional body missing.
Platini then traveled to Philadelphia for the Gold Cup final on Sunday, and briefed CONCACAF leaders on his plans. They included FIFA executive committee colleague Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer Federation president.
The U.S. body was among the five FIFA members which nominated Prince Ali bin al-Hussein to challenge Blatter two months ago. The Jordan
|Jul 30|| Chiefs safety Eric Berry back at practice after cancer fight|
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) There was a moment in the early stages of chemotherapy when Eric Berry was having breakfast with his father, and the enormity of what faced him was so great that he broke down and cried.
For 30 minutes, one of the toughest players on the Kansas City Chiefs wept.
Then, he resolved to beat cancer.
Eight months later, Berry walked triumphantly onto the practice fields at Missouri Western State University, joining rookies and select veterans Wednesday for the start of training camp.
Six merciless rounds of draining, debilitating drugs had rid his body of Hodgkin's lymphoma, but they had also stoked the passion that Berry still harbors for the game.
"It's been a roller coaster," he said, "but I wouldn't change it for the world."
Flanked by his father, James, and his mother, Carol, Berry spoke publicly for the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer last December. He recalled the terror that gripped him when the mass was first found in his chest, and the dark days that immediately followed.
The days he didn't want to get out of bed. The days he struggled to choke down food, all of it tasteless. The seemingly endless trips to the hospital for each round of treatment.
"In the beginning it was hard, it really was," James Berry said. "Those possibilities go through your mind - `What if he can't play again?' You think of those types of things, but then you kick those to the side. And when you looked at Eric you said, `This guy is a fighter."'
Such a fighter that he chose to receive treatment through an IV rather than a PICC line, a semi-permanent catheter that would have prevented him from training.
Between each round of chemo, Berry would squeeze in 10 to 12 workouts, sometimes struggling just to do five push-ups. But he never lost sight of an audacious goal: Be back with the Chiefs by the time their season opens Sept. 13 in Houston.
"Everybody wants you to be strong in
|Jul 30|| Winter Classic to bring Bruins, Canadiens to home of Pats|
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The Winter Classic is coming to the home of the New England Patriots.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined officials from the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday to say the Original Six rivals would meet at Gillette Stadium on New Year's Day. The Bruins will be the first team to host the event twice. They also hosted it in 2010, at Fenway Park.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft also spoke at the ceremony, just hours after his impassioned "Deflategate" defense.
Bettman notes that the three organizations are among the most successful in their sports, with 34 championships. The Canadiens have won 24 of those, but the Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs.
Bettman also says the league has extended the game's title sponsorship with Bridgestone for another five years.
|Jul 30|| Brady fights on, files lawsuit to stop suspension|
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady took the fight over his "Deflategate" suspension to social media and federal court Wednesday, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft backed the three-time Super Bowl MVP, saying "I was wrong to put my faith in the league."
One day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected Brady's appeal, the star quarterback posted a 507-word statement on Facebook with his firmest denial yet, writing: "I did nothing wrong." Kraft followed with an unscheduled address to the media gathered at Gillette Stadium for the opening of training camp and the team's defense of its fourth Super Bowl championship.
"It is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players, and a man for whom I have the utmost respect," the Patriots owner said. "I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just."
Just before the courts closed in Minnesota, the NFL Players Association asked the court to overturn Brady's four-game suspension - or at least put it on hold until the case can be heard. The union asked the court to throw out the suspension before Sept. 4; that would keep Brady from missing any practices before the Patriots' Sept. 10 season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"We need to free him up for that first week," union attorney Jeffrey Kessler told The Associated Press. "We don't believe this discipline can ever be sustained."
The lawsuit argues that the NFL made up its rules as it went along and misapplied the ones that were already on the books. In an interview with the AP, Kessler called it "offensive" that the league accused Brady of destroying his cellphone to obstruct the investigation, a claim NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made in upholding the suspension on Tuesday.
"We believe they highlighted this issue solely to inflame the public, to suggest there is some secret information being withheld, an
|Jul 30|| AP Sources: Phillies agree to trade Cole Hamels to Texas|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) After years of trade speculation, Cole Hamels' time in Philadelphia is ending.
Two people familiar with the deal say the Phillies have agreed to trade the ace left-hander to the Texas Rangers for a package of prospects.
Both people spoke to The Associated Press late Wednesday night on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been finalized. Hamels has a limited no-trade clause but does not have to approve a deal to the Rangers.
Hamels would become the first pitcher in major league history traded during a season immediately after throwing a no-hitter - he no-hit the Chicago Cubs on Saturday at Wrigley Field.
"He's definitely a great pitcher," Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland said after Texas beat the New York Yankees 5-2 Wednesday. "Obviously watched the no-hitter the other day, pretty impressive. He's got a long track record of great success. It will be huge for us."
The 2008 World Series MVP was an integral part of the greatest run in franchise history when the Phillies won five straight NL East titles, two pennants and one World Series from 2007-11.
"He's been here a long time, but that's baseball," Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz said following an 8-2 loss at Toronto. "Definitely it's sad when you're around one of your teammates for a long time and then they have to go away."
The rebuilding Phillies, a big league-worst 38-64, traded All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon to Washington on Tuesday. Both players made it clear they wanted to play for contenders.
Texas is seven games behind AL West-leading Houston and four games behind Minnesota for the AL's second wild-card spot.
There was thought the Phillies might wait to move Hamels in the offseason after recently hired executive Andy MacPhail officially replaces Pat Gillick, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger with MacPhail's input.
Hamels was 114-90 with a 3.30 ERA in 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He
|Jul 28|| Memphis' Austin Nichols transfers to Virginia|
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Memphis leading scorer Austin Nichols has transferred to Virginia.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett announced Nichols' transfer Monday.
Bennett says Nichols is a "great fit for our program and system."
Nichols averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots per game as a sophomore with the Tigers.
The 6-foot-9 Nichols will have two years of eligibility remaining and must sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen granted Nichols a conditional release earlier this month.
Nichols becomes the third Memphis player to transfer since the end of the season.
|Jul 28|| Texans' Clowney won't be ready for start of training camp|
HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans have placed outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney on the physically unable to perform list.
The move means the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft will not be ready for the start of training camp this weekend. But Clowney will be able to return to practice whenever he is ready.
Clowney played just four games as a rookie last season before having season-ending microfracture surgery in December. Monday's move isn't a surprise. The Texans have said they weren't sure if he would be ready for the start of training camp, but they still hope that he will be healthy in time for the season opener.
|Jul 28|| IOC urges US to come up with another bid city for 2024 Games|
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) With Boston no longer in contention, IOC President Thomas Bach urged U.S. Olympic leaders on Tuesday to pick "the most appropriate city" as a substitute candidate for the 2024 Games. Two-time Olympic host Los Angeles could fit the bill perfectly, according to several IOC board members.
The U.S. Olympic Committee severed ties with Boston on Monday, finally pulling the plug on a bid that had been hampered by dismal poll ratings, strong local opposition and months of political wrangling.
The USOC now has until Sept. 15 to submit a candidate to the International Olympic Committee and formally enter a race that already includes Paris; Rome; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary. Toronto and Baku, Azerbaijan, are also likely contenders.
The IOC has been consulting with potential bids, including Boston, as part of a new "invitation phase"' for interested cities. The IOC is eager to have a strong candidate from the U.S., which hasn't hosted a Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996.
"For the IOC this was always about an American bid put forward by the United States Olympic Committee,"' Bach said in a statement. "This invitation phase is also an opportunity to determine which city will eventually be chosen by an NOC. We are confident that USOC will choose the most appropriate city for a strong U.S. bid."
IOC officials had just learned of Boston's withdrawal as they gathered for an executive board meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The rest of the IOC membership will be arriving later for a general assembly highlighted by Friday's vote to determine the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, with Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, as the two candidates.
"It's always a shame when a national Olympic committee selects a city and then is incapable or unable to bring it to the next stage of the contest," IOC vice president Craig Reedie told The Associated Press. "But I suppose after mature reflection and looking a
|Jul 28|| Cardinals name woman to training camp coach position|
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter to coach inside linebackers through their upcoming training camp and preseason.
The Cardinals say Welter is believed to be the first woman to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL. Welter played running back and special teams in 2014 for the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League, becoming the first woman to hold a non-kicking position for a men's professional sports league.
"I am honored to be a part of this amazing team," Welter said on Twitter on Monday night.
Welter coached linebackers and special teams for the Revolution last season, becoming the first woman to coach in a men's pro football league. Her general manager with the Revolution was 2015 NFL Hall of Fame inductee Tim Brown.
Welter played linebacker for more than 14 seasons in the Women's Football Alliance, mostly with the Dallas Diamonds, where she helped the team win four championships. Welter holds a master's degree in sports psychology. A rugby player at Boston College, she also earned two gold medals on Team USA at the International Federation of Football Women's World Championships in 2009 and 2013.
A news conference was scheduled for Tuesday to introduce Welter and Levon Kirkland, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who is the inaugural participant in the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship established to give recently retired NFL players a chance to coach in the league. He will work with outside linebackers for the next two seasons.
Four months ago at the NFL meetings, Arizona coach Bruce Arians was asked about the possibility of a woman coaching in the NFL.
"The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they'll be hired," Arians said.
Speaking to azcardinals.com on Monday, Arians said: "Coaching is nothing more than teaching. One thing I have learned from players is `How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the
|Jul 25|| Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz and Biggio ready to enter Hall|
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) Three dominated on the mound, the other excelled at three positions up the middle. Together, pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and multi-talented Craig Biggio left a remarkable imprint on baseball.
Playing through an era tainted by steroids and dominated by offense - compliments of bulked-up sluggers, a smaller strike zone and smaller ballparks - the trio of pitchers combined for 735 wins, 11,113 strikeouts and nine Cy Young Awards. And the indefatigable Biggio became the only player in major league history with at least 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs while being asked to play four positions in his 20-year career.
All four, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, will be inducted Sunday in Cooperstown.
"I don't condone anybody doing anything bad as far as cheating the game," said Martinez, who joins former Giants right-hander Juan Marichal (1983) as the only natives of the Dominican Republic elected to the hall. "How did I feel pitching in the juice era? I wouldn't want it any other way. For me, there's no crying. I mean, as far as the way I did compete, I know I did it right. I did it the right way."
Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz were elected by big margins their first time on the ballot and represent the first trio of pitchers voted in together. Biggio made it on his third try.
The 6-foot-10 Johnson was an intimidating figure standing atop a pitching mound. During a 22-year career, spent mostly with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, the dominant left-hander with the imposing fastball won 303 games and five Cy Young Awards, including four in a row from 1999 to 2002 with the Diamondbacks.
A 10-time All-Star, the native of Walnut Creek, California led his league in strikeouts nine times and had a career total of 4,875, second all-time only to Nolan Ryan. In 2001, Johnson was 3-0 in the World Series to help Arizona, in onl
|Jul 25|| AP Source: Panama, Costa Rica request CONCACAF ref reviews|
Panama and Costa Rica have formally asked for reviews of CONCACAF'S referee procedures after both countries had questionable calls go against them late in Gold Cup knockout round games against regional power Mexico, according to a person in CONCACAF with knowledge of the requests.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because he was not authorized to discuss the matter. CONCACAF had announced that the issue had been added for discussion to the agenda of Saturday's executive committee meeting but did not detail the requests.
In the final minute of extra time in Sunday's quarterfinal, Mexico was awarded a penalty kick with the game tied 0-0 and converted to beat Costa Rica. Then in Wednesday's semifinals, Panama led 1-0 when it was called for a hand ball in the box. Mexico again converted in stoppage time, then went on to win in extra time.
The person said Panama requested investigations into the referee committee and its procedures, the people who assign referees to games, all unspecified "suspicious matches," and referee Mark Geiger.
In a separate letter, Costa Rica made similar requests. It also requested that certain referees not be assigned to its matches in the future.
CONCACAF said in a statement: "The confederation takes these claims extremely seriously and will look into them immediately."
Earlier Friday, the president of the Panamanian federation, Pedro Chaluja, told reporters that "we feel that that game was fixed."
"There are third parties with interests, and we know that it can't be possible that the best-ranked referee in CONCACAF has such a poor and suspicious performance in a game," he said.
He also noted that "we know that there have been suspicious and strange things going on in several matches in this Cup."
On Thursday, the federation demanded the removal of CONCACAF's referee selection panel after describing the officiating in the loss as "insulting and embarrassing." The
|Jul 25|| Coyotes to stay for at least 2 more years under new deal|
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Glendale City Council voted unanimously in favor of a restructured arena lease agreement with the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, keeping the team in the desert for at least two more years.
The deal approved by the seven-member council replaces a 15-year, $225 million arena management agreement signed in 2013. The new deal cuts Glendale's annual arena management fee to the Coyotes from $15 million to $6.5 million, turns all hockey-related profits over to the Coyotes and rescinds a five-year out clause the team had in the original agreement.
"This is fair arrangement for the city, a fair arrangement for the taxpayers and a fair arrangement for the Coyotes and our fans and our sponsors," Coyotes co-owner, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said.
The new deal comes after the City Council voted June 10 to terminate the original arena lease agreement, citing a conflict-of-interest law. The Coyotes obtained a temporary restraining order two days later and the two sides were likely facing a long court battle with the team threatening to sue the city.
The new deal allows Glendale to cut costs and gives the Coyotes a chance to work out a new long-term deal or explore other options like a new arena in downtown Phoenix.
"It truly was a truly unpleasant process, but I think it was something that was necessary," Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said. "This is a decision that benefits the entire city, the Coyotes, the Coyotes fans, which have proven they are very vocal. At the same time, we represent our citizens and we have to uphold that. I think this accomplishes all of that."
The council voted to void the original arena lease agreement, citing an Arizona statute that allows a government entity to end an agreement if a person who worked on the deal later represents the other party. Former city attorney Craig Tindall was the Coyotes general counsel before being terminated under the new deal with the city and former Gle
|Jul 25|| Capitals' Braden Holtby signs $30.5 million, 5-year deal|
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) Braden Holtby signed a $30.5-million, five-year contract with the Washington Capitals on Friday, a day before an arbitrator was expected to rule on an amount for a one-year deal for the goaltender.
The 25-year-old Holtby, who was a restricted free agent, had a career season with 41 victories, a 2.22 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and nine shutouts in 73 games. He is the third goaltender to reach 100 wins with the Capitals, joining Olie Kolzig and Don Beaupre.
The deal came a day after an arbitration hearing in Toronto.
"It was hard for both sides to put apples-to-apples comparisons on the comparable goaltenders," general manager Brian MacLellan said. "In the arbitration process, both sides present their stories. You get a better sense of where each side is at and where you can compromise. And that's what happened."
Holtby's contract will count $6.1 million against the salary cap over the next five seasons. He's coming off a strong playoff performance - a 1.71 goals-against average and .944 save percentage to help the Capitals reach the second round before losing a seven-game series to the New York Rangers.
"With last year it was trying to prove yourself for a contract," said Holtby, a fourth-round pick by the Capitals in 2008. "This year, you're trying to prove the contract you got. Obviously, it's going to be a new set of challenges. The low points of seasons are going to be a little harder to get through because of the added pressure."
Holtby has gradually turned into Washington's top goaltender over the past three seasons, getting more appearances and starts in each one. Now that question is settled, possibly for years to come. His career record is 101-51 with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.
"He's a perfect fit for what we think we have," MacLellan said. "He fits well with his teammates, fits well with the defensemen. The coaches like him. I don't know w
|Jul 25|| Agent: Saints inform 2014 sack leader Galette of his release|
NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Saints have cut Junior Galette, who has been among their most productive pass rushers the past two seasons, but also has dealt with off-the field trouble.
Galette's agent, Alvin Keels Jr., said Friday that his client has been informed he'll be released after he undergoes a physical.
Galette, who signed a four-year, $41.5 million extension just last year, led the Saints with 10 sacks last season. His 12 sacks ranked second on the club in 2013.
The Saints did not return multiple messages seeking comment on the move, but the timing indicates that coach Sean Payton was concerned about whether the NFL's ongoing review of Galette's conduct outside of football could become disruptive for the club.
Galette was arrested in January after an alleged domestic dispute. Charges were dropped, but the incident remains under review by the NFL. The league also is reviewing a video which shows a man resembling Galette in an altercation on a beach.
Keels said Galette is expected to undergo a physical on Saturday, and, if he passes, should be released by Monday.
"He appreciates the organization and the fans, coaches and teammates for the opportunity," Keels said. "Things obviously didn't work out and he's looking forward to the next chapter in his playing career.
"He's motivated to get back on the field and I think he'll use this as a building block," Keels added. "He'll bounce back."
Galette was elevated to a starting role in 2013 in part because of injuries to former Saints outside linebackers Will Smith and Victor Butler. Galette finished that season within one sack of defensive end Cameron Jordan's team-leading 12 1/2 sacks.
"The Saints made a big mistake to kick me when I'm down," Galette told WWL-TV in New Orleans on Friday. "I'm not mad. It'll be the worst call they ever made. I will be the best player in the league next year."
In 2014, Galette was named a defensive captain
|Jul 25|| Mets acquire Uribe, Johnson from Braves|
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets acquired infielder Juan Uribe, infielder-outfielder Kelly Johnson and cash considerations from the Atlanta Braves on Friday night for minor league pitchers John Gant and Rob Whalen.
The Mets announced the trade after their 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta's 4-2 loss at St. Louis.
In corresponding roster moves, the Mets designated outfielder John Mayberry Jr. for assignment and optioned infielder Danny Muno to Triple-A Las Vegas. Third baseman David Wright, sidelined with a spinal condition, was also transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Before the game, the Mets promoted top prospect, outfielder Michael Conforto, from Double-A Binghamton, hoping to give their light-hitting lineup a boost. The Mets are last in the majors in batting average and second-to-last in runs scored.
The struggles reached their lowest point on June 9, when the team was no-hit by San Francisco Giants rookie Chris Heston. Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw nearly matched the feat in the series opener, throwing six perfect innings, shutting the Mets out for the 11th time this season.
The pair is also expected to provide defensive flexibility for manager Terry Collins.
Uribe, acquired by the Braves on May 27 as part of a five-player deal with the Dodgers, is batting .272 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs while primarily playing third base.
"I feel very good because I got traded to another team that is a contender," Uribe said through an interpreter. "I would have felt bad if I got released or sent home, so I know that I'm going to go to a good team and have the chance to be in the playoffs."
He was a key contributor to a pair of World Series-winning teams, helping the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and San Francisco in 2010. The Mets have struggled to replace Wright's production in their lineup, receiving only three home runs from the third base position since Wright went down in April.
|Jul 25|| Olympic champion Shawn Johnson gets engaged at Wrigley Field|
CHICAGO (AP) Olympic champion gymnast Shawn Johnson threw out a ceremonial first ball at Wrigley Field - and wound up with quite a catch.
Johnson was walking off the field Friday before the Chicago Cubs hosted Philadelphia when she was surprised by longtime boyfriend Andrew East, a rookie long snapper for the Kansas City Chiefs.
East dropped to one knee near home plate and presented the 2008 gold medalist with a diamond engagement ring. A stunned Johnson put her hands over her mouth, bobbed her head up and down, then jumped into his arms.
Later, she put her feelings onto her Twitter feed.
"Today the love of my life asked me to be his forever.AND I SAID YES!" she posted.
The 23-year-old Johnson won the balance beam title at the Beijing Olympics. The next year, she won the title on ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars."
|Jul 21|| Pele leaves Sao Paulo hospital after back surgery|
SAO PAULO (AP) Pele has been released from a Brazilian hospital after successfully undergoing back surgery.
Doctors say the 74-year-old soccer great left the Albert Einstein hospital on Monday, less than a week after undergoing a procedure for nerve root decompression.
The surgery had been scheduled to fix discomfort in Pele's back and hip.
Pele's manager Paul Kemsley said it was the first of two corrective procedures Pele will undergo in Brazil over the next few months to ensure the former player is "strong and healthy for the Rio Olympics and all of its related travel."
Pele underwent prostate surgery in May, and in December he was hospitalized for two weeks because of a urinary tract infection that stemmed from surgery to remove kidney stones.
|Jul 21|| FIA retires car No. 17 in honor of F1 driver Jules Bianchi|
NICE, France (AP) Jules Bianchi's No. 17 is being retired from Formula One in honor of the French driver, whose funeral takes place Tuesday.
Bianchi drove with this car number for 15 races in 2014, when drivers were first given the choice of which number they preferred.
Jean Todt, president of auto sports' governing body, announced the decision Monday. The FIA said it was "an appropriate gesture."
Bianchi, 25, died Friday from head injuries sustained in a crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix. He had been in a coma since the Oct. 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car.
Bianchi's funeral is in his home town of Nice at the Sainte Reparate Cathedral. Executives from the Manor-Marussia F1 team are expected to attend, as well as Todt and his son Nicolas, Bianchi's manager in F1.
Tributes are also expected at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, including one by Ferrari which helped secure Bianchi's F1 debut. The driver was being lined up as an eventual replacement for Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
Bianchi competed in 34 races during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, scoring the first ever championship points for Manor - then known as Marussia - by finishing ninth at last year's Monaco Grand Prix.
He was the first driver to die of injuries sustained in an F1 race since three-time world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
|Jul 21|| NCAA tweaks March Madness seeding rules for more flexibility|
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The committee that puts together the field of 68 for the NCAA men's basketball tournament will have more flexibility to set the First Four and give No. 2 seeds more favorable matchups.
The NCAA announced Monday that the Division I selection committee will now be allowed to slide every team up or down the seed list, including the last four at-large teams selected. Until now, the last four teams voted into the tournament field were locked into the First Four, the eight-team playoff that serves as the tournament's first round.
Going forward, the last four at-large teams on the overall seed list - after the seeds have been tweaked by a process known as scrubbing - will play in the First Four.
"It's a small, yet significant, alteration to the language outlining our seeding process," said Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, the chairman of the Division I men's basketball committee. "Making this change gives the committee the opportunity to properly seed every team, whereas previous procedures did not permit appropriate scrubbing of the last four at-large teams."
Selecting teams usually involves looking at teams in groups of eight, Castiglione said. Scrubbing is comparing two teams against one another, from their records against each other and common opponents to their wins against tournament teams.
"This tweak provides us with the opportunity to scrub teams even more thoroughly," he said.
Last season, the seeding process placed Dayton into the First Four, playing at home. UCLA, another team that was among the last to get into the field, was placed in the main bracket. The old procedures did not allow the committee to switch Dayton and UCLA.
The First Four started in 2011 when the field expanded to 68 teams. The last four at-large teams selected to the field are paired off in two games and the last four teams on the overall seed list are matched in two other games played on Tuesday and Wednesday
|Jul 21|| Nuggets trade point guard Ty Lawson to Houston|
HOUSTON (AP) Rockets general manager Daryl Morey knows adding Ty Lawson is a risky move. He believes the possible reward is worth that risk.
Lawson was acquired in a trade with the Denver Nuggets on Monday, giving the Rockets needed depth at point guard, though he is currently dealing with off-court issues. He entered a 30-day residential treatment program last week after his second DUI arrest.
Morey noted there are always risks with players, whether it's concerns like Lawson's or with injuries or other issues.
"When you're trying to be the best team out of 30 you've got to risk all over the place," he said.
Morey vowed that the team will help him stay on track after he leaves the treatment program.
"Through our conversations with him we feel confident that he's getting the help he needs," Morey said.
The Nuggets receive a lottery protected first-round pick in 2016 and cash considerations along with Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni and Joey Dorsey in the deal that also sends a 2017 second-round pick to Houston.
Lawson was a first-round pick by the Timberwolves in 2009 before being traded to the Nuggets that day. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 assists in his six-year career with Denver. The 27-year-old started a career-high 75 games last season and averaged 15.2 points and a career-best 9.6 assists.
Morey believes Lawson's threat as a scorer will help take some pressure off superstar James Harden, who finished second in MVP voting in 2015.
"He's one of the best playmakers in the league," Morey said of Lawson. "We struggled against teams that would really load up on James and we feel like that will be a lot more difficult for teams to do that now."
Lawson is friendly with Harden, Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza and indicated to the Nuggets that Houston was a place he would like to play.
None of the four players the Rockets gave up were key members of last year's squad that
|Jul 21|| Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter arrested for assault|
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter has been arrested and is being held without bond for an assault that allegedly took place at a bar during the Fourth of July weekend.
Hunter, 24, was booked into his hometown jail at the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office on Monday afternoon for a charge listed as malicious intent, stabbing, cutting, wounding. Neither a sheriff's office spokesman nor the Virginia Beach Police Department immediately returned messages left by The Associated Press.
Officer James Cason told The Virginian-Pilot that Hunter is charged with felonious assault. Cason said police broke up a large brawl July 3 at the Sandbar Raw Bar, which is in an oceanfront tourist area, with one person taken to a hospital for treatment. He declined to give further details.
Tennessee traded up six spots to draft the 6-foot-4, 207-pound Hunter out of the University of Tennessee in 2013 with the 34th pick overall. Hunter played in 14 games as a rookie, catching 18 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns. He played 12 games before a season-ending injury in 2014 and finished with 28 receptions for 498 yards and three TDs.
"We are aware of the situation and are continuing to gather more facts," the Titans said in a statement.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
|Jul 21|| FIFA vote to be held Feb 26; Blatter defies calls to go now|
ZURICH (AP) Sepp Blatter will stay in control of world soccer for seven more months after resisting calls to step down immediately ahead of a presidential election, which FIFA decided Monday will be on Feb. 26.
A defiant first public appearance by Blatter since his resignation statement last month began in pandemonium as he was showered in fake money by a comedian who gatecrashed the media conference at FIFA's headquarters.
"Where is my security?" Blatter shouted.
The interruption provided an awkward reminder of a far more serious incident for FIFA in May, when the arrest of soccer and sports marketing officials plunged the game's ruling body into its deepest crisis.
Jolted by dual American and Swiss criminal investigations into soccer corruption, Blatter suddenly announced four days after being elected for a fifth term that he would leave FIFA.
"It was not only the pressure of any authorities ... it was also the pressure of political interference and also the pressure of you, media," said Blatter, who is a target of the U.S. investigation. "I had to do something very special and I did it. In footballing terms, I kicked the ball out of the field to stop something."
FIFA's executive committee decided at a meeting Monday on the February election date and Blatter ended weeks of uncertainty by insisting he would not perform one of his renowned about-turns by in fact being a candidate.
"On the 26th of February FIFA will have a new president," Blatter said. "I cannot be the new president because I am the old president."
The 79-year-old Blatter, who first joined FIFA 40 years ago, has held onto the most powerful job in world soccer since 1998.
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost to Blatter in May, had told The Associated Press earlier Monday: "President Blatter's resignation cannot be dragged out any longer. He must leave now."
But while Blatter said he felt "regret" about the crises, he insisted he
|Jul 21|| Canadian media company wants NHL expansion into Quebec City|
QUEBEC CITY (AP) The media company Quebecor Inc. has officially entered the running for an NHL expansion team.
The company said Monday on its Twitter account that it has submitted its "candidacy for the NHL expansion process in order to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec City."
The NHL announced last month that it was opening the formal expansion process.
Quebec City has not had an NHL team since the Nordiques left for Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.
Quebecor owns the new 18,259-capacity Videotron Arena in Quebec City. It's among several groups that have expressed interest in an expansion franchise, along with Las Vegas, Seattle and others.
The NHL has said the earliest any expansion would happen is the 2017-18 season.
The league set July 20 as the deadline for potential expansion team owners to submit their bids for teams bids that include a $10 million down-payment, with $2 million nonrefundable.
There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 in the West, which would seem to make Las Vegas and potentially Seattle or Portland, Oregon, favorites for expansion. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said geography is an issue, but not the determining factor.
The NHL has a relationship with Quebecor through its French-language television-rights deal with the TVA television network.
|Jul 21|| Green Bay Packers post another year of record revenue|
MILWAUKEE (AP) The Green Bay Packers reported another year of record revenue Monday, with the NFL's only publicly-owned team bolstered in part by the windfall from the league's massive broadcasting deals.
The Packers said revenue from the 2015 fiscal year topped $375 million, up 16 percent from the previous year. Revenue from national sources increased by 21 percent to $226 million.
A perennial playoff contender, Green Bay remains a marquee franchise with a national fan base in the most popular professional sports league in the country.
"From a high level, kind of an overall simple message - the Packers had another very strong year financially," team President Mark Murphy said.
The Packers must release financial data each year since they are publicly owned.
Murphy said most of the increase in national revenue came from the Packers' share of profits from broadcasting contracts that kicked in this year. The Packers did not disclose the exact amount from television money.
Local revenue for the Packers increased 9 percent to $149 million, with more than half of the amount attributed to sales from the Packers' expanded retail store at Lambeau Field that opened last summer. They were ninth in the 32-team league in revenue for the second straight year.
"National revenue is the same for every team, so we're ninth in terms of local revenue then," Murphy said.
Playoff home games also help the bottom line since they aren't guaranteed each season. But the Packers have had a playoff home game each of the last four seasons, and Murphy said that each game can have an economic impact of $14 million on the Green Bay community.
Team expenses grew by nearly 13 percent to $336 million. The Packers listed a net income for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015 of $29 million after accounting for loan interest payments and a redevelopment project.
Player costs declined by $12 million to $159 million, which Murphy at
|Jul 21|| Column: Spieth no loser despite coming up short in Open|
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) When it was over, Jordan Spieth stood off the 18th green and applauded the fans who had spent much of their day applauding him.
They came by the thousands on a wet and chilly day, lured by cheap tickets and the chance to see history. Packed into huge grandstands and jammed 10 deep against each other on the finishing fairways, they waited in the rain, urging the young American to deliver for them once again.
A 50-footer that curled from left to right before dropping gently in the hole for birdie on No. 16 set the stage. Surely there would be more magic to come and Spieth would enter the record books as the first player to win his first three majors of the year since Ben Hogan did it 62 years ago.
On the 17th tee, Spieth was thinking much the same thing. A par on the brutal Road Hole and a birdie on the short 18th would give him the British Open trophy to add to those won in the Masters and U.S. Open.
It would also put him on the brink of golf immortality, just one win from the Grand Slam no modern player has ever won.
"Par-birdie is a perfect way to finish here," Spieth said. "And that would get the job done."
The Road Hole was playing so long into the rain and wind that Spieth couldn't reach the green in two. No matter, because he plopped his pitch just 8 feet from the hole.
"If I stood on 17th tee box and you told me I had that putt for par on the hole," Spieth said later, "I would have certainly taken it."
Almost shockingly, he missed it right. The best putter in the game didn't make the one that mattered the most.
There would be no claret jug for Spieth, no Grand Slam for golf. A misplaced drive on the 18th left him a final putt from the Valley of Sin that barely missed, ending Spieth's chances of getting in what would have been a four-man playoff.
Zach Johnson would go on to win, giving the Open a fine champion. But the sense that something bigger was lost wasn't
|Jul 21|| Johnson wins British Open; Spieth finishes short of playoff|
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) Jordan Spieth amazing bid for a Grand Slam was stopped Monday by Zach Johnson, no longer just a normal guy from Iowa.
Johnson captured his second major at the home of golf, winning the British Open in a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman that capped off a wild five days at St. Andrews and a finish that won't soon be forgotten.
Most of that was because of Spieth, who came within inches of a shot at the third leg of the Grand Slam. The Masters and U.S. Open champion rolled in a 50-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to tie for the lead with two holes to play. He missed an 8-foot putt on the tough 17th hole and took bogey, and his final bid to join the playoff was a long birdie attempt from the edge of the Valley of Sin.
It turned left of the hole, ending the latest bid at the holy grail of golf - winning all four professional majors in the same year.
"We gave it a great effort," Spieth said.
Spieth hung around for the playoff, and walked out to the course to give Johnson a hug before the 39-year-old received the silver claret jug.
Johnson rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation to close with a 6-under 66. Leishman badly missed his birdie putt that would have won it, while Oosthuizen hit a perfect wedge to 5 feet for birdie and a 69 to join the playoff.
Johnson opened the four-hole playoff with two birdies. When he missed his 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole at No. 18, Oosthuizen had a 12-foot birdie putt to force sudden death. It caught the left edge of the cup, and Johnson was in tears.
He said when he won the 2007 Masters that he was just a normal guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Now he has two majors among his 12 PGA Tour victories.
"I'm grateful. I'm humbled. I'm honored," Johnson said. "This is the birthplace of the game, and that jug means so much in sports. I felt great. I'm just in awe right now."