RJ Barrett (New York Knicks) with an assist vs the Utah Jazz, 01/26/2021
RJ Barrett (New York Knicks) with an assist vs the Utah Jazz, 01/26/2021
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The Utah Jazz said they will “thoroughly investigate” an allegation from former NBA player Elijah Millsap that longtime team executive Dennis Lindsey directed a bigoted statement toward him during an end-of-season exit interview in 2015. Millsap, the brother of former Jazz standout and current Denver forward Paul Millsap, made the allegation in a tweet Wednesday. Millsap alleged that Lindsey, then the team’s general manager, said “if u say one more word, I’ll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.” Lindsey, now the team’s executive vice-president, has denied saying that. “The Jazz organization has zero tolerance for discriminatory behaviour of any kind,” the team said in a statement Thursday night. “We take these matters seriously. We have proactively engaged outside counsel to work in co-ordination with the NBA to thoroughly investigate this matter. We seek a comprehensive and unbiased review of the situation.” Millsap did not immediately respond to a message seeking reaction to the Jazz statement and the opening of an investigation. He tweeted later Wednesday that he felt telling his side of “my narrative ... will teach my sons how to stand up and control their own. Inspired by the courageous souls who fight for racial equality and social justice daily.” Snyder said Wednesday that he doesn’t remember the 2015 interview with Millsap. “I’d be shocked. I can’t fathom Dennis saying something like that,” Snyder said. Jazz centre Rudy Gobert also seemed to be taken by surprise by the allegation. “I never heard about it,” Gobert said. “Elijah was actually one of the guys that I was close with when he was part of the team a few years ago. I’m just going to reach out to him and find out. Until we have more information, it’s hard to tell. It was six years ago. That’s why it’s kind of tough to understand.” In his final interview with reporters when that 2014-15 season ended, Millsap spoke about how much he enjoyed joining the Jazz and seeing the team grow and did not mention any incident with Lindsey. It’s common for media end-of-season sessions to occur on the same day as the team exit interviews, but it is unknown if Millsap’s meeting with reporters was before or after his meeting with Lindsey and Snyder. Millsap gave no indication of any unhappiness with the organization in the interview with reporters that day. He talked about his level of comfort with the team and with the city because of his brother’s long tenure with the Jazz, even saying that he knew the names of the ushers. Millsap also said he had “a pretty good relationship” with Snyder. “We’ve been nip and tuck on some things, but we’ve always had the same interest and same goal in mind, and that’s winning,” Millsap said at that time of Snyder. “So, he’s going to put me in my position, put me in my place where I can be successful, and I’ve just got to listen and get better.” The Jazz wound up waiving Millsap in January 2016, after 67 games with the team over two seasons. He averaged 4.2 points in those games and did not indicate any unhappiness in a farewell tweet after the team gave him the news. “Thank You Jazz organization for the opportunity,” Millsap wrote on Jan. 5, 2016. “Really appreciate my teammates and all the Jazz fans for your love &support.” He closed the tweet with the hashtag “AlltheBest.” ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press
Right-hander Kevin Gausman’s impressive day at spring training had nothing to do with any of the usual statistics, like strikeouts or innings pitched. Nope. He dominated Fungo golf. Batting practice for San Francisco's pitchers took on a non-traditional look Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona. “We played a little game of Fungo golf with the pitchers just to get them swinging the bats a little bit, just kind of ramping up very, very slowly the intensity and the feeling of having a bat in their hands and finding the sweet spot,” manager Gabe Kapler said of the lighter training bats called Fungos, which players hit toward targets the same way coaches hit infield practice. “So that was a lot of fun. We hit balls and chased them around the diamond. It’s just a unique and fun way to practice something.” There was no need to hush the crowd, since no fans were surrounding the Giants’ diamond course. But the stands won't be empty — or full — when the Giants host their spring training opener Sunday. Fans will be able to attend all games in Arizona and Florida that are played in the 23 spring training ballparks — seven of those stadiums host two teams. While there are wide variations depending on local ordinances, the average limited capacity will be about 20% — or about 2,000 fans. There will be mask requirements, and tickets will be sold in pods to facilitate social distancing between unrelated groups. Scottsdale Stadium will have the lowest capacity at 9%, which is about 1,000 fans for Giants home games. The largest allowed capacity is 28% for the New York Yankees in Tampa Bay (about 2,642 fans), and the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Florida (about 2,435 fans). "I think that’s actually going to be a very under-the-radar but very important thing for our guys,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “I’ve been very open about comments that I’ve heard from all of our players throughout our clubhouse about just how much better it is to play baseball in front of a stadium, in front of a group of fans, in front of people pulling for you. “I talk about the energy level, I talk about guys’ ability to focus and just like pure enjoyment, that level goes way up when you get thousands of people enjoying themselves and are there supporting you. So our guys are ready.” Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona, the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs, will have a 22% capacity. That translates to about 3,630 seats, by far the largest possible crowd, with the Yankees the next-closest. Spectators at Scottsdale Stadium may get to see Gausman throw his lively fastball, but not a look at his Fungo golf skills. Kapler said the 30-year-old righty exhibited "really nice touch and loft when necessary. It was a good showing for him.” Kapler has worked to “create some variety” given spring training can quickly become “mundane.” The Giants have warmed up with footballs and incorporated tennis balls, too. “When sports are fun they also tend to lead to really good practice,” Kapler said. “Variety adds a lot of spice to our workouts.” YELICH HITTING EARLY Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell says he won’t be shy about using 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich in the team’s early Cactus League games. Yelich is attempting to bounce back from a season in which he hit just .205 after winning consecutive batting titles in 2018 and 2019. “We’ll definitely get started earlier with Christian this spring and then take it from there,” Counsell said. “The goal would be to get him going early, kind of get him feeling good and ease off toward the middle of spring then kind of ramp him back up later in the spring.” QUITE CHIPPER Hall of Famer Chipper Jones has been active in his new role as an Atlanta Braves hitting consultant at the team’s spring training site in North Port, Florida. “He’s bounding around,” third baseman Austin Riley said Thursday. “It seems like he’s everywhere.” Manager Brian Snitker said Jones, who played his full 19-year career with the Braves, is a valuable resource for players. Jones was part of 11 consecutive NL East titles from 1995-05, and their World Series championship in the first year of that run. “He’s a hitting savant,” Snitker said. “He’s got such great feel. He’s got a good eye, watching these guys, too. He sees things. It’s going to be awesome having him here.” MONTAS IN CAMP Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas joined the Athletics in Mesa, Arizona, after his spring was delayed by a positive coronavirus test before camp began. Montas, the team’s opening day starter last season, had been quarantining at home in Scottsdale. Manager Bob Melvin had said when A’s pitchers reported to camp last week that Montas was already “several days” into his quarantine. HAVING ’EM AT THE BALL GAME Indians manager Terry Francona was excited to hear fans will be allowed at home games in April at Progressive Field. Per state guidelines, the team is being permitted to have 30% capacity in their 35,000-seat ballpark. Francona said it was challenging last season without fans. “When the lower bowl is crowded — and I know that may not happen this year — but when there’s people in that lower bowl, it sounds good. I mean, it feels good,” he said. “Going from zero to anything was going to be fun, especially for the players. Thirty per cent, you know what, man, I think that’s pretty awesome. “I hope they’re able to pull it off safely and people warm up to the idea because we’ll really be thrilled if that’s the case." __ AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum, and AP Sports Writers Dave Campbell, Steve Megargee, Tom Withers contributed to this report. ___ More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Janie McCauley And Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Malik Beasley has been suspended for 12 games without pay by the NBA for his recent guilty plea to a felony charge of threats of violence. The league announced Thursday the punishment, which will begin with Minnesota's game Saturday at Washington. Beasley is eligible to return March 27 against Houston. Beasley, in his fifth NBA season, is averaging a career-best 20.5 points. He was sentenced earlier this month to 120 days in jail for the Sept. 26 incident, when he pointed a rifle outside his home in suburban Minneapolis at a family on a house-hunting tour. Police later found weapons and marijuana in the home. As part of Beasley’s plea deal, prosecutors dropped a felony fifth-degree drug possession charge. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said Beasley can serve his stay in the workhouse after his season is over; COVID-19 precautions could require the county to release him on electronic home monitoring for the duration of the sentence. Speaking at his remote sentencing, he said, “I am not that person. I humbly apologize for my actions.” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, in a statement distributed by the team, said the organization fully supports the NBA's decision “As we work together with Malik to advance his development as a player and a person, we look forward to seeing his growth,” Rosas said. ___ More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Silver apologized to Ujiri for "cringe" comments he made regarding Ujiri's role in the bogus assault claims made by sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland.
Official Angie Enlund was stretchered off the floor after she was hit and knocked to the floor accidentally at the end of the Michigan State-Rutgers game Wednesday night.
CALGARY — Beth Peterson of Team Wild Card Three defeated Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories 9-8 on Thursday to secure a berth in the championship pool at the Canadian women's curling championship. Peterson, who stole singles in the last two ends, improved to 5-3 with the extra-end victory to make the four-team cut in Pool A. Galusha (4-4) was eliminated with the loss. Alberta's Laura Walker (5-3) also qualified with an 11-1 victory over Yukon's Laura Eby. Ontario's Rachel Homan beat Canada's Kerri Einarson 7-4 in a rematch of last year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts final. Both teams, who had already secured championship pool spots, moved to 7-1. Team Wild Card Two's Mackenzie Zacharias (3-5) posted a 9-4 win over Northern Ontario's Krysta Burns (2-6) in the other Pool A afternoon game. The Pool B picture remained up in the air entering the evening draw at the Markin MacPhail Centre. Manitoba's Jennifer Jones and Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson picked up victories in the morning draw to create a three-team logjam at 5-2. Quebec's Laurie St-Georges, who was idle, was also in first place. Chelsea Carey, skipping Team Wild Card One as a substitute for Tracy Fleury, thumped Newfoundland and Labrador's Sarah Hill 11-2 to finish the preliminary round at 5-3. Jones, seeking a record seventh Scotties title, downed New Brunswick's Melissa Adams 12-3. Anderson needed a point in the final end for an 8-7 win over British Columbia's Corryn Brown (3-4). P.E.I.'s Suzanne Birt improved to 4-3 with a come-from-behind 10-8 win over Nunavut's Lori Eddy. Nova Scotia's Jill Brothers missed the cut in Pool A at 3-5 while Eby was winless at 0-8. In Pool B, Adams took a 3-4 record into the late draw. Hill had a 2-5 mark while Eddy was 0-7. If a tiebreaker is needed to determine who will make the four-team cut in Pool B, it will be played Friday morning. Records will carry over into the two-day championship round. Each team will play four games against teams that qualified from the other preliminary round pool. The top three teams will advance to Sunday's playoffs. The top seed goes straight to the evening final and the second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal. The Hearts winner will get a berth in the Tim Hortons Curling Trials and earn $100,000 of the $300,000 total purse. The champion will also return to the 2022 Scotties as Team Canada. If the women's world championship is rescheduled for this season, the Hearts winner will represent Canada. The March 5-14 Tim Hortons Brier will be the next event to be held in the spectator-free bubble. The Canada Olympic Park venue will host six bonspiels in all through late April. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. The Canadian Press
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Bryce Harper’s first year in Philadelphia ended with his former team winning the World Series, and the Phillies suffered another September collapse in his second season. He says it’s time to end the team’s nine-year absence from post-season baseball. “I hate being home for Halloween,” Harper said Thursday. “The city of Philadelphia deserves it and they need it. We’re a team that can hopefully do that for them and give that to them. They deserve to be in the stands in October and I know they’re willing to do that.” Before the Phillies hired David Dombrowski to be president of baseball operations and re-signed two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius, Harper wasn’t sure about the team’s direction. “When you get halfway through the off-season and there’s not really much going on, you kind of start worrying about what our identity as a team is going to be,” Harper said. “I was wondering what we’re going to do.” Then, Phillies managing partner John Middleton brought Dombrowski on board and promoted Sam Fuld to replace general manager Matt Klentak. “You don’t really bring in Dombrowski unless it’s a win-now move,” Harper said. Dombrowski won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, another with the Red Sox in 2018 and reached two with the Tigers. He’s trying to lead the Phillies to success after they fell one win shy of reaching the expanded post-season in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Besides bringing Realmuto and Gregorius back, Dombrowski has strengthened a bullpen that blew 21 leads last year. “He’s done a great job,” Harper said. “We have a lot of competition in camp. ... Just very fortunate to play for an organization that is ready to go, ready to win and made the moves that are the significant moves that we needed to this off-season.” Harper hit .268 with 13 homers, 33 RBIs and a .962 OPS in the second year of his $330 million, 13-year contract. He led the majors with 49 walks and was fifth with a .420 on-base percentage. Harper tailed off down the stretch while playing with a back injury that made it difficult to throw from the outfield. He’s healthy now and eager to not only reach the post-season but win a series for the first time in his 10-year career. The Nationals lost four Division Series during Harper’s seven seasons in Washington, then won their first title after he left. “I love post-season baseball. I love the mentality of it,” Harper said. “It’s always a lot of fun. I think the fans are craving it so much and getting back into the ballparks and what a great year to be able to get back into it.” The 28-year-old Harper has enjoyed his time in Philly, where fans embraced him from the start. He showed up to spring training this week wearing a “Clearwooder” T-shirt and swinging a bat featuring the image of the Phillie Phanatic. “I feel like I speak more free here in Philadelphia than I did prior to being able to talk to you guys and just be myself,” Harper said. “I think that’s always fun. I love playing in Philadelphia. I feel like I can take advantage of that and be Bryce, just be myself here. They’ve never once said to me: ‘Calm down or do this or do that. We want you to be this type or that type.’ They’ve just let me be me and I really appreciate the Philly organization for doing that for me.” Manager Joe Girardi has been effusive in his praise of Harper. He cited former Yankees manager Joe Torre’s philosophy on handling charismatic players. “Joe Torre used to say all the time: ‘Let a player be himself as long as it’s not hurting the club,’” Girardi said. “Let them be who they are because you want them comfortable when they come to the ballpark every day in who they are. I’m not asking them to be someone they’re not whether it’s on the field, off the field, in the clubhouse. As long as what he’s doing is not detrimental to the team, I’m all for it. I really think that’s what makes our lives interesting. If everyone was the same, it would be boring. I like the different personalities. I like the different music genres. I just like the different energy levels of different people because it’s what makes the world go round.” ___ More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press