Miami’s Alcantara unanimous choice for NL Cy Young Award
HOUSTON (AP) — Miami’s Sandy Alcantara has won the NL Cy Young Award in a unanimous vote. Alcantara posted a 2.28 ERA while pitching a major league-best 228 2/3 innings and six compete games. Alcantara received all 30 first-place votes, the 15th time the NL has had a unanimous winner. Atlanta’s Max Fried was second with 72 points, including 10 second-place votes, and Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Julio Urías was third 66 points and seven second-place votes. It’s the first Cy Young Award for the 27-year-old from the Dominican Republic. He’s the first Marlins player to receive the honor.
Browns QB Watson practices for 1st time during suspension
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Watson is practicing with the Cleveland Browns for the first time since his 11-game NFL suspension started in August. Watson was accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women in Texas and reached a settlement with the league this summer. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback returned to the field with his teammates on Wednesday. Despite temperatures hovering around freezing, Watson had on short sleeves during the portion of practice open to reporters. He fired passes to Cleveland’s wide receivers while periodically tucking his hands into a warmer around his waist. As long as he meets the league’s requirements, Watson can play on Dec. 4 when the Browns visit Houston, which drafted him in 2017.
Universities focus on athletes’ mental health after crises
There is no playbook to instruct how athletic departments are to respond to the tragic death of one of their athletes. But those who have experienced the trauma say the increased emphasis on mental health care in athletic departments and universities at-large — spurred in part by the pandemic — help when a crisis strikes. Tragedy struck the University of Virginia earlier this week. Three members of the football team were shot and killed while on a bus returning to the Charlottesville campus from a field trip to Washington.
Prosecutor: Witness told police UVA suspect targeted victims
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A prosecutor says a witness told police the University of Virginia student suspected of opening fire on fellow students as they returned by bus from a field trip targeted specific victims. The prosecutor gave a brief accounting of what police say happened Sunday night during the suspect’s first court appearance Wednesday. Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. was ordered held without bond. His attorney did not address the substance of the charges against him. The school also announced Wednesday it was canceling its final home game of the season scheduled for the weekend against Coastal Carolina. The violence Sunday night left three football players dead and one player and another student wounded.
Australia says Djokovic has visa to play Australian Open
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government has confirmed that Novak Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in the Australian Open in January a year after he was deported over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination. The 21-time Grand Slam champion had his visa cancelled on public interest grounds on Jan. 14 and lost an appeal against deportation in the Full Federal Court. Immigration Minister Andrew Giles says he had approved Djokovic’s application to revoke the cancellation decision because the ground for canceling the visa no longer existed. The visa ban could have lasted for three years. The 35-year-old from Serbia is clear to compete at the Australian Open, which runs from Jan. 16-29.
Tom Brady, Larry David, other celebrities named in FTX suit
NEW YORK (AP) — A host of Hollywood and sports celebrities including Larry David and Tom Brady were named as defendants in a class-action lawsuit against cryptocurrency exchange FTX, arguing that their celebrity status made them culpable for promoting the firm’s failed business model. FTX has been in the public eye for more than a week, after the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange ended up with billions of dollars worth of losses and had to seek bankruptcy protection. The lawsuit names “Seinfeld” creator David, as well as star quarterback Brady, basketball players Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry, and tennis star Naomi Osaka, among several others.
Harper set for elbow surgery, opening day status in doubt
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will have surgery next week to repair the small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow. The injury forced the right fielder to spend most of the season as designated hitter. It now puts his opening day status in doubt. Phillies President Dave Dombrowski says there’s no timetable on Harper’s recovery until after Wednesday’s surgery. Whether he needs Tommy John surgery to replace the ligament or could face an easier repair won’t be known until Harper goes under the knife. While pitchers can miss up to 18 months or worse with Tommy John surgery, hitters can make a more rapid return because they don’t have to throw.
Qatar’s World Cup denounced for ‘washing’ country’s image
Qatar’s decision to launch itself into hosting the 2022 World Cup was a head-scratcher from the start. Why, some wondered, would a Middle Eastern emirate with fewer than 3 million people and little soccer tradition want to host the sport’s biggest event? Skeptics say the country wanted to use the prestige of the World Cup, which starts Sunday, to remake its image as a natural-gas producer with a shaky human-rights record. They viewed the move, which will cost the country some $220 billion, as a classic case of “sportswashing” — using sports as a forum to cast a country or company as different than many perceive.
Ronaldo delivers scathing criticism of United in interview
Cristiano Ronaldo’s highly anticipated tell-all interview with Piers Morgan has finally been broadcast and few at Manchester United have been spared in his scathing condemnation of the club. Past and present teammates, former managers and the board all got a blast from Ronaldo, whose days at United are now surely numbered. He said United had failed to move on as a club since his first spell there and that “progress was zero” at United compared to his previous teams Real Madrid and Juventus. Ronaldo says he is surprised that the young players at United haven’t used him as more of an example and that most of them ”don’t care.”
Aaron Rodgers, Packers in desperate mode facing Titans
Aaron Rodgers has won plenty of games throughout his career so it’s no surprise he’s been successful on Thursday nights, going 11-5. Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers need another win this week against the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans to help them climb into the playoff race after a poor start. The Packers snapped a five-game losing streak with an upset over the Dallas Cowboys. They’re back at Lambeau Field to take on the Titans. Rodgers has thrown 15 touchdowns with one interception and has a 112.5 passer rating in his past six Thursday games.