House review of Commanders ‘over’ when Republicans take over
The congressional investigation of the NFL’s Washington Commanders will end when Republicans take over early next year. U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform ranking Republican Rep. James Comer issued a statement saying simply, “It’s over.” The statement came after The Associated Press projected Republicans have clinched a majority in the House for the 118th Congress that begins meeting Jan. 3. Democrats led by chairwoman Carolyn Maloney of New York had been presiding over the investigation into the organization’s workplace culture since last year. The team in a statement through legal counsel praised the decision to drop the case.
Griner has begun serving sentence in Russian penal colony
WASHINGTON (AP) — WNBA star Brittney Griner has begun serving her nine-year sentence for drug possession at a Russian penal colony. That’s according to statements from her lawyers and agent Thursday. Griner has been relocated to a penal colony in Mordovia, about 350 kilometers (210 miles) east of Moscow. Her lawyers say, “Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment.”
Manfred sure Mets-Yanks collusion query will find no issue
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed Thursday that Major League Baseball is looking into potentially improper communication between the New York Mets and Yankees regarding star free agent Aaron Judge. He says he is confident the inquiry will find no issues. The Athletic first reported MLB was investigating the teams after a story on SNY.com reported a “mutually respectful relationship” between Mets owner Steve Cohen and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner would prevent a “high-profile bidding war” for Judge. Judge is expected to be named AL MVP on Thursday night and could command over $300 million in free agency.
Culture clash? Conservative Qatar preps for World Cup party
A recent outpouring of local anger to scenes of foreign artists and models reveling in Qatar underscored the tensions tearing at the conservative Muslim emirate. The hereditary sheikhdom restricts alcohol, bans drugs and suppresses free speech but is nonetheless preparing to welcome some of the world’s rowdiest crowds for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Human rights groups have raised concerns over how Qatari police will handle foreign fans’ violations of the country’s Islamic legal system that criminalizes public drunkenness, sex outside of marriage and homosexuality. Meanwhile, Qatar faces pressure from within to stay true to its Islamic heritage and Bedouin roots.
Women break through as World Cup play-by-play voices
The World Cup will sound different this year. Jacqui Oatley will become the first woman play-by-play commentator for U.S. World Cup telecasts. She will head one of Fox’s five broadcast teams for the tournament in Qatar that opens Sunday. Pien Meulensteen, Vicki Sparks and Robyn Cowen are among the broadcasters for matches on BBC in Britain. Meulensteen said: “Loads of people will have negative comments about women and women commentators and that’s because that’s just the way that they think. They’re not open to hearing anything different.”
Senegal forward Mané ruled out of World Cup with leg injury
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The Senegalese soccer federation says forward Sadio Mané will miss the World Cup because of a leg injury. Mané was injured in a German league game between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen on Nov. 8. Most of Senegal’s squad arrived in Qatar for the World Cup on Sunday. The team’s first game in Qatar is against the Netherlands on Monday. Team doctor Manuel Afonso says the latest MRI “shows us that the progress was not as favorable as we had hoped.” He adds that Mané might need surgery.
Rodgers, NFL players urge league to nix turf, go with grass
Aaron Rodgers and his peers around the NFL are calling for teams to tear up their turf playing surfaces and replace them with grass. The outpouring comes a week after NFL Players Association President JC Tretter called on six venues to immediately change their field types, saying the artificial turf in those stadiums was resulting in higher injury rates. Players are concerned about non-contact and lower extremity injuries. The NFL has said its data shows injury rates are similar on grass and artificial turf. Rodgers says owners could be “putting your money where your mouth is if player safety is important.”
Column: Why CFP expansion can’t work around the Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl is looking for assurances amid discussions about expanding the College Football Playoff from four teams to 12. The bowl in suburban Los Angeles dates to 1902. It wants to keep its game on the afternoon of New Year’s Day each year. There are not guarantees. AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo has a solution. He says the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans should be permanent semifinals that are also played on New Year’s Day. He says it would preserve some tradition amid all the changes.
Sports construction rolls right through economic uncertainty
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — With the galloping horses long gone, the Chicago Bears see 326 acres of opportunity at the shuttered Arlington International Racecourse. The Buffalo Bills also are making plans for a new home. Same for the Tennessee Titans and baseball’s Kansas City Royals, and on and on it goes. When it comes to construction for sports, today’s economic uncertainty is nothing compared to the promise of tomorrow. Interest rates, inflation and supply chain issues factor into the plans, according to construction and financing experts, but they haven’t been standing in the way.
World Cup draws attention to equal rights, including attire
Official-looking flyers have circulated on social media describing cultural expectations for fans attending the World Cup in Qatar. Some include rules for women’s attire like shoulders and knees must be covered. It’s bogus. The local organizing committee suggests that fans “respect the culture” but no one will be arrested or barred from games in Qatar because of clothing choices. Persistent rumors swirling around appropriate garb at soccer’s biggest tournament have also drawn attention to the country’s record on equality.