AP Sports SummaryBrief at 7:46 a.m. EST

Sports

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.”

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.

Number of women working in the NFL steadily rising

From the owner’s suite to the front office to the sideline, the number of women in the NFL is steadily rising. And, they’re here to stay. Kalen Jackson was born into football, one of three daughters for Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. Her introduction to the sport came by attending community events. Now, she has a seat at the table for owners’ meetings. Sam Rapoport fell in love with football the first time she held a ball and threw a spiral as a 12-year-old growing up in Canada. Rapoport ended up becoming a professional quarterback in a women’s tackle football league and has spent two decades working to expand career opportunities for women in the sport.

Verlander, Alcantara are unanimous Cy Young Award winners

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s Justin Verlander in the American League and Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in the National League are both unanimous selections for the Cy Young Award. It’s the second time the winners in both leagues were unanimous since the award began in 1956. The 39-year-old Verlander won the award for the first time, having previously won in 2011 with Detroit and 2019 with Houston. He’s the 11th player to win it three times. Verlander missed almost all of the previous two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He led the AL in ERA. Alcantara led the majors in complete games with six.

Hunter scores 26, No. 11 Texas dominates No. 2 Gonzaga 93-74

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Tyrese Hunter scored 26 points and a led a 3-point shooting spree for No. 11 Texas that carried the Longhorns to a 93-74 win over No. 2 Gonzaga. Last season’s Big 12 freshman of the year at Iowa State was 9-of-14 shooting and made five of Texas’ 13 3-pointers. Hunter made three from long range in the opening minutes of the second half as the Longhorns seized control and pushed their lead to 20 points. Gonzaga All-American forward Drew Timme scored 18 points but was mostly held in check when the game was still close.

Curry scores 50 points, but Suns beat Warriors 130-119

PHOENIX (AP) — Cameron Payne scored a career-high 29 points, Devin Booker added 27 and the Phoenix Suns easily overcame Stephen Curry’s 50-point night to beat the Golden State Warriors 130-119 on Wednesday. The Suns controlled most of the game despite Curry’s scoring. The eight-time All-Star made 17 of 28 shots, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range. The problem for the Warriors was nobody else was helping. Klay Thompson finished with 19 points but shot just 6 of 17. The Warriors — defending NBA champs — fell to 6-9. Payne, starting in place of the injured Chris Paul, made 9 of 17 shots, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.

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.

China-made Paris Olympics mascots fuel criticism in France

PARIS (AP) — The mascots for the 2024 Paris Olympics are a symbol of the French Republic. Most of them are made in China and that does not go down well in France. The Phryges mascots are manufactured by French companies Gipsy Toys and Doudou et Compagnie. They’ll use fabric developed in the French region of Brittany but the toys will primarily be manufactured in China. Only about 8% of the mascot will be made in France. French government spokesman Olivier Véran says manufacturing the mascots in China is due to “a structural problem.”

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.