WAMC Sports Report: Russia ready for prison swap with U.S. for Griner
Following Brittney Griner’s sentencing in Russia to nine years in prison Thursday, WNBA players, coaches and fans locked arms and tried to send the American basketball star strength during a moment of silence. Before the Connecticut Sun beat the Phoenix Mercury 77-64, players from both teams met at midcourt and silently bowed their heads for 42 seconds — a nod to Griner’s jersey number with the Mercury. Sun coach Curt Miller wore a “WE ARE BG” t-shirt. Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and a eight-time WNBA all-star, was convicted of drug possession and smuggling. Meanwhile, CNN reports that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today Russia is ready to discuss and exchange of prisoners with the United States.
In Major League Baseball, in the National League,
The NY Mets downed the Atlanta Braves 6-4.
And the Phillies squeaked by the Nationals 5-4.
In the American League,
The Kansas City Royals beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3.
The Los Angeles Angels tied a major league record with seven solo home runs, including two by Shohei Ohtani, but still lost to the Oakland Athletics 8-7. The Angels are the first team in the majors to hit seven solo homers and score no other runs in a game. They’re also the sixth team to hit seven homers and lose, according to STATS. Ramon Laureano homered and drove in four runs, and Seth Brown had a two-run shot during a six-run third inning for AL-worst Oakland. Sean Murphy also drove in two runs for the Athletics, who took the final two games of the series and have won six of their last nine.
Miguel Cabrera says he may end his likely Hall of Fame career at the end of this season. The 39-year-old Detroit Tigers star mused on the subject Thursday amid a slump through the dog days of summer. Cabrera joined the 3,000-hit/500-homer club earlier in the season, and was hitting .308 as recently as July 8. Plagued by lower-body problems that have been a constant issue in recent seasons, he entered Thursday hitting .132 with three extra-base hits in his last 20 games. The Tigers came into the season as fringe contenders after a strong finish in 2021, but they have staggered to a 42-65 record with the worst offense in baseball.
Major League Baseball plans to return to London next year for the first time since 2019. The league says the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play a two-game series on June 24 and 25, 2023, at London Stadium. The NL Central rivals were supposed to play in London in 2020, but the games were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. MLB last played in London in 2019, when the New York Yankees swept a two-game set against the Boston Red Sox in June at London Stadium. Those were also MLB’s first regular-season games played in Europe.
Josh Jacobs and rookie Zamir White ran well on a rain-soaked field and the Raiders routed Jacksonville 27-11 in the Hall of Fame game Thursday night, spoiling coach Doug Pederson’s first game with the Jaguars. Derek Carr and Davante Adams warmed up but they didn’t get a chance to play their first game together since Fresno State. Carr, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and Adams, the All-Pro receiver acquired in blockbuster trade with Green Bay, were among many starters who sat out for both teams. Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence wore a backward cap on the sideline while third-string quarterback Jake Luton was started. The NFL’s first preseason game began 40 minutes late due to severe weather that forced fans to seek shelter.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has chosen former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal of the six-game suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson has been suspended by independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, who concluded he violated the league’s personal conduct policy after being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women in Texas. The league wants further discipline and appealed Robinson’s ruling. The appeal gave the power back to Goodell to hand down punishment but he instead chose Harvey to hear the appeal.
Meanwhile, A lawyer representing two dozen women who have accused Deshaun Watson of sexual assault or harassment says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a chance to “do the right thing” now that the league has appealed a six-game suspension for the quarterback. Attorney Tony Buzbee says “Every victim of sexual assault is watching Roger Goodell and the NFL right now.” The NFL’s appeal of an independent disciplinary officer’s decision gives Goodell or someone he designates the authority to increase Watson’s penalty. Goodell has named former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey as his designee to hear the appeal.
A judge has made it likely she'll rule in weeks rather than months whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets to decide the merits of racial discrimination claims made by Black coaches against the league and its teams. Federal Judge Valerie Caproni said Thursday that lawyers for coaches Brian Flores, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton cannot gather additional evidence from defendants to support their arguments that the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court should remain in court rather than be sent to arbitration. The NFL and six of its teams say the lawsuit they maintain is “without merit” is required to go to arbitration, where Goodell would be the arbitrator.
The NCAA earned praise last year when it agreed to pay referees at its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments equally. The gesture only cost about $100,000, a tiny fraction of the roughly $900 million networks pay annually to broadcast March Madness. Now, as the NCAA examines various disparities across men’s and women’s sports, pressure is rising to also pay referees equally during the regular season. Two Division 1 conferences, the Pac-12 and the Northeast Conference, said they plan to level the playing field starting next season, and the Patriot League is considering it.
The Calgary Flames and recently acquired forward Jonathan Huberdeau have agreed to an $84 million, eight-year contract extension. The 29-year-old Huberdeau came to Calgary from the Florida Panthers with defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, forward Cole Schwindt and a conditional 2025 first-round pick last month for star forward Matthew Tkachuk. Huberdeau finished last season with 30 goals and 85 assists for 115 points. His point total had him tied for second in the NHL, while his 85 assists were a league best. The Saint-Jerome, Quebec, native had spent his entire 10-year career with the Panthers after being drafted third overall in 2011.
HORSE RACING HOF INDUCTIES
Inductions for the new class of honorees in the National Museum of Racing are this morning in Saratoga Springs. Inductees include thoroughbred greats Beholder, Hillsdale, Royal Heroine and Tepin, trainer Oscar White, and historical figures James Cox Brady, Marshall Cassidy, and James Ben Ali Haggin, who are being honored as “pillars of the turf.”