#SportsReport: Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson To Sell Team Amid Misconduct Allegations
NFL-PANTHERS OWNER-MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has announced that he will sell the NFL team after the season.
The decision comes amid a growing investigation that accuses him of sexual misconduct and using racist language at work.
The team made the announcement on Twitter and linked a five-paragraph letter by the Panthers' only owner. He said he believed it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership and hoped the organization would be firmly focused on playing and winning the Super Bowl. However, the letter didn't directly address the investigation or allegations against him.
It was a clinching day for the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Vikings wrapped up the NFC North as Case Keenum passed for 236 yards and two scores in a 34-7 rout of the Bengals. Running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon combined for 37 touches and 242 yards from scrimmage for the 11-3 Vikings.
Minnesota led 14-0 about nine minutes into the game after Eric Kendricks returned an interception for a touchdown.
The lopsided score allowed Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to make his season debut, his first game in 16 months since a massive knee injury.
The Jaguars are in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years following a 45-7 drubbing of the Texans.
Blake Bortles had a career-best quarterback rating of 143.8 after throwing for a season-high 326 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the TD tosses went to Jaydon Mickens, a reserve receiver who was sleeping in his car earlier this season. Keelan Cole also had a scoring grab and amassed 186 receiving yards as the Jaguars improved to 10-4.
Meanwhile, the AFC East-champion Patriots drew closer to claiming home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs by winning at Pittsburgh.
Dion Lewis scored the go-ahead touchdown on an eight-yard run with 56 seconds remaining as New England rallied to beat the Steelers 27-24. Rob Gronkowski finished with nine receptions for 168 yards, including four catches on the game-winning drive.
Tom Brady passed for 298 yards and two TDs for the Patriots, who trailed 24-16 going into the fourth quarter.
Le'Veon Bell ran for 117 yards, including a short scoring run that put Pittsburgh ahead by eight late in the third period. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards and two scores for the Steelers, but he also had a costly turnover on their final drive.
Both teams are 11-3.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— The Eagles' No. 2 quarterback helped them secure a first-round playoff bye as Nick Foles threw for 237 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-29 win over the 2-12 Giants. Foles hit Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and Nelson Agholor on short scoring passes as Philadelphia improved to an NFL-best 12-2. The Eagles also blocked three Giants kicks to help Philadelphia withstand a productive afternoon by Eli Manning, who threw for a season-high 434 yards and three touchdowns.
— The 10-4 Rams are on the verge of clinching the NFC West after Todd Gurley scored four touchdowns and rushed for 152 yards in just 2½ quarters of a 42-7 dismantling of the Seahawks. Gurley had 144 yards rushing in the first half and added a 14-yard TD reception midway through the third quarter for a 40-0 Los Angeles lead. Russell Wilson was 14 of 30 for 142 yards and was sacked seven times as Seattle dropped to 8-6.
— Mark Ingram ran for two scores and gained 151 yards from scrimmage, including a late 50-yard TD burst in the Saints' 31-19 win over the Jets. Michael Thomas also had a touchdown grab and became the second NFL player with at least 90 receptions in his first two seasons. Drew Brees completed 26 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns for the 10-4 Saints, who still own the tiebreaker over the Panthers for first place in the NFC South.
— Carolina kept pace with New Orleans at 10-4 as Cam Newton threw for 242 yards and four touchdowns to lead a 31-24 victory over the Packers. Damiere Byrd had two touchdown catches, while Christian McCaffrey had 136 yards from scrimmage and a scoring reception in the Panthers' fourth straight win. Aaron Rodgers threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns in his first game since breaking his collarbone two months ago, but he also had three interceptions as Green Bay dropped to 7-7.
— The Ravens improved to 8-6 and bolstered their wild-card chances as Joe Flacco threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score in a 27-10 win at Cleveland. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams recovered a fumble and rolled in for a third-quarter TD to put the Ravens up 24-10. DeShone Kizer threw two more interceptions as the Browns moved within two losses of becoming the NFL's second 0-16 team.
— LeSean McCoy scored twice and surpassed 10,000 career-yards rushing as the Bills beat the Dolphins 24-16 to move to 8-6. Shareece Wright and Jordan Poyer intercepted Miami's Jay Cutler on consecutive drives to start the second half, helping Buffalo win for the third time in four games. Tyrod Taylor showed no signs of a bruised left knee that forced him to miss one game, running for a four-yard TD and completing 17 of 29 passes for 224 yards.
— Dan Bailey hit a 19-yard field goal with 1:44 left before Derek Carr fumbled inches from the goal line with 31 seconds remaining to clinch the Cowboys' 20-17 win at Oakland. Bailey's tiebreaking kick came after Dak Prescott converted a fourth-down sneak by about a millimeter. Dallas went 3-3 during Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension and remains in the postseason hunt at 8-6.
— The Redskins were 20-15 winners against the Cardinals as Kirk Cousins was 18 of 26 for 196 yards and two TDs. Washington kept Arizona out of the end zone and preserved the win when Anthony Lanier sacked Blaine Gabbert and forced a fumble that Preston Smith recovered. Smith also intercepted Gabbert and Lanier batted down three passes and had two sacks. Both teams are 6-8.
— Robbie Gould nailed a 45-yard kick as time expired to give the 49ers their third straight win 25-23 against the Titans. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for a career-high 381 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco, which also got six field goals out of Gould. He hit kicks of 50, 48 and 45 yards while running his string of successful field goal attempts to 20 straight.
Tonight’s Monday night football matchup will be the Atlanta Falcons at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8:30.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has dismissed an ESPN report that says he doesn't want to return to the team next season.
Lewis steadfastly denied the report in his postgame news conference, saying it's just speculation and that he hasn't made any decision. He called it recycled from the summer and irrelevant to the team's second straight lackluster performance.
The Toronto Raptors remain one of the NBA's hottest teams after padding their league-best home record.
DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 13 and a season-high 16 rebounds to highlight Toronto's ninth straight home win, a 108-93 trouncing of the Kings. Kyle Lowry chipped in 16 points for the Raptors, who are 11-1 at home and have won nine of their last 10 overall.
Checking out Sunday's other NBA action:
— LeBron James posted a triple-double for the fourth time in five games as he contributed 20 points, 15 assists and 12 boards to lead the Cavaliers to their 18th win in 19 games, 106-99 at Washington. Kevin Love added 25 points and nine rebounds to the victory.
— Reggie Bullock scored a career-high 20 points and Anthony Tolliver added 17 off the bench as the Pistons topped the Magic 114-110. Detroit tied a team record with 17 3-pointers and won its third in a row since a seven-game losing streak.
— The Pacers earned a 109-97 win at Brooklyn as Victor Oladipo scored 26 points and Domantas Sabonis added 17 off the bench. Indiana shut out Allen Crabbe in the second half after he scored 17 points on 5 of 7 shooting by intermission.
Local College Basketball
Siena beat Bryant 87 to 68.
St. John’s topped Iona 69 to 59.
On the Women’s side:
UAlbany defeated St. Bonaventure 69 to 52.
Northeastern topped Vermont 71 to 66.
TOP 25 MEN'S BASKETBALL
Seventh-ranked North Carolina needed a late run to avoid its second loss of the season.
The Tar Heels capitalized on a 9-0 spurt in the final minute to win their fifth in a row, beating No. 20 Tennessee 78-73 at Knoxville. Brandon Williams drained a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to put North Carolina ahead to stay.
Joel Berry II scored a game-high 21 points for the Heels, while Williams and Luke Maye added 15 points apiece.
In other top-25 men's finals:
— Fifth-ranked Arizona State fell behind 13-0 before embarking on a 26-3 spurt bridging both halves to beat Vanderbilt 76-64. Tra Holder scored 25 points and Shannon Evans II added 15 for the 10-0 Sun Devils.
— Jo-Lual Acuil had career highs with 31 points and 20 rebounds in No. 21 Baylor's 118-86 blowout over Savannah State. Manu Lecomte provided 25 points for the Bears, who scored 21 straight in the first half and led by 31 before intermission.
The St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets have completed a home-and-home matchup that featured shutout wins by the home team.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots for his eighth career shutout as the Jets downed the Blues 4-0. Hellebuyck's performance came two nights after Carter Hutton turned back 48 shots to lead St. Louis to a 2-0 win.
Patrick Laine notched his team-high 16th goal, while teammate Josh Morrissey scored once and had an assist.
The Blues and Predators remain tied for first in the NHL's Central Division, three points ahead of the Jets.
The Blackhawks are seven points out of first in the Central after Patrick Kane scored twice in Chicago's fifth straight win, 4-1 over Minnesota. Corey Crawford stopped 27 shots and blanked the Wild until Matt Dumba tallied 5:56 into the third.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The expansion Golden Knights are back in a first-place tie with Los Angeles in the Pacific Division after Erik Haula, Jonathan Marchessault and James Neal scored in the final 8:20 to lift Vegas past Florida 5-2. Malcolm Subban faced just 18 shots and was perfect after Mike Matheson's goal put Florida ahead 2-0 just 5:13 into the game.
— Mark Giordano scored twice and Sam Bennett had a goal and three assists as the Flames ripped the Canucks 6-1. Mark Jankowski added a goal and set up two others to help Calgary halt a three-game skid.
Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg says he might skip All-Star games in the future because he thinks the change in routine for that event contributed to an injury last season.
Strasburg says Sunday at the team's annual fan festival that going to the All-Star game in Miami this year "pushed me back a bit" and "started making my arm hurt." He left his second start after the All-Star break after only two innings and went on the disabled list with a nerve issue in his pitching elbow.
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