Kremlin says Griner swap must be discussed without publicity
MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin says it’s open to talking about a possible prisoner exchange involving American basketball star Brittney Griner but strongly warned Washington against publicizing the issue. A judge convicted the 31-year-old Griner Thursday of drug possession and smuggling, and sentenced her to nine years in prison. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke last week to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about a trade to free Griner, and the two of them were both in Cambodia for an Asian summit on Friday. Lavrov said Moscow was “ready to discuss” a prisoner swap but that US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir only could talk about a deal via confidential channels.
Chun takes halfway lead at Women’s British Open
MUIRFIELD, Scotland (AP) — In Gee Chun is making another strong run at a major. The South Korean golfer took the halfway lead at the Women’s British Open after a 5-under 66 in the second round. She’s in position to challenge for a second major title of the year and fourth overall. Chun had an 8-under total of 134, putting her one shot ahead of South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom. They both shot 65. Seven-time major winner Inbee Park of South Korea is a shot further back after a 67.
Dodgers’ Kershaw on IL with lower back pain; Taylor activated
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have placed left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the injured list. The team made the move a day after the 34-year-old Kershaw left a start with lower back pain. Kershaw was previously sidelined this season with inflammation in a pelvic joint. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner felt discomfort while warming up before the fifth inning of Thursday’s win over San Francisco. Kershaw is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings. Also Friday, the Dodgers activated utilityman Chris Taylor, who had missed a month with a fractured left foot.
NCAA hoops leagues grapple with unequal pay for women’s refs
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 I conferences told The Associated Press they plan to equalize pay, and another is considering it. Others are resisting change, even though the impact on their budgets would be negligible.
Column: NFL lets bad boy owners get off with slap on wrist
After Donald Sterling’s racist ramblings were exposed to the world, the NBA moved quickly to banish him from the league. Sure, the forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers made Sterling even richer, but it sent a clear signal that such behavior would not be tolerated, even from the guys with the biggest checkbooks. Then there’s the NFL, which seems content to let its bad boy owners slide with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Tampering with some of the game’s biggest names? Suggesting it would be a good idea to lose games intentionally? No problem.
Union files brief replying to NFL’s appeal in Watson case
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — The NFL Players Association has filed a brief replying to the league’s appeal in Deshaun Watson’s discipline case. Former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey now has the necessary paperwork to issue a ruling. Harvey was selected by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the league’s appeal of the six-game suspension given to Watson for violating the personal conduct policy. The players’ union announced the reply brief shortly before Friday’s deadline but did not release its contents because it is confidential.
Arsenal opens EPL with 2-0 win at Crystal Palace
LONDON (AP) — Arsenal’s newcomers have made an immediate impact by opening the English Premier League beating host Crystal Palace 2-0. Left back Oleksandr Zinchenko set up the opening goal in the first half while striker Gabriel Jesus created a number of chances and defender William Saliba put in a near-flawless performance in his first start for Arsenal. The Gunners still had to endure a nervous second half before Bukayo Saka’s attempted cross was deflected into his own net by Palace defender Marc Guehi in the 85th.
Pro Football Hall of Fame recognizes women’s impact
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A 15-year-old boy made his way through the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum, checking out the memorabilia and bronze busts before stopping to take a picture of Jen Welter’s blue-and-pink jersey. send to his younger sister. Welter became the first woman to coach an NFL game in 2015 when she joined the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason. The shirt, pants and sneakers she wore on the sideline in all four exhibition games are on display at a new exhibit in the Pro Football Today area of the museum. The “Women’s Impact on Football” exhibit debuted ahead of this week’s enshrinement festivities.
Injured WR Godwin back on practice field for Buccaneers
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Seven months after undergoing knee surgery, Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin is back in pads on the practice field. The sixth-year pro who signed a three-year, $60 million contract this offseason worked out in full uniform at training camp. He ran and caught passes during individual drills, but did not participate in team periods. Coach Todd Bowles reiterated there’s no definitive timetable for Godwin to join full-squad work. Godwin’s return came on a day when quarterback Tom Brady missed practice because of what Bowles described as an “excused absence.”
Nadal withdraws from Montreal due to abdominal injury
MONTREAL (AP) — Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the upcoming hard-court tournament in Montreal because of the abdominal injury that caused him to pull out of Wimbledon ahead of the semifinals. The Spaniard had been 19-0 in Grand Slam matches this year when he decided the injury was too much at Wimbledon. Nadal is a five-time champion in Montreal. Nadal says he started practicing serves four days ago and on Thursday he “felt a slight bother on my abdominal and today it was still there.” Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Montreal tournament on Thursday because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and is therefore not allowed to enter Canada.
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