June 24, 2021
By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
With lightning-like quickness and a will to dominate, Sha’Carri Richardson is on her way to the Olympics in Tokyo.
The 21-year-old native of Dallas, Texas, won the women’s 100-meter final during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Richardson’s victory came in just 10.86 seconds – amazingly, it was an eye-lash slower than her head-spinning performance in the semifinal heat, where she crossed the finish line in just 10.64 seconds.
Many are comparing the Olympic-bound track and field star to greats like Florence Griffith-Joyner, and Gail Devers.
Richardson has remained humble, and she credits her grandmother, Betty Harp, for much of her success.
“My grandmother is my heart, my superwoman,” Richardson told Runners World.
“To have her here at the biggest meet of my life, it’s just amazing. That probably felt better than winning the races, just being able to hold her after becoming an Olympian.”
Already turning heads in and around the sport, Richardson further raised eyebrows when she dominated the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
Jumping out to a fast start, Richardson appeared to purposely slow down toward the end of the race and point toward the clock, which registered her dramatic timing.
“Nobody knows what I go through,” Richardson said in a post-race interview with ABC.
“Everybody has struggles, and I understand that. But y’all see me on this track, and y’all see the poker face I put on. But nobody but [my family] and my coach know what I go through…and I’m highly grateful to them. Without them, there would be no me.”
June 17, 2021
By Tim Reynolds
Phoenix guard Chris Paul has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Suns said Wednesday, and it is unclear whether he’ll be available for the start of the Western Conference finals next week.
The Suns said Paul’s status will be evaluated again Saturday. The earliest possible start date for the West finals is Sunday; that series schedule is contingent on when the other West semifinal between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers ends.
Paul has been vaccinated against COVID-19, said a person with knowledge of the situation, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of privacy concerns.
And that may mean that Paul could be cleared to return more quickly than some who tested positive earlier this season before vaccines were readily available; it wasn’t uncommon for players who entered the protocols to miss two weeks or more.
“My faith isn’t going to waver now because we’ve had a few obstacles,” Suns coach Monty Williams said Wednesday. “We’ve had obstacles all season long and gotten through a lot of stuff. You look forward to these challenges, you embrace them and you move forward.”
Phoenix practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday without Paul, starting the process of getting ready for a West finals berth now accompanied with even more uncertainty than first thought. The Suns don’t know who they’ll play, when they’ll play, where the series will start and now, aren’t sure if their 10-time All-NBA point guard will be ready.
Williams said the Suns are handling the emotional ebbs and flows, from the highs of sweeping Denver in the second round to reach the West final to the news that Paul’s status is in doubt, as well as can be expected.
“One of the things we’ve said, if you’re nutty enough to listen to me around here, we’re just going to do the next right thing,” Williams said. “And that’s focus on the next practice, the next film session. I just left our gym and the spirit was unreal. Our guys understand that we’ve dealt with stuff this year, other teams have dealt with it, it’s just part of the NBA.”
Williams said he and Paul have talked daily this week, those chats wide-ranging and including their dismay that Suns guard Devin Booker didn’t make the All-NBA team that was released Wednesday — “that’s pretty much a joke,” Williams said — to more disappointment that nobody on the Phoenix roster made the All-Defensive team.
Williams did not divulge anything specific about Paul’s health condition. All the team said was that Paul had entered the protocols.
The protocols are the league’s playbook for handling all matters related to the coronavirus this season. There have been examples of players missing multiple weeks following positive COVID-19 tests; there have also been examples of players missing very short amounts of time for matters such as contact tracing investigations.
In March, the league also relaxed some of the protocols that were put into place last fall, doing so in response to players and coaches choosing to receive the vaccine that protects against the coronavirus.
But the NBA also cautioned at that time that “if an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the previous protocols apply” — which would still mean that anyone with those symptoms “may be subject to quarantine” regardless of their vaccination status.
Paul scored 37 points in Game 4 of the West semifinals against Denver, helping Phoenix finish off a four-game sweep. He has only played in the West finals once in his career, doing so in 2018 with Houston against Golden State. The Rockets held a 3-2 lead in that series when Paul injured a hamstring and had to miss Games 6 and 7; Houston lost both and the Warriors went on to win the NBA title.
He is averaging 15.7 points and 8.7 assists per game in these playoffs, shooting 51% from the field, 44% from 3-point range and 91% from the foul line.
June 10, 2021
By Ralph D. Russo
AP College Football Writer
Former Southern California star Reggie Bush, who had his Heisman Trophy victory in 2005 vacated for committing NCAA violations, is among the players making their first appearance on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot this year.
The National Football Foundation announced on Wednesday the players and coaches eligible for election into the Hall of Fame, and 26 of the 78 FBS players will be debuting on the ballot.
Hall of Fame ballots go to more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers. The votes are considered by the NFF's Honors Courts, which then deliberates and selects a class of about a dozen players and two or three coaches.
College Football Hall of Famer and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin from Ohio State is the chairman of the Honors Court, which includes athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media from all over the country.
Other first-timers on the ballot included quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Kellen Moore of Boise State, Penn State star linebackers LaVar Arrington and Paul Posluszny and former California running back Marshawn Lynch.
Bush's Hall of Fame case is most intriguing. Based solely on his play, he would be a slam dunk. Bush helped USC win two national championships and won the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 2005.
He averaged 7.3 yards per carry in his career at USC, including 8.7 yards during his Heisman-winning season.
But his Heisman was later vacated after USC was hit with NCAA sanctions when it was found that Bush and his family received money and gifts during his time with the Trojans from fledgling marketing agents who were hoping to represent the rising football star.
The Heisman Trophy Trust asked Bush to return his trophy in 2010 and stripped him from its record books because he had compromised his NCAA eligibility while playing for USC.
The NCAA imposed a 10-year ban on Bush associating publicly with USC. That ended last year. USC joyously welcomed Bush back into the Trojans community and started making plans to honor him.
When the NCAA-imposed disassociation ended, it allowed USC to nominate Bush as a Hall of Fame candidate.
``That was good enough for us,'' said Steve Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation.
Bush otherwise could have been eligible for the hall and appeared on the ballot as early as 2017, a year after his 11-year NFL career ended.
The Atlanta-based College Hall of Fame has shied away _ at times _ from honoring players and coaches who have been attached to NCAA or other off-the-field scandals.
But there are no clear-cut guidelines.
Last year, Eric Dickerson, who played at SMU in the early 1980s, was finally elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Dickerson played during the era in which cheating was rampant at SMU and the program eventually was given the so-called death penalty by the NCAA for paying players. Dickerson himself was never proved to have broken any NCAA rules.
Bush might not have to wait as long as Dickerson to make the hall, but he is unlikely to make it on the first ballot.
The NFF tends to steer away from having a school represented in consecutive classes, and former USC quarterback and 2002 Heisman winner Carson Palmer made it last year.
June 10, 2021
City News Service
Major League Soccer confirmed that the league's all-star game will be played in August at Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park.
The Aug. 25 All-Star Game will feature a team of MLS greats taking on Mexico's LIGA MX All-Stars, the first-ever such match-up of the two leagues.
“This is one of the most spectacular showcases for our sport, and I will say it's one of the great stadiums of its size anywhere in the world, and I can't think of a better place to have this special showcase for the best in our two leagues, Major League Soccer and LIGA MX,'' MLS Commissioner Don Garber said during a news conference at the stadium.
Banc of California Stadium, home of Los Angeles Football Club, was supposed to host the MLS All-Star Game last year, it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With health restrictions being lifted next week in Los Angeles County, the Aug. 25 game will be able to host a full-capacity crowd.
“It really represents who we are in the heart of the city,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said during the news conference. ``As a fan, as a proud mayor, we learned so many things in this year past, and what we missed -- being together in places like this, human contact and competition. It was here at the end of 2019 that America's newly crowned top soccer city, the number one football city in America, announced that we would have the MLS All-Star Game here in Los Angeles, but we had no idea what was right around the corner. We had no idea the year of loss that we would fee.
“The All-Star Game, like so many things in our life, was put on hold. But now we are back.''
LAFC head coach Bob Bradley will coach the MLS All-Star team.
“This will be a special night of football in Los Angeles,'' Bradley said in a statement. “It is always an honor to represent our city and our league on the international stage, and we look forward to competing against the LIGA MX All-Stars.''