FIFA aware of Warner reports


FIFA has confirmed that investigators from its ethics committee are conscious of the newest allegations of funds between former executive committee members.

FIFA's Michael J. Garcia has a history of combatting international terrorism.


The Daily Telegraph reported this week that the FBI is investigating funds from an organization owned by Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam to Jack Warner and his family.

Both men left FIFA in disgrace following a 2011 corruption scandal.

A press release from chief investigator Michael Garcia was read out at a news convention in Zurich.

It mentioned: “The ethics committee is aware of the material identified in the article. As with all allegations of misconduct the ethics committee will take whatever actions it feels acceptable.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter refused to touch upon the latest claims, including: “I am comfortable now that we now have an unbiased committee for ethics and this is now to be dealt with by this committee.”

Blatter might nevertheless make a private visit to 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar over the issue of the therapy of migrant workers.

In the meantime, FIFA's secretary normal Jerome Valcke said he hopes for positive information from this year's World Cup hosts Brazil over two stadiums, in Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre, which have experienced severe delays.

Valcke will have a gathering with tournament organisers in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and he said: “We're eighty days away from the World Cup and other people in the two areas with the principle issues – Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo – have stated that we should always receive some constructive data. The main considerations ought to disappear, and we should always really feel (we are in a) more comfortable state of affairs by next week.”

He added: “Ticket gross sales and hospitality sales are an excellent success – it's greater than we've got completed previously.”

FIFA additionally revealed it had record revenues of $1.38 billion U.S. dollars (849 million pounds) and a surplus of $seventy two million (forty three million pounds), leaving it with reserves of $1.four billion (850 million pounds).

However Valcke warned: “We nonetheless need to face crucial time and the ultimate price of the World Cup will not be but clear.”

Also, FIFA's top monetary watchdog says he'll hold a close eye on everybody in next yr's presidential election.

Domenico Scala informed The Associated Press a grant just like the $1 million Blatter awarded CONCACAF in Might 2011 may now provoke an ethics investigation.

Scala, who has chaired FIFA's modernized audit panel since 2012, says "that might not work anymore."

The Swiss industrialist cautions against candidates promising money to continental and national our bodies with out FIFA improvement committee approval.

Four years in the past, FIFA gave $one hundred forty four.four million in "extraordinary payments" from World Cup profits. Blatter's opponent, Mohamed bin Hammam, pledged to double annual grants.

Scala says "that won't be attainable" earlier than the May 2015 vote.

Potential candidates embrace Blatter, UEFA pPresident Michel Platini and former FIFA official Jerome Champagne.

Data from The Related Press was used in this report.

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Carbo overloading: OU reports pasta pile-on

Oklahoma athletics apparently does not believe in all-you-can-eat banquets.

The Sooners elected to self-report three players for getting extra meals at a graduation banquet than they should have, based on The Oklahoman.

The violations occurred on Might 10, 2013, in line with the newspaper, with pasta being the precise item in question.

To have their eligibility reinstated, the three had to donate $3.eighty three every (the cost of the pasta servings) to charities of their alternative.

While the Sooners elected to self-report, the NCAA released a press release saying that what the three players did was not a violation of any NCAA guidelines.

"Whereas we recognize Oklahoma's commitment, there are not any NCAA rules relating to portion sizes, and any penalties were decided by the college," NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham mentioned in a press release.

Although the gamers weren't identified, offensive linemen Gabe Ikard and Austin Woods took to Twitter to fess up for piling on the pasta and declare they paid $5 for the food.


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Reports: UFC’s Thiago Silva arrested in Florida

UFC gentle heavyweight Thiago Silva has been arrested late Thursday night time after he barricaded themselves inside his residence within southern Florida, according to reports.Thiago Silva was arrested Thursday right after barricading himself inside their home, according to reports. Multiple local news affiliate marketers reported Silva was involved in an altercation at Pablo Popovitch Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Oakland Park, Fla., on thurs evening. According to the reports, Silva, 31, was armed during the incident.

the particular Brazilian fighter reportedly remaining the scene and fled to his residence in 2041 Coral Heights Blvd. Public records confirmed Silva to be the address’ property owner. Broward Sheriff’s Office authorities told multiple media stores that a suspect was apprehended after a SWAT team set up a perimeter around the house, but the officials did not identify the particular suspect.

No one was harmed at the college or Silva’s residence, according to reports.Silva-CavalcanteThe ultimate fighter championships released a statement regarding Silva’s apparent arrest Thursday. “This evening, we were made aware of a situation including Thiago Silva, ” the particular statement read. “We are in the process of gathering the facts and have no further comment at this time. inchSilva (16-3) has fought for the ultimate fighter championships since 2007. He is planned to fight Ovince St . Preux at UFC 171 on March 15 within Dallas.MMA columnist with regard to ESPN. com Analyst for “MMA Live”


Reports: Strong expected to be next Texas coach

Charlie Strong is expected to be named Texas' next head coach. (USATSI)
Charlie Strong is expected to be named Texas’ subsequent head coach. (USATSI)

Texas ‘ search to interchange Mack Brown is anticipated to finish with the rent of Louisville coach Charlie Robust, in accordance with the Related Press.’s Jeremy Fowler stories that Strong is expected to meet with his workers as early as Saturday and is more likely to talk about the Texas job.

“A person acquainted with the search tells The Associated Press that Texas has offered its head coaching job to Louisville’s Charlie Robust and he’s anticipated to simply accept.

“The particular person spoke on condition of anonymity as a result of the method was being saved confidential and had not been completed. Texas has been looking to exchange Mack Brown, who stepped down in December after sixteen seasons with the Longhorns. “

The AP’s report came just after several related reports indicating that Strong was close to accepting an offer from Texas. 247Sports, Rivals (, Sports activities Illustrated all indicated that Texas and Louisville’s coach had agreed to phrases – with SI’s Pete Thamel reporting a 5-year deal worth about $5-million per season, whereas ESPN’s Brett McMurphy stated that Robust needed to talk with Louisville’s administration. In keeping with McMurphy, Sturdy remains to be expected to take the Texas job.

While the status of the negotiations are murky, the leaks – most certainly coming from Texas-primarily based sources – recommend that the Longhorns have recognized their man.

Robust was one of a number of coaches talked about on Texas’ quick list, along with Baylor’s Artwork Briles and UCLA’s Jim Mora. After both Briles and Mora publicly removed their names from consideration for the job on Friday, the growing sense was that Texas both found their man or was waiting for a coach within the BCS title sport – Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher or Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

Robust led Louisville to 4 straight bowl games and two conference titles since taking the job – his first as as head coach – before the 2010 season. The Cardinals have gone 23-3 within the last two seasons, following up final yr’s Sugar Bowl win with a dominant victory in opposition to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl to finish 2013 with a 12-1 file.

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Reports: Irish hire Brian VanGorder as DC

Notre Dame has hired New York Jets assistant Brian VanGorder because the Irish's new defensive coordinator, multiple media retailers reported Saturday evening.

Brian VanGorder

Jets linebackers coach Brian VanGorder reportedly can be named Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator.

VanGorder previously labored with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly at Grand Valley State from 1989-91.

VanGorder is in his first yr as linebackers coach with the Jets after serving as Auburn's defensive coordinator last season. The Tigers went 3-9 along with his protection, including 0-8 in Southeastern Convention play.

His hiring was earlier reported by NFL Community.

Kelly mentioned Saturday after Notre Dame's win in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl that the Irish have their new defensive coordinator in place, however he wouldn't reveal the identify as a result of the contract has not been finalized.

An official announcement is anticipated shortly after the NFL regular season ends.


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Reports: Japanese phenom Tanaka to be posted

Highly sought Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is outwardly headed to the massive leagues.

The Rakuten Eagles will enable the 25-yr-outdated proper-hander to be placed into the new posting system permitted not too long ago by MLB and NPB, the Related Press reported Wednesday. Posting fees are restricted to $20 million, payable by the key-league membership that signs him to a contract.

“I’m grateful to the crew for permitting me to attempt. Now, I’ve made a first step,” Tanaka instructed the AP. “I hope I’d receive gives from as many groups as potential so I have a wider choice.”

The Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Mariners are among the groups anticipated to pursue Tanaka. Other clubs, such because the Angels and Rangers, could become involved as properly.

Posting will start Thursday and conclude Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. ET, in line with Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily Information. From there, the profitable staff(s) can negotiate a take care of Tanaka.

Eagles president Yozo Tachibana instructed reporters throughout a information convention in Japan that Tanaka, who has two years left on his NPB contract, earned the precise to enter the posting system with his excellent efficiency over the last seven seasons, the AP reported. Rakuten had initially balked at permitting him to come back over to MLB.

Tanaka, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 PERIOD and a 5.72 Okay/BB in 212 innings for Rakuten this previous season. He is widely considered the best pitcher in the marketplace this offseason, though no one really knew if he could be made accessible to MLB clubs. The free agent pitching market has been frozen ready for Rakuten’s resolution.

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Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl

Report: Notre Dame To Play In Pinstripe Bowl


Notre Dame plans to accept a bid to the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, according to multiple reports.

A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that Notre Dame officials have informed bowl organizers that the Fighting Irish will play in the Dec. 28 game in New York against a team from the American Athletic Conference.

CBSsports. com earlier reported Notre Dame's decision.

The Fighting Irish were left without a pre-arranged bowl destination this season. Notre Dame's final choice came down to the Hawaii Bowl or the Pinstripe Bowl. The Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego also was a possibility.

Notre Dame regularly tries to play games in the New York area, where it has a large following. The Irish played Army in a regular-season game at Yankee Stadium in 2010, the first college football game at the new stadium. Notre Dame will play Syracuse next season at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N. J.

The Fighting Irish (8-4) will likely play Rutgers if the Scarlet Knights beat USF to become bowl-eligible on Saturday or Houston (8-4).

Notre Dame didn't have a contractual tie-in with any bowls this season, so in a sense it was BCS or bust. The Irish were left to wait for spots to open in third-tier games. The Big 12 didn't have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its spot in the Pinstripe Bowl.

The Pinstripe Bowl becomes a Big Ten-Atlantic Coast Conference game starting in 2014. Notre Dame joins the ACC next season, though not for football. It will have access to the ACC's bowl lineup.



Colorado WR Paul Richardson may declare for the NFL Draft, according to reports

Oct 26, 2013; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes large receiver Paul Richardson (6) runs onto the sector prior to the game towards the Arizona Wildcats at Folsom Discipline. Mandatory Credit score: Ron Chenoy-USA AT THE MOMENT Sports activities

Quite a few studies have steered that Colorado extensive receiver Paul Richardson is heavily contemplating forgoing his senior 12 months in Boulder and declaring for the NFL Draft. Richardson has had an outstanding junior yr for the Buffaloes, catching seventy two passes for 1,289 yards and 10 touchdowns, largely in anonymity due to the struggles of the Colorado program as they currently sit at 4-7. New head coach Mike MacIntyre is working to alter things in Boulder, however Richardson may not wish to stick around and wait.

The NFL Draft panorama for the wide receiver place is vast open with Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt possible the top senior prospect. It is a place more likely to be dominated by underclassmen and Richardson may very well be the primary of a lot of receivers to declare this year. Should he decide to declare, there are many who believe that Richardson could find yourself in the first or second spherical spherical in May.

College players have till January fifteenth to determine in the event that they need to be in the draft, however a handful of players have already declared. Eric Ebron of North Carolina and Bradley Roby of Ohio State have made their intent to declare early enough, so they may participate in their team’s senior day to have fun their final residence game in faculty.

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Reports: McCann, Cruz to reject qualifying offers

Nelson Cruz will net the Rangers a high draft pick if he signs elsewhere.
Nelson Cruz will internet the Rangers a excessive draft pick if he indicators elsewhere. (USATSI)

The deadline for gamers to accept or reject the one-yr, $14.1 million qualifying offer is 5pm ET on Monday afternoon. Gamers who reject the supply will web their former workforce a supplemental first spherical draft pick as compensation if they signal a Major League contract with one other workforce. Teams who sign those gamers will have to forfeit a high draft decide.

A complete of 13 players received qualifying provides previous to last Monday’s deadline. We’ll keep tabs on their choices throughout the day right right here, so test back often.

Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds
Nelson Cruz, Rangers – Has informed group he’ll reject. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Stephen Drew, Purple Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians
Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
Brian McCann, Braves – Will reject. (
Kendrys Morales, Mariners
Mike Napoli, Pink Sox
Ervin Santana, Royals – Has rejected. (Fox Sports)

For a whole record of all free brokers – including the one hundred fifty or so players who didn’t receive qualifying provides – try our free agent tracker, which will likely be updated throughout the offseason: FA tracker: Position gamers | FA tracker: Pitchers.

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Reports: Texans LB Cushing out for season

A year after he tore his ACL, Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing once more could also be dealing with a season-ending knee damage.

In accordance with multiple reviews, Cushing is out for the year after struggling a damaged left leg and a torn LCL in his knee.

Cushing went down in the third quarter after the helmet of Kansas Metropolis Chiefs running again Jamaal Charles hit the linebacker’s surgically repaired left knee.

Cushing remained on the bottom as trainers examined the knee, the identical one on which he suffered a torn ACL in Week 5 of the 2012 season. He was helped off the field, unable to put any strain on his left leg, then a cart picked him up from the sideline and took him into the locker room for analysis.

Cushing was on crutches after the game and said he would wait to speak to the media until after he has an MRI on Monday.

The Texans head into their bye week at 2-5 following Sunday’s 17-sixteen loss.


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Super serious reports about Jose Mourinho from a school lunch room


Oh my God, did you hear about Jose Mourinho? He completely cried like a child when that loser David Moyes acquired the Manchester United job as a substitute of him. Seriously. I heard it from this man Diego who would not like him so it needs to be true. Mourinho already stated that Alex Ferguson instructed him that he was retiring and he instructed Alex Ferguson that he solely wanted to return to Chelsea months earlier than Moyes was hired, however that was a extremely long time in the past so nobody cares about that anymore. Everyone who’s not silly is aware of that whatever is said extra recently needs to be extra true.

Then there’s this whole factor with Andre Villas-Boas, who was Mourinho’s, like, greatest pal — and I mean best. Friend. They went in all places together and I heard they even had matches friendship bracelets that they made for each other and everything. However then Andre Villas-Boas went through this section the place he tried to repeat every thing Mourinho did and it was type of bizarre. Anyway, Villas-Boas informed the press that they are not associates anymore. Like, at all. He goes, “Our break-up point was because I was filled with ambition to provide him one thing additional and I wanted additional involvement from the job I used to be doing at the moment.” And then he was like, “Whatever. I do not lose any sleep over it,” despite the fact that everybody is aware of that he so does.

So the subsequent day the press requested Mourinho about it because it’s actually essential and it is not like people typically grow aside over time and go their separate ways since that is simply how life can be. And Mourinho says, “I don’t describe [the relationship] because I am not a child to debate relationships with the media. It is a private thing. I don’t care what he says. I am right here, to not touch upon what he says or what to know what he says. I’m not interested.” Can you believe that? I mean, who does he suppose he’s? That’s just so rude. For real. In case you do not tell the press about your personal relationship that may or will not be a big deal, then, like, who do you inform?

However now Crew Mourinho is going to play in opposition to Crew Villas-Boas and everybody knows they’re not pals anymore and it should be so awkward and literally no one can consider it. I imply, it’s ridic. Totally ridic…ulous.

I also heard this thing about Jose Mourinho where he randomly went as much as Juan Mata and was like, “You look really fats in that training equipment and I do not like you.” Juan Mata didn’t cry as a result of he’s really proud and, like, strong mentally, you recognize? But you can completely inform that he almost did. It was so sad, you guys. I just can’t consider all this stuff is occurring right now. It is literally unbelievable.

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In light of recent reports, Todd Blackledge says he’s “more convinced” that there wasn’t a football culture problem at Penn State

Todd Blackledge was a primary round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. (Getty Photographs)

Former Penn State quarterback and current ESPN analyst Todd Blackledge defended his alma mater Thursday on Twitter in light of reviews from Yahoo Sports activities and Sports activities Illustrated about improprieties in school football packages. And whereas Blackledge is right in that pay-for-play allegations have not haunted Penn State, he missed the mark broadly.

Simply put, the sexual abuse scandal that encompassed Penn State was a football drawback. It resulted in scholarship losses, a bowl ban, and the dismissal of legendary coach Joe Paterno, who did not immediately go to authorities when he first heard of accusations in opposition to former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of sexually assaulting 10 boys and is currently serving 30-60 years in a Pennsylvania prison.

Yahoo Sports reported Wednesday that five SEC gamers acquired over $forty five,000 from 5 brokers via middleman Luther Davis, a former Alabama defensive finish. This week, Sports Illustrated is operating a 5 piece series on Oklahoma State, masking tutorial issues, drug use and other reported improprieties. In SI’s report, football coaches had been well conscious of all the things that was transpiring. Identical to Penn State officials were about what was happening with their former defensive coordinator. Players don’t must be concerned simply to make it a “soccer culture problem.”


Richie Incognito was involved in South Beach fight, but reports conflict on facts

(Getty Photos)

Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito has found himself within the middle of yet another spat. However whether or not he was a guilty instigator or an innocent bystander remains the query following conflicting reports on the matter.

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ESPN’s Adam Schefter initially reported that Incognito — who has been in and out of trouble since his faculty days — was concerned in a late-night time battle with a security guard at the Fontainbleu lodge in Miami prior to coaching camp.More… That report stated Incognito punched and knocked out a hotel safety guard, according to Schefter’s league sources, however that one witness said Incognito was hit first.

Now comes a conflicting report from Dolphins beat writer Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald:

Beasley followed with a string of tweets that indicated the incident in question happened early within the morning of June 10, when Incognito was issued a trespassing warning and was not charged. Incognito suffered abrasions and bruises, however refused treatment, and there were no accidents listed for the person Schefter stated Incognito hit, Carlos Joseph. (An aside: It’s not clear if this is identical Joseph who performed on the College of Miami and played three years within the NFL with the Chargers and Jaguars.)

Miami Seashore police interviewed each events and let Incognito go. Their report, per Beasley, states Joseph hit Incognito. He refused therapy, and Incognito and his buddies have been requested to leave. The struggle reportedly occurred once they bought too close to the stage.

The Dolphins apparently are conscious of the incident however have not spoken publicly about it. The NFL has declined comment, as well.

Incognito has been within the information loads this week. On Tuesday, Texans defensive finish Antonio Smith was suspended for two preseason and one common-season recreation for flailing his helmet at Incognito in final week’s preseason contest. The two have had a private rivalry for years.

Incognito, who has battled with coaches and gamers alike, has been an instigator up to now but also has been common with his teammates and even as soon as received the NFL’s Good Man Award, given to the player who is most helpful with the native media.

One thing is true: Dude will get hit quite a bit, even for a lineman.


Chase Utley and Phillies close to two-year contract extension

(Getty Images) In a matter of weeks, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley went from being the topic of commerce rumors to a man the crew wants to pay upward of $25 million for two more years, in line with reviews.

Two Phillies beat writers — Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia and Todd Zolecki of — are saying a deal is in place to increase Utley’s contract for 2 extra seasons. He was as a result of be a free agent after this year. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports adds that the contract is value between $25 million and $30 million with multiple vesting choices.

That’s good news for Utley, 34, who just lately stated he preferred to put on a Phillies jersey from life. From Zolecki’s report:

Utley told simply before the All-Star break final month, “I’ve by no means envisioned carrying another team’s uniform. And I do know there’s a whole lot of hypothesis, however I still haven’t … that still hasn’t changed over the last month. I’ve talked to Ruben. I’ve instructed him what I take into consideration the organization and metropolis of Philly. That’s sort of where we’re at.”

Utley’s a 5-time All-Star with some stellar seasons in Philadelphia. From 2005-2008, he drove in at the very least one hundred runs annually and averaged 28 homers. His shiny career, nevertheless, has been derailed because of injuries.

Since 2010, he hasn’t played in additional than a hundred and fifteen video games — with solely eighty three last season. Already this 12 months, he is matched that, enjoying in eighty three of the Phillies’ 112 video games and he is on pace for his finest season since 2009. He is hitting275/.336/.505 with 15 homers and 42 RBIs.


Mike Miller will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies, according to reports

Mike Miller cannot wait to get back in a teal-accented jersey (Joe Murphy/ Getty).

In three seasons with the Miami Heat, wing Mike Miller provided meaningful postseason contributions to the two-time champions, solidifying his reputation as a valuable veteran. When the Heat used the NBA’s amnesty provision on Miller last week to lessen their luxury tax burden, Miller became one of the most sought-after players on the market for teams with plans to contend for a title.

Early reports suggested that Miller would sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but those plans appear to have fallen apart. As first reported by Marc Stein of and later confirmed by Sam Amick of USA Today, Miller has told the Memphis Grizzlies that he will join them for the 2013-14 season and possibly beyond. Terms are not yet known, although the Grizzlies still have their full mid-level exception of $5.15 million and are less than $3 million under the luxury tax threshold. Miller also played for Memphis over six seasons from 2003 to 2008.

Miller should add some much-needed versatility to the Grizzlies’ wing rotation. While they have several excellent wing defenders who fit with their identity as a smashmouth, grit-and-grind outfit, the Grizzlies occasionally suffer from a lack of perimeter scoring and adequate spacing — particularly against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, when defenders made a habit of sloughing off Tony Allen and collapsing into the paint — and needed to add shooters this offseason. Miller made a habit of hitting big shots for the Heat in the postseason and could continue that practice with Memphis. In 2012-13, Miller hit 41.7 percent from beyond the arc in 51 regular season games and 44.4 percent in the postseason.

The worry with Miller is if he’ll be able to stay on the court. At 33 years old, he has suffered from many injuries over his 13 seasons and hasn’t played 60 or more games since 2008-09. The Grizzlies wanted Miller for what he can do in the playoffs, but it’s entirely possible that injuries will keep him from participating.

But that’s a risk worth taking. In a crowded field at the top of the West, secondary additions like this one could end up making big differences next spring. Miller is a proven contributor with a sorely needed skill, and his addition brings the added bonus of ensuring that other teams in the West won’t be able to enjoy his services. Miller wasn’t one of the biggest free agents on the market this summer, but he could have an outsized impact on the playoffs.


Matt Garza traded to Texas Rangers in three-player deal that includes Mike Olt

(Getty Images)

Major League Baseball has suspended Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun for the remainder of 2013. Braun, embattled by PED accusations related to the Biogenesis case, is suspended immediately and without pay, according to the commissioner’s office.

MLB announced Braun was in violation of baseball’s joint drug prevention and treatment program, but didn’t offer specifics about Braun’s violations. The suspension amounts to 65 games for the 2011 NL MVP, who successfully appealed a PED suspension in 2012. This makes him the first star connected to Biogenesis to fall, though as many as 20 suspensions are reportedly on the way.

Per MLB’s announcement, Braun has accepted his punishment, though in his statement he never admits to using performance-enhancing drugs. It’s an alarming about-face for Braun, who has vehemently denied PED use over the past two seasons.

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

Rob Manfred MLB’s executive vice president for economics and league affairs added:

“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions. We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”

Braun is one of the handful of players connected to Tony Bosch’s Miami-area Biogenesis clinic, which was exposed as an alleged PED supplier in January. Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta are among the other players who have been linked to Biogenesis.

When Braun was connected to the clinic through a report from Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan and Tim Brown, the Brewers star said he only hired Bosch as a consultant during his suspension appeal:

“During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant. More specifically, he answered questions about T/E ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples. There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch’s work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under ‘moneys owed’ and not on any other list. I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch. I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter.”

(Getty Images) Braun’s steadfast denial earlier this year echoed the statement he gave in 2012 after winning his appeal, in which he maintained that he was clean and innocent:

“I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision. It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

“We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.”

Braun’s adamance that he never used PEDs and his one-that-go-away status is why many pundits believed MLB pursued him as hard it did this time around. Braun being the first suspension announced points toward his camp brokering a deal with MLB.

Last week, Michael Weiner, the executive direction of the player’s association, told reporters that suspensions would likely come in 2014 unless a player had struck a deal the league. He told the New York Daily News:

“We’re not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the (drug) program out there. Most of the players aren’t interested in that. We’d like to have a clean program.”

Now we wait to see what happens to A-Rod and the rest. The first message sent here, with this first suspension? Bud Selig and MLB aren’t playing around.


Shane Battier hits 6 3-pointers in huge Game 7 explosion: ‘Reports of my demise were premature’

Shane Battier and Mike Miller celebrate their second straight NBA title. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Image …

After spending Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on the bench, shackled to the sideline by a shooting slump that seemed like it might never end, Shane Battier offered a pretty disgusting analogy to describe the experience of watching his Miami Heat teammates advance to the 2013 NBA Finals without him.

“Every now and then you’ve got to eat a turd sandwich,” Battier said before the start of the Finals. “You eat a turd sandwich and that ribeye tastes really good next time.”

“Next time,” in this case, came Thursday night, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, when Battier came off the bench to scorch the San Antonio Spurs from downtown. Like Mike Miller in his unconscious Game 5 during Miami’s 2012 title win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Battier came off the bench to drop bomb after bomb from beyond the arc, scoring 18 points on 6 for 8 shooting from 3-point land in 29 minutes to help propel the Heat to a 95-88 win in Game 7 that nailed down a 4-3 series win for Miami and the Heat’s second straight NBA championship.

“Tomorrow, I hope my wife cooks me a nice ribeye,” Battier said. “I’m looking forward to my ribeye tomorrow.”

With a shooting performance like this, he damn sure earned it:

Extra Luger’s for the champ, please.

It’s not necessarily news that Battier can fill it up from downtown — after all, he’s a 38.7 percent career 3-point shooter from distance who hit 15 of his 26 triples in the Heat’s 2012 Finals win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. But considering how mightily Battier had struggled this postseason, such a breakout performance seemed unlikely, at best.

All year long, the veteran defender and glue guy seemed a perfect fit alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Miami’s frontcourt as small-ball power forward who’d provided a reliable, floor-spacing deep stroke on offense and a willingness to bang with burlier fours on the defensive end. By the time the postseason rolled around, though, Battier’s long-range touch had disappeared.

Whether due to the accumulated fatigue of all those minutes punching above his weight class or just a horrendously timed cold snap, Battier went from a 43 percent 3-point shooter in the regular season to hitting just 23.7 percent of his long balls during the Heat’s first 13 playoff games, and he was getting eaten alive by Indiana Pacers bruiser David West on the other end of the court.

His inability to space the floor — the Pacers were straight-up not guarding him by Game 4 — or slow down West forced Spoelstra to limit Battier to just 13 total minutes in Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern finals before sitting him altogether in Game 7. Battier’s most significant contribution in Miami’s blowout win over Indiana was toweling LeBron off during a timeout. It was a weird spot to be in for a guy who made 20 starts and averaged 25 minutes per game for the best team in basketball.

Miller had moved in front of him in the Heat’s wing rotation. Minutes, opportunities and shots were scarce, and when they came, they still weren’t falling. But to hear Battier tell it, his faith in probabilities helped him ward off despair.

“Last year, I had a horrific shooting slump to start the year [and] my mantra was, ‘I’ll regress to the mean.’ And I believe in that,” Battier said. “I knew that my shooting was not indicative of the numbers that I put up last year, and very similarly to the stretch right now. I know I’m a better shooter than my numbers put up.”

When the Finals shifted away from traditional two-big frontcourts to smaller lineups in which James and Kawhi Leonard slid up to power forward while swingmen Miller and Danny Green (or Manu Ginobili, depending on how you look at it) played the three, there were more minutes and opportunities for Battier to get some run in Games 4, 5 and 6. With those minutes and opportunities came shots, and with those shots came some rhythm.. even if he still wasn’t seeing them go through the net.

And then, all of a sudden, Battier got a fairly bonkers banked-in 3 to fall in Game 6, and off in the distance, the Duke grad heard heavenly hosts.

“The basketball gods — I believe in basketball gods. I felt that they owed me big time,” Battier said. “I had a bunch of shots in San Antonio that went in and out, so when that banker went in, I said, ‘You know what? They owe me.’ But it was the start of a pretty good streak there.”

After knocking in two 3s in six tries in Game 5, Battier’s banker got him in enough of a rhythm to cash in three of his four long-balls in Game 6, leading him to feel “really confident” heading into Game 7. He got going quickly, draining a catch-and-shoot bomb from the right wing off a penetrate-and-kick by Ray Allen less than two minutes after checking into the game late in the first quarter. A little over a minute later, he got another clean look when Green left him all alone to help (needlessly, since there were three other Spurs in the neighborhood) on another Allen drive. Catch, shoot, splash, and Battier had found his rhythm, and was well on the way to an explosive Game 7 performance.

As he began his session with reporters after the game, Battier thought back to his woeful slump and stint on the bench, and offered a quip as an opening statement.

“Reports of my demise were premature,” he said.

Yes, Shane Battier’s alive and well, and whatever comes next for the 12-year NBA veteran, he’s now a two-time NBA champion. I’m not sure that’s quite as tasty as ribeye, but it sure beats the hell out of a turd sandwich.