WNBA

KHIMKI, Russia (AP)U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted Thursday in Russia of drug possession and smuggling and was sentenced to nine years behind bars in a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

The 31-year-old Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and a eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, listened with a blank expression as an interpreter translated the verdict by Judge Anna Sotnikova, but her lawyers said later she was ”very upset.” Griner also was fined 1 million rubles (about $16,700).

U.S. President Joe Biden denounced as ”unacceptable” the verdict and sentence, which came amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

Outside court, the U.S. Embassy’s charge d’affaires Elizabeth Rood called the outcome ”a miscarriage of justice.”

NFL

HOUSTON (AP) – A lawyer representing two dozen women who have accused Deshaun Watson of sexual assault or harassment said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a chance to ”do the right thing” now that the league has appealed a six-game suspension for the Cleveland Browns quarterback.

The NFL’s appeal of an independent disciplinary officer’s decision gives Goodell or someone he designates the authority to increase Watson’s penalty. On Thursday, Goodell named former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey as his designee to hear the appeal. Buzbee spoke before the league made the announcement.

The NFL is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year plus a fine in appealing the suspension, a person familiar with the filing told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter isn’t public knowledge, also said Watson would be required to undergo evaluation and treatment as determined by medical experts before he could be reinstated.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) – The Las Vegas Raiders gave coach Josh McDaniels a successful homecoming in his debut on their sideline.

Josh Jacobs, rookie Zamir White and Austin Walter 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.

MLB

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers will honor Vin Scully in a ceremony before Friday night’s game against the San Diego Padres.

The Hall of Fame broadcaster died Tuesday at age 94. He called games in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years as the longest tenured broadcaster in any pro sport.

Scully will be commemorated at various locations around Dodger Stadium as well.

Behind the press box named for him, the ”I’ll Miss You” banner from his last game at the stadium in 2016 will be on display. Some of his World Series rings will be displayed starting Aug. 19.

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball plans to return to London next year for the first time since 2019.

The league announced Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play a two-game series on June 24-25, 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.

TENNIS

MONTREAL (AP) – Novak Djokovic withdrew from the upcoming hard-court tournament in Montreal on Thursday because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and is therefore not allowed to enter Canada.

By the same reason, as things stand now, he also will not be able to compete in the U.S. Open later this month.

Djokovic, a 35-year-old from Serbia, has said he won’t get the shots, even if that means he can’t go to certain tournaments. He missed the Australian Open in January after being deported from that country and needed to sit out two events in the United States earlier this year.

He did play in the French Open, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon, which Djokovic won last month for his 21st Grand Slam title – one behind the men’s record held by Nadal.

COURTS

NEW YORK (AP) – A judge on Thursday 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, saying an effort to gather more evidence seems like ”an impermissible fishing expedition.”

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni said in a written ruling 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.

Her ruling makes it likely that a decision on whether to move the case to arbitration or let it remain in Manhattan federal court will be decided in weeks rather than months.

DALLAS (AP) – Former NBA player Iman Shumpert was arrested at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport last weekend for allegedly trying to bring six ounces of cannabis through security.

The police report from the DFW Airport Department of Public Safety shows police were called to a TSA checkpoint at about 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 and told there was a ”sizeable amount of marijuana” found.

The police report says Shumpert told officers that the bag contained marijuana and ”asked if there was any way he could make his flight” to Los Angeles, where he was supposed to pick up his daughter. He has two daughters with entertainer Teyana Taylor.

Shumpert was told no, arrested for felony possession of marijuana and taken to the airport jail. The Tarrant County Criminal Courts system didn’t have information about a court case.

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