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Monday’s Sports in Brief

July 24, 2018

SWIMMING

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Swimmer Ryan Lochte has been suspended until July 2019 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

The 12-time Olympic medalist has been sanctioned for getting an intravenous infusion, a method that broke anti-doping rules.

U.S. officials say Lochte was not using a banned substance. But under anti-doping rules, athletes typically cannot receive IVs unless related to a hospitalization or through an exemption.

Lochte posted a photo of himself getting the IV in May and that image prompted the investigation. He was entered in four events at the national championships that start Wednesday in California.

It’s his second suspension since the Rio Olympics. He was banned for 10 months after claiming he and three other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint at those 2016 Games, a tale that quickly unraveled.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A prosecutor in the trial of former Tennessee football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams says they used their status as athletes to rape a woman in a “case about power, privilege and protection.”

Defense lawyers countered that the woman voluntarily had sex with both men before lying out of embarrassment.

The trial for Johnson and Williams got underway Monday, nearly four years after the incident in question. Each is charged with aggravated rape.

Johnson was a star linebacker and Williams a defensive back for Tennessee when a woman says both men raped her in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014. Johnson and Williams never played for Tennessee again and were indicted on February 2015.

“They pass her back and forth like a rag doll,” Knox County deputy district attorney general Kyle Hixson said in his opening statement. “To them, that’s all she was.”

Defense lawyers offered a starkly different account of what happened that night during a party at Johnson’s apartment, which followed a Tennessee victory over Kentucky.

PRO FOOTBALL

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A county medical examiner says Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died of heart disease.

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office said Monday that the 56-year-old Sparano died of arteriosclerotic heart disease, or hardening of the arteries. The manner of death is listed as natural.

Sparano died Sunday in Eden Prairie, a Minneapolis suburb. He had been the Vikings’ offensive line coach since 2016.

Sparano began his NFL coaching career in 1999 and had stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.

He was the Dolphins’ head coach from 2008-11 and went 29-32. He went 11-5 and won the AFC East in his first season with Miami.

Sparano also spent time with the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Mets minor leaguer Tim Tebow is set for hand surgery Tuesday and likely done for the season, dashing his hopes of playing in the majors this year.

The 30-year-old outfielder will have surgery in New York to remove his broken right hamate bone. He hurt himself last week swinging the bat.

The former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner was hitting .273 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 84 games for Double-A Binghamton. He doubled in the Eastern League All-Star Game this month.

Tebow had been considered a candidate for a September call-up by the injury-depleted Mets. The recovery time is six to eight weeks, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said.

Tebow had been hitting well lately for the Rumble Ponies during his second full season in the minors.

SPORTS GAMBLING

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey took in nearly $3.5 million in sports bets during its first nine days of accepting such bets.

And most of that came from two weekends that sandwiched a dead period for major professional sports caused by baseball’s All-Star break, when there was little to bet on, with basketball and soccer World Cup over, and football and hockey months away from beginning their seasons.

Meadowlands operator Jeff Gural told The Associated Press it accepted just under $3.5 million worth of sports bets since it began taking them on July 14.

“We did OK,” Gural said Monday. “Our goal the first weekend was to exceed $1 million which we did. The next four days were quiet with nothing to bet on due to the All-Star break.”

This past Saturday, with baseball having resumed, the track took in over $650,000, and additional bets on baseball and other sports came in Sunday.

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