Swimming Star Franklin Retires
Five-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin is retiring from swimming at age 23, citing chronic shoulder pain that has affected her for the last 2 1/2 years.
She announced her plans Wednesday in a letter posted on ESPN.com . Franklin’s spokeswoman says the swimmer is with her family in Colorado for the holidays and isn’t commenting further for now.
Franklin’s success and bubbly personality made her a darling of the 2012 London Olympics. At age 17, she became the first woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics in any sport.
“It took me a long time to say the words, ‘I am retiring,’ ” Franklin wrote. “A long, long time. But now I’m ready. I’m ready to not be in pain every day. I’m ready to become a wife, one day a mother. I’m ready to continue growing each and every day to be the best person and role model I can be. I’m ready for the rest of my life.”
MLB, Cuba reach deal
Major League Baseball, its players’ association and the Cuban Baseball Federation reached an agreement that will allow players from the island to sign big league contracts without defecting, an effort to eliminate the dangerous trafficking that had gone on for decades.
The agreement, which runs through Oct. 31, 2021, allows Cubans to sign under rules similar to those for players under contract to clubs in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Depending on the quality of future players, the agreement could mean millions of dollars in future income for the cash-poor Cuban federation, which has seen the quality of players and facilities decline in recent years as talent went overseas.
The agreement marks a step forward in U.S.-Cuba relations during a time of tensions between Cuba and the Trump administration, which has pledged to undo President Barack Obama’s 2014 opening with the island.
Injured Newton sidelined
Cam Newton is headed to the bench with a sore shoulder.
The Panthers made the decision to shut down the 2015 league MVP for at least one game and possibly the remainder of the season due to a lingering right shoulder problem.
Coach Ron Rivera said Taylor Heinicke will make his first career start when Carolina hosts the Falcons on Sunday. Kyle Allen will be Carolina’s backup and Newton will be inactive.
Rivera said he made the decision to sit Newton after meeting with owner David Tepper, general manager Marty Hurney, team doctors and Newton obefore practice.
The Oakland Raiders have signed quarterback Nathan Peterman to the practice squad. Peterman was a fifth-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2017 but was cut by the Bills last month after struggling when given a chance to start. ... Atlanta coach Dan Quinn says running back Devonta Freeman won’t make it back for the final two games of the season. Freeman, signed to the NFL’s richest contract for a running back before the 2017 season, has missed 14 games over the last two years with head, knee and groin injuries.
He is still not fully recovered from in-season groin surgery and hasn’t practiced since Week 5.
Williams gets big extension
North Carolina has given basketball coach Roy Williams an eight-year contract extension that runs through the 2027-28 season.
Williams will be nearly 78 years old when his contract expires in 2028.
The Hall of Fame coach has led North Carolina to three national championships and is 432-128 in his 16th season at his alma mater.
Williams’ base salary will increase from nearly $542,000 this season to $800,000 in 2027-28, and he will receive supplemental income ranging from $1.7 million this season to $2.15 million in the final year of the deal.
The school also announced the terms of his deal with Nike, which pays him $240,000 in the first year and $340,000 in the last year.
“I’m grateful and humbled in the University’s continued faith in my leadership of the basketball program,” Williams said.