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Friday’s Sports in Brief

September 22, 2018

NBA

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants all teams to hire more women, especially in leadership and supervisory positions, and is urging them to take some of the mandates that the Dallas Mavericks must now adhere to as an impetus to improve working conditions within their own organizations.

Silver, in a memo sent to all teams Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, also asked teams to thoroughly review the report that was released earlier this week about the Mavericks. The league stopped short of flatly ordering the 29 other clubs to institute new policies, though Silver’s wishes were very clear.

“Use this opportunity to make changes and create a dialogue within your organizations about workplace policies, procedures and respectful conduct,” Silver wrote.

The league asked clubs to have what they are calling “Community Conversations” with their own employees within the next two weeks about the investigation and subsequent report about the Mavericks. Dallas owner Mark Cuban announced Wednesday — when the report was released following a months-long probe that began after problems were detailed in a Sports Illustrated article in February — that he will contribute $10 million to help further the cause of women in sports and raise awareness about domestic violence.

BASEBALL

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave Friday following fresh allegations of domestic violence from his ex-wife.

Last year, Melisa Reidy posted a photo on her Instagram account with a caption suggesting her husband of about 18 months had been unfaithful to her. In another post, a user — described by Melisa as a close friend — made the accusation that Russell had “hit” his wife. The post was later deleted. Russell denied the allegation and the two divorced.

Late Thursday, a blog post attributed to Reidy contained more detailed allegations, including years of physical and emotional abuse. Less than 12 hours later, Major League Baseball announced Russell had been put on leave under the 2015 domestic violence agreement between management and the players’ union.

“These allegations are completely false,” Russell said in a statement put out by the union. “I made that clear to Major League Baseball last year and reiterated it to the Cubs today. I’m confident any full and fair investigation will fully exonerate me. The protection of my children is foremost in my mind so I will have no further comment.”

Russell can challenge the leave before an arbitrator, and the leave can be extended for additional seven-day periods if the union agrees. He continues to be paid his $3.2 million salary.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers fired manager Jeff Banister on Friday, more than a week before the end of what will be the team’s first consecutive losing seasons in 10 years.

Bench coach Don Wakamatsu will serve as interim manager for the remainder of the season, starting with Friday night’s game against Seattle that opens the final home series of a disappointing year.

Banister, hired after the 2014 season, had a 325-313 record in his first managerial job. The Rangers won the AL West title in each of his first two seasons (2015-16), then lost to Toronto in the AL Division Series both times.

The Rangers had a 65-88 record through Friday night’s game, after a 78-84 mark last season. They were 88-74 in Banister’s managerial debut in 2015, and matched a team record with an American League-high 95 wins in 2016.

General manager Jon Daniels said he informed the 54-year-old Banister of the decision on Thursday, a day off for the team. Banister was under contract through next season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — An independent investigation into the death of University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair has determined that trainers on the scene did not follow proper procedures after he collapsed on the field.

McNair was hospitalized on May 29 after a team workout and died June 13. The family attorney said the cause of death was heatstroke.

Dr. Rod Walters, a former college athletic trainer and sports medicine consultant who led the investigation launched by the school following McNair’s death, said Friday “there was a failure to identify symptoms and aggressively treat it.”

Maryland athletic director Damon Evans acknowledged last month that “mistakes were made” by the training staff in the treatment of McNair, a 19-year-old sophomore offensive lineman.

Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin is on administrative leave while an unrelated external investigation into the culture of the football program is being conducted.

NFL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A man from Guatemala living illegally in the U.S. was sentenced Friday to the maximum of 16 years in prison for a drunken-driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver.

A Marion County judge sentenced Manuel Orrego-Savala after hearing emotional testimony from Jackson’s mother and the widow of Jeffrey Monroe, the 54-year-old driver Jackson had hired from the ride-sharing service the night of the deadly February crash.

Orrego-Savala, 37, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or more, causing death. The sentence marked the maximum possible under his plea agreement.

Investigators said the twice-deported Orrego-Savala had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 — nearly 2 ½ times Indiana’s legal limit — when his truck crashed into Jackson and Monroe on Feb. 4 along Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.

HORSE RACING

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs is adding rooftop views to its lineup of high-dollar seating for the Kentucky Derby.

The track’s parent company said Friday that a new rooftop garden offering prime spots overlooking the start of America’s most famous horse race will be ready in time for next year’s Derby in early May.

The rooftop lounge, to be situated atop the Starting Gate Suites on the north end of the famed track, will provide covered reserved seating for more than 250 fans and standing-room-only access for about 250 more ticketholders, Churchill Downs Inc. said.

The new space will feature upscale bars and food in a “cozy” and “party-like atmosphere,” Churchill said.

OBITUARIES

Uno, the sweet, baying beagle who became perhaps the most popular show dog ever, has died. He was 13.

Longtime dog expert David Frei says Uno died Thursday at the ranch where he lived in Austin, Texas.

Uno was the first beagle to win the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, barking his way to the prized silver bowl in 2008. He was clearly the crowd favorite that night at Madison Square Garden. Fans exulted when he won, giving the 15-inch champ a rousing, standing ovation.

Uno soon was the first Westminster winner to visit the White House, with President George W. Bush and wife Laura meeting the pooch in the Rose Garden and giving him a red, white and blue collar. Uno spent years traveling the country, charming admirers wherever he wandered.

NEW YORK (AP) — Shirley Day Smith, who spent more than 60 years as an assistant in the press office of the New York Racing Association and its predecessors, has died. She was 99.

Friends and colleagues say she died Thursday after a brief illness at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside.

Smith retired from NYRA in the mid-1990s. She was the backbone of the New York Turf Writers Association and was popular nationwide among horse racing media. She received the National Turf Writers Association’s Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service.

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