Monday’s Sports in Brief
Three top board members of USA Gymnastics resigned and the man who coached the 2012 Olympic team was suspended after calls from angry gymnasts who say the organization did nothing to protect them after they were abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar.
Chairman Paul Parilla, vice chair Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley announced they were stepping down as testimony in Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Michigan moved into its second week. Nassar faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 to 40 years in a molestation case.
Later Monday, USA Gymnastics suspended the coach of the 2012 Olympics team, John Geddert, who worked with Nassar at his gyms in Michigan.
A number of Olympians have been among those testifying in the Nassar hearing. Many have also sued the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics and called for the sports leaders to leave their jobs.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks fired coach Jason Kidd amid a midseason slide that has left the playoff hopeful in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
It was a surprising end to Kidd’s three-plus season tenure in Milwaukee, when the Bucks made the playoffs twice. Giannis Antetokounmpo turned into an All-Star under his watch, and the Bucks were considered an emerging force in the East at the start of the season.
But the Bucks had lost four of five to fall to 23-22 going into Monday night’s home game against Phoenix, and had been prone to defensive lapses especially on the perimeter. Assistant coach Joe Prunty was serving as head coach.
General manager Jon Horst, who was promoted from director of basketball operations in June, said it was time for a change and the move was made with “unanimous support of ownership.”
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — In the two-week run-up to the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots will face plenty of questions about two things critical to the team’s success: Tom Brady’s right hand and Rob Gronkowski’s head.
Brady answered most of the concerns about whether the hand injury would hinder him with a strong performance in New England’s AFC championship game victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Gronkowski, meanwhile, will likely spend at least part of this week going through the concussion protocol. He suffered the injury on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jacksonville safety Barry Church.
The game-changing tight end is Brady’s favorite target, and he missed last season’s Super Bowl run after undergoing season-ending back surgery.
There was no update from the Patriots on Gronk’s status Monday, but he was at the facility for team meetings.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Hue Jackson is finally handing off his Browns offense.
Cleveland’s coach, who has handled game-planning and play-calling duties while going 1-31 over two seasons with the Browns, is hiring former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Jackson interviewed other quality candidates but chose Haley, who spent six seasons guiding Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense before he was fired following a playoff loss last week, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the move.
A former head coach with Kansas City, Haley’s familiarity with the AFC North will be a huge plus for Jackson as he tries to turn around the Browns following a historic 0-16 season.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A team of South Korean officials travelled to North Korea to check logistics for joint events ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in the South, as the rivals exchanged rare visits to each other amid signs of warming ties.
The head of the North’s popular girl band triggered a media frenzy during her two-day visit to South Korea this week to check potential venues for North Korean artistic performances during the Olympics, and another delegation from the North is coming this week to see accommodation facilities and the Olympic main stadium.
The Koreas are pressing ahead with a flurry of reconciliation efforts after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un abruptly expressed his willingness to send an Olympic delegation. While some see Kim’s outreach as a ploy to weaken U.S.-led international pressure and sanctions, Seoul wants better inter-Korean ties and sees improved ties as a path toward talks to help ease the North Korean nuclear standoff.
South Korea’s presidential office called for national unity for the success of the first Winter Olympics on South Korean soil and criticized conservatives who have said the government is making too many concessions to North Korea to help it steal the show at the Games.
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are having active talks with free agent Yu Darvish, hoping to add the right-hander to their rotation as they try for a second championship in three seasons.
The 31-year-old Darvish is one of the top players available in a slow-moving market this winter. He finished last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping them reach the World Series.
A person with direct knowledge of the discussions confirmed the talks to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no agreement in place. The Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees also have expressed interest in Darvish.