ESPN suspends Smith for a week
ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week on Tuesday for comments suggesting women should avoid provoking men into assaulting them.
Smith raised the subject of provocation Friday during a discussion on ESPN2’s “First Take” about the two-game suspension received by Baltimore running back Ray Rice from the NFL over allegations he beat his fiancée, Janay, now his wife, in a casino elevator. Smith’s remarks led to a rebuke on Twitter from another ESPN personality, Michelle Beadle.
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In a statement to employees, John Skipper, ESPN’s president, said Smith’s remarks “did not reflect our company’s view, or our values. They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs.”
In a recorded apology Monday, Smith said he had failed to properly articulate his view.
“I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career,” he said. “My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent.”
In an interview Tuesday, Smith said, “Myself and (co-host) Skip Bayless, we are on the air every day holding folks accountable for the things that they say or the things that they do. You don’t do that and then run from it when it’s your turn.
“It’s my turn and I took it and I have to continue to take it for as long as I have to continue to take it. But I promise you I will be standing.”
NASCAR penalizes JGR team
NASCAR officials suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection after Hamlin’s third-place finish in the Brickyard 400, a Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Darian Grubb and Wesley Sherrill were both suspended through the Sept. 6 race in Richmond, Va., and put on six months’ probation.
Grubb, the crew chief, was fined $125,000.
JGR officials said they will appeal the decision, but Grubb and Sherrill will begin serving their suspensions immediately.
Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs were docked 75 points apiece in the driver and owner standings. The penalty dropped Hamlin from 11th to 21st in the Sprint Cup standings.
Hamlin’s car failed postrace inspection because NASCAR said it found issues with several of the covers in the rear firewall of the driver compartment. Loose or missing covers could vent the driver compartment and create more downforce for the car.
Howard to keep doing TV work
Tim Howard will keep doubling as an English Premier League goalkeeper and TV announcer.
The U.S. team standout will work up to 10 games for NBC Sports Group during the upcoming season on days his club, Everton, isn’t competing. He will either work as a match commentator in the booth or as an on-site studio analyst.
Howard, 35, did seven games for NBCSN last season, and network officials announced they signed him to a multiyear deal.
Sabella is expected to step down
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, 59, is expected to resign Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation about his future after his country’s 1-0 loss to Germany in this month’s World Cup final in Brazil.
Man U, AS Roma win matches
Manchester United of England beat Inter Milan of Italy 5-3 in a penalty-kicks shootout after the teams played to a scoreless draw in a Guinness International Champions Cup match before a crowd of 61,238 in Landover, Md.
In another match in the competition, AS Roma of Italy beat Real Madrid of Spain 1-0 before 57,512 in Dallas. About 20 fans, mostly young men, ran on the field at the Cotton Bowl in the 87th minute and caused a delay.
Woods has affinity for Firestone
The top 125 players in FedEx Cup points qualify for the PGA Tour’s version of the playoffs — and Tiger Woods is 215th entering the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, which starts Thursday at Firestone in Akron, Ohio.
Woods, a former No. 1 player who had back surgery in March, has eight PGA Tour victories at Firestone. After the Bridgestone, Woods’ next start is expected to be Aug. 7 in the PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky.
Woods’ performances at Firestone and Valhalla also could determine whether he is on this year’s Ryder Cup team that plays Europe beginning Sept. 26 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
“Is there any added pressure coming into this event? No,” Woods said at Firestone. “I’ve won in this event eight times, so I know how to play under various conditions, various circumstances.”
Nine Americans automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team and U.S. captain Tom Watson has three picks to fill out the squad.
Jack Nicklaus, who won a record 18 majors in his career, said he couldn’t imagine Woods being left off the Ryder Cup team.
“If I was a captain … I don’t care what he does between now and then,” Nicklaus said. “If Tiger wants to play, I would certainly choose him.”
• Alabama-Birmingham has granted All-Conference USA point guard Chad Frazier a release from his basketball scholarship. He averaged 17.7 points and 4.3 assists last season as a junior.
• Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, a basketball All-American and one of the greatest all-around athletes in University of Kentucky history, died Sunday. He was 88.
Jones helped the Wildcats win the national championship in basketball in 1948 and 1949. The receiver played football at Kentucky from 1945-48, including three seasons for coach Bear Bryant, and also was on the baseball team.
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