President Obama headed a soccer ball during a White House ceremony to honor two championship teams from Los Angeles — the Galaxy of Major League Soccer and the NHL Kings.
Obama honors Galaxy, Kings
President Barack Obama, a basketball devotee, displayed his soccer prowess and hockey knowledge Tuesday as he honored two championship teams from Los Angeles — the Galaxy of Major League Soccer and the NHL Kings at the White House.
Obama bounced a silver-colored soccer ball — a gift from the Galaxy — off his head as cameras clicked.
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“I hope you guys caught that,” Obama said. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
As for the Stanley Cup champion Kings, coach Darryl Sutter had told media before the ceremony he was going to ask Obama about a controversial U.S.-Canada border issue: the Keystone XL pipeline. But afterward Sutter said he didn’t discuss the topic with the president.
UCLA’s McDonald is dismissed
UCLA safety Tevin McDonald, a starter in the last two seasons, has been released from the program for violating team policy, Bruins coach Jim Mora announced.
McDonald wasn’t allowed to play in last season’s Holiday Bowl after a third positive drug test, the Los Angeles Times reported. Under UCLA policy, according to the newspaper, a player loses his scholarship after a fourth positive test.
“It’s disappointing to me and disappointing for Tevin,” former Seahawks coach Mora said to the Los Angeles Times about McDonald’s release.
McDonald made 79 tackles last season, ranking third on the team. He is the son of former NFL defensive back Tim McDonald and the brother of ex-USC safety T.J. McDonald.
Mora said receivers Jerry Rice Jr. and Ricky Marvray will transfer for their senior seasons of eligibility after graduating from UCLA. Rice is the son of Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice.
Djokovic, U.S. men are ousted
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia lost to Tommy Haas of Germany 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round of the Sony Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.
“Playing against someone like Novak and coming out on top at this time of my career, it’s unbelievable,” the 34-year-old Haas said.
Sam Querrey, the highest-ranked U.S. male player, lost to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1.
Querrey’s exit means that for the first time, the 28-year-old tournament will not have a U.S. player in the men’s quarterfinals. The shutout is the latest sign of declining fortunes for the men’s game in this country.
“I guess you could say it’s been somewhat of the norm the last couple of years,” said Querrey, who is ranked 20th in the world. “It’s not like we had guys in the quarters week in, week out.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s bracket, top-ranked Serena Williams advanced to Thursday’s semifinals with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) victory over Li Na of China.
Wreck doesn’t lead to penalties
NASCAR chairman Brian France said contact between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin as they battled for the victory in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana, Calif., was the kind of throwback racing he expects from his drivers and the new Gen-6 car.
NASCAR said it won’t penalize Tony Stewart for scuffling with Logano after the race, won by Kyle Busch, and Sprint Cup Series officials saw nothing to indicate Logano or Hamlin were trying to intentionally wreck each other.
Hamlin suffered a compressed fracture of the L1 vertebra in his lower back, and is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks.
“I have said repeatedly, every minute, that contact, especially late in the race when you are going for a win, that’s not only going to happen — that’s expected,” France said in an interview done before the timetable for Hamlin’s return was known.
• Ian Poulter birdied the first hole of a playoff to lift Albany past Lake Nona in the Tavistock Cup, ending Lake Nona’s event winning streak at four in the team golf tournament at Isleworth in Windermere, Fla.
Poulter teamed with Tiger Woods in the best-ball playoff against Lake Nona’s Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson.
Primland’s Webb Simpson had the best round, shooting a 2-under-par 70.
• Rachel Alexandra is back at Stonestreet Farm near Lexington, Ky., returning to a stall filled with cards from well-wishers six weeks after having abdominal surgery.
Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 North American Horse of the Year, underwent surgery Feb. 13 to remove a section of small colon that was damaged while delivering a 140-pound filly by Bernardini. The 7-year-old mare was in critical condition for about a week after the surgery. Veterinarians have described her recovery as “remarkable.”
• Estonian Andrus Veerpalu, a two-time Olympic cross-country skiing champion, won his appeal against a three-year doping ban. The Court of Arbitration for Sport cited “procedural flaws” that could have caused false-positive test results.
Seattle Times news services