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Aaron Rodgers on 49ers rumors: ‘I’m not going to San Fran’

Aaron Rodgers on 49ers rumors: ‘I’m not going to San Fran’

The San Francisco 49ers head into another offseason facing a mountain of uncertainty at quarterback, and at least one option is seemingly off the table — a trade for Aaron Rodgers. That is, if Rodgers’ comments while golfing at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Thursday are to be believed. Rodgers engaged in a cheeky on-air […]

Super Bowl LVII potential swan song for Eagles’ ‘Core Four’

Super Bowl LVII potential swan song for Eagles’ ‘Core Four’

Ralph Vacchiano NFC East Reporter

Snowboarders sue coach, USOPC in assault, harassment case

Snowboarders sue coach, USOPC in assault, harassment case

Olympic bronze medalist Rosey Fletcher has filed a lawsuit accusing former snowboard coach Peter Foley of sexually assaulting, harassing and intimidating members of his team for years, while the organizations overseeing the team did nothing to stop it.Fletcher is a plaintiff in one of two lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday. One names Foley, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the U.S. Ski

Menacing charge against Bengals’ Joe Mixon is dismissed

Menacing charge against Bengals’ Joe Mixon is dismissed

CINCINNATI — Bengals running back Joe Mixon no longer faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing over allegations that he threatened and pointed a gun at a woman in Cincinnati.A Friday order dismissing the case in Hamilton County Municipal Court said only that the city prosecutor’s office requested the dismissal “in the interest of justice.”A warrant for Mixon was issued Thursday. A police officer’s accompanying affidavit alleged that the 26-year-old pointed a firearm and told the victim: “You should be popped in the face. I should shoot you, the police (can’t) get me.”It said the altercation happened a few blocks from the Bengals’ stadium on Jan. 21 — the day before Cincinnati beat the Buffalo Bills in a divisional-round playoff game — but included no other details about the circumstances. “I really feel that police have an obligation before they file charges — because of the damage that can be done to the person’s reputation — to do their work,” said Mixon’s agent, Peter Schaffer. A statement from the Bengals said the team was investigating the situation and not commenting further on the charge or its dismissal. Mixon rushed for 814 yards and seven touchdowns this season, his sixth. He also had 60 receptions for 441 yards, both career highs, and two touchdowns.In 2021, he had rushed for career highs of 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns for Cincinnati, where he has spent his entire career. Mixon was a second-round draft pick out of Oklahoma in 2017. Several teams said they passed on him because of concerns about his character after Mixon punched a female Oklahoma student in the face in 2014. He was suspended from the team for a year and entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction. He received a deferred sentence and was ordered to perform community service and undergo counseling.___AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Alabama reportedly hiring Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees as offensive coordinator

Alabama reportedly hiring Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees as offensive coordinator

Alabama is hiring Notre Dame assistant coach Tommy Rees to be its offensive coordinator, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was being finalized and still needed university approval. The South Bend Tribune was first to report that […]

Column: IOC talks tough on Russia — until Paris on horizon

Column: IOC talks tough on Russia — until Paris on horizon

The IOC likes to talk tough — as long as it’s not heading into an Olympic year.Not surprisingly, as we draw ever closer to the cash cow that is Paris 2024, the hypocrites running the Olympic movement are eager to get Russia back in the games.They’ll surely find a way, despite Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and growing threats of a boycott from those who don’t think the Russians should be allowed anywhere near the City of Light — even if, ludicrously, the IOC is trying to pass it off as a human rights issue. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy put it more accurately: “A white or any neutral flag is impossible for Russian athletes. All their flags are stained in blood.”For once, just once, we’d love to see the International Olympic Committee do the right thing:Make it clear that the Russians — and their accomplices from Belarus — will not be allowed to compete on the world’s biggest sporting stage until they halt the war in Ukraine.There’s certainly precedent for such a decision.— After World War I, the losing countries — Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey (the successor to the Ottoman Empire) — were barred from the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. In fact, Germany’s ban lasted until 1928.— The IOC acted in similar fashion against the two nations blamed for igniting World War II. Germany (which had split into two countries) and Japan were prohibited from competing at the 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz, as well as the Summer Games a few months later in London.— South Africa was rightfully barred from the Olympics from 1964 through 1988 and kicked out of the IOC altogether for waging war on its own people through its abhorrent apartheid system. Only when white-minority rule collapsed was South Africa allowed to compete again at the Barcelona Games in 1992.IOC officials maintain that Russia doesn’t deserve to be treated like South Africa because it’s not under United Nations sanctions.Of course, that’s a disingenuous argument. Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, which means it has the right to veto any measure. In other words, there is no chance of UN sanctions — which presumably means the Russians could never be barred from the Olympics.Frankly, Russia should’ve been kicked out after its massive, state-sponsored doping ring from the 2014 Sochi Winter Games was exposed, not to mention its continued efforts to cover up a level of cheating that hadn’t been seen since the notorious East German days.But the IOC could never muster the courage to pull the trigger on a proper punishment, instead allowing the Russians to compete at the last three Olympics as supposedly neutral athletes known by the ludicrous monikers of OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia) and ROC (Russian Olympic Committee). Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine a mere four days after the closing ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, a curious sense of timing that may not have been coincidental.At that point, with the next Olympics nearly 2 1/2 years away, the IOC could lead worldwide sanctions that barred Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at most international competitions across a wide range of sports.Those bans largely remain in place, but now the next Olympics are a year closer. The IOC has changed course, looking for a way out to give a pair of warmongering nations a way in.With its usual double-speak, the IOC said its mission is “to unite the entire world in a peaceful competition.” Instead, its cow-towing to Russia could spark the biggest Olympic boycott since the Cold War era.Ukraine has raised the possibility of sitting out the Paris Games if the Russians are there. Neighboring countries such as Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have signaled they may be willing to follow that lead.The United States is highly unlikely to join such a protest, especially after the Jimmy Carter-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics over the invasion of Afghanistan is largely viewed as a major blunder that left behind lingering bitterness from athletes who missed out on their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.The new leader of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee sent out a letter to athletes and other stakeholders last week, reiterating the organization’s support for finding a way for Russian athletes to compete in Paris as neutrals.“We encouraged the IOC to continue exploring a process that would preserve the existing sanctions, ensuring only neutral athletes who are clean are welcome to compete,” Gene Sykes wrote. “If these conditions of neutrality and safe, clean, and fair competition can be met, we believe the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games can prevail.”If the IOC is determined to clear the way for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in Paris, it goes without saying they should only allow those who haven’t actively supported the war, though that requirement may pose some challenges of its own.Going further, it should only be athletes who compete in individual sports, perhaps making them part of the Refugee Team to further dilute any connection to the shameful deeds of their homelands. Even then, contact sports such as judo and wrestling might also be ruled out to avoid putting athletes in the unenviable position of deciding whether to withdraw rather than grappling with a competitor from Russia or Belarus. By all means, Russia and Belarus should be barred from any team sports in Paris, since it would be clear which countries those squads were representing no matter the acronym.There’s one athlete who, if reports out of Ukraine are accurate, definitely won’t get a chance to compete in Paris next summer.Volodymyr Androshchuk, a 22-year-old Ukrainian decathlete-turned-soldier, who was killed in recent days while fighting the Russian invaders, according to Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs.“RIP, Volodymyr,” Gerashchenko tweeted. “We keep losing our best people.”Your move, IOC.For once, do your best.___Paul Newberry is the national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963___AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Emperor’s Last: MMA pioneer Fedor Emelianenko retiring

The Emperor’s Last: MMA pioneer Fedor Emelianenko retiring

LOS ANGELES — Fedor Emelianenko became a near-mythical martial arts figure two decades ago at the grey dawn of the social media age, so his earliest exploits had a tantalizing touch of mystery.His vicious knockouts and submissions weren’t broadcast worldwide or posted on YouTube and Twitter for immediate viewing. They had to be excavated from the internet’s dark recesses, or watched on grainy VHS tapes and sketchy DVDs by devotees of a sketchy sport called mixed martial arts.Bellator CEO Scott Coker was working for a kickboxing promotion in Japan when he first heard about the slightly pudgy, slightly undersized former Russian soldier who destroyed almost every man he touched.“I’m like, ‘Hmm, how good is this guy, really?’” Coker said. “So then I started watching his fights, and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ He was the guy with the piercing eyes that could look right through you, that lived in Russia, and they called him the Sharpshooter at that time. So you started watching him, and you’re like, ‘Oh, this guy is really good. He’s amazing.’”The unassuming heavyweight with the lupine stare became a combat sports legend while forging a unique path through the MMA jungle. The fighter known as The Last Emperor famously never agreed to fight for the UFC, instead taking on seemingly everyone outside the dominant American promotion, but always on his own terms.Now 46 and weary of the training grind, Emelianenko said he is retiring after he fights Ryan Bader on Saturday night. Their bout for the Bellator heavyweight title will be the final trip to the cage for the trailblazing fighter who drew untold millions of fans to an upstart sport at his competitive peak.”My family has been waiting for me way too long,” Emelianenko said through an interpreter. “My mom asked me to stop. She is always worried. But it’s mostly my age. … I’ll be very happy to finish it. I’m not sad at all. It’s time.”Bader, Bellator’s 39-year-old heavyweight champ, has always been impressed by his humble opponent’s virtuosity. Emelianenko’s success fed into a beloved corner of martial arts mythology, stoking the dream that anyone can be a champion if they worked hard and learned the proper skills.“He’s a legend of the sport, and he’s a good human being,” Bader said. “He deserves it. I know people are going to be rooting for him (Saturday night), and I understand it. We all want to see legends go out on top.”This 23-year journey that began in the pre-social media shadows will end on the brightest stage: Bellator will make its debut on CBS with Emelianenko’s final bout, which also will be shown around the world from the historic Forum in Inglewood, California.Emelianenko insisted his final fight should be against Bader, who famously wrecked Fedor with a two-punch combination knockout only 35 seconds into their first meeting, which was four years ago last weekend at the Forum. Emelianenko admits he isn’t sure what will happen when he is tested one last time, but he wants to find out.“The pressure that I used to be able to handle, I can’t handle that anymore,” he said. “If you want to compete at the highest level with the younger fighters, you have to be 100%.”Emelianenko’s candid admission about pressure is remarkable, since nothing in this world has ever seemed to intimidate him.He fought largely in Japan for the late Pride promotion during the first seven years of his MMA career, building his legend with a series of vicious wins. He has fought regularly in the U.S. for Coker in the Strikeforce and Bellator promotions since 2009, but he remained a revered, mysterious figure by training and living in his hometown, 300 miles south of Moscow — and also by retiring from 2012 to 2015.Emelianenko insists he is done with competition with this retirement, even while acknowledging he will have other opportunities. Most notably, he has thought about joining the ranks of mixed martial artists who take up boxing for big paychecks.“I did think about it, if I can do it as they do or not,” he said with a grin. “I had those kinds of thoughts. But I want to be done with it completely.”Emelianenko would have loved to stage his farewell bout in Moscow — perhaps even in Red Square, as Coker once dreamed — but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made it impossible. While his exploits will live online for decades, Emelianenko said it’s time to devote himself to his family, his MMA team and his responsibilities in the larger Russian MMA infrastructure.“We spend so much time outside of our families because of sport,” Emelianenko said. “Sometimes you just call it quits and that’s it, especially when you have young kids and they’re waiting for you.”___AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports