NYON, Switzerland (AP) — European soccer leagues and player unions are teaming up to improve how concussions are identified and treated during games.
The European Leagues group and FIFPro, the global network of national unions, said Tuesday they will make country-by-country agreements “over the course of the coming two seasons.”
The plan comes as soccer’s rule-making body IFAB is being urged to explore the idea of temporary substitutes to replace players being assessed for a head injury.
“This is a critical issue for our players’ long term wellbeing,” said Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, general secretary of FIFPro’s Europe division. “Other sports such as rugby or American football have been able to improve the management of and awareness for concussions significantly in their sports. Football needs to now follow suit.”
European Leagues and FIFPro want domestic league rules to incorporate international standards of “concussion management procedures on the field as well as return to play protocols.”
Team medical staff could get access to live broadcast footage to help identify injuries quickly.
Disciplinary measures are being considered “such as the requirement of further training and education.” Pre-season training will be offered to teams, medical staff and referees.
European Leagues said its members will get more details at their annual meeting, in London on Oct. 18. The group includes 36 member leagues from 29 countries.
Soccer’s concussion rules are likely be discussed by IFAB’s expert advisory panels which meet Oct. 23 in Zurich.
The next annual meeting of IFAB, where the laws of soccer can be changed by FIFA and the four British soccer federations, is held Feb. 29 in Northern Ireland.
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NEW YORK (AP) — James Harden slides sideways or steps backward, and the screaming starts.
Whether seated on the opposing bench or on a stool in a sports bar, somebody is insisting that Harden must have traveled between the time he finished dribbling and launched his shot from a different spot. Traveling will be an emphasis this season for officials, who are determined not to allow offensive players to gain an extra edge by taking an extra step.
Scoring stars like Harden already got an advantage once hand-checking on the perimeter was no longer legal, so they can’t be given another one.
“If we can’t allow people to hand check, we can’t allow them to travel because then they’re almost unguardable,” vice president of referee operations Mark Wunderlich said.
That said, most times when Harden does his signature step-back, he doesn’t travel.
“It is legal, except for the fact that he gets a third step in every now and then when his rhythm is just off, which shows you the highlight of how difficult it is,” said Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s head of referee development and training.
That’s why referees are working harder to get it right.
Critics of the NBA — and even some fans — have long sneered that the league doesn’t call traveling. McCutchen said data showed officials were missing about two per game, but the way the game is played today can make those misses more penal for the defense.
Players are bigger, faster and more skilled, and even big men who would have been centers in a previous generation are now do-everything forwards like 6-foot-11 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He already gets far enough with the two steps that are legal, forget when allowed a third.
McCutchen compared the difference with Tiny Archibald, a 6-1 guard who played in the 1970s and ’80s.
“He covered 10 feet with his two steps,” McCutchen said. “How far is Giannis covering? The game has changed.”
So officials have begun to change with it, altering the way they were taught to officiate when McCutchen and Wunderlich were on the floor. Before, referees were trained to look first at the defensive player. Now they have reversed their sequencing, looking first at the offensive player’s feet to make certain a legal pivot foot has been established and not changed.
And the league added new language in the rule book to define the “gather,” to clarify how many steps a player can take after receiving the ball or completing his dribble.
At the referees’ preseason meetings and training camp last week, McCutchen said officials studied replays of three travels each time they returned from a break, and had a dedicated 45-minute session on traveling.
An educational video was sent to teams , and the referees visited the coaches’ preseason meetings, where they had a traveling station with two players on the floor so they could do demonstrations for the coaches.
And Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said the league stressed that Harden’s step-back jumper is legal.
“They made a point, which is great, to tell every head coach that is not traveling. It’s not traveling,” D’Antoni said. “So hopefully coaches will quit complaining and hopefully you guys in the news will understand that that’s not traveling. There’s other points that we have to clean up that are traveling and the NBA is going to try to do a better job of that.”
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich quipped last year that the step-back 3 came when players “jump backwards and travel and shoot a 3.” But the leaders of the referee team praised Harden for his cleverness and creativity.
“On the dribble, we always talk about dribbling you can take two legal steps to the basket, right? No one ever thought about on the gather after you dribble you can take two legal steps backwards,” Wunderlich said.
Added Jason Phillips, who will oversee the Replay Center: “The rulebook doesn’t state that the two steps have to be in any direction.”
Harden said it never should have been a debate, because if he was traveling then referees would have been whistling him for it.
“I’m tired of hearing that’s a travel, from coaches, from other players, from haters, fans, whatever you want to call it,” Harden said.
But he acknowledges it looks awkward, so the referees know they have to educate teams and fans just as much as themselves. There is no new rule or even a new interpretation of traveling, just a desire to correctly call the travels that are in the books.
That’s why it’s the biggest emphasis on the preseason list of points of education.
“The first one is traveling and the second one is traveling and the third, fourth and fifth one are traveling,” McCutchen said. “I’m only joking to show that there are POEs and then there are POEs. We really want to get better at our fundamentals of the game and traveling is a big part of that.”
AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken in Houston contributed to this report.
Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter at https://twitter.com/briancmahoney
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OITA, Japan (Reuters) – While the All Blacks are expected to run up a big score against Canada in their World Cup Pool B clash in Oita on Wednesday, Steve Hansen and his coaching staff just want to make sure they are moving forward with their game.
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union – Rugby World Cup – New Zealand’s news conference – Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama, Japan, September 20, 2019. New Zealand’s head coach Steve Hansen looks on. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
Two-time defending champions New Zealand are expected to win the pool after beating South Africa in their first game and have planned to use the matches against Canada, Namibia and Italy to finetune their game ahead of the quarter-finals.
“We just have to keep building combinations, keep building the attacking side of our game, keep learning about the conditions, which have influenced some of the games with the humidity,” assistant coach Ian Foster said on Tuesday.
“Ideally the Canada game gives us a fantastic opportunity to grow where we’re at. But for us it’s also a test match so we want to go out and get a result and get a performance we want.”
Ideally a bonus-point victory against a side ranked 22nd in the world and who were the last to qualify for the tournament, no injuries and no-one falling foul of the disciplinary committee would be more than enough.
The match under the retractable roof at Oita Stadium, however, could see the All Blacks run up the score although lock Sam Whitelock said that was not their goal and they had to treat the game like another test match.
“As All Blacks there is no such thing as tier one or tier two (teams),” he said. “If you don’t show respect to any side then you’re going to get hurt.
“This week is one that we’re definitely looking at ourselves, trying to get better from where we were against South Africa.
“There is always something to work on.”
The All Blacks have their shortest turnaround in the tournament after the Canada game, having to travel to Tokyo for their clash with Namibia on Sunday and Hansen has recognized the need to juggle the team selections.
He made 11 changes from the starting side that beat South Africa on Sept. 21 and one player he will take note of is winger Rieko Ioane, who was dropped for the Bledisloe Cup match in Auckland in August.
George Bridge and Sevu Reece have cemented themselves as the first-choice wingers and Hansen is convinced that Ioane can return to form against Canada.
“It is difficult when you are the top dog and someone comes through … and puts you under pressure,” Hansen said of Ioane, who has scored 23 tries in 26 tests and was the World Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2017.
“I have been impressed with him. He has been working hard and is just waiting for his opportunity.
“We know that he can also play wonderful rugby. Once he does that the pressure will come back on to the selectors to pick him.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty
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Oakland Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict suspended for season after vicious hit to Indianapolis Colts receiver
Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle.
The league announced the suspension Monday.
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“There were no mitigating circumstances on this play,” NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan said in a statement. “Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game.
“Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me, and each of the jointly appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.
“Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision regarding accountability measures.”
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Doyle caught a pass from Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett and was getting up from the ground when Burfict rushed in to tackle him. Burfict clearly led with his helmet and nailed Doyle in his helmet on the play, which immediately drew a penalty flag and ejection.
Burfict was already jogging toward the locker room before he was officially ejected.
The veteran has racked up more than $4 million in fines and has been suspended 10 times due to the apparent headhunting on the field. The penalties came when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Raiders signed Burfict to a 1-year, $2 million contract in the offseason. It included a $300,000 signing bonus and $300,000 in guaranteed money, according to Spotrac.
Oakland eventually went on to win the game over Indianapolis, 31-24.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Chris Paul is happy to be back where his professional career began.
Paul started his career in Oklahoma City with the Hornets when they relocated after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He was rookie of the year during the 2005-06 season, the first of two years he spent in Oklahoma City.
Now he’s 34, a nine-time All-Star who came back to where it all started by way of a trade that sent Thunder cornerstone Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange.
Paul still has fond memories of the community that welcomed him to the NBA.
“The people here, the fans here, make this city what it is,” he said. “It’s crazy. Our life comes full circle. Now I have two kids. To bring them out here — they came out here this weekend to see me, them and my wife — it’s cool to give them perspective because it changes.”
Paul, who averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists last season, said he holds no resentment toward the Rockets for trading him. He still feels he has plenty left to offer, and he looks forward to working with coach Billy Donovan and being a major piece of the rebuilt Thunder.
“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s funny because a lot of people try to tell your truth, try to tell your story, say what you want and a lot of different kind of stuff. I’m excited about the opportunity, excited about our team and excited about Billy.”
Here are some things to watch as the Thunder head into training camp Tuesday:
Center Steven Adams had played his entire NBA career in Oklahoma City with Westbrook. He said it’s a bit strange not having him around.
“In terms of personal relationships, like it just affects that a little bit, you know,” Adams said. “Still going to be there, but you’re thinking argh, I don’t get to see them as often, you know. So obviously it’s a bit tough, mate, but you know, you deal with it. Still above ground.”
Paul has a chance to mentor guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder.
Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 10.8 points and 3.3 assists as a rookie last season. He joined the Thunder in the deal that sent All-Star forward Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. Schroder is the top returning scorer after averaging 15.5 points last season.
Donovan said all three could play together at times.
“I think that’s what it comes down to,” Donovan said. “Multiple ball handlers down on the floor. You want to be able to incorporate all those guys so that they’re flowing and playing together.”
Gilgeous-Alexander knows media expectations are low this season after the Thunder traded Westbrook and George. He’s not focused on that.
“Personally, I try not to worry about everything that the league or the media says in terms of things like tanking and things like that, expectations for us,” he said. “I think if we’re focus on ourselves, try to get better every day, and play to the best of our ability the best we can, it’ll take us where it takes us. Whether it be the playoffs, not the playoffs, finals run, never know.”
Adams’ numbers could jump this season. The 7-foot center averaged 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds last season while shooting nearly 60% from the field. He heard his name in trade talks this summer, but he’s focused on what he can do this season.
“It still affects you in some way. You know, because you’re human, and you care,” he said. “If you care about something — obviously I care about the organization here. But again, we’re here because we’re trying to support the organization itself, and the organization needs to do well, right? So you have to keep that in mind. You’re just here to help.”
Forward Andre Roberson, one of the league’s best perimeter defensive players, is expected to play in the preseason after missing the past 1 ½ seasons with a left knee injury. He said he learned a lot during his time away.
“A lot of ups and downs,” he said. “It’s taught me a lot about myself, about my body, just about the game in general and just kind of the effect on my life. It’s just been a great character builder and great to see the game from a different perspective.”
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Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SAN FRANCISCO — Forget NBA Media Day etiquette. Warriors general manager Bob Myers did not deliver an opening statement filled with platitudes about the upcoming season. Instead, Myers some delivered some sobering news about Klay Thompson and his surgically repaired left knee.
“We’ll have another update on him probably around the All-Star break,” Myers said on Monday at the Warriors’ new arena, the Chase Center. “Don’t construe that as if we think he’ll be back by the All-Star break. That just means we’ll have an update then.”
Safe to construe that as Thompson will miss at least the Warriors’ first 55 games. When the Warriors evaluate him around NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago (Feb. 14-16), that might just determine when Thompson can begin ramping up toward a return.
How does that sit with a player that had never suffered a major injury until this year’s NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors?
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The Warriors’ star cemented part of his value with his durability and willingness to play through pain. It marks one of many reasons why the Warriors have cherished the 29-year-old Thompson.
“I’m going to do what the team says, and I’ve done my due diligence on rehabs and ACL injuries, and the last thing you want to do is rush back, especially for a player like me who wants to play until he’s in his late 30s,” Thompson said. “I want to play at a high level until that point, too. As much as it kills me not to be on the court, patience is a virtue, and rushing back would be not very smart.”
That would not be smart for a few reasons. The Warriors are admittedly not championship favorites after losing a range of veterans due to free-agency departures (Kevin Durant), a trade to cut costs (Andre Iguodala) and an expected retirement (Shaun Livingston). Although the Warriors still have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, they anticipate at least some transition with integrating eight new players on their roster. The Warriors also ruled out center Willie Cauley-Stein for all of training camp after he strained his left foot during a recent pick-up scrimmage. Despite Thompson suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors still re-signed him as a free agent to a five-year, $190 million max deal.
“I’ve become much more sympathetic to all athletes at all levels who go through a major injury or surgery,” Thompson said. “It’s not fun, and it really tests your patience. But it’s our job to come back even stronger, and the team has faith in me to do that. That’s why I think they rewarded me with my extension.”
Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the NBA Finals against the Raptors. (Photo: Sergio Estrada, USA TODAY Sports)
Nonetheless, Thompson said he has “made huge strides” since having surgery on July 2. He said he will “enter Phase 2 of the rehab” after completing what he called “tedious exercises” that strengthened his left knee. It remains unclear when he will begin any running or swimming workouts as well as spot-shooting drills.
Still, the Warriors strongly expect Thompson either to maintain or surpass his season averages in points (19.5), field-goal percentage (45%) and 3-point shooting (41.9%) through his seven-year NBA career. He will likely command more looks without Durant. With the Warriors acquiring All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell, however, Thompson will also have additional opportunities to thrive as either an off-ball shooter or even a small forward.
All of which leads Thompson to want to play for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after missing the FIBA World Cup because of his recent injury.
“Any time you play for Team USA, it’s a lot of fun,” Thompson said. “I’ve just got to consider my health first and foremost before I commit to that because of obviously what I’ve had to endure the last few months.”
Follow Mark Medina on Twitter @MarkG_Medina.
NEW YORK — Booger McFarland recalled the lights.
He was co-hosting the “Best Damn Sports Show” with Tom Arnold and John Salley in the late 2000s. It was his first time on TV as a member of the media. He had his talking points set and sought to let his personality beam through the camera. They were rolling. Then the stage lights burned to life.
“Typical kid from the South. I’ve got lotion on everywhere on my face,” McFarland told USA TODAY Sports recently. “Then the lights came on, and they are so hot. I’m sweating. Dude, I swear, it looked like I came out of a sauna.
“And we were on live television. I learned, though.”
McFarland can laugh about it because he now holds one of the top jobs in sports broadcasting.
In May, the self-proclaimed “country boy from Winnsboro, Louisiana” became the lead analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and made some history in the process. McFarland became the first black lead analyst of any of the NFL broadcast partners since 1985, when O.J. Simpson had the role for ABC’s “Monday Night Football.” And McFarland did so as a retired defensive tackle who had a respectable career but lacked brand-name recognition in a field dominated by former quarterbacks and offensive stars.
“Whether you like it or not, people are going to look at ESPN like they’re breaking the norm,” McFarland said. “A defensive lineman. From the South.
“Not your quarterback. Black. In a position that has been largely dominated by white, male quarterbacks, or white, male receivers, or white, male offensive guys. The opportunity that I’ve been given is something that, I hope by my performance and how well I hope to do, is going to open the doors for others.”
McFarland played eight seasons in the NFL from 1999-2006 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. He won two Super Bowls and was an integral part of the teams on which he played. He did his job well. But he was never a Pro Bowler and was often overshadowed by the stars on his teams, such as Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch.
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Booger McFarland is the first black lead analyst of any of the NFL broadcast partners since 1985, when O.J. Simpson had the role for ABC’s “Monday Night Football.” (Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)
CBS has former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. FOX has another Dallas staple in Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman. NBC has former Bengal Cris Collinsworth.
The Guardian reported in January that while black players make up 70 percent of the NFL, only 29 percent of NFL TV analysts are black.
“It was explained to me this way,” McFarland said. “Usually network execs, during production meetings, meet with the head coach, play caller, quarterbacks, offensive guys. When networks are looking for analysts and those guys are retired, you have relationships and rapport with the people that you’ve met along the way. So their first thought process is: ‘You know, we talked to X, and he was pretty good. Let’s see if he wants to do it.’ ”
McFarland’s ascension has been more of a grind. He retired in 2007 and lived off the NFL’s insurance policy, which lasted five years. He later realized, “single-family insurance is high as hell,” so he took an opportunity with CBS radio.
McFarland found himself attacking the job the way he would an opponent. He’d watch film, call sources and pick their brains.
Then ESPN called and asked him to audition for the launch of the SEC Network. Eventually, McFarland was offered the job of studio analyst alongside anchor Dari Nowkhah and analyst Greg McElroy.
It was the first time he had done TV since the “Best Damn Sports Show.” He needed polishing. One his first days on air, McFarland delivered his talking points to Nowkhah without breaking eye contact. During a commercial break, Nowkhah offered some advice.
Hey, Boog. You’ve got to look into that thing over there. Nowkhah was pointing at a camera.
“Booger just has that thing you can’t quite teach,” Nowkhah told USA TODAY Sports. “He has personality, engagement, confidence. An incredible likability that is so genuine. It shines through the camera. He’s smart. But he simplifies things. You can tell pretty quickly when you get someone in studio if they can make it in this business. Within minutes, I knew he’d be a star.”
McFarland rose through the ranks. He bonded with Mike Greenberg over their love for golf and Greenberg, in turn, invited him to co-host the popular show “Mike & Mike” when Greenberg’s co-anchor, Mike Golic, was unavailable. When Greenberg became anchor of the morning show “Get Up,” McFarland was one of the first guests.
“This is a man who does not lack confidence,” Greenberg told USA TODAY Sports. “I asked him on our show one time and I’ll never forget this, he told Gary Player, one of the greatest golfers to ever walk the earth, that he thought he could beat him. And Booger meant it, too.
“Player, of course, doesn’t back down and says that he’d beat Booger if he had to walk the course on his hands. We all laughed about it later, but that’s what makes Booger so great. He laughs at himself and doesn’t take himself too seriously.”
Eventually, ESPN tabbed McFarland to be the network’s first on-field analyst for “Monday Night Football,” where he rode a cart that became known as the “BoogerMobile” on the sideline. It was equipped with screens and a teleprompter, but ESPN abandoned it late in the season after complaints from fans.
When former ESPN analyst Jason Witten announced in February that he would be leaving the booth and returning to the Cowboys, he called McFarland. McFarland then called MNF executives, telling them he wanted the lead analyst job. At that point, ESPN flew to Denver to gauge Peyton Manning’s interest.
“I told them I would’ve courted Peyton, too,” McFarland said. “You have to realize, before the 13-person audition (in 2018), they offered him the job and he turned it down. Then they auditioned 13 people and came up with me and Jason. We got to the season, Jason quits. Human nature says, ‘Let me go back to the person we offered the job to first.’ ”
“Yeah, it’s hard,” McFarland said. “Because you think you’ve earned the job. You think you deserve the job … Peyton is probably the best pitchman on television right now. But he has never done a game. I’ve never seen him call a game, so we’re going to wait on him? But I get it. Again, huge name.
“He could be the best broadcaster in the history of the sport. But nobody knows. He’s never done it. At least you’ve seen me in front of the red lights. So yeah, that part of it was frustrating, but the biggest thing I learned was that you’ve got to be patient.”
In April, ESPN announced McFarland would serve as the lead analyst in a two-man booth alongside Joe Tessitore. So for now, McFarland is embracing the challenge with one thing in mind: Be himself and hope the audience welcomes him into their homes.
“I don’t know what my ceiling is,” he said. “I’m just really excited about this opportunity, about my chances to grow in it and to see what’s next. ”
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(Reuters) – The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Monday said it had banned American Alberto Salazar, who has coached some of the world’s top distance runners including British Olympian track champion Mo Farah, for four years for doping violations.
FILE PHOTO: Coach Alberto Salazar sits inside the Bird’s Nest Stadium at the Wold Athletics Championships in Beijing, China, August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble
USADA said Salazar’s punishment was for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct” as head coach of the Nike Oregan Project (NOP), a camp designed primarily to develop U.S. endurance athletes.
Salazar, who also coached American Olympian Matthew Centrowitz among other top distance runners, trafficked banned performance-enhancing substance testosterone to multiple athletes, USADA said in a statement.
Salazar also tampered or attempted to tamper with NOP athletes’ doping control process, the agency said after concluding its four-year investigation.
Jeffrey Brown, who worked as a paid consultant endocrinologist for NOP on performance enhancement and served as a physician for numerous athletes in the training program, also received a four-year ban.
Salazar, Nike and Brown could not be reached for comment. Salazar has in the past denied any wrongdoing.
Several members of NOP are competing in the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
None of the athletes Salazar has worked with were mentioned in Monday’s report.
Salazar stopped coaching Farah in 2017 when the runner decided to move back to England. Farah said at the time that the doping investigation was not the reason they parted ways.
“The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out and ultimately exposed the truth,” Travis Tygart, USADA chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr. Salazar and Dr. Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect.”
Salazar, 61, was a celebrated distance runner, winning three consecutive New York City marathons starting in 1980.
Nike funds NOP, the nation’s most elite long-distance running training center, in Portland, Oregon, under a $460 million 26-year sponsorship deal with US Track and Field.
Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; editing by Jane Wardell
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane lashed out at the referees after he was ejected during a preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.
Kane said it was an “absolute joke” he was ejected for abuse of an official and said he was “jumped from behind” by an official on the ice in the third period.
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“I get kicked out of the game for getting jumped from behind by a referee. I’ve never seen a ref take five strides,” Kane said, according to ESPN. “If you look at his face, he’s getting all this power and he’s trying to drive me into the ice, which is what he did. That’s unbelievable. Talk about abuse of an official? How about abuse of a player? It’s an absolute joke.”
The strong words came after Kane got involved with Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland. The veteran appeared to cross-check Kane, who responded with a slash. However, Kane’s slash appeared to have made contact with linesman Kiel Murchison. The official then grabbed Kane’s jersey, appearing to try and prevent any potential escalating incidents with Engelland.
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Both players were given game misconducts. Kane was shouting at the referees from the bench.
“I was just skating up the ice,” Kane said. “Minding my own business, and next thing you know, I get driven into the ice by one of the officials. I wasn’t even engaged with one of their players. Explain that to me, how I get kicked out of the game for that. Baffling.”
Kane said officials react a different way to him than others.
“It’s funny … if you look at the way I get treated out there when it comes to the scrums, or when the other team is trying to do [something] to me, there’s a massive difference compared to everybody else on the ice,” he said.
Kane played 75 games for the Sharks’ last season and tied for the league in game misconducts with three. He also led the league with 153 penalty minutes.
Louisville basketball isn’t getting its 2013 men’s basketball championship back after a drawn out mediation with the NCAA ended with a settlement that fails to restore the banner players sought.
Five former Louisville players sued the NCAA when the program was stripped of its title following the scandal involving escort Katina Powell that embroiled the team.
The asterisk will be erased next to Luke Hancock’s name in the NCAA record book as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta, and the statistics of the players involved in the lawsuit will be included in the record books, according to the Morgan & Morgan law firm that represented them.
Said Morgan & Morgan in a statement:
“We are thrilled to confirm that we have reached an agreement with the NCAA on behalf of our clients — Luke Hancock, Gorgui Dieng, Stephen Van Treese, Tim Henderson and Michael Marra — that affirms the players were eligible student athletes from 2011-2014, and that their awards, honors and statistics are validated — without an asterisk.
“This includes Luke Hancock’s NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player award in 2013. We would like to thank our mediator in the case, Pete Palmer, for his work facilitating this agreement, the specific terms of which are confidential. Morgan & Morgan is not only for the people; we’re for the players.”
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Hancock, Dieng, Van Treese, Henderson and Marra alleged the NCAA cast them in a “false light” and aided in hurting their reputations in association with the sex scandal. The NCAA Committee on Infractions removed the program’s title in July 2017. In July 2018, the players filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County Court seeking “a declaration that they are completely innocent of wrongdoing as implied by the NCAA.” The case had been in mediation since.
“We are used to fighting Goliath every single day,” lead attorney John Morgan said in 2018. “In the sports world, I don’t think there is any Goliath that exists like the NCAA.”
Neither former coach Rick Pitino nor the University of Louisville were named as parties in the lawsuit. And while the five players did get a piece of what they’d hoped for, none of the vacated 123 wins by the program will be restored. In addition to the national championship, the team also won the Big East conference tournament in 2012 and 2013, and the American Athletic Conference in 2014.
Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement that the former players’ “accomplishments absolutely deserve to be recognized.”
“While we would prefer to acknowledge our full team accomplishments from the years that were vacated, we’re glad that the individual achievements of all of the eligible student-athletes can be properly recognized,” he said.