Update on the latest sports

December 07, 2017 - 11:10 am

NFL-BROWNS-BROWN FIRED

Winless Browns fire VP Sashi Brown, keep their coach

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have fired top executive Sashi Brown, but are keeping coach Hue Jackson for another season despite a 1-27 record.

Brown was named the team's top executive by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam during an overhaul following the 2015 season. He was relieved of his duties on Thursday.

In announcing the dismissal, Jimmy Haslam said Brown was told the team "is going in a new direction." Haslam also announced Jackson will remain as coach for next season.

Brown's firing is not unexpected since Cleveland is 0-12 for the second straight season with Brown in charge. The team passed up a chance to draft quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in the past two drafts and Cleveland has shown little sign of improvement since Brown took over.

Brown had no experience in evaluating players as he primarily handled the team's salary cap before he was promoted.

NFL-SAINTS-FALCONS

Saints visit Falcons in key NFC South matchup

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons host the New Orleans Saints in the NFL Thursday night game.

The NFC South matchup has serious playoff ramifications. The 7-5 Falcons desperately need a win over the 9-3 Saints to have a realistic shot at a second straight NFC South title.

In a 14-9 loss to Minnesota last week Atlanta failed to score a touchdown for the first time in nearly two seasons — a major embarrassment to a team that led the league in scoring a year ago.

NBA-MEXICO CITY

Nets and Thunder meet in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Brooklyn Nets meet in Mexico City Thursday night.

The game will be the 25th in NBA history South of the Border, the most for any country besides the United States and Canada. It's also the first since a 7.1 earthquake on Sept. 19 killed over 300 people, most of them in the capital.

The invisible opponent is the altitude. Sitting at 7,350 feet above sea level, Mexico's capital is at a far higher elevation than Denver — the NBA's highest venue at 5,280 feet.

RUSSIAN DOPING

Russia PM: State will never admit "false" doping charges

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE'-tree med-VYEH'-dyev) says the state will never acknowledge the accusation of state-sponsored doping that prevents the Russia team from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics because it considers it false.

Speaking at a Cabinet session on Thursday, he also argued that the International Olympic Committee decision on Tuesday to ban the Russia team from the Winter Games in South Korea for anti-doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Games had political underpinnings. He said the move was taken in order to influence public opinion in Russia ahead of the March 18 presidential election.

Medvedev says the Cabinet will support Russians who want to compete as neutral athletes at the games in February.

RUSSIAN DOPING-ZUBKOV

Olympic panel details Sochi bobsled champion's doping case

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — An Olympic disciplinary panel says "powerful" evidence proved that two-time bobsled gold medalist Alexander Zubkov took part in the 2014 Sochi Games doping conspiracy.

In its full decision published on Thursday of a Nov. 24 verdict, the IOC disciplinary panel chaired by Denis Oswald detailed why it disqualified Zubkov and banned him for life from the Olympics.

The verdicts states one sample had "an abnormally high level of salt" and two scratched bottles were tampered with. Laboratory staff added salt to clean stored urine that was swapped in for steroid-tainted samples during the games.

The panel says similar evidence exists in seven more cases from Russia's Sochi bobsled teams.

FIGURE SKATING-GRAND PRIX FINAL

Chen finishes 1st in short program at Grand Prix Final

NAGOYA, Japan (AP) — Nathan Chen finished first in the men's short program at the Grand Prix Final on Thursday, the last major international competition before the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Skating to "Nemesis," the American opened with a quad lutz, triple toe loop combination and added a quad flip and a triple axel for 103.32 points.

Japanese skater Shoma Uno fell on the landing of a triple axel and was second with 101.51 points, followed by Mikhail Kolyada of Russia with 99.22.

PGA TOUR-CHINA

PGA Tour signs deal to partner Chinese firm Shankai

BEIJING (AP) — The PGA Tour has signed a deal to partner with Chinese firm Shankai Sports to manage the operations of its China series for 20 years from 2018.

Shankai, a Beijing-based firm, says its new venture is receiving a 300 million yuan ($45 million) investment from Yao Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by former Houston Rockets player Yao Ming, and U.S.-based IDG Capital.

After a one-year hiatus, the PGA Tour China Series will resume next year.

The move comes as China has cracked down on golf in recent years, with authorities closing more than 100 courses in an effort to conserve water and land.

Greg Gilligan, PGA Tour's Greater China managing director, says the closures were related to code violations and that China is supportive of the sport.

SPORTS BETTING-MARKET SCRAMBLE

Internet betting firms settle suits over NYX acquisition

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Three gambling companies have agreed to end their legal battle over the proposed acquisition of NYX Gaming by Scientific Games.

The Las Vegas-based firms hope to join forces and become a leader in the as-yet unapproved U.S. sports betting market.

But William Hill, a rival based in London, had threatened to derail the deal by using stock it owns in NYX.

On Thursday, the companies said they will end their complicated international litigation, adding that William Hill will now support the deal.

The companies anticipate the Supreme Court will legalize sports betting, creating a huge new market in the U.S.

The case was heard on Monday, but a decision may take until June.

NJ INTERNET GAMBLING-RACETRACKS

New Jersey eyes cutting horse tracks in on internet gambling

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey lawmakers want to give the state's horse racing tracks a piece of the action on internet gambling.

The state Assembly is due to vote Thursday on a bill that would authorize tracks to offer internet gambling on their premises if they reach a partnership agreement with an Atlantic City casino or an online affiliate of a casino.

Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo says it's a way to help the struggling racing industry with new revenue.

Gamblers with internet betting accounts can already place bets from anywhere within New Jersey's borders, and don't need to go to a track to do so.

Supporters envision track patrons placing online casino bets between races.

The state Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on the measure.

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