WASHINGTON (AP) American basketball star Brittney Griner went home Thursday night, released from a Russian prison in exchange for the U.S. freeing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout at the culmination of an eight-month saga of negotiations high and broken hopes.
But the US failed to secure freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia for nearly four years.
The deal, the second in eight months amid tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, secured the release of a prominent American imprisoned abroad and met a key goal of President Joe Biden. Yet it carried what U.S. officials which they believe is expensive.
“He’s safe, he’s on the plane, he’s on his way home,” Biden said from the White House, where he was accompanied by Griner’s wife, Cherelle.
Biden’s approval of the release of Bout, a Russian fugitive once nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” underscored the urgency his administration faced to bring Griner home, especially after the decision late- the verdict of his criminal trial on drug charges and his subsequent transfer to prison. colony. Griner, who also played pro basketball in Russia, was arrested at an airport there after Russian authorities said he was carrying vape pods containing cannabis oil.
Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Baylor University All-American and pro basketball star for the Phoenix Mercury, whose arrest made him the most prominent American incarcerated outside of country. Her situation as an outspoken Lesotho woman, imprisoned in a country where the authorities were hostile to the LBGTQ community, added race, gender and social status to her legal affairs and brought unexpected attention. to the population of the wrong prisoners.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the change, saying in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that the exchange took place in Abu Dhabi and that Bout had been sent home.
ATLANTA (AP) – Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray is expected to miss up to two weeks with a sprained left ankle.
Murray suffered a concussion early in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s loss to the New York Knicks.
NEW YORK (AP) – New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin will miss at least two weeks with a broken right leg.
Toppin was hurt in the second half of the Knicks’ win over Atlanta on Wednesday night. The right side of his head has a broken socket.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams is the Associated Press college player of the year, becoming the school’s first winner of the award since 2005 with his outstanding debut season for the Trojans.
Williams received 32 of 46 first-place votes and 117 points from AP Top 25 voters to win the award presented by Regions Bank. The Heisman Trophy favorite finished well ahead of TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who came in second with six first-place votes and 64 points.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was third, with Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker fourth and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett fifth. Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was the only non-quarterback in the top eight, finishing sixth.
Williams, Stroud, Duggan and Bennett are finalists for the Heisman, which will be presented in New York on Saturday. The AP award winner is different from the Heisman winner only twice in the last two decades.
Later Thursday, during the ESPN College Football Awards show, Williams won the Maxwell Award as the most outstanding player in college football, but Duggan beat out Williams for the Davey O’Brien Award. and the main fighter of the country.
Other winners included Anderson, who claimed the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player; Michigan’s Olusegun Oluwatimi, who won the Outland Trophy as the leading infielder; and Texas’ Bijan Robinson, who claimed the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Louisville hired Jeff Brohm as football coach, ending a whirlwind process that ended with the school welcoming a native son who had a hand in the Cardinals’ success as player and assistant coach.
The University of Louisville Athletic Association’s executive board has approved a six-year contract that will pay the former Purdue coach a $5 million base salary next season with annual raises of $100,000, plus incentives.
Brohm, a former Louisville quarterback and minor league baseball player, succeeds Scott Satterfield, who left Monday to become Cincinnati’s coach.
Shortly after Louisville announced it had hired Brohm, Boilermakers athletic director Mike Bobinski named Brohm’s brother, offensive coordinator Brian, the interim coach for the Citrus Bowl game against No. 17 LSU on Jan. 2
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) – Western Michigan hires Louisville offensive coordinator Lance Taylor to lead the football program.
Taylor, 41, coached running backs for three seasons at Notre Dame and Stanford. He was also an assistant at Appalachian State with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New York Jets.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Washington executives have had a “toxic work culture” for more than two decades, “ignoring and downplaying sexual misconduct” by former female employees. who described what they described as hundreds of incidents of sexual harassment by men at the top of the organization. , according to a report published by the House Committee on Oversight and Reforms.
The misconduct included Commander’s owner Dan Snyder, who is accused of inappropriately holding a former employee at dinner, causing employees to display a “sexually suggestive” video. ” and ordered the women who were checking to be spectators to leave the field ” His friends looked inside his suit with binoculars,” according to the report.
The House committee opened its investigation in October 2021 after the NFL did not release a written report of its investigation into the team’s workplace culture. An independent review of the league by attorney Beth Wilkinson was completed in the summer of 2021 and resulted in a $10 million fine against the team.
NEW YORK (AP) — Center fielder Brandon Nimmo is staying with the New York Mets in free agency, agreeing to a $162 million, eight-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal is subject to formal approval and no announcement has been made.
A quality hitter with a good eye and a .385 on-base percentage, Nimmo became a free agent last month for the first time. He was a key player as the Mets returned to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016.
The left-hander hit .274 with 16 homers and a team-high 102 runs scored. He also set a career best with 64 RBIs and 151 games played. His seven hits are tied for the most in the National League.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Trea Turner’s $300 million, 11-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies was terminated after the All-Star shortstop passed his physical.
Turner earns $27,272,727 in each of the next 10 seasons and $27,272,730 in 2033. Turner will make an annual donation of $100,000 to Phillies charities.
Turner hit .298 with 21 homers and a career-high 100 RBIs this year in his first full season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He joins a Philadelphia team that reached the World Series this season before losing to the Houston Astros.
BOSTON (AP) – Right-hander Chris Martin and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a two-year, $17.5 million contract.
Martin receives a signing bonus of $4 million, of which $1 million is paid this month, $1.5 million next June and $1.5 million in June 2024. He has $6 million in salary next year and $7.5 million in 2024. The 36-year-old went 4-1 with two saves and a 3.05 ERA for the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers last season.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is back at practice, just 10 days after suffering the second concussion of his career.
The 35-year-old Letang remains out indefinitely, with the team describing him as “day-to-day.” Letang missed more than two months in 2014 after his first death.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Longtime athletic director Tracy Marek will take over as head of the U.S. Figure Skating in January, becoming the first female captain in the 101st history of the country’s governing body.
Marek replaces Ramsey Baker, who announced in June that he would be stepping down at the end of the year. Marek has spent 25 years in sports marketing, the last 19 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
MALELANE, South Africa (AP) – Dean Burmester shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
The 33-year-old South African, who was seeking his third European Tour title, had six birdies returning nine at Leopard Creek. Lukas Nemecz from Austria was second.’
VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota basketball coach Eric Peterson was hospitalized after suffering multiple injuries in a fall at his home and will not be with the Coyotes when they play UC Irvine on Saturday.
Peterson was outside his home decorating for the holidays Wednesday when he fell, a school spokeswoman said. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.