Thursday Sports in Brief | Sports |

WASHINGTON (AP) – American basketball star Brittney Griner went home Thursday night, freed from a Russian prison in exchange for the United States freeing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in a high-stakes eight-month diplomatic saga and dashed hopes.

But the US failed to secure freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia for almost four years.

The deal, the second in eight months amid tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, secured the release of the most prominent American held abroad and achieved a key goal for President Joe Biden. But U.S. officials acknowledged it is a heavy price.

“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” Biden said from the White House, where he was joined by Griner’s wife, Cherelle.

Biden’s authorization of the release of Bout, the Russian traitor once nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” underscored the heightened urgency his administration faced to bring Griner home, especially after the recent settlement of her criminal case with drug charges and her subsequent transfer to penitentiary. colony. Griner, who also played pro basketball in Russia, was arrested at an airport there after Russian authorities said she was carrying vape canisters with cannabis oil.

Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Baylor University All-American and Phoenix Mercury pro basketball star, whose arrest was the highest-profile American incarcerated abroad. Her status as an openly gay black woman, locked up in a country where authorities were hostile to the LBGTQ community, injected racial, gender and social dynamics into her legal saga and drew unprecedented attention to the unjustly detained population.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the exchange, saying in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that the exchange took place in Abu Dhabi and that Bout had been flown home.

ATLANTA (AP) – Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray is expected to miss about two weeks with a sprained left ankle.

Murray was injured on Wednesday night early in the first quarter of a 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 injured in the second quarter of the Knicks’ win over Atlanta on Wednesday night. He has a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula head.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams is The Associated Press football player of the year, becoming the school’s first winner since 2005 with his impressive debut season for the Trojans.

Williams received 32 of the 46 first-place votes and 117 total points from AP Top 25 poll voters to win the award presented by Regions Bank. The Heisman Trophy favorite finished well ahead of TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who finished second with six first-place votes and 64 points.

Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud was third, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker was fourth and Stetson Bennett was fifth. Will Anderson Jr., the first SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was the only non-quarterback in the top eight, finishing sixth.

Williams, Stroud, Duggan and Bennett are the finalists for the Heisman, which will be presented in New York on Saturday. There is a difference between an AP award winner and a Heisman winner twice in the past two decades.

Later on Thursday, during ESPN’s College Football Awards show, Williams won the Maxwell Award as college football’s most outstanding player, while Duggan Williams won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s leading rusher.

Other winners included Anderson, who claimed the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s defensive player; Michigan’s Olusegun Oluwatimi, who won the Outland Cup as the top inside man; and Texas’ Bijan Robinson, who claimed the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Louisville has 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 a player and assistant coach.

The University of Louisville Athletic Association’s executive board approved a six-year contract that will pay the former Purdue coach a base salary of $5 million next season with annual raises of $100,000, plus incentives.

Brohm, a former Louisville quarterback and minor league basketball player, succeeds Scott Satterfield, who left Monday to become the coach at Cincinnati.

Shortly after Louisville announced Brohm’s hiring, Boilermakers athletic director Mike Bobinski named Brohm’s younger brother, offensive coordinator Brian, interim coach for the Citrus Bowl game against No. 17 LSU on January 2nd.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) – Western Michigan has hired Louisville offensive coordinator Lance Taylor to lead its football program.

Taylor, 41, coached running backs for three seasons each at Notre Dame and Stanford. He was also an assistant at Appalachian State and with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New York Jets.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Washington Post had a “toxic work culture” for more than two decades, “ignoring and minimizing sexual misconduct” and what former female employees said were hundreds of cases of sexual harassment. by men at the highest levels of the organization. , according to a report published by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Among the misconduct was Commander’s owner Dan Snyder, who is accused of inappropriately touching a former employee at a diner, after staff members produced a video of “sexually suggestive footage of cheerleaders” and ordering women listening to being cheerleaders walk on the field “and he and his friends walked out of his room through binoculars,” according to the report.

The House committee opened its investigation in October 2021 after the NFL failed to release a written report on its review of the team’s workplace culture. The league’s independent review by attorney Beth Wilkinson was completed in the summer of 2021 and resulted in the team being fined $10 million.

NEW YORK (AP) – Center fielder Brandon Nimmo is staying with the New York Mets in free agency, agreeing to an eight-year, $162 million 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 a successful physical and no announcement has been made.

A quality leadoff hitter with an excellent eye and a career .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-handed hitter hit .274 with 16 homers and a team-high, career-high 102 runs. He also set a career high with 64 RBI and 151 games played. His seven triples were tied for most in the National League.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Trea Turner’s 11-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies has been terminated after the All-Star shortstop passed his physical.

Turner receives salaries of $27,272,727 in each of the next 10 seasons and $27,272,730 in 2033. Turner will make an annual contribution 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 won the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

BOSTON (AP) – Right-handed reliever Chris Martin and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a two-year, $17.5 million contract.

Martin receives a $4 million signing bonus, of which $1 million is payable this month, $1.5 million next June and $1.5 million in June 2024. He has salaries of $6 million next season and $7.5 million in 2024. The a 36-year-old 4-year-old. -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 has returned to practice, just 10 days after suffering the second stroke of his career.

Letang, 35, remains out indefinitely, described by the club as “day-to-day.” Letang missed more than two months in 2014 after his first stroke.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Longtime sports executive Tracy Marek will take the helm of USA Figure Skating in January, becoming the first female chief executive in the national governing body’s 101-year history.

Marek takes over from 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 past 19 years with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

MALELANE, South Africa (AP) – Dean Burmester shot a 7-under 65 to take the lead in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The 33-year-old South African, looking for his third European tour title, had six back-nine birdies 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 on Wednesday when he collapsed, a school spokeswoman said. His injuries were not considered life threatening.

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