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A-Rod Gives Apology But No Explanation Ahead of Return

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In this Jan. 16, 2014, file photo, Alex Rodriguez speaks during a news conference in Cancun, Mexico. Alex Rodriguez has issued a handwritten apology "for the mistakes that led to my suspension" but has turned down New York's offer to use Yankee Stadium for a news conference and has failed to detail any specifics about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Israel Leal, File)

In this Jan. 16, 2014, file photo, Alex Rodriguez speaks during a news conference in Cancun, Mexico. Alex Rodriguez has issued a handwritten apology “for the mistakes that led to my suspension” but has turned down New York’s offer to use Yankee Stadium for a news conference and has failed to detail any specifics about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — It appears the only place Alex Rodriguez might detail his drug use is on a witness stand.

The ever controversial New York Yankees star decided against holding a news conference ahead of his return to the team following a one-year absence. He issued a vague five-paragraph handwritten apology Tuesday “for the mistakes that led to my suspension” but failed to provide specifics about how and why he resumed using performance-enhancing drugs for at least the second stretch of his celebrated career.

Readying to report back to the Yankees following an unprecedented season-long ban for violating baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract, Rodriguez apologized to team officials in person during a meeting at the ballpark on Feb. 10. They suggested he hold a news conference before the start of spring training this Friday and offered the use of Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez declined.

He held an apologetic session with reporters in 2009 at the team’s facility in Tampa, Florida, after he admitted using banned PEDs while with Texas from 2001-03. That was before Major League Baseball had a drug agreement with penalties.

“The only thing I ask from this group today and the American people is to judge me from this day forward,” he said then.

But he apparently did not want to face questions from media about his latest involvement with PEDs — although he could be required to testify in federal court if his cousin, Yuri Sucart, and former University of Miami pitching coach Lazaro Collazo go to trial on charges they committed crimes in their involvement with the Biogenesis of America drug clinic. Rodriguez admitted in court documents he used PEDs.

ESPN The Magazine said it planned to release an interview Wednesday in which Rodriguez said he thinks Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch gave him a placebo. Rodriguez also said he considered retirement early in his suspension, is in therapy and secretly visits colleges. He told ESPN he took a marketing class during his suspension and wants to complete his education.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig suspended the three-time AL MVP for 211 games in August 2013, citing conduct from 2010-12 uncovered during MLB’s investigation of Biogenesis, which was based in Coral Gables, Florida, not far from Rodriguez’s home.

Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced the penalty to the 2014 season, finding “clear and convincing evidence” Rodriguez used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct baseball’s drug investigation.

Hoping to overcome the suspension and a pair of hip surgeries, Rodriguez is due to report to the Yankees on Feb. 25 and start workouts the following day. He has not played a full season since 2007.

Rodriguez addressed his statement “to the fans” and said “I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season” without explaining what those mistakes were.

“I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be,” he wrote in legible blue script. “To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the players’ association and you, the fans, I can only say I’m sorry.”

Rodriguez said “I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why, and that’s on me.”

“It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job,” he said.

Bosch was sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty in October to a charge of conspiracy to distribute testosterone.

New York says Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, has been replaced by Chase Headley at third base and will have to compete for playing time at designated hitter and as an infield backup.

Rodriguez is owed $61 million over the final three seasons of his contract, and the Yankees say they do not plan to pay five $6 million bonuses detailed in a marketing agreement for historic achievements he may reach. Rodriguez is fifth on the career list with 654 home runs, and the deal contemplates the first bonus being triggered when he ties Willie Mays at 660.

Before apologizing to the Yankees, Rodriguez met last month with Rob Manfred, who succeeded Selig as baseball commissioner on Jan. 25.

“I served the longest suspension in the history of the league for PED use,” Rodriguez said. “The commissioner has said the matter is over. The players’ association has said the same. The Yankees have said the next step is to play baseball. I’m ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball. This game has been my single biggest passion since I was a teenager. When I go to spring training, I will do everything I can to be the best player and teammate possible, earn a spot on the Yankees and help us win.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Afro

Coppin State Baseball Receives 2019 ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award

THE AFRO — 

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By Coppin State University Department of Athletics

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Coppin State baseball team was one of 51 NCAA Division I baseball programs to receive the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Award, it was announced by the organization over the weekend.  The ABCA awards teams at all college levels with a cumulative team GPA of at least 3.0 during the 2018-19 academic year.

This is the second-straight season that the Eagles have received the honor from the ABCA and Coppin State is the only MEAC school to earn the award.

Not only have the Eagles performed well in the classroom the last two years, it also coincides with arguably the two best seasons in program-history on the field.  This past year, Coppin won a school-record 24 games after winning the 2018 MEAC Northern Division Championship while matching what was then a school-record with 21 victories.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Grizzlies make Niele Ivey NBA’s 9th female assistant coach

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — The Memphis Grizzlies have hired former Notre Dame women’s associate head coach Niele (knee-L) Ivey among the new assistants on Taylor Jenkins’ staff. There are now nine women coaches in the NBA.

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Niele Ivey is now an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. Photo: Notre Dame Athletics)

By Los Angeles Sentinel

The Memphis Grizzlies have hired former Notre Dame women’s associate head coach Niele (knee-L) Ivey among the new assistants on Taylor Jenkins’ staff.

There are now nine women coaches in the NBA.

The Grizzlies also announced Monday the hiring of Brad Jones, David McClure, James “Scoonie” Penn, Vitaly Potapenko and Neven Spahija.

Jenkins says he’s thrilled to work with an experienced group of coaches with success at all levels as both players and coaches.

Ivey spent the past 12 seasons at her alma mater with the last four as Notre Dame’s associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. She helped the Fighting Irish go 385-55 with seven Final Four berths, six appearances in the NCAA title game and the 2018 national championship.

Notre Dame congratulated Ivey on Twitter, saying the Grizzlies hired a good one.

Ivey played in two Final Fours with Notre Dame, including winning the 2001 national championship. She played five seasons in the WNBA before starting her coaching career as an administrative assistant at Xavier in 2005.

Jenkins kept Potapenko (po-TAH-pen-ko) who was an assistant with the Grizzlies last season. He also has worked for Cleveland and Indiana in the NBA and in the G League. Jones was head coach of Memphis’ G League team last season and also spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Utah Jazz.

McClure, who played at Duke, spent the past three seasons as assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers and started his coaching career in 2014 as a player development quality assurance assistant for the Spurs. Penn spent the past two seasons as director of player development at Ohio State. Spahija was an assistant with Jenkins in Atlanta between 2014 and 2017.

The Grizzlies also named Jason March head coach of their G League team.

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

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Clippers Owner Celebrates Future While Forum Owner Cries “Foul!”

BLACK VOICE NEWS — The Clippers recently unveiled additional details and renderings of its privately financed sports and entertainment center anchored by the team’s new basketball arena in the City of Inglewood.

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Cross section of model for proposed new Clippers arena (Photo by: blackvoicenews.com)
Cross section of model for proposed new Clippers arena (Photo by: blackvoicenews.com)

S.E. Williams | Contributors

The Clippers recently unveiled additional details and renderings of its privately financed sports and entertainment center anchored by the team’s new basketball arena in the City of Inglewood.

“My goal is simple,” explained Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer. “I want the Clippers to have the best home in all of sports. “What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood”

He expounded, “Our goal is to build a facility that re-sets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home.”

The Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center is expected to revitalize mostly vacant land under the flight path of the Los Angeles International Airport and transform it into what will hopefully be a vibrant campus. In addition to the arena, the campus will include team’s business offices, basketball offices and training facility, as well as both community and retail spaces.

The arena as proposed will have a three-dimensional oval design with a unique exterior of diamond-shaped metal panels inspired by the concept of a basketball swishing through a net. In addition to the aesthetics, the panels are designed to provide solar benefit for maximum energy efficiency as part of the facility’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Desire (LEED) design. LEED is an internationally recognized third party building certification system focused on improving the environment through sustainability.

The Clippers campus is designed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions through a combination of carbon offset credits and sustainable design features.

 Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer.

Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer (Photo by blackvoicenews.com.)

When Clippers’ officials unveiled the renderings and other details of the project, they highlighted what was identified as the facility’s “most striking” feature intended to highlight the temperate climate of Southern California—the integration of indoor/outdoor sky gardens for food and beverages. The sky gardens will be accessible from every concourse level.

The Clippers’ Complex also envisions a multi-purpose plaza that will include a concert stage, community basketball courts and space for the community to gather and watch everything from Clippers Playoff Games and movie premiers on a supersized LED screen.

The same day the Clipper organization unveiled renderings and plans for the arena and its new campus it also welcomed new highly acclaimed players Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to the team. And in that regard, no one during their introduction appeared more genuinely excited than Ballmer. “I’m just delighted and so proud right now…,” he exclaimed. I’m pumped to say hello as Clippers to Paul and Kawhi.”

While Ballmer, the Clippers organization, their fans and the City of Inglewood celebrate what looks to be a very bright and mutually-beneficial future, New York billionaire and Jim Dolan CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) , who own’s the NBA Knicks, the Forum in Inglewood and several other high profile holdings, is continuing to be pilloried in the media for his ongoing attempts to block the development of the new Clippers’ arena in Inglewood and in the process stymie the economic potential of the city itself because he fears the competition it presents to his multi-million dollar investment in the Forum.

Reports and court documents have detailed the obstruction efforts of Dolan and his partner(s) at MSG. The allegations range from funding an opposition candidate against Inglewood’s longtime mayor, James T. Butts Jr.; funding community groups to oppose the project; seeking to attract the Lakers back to the Forum as their home court and the list goes on.

One of what is purportedly one of his most spurious and outrageous accusations is his claim that—as alleged in Vanity Fair—’Ballmer and Butts double-crossed him after MSG spent a lot of money in Inglewood when few others were willing to do so.’

Although Dolan has continued to claim the contract with the city of Inglewood was exclusive and prevented similar venues from being established in the city it appears there was nothing in the MSG contract with the city that spoke to an exclusive arrangement.

Dolan continues to claim he was tricked, bamboozled and taken advantage of regarding the Forum contract even though evidence clearly states otherwise. “My position is that we invested $140 million and were the first ones to do so in Inglewood and that we had an agreement with the city, both in paper and in spirit, that the city would help us with that investment to make it successful,”

It appears rather than taking ownership for his failure and the failure of MSG to exercise judicious business acumen when negotiating the Forum contract with the City of Inglewood, Dolan has resorted to bullying tactics. In addition to some of his efforts detailed above he has sued not only the city of Inglewood but also Mayor Butts, personally—a personal suit prevents the city from paying for Butts’ defense.

While Dolan continues to fight against the mayor, Ballmer, the development of the Clippers arena, and by proxy—the city of Inglewood itself—plans for the new arena and its campus continue.

“Inglewood is a diverse, dynamic community blessed with a skilled workforce, emerging infrastructure and a bold economic blueprint for the future,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations for the Clippers organization.

Speaking directly to the Clippers proposed arena he continued. “In addition to the thousands of jobs this facility will create for the local community, we are equally committed to working with our new neighbors in the continuing renaissance developing in the City of Inglewood.”

The proposed Clippers arena complex will be located on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie and South Yukon Avenues.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News

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Celebrities Play Kickball Game For Mental Health Awareness

THE AFRO — Leigh Bodden promised the Black team would win, but Santana Moss wasn’t having any of it. Moss delivered a three-run kickball home run in the bottom of the first inning, which proved to be the difference in the game as the white team won the inaugural Barry’s Game at Bowie Baysox Stadium.

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Leigh Bodden’s LBFoundation.org and Lauryn’s Law teamed up at the Bowie Baysox Stadium for baseball and celebrity kickball games in honor of mental health and suicide awareness. (Courtesy Photo)
Leigh Bodden’s LBFoundation.org and Lauryn’s Law teamed up at the Bowie Baysox Stadium for baseball and celebrity kickball games in honor of mental health and suicide awareness. (Courtesy Photo)
By Mark F. Gray

Leigh Bodden promised the Black team would win, but Santana Moss wasn’t having any of it. Moss delivered a three-run kickball home run in the bottom of the first inning, which proved to be the difference in the game as the white team won the inaugural Barry’s Game at Bowie Baysox Stadium.

“We’re keeping our mouth shut and will let our play do the talking,” Moss said. “We’ll see what happens at the end of the game.”

On a day where there were no losers, Bodden’s LBFoundation.org brought together local celebrities and former pro athletes by galvanizing the community to begin learning more about a silent killer amongst minorities.  However, thanks to Moss’s heroics the white team withstood a late inning comeback attempt to hold on for a 5-3 victory.

Despite the game, mental health awareness and suicide prevention were the focus of the Baltimore Orioles class AA affiliate Bowie Baysox in conjunction with Bodden’s Foundation and Lauryn’s Law. The charity organizations collaborated to play the game in honor of two people who tragically lost their lives due to their undiagnosed mental health issues.

Linda Diaz and Bodden carry the pain of their respective losses daily, as both carry memories of loved ones who took their lives.  Diaz, who shared the day with her granddaughter, started the push for Lauryn’s Law after her daughter took her life after battling the effects of bullying that led to undiagnosed depression.  Her efforts led to a state law requiring in school counseling and intervention for students who are displaying those symptoms.

Bodden’s friend Barry, who also took his life, is to whom the game was dedicated.  Before the first “pitch” it was clear this was more than a celebrity good time. In addition to the passion for the competition there was a palpable sense of commitment to the cause that was conveyed by Bodden himself, as he addressed the fans who stayed and watched with an emotional appreciation to those in attendance.

“There is not a day that doesn’t go by where I don’t think about him,” Bodden said with his voice cracking as he tried to hold back tears. “Hopefully, you’ve been able to speak with the representatives of the organizations that can help you be there for someone who may not realize the help they need and you can be there to support them.”

The crowd who attended the baseball game was able to attend the kickball game afterward for the price of the game ticket.  During the game itself, various mental health organizations were stationed throughout the concourse distributing information and sharing basic knowledge about the warning signs of what could lead to suicidal behavior.

“It’s so important to have an opportunity to share this kind of information with the public,” Diaz said.  “When someone like Leigh adds his name too and genuinely cares because he knows the pain that friends and families go through, it only helps create greater awareness in the community.”

Approximately 1,000 fans stayed after the Baysox Eastern League 10-4 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs for the kickball game. During the long afternoon, they also had an opportunity to receive information from a series of mental health organizations who lined the concourse with a message of intervention and therapy. The celebrities who attended also recognize the role they play in pushing the message.

“It’s something that we can now have open conversations when we’re on the air,” said Sunni [in the City] from WPGC-FM. “Artists like Wale use their twitter accounts to talk about his therapist all the time. It’s a disease that’s out of the closet right now and people are beginning to realize they don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about mental health issues anymore.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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TSDRadio: New Grizz assistant Niele Ivey: “I’m always up for a challenge”

NEW TRI STATE DEFENDER — Niele Ivey knew that becoming the first woman coach in Memphis Grizzlies history was a big deal. Still, she underestimated it a bit.

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Niele Ivey is now an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. Photo: Notre Dame Athletics)
Niele Ivey is now an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. Photo: Notre Dame Athletics)

By Lee Eric Smith

Niele Ivey knew that becoming the first woman coach in Memphis Grizzlies history was a big deal. Still, she underestimated it a bit.

“I know now,” she told me during a recent exclusive interview. “It’s a lot bigger than I even expected.”

Check out this clip of my conversation with Ivey, in which she talks about being an inspiration to other women, and what she expects from her first time coaching men (Hint: “Basketball is basketball,” she says) and what she hopes to bring to Memphis. Enjoy!

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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Palm Coast church to host Football Sunday

DAYTONA TIMES — Palm Coast United Methodist Church will hold its eighth annual Football Sunday services on Aug. 18 at 5200 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast,   Members of the Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas High School football teams, coaches, cheerleaders, and band members will attend the contemporary worship service at 9:30 a.m.  

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Photo by: Jean-Daniel Francoeur | pexels.com
Photo by: Jean-Daniel Francoeur | pexels.com

By The Daytona Times

Palm Coast United Methodist Church will hold its eighth annual Football Sunday services on Aug. 18 at 5200 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast,

Members of the Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas High School football teams, coaches, cheerleaders, and band members will attend the contemporary worship service at 9:30 a.m.

Members of the Bethune-Cookman University football team and coaches will attend the traditional worship service 11 a.m.

Parishioners and guests are encouraged to wear a football jersey representing their favorite high school, college or professional teams. The public is invited to attend.

For more information, call 386-4451600.

This article originally appeared in the Daytona Times.

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