- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

ESPY AWARDS

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs while urging acceptance for others who are transgender.

She received a standing ovation from some of the sporting world’s biggest stars after her 10-minute speech during the annual awards honoring the year’s top athletes and moments.

“This transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine,” said Jenner, who revealed she was in the process of becoming a woman in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer in April on ABC.

Noting her powerful celebrity platform, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and current reality TV star vowed “to do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated.”

Abby Wambach of the U.S. soccer team that won the Women’s World Cup presented the trophy to the 65-year-old Jenner, whose voice broke as she thanked members of her famous family, including stepdaughters Kim and Khloe Kardashian. Tears welled in the eyes of Jenner’s younger daughter, Kylie, whose sister, Kendall, wiped a tear from her eye.

Meanwhile, Lauren Hill was honored for the “best moment.” Hill inspired people with her fight against brain cancer and raised over $1.5 million for cancer research before she died April 10. The Division III women’s basketball player just wanted to play one game in college.

The NCAA agreed to let Hill’s team, Mount St. Joseph, move up its opening game against Hiram College by two weeks because her condition was deteriorating. Xavier University offered its 10,000-seat arena so more people could attend. Tickets sold out in less than an hour.

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OLYMPICS

U.S. Olympic Committee leaders will be in Boston to meet Thursday with the group trying to get the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics on track.

Among those in the meeting will be USOC chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun, and Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca and CEO Rich Davey. In an email to The Associated Press, Pagliuca called it a “regularly scheduled monthly meeting to review next steps” and also to discuss what they learned during a trip to the Pan Am Games in Toronto last week.

After the USOC’s June 30 board meeting, Probst said he and Blackmun would be “circling back” with Boston leaders to check on efforts to gain local support.

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PRO FOOTBALL

The Kansas City Chiefs ended up with a big bargain the last time they signed Justin Houston. This time, it’s the star linebacker who’s cashing in.

Houston became the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history Wednesday when he agreed to a six-year, $101 million contract, over half of which is guaranteed, hours before the deadline for players who had franchise tags to sign long-term deals.

Star receivers Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys and Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos both agreed to a five-year, $70 million contracts just before the deadline. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowksi’s agent also was working on a last-minute deal that would replace his $4.56 million franchise tag.

The New York Giants, however, did not pursue a long-term deal with Jason Pierre-Paul after the star defensive end injured his right hand in a July 4 fireworks accident. A person close to the situation told The Associated Press, however, that the Giants have not rescinded their $14.8 million franchise tag offer to Pierre-Paul.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - DirecTV’s exclusive right to broadcast certain NFL games is an illegal monopoly that raises costs for bars and restaurants, a San Francisco bar says in a lawsuit against the league and the satellite TV provider.

The lawsuit filed this week in federal court in California challenges DirecTV’s deal with the league for “NFL Sunday Ticket,” which gives subscribers nationwide live broadcasts of many Sunday games played in other cities. Those games are available to the subscribers only through DirecTV.

The lawsuit by the bar Ninth Inning Inc. says the deal stifles competition by preventing other TV providers, such as Dish Network, from airing the games. It also means individual teams don’t have to compete to get their games broadcast in markets outside their home cities.

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BASEBALL

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona has scrapped a move to temporarily rebrand a freeway recognizing soon-to-be baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, keeping in place the existing name that honors a soldier who died in the Iraq War in 2003.

The decision to nix an event honoring the former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher drew praise from family members of Pfc. Lori Piestewa, who said they were surprised to hear about the rebranding. The Arizona Diamondbacks and state officials had planned a celebration Friday to temporarily post signs on State Route 51 to honor Johnson - who wore the number “51” while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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SOCCER

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Soccer Federation chief executive Dan Flynn said he had no direct knowledge of bribery or kickbacks exchanged by FIFA officials but experienced moments of “discomfort” during meetings.

Flynn, testifying at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing, cited methods of votes at meetings of CONCACAF, soccer’s regional governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Former CONCACAF presidents Jack Warner and Jeffrey Webb were among the 14 men indicted in late May in the U.S. Justice Department’s ongoing corruption investigation of soccer’s world governing body.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rowdies of the second-tier North American Soccer League have agreed to a contract with one-time phenom Freddy Adu.

The 26-year-old Adu has struggled to live up to expectations since making his debut at age 14 for Major League Soccer’s D.C. United in 2004. He was the captain of the U.S. team at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup that Rowdies coach Thomas Rongen led. Adu made his debut for the senior national team in 2006 at age 16, making him the youngest player to represent the United States at the senior level.

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WNBA

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Glory Johnson-Brittney Griner saga has taken another turn.

Johnson’s attorney said that she has entered a not-guilty plea in the domestic violence case involving fellow WNBA star Griner. Johnson and Griner were arrested on April 22 at their home in Goodyear, Arizona, on misdemeanor charges of assault and domestic violence disorderly conduct. Prosecutors in both Goodyear and Maricopa County, Arizona, did not file charges against Johnson.

Brian Russo, Johnson’s attorney, said that he didn’t expect further charges to be filed.

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HOCKEY

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Center Ryan Kesler got comfortable quickly with the Anaheim Ducks, and the club let him know the feeling is definitely mutual.

The veteran center agreed to a six-year, $41.25 million contract extension with the Ducks on Wednesday, cementing a long-term commitment after just one season together. Kesler had 20 goals, 27 assists and 75 penalty minutes last year in Anaheim after spending his first nine NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Stars used a trade to pick up one Stanley Cup-winning piece from the Chicago Blackhawks. Now they’ve grabbed another in free agency.

Dallas signed defenseman Johnny Oduya to a two-year, $7.5 million contract Wednesday, less than a week after trading for veteran forward Patrick Sharp, who won three championships in Chicago. Oduya scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 76 games for the Blackhawks last season and had five assists in the playoffs.

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HORSE RACING

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) - California Chrome, the 2014 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year, will recover from a bone bruise at a Kentucky farm for three months.

Trainer Art Sherman said at Del Mar that California Chrome’s prognosis for recovery is good and there’s a chance the horse could run again next year. Sherman said the horse will be shipped to Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky, this week. California Chrome won’t run as scheduled in the Arlington Million on Aug. 15 near Chicago because of the bruised cannon bone that was discovered recently.

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