- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015


ZURICH (AP) - The end for Sepp Blatter came suddenly, just days after he had seemingly solidified his hold on FIFA.

The 79-year-old leader of the world’s most popular sport defied global animosity last week to win four more years in office. But his re-election only increased the pressure from colleagues, sponsors, athletes and fans for Blatter to step down as FIFA’s president.

At a hastily arranged news conference, Blatter announced he would leave office within months and called for a fresh election to appoint a successor.

After generations under Blatter and his mentor, Joao Havelange, the announcement left FIFA without a leader and without a clear course forward. It sets off a global power struggle for control of the organization as a criminal investigation intensifies.

A strained and serious Blatter read a six-minute statement in French before exiting without taking questions.


NEW YORK (AP) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it official: He will hear Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension.

The league suspended the Patriots quarterback for his role in the use of deflated footballs by New England in its AFC championship game victory over Indianapolis in January. The players’ union said Goodell should recuse himself from hearing the appeal because he can’t be impartial and could be called as a witness.

But Goodell cited the “integrity of the game” and his “responsibility” under the labor agreement to “serve as hearing officer in any appeal involving conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game.”

Goodell wrote to Brady, saying “My mind is open.” The appeal will be heard June 23.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Adrian Peterson donned his familiar purple No. 28 jersey and jogged on to the practice field.

It was the start of a gradual process of putting behind the chaos and confusion that engulfed him and the Minnesota Vikings over the past nine months.

After making a surprise return to practice for the first time since September, Peterson said he has “learned a lot from my mistake” that resulted in child abuse charges against him. He side-stepped questions about wanting a trade and said he was happy to be back with the teammates and coaches who also endured a great deal of uncertainty while he was away.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman believes Cam Newton can lead the Panthers to “the Promised Land” so he made the fifth-year quarterback the highest-paid player in franchise history.

Nearly two years after raising questions about his belief in Newton when he paused seven seconds before answering a question about whether he was a franchise quarterback, Gettleman made a huge commitment to the former No. 1 overall draft pick.

Newton signed a franchise record $103.8 million, five-year contract extension to cap 11 days of negotiations. He will earn $67.6 million over the first three years, the most money ever paid to an NFL player during the first three years of a contract, said a person familiar with negotiations.

Newton’s contract is the largest ever doled out by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson since the team started in 1995 and will keep the 26-year-old quarterback under contract through the 2020 season.


PARIS (AP) - Stumbling on his way to the net, Roger Federer dropped his racket and fell to his knees on the red clay. Hardly the sort of grace and precision the world has come to expect from the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

There were other unusual sights in Federer’s 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss in the French Open quarterfinals against his pal and Swiss Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka.

Rarely injured and appearing in a 62nd consecutive major, Federer received treatment on his right hand from a trainer. For years and years a dominant and confident force in tennis, Federer slumped in his changeover chair, head bowed, after falling behind two sets to none. And, according to the ATP, this was the first time since a fourth-round loss at the 2002 U.S. Open - back before he’d won a major trophy - that Federer failed to break an opponent’s serve once in a Grand Slam match.

Wawrinka, who will play 14th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the semifinals Friday. Tsongabeat No. 5 Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.

In the women’s drawl, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic advanced to a semifinal matchup against No. 13 Lucie Safarova. Safarova beat Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (3), 6-3 to reach the second major semifinal of her career. Ivanovic reached her first Grand Slam semifinal since winning the 2008 French Open by defeating Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3, 6-2.


CHICAGO (AP) - Fred Hoiberg looked at Chicago and saw a deep and talented roster with a chance to contend for a championship - an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

The long-rumored pairing of Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls became official when the former NBA guard and executive left Iowa State to become the 19th coach in franchise history, replacing the fired Tom Thibodeau.

The Bulls are hoping a new voice is just what they need to contend for a title after a season that began with soaring expectations ended in disappointment. Chicago struggled to win 50 games during a difficult regular season and bowed out to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.


NEW YORK (AP) - American Pharoah arrived in New York to begin final preparations for this weekend’s Belmont Stakes, in which the colt will try to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

After a flight from Louisville, Kentucky, and a van ride from an airport on Long Island, American Pharoah was quickly guided off the van in a steady rain and into Barn 1 at Belmont Park.

A gaggle of photographers and news crews recorded every step taken by the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, who was easily identifiable from the other horses by his unusually short tail.

Trainer Bob Baffert was on hand to supervise the unloading. Once inside, American Pharoah walked around the renovated barn several times before being led into his stall.



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