- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016


PARIS (AP) - Maria Sharapova was suspended for two years for failing a drug test, labeled “the sole author of her own misfortune” because she hid regular pre-match use of a newly banned substance from anti-doping authorities and members of her own entourage.

The tennis star said she would appeal what she called “an unfairly harsh” punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The ban, handed down by a three-person Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal appointed by the International Tennis Federation, is backdated to Jan. 26, when Sharapova last played. She tested positive for meldonium that day after losing to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals. The panel said various elements of Sharapova’s case “inevitably lead to the conclusion” that she took the substance “for the purpose of enhancing her performance.”

Sharapova, who faced up to a four-year suspension, loses all ranking points and prize money she earned in Melbourne.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Super Bowl MVP Von Miller’s camp has rejected a contract proposal that would have made him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of negotiations, said Miller’s representatives rejected a six-year, $114.5 million offer that included $39.8 million in guarantees in the first two years.

Joby Branion, who represents Miller, didn’t immediately return a message left by The AP seeking comment on the rejected offer, which was first reported by ESPN.

Although the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement gives teams until July 15 to work out long-term contract extensions with franchised players, Broncos general manager John Elway imposed a Tuesday night cutoff because he wanted Miller to attend this week’s mandatory minicamp and not miss the entire offseason program.

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) - Although the Los Angeles Rams have waived Stedman Bailey, they intend to keep the receiver around the team this season while he continues to recover from his gunshot wounds.

Bailey is headed to the Rams’ reserve non-football injury list after clearing waivers, coach Jeff Fisher.

Bailey was shot last November while sitting in a car in Miami with his cousin and two children. He survived and underwent numerous medical procedures, but hasn’t been cleared to resume a football career.

While he continues to heal, the Rams intend to introduce Bailey to other aspects of football. Bailey has been with the Rams in their new offseason home during organized team activities, and he will continue to work with their coaching staff.


MOSCOW (AP) - Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko wants all retested doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics to be thrown out because of alleged flaws in the reanalysis process.

The IOC has reported 55 positive findings in retesting of stored samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Olympics. The Russian Olympic Committee has said 22 of the cases involved Russian athletes, including medalists.

Russian officials said two of the athletes were cleared when their “B” samples tested negative, contradicting the positive “A” samples.

Mutko said those two cases were enough justification for the entire retesting program to be scrapped.

Russian state sports channel Match TV previously reported that 10 Russian medalists had tested positive in retests from Beijing alone. One of those athletes, bronze medal-winning race walker Denis Nizhegorodov, was later reported as having a negative “B” sample, along with rower Alexander Kornilov.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State fans will soon be able to have a beer anywhere in Ohio Stadium during football games.

The university says beer will be sold stadium-wide during the 2016 football season. The sale of alcohol began last year for patrons with tickets in the suite and club levels of the stadium.

Officials say proceeds from the sales will pay for two new full-time university police officers at a cost of about $300,000. Another $50,000 from the game-day beer is being dedicated for two years to pay for a study on alcohol consumption and how its presence affects public events.

The university also has announced stricter limits on bags carried into the stadium. Exceptions will be made for those who need medical items for child-care supplies.


HOUSTON (AP) - Shell Oil Co. has decided not to extend its title sponsorship of the Houston Open after next year.

The tournament director for the Shell Houston Open said the decision was based on the company’s business environment. Parent company Royal Dutch Shell PLC has cut more than 10,000 jobs around the world over the last two years during a downturn in the energy business. It also recently acquired BG PLC.

Shell has been the title sponsor since 1992. The tournament has raised more than $60 million for local charities.

The Houston Business Journal obtained an internal memo to employees from the Shell Oil President Bruce Culpepper about ending the title sponsorship after 2017.

The tournament has attracted a strong field since 2007 when it was played a week before the Masters.


NEW YORK - Preakness winner Exaggerator is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 13 entered for Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown.

The 3-year-old colt trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother, Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, drew the No. 11 post position.

Stradivari, who ran fourth in the Preakness in his stakes debut, is the surprising second choice at 5-1. Destin, sixth in the Kentucky Derby, is the third choice at 6-1. Both are trained by Todd Pletcher, a two-time Belmont winner. Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine is 8-1.

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, who finished third in the Preakness, isn’t running in the Belmont. He was sidelined briefly by a fever after the Preakness and is back in California.

A year ago, American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, sweeping the Derby, Preakness and Belmont.



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