- Associated Press - Saturday, April 17, 2021

PRO FOOTBALL

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The lawyer for Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald said that witnesses and surveillance video refute a man’s claim the player assaulted him at a Pittsburgh nightclub last weekend.

Attorney Casey White told WPXI-TV that the video indicates Donald did not assault anyone but was trying to save the victim, De’Vincent Spriggs. The station aired black-and-white video that shows about a dozen men and a melee in which one man, purportedly Spriggs, ended up on the ground. White says Donald is in the video, pulling someone away from the fight.

White told ESPN that five witnesses say Donald helped pull people away.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers became the 10th group of NFL players to say they won’t be attending in-person voluntary offseason workouts.



With a post through the NFL Players Association, the Steelers joined the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, Broncos, Seahawks, Giants, Bears, Raiders, Lions, Browns, and Patriots in declaring their intent to skip the sessions that can begin on Monday. An 11th team might also be passing on attending: New York Jets players posted on social media that “many” of them will not show up in person.

On Wednesday, the league issued a memo to all 32 teams announcing that the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual before transitioning to in person at the team’s respective training facilities. Last year, the offseason programs were all done virtually and training camp was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The average major league salary dropped nearly 5% to more than $4.1 million on opening day from the start of the previous full season in 2019. That’s according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press.

The average has fallen more than 6% since the start of the 2017 season. The salary downturn is yet another sign baseball could be headed toward labor strife and a possible work stoppage in 2022.

Baseball’s middle class has borne the brunt of the drop. The median salary is less than $1.2 million, down 30% from the record high at the start of 2015. The 50 highest-paid players are drawing more than a third of all salaries. The 100 highest earn a half.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said center fielder Cody Bellinger has a hairline fracture in his left fibula.

Roberts disclosed the news before the defending World Series champions opened a highly anticipated three-game series against the Padres. Roberts said Bellinger had a scan Thursday that showed the hairline fracture. The manager had no timetable for his return. Bellinger was injured when he was spiked on a close play at first base at Oakland on April 5.

PRO BASKETBALL

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points before leaving the game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, and the NBA-leading Utah Jazz beat the Indiana Pacers 119-111.

Mitchell went to the locker room after suffering a right ankle sprain with 8:18 left in the third quarter. He could not put any weight on his leg and had to be helped off the floor by teammates. X-rays on the ankle were negative, and he was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday evening.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Utah Jazz announced that 13-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade will join the youngest ownership group in the league. The group is headed by technology entrepreneur Ryan Smith, who along with his wife, Ashley, acquired majority interest in the Jazz in late 2020.

Wade and Smith have known each other for several years and had discussed working with each other in various capacities.

Wade played 16 NBA seasons with Miami, Chicago and Cleveland before retiring after the 2018-19 season. He won three NBA titles and had his No. 3 jersey retired by the Heat last month.

TENNIS

MONACO (AP) - Andrey Rublev produced an audacious display of attacking tennis to hand record 11-time champion Rafael Nadal a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 defeat on clay in the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals.

The sixth-seeded Russian might have won even more convincingly, with Nadal saving break points at 3-1 down in the second set. Nadal clawed his way back to win that set and seemed to have settled down, but Rublev broke him immediately at the start of the decider in which the 34-year-old Nadal looked very tired.

Rublev clinched his first win against third-seeded Nadal on his first match point with a typically powerful winner on forehand — a weapon Nadal struggled to contain all match. Having beaten the 20-time Grand Slam champion on one of his clay strongholds, Rublev’s next opponent is unseeded Norwegian Casper Ruud.

GOLF

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - Two-time champion Stewart Cink moved into position for a third RBC Heritage title, shooting a second straight 63 to set the 36-hole scoring mark at Harbour Town.

Cink, 47, appeared unstoppable after two amazing days. He sat at 16-under 126, five shots ahead of Corey Conners. The previous best midway score was 129, set by Jack Nicklaus en route to victory in 1975 and matched by Phil Mickelson, who wound up third in 2002.

Conners shot 64 and was 11 under. Emiliano Grillo (64) was another shot behind.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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