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June | 2017 | informazing

Insightful News

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Monthly Archive:: June 2017

Alabama football reports recruiting violations to the NCAA

Apr 22, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (4) is hit by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Hootie Jones (6) as he scores during the A-day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. 
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Alabama made sure to use the Friday evening prior to the holiday weekend to the best of its ability. In a news dump that would make the NFL proud, the Crimson Tide have reported 22 secondary violations to the NCAA, including nine from the school’s football program.

“The list of 22 minor infractions included nine from the football program mostly involving recruiting. The school publishes the list every summer as the fiscal year ends June 30. None of the penalties were major,” AL.com reported Friday evening.

According to the report, head football coach Nick Saban was among those who violated a rule. Here’s a snippet from the school’s report.

“(Saban) inadvertently used a wrong number for a coach and called a (recruit) prior to September of his senior year.”

This apparently culminated in a rules education class for the football team’s coaching staff.

Nothing major is likely to come out of this. Sure people will assume Saban and Co. are bending the rules. But that’s pretty much the case with every major college football program around the nation. These were secondary violations (or minor infractions). It won’t lead to any further punishment or investigation from the NCAA.

Alabama enters the 2017 season as one of the top teams in the nation. Friday’s report surely won’t change a thing on that front.

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Talking Horses: Best bets for the Irish Derby, Newcastle and Newmarket | Sport

“He looks just the job for the Northumberland Plate and that’s where he will go next,” were the combative words from an owner of Flymetothestars (3.30) after his last run a month ago. And here indeed is the four-year-old, lining up for Newcastle’s famous handicap with a favourite’s chance.

The winner of three of his four races to date, Flymetothestars turned in what was easily a career-best performance over this course and distance when last seen. He pulled two lengths clear of Endless Acres, who boosted the value of that form by running second of 18 behind Thomas Hobson at Royal Ascot, despite having gone up 5lb.

Flymetothestars is himself up 9lb but any horse bred as stoutly as him ought to have more to offer on just the fifth start of his career. He may be only 5-1 but is well placed to give a second Plate success to his jockey Luke Morris, who won it when it was a turf race aboard Juniper Girl a decade ago.

Among the interesting outsiders is My Reward, a 33-1 shot who was well beaten last year as a four-year-old. One year older and stronger and on a slightly lower mark, he was far enough ahead of his stablemates at Tim Easterby’s yard to be winning in April and has presumably been saved for this since.

Tips for Saturday’s other ITV races

1.50 Newcastle Unbeaten in two previous runs here, including this race last year, Amazour met trouble in last Saturday’s Wokingham but travelled well enough to make him interesting in this more winnable heat.

2.05 Newmarket Here is the latest attempt by Midterm to recover the reputation he had 14 months ago, when he was second-favourite for the Derby after landing Sandown’s Classic Trial. This is a step down in grade but he bumps into Second Step, twice a winner above this level, who has shown good form since joining Roger Charlton this year.

2.25 Newcastle A fair second on his reappearance in Ireland, Don’t Touch has an obvious chance now that he returns to six furlongs. He wears a visor for only the second time, having been beaten by The Tin Man, by less than two lengths, in a Group One on the first occasion.

2.40 Newmarket At some stage she needs to settle down and race more professionally but Dance Diva’s two wins so far prove she has ability to go with her exuberance.

3.00 Newcastle The last three furlongs will be uncharted territory for I Am Not Here but he has hinted at reserves of stamina more than once. An easy winner of his only previous race here, he may be able to improve on his modest midweek effort at Carlisle.

3.15 Newmarket The form pick would be Home Of The Brave but this surface might be on the soft side for him. It should be fine for Breton Rock, however, who won this race last year and was not best suited by Haydock last time.

The Irish Derby is not on ITV but is available on At The Races and RTE2:

5.20 Curragh The Criterium de Saint-Cloud rarely proves to be the most significant two-year-old race but last year’s running turns out to have been a good one and its winner, Waldgeist, looks the form pick for this Irish Derby. In that French race in October, he beat no fewer than four of those he will meet here, including the Derby hero, Wings Of Eagles, who could have done without the recent rain. Waldgeist has since been a close second in the French Derby, looking as though this extra distance would help. It may not help Cracksman, who could be on fumes by the finish.

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Venus Williams now facing wrongful death suit in wake of fatal car accident

May 31, 2017; Paris, France; Venus Williams (USA) during her match against Kurumi Nara (JPN) (not pictured) on day four of the 2017 French Open tennis tournament at Stade Roland Garros. 
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we wrote about Venus Williams and her recent involvement in a fatal car accident, for which she was ruled to be at fault.

From that post:

Witnesses say Williams ran a red light, crashing into a car containing an elderly couple. Jerome Barson was in the passenger seat and sustained head trauma injuries that sent him to the ICU. He died two weeks later.

According to Linda Barson, who was driving, the light turned green as she approached the intersection and she couldn’t stop in time to prevent crashing into Williams’ car.

Williams told cops she entered the intersection when she still had a green light, but traffic ahead of her forced to her to slow down in the intersection as the light changed.

While criminal charges weren’t brought, yesterday’s ruling did seem to open Williams up to the possibility of a civil action, and that’s indeed what has happened already.

Via The New York Times:

The daughter of a man killed in a car crash involving the tennis star Venus Williams has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against her.

The accident happened as Williams’s car was crossing the intersection at about 5 miles per hour and Barson’s car ran into it, the report said. It said Williams was at fault for “violating the right of way” of the other vehicle, though she was not cited. A police spokesman said on Thursday that the accident remained under investigation.

There was a bit more detail about the police report as well, including this information:

Witnesses told investigators that Williams ran a red light just as Barson’s car entered the intersection on a green light.

“The driver of V2 (Barson) advised she proceeded thru the intersection when V1 (Williams) cut across in front of V2, and V2 was unable to avoid crashing into V1,” the police report said.

Williams hasn’t commented on it, and now with active litigation pending, it seems unlikely that she will comment on it at any point in the immediate future. Without actually knowing what happened, it seems like this might be a case that ends up settled out of court, and it’s certainly a tragic loss of life. But sometimes an accident is just an accident, as unfortunate as the result might be.


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Gary Ballance recalled to England Test team against South Africa | Sport

Gary Ballance has been recalled to the England Test team for the series opener against South Africa at Lord’s on Thursday and will bat at No3 in a move that takes Joe Root down one place to his favourite position in what will be his first match as captain.

Ballance was dropped after the two-Test series in Bangladesh last winter and spent the 4-0 defeat in India that followed at the end of the year as an unused squad player. But after a run-soaked start to the season as the new Yorkshire captain, where he averages 101 in the County Championship, another crack at the international level has been granted.

Root had pushed for his county team-mate to be recalled and by placing the left-hander at first drop, where the new captain was stationed previously, the England selectors have given Keaton Jennings the green light to continue alongside Alastair Cook at the top of the order and opted against a recall for Haseeb Hameed.

Hameed shone during his first three Tests in India but after suffering the broken hand that gave Jennings his chance – one the Durham man took with a century on debut in Mumbai – the 20-year-old has since struggled for Championship runs at Lancashire, where he averages 15 against the red ball this summer.

A more surprising incumbent to be retained from the last time England played – a crushing innings and 75-run defeat in Chennai that led to Alastair Cook stepping down as captain and Root stepping up – is Liam Dawson, Hampshire’s spin-bowling all-rounder.

Dawson was seen as a horses-for-courses selection at the time, having been added to the squad mid-tour due to Zafar Ansari’s injury, but impressed the management with the unbeaten 66 he made in his maiden Test innings. He could now slot in at No8 but, with doubts over Ben Stokes’s ability to bowl full pelt amid knee trouble, a debut could equally go to Toby Roland-Jones.

The uncapped Middlesex seamer is expected to be named and would therefore make up a five-man seam attack, with Durham’s fast bowler Mark Wood, also earning his first Test call-up since 2015 when he left the tour of the United Arab Emirates for the first of three ankle operations.

With Stuart Broad and James Anderson set to resume new-ball duties following respective heel and groin injuries in recent weeks, the final make up of the attack to face South Africa for the first of four Tests will therefore depend on whether Root wants extra spin or seam at his disposal.

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Phillies call up touted prospect Williams to make MLB debut

NEW YORK (AP) Touted prospect Nick Williams is set to make his major league debut for the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Mets.

Williams was called up Friday from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where the 23-year-old outfielder was batting .280 with 15 home runs, 16 doubles and 44 RBIs in 78 games. He was ranked the fourth-best prospect in the organization by Baseball America.

A roster spot opened for Williams when Philadelphia placed left fielder and second baseman Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a strained left hamstring. Kendrick is hitting .349 with two homers and 14 RBIs over 126 at-bats in his first season with the Phillies.

Williams is considered a big part of the future for the rebuilding Phillies, who began the night with the worst record in the majors. He was acquired from Texas as part of the trade package for All-Star pitcher Cole Hamels in July 2015.

A left-handed hitter, Williams was playing left field batting sixth in Philadelphia’s lineup Friday night.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Bears QB Mitch Trubisky boldly predicts playoffs for the team

May 12, 2017; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky addresses the media after the Bear’s Rookie Minicamp workout at Halas Hall. 
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

It is always fun to make bold predictions when looking ahead to the start of the NFL season. So this story fits the bill perfectly.

Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky came up with this bold statement on Friday.

“I said, ‘Yeah, I think we’re gonna make the playoffs,’” Trubisky said, per Patrick Finley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Obviously we know we have a lot of work to do. I don’t want anyone to construe it in a way that it’s a guarantee or anything. But I believe in myself, I believe in my teammates. I know we still have work to do. That’s what it is — I think.”

We have to credit Trubisky for thinking positive. He has the perfect attitude. The reality is, the Bears have finished at the bottom of the NFC North each of the past three seasons, winning a total of just 14 games during that span.

As for Trubisky, we are not even sure if he will be present under center this year. The Bears shockingly traded up to pick No. 2 to draft him not long after signing quarterback Mike Glennon. For now, the Bears are committed to Glennon starting. But that can all shift if the team starts out losing more than winning once September rolls around.

The Bears have much work to do to in order to be considered playoff contenders. This will be exceptionally difficult playing in a division that houses Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packer for starters.

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Castleford hold off Hull’s late comeback to stretch lead at the top | Sport

As Castleford opened up the eight-point gap at the top of Super League which looks increasingly impregnable as the season progresses, there were perhaps two crucial lessons learned. The first is that is going to take something quite remarkable for someone to become the first team to beat Castleford on their own patch since Warrington did so almost a year ago.

Hull, the side who have caused the Tigers more problems than anyone so far this season, rightly arrived here with expectation, rather than hope, they could become the first visiting team to win in Castleford in 2017.

And while they ultimately left West Yorkshire with the same fate as the other nine sides who have tried and failed to beat the league leaders here, they left with the firm belief that they are unquestionably the biggest threat of all to Daryl Powell’s side – and genuine Grand Final contenders to boot following a thrilling fightback.

“They’ve beaten us twice and nearly fashioned another tonight,” Powell admitted. “They’ve got a lot of quality about them but we’ve won the game, we’re eight points clear now and we’ve learned a lot of lessons again.” The damage for Hull was done in a disastrous first-half; by that stage, they trailed 20-4 through a combination of their own errors and some brutal, clinical finishing from the Tigers, who took advantage of FC’s inability to keep hold of the ball.

Better teams have fallen apart here in the face of deficits such as that this season – but not this Hull side. They rallied, and even threatened a remarkable comeback with two late tries from the winger, Fetuli Talanoa. By the end, Castleford were grateful for the full-time hooter and two points which stretches their lead at the summit to eight. As buffers go, that is as commanding as they come: and six wins from their final 10 games – including five more at home – will almost certainly secure top spot.

“It will be a massive task to catch that now but it is catchable,” said Lee Radford, the Hull coach whose side are now nine adrift of the Tigers. “We’ll be striving to catch them still. We’ve shown we can defend against them and they didn’t dent us all night.”

Hull actually led when a sublime pass from Jake Connor put Mahe Fonua in for the opening try – but Castleford would respond superbly. Luke Gale pounced on a poor Hull error to kick on and touch down, before his own kick saw Talanoa fumble, and Mike McMeeken collect.

Castleford’s defensive efforts in reply were equally impressive, and they laid the platform for what felt like the game’s defining moment, when Zak Hardaker broke from deep to score a scintillating individual try: the kind of which has many suggesting he could become Man of Steel once again this season.

From there, it felt as if it would be routine: but tries from Fonua and a well-taken brace from Talanoa in the final quarter created a grandstand finale and, for a moment, it looked like Hull would do the impossible before running out of time. Then, cue the usual Mend-A-Hose Jungle celebrations. Cue Sweet Caroline blaring almost deafeningly out of the PA systems. But this time, there will have been an extra tinge of relief : as Castleford will know they were given a real scare.

Castleford Hardaker; Hitchcox, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale; Sene-Lefao, McShane, Millington, Foster, McMeeken, Milner. Interchange Massey, Springer, Patrick, Holmes.

Tries Gale, McMeeken, Hardaker. Goals Gale 6.

Hull Shaul; Fonua, Connor, Griffin, Talanoa; Kelly, Sneyd; Bowden, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Washbrook, Manu. Interchange Fash, Thompson, Taylor, Turgut.

Tries Fonua 2, Talanoa 2. Goals Sneyd 3.

Referee C Kendall. Attendance 8,371.

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Hawks request waivers on backup forward Mike Dunleavy

ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Hawks have taken a step to prepare for Saturday’s start of the free agency period by requesting waivers on backup wing player Mike Dunleavy.

The Hawks acquired Dunleavy as part of a package that included a protected future first round pick from Cleveland for guard Kyle Korver on Jan. 7. Dunleavy was to earn $5.2 million in the 2017-18 season. The move frees money that can be used in the team’s effort to re-sign power forward Paul Millsap.

The 36-year-old Dunleavy averaged 5.6 points in 30 games, all as a reserve, with Atlanta.

Dunleavy, a first-round pick by Golden State in 2002, has a career average of 11.2 points per game. He scored a career high 19.1 points per game with Indiana in the 2007-08 season.

More AP NBA: www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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Blazers waive Festus Ezeli, pay him $8.4 million without playing a game

May 28, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli (31) reacts to a play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter in game six of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. 
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers waived veteran center Festus Ezeli on Friday, the deadline for the team to move on from him before guaranteeing his entire 2017-18 salary.

The Ezeli experiment was a tremendous waste of time and money for Portland. The team signed him to a two-year, $15.1 million contract last summer. This, despite the fact that he was coming off an injury-plagued career with the Golden State Warriors.

In the end, Ezeli did not play a single game for the Blazers this past season while dealing with more injury issues to his knee.

This means that Portland paid Ezeli a grand total of $8.4 million for his presence on the bench throughout the 2016-17 campaign.

Ezeli, a first-round pick of the Warriors back in 2012, put up his best performance during the team’s run to NBA Finals back in 2015-16. That season saw him average 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

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Mark Cavendish admits he may not win a single Tour de France stage | Sport

Mark Cavendish has always put pressure on himself when riding the Tour de France but this year he goes into the world’s greatest bike race knowing that even a single stage win will be a bonus after the loss of the bulk of the season because of glandular fever brought on by the Epstein-Barr virus.

As a result all talk of getting close to or passing Eddy Merckx’s career tally of 34 stage wins has been shelved for this year.

“Hopefully I’m not sick,” said Cavendish, who won four stages and wore the yellow jersey in 2016. “My results show that I’m over the worst. I’ve had two months off and seven weeks to prepare for the Tour.

“I’m not in ideal condition but the good thing about being a sprinter is that sometimes you can win on luck, if you pick the right wheels and you get the right run, and it’s worth coming for that chance because there are a lot of sprint days.”

For the first time since his run of success started in 2008, the Manxman is reconciled to the fact that he may not win a single stage due to his uncertain form. “I’m the most relaxed I’ve ever been coming into the Tour de France. I know what I’ve done, every year I come to win stages. Barring incidents, usually I’m going to be the best here. This year I know I haven’t done what I need to do, but it’s through no fault of my own. I can’t go out and be bullish about trying to win multiple stages.

Cavendish will be monitoring his health throughout the race with an eye on the longer term, in effect taking the race day by day rather than going all-out to complete the 21 days.

“A few weeks ago I thought there was a zero per cent chance [of riding] – I had to race to see if I could put myself forward. Throughout the Tour of Slovenia I felt better each day but I still didn’t think I was going to set the world alight.”

As a result any talk of pushing his personal tally of stage wins from its current 30 beyond the Cannibal’s total of 34 has gone by the board for the time being.

“I’ve never pursued Eddy Merckx’s record, it’s just something that was talked about,” he said. “Last year it became a realistic target, more than a number, a goal to aim for. If I’m only good enough to win one more so be it.

“This year I’ll be happy to win a stage. It won’t be a failure if I don’t.”

Cavendish’s Dimension Data team-mate Steve Cummings has also fought the odds to make it to Düsseldorf, coming back to his best after fractures to his scapula, sternum and collarbone in April. “I’m glad they have stuck themselves back together to be here,” said their team principal Doug Ryder.

Cummings will wear the national champion’s stripes in Saturday’s time trial after his double of national titles last weekend in the Isle of Man and is targeting a third Tour stage win to go with his victories in 2015 and 2016.

“My arm is not 100%, I’ve got 95% movement which is plenty,” said the 36-year-old Wirral rider. “The strength in my arm is good, 70% maybe increasing, it’s at that point where it will rehab as it goes.”

“I’m at a good level, the weekend proved it. Three weeks is a long time, I hope if I can concentrate hard and do the right things I can build my condition and be at the level I have been for the last few years.”

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