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Monday Sports in Brief

June 22, 2021 GMT

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday the NCAA can’t limit education-related benefits — like computers and paid internships — that colleges can offer their sports stars, a victory for athletes that could help open the door to further easing in the decades-old fight over paying student-athletes.

Schools recruiting top athletes can now offer tens of thousands of dollars in benefits that also include study-abroad programs and graduate scholarships. However, the case doesn’t decide whether students can simply be paid salaries for the benefits their efforts bring — measured in tens of millions for many universities.

The high court said specifically that NCAA limits on the education-related benefits that colleges can offer athletes who play Division I basketball and football violate antitrust laws.

NFL

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib on Monday became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.

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Nassib, who is entering his sixth NFL season and second with the Raiders, announced the news on Instagram, saying he wasn’t doing it for the attention but because he felt representation and visibility were important.

Nassib added in a written message that followed the video that he “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years” and only recently decided to go public with his sexuality after receiving the support of family and friends.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — The search is on by major league umpires for sticky stuff that pitchers might use to doctor baseballs.

What has long been against the rules but rarely enforced is being overlooked no more. The crackdown began Monday when major and minor league umpires started regular checks of all pitchers for tacky substances used to get a better grip on the balls, but can also increase the spin of the balls and make hitting them more difficult.

NFL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning has a new job with the New York Giants.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP is rejoining the organization to work in business opportunities and fan initiatives, roughly 18 months after Manning retired following the 2019 season.

Manning, who set most of the Giants passing records, will help with initiatives stretching across business development, marketing and community and corporate relations. He will also collaborate on original content development and fan engagement activations, including a new lifestyle series premiering this fall.

OLYMPICS

James Harden has committed to playing for U.S. men’s national basketball team that will play in the Olympics that begin next month, says a person familiar with the situation.

Harden’s decision was first reported by The Athletic, then confirmed to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither the Nets star nor USA Basketball has publicly announced the move.

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The men’s roster is getting closer to filled, with Miami’s Bam Adebayo also informing USA Basketball of his intention to play in the Tokyo Games.

The eight commitments, for now: Adebayo, Harden, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Portland’s Damian Lillard.

For the U.S. women’s team, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will try and become the first five-time Olympic gold medalists in basketball.

The duo was selected for their fifth Olympics on Monday, joining Teresa Edwards as the only basketball players in U.S. history to play in five. Edwards won four gold medals and a bronze in her illustrious Olympic career.

TOKYO (AP) — A sharply limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics, organizers announced Monday as they tried to save some of the spirit of the Games where even cheering has been banned.

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans, all of whom must be Japanese residents — for each Olympic venue, regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors. Officials said that if coronavirus cases rise again the rules could be changed and fans could still be barred all together. Spectators from abroad were banned several months ago.

The decision comes as opposition among Japanese to holding the Games in July remains high, though may be softening, and as new infections in Tokyo have begun to subside.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team has been unveiled.

The 12 members range from superstar Nyjah Huston to up-and-coming teenagers eager to make their mark when skateboarding becomes an Olympic sport for the first time in Tokyo next month.

Huston is joined by Jagger Eaton and Jake Ilardi on the men’s street team, while Mariah Duran is teamed with Alexis Sablone and Alana Smith in the women’s street competition. Bryce Wettstein, Brighton Zeuner and Jordyn Barratt are the U.S. women’s park team, while Zion Wright, Heimana Reynolds and Cory Juneau comprise the men’s park team.

TRACK AND FIELD

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Reigning Olympic shot put champion Michelle Carter won’t compete at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon after having a benign tumor removed from her right ankle.

The 35-year-old will instead cheer on her friends and fellow competitors this week. The pain in her plant foot recently began to flare up and the American record holder went in for a precautionary MRI where doctors discovered the tumor.

She then underwent what turned out to be a complicated surgery. Carter envisions competing at the world championships next summer in Eugene and at the 2024 Paris Olympics, where she will try to recapture the title she won’t get to defend this time.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer is launching a lower-tier professional league aimed at developing young players from its academy system.

The new league, which will rank below the second-division USL Championship, will begin play next year and will include teams affiliated with current MLS clubs as well as independent teams.

The name of the league has not been announced. Some 20 clubs are expected to participate in the first season, which will start in March and run through the fall, concluding with a championship game in December.

LACROSSE

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The National Lacrosse League announced Monday that it’s expanding to Las Vegas and hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash and team owner Joe Tsai and PGA star Dustin Johnson are co-owners of the new franchise.

The name, logo and colors of the new team will be unveiled at a later date. The team is encouraging fans to submit suggestions on its website at www.lasvegaslacrosse.com.

COURTS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark was arrested in Los Angeles after police saw a submachine gun in his car, police said Monday.

Clark, 28, was pulled over for a vehicle violation south of downtown at about 9:20 p.m. Sunday, LAPD public information officer Tony Im said.

Clark was arrested on suspicion of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, Im said.

He was booked into Los Angeles County jail and released Monday afternoon on $35,000 bond, according to the county sheriff’s jail inmate website.

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