Thursday’s Sports in Brief
HOUSTON (AP) — David Culley was fired as coach of the Houston Texans, a move that leaves the NFL with one Black head coach: Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin. Miami’s Brian Flores was fired this week after leading his team to a 9-8 record.
The Texans announced the firings of Culley and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. General manager Nick Caserio said he met with both men earlier in the day to inform them of what he called a “difficult but necessary decision.”
Houston finished 4-13 this season, concluding with a 28-25 loss to Tennessee, the AFC’s top playoff seed.
Culley said Monday he expected to return, but Caserio was said to still be evaluating the coach at that time. Three days later, Culley was out of a job.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — With the Super Bowl just one month away, preparations are in full swing for the return of the NFL’s premier event to the place where it all started.
And both NFL officials and local organizers say the championship game isn’t leaving the Los Angeles area.
The NFL has no plans to move the Super Bowl to Arlington, Texas, or anywhere else despite the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the accompanying health precautions in California, several officials confirmed Thursday at SoFi Stadium during a media event held to mark one month before the 56th edition of the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.
The first Super Bowl was held at the Coliseum in downtown Los Angeles in January 1967. The 56th edition will be held for the first time at Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s 2-year-old stadium, which opened in the summer of 2020 just south of Los Angeles with a unique indoor-outdoor design that includes both a translucent roof and significant air flow from the open ends above the low-slung bowl.
A media fuss was raised earlier this month when the NFL explored the feasibility of using the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium as a backup site for the Super Bowl, ostensibly in case coronavirus rules in California were to prevent the league from staging a Super Bowl here.
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball labor talks to end the lockout resumed for the first time in 1 1/2 months with little evident progress during a bargaining session that lasted about an hour, jeopardizing a timely start to spring training,
Major League Baseball imposed the lockout on Dec. 2 as soon as the five-year collective bargaining contract expired, a few hours after talks broke off.
The discussions Thursday were the first on core economic issues following a 42-day gap, and MLB made proposals it hoped would at least start to generate momentum.
After MLB made its proposal, the sides caucused. The players’ association then told MLB it will respond but did not commit to a specific date.
While the sides were back to bargaining, they met just five weeks before the scheduled start of spring training workouts on Feb. 16. Given the time needed for players to travel to Florida and Arizona, and then to go through COVID-19 protocols before taking the field, the prospects of a timely start are diminishing.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic remained in limbo even after he was included in the draw for the Australian Open, with the tennis star still awaiting a government decision on whether to deport him for not being vaccinated for COVID-19.
Despite the cloud hanging over Djokovic’s ability to compete, Australian Open organizers included the top seed in the draw. He is slated to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, who is ranked world No. 78., in the opening round next week.
No. 1-ranked Djokovic had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was rejected, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has been considering the question since a judge reinstated Djokovic’s visa on Monday.
NEW YORK (AP) — Washington star Alexander Ovechkin and high-scoring Edmonton teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl headline the rosters for the NHL All-Star Weekend.
Selected for the eighth time, Ovechkin led voting in the Metropolitan Division to earn the captaincy for the Feb. 4-5 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The event features a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format, with 11-man teams from each of the league’s four divisions. A player will be added to each team through Last Men In voting that ends Monday night.
Ovechkin was selected to the Metropolitan squad along with fellow forwards Sebastian Aho of Carolina, Claude Giroux of Philadelphia, Jack Hughes of New Jersey and Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, defenseman Adam Fox of the Rangers, Zach Werenski of Columbus and Adam Pelech of the New York Islanders, and goalies Frederik Andersen of Carolina and Tristan Jarry of Pittsburgh. Rod Brind’Amour of Carolina is set to coach the division.
PARIS — Formula One’s governing body started a detailed analysis into last season’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the last lap in one of the most controversial finishes in F1 history.
The FIA said all teams have been consulted and that a discussion with drivers will now follow. Details will then be provided to the F1 commission next month before “final decisions” are announced when the season-opening Bahrain GP begins on March 18.
The FIA added that its newly-elected president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has also asked for proposals “to review and optimize the organization of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season,” after the race finish caused confusion. Race director Michael Masi faced heavy criticism and even outrage in some quarters.
Mercedes ended the dispute in December when it withdrew its appeal.