Bears

Geno Auriemma says accusations are 'beyond false'

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Geno Auriemma says accusations are 'beyond false'

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- A woman who works as an NBA security official has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit saying she was removed from an assignment to the 2012 Summer Games in London after she spurned an advance from Connecticut and women's national coach Geno Auriemma. Kelley Hardwick filed her suit Monday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, naming Auriemma, the NBA and USA Basketball as defendants. Auriemma called her account "beyond false" and said he would defend himself "to the fullest." Hardwick is a former detective with the New York police department who started working for the NBA in security back in 2002. Her suit says that as part of her job duties, she managed security for the U.S. women at international basketball events, including the Olympics in 2004 and 2008. It was at one of these tournaments, a 2009 trip to Russia, that she says she met Auriemma. According to the lawsuit, one night after Auriemma wedged his way into a conversation with Hardwick and a co-worker in a hotel lounge, he followed her to the door of her room and tried to kiss her. "Plaintiff was startled but, utilizing her training as a police officer and security professional, reacted quickly by shoving him away and stating, What are you doing? You better check yourself before you get hurt!'" the suit says. Hardwick says in the suit she told supervisors about the incident, but that nothing was done. In subsequent international trips, according to the suit, Auriemma avoided her but was uncomfortable with her being there. In March, Hardwick says she learned of a conference call involving NBA officials in which Auriemma demanded that she be taken off the security assignment for the London Games. In his statement, Auriemma said, "This claim is beyond false. I will defend myself to the fullest, and I'm confident that the truth will ultimately prevail. In the meantime, I remain focused on representing the United States this summer and getting our team ready to compete for the gold medal." Auriemma is one of the elite coaches in women's basketball and has guided the Huskies to seven national titles -- including four perfect seasons. His election as the Olympic coach was announced in April 2009 and he led the national team to a world championship in 2010 that earned the U.S. an automatic bid to the London Games. Auriemma, who has won 804 games at Connecticut -- including an NCAA record 90 straight from 2008-2010 -- was an assistant on the 2000 Olympic team that won a gold medal in Sydney. As part of the lawsuit, Hardwick also says that the NBA discriminated against her due to her gender, that she was denied promotions, raises, and employment opportunities because she was a woman. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league doesn't comment on pending litigation. USA Basketball also declined comment. Hardwick is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as back pay.

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot. 

The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on

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USA TODAY

The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on

Whenever a famous couple in the world of soccer has a child, there are always jokes about what national teams the kid could play for.

The latest such addition to the gossip columns is the announcement from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ana Ivanovic that they are expecting a child.

Ivanovic, a former tennis pro who won the 2008 French Open champion, announced the news on Twitter with a sponsor-heavy photo.

Schweinsteiger, who played with the Fire this past season, also took to Twitter to share a photo and the news.

Schweinsteiger's future with the Fire remains unclear, but him and Ivanovic seemed to be happy living in Chicago, making various appearances at sporting events in the city. If he returns and the child is born in Chicago, does that mean we could one day see a Schweinsteiger repping the U.S. national team in 20-something years? Maybe the men's team won't be a national embarrassment by then, but then again, if it's a girl she'd be able to pick between the only multiple-time World Cup winning nations (U.S. and Germany).

Perhaps the child would take after Ivanovic and hit volleys with a racket instead of a foot, or maybe he or she will not take after the professional athlete parents.

In all seriousness, congratulations to both Schweinsteiger and Ivanovic.