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Cleared Minnesota college coach fights suspension

Cleared Minnesota college coach fights suspension

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A Minnesota college football coach who was cleared of child porn charges is fighting a suspension, his union said Thursday, although neither it nor the university would say what prompted the punishment or shed light on his prospects for reinstatement.

Coach Todd Hoffner received a written notice from Minnesota State University, Mankato late Tuesday afternoon about a 20-day unpaid suspension that begins Jan. 7, the general counsel for the Inter Faculty Organization said in an email to The Associated Press. Connie Howard said the union has filed a grievance challenging the suspension.

Hoffner was put on paid administrative leave after videos of his naked children were found on his university-issued cellphone in August. A judge ruled Nov. 30 that the videos were not pornographic and dismissed the felony charges against Hoffner, accepting his testimony that the videos merely showed his children acting silly after a bath.

``The grievance charges that the university failed to follow progressive discipline and did not have just cause to issue the suspension,'' Howard wrote. She declined to provide further details and would not say what reason the university gave for Hoffner's suspension, whether it was related to the videos or what his prospects might be for being reinstated as head coach of the Mavericks.

The MnSCU system has a policy prohibiting the use of university-issued cellphones or mobile devices for personal business.

Hoffner was beginning a new four-year contract when he was escorted off a practice field in August, a few days after he returned his malfunctioning phone to the school. University technicians found the videos and notified university officials, who contacted police. Hoffner was not allowed back and had to miss the Mavericks' 13-1 season, including their appearance in the NCAA Division II semifinals Dec. 8. He had a 34-13 record in his first four years at Mankato.

Minnesota State issued a brief statement Wednesday night saying Hoffner's administrative leave ended Monday and he remains on the university's payroll, but Aaron Keen remains acting coach.

``One complaint against the football coach was investigated and the investigation has been completed. One complaint against Mr. Hoffner is pending and is under investigation,'' the statement said without elaboration.

University spokesman Dan Benson, citing privacy laws, told the AP he couldn't comment on the nature of the complaints.

``The word `reinstated' would not be accurate,'' Benson said. ``He is no longer on leave. He remains on the payroll ... but he has not assumed duties as the head football coach again at this time.''

Hoffner could not be reached immediately for comment Thursday. He does not have a listed phone number. His civil attorney, Chris Madel, was in court and unavailable Thursday. His attorney for the criminal case, Jim Fleming, said he was not directly involved in the personnel case.

Minnesota State athletics director Kevin Buisman did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

The Wizards will catch a break on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Raptors in the second game of their regular season, as Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is being held out due to rest.

Leonard, who has been dominant so far for the 2-0 Raptors, is being limited in back-to-backs after he missed 73 games last season due to a quadriceps injury. The Raptors played the night before against the Celtics.

With Leonard out, the Raptors will likely rely on C.J. Miles and O.G. Anunoby at the small forward position. Shooting guard Delon Wright is also out with a shoulder injury.

Though Leonard and Wright are out of the mix, Toronto still has plenty of talent including All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is averaging 21 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. 

Serge Ibaka has been their third-leading scorer with 15 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. They also acquired Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to a strong start with 12.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Leonard's absence may be noticed more on the defensive end, as he is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. That could make things a bit easier for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.

The Wizards and Raptors next play on Nov. 23. That game is in Toronto.

 

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'It's a house divided': The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is affecting these 'Skins' families

'It's a house divided': The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is affecting these 'Skins' families

Zach Brown is a fearless player. Turns out, Zach Brown's dad is pretty fearless, too.

That first statement is one you can confirm by watching the Redskins linebacker play each time he takes the field, often times hurt.

The second statement, on the other hand, was confirmed earlier this week in an interview between Brown and JP Finlay about the Washington-Dallas rivalry.

"It got under our skin, knowing we got swept by them [last year]," the defender told Finlay after a weekday practice. "You just hate to go back home and hear them talk so much trash."

The leader of the brave "them" who actually taunt a 250-pound LB following a loss? Oh, just Brown's father, who's a diehard Cowboys supporter.

"My dad was giving it to me," he said while looking back on the 2017 season. "I said, 'Don't worry about it. Next year's gonna be a different movement.'"

"I'm gonna talk trash at the end of this season," Brown added. "It's a house divided."

Adrian Peterson knows what Brown's talking about. The Texas native even went as far as to break down exactly how his own house is divided.

According to him, 75-percent of his family are all about the Cowboys, 10-percent are looking for him to put up good numbers in a 'Boys victory and the final 15-percent have converted to the burgundy and gold.

Rookie corner Greg Stroman can relate as well. The Virginia kid who'll be making his debut in the series he's very familiar with said his grandma and her relatives fall on both sides of the matchup.

Stroman does have one advantage over Brown and Peterson, though. Unlike the two veterans, he was able to get his entire family's rooting interests in order for Sunday, at least.

"They all bought in now," he said.

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