Nationals

NBA's Stern scolds Christie on sports bet effort

NBA's Stern scolds Christie on sports bet effort

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) NBA Commissioner David Stern scolded Gov. Christie and said New Jersey ``has no idea what it's doing'' by seeking to allow sports betting in the state in a deposition published Friday in the ongoing legal battle between the governor, the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA.

Stern and the heads of Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NHL and the NCAA were questioned recently by lawyers representing the state as part of the leagues' lawsuit seeking to stop New Jersey from instituting sports gambling.

``The one thing I'm certain of is New Jersey has no idea what it's doing and doesn't care because all it's interested in is making a buck or two, and they don't care that it's at our potential loss,'' Stern said when asked how the advent of sports betting in New Jersey would harm the NBA.

``And wholly apart from the fact that a governor, who's a former U.S. Attorney, has chosen to attack a federal law which causes me pause for completely different reasons since I've at times sworn to similar oaths about upholding the law of the United States,'' Stern continued.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in his deposition he was ``appalled'' that New Jersey would look to sports gambling as a fiscal solution.

``I know states need money. I really mean that,'' he said. ``I understand all the problems. Federal government needs money, going over a cliff, cities need money. Chris Christie needs money. But gambling is so ... the threat of gambling and to create more threat is to me - I'm stunned. I know that people need sources of revenue, but you can't - this is corruption in my opinion.

``I have to say to you I'm appalled. I'm really appalled.''

A spokesman for Christie didn't immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.

The leagues and the NCAA sued Christie in August after he vowed to defy a federal ban on sports wagering. The Legislature enacted a sports betting law in January, limiting bets to the Atlantic City casinos and the state's horse racing tracks. The state plans to license sports betting as soon as January, and in October published regulations governing licenses.

A judge is expected to rule this month on the leagues' motion for an injunction to stop the law from taking effect.

In his deposition, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about holding games in England and Canada, countries with legalized sports gambling. The leagues contend allowing New Jersey to sanction sports gambling would damage their integrity.

``Well, we're playing in their country, we're coming to them,'' Goodell responded. ``And we're only there for a short period of time; we're there for two or three days. It's not what we choose, it's not what we believe is in the best interests of sports, but we don't dictate the rules or the laws.''

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the fact that New Jersey's law exempts the state's colleges and any college games played in the state shows that lawmakers recognize gambling ``isn't good for our game.'' He sounded confident when asked if the NHL had contemplated any changes to its policies should New Jersey's law stand.

``Not to sound flip on this point but it's inconceivable to me how we could lose this lawsuit, so we haven't been doing that,'' he said.

New Jersey's move is seen by supporters as a way to bring new revenue to the struggling casino and racing industries and to reclaim a portion of the billions of untaxed dollars flowing to organized crime or offshore illegal gambling operations.

But in its court filing Friday opposing the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the leagues and the NCAA called Christie's efforts a ``blatant violation of federal law'' and his constitutional challenges to the federal law ``specious.''

The 20-year-old federal law at the heart of the dispute, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, prohibited states from authorizing sports gambling, but exempted Nevada and three other states that already had some form of legalized sports betting - Delaware, Oregon and Montana.

New Jersey claims the law usurps the authority of state legislatures and discriminates by ``grandfathering'' in some states. The leagues countered Friday that Congress has the power to prevent states from enacting laws that conflict with federal policy, and that the Constitution's commerce clause doesn't require uniformity in its application to different states.

The NCAA has already announced it will relocate several championship events scheduled to be held in New Jersey next year.

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Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

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USA Today

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

Stephen Strasburg had the best hitting performance of his career against the Braves Thursday night, going 3-3 at the plate with two singles and a 420-foot three-run bomb. 

He didn't just set personal records but reached rare air in baseball history. He's the second pitcher ever with at least three hits, a HR, and five RBI since the DH debuted in 1973 and the fifth pitcher in the last 50 seasons to get two hits in an inning including a home run. 

Strasburg set franchise firsts with his performance, dating all the way back to the Expos. 

An extraordinary milestone for the Nationals' ace, hopefully Strasburg's performance will inspire the team during a crucial four-game series with Atlanta. 

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

Perhaps no position group on the Redskins has more questions or uncertainty than the wide receivers.

Josh Doctson enters the final year of his rookie contract, and has yet to record over 550 yards in any of his three professional seasons. Washington signed Paul Richardson to a five-year deal in 2018, but he just played in just seven games for the Burgundy and Gold in 2018 before having season-ending shoulder surgery. Second-year receiver Trey Quinn is expected to fill the role in the slot after Jamison Crowder departed for the New York Jets this offseason but has yet to prove anything on the NFL level. 

The Redskins addressed the position during the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting Terry McLaurin in the third round and Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round. But it's unclear how much either one will contribute to the Washington offense in 2019.

So, it's likely the Redskins will need to address the position during the 2020 NFL Draft, and probably very early on it. Well, this works in Washington's favor, because the 2020 wide receiver class is loaded. 

On a recent episode of the Redskins Talk podcast, J.P. Finlay and Pete Hailey spoke with NFL Draft expert Jordan Reid (no, not the Redskins' tight end) about the top wide receiver prospects heading into next year's draft, and which players the Redskins could potentially target.

Before diving into the top 2020 prospects, Reid gave an initial assessment of the current Redskins' receivers.

"The Redskins just don't have that headliner, top go-to guy," Reid said. "They were expecting Josh Doctson to be that when they did draft him in the first round of 2016. But he's had some injuries, and he's already come out and said he's looking forward to free agency. That just not something you want to hear."

Reid was high on McLaurin, though, the first receiver the Redskins selected in 2019.

"They drafted Terry McLaurin in the third round, I liked him a lot even going back to the Senior Bowl," he said. "I think he's going to have a really good year, not just as a receiver but the special teams phase as well. He's going to flash in a lot of ways."

As far as the 2020 draft wide receiver class, one school stands on top, and it's a school the Redskins are very familiar with: Alabama. The Redskins used their first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 on 'Bama guys and signed another Crimson Tide alumni this offseason in safety Landon Collins.

"We know the Redskins love Alabama guys, and there's a lot of [wide receivers] coming out this year," Reid said. "It's not just Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs is another guy that's getting a lot of steam. They're going to have the chance to get the receiver they want. This is a very special wide receiver class."

Crimson Tide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the consensus top receiver in next year's class, but Reid believes his speedy teammate could challenge him for that spot by season's end.

"With Ruggs, I think he's a bit more as far as polished a route runner [than Jeudy]," he said. "I think his hands are a bit better, and I wouldn't be shocked if he runs below a 4.3 at the combine. He can absolutely fly."

If the pair of Alabama receivers currently hold the top two spots for best wide receiver prospect, there's another guy who's right on their heels: Oklahoma's Ceedee Lamb.

"He reminds me a lot of DeAndre Hopkins coming out," Reid said on Lamb. "He's not a thick guy, but he plays much stronger than what he indicates. Very reliable hands, and his body control is out of this world. He had a one-handed catch against UCLA, it didn't count, but it's truly amazing."

As a true sophomore, Lamb totaled 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. Sure, it may have helped to have Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray under center, but Lamb has proven he's an elite talent.

Two other prospects Reid is keeping an eye on are Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. and Texas' Collin Johnson.

"He's not as polished as some of these other guys, but he's more of a do-it-all type of receiver," Reid said on Shenault Jr. 

Where Shenault may be a do-it-all receiver, Johnson plays to his 6'6 size.

"He's a really good route runner," Reid said on Johnson. "It's just a matter of how consistently can he separate, and how fast he is. If he goes to the Senior Bowl, I think he can light it up."

While many of these guys seem like sure-fire guys, there's still a full season of football to be played before the draft. Players will rise, but just as many, if not more, will fall off.

"You just have to let this play out, that's what happens with the draft process," Reid said. "Guys fall off, and then you have guys that come out of nowhere. Quinton Williams from last year is a prime example. He was a 270-pound defensive end at this time last year; we had no idea who he was and he ends up being the No. 3 overall selection."

But if everything plays out close to how it's expected to, this wide receiver draft class will be one to remember. 

"This class is special man," Reid said. "I think it's going to rival 2014, with Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and all those guys, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams too. It's going to be very similar to that. It's very special."

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