Nationals

O'Meara says Singh should be punished for doping

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O'Meara says Singh should be punished for doping

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Mark O'Meara doesn't think Vijay Singh would ever try to cheat but still believes the Fijian should be suspended ``for a couple of months'' by the PGA Tour for admitting he used a deer-antler spray that contains a banned substance.

O'Meara, who called Singh a friend, said he heard about the Fijian's admission on Wednesday, but doesn't believe he benefited on the course from the unorthodox treatment.

``I was obviously a little bit surprised with what I heard, but I don't think Vijay is a guy that would ever take advantage of anything. I know Vijay,'' O'Meara said after finishing his first round at the Dubai Desert Classic.

``I guess they could probably suspend him for a couple of months. I would think so,'' the two-time major winner said. ``Listen, people have had to pay the price before and he should be no different. If that is the case and the commissioner and tour feels he should be suspended for X amount of time, I think Vijay is man enough that he'll do that.''

The 49-year-old Singh said he paid one of Sports With Alternatives To Steroids' owners $9,000 in November for the spray and other products, Sports Illustrated said. Singh released a statement at the Phoenix Open confirming he had taken it, but that he was ``absolutely shocked that deer-antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position.''

Singh, who won the last of his 56 titles in 2008, said he will cooperate with the tour's review of the issue.

Bob Charles, the 1963 British Open winner, said in New Zealand on Thursday he also used and promoted deer-antler spray for more than 20 years, and was surprised to learn it contained a banned substance. Charles was a spokesman for the deer-antler product and used it daily over two decades.

Despite Singh's admission, O'Meara and other golfers said they felt the measures in place to combat doping in golf, including random testing, were adequate.

``I don't think doping is a problem in golf whatsoever. I really don't,'' Paul Casey said. ``There are so many facets to our sport. Why was he taking it? Was he taking it to recover from injury? It doesn't help you get the ball in the hole at the end of the day. This is the first case I've heard where a guy admitted to taking anything.''

The oddity of deer-antler spray being used by golfers was the talk on the Dubai course on Thursday, with Lee Westwood among the players having a good laugh about it. Most said they had never heard of it until the story on Singh.

``Deer-antler spray? That sounds like something you wax your car with, doesn't it?'' Westwood said. ``I've never heard of it. ... You have to be careful about what you take. I try not to take anything now, really, other than Corona and vodka.''

Colin Montgomerie, a rival of Singh during their heydays, called the whole case ``odd'' and said the European Tour doctor ``came to us (and said) deer antler, whatever it is, don't take that this afternoon lads.''

Montgomerie said the tour had nothing to worry about with him when it came to doping.

``I can only speak for myself and it's not widespread within the Montgomerie family,'' the 2010 Europe Ryder Cup captain said, looking down at his torso. ``Unfortunately. You can see that though, can't you, really.''

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Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Back before all this mania, Miami, as putrid as its season would be, loomed as a factor.

Handling the Marlins would be key for any contender. It wasn’t a question of winning, but of how much winning would occur against one of the league’s worst teams.

Following Friday’s 6-4 win in a sparsely attended Marlins Park, the Nationals moved to 14-3 against Miami this season. They are 16 games over. 500 for the year. They are plus-11 against Miami alone.

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered again, Trea Turner hit two homers, and Daniel Hudson pitched two innings to earn the save. So, the Nationals, 84-68, hold a one-game lead for the top wild-card spot. Milwaukee won again, joining a long list of teams to beat up on the Pittsburgh Pirates since the post-All-Star-break portion of the schedule began. Pittsburgh may be the league’s worst team, at the moment, and the Brewers host it for two more this weekend.

Trouble is brewing for Chicago. It lost again to St. Louis -- this time a 2-1 mid-day defeat in Wrigley Field. The Cubs have lost four in a row. They are three games behind the Nationals and two behind the Brewers. Their path to 90 wins, which may ultimately be the threshold for postseason entrance, is narrowing.

The Mets won their third consecutive game. They are hanging around, 3 ½ games behind the Brewers with nine remaining on the schedule. Their wild-card elimination number is six.

News for Philadelphia is more dire. The Phillies dropped to 78-74 Friday night following a 5-2 loss in Cleveland. They are now five behind Milwaukee. Their wild-card elimination number is a mere five. 

Which brings us to the more detailed math portion of this program. Here are the postseason chances for each team, according to fivethirtyeight.com:

Nationals, 96 percent

Brewers, 84 percent

Cubs, 15 percent

Mets, 5 percent

Phillies, less than one percent

Coming up Saturday:

St. Louis at Chicago, 2:20 p.m., Hudson (16-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Quintana (13-8, 4.37)

New York at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m., Wheeler (11-7, 4.09) vs. DeSclafani (9-9, 3.93)

Washington at Miami, 6:10 p.m., Strasburg (17-6, 3.49) vs. Yamamoto (4-5, 4.87)

Philadelphia at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m., Vargas (6-8, 4.48) vs. Plesac (8-6, 3.64)

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m., Marvel (0-2, 9.00) vs. Davies (10-7, 3.70)

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Beyond the Scoreboard: NLL changes and social responsibility

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USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: NLL changes and social responsibility

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST

  1. SportsBusiness Journal lauds corporate social responsibility. Amidst a recent roundup of sports CSR initiatives, SportsBusiness Journal noted that the first project on which educational platform developer EverFi collaborated with a sports property was “a financial literacy program that regional bank BBVA offered for use by elementary school students in a handful of NBA markets, including Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix.” When Houston hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 2013, league sponsor BBVA arranged for Rockets star James Harden to appear at a participating school. “While it’s cool to have a BBVA banker come into the classroom, it’s even cooler if James Harden shows up,” said Jon Chapman, co-founder and president of global partnerships for EverFi, which has developed online educational modules on topics ranging from financial literacy to STEM to anti-bullying, branded for presentation by teams, leagues, and sponsors. After Houston, EverFi developed educational modules for the NHL and NHLPA around science, technology, engineering and math; for the NFL and the United Way around character development and African American history; for MLB focusing on learning loss during summer vacation; and with MLS around anti-bullying. We look forward to celebrating a Sport Business Handbook event with EverFi at their Washington, DC headquarters on October 2
  2. The National Lacrosse League announces details for the 2019-2020 season, which include divisional realignment, playoff format and schedule type after the addition of two expansion teams and new market Halifax. The league will feature 13 teams in the upcoming season after fielding 11 last year. To accommodate the addition of expansion teams, the New York Riptide, Rochester Knighthawks, and new market Halifax Thunderbirds, as well as maintaining an eye towards continued expansion, the NLL will shift to a three-division format in 2019-2020. “The league has had unprecedented expansion over the last three years. With two more teams coming in this year along with a new market in Halifax, we felt the need to reexamine conference alignments, schedule and playoff formats to prepare for future expansion. We also wanted to create exciting rivalries for the fans, the best travel scenarios for teams and players and competitive match-ups for our 13 franchises,“ said NLL Commissioner and Sport Business Handbook contributor Nick Sakiewicz. Along with unprecedented expansion, the NLL is clearly looking at unprecedented success.
  3. Cal Ripken, Jr.’s celebrity golf tournament draws in legendary athletes across major U.S. sports leagues. According to the Patriot News, the event, featuring such legends as Julius Erving, Lawrence Taylor, Ozzie Smith, and Jim McMahon, was held to benefit the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. The inaugural golf outing was held in 2011, and since then, the event has raised several million dollars for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. The principal goals of the foundation are to utilize baseball- and softball-themed programs in an effort to build character and teach life lessons to underprivileged children. Founded in 2001, the Foundation has served kids in all 50 states and in other countries such as Canada and Nicaragua. With over 20 Hall of Famers across the NFL and MLB, the event has an impressive amount of star power to help draw attention to giving back to those less privileged through baseball and softball.