Nationals

Penn St. attacks claims by ex-assistant McQueary

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Penn St. attacks claims by ex-assistant McQueary

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Penn State's lawyers asked a judge Tuesday to throw out a whistleblower and defamation lawsuit filed by a former assistant football coach who testified he saw Jerry Sandusky attack a boy in a school shower more than a decade ago.

Mike McQueary's lawsuit is too vague and does not meet legal standards to support claims of defamation and misrepresentation, the university wrote in a court filing.

McQueary has sued the university for millions of dollars, claiming in an October complaint that then-president Graham Spanier made him a scapegoat in 2011 after Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, was arrested on child molestation charges.

``It is not enough that the alleged victim of a statement be embarrassed or annoyed, he must have suffered the kind of harm which has grievously fractured his standing in the community of a respectable society,'' wrote Penn State attorney Nancy Conrad.

A phone message seeking comment from McQueary's lawyer, Elliot Strokoff, was not immediately returned.

Sandusky, who spent decades at Penn State under longtime coach Joe Paterno, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a lengthy state prison sentence. He maintains his innocence.

Last week, he appeared in a central Pennsylvania courthouse for a hearing on his claim that he did not get a fair trial, in part because his lawyers lacked time to prepare. A judge has not yet ruled in that matter.

Conrad's new filing said that a Nov. 5, 2011, news release by Spanier, in which he expressed ``unconditional support'' for outgoing athletic director on leave Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz, did not relate to McQueary and did not defame him by innuendo.

McQueary alleges he lost his job because he cooperated with prosecutors, and that Spanier's statements suggested McQueary had lied about the 2001 shower attack. He is seeking reinstatement, a bowl bonus, back pay and benefits, among other things. His salary had been $140,000.

McQueary's ``claimed innuendo can only be obtained by means of a tortured and unreasonable construction,'' Conrad wrote.

Curley and Schultz were arrested along with Sandusky, charged with perjury and failing to properly report suspected abuse. The state attorney general's office recently added more counts against them, and charged Spanier for an alleged cover-up of complaints about Sandusky. All three men deny the allegations and await a court hearing.

McQueary told jurors in the Sandusky case that he arrived in a team locker room late one Friday night and saw Sandusky with a naked boy in the shower, leading him to conclude Sandusky was raping the child. He said he heard a ``skin-on-skin smacking sound'' and described the encounter as extremely shocking.

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Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

The Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal has rocked MLB and left a dark shadow over the league during offseason. Up until this point, despite a fired general manager and on-field manager, the players at the root of the scandal have remained silent on the subject and avoided questions from the media.

That will all change in Spring Training as the Astros players plan to make "a strong statement as a team," according to Astros' owner Jim Crane. 

"When we get down to Spring Training, we'll all get them together and they'll come out with a strong statement as a team and apologize for what happened and we'll move forward," Crane said in a media scrum.

Over the weekend the team held their annual winter FanFest where several players had to face the music as many players met with the media for the first time. Jose Altuve, who is one of the players who allegedly benefited from the sign-stealing, dodged the question as best he could. The Astros shortstop's comments coincide with Crane's, saying “I think the time to comment about that will come. It’s a little early for me to say something about it.” 

Outside of their FanFest event, there is little that has come out of the clubhouse. Their owner acknowledged the lack of communication from the players and said the players were advised to stay out of the conversation. 

"The players have been beaten up a little bit and they've been all spread out. They've just kinda getting [sic] advice to take it easy."

Already Spring Training in West Palm Beach is going to be awkward between the two teams that made the World Series last season. The Nationals, who won the World Series whether or not the Astros used their system to gain an advantage, have their facilities next door to Houston's.

And if the Astros sign former Nationals' manager Dusty Baker to the same position in wake of A.J. Hinch's firing, there will be even more tense situations at Spring Training this year. 

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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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