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WSU study finds no abuse on football team

WSU study finds no abuse on football team

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) An internal investigation into a former player's allegations of abuse by Washington State football coaches didn't turn up any evidence of abuse, athletic director Bill Moos said Wednesday.

A dozen players were interviewed by two members of Moos' staff, and all reported they were having a positive experience at Washington State under head coach Mike Leach and his assistants, Moos said.

``The majority of the players stated that the player that walked out of practice let the team down and put them, their coach and WSU in a bad light,'' Moos wrote in a memo to WSU President Elson Floyd that was released Wednesday.

``There is no signs of abuse or mistreatment of players,'' Moos said in a conference call with reporters from Pullman. ``Hopefully, we can get this behind us and go forward.''

Star receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team during a practice late in the season and later contended that players were suffering physical and mental abuse at the hands of coaches.

Floyd asked for the internal review of those allegations, and also asked the Pacific-12 Conference to do its own review. The conference review is still being conducted.

Wilson contended in a letter sent to journalists on Nov. 10 that he quit the team prior to the UCLA game as a protest to ``physical, emotional and verbal abuse'' by the coaching staff. He complained that coaches would ``belittle, intimidate and humiliate us.'' He did not provide details.

Leach denied there was any abuse.

Moos revealed in his memo that he received a text message from Wilson after the UCLA game ``where he recanted the allegations of abuse made in a letter written by he and a relative and sent to the media earlier that evening.''

Wilson's text to Moos was included in emails released by the school Wednesday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a number of media organizations including the AP.

``Mr. Moos this is marquess ... With that letter I wasn't trying to accuse the coaches of hitting players or anything. I was just trying to put it in different terms and now everything is getting misinterpreted and I didn't mean it like that at all ... I simply was trying to get my story across and get my name cleared instead of having it say I'm suspended for breaking team violations ... That could mean like I did drugs or something ... I was never trying to harm the university or the program with it.''

In his memo, Moos said the players interviewed by his staff reported they felt supported academically and socially on the football team.

``The players did say the offseason conditioning sessions are intense and challenging, but appropriate for what they are designed to achieve,'' Moos wrote. ``The players said they believe in the coaches and that they will take the program to a higher level.''

Moos said his staff asked players to discuss academic services, nutrition, athletic training, strength and conditioning and equipment operations.

Moos said his staff found ``the head coach is firm, fair and most of all, consistent.''

Moos said some concerns were raised regarding conditioning drills in a box of sand next to the practice field.

``Water was used on occasion to harden the sand in the box and at times players were sprayed,'' Moos wrote. ``This practice was discontinued upon my directive around mid-season as I felt it was not necessary to produce the desired results.''

Leach was fired from Texas Tech after the 2009 season for an incident in which he was alleged to have ordered a player with a concussion to sit in a storage shed during practice. Leach disputed the allegation and it was not proven. Leach has sued Texas Tech, contending he was fired so the school could avoid a large payment due him at the end of the year.

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Tom Haberstroh believes Wizards' Rui Hachimura should be NBA All-Rookie First Team

Tom Haberstroh believes Wizards' Rui Hachimura should be NBA All-Rookie First Team

Rui Hachimura has had an impressive rookie season, even if there were some struggles along the way. But, was his first NBA campaign impressive enough to land an NBA All-Rookie First Team nod?

According to NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh, the answer is a clear yes.

“He does, in my book he’s first-team all-rookie," Haberstroh said Sunday on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Pregame Live.

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Haberstroh understands that Hachimura may not get the same attention as other big-name rookies such as Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, but that shouldn't take away from his body of work. Though there were some tough showings at points during the campaign, which is to be expected, Hachimura established himself as a solid scorer. 

Yet, what is more impressive to Haberstroh than the 13.4 points per game as a rookie is how Hachimura kept that scoring total despite Washington's situation. The forward was thrown right into the middle of a young roster and asked to create shots. The analyst also noted that Hachimura started playing the sport of basketball at a much later age than other rookies and he's still competing at the same level.

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Hachimura also didn't have the luxury of John Wall, a point guard who could've helped him find more shot opportunities. For times throughout the season, he was asked to be one of "the guys" in Washington, which is no easy task for a rookie. When looking at what he did and who he did it with, Haberstroh thinks the All-Rookie honor makes sense. 

“The minutes that he played, the consistency from a scoring standpoint and the fact that he didn’t have a true playmaker to work with, John Wall out for the season," Haberstroh said. “It’s really been an impressive year for Rui Hachimura and I think he’s done a very, very good job considering the environment that seemed like guys were dropping left and right.”

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‘Stephen Strasburg’ the dog catches first pitch for Stephen Strasburg’s first start

‘Stephen Strasburg’ the dog catches first pitch for Stephen Strasburg’s first start

Stephen Strasburg made his 2020 debut Sunday after missing the first two and a half weeks of the season with a nerve issue in his throwing hand. But before he could take the mound, the Nationals put up a video on the jumbotron of another Stephen Strasburg catching the first pitch.

“Stephen Strasburg” was adopted from the Humane Rescue Center by Nationals fan Mary Elizabeth Pratt just before last fall’s World Series. Her pitch was a little bit outside but Stephen had no problem scooping it up and running it back over to her.

The baseball-playing Stephen Strasburg is coming off a year in which he won World Series MVP honors and signed a seven-year extension to remain with the Nationals.

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