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Friday, July 19, 2019

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Report: People around NFL ‘shocked’ by Tyreek Hill decision

Tyreek Hill

It was not that long ago that Tyreek Hill seemed almost certain to be suspended by the NFL regardless of how the child abuse allegations against him played out legally, but that did not happen. That has apparently led to some disbelief across the league.

After the NFL announced on Friday that Hill will not be suspended, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports commented that a lot of people around the league are “shocked” with the outcome. Michael Lombardi of The Athletic took it a step further.

Hill met with the NFL last month, and reports at the time indicated he presented league officials with a significant amount of evidence that proved he had nothing to do with his 3-year-old son suffering a broken arm. He was apparently able to convince police of the same, which is the main reason he did not face charges.

The shock from people around the NFL likely stems from the audio recording that Hill’s fiancee, Crystal Espinal, supposedly gave to a friend as an “insurance policy.” In the audio, Espinal is heard telling Hill that the 3-year-old boy said “daddy did it” when asked how he injured his arm. It was also suggested that Hill uses a belt to discipline the boy. When Espinal told Hill the couple’s son is terrified of him, the star wide receiver responded, “You need to be terrified of me, too, b—-.”

While none of that necessarily proves that Hill abused his son, many are shocked that the threatening language he used wasn’t enough to warrant disciplinary action from the NFL. Hill also had some serious red flags surrounding him when he came into the NFL, which is why he slipped into the fifth round. Given his history and some of the details surrounding the child abuse case, he seems fortunate to be returning to the Chiefs so soon.

NFL will not suspend Tyreek Hill following child abuse investigation

Tyreek Hill

Tyreek Hill avoided legal trouble stemming from the child abuse investigation he was at the center of this offseason, and he will not be disciplined by the NFL, either.

The NFL announced in a statement on Friday that a thorough investigation into the claims against Hill found no evidence that the Kansas City Chiefs star violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. As a result, Hill is free to report to the Chiefs and take part in all team activities going forward.

The statement noted that the court proceedings are confidential and all law enforcement documents have been sealed, and Hill could be subject to discipline in the future if new evidence surfaces.

Hill met with the NFL last month and reportedly provided a significant amount of evidence supporting the claim that he had nothing to do with his 3-year-old son suffering a broken arm. Despite an audio recording that suggested he was responsible for the boy’s injuries, police are said to have determined that Hill was not. The NFL’s investigation must have come to the same conclusion.

Nike files countersuit against Kawhi Leonard over Klaw logo

Kawhi Leonard

The legal battle between Kawhi Leonard and Nike over the reigning NBA Finals MVP’s logo continues.

Leonard filed a lawsuit against Nike in June in which he claimed Nike copyrighted his Klaw logo without his consent. On Wednesday, Nike filed a countersuit in Southern California in which they stated their designers created the logo based on a concept provided by Leonard. They even provided a photo of the rough draft of Leonard’s logo compared to their design.

Nike is seeking a judgement that would declare them the owner of the logo, an injunction preventing Leonard from using the logo, plus damages and attorney fees.

In its suit, Nike even cited comments from Leonard in a Nice Kicks article that originally was published on Oct. 29, 2014.

“I give the Jordan Brand team all the credit because I’m no artist at all,” said Leonard. “They refined it and made it look better than I thought it would ever be, and I’m extremely happy with the final version.”

Leonard endorsed Nike from 2011-2018 and signed a contract acknowledging Nike as the copyright owner of the logo. Leonard left Nike and signed with New Balance in November. He would like to be able to use the logo with his new company.

Nike is seeking to have the case moved to Oregon, which is where the company is headquartered.

Jim Harbaugh: Controversy follows Urban Meyer wherever he goes

Jim Harbaugh headset

Jim Harbaugh was never able to get the best of Urban Meyer when Meyer coached at Ohio State, but he clearly doesn’t feel that winning is everything when it comes to running a college football program.

In an appearance on “The TK Show” podcast with Tim Kawakami this week, Harbaugh spoke about everything Meyer was able to accomplish on the field at Ohio State. Meyer’s Buckeyes were 4-0 against Harbaugh and 7-0 overall against Michigan, but the Wolverines coach pointed out that “controversy” seemed to be a common theme with Meyer-led programs.

“Urban Meyer’s had a winning record. Really phenomenal record everywhere he’s been,” Harbaugh said. “But also, controversy follows everywhere he’s been.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter for some people. Harbaugh went on to acknowledge that Michigan has always come up short since he was named head coach back in 2015.

“All you can be judged on is your record. What your record is overall. What your record is within your conference. What your record is with head-to-head matchups,” Harbaugh said, as transcribed by Kevin Harrish of Eleven Warriors. “I think you’ll find Ohio State is the only team with a better record, a better conference record than us (since I’ve been there) and has a better head-to-head matchup with us.”

While some viewed Harbaugh’s remarks as a swipe at Meyer, he was really just stating the obvious. Meyer had numerous players with character concerns during his time as the head coach at Florida, and more than two dozen players were arrested over a six-year span. He recruited and vouched for guys like Aaron Hernandez, who went on to murder multiple people.

More recently, Meyer was accused of ignoring domestic violence allegations against a member of his staff at Ohio State. That almost certainly contributed to his decision to step down following last season.

In terms of running a clean program, Harbaugh — and many other coaches — have Meyer beat. If you’re judging strictly on wins and losses, Meyer is one of the best to ever do it.

Tiger Woods injury watch starts early at British Open

Tiger Woods has battled back from a number of significant injuries over the past several years to regain his spot as one of the top golfers in the world, and the concern that he might be hurt again began immediately at The Open Championship on Thursday.

Woods appeared to grimace on his first tee shot at Portrush. The shot was pulled and ended up in the tall fescue, so it’s possible he was just unhappy with the swing. Still, Golf Channel broadcaster Nick Faldo and others saw it as a cause for concern.

For what it’s worth, Tiger ended up making an excellent par after his second shot ended up in a bunker.

Tiger has chosen not to play much since he won the Masters back in April, and that has led to speculation that he could be hurting and trying to allow himself as much recovery time as possible. When you consider what he said about his injuries a while back, it’s possible experiencing some pain from time to time is simply the norm for him at this point.

Damian Lillard says shot to eliminate Thunder was ‘for Seattle’

Damian Lillard wave

Damian Lillard effectively ended an era of the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise as we knew it with his walk-off shot to eliminate them from the playoffs.

Lillard hit a deep 37-foot 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to break a 115-115 tie with the Thunder in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. In response to all the beef between his Portland Trail Blazers and the Thunder, Lillard gave a wave to OKC after making the shot. As if the shot wasn’t impressive enough, it also gave him an even 50 points in the game. The shot and Game 5 effort were true testaments to his ability and standing in the league.

Lillard joined the Sports Business Radio Podcast for an interview published on Tuesday. They were talking about the evolution of “Dame Time” and brought up the shot that ended the Thunder.

“What can I say? That was for Seattle,” Lillard said of the shot, while laughing.

The elimination marked the third straight year the Thunder lost in the first round of the playoffs. The team was capped out and couldn’t make many offseason moves, but that doesn’t mean the franchise didn’t change. Paul George requested a trade and was dealt to the Clippers. Russell Westbrook was later sent to Houston. Now a team that had 10 straight winning seasons is looking at their first rebuild since moving to Oklahoma City. SuperSonics fans meanwhile suffered through three bad seasons in a row to end the team’s time in Seattle, and Oklahoma City got to enjoy the benefits when they turned things around.

As Dame said, that was for Seattle.

David Price reacts to Dennis Eckersley’s latest comments about feud

David Price

It has now been two years since Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price infamously got into a verbal confrontation with Dennis Eckersley on a team flight, and the Hall of Famer clearly has not gotten over the incident. Price, however, seems to think it is quite humorous.

Eckersley was asked about the July 2017 exchange with Price as part of a lengthy feature published by Chad Finn of The Boston Globe this week, and the NESN broadcaster said he is just as baffled about it now as he was then. He also said he has not spoken to Price and doesn’t intend to.

“I didn’t know how to deal with that. I don’t plan on saying a word to him, I don’t plan on seeing him, never,” Eckersley said. “I don’t really give a [expletive] one way or another. I don’t think he really cares one way or the other.”

Price had called out Eckersley for some of his negative commentary, specifically when Eckersley said “yuck” on the air after a stat line was shown from Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez’s minor league rehab start. As Finn noted, the Red Sox now have a policy where broadcasters board the team plane before players. If Eckersley doesn’t want to speak to Price or acknowledge the left-hander’s existence, he can probably continue to make that happen.

When Price caught wind of Eckersley’s latest thoughts on the feud, he had a simple response on Twitter.

Obviously, there was no clear-the-air meeting between the two. Price supposedly tried to reach out after the incident, but Eckersley turned him down and said he is not going to change his broadcasting style for anyone. He has remained true to his word, which is part of the reason he was ripped by Marcus Stroman earlier this season. Eck clearly feels he did not deserve to be ambushed by Price, and he has no interest in hearing the fellow Cy Young Award winner’s side of the story.