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SPORT

Report: Los Angeles deputies shared Kobe Bryant crash photos

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities are investigating whether deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed, according to a newspaper report.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a public safety source with knowledge of the events had seen one of the photos on the phone of another official in a setting that was not related to the investigation of the crash. He said the photos showed the scene and victims’ remains.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the allegations.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Maria Lucero told The Associated Press on Friday that “the matter is being looked into.”

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies, declined to comment specifically on the allegations.

“As with all investigations, we will aggressively represent our members and preserve their rights,” the union said in a statement Friday.

The Times reported that it’s unclear how widely the photos might have been disseminated and who was involved. It’s additionally unclear whether the deputies had taken the photos themselves or received them from someone else.

Capt. Jorge Valdez, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said the department had contacted the victims’ families because of the newspaper’s inquiries.

Bryant and the others were killed in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash northwest of Los Angeles were traveling to a youth basketball tournament at Bryant’s sports facility in Thousand Oaks. The cause of the crash is undetermined.

Bryant and his daughter Gianna, whose team was coached by her father, were honored at a public memorial Monday at Staples Center, where Bryant starred for most of his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

A report by the National Transportation Safety Board stated there weren’t any signs of engine failure from the wreckage recovered from the crash site. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, had nearly navigated the helicopter out of blinding clouds when it turned and plunged into the mountainside.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday, alleging that Zobayan was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions and should have aborted the flight. The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters Inc., operator of the service, and Island Express Holding Corp., owner of the craft. It also targets pilot Ara Zobayan’s representative or successor, listed only as “Doe 1” until a name can be determined.

Also killed in the crash were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach the girls’ basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.

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HEALTH

In scramble to stop virus, testing raises tough questions

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials confronted tough questions and doubts Thursday about testing to intercept the fast-spreading virus, with scrutiny focused on a four-day delay in screening an infected California woman despite her doctors’ early calls to do so.

The questions are global: not just who, when and how to test for the illness, but how to make sure that working test kits get out to the labs that need them. All those issues apparently came in to play in the treatment of the woman in northern California, a case officials say may be the first community-spread instance of the disease in the U.S.

“This was a clear gap in our preparedness, and the virus went right through the gap,” said Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska College of Public Health.

In the wake of the latest California case, U.S. health officials on Thursday expanded their criteria for who should get tested, and took steps to increase testing.

The debate over testing has taken on added urgency as the number of cases worldwide climbed past 82,000, including 2,800 reported deaths. The rapid spread pushed officials in Saudi Arabia to cut travel to Islam’s holiest sites, triggered tougher penalties in South Korea for people who break quarantines and ratcheted up pressure on investors as U.S. stock markets extended their week-long plunge. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank nearly 1,200 points Thursday, it’s worst one-day drop since 2011.

With the illness rippling across 47 nations in every continent but Antarctica, public health officials emphasized the need for rapid intervention.

“Aggressive early measures can prevent transmission before the virus gets a foothold,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. He cited a study in China of more than 320,000 test samples that enabled health officials to zero in on the 0.14 percent that screened positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

But catching the disease early will require countries to invest in rapid diagnostics, said Dr. Gagandeep Kang, a microbiologist who heads the Translational Health Science And Technology Institute in India.

Test kits used by the World Health Organization cost less than $5 each, said Michael Ryan, the group’s emergencies programs director. But that figure does not include the expense of medical staff and validation screening, and making such investments effective goes well beyond the expense involved.

“As we can see from the new sparks on Italy, Iran, Korea, is that early identification of cases is crucial. There, the first persons with infection were missed,” said Marion Koopmans of the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Doctors at the University of California Davis Medical Center were mindful of the need for early identification when the hospital admitted a female patient on a ventilator and showing symptoms of a viral infection on Feb. 19. They asked federal officials to test her for the new coronavirus, but were told she did not fit federal testing criteria, according to an email hospital officials sent to their employees. The test was not done until four days later, on Feb. 23, and the results did not come back until Wednesday, a full week after she was admitted.

Part of the problem is that the number of people being tested in the U.S. has been limited to those who, in addition to showing symptoms, have a history of travel to countries affected by the disease or contact with those who have done so, said Lauren Sauer, director of operations at Johns Hopkins University’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response.

“In the U.S., people are sticking pretty closely to that definition,” Sauer said. But the increasing cases on other continents “are demonstrating we need to do a better job than just where the outbreak originated.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its testing criteria on its website — a move that had been in the works for days, according to a federal official familiar with the change.

The CDC will continue to advise testing people who have traveled to certain outbreak areas and have fever and certain other symptoms. But now testing is also appropriate if such symptoms exist and flu and other respiratory illnesses have been ruled out and no source of exposure has been identified.

As part of that, CDC has expanded the list of countries that are red flags for testing to include not only China but Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan.

Last month, the CDC said it had developed a test kit that could be sent to state and big city public health labs, so they could broaden testing to more people. Early this month, the agency got authorization to begin distribution of the kit to government public health labs in the 50 states and some cities and counties.

But most of the kits proved to be faulty, providing inconclusive results to test samples that should have tested positive. The problem was blamed on one of three reagents used in the testing. CDC said it was trying to manufacture new reagents, but gave no firm timetable for when that would occur.

Only about a half dozen state and local public health labs had fully functional kits as of early this week.

As weeks passed, the problem became more and more frustrating, said Scott Becker, the chief executive of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

On Monday, Becker’s organization sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, basically asking permission for state labs to develop their own tests. On Wednesday, FDA officials responded that labs would be allowed to rely on the two other reagents, meaning that as many as 40 state and local labs could be up and running with their tests in the next few days, Becker said.

The California case, and remarks by Italian officials that they were rethinking how to classify people who test positive for the illness but show no symptoms, highlighted the questions that surround large-scale screening for the disease.

The test being used by U.S. health officials takes just four to six hours to perform once it’s in a lab. But up to now, those tests have been sent to federal testing centers, often significantly extending the time to get results.

“Testing protocols have been a point of frustration,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday. He said federal officials had assured their state counterparts that capacity to test will be growing “exponentially” in the next few days, but he wasn’t more specific.

Federal official likely limited testing early on because of concerns about a deluge of false positives, which could panic communities and become counterproductive, said Khan, a former top disease investigator for the CDC.

But he suggested that a tiered testing system might be the answer, in which a positive test would have to be verified by another lab before a case is diagnosed and counted.

The challenge is complicated by a slowness to distribute test kits.

Newsom said Thursday the state had just 200 testing kits on hand and “that’s simply inadequate.” He said he spoke to CDC officials and they assured him they were working to make testing more broadly available in California.

In Italy, where an outbreak has depressed tourism and fueled panic, officials said Thursday they would change their reporting and testing practices in ways that could lower the country’s reported caseload.

Italian authorities plan from now on to distinguish between people who test positive for the virus and patients showing symptoms, since the majority of the people in Italy with confirmed infections aren’t actually sick. They said they would follow urging by the WHO and hold off on certifying cases screened only at a regional level, until they can be confirmed by national officials.

“The cases that emerge from the regions are still considered suspect and unconfirmed,” said Walter Ricciardi, a WHO adviser to the Italian government.

But U.S. experts said the crisis requires more rapid testing, and a willingness by officials to revise their criteria. Sauer pointed to a case in Canada, where officials zeroed in on a traveler from Iran with COVID-19 soon after that country announced its first cases.

“Let our really smart doctors do what they do really well,” Khan said. “If they are really suspicious that a pneumonia or influenza-like illness does not quite look like an influenza-like illness, allow them to test!”

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SPORT

Asian baseball, soccer, rugby affected by new China virus

Baseball and basketball played in empty stadiums. Soccer leagues delayed. Clubs left out of Asian competitions or matches relocated.

And the rapidly spreading virus that has infected more than 81,000 people globally and left more than 2,750 dead, mostly in China, continues to threaten the Tokyo Olympics which begin July 24.

The three biggest soccer leagues in Asia have gone into recess, as the governments of China, South Korea and Japan try to contain the fallout of the rapidly spreading virus. The surge of postponements of sports events has spread from China, where the outbreak started, to South Korea and Japan.

Japan’s professional baseball league says it will play its 72 remaining preseason games in empty stadiums because of the threat of the spreading coronavirus. The regular season is to open on March 20.

“This was a bitter decision to make,” Commissioner Atsushi Saito was quoted as saying. “Because we can’t determine the situation, I won’t say anything right now about (opening day). “If possible, we all want to go ahead on March 20.”

Outside of sport, worries over the ever-expanding economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis multiplied Thursday, with factories idled, trade routes frozen and tourism in trouble, while a growing list of nations braced for the illness to breach their borders.

Japan’s top soccer league, the J-League, has halted all play until March 15. That announcement came less than a week after South Korean authorities postponed the start of the K-League season, which came in the wake of the suspension of the lucrative Chinese Super League. The Korean domestic basketball season will finish with matches in empty stadiums.

Continental competition has been disrupted, with Chinese clubs excluded from the start of the competitions including the Asian Football Confederation’s Asian Champions League. Other countries in Asia have refused to allow Chinese teams to enter, or placed Chinese sports teams in quarantine.

On Thursday, the governing body for Super Rugby said a match between the Australia-based Brumbies and Japan’s Sunwolves set for Osaka on March 6 would likely be relocated. If that wasn’t possible, the teams would receive two competition points each, as they would if the match was drawn.

Other matches involving the Sunwolves, who play some of their home matches in Singapore, were likely to be affected in the the tournament that involves clubs from South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia and Japan..

The Hong Kong Sevens, the annual highlight of the rugby sevens global competition, has been pushed back to later in the year. Major events in China including the Formula One Grand Prix and the track and field world indoor championships were among the first to be postponed.

The staging of the Tokyo Olympics remain a serious threat because of the virus. On Thursday, five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ian Thorpe said Australia’s athletes should consider their long-term health before deciding to compete in Japan in July.

“I would most definitely be concerned,” said Thorpe, who still has a profile in Japan long after retiring from competitive swimming. “What we need …is to use some of the best expert disease specialists to find out what is the risk to the team. What is the risk to the other nations and how can we have an Olympic Games, one that is safe, that doesn’t put athletes at risk?”

Thorpe’s comments come a day after International Olympic Committee veteran Dick Pound warned the Tokyo Games could be canceled due to the coronavirus.

Pound told The Associated Press that any decision on whether the Olympics can proceed could be put off until late May.

“In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?’” Pound said.

If the IOC decided the Games can’t go ahead as scheduled “you’re probably looking at a cancellation”, he said.

Thorpe said “the decision should come down to each individual athlete. But whether or not they want to compete, that they should take their health into consideration first.”

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SPORT

Hard-throwing Pearson one of many talented young Blue Jays

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays already have an intriguing young lineup with Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio hoping to build off promising 2019 seasons.

A hard-throwing pitching prospect could be joining them in the big leagues soon.

Right-hander Nate Pearson had a dominant spring debut for the Blue Jays on Tuesday, striking out the side in a one-inning start. The 23-year-old was Toronto’s first-round draft pick in 2017 and had a breakout season in 2019, striking out 119 batters over 101 2/3 innings and getting promoted from Single-A to Triple-A by the end of the year.

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Pearson has the upside of a future ace and has a shot to earn a spot in the Blue Jays’ opening day rotation alongside newly acquired Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed an $80 million, four-year deal in the offseason. But even if Toronto decides he needs more experience in the minors, there’s little doubt he’s a big part of their future plans.

Other players who are off to a good start in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues:

NEW YORK YANKEES, RHP JONATHAN LOAISIGA

It’s been a rough start to the spring for the Yankees, who are already dealing with multiple injuries. Now that Luis Severino is out for the year and James Paxton will miss extended time, the starting rotation needs a few younger pitchers to emerge.

One intriguing possibility is the 25-year-old Jonathan Loaisiga. The hard-throwing right-hander has spent parts of the past two seasons in the big leagues and finished with a 2-2 record, 4.55 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings in 2019. He pitched a scoreless inning in his spring debut Sunday.

TAMPA BAY RAYS, OF RANDY AROZARENA

The speedy Arozarena was acquired by the Rays in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals during the offseason. The 24-year-old has had a great start to his spring, going 5 for 7 at the plate with a double, triple and four RBIs through Wednesday’s games and could be a versatile piece for the Rays’ offense.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, 3B ALEC BOHM

The 23-year-old Bohm was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft and he’s continuing to show why he’s a big part of the Phillies’ future, going 4 for 9 at the plate in his first four spring training games.

He was also impressive in the Arizona Fall League earlier in the offseason, batting .361 with two homers.

ATLANTA BRAVES, RHP FELIX HERNANDEZ

After a stellar 15 years in Seattle, Hernandez is trying to prove he’s still a big league-caliber pitcher with the Braves during spring training. He’s had an encouraging start, giving up just one run over 4 2/3 innings in two starts.

The six-time All-Star and 2010 Cy Young award winner is still just 33 years old. He could prove a valuable option for the Braves, especially if Cole Hamels has to miss extended time.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS, 2B/OF KETEL MARTE

The 26-year-old Marte was one of the best players in baseball last year with a breakout season that included a .329 batting average, 32 homers, 36 doubles and 92 RBIs.

He was just as dominant in his early spring at-bats, going 3 for 5 with a double, homer and three RBIs. He’ll be right in the middle of what’s expected to be a deep Diamondbacks lineup after the team acquired outfielders Kole Calhoun and Starling Marte in the offseason.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS, OF JO ADELL

Adell is still just 20 years old, so there’s a decent shot he starts the season in Triple-A. But the top prospect has been impressive in the spring’s early games, going 3 for 9 at the plate with a stolen base.

Much like Bohm, he was also good in the Arizona Fall League a few months ago, finishing with a .273 batting average, eight doubles and three homers in 24 games.

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clinton SPORT

Chase Young follows in Nick Bosa’s footsteps

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Chase Young wants to follow in fellow Ohio State star Nick Bosa’s NFL footsteps, and he probably won’t have to wait all that long to start.

The freakishly athletic defensive end who’s widely viewed as the best player coming out of college — just as Bosa was — figures to start off his pro career just as the 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year did: as the second selection in the draft behind a hot-shot, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.

Bosa helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl after he watched Arizona make Kyler Murray of Oklahoma the top overall pick in last year’s draft.

“Nick, he’s always setting the standard. That’s just motivation for me to achieve a lot of real good things,” Young said Thursday during his media session at the NFL scouting combine. “It’s definitely been a blessing to watch him grow into the player that he is. He’s definitely helped me along this passage. He hasn’t stopped. I’m just grateful to be able to see him grow.”

And to follow suit.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Young said. “I’m definitely excited to play with the big dogs and excited to show the world what I can do.”

Like Bosa 11 months ago, Young is the consensus cream of this year’s crop, an All-Pro in waiting, said NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who compares Young to Julius Peppers and Mario Williams.

“I definitely think I’m the best player in the draft,” Young declared. “I think I showed it on my tape. You can go to every game. I think I showed it. I definitely think I’ll put my best foot forward this year. I grinded hard. Two of my biggest things are my hard work and dedication and I’m going to bring those two to the NFL with me.”

Young is considered a generational talent, but Joe Burrow, who led LSU to the national title, is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in April.

That selection is owned by the Cincinnati Bengals, and Burrow said this week he wouldn’t have any qualms playing for them despite their lack of Super Bowl success.

Burrow grew up in Athens, Ohio, about 2½ hours away, and he cracked this week that he’d be able to head out for some home cooking now and again if Cincinnati indeed selects him.

Young would be even closer to his hometown if the Washington Redskins grab him at No. 2.

He was raised in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, about 10 miles from FedExField, where the Redskins play.

“Yeah, I always watch the Redskins, the hometown team,” said Young, who insisted he wasn’t a fan of the team as much as he was of certain players such as Clinton Portis or the late Sean Taylor.

“It’d mean a lot, playing in front of my hometown people, it’d definitely be a blessing,” Young said. “Everybody who has known me since I was younger could come to a game and things like that. But right now, I’m not focused on who could draft me. I’m focused on being the best player, the best person, I could be and impress the coaches at the combine.”

New Redskins coach Ron Rivera demurred this week when asked about selecting a generational talent such as Young with the second selection.

“Well, before we can do anything with the No. 2 pick, we got to see what happens with the No. 1 pick,” Rivera said. “So once that pick goes 1, we’ll go from there. But again, as I said, everything’s an option.”

Young is scheduled to meet with the Redskins on Friday, and Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the Redskins’ first-round pick out of Ohio State a year ago, definitely hopes things go so well that the ’Skins don’t even consider trading the pick.

“Yeah, me and Dwayne talk all the time. I’ve known Dwayne since high school. He definitely loves the organization and obviously wants me to come play with him,” Young said. “We’ll see how this whole thing turns out.”

Like many of the top players at their positions who don’t need to impress teams physically at the combine this week, Young isn’t going to showcase his skills during on-field drills at Lucas Oil Field with the rest of the defensive linemen Friday night.

“I chose — me and my team — we decided that because that first day of camp when I step on the field, I want to be the best player I can be. I don’t want to waste time trying to be a combine athlete,” Young said. “When I step on the field, I know, I need to know that I put my best foot forward as far as being the best player I can be.”

Young said he’ll do position drills at Ohio State’s pro day instead, but he won’t run the 40-yard dash there, either.

Bosa, who also avoided the combine workouts a year ago when he was coming off an injury, did impart some advice to Young.

“He just told me to be myself,” Young said. “That’s what I have been trying to do the whole time I’ve been here.”

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SPORT

Determining All-Decade team for 2010s no easy chore

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is embarking on a difficult assignment: determining the All-Decade team of the 2010s.

Yes, there are some slam dunks on both sides of the ball and on special teams. There also are some real tough decisions to be made.

All-Decade teams are of value in assessing credentials for potential Hall of Fame candidates. They carry with them a significantly unfair element, though. Players who arrive in the NFL in the middle of a decade and last into the middle of the next decade are at a severe disadvantage for making such squads.

Consider Curtis Martin, who was inducted in the Canton, Ohio, shrine in 2012. He played from 1995-2005, rushing for at least 1,000 yards — usually much higher — in all but one season. He didn’t make either All-Decade team, though. At least he had such overwhelming credentials that he made the hall.

On defense, look at Buffalo’s Nate Odomes, one of the best cover cornerbacks from 1987-96 before injuries short-circuited his career. Not a sniff of an All-Decade roster for Odomes.

Still, selecting such teams makes sense. Why not honor the best of a decade, especially in such a team sport? In some ways, short of making the Hall of Fame, it’s as big an honor as many offensive linemen and special teamers will ever receive.

There are a bunch of obvious choices for the team of the 2010s, of course. Tom Brady at quarterback. Adrian Peterson at running back. Joe Thomas at left tackle.

J.J. Watt on the D-line. Luke Kuechly and Von Miller as linebackers. Justin Tucker as the placekicker.

Rick Gosselin of Talk Of Fame Network, a Hall of Fame voter, makes a strong argument for the talented but disruptive Antonio Brown and the prematurely retired Calvin Johnson at wide receiver.

“Brown may have had his issues off the field but not on it,” Gosselin says. “He strung together six consecutive 100-catch seasons for the Steelers from 2013 through 2018. Brown led the league in catches twice, receiving yards twice and touchdowns once on his way to seven Pro Bowls and four All-Pro selections. As a bonus, he gave the Steelers four touchdowns on punt returns and another on a kickoff return.

“Megatron came out of Georgia Tech at 6-foot-5, 237 pounds with 4.29 speed — and played every bit to that size and speed in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. He set an NFL record with his 1,964 yards receiving in 2012 and also led the league in catches that season with 122. He strung together six consecutive years of 1,000-plus yards before retiring after the 2015 season at the age of 30. He went to the Pro Bowl all six of his seasons in the decade and was a three-time All-Pro.”

Yet others would argue for Larry Fitzgerald or Julio Jones.

“Jones made seven Pro Bowls in the decade and his average of 96.2 receiving yards per game ranks No. 1 in the history of the NFL,” says Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa and also a hall voter. “In the playoffs, Jones has been equally productive with 61 catches for 834 yards and six TDs in eight postseason games.”

Another Hall of Fame voter, Dan Pompei, chooses Rob Gronkowski as his tight end instead of Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce.

“There might not be an easier choice on the entire team,” Pompei notes. “No tight end came close to him in terms of impact. He created mismatches, he made big plays and he blocked. Oh, and he won three Super Bowls.”

John Clayton of ESPN 710 Seattle makes a case at placekicker and punter.

“On special teams, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker and Rams’ Johnny Hekker dominated the decade,” he says. “Tucker is being looked at as one of the greatest placekickers in NFL history. Hekker edged out Thomas Morstead through the decade as the game’s best punter. Plus, Hekker is athletic enough to throw a few passes and keep opponents nervous about him making a first down. Both were undrafted players from 2012.”

Pompei weighs in for Devin Hester as the punt returner: “He might have been at his peak in the previous decade, but there was no one better than him in either decade. He scored seven of his career 14 punt return touchdowns and averaged 12.1 yards per punt return in the 2010s.”

Adding to the premise that you need not be a high draft pick to be at the top of a decade, Clayton presents his choices at cornerback.

“Richard Sherman, now of the 49ers, and Chris Harris of the Broncos proved you don’t have to be a first-rounder to be on an all-decade team,” Clayton says. “Sherman should edge out Stephon Gilmore of the Patriots or Darrelle Revis as the best outside cornerback of the decade. Harris was perhaps the best slot defender. Both came into the league in 2011. Sherman was a fifth-round pick, Harris was undrafted.”

Just how difficult it is to choose an all-decade squad is magnified by who made the 2000-2009 first-team roster — and who didn’t.

Brady and his three Super Bowl rings ahead of second-teamer Peyton Manning. Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison at wide receiver over Terrell Owens and Torry Holt. Jonathan Ogden and Walter Jones ahead of Orlando Pace and Willie Roaf at tackle; all four are in the Hall of Fame.

Jason Taylor, a first-ballot inductee into the hall, on the second team behind Michael Strahan and Dwight Freeney. Troy Polamalu, who enters the hall this summer, behind Ed Reed and Brian Dawkins at safety.

It ain’t easy.

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SPORT

Former coach pleads not guilty to sexual exploitation, abuse

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A former assistant basketball coach at Stonechild College on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation has pleaded not guilty to federal charges alleging he sexually abused a girl, starting when she was 12.

Christopher Brown, 31, of Box Elder, is charged with sexual exploitation of a child, sexual abuse of a minor and transportation of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Brown was initially charged in January by a criminal complaint with sexual abuse of a minor and was fired from his coaching job. He was later indicted on the three counts, officials said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston presided over Monday’s hearing in Great Falls.

Brown is detained pending further proceedings. His public defender has declined to comment.

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SPORT

Many teams want to scrap video review for pass interference

The NFL’s video review system for pass interference calls could be scrapped after one season.

An offseason survey by the powerful competition committee, which recommends rules adjustments, shows strong opposition to the system installed last year.

The biggest complaint is that subjectivity has been added to the equation, which many owners believe has handcuffed officials. Several owners, as well as coaches, general managers and, of course, players, complained about inconsistencies in the calls. Rarely were calls on the field overturned when challenged.

The league extended video review to pass interference after the Los Angeles Rams benefited from a non-call in the NFC title game against the New Orleans Saints following the 2018 season.

The survey shows that bringing back for 2020 the video reviews on such calls (and non-calls) is opposed by 17 of 22 teams that responded to the survey. As for making the rule permanent, 21 are against and eight in favor.

The committee will have more meetings before presenting its recommendations to the full ownership in late March in Palm Beach, Florida. Three-quarters of the owners, 24 out of 32, are required to pass any rules.

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SPORT

Tagovailoa looking forward to going full speed in March

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa climbed up a couple stairs, then walked to the podium without a hitch Tuesday.

It was a promising start to a critical week.

Eventually, the former Alabama quarterback revealed what NFL scouts eagerly awaited: He should be cleared to resume all football activities March 9 and will hold his pro day workout April 9 — exactly two weeks before the NFL draft.

“It’s been a process,” Tagovailoa said. “We went to the hospital for medical checks yesterday at 10 in the morning and I was the last person to leave. I got back about 7:49 last night, so right in time for the informal and formal (team) interviews.”

It’s been a grueling process ever since the man with the multi-million dollar arm injured his hip Nov. 15. Two days later, he had season-ending surgery.

Tagovailoa spent the next three months working his way back, rehearsing answers to all those nagging questions he expected at the league’s annual scouting combine.

Here, in Indianapolis, the 6-foot, 217-pound college star is one of roughly 300 draft prospects getting poked and prodded, measured and tested this week.

But the continual queries about his health are a stark reminder how tough the comeback journey has been.

“I think the lowest point was just at that moment when I got hurt,” he said. “I didn’t feel bad for myself when I was on the helicopter going to Birmingham, when I was in the hospital. The lowest point was when I got hurt.”

No, he’s not quite 100% yet, though it is clear Tagovailoa feels a lot more like himself these days.

Inside the interview room, he stood behind the microphone, smiling repeatedly as he fielded reporters’ questions for nearly 30 minutes.

At times, he sounded like a polished pro, even brushing aside a question about how uncomfortable he felt talking about himself.

He explained that he’d been throwing a little, nothing crazy, and that he’s been training with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer and former NFL head coach and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to prepare for this week.

“I think the quarterback position is the hardest position to play in any sport,” Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said. “There are a hundred things you can point to, but the traits I think you need are leadership, accuracy and pocket awareness. They need to be a leader of men and when you get in the huddle you have to be an alpha male.”

There seems to be little doubt Tagavoila possesses those characteristics.

He’s been on the radar of NFL scouts since replacing Jalen Hurts in January 2018 and rallying Alabama to a victory over Georgia in the national championship game. He won the starting job that fall, beating out Hurts, then led Alabama back to another title game before losing to Clemson.

His 2018 honors read like a cheat sheet to a college football awards show: Heisman Trophy runner-up; Maxwell Award and Walter Camp player of the year recipient; SEC offensive player of the year; and consensus All-American while setting single-season school records for yards passing (3,966) and TD passes (43).

Tagovailoa was playing well again this season, too, until spraining his right ankle in mid-October. That injury forced him to miss one game but he returned against LSU and then suffered a dislocated and fractured hip in mid-November. Yet he still led the FBS with an efficiency rating of 206.93

Injuries have been a problem during his career The left-handed quarterback had surgery for a broken index finger on his throwing hand, played through a sprained knee, an injured left quad, a sprained left ankle that led to surgery, and a sprained right ankle that also led to surgery.

“Mentally it’s been a grind, but it’s not something that’s new to me,” he said. “I’ve dealt with a hand injury, my left ankle, my right ankle. So I sort of knew what to expect going through this process, but it’s definitely been a grind.”

And if Tagovailoa proves he’s healthy by draft day, he could be a top-five pick in Las Vegas and an instant millionaire.

He knows it. His family knows it. The scouts know it.

“I’m hoping to do everything. I don’t think there’s much to wait on,” Tagovailoa said. “Once March 9 hits, (I hope to be cleared) to go out there, run, drop back, work on a lot of those things again.”

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Tokyo organizers, IOC going ahead as planned with Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — A spokesman for the Japanese government on Wednesday said the International Olympic Committee and local organizers are going as planned with the Tokyo Olympics despite the threat of the spreading coronavirus.

The comments from spokesman Yoshihide Suga follow the assertion by IOC veteran member Richard Pound that organizers face a three-month window to decide the fate of the games.

The Olympics are set to open on July 24 with 11,000 athletes. The Paralympics open Aug. 25 with 4,400.

Pound told the Associated Press that the fast-spreading virus could cancel the Olympics. Suga says Pound’s opinion does not reflect the official view of the IOC, which has repeatedly said there are no plans to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Games.

The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700 globally. China has reported 2,715 deaths among 78,064 cases on the mainland. Five deaths in Japan have been attributed to the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.

“With regard to this member’s comment, the IOC has responded that this is not their official position, and that the IOC is proceeding with preparations toward the games as scheduled,” Suga said, speaking in Japanese at his daily news conference.

Pound is a former IOC vice-president and a member since 1978, and was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He also represented Canada as a swimmer at the Olympics.

In a telephone interview from Montreal, Pound said the IOC has a three-month window to decide, and suggested other options like moving events of postponing seemed less likely.

“In and around that time,” he said, “I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or now?’”

If the IOC decides the games cannot go forward as scheduled in Tokyo, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation,” said Pound, who repeated the IOC’s stance that as of now the games are on.

The three-month window also goes for sponsors and television broadcasters who need to firm up planning. Not to mention travelers, athletes and fans with 7.8 million tickets available for the Olympics and 2.3 million for the Paralympics.

As the games draw near, Pound said, “a lot of things have to start happening You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in their building their studios.”

The threat of the virus seems to be growing.

At a government task force meeting Wednesday on the virus outbreak, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he was asking organizers to cancel or postpone major sports or cultural events over the next two weeks.

“The next one to two weeks is extremely important for the prevention of the escalation of the infection,” Abe said. “We ask organizers to cancel, postpone or scale down the size of such events.”

He did not name specific events but said he was speaking about nationwide events that attract large crowds.

Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto, speaking in parliament, said “we believe it is necessary to make a worst case scenario in order to improve our operation to achieve success.” She added plans were being made “so that we can safely hold the Tokyo Olympics.”

Also Wednesday, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that that Colombian Olympic Committee has decided not to participate in pre-Olympic training camps in southern Japan.