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Sports Brief 8-12-2022

Brittany Griner

WNBA star Brittany Griner was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Griner was found guilty of drug possession and smuggling after being arrested on Feb. 17 for bringing cannabis into the country. 

President Joe Biden released a statement upon Griner’s sentence. 

“Today, American citizen Brittany Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittany,” Biden said. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, family and teammates.”

Both Russia and the United States have confirmed negotiations are underway for a possible prisoner exchange. 

Bill Russell

On Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, the NBA announced Bill Russell’s No. 6 would be retired league wide after passing away on July 31 at age 88. Russell was an 11-time NBA champion and five time league MVP for the Boston Celtics. 

Russell joins Jackie Robinson for the MLB and Wayne Gretzky for the NHL as the only players to have their numbers retired by an entire league.

MLB trade deadline

The MLB trade deadline passed on Aug. 2 at 5 p.m., with some marquee moves changing the landscape of the league. 

23 year-old all-star Juan Soto was traded from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres. The Padres gave up top prospects Mackenzie Gore, Robert Hassell III, C.J. Abrams, James Wood and Jarlin Susana for Soto and first baseman Josh Bell. 

In addition, the Padres acquired reliever Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The Baltimore Orioles said goodbye to longtime first basemen Trey Mancini, trading him to the Houston Astros in a three team deal including the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros sent pitcher Jose Siri to the Rays, who sent two young pitching prospects to the Orioles.

A full ranking of all the moves during the 2022 trade deadline can be found here.   

Desahun Watson

Former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, now with the Cleveland Browns, was suspended six games by Sue Robinson. Robinson was the NFL’s appointed judge on the case where 24 women accused Watson  of sexual assault during his tenure with the Houston Texans. All 24 cases settled outside of court.       

The NFL has decided to appeal Robinson’s decision, looking to extend the suspension for at least a few games or up to a full season. League Commissioner, Roger Goodell, called the allegations against Watson predatory behavior and he said the NFL is looking to lengthen the suspension. 

“She (Robinson) was very clear about the evidence,” Goodell said. “There were multiple violations here, they were egregious and it was predatory behavior.”

Cale Gundy 

University of Oklahoma assistant football coach Cale Gundy resigned in light of an investigation inquiring about the use of  a racial slur in a team meeting. Gundy described the incident as inadvertently reading the word aloud off a player’s iPad. 

Head coach, Brent Venables, released a statement regarding the issue.

“Coach Gundy resigned from the program because he knows what he did was wrong,” Venables said. “He chose to read aloud to his players not once, but multiple times, a racially charged word that is objectionable to everyone and does not reflect the attitude and values of our university or our football program.” 

Gundy was the Big 12’s longest tenured coach with 23 years at the Oklahoma program and his brother being the Oklahoma State head coach, Mike Gundy. 

NFL training camp

NFL training camp for the 2022 season has officially begun with pre-season games kicking off on Thursday, Aug. 11.

The 2022 regular season starts September 8 with defending Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams, hosting the Buffalo Bills.

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