Johnson says accusations that he let Earnhardt win 'ridiculous'
More than 48 hours after Sunday's race at Talladega, Ala., Jimmie Johnson continued to find himself trying to convince some fans that he didn't spend most of Sunday helping Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. win.
"It's the most ridiculous thing, ever," said Johnson, of the accusations that he didn't try to win the race himself. Johnson has been hounded by questions from fans, particularly on social media, in part because of how the final 20 laps of the race were run mostly single-file.
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"If I didn't win, absolutely I'd want it to be the Nos. 88, 24 or 4," Johnson said of his teammates Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne. "On that side, I'm stoked for him. But I was doing everything in my power to set up a pass for the win."
The problem, Johnson said, was the excellent strategy employed by Earnhardt in the final laps to run the high-line around the track.
"He did a great job. If enough cars had gone to the bottom, the bottom is a lot faster, but you can't do it alone and everybody was afraid to be the first to pull out of line."
Johnson's own experience in similar situations left him satisfied to run second and hope for an opportunity on the final lap.
"I've pulled out (of line) running second running down the back straightaway and I've finished 15th every time, or worse, so I decided to be patient," he said.
Some fans have even theorized Johnson was paying back Earnhardt for some help Earnhardt provided in Johnson's April 2011 win at Talladega.
"If that makes them happy, that's cool," he said tongue-in-cheek. "I'm kind of afraid to have them on my side because they've hated me forever.
"I'm not sure I want all this."
Class-action lawsuit filed against Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao and his handlers have been hit with a lawsuit asking for damages for anyone who paid to watch his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. because he failed to disclose his shoulder was injured. The suit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Las Vegas on behalf of two plaintiffs, identified as Staphane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran.
It alleges that the two were defrauded after paying to watch the fight, and seeks class action status on behalf of anyone who bought tickets, pay-per-view or bet on the fight.
The suit comes as Nevada boxing regulators are looking into possible disciplinary action against Pacquiao for failing to disclose the injury suffered in training for the fight. Pacquiao, who would go on to lose a unanimous decision, is expected to undergo surgery this week for a rotator cuff tear.
In particular, members of the Nevada Athletic Commission want to know why Pacquiao checked "no" when filling out a state form the day before the fight that asked whether he had a shoulder injury.
"Our job is to protect the health and safety of fighters and the integrity of the sport," commission chairman Francisco Aguilar said. "We expect our fighters to be forthright."
Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, said earlier the injury suffered four weeks before the fight appeared to have sufficiently healed, but Pacquiao's handlers still unsuccessfully sought to get a pain-killing shot in the shoulder in the dressing room before the fight.
Pacquiao said he reinjured the shoulder in the fourth round when he landed his best punches of the night.
Meanwhile, Mayweather said in a text to ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith that he would welcome a rematch with Pacquiao.
"I will fight him in a year after his surgery," the text read.
GolfWoods: Timing of breakup with Vonn 'brutal'
Tiger Woods felt rusty and tired Tuesday at The Players Championship — rust because he has played one tournament in three months, fatigue because of his personal life.
He said only part of that was breaking up with Lindsey Vonn.
Woods and the Olympic ski champion jointly announced on Sunday they were splitting up after more than two years because of their hectic schedules as athletes.
"Obviously, it does affect me," Woods said after a nine-hole practice round at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. "It's tough. There's no doubt. I'm not going to lie about that. And on top of that, this time of the year is really, really hard on me."
Sunday was the anniversary of his father's death. Tuesday was nine years to the day that a memorial service for Earl Woods was held at the Tiger Woods Learning Center.
"I haven't slept," he said. "These three days, May 3rd and through the 5th, today, is just brutal on me. And then with obviously what happened on Sunday, it just adds to it."
Bat Cats hosting fourth-ranked Cardinals
Kentucky's baseball team will conclude the toughest eight-game stretch in program history on Wednesday, playing host to Louisville starting at 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Every game in that span will have been against a top-10 team with UK going 3-4. The Cardinals are ranked fourth by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
■ Three Eastern Kentucky softball players earned Ohio Valley Conference honors. Senior first baseman Katie Tackett was named to the All-OVC first team, while freshmen Sarah Jackson and Paige Murphy (Pleasure Ridge Park) were named to the OVC all-newcomer team.
■ Transylvania junior Robert Albrecht, a former Lexington Christian standout, was named to the All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's first team for men's tennis. Junior Seth Gannon (Henry Clay) earned a spot on the All-Sportsmanship team.
■ Mississippi agreed to a contract extension with men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy that will keep him at the school until 2019. The school said the four-year deal includes a base salary of $1.925 million per season, as well as possible performance incentives.
■ The Kansas City Chiefs waived former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who had been signed in the offseason and was trying to earn a backup job. The Chiefs did not choose a quarterback in last week's draft, but they already have Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray on the roster.
■ Patrick Kane scored in the first period for Chicago, and Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks made the superstar's goal stand up for a 1-0 at Minnesota. Chicago took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. Kane has six goals and five assists in nine playoff games. Crawford made 30 saves, giving him 90 on 94 shots in the three games.
The last word
PGA Tour golfer Justin Thomas, a former St. Xavier standout who is competing in the The Players Championship this weekend in at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was participating in the Junior Players Championship there when he took a 10 on the island green 17th hole. His first two shots did not go in the water. He was never in a bunker. How did that happen?
Thomas hit his first shot over the green and onto the walkway. He stubbed his chip and it came back to where he was. His chipped again through the green and into the water. He took a penalty shot and dropped it in the previous spot and chipped that one through the green and into the water. This time, he went to the drop area, hit the green and, for good measure, three-putted.
"I went from a tie for sixth ... to not a tie for sixth."