NFL, U.S. Open will be on high alert for 9-11 anniversary
From bomb-sniffing dogs to pat-downs of fans, security will be tight at 13 NFL games and the U.S. Open tennis tournament on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
The two men in charge of safety at those events say any extra efforts, coordinated with the FBI and local police, are not so much a result of Sunday happening to be Sept. 11 — but rather because of what happened on that date in 2001, and the changes made in the aftermath to protect people at various sports sites.
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"From our perspective, while the 10-year anniversary does fall on our first weekend — and we're sensitive to that — if it didn't, we would still be sensitive, because we've been doing this since 9-11 of '01," Jeffrey Miller, the NFL's chief security officer, said in an interview. "Right after that happened, we put these things into place."
Both Miller and Michael Rodriguez, the U.S. Open's director of security, said they are in regular contact with the Department of Homeland Security and, as of Wednesday morning, had not been informed of any specific, credible threats to their arenas.
Whether at NFL games or U.S. Open matches — or at any of the dozens of college football and Major League Baseball games on the schedule — sports are one of the main ways Americans will be together in large numbers on the anniversary weekend. Nearly 65,000 spectators attend each NFL game, on average; the U.S. Open's main stadium holds about 23,000.
Gasols lead Spain over Dirk, Germany
The Gasol brothers got the better of Dirk Nowitzki, leaving Germany on the brink of elimination at the European basketball championship. Marc Gasol scored 24 points and Pau had 19 — all in the second half — to lead defending champion Spain past Germany 77-68 Wednesday in the second-round group stage of the tournament. Led by 20 points from Tony Parker, France also moved closer to the quarterfinals by beating Turkey 68-64. Host Lithuania used strong shooting to defeat Serbia 100-90.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Olympian Hamm charged with assault
Olympic gymnastics champion Paul Hamm has been accused of hitting and kicking an Ohio taxi driver, damaging a cab window and refusing to pay a $23 fare. He's charged with assault and two other misdemeanors. Court records show the 28-year-old Hamm, an assistant gymnastics coach at Ohio State, was charged Saturday in suburban Columbus and is free on bond awaiting a Sept. 15 arraignment. WBNS-TV in Columbus reports Hamm can be heard on an Upper Arlington police video telling an officer he'd had about eight drinks. As he sits in the back of a cruiser handcuffed, he says, "I don't understand. I'm gonna kill you guys."
Judge rejects Lewis' state Senate bid
Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis won't be listed on the November ballot as a New Jersey state Senate candidate, a federal judge has ruled. The judge affirmed Wednesday that Lewis' constitutional rights will not be violated if he is prohibited from running for office as a Democrat. New Jersey's top elections official, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, a Republican, previously said Lewis was ineligible to run because he doesn't meet the state's four-year residency requirement, setting off a months-long fight in federal and state courts.
Crosby: 'Slight chance' career is over
Sidney Crosby remains confident he'll play hockey again. When remains a mystery. The Pittsburgh Penguins star said Wednesday he's continuing to recover from concussion-like symptoms that have sidelined him since last January, adding it's "likely" he'll return to play this season. Yet the 24-year-old former MVP remains adamant he won't don his familiar No. 87 jersey until he's back at full strength. "Maybe I can get by with 90 percent, maybe I couldn't but I'm not going to roll the dice with that," he said.
Flanked by Pittsburgh General Manager Ray Shero and the two doctors who have carefully monitored his progress after he sustained blows to the head in consecutive games nine months ago, Crosby shot down speculation he's considering retirement. While acknowledging there's a "slight chance" he may never play again, Crosby quickly added "I wouldn't bet on that."
Davis named swimming, diving assistant
Ben Davis was named an assistant coach for the UK swimming and diving team, Coach Gary Conelly announced Wednesday. Davis, who graduated from Alabama in 1982, has coached two Olympians and several U.S. national team members qualifiers. He most recently served as the coach and director of Wildcat Aquatics, a private swimming club in Lexington.
Appalachian State coach found dead
Appalachian State men's soccer coach Shaun Pendleton was found dead in his Boone, N.C., home on Tuesday. He was 49. Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman said foul play is not suspected. Athletic director Charlie Cobb says the "entire Appalachian family is stunned and saddened" by Pendleton's death. Pendleton was 27-26-4 in his fourth season with the Mountaineers.
The last word
Detroit ace Justin Verlander greeted Victor Martinez after his grand slam helped the Tigers beat the Indians 8-6 on Wednesday:
"He looked at me, and I slapped him in the face a couple of times. Sometimes before games, he gets fired up, gives me that look and sticks his cheek out. I give it a nice firm slap. The first time I slapped him, it wasn't hard enough for him."