Other Sports

Sports briefs: Jan. 9

Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before a basketball exhibition in Pyongyang on Wednesday. Rodman organized the event.
Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before a basketball exhibition in Pyongyang on Wednesday. Rodman organized the event. AP


Manziel enters NFL draft

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel announced Wednesday that he will enter the 2014 NFL Draft, leaving behind a record-setting college career capped by his selection as the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy during the 2012 season.

Manziel, 21, leaves A&M as the school's career leader in total offense (9,989 yards) and completion percentage (69.0) while compiling a 20-6 record in two seasons as the Aggies' starting quarterback. He threw 37 touchdown passes, 5,116 yards and passed for more than 500 yards in five games.

Despite his undersized frame (6-foot, 200 pounds), Manziel is projected to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, perhaps a top-five selection. His quickness and improvisation skills have set him apart. The redshirt sophomore announced his decision by releasing a letter to A&M fans through the TexAgs.com website.

 Jay Gruden has interviewed for the Washington Redskins' coaching job and the Browns have interviewed Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, a surprise candidate for their opening.

Broncos linebacker Von Miller is set to have surgery to repair his torn right ACL on Thursday. Rehab is expected to take six to nine months, so he could miss the start of the training camp. Miller's right knee buckled when he was blocked cleanly by Texans tight end Ryan Griffin in Denver's 37-13 win at Houston on Dec. 22.

The father of Ohio State's sack leader Noah Spence said his son unknowingly ingested the drug ecstasy and that the Big Ten unjustly suspended the sophomore defensive end for the Orange Bowl loss and the first two games of the 2014 season. Greg Spence, said that someone apparently slipped the drug into a drink without his son knowing it the week before the Big Ten title game on Dec. 7.

Ohio State backed the Spences' appeal. Greg Spence said the Big Ten initially wanted to suspend his son for a season but then determined Ecstasy is not a performance-enhancing drug but rather a stimulant. The Big Ten denied an appeal to drop the suspension.

High school basketball

Henry Clay boys rout Sayre

Henry Clay roared off to a 26-7 lead in the first quarter and went on to rout Sayre 90-59. Jordan Green led the 12th ranked Blue Devils with 18 points and Jeremiah Tisdale had 14. The winners forced 21 turnovers, resulting in 34 point and outrebounded Sayre 38-18.

Berea's girls evened their record at 6-6 by beating Sayre 39-35, despite a game-high 13 points from Sayre's Molly Manella.


Knick guard fined for untying foe's shoe

The NBA gave J.R. Smith a warning — and then a $50,000 fine when he ignored it. The league penalized the New York Knicks guard again Wednesday, this time for "recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct" after he tried to untie an opponent's sneaker for a second time in two games.

Smith untied Maverick Shawn Marion's shoe while they were standing next to each other during a-free throw attempt at Dallas on Sunday and was warned by the league office not to do it again. But he did the same thing to Detroit's Greg Monroe on Tuesday.

James Harden tied a season high with 38 points and Dwight Howard added 20 points and 13 rebounds to propel host Houston s to a 113-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.


Messi scores two goals in return

Superstar Lionel Messi marked his return after missing about two months with an injury by coming off the bench to score two late goals as Barcelona beat Getafe 4-0. Cesc Fabregas also scored twice but the atmosphere only picked up with Messi's entrance as a substitute in the 64th minute. The Argentina forward showed no after-effects from a torn left hamstring.

 Thomas Hitzlsperger, a former World Cup player from Germany, came out as gay, rebuking the Russian anti-gay law that threatens to tarnish next month's Sochi Olympics and challenging the longstanding stigma against homosexuality in the sport. He is he biggest name in soccer to declare he is gay and said he wants to help break down the prejudice against homosexuality that has long permeated the macho culture of the world's most popular sport.

Horse Racing

Groupie Doll will race once more

One day after arriving from a brief vacation in Ocala, champion sprinter Groupie Doll galloped at Gulfstream Park Wednesday morning in preparation for the final start of her brilliant career. She will breeze a half mile Saturday.

The 6-year-old, purchased by Mandy Pope for $3.1 million at the Keeneland November Sale, is expected to win her second straight Eclipse Award as top female sprinter f after winning her second Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last fall. Groupie Doll will run one more time in either the Grade III Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream on Feb. 9 or the Grade II Santa Monica at Santa Anita on Jan. 25.


LPGA starting points race for $1 million

The LPGA Tour is going to a points race this year, offering $1 million to the winner of the new "Race to the CME Globe."

The women will earn points for 31 events going into the CME Group Tour Championship. The points will be reset giving weight to whoever had the best year. Only the top nine from the 72-player field at the Tour Championship would have a mathematical chance to win the $1 million bonus.

French police officials said that speed was "not an important element" of their investigation into the Dec. 29 skiing accident in which Michael Schumacher, the most successful driver in the history of grand prix racing, sustained serious head injuries. There had been speculation that Schumacher was skiing too fast, but, a prosecutor said the video appeared to show "completely normal behavior by a good skier on this terrain."

The last word

ESPN host Dan Le Batard acknowledged Wednesday he gave his baseball Hall of Fame ballot to the website Deadspin because he detests the "hypocrisy" in the voting process. Deadspin had offered to pay a voter for a ballot, but Le Batard said he insisted there wouldn't be compensation. He told Deadspin:

"Our flawed voting process needs remodeling in a new media world. Besides, every year the power is abused the way I'm going to be alleged to abuse it here. And my final reason: I always like a little anarchy inside the cathedral we've made of sports."