TRUMP & SPORTS

WASHINGTON (AP) Taking on the NFL and football’s Super Bowl champs,
President Donald Trump gave the boot to a White House ceremony for
the Philadelphia Eagles and instead threw his own brief
”Celebration of America” after it became clear most players
weren’t going to show up.

Both sides traded hot accusations about who was to blame.

Trump tried to turn the fracas into a referendum on patriotism and
tie it to the dispute over players who have taken a knee during the
national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. However,
Eagles players never knelt during the ”Star-Spangled Banner,”
throughout the 2017 season and their march to the Super Bowl.

The White House accused Eagles team members of pulling a
”political stunt” and abandoning their fans by backing out at the
last minute. Indeed, few apparently were going to come, though some
expressed disappointment that they’d been disinvited and complained
Trump was unfairly painting them as anti-American.

CLEVELAND (AP) – Stephen Curry and LeBron James spoke their minds
last year. They have not changed their minds this year.

No matter whose team wins the NBA championship, neither superstar
will be at the White House anytime soon.

On the day when the Philadelphia Eagles were supposed to be there
to commemorate winning the Super Bowl – a visit that was canceled
by President Donald Trump – Curry and James were among those
speaking out at the NBA Finals in support of the Eagles.

GYMNASTICS

WASHINGTON (AP) – The former president of USA Gymnastics refused to
answer questions from a Senate subcommittee about how he handled
allegations of sexual abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar, and
another former executive sat next to him and asserted that her
former boss instructed her and others to keep quiet about athletes’
claims.

Rhonda Faehn, the former senior vice president of USA Gymnastics,
said she first reported an allegation against Nassar to Steve
Penny, her then-boss, on June 17, 2015. Nassar was not arrested
until more than a year later. He is now serving decades in prison
for sexual assault and possession of child pornography, and
hundreds of athletes have said they were abused by him, including
Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles.

The revelations about Nassar’s conduct over two decades and the way
it was handled by Penny and others have led Congress to call for
drastic reforms of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and
other sports’ governing bodies.

Faehn said Penny warned her and others not to discuss the
allegations against Nassar and that she wrongly assumed he had
taken the allegations to law enforcement.

NHL

NEW YORK (AP) – Lou Lamoriello moved quickly to shake up the New
York Islanders by firing coach Doug Weight and general manager
Garth Snow and naming himself the team’s new GM just two weeks
after taking over as president of hockey operations.

Lamoriello made the moves that begin to reshape the organization in
his image, two weeks to the day ownership said he’d have ”full
authority over all hockey matters.” Lamoriello left the Toronto
Maple Leafs to run the Islanders and will begin the search for a
new coach immediately.

The end of Snow’s tenure seemed inevitable after owners Jon Ledecky
and Scott Malkin brought in Lamoriello to oversee the hockey
operations department. The Islanders missed the playoffs eight
times in Snow’s 12 years as general manager, including the past two
seasons.

Weight, who took over for the fired Jack Capuano in January 2017,
just finished his first full season as head coach.

HORSE RACING

NEW YORK (AP) – Something Bob Baffert always dreads has come true
ahead of the Belmont Stakes: Justify drew the No. 1 post for the
colt’s bid to sweep the Triple Crown.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was made the early 4-5
favorite in the 10-horse field for Saturday’s race.

Baffert is not a fan of the inside post for his horses, no matter
what the race.

History, however, may be on Justify’s side. Since 1905, a leading
23 horses have won from the No. 1 post. The last to win from there
was Empire Maker in 2003 when he spoiled Funny Cide’s Triple Crown
bid.

Justify won the first two legs of the series from the No. 7 post.
He ran on sloppy tracks both times and the forecast for Saturday
calls for a 60 percent chance of rain.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Pitcher Meghan King settled down after a rough
start to complete a record-setting Women’s College World Series,
and Florida State beat Washington 8-3 to claim its first national
title.

The Seminoles (58-12) won the best-of-three championship series
2-0. They lost their opener before winning six straight to become
just the third team to come through the losers’ bracket and take
the title.

King broke a World Series record for lowest ERA among pitchers who
threw at least 10 innings with a mark of 0.20. She earned four wins
and a save in Oklahoma City while allowing just one earned run in
34 1/3 innings.

King was on such a run that Florida State’s ace throughout the
season, Kylee Hanson, never had to pitch in the championship series.

Florida State’s Jessie Warren, who hit .520 in the World Series,
was named most outstanding player. She went 3 for 4 with a homer on
Tuesday.

TENNIS

PARIS (AP) – Novak Djokovic’s neck was bothering him. Then his
right leg was.

The way he faltered at the most crucial of moments in the French
Open quarterfinals might have hurt him the most against an opponent
who never won a Grand Slam match until last week and once was
handed a match-fixing suspension later overturned on appeal.

At the site of his 12th and most recent major title, which came two
years ago, Djokovic was stunned by 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of
Italy 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11) in a rollicking match filled with
long points and plenty of drama.

Next up for Cecchinato is No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, who
made it to his third consecutive French Open semifinal by beating
No. 2 Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.

In the women’s quarterfinals, No. 10 Sloane Stephens beat No. 14
Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-3, 6-1, and No. 13 Madison Keys
eliminated unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Stephens beat Keys in the U.S. Open final last September, and their
rematch on Thursday will be the first all-American women’s
semifinal at the French Open since Serena Williams defeated
Jennifer Capriati in 2002.