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New video shows altercation between Raptors president Masai Ujiri and security guard – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
The Toronto Raptors issued a statement on Tuesday saying a recently released video proves team president Masai Ujiri wasn’t the “aggressor” in an encounter with a law enforcement officer at Oracle Arena last June.

Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland, a law enforcement officer in California, is suing Ujiri over a scuffle following the team’s NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

Strickland claims in a federal lawsuit filed in February that he stopped Ujiri from going on the court to celebrate with his team because he didn’t provide the proper credential, leading to a shoving match that was partially captured on video.

Strickland alleged Ujiri hit him “in the face and chest with both fists,” tried to go around the deputy and repeatedly ignored orders to stop.

Tuesday’s footage appears to show Strickland using his arm to stop Ujiri from getting to the court. As Ujiri tries to walk by, Strickland shoves Ujiri before the two appear to exchange words. Strickland then shoves Ujiri again, the video shows. This leads to Ujiri pushing Strickland back, it shows.

“We are mindful this remains before the courts, but we have always maintained that the claims made against Masai are baseless and entirely without merit. We believe this video evidence shows exactly that — Masai was not an aggressor, but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions,” said the team statement.

“The events of that evening cast a pall over what should have been a night of celebration, and the year since. While Masai has the full backing of Raptors and MLSE as he fights this injustice, we are aware that not all people have similar support and resources. This is a spurious legal action that MLSE, the NBA, and especially Masai should not be facing.”

KTVU Fox in Oakland, Cal., was first to release video of the altercation.

The Raptors had just won their first title on June 13.

Strickland’s lawsuit alleged that NBA officials had told security personnel someone had recently gained access to the basketball court with fake credentials and that they “did not want this security breach to occur again.”

The lawsuit claims Strickland suffered “physical, mental, emotional, and economic injuries,” including lost wages, lost opportunity for financial gain and future earning capacity. It also cited past and future medical care and expenses and names his wife as a plaintiff. The suit seeks US$75,000 in damages.

Strickland reported suffering a concussion and an injury to his jaw that forced him to miss work, his attorney said at the time. He was on medical leave since the scuffle at the time of filing.

In October, prosecutors decided not to file charges against Ujiri after he attended a meeting with sheriff’s and district attorney officials.

At the time, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said the parties “focused on matters that we believe merited constructive, structured mediation and conflict resolution and were better handled in a setting outside of the courtroom.”

With filed from The Associated Press.

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NFL postpones Titans-Steelers game due to COVID-19 outbreak – Sportsnet.ca

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NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans have at least one more day to see if the team’s coronavirus outbreak is under control before their game with the Steelers is rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday.

Only one new positive test result came back Wednesday, a day after the Titans had three players and five team personnel test positive for COVID-19. More daily test results are upcoming.

The league announced the postponement from Sunday afternoon on Wednesday.

The Titans hope to be allowed back inside their facility Saturday, though coach Mike Vrabel said that could happen before then or later. The Titans now are preparing to play as early as Monday. Vrabel said he’s confident the NFL will allow them some time to practice before the game.

“We’ve worked on short weeks before,” Vrabel said. “We’ve played three games in 13 days. I’m sure the other teams that we played before had a few extra days of practice. And so it’ll be important that the time that we do get to spend practicing, we take advantage of it.”

Outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen was the first to test positive, with the Titans learning Saturday of his results. He didn’t make the trip to Minnesota, where Tennessee won 31-30. On Tuesday, the Titans placed three players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including key players defensive captain and lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley.

Vrabel is not identifying the five personnel who also tested positive, saying only that he was not among that group. The Titans coach said some of those who tested positive are experiencing “flu-like symptoms” and anticipate they will feel better shortly.

The league’s infectious disease experts have been helping the Titans and the Vikings track down anyone in contact with those who tested positive. The Vikings had no positive test results Wednesday and were preparing to reopen their building Thursday with a game Sunday at Houston.

The Titans also have evaluated all of the protocols and how they’ve handled meetings and social distancing. Vrabel said he and general manager Jon Robinson already had taken steps Monday to severely limit who had access to the team’s headquarters this week before the NFL decision to close the building.

“We want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make the players safe and that this doesn’t happen again,” Vrabel said.

Now the Titans must prepare virtually until they can hit the practice field for a game against the Steelers pitting two of the NFL’s seven undefeated teams.

Vrabel said they held a team meeting virtually Wednesday morning and he showed the Titans video of Pittsburgh. Players had meetings with their position coaches — all through video conference calls.

With only a practice and a walk-through possible before kickoff, the Titans will be preparing virtually for the Steelers to make sure they’re all on the same page. Pittsburgh has a league-high 15 sacks, so paying attention and talking on those Zoom calls will be crucial.

Players with injuries still can receive treatment at the Titans’ facility, with visits to the training room staggered. Other Titans are home hoping no more positive results turn up and that they themselves don’t test positive even as they attempt to keep their family members safe.

Safety Kevin Byard said more positives remain a possibility with the virus sometimes showing up days after exposure. In the meantime, it’s up to individual players being professionals and finding a way to make up for missed practices.

“If it’s getting on a Peloton bike, just going around your neighbourhood, jogging around to making sure that you continue to try to get your blood going, get your blood flowing, do a little bit conditioning on your own, to make sure that when you actually get out there your muscles aren’t just super tight,” Byard said.

The Titans are working to bring in a new long snapper, a crucial position for a team that has won all three games inside the final two minutes on a field goal. That player will have to go through the NFL’s testing protocol first. Replacing Jones also won’t be easy, but defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is off to a strong start.

For the Steelers, the only change is the schedule pushes back a day or two. They host the Eagles on Oct. 11 while the Titans are scheduled to host Buffalo.

“We’re going to trust the medical experts,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “If they deem it safe for us to proceed, we’re going to go down there with the intention of playing and playing to win.”

Cleveland Browns centre JC Tretter, the president of the players’ union, said the outbreak was a reminder that everyone must be more vigilant despite low testing numbers across the league.

“It’s easy to fall into a sense of ease or relax on some of the protocols,” he said Wednesday. “But the protocols are what’s keeping us going, making sure that we’re making the right decisions. ? We have been going really smoothly for a long time and now there was some expectation that this was eventually going to happen. It’s tough to keep the virus completely out.”

And the Titans are the NFL’s first team tasked with finding a way to adapt and play through the league’s first COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s not ideal, but we have to find a way,” quarterbak Ryan Tannehill said. “We have to be able to overcome adversity. It’s just a different type of adversity. We’ve done it throughout this season so far a few weeks in and showed our mental strength that we can find a way to win games, and this is just another challenge along that road.”

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Serena Williams pulls out of French Open with injury – Al Jazeera English

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US tennis star’s bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title cut short in Paris with an injured Achilles’ heel.

US tennis star Serena Williams’s search for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title will extend into another year after an Achilles tendon injury forced her to withdraw from the French Open on Wednesday.

The American, who turned 39 this week, had been due to play Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round in Paris later, but after warming up for the match decided the injury was too severe to continue.

Ninth-ranked Williams, a three-time former champion at Roland Garros, said she may not play again this year.

“I warmed up and it was a very short warm-up and then I spoke to my coach and said ‘what do you think?’” she said.

“I was struggling to walk so that’s a telltale sign that I should try to recover.”

Williams had suffered the problem during her semi-final loss to Victoria Azarenka at the US Open earlier this month and said ahead of her French Open campaign she was not at 100 percent physically but had recovered sufficiently to play.

This is Williams’s earliest exit at any Grand Slam tournament since a second-round loss in Paris in 2014.

Her last major title came at the 2017 Australian Open before going on to give birth to her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia.

Since resuming her career in 2018 after a maternity break, Williams has remained tantalisingly close to equalling Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, losing in four major finals.

“I love playing tennis. I love competing,” she said on Wednesday. “It’s my job and I’m pretty good at it still… I’m so close to some things and I feel like I’m almost there… that’s what keeps me going.

“My body is actually doing really well.”

The French Open, which is usually held in May in Paris, was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament has been scaled back to allow just 1,000 daily spectators.

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Eugenie Bouchard books spot in 3rd round at French Open – CBC.ca

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Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is heading to the third round of the French Open.

Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., beat Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.

It will mark Bouchard’s first appearance in the third round of a Grand Slam since the world’s 168th-ranked player won two matches at the 2017 Australian Open.

A former world No. 5 after reaching the Wimbledon final in 2014, Bouchard’s ranking has tumbled in recent years. But she’s made some strides in recent months, reaching the final of an event in Istanbul before being awarded a wild-card into the French Open.

WATCH | Bouchard wins in 2nd round of French Open:

Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., defeats Daria Gavrilova 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 and advances to the 3rd round of Grand Slam for the first time since the 2017 Australian Open. 1:51

Bouchard will face world No. 54 Iga Swiatek of Poland in the third round.

Meanwhile, in women’s doubles first-round play, the fifth-seeded team of Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan and Arina Rodionova of Australia 7-5, 6-3.

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., and partner Diane Parry of France lost 6-2, 6-4 to Nina Stojanovic of Serbia and Jill Teichmann of Switzerland.

Fernandez also has advanced to the second round in women’s singles, along with No. 9 seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., on the men’s side.

Azarenka ousted

U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka is out of the French Open in the second round.

The 10th-seeded Azarenka lost to 161st-ranked Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-2.

Azarenka’s exit means all four women who reached the semifinals in New York earlier this month already are gone in Paris. Serena Williams withdrew from the French Open because of an injured Achilles tendon, Jennifer Brady lost in the first round at Roland Garros and U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka did not make the trip to France.

Schmiedlova had lost 13 consecutive Grand Slam matches in a streak dating to 2015 until beating Venus Williams in the first round this week.

Azarenka is a former No. 1 and a two-time champion at the Australian Open.

Defending champ Nadal advances

Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached the third round by beating American player Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.

The No. 2-seeded Spaniard is looking to win his record-extending 13th French Open title and equal Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20 major titles overall.

WATCH | Nadal aiming for 13th French Open title:

12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal advances to the 3rd round of the French Open with a 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 win over Mackenzie McDonald. 0:32

Nadal improved his record at Roland Garros to 95-2 when he sealed victory on his first match point.

He next faces either Kei Nishikori of Japan or Stefano Travaglia of Italy.

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