Around the Nation (May 12): Manziel has top rookie jersey; Michael Sams second

Published:

Associated Press

FOOTBALL

Manziel tops rookie jersey sales, Sams second on list

NEW YORK -- The 249th pick in the NFL draft has the second most popular jersey of all the players selected last weekend.

Michael Sam's Rams jersey was the No. 2 seller among rookies on NFLShop.com. Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted when St. Louis took him late in the seventh and final round Saturday.

The top seller was quarterback Johnny Manziel's. In fact, more Johnny Football jerseys have been purchased since April 1 than those of any NFL veteran.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy says NFLShop.com sold nearly as many for Manziel from Thursday to Sunday as it did for Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Tim Tebow combined during their respective draft weekends.

No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney had the third most popular rookie jersey, followed by the other two QBs taken in the first round: Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.

The jerseys don't ship until the team notifies the league of the number given to the player.

Rams WR Bailey suspended four games for failed PED test

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

Bailey was a third-round draft pick last year out of West Virginia, and made two starts. He had 17 receptions with a 13.3-yard average and also ran for a 27-yard touchdown.

Bailey will be eligible to return to the roster on Monday, Oct.6, before the Rams' next game against San Francisco. He is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

SOCCER

Villa owner -- and former Browns owner -- Lerner puts club up for sale

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Former Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner says he is looking to sell Premier League club Aston Villa.

Lerner's announcement on Monday comes at the end of another season when the central England club came close to relegation.

The American businessman says "I feel further that now is the time for me to look for new ownership and thus new leadership."

Lerner bought Villa in 2006 and says "the last several seasons have been week-in, week-out battles."

MLS, U.S. Soccer announce new TV deals with ESPN, Fox

NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer have signed new broadcast rights deals with ESPN, Fox and Univision.

The new contracts announced Monday are for eight years through 2022.

ESPN has aired MLS games since the league's inception in 1996. Fox broadcast games from 2003-11 before NBC won the rights to the contract. NBC is in the final season of a three-year agreement.

HORSE RACING

Filly Ria Antonia to run against boys in 139th Preakness

BALTIMORE -- A filly is going to challenge the boys in the Preakness for the first time since 2009 when Rachel Alexandra won.

Ria Antonia will be ridden by Calvin Borel, who guided Rachel Alexandra to victory. Ria Antonia is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks on May 2 at Churchill Downs, where she has been training.

The filly's trainer, Tom Amoss, says the idea to run Ria Antonia against the boys came from her owners. Amoss said Monday that she has passed all the tests to take on the challenge.

Amoss says he sees the Preakness as Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome versus everyone else. He says if California Chrome runs his race in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness then he will win, but if not, it opens up opportunities for other horses, including Ria Antonia.

Ria Antonia is scheduled to jog at Churchill Downs on Tuesday and arrive in Baltimore from Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday. The 139th Preakness is Saturday.

BASKETBALL

L.A. Clippers interim CEO says NBA will force sale of team

LOS ANGELES -- The interim CEO hand-picked by the NBA to run the Los Angeles Clippers says he's confident the league will succeed in forcing a sale of the team.

Dick Parsons arrived in Los Angeles on Monday to meet with management and staff of the Clippers, whose owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA and fined $2.5 million after recordings of him making racist comments surfaced.

Parsons says he's just beginning to familiarize himself with the workings of the team, which is in the midst of competing in the playoffs.

Asked about Sterling apologizing in a television interview airing Monday, Parsons says, "He's a little late, to be sure."

Parsons says he's being paid by the NBA, but he doesn't report to Commissioner Adam Silver or the league's other owners.

COLLEGE

Senators ask NCAA to protect athletes

INDIANAPOLIS -- A U.S. Senate committee wants the NCAA to start providing college athletes with greater protections from "exploitative practices" on campuses.

In a letter addressed to NCAA President Mark Emmert and obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation asked the NCAA to send information describing what protections are already in place. The letter, signed by three Democrats, insisted more needs to be done for athletes.

The senators wrote that if the NCAA was accomplishing its mission by protecting college athletes, there would be no need for a players' union. In February, a National Labor Relations Board regional office ruled that Northwestern's football players could unionize. A vote was held in April, but the decision has been appealed.

Judge denies NCAA motion in lawsuit

The judge in former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon's antitrust lawsuit on Monday denied a motion filed by the NCAA as part of a bid to delay the scheduled start of the trial next month in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled against the NCAA in a motion that questioned her earlier decision on what the NCAA can use as a defense in a case that has the potential to drastically alter the way college sports are regulated.

The ruling involved one of the four motions the NCAA has filed in an effort to delay the trial over compensation for athletes for playing major sports that generate billions of dollars in revenue for the NCAA and its member schools. The trial is scheduled to begin June 9.

Xavier, Cincinnati hoops rivalry will return to campus

CINCINNATI -- The city's annual basketball game between Xavier and Cincinnati will return to campuses starting next season, a return to normal after an on-court brawl put the rivalry in jeopardy.

The move is part of a 10-year deal between the schools announced on Monday evening.

The last on-campus game in the series was Dec. 8, 2011, a 76-53 win by Xavier on the Musketeers' court. The game was called after a brawl erupted in the closing seconds. The last two games were held at a downtown arena that provided a neutral site. Xavier dominated a 64-47 win on Dec. 14.

Cincinnati will host the game next season on Feb. 18, 2015, the 82nd all-time meeting in the series. Xavier will host on Dec. 12, 2015.

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