Wednesday's Sports in Brief


WASHINGTON (AP) Tommie Smith and John Carlos voiced their support for Colin Kaepernick and other athletes staging national anthem protests, 48 years after they raised their gloved fists on the medals stand in a symbolic protest at the Olympics.

The American sprinters who were sent home from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics for what they called a ''human rights salute'' say the San Francisco 49ers quarterback and others are right to use their platform to raise awareness about racial inequality and police brutality.

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Speaking Wednesday at the Team USA Awards, the first U.S. Olympic Committee event they've been invited to since their protest, Smith says he's backing Kaepernick because his protest is proactive and Carlos says there's no better platform than sports to stand up for something, even if it brings criticism.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Pete Ricketts has agreed to meet next week with one of the Nebraska football players he criticized for kneeling during the national anthem at the Cornhuskers' most recent game.

Michael Rose-Ivey and two teammates each took a knee before last Saturday's game at Northwestern as a protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said a day for the meeting had not been set but that it would be held next week, at Rose-Ivey's request, so it doesn't interfere with football game preparation. The Cornhuskers don't have a game on Oct. 8.

After Ricketts called the act ''disgraceful'' and ''disrespectful'' on his radio show Monday, Rose-Ivey tweeted at Ricketts that he would like to discuss the issue with him.

Ricketts on Tuesday night responded on Twitter: ''Thanks for reaching out. Direct message me your information, and we will get something set up right away!''

Also Tuesday, Rose-Ivey and teammates Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal were criticized by two university regents, but received support from the university president Hank Bounds.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A second petition has been filed asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the $1 billion settlement of NFL concussion lawsuits because of how it treats current brain injuries versus future ones.

The former players who filed the petition complain that chronic traumatic encephalopathy diagnosed before the April 2015 cutoff can bring $4 million while future CTE diagnoses aren't compensated. They say that violates Supreme Court rulings that insist each subgroup in a class action settlement be treated fairly.

The petition, filed Monday, echoes earlier complaints that the lead players' lawyers signed a quick deal with the NFL in 2013 favoring their clients over thousands of others.

Lawyers on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, who negotiated the deal, reject those arguments and say the appeals are holding up payments that ailing retirees need. The NFL declined to comment.


MIAMI (AP) - Somber Marlins players and personnel escorted a hearse carrying the body of star pitcher Jose Fernandez from the team's ballpark, as the farewell for their beloved teammate marched on.

As players and fans honored Fernandez's memory, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio sought a safety probe into the rock jetty where a boat crash claimed the lives of the baseball star and two friends.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, manager Don Mattingly, hitting coach Barry Bonds and the players including Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton wore white T-shirts emblazoned with Fernandez's image and the letters ''RIP'' as they slowly walked the hearse away from Marlins Park in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Many in the crowd of about 1,000 chanted ''Jose! Jose!'' and some waved Cuban flags in honor of the popular Cuban-American player.

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs announced a five-year contract extension with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, rewarding him for an overhaul that has the long-suffering franchise eyeing its first championship since 1908.

The extension comes with the Cubs wrapping up one of the greatest seasons in franchise history and their fans believing that this just might be the team to end the 108-year World Series title drought.

They reached 100 wins for the first time since 1935 and were a major league-leading 101-56 heading into Wednesday's game at Pittsburgh. Chicago clinched the best record in the majors with more than a week left in the regular season.

Terms were not disclosed. Chairman Tom Ricketts said the contract ''ensures the baseball operations team assembled by Epstein will continue its remarkable tenure of building a consistent championship contender.''

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Pete Rose has appealed directly to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in an effort to restore his eligibility to be elected.

In a seven-page letter to the Hall's president, Rose's longtime attorney Raymond Genco makes the case that the career hits leader's ban from baseball for gambling in 1989 was not intended to make him ineligible for the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame changed its bylaws two years after Rose's banishment to make banned players ineligible for the Hall. Rose argues that it wasn't then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti's intention to keep him out of the Hall when the two reached a settlement that banned him from baseball.

Genco said new commissioner Rob Manfred denying Rose's reinstatement last December ''opened the door'' for the new argument.