UGA stars help celebrate Ric Flair’s 70th birthday You know you’re “big-time” when you get invited with a bunch of A-listers to the surprise 70th birthday party of wrestling legend Ric Flair. The event was Friday night in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth. Who repped UGA at the star-studded event? The first was former Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley, who plays running back for NFL’s Los Angeles Ram. No surprise here, as Gurley is one of the top 10 most recognizable players in pro football. The other UGA attendee? None other the UGA kicker Rodriqo Blankenship. Never underestimate the popularity of Blankenship, who often gets the loudest cheers from the fans when the Bulldogs are introduced before games. The A-listers? Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, and Evander Holyfield, along with a host of wrestling stars that include Triple H and Chris Jericho. Maybe “Hot Rod” and Gurley are A-listers, too? What’s the connection between Ric Flair and UGA football? Flair lives in Atlanta, and he’s one of the team’s celebrity fans. He’s attends games, and he even taped a pep talk for the Bulldogs before they played Alabama in last year’s national championship game. Flair, who evidentially has a daughter-in-law on UGA’s track team, has been known to get on the field to hype up the crowd. The post UGA football stars help celebrate Ric Flair’s 70th birthday appeared first on DawgNation.
De'Andre Hunter scored 19 of his career-high 26 points after halftime, and No. 3 Virginia rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat No. 18 Louisville 64-52 on Saturday. The Cavaliers (24-2, 12-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed early in the second half before regrouping to hold the Cardinals (18-10, 9-6) to 6 of 30 from the field (20 percent) and 31 percent shooting overall. Virginia also found its offense, shooting 59 percent and using a 12-1 run over 4:36 for a 55-48 lead it stretched to 12 for its fourth consecutive victory. Hunter was perfect after the break, making all six shots to finish 9 of 11 from the field. Mamadi Diakite added 14 points, while Jay Huff came off the bench to score 12. The Cavaliers maintained at least a share of the conference lead in the process. After making 10 of 16 from long range in the first 20 minutes, Louisville managed just 2 of 17 afterward and lost for the fifth time in seven games. Jordan Nwora had 17 points and reserve Ryan McMahon scored 12 for the Cardinals. POLL IMPLICATIONS Virginia continued its push toward the top of the AP Top 25 with the victory. Louisville figures to fall out of the poll with its second double-digit loss this week. BIG PICTURE Virginia: The Cavaliers improved to 8-2 against ranked foes and won their eighth in a row over Louisville. While they shut off the inside throughout the game, their patience in letting the Cardinals shoot themselves out paid off as they won on the boards 39-28 while dominating the paint 38-4. Louisville: The Cardinals needed this victory for reasons beyond conquering their nemesis. They instead continued their freefall in the standings, and their failure to generate anything inside was a key factor. UP NEXT Virginia: hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday in its lone regular-season meeting with the Yellow Jackets. Louisville: visits Boston College on Wednesday night, seeking a season sweep of the Eagles after winning the earlier matchup 80-70 last month. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has wide-ranging powers to discipline teams, coaches, players, and, yes, owners. Pending the completion of police investigations in Florida — and likely a league inquiry as well — Goodell could punish New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for being charged with two counts of soliciting a prostitute. The 77-year-old Kraft was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-center massage parlor in Florida, police said Friday. The charges come amid a crackdown on sex trafficking in which hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued. Under the NFL's personal conduct policy that states 'ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline,' Goodell could fine and/or suspend Kraft from any activities involving the Super Bowl champions. 'It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime,' the policy says. 'We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.' Kraft has been accused of misdemeanor charges and might not be required to perform more than community service and attend a course on the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking. Goodell will be judging whether this was 'conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in' the NFL. He's made many such judgments before — including fining Kraft and the Patriots $250,000 in 2007 for filming other teams' signals, and $1 million in 2014 for deflating footballs during the AFC title game. The 'Deflategate' case damaged Goodell's close relationship with Kraft, one of his trusted advisers on many NFL matters, including labor and broadcast rights. Even though Goodell is employed by the owners, at a cost of about $40 million annually in salary and bonuses, he views the commissioner's role as one protective of the game and the league. If you embarrass 'the shield,' you are punished. So he doesn't often hesitate to discipline wayward owners, basically penalizing his bosses. Only one of them, the Indianapolis Colts' Jim Irsay, has been suspended by Goodell, who replaced Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in 2006. Irsay acknowledged having a painkiller addiction in 2002 and sought treatment. The DEA investigated, but local prosecutors did not file charges. Then, in March 2014, Irsay was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel and was held overnight after he failed sobriety tests and police found prescription medications in his car. The police said the drugs were not associated with any of the prescription bottles found inside. He was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, along with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance; police also found $29,009 in cash. He again sought treatment and in September 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated, agreeing to undergo drug testing for a year. Irsay also acknowledged he was under the influence of the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone when he was arrested. Irsay drew a six-game suspension and $500,000 fine from Goodell. Last year, Jerry Richardson essentially was forced to sell the Carolina Panthers after allegations surfaced of his sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace. Following a six-month investigation by the league, he was fined $2.7 million by Goodell. Richardson, like Kraft, was a confidant of Goodell's on league business matters. In 2012, following a long investigation into the New Orleans Saints' bounties system, Goodell fined Saints owner Tom Benson $500,000 and stripped the team of second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. But that was for an on-field issue — as was Kraft's fine for deflated footballs. The current Kraft case, of course, has nothing to do with NFL play. It has plenty to do with Goodell's use of his disciplinary powers, and there will be a spotlight shining brightly on whatever decisions he makes. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL