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Julie Donaldson, ex-WHDH reporter, hired as Washington NFL exec, part of radio broadcast

Julie Donaldson joined NBC Sports Washington in 2010 after time with Miami’s Fox Sports affiliate, New York’s SNY and, in 2008, Boston's WHDH.
Julie Donaldson joined NBC Sports Washington in 2010 after time with Miami’s Fox Sports affiliate, New York’s SNY and, in 2008, Boston's WHDH.NBC Sports Washington/Courtesy photo

Washington’s NFL team has hired former NBC Sports Washington anchor and reporter Julie Donaldson to be its vice president of media and one of its game-day radio voices. Donaldson, 42, becomes the highest-ranking woman at a franchise that last week announced an independent review of its culture following a Washington Post report in which 15 former female employees and two women reporters accused high-ranking team officials of sexual harassment. Among the men accused was Larry Michael, whom Donaldson is replacing in overseeing Washington’s broadcast operations. She is believed to be the first woman to be a full-time member of an NFL team’s radio booth. While she will not be taking over play-by-play responsibilities from Michael, her first duty will be to hire a replacement for Washington’s announcer of 15 years, who announced his retirement a day before The Post report published. “This is a challenge I’ve been preparing and working toward for nearly 20 years in sports media, including the last decade in Washington,” Donaldson said in a statement released by the team Tuesday. “I am excited to join the organization as we begin a new era and I look forward to working with my new colleagues in making it stronger than ever.” Donaldson joined NBC Sports Washington in 2010 and has hosted several of the network’s shows and been a part of the network’s coverage of all area sports teams. Her previous career stops include a brief stint as a sports reporter at WHDH in 2008, during which she was a victim of a domestic assault by her then-boyfriend; he was sentenced to a year in jail.

Michael Bennett retires

Michael Bennett had a brief stint with the Patriots in 2019.
Michael Bennett had a brief stint with the Patriots in 2019.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Michael Bennett, the standout NFL defensive end who spoke out forcefully against racial injustice during his career, said he was retiring after an 11-year career, during which the three-time Pro Bowler helped the Seattle Seahawks win their only Super Bowl championship in 2013. “Retiring feels a little like death of self, but I’m looking forward to the rebirth — the opportunity to reimagine my purpose,” Bennett, 34, wrote on Instagram. “I have never been more at peace in my life.” Bennett, like his younger brother Martellus, briefly played for the Patriots. In 2019, he appeared in six games, departing via trade to Dallas not long after the Patriots suspended him one week for conduct detrimental to the team; Bennett said it was after a philosophical disagreement with his position coach. (A felony charge against him for allegedly assaulting an elderly security guard after the 2017 Super Bowl, which Martellus won as a member of the Patriots, was dismissed last year because of a lack of evidence.) After the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, Bennett was part of a group of players who began protesting during the playing of the national anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and other forms of injustice. But while most players knelt or raised a fist during the anthem, Bennett drew extra attention because he chose to sit on the bench. He shared his views about racial inequality, police violence and athletes’ roles in protest movements in “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable,” a book he co-wrote that was released in 2018 . . . The NFL is planning to allow players to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence. The league has been in talks with individual players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. The initiative will be done leaguewide, with each team deciding who it will honor and how to display the names or initials. A list for use on the helmet decals is being put together by the league and the NFLPA, with player input encouraged . . . Carolina announced it has signed its six remaining unsigned picks, including second-round draft selections defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and strong safety Jeremy Chinn . . . The Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos announced they will change their name, just five months after the team said it was keeping it following a year-long research project that involved Inuit leaders — critics say Eskimo is a derogatory, colonial-era term for Inuit — and community members.




Timberwolves for sale, with Kevin Garnett among interested

Could Kevin Garnett end up owning a piece of the Timberwolves?
Could Kevin Garnett end up owning a piece of the Timberwolves?Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Kevin Garnett is interested in buying the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are on the market after Glen Taylor, the billionaire businessman and former Minnesota state senator, announced plans to explore the sale of the team he’s had majority control of since 1994. The Timberwolves entered the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1989, with 2020 Hall of Famer Garnett easily their biggest star. He spent 14 seasons there — 12 establishing himself as a superstar to begin his career, then parts of two more to finish it in 2015-16 after his stints with the Celtics and Brooklyn. “I’m one of the groups trying,” the 44-year-old Garnett wrote on social media. “[Lord please] let my group get this.” The Timberwolves under the 79-year-old Taylor have suffered through long bouts of frustration, including 14 losing seasons in the past 15 years. Despite that track record, Taylor is seeking more than $1 billion for the team after Forbes valued the organization at $1.375 billion in February. The Post Bulletin reported in 1994 that Taylor paid “nearly $90 million” for the franchise. The relationship between Garnett and Taylor dissolved after former coach and executive Flip Saunders died suddenly in 2015, with Garnett referring to Taylor as a “snake.” ESPN reported the Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings since 2005, has emerged as a “serious candidate” . . . The Memphis Grizzlies will be without forward Justise Winslow for the rest of the NBA’s restarted season because of an injured hip suffered when he fell Monday after absorbing contact during an intrasquad scrimmage. Winslow, acquired in a February trade that sent Andre Iguodala to Miami, is expected to make a full recovery. Memphis holds the eighth spot in the Western Conference going into the NBA’s seeding games . . . The Utah Jazz will honor Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan by wearing a patch on their team jerseys and warmups through the end of next season, starting Thursday in a preseason game against Phoenix. The patch features the number “1223,” which was the amount of total wins for Sloan in his 23 seasons as head coach of the Jazz. Sloan died in May of complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. He was 78.




Draisaitl, MacKinnon, Panarin named Hart Trophy finalists

Leon Draisaitl got some good news Tuesday.
Leon Draisaitl got some good news Tuesday.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The NHL Hart Trophy voters agreed with NHL players in selecting Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, and Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers as MVP award finalists. The three were also named finalists for the Ted Lindsay Trophy, honoring the league’s most outstanding player as voted on by players. The 24-year-old Draisaitl is seeking to become the first German-born player to win the Hart after leading the NHL with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists). He registered a point in 56 of 71 games and also led the league in assists and 44 power-play points. MacKinnon, who is also a Lady Byng finalist for sportsmanship this year, played a key role in helping the Avalanche overcome a rash of injuries to finish second in the Western Conference standings. The 24-year-old Canadian had 35 goals and 58 assists for 93 points, which ranked fifth in the league, and 43 more than his closest teammate. Panarin had a breakout year in his first season in New York, finishing fourth in the NHL with a team-leading and career-best 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists). The Rangers had a 34-16-4 record when he registered a point, and finished 37-28-5, marking a five-win improvement over the previous season despite playing 12 fewer games. The winners will be revealed during the conference finals . . . CCM Hockey is partnering with former NHL player Akim Aliu to promote diversity and inclusion, while making it easier for disadvantaged children enter the sport. The Nigerian-born Aliu came to prominence as a voice against racism and intolerance in hockey in November when revealing Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters directed racial slurs at him while the two were in the minors a decade earlier. Peters resigned days later. Aliu is now co-chairman of the newly formed Hockey Diversity Alliance and founder of the Time to Dream Foundation; CCM will make a financial contribution and donate 750 of what it calls “starter kits,” which will include necessary equipment for children to play hockey.



Boston’s Uzo Aduba among investors in new LA NWSL club

Actress Natalie Portman and venture capitalist Kara Nortman lead a majority-female group that will bring an expansion National Women’s Soccer League team to the Los Angeles area in 2022. The team, tentatively named Angel City, will be the league’s 11th, following Louisville FC becoming No. 10 next season. The lead investor is Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian — the husband of tennis star Serena Williams — through his firm Initialized Capital, with others involved including actors Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, and Boston-born Uzo Aduba; plus former players Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, and Julie Foudy. The NWSL, which began play in 2013, was the first professional team sport to return to action in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Challenge Cup tournament in Utah. The semifinals are set for Wednesday . . . Columbus clinched the top spot in Group E at the MLS is Back tournament, beating Atlanta, 1-0, on Youness Mokhtar’s goal in the 18th minute. The Crew won all three of their group matches, outscoring opponents, 7-0, while Atlanta lost all three of its matches, 1-0. They are the only squad in the 24-team tournament that didn’t score a goal . . . Manchester City trounced host Watford, 4-0, the Premier League runners-up sending Watford into the relegation zone after Aston Villa beat Arsenal, 1-0, on a Trezeguet goal at Villa Park. The two sides are tied for the final relegation spot on 34 points entering Sunday’s season finale, with Villa — its goal difference now one better than Watford’s — visiting fellow straggler West Ham and Watford visiting Arsenal. Bournemouth, just behind both in 19th but even with Watford on goal difference, has 31 points and must win Sunday at Everton for any chance to avoid the drop . . . A unnamed former Nebraska volleyball player and eight other women have sued the university, alleging it did not properly investigate complaints of sexual assault and harassment. Seven of the women say they were victims of rape or sexual assault, and two others say they were victims of sexual harassment and stalking, all between 2015-18. One woman also alleged racial discrimination. The volleyball player said she had been groped at a party in 2018 and later transferred to another school because of emotional distress. The women are seeking punitive damages to be determined at trial . . . Alex Zanardi, the Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist, was transferred to a neurological rehabilitation center in northern Italy a month after getting seriously injured in a handbike crash. Zanardi underwent three delicate surgeries to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face since he crashed into an oncoming truck June 19 near the Tuscan town of Pienza during a relay event. The 53-year-old, who lost both of his legs in a September 2001 auto racing crash, had been on a ventilator in a medically induced coma since the crash. Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage … Andre Adams, a graduate transfer from Utah State, will join the Boston College men’s basketball roster for the 2020-21 season. He will have one season of eligibility remaining.