Orlando Pride coach Amanda Cromwell and assistant Sam Greene have been placed on administrative leave while the National Women’s Soccer League and its players’ association investigate allegations of retaliation, which violates league policy. Assistant Seb Hines will serve as interim coach. The NWSL and NWSLPA recommended the suspensions while they complete the investigation “to explore allegations of workplace misconduct toward NWSL players, as well as systemic issues in the league that impact the prevention, detection, and response to misconduct,” the league and union said in a joint statement. Retaliation violates an NWSL policy intended to prevent and eliminate workplace discrimination, harassment and bullying. The NWSL and its players’ union launched a probe in October 2021 to look at allegations of misconduct across the league. In April, the NWSL and the NWSLPA recommended the suspension of Houston Dash coach James Clarkson. Last year, the league was rocked by scandal when North Carolina coach Paul Riley was accused of sexual coercion and harassment. He was fired, and soon thereafter, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird stepped down. Four other NWSL coaches were either fired or resigned last year amid misconduct allegations. The league said Tuesday it would have no further comment on the latest investigation. Cromwell, 51, was in her first season with the team. She spent nine seasons as UCLA’s coach and led the Bruins to the national championship in 2013, her first season, and two other College Cup appearances . . . A late deflected goal from Ajdin Hrustic secured a 2-1 win for Australia in an Asian playoff over the United Arab Emirates in Al Rayyan, Qatar, setting up an intercontinental showdown with Peru for a spot at the men’s World Cup in Qatar. The Australians are a win away from a fifth consecutive World Cup appearance after ending the UAE’s bid for a return to soccer’s marquee tournament for first time since 1990. The Socceroos have a six-day break before the playoff against Peru, which finished fifth in South American qualifying, for a place alongside France, Denmark, and Tunisia in Group D at the World Cup starting in November.
Niners’ Samuel reports to minicamp
All-Pro receiver Deebo Samuel ended his offseason holdout — and avoided a fine of nearly $100,000 — by reporting for the first day of mandatory minicamp for the San Francisco 49ers. Samuel had skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason after telling ESPN in April that he wanted to be traded but showed up Tuesday for the start of the three-day minicamp. Samuel wasn’t the only star player who returned to the Niners for the mandatory portion of the offseason, with All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams and star edge rusher Nick Bosa also rejoining the team this week. Samuel ran on the side during practice, while Bosa and Williams only took part in individual drills. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not join the team this week as he was given permission to skip the minicamp as he rehabilitates from shoulder surgery. The Niners are seeking to trade him as they are handing the starting job to Trey Lance. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have been consistent in saying they had no interest in trading Samuel and hoped to be able to keep him long term with a new contract. Samuel is entering the final year of the rookie deal he signed after being drafted in the second round in 2019 and is looking to take advantage of the exploding market of receiver contracts. Samuel is set to be paid nearly $4 million this season after being a first-team All-Pro in 2021. There are now 14 receivers with an average annual contract of at least $18 million with nine of those deals being signed this offseason . . . Colts linebacker Darius Leonard will miss this week’s three-day minicamp and the start of training camp after having back surgery. Coach Frank Reich said Leonard was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday when Indianpaolis opened its final week of offseason workouts. It’s unclear when the three-time All-Pro will return to action though Reich remains hopeful Leonard will play in the Sept. 11 season opener at Houston. Leonard had offseason ankle surgery in 2021 and played all of last season in pain. He had another ankle surgery earlier this year, which prevented him from participating in any of this spring’s workouts. Reich said the sides ruled out a third ankle surgery . . . The Bills promoted Brian Gaine as assistant general manager, part of a series of moves announced to fill offseason departures. Gaine replaces Joe Shoen, who left Buffalo after being hired to become the Giants GM. Gaine has 24 seasons of NFL experience and spent the past three years as the Bills senior personnel adviser. In other moves, Terrance Gray was promoted to director of player personnel, Mike Szabo takes over as a national college scout, Dennis Lock moves up to the position of senior director of football research, and Matt Worswick was named team administration director.
Sparks part ways with Fisher
The Los Angeles Sparks fired head coach and general manager Derek Fisher, the WNBA team announced Tuesday. Fisher took over the team in 2019 and became the GM a year later. He finished his career with a 54-46 record as coach. Assistant Fred Williams will take over as interim head coach. The Sparks missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2011 and bolstered their roster by adding All-Star Liz Cambage in the offseason. They had a difficult schedule to start the season with nine of their first 12 games on the road and are 5-7. Fisher won five titles while playing with the Lakers and had served as coach of the Knicks before he took over as the Sparks coach. The Sparks won one playoff game in Fisher’s tenure in Los Angeles . . . New Duke men’s basketball coach Jon Scheyer has hired Rachel Baker, a former Nike and NBA staffer, as the program’s first general manager for a newly created role with duties that include overseeing name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities for Blue Devils players. Duke described Baker’s role as helping players “enhance their personal and professional skill-sets,” including NIL partnerships through her experience in sports marketing.
Canadiens add three-time gold-medalist Poulin
Marie-Philip Poulin, 31, has joined the Montreal Canadiens’ front office as a player development consultant. The role with the NHL team will be part time as Poulin, a four-time Olympic medalist with Canada’s national women’s hockey team, continues her playing career. “Marie-Philip is one of the best players on the planet and she has won at the highest level, which will be very beneficial for our players,” Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said Tuesday in a statement. “Her knowledge, leadership, and vision of the game certainly make the Canadiens a better organization.” The team said Poulin will join the players on the ice and in video sessions to work on their individual and collective skills. Poulin has won 15 medals in international competitions, including three Olympic gold medals . . . The Stars signed restricted free agent Denis Gurianov to a $2.9 million contract for the 2022-23 season. General manager Jim Nill announced the forward’s signing Tuesday, which was Gurianov’s 25th birthday. The team’s first-round choice and the 12th pick overall in the 2015 NHL draft, Gurianov had 11 goals and a career-high 20 assists in 73 regular-season games this season . . . The Kraken will be without goalie Chris Driedger for most of next season after he underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. Driedger was injured while playing for Canada against Finland in the title game of the world championships. Driedger had a rocky first season with the Kraken due to injuries and inconsistency. He played in 27 games and had a 2.96 goals against average and an .899 save percentage, both the worst marks of his career. Driedger signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with the Kraken last offseason.
Raducanu felled by injury
US Open champion Emma Raducanu has “no idea” if she’ll be ready for Wimbledon in just under three weeks after retiring from her match Tuesday with a “freak injury” to her left side. Raducanu was facing Viktorija Golubic in her opener at the Nottingham Open and was trailing 4-3 when she stopped playing. “I think I pulled something, I am not really sure what exactly happened,” the 11th-ranked Raducanu said, describing it as an “absolute freak injury.” The next Grand Slam tournament begins on June 27 at Wimbledon. “I cannot diagnose myself. I will get it checked out,” the 19-year-old British player said. Just over a year ago, Raducanu reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in what was her debut in a Grand Slam main draw. She won the US Open title at Flushing Meadows but hasn’t advanced past the second round at the two majors so far in 2022 at the Australian Open and Roland Garros . . . Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right ankle. The third-ranked Zverev sustained the injury during his French Open semifinal against eventual champion Rafael Nadal. Zverev, 25, said he had the surgery in Germany on Tuesday morning after receiving confirmation that “all three of the lateral ligaments in my right ankle were torn.” Zverev was the runner-up at the 2020 US Open and won a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympics last year . . . Jimmy Herron’s two-run triple powered visiting Hartford over Portland, 5-3, in Eastern League baseball at Hadlock Field . . . Worcester’s International League contest in Buffalo was postponed by rain. The teams will play a doubleheader Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m.