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Sports Log

Walmart heirs agree to buy Denver Broncos in record deal

The Walton family won the bidding for the Denver Broncos.Dustin Bradford/Photographer: Dustin Bradford/Ge

The Waltons, heirs to the Walmart fortune and America’s richest family, won the bidding to purchase the Denver Broncos in the most expensive deal for a sports franchise anywhere in the world. The Broncos announced late Tuesday night they had entered into a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner ownership group led by Rob Walton, his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner. Terms of the sale weren’t disclosed, but KUSA-TV in Denver reported it was for $4.65 billion. The price tag far surpasses the $3.1 billion sale last month of Chelsea, one of European soccer’s blue ribbon teams, to an American-led consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly. Boehly reportedly was among the investors with one of the five finalists who were invited to make bids for the Broncos by Monday’s deadline. The agreement for the Walmart-Penner group to buy the franchise from the Pat Bowlen Trust must be approved by the NFL, but that is considered a formality.

Del Rio apologizes for comments

Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio apologized for comments on Twitter minimizing the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol building by calling it a “dust-up” in comparison to the racial justice protests that followed George Floyd’s death in 2020. Del Rio said on Twitter that “referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry … I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say that while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country.”

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Watson in limbo while Mayfield excused

Deshaun Watson’s complex legal situation has the Cleveland Browns in limbo and unclear about the quarterback’s immediate future. They have a better handle on Baker Mayfield’s. The team excused Mayfield from next week’s mandatory minicamp. Mayfield lost his job when the Browns traded for and signed Watson in March to a $230 million contract. Mayfield remains on the Browns’ roster while the team tries to trade the No. 1 overall pick from 2018. Mayfield, who started 59 games over the past four seasons and led Cleveland to a playoff win in 2021, has been estranged from the team since the Browns publicly pursued Watson. Watson is still facing 24 civil lawsuits — and potential NFL discipline — from massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct during sessions while he played for Houston, Watson practiced amid the release of new details contained in a report by The New York Times. In an article published Tuesday, the Times reported Watson booked appointments for massages with 66 women over a 17-month period. The list of women includes the 24 who have filed lawsuits, with two of those being added in the past week. Watson has denied all wrongdoing and two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him on criminal complaints.

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Rams sign Kupp to $75 million extension

Cooper Kupp is the latest member of the Rams to land a new deal.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp agreed to a three-year, $75 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams after a spectacular season in which he led the NFL in every major receiving category. This brings Kupp’s total deal to $110 million through 2026 when adding the two years remaining on his first extension, which was signed in September 2020 …The Los Angeles Rams waived Travin Howard, the inside linebacker who made the game-clinching interception in their NFC championship game victory. The Rams announced the move after the final on-field workout of their offseason program. Howard was scheduled to make $2.54 million this season after signing his restricted free agent tender last month … The Chicago Bears had to cancel an offseason workout this week because they violated NFL rules by having live contact in a session last month, said coach Matt Eberflus.

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Gymnastics

Nassar victims seek more than $1 billion from FBI

Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Needham’s Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among approximately 90 women gymnasts who say they were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar and are seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for failing to stop the sports doctor when the agency first received allegations against him. There’s no dispute that FBI agents in 2015 knew that Nassar was accused of assaulting gymnasts, but they failed to act, leaving him free to continue to target young women and girls for more than a year. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and is serving decades in prison. Under federal law, a government agency has six months to respond to the tort claims filed Wednesday. Lawsuits could follow, depending on the FBI’s response.

Miscellany

Sun top Fever to win fourth straight

Brionna Jones powered Connecticut to the win.DANIEL PASSAPERA/Associated Press

Brionna Jones scored 18 points and Jonquel Jones added 16 to help the host Connecticut Sun beat the Indiana Fever, 88-69, for their fourth WNBA straight victory … Sea Dogs starter Chris Murphy tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts but host Portland still lost, 4-0, to the Hartford Yard Goats in Double A baseball … For the first time this season, the Worcester Red Sox delivered a doubleheader sweep, beating the host Buffalo Bisons, 3-1 and 9-0, in Triple A … Westminster amateur Ethan Whitney and Michael Kartrude, a mini-tour pro from Florida, both shot 6-under-par 64 to tie a course record in the opening round of the Massachusetts Open golf tournament and share a one-stroke lead at Longmeadow Country Club … Tony Stewart has $1 million to give away Thursday night and is determined that his track in Rossburg, Ohio, the Eldora Speedway will be in the best condition possible for the return of The Eldora Million. About 130 cars were expected in the night’s preliminaries. The Thursday night feature will pay a whopping $1,002,022 to the winner — the second-largest purse in motorsports behind the Indianapolis 500 … Jack Bauerle, who won seven NCAA women’s team championships in his 43 years as the University of Georgia’s swimming coach, announced his retirement. Bauerle, 70, is the longest-tenured coach of any sport in Georgia history. He coached the 2008 US Olympic women’s team to 14 medals. He also served as an assistant on the US team in 2000 and the men’s team in 2016 and 2020. Georgia named Neil Versfeld as the new men’s coach and Stefanie Williams Moreno as women’s coach … Real Madrid extended Luka Modric’s contract for another year on Wednesday, keeping intact the midfield that helped the club win a record-extending 14th European title this season … South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi has died of a brain injury after becoming disoriented during a lightweight bout and walking away from his opponent toward an empty corner of the ring while throwing punches. Buthelezi died on Tuesday night following the bout on Sunday in Durban. He had been in an induced coma. Buthelezi collapsed after the fight, which was stopped in the 10th and final round by the referee. He died in the hospital after the brain injury caused internal bleeding.

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