Former Pilot exec: Haslam ‘loved’ trucking rip-off scheme

Former Pilot exec: Haslam ‘loved’ trucking rip-off scheme

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) A government witness has testified that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam ”loved it” when the sales team ripped off customers at the trucking company controlled by his family.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the jury in the federal fraud trial of former Pilot Flying J executives and sales representatives heard a recording of former vice president John ”Stick” Freeman saying Haslam was aware of the scheme to deprive trucking customers of the diesel discounts they had negotiated.

In Freeman’s words: ”He knew – absolutely.”

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Pilot issued a statement after Tuesday’s court hearing reiterating that ”Jimmy Haslam was not aware of any wrongdoing.”

Haslam hasn’t been charged in the investigation that has resulted in 14 guilty pleas among former Pilot employees. The former president and three others are on trial.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel,


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Tuesday’s Sports in Brief

Tuesday’s Sports in Brief


Papa John’s is apologizing for comments made by CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

Papa John’s is a major NFL sponsor and advertiser, and Schnatter said on an earnings call Nov. 1 that ”NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” and that the protests ”should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

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The company tweeted a statement saying ”the statements made on our earnings call were describing factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive.” Papa John’s also says the company supports the ”players’ movement to create a new platform for change” and that it is ”open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis.”

The company’s stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since Schnatter’s comments.


LOS ANGELES (AP) Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting returned home, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the international scandal.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley arrived at Los Angeles International Airport after a 12-hour flight from Shanghai. They ignored reporters’ shouted questions while making their way through a horde of media outside and getting into a van that took off from the departure level.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the matter ”has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities.”

The players were detained in Hangzhou for questioning following allegations of shoplifting last week before the 23rd-ranked Bruins beat Georgia Tech in their season-opening game in Shanghai as part of the Pac-12 China game. The rest of the UCLA team returned home last Saturday.


Alabama and Clemson are back on top of the College Football Playoff rankings, the ninth time over the last three seasons that the Crimson Tide and Tigers have held the first two spots in some order.

Alabama was the selection committee’s new No. 1 on Tuesday night, with Clemson up two spots to No. 2. Miami and Oklahoma followed, joining the top four for the first time this season. Wisconsin was fifth and Auburn was up to sixth.

Alabama and Clemson have met in the last two national championship games, with each winning one. If they win out, there is good chance they could enter the postseason positioned to make it three straight title game matchups.

The Crimson Tide had been second behind Georgia in the first two selection committee rankings, but the Bulldogs and previously No. 3 Notre Dame were beaten last weekend, opening up the top for changes.


NEW YORK (AP) – Fox Sports partnered with a South American marketing firm to make millions of dollars in bribes to high-ranking soccer officials in exchange for lucrative broadcasting rights to major tournaments, the marketing company’s former CEO testified at a U.S. corruption trial.

Alejandro Burzaco, former CEO of the firm based in Argentina, testified that Fox and other broadcasters were involved in a scheme to pay bribes – concealed using offshore side entities and sham contracts – that secured rights for the Copa America and other events.

As evidence of the scheme, prosecutors at the trial at a federal court in New York City produced a 2008 agreement for the partnership to pay $3.7 million to a holding company in Turks and Caicos that was an alleged conduit for the bribes. They say it was signed by a former Fox executive.

Asked whom he kept informed about the bribe arrangements, Burzaco responded, ”Fox Pan American Sports. Fox Sports.”

Through the bribes, the network ”gained leverage and rights to broadcast its signal to Argentina” and other parts of the world, he added.

Fox Sports denied any involvement in bribery in a statement. The statement said Burzaco’s company was a subsidiary of Fox Pan American Sports, which at the time was under the control of a private-equity firm.


GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) – Bobby Doerr, the Hall of Fame second baseman dubbed the ”Silent Captain” of the Boston Red Sox by longtime teammate and friend Ted Williams, has died. He was 99.

Doerr died on Monday in Junction City, Oregon, the Red Sox said in a statement. The Red Sox said Doerr had been the oldest living major league player.

”Bobby Doerr was part of an era of baseball giants and still stood out as one himself,” Red Sox owner John Henry said. ”And even with his Hall of Fame achievements at second base, his character and personality outshined it all.”

Signed out of the old Pacific Coast League on the same scouting trip that brought Williams to Fenway Park, Doerr played 14 seasons with the Red Sox and joined his fishing buddy in the Hall of Fame in 1986. He had a .288 lifetime average and helped the Red Sox to the 1946 World Series.


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Papa John’s apologizes for criticizing NFL anthem protests

Papa John’s apologizes for criticizing NFL anthem protests

Papa John’s apologized Tuesday night for comments made by CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

The company is a major NFL sponsor and advertiser, and Schnatter said on an earnings call Nov. 1 that ”NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” and that the protests ”should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

The company tweeted a statement offering to ”work with the players and league to find a positive way forward.”

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”The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive,” it said. ”That definitely was not our intention.

”We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both.”

The movement was started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled to protest what he said was police mistreatment of blacks. More players began kneeling after President Donald Trump said at an Alabama rally last month that team owners should get rid of players who protest during the anthem.

Papa John’s added that it is ”open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis.” It has previously tried to distance itself from white supremacists who praised Schnatter’s comments, saying it does not want those groups to buy its pizza.

The company’s stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since Schnatter’s comments.


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Grayson Allen, not Marvin Bagley III, delivers early statement for Duke

Grayson Allen, not Marvin Bagley III, delivers early statement for Duke

No. 1 Duke beats No. 2 Michigan State in Champions Classic (2:20)

Grayson Allen scores a career-high 37 points, shooting 7-of-11 from behind the arc to lead Duke past Michigan State 88-81. (2:20)

CHICAGO — On a night in which college basketball needed a diversion — away from an FBI probe and players being arrested for shoplifting — it was a revamped Grayson Allen who delivered.

It was supposed to be an opportunity for college hoops fans to get their first true taste of Duke’s bandied-about freshman class, the one that featured possible No. 1 pick Marvin Bagley III, and a few more potential first-rounders in Wendell Carter Jr., Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr.

Instead, it was the guy who wasn’t supposed to still call Durham home, a player who has faced as much scrutiny as any that has hit a college campus in recent years for a trio of tripping incidents.


The kid everyone loves to hate.

“If he plays like that this season, you can lock him back in as a first-round pick, maybe a lottery pick,” one NBA general manager told ESPN. “And I’m not sure how he isn’t back in the mix as the best player in college basketball.”

With Bagley clinging to the bench — his right eye nearly swollen shut — and Duke’s other trio of heralded frosh unable to make perimeter shots, Allen was sensational, finishing with 37 points and knocking down a pair of 3-pointers late in the game to seal the 88-81 win over Michigan State.

But this wasn’t the same-old Allen, the guy who plays with reckless abandon — throwing his body into the lane with his arms flailing in order to pick up a call. Instead, it was more of the high school version — knocking down 7-of-11 shots from beyond the arc.

“He’s a great shooter, not a good shooter,” Krzyzewski said after the victory.

Allen had turned into more of a driver during his sophomore and junior seasons, and the wear and tear affected his body a year ago. Then the tripping incident against Elon toyed with his mind.

Thus far this season, Allen has played with a free mind and a healthy body. He’s still effective penetrating the lane, but he’s been lights-out from deep — converting an insane 17-of-26 from 3-point range.

Allen, who told ESPN prior to the season that he needed to harness his emotions and earn the respect of a talented freshman class ranked No. 1 in the country, did that and far more. He played all 40 minutes, was 11-of-20 from the field and 8-of-8 from the line as the No. 1 Blue Devils knocked off No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic on Tuesday night.

“I felt like I was coaching (J.J.) Redick,” K said after the game with a smile.

Allen started slow, and it was Bagley and Michigan State freshman big man Jaren Jackson Jr., who made their presence felt early in the contest.

However, with Duke leading 19-12 at the 10:09 mark, Bagley was hit in the eye by teammate Javin DeLaurier and the Blue Devils appeared to have lost momentum along with their most talented player. Bagley had been imposing his will on the game, scoring four points and grabbing six rebounds in 10 minutes. He lay on the court for several minutes before being taken to the locker room. He didn’t return to the court until the second half — when he sat on the bench for the final 20 minutes and watched with one eye open and the other nearly closed shut as Allen dominated the game.

Allen got help in the second half from Duval, who struggled with a questionable perimeter shot — but was able to utilize his speed and quickness to get into the lane and also for easy buckets out in transition.

But this was all about Allen’s presence and Bagley’s absence.

This wasn’t Elon or Utah Valley, the Blue Devils first two victims. This was a much-older Michigan State squad coached by a Hall of Famer in Tom Izzo that features Preseason National Player of the Year Miles Bridges and Jackson — one of the promising young big men in the country. Bridges finished with 19 points, but just two of his seven field goals came within the arc. Michigan State is known for its toughness, but the Spartans were pounded on the glass, 46-34 — including allowing a staggering 25 offensive boards to a young Duke team.

But at the end, the spotlight didn’t shine on Bridges or Bagley. It was on the kid who still calls Durham home, the one who could have left and didn’t, the one who returned in hopes of adding another championship ring on his hand.

“It felt good,” Allen admitted as he flashed a wide smile down the hallway at the United Center after the game.

It was much-needed. For Allen — and college basketball.


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Papa John’s issues weak apology after blaming NFL protests for drop in sales

Papa John’s issues weak apology after blaming NFL protests for drop in sales

NHRA: Springnationals

Papa John’s pizza founder John Schnatter ripped the NFL’s leadership earlier this month. USATSI

Papa John’s pizza came under fire a few weeks ago when the company’s founder, John Schnatter, blamed the NFL for the pizza chain’s recent drop in sales. Specifically, Schnatter took aim at the wave of anthem protests and said the NFL‘s failure to stop the demonstrations was hurting his company, which has been the official pizza sponsor of the NFL since 2010. 

“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” Schnatter said in an earnings call on Nov. 1, via Bloomberg. “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

The pizza company was swiftly criticized by many for pressuring the league to suppress the player protests, which began as a way to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice in America. It got worse for Schnatter when the far-right website The Daily Stormer declared Papa John’s to be “the official pizza” of the alt-right. 

Since then, the company remained relatively quiet, saying only that they “condemn racism in all forms” and doesn’t want neo-Nazis eating their pizza. 

But on Tuesday night, Papa John’s official Twitter account published a string of tweets addressing their statements on that earnings call.

So, that’s certainly more of a “sorry you were offended” apology than a “sorry, we screwed up” apology, which is something. The company’s official Twitter account also followed up by responding to feedback, including inquiries regarding why it took so long for a statement to come. 

If there’s a “negative consumer sentiment” surrounding the Papa John’s relationship with the NFL, as Schnatter claimed a few weeks ago, it’ll be interesting to see if this semi-apology helps them any. If not, they could always try making better pizza.


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KU’s Preston to sit until crash review complete

KU’s Preston to sit until crash review complete

CHICAGO — Kansas freshman forward Billy Preston will sit out Tuesday night’s game against Kentucky after being involved in a car accident and will continue to sit until a review is complete.

Jayhawks coach Bill Self suspended Preston just minutes before Friday’s season opener against Tennessee State, after he learned Preston broke curfew and also missed a class the morning of the game.

“On Saturday, Billy was involved in a single-vehicle incident on-campus,” Self said in a statement released just before Tuesday night’s game. “There were no injuries but Billy’s car sustained damage. After I learned about the incident, I reported it to our administration. The administration determined that we needed a clearer financial picture specific to the vehicle, we decided to hold him out of tonight’s game and will continue to do that until the review is complete.”

Preston was ranked No. 18 in the 2017 ESPN 100 and was expected to be a key contributor to a team that is lacking in frontcourt depth.

“Billy was informed right before our pre-game meal,” Self said. “Needless to say he was disappointed and crushed. He was very excited to make his KU debut. We hope to have the situation resolved as soon as possible.”


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Back from mini break, Seahawks begin life without Sherman

Back from mini break, Seahawks begin life without Sherman

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Back from a long weekend of needed rest, the Seattle Seahawks began life without Richard Sherman on Tuesday.

It was noticeably different for those who have become accustomed to hearing the cornerback’s voice on a daily basis.

”Just his energy, his passion, his trash talking is definitely going to be missed,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. ”But I’m positive he’s going to find a way to talk trash on the sideline.”

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For the first time since before he was drafted, the Seahawks started a week of preparations knowing Sherman would not play after he tore the Achilles tendon in his right foot during last Thursday’s win over Arizona. For as much as his mouth and some of his antics have drawn attention, Sherman has been an extremely reliable cog in Seattle’s secondary since his first game during the 2011 season. His streak of 109 consecutive starts – playoffs included – will end next Monday when he’s a spectator as his teammates host Atlanta.

Seattle’s adjustment to not having Sherman started Tuesday, but will really get going Thursday when preparations for facing the Falcons get started. The team signed Byron Maxwell, who was released by Miami last month after losing his starting job but knows Seattle’s system after starting his career with the Seahawks. Maxwell will provide depth behind Jeremy Lane and Shaquill Griffin, the expected starters at cornerback with Sherman out.

For Lane, it’s another chapter in a strange few weeks that saw him initially traded to Houston as part of the Duane Brown deal. Lane failed his physical with the Texans and was returned to the Seahawks. Lane said he was gone from the Seahawks for barely a day and that returning to the team was not awkward.

”It was crazy. A very emotional roller coaster. I had to stay mentally strong for it, but other than that it worked out,” he said.

While Lane and Griffin will get the bulk of the work, picking up Maxwell is a big benefit at this point of the season. Rather than trying to teach someone Seattle’s defensive system or bring up an inexperienced player from the practice squad, the Seahawks landed a veteran who knows their system and should be able to help sooner than later.

Maxwell, cut by the Dolphins on Oct. 24, said the only other team that reached out to him after his release was the Falcons.

”Definitely I was thinking I would get a call before this, in a week or two, but for whatever reason I didn’t,” he said.

While much of the attention was on Seattle’s defensive adjustments without Sherman, the team was also answering questions from the NFL about how it handled Russell Wilson’s possible concussion evaluation after the quarterback took a hit to the jaw in the third quarter of last week’s game. Referee Walt Anderson sent Wilson off the field. But he was in Seattle’s injury tent for only a few moments and missed just one play.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the team is cooperating with the league’s review and deferred to the NFL about whether Wilson was given a proper evaluation.

”I need to see what they think about that,” Carroll said. ”I just know what I was told during the game and we are going to unveil all of that and talk our way through it and (with the) referee and all that and figure it out, so I really can’t give you any details right now. But we should know more in a couple days I think.”

NOTES: Seattle placed RB C.J. Prosise on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain, but he might be able to come back this season. Carroll said it’s about a six-week recovery for Prosise, putting him on a similar potential time frame for a return as RB Chris Carson. Seattle signed RB Mike Davis from the practice squad. … SS Kam Chancellor was seeing doctors to determine the severity of a stinger sustained late in the win over Arizona. ”We want to make sure he’ll be OK. It will be a couple of days before we know,” Carroll said.

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Miami, OU join Bama, Clemson in CFP top four

Miami, OU join Bama, Clemson in CFP top four

Georgia is out, Miami is in and Oklahoma finally has a seat in the top four as the College Football Playoff rankings were announced Tuesday night.

Alabama takes over at No. 1 after the previous top-ranked team, Georgia, got blown out by Auburn on Saturday. The Tigers are now sitting at No. 6 and are two weeks away from an Iron Bowl clash with the Crimson Tide.

Clemson also benefited from Saturday’s shake-ups, as the Tigers went from No. 4 to No. 2, following losses by Georgia and Notre Dame.

After Clemson is the team that knocked off Notre Dame — Miami. The third-ranked Hurricanes nearly wore out their turnover chain with four takeaways in a 41-8 drubbing of the Fighting Irish.

As a result of the loss, Notre Dame tumbled from No. 3 to No. 8 — one spot behind Georgia — but the Irish likely have had their hopes of making the CFP dashed.

Rounding out the top four in the CFP rankings are the Sooners, who are 9-1 after a 38-20 win over Big 12 foe TCU on Saturday. The Horned Frogs dropped from sixth to 12th after the loss in Norman. Oklahoma had been holding steady at No. 5 in the CFP rankings, but it finally made the move into the top four.

Wisconsin checks in as the highest ranked Big Ten school at No. 5. The Badgers (9-0) have plowed their way through a weak schedule and might need a top-four team to lose in order to make the jump into a playoff position, even if they win out.

Auburn sits at six, one spot ahead of the team it took down on Saturday, Georgia. The Bulldogs fell from No. 1 to No. 7 after Saturday’s 40-17 loss to the Tigers, but the Bulldogs still could have a path to the playoff if they win the SEC title game.

The pair of SEC squads are followed by two teams from the Big Ten, Ohio State and Penn State, which are ranked Nos. 9 and 10, respectively. They are followed by the highest ranked Pac-12 team, USC.

TCU, at No. 12, is followed by another Big 12 team, Oklahoma State, which came away with a 49-42 win over Iowa State that knocked the Cyclones out of the CFP rankings altogether.

After the Cowboys is Washington State and UCF. The Knights are the highest ranked team from the Group of 5.

Mississippi State, which came oh so close to upsetting Alabama, sits at No. 16 and is followed by Michigan State, Washington and NC State.

LSU is ranked 20th and is followed by Memphis, Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan and Boise State.

Stanford, Michigan and Boise State are new to this week’s CFP rankings.


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NFL medical officer on Jacoby Brissett concussion: All of our protocols were followed

NFL medical officer on Jacoby Brissett concussion: All of our protocols were followed

Dr. Chris Nowinski, the CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, ripped the NFL’s concussion policy for being a “fraud” when the Colts were allowed to put quarterback Jacoby Brissett back into their game on Sunday after he took a brutal hit to the head. The NFL‘s chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills would probably disagree. 

On Tuesday, he told reporters on a league conference call that the Colts and the NFL followed all of their protocols when they allowed Brissett to re-enter the game.

“All of our protocols were followed,” Sills said, per ESPN. He also said that Brissett passed three concussion tests — two during the game and one after. 

Here’s the hit in question, along with Nowinski’s criticisms:

Brissett was back on the field for the Colts’ next possession, even though he needed to be helped to his feet and appeared to be woozy when he walked over to the sideline. After the game, the Colts released a statement saying that they followed the concussion protocol. 

According to Sills, Brissett reported “mild” symptoms 20-30 minutes after the game and was placed in the concussion protocol “out of an abundance of caution.” He also pointed out that concussion symptoms can be delayed. 

But that’s probably the exact point that Nowinski was trying to make. He seemed to be saying that because the hit was so brutal, Brissett shouldn’t have been allowed to re-enter the game even if he passed his concussion tests on the sideline, because as Sills himself noted, concussion symptoms can be delayed.

This isn’t the first time the NFL’s concussion policy has been criticized. In 2015, then-Rams quarterback Case Keenum appeared to be concussed after a brutal hit, but he was allowed to keep playing. In that same season, Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins admitted that he hid a concussion from the team and kept playing. Just last week, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson appeared to bypass a concussion test on the sideline before quickly re-entering the game. The NFL is investigating that incident, which Sills wouldn’t comment on. 

According to ESPN, Sills did reveal that roughly 37 percent of concussion evaluations this season (including the preseason) have stemmed from players self-reporting symptoms. Last year, it was 20-22 percent, he said. Earlier this year, Ravens receiver Mike Wallace was cleared to play following a concussion, but still willingly chose to sit out the team’s next game. Browns top pick Myles Garrett also self-reported a concussion. 

“I’ll play through my foot, my arm, anything that’s affecting me below my neck,” Garrett said, per the Associated Press. “I can’t play around with my brain.”

In 2015, a study discovered that 87 out of 91 deceased players had CTE. In July, another study found that 110 of 111 of former NFL players had CTE. 


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