AP Sports SummaryBrief at 11:24 p.m. EDT

Deshaun Watson settles 20 civil suits, faces NFL suspension

HOUSTON (AP) — A person familiar with the NFL’s investigation tells The Associated Press that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s decision to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits filed against him for sexual misconduct may not dissuade the NFL from giving him a lengthy suspension. Watson has been accused by massage therapists of harassing or assaulting them during appointments when he played for Houston. The attorney...

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Deshaun Watson settles 20 civil suits, faces NFL suspension

HOUSTON (AP) — A person familiar with the NFL’s investigation tells The Associated Press that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s decision to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits filed against him for sexual misconduct may not dissuade the NFL from giving him a lengthy suspension. Watson has been accused by massage therapists of harassing or assaulting them during appointments when he played for Houston. The attorney for all 24 women said paperwork has been filed to close 20 of the cases. However, he still faces discipline from the league. An official told AP “settling doesn’t give someone a pass” and indicated a lengthy suspension remains in order. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn’t concluded.

Rob Gronkowski retires, won’t join Tom Brady for 3rd season

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Four-time All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced he is retiring and won’t join Tom Brady for a third season in Tampa Bay. The jovial four-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots and Buccaneers thanked his teammates and coaches over the years in a post on Instagram and said he’s going back to “chilling out.” The 33-year-old retired in 2019 after nine seasons with the Patriots. He returned in 2020 when Brady went to Tampa and the close friends teamed up to help the Buccaneers win a Super Bowl in 2021. Gronkowski had 621 catches for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns in the regular season and 98 receptions for 1,389 yards and 15 TDs in the postseason.

Matthews wins Hart Trophy as NHL’s most valuable player

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Toronto’s Auston Matthews won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, beating out Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers to win the award for the first time. Shesterkin claimed the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender. Colorado’s Cale Maker took the Norris Trophy, presented to the league’s best defenseman, and Detroit’s Moritz Seider claimed the Calder Trophy as the top rookie during the NHL Awards Show in Tampa, Florida.

AP source: Koepka the latest to join Saudi-backed LIV series

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — The Associated Press has learned Brooks Koepka is the latest PGA Tour player to sign on with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series. Meanwhile, the PGA Tour is looking to reshape its fall series and limit who makes the postseason. Koepka gives LIV another big name because of his four majors. He’s also the first player who originally denounced the idea of guaranteed money and limited fields. Koepka told The AP in March 2020 that he has a hard time thinking golf should be about 48 players. Koepka withdrew late Tuesday night from the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

Column: Youth movement can make LIV Golf look appealing

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — The Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit is mostly about easy money. Still to be determined is whether it’s also an easy way out. There’s no question golf is trending young. Matt Fitzpatrick’s win at the U.S. Open only illuminated that. For the first time in the 162-year history of the majors, five consecutive Grand Slam events have been won by five different players under 30. Ten of the top 12 players in the world are in their 20s. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth say it looks like players who join LIV Golf are conceding their best years are behind them. But several players who’ve joined the circuit are still in their prime, including Brooks Koepka.

Analysis: Stanley Cup Final hinges on goaltending contrast

Goaltending has become the biggest X-factor in the Stanley Cup Final. Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar pulled Darcy Kuemper in favor of Pavel Francouz after allowing five goals in the team’s Game 3 loss on Monday. Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper never seriously considered removing Andrei Vasilevskiy at any point on the way to a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Colorado two nights earlier. Vasilevskiy’s ability to steal games makes Tampa Bay dangerous trailing the best-of-seven series 2-1. And the Avalanche’s decision about who will start in net moving forward could eventually tip the balance of the final.

Lightning look to even Stanley Cup Final against Avalanche

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — So much for the notion that the Tampa Bay Lightning might be running out of gas against the speedy Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning still trail the best-of-seven series 2-1 after beating the Avalanche in Game 3. Coach Jon Cooper is confident his team is trending in the right direction. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Tampa, where the Lightning have won eight straight playoff games.

MLB standardizes how baseballs are prepped to be put in play

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is standardizing procedures for rubbing baseballs and their removal from humidors in an effort to establish more consistency amid complaints about slickness that followed the crackdown on sticky substances. MLB has been working on standards over the course of the season in response to feedback from players and sent a memorandum outlining the changes, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. MLB is mandating a ball be stored in a humidor for at least 14 days before game use, and ball storage must be recorded in a signed form by the clubhouse manager.

Serena Williams wins 1st match of comeback after year away

EASTBOURNE, England (AP) — Serena Williams has won the first match of her comeback. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion partnered Ons Jabeur to victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova in the first round of the women’s doubles at the Wimbledon warmup tournament on England’s south coast. Williams and Jabeur recovered from losing the first set 6-2 to win the second 6-3 and then the match tiebreaker 13-11 on their third match point. Williams is guaranteed to have at least one more competitive match before playing singles at Wimbledon as a wild-card entry. Main-draw play at the All England Club starts Monday.

Women’s PGA Championship doubles prize money to $9 million

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is doubling the size of its purse to $9 million. It’s another boost to the women’s game that brings prize money for the five majors to nearly triple the amount from a decade ago. It’s also a 300% increase from the 2014 Women’s PGA Championship. That was the year before KPMG and the PGA of America partnered with the LPGA Tour. The idea was to increase the prize money and the profile of the second-oldest LPGA major by taking it to fabled courses.

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