ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels clinched the AL West title Wednesday night, getting seven dominant innings of one-hit ball from C.J. Wilson in a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
C.J. Cron hit a three-run homer for the major league-leading Angels (95-57), who wrapped up their first division crown since 2009 when Oakland lost to Texas about an hour after Los Angeles' game ended.
The Angels had already secured a playoff spot Monday. They have won 12 of 14.
Howie Kendrick sparked the Angels' five-run rally in the seventh by scoring from first base when Chris Denorfia misplayed David Freese's single to right for an error.
Los Angeles' surge broke up a pitchers' duel between Wilson and Seattle rookie James Paxton, who traded zeros until the seventh.
Wilson (13-9) earned his third straight victory in intimidating fashion, striking out seven and allowing just four baserunners in a major improvement from recent starts. He escaped his only jam in the seventh, stranding two runners.
Paxton (6-3) yielded four hits and had eight strikeouts for the Mariners, who have lost six of eight. Seattle managed just one hit and is two games behind Kansas City and Oakland for the second AL wild card.
Paxton kept the Mariners in contention until his teammates made two errors and reliever Danny Farquhar flopped in the seventh inning.
After Kendrick's one-out single, Denorfia thought about diving to catch Freese's drive, but instead pulled up and allowed it to roll past him to the right-field wall. Austin Jackson then double-clutched the ball while retrieving it, and Kendrick scored easily.
Farquhar relieved Paxton with two outs and two runners on, but Cron mashed his 11th homer into the fake rock pile behind center field. Kole Calhoun followed with an RBI double as the Angels batted around.
Paxton was even more dominant than Wilson, retiring 17 of the Angels' first 18 hitters. Paxton allowed only two bouncing singles in the first six innings while striking out Mike Trout three times.
Trout also struck out to end the seventh, tying Baltimore's Chris Davis for the AL lead with 173 strikeouts.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias headed back to Seattle for an MRI after feeling stiffness in his elbow. Manager Lloyd McClendon said Elias is probably done for the season.
Angels: Josh Hamilton was out of the starting lineup after feeling a bit sore following his return from a shoulder injury Tuesday. The cleanup hitter likely wouldn't have started anyway against a tough left-hander.
Two aces meet in the series finale when Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (14-5, 2.14 ERA) takes on Jered Weaver (17-8, 3.50).
PHOENIX (AP) Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday on aggravated assault charges in connection with two altercations at his home in July involving a woman and their 18-month-old child, the latest in a string of such cases involving NFL players.
The Cardinals said they became aware of the situation Wednesday and are cooperating with the investigation.
"Given the serious nature of these allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities," the team said in a statement.
The NFL said the case will be reviewed under the league's personal-conduct policy.
One of the counts was "aggravated assault causing a fracture" involving the 27-year-old victim, whom they did not identify. Police said they were carrying out a search warrant of Dwyer's residence in pursuit of more evidence.
Police said that in interviews with detectives, the 25-year-old player denied committing any assault.
There was no reply to telephone message left for Dwyer's agent, Adisa Bakari, seeking comment Wednesday.
Authorities depicted a stormy relationship between Dwyer and the woman that escalated into violence on July 21, four days before the Cardinals reported to training camp.
Neighbors heard a fight and called police, who showed up at the residence but left without making an arrest because Dwyer hid in the bathroom and the woman said no one else was at the home, Sgt. Trent Crump said.
"She said she was in an argument on the phone only," Crump said.
The next day, Crump said, Dwyer snatched the woman's cellphone and threw it from the second floor of their residence to prevent her from calling police about another dispute.
Crump confirmed there was an allegation that Dwyer threw a shoe at or toward his son. Crump said he couldn't elaborate on it.
Crump said the woman moved out of state with the child, but came forward last week and provided police with information about her injuries and text messages indicating Dwyer "was going to harm himself because of what had been going on."
The NFL has been rocked by domestic violence issues ever since a videotape surfaced that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator. Then Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on felony child-abuse charges. On Wednesday, the Carolina Panthers decided that star defensive end Greg Hardy will not play any more games for the team until his domestic violence case is resolved.
Hardy was convicted of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim said the 6-foot-4, 275-pound player threw her in the bathtub and onto a sofa covered with guns before threatening to kill her. Hardy is appealing the ruling.
Critics have been calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's resignation for his handling of Rice's case. Rice was originally suspended for two games, then banned indefinitely after the video surfaced of his attack in the casino elevator.
This is the second domestic violence case involving a Cardinals player. Inside linebacker Daryl Washington pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend and is serving a year of supervised probation. Washington has not yet been penalized by the NFL for the offense but is suspended for this season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Dwyer was led into the jail in handcuffs to be booked on counts that include aggravated assault causing a fracture and involving a minor, criminal damage and preventing the use of a phone in an emergency.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail, said Dwyer has refused all media interviews.
Dwyer signed with the Cardinals this year and was their second-string running back after spending the last four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He scored a touchdown last week in Arizona's victory over the New York Giants.
His best year for Pittsburgh was 2012 when injuries depleted the team's backfield in the middle of the season and Dwyer filled in and had 100-yard-plus games in consecutive weeks.
Dwyer, from Marietta, Georgia, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Steelers out of Georgia Tech in 2010.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Panthers finally made a decision on Greg Hardy: the Pro Bowl defensive end will not play anymore games for Carolina until his domestic violence case is resolved.
The team removed Hardy from its active roster Wednesday, ending three weeks of indecision regarding his playing status. He played Week 1, sat out Week 2 and there was uncertainty about this week.
So the Panthers placed Hardy on the exempt-commissioner's permission list just hours after the Vikings took a similar disciplinary approach with Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota running back is addressing child abuse charges in Texas.
Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim said the 6-foot-4, 275-pound player threw her in the bathtub and onto a sofa covered with guns before threatening to kill her. Hardy is appealing the ruling and a jury trial is set for Nov. 17.
He will continue to be paid his weekly salary of $770,588.23. Hardy also is allowed to be at the team facility, but will not practice.
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said it was a tough decision given the changing climate in the NFL.
"Our overriding goal has always been to do the right thing," Gettleman said.
The GM said he expects Hardy to be out at least through November.
Hardy said he understands he needs to step away from football and take care of his legal problems.
"I am entitled to due process and my day in court, and that's where my focus should be," Hardy said in a statement. "I appreciate the Panthers for giving me this opportunity and look forward to being back with my teammates. I am disappointed to leave my teammates and the Carolina Panthers during our season. My decision to take a leave of absence allows me to focus on my family until the legal process has run its course."
Had Hardy not taken a the leave of absence with pay, he likely would have faced an unpaid suspension from the league.
The NFL Players Association released a statement Wednesday saying, "Today, Greg Hardy made a decision to take a voluntary leave of absence to resolve his pending legal issue. The NFLPA and NFL worked with Greg, his representatives and the Carolina Panthers on this matter. We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family."
Earlier Wednesday, with security around the stadium amped up, Hardy and his agent Drew Rosenhaus emerged from the team's facility, stepped into the player's Bentley and drove away. Earlier, two police officers on motorcycles guarded the entrance to the team's practice facility.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera was 20 minutes late arriving to Wednesday's practice and said that Hardy would not participate in workouts as he walked past reporters.
The coach later said he had a 90-minute conversation with the defensive end to make sure Hardy was in a good place.
"Greg's hurt, he really is," Rivera said. "It's a tough situation and he knows he put himself in it. He was apologetic."
Rivera said he expects Hardy to take a few days away and return to the team "in due time."
"He's still a part of this football team," Rivera said.
Hardy, who was tagged as the team's franchise player this offseason and signed a one-year, $13.1 million deal, is Carolina's top pass rusher.
He tied a franchise record with 15 sacks last season and has 26 in in his last 32 games.
Rivera activated Hardy for the season opener against Tampa Bay, but then abruptly deactivated him before Sunday's game against Detroit - a move Gettleman supported.
"At that time we felt it was at the right thing to do," Gettleman said. "It's constantly changing. There is no rule book for this. There's no magic list we can hit checkboxes that bring us to the right answer."
Rivera said he informed the team at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Veteran safety Roman Harper said Wednesday during open locker room that every team has to battle adversity at some point, but said losing Hardy will hurt.
Harper said unbeaten Panthers will miss Hardy's pass rush skills and energy. "You take a player of his caliber off the field and it is going to affect us," Harper said. "But at the end of the day you can't use that as an excuses or a crutch. You have to fly around and make plays as a defense. We understand what we will be missing, but at the end of the day we still have a job to do."
Tight end Greg Olsen said the Panthers are doing their best to focus on the Steelers.
"You learn very fast in this league that there are going to be a lot of outside factors," Olsen said. "You have to do the best you can not to let those things impact your preparations and really focus on what you can control. The most successful teams just worry about the here and now and what they can control."
Rivera said he believes the team handled the situation in the best way possible.
"The biggest thing we have to do is get this right," Rivera said. "In all honesty we're worried about the wrong types of things. We're trying to figure out who we need to blame. We don't need to blame people, we need to find answers and corrections and make things right... We have to come up with solutions to make sure this doesn't happen again."
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Jameis Winston will be a spectator in the first half of Florida State's showdown against Clemson Saturday after making "offensive and vulgar" comments about women - the latest embarrassment in a growing list of poor decisions off the field.
Florida State interim President Dr. Garnett S. Stokes and athletic director Stan Wilcox announced in a joint statement Wednesday that the quarterback also will undergo internal discipline, but did not provide details of the punishment.
Several students tweeted Winston stood on campus Tuesday and shouted a lascivious comment about female anatomy that may have derived from an internet meme.
The 20-year-old Winston addressed his inappropriate comments before Wednesday's practice at his weekly press conference, saying: "I have to tone it down."
The Heisman Trophy winner has made similar comments after previous incidents and Florida State seems to be growing less tolerant of his discretions.
While playing for the Florida State baseball team, he was suspended for three games and completed 20 hours of community service after acknowledging he stole $32 worth of crab legs from a local grocery store in April. Before the football season, he said he had matured, learned what it takes to be a leader and understood that he needed to be more careful in his personal life.
The school president and AD admonished him Wednesday for doing just the opposite.
"As the university's most visible ambassadors, student-athletes at Florida State are expected to uphold at all times high standards of integrity and behavior that reflect well upon themselves, their families, coaches, teammates, the Department of Athletics and Florida State University," their joint statement said. "Student-athletes are expected to act in a way that reflects dignity and respect for others."
Winston's latest poor judgment comes when Florida State is under scrutiny.
The university is currently under investigation by the Department of Education for the way it handles reports of sexual assault, including a case involving Winston. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from a FSU student who says Winston assaulted her in 2012.
State Attorney Willie Meggs declined to press charges against Winston last fall.
A lawyer for the woman says the university is currently conducting its own investigation of that incident.
Winston has had other run-ins with police since enrolling at the university.
Police questioned Winston and other FSU players in November 2012 after 13 windows were broken at an apartment complex near Doak Campbell Stadium after an apparent BB gun battle. That same month, Winston and teammate Chris Casher were held at gunpoint by campus police for hunting squirrels. The two told police they were shooting squirrels with a pellet gun along a bike trail. Police were also called after a Burger King employee called to complain that Winston was stealing soda.
Winston was not arrested in any of those three incidents.
On Wednesday, the Heisman Trophy winner gave a statement in which apologized for the lewd comments.
"I just want to apologize to my university, my coaches and my teammates. I'm not a me person, but in that situation it was a selfish act," Winston said. "That's not how you do things. I really want to apologize to my teammates because I have now made a selfish act for them."
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher called Winston's remarks about women "derogatory."
"It's not something we want or we're indicative of and it's not a good decision," Fisher said. "It was something that has to be addressed.
"You can't make certain statements that are derogatory or inflammatory in any way toward any person, race, gender," said Fisher, whose top-ranked Seminoles host No. 22 Clemson on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown. "The statements in which you make are always going to be made more public than statements that other individuals make," the coach said. "And that's just the nature of the business of who you are and what you are. That's the situation it is and you have to understand that."
Winston's continued questionable behavior could not only affect his future NFL draft stock, but possibly his status as a student.
He could be removed from school pending the outcome of the investigation into whether he violated the school's code of conduct policy stemming from the sexual assault accusation. Winston has repeatedly indicated there was a strong chance he could return for another year of college football, but this latest incident could change that.
Saturday's showdown between the top-ranked Seminoles and No. 22 Clemson is a rematch of a game that really put Winston in the national spotlight. Florida State rolled over the Tigers 51-14 en route to a national championship. Winston threw for 444 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another score.
"I want to be out on the field with my team, but I did something, so I have to accept the consequences," Winston said. "I'm going to apologize to my team. We're not going to think about that, because we don't think about negative things. We're going to think about moving forward and winning the game."
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was declared out, back in, then out again as he faces a felony child-abuse charge in Texas.
This time, he could be gone for the season.
"We made a mistake," Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said, "and we needed to get this right."
Vikings executives emerged Wednesday from a late-night deliberation to voice regret of their initial decision to let Peterson play this week after sitting him for a game once he was charged with injuring his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a wooden switch. Now Peterson is back on paid leave through a special roster exemption granted by the NFL, the same protocol cited by the Carolina Panthers as they sat defensive end Greg Hardy a few hours later while he deals with his own domestic violence case.
"We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe this is the right decision," said Wilf, the team's co-owner with younger brother Mark Wilf.
During a 17-minute news conference at Vikings headquarters, the word "right" was used a total of 34 times by the Wilfs, vice president Kevin Warren and general manager Rick Spielman. They expressed concern about child welfare, recognized their role as public figures and reminded the audience of the community service work done regularly by players.
The most emphatic responses, though, came to questions from reporters about external pressure.
Did the NFL strong-arm the decision? Did the loss of sponsorships drive it?
"Absolutely not," Mark Wilf, the team president, said on both subjects.
He added: "We appreciate our fans, men and women alike, our sponsors and the community. We hear their input."
Backlash was swift to the announcement Monday that Peterson would rejoin the Vikings after being held out Sunday. The Radisson hotel chain suspended its team sponsorship. Prominent NFL advertisers, including Anheuser-Busch, raised concern about recent off-the-field problems. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called for Peterson's suspension.
Picked for six Pro Bowls in his first seven seasons, Peterson's popularity took a huge hit. He was dropped this week from several of his endorsement deals. Shoe giant Nike suspended its sponsorship deal, saying it "in no way condones child abuse or domestic violence of any kind and has shared our concerns with the NFL."
"It is important to always listen to our fans and the community and our sponsors," Zygi Wilf said, at least vaguely contradicting his brother's denial that revenue had an impact on the decision to reverse course.
US Bank spokesman Dana Ripley said the company, a strong candidate for naming rights on the Vikings new stadium set to open in 2016, agreed with the decision to put Peterson on hiatus.
"We have been in close communication with the Vikings organization for the past couple of days firmly expressing our perspective," Ripley said.
Peterson's case remains under review per the league's personal conduct policy, spokesman Greg Aiello said, so a suspension could still be possible once resolution in court is reached. That's not expected until 2015. Peterson has an Oct. 8 court appearance scheduled in Montgomery County, outside of Houston.
His attorney, Rusty Hardin, said the case "will be up to a judge and jury to decide, which is the way it should be," indicating a plea deal was not in the works.
The 29-year-old Peterson said he was administering the same type of discipline he experienced growing up and didn't meant to hurt his son. Peterson also said he's met with a psychologist and acknowledged alternatives "that may be more appropriate" than corporal punishment.
His mother, Bonita Jackson, told the Houston Chronicle that she and his father used switches and belts to occasionally spank all of their children.
"Most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes," said Jackson, who has not returned messages from The Associated Press. "But we were only trying to prepare them for the real world. When you whip those you love, it's not about abuse, but love."
The exempt list, which allows the Vikings to fill Peterson's spot on the 53-man roster while retaining his rights, is available "only in unusual circumstances," according to NFL policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell has the sole authority to grant the exemption - or lift it.
The NFL Players Association characterized Peterson's status as "voluntary leave," in issuing a statement of support. His agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press the decision was "the best possible outcome given the circumstances."
But the team wanted to make clear it made the call.
"The Minnesota Vikings are the ones that initiated this process," Warren said.
Montgomery County prosecutor Phil Grant said an NFL official asked Monday for any investigative documents in the Peterson case. Grant said he offered the grand jury indictment that was made public Saturday but did not share any other items such as photos, interviews or police reports. Warren, the team's chief administrative officer, said he personally reviewed evidence in the case and that the Vikings are "in a perpetual state of gathering as much information" as possible.
Spielman didn't directly answer questions about whether releasing Peterson was considered or if he would play for the Vikings again. Peterson's salary for 2014 is $11.75 million. His contract doesn't expire until after the 2017 season, but the Vikings could cut him for a minimal salary-cap hit or at least restructure the deal.
"We are going to let the legal process and his personal matters take care of themselves, and he will remain on this exempt list until that is accomplished," said Spielman, who spent time with Peterson on Tuesday.
"Adrian is an unselfish person and saw all of the light that was coming on this, and he felt ... that by him stepping back it would give our football team and opportunity to focus on football," Spielman said.
Peterson's teammates and coaches tried to focus on preparations for Sunday's game at New Orleans, though one player called the decision unfair.
"I think he should be able to play. He hasn't been convicted of anything," cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said.
The Vikings will have to put those feelings aside for now.
"I love Adrian Peterson. I feel for him that he's going through this because I think that he's one of my guys," coach Mike Zimmer said. "I believe in this situation where everything is, this is the right way to go."
HOUSTON (AP) Adrian Peterson's mother is defending the Minnesota Vikings running back in the wake of child abuse allegations against him, saying that he is "trying hard to be a good parent."
Bonita Jackson said she and Peterson's father, Nelson Peterson, were "big disciplinarians" who used hands, switches and belts to occasionally spank all six of her children. An indictment by the Montgomery County grand jury accuses Adrian Peterson of felony child abuse for swatting his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch and his team has taken him off the active roster while the case plays out.
"I don't care what anybody says. Most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes," Jackson, 50, told the Houston Chronicle in an interview from her home in suburban Houston. "But we were only trying to prepare them for the real world."
Seated with her current husband, who is a Baptist minister, Jackson said: "When you whip those you love, it's not about abuse, but love. You want to make them understand that they did wrong."
Adrian Peterson is getting help to learn other ways of disciplining since the incident that led to the criminal charge, such as having the child stand in the corner for five minutes, Jackson said.
Jackson said she loves her grandchildren more than her own children and would be "so angry with anybody who willfully hurt her grandbabies." She said she believes, however, that her son was only trying to discipline his son she same way he was disciplined when he was growing up.
She said things are complicated by orders barring Peterson from any contact with the boy, whose mother is a nursing student in Minnesota.
"But when we talk to her," Jackson said of the child's mother," we can hear him laughing and playing in the background. He sounds happy. I know his mother has much respect for Adrian. She knows he's a good father, no matter how much people attack his character. Only God can judge us."
BALTIMORE (AP) The NFL players' union appealed Ray Rice's indefinite suspension Tuesday night, saying that he shouldn't be punished twice for punching his fiancee in a casino elevator.
Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL's personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault for the Feb. 15 attack.
The Baltimore running back had already served the first game of that suspension when, on Sept. 8, a video surfaced showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in that elevator.
Within hours, the Ravens released Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to indefinite based on the "new evidence."
Goodell and the Ravens say they never saw the video before Sept. 8. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that he had sent the video to a league executive.
"This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "The NFLPA appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the commissioner of the NFL. We have asked that a neutral and jointly selected arbitrator hear this case as the commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators."
The NFLPA said that the collective bargaining agreement requires a hearing date be set within 10 days of the appeal notice. It also said the hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.
The union, which had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to file the appeal, added that under governing labor law, an employee can't be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment.
"The erratic and illogical system of ad hoc punishments is a paltry substitute for the leadership the NFL desperately needs right now," National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill said in a statement. "Roger Goodell must resign, and his successor must be fully committed to real and lasting change."
Rice can apply for reinstatement when he convinces Goodell that he is "addressing this issue." Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the assault charge being dropped.
The NFL said that Goodell never intended to personally hear Rice's appeal.
The NFL has come under heavy scrutiny for its handling of the Rice situation - and other domestic violence cases - as the league tries to attract female fans to the game. It is an effort that has been scarred by the original two-game suspension, a punishment many women's organizations deemed too light.
Goodell, in a letter sent to all 32 NFL owners in August, acknowledged that he "didn't get it right."
He then announced a new policy, stating that first-time domestic violence offenders would face a six-game suspension, and repeat offenders would be suspended indefinitely.
The policy didn't apply to Rice, who had already received his penalty.
There is apparently no precedent for the indefinite suspension Rice received after the video surfaced.
With all questions about who knew what and when - The Associated Press has reported the video was sent to NFL offices in April - the league has hired former FBI director Robert Mueller to look into how the NFL sought and handled evidence in the domestic violence case.
Soon after receiving the original suspension, Rice called his actions in the elevator "inexcusable" and apologized publicly to Janay, his mother, his teammates and the Ravens organization.
He also addressed the length of the suspension, which came with a fine of three paychecks totaling more than $500,000.
"I never planned to appeal any kind of punishment," Rice said on July 31. "So whether it was two games, four games, six games, eight games, I was going to own my actions and be a man about it and take whatever was given to me."
At that time, he spoke about the damage his reputation received.
"In some people's eyes, Ray can do no wrong. That's something I take pride in," he said. "I know a lot of people out there have lost respect, maybe not like me anymore. But that's my fault. I have to own that. That's my battle each day."
It is a battle he has waged recently out of the public eye. Although he attended a football game at his former high school with his wife last weekend, he has not spoken to the media since his release from the Ravens.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) After a day of public pressure from angry fans and concerned sponsors, the Minnesota Vikings have reversed course and placed star running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list, a move that will require him to stay away from the team while he addresses child abuse charges in Texas.
The Vikings made the announcement early Wednesday morning, about a day and a half after initially deciding that Peterson could play with the team while the legal process played out. Peterson is charged with a felony for using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son and now could miss the rest of the season while the case proceeds through the court system.
The Vikings came under heavy criticism for their initial stance. Several sponsors responded by either suspending their deals with the Vikings or severing ties with Peterson, prompting Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf to revisit the situation on Tuesday.
"While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian," the Wilfs said in a statement. "We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community."
Peterson was indicted last week in Montgomery County, Texas, after admitting to authorities that he struck his son with a tree branch. Peterson said he was disciplining his son the same way his own father disciplined him while growing up in Palestine, Texas, and didn't intend to hurt him.
The Vikings deactivated him for the 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday while they gathered more information. But on Monday they announced that Peterson was being reinstated and expected to play this weekend at New Orleans.
The about face came after the Radisson hotel chains suspended its sponsorship with the Vikings, Papa John's considered doing the same, and Anheuser-Busch said it was "disappointed and increasingly concerned" with the negative attention brought to the league by Ray Rice's assault on his wife and Peterson's arrest.
Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. all severed ties with Peterson, and Twin Cities Nike stores pulled Peterson's jerseys from its shelves.
"This is the best possible outcome given the circumstances," Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press of the Vikings' decision. "Adrian understands the gravity of the situation and this enables him to take care of his personal situation. We fully support Adrian and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence."
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who spearheaded an effort to secure $477 million in public money to help build the team a new stadium, and Sen. Al Franken were among the many who called for the Vikings to reconsider their position.
Peterson's first court appearance isn't until Oct. 8, and with the Vikings specifying that he must stay away "until the legal proceedings are resolved," it appears there is a possibility that he won't play again this year.
The Vikings said they had deliberations with the NFL over the previous two days and informed the league they were revisiting the situation. Executives were at the team's Winter Park headquarters late into the night on Tuesday, discussing how to respond to the avalanche of criticism.
"After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian," the Wilfs said in their statement. "We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization.
"We embrace our role - and the responsibilities that go with it - as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community."
What this means for Peterson's future with the team remains to be seen. The 29-year-old has been the face of the franchise practically since he was drafted in 2007, one of the most popular and marketable stars in the NFL whose All Day Foundation charity is devoted to helping children.
But the foundation's website was shuttered on Tuesday, at one point posting a message that it "will re-engage after Adrian, his family, and staff have reflected on how the current situation impacts the direction for Adrian's philanthropy."
Peterson has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns in his NFL career. He won the MVP award in 2012 after rushing for 2,097 yards in his return from a torn ACL.
"We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision," the Wilfs said. "We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision."
Major sponsors including Anheuser-Busch are adding to the chorus of disapproval over the National Football League's recent scandals, but the companies are stopping short of pulling advertising.
Anheuser-Busch said Tuesday that it has spoken with the NFL about concerns related to recent incidents that are sparking outcry from fans, including an investigation into how long the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell knew about a video that shows Baltimore Raven Ray Rice beating his then-fiancee; as well as the Minnesota Vikings' decision to let Adrian Peterson play while he faces an abuse charge for spanking his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch.
McDonald's, Visa and Campbell Soup Co. say they have also voiced similar concerns to the league.
The statements come after Radisson hotels said Monday that it was pulling its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings. No other brands have pulled sponsorships from teams or the NFL.
But the statements from sponsors are becoming increasingly strongly worded.
Only last week, several big sponsors like GM and FedEx said they were monitoring the situation or watching it closely. Others like Anheuser-Busch and Procter & Gamble stayed silent.
This week, sponsors are making it clear they have made the NFL aware of their concerns. A-B used the harshest language, saying it was "disappointed and increasingly concerned."
The NFL responded to the sponsors' statements late Tuesday with a short statement of its own:
"We understand. We are taking action and there will be much more to come," the organization said.
As the NFL and various team executives navigate scandal, much is at stake: The money companies pay each year to be official sponsors -not including advertising and promotions- is worth about $1.07 billion for the league and all of its teams, according to sponsorship consultancy IEG. The NFL is a coveted partner for brands since an average of 17.4 million people tune in during a regular season NFL game, about 65 percent men and 35 percent women, according to Nielsen.
Experts say that brands are taking their cues by how upset consumers seem.
"It takes something pretty dramatic before those league sponsors who have invested in some cases hundreds of millions in their relationship with NFL seek to end their partnership or do something like that," said Jim Andrews, senior vice president of content strategy at IEG. "They follow the fans. They will be constantly monitoring and testing the waters to see what the fan reaction to this is."
For Anheuser-Busch, those sponsorship fees alone are worth an estimated $50 million. The beer maker said Tuesday that it is "disappointed and increasingly concerned" by the recent incident.
"We are not yet satisfied with the league's handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code," the company said in a statement. "We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league."
Also on Tuesday, McDonald's issued a similar statement, saying "we have questions surrounding these evolving situations and are closely monitoring as the appropriate parties investigate these matters," The company added it has "communicated our concerns to the league, and we expect it to take strong and necessary actions to address these issues."
On Monday, Visa said domestic violence in any form is unacceptable and has no place in the NFL and society.
"As a long-standing sponsor we have spoken with the NFL about our concerns regarding recent events, and reinforced the critical importance that they address these issues with great seriousness."
Campbell Soup said it had also spoken to the NFL about the Ray Rice video investigation.
"Upon completion of the investigation, we expect the NFL to take appropriate action," Campbell Soup Co. said in a statement. "We have shared our views with the NFL."
Also on Tuesday, Procter & Gamble responded to a fake Covergirl NFL ad that went viral on social media. The ad depicted a woman with a black eye. The company posted a statement on its Covergirl Facebook page saying "domestic violence is completely unacceptable". The company went further, saying that it has "encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence."
BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles won their first AL East crown since 1997, using home runs by Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 Tuesday night before a boisterous crowd of 35,297 at Camden Yards.
With their ninth win in 10 games, the Orioles clinched their second playoff appearance in three years following a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons.
Afterward, the Orioles converged behind second base, fireworks soared in the outfield and streamers sprayed throughout the crowd.
It was Baltimore's ninth AL East title and only its second since 1983, when the Orioles last won the World Series.
The franchise has enjoyed a rebirth under the guidance of manager Buck Showalter, whose 1,254th victory thrust him past mentor Billy Martin into sole possession of 36th place on the career list.
Baltimore is 42-23 in a division that includes the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the free-spending New York Yankees and pitching-rich Tampa Bay. The Orioles led by only four games on Aug. 6 before going on a 27-11 run.
The clinching victory featured an unlikely list of contributors, not at all unusual for a team that often delved deep into its 25-man roster. Ubaldo Jimenez was making his first start in a month; Pearce has morphed from a bit-player to a key starter; and Paredes didn't join the team until Aug. 28.
Pearce provided the Orioles with the lead for good with a three-run drive off Drew Hutchison (10-12) in the first inning. Pearce has 18 home runs this year, one more than he had in 290 games as a part-timer from 2007-13.
Paredes hit a solo shot in the second to make it 4-2. It was his second homer in 10 games with Baltimore.
In addition, newcomer Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run triple in the seventh for a 7-2 lead. De Aza came to the Orioles in an Aug. 30 trade with the Chicago White Sox.
Jimenez (5-9) survived a rocky start to limit the Blue Jays to two runs and two hits over five innings in his third start since July 5. After signing a $50 million, four-year deal in the offseason, Jimenez struggled with his control for much of the season, sprained his ankle in a parking lot before the All-Star break and ultimately lost his place in the rotation.
Pressed into service because the Orioles played a doubleheader Friday, Jimenez issued four walks in the first two innings. But he bounced back to retire his last 10 batters.
Blue Jays: Steve Tolleson was available off the bench after being hit on the arm by teammate Munenori Kawasaki's foul ball while sitting in the dugout the previous night. "We got lucky," manager John Gibbons said.
Orioles: RHP Steve Johnson will have surgery to have a bone spur removed from the back of his right shoulder later this month and should be ready for 2015 spring training. He did not pitch for Baltimore this year.
Bud Norris (13-8) brings a 7-1 record against AL East foes into a matchup with Toronto lefty J.A. Happ in the series finale.
ATLANTA (AP) The Washington Nationals are again champions of the NL East, wrapping up their second division title in three years against the team that knocked them out of the top spot last season.
Tanner Roark pitched five-hit ball over seven innings, Ian Desmond's two-run homer broke a scoreless tie and the Nationals celebrated another trip to the playoffs with a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
The clinching victory was especially sweet coming against the Braves, who finished 10 games ahead of the Nationals in 2013. The roles were reserved this season as Washington steadily pulled away down the stretch.
Atlanta lost for the 11th time in 14 games, further damaging its hopes of making a third straight playoff appearance as a wild card. The Braves dropped to 75-76 with their fifth straight loss, the first time they have been under .500 since losing on opening day to Milwaukee. They came into the night 4 1/2 games behind Pittsburgh for the second NL wild card and have only 11 games left in the regular season.
Roark (14-10) pitched around four leadoff singles by Atlanta, which never got a runner past second base. He struck out four and walked none, lifted after throwing 89 pitches. Tyler Clippard worked a scoreless eighth, and Drew Storen finished up for his seventh save.
The Nationals finally broke through in the sixth off Aaron Harang (11-11). After Jayson Werth led off with a walk, Adam LaRoche took a called third strike before Harang worked the count to 2-2 on Desmond.
The next pitch was a breaking pitch that stayed up in the zone. Desmond got all of it, sending a drive deep into the left-field seats for his 23rd homer of the season. Left fielder Justin Upton barely moved, while Harang pumped his fist angrily on the mound.
Desmond scored another run in the ninth, trotting home on David Carpenter's wild pitch.
The Nationals will be making only the third playoff appearance in the franchise's 46-year history. They reached the postseason only once as the Montreal Expos before moving to Washington in 2005.
Two years ago, the Nationals had a major league-leading 98 wins but were stunningly beaten by the St. Louis Cardinals in the deciding game of the NL division series. Washington jumped ahead 6-0 after three innings and still led 7-5 going to the ninth, only to give up four runs with two outs.
Nationals: LF Bryce Harper was back in the lineup after leaving Monday's game in the third inning when he felt light-headed. Manager Matt Williams said Harper had a "little bit of the gunk" that seemed to be going around in the Washington clubhouse. ... 3B Ryan Zimmerman (strained hamstring) continued his rehab in the instructional league, playing three innings at first base and getting five at-bats in a simulated game. "It was a good day," Williams said. Next up, Zimmerman will play five innings the next time out, three at third base and two at first base.
Braves: C Evan Gattis missed his eighth straight game since coming down with strep throat. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he doesn't know when Gattis will be healthy enough to return.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-10) has won two of his three starts in September after going nearly two months without a win.
Braves: LHP Alex Wood (10-10) has lasted at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer in 12 of his 22 starts. Atlanta is 5-7 in those games.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
The decision whether to charge three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart in the August death of a fellow driver at a sprint car race in upstate New York will be up to a grand jury.
Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said Tuesday he made the decision to present the case to a grand jury after reviewing evidence collected by sheriff's investigators. Tantillo could have determined there was not enough evidence to support charges and dropped the case, but instead announced his decision more than a month after Stewart's car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. at a dirt-track race on Aug. 9.
In a statement, Stewart said he respects the time and effort authorities have spent "investigating this tragic accident."
"I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation," he said.
Stewart-Haas Racing said Stewart will race in Sunday's NASCAR event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Stewart spent three weeks in seclusion before returning for the final two races of the Sprint Cup season. He did not make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field, and finished 18th in the first Chase race Sunday at Chicagoland.
County Sheriff Philip Povero spent weeks investigating the accident at the small track in Canandaigua, several times saying investigators did not have any evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart. Ward had spun while racing alongside Stewart and then the 20-year-old climbed out of his car and walked down the track, waving his arms in an apparent attempt to confront the 43-year-old NASCAR veteran.
"Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation," Tantillo said, "I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to the grand jury for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter."
He said the law prevented him from saying when the case would be scheduled or who would be called as witnesses.
Experts have said Stewart could be charged with second-degree manslaughter under New York law if prosecutors believe he "recklessly caused the death of another person," with negligent homicide another possibility.
The sheriff asked in the days after Ward's death for spectators to turn over photos and videos of the crash as investigators worked to reconstruct the accident. Among the things being looked at were the dim lighting, how muddy it was and whether Ward's dark firesuit played a role in his death, given the conditions.
In submitting his findings to the district attorney last week, Povero said they included a "forensic video enhancement" from state police.
After Ward's death, NASCAR announced a rule that prohibits drivers from climbing out of a crashed or disabled vehicle - unless it is on fire - until safety personnel arrive.
Stewart, who has 48 career Cup wins in 542 starts, is one of the biggest stars in the garage. From the small town of Columbus, Indiana, he has long been one of the most proficient drivers in racing, winning in every kind of series, from sprint cars to the elite Sprint Cup Series. He has for years taken part in little races in nondescript towns because he loves the thrill of the high horsepower, lightweight cars skidding around the dirt.
He rarely made his schedule public, popping up when he pleased, and he was welcome at the clay track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park the night before the NASCAR race in nearby Watkins Glen.
NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes said the series was closely following the case.
"We are aware of the completed investigation and the announced next steps," he said. "We will monitor this process and stay in close contact with Stewart-Haas Racing. It would be inappropriate for NASCAR to comment on this case so we will continue to respect the process and authorities involved."
Over the weekend, the No. 13 car belonging to Ward returned to racing at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals at Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario. The car was driven by Ward's best friend, Dylan Swiernik, who finished 14th out of 30. Afterward, Ward's father said he would sell the sprint car that his son drove.
"Life," Kevin Ward Sr. told Canadian Press, "just isn't the same without him."
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) A prosecutor said Tuesday that suspended Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon will receive probation and undergo a substance-abuse assessment after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge in North Carolina.
Acting Wake County district attorney Ned Mangum said Gordon received a 60-day suspended jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation Tuesday.
The Pro Bowler is serving an NFL imposed season-long suspension for a failed marijuana test, though that could be reduced under proposed drug policy changes.
For his DWI, Gordon must also comply with any treatment recommended through the substance-abuse assessment, pay a $100 fine and court costs, and perform community service. His driver's license was also suspended.
Gordon's attorney, Trey Fitzhugh, entered the plea on Gordon's behalf on a charge of driving while impaired from a July arrest in Raleigh. Gordon was pulled for going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone and also charged with speeding, though Mangum said that charge was dismissed.
Gordon, who led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving last year, has been away from the Browns during his suspension and planned to work for a car dealership.
The players' union voted last week to accept a league proposal for drug policy changes that include HGH testing, an increase for the threshold that triggers a positive marijuana test and a two-game suspension for a player convicted of a drunken-driving charge.
Under provisions of the new policy, Gordon's suspension likely would be cut to 10 games. A union spokesman said Monday that changes "are currently getting finalized" by the league and union.
Gordon was due to first appear in Wake County court last month and the DWI case was continued until Nov. 18. But Mangum said the case was resolved Tuesday after Fitzhugh recently contacted his office to say Gordon wanted to plead guilty now.
Fitzhugh did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday afternoon.
ATLANTA (AP) Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he has already talked with six potential buyers of the Atlanta Hawks and expects a sale of the team to move quickly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.
Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Reed said the crisis engulfing the NBA team would be solved "the Atlanta way" and predicted the franchise would come out stronger in the end.
The Hawks have been under fire since it was revealed Levenson sent an email two years ago theorizing that many suburban whites would not attend NBA games because of the team's African-American fans. He agreed to sale his share of the team, but it also emerged that Ferry had disparaged then-free agent Luol Deng on a conference call with team owners this past summer, saying he "has a little African in him."
Reed, who did not identify the prospective buyers, said whoever buys the team would have majority ownership. While Levenson owns 24 percent of the team, his Washington partner Ed Peskowitz has also agreed to sale his share, meaning that 50.1 percent of the team is available, according to the mayor.
For now, the Atlanta-based owners - including Michael Gearon Jr. and Rutherford Seydel (the son-in-law of former owner Ted Turner) - want to keep their shares of the team.
"I have had conversations with no less than six prospective buyers," Reed said. "All six of those prospective buyers will have to go through a process to be vetted by the NBA. That process is going to occur very quickly."
He said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was lining up an investment bank look into the finances of any potential buyer.
In addition, Reed said the city will likely be willing to offer concessions to any new owner to ensure the Hawks commit to remaining in Atlanta for another 30 years. He said there could be as much as $150 million available after the city sells Turner Field, the current home of the Braves, though the mayor said that process has been held up by the baseball team's refusal to negotiate terms for its departure.
The Braves are planning to move to a new stadium in suburban Cobb County in 2017; in fact, they held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site a few hours before the mayor's news conference. But if there are any delays in completing the stadium, the team has an option in its lease to spend another year at Turner Field.
Reed criticized the Braves and said they are holding up a potential $250 million offer that could transform Turner Field into a 30,000-seat football stadium for Georgia State University, as well as fill in the area around the ballpark with student housing and commercial development.
Braves spokeswoman Beth Marshall said the team is not required to notify the stadium authority of its plans until Dec. 31, 2015, but added, "It is our hope to be able to work with them, the city of Atlanta and Fulton County, on negotiating an exit so they can best prepare for the future of the Turner Field site."
With Levenson selling and Ferry on an indefinite leave of absence, Reed said the city would be heavily involved in efforts to find new ownership for the Hawks, since it is responsible for the debt on 15-year-old Philips Arena.
Wilkins, a former Hawks star who now serves as a team vice president and television commentator, said he would "absolutely" be interested in taking on a greater role with the franchise. The city already plans to honor him with a statue outside Philips Arena before March 6 game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has refused calls to fire Ferry, saying he believes the general manager can learn from the experience. Ferry met privately Monday with civil rights leaders, hoping to mend fences within the city, and has said he will undergo sensitivity training during his leave.
But Ferry's future is still very much in doubt, with the start of training camp only two weeks away.
Wilkins would neither endorse Ferry nor call for him to be ousted, knowing that any decision about the general manager will likely rest with the new owner.
"That's not a choice I can make," Wilkins said. "The only thing I can say is whatever pieces are put in place are going to be the right pieces to help our franchise heal from what we've been through."
Reed said city leaders would look favorably on Wilkins' involvement with any new ownership group, especially if it gives the team more diversity in the front office.
The mayor said he plans to meet with Silver on Sept. 26 in New York to discuss the sale.
"I think we're going to end up in a superior position, based on everything we know today, than we were before (Levenson's) memo," the mayor said. "That's all anyone can ask for."
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Rory McIlroy is the Vardon Trophy winner and the PGA of America's player of the year for the second time.
McIlroy won the points-based player of the year award on the strength of his two majors at the British Open and PGA Championship. Winning two majors comes with a 50-point bonus. McIlroy also won the Bridgestone Invitational.
McIlroy had an adjusted scoring average of 68.62 to win the Vardon Trophy over Sergio Garcia (68.95).
The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland also won the PGA's player of the year and the Vardon Trophy in 2012.
The PGA Tour awards a separate award for player of the year based on a vote of the players. Voting for that ends Sept. 25.
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner and linebacker Junior Seau are among 15 first-year eligible modern-era candidates nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Also nominated for the class of 2015 in their first year of eligibility are receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, tackle Orlando Pace, and placekicker Jason Elam.
A total of 99 players and 14 coaches comprise the 113 nominees. A modern-era player or coach must be retired at least five consecutive seasons to be eligible.
The selection committee will choose 25 candidates as semifinalists in late November. That list will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists in early January. The 2015 class will be voted on the day before the Super Bowl.
One senior committee nominee, former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff, also will be on the ballot.
Between four and eight new members will be selected. Inductions will be in August at Canton, Ohio, site of the Hall of Fame.
Some other familiar names who have been nominated are running back Jerome Bettis, receivers Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison, guard Will Shields, defensive end/linebackers Charles Haley and Kevin Greene, safety John Lynch, and placekicker Morten Andersen. All were finalists in 2014.
Coaches Tony Dungy, a finalist last January, Bill Cowher, Don Coryell and Mike Holmgren also are among the 2015 nominees.
CHESTER, Pa. (AP) Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins teamed to give the Seattle Sounders their fourth U.S. Open Cup title - at the expense of the Philadelphia Union.
Dempsey and Martins scored in overtime in the Sounders' 3-1 victory Tuesday night.
Dempsey, the U.S. national team captain, scored in the 101st minute on a left-footed blast off Martins' feed. Martin scored in the 114th minute after speeding around Union defender Ray Gaddis and poking one past goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
"They just find each other," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said about Dempsey and Martins. "They know where each other is on the field at all times. The combination they have is fantastic."
Seattle also won three straight titles from 2009 to 2011. The Sounders earned one of the United States' four spots in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.
Chad Barrett tied it at 1 on a header in the 47th minute for the Major League Soccer-leading Sounders.
Stefan Frei made four saves in net for the Sounders, and MacMath stopped three shots.
"From a fans' standpoint, it was probably a very, very entertaining game," Schmid said. "We equalized in the second half, and I thought we had some very good chances after that. And obviously they had some good chances in the last 15 minutes and they were unlucky to not win the game."
Maurice Edu opened the scoring for Philadelphia in the 38th minute, heading home a free kick from Cristian Maidana.
The Union, playing the first title game in their five-year history, nearly scored at the end of regulation, but Vincent Nogueira's shot hit off the post. World Cup star DeAndre Yedlin also made a big defensive play for Seattle late in the game, running 30 yards down the field to thwart a breakaway attempt from Maidana.
"I've never been proud of anything in my life that's ended in a loss before," said Union interim manager Jim Curtin, who took charge of the team just before Philadelphia's Open Cup run began. "This is the first time."
NEW YORK (AP) Three experts in domestic violence will serve as consultants to the NFL.
Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams Monday announcing that Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith will work as "senior advisers." They will "help lead and shape the NFL's policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault," he wrote.
Goodell has been under heavy criticism for his handling of the domestic abuse case involving star running back Ray Rice. Rice was initially suspended for two games. Goodell at first defended the punishment, but more than a month later, he told owners he "didn't get it right" and that first-time domestic violence offenders would face a six-game suspension going forward.
Then Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the league after video surfaced of the assault on his then-fiancee.
Friel was the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office for more than a decade. Randel is the co-founder of No More, a campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault. Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Monday's memo also said that Anna Isaacson, currently the NFL's vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, will become its vice president of social responsibility.
"Anna has been leading our internal work relating to how we address issues of domestic violence and related social issues," Goodell wrote. "In this new role, she will oversee the development of the full range of education, training and support programs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and matters of respect."
The National Organization for Women, which is calling for Goodell's resignation, called the appointments of the senior advisers "a step in the right direction - but it's not enough."
On the new role for Isaacson, NOW said in a statement that "the fact that Roger Goodell is assigning a current member of his leadership team to oversee new policies shows once again that he just doesn't get it."
SAN DIEGO (AP) Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended seven games and fined Monday night by Major League Baseball for making a lewd gesture and then bumping an umpire.
Papelbon said in a statement distributed by his agent that he would immediately begin serving the suspension, and that he regrets making contact with umpire Joe West on Sunday.
But the right-hander insisted he wasn't making a vulgar motion toward fans as he walked off the field to boos after giving up four runs in the ninth inning of Philadelphia's 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins. He apologized to Phillies fans in the statement.
"While I completely understand how the fans would perceive my gesture while being booed, it was not my intent whatsoever to insult the fans of Philadelphia," Papelbon said. "If it was perceived in that manner, I sincerely apologize."
Papelbon was ejected by West after the umpire thought Papelbon grabbed his crotch in response to the jeers from the crowd.
"The whole thing started because the fans booed him and he made an obscene gesture. He had no business doing that," West said Sunday. "He's got to be more professional than that. And that's why he was ejected."
The fiery reliever jogged out of the dugout and got into a face-to-face argument with West, who grasped the pitcher's jersey to hold him off, and Papelbon then argued with first base umpire Marty Foster. Papelbon threw a cup of liquid on the field before leaving the dugout.
"The Phillies fully support the decision of the Commissioner's Office, which has exclusive jurisdiction for on-field player behavior," the team said in a statement. "By Major League Baseball rules, the Phillies have no authority to make official judgments about activity which occurs on the field or to determine the appropriate penalty for misconduct. We apologize to our fans for the actions of our player yesterday."
Papelbon had converted 14 straight save chances since July 22 when he entered with a 4-1 lead. He is 37 for 41 in save chances this season.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona coach Bruce Arians says outside linebacker John Abraham will return to the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Abraham left the team last week after sustaining a concussion in the Cardinals' season-opening victory over San Diego. Arians had said that Abraham was contemplating retirement, wondering if he still has the fire to play the game.
"I knew a lot of it was the headaches and the first real big one (concussion) he's ever had," Arians said Monday, "and there are other things we're dealing with and he's fine with those.
It will be the second return to the Cardinals for Abraham this season. The 15-year NFL veteran showed up late for training camp after undergoing what he later confirmed was rehabilitation for an alcohol problem.
Abraham had until Tuesday to return or the Cardinals would have had to declare him out for the season.
"He's excited about it," Arians said. "He's at the doctor's, the neurologist, now, to make sure he can pass the test and be ready to go."
Arians said Abraham "talked to a couple of players Saturday night in the hotel."
"We have been texting back and forth for the last three days," the coach said. "Probably about 30 minutes ago I asked him, `Do you want me to announce it at the press conference? He said, `Yes, that'd be great."'
Abraham ranks ninth on the NFL's career sacks list with 133 1/2 and often has talked about how he wants nine more to move ahead of Michael Strahan into the No. 5 spot. He led the Cardinals with 11 1/2 sacks last season, his first with the team, and was voted to his fifth Pro Bowl.
The 36-year-old linebacker had no tackles before leaving the season-opener in the third quarter.
Abraham didn't arrive in training camp until Aug. 14, saying he had to deal with personal issues. He later confirmed that he had been in rehab.
Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge in suburban Atlanta in late June.
"He's ready to play," Arians said.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera isn't sure if Greg Hardy will play Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rivera also said Monday that the team hasn't considered releasing the Pro Bowl defensive end who is involved in a domestic violence case. He added that Hardy will continue to practice and attend team meetings, but the coach won't make a decision on when Hardy plays until later this week.
The Panthers plan to continue gathering information in what Rivera said is "a very fluid situation."
Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim claimed he threw her down on a bed of guns and tossed her into the shower. He is appealing the ruling.
Hardy played in Week 1 but Rivera deactivated him just hours before Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions - two days after the coach had said Hardy would play.
Rivera said Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was involved in the Hardy discussion and the team received some input from the league, but it was his decision to bench him.
Hardy made $770,588.23 - one-seventeenth of his yearly pay - despite not playing. Hardy is due to make $13.1 million this year.
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman and his staff are "doing their due diligence in terms of looking at what our options are" going forward, Rivera said.
The Panthers will have to decide by Week 6 how they want to handle Hardy's situation.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, a team can only deactivate a player for non-injury reasons for a maximum of four games. The same limit applies if the Panthers were to suspend Hardy for conduct detrimental to the team.
Hardy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined to comment on the situation.
On Monday, Hardy arrived at the stadium in his white Bentley shortly after noon wearing white shorts and a hooded white sweatshirt and sunglasses. He didn't acknowledge media questions as he strolled into the stadium.
The decision to deactivate Hardy last Sunday was a difficult one, Rivera said.
"If you play him and you win, then you don't have a conscience; and if you play him and you lose, he's a distraction," Rivera said.
Rivera's decision to bench Hardy came after the Minnesota Vikings deactivated Adrian Peterson following his indictment for injuring a child. The Vikings released a statement Monday saying Peterson will play Sunday against New Orleans.
The Panthers are trying to be careful not to be reactionary.
"That is why we have to sit down and talk about these things," Rivera said. "And we did the same thing (on Sunday). We talked about a lot of things and at the end of the day I had to make a decision that I believe was in the best interest of our football team and for Greg."
Rivera said he allowed Hardy to leave the stadium and return home after notifying him of the move.
"I said, `Greg, are you OK with this?' and he said, `Coach, I understand,"' Rivera said.
Carolina's defense didn't miss a beat without Hardy, forcing three turnovers and getting four sacks in a 24-7 victory.
Hardy, who tied a franchise-record with 15 sacks last season, had four tackles and a sack in the team's regular-season opener at Tampa Bay. However, Hardy's status changed when the Ravens released Ray Rice and the league suspended him indefinitely last week after a video surfaced of Rice punching his then-fiancee.
Later in the week, Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges, adding pressure on the Panthers to deactivate Hardy.
Rivera said Sunday that "the climate had changed" in the NFL and that played into his decision to bench Hardy.
When asked if the Panthers got it right the first time, Rivera said, "I don't know. What is right? You do the best you can and nobody is infallible. We have to get this issue right and we're trying to do the right thing."
Panthers center and team co-captain Ryan Kalil said Monday he's glad he didn't have Rivera's job the last two weeks.
"I don't envy having to make those tough decisions," Kalil said.
Kalil also said he's tired of answering questions about Hardy, but said the best thing he advises younger teammates to do is focus on getting better.
"There are countless guys I can name in this league that are just really good people," Kalil said. "My hope is that at some point we can focus on some of those guys. I know these things are the topic right now, but it's disappointing that it overshadows a lot of good people."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insisted Monday that public pressure will not sway his decision to play Ray McDonald during an investigation into the defensive lineman's arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.
Harbaugh said there "could be" a resolution in the case this week for McDonald, arrested at his home Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday with teammates and friends.
"I know there's an investigation going on that's continuing today," Harbaugh said.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera on Sunday benched defensive end Greg Hardy for the team's 24-7 win over Detroit after he was active in Week 1. Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. He is appealing.
McDonald has played and started both games so far for San Francisco (1-1), which lost 28-20 to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
Harbaugh said the 49ers didn't compare the McDonald and Hardy situations.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for McDonald's benching before the game. This after San Francisco suspended veteran play-by-play man Ted Robinson last week for two games after he made comments on the radio about the Ray Rice case that were deemed inappropriate.
"Well, you've seen there's a lot of public speculation, and people weighing in with their opinion, whether it's a public figure or people through social media," Harbaugh said. "Our response would be, we have two principles at play here, and one is respect for due process, and we're not going to flinch based on public speculation."
Harbaugh, 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke all have said publicly they will let the legal process play out before deciding to sit McDonald or making any other choices about his future with the team. They have expressed that they have zero tolerance for domestic violence.
"The facts and the information, that's what we said from the beginning, yes," said Harbaugh, who like Baalke has daughters.
He would not confirm an NFL Network report that the 49ers believe McDonald's version of what happened.
"I trust the process. The reason I'm not answering is I'm not inserting myself into the process, one way or the other," Harbaugh said. "I think that's the right thing to do, respect the legal process, respect the due process. The authorities are at work. We've been pretty clear on how we're going about this."
The 49ers have plenty of problems on the field to deal with this week, too.
Tight end Vernon Davis injured his left ankle and was hobbling around on crutches in the locker room Sunday. He was having a scan and being examined Monday.
San Francisco must try to regroup in a hurry before Sunday's game at first-place Arizona (2-0).
With the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks losing at San Diego, the 49ers realize they let a key chance slip away early in the season.
"Nobody feels really good about it. It's a bad feeling when you lose the game, no matter how you lose it," Harbaugh said. "Being ahead in the game and not finishing the game with a win leads to a very bad feeling after the game and today."
Colin Kaepernick threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, including two fourth-quarter picks by rookie Kyle Fuller - the first two of his career, and on the prime-time stage - that led to Chicago touchdowns.
After Fuller's first pick, Kaepernick was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for "inappropriate language," though he denied saying anything after the game. Harbaugh said he didn't hear anything.
"Yeah, we'd like to find out about it," Harbaugh said of a possible inquiry to the league. "I didn't overhear that, they didn't come back and tell me."
ATLANTA (AP) Rory McIlroy found his ball submerged in deep rough, next to a fence that separates the course from the driving range at East Lake. He jumped up and down, trying to see over a holly bush that obscured his view of the ninth green.
This wasn't a familiar position for the world's best golfer.
It summed up a frustrating finish to the PGA Tour season.
Having won the last two major championships and poised for a big-money triumph at the Tour Championship, McIlroy faded from contention with a brutal six-hole stretch Sunday, leaving him three shots behind winner Billy Horschel in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoff.
Horschel celebrated the most prestigious victory of his career by doing the "Gator Chomp," while McIlroy was looking forward to a much-needed break before the Ryder Cup.
In hindsight, he should've taken a week off in the middle of the playoff.
"I am tired," McIlroy said. "Not physically. I've been in the gym every day this week and that's fine, but mentally I'm a little fatigued."
The disappointment at East Lake did nothing to take away from McIlroy's stellar year. He won both the British Open and the PGA Championship, sandwiched around his first World Golf Championship title at Firestone. He reclaimed the world's No. 1 ranking and, with Tiger Woods' future up in the air, became the undisputed face of the game.
McIlroy's not done, either.
The Ryder Cup begins in less than two weeks at Gleneagles. He's the star of the European team.
"It's still been a great season for me, and there's still a little bit of golf left," McIlroy said. "I'll get back at it next weekend and get ready for the Ryder Cup."
He started the final round tied for the lead with Horschel, who went ahead for good with an 18-foot putt for his second straight birdie at the 531-yard fifth hole, the longest par-4 on the course.
McIlroy's troubles began at the next hole with an ugly swing off the tee, his right hand flying off the club as he watched his ball splash in the water left of the green. After hitting again from the drop zone, he missed a 10-foot putt and walked away from the par-3 hole with a double-bogey on his card.
A wild drive at the 601-yard ninth forced McIlroy to hit a provisional, but his ball was found alongside the driving range. Hemmed in by the trees and those holly bushes, there wasn't much he could do except rely on a swing and a prayer. The ball caught a limb and dropped behind a camera truck, and McIlroy wound up making bogey on a hole where he hoped to make up some ground.
"There was no other option, really, than just to take a chance," he said.
Going to the back side, McIlroy was four shots behind Horschel and all but done. Two more bogeys at 10 and 11 finished him off, though he did rally for three straight birdies starting at the 15th to finish tied with Jim Furyk in the runner-up spot.
"At least finished the day respectably," McIlroy said.
Horschel avoided any big mistakes, his lone bogey coming at the 10th. He closed with a 2-under 68 for an 11-under 269 total, claiming golf's richest payoff with an unprecedented run through the playoffs.
He was No. 69 when the postseason began a month ago. No one had ever claimed the FedEx Cup starting lower than 19th, but Horschel was a runner-up in Boston, and won at Denver and Atlanta. A guy who had $4.5 million in career earnings coming into the year collected $11.4 million in one day - most of it the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.
"I was able to rise to the occasion and get the job done," the 27-year-old Horschel said.
Just not in time to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, which was announced two weeks ago. The Americans will have to get by without the hottest player in the game.
"I still don't feel like I deserve to be on the team," said Horschel, who shot in the 60s his last dozen rounds. "I haven't played good enough this year."
He was content to celebrate in a style befitting a guy who attended the University of Florida.
Of course, doing the Chomp didn't go over well in Georgia. For the first time all day, Horschel heard a smattering of boos.
He didn't mind a bit.
"I just wanted them to know," Horschel said, breaking into a big smile, "that a University of Florida Gator came into Georgia Bulldog country and was able to come out victoriously."
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
Breaking down the ballots for the AP Top 25 and wrapping up college football's third weekend.
The Southeastern Conference's dominant status had taken a hit since Nick Saban wrapped his hands around the national championship trophy in 2013, following Alabama's second straight title.
The conference had its run of seven straight national championships end when Florida State beat Auburn in January, and some thought that the Pac-12 had become the better top-to-bottom league.
Well, look at those good ol' boys now.
While the Pac-12 has become a jumbled mess outside of No. 2 Oregon, the SEC again appears to be the class of college football.
With South Carolina's back-on-the-map, 38-35 win over then-No. 6 Georgia on Saturday, the Gamecocks vaulted 10 spots in The Associated Press college football poll to No. 14. That gives the SEC seven teams in the top 15, the first time that's happened since the AP poll started in 1936.
"We proved a point tonight," South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore said.
He was talking about the Gamecocks, who were crushed by Texas A&M just two weeks ago.
He could have been talking about the SEC, too.
Alabama, which crushed Southern Miss, remained at No. 3 in the poll behind top-ranked Florida State and Oregon. Auburn stayed at No. 5 behind Oklahoma after a bye and Texas A&M slid up to No. 6 with a rollover of Rice and Georgia's loss.
LSU moved up two spots to No. 8 after cruising over Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi climbed four spots to No. 10 after routing Louisiana, the first trip to the top-10 for the Rebels since being ranked fourth on Sept. 20, 2009.
Mississippi's move up allowed the SEC to have five top-10 teams for the second straight week despite Georgia dropping seven spots to No. 13. With Missouri coming in at No. 18, the SEC has eight teams ranked for the third straight week.
Yes, we know, it's only three weeks into the season.
There's still plenty of games to be played, plenty of chances for teams to slip back - or, perhaps, move up even more.
"Oh, it's still early, it's still early," Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson. "We'll keep trucking. This is in the past now, and we are not thinking about this from here forward. Our dreams and goals are still open for us."
Oregon has proven to be the class of the Pac-12 so far, looking like a legitimate playoff contender.
The rest of the conference has been scrambled.
UCLA is 3-0 and the next highest-ranked team from the Pac-12 at No. 13, but hasn't exactly looked dominating.
Arizona State looked like it could repeat as Pac-12 South champs and moved up at spot to No. 15 after beating Colorado on Saturday, but quarterback Taylor Kelly spent the second half on crutches and linebacker Viliami Moeakiola, a defensive captain, injured his right arm.
Stanford, the two-time Pac-12 champion, looks solid at No. 15, but did lose to Southern California, which plummeted eight spots in the poll to No. 17 after an inexplicable loss to Boston College.
Go ahead and try to figure this conference out.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly doesn't like some of the things his team is doing, particularly when it had a hard time pulling away from Purdue this weekend.
Despite the flaws, the Irish are 3-0 and back in a familiar place: The top-10.
With its 30-14 win over the Boilermakers, Notre Dame moved up a spot to No. 10, its first top-10 ranking since finishing at No. 4 after being blown out by Alabama in the BCS championship game after the 2012 season.
Nebraska's poll exile lasted a whole week. The Cornhuskers fell out of the ranking from No. 19 after a close victory over FCS McNeese State, but were back in this week at No. 24 after hammering Fresno State 55-19.
Oklahoma State has moved into the poll at No. 25. The Cowboys bounced back from an opening loss to No. 1 Florida State by beating Missouri State last week and easily handled a veteran Texas-San Antonio team 43-13 on Saturday.
Losing to East Carolina did not look good for Virginia Tech in the eyes of the voters.
The Hokies rallied from a 21-point deficit and tied the game with 1:20 left, only to let the Pirates race down the field for the winning score. The 28-21 loss dropped Virginia Tech from No. 17 all the way out of the poll.
Virginia's first ACC win in 672 days came at the expense of Louisville. Losing 32-21 to the Cavaliers, who entered with an 11-game conference losing streak, sent the Cardinals from No. 21 to unranked.
Full poll listing can be found at http://collegefootball.ap.org/poll
LAS VEGAS (AP) Floyd Mayweather worked far too hard against Marcos Maidana their last time out to have to do it again in the rematch Saturday night.
Mayweather dominated Maidana from the opening bell, using his boxing skills to keep the Argentine off balance and pile up points on his way to a unanimous 12-round decision to retain his welterweight and super welterweight titles before a crowd at the MGM Grand that sometimes booed the lack of action.
It almost came at a cost, though, in a bizarre scene in the eighth round when Mayweather claimed that Maidana bit him on his wrist while they were in a clinch near the center of the ring.
"He bit me!" Mayweather yelled to the Showtime announcers working ringside.
Mayweather remained unbeaten in his remarkable 18-year pro career, winning for the 47th time and doing it with such dominance that about the only one complaining about the decision was Maidana.
"I was pressuring him and I was the aggressor," Maidana said. "I won the fight."
Mayweather earned at least $32 million for the rematch, bringing his total purses to more than $100 million in the last year. Though he wasn't marked up, he was upset over the bite.
"We were tangled in the center of the ring and I didn't realize what it was. Then I saw that he bit me," Mayweather said. "After the eighth round my fingers were numb, I couldn't use my left hand."
Maidana denied he bit Mayweather.
"How can he say I bit the glove with my mouthpiece?" Maidana asked. "I'm not a dog."
The fight was a marked contrast to their first bout in May, when Maidana roughed Mayweather up in a close fight. Mayweather won that bout, but it was close enough for Mayweather to offer an opponent only the second rematch of his career.
Maidana won't get a third fight after failing to land any big punches.
Two ringside judges scored it 116-111 for Mayweather, while the third had it 115-112. The Associated Press had it 117-110.
"I felt sharper in the first fight, my rhythm was off," Mayweather said. "I got hit with some shots tonight I shouldn't have gotten hit with. But that comes with the sport."
Mayweather complained long after the first fight that Maidana was a dirty fighter, and complained even more when Maidana seemed to try to hit him below the belt in a clinch in the eighth round, then apparently tried to bite him.
Mayweather immediately jumped back and gestured to referee Kenny Bayless that Maidana bit him on the wrist. He went to his corner and showed Bayless where the bite was, then went over to the Showtime announcers table to complain.
Maidana would later be penalized a point for tackling Mayweather as he tried desperately to find something that would work.
By the end of the ninth round, Maidana was so out of sorts he went to the wrong corner when the bell rang.
Maidana spent many of the early rounds trying to figure out a way to get inside like he did in May. Mayweather kept him at a distance, circling around and landing left jabs and hooks, then scampering out of the way before Maidana could respond.
Punch stats showed Maidana throwing far more punches (572-326) while Mayweather landed more (166-128). Mayweather's was hit with only 22 percent of punches while landing 51 percent of his own.
"I do have some bumps and bruises," Mayweather said. "But I listened to my dad (trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.) who always said hit and not get hit. That's the way you last in this sport."
Mayweather was a 6-1 favorite in the fight, even though Maidana gave him a tough time in their first bout. He showed why in the early rounds as he moved and boxed while Maidana chased him futilely around the ring.
Mayweather was determined not to let the fight become anything like the first, when Maidana went after him wildly and mauled him at every opportunity. For the second fight, Mayweather came out boxing and did so beautifully during the opening rounds.
Maidana was more cautious early than he was in the first fight, willing to take his time to find Mayweather. He finally began to pick up the pace in the fourth round, trapping Mayweather on the ropes and landing some shots to his body and head.
Mayweather, though, showed he learned his lessons from the first fight, when he was cut over his right eye and took a lot of shots to the top of his head. A defensive wizard, he fought moving sideways and backward, throwing his left jab out and slipping the big punches thrown by the Argentine challenger.