NFL

NEW YORK (AP)The NFL is telling a judge there are multiple reasons why a lawsuit brought against it by three Black coaches who allege racist hiring practices should fail.

In the letter released Thursday in advance of an initial hearing before a Manhattan federal judge, the league said it will either ask that the claims of coach Brian Flores and two other coaches be forced into arbitration or be dismissed without a trial because they lack legal merit.

The letter was prepared jointly by lawyers for the coaches and the NFL to notify the judge of each side’s positions in advance of the May 2 hearing.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) – Senior candidates will have more opportunities to be selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the next three years.

The hall’s Board of Trustees on Thursday approved several changes to the bylaws governing the selection of Hall of Fame enshrinees. In the past, only one player who no longer was in the modern-era category could be voted into the shrine annually. But for the 2023-2025 classes, a maximum of three per year could be chosen by the selection committee.

A deep backlog of senior candidates – players whose careers ended more than 25 years ago – led to the revision.

NBA

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton is expected to miss at least two weeks after injuring his left knee Wednesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series with the Chicago Bulls.

The Bucks announced Thursday night that the three-time All-Star had undergone an MRI earlier that day and that they would offer their next status update on him in ”approximately two weeks.”

That likely knocks him out at least for the rest of the Bucks-Bulls series., which is tied 1-1. If the series goes the full seven games, it would end May 1.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended by an additional week, through April 29, by Major League Baseball and the players’ association.

The decision on the extension was made Thursday, a person familiar with the proceedings said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was authorized.

Bauer was placed on seven days’ paid leave last July 2 under the joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy of MLB and the union after a Southern California woman said he choked her into unconsciousness, punched her repeatedly and had anal sex with her without her consent during two sexual encounters earlier last year.

NHL

NEW YORK (AP) – The NHL is going back to Europe this fall for its first games outside of North America since the start of the pandemic.

The league on Thursday announced the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators will play two games in Prague in October and the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets will play two games in Tampere, Finland, in November as part of the 2022 Global Series.

The Sharks and Predators will finish their respective training camps in Europe.

BOXING

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Authorities were investigating Thursday after former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson was recorded on video punching a fellow passenger on board a plane at San Francisco International Airport.

The video shows Tyson leaning over the back of his seat repeatedly striking the unidentified man in the head, drawing blood. The footage was first shared by TMZ, which said it was recorded on a Jet Blue plane bound for Florida.

”Unfortunately, Mr. Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat,” representatives for Tyson said in an email to The Associated Press.

AUTO RACING

IMOLA, Italy (AP) – Carlos Sainz Jr. signed a new contract with Ferrari on Thursday until 2024, ahead of the Italian team’s home Formula One race this weekend.

Sainz joined Ferrari from McLaren in 2021 on a two-year contract.

Ferrari leads the constructors’ championship after two wins for Sainz’s teammate, Charles Leclerc, in the opening three races. Sainz, who has never won an F1 race, finished second in Bahrain and third in Saudi Arabia but the Spanish driver crashed out of the last grand prix in Australia.

SOCCER

WASHINGTON (AP) – FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, dropped out of bidding on Thursday to host games at the 2026 World Cup, and the Washington area merged its campaign with Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

The joint bid would have a fan festival on the District of Columbia’s National Mall.

FedEx Field, opened in 1997, was among the older facilities that initially bid in 2017. It hosted matches during the 1999 Women’s World Cup. D.C.’s RFK Stadium was the site of matches during the 1994 men’s World Cup and is slated for demolition.

Seventeen U.S. stadiums in 16 areas remain in the bidding for the World Cup. Three cities each in Canada and Mexico are bidding.

LONDON (AP) – The crowded field to buy Chelsea now features 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams and seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.

A long-standing fan of Arsenal, Hamilton has seized the opportunity to invest in its London rival as three bidders try to buy the Premier League club from sanctioned Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Williams and Hamilton are part of a consortium that features proposed investment from Josh Harris and David Blitzer, the owners of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers who would have to sell their stakes in Premier League club Crystal Palace to buy Chelsea.

The reigning world and European champions could be sold for 3 billion pounds ($4 billion) – a record in world sports – given the interest in the west London club.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Haley and Hanna Cavinder are about to expose 4 million fans to Miami women’s basketball.

The Cavinder sisters – identical 5-foot-6 twin guards who combined to average 34.2 points per game in their three seasons at Fresno State and built an enormous social media following during the pandemic – announced Thursday night that they are transferring to Miami for their senior seasons.

Their notable stats: 3,040 combined points in 89 games, 400,000 Instagram followers apiece and 4 million more on their shared TikTok account that mostly features them dancing side-by-side.

Miami confirmed the move and announced that the sisters have officially signed with the Hurricanes.

COURTS

DETROIT (AP) – Thirteen sexual assault victims of Larry Nassar are seeking $10 million each from the FBI, claiming a bungled investigation by agents led to more abuse by the sports doctor, lawyers said Thursday.

It’s an effort to make the government responsible for assaults that occurred after July 2015. The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that the FBI made fundamental errors when it became aware of allegations against Nassar that year.

Nassar was a Michigan State University sports doctor as well as a doctor at USA Gymnastics. He is serving decades in prison for assaulting female athletes, including medal-winning Olympic gymnasts.

OBITUARY

Daryle Lamonica, the deep-throwing quarterback who won an AFL Player of the Year award and led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance, has died. He was 80.

The Fresno County Sherriff’s said Lamonica passed away at his Fresno home on Thursday morning. The death is considered to be from natural causes.

In his six seasons as a starter for the Raiders, Lamonica was one of the most prolific passers in the game, leading led pro football with 145 TD passes – 24 more than second-place Fran Tarkenton. His 16,006 yards passing ranked third from 1967-72.

Lamonica was an All-Pro again in 1969 when he led the AFL with 3,302 yards passing and 34 touchdowns. The 34 TDs still stand as the franchise’s single-season record more than a half-century later.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports