Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
NFL didn't push Patriots not to fight 'Deflategate' penalty: Goodell
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's decision not to appeal the team's "Deflategate" penalty was made without pressure from the National Football League, Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday. "The decision that Robert made was his decision," Goodell said during a 25-minute news conference at the end of the NFL owners' meeting in San Francisco.
Texan Spieth set for a 'crazy' week at Colonial
Masters champion and local favorite Jordan Spieth is preparing for a "crazy" time in front of massive crowds when he competes in this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The Dallas native is the first Texan to win one of golf's four coveted majors since Justin Leonard triumphed at the 1997 British Open and he will be a huge drawcard at Colonial, and also at next week's Byron Nelson Championship in his hometown.
Cantona says NY Cosmos soccer club owes him salary, equity interest
Former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona has sued the New York Cosmos, alleging the team fired him without paying him nearly $1 million in salary and a 4 percent equity interest. Cantona, 48, a Frenchman who won four Premier League titles in five years with Manchester United in the 1990s, was hired by the Cosmos in 2011 to be the team's director of soccer.
Maple Leafs hire Babcock as new head coach
The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Mike Babcock sweepstakes on Wednesday by beating out a handful of teams that tried to land the highly-coveted head coach who spent the last 10 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. Terms of the deal were not disclosed in a statement by the Maple Leafs but the team reportedly offered Babcock a mammoth eight-year contract worth $50 million that would make him the National Hockey League's highest-paid coach.
Dodgers' Ryu to have surgery; likely out for season
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin will have arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome left shoulder this week, likely ending his season, the Major League Baseball team said on Wednesday. The South Korean left-hander, who signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers in 2012, has been sidelined since late March after suffering from a sore shoulder during spring training.
Oliver flies past rivals to set alight Bird's Nest
Justin Gatlin may have flown home but at least the Bird's Nest Stadium could thrill instead to another 33-year-old American speedster, David Oliver, running the fastest 110 meters hurdles this year at Beijing's World Challenge meeting on Wednesday. Gatlin's fall-out with the organizers had led to him departing on the eve of the meeting in a huff but the smiling world champion Oliver proved a popular top of the bill with his second win in China in four days.
Combining Europe with U.S. is tough juggling act: McDowell
Ryder Cup stalwart Graeme McDowell has explained how hard a juggling act it is for the top European players to commit to events on their home circuit and compete in the best tournaments in the U.S. The European Tour has struggled to find new sponsors and keep tournaments on its schedule in recent years with the likes of world number one Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Henrik Stenson and number six Justin Rose spending most of their time in the U.S.
FIFA central to soccer's success despite scandals
One of FIFA president Sepp Blatter's favorite lines is that his organization boasts more members than the United Nations. The comparison may be slightly open to question as some of FIFA's 209 members are not fully independent nations and therefore not eligible to join the UN.
Beijing organizers say they did not 'kick out' Gatlin
Organizers of Wednesday's Beijing World Challenge have denied that they kicked out Justin Gatlin from their meeting and said they were "perplexed" by the controversial sprinter's claim. The meeting went ahead without its star attraction Gatlin, who had stormed out of Beijing on Tuesday, claiming that he was ready to run the 100 meters but had been told by organizers he was not wanted.
Leaderboard fear factor is a definite plus for McIlroy
World number one Rory McIlroy believes there is something of a fear factor when rival golfers see his name on a leaderboard these days. The Northern Irishman has already scooped four major victories by the age of 26 and, with three tour wins to his credit this season, he is again on course on dominate the golfing landscape just like he did in 2012 and 2014.