ZURICH (AP) Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were each banned for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee in a stunning removal of world soccer’s most powerful leaders.
FIFA President Blatter and his one-time protege Platini were kicked out of the sport for conflict of interest and disloyalty to FIFA in a $2 million payment deal that is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.
In a defiant news conference shortly after the verdict was announced, Blatter said he would challenge his ban at the FIFA appeal committee and then the Court of Arbitration for Sport, insisting he had done nothing wrong.
”I will fight,” said Blatter. ”I will fight until the end.”
His last words after a spirited 52-minute performance holding court with international media were ”I’ll be back, thank you.”
NEW YORK (AP) – The NFL suspended New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for one game for his conduct in Sunday’s loss to Carolina in which he drew three personal foul penalties.
Beckham has the right to appeal the suspension. Without him, the Giants (6-8) would be missing their best offensive weapon as they try to stay alive in the NFC East race.
Beckham and Panthers cornerback Josh Norman tangled from the beginning of the Panthers’ 38-35 victory. At one point, Beckham delivered a diving helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman while blocking.
There was plenty of pushing, shoving, swinging, wrestling, late hits and trash talking between them.
Beckham, the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year, has 91 catches for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns, tied for the league lead. He has a base salary of $893,000 and would lose $55,813 for being suspended for Sunday night’s game.
After Sunday’s game, Beckham refused to discuss his run-ins with Norman. There was no media availability with Beckham on Monday.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson is retiring after 18 seasons.
Woodson announced that he will end his career after the final two games of this season. Woodson said he realized late last month that he couldn’t play another season and wanted to announce his decision before playing his final home game Thursday night against San Diego.
Woodson is one of the top defensive backs to play the game. He is tied for fifth in NFL history with 65 interceptions and is still playing at a high level at age 39. He has five interceptions and three fumble recoveries this season, ranking second in the NFL with eight takeaways.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota has a sprained MCL in his right knee that will keep the rookie out of Sunday’s home finale with Houston.
Interim coach Mike Mularkey said Mariota will be re-evaluated after that game and wants to play the season finale at Indianapolis on Jan. 3.
Mularkey said Mariota has not been ruled out of the season finale. The coach said Mariota’s injury is less serious than the sprained left knee that kept the quarterback out of two games earlier this season and the rookie wants to play.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers deny that any member of the team taunted New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with a baseball bat before Sunday’s game.
Photos emerged Monday of practice squad player Marcus Bell and cornerback Josh Norman holding a bat on the field before the game.
Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said the team’s defensive backs regularly bring a baseball bat on the field during pre-game warmups to get motivated for opponents because it ”represents them bringing the wood and making home run plays on defense.”
Drummond said players took the bat to New York as a way of remembering cornerback Bene Benwikere, who suffered a season-ending broken leg against Atlanta.
Norman was involved in several altercations during the game with Beckham, who was suspended for one game by the league. Beckham threw several punches during the game and put a blindside helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman. Norman was flagged once for unsportsmanlike conduct but not suspended.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – Safety Tyrann Mathieu, one of the inspirational leaders on the Arizona Cardinals defense, is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Coach Bruce Arians revealed the extent of the injury at his news conference.
Mathieu injured his right knee after intercepting a pass in the final minutes of Sunday night’s 40-17 victory at Philadelphia.
It’s the second serious knee injury for Mathieu in his young career. He hurt his left knee in the 2013 season.
Mathieu, known to fans as the ”Honey Badger,” was having an outstanding season and was the NFC defensive player of the month for November.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – No. 1 Michigan State’s top scorer, Denzel Valentine, will be out for two to three weeks with a knee injury.
Coach Tom Izzo said that Valentine had a piece of cartilage removed after an injury in practice Sunday. He calls it ”very, very, very minor.”
Valentine is averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Spartans (12-0), who play Oakland on Tuesday night. Izzo says the senior guard is ”crushed,” especially because his brother, Drew, is an assistant coach at the suburban Detroit school.
Izzo says Eron Harris will be added to the starting lineup. Valentine could return to play Illinois on Jan. 7.
TOKYO (AP) – Japan chose a scaled-down design for the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, five months after scrapping the initial design and construction plan for being too costly.
The new design, by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will still cost 153 billion yen ($1.26 billion) to design, build and maintain. The initial stadium proposal would have cost 252 billion yen ($2.1 billion), making it the most expensive stadium ever built.
Kuma’s combined steel and wood structure, with a relatively flat roof with shrubbery along its outer concourses, echoes traditional temple designs. It stands 50 meters (164 feet) tall, with the track and field below ground level.