Venus Williams and Sara Errani may have engaged in the most compelling match of the 2014 U.S. Open. Unfortunately, a lack of sportsmanship from Errani diminished the legacy of this two-hour classic Friday.

In an odd sequence, Errani won the first set of the third-round match 6-0 while Williams took the second 6-0. After the bagel exchange, Williams had a chance to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third. But a crucial double fault opened the door for Errani, who rallied and won on a tiebreaker.

The mostly American crowd had been forcefully pro-Venus during the wild match, but when Errani took the final point, fans gave a standing ovation to both players.

Errani, 27, did not embrace the calling. One could make the argument there is a cultural barrier, but Errani's post-match actions suggested she was happy to stick it to the American crowd.

After pumping her chest and shaking Williams' hand, Errani cupped her hand to her ear. In all languages, this is a sign of pointing out a crowd's noise level. For a home athlete, this is usually to make them louder. For a visitor, it can be taken as a mockery of the noise level.

Errani, who was the higher seed in the match (No. 13 vs. No. 19), continued to holler at the audience, wagging a finger at the crowd and raising it to her mouth, telling the Americans to be quiet. In Errani's defense, this is a motion she has done before, as can be seen in highlights from this year's French Open. Given the venue, Errani could have held back. In the United States, such an act is taken as poor sportsmanship (with the possible exception of Dikembe Mutombo).

Asked what message she was sending with those demonstrative gestures, Errani said she was nervous, particularly after pulling even at 5-5 in the tiebreak:

"Five-all in the tiebreak, I heard the crowd. Never hear the crowd like that strong. I was shaking for the crowd. [It] was unbelievable good. I think I will remember that moment forever. Of course, in the point after, I was nervous. I was like now you don't scream, like if they didn't scream. But of course the crowd was for her, totally for her. I don't know why I did like that."

Errani entered the match 0-3 against Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion. Errani is also 0-7 against Serena Williams, including semifinal losses at the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2013 French Open.

Errani, who called her win "unbelievable," said was not mad with the New York fans.

"I was with the tension, with the adrenaline in the body, so I was just -- I don't know," Errani said. "I don't know how to explain it."

That could be a language limitation for Errani, who is Italian. But Errani is also an established WTA professional. She has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the world and is currently No. 15. She has enough experience to fight her way out of a hole even in the trenches of Flushing Meadows.

When it came to talking about the crowd on Venus' side, she said she did not prepare for the Venus fans, but rather just Williams' game.

"I just was thinking about that Venus is a great player -- unbelievable player," she said. "Every time I play against her, she won against me very easily. I thought I had to make my level higher, try to be much more aggressive than any time, and try to keep focus on every point.

"The crowd was amazing. Even if it was not for me, it was for her. But to hear that scream of all the people I think I will always remember."

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The new college football playoff system that replaces the BCS is a step in the right direction, but veteran broadcaster Al Michaels cautions against putting too faith in it. Here is the analysis he gave at the Harold & Carole Pump Foundation's 14th annual celebrity dinner in Century City, California.

Maria Sharapova disposed of fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-0 on Monday night. The match took just 90 minutes, which probably didn't make it much different than Sharapova's other nine U.S. Open first-round victories.

But what Sharapova said afterwards might make the night a bit more memorable. The 27-year-old, who won the 2006 U.S. Open, was The 27-year-old was asked what she would change in the sport of tennis, if anything.

"I'd probably start charging for medical timeouts," Sharapova said with a smile. "I think we'd all see who really uses them and who doesn't. Yeah, I don't know what we put on it, maybe like $2,500 or something. Yeah, I think we should do that. That would be fun."

The issue of medical timeouts is an ongoing saga in tennis. In her last match before the U.S. Open, Sharapova was annoyed when Ana Ivanovic used one. Ivanovic said she was nauseous. But Sharapova questioned why Ivanovic needed her blood pressure checked as well as the timing, which came early in the third set. Ivanovic ended up winning.

Players have the ability to call out trainers to repair injuries, although, some individuals are criticized for using the timeouts as extra forms of rest. In doing so, players can also "ice" their opposition.

Sharapova recognized many of timeouts are necessary, but there is no doubt they can throw off a competitor's game.

"Sometimes they're shorter than others," she said. "Sometimes they don't go through the whole medical timeout. Sometimes the evaluation itself is longer than the three-minute timeout. Sometime it's an off-court medical, which is even longer. I think from my end, it's just a matter of keeping that focus, not sitting down for that whole time, moving a little bit, swinging, maybe hitting a few serves if it's a longer one."

As Sharapova was pressed for her reasoning for such comments, she insisted she is not accusing anyone of unleashing a medical timeout attack at her, although her match with Ivanovic might suggest otherwise. She said she is annoyed more at the general distraction rather than the opponent's motive.

"It's actually never bothered me because I've always recovered from it positively," she said. "I don't remember many times where it's affected me too much. I've never felt like a victim of it."

Charging money for timeouts, or at least the amount Sharapova proposed, might not be a deterrent for the bigger stars on the tour. For reference, Sharapova has nearly $31 million in prize money. That is second in all-time career earnings behind Serena Williams ($56 million) and just ahead of Venus Williams (approximately $30 million).

But for a player like 20-year-old 2014 NCAA champion Danielle Rose Collins, who lost a three-set match to second-seeded Simona Halep on Monday, the cost would be steeper. Collins has $4,964 in career earnings. This would make medical timeouts a luxury.

Sharavopa, the No. 5 seed is back in action Wednesday against Alexandra Dulgheru, the 95th-ranked player in the world from Romania. The 25-year-old has $1.3 million in career earnings, so if Dulgheru had to pay, she might be up for the wager.

Back in 1994, I was co-chairman of the "Save the Rams" committee comprised of 150 local businessmen and political figures fighting to keep the franchise from moving to St. Louis. We succeeded in securing an initial NFL vote at the league meeting to block the sale, but ultimately the team moved.

I said then that if Southern California lost the team, it would be years before a replacement came. People scoffed, "Los Angeles is the second largest market in the U.S., and the NFL needs us for its television contract." It has now been 20 years, and without action, it could be 20 more.

What has followed was a series of disorganized and inept responses by the political and business structure of Southern California to the league's desire to put a franchise back in the city.

In 2000, the NFL awarded Los Angeles an expansion franchise. Southern California could not produce a viable stadium plan, and Houston was given the franchise instead. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue later offered Los Angeles a deal no other city had been given: The NFL would build a stadium itself on the Coliseum site and hand the bill to a new owner. Los Angeles fumbled the few tasks assigned to it, and Tagliabue withdrew in frustration.

Phil Anschutz of AEG proposed a downtown stadium plan. Tim Leiweke assembled a broad coalition of political and business leaders, and created a master economic plan that was viable. Anschutz fired Leiweke and has demanded a large share of equity in a new team for his involvement -- checkmate.

Here are the basic components necessary to bring one or two teams back to Los Angeles:

1) A political leader willing to take charge of the process and responsibility for executing the necessary steps. Southern California has a complex political structure: Los Angeles has a County Board of Supervisors, a city council; Orange County has a Board of Supervisors and city mayors. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is the logical choice.

2) One consensus venue to house a stadium, not multiple venues. Developer Ed Roski has been pushing an alternative plan for years and it should be considered.

Also needed are:

3) Public tolerance for minor infrastructure changes. Our area is tax phobic, but a few street adjustments will be needed.

4) Balanced press. The Los Angeles press is the antithesis of the boosterism in other areas, but the public at least needs to hear the advantages of a new stadium and team.

5) Ownership that understands that Southern California loves stars, and events.

I have never favored ripping teams out of the heart of a loyal fan base. Professional teams are not purely private businesses -- they ask for the loyalty of fans as if they were quasi-civic treasures. Only if they cannot stay in business, should they be allowed to move. So I would advocate an expansion team.

Southern California could support two franchises as it does with baseball, basketball and hockey. And make no mistake -- football is a ten "concert date" attendance business. The presence of large numbers of national corporations and the entertainment business would sell out high-priced luxury boxes and premium seating. Seventeen million people live within a few hours driving time from a stadium. Marketing, memorabilia, social media, and local television programming would generate massive revenue.

Earlier this week, Michael Ozanian and Forbes did a superb reporting on the franchise values of NFL teams. Dallas sat at the peak with a valuation of $3.2 billion. It reminded me of a conversation I had years ago with Jerry Jones when he commented "the two most valuable franchises in the NFL will be Dallas and whatever franchise is in Los Angeles."

That clearly is the potential for the Los Angeles franchise. Ironically, St. Louis sits at the bottom of the valuations at $930 million, and Oakland is not much higher at $970 million. Both franchises have histories in Southern California. Noth franchises have the ability to move. Both franchises would immediately double their value.

It is time for the political and business structure in Southern California to unite to facilitate the return of NFL football. The time is now.

As the Washington Redskins' name debate drags on, team owner Dan Snyder continues to lose support.

The editorial board of The Washington Post announced Friday that the newspaper will no longer use the word 'Redskins' in its section.

“While we wait for the NFL to catch up with public opinion and common decency we have decided not to use the slur ourselves except when it is essential for clarity or effect," the board said in a statement.

The editorial board is separate from the news-gathering portion of the paper, which includes the sports section. There is no ban on the word in those parts of the paper.

“The Post's newsroom and the editorial page operate independently of each other," executive editor Marty Baron said. "Standard operating policy in the newsroom has been to use the names that established institutions choose for themselves. That remains our policy, as we continue to vigorously cover controversy over the team’s name and avoid any advocacy role on this subject.”

The editorial board's opposition to the name 'Redskins' can be traced to March 5, 1992, in a piece called "The Redskin Issue." That same day, a sportswriter named Tony Kornheiser addressed the issue in the sports section.

In Friday's statement, the editorial board applauded referee Mike Carey, who recently revealed he requested not to officiate Redskins games due to the name. "We were impressed this week by the quiet integrity of Mike Carey," the editorial board said.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office delivered a hefty knock on Snyder and the team name when it canceled the Redskins' trademark registration in June. The name has been condemned by a variety of journalists, athletes and politicians, including President Barack Obama.

Slate, the online magazine that is owned by the Post, banned use of the word Redskins entirely last year.

Other publications that no longer use Redskins include the Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star and Detroit News.

The Oregonian in Portland was one of the first to institute the ban in 1992.

Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback site, which is part of Sports Illustrated, stopped using the word last year.

Two notable NFL TV analysts, Phil Simms of CBS and Tony Dungy of NBC, have said they will not being using the word on the air.

The team is scheduled to open the 2014 season on Sept. 7 at Houston with its name and logo intact.

In Monday night’s nationally televised preseason game between Cleveland Browns and Washington, rookie QB Johnny Manziel flipped his middle finger toward the Redskins player bench. The telecast had the second highest overnight rating ever for an ESPN preseason game, and the gesture ran repeatedly on local news and spawned a series of Internet memes. It reinforced the imagery of Manziel as a spoiled rebel, operating to the beat of his own drummer. He had not played particularly well in the game and he continues to create more obstacles to a smooth entry into the NFL.

The Browns have now named Brian Hoyer as their starter for opening day. This may well have been their plan all the way along. It is certainly easier to go with a veteran who was playing well last year before injury. Had they named Manziel the starter and he then had performance issues, replacing him would have been a nightmare that might have broken his own, and the team’s, confidence in him. The supporting offensive cast for the Browns is not especially strong. Their best wide receiver, Josh Gordon, will be suspended, possibly for the whole season. Their running backs are untested. It is likely to be a season of frustration for whoever quarterbacks the Browns.

This all may be a blessing in disguise for Manziel’s career. Traditionally, rookie quarterbacks sat behind older, wiser starters for a year or two. They learned from the older quarterback. The transition from college to professional football is challenging. The game is faster, the playbook more complex, the defenses are confusing, the degree of separation is smaller, and the players are better. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for three years and has had a sensational career since.

The NFL saw Tommy Kramer and Wade Wilson on the same Viking roster. Doug Williams was backed up by Jay Schroeder for the Skins. Joe Montana was backed up by Steve Young and Steve Bono. All the non-starters benefited from it. The salary cap changed all that. A first-round rookie with a high cap contract could no longer sit behind a highly salaried vet – there simply was not enough cap room.

The freakish success of Colts’ Andrew Luck, Redskins’ Robert Griffin III and Seahawks’ Russell Wilson created the illusion that it was easy for a rookie to step right in his first season with field command. The reality is that it takes time to read defenses correctly -- this only comes with experience. The Seahawks have an outstanding running game and defense -- exactly what Ben Roethlisberger benefited from his rookie year. Without these components, it is difficult to succeed in the first year.

Johnny Manziel has a unique ability to extend plays and bring his team back from a deficit. He will need to learn how to operate from the pocket. Hopefully enough time will have passed from his Monday night gesture so that he is not target No. 1 for every defensive player in the NFL.

Johnny Manziel flipped off the Washington Redskins bench. That is a fact. Cameras caught the Cleveland Browns' second-string (for the time being) quarterback throwing up a middle finger on Monday Night Football. Manziel subsequently said he made a "lapse of judgement."

The obvious question is "why?" Why would a young man whose maturity has been questioned put another dent in his résumé?

An easy answer would be it is part of Manziel's act. Dennis Rodman used to frequent Las Vegas to keep up his reputation. Metta World Peace is changing his name for a second time. Chad Johnson trained with an MLS club during the NFL lockout.

Again, that would be the easy answer. But based on this clip, Manziel did not seem to take pride in his decision. Instead, he looks frustrated he yet again had started a fire.

The bearer of the news is Rob McBurnett, the Browns communication coordinator. In other words, he's the man being paid to babysit Johnny Football.

It is certainly not uncommon for NFL players to get heated on the field. However, Manziel will need to learn to either harness that anger toward his own play or release away from the cameras (which could be tough since he is a focal point). This was only Manziel's second NFL preseason game, but he is off to a poor start.

The Little League World Series is a beautiful event. For 11 days, 11- to 13-year-olds are the focus. Tens of thousands of fans pile into Williamsport, Pa., while millions more watch on television. The spectacle always delivers feel-good stories from the United States and international teams.

The biggest story this year is Mo'ne Davis, a 13-year-old female phenom from Taney Little League in Philadelphia. Davis pitched a two-hit shutout while striking out eight batters in Taney's opening game against Nashville. She played shortstop, third base and pitcher in Taney's second game, a win over Pearland, Texas.

As Davis' story of "girl striking out the boys with blazing fastball" has gained steam, she has picked up widespread media attention as well as support from celebrities on social media.

However, not all of Davis-mania is positive. On Monday, Darren Rovell pointed out a piece of Davis' story that taints the feel-good parts.


Yes, that is right. A user on eBay, "raisethesong" (affiliated with Raise The Song collectibles) is trying to sell a Mo'ne Davis-signed baseball for just under $200 (over $200 when you add the $5.99 shipping). The item is said to be located in the central Pennsylvania town of Bellefonte. The description includes what appears to be a very dimly lit picture of Davis signing the Little League Baseball. The user guarantees "my personal Certificate of Authenticity."

While the baseball Rovell tweeted about has a "buy it now" price of $199.99, Raise The Song also lists a signed Davis baseball for bidding. As of 1:25 p.m. ET, the ball was listed at $31.00 after six bids (also $5.99 shipping).

Another user, "patonyfan," is selling a signed Davis baseball with the supposed signature "Mo'ne #3" inscription. At 1:25 p.m. ET, this ball was also at $31.00, but with a $6.50 shipping fee.

Other Mo'ne memorabilia includes an autographed pink helmet (with picture authenticity) for $26.00 after four bids ($9.99 shipping) put up by Raise The Song. Like the signed baseball from the user, the listing includes a picture of Davis making the signing.

There are also signed pictures of Davis for $21.30 after three bids and $9.99 with zero bids. A Taney team picture signed by the entire Mid-Atlantic squad is up to $61.00 after ten bids.

Of course, this all digs into a dangerous field of play involving Little League Baseball players. Coaches, parents and Little League administrators can only protect the children so much. Davis' innocent autographs, making her feel like a major leaguer, have turned into business pieces. Playing for the love of the game is clouded by shady entrepreneurs.

None of this is Davis' fault. She is a 13-year-old trying to propel her team of middle schoolers to Little League glory. She gets free baseball equipment and clothes, the experience of playing at Williamsport and some face time on ESPN out of the journey. Royalties are not included.

For now. It is impossible to ignore the presence of Davis-related items on eBay as a link to the continuing debate over athletic amateurism. While eBay capitalists are making money off Davis, she gets nothing. While ESPN puts her face on its ads for the Little League World Series, Davis makes nothing. While Little League Baseball sells Mid-Atlantic merchandise to fans across the world, Davis makes nothing.

It sounds ridiculous to argue for Little League players to make money, but when signed baseballs are being sold in triple-figures, it has to be mentioned. Johnny Manziel can oblige.

Mo'ne Baseball has arrived.

In three seasons, Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell has 134 recptions, 1,901 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns. He has been selected to first team All-Big Ten, Big Ten All-Freshman Team and the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll.

But for a week and a half, Bell did not have utilities.

"I went without power for like a week and half," Bell told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. "I didn't go home. I stayed up at the stadium until I would go to sleep because I couldn't do anything at my house.

Bell, an ethnic studies major, says he got a job to pay for the bills–working as a bartender at "The Bar" in Lincoln. Bell's hours included some double shifts from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., logging 30 hours certain weeks.

"What kind of 22-year old man, is like, 'Hey Mom [I need money]'?" Bell said. "I want to say, 'I'm a man. I take care of myself.'"

The lights in the residence Bell shares with Cornhuskers defensive tackle Tobi Okuyemi have been back on since then thanks to the paychecks from The Bar.

In April, Bell told the Associated Press he was approached by a fellow Big Ten star, former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, about spearheading an effort to bring unionization to Nebraska. Bell and Colter both graduated from Colorado high schools in 2010.

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"A lot of guys don't really know -- not just in our locker room, but across the country -- what a union necessarily entails," Bell told the AP. "I'll tell you one thing: You can't afford to pay dues because we don't have enough money to eat sometimes. I think a lot of research needs to be done on behalf of the players before they just jump into it."

Bell is the son of Ken Bell, Sr., a four-year NFL player with the Denver Broncos. His stepfather, Dan Campbell, is a successful computer software security salesman. Bell admits he has financial backing, but does not think that should cloud his judgment of players' rights.

"I'm from affluence," he said. "They could give me money if I needed it, but that's embarrassing, you know?"

Bell starts the 2014 on the Big Ten writers' preseason All-Big Ten Team and has NFL draft potential. Colter led CAPA to a victory in court, recognizing the right of Northwestern football players to unionize, although reports suggest they voted against it. Bell and Nebraska have taken no steps to replicate Colter's actions.

Dodd's article does not mention a specific time Bell bartended, but tweets from the Lincoln imply Bell may have worked last winter.



One thing that is for certain is Bell is a highly educated college football player of elite talent who takes interest in players' rights. While he has not taken union level actions -- yet -- he continues to voice a loud opinion.

As he told Dodd:

"Let's start with how blessed we are and how lucky we are," Bell said. "We get an opportunity. We get an education. We get more connections than anyone could ever ask for, which is all fantastic.

"But when you talk about capitalism, people use the word 'exploited' because we're athletes. People don't come to the game to watch the coaches on the sideline. They come to watch the players play the game.

"The fact that guys barely have enough money to pay their bills, get gas, can't really take their girlfriends out for a movie very often. It's a tough thing when you talk about multibillion-dollar TV contracts."

Bell's senior campaign starts in Lincoln against Florida Atlantic on Aug. 30. The Cornhuskers travel to Colter's old school, Northwestern, on Oct. 18. Colter is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings as a wide receiver.

FIFA is (allegedly) a dirty organization. As controversy about having a World Cup in Qatar continues, FIFA finds itself under fire for a plethora of other issues (see: Luis Suarez).

One of those issues is the 2015 Women's World Cup in which Sepp Blatter and his staff appear to be treating females like guinea pigs. FIFA wants to convert the grass fields in Canada, the host, to artificial turf. It is no secret soccer players do not like playing on turf, which makes it telling that this "experiment" is not coming at men's World Cup or men's UEFA Champions League competition.

In a New York Times interview published Wednesday, U.S. Women's National Team all-time leading goal scorer Abby Wambach said:

"It's a gender issue through and through ... This being the pinnacle of our sport, we feel like we should be treated just like the men."

Wambach is one of more than 4,000 people to sign a petition advising FIFA to use grass fields rather than turf. The list includes over 50 national-team players from a dozen nations. The players' lawyers are threatening taking the conflict to court.

Wambach and other players simply do not want to deal with a turf surface. Naturally, grass is softer and safer, although it is more difficult to maintain. Injuries can be considered more likely on turf than grass. Turf also changes the entire strategy of a match.

The female soccer players have support from two big-time American basketball players. Kobe Bryant tweeted this image of USWNT forward Sydney Leroux after playing on turf:


Kevin Durant added a Facebook post:

The 2015 Women's World Cup kicks off June 6 with two matches in Edmonton and ends July 5 in Vancouver. Japan won the previous World Cup in 2011 by beating the United States by shootout in the championship match in Germany.

Of course, all is now subject to a lawsuit.

That cracking sound you hear is the destruction of NCAA's control over collegiate athletics as we have known it.

The centralized power of this body to dictate rules and standards to universities is being eroded rapidly. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken dealt a major blow to the NCAA and the concept of amateurism by ruling in an antitrust case that barring athletes from the ability to profit off their own likeness, names and images were an "unreasonable restraint of trade."

This blockbuster ruling follows by a day the decision of the NCAA to grant the strongest collegiate conferences the right to create their own rules. The impact of these two events will change collegiate athletics forever.

There has been a dramatic widening of the gap between colleges that run professional-level football and basketball programs, and those who don't. These super-power schools have new stadiums and arenas that have luxury boxes, expanded capacity and sponsorship. These buildings provide amazing levels of revenue. The level of alumni support and donations for the superpowers has reached epic levels.

Texas A&M raised $450 million to revamp its 88,000-seat stadium so that it seats 109,000 fans. They will have 100 new luxury boxes, with prices ranging from $1 million to $15 million to simply reserve. The University of Texas has its own Longhorn television network. The SEC is unveiling its new network, joining the Big Ten and Pac 12. The marketing and memorabilia revenues for the superpowers are huge. These superpowers know they have the ability to cut their own media deals without NCAA aid.

The ability for these schools to create their own systems means that they will have a competitive advantage in attracting blue chip athletes. They can create "attendance incentives" granting their athletes an additional $5,000. They can pay additional stipends for need. They can fully guarantee scholarships for an incoming athlete instead of the year by year right of a college to terminate. We may see bidding wars for elite prospects. The ruling by Judge Wilken in the Ed O'Bannon case means that players can be paid any time their name and license are used in a marketing program. The NCAA may no longer be in a position to make deals that don't include player compensation. What does "amateurism" mean in this environment?

The great majority of colleges lose money in their athletic programs. When coach June Jones suggested that lower revenue schools play football in the spring to be competitive, many pundits scoffed. They are not scoffing now. The lower-revenue universities will have to devise new strategies. If they decide to compete in sports like basketball and football, it may drain funds from other sports.

This shift poses a threat to sports like college wrestling and threatens the continuance of money-losing sports. The role of the university in providing the most students with the most opportunity to learn from sports is threatened. The NCAA decision creates major conflicts with Title IX. Women's sports could be especially hard hit.

The NCAA has been way too slow in reacting to the realities of expanding television revenue, expanding marketing, and new playing facilities. It was unrealistic to think that college players scraping by on scholarship would be content to struggle with their economics. Certainly a scholarship carries major economic value, but many of the athletes are only playing college sports as a way station to professional sports. The playing field of college athletic economics has not been level for quite some time. A new day has come.

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