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Here Are the Longest N.F.L. Player Suspensions

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Quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended Monday for six games for violating the N.F.L.’s personal conduct policy and was not fined, concluding the league’s 15-month investigation into sexual misconduct claims made against him by more than two dozen women.

It was the first N.F.L. player disciplinary decision to be handled by an arbitration process established in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement, which sought to bolster a system that had been criticized for inconsistencies and potential conflicts of interest.

Since Roger Goodell became N.F.L. commissioner in 2006, he has taken a stricter stance on player punishment than his predecessors, levying some of the lengthiest player suspensions in the league’s history. The personal conduct policy includes provisions for penalizing players even if their transgressions did not result in criminal convictions.

But while Goodell once wielded unilateral power in disciplinary action, revisions to the policy in the last decade have shifted some of the process to third parties. Watson’s penalty was imposed by a retired federal judge who was jointly approved by the league and the players’ union. But Goodell, or someone he appoints, would still have the last word if the league appeals the decision.

Here are some of the most notable suspensions of N.F.L. players during Goodell’s tenure as commissioner:

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United States vs. Netherlands prediction: World Cup picks, odds

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The United States men’s national team has a golden opportunity on Saturday morning in the World Cup. With the entire country behind them, the Yanks could qualify for the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002. 

Team USA is an underdog against the Netherlands (they’re +375 to win), but the Americans relish the role of being outsiders going up against a very vulnerable favorite. 

As we saw against Wales and Iran, the USMNT can struggle to break down defensive teams. The Yanks are an athletic, creative and quick team, but they’re not all that comfortable in possession. Against Wales and Iran, they dominated possession and struggled to break through enough times to feel comfortable. 

U.S. vs. Netherlands pick: U.S. +375 (PointsBet)

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But against England — easily its best performance of the tournament — the USMNT was able to use its athleticism, team speed and talent to give the Three Lions a lot to think about. England tore through both Iran and Wales, but struggled mightily against the Americans because it couldn’t dominate the midfield. 

Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah and Weston McKennie have turned into one of the best midfield trios in the tournament. Their ability to make life difficult on opposing midfielders is a huge factor against a Dutch midfield that should be terrific on paper, but has struggled through the first three matches. 

Betting on the World Cup?

In fact, outside of Cody Gakpo, you could say that about the entire Netherlands team. Even though they won Group A with two wins and a draw, Clockwork Oranje have been relatively disappointing compared to their pretournament expectations. 

Drawn into a soft group with Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal, the Netherlands posted a +4 goal differential, but its expected goal difference was -0.4 and it was -1.8 before its 2-0 victory against Qatar on Tuesday. In other words, the Netherlands was a bit fortunate to post the results it did. 

Christian Pulisic of United States
Christian Pulisic of United States
Getty Images

That doesn’t mean that the Dutch can’t grow into this tournament. The history of the World Cup is littered with teams that started slowly and went on to do big things, so there’s no reason to count them out just yet. 

That said, it’s also hard to feel confident about backing them as an odds-on favorite against a team that punches up in competition very well. England is a stronger team than the Netherlands, with a better midfield, and the USMNT gave it fits in a nil-nil draw. 

Winning the battle in the midfield would give the USMNT a serious chance to win this match, and it’s a fair argument to make that the Yanks have the edge in the middle of the field with Adams, Musah and McKennie going up against some combination of Frenkie de Jong, Davy Klaassen, Teun Koopmeiners and Marten de Roon. 

The Netherlands may have advantages in other parts of the pitch, and the U.S. defense has looked a bit vulnerable at times against less talented attacks than the Clockwork Oranje, but the Dutch, aside from Gakpo, just haven’t really looked all that threatening. The Netherlands only created 0.8 expected goals against Senegal and Ecuador. 

Sportsbooks around the country will be a little tepid about how they price the USA, given how much money will come in on the Yanks, but this number is still well worth a bet on a team that profiles extremely well as an underdog. 

U.S. vs. Netherlands pick: U.S.A. +375 (PointsBet)

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Luka Doncic latest superstar the Knicks have to deal with

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At some point, the Knicks are going to have to beat a superstar if they want to reach the postseason, and they will get another chance on Saturday afternoon.

The Mavericks and Luka Doncic, the NBA’s leading scorer, will visit the Garden for a matinee, giving coach Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks another chance against one of the league’s top players. So far, the Knicks have lost to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks (twice), Stephen Curry and the Warriors, Ja Morant and the Grizzlies (twice), Kevin Durant and the Nets, Jayson Tatum and the Celtics and Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers.

The closest they have come to knocking off a top-flight star was when they beat Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves. The Knicks did nearly defeat Morant and Antetokounmpo in the past week at the Garden, but lost to the Grizzlies and the Bucks by a combined 10 points.

Doncic, 23, has become one of the premier players in the sport. He is averaging 33.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.7 assists while shooting a robust 50.5 percent from the field. He leads the league in player efficiency rating at 32.18 and already has five 40-point games.

Luka Doncic
AP

He will be a major test for the Knicks’ top perimeter defenders, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes. They did a good job on him last year in a season sweep of the Mavericks, holding Doncic to 20-of-48 shooting and an average of 26 points in the two games.


The Knicks will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak at the Garden and hoping to improve upon one of the worst home marks in the Eastern Conference. Only the Hornets, with three, have fewer home wins than the Kncisk, who are 4-6 at the Garden. On the road, the Knicks have been much better, with six wins, second in the Eastern Conference to the Celtics’ seven.

“I just think that we have to bring our same road intensity back home,” Jalen Brunson said. “At home, we’re obviously more comfortable and all that. On the road, it’s just us on the road, it’s us and the hostile environment. I think we just got to bring that same mentality at home and finish games.”

The Knicks have lost their last three games at home, to the Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Bucks, by a combined 13 points.


Former Knick Kemba Walker, who signed this week with Dallas, isn’t expected to play for the Mavericks until the middle of next week, general manager Nico Harrison said on Dallas radio station KTCK-The Ticket. Walker was traded by the Knicks on draft night to the Pistons to free up salary cap space to sign Brunson, and Detroit later bought him out. … The Knicks’ Ryan Arcidiacono (sprained left ankle) didn’t practice on Friday.


With the Mavericks in town, Thibodeau was asked about the NBA’s ongoing tampering investigation regarding the Knicks’ pursuit and acquisition of Brunson.

“At the appropriate time, I think [president] Leon [Rose] will make a statement. But let everyone do their job,” Thibodeau said. “So, that’s the way we’re approaching it. We feel very good about the way we went about things.”

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Pulisic Is Mending but Still Uncertain for Next U.S. Game

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DOHA, Qatar — Christian Pulisic was happy to talk about what happened leading up to the goal he scored on Tuesday that carried the United States into the round of 16 at the World Cup.

He was happy to talk about the ride to the hospital after colliding with Iran’s goalkeeper, about how during that journey he followed the rest of the game on a trainer’s cellphone, and about the chances — still not 100 percent, he said — that he would be available to play when the United States faces the Netherlands on Saturday.

What he was far less comfortable talking about, as he stared out into the faces of at least 100 journalists, were the details of where he had been injured. U.S. Soccer has labeled Pulisic’s injury a “pelvic contusion.” Asked by a reporter to clarify what that meant, Pulisic took a long pause.

“I mean,” he said, “it’s a pelvic contusion, you know?”

The specifics hardly matter. What does matter, at least for the United States, is that Pulisic admitted he was not sure he would be physically capable of going through a full training session with his teammates Thursday, 48 hours before they play the biggest game of their lives.

Pulisic’s problem, basically, is that the shot he took in the collision while scoring in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory had affected his ability to do his job. A soccer player’s hips, and especially any of the muscles and tendons and tissue that support them, do vital and interconnected work in assisting movement, turning and sprinting. Pulisic seemed to admit that, at least as of Thursday, he was not sure he had recovered sufficiently to be able to perform at the level he knows will be required on Saturday.

“I’m going to go now and meet with the team and the medical staff and make a decision on today, just kind of see how I’m feeling,” he said in his first public comments since the injury. “Taking it day by day for now, but doing everything in my power to be able to be out there on the field on Saturday.”

It had been excruciating, he admitted, to leave the game after scoring. Pulisic had lain on the field for several minutes after scoring, then needed assistance to get to his feet and remain standing. After a few minutes, he returned to the game, but minutes after that, the halftime whistle blew and he was gone down the stadium tunnel.

When his team returned to the field for the second half, Pulisic was missing, replaced by his teammate Brenden Aaronson.

“Obviously the emotions were running so high, so I was doing everything I could to continue playing,” Pulisic said of his brief return to the game. “It was all kind of a blur, to be honest.”

After an assessment of his condition was made at halftime, he said, the U.S. Soccer medical staff determined he needed to go to a hospital for scans to determine the full nature of his injury. A team trainer, Harris Patel, went along; on the way, Patel called up a video feed of the game on his phone so he and Pulisic could watch what they were missing.

“It was the hardest thing,” Pulisic said. “I think they were checking my blood sugar and everything, and it was flying through the roof, but it wasn’t because of anything — it was just me stress-watching the game. Once I got through that, and the final whistle blew, I was very happy.”

Saturday’s game would be a difficult one to miss. The United States has not played a knockout game at the World Cup since 2014, and the current team represents a new generation of players who have high hopes not only for this tournament, but for the World Cup that will take place in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

Pulisic already has one good memory from this year’s tournament — and one excruciating one. But as he sat alongside his teammate Timothy Weah, who has scored the Americans’ only other goal in Qatar, in the team’s opening game against Wales, Pulisic said they still felt they had a long way to go.

“It feels great to score in a World Cup,” Pulisic said when asked if he had enjoyed his special moment of the tournament already. “Timmy knows what that’s like. I’m hoping I haven’t had that moment yet. I’m hoping it’s in front of me.”

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