Geno Auriemma says accusations are 'beyond false'

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Geno Auriemma says accusations are 'beyond false'

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- A woman who works as an NBA security official has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit saying she was removed from an assignment to the 2012 Summer Games in London after she spurned an advance from Connecticut and women's national coach Geno Auriemma. Kelley Hardwick filed her suit Monday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, naming Auriemma, the NBA and USA Basketball as defendants. Auriemma called her account "beyond false" and said he would defend himself "to the fullest." Hardwick is a former detective with the New York police department who started working for the NBA in security back in 2002. Her suit says that as part of her job duties, she managed security for the U.S. women at international basketball events, including the Olympics in 2004 and 2008. It was at one of these tournaments, a 2009 trip to Russia, that she says she met Auriemma. According to the lawsuit, one night after Auriemma wedged his way into a conversation with Hardwick and a co-worker in a hotel lounge, he followed her to the door of her room and tried to kiss her. "Plaintiff was startled but, utilizing her training as a police officer and security professional, reacted quickly by shoving him away and stating, What are you doing? You better check yourself before you get hurt!'" the suit says. Hardwick says in the suit she told supervisors about the incident, but that nothing was done. In subsequent international trips, according to the suit, Auriemma avoided her but was uncomfortable with her being there. In March, Hardwick says she learned of a conference call involving NBA officials in which Auriemma demanded that she be taken off the security assignment for the London Games. In his statement, Auriemma said, "This claim is beyond false. I will defend myself to the fullest, and I'm confident that the truth will ultimately prevail. In the meantime, I remain focused on representing the United States this summer and getting our team ready to compete for the gold medal." Auriemma is one of the elite coaches in women's basketball and has guided the Huskies to seven national titles -- including four perfect seasons. His election as the Olympic coach was announced in April 2009 and he led the national team to a world championship in 2010 that earned the U.S. an automatic bid to the London Games. Auriemma, who has won 804 games at Connecticut -- including an NCAA record 90 straight from 2008-2010 -- was an assistant on the 2000 Olympic team that won a gold medal in Sydney. As part of the lawsuit, Hardwick also says that the NBA discriminated against her due to her gender, that she was denied promotions, raises, and employment opportunities because she was a woman. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league doesn't comment on pending litigation. USA Basketball also declined comment. Hardwick is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as back pay.

Going to Bears Training Camp ’16 in Bourbonnais? Remember these four tips

Going to Bears Training Camp ’16 in Bourbonnais? Remember these four tips

After covering some 25 Bears training camps spanning both Bourbonnais and Platteville, this CSNChicago.com reporter has gleaned some tips for getting the most out of the fan experience:

Appreciate the effort:

A lot of the young men you’ll be watching are living playing to realize a dream they’ve had since they were as young as some of the youngest fans. They are competing for jobs every day, every snap, and even going against teammates, the effort expended is worthy of the utmost respect. A guarantee: You WILL see something spectacular, whether from a star or some young hopeful who will leave it all and then some on that practice field. Enjoy the moment.

Be polite:

If you want autographs from players, your chances improve with a little courtesy. “Hey, Cutler…” and waving a pen and program at the Bears quarterback does not play nearly as well as “Jay, Jay…” or, if you’re a young fan and really want to stand out, “Mr. Cutler, Mr. Cutler…” Players don’t always get to hear a lot of “polite.” It doesn’t guarantee a signing, but understand that there’s no way players can sign every request and still have fully functioning limbs. And if a player doesn’t stop to sign, it’s not a snub. Most players sign every other day, so this just might be their off day for signing.

Plus, if it’s post-practice, remember that these players have just gone through at least two hours of beyond-max-effort work, wearing equipment that is anything but air-conditioned and weighs as much as a small child, and getting off their feet is a necessary survival skill.

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Go early:

The folks at Olivet Nazarene University do a truly amazing job of crowd and traffic control, but depending on the size of the crush, particularly on peak days, you may miss some field time getting into the parking lots if you’re getting there close to the start of practice. For another thing, players are typically on the field well ahead of the scheduled start times for practice, so you’ll be seeing players working and getting loosened up if you’re there early.

Understand the cadence and order:

Practices are not continuous scrimmaging and hitting. For one thing, that’s physically not possible, or smart. The Bears have individual sessions, then depending on the day, may come together for a “live” run scrimmage without receivers, followed by a less intense session, maybe some special teams, before or after very live pass-protection and receiver-DB head-to-heads, a break, then finishing with 11-on-11 “team” sessions.

Should the Bears bring Devin Hester back to Chicago?

Should the Bears bring Devin Hester back to Chicago?

The Atlanta Falcons released kick return specialist Devin Hester on Tuesday after just two seasons with the team. 

The former Bear and four-time Pro Bowl selection, who's best known for being one of the NFL's most dangerous return men, is now in the market for a new NFL job. 

So that begs the question, should the Bears entertain the idea of bringing Hester back to Chicago in 2016?

Hester, 33, has an NFL-record 20 touchdown returns over his 10 year career. However, he only had one return touchdown during his two years in Atlanta, and collected just two receiving touchdowns and one rushing score. 

It's safe to say the Bears aren't interested in Hester as a receiver, and who knows how much gas he has left in the tank, but he has certainly made an impact during his time in the Windy City. 

Blackhawks among teams in contention to land Jimmy Vesey

Blackhawks among teams in contention to land Jimmy Vesey

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said at the ninth annual Blackhawks Convention that he's prepared to enter the 2016-17 season with the roster as currently constructed, but there could be one more addition coming, and an impactful one at that.

Coveted free agent forward Jimmy Vesey will hit the open market on Aug. 15, and the Blackhawks are reportedly among the short list of teams set to meet with him when he's eligible to speak with other clubs next month.

"Chicago will be a team we want to talk to on Aug. 15," Vesey's agent Peter Donatelli told Scott Powers of The Athletic over the phone Monday. "Chicago will be on the list, but it shouldn't be read as they're ahead of anyone else.

"He really has no idea where he's going to be. It's going to be up to the teams to sell him. ... Yes, [we have criteria], but we're interested in what the teams say rather than telling the teams what they have to say."

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Vesey is currently property of the Buffalo Sabres after the Nashville Predators, who originally drafted him with the No. 66 overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, traded the 23-year-old left winger's negotiating rights in June for a 2016 third-round selection when it became apparent the two sides wouldn't be able to hammer out a deal.

What makes Vesey and Chicago a perfect match for each other is there's a legitimate spot open in the top-six to potentially play alongside Jonathan Toews, and because Vesey would be signing an entry-level contract, the maximum allowable salary is $925,000 per year, which benefits the cap-strapped Blackhawks.

Vesey is a two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist, and captured the award as the best player in college hockey last season after scoring 24 goals and adding 22 assists in 33 games with Harvard University, where he played four years.

The previous two Hobey Baker Award winners are Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames (2014) and Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres (2015), so the possibility of Vesey landing in Chicago could immediately give the Blackhawks another dynamic scoring option.