Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham has keen timing when it comes to rushing the edge to attack the quarterback. His timing Monday off the field was not so good.Abraham was arrested in front of a Midtown building where he owns three condominiums, charged with obstruction of justice.“I really can’t talk about the situation because we are still going through some legal things, here and there,” Abraham said to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m just happy that everybody that knows me and knows what kind of person I am, know the things that I do, so I’d like to kind of leave it at that. I’m just trying to move on to football, continue to be the leader that I’ve been, do the same things and get ready for Carolina.”Abraham was reluctant to share his story with the AJC. But he did say to the newspaper: “At this moment, I don’t want to talk about my side of the story. Once we get everything verified and get everything going the same way, because we still have a legal situation that we need to get cleared up. Sometimes, it’s just bad timing. I’m not going to fault anybody at all. Sometimes things happen in life. Sometimes trying to do the right thing, [doesn’t] end up being the right thing.”Police were responding to a call about a woman threatening to jump from one of the buildings when Abraham refused to exit the scene, according to John Chafee of the APD’s Public Affairs Unit said . Chafee said police charged Abraham with obstruction of police and obstruction of fire fighters.Chafee said the charges are misdemeanors. Abraham was booked at the Fulton County Jail and was released early Tuesday after posting $7,500 bond.Chafee said the woman did not jump and was uninjured. She was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. It is not known if Abraham knew the prospective jumper or if he was just trying to return home.According to a copy of the police report, Abraham entered the restricted area and was confronted by a firefighter who “repeatedly ordered him to leave the scene.”Nearby officers then responded and ordered Abraham to leave, according to the police report. The report says Abraham “refused and insisted on continuing [farther] into the scene” at which point police arrested him.Abraham was “obviously intoxicated,” the arresting officer wrote in the report.“Like I said, sometimes you just try to do the right thing and don’t worry about that,” Abraham said. “Like I was saying, I’m not trying to knock anybody for trying to do what they were doing. Like I said, it happened. I can’t really go into detail with exactly what’s going on, everybody likes to say this and that. …it was a situation.”Abraham is the second Falcons player to be arrested in the past weeks.Gwinnett County police arrested running back Michael Turner early last Tuesday on charges of DUI and speeding.“I got to talk to [head coach] Mike [Smith] and a lot of people in the organization and people that know me. …it was an altercation and hopefully we can get it out of the way as soon as possible,” Abraham said.The Falcons are 3-0, one of only three undefeated teams in the NFL.“I’m trying not to harp on what happened,” Abraham said. “I’m trying not to, but I will say it was bad timing.”Finally, Abraham wouldn’t admit to making an error in judgment.“I can’t say I did or didn’t,” Abraham said. “I’m just going to keep saying it was bad timing. I can’t say exactly what happened. Like I said, we’re going to try to work through it.”
If you’re going to publicly weigh the pros and cons of what a man has done then weigh both, not just the part that supports your argument…— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017 Dan Le Batard said Magic Johnson’s skills don’t fit his new role with the Lakers, which Keyshawn Johnson found bigoted. (Screenshot/Twitter)Dan Le Batard quickly responded to Keyshawn Johnson and Michael Wilbon, who both criticized him for saying Magic Johnson is unqualified to lead the Los Angeles Lakers’ basketball operations.Speaking on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” show Friday, Feb. 24, Le Batard stood by his assessment.“It sounded like I was saying that [Magic Johnson] only gets jobs because he’s famous and charming,” Le Batard said. “People made the argument, ‘He’s a good businessman.’ Well, of course, he’s a good businessman. So is James Dolan, so is the owner of the [Sacremento] Kings [Vivek Ranadive], so was Donald Sterling. I was talking about, is it a translatable skill set? You’ve seen Magic Johnson’s tweets, they’re obvious. He’s not a basketball visionary when he’s raving about [Shanghai Sharks guard] Jimmer Fredette.”On Thursday, Feb. 23, Le Batard said Magic Johnson has not proven successful in any of his post-basketball endeavors. He concluded the charitable NBA great had no business being promoted from his advisory role Tuesday after the team terminated General Manager Mitch Kupchak.“Magic Johnson is charming,” Le Batard said. “But Magic Johnson was given a late-night television show because he’s famous and charming. Failed in 11 shows. Magic Johnson was given a head coaching job of the Lakers because he’s famous and charming. Failed in 16 games.”Keyshawn Johnson responded to Le Batard’s claims on “ESPNLA Mornings with Keyshawn, Jorge & LZ” later that day and defended Magic’s short-lived late-night talk show gig.“I can’t tolerate this dude!” the retired NFL wide receiver said. “I can’t tolerate him saying these things about Magic Johnson because his facts are completely wrong! He got a talk show coming out of the NBA because they were trying a late-night talk show with African-Americans … The talk show business is hard! How many people fail at it?”Johnson then implied Le Batard’s stance was founded in racism, an assertion co-host Jorge Sedano disagreed with.“I’m going to read between the lines,” Johnson said. “I’m going to read between the lines on this one. To me, he’s saying ‘because he’s a Black dude,’ that’s the way I look at it …”Michael Wilborn, co-host of ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption,” tweeted in defense of Magic Johnson’s business acumen, saying Le Batard should have considered all aspects of the Hall of Famer’s career into account and not just his failures.So LeBatard bases Magic’s worthiness on a failed talk show and failed coaching career but not the 25 years since of success in business?— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017
Free agent safety Eric Reid watches Stanford NFL Pro Day in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL players’ union says former San Francisco 49ers Eric Reid filed a grievance against the league, alleging that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by owners.Reid had joined former teammate Colin Kaepernick two seasons ago in kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.Kaepernick wasn’t signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco. Reid continued the quarterback’s protests. The 26-year-old safety became a free agent this offseason when his rookie contract with the 49ers expired.Our union is aware that Eric Reid and his legal representatives filed a collusion claim, which will be heard through the arbitration process as spelled out in our collective bargaining agreement,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement Wednesday. “Our union supports Eric and we are considering other legal options to pursue.”Kaepernick previously filed a collusion grievance.
MINNEAPOLIS — It would take days to compile a full list of all the things the Timberwolves have done wrong during their 13-year span wandering the basketball wilderness.Management has had long stretches of gross ineptitude. That lack of direction partly explains why the Wolves have cycled through eight coaches in the 13 seasons since they last made the playoffs, including two different men who each held the job twice. Aside from the lack of continuity, there are also the mind-numbingly bad picks. The 2009 draft was especially awful: Minnesota selected two different point guards, Ricky Rubio and eventual washout Jonny Flynn, ahead of a guy named Steph Curry, who’d go on to win two MVPs while becoming the greatest jump shooter in NBA history.So it doesn’t take much to see why this season — with newly acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler, a handful of solid vets and some of the NBA’s best young talent — is one of the most anticipated campaigns in Timberwolves history. But look closer, and there may be slight cause for concern: Minnesota, owner of the NBA’s longest playoff drought, might suddenly have too much star power on its roster.The Wolves boast a ton of individual scoring but don’t necessarily have a surplus of players known for facilitating an offense. Consider the fact that the team’s Big Three is made up of Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins — a trio in which each player logged usage rates of 25 percent or higher last season.While it’s not unheard of for an offense to be this reliant on a set of three players — the Warriors and Cavaliers both did it last season en route to the Finals — it’s still unusual from a historical standpoint. Even as the notion of the superteam has spread throughout the league, there have been only six instances of three separate players logging 25 percent usage rates for the same team over the past 25 seasons,1While playing 30 minutes per game and at least 50 games that season. according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. 2016-17CavaliersLeBron JamesKyrie IrvingKevin Love SEASONTEAMPLAYER ONEPLAYER TWOPLAYER THREE 2008-09MavericksDirk NowitzkiJason TerryJosh Howard 1999-2000BucksRay AllenGlenn RobinsonSam Cassell 2001-02BucksRay AllenGlenn RobinsonSam Cassell 2016-17WarriorsKevin DurantStephen CurryKlay Thompson 2007-08SpursTim DuncanTony ParkerManu Ginobili Still, it’s hard to know whom, if anyone, the Wolves actually compare to — especially now, after having moved Rubio, a pass-first guard who managed to keep his high-scoring teammates fed most nights.“I get people involved, but he was a fan favorite, and I hear that every day. Seriously, I do,” said Jeff Teague, the Wolves’ new starting point guard, who gets in the paint and scores more than his predecessor. The 29-year-old, one season removed from a career-high 26.6 percent usage rate himself, said he’s been studying film to learn where his new teammates prefer the ball. Teague also cited his experience leading a highly balanced Atlanta Hawks’ offense as reason for optimism in Minnesota.Figuring out the proper pecking order won’t get a whole lot easier when Teague heads to the bench, either. Three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner Jamal Crawford, who led the NBA in percentage of time going 1-on-1 last season, figures to be a primary ballhandler when he enters the game as a reserve. All of which raises a question about how this team’s offense — which fell from a top-five team in assist rate with Rubio on the floor to a bottom-10 club with him off the court last season — will move the ball with so many scoring specialists sharing the court at once.There are a ton of kinks for this team to work through — all things considered, the Timberwolves’ defense could still be pretty bad — but to be fair, the Wolves also have a handful of factors that could play to their advantage. Unlike the LeBron James superteams that struggled out of the gate in Miami and Cleveland in 2010 and 2014, Butler is the only true star joining Minnesota this offseason. And because Towns and Wiggins have played alongside each other the past couple of seasons, the trio’s growing pains may not be as extreme to start.2Towns connected with Wiggins for seven outlet passes of 60 feet or farther last season, second in the NBA only to Kevin Love — the outlet-pass king — and LeBron James. Could Minnesota be the NBA’s next three-headed monster?Teams with three players who posted at least 25 percent usage over the season, since 1992 Among players with at least 30 minutes per game, minimum 50 gamesSource: ESPN Stats & Information Group Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wigginstotowns.mp400:0000:0000:11Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/townstowiggins.mp400:0000:0000:12Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Beyond that, Butler is already familiar with Tom Thibodeau’s highly tactical schemes, having played for him in Chicago for the first four seasons of his career. “We’re very fortunate, because everybody already knows the system, which expedites the process 10-fold,” Towns said.Thibodeau suggested that he wasn’t concerned about who would create looks for whom in this offense. Striking the balance among several talented scorers “is a challenge that all good teams face,” he said. Thibodeau thinks Butler (who, at 5.5 assists per game last season, has upped his assists per game every year) is one of the best playmaking shooting guards in the NBA, and that Crawford, for all his 1-on-1 tries, is a tough cover when defenses trap him in pick-and-rolls.3Crawford averaged more points per possession than any other NBA player when teams trapped him in pick-and-roll scenarios last year, according to Synergy Sports.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/jamaltrappedagain.mp400:0000:0000:07Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/crawfordwhiletrapped.mp400:0000:0000:07Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“Everyone has to play for each other, to sacrifice, and put the team first,” Thibodeau said. “So if you’re a primary scorer, and the second defender comes, without hesitation, you have to hit the open man. You have to trust each other.”And again, offense isn’t Minnesota’s chief concern. By all accounts, the Wolves should finish top 10 in the NBA on that side of the ball — but that’s a necessity for them to compete considering how bad their defense could be. The Wolves blew 22 double-digit leads and tied for fourth-worst in the association on that end last season. Butler and Taj Gibson could help the Timberwolves improve slightly on defense (though Rubio to Teague is a downgrade), but expecting a complete turnaround might be asking too much of Wiggins and Towns, who, despite being cornerstones, are still just 22 and 21 years old, respectively.This shoddy defense gives the Timberwolves’ offense very little margin, particularly late in games, when the club’s fourth-quarter offense goes stale and Minnesota becomes too reliant on perimeter jumpers with heavy, fatigued legs.The question of who will get the ball in crunch time looms large, especially for a team that somehow lost a whopping 30 games that were within 5 points during the final five minutes of play.“Obviously I think I’m a great scorer, and that I’m a great weapon. I think of myself as a No. 1 option,” Wiggins said. “We all think we’re the No. 1 option. Not in a selfish way. It’s more that we just know what we can do.”
Keep track of the chaotic NBA offseason with our Free Agency Diary. Troy Daniels01500015-0.4-2.6-3.1 With Kawhi, the playoff Lakers would have major star powerProjected full-strength playoff depth chart for the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers, based on CARMELO plus/minus ratings YearTeamBest Players by Wins CreatedTeam Wins Created PLAYERPGSGSFPFCTOTALOFF. +/-DEF. +/-TOT. +/- 240+5.2+3.28.4 EXPECTED MINUTES PER GAMEPLAYER RATING Kawhi Leonard01485027+3.2+0.94.0 Dear NBA Diary,With each passing day that Kawhi Leonard remains unsigned, it seems like the media speculation only intensifies that he’ll join the Los Angeles Lakers. Why? For starters, Leonard is from the area originally, and the Lakers have been mentioned as a prime destination for Leonard going back years. Plus the Lakers themselves also seem to be mega-confident about their chances. Of course, the Raptors (the team Kawhi literally just won the title with) and Clippers (L.A.’s other team) are also reportedly pushing hard for his services, so nobody truly knows how real this Laker hype is. (Some reporters have even gone as far as to track Leonard’s flights across the country, looking for any possible clues about his decision, while ESPN’s Jalen Rose said Wednesday that he was “99 percent hearing” Leonard would return to Toronto. Again, who knows?)But but let’s say the Lakers’ dreams come true and Kawhi agrees to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. (My colleague Chris Herring wrote on Tuesday about how the Lakers have basically gambled their entire offseason on Leonard, so they’d better hope this happens.) Our CARMELO projections think the resulting team would have the league’s third-best regular-season offense and fourth-best overall roster — even while giving 24 of its 240 minutes per game to generic “replacement level” placeholders. Such a team would have a CARMELO rating of 1621, which roughly equates to 52.8 wins per 82 games.That number ranks second-best in the Western Conference, trailing only the Houston Rockets (59.8). But the real damage done by the hypothetical LeBron-AD-Kawhi Lakers would occur during the playoffs. As part of our spruced up CARMELO projections for 2019-20, we have added a “playoff adjustment” for individual players. We’ll have more on how this works soon, but it essentially gives extra credit in the playoffs to players who have a history of elevating their games during the postseason — and penalties to those who have a history of underperforming. And as it happens, both James (who gets a bonus of 1.5 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs) and Leonard (who gets a bonus of 0.8 points per 100) rank among the NBA players who improve most during the postseason.That’s why the team L.A. would hypothetically roll out in the playoffs rises to a CARMELO of 1717 and closes the gap versus Houston (1744 playoff CARMELO) for the best in the West. CARMELO team rating:1717 Replacement-level C000099-1.7+1.3-0.4 LeBron James1001910039+4.7+1.76.5 Alex Caruso20000020-0.9+0.8-0.1 Either way, the Lakers would make history in how they were created if they were to get Leonard. When the original Kawhi-to-L.A. rumors started flying last summer (at that time potentially teaming him with James and Paul George), I wrote about how the resulting Big Three could create a new paradigm — one forged from scratch. This prospective Big Three of James/Leonard/Davis would fit the same bill. If the Lakers win 60 games, they would instantly rank among the best teams (by the sum of team consensus Wins Created) since the merger whose three most valuable players all made their NBA debuts with other franchises: * An estimate of a player’s value based on an average of wins generated via Box Plus/Minus, Win Shares and Player Efficiency Rating.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 1999MIAA. Mourning • T. Hardaway • T. Porter57.2 Replacement-level PG18000018-0.7-1.0-1.7 Anthony Davis00013940+2.2+3.65.8 Talen Horton-Tucker0930012-2.3-0.9-3.2 2006DETC. Billups • B. Wallace • R. Wallace60.5 Jared Dudley00213015-1.6+0.4-1.2 Zach Norvell Jr.01000010-1.8-1.4-3.2 Kyle Kuzma001619035+0.4-0.9-0.5 Will the Lakers join this list of teams made from scratch?Best teams (by total consensus Wins Created* per 82 games) whose best three players all made their NBA debuts with other franchises 2000PORS. Pippen • S. Smith • R. Wallace60.4 1997ATLM. Blaylock • C. Laettner • D. Mutombo58.2 2008DETC. Billups • R. Wallace • R. Hamilton61.7 Expected wins:61.3 Team total All of this depends on Kawhi actually signing with the Lakers, of course. And if his free agency has taught us anything so far, it’s that the famously inscrutable Leonard isn’t giving anything away, even as the media hype builds around him.
Chicago was outstanding at the beginning of the season and was briefly on pace to be one of the greatest teams of all time. After a 25-6 start — on pace for 131 wins! — they cooled considerably and actually had a losing record (28-29) in their next 57 games before the All-Star break. They closed out the season on a 50-23 run, a 110-win pace, but those midseason blues cost them a chance at the record books. Here’s how their Elo rating fluctuated over the course of the season, with the Indians added for reference:There’s some good news for the Cubs, though. For one, they won the World Series, the first for the team since 1908. Who cares about their Elo rating! But it’s also a lot harder to dominate MLB than it used to be. The best teams in baseball history, in terms of how well they performed in the league at the time, mostly come before the 1960s. Chicago is just the third team of the 2010s to crack the top 100 and the first Cubs team to do so since the 1930s: In fact, the 2016 Cubs were the most dominant baseball team since the 2009 Yankees, who ranked 33. Chicago might not be one of the greatest baseball teams in baseball history, but it’s one of the best in recent memory, and with a young, talented roster, there’s no reason to think they couldn’t match or beat their performance in 2017. Back at the start of the season, we ranked the dominance of every team in every season of MLB history using Elo ratings, a measure of relative team strength. The 1939 Yankees came in first, the 1906 Cubs second. Now that 2016 is done, where did this season’s Cubs place?Our updated rankings are below, but you’ll have to scroll a bit to find the 2016 Cubs: They came in 70th.
The No. 24 Ohio State women’s soccer team (12-2-1, 6-0-0) got off to a slow start, but found a way to remain unbeaten in Big Ten play with an overtime win over No. 15 Minnesota (10-4-2, 2-3-1) Sunday. “Each win is just so exciting,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “I’m very proud of my team for sticking with it today after we didn’t play our best soccer.” After a scoreless first half, the Golden Gophers got off to a 1-0 start when forward Tamara Strahota caught Buckeye goalkeeper Rachel Middleman out of position and converted on an assist from midfielder Molly Rouse in the 57th minute. Minnesota kept the ball in Buckeye territory for the majority of the second half, but OSU forward Paige Maxwell shifted momentum when she scored her eighth goal of the season off of an assist from defender Liz Sullivan to tie the game up in the 82nd minute of regulation. The difference-maker came in the first minute of overtime when midfielder Lauren Steuer passed the ball to a sprinting Lauren Granberg in stride, who then beat Minnesota goalkeeper Cat Parkhill for the game-winner. Granberg said she went into overtime looking to make up for a missed opportunity late in the game, which would have given the Buckeyes the lead close to the end of regulation. “That was huge,” Granberg said. “I had a chance at the end of regulation and I didn’t finish, so I knew I had to go into overtime and get it done for my team.” The game was a physical one, with both teams combining for 19 fouls. Walker said she was happy with the way her team responded and that games like this bring out the best in her team. “Minnesota is a team that plays hard, but they play clean,” Walker said. “Those are the kind of teams we play our best soccer against.” The win keeps OSU in sole possession of first place in the conference, with four games remaining on the schedule. Granberg said that despite remaining undefeated in conference play, the team isn’t looking ahead to a potential Big Ten championship. “It was a big win for us,” Granberg said. “But we just need to concentrate on our next opponent and focus on that because we haven’t won anything yet.”
Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was declared eligible for the NFL supplemental draft, now scheduled for Monday, in a Thursday announcement by the NFL.Pryor has also been assessed a punishment by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and, if drafted, will be suspended from games and practices through Week 5 of the NFL season, according to an NFL press release.After begin drafted and signed to a contract, Pryor would be allowed to fully participate in the remainder of preseason, though.David Cornwell, Pryor’s attorney, did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for a comment.After initially agreeing to a suspension for the first five games of OSU’s upcoming season, Pryor departed the university on June 7 to pursue a professional football career. His departure came just days after former head coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign from his position. Pryor was then declared ineligible for intercollegiate athletics in a July 26 letter from OSU athletic director Gene Smith.The NFL press release, which confirmed that all 32 NFL clubs have been informed of Pryor’s draft eligibility, said:“NFL clubs were informed that Pryor made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft. Those actions included failing to cooperate with the NCAA and hiring an agent in violation of NCAA rules. This resulted in Ohio State declaring him ineligible to continue playing college football. Pryor then applied to enter the NFL after regular draft. Pryor had accepted at the end of the 2010 college football season a suspension for the first five games of the 2011 season for violating NCAA rules.“In his decision allowing Pryor to enter the Supplemental Draft, (Goodell) determined that Pryor will be ineligible to practice prior to or play in the first five games of the NFL regular season after he signs. Pryor may be selected in the Supplemental Draft, negotiate and sign a contract with an NFL club, and fully participate in the remainder of the preseason.”From his Twitter account, @TerrellePryor, Pryor tweeted at approximately 9:30 a.m.: “God bless and thanks for support! Time to have a little fun!!”Pryor joins five other players in Monday’s draft, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Former Ohio State men’s basketball guard Jordan Sibert was released from his scholarship and will seek to transfer from the university, an OSU spokesman announced Monday. He plans to continue his basketball career at another institution, but hasn’t decided where he will transfer. “I’ve decided to transfer after discussing my future goals with family and my coaches,” Sibert said in a press release. “I would like to find a school where I can make an impact on the court. I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the fans. I will always be a Buckeye.” Sibert, who attended Princeton High School in Cincinnati, played two years under coach Thad Matta and averaged 2.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in fewer than 10 minutes a game. Sibert started the season as one of the first players Matta used off the bench, but about midway through the season, freshmen guards Sam Thompson and Shannon Scott started seeing more playing time and Sibert’s minutes declined. Matta said he supports Sibert’s decision. “Jordan has worked to improve since he became a Buckeye two years ago,” Matta said in a release. “He has represented our program well and we wish him the best.” Sibert is the second Buckeye that will transfer from the OSU basketball team that went 31-8 and reached the Final Four during the 2011-12 season. Former sophomore forward J.D. Weatherspoon also announced his plans to transfer Monday.
After leading Ohio State to a perfect season, Urban Meyer is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, according to the Football Writers Association of America. In his first year in Columbus, Meyer led the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record and their first undefeated season since 2002. His nomination for the honor, which is given to college football’s best coach, isn’t anything new. Meyer, who is the sport’s second-winningest active Football Bowl Subdivision coach, won the award after leading Utah to a 12-0 mark in 2004. While at Florida, Meyer was nominated for the accolade in 2008 – a season that saw him lead the Gators to a national championship. Meyer joins Gary Andersen (Utah State), Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Will Muschamp (Florida), Bill O’Brien (Penn State), David Shaw (Stanford), Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) as finalists for the award. Fellow Big Ten coach O’Brien was named the conference’s Coach of the Year on Nov. 27 after guiding the Nittany Lions to a 8-4 record this season. Among the nine coaches, only Meyer and Kelly led their respective teams to 12-0 records. While OSU is barred from the year’s postseason because of NCAA violations and subsequent penalties, the Fighting Irish are scheduled to play Alabama (12-1) in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7. 2013. Meyer’s Buckeyes are ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press top 25 poll behind No. 1 Notre Dame and the No. 2 Alabama.
Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State President E. Gordon Gee’s announcement that he will retire this summer sent shockwaves throughout the university.The president of Ohio State since 2007, Gee’s position came into question after comments made about Notre Dame and the SEC during a Dec. 5 OSU Athletic Council meeting were recently made public and criticized.The Buckeye athletic community also reacted with shock at the news of Gee’s retirement, but also gratitude for the things he brought to OSU.Ohio State Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Gene Smith appreciates the impact that Gee has had on education and athletics at the university and across the country.“I want to thank Gordon for what he has done for me as a person and for his contributions to higher education and in particular to The Ohio State University,” Smith said in a statement. “I am appreciative for all his contributions as a president to intercollegiate athletics on a national level. I wish he and his family all the best.”The comments made back in December were not the first time Gee found himself in hot water when discussing college football.During the height of the OSU football tattoo scandal, in 2011, when then coach Jim Tressel’s job was being called into question, Gee said in a press conference “Let me just be very clear: I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”Urban Meyer, OSU’s current football coach, released a statement praising Gee and his leadership at Ohio State during Meyer’s time in Columbus.“It is hard to put into words the respect and love I have for President Gee,” Meyer said in the statement. “His leadership brought me home to this great university and to this great state of Ohio. I will always be grateful to him for that. He has been a wonderful advocate for collegiate athletics and for The Ohio State University. It has been an honor to work for him. I wish him the best as he moves into retirement.”Fresh off a Big Ten Championship and an Elite Eight appearance, the Ohio State men’s basketball team coach Thad Matta is thankful for the things that Gee has done to help build the basketball program and Matta personally.“Dr. Gee has done so much for me personally and as a coach,” Matta said in a statement. “He has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to help build our program. I have never met a person who loves this university more than Dr. Gee.”Gee’s retirement will take effect beginning on July 1 with Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Alutto serving as the interim president for the university.
Pending Board approval, Ohio Stadium could have Wi-Fi in 2019. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorWi-Fi across campus could see a significant upgrade if the Ohio State Board of Trustees approve a long-awaited system overhaul.The full Board will meet Friday to discuss an almost $19 million proposal that would bring new Wi-Fi to campus as well as Ohio Stadium and the Schottenstein Center, but not for at least another football season, according to Board materials released this week.The plan calls for upgrades to the overall campus Wi-Fi to begin in June but potentially not wrap up until December of 2020, according to the Board documents. The $18.6 million price tag calls for almost $9 million to purchase the new technology and $9.5 million for construction costs with contingency, with the remaining $1.2 million going to professional services. The comprehensive plan has been in the works for years. The university has been trying to get Wi-Fi installed at the two athletic venues in particular since at least 2015. But that plan was put on hold while Ohio State focused on a campus-wide upgrade instead, university spokesman Ben Johnson told The Lantern last year. If approved, the project would consist of installing access points across campus to “create a more seamless, efficient and modern end user experience,” according to the documents. For Buckeye fans, seamlessly checking scores and tweeting will have to wait at least another season. The plan, pending full Board approval, would bring Wi-Fi to the ‘Shoe by the start of the 2019 football season and to the Schott by the start of the 2019-20 basketball season to “improve the fan experience.”
The Ohio State Women’s Basketball team beat Penn State 78-73 at the Schottenstein Center on Feb. 6. Photos by Cori Wade Ohio State freshman guard Janai Crooms (3) goes up for a shot against Penn State on Feb 6. Ohio State won 78-73. Credit: Cori Wade | Lantern Photographer
I remember saying no and being quite put out about it. I remember asking him to stopChristaggelis Christoforou alleged victim Mr Hearnden said that the alleged victim was not drunk and was drinking milkshakes that night.”The defendant was on the other hand drunk,” he added. The alleged victim told a male friend that she had been groped and he told Mr Christoforou that he “simply couldn’t touch women that way”, the court heard.”She did not think it was amusing; she found it upsetting,” said Mr Hearnden. “The fact it happened in front of work colleagues was a particular cause of upset and anxiety.” Christaggelis Christoforou is a former JP Morgan banker, the court heardCredit:Dylan Martinez/Reuters Following the woman’s complaint to police, Mr Christoforou told officers that the victim had said her breasts were her “best asset”.”He completely denied he had squeezed her breasts,” said Mr Hearnden. “He denied that he had burrowed his head actually into her chest, or motorboating as he called it.”Mr Hearnden told jurors that Mr Christoforou claimed “it was just a bit of fun”, but added: “Just a bit of fun is not a defence [to the charge].”His alleged victim told the court: “We were in a group and while we were talking, Chris reached out and touched my breasts.”He did that a couple of times. I would described it as patting. I remember saying ‘no’ and being quite put out about it. I remember asking him to stop.”I don’t like that sort of attention or approach. He told me again I had no sense of humour, that it was just fun.” He must have thought the whole thing was funny because he appears to be laughing and he even reaches out to have another goRichard Hearnden, prosecuting Moments later, Mr Christoforou launched the “motorboating” attack, it is claimed.She said: “He leaned his head down and pushed his face between my breasts inside my top and moved his face around. At that point, I pushed him away from me.”Mr Christoforou’s barrister, Giles Newell ,suggested that the banker had leaned forward and lowered his head because he had dropped his phone.The alleged victim replied: “That’s incorrect.” She told the court that she found his sense of humour “offensive and a little vulgar”.Mr Christoforou, from Croydon, south London, denies one charge of sexual assault. The trial continues. A former JP Morgan banker burrowed his head into a woman’s breasts during a night out before claiming it was “just a bit of fun”, a court heard.Christaggelis Christoforou, 25, allegedly carried out the “motorboating” attack on the victim before inviting her to slap his face, jurors were told.He then lunged out and grabbed the woman’s breast in front of her friends and colleagues at the Be At One bar in the City of London, it is claimed.Mr Christoforou was captured on CCTV laughing after carrying out the attack before “reaching out to have another go”, jurors heard. Christaggelis Christoforou later claimed that he wildly moved his hands as he talked because he is Greek, jurors were toldCredit:Ed Willcox/Central The alleged victim, who does not drink alcohol, later told police that Mr Christoforou had been “offensive and vulgar” throughout the night of January 28.He was “constantly touching breasts by tapping them with his hand”, said prosecutor Richard Hearnden at the Old Bailey.”She found this to be utterly unacceptable and told him so,” he said. “He replied it was just a joke and he didn’t mean anything by it.”Mr Christoforou then leaned forward towards the alleged victim and might have touched her breasts while wildly moving his hands as he talked, jurors heard, which he later claimed was “because he is Greek”.CCTV then shows him burrowing his head and face into her breasts at 8.20pm, it is claimed.”This can clearly be seen on the video,” said Mr Hearnden. “She reacted by recoiling and pushing his head away. He responded by inviting her to slap him on the face and she obliged.”Three minutes later, Mr Christoforou was seen moving his arm towards the victim’s breasts while another man tried to restrain him gently, the court heard.He then lunged forward and grabbed the victim’s breasts while laughing, it is claimed.”She reacted forcefully,” said the prosecutor. “He must have thought the whole thing was funny because he appears to be laughing and he even reaches out to have another go. One can then see him making a third uninvited manoeuvre in less than 20 seconds.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The Airport Cafe near Sellindge where a suspected illegal immigrant was found dead Credit:Jim Bennett Julie Breen, 57, who runs the Airport Cafe with her husband Pat, said: “The driver was quite distressed.”He came across to me and said he had found a migrant in the back of his lorry.”From what I can make out, the load got disturbed and I think it fell on him and he suffocated.”I only saw a boot and a leg. I called the police. The driver was foreign and he had asked me to call the police.”Mrs Breen said Kent Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene.She added: “Obviously it is very upsetting. We don’t know where he came from but he’s probably got a family. It’s not a nice thing to happen.”Husband Pat added: “There was a lorry that came in and there was an illegal immigrant in the back that had passed away.” The lorry involved had the markings of Austrian company Klog Logistics on its rear doors and sidesCredit:Jim Bennett A suspected illegal migrant is reported to have been found dead in the back of a lorry after suffocating under the weight of a load of catalogues.The body was discovered by the HGV driver who had travelled across the Channel and pulled into a lorry park off the A20 in Sellindge, Kent at around 8am today.Emergency services descended on the lorry after café owners called police when the driver pulled the body from the truck.The lorry involved has the markings of Austrian company Klog Logistics on its rear doors and sides and appears to have been carrying a cargo of hundreds of magazines. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A spokesman for Kent Police said: “At 8.29am on Tuesday, October 18 2016, Kent Police was called to an incident concerning a lorry on the A20 at Sellinge near Folkestone.”Officers and South East Coast Ambulance Service attended and a man in the rear of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene.”It is believed the lorry had travelled from France and inquiries are on-going to identify the man and ascertain the cause of death.”A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service added: “We were called to the Airport Cafe off the main road in Sellindge by police just after 8.30am this morning.”We attended with two paramedic cars and an ambulance.”Sadly one man was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident.”Firefighters were also called to the scene at 8.39am. They assisted Kent Police by removing the load from the lorry using a fork lift truck.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Ihat has become a self-financing taxpayer money-eating machine that has grown disastrously beyond anyone’s controlJohnny Mercer Almost all its cases were submitted to Ihat by a single law firm – Public Interest Lawyers – which folded in the summer after its legal aid contract was withdrawn over alleged irregularities over its work in Iraq.Johnny Mercer, a Conservative MP who is leading a parliamentary inquiry into Ihat and the treatment of soldiers under investigation, said: “Ihat has become a self-financing taxpayer money-eating machine that has grown disastrously beyond anyone’s control.”His inquiry has heard how a recruitment agency is paid almost £5 million a year to provide about 125 investigators – many of them retired police officers already receiving a full pension – to carry out the bulk of its work.Mr Mercer, a former Army captain, added: “If this money had instead been invested into creating a Department for Veterans’ Affairs, we would now be looking at making the military covenant a reality for every serviceman and women and their families.“We have a long way to go in our relationship with our military in the United Kingdom today.”Sir Henry Bellingham, a former Conservative minister who requested the information on Ihat’s cost, said: “This is an absolutely staggering figure, and to be spending this kind of money on pursuing our brave and honourable troops when the Ministry of Defence budget is under so much pressure, is fast becoming a national disgrace.“I do not believe there is a single other country in Nato that would spend this sort of money pursuing what are in the main, wholly spurious allegations put together by dubious legal aid lawyers.”Sir henry added: “It is absolutely imperative that the Ihat is immediately wound up, and the vast amounts being spent on it put to a far more constructive use.” MP Johnny MercerCredit:Paul Grover More than 3,300 allegations of abuse have been submitted to Ihat but more than half of those were dismissed immediately, suggesting they were spurious or even false.The latest figures show that just 176 investigations have so far been completed or are nearing completion. Just four of those have prompted any further action.Two were passed to the Director of Service Prosecutions, who decided not to prosecute in both cases; another case was referred to the RAF Police, while the fourth resulted in a soldier receiving a £3,000 fine.An Ihat spokeswoman insisted the inquiry was on course to complete its work by the end of 2019. “Ministers have approved an overall budget figure of £57.2 million to the end of 2019,” said the Ihat spokesman, adding: “The Ihat remains within budget and is on track to complete its work by December 2019.”The MoD has said Ihat was necessary to avoid the possibility of Britain being dragged before the International Criminal Court if it failed to be investigating the allegations of abuse thoroughly.An MoD spokesman said: “An independent investigation is the best way to make sure that innocent personnel are not dragged through international courts without cause, leaving the door open to a lengthy, and costly public inquiry.”The telegraph has publicised a series of concerns about Ihat and a parallel investigation into alleged abuses in Afghanistan. It prompted the Prime Minister Theresa May to complain of the “industrial scale” of claims lodged with Ihat and to vow that British troops would not be ‘hounded’ following future conflicts. The cost of the controversial investigation into alleged historic abuse by British troops in Iraq has soared to £35 million, ministers admitted today.Critics said the ‘staggering’ cost of the criminal inquiry emphasised the need to shut it down before any more money was wasted. The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), which was set up by the Ministry of Defence six years ago, is currently investigating almost 1,500 cases of alleged mistreatment and unlawful killings of Iraqis following the 2003 invasion.But so far, not a single soldier has been charged with any offence. Three war veterans, including a major decorated for bravery, are facing possible prosecution over the death of a 19-year-old Iraqi man who drowned in 2003.In response to a parliamentary question, Mike Penning, a defence minister, said the cost of Ihat had reached £34.7 million up to the end of September. The inquiry is funded by the Ministry of Defence and is expected to cost £57.2 million in total by the end of 2019 when its work should be complete after a decade.
Seven young men recently attended the first weekend of workshops under the rehab programme, which involved learning security skills and ways to earn money legitimately through their talents.The offenders had been arrested or visited by the NCA for committing cyber offences at home or school, including putting servers offline.One of the group said he had begun experimenting when he accidentally hacked a primary school network, locking users out of the system. He later put his skills to malicious use, saying it was a method of getting away from bullying at school. The group were sent to a weekend camp in Bristol earlier this month. The offenders on the rehab programme had been arrested previously of visited by the NCA for committing cyber crime offences at home or school Teenage hackers will be sent to cyber crime rehab camps to transform them into security experts under a new National Crime Agency scheme.The law enforcement agency will enrol teenagers who have been found committing cyber offences onto a programme designed to stop them from entering serious crime.It comes amid growing fears that the skills of cyber criminals are outpacing the talents of the industry, which has struggled to attract new talent.Teenagers who have been served with cautions or cease and desist orders will be invited to attend a workshop at the NCA as part of its Prevent scheme. The idea for the scheme came from research that looked at the abilities of illegal hackers in comparison with those who worked in cyber security. It found that those on the right side of the law were very similar to the other group, but at some point a parent, guardian or teacher had intervened to put them on a law-abiding path.The NCA’s Prevent team has previously worked with young cyber criminals who have been convicted of crimes, served sentences and been reformed.Cyber crime has become one of the most serious threats to the UK, with high profile attacks harming the NHS, businesses and the Government in recent months. Businesses and security experts welcomed the move. “Cyber crime has become easier to commit with the proliferation of easy-to-access tools, tutorials and online forums to share idea,” said Richard Jones, Prevent manager at the NCA.“Even the most basic forms of cyber crime can have huge impacts and the NCA and police will arrest and prosecute offenders, which can be devastating to their future.“That means there is great value in reaching young people before they become involved in cyber crime, and even those already on the fringes of criminality – when their skills can still be a force for good.” Mike Simmonds, chief executive of Axial Security Systems, said: “The rehabilitation camp needs to create an environment where doing the right thing is even cooler than doing the opposite.”Ultimately the rehabilitation process can help drive these youngsters to become an asset to our society and businesses, by protecting them from the danger of a future cyber-attack.”If the trial of the scheme is successful, it will be rolled out across the country for other young hackers. Show more Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Issuing its alert to rail passengers, a Virgin Trains spokesman said: “We expect our services on both routes to be very busy from Friday to Monday, and are advising customers to avoid travelling on our west coast route on Saturday or Sunday unless necessary. Modernisation work means services between Cardiff and Newport will be reduced until September 3, while no trains will operate between Swindon and Bristol Parkway from Saturday until September 17.When – and where – should drivers avoid?Some five million motorists are expected to embark on leisure journeys on Monday, up by nearly one million people – or a fifth – on the 2016 figure.The RAC recommended drivers wanting to beat the queues this weekend should avoid Friday afternoon and evening, and set off early if travelling on Monday.The proportion of Britons planning an overnight UK trip this weekend has risen by more than a third compared to last year. Due to Crossrail work, there are no trains between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield, Ingatestone, Billericay and Barking on Sunday and Monday. “If customers choose to travel, we strongly recommend they book their tickets in advance, make a seat reservation and allow longer to get to their destination.”More Waterloo services set to be disruptedLondon Waterloo services, which have been disrupted for more than a fortnight as part of a major project, have been reduced even further until Tuesday.Fewer than half of normal weekday services will operate as platforms 1-14 are closed to enable platforms to be extended to accommodate longer trains, boosting capacity at the UK’s busiest station by 30 per cent. People are being urged not to travel by train in some parts of Britain over the Bank Holiday weekend, as major engineering work affecting several lines is predicted to cause chaos.Millions of people embarking on getaways face severely disrupted journeys amid stark warnings from rail firms.Virgin Trains asked customers to avoid travelling on its west coast route on Saturday and Sunday as it issued an alert stating that its services will be “very busy” over the long weekend.High demand is also expected for east coast trains between London King’s Cross and Scotland due to passengers seeking alternative routes to and from London because of the closure of London Euston on Saturday and Sunday, as well as Edinburgh’s festivals coming to an end.Meanwhile, drivers are warned to expect congested roads, with the Automobile Association (AA) predicting that the dash to popular destinations will “start in earnest” from Friday lunchtime as people finish work early to make the most of the break.A poll of more than 16,000 motorists found that 43 per cent are likely to be on the road between Friday and Monday, either travelling on holiday or on a day trip. This equates to around 15 million drivers on leisure journeys this weekend. A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “We apologise to our passengers for the added disruption to their journeys and thank them for their patience.”This all about delivering a bigger better Waterloo station fit for the 21st century.”National Express, the UK’s largest coach operator, is putting on an extra 4,000 seats over the weekend to destinations affected by the Euston and Waterloo work.Delays and disruption at other stationsBetween Saturday and September 2, there will be no Southeastern services to or from London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross as work continues to rebuild London Bridge and the surrounding railway.Queuing systems will be in place at Cannon Street station between Tuesday and Friday next week to cope with demand. Please check before you travel this bank holiday as our major #AugustBHWorks are happening 🔧➡️https://t.co/J7V0DxrnDj#RailwayUpgradePlan pic.twitter.com/vHInGCtOsL— Network Rail (@networkrail) August 8, 2017 Flights: which airports will be busiest?Travel trade organisation Abta estimated 2.1 million British holidaymakers will travel abroad over the weekend with Spain, Turkey and Greece among the most popular destinations.Heathrow expects 243,000 departing passengers on Friday alone, while an estimated 304,000 will fly from Gatwick over the entire weekend.What will the weather be like this weekend?Met Office forecasters predict that much of England and Wales will see mainly dry conditions with sunny spells, and temperatures reaching approximately 24C (75F) in the South.But parts of northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland – which does not have a bank holiday this weekend – will see rain or showers at times, with the mercury reaching around 17C to 21C (63F to 70F). Video: Weather forecast for this weekend Some 6.9 million adults are planning a domestic break over the last long weekend before Christmas, up from 5.1 million in 2016, according to tourism body VisitEngland.Traffic information supplier Inrix reported that the worst congestion blackspots during last year’s August bank holiday weekend were the M25 between Junctions 9 and 21 – which runs past Heathrow Airport – and the M5 southbound between Junctions 14 and J22 in the South West. Motorists on both sections of road endured delays of up to 90 minutes.Highways England is removing roadworks from 445 miles of motorways and major A roads ahead of the bank holiday period to ease journeys. The closure of London’s Euston station this weekend is likely to cause long delays. File pictureCredit:FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA Sections of the M25 were among the worst congestion blackspots during last year’s August bank holiday weekend Credit:Tim Ockenden/PA
Kurdi at one point suggested his followers “inject poison in drinks or foods that are prohibited in Islam… Study different types of poison and their preparation methods… It will kill hundreds in a few moments”.DCI Paul Greenwood of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit told the BBC after the trial that while Mohammed had apparently chosen a bomb plot instead, his presence at the food factory in Burton-on-Trent had been a risk.He said: “He had a viable instructional video of how to manufacture the toxin ricin, he had that know-how. He certainly was a risk, I think had that food company known, had we known of his interest in ricin and his link to that food company we would have taken steps to protect the public and to prevent him from continuing that employment there.”Jurors were told the pair had “rapidly formed emotional attachment and a shared ideology” after meeting online.As well as arguments, jokes and everyday concerns, they also shared extremist views and videos.El-Hassan, a divorced mother of two, was fully aware of Mohammed’s intentions and advised him which chemicals to buy for a bomb, the court heard. Munir Hassan MohammedCredit: REUTERS A terrorist planned a Christmas bombing with his girlfriend after he pledged allegiance on Facebook to an Islamic State commander looking for volunteers to carry out lone wolf attacks, his trial heard.Munir Hassan Mohammed sent messages to the commander in Iraq or Syria and downloaded terrorist publications, as the couple plotted to make bombs and toxins together.The 36-year-old from Sudan also researched how to make ricin while he worked 12-hour shifts at a major food manufacturer, his trial was told.Mohammed and Rowaida El-Hassan are facing years in prison after being convicted of plotting “devastating” carnage over Christmas 2016 with an Islamic State-inspired bomb.Mohammed enlisted the help of El-Hassan, a 33-year-old pharmacist, and drew on her chemical knowledge after seeking her out on a dating website called SingleMuslim.com. In the days before his arrest, Mohammed was captured on shop CCTV buying “acetone free” nail polish from Asda, in the mistaken belief it was a chemical component of TATP, a homemade explosive also known as ‘Mother of Satan’.He also looked at pressure cookers, which the prosecution said could be used to contain the explosives.When police raided his home, they found hydrogen peroxide in a wardrobe and hydrochloric acid in the freezer.Mohammed, of Derby, and El-Hassan, of north-west London, had denied preparing terrorist acts between November 2015 and December 2016.After the verdicts, Judge Michael Topolski QC said Mohammed had been planning a “potentially devastating terrorist attack by creating an explosive device and deploying it somewhere in the UK targeting those you regarded as enemies of the Islamic State”.”Rowaida El-Hassan, you share the extremist mindset with Munir Mohammed and you were ideologically motivated to provide him with support, motivation and assistance.”You knew he was engaging and planning an attack. You knew he was planning an explosion to kill and maim innocent people in the cause of Islamic State.”The pair were remanded the pair in custody and will be sentenced on February 22. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Rowaida El-HassanCredit:Counter Terrorism Policing North/PA At the time of his arrest in December 2016, Mohammed had components for homemade explosives, as well as manuals on how to make them, mobile phone detonators, and ricin.The Old Bailey had heard Mohammed made contact with a suspected Islamic State organiser called “Abubakr Kurdi”, who is believed to have been in Iraq or Syria.Kurdi was using Facebook to identify possible recruits for “lone wolf” attacks and Mohammed was recommended by a mutual contact. Mohammed pledged his allegiance and offered to participate in “a new job in the UK”. Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, has criticised web giants for doing too little to stop terrorists using their sites.
Ant McParlin and Lisa Armstrong after their wedding in 2006 Credit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. McPartlin tied the knot with make-up artist Lisa Armstrong in 2006 at a star-studded ceremony at St Nicholas’ Church in Taplow, Buckinghamshire.The couple met at a roadshow in Newcastle in the mid-1990s while Lisa was an aspiring pop star in Deuce. He has often spoken of their struggle to have children. TV presenter Ant McPartlin and wife Lisa are to split after 11 years of marriage.The 42-year-old – one half of TV duo Ant and Dec – announced the news on Saturday night after months of rumours regarding the couple’s relationship.A statement issued by McPartlin’s representative said: “In response to the recent speculation in the media, Ant is very sad to announce that, after eleven years, he is ending his marriage to Lisa McPartlin.”Ant asks for privacy at this difficult time, for both himself, Lisa and their immediate families.”No further statement will be made.” Anthony McPartlin (left) and Declan Donnelly Credit:PA Last year McPartlin entered rehab after struggling with a two-year addiction to super-strength painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.“I feel like I have let a lot of people down and for that I am truly sorry,” he told the Sun on Sunday in June.“I want to thank my wife, family and closest friends for helping me through this really difficult time. “I’ve spoken out because I think it’s important that people ask for help if they’re going through a rough time and get the proper treatment to help their recovery.”