U.S. soccer star deals with racial taunting

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U.S. soccer star deals with racial taunting

From Comcast SportsNetTHE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- American forward Jozy Altidore was the target of racist chants Tuesday during AZ Alkmaar's 5-0 win over second-tier Den Boscha in the quarterfinals of the Dutch Cup.Altidore, who is black, said he had never faced such serious abuse from the stands."There's nothing I can do about it," he told Dutch television's Eredivisie Live. "All I can do is pray for them and hope they can become better people."Referee Reinold Wiedemeijer wanted to stop the match in the first half because of "jungle sounds chanted at Altidore," according to AZ's official Twitter feed. But AZ players, including Altidore, who is black, persuaded him not to.Wiedemeijer halted play briefly in the second half because of fans throwing balls of ice at his linesmen, according to the Dutch Eredivisie official Twitter feed and Dutch news website Nu.nl."It is terribly sad that this can happen for those involved and for lovers of football in the Netherlands," AZ soccer director Earnie Stewart, a former U.S. national team midfielder, told Dutch television's Eredivisie Live at halftime. "You hear that and wonder what on earth is going on."Stewart said Den Bosch officials are "ashamed" of the fans involved. The club repeatedly urged its fans to halt the chants, to no avail.Altidore scored one goal in AZ's 5-0 victory, increasing his total this season to a career-best 20, one more than in 2011-12. Den Bosch finished with nine men after two players were ejected."Obviously, we hear about those things and (we're) not pleased with it at all," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "When that type of stuff happens, no matter where in the world you go, you don't want to see it. He told me about it."After a match between youth teams near Amsterdam in December, had players attacked and fatally injured a linesman."It's a bit disappointing that these things still happen in this time that we're in," Altidore said. "But what you going to do? You just hope these people can find a way to improve themselves. You can only pray for them."The 23-year-old Altidore focused on the need for education."At the end of the day it's still alive, racism. All we can do now is try to educate ourselves, the young kids coming up, to be better than that," he said.Den Bosch repeatedly urged its fans to halt the monkey chants, to no avail.The club's director, Peter Bijvelds, blamed "malicious supporters making a scandalous mess" of the evening. He said Den Bosch, AZ and the referee considered abandoning the match, but decided against it."We can't deny that, certainly when we play top matches ... we have a structural problem with a group of people who ruin things," Bijvelds told Dutch radio. "We have to crack down on it."

Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

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Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

FOXBORO -- Patriots wideout Chris Hogan indicated after Saturday's divisional round win over the Texans that he'd be OK, and he doubled down on that stance when meeting with reporters Tuesday. 

The veteran receiver, whose first season with the Patriots has brought his first career postseason experience, injured his thigh against Houston. He left in the third quarter and did not return. 

"Feeling good," Hogan said. "Just had a little minor setback in the game. I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."

Hogan had an awkward collision with Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney at the end of the first half on a play at the goal line. To that point, he had reeled in four passes for 95 yards as the team's primary deep threat. With Hogan out, Brady relied upon Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd as wideouts.

Hogan explained that he was expecting to practice this week.

"I'm just gonna go day by day," he said. "Come in here tomorrow. Everything's been feeling better day by day. I'm looking forward to getting out there and practicing this week."

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Michael Strahan saw the Patriots lose a Super Bowl first-hand, but he doesn’t think they’ll lose Super Bowl LI. That’s because he doesn’t think they’ll be participants. 

Appearing on The Tonight Show, the former Giants defensive end and current Person Who is Frequently on Television said that he expects the Steelers to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.

“I think in the AFC, I think Pittsburgh might pull the upset this year,” Strahan said. 

When Jimmy Fallon objected, Strahan said Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ pass rush would be enough to beat the Pats if New England plays the way it did in the divisional round. 
 
“If you watched the Houston Texans, they had a shot; they just turned the ball over,” he said. “And the Houston Texans offense is in no way, shape or form near what Pittsburgh has. They don’t have the quarterback that [Pittsburgh has]. Defensively, Houston had the really good defense, but Pittsburgh [puts] the good pressure on the quarterback. And from my Super Bowl experience, Tom Brady does not like pressure. I’m just saying I feel like if there’s anybody who’s going to pull an upset, it will be them.” 

As for any rooting interest, Strahan said that he hopes the Falcons win the Super Bowl, citing Matt Ryan being overdue for a title and Julio Jones having a Brady-like quality of putting team goals before his own legacy.