Transfer Talk: Inter Milan's Dumfries eyed by Bayern, Chelsea, Man Utd

With the January transfer window now open around Europe, there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Dumfries eyed by Bayern, Chelsea, Man Utd

Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United are keeping tabs on Internazionale wing-back Denzel Dumfries with a possible summer move to any of those three sides, according to Calciomercato.

It is expected that this could be Netherlands international’s last season with Inter Milan as his representative Rafaela Pimenta looks to secure an offer of €50 million plus bonuses for him being transferred away from the Nerazzurri.

The aforementioned trio have often been linked with Dumfries in the past, which was also the case after the 26-year-old impressed for the Dutch during the World Cup.

Should Dumfries leave the San Siro, among the candidates to replace him in Simone Inzaghi’s side is Club Brugge‘s Tajon Buchanan. Like Dumfries, Buchanan impressed at the World Cup despite Canada exiting the group stage in Qatar without securing any points. Buchanan, 23, joined Brugge in 2021 from the New England Revolution and reportedly has a €15m transfer valuation.


Barcelona already feel that they will lose out on Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi, reports Diario Sport, who add that the Spain international could join Arsenal in the summer if the Gunners pay his €60m clause. Zubimendi is in no rush to leave La Real but would be keen to work with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

– Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract that would keep him with the Gunners until 2027, as has been reported by The Athletic. The Brazilian’s current deal expired at the end of next season but did have a two-year option, with the draft of the new one now being finalised.

Nicolo Zaniolo will remain with AS Roma unless there is a big twist in negotiations with AFC Bournemouth, reports Calciomercato. Zaniolo had demanded a yearly salary of €7m, as well as a release clause of €25m if the Cherries get relegated. An official response by Roma is expected Saturday, while West Ham United have also been mentioned but are yet to make an offer.

– Bayern Munich are not giving up on signing Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, reports Florian Plettenberg, although he adds that there is growing pessimism within the Bundesliga side about their chances of pulling off a deal. This comes with Spurs being increasingly optimistic that the England captain will sign a contract past 2024.

– In a rather dramatic statement to Fabrizio Romano, the agent of Roma defender Chris Smalling said the future of his client “is something that is being played out in the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.” James Featherstone, who represents Smalling, added that they continue to be in talks with the Serie A side over a new deal.

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Mikheyev to have surgery; played with torn ACL

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

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PSG coach accepts fault for Mbappe captaincy rift

Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has taken responsibility for the confusion that ensued after Kylian Mbappe was named as captain for the team’s Coupe de France match against Pay de Cassel on Monday.

In the absence of regular captain Marquinhos, Mbappe took the captain’s armband for the first time in his career. Asked to clarify the situation following the game, Galtier said that Mbappe had been vice-captain since the start of the season.

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Defender Presnel Kimpembe subsequently expressed his surprise at the development on social media. Kimpembe has captained PSG twice this season in the absence of Marquinhos, with Mbappe also in the lineup on both occasions.

Galtier has now clarified that Kimpembe and Mbappe are both vice-captains.

“It’s a communication error on my part. Everyone was surprised to see Kylian captain in the Coupe de France,” Galtier said at a news conference Friday.

“Kylian is one of the vice-captains of this group. We have a captain and four vice-captains who are Kimpembe, Marco [Verratti], Kylian and Sergio [Ramos].

“There is a criterion that I think is important, it’s not only this criterion but also the seniority at the club. When Marquinhos is not there for some reason, choice, injury or suspension, there is another captain.

“During the match in Lens, there was no Kimpembe, there was no Marco. Marquinhos was on the bench, I decided that it was Kylian.

“I had a talk with Kimpembe to explain to him what I am explaining to you.”

Kimpembe has been absent with an Achilles tendon injury since before the 2022 World Cup, though Galtier also said Friday that the centre-back would return to training with the rest of the team in a few days.

Mbappe scored five goals in a 7-0 win over Pay de Cassel to move within four goals of Edinson Cavani’s all-time scoring record for PSG of 200 goals.

PSG, who have a three-point lead over Marseille at the top of the standings, will take on Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

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Sources: Arsenal make £60m offer for Caicedo

Moises Caicedo has told Brighton & Hove Albion fans he wants to be allowed to leave the club after sources told ESPN that Arsenal had a £60 million offer for the midfielder rejected.

Arsenal have bolstered their squad with the signings of Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior so far this month. Sources have told ESPN Brighton are not willing to let Caicedo join Mikel Arteta’s side in January despite the player wanting to move to the Emirates Stadium.

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Despite Brighton’s stance, Arsenal are expected to return imminently with an improved offer, sources said.

“I am grateful to [Brighton owner] Mr. Bloom and Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best for them. I always play football with a smile and with heart,” Caicedo said on social media on Friday.

“I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador. My dream always to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador.

“I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to be successful.”

“The fans have taken me into their hearts and they will always be in my heart so I hope they can understand why I want to take up this magnificent opportunity.”

According to sources, the Premier League leaders were interested in signing Caicedo even before he joined Brighton in 2021.

Sources also added that Arsenal would still be keen on signing West Ham United captain Declan Rice even if they can get the Caicedo deal over the line.

Arsenal’s need for midfield reinforcements this month may intensity depending on the results of an MRI scan that Thomas Partey will undergo following an injury to his ribs that forced the Ghana international to be taken off during Friday’s FA Cup defeat to Man City.

Brighton have seen multiple players leave the club in high-value transfers in recent seasons. Marc Cucurella and Yves Bissouma left the club to join Chelsea and Tottenham respectively in the summer, while Ben White also departed for Arsenal in 2021.

At a news conference on Friday, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said: “Moises is a good guy, he’s focused only on us. He’s relaxed. I hope he stays with us until at least the end of the season.

“I spoke with Moises and told him it’s difficult to change during the season. I spoke to him as a father, not a coach.

“The interest in our players is a good thing. We are working in a good way, the right way.”

Brighton are sixth in the Premier League, five points off fifth-placed Tottenham with two games in hand.

Information from ESPN’s Julien Laurens was used in this report.

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Report: NWSL set to add SF, Boston, Utah teams

The National Women’s Soccer League is in advanced discussions to add teams in Boston, Utah and the San Francisco Bay area, according to a Friday’s report in The Wall Street Journal.

The NWSL played last season with 12 teams after adding Los Angeles-based Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC in 2022.

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According to the report, the groups behind the Boston and San Francisco Bay Area franchises will each pay about $50 million in fees to the NWSL. Owners of the Utah team will pay between $2 million and $5 million since an agreement was reached last year.

“We remain engaged in our expansion process and are excited about our prospects,” a league spokesperson told ESPN. “When we have news to share, we will do so.”

San Francisco and Utah are scheduled to begin play in 2024, Boston at a later date, according to the report.

Multiple sources told ESPN’s Jeff Kassouf in June that Utah will be one of the new groups expected to join the league.

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman told ESPN that at least two teams will be added for the 2024 season and “over 30 investor groups” were interested in the league.

The league’s former Utah-based team, Utah Royals FC, entered the NWSL in late 2017. The Royals, led by former Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen, were sold after allegations of racism, sexism and a toxic work culture against Hansen. The team was transferred to Kansas City as the Kansas City Current.

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Pereira-Adesanya, Masvidal-Burns set at UFC 287

Israel Adesanya will attempt to get his title back in a fourth fight against rival Alex Pereira this spring.

Pereira will defend the middleweight championship against Adesanya in the co-main event of UFC 287 on April 8, UFC president Dana White announced Friday. Jorge Masvidal will return against Gilbert Burns in the other co-main event, while popular welterweight Kevin Holland will take on Santiago Ponzinibbio on the main card, White said.

A location for UFC 287 has yet to be announced.

Pereira has beaten Adesanya twice in kickboxing and knocked him out last November in the fifth round of their first MMA fight against one another at UFC 281 to win the belt.

Adesanya is No. 4 in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Pereira (7-1) is 4-0 in the UFC with three victories via KO/TKO. The Brazilian-born fighter, who trains out of Connecticut, only started his full-time MMA career in 2020. Pereira, 35, was once one of the best kickboxers in the world, holding Glory titles at middleweight and light heavyweight.

Adesanya (23-2) had been the UFC middleweight champion since 2019 prior to Pereira’s victory. The Nigerian-born New Zealander had only one MMA loss prior to November, at light heavyweight in a 2021 title fight against Jan Blachowicz.

Adesanya, 33, had five successful middleweight title defenses.

Masvidal (35-16) has lost three straight but remains one of the biggest stars on the UFC roster. The 38-year-old Miami native owns the fastest knockout in UFC history — a five-second flying knee win over Ben Askren in 2019.

Burns (21-5), a 36-year-old former title contender from Brazil who trains out of Florida, is coming off a first-round submission victory over Neil Magny on Saturday at UFC 283.

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Levito wins first U.S. women's figure skating title

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Graceful, gutsy and seemingly unfazed by the bright lights, 15-year-old Isabeau Levito decided to go for it in her free skate while reminding herself once more to just stay calm.

The teen star needed a near-flawless free skate to capture gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships after Bradie Tennell’s beautiful performance minutes earlier.

Levito accomplished just that, delivering a dazzling 149.55 score for a 223.33 total to win her first women’s national title Friday night.

“I was just very proud of myself for having collected myself and done the program that I needed to do,” Levito said. “Going into this event, my entire goal truly for almost even both programs was to stay composed and really try to suppress my nerves as much as possible, to really not let little, minor, silly mistakes happen.”

The New Jersey skater drew a rousing standing ovation from an audience wowed by her poise under pressure on the big nationals stage. Afterward, she clasped the medal in her gloved right hand and made the rounds of congratulatory hellos, hugs and photos.

“I actually can’t even find the word to describe it right now,” Levito said.

Then, she smiled, scratched her chin and requested, “just give me a minute.”

Two-time U.S. champion Tennell scored a 139.36 in the free skate and finished second with a 213.12 total. She missed the entire 2021-22 season with foot and ankle injuries, so the comeback meant a lot to her.

“I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this again,” Tennell said, calling this her most special nationals yet and noting that she absolutely plans to go for it this next Olympic cycle.

“Skating at nationals again, I was giving myself a pep talk earlier in the mirror ’cause that’s what I do,” she said. “I said to myself, ‘You dreamed of this for an entire year and now you’re here,’ and I told myself I wanted to go out there and I wanted to soak up every moment and be present, and I did that.”

Levito elegantly landed her triple lutz half loop-triple salchow sequence and other most difficult jumps while captivating the crowd as the final skater of the evening. She came into the free skate leading Tennell by just two-hundredths of a point following Thursday’s short program.

Amber Glenn finished third at 207.44. She delivered an impressive 138.48 free skate that moved her into the lead with the top three skaters from the short program remaining.

Starr Andrews, a fan favorite after she made her nationals debut on this San Jose ice five years ago at age 16, finished fourth at 188.24. She missed on her planned triple flip early in her routine and was visibly disappointed after a free skate that scored 119.27.

Her jaw dropped when the final score was announced.

“I’m honestly so happy that I got a medal today. After I finished the program I thought I messed it up because I popped twice and I never pop,” Andrews said. “In practice I rotate and fall. At least you’ll get the points. It’s better to rotate and fall than to pop it. … They said 188, I was like, ‘Uh, I’m second, there’s only two people left so that means I’m going to be fourth.'”

There’s certainly some nostalgia here for Andrews, who dazzled with a free skate set to her cover of Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” in her senior nationals debut in 2018 at SAP Center. She was in third place entering Friday — just a hundredth of a point ahead of Glenn.

Glenn came into Friday fourth after her 68.96 in the short program. The 2021 U.S. silver medalist was forced to withdraw from last year’s event following a positive COVID-19 test.

Josephine Lee, making her senior nationals debut and sitting 11th after the short program, skated beautifully in the free skate event for a 132.08 and total score of 187.68. She beamed afterward when hearing her score on a night she delivered a triple flip-double axel-double toe loop sequence that impressed the judges.

And reigning junior champion Clare Seo showed poise and promise at 16 as one of the young skaters to watch this quad.

Levito, the reigning junior world champion who took third place in her senior nationals debut last year, entered as the favorite to win her first U.S. title. She earned silver at both Grand Prix assignments and the Grand Prix Final last month.

It was a disappointing night for two-time national champion Gracie Gold. She delivered one of her best short programs of late to come into Friday’s free skate in fifth place only to miss out on attempting a couple of her planned triples. She won U.S. titles in 2014 and 2016.

U.S. Figure Skating announced Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, as the host for the 2024 nationals.

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Falcons poach Saints' Nielsen to run defense

LAS VEGAS — The Atlanta Falcons hired Ryan Nielsen as defensive coordinator Friday, taking him from their biggest rival after he spent last season as the co-defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints.

The 43-year-old Nielsen spent the past six seasons with the Saints, where he was the defensive line coach all six years while adding the assistant head coach title in 2021 and co-defensive coordinator last season.

Since 2017, the Saints have recorded 281 sacks — second-most in the NFL over that span — and have finished in the top four in run defense in four of the past five seasons.

The Falcons on Friday also let go of three defensive coaches — line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.

Nielsen is not in Las Vegas with the Falcons staff presently, as Atlanta is coaching in the East-West Shrine Bowl. Linebackers coach Frank Bush is the defensive coordinator for Atlanta at the East-West game.

The Falcons needed a new defensive coordinator after Dean Pees, the oldest coordinator in the NFL last season at age 73, decided to retire for the third time in his career to spend more time with his family, among other things.

Pees built a foundation for Atlanta’s defense, both in the style they want to run and the culture they needed to permeate throughout the roster.

“It was a different system from what they had,” Pees said. “So you had to get them to buy in.”

The Falcons also had a young defense and turned over all but two starters from the 2020 team — defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and cornerback A.J. Terrell — by the middle of last season. While Atlanta finished No. 23 in points allowed and No. 27 in yards allowed in 2022, there was progress toward the end of the year.

The Falcons allowed more than 19 points once in their last six games and over 350 yards in one game over the second half of the season (351 against Pittsburgh) after allowing over 350 yards in six of Atlanta’s first eight games.

After the season, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said the franchise wanted to speak with a multitude of potential candidates before making a decision, but also wanted to focus on flexibility with whomever he brought in.

“When you are building that hybrid model, you’re not looking for an overhaul,” Smith said. “We’ve been building something here.”

He didn’t limit his search, having interviewed candidates with prior defensive coordinator experience, prior head coaching experience and those who have not been a full-time solo defensive coordinators.

When Smith hired Pees, he wanted an experienced playcaller who also could serve as a mentor for a first-time head coach to lean on. In Pees, Smith had that.

Where they are now, Smith said, is different than two seasons ago. By the end of 2022, the Falcons had only five defensive players left on the roster from the previous regime — Jarrett, Terrell, linebacker Mykal Walker, cornerback Isaiah Oliver and safety Jaylinn Hawkins. Oliver is a free agent this offseason and both Walker and Hawkins are in the final years of their contracts.

Smith compared what he was hoping Atlanta could do to the Baltimore Ravens, who have had multiple defensive coordinators over the years and have made alterations to their scheme, but not to the type of players they looked for or the vision they had for the overarching plan of the defense.

“The way we’ve built,” Smith said. “That won’t change.”

While with the Saints, Nielsen helped oversee the emergence of stalwart defensive end Cameron Jordan, who was named a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and second team in 2018 and 2019.

Jordan, for his part, took to Twitter to wish Nielsen farewell and to laud his strength in “developing (a) pass rush and emphasizing technique on run and gap integrity.”

Nielsen grew up in Southern California and then went to college at USC as a defensive tackle and then became a volunteer assistant coach.

He spent the first 15 years of his coaching career in college, working with the defensive line at every stop along with being a defensive coordinator at Central Connecticut State in 2008 and 2009 and the co-defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois in 2012.

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Dolan backs Knicks pres. Rose: 'Best guy' for job

As part of a wide-ranging interview with New York City radio station WFAN Friday afternoon, New York Knicks owner James Dolan said he believes in the job team president Leon Rose is doing, and that he “fully expects” the Knicks to make the playoffs this season.

“Yes, absolutely,” Dolan said on WFAN’s “Carton and Roberts,” hosted by Craig Carton and Evan Roberts, when asked if he was happy with the job Rose is doing.

“Why did I bring Leon in? I’ve been doing this for like 20-something years and in my experience with the NBA, there’s things you can do as an owner. You can create an environment where everybody, you give them enough money to do their job, give them more money than they need to do their job. You can stay out of the way, which is usually the best course of action.

“But you do end up picking the one guy who’s going to make all the strategy, who’s going to execute for you. I picked Leon because I believe after you look at the NBA and the game that we play, that the team with the best talent wins. You want a guy who can get you the best talent. I believe that Leon Rose is still the best guy.”

When asked if there was a timetable Rose — a longtime player agent who was hired by Dolan to run the Knicks in March 2020 — was working under, Dolan said there was not. Instead, he said the goal moving forward was to show progress.

“Eventually, there’s a timetable,” Dolan said. “But, right now, what we’re looking for is progress. We want to build into a championship team. We fully expect to make the playoffs this year. That will definitely be a benchmark.

“Now, this is sports. If Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle both get hurt? [Making the playoffs is] probably going to be tough.”

After wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA-leading Boston Celtics this week, New York has a 27-23 record and sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the Miami Heat in sixth and four games up on the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls, who are tied for the 10th spot — the final play-in tournament position.

Speaking of the Cavaliers, the subject of Donovan Mitchell came up, as the Knicks spent months being linked to the All-Star guard this summer before the Utah Jazz sent him to Cleveland. When asked if the more “meddlesome” version of Dolan would have forced Rose to make a trade for Mitchell, Dolan responded, “I didn’t.”

When asked if it was fair to say prior versions of Dolan would have done so, he said, “Not in the last 10 years,” seemingly referring to his decision to push then-executive Donnie Walsh to consummate the trade for Carmelo Anthony back in 2011.

“My attitude has changed,” Dolan said. “Every new owner comes in thinking they’ve got the answer to how to make the team successful. Not to disparage my fellow owners, but there are franchises out there with owners over the last few years you can look at new owners who have come in and thrown a lot of money, etc, and are not doing as well as they thought.

“You really got to leave a lot of the strategy to the guys who have dedicated their lives and careers. … My deal with Leon and with [Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau], et cetera, is that I get to speak.

“Their deal is they don’t have to listen to me.”

Since Dolan assumed control of the Knicks in 1999, New York has had 14 different head coaches and seven different lead basketball executives.

Dolan also said he has no plans to sell either the Knicks or New York Rangers.

“I have no plans whatsoever to sell at this point,” Dolan said. “I’m not retiring anytime soon. It’s a family-controlled asset, so someone in the family will own it.”

Dolan, who rarely gives any media interviews, did his second in as many days after a morning show appearance on the local Fox television station Thursday morning. Both appearances were made in regard to the facial recognition technology that Madison Square Garden is using both there, where Dolan’s Knicks and New York Rangers play, and at other venues owned by the company, and that has been utilized to ban people from coming to games or concerts.

Dolan reiterated his position that the only people who are being impacted by this are the lawyers filing lawsuits against his company, and that once those lawsuits are complete, they will then be allowed to come to the games.

But when asked directly if fans can be — and have been — banned, he contradicted himself.

“OK. So, we use the … this is a long answer,” Dolan said, when asked if fans should have a concern about being banned from games. “I think the answer is basically no, except if you become confrontational.

“Confrontational with other fans, confrontational with the staff, confrontational with the ownership. You really have to be confrontational — not just say, ‘I don’t like you.’ Generally, it involves some form of profanity.”

This led to a hypothetical being asked: If a fan yells from the upper deck, will they get thrown out? Or does someone have to come down and yell profanity in Dolan’s direction?

“First, the guy up in the stands, I mean, we don’t know if we’re going to hear him,” Dolan said. “But, if we do, so what? But the guy who comes down, works his way down to the floor and as I’m leaving, starts confronting me … yeah, that guy is going to go. He’s there to pick a fight.”

In a similar vein, Dolan said social media posts would not cause someone to get banned from coming to games.

“No,” he said. “Even if you come down and get into my face and say, ‘Your team sucks! Do a better job!’ I’m going to say, ‘We will next game. Come again.'”

He once again contradicted himself later in the interview, again unequivocally stating fans shouldn’t be worried about being banned using facial recognition technology — “That’s not going to happen” — when it was followed up with a question about whether fans have been banned.

“Only the ones who have come down and gotten right into your face. They just step over the line. We certainly understand fans getting emotional. That’s a bit part of the appeal of the game. But the ones who get right up in your face and get confrontational, and that unfortunately has happened.”

Dolan also went after Sharif Kabir, the CEO of the New York State Liquor Authority, which is threatening to take away MSG’s liquor license over the facial recognition controversy. Dolan repeated Kabir’s office number on the air during the interview.

On Friday, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal — the chairman of the State Senate’s Judiciary Committee — wrote a letter to both NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman asking them to sanction Dolan over the use of facial recognition to turn away fans.

“I implore both of your organizations to use your power and discipline MSG and Mr. Dolan for these alarming abuses unless they immediately cease profiling fans with facial recognition technology for non-security purposes,” Hoylman-Sigal wrote.

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Grizzlies, others speak out on Tyre Nichols' death

Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins watched a televised interview Friday of Tyre Nichols’ mother speaking about the loss of her son, and lost control of his emotions.

“I cried,” Jenkins said.

The outrage, frustration, sadness and anger was evident around the basketball world on Friday, the day a video was released showing how Nichols, a 29-year-old father, was killed by five Memphis police officers. The NBA, WNBA and several teams released statements of support for the family, as did the players’ unions.

The emotions were palpable, as has been the case so many times after so many other incidents of violence by police against Black men and women in recent years.

“This is just crazy,” said Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who opened his pregame news conference Friday by speaking about Nichols before any questions were even asked.

The officers, who are also Black, all face second-degree murder charges, as well as charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

The Grizzlies played a game in Minneapolis — the city where George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in 2020 after a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck in an act that sparked protests worldwide over police brutality and racism — on Friday night with heavy hearts.

“The senseless loss of life for Tyre Nichols has really hit us hard,” Jenkins told Bally Sports, the Grizzlies’ broadcast partner, in a pregame interview from Minnesota. “It’s been tough being on the road, not being home. I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family. They’re going through a lot.”

There was a moment of silence before the game in Minnesota. And afterward, Jenkins continued speaking out about what it means to the Grizzlies to represent Memphis at such a trying time.

“There’s way harder things on in the city versus what’s going on with our basketball right now,” Jenkins said after his team’s 111-100 loss in Minnesota. “I’m proud of our guys going out there. We’re playing with heavy hearts, but we’re also playing for our city that’s going through a lot right now.”

Hours before tipoff, Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. tweeted, “To the Nichols family, my teammates and I are and have been paying attention. We are with you. To Memphis, we are hurting, too. Peaceful protest, supporting the family, pushing for accountability are what’s needed in this moment.”

Grizzlies players were not made available to media after the game.

Nichols was on his way home from taking pictures of the sky on Jan. 7, when police pulled him over. He was just a few minutes from the home he shared with his mother and stepfather.

Video of the killing was released Friday evening. Jenkins said he had not watched the video, which was released shortly before the game, and to his knowledge neither had his team.

Several teams, including Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota and Milwaukee, along with Memphis, released statements.

“We are outraged by the deadly beating that Tyre Nichols received from five Memphis police officers,” the Bucks said in their statement. “While the police officers being charged for their heinous actions is an important step for justice, this incident further highlights the need for progress in improving police-community relations.”

The NBA released its statement about two hours after the video of Nichols’ death was released, while protests were going on in multiple cities in reaction to the images.

“The images of Tyre Nichols’ life needlessly cut short are horrifying,” the league said. “While there have been steps toward accountability in this instance, the NBA family remains committed to partnering with advocates, policymakers and law enforcement to work toward solutions to the issues we continue to face.”

The WNBA said it will “continue to be a voice for those who face discrimination, racism and injustices, and will work to effect meaningful, systemic change in our communities.”

The video footage from Jan. 7 shows police repeatedly striking Nichols with their fists, boots and batons for three minutes while screaming profanities at him throughout the attack, before leaving him on the pavement propped against a squad car.

As Nichols is slumped up against the car, not one of the officers renders aid. The body camera footage shows a first-person view of one of them reaching down and tying his shoe. It takes more than 20 minutes after Nichols is beaten and on the pavement before any sort of medical attention is provided, even though two fire department officers arrived on the scene with medical equipment within 10 minutes. Nichols died three days later.

In its statement, the NBPA said that “such aggressive policing and excessive force illustrate the continued need for accountability in the justice system.” The union said it would “continue to monitor the investigation and legal proceedings in search of justice for Tyre and his family.”

“We are outraged,” the Women’s National Basketball Players Association said. “The police killing of Tyre Nichols marks the continuation of horrific police brutality against yet another Black man. This appalling police misconduct endangers us all and erodes the continuously waning trust of the police within our communities.”

The WNBPA’s statement concluded, “Enough is enough. We have no choice but to bear witness to the life and murder of Tyre Nichols and a moral obligation to demand better for our society. These moments will and must shake our nation to its core. May they also spur us to act. No more.”

Phoenix Suns guard and former NBPA president Chris Paul also called for change in a tweet Friday night.

“Change is needed at all levels and we all need to do our part,” Paul wrote. “We can’t lose our humanity as a society. To the Nichols’ family and Memphis community, my heart is with you tonight.”

Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, warned supporters of the “horrific” nature of the video but pleaded for peace.

Protesters gathered for mostly peaceful demonstrations in multiple cities, including Memphis, where several dozen demonstrators blocked the Interstate 55 bridge that carries traffic over the Mississippi River toward Arkansas. Semi-trucks were backed up for a distance. In Washington, dozens of protestors gathered in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House and near Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Jenkins said he hopes citizens of Memphis rally around one another.

“My words will only mean so much,” Jenkins said. “I want to continue to encourage people to put their arms around each other, put their arms around the Nichols family, the Wells family to remember a beautiful life in Tyre Nichols — who I did not know, but I’m learning about.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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