NEW YORK: Robert Saleh has made history that extends far beyond any football field.
The New York Jets’ new head coach has families and community leaders excited in neighborhoods all across the country, celebrating the first known Muslim American to hold that position in the NFL.
That’s a source of great pride for a group that has been generally underrepresented in the league’s on-field leadership roles.
“It’s something that shows the growing diversity of our nation, the inclusion we’re trying to achieve at all levels of our society,” said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “And I think it’s a very positive sign.”
The 41-year-old Saleh, expected to be formally introduced next week by the Jets, is the son of Lebanese parents and grew up in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to the largest Muslim population in the United States per capita.
“I think he’s just a trailblazer for a lot of coaches who are Muslim, to let them know that they do have a chance to be a head coach,” said Lions offensive lineman Oday Aboushi, a practicing Muslim who has played in the NFL for eight seasons — including his first two with the Jets.
“He shows them you do have a chance to be a defensive coordinator, you do have a chance to grow up and have a job at the professional level,” Aboushi added. “As long as you’re professional and you’re passionate about it like he is, I think a lot of people will look to him as a trailblazer, as far as everyone feeling like they could do it themselves and it’s an attainable dream.”
After Saleh’s college playing career as a tight end at Northern Michigan ended, he got his start in coaching by working as an assistant at Michigan State, Central Michigan and Georgia before being hired as a defensive intern by the Houston Texans in 2005.
Then came stints with Seattle and Jacksonville before Saleh became San Francisco’s defensive coordinator in 2017, helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl last year with his No. 2-ranked unit. He was a popular candidate among the seven teams looking for a new coach this offseason, and quickly emerged as the favorite for the Jets job.
Saleh, known for his energy on the sideline and being well-liked by players, impressed the Jets during his first remote interview. He was flown in a few days later for an in-person meeting with Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, president Hymie Elhai and general manager Joe Douglas at the team’s facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.
After a two-day visit, Saleh left to meet with Philadelphia for its coaching vacancy — but the Jets knew they found their new coach. The team announced Thursday night the sides reached an agreement in principle.
“As a pioneer in the sports world, Saleh will serve as an inspiration to many young American Muslims,” Selaedin Maksut, the executive director of CAIR’s New Jersey chapter, said in email to The Associated Press. “In addition to the positive impact that he’ll have on Muslims, Saleh’s presence in the field and on the screen will remind the rest of America that Muslims are a part of the fabric of this nation and proudly contribute to society. It’s a step toward tearing down walls and building bridges.
“Welcome to Jersey, brother!”
Ahmed Mohamed, the legal director of CAIR’s New York chapter, congratulated the Jets and Saleh for what he called a “historic hiring in the National Football League.” He’s optimistic it’s a sign of increasing inclusion and recognition of the Muslim community.
“For all the Muslim youth who may be told they don’t belong or can’t do something because of how they pray, we hope that when they see Mr. Saleh on national television, they will say to themselves that anything is possible and will reach for the stars,” Mohamed said in an email to the AP. “We hope Mr. Saleh’s hiring opens the door for other American Muslims in sports.”
Saleh is believed to be the third Arab American to become a head coach in the NFL. He follows Abe Gibron, who led Chicago from 1972-74, and Rich Kotite, who coached the Eagles (1991-94) and Jets (1995-96) — both of whom also had Lebanese roots.
Saleh is also just the fourth active NFL head coach who is a minority, joining Miami’s Brian Flores, Washington’s Ron Rivera and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin.
“Robert Saleh has made history on the field and off,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Friday night. “Now he’s knocking down barriers in our own backyard. Congrats, Coach!”
While Saleh’s focus will be on restoring the Jets to respectability and not necessarily being an inspiration, he has provided a path for others to someday follow.
“Any person in a new job, their first goal is going to be performance in their job,” Hooper said. “But I think a secondary consideration might be being an example to Muslim and Arab American youth around the country, that this kind of inclusion and respect for diversity is possible.
“But I don’t think he got the job because of his ethnic or religious background. He got this job because he’s good at what he does.”
Saleh’s hiring by Jets source of pride for Muslim community
Saleh’s hiring by Jets source of pride for Muslim community
- The New York Jets’ new head coach has families and community leaders excited in neighborhoods all across the US
- The 41-year-old Saleh, expected to be formally introduced next week by the Jets, is the son of Lebanese parents and grew up in Detroit
NEW YORK: Robert Saleh has made history that extends far beyond any football field.
England collapse to 112 all out in India pink-ball test
- Patel, who recorded his second haul of five or more wickets in just his second test
AHMEDABAD, India: Spinner Axar Patel claimed six wickets as India skittled out England for 112 on day one of a crucial day-night third test in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Patel, who recorded his second haul of five or more wickets in just his second test, combined with Ravichandran Ashwin to end England’s innings in 48.4 overs in the world’s biggest cricket stadium.
India’s innings witnessed a power cut with most of the new LED lights at the revamped stadium going off for two minutes after which play resumed.
India reached five for no loss at dinner with Rohit Sharma, on five, and Shubman Gill at the crease.
Gill survived a scare when he was caught at second slip off fast bowler Stuart Broad but replays suggested that Ben Stokes had grassed the ball while taking the catch.
Earlier Zak Crawley top-scored with 53 after England elected to bat first. Captain Joe Root (17) Ben Foakes (12) and Jofra Archer (11) also got into double figures.
The England batting fell apart after fast bowler Ishant Sharma, playing his 100th test, struck first with the wicket of Dom Sibley for nought in the third over of the day.
Crawley put on 47 runs with Root for the third wicket to put up some resistence but Ashwin claimed the England captain with his off spin.
Root reviewed the call but replays showed the ball would have hit the top of leg stump and he left the field to the loud cheers of the home crowd.
England took tea at 81 for four and wickets kept falling in the second session.
Foakes stood guard for 58 balls before Patel bowled the wicketkeeper-batsman to wrap up the innings. Ashwin took three wickets.
England, looking to bounce back from a 317-run defeat, have brought back their pace duo of James Anderson and Archer in the team.
The four-match series is level at 1-1.
Mohammad Hafeez declines PCB central contract offer
- Hafeez was the world’s top scorer in Twenty20 internationals last year
- PCB chief executive says disappointed but fully respects Hafeez's decision
ISLAMABAD: Twenty20 specialist Mohammad Hafeez has declined a central contract offer from the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The allrounder “politely turned down” a contract offer in category C for 2020-21, the cricket board said Wednesday.
“While I am disappointed, I fully respect his decision,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement. “Hafeez has been one of our star performers of the season and we hope he will carry the form and momentum to Africa.”
Hafeez was the world’s top scorer in Twenty20 internationals last year, but he didn’t feature in the recent Twenty20 series against South Africa after failing to join the team in its bio-secure bubble in time.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan and lefthanded batsman Fawad Alam got promotions in the updated list of central contracts after their impressive performances last year.
Rizwan joined all-format captain Babar Azam, Azhar Ali and Shaheen Afridi in category A while Fawad, who had earlier only a domestic cricket contract, was elevated in category C.
Since the contracts were announced in May last year, Rizwan is the leading scorer for Pakistan in test matches with 529 runs in seven matches and 325 runs in Twenty20 internationals.
Alam, who was recalled to test matches last year after a 10-year absence, scored centuries in test matches against New Zealand and during the home series against South Africa.
The decision to promote players was taken by the PCB after Khan met with the chairman of selectors Mohammad Wasim and reviewed players’ performance during the 2020-21 season
India renames world’s largest cricket stadium after PM Modi
- Modi has also been accused of centralising power in the world’s biggest democracy
- “The people of Gujarat will not bear this insult to Sardar Patel,” said Hardik Patel, president of the opposition Congress party in the state
AHMEDABAD: India renamed the world’s largest cricket stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, a move that drew immediate praise and criticism.
The name change to the Narendra Modi Stadium was unveiled at the 132,000-seat venue formerly known as Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, in the western state of Gujarat, where India are playing England in the third match of a four-game test series.
A gifted orator and consummate populist, Modi is by far the most popular and recognizable politician in India, and won a second term in power with an increased majority for the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019.
But Modi has also been accused of centralising power in the world’s biggest democracy.
“World’s largest stadium dedicated to the world’s largest personality!,” Priti Gandhi, a BJP spokeswoman, said in a tweet.
Others said the decision reflected a cult of personality surrounding Modi.
“The people of Gujarat will not bear this insult to Sardar Patel,” said Hardik Patel, president of the opposition Congress party in the state.
Patel was India’s first interior minister, long revered for his tough approach on national issues. Authorities have named the larger complex surrounding the stadium after him.
Dedicating sports stadiums to former prime ministers is common in India, but renaming such a high-profile venue for a sitting leader is rare.
Many of India’s public institutions and projects have been named after members of the Congress’ Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that governed India for decades and which Modi’s party long criticized as the dominance of one family.
“Both the BJP and Congress are busy perpetuating political branding,” Sanjay Jha, a former Congress official and political commentator, said.
Archit Khare, a 29-year-old student at the game, said: “I don’t know why it has been changed. Sardar Patel is more iconic. Sardar Patel was the iron man of India, it should have remained.”
Recon pays as Pogacar takes UAE Tour climb to extend overall lead
- The Tour de France champion had already started the day in the leader’s red jersey
Jabel Hafeet, UAE: UAE Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar said his plans had gone perfectly after he took a major step toward victory in his team’s home cycling Tour, winning the first climbing stage on Tuesday to strengthen his hold on the overall lead.
The Tour de France champion had already started the day in the leader’s red jersey and finished it by beating last year’s UAE Tour winner Adam Yates, who Pogacar forced into doing most of the grunt work in the finale.
“I made my move early because the final two corners makes it tough for a guy behind to overtake,” said Pogacar, who climbed this section in training repeatedly in intense preparation for the Tour.
“I knew exactly what I needed to do to win this sprint,” Pogacar admitted when asked about his preparations for the race.
Yates, the Ineos team leader this week, now sits second, 43sec behind with one more climb stage to overhaul the on form Slovenian.
“The UAE Tour is not won overall yet. A lot can happen in the last four stages,” Pogacar said on the winning line.
“We wanted a win and we got one. It was a really tough day and kind of stressful,” he said mentioning the crosswind that caused breaks in the main group on the flat exposed sections of the ride.
“It was super hard but I’m super happy to win,” said the 22-year-old who had his image emblazoned on the tallest building in the world the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai after his win in September on the 2020 Tour de France.
But Yates truly took the battle to Pogacar with a series of blistering accelerations on the way up the 10km 5.4 percent gradient Jebel Hafeet summit finish climb.
Only Pogacar managed to follow Yates as the other contenders, chiefly the brilliant Portuguese rookie Joao Almeida dropped away with Yates’ relentless attacking.
“I wanted to make time on the others, and Adam certainly did,” said Pogacar.
But under immense pressure to win this Tour Pogacar refused Yates’ pleas to launch a joint bid to distance the others.
Instead, from a position of strength he sat on Yates’ wheel and then skipped away from him over the final 400m.
The Briton however almost overhauled him on the line and the pair finished on the same time of 3hrs 58min 35sec.
Almeida and the chasing group crossed the line 48 seconds off the pace, leaving the Quick-Step man in third overall at 1min 03sec.
There are four more stages to race with three potential sprint finishes and Thursday’s toughest stage featuring a summit finish at the 21km long Jebel Jais climb likely to be decisive.
Tiger Woods in hospital after ‘major’ car crash
- Woods, the sole occupant, was removed from the wreckage by firefighters and paramedics
- The roll-over collision near Los Angeles did not involve any other vehicles
LOS ANGELES: US golfer Tiger Woods was hospitalized Tuesday after a car crash in which his vehicle sustained “major damage,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department said.
Woods, the sole occupant, was removed from the wreckage by firefighters and paramedics, and suffered “multiple leg injuries,” his agent said in a statement to US media.
“He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support,” said Mark Steinberg.
Woods was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The roll-over crash near Los Angeles did not involve any other vehicles. Television images showed the car lying on a patch of grass off the road, with its hood badly damaged.
Woods, one of the most successful golfers of all time, has won 15 major golf championships.
He recently underwent his fifth back surgery, and said he was uncertain if he will be able to play at the upcoming Masters, which he last won in 2019.
According to celebrity website TMZ, 45-year-old Woods was in the area for his annual Genesis Invitational golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club.