Serena Williams said she’s reaching out to the family of the Steubenville rape case victim after she was quoted in a Rolling Stone article saying “she shouldn’t have put herself in that position.”
“I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article,” Williams said in a statement. “What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.”
The comment was made in one paragraph of a lengthy story posted Tuesday online about Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam title winner who is ranked No. 1 heading into Wimbledon, which will start next week.
• Fresh from winning his eighth French Open, Rafael Nadal is seeded only No. 5 at Wimbledon — setting up the possibility of a quarterfinal match against Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray. The All England Club released the seedings for this year’s grass-court Grand Slam, which will start Monday. The ATP top five remain in their positions: Djokovic at No. 1, followed by Murray, Federer, David Ferrer and Nadal. The women’s seedings follow the WTA rankings, with Williams at No. 1 and Victoria Azarenka No. 2.
• Two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova pulled out of Wimbledon because of an abdominal strain. The Russian was seeded No. 26.
Astros sign No. 1 pick
The Houston Astros signed right-handed pitcher Mark Appel of Stanford, the No. 1 overall draft pick this month. Terms were not disclosed.
• Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig touted the progress the leagues have made in racial hiring practices while stressing his desire to increase the number of black players in the sport. He spoke Wednesday at the MLB diversity business summit.
• Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list because he injured his left hamstring.
• Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter took on-field batting practice for the first time since being cleared to increase his rehabilitation program for a broken left ankle.
A prosecutor says a Boston man found dead in an industrial park about a mile from New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s home was a homicide victim. The state medical examiner identified 27-year-old Odin Lloyd and ruled he was murdered.
• The San Francisco 49ers signed defensive end Justin Smith to a two-year contract extension.
• Former New York Giants punter and radio analyst Dave Jennings has died of Parkinson’s disease. He was 61.
• The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with veteran offensive tackle Barry Richardson, but the team did not announce terms of the deal.
Astrodome has new role
The Houston Astrodome, an iconic stadium that’s fallen into disrepair since it was shuttered four years ago, may become a giant convention center and exhibition space. The Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. opted to go with its own plan for the world’s first domed, air-conditioned stadium instead of one of 19 private-sector plans submitted for its reuse.
• Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat said he woke up with swelling and stiffness in his left knee on Wednesday, a day after getting hit in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against San Antonio.
• Dwane Casey will remain as the Toronto Raptors head coach, general manager Masai Ujiri said.
• The Heat’s wild NBA Finals overtime win over the Spurs drew the second-largest audience for a Game 6 since ABC started televising the series in 2003.
Stars to play Dubai
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will play in the 2014 Dubai Desert Classic. Both skipped the tournament last year to play the Abu Dhabi Championship.
GMs endorse changes
Hybrid icing could be on its way to the NHL. The league’s general managers met and embraced many of the changes recommended by the competition committee, including hybrid icing and the mandatory use of visors for all players entering the league. A blend of touch and no-touch icing that offers referees the discretion to blow a play dead will be in effect during the 2013-14 preseason. If the experiment is successful, hybrid icing will be implemented for the regular season, pending a vote by the NHL’s board of governors.
• The Detroit Red Wings and city officials announced a $650 million plan for a new arena in Detroit’s downtown entertainment and sports district. Plans for the 18,000-seat arena were announced at a meeting of economic development officials to approve the deal. Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch has long said he wanted a replacement for the 32-year-old Joe Louis Arena.
• The Nashville Predators signed defenseman Victor Bartley to a three-year, $2 million contract.
• Forward Danny Briere is preparing to become an unrestricted free agent as part of the Philadelphia Flyers’ offseason shakeup of their high-priced roster. The Flyers intend to buy out the final two years of his contract.
Big-name drivers attend Sprint Cup drivers Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle were among more than 800 people who attended the funeral service for NASCAR driver Jason Leffler in North Carolina. He was killed a week ago when his sprint car crashed into a wall at New Jersy’s Bridgeport Speedway.