The Sports Report: USC needs to lighten up

Lincoln Riley
(Steve Marcus / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Bill Plaschke: There is apparently a new class being offered at USC’s esteemed Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

It is being taught by football coach Lincoln Riley and new athletic director Jennifer Cohen.

It is a case study of how to stifle free speech by controlling the media with the sort of reckless vindictiveness regularly practiced in such enlightened enclaves as Moscow and Beijing.


Bullying 101.

The syllabus is simple. Target a smart, aggressive, rookie reporter in his first weeks on the beat and immediately punish him for media policy violations that amount to little more than protocol gaffes.

Suspend the reporter. Take his credential. Deny him all Trojans football access. Make a statement.

This is what happened last week when Riley and Cohen banned Luca Evans of the Southern California News Group for two weeks for violating some of USC’s media policies.

Yeah, this was a statement, all right. Actually, two statements.

Continue reading here

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.


From Jack Harris: It’s been a season full of tests for Dodgers rookie Bobby Miller.


On Wednesday night, his latest one came from a familiar face.

With two on and no outs in the third inning at Dodger Stadium, Miller threw an up-and-in, 98.8 mph fastball that clipped the shoulder of Detroit Tigers shortstop Zach McKinstry — the former Dodgers prospect traded away by the team last year.

The hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the Tigers, who already had a one-run lead in their eventual 4-2 defeat of the Dodgers.

The real challenge, however, came as McKinstry walked toward first base, trading words with Miller in the kind of emotional exchange that has sometimes gotten the best of the 24-year-old right-hander this season.

McKinstry, who also ducked an up-and-in fastball in his first at-bat, appeared to angrily reprimand Miller, telling him to “keep the ball down” and “that’s twice” he had thrown a pitch near his face.

Continue reading here

Shaikin: Charley Steiner, Rick Monday still on (radio) call after all these years

Dodgers Dugout: The 25 greatest Dodgers of all time, No. 12: Zack Wheat

Dodgers box score

All MLB box scores


x-Dodgers, 93-58
Arizona, 81-72, 13 GB
San Francisco, 76-76, 17.5 GB
San Diego, 75-78, 19 GB
Colorado, 56-96, 37.5 GB

x-clinched division

top three teams qualify

Philadelphia, 83-69
Arizona, 81-72
Chicago, 79-73

Miami, 79-74, 0.5 GB
Cincinnati, 79-75, 1 GB
San Francisco, 76-76, 3 GB
San Diego, 75-78, 4.5 GB

For full standings, go here


Brandon Drury homered twice with five RBIs and the Angels stopped a six-game skid by beating the AL wild card-leading Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 on Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay remained 2 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East.

Drury hit a three-run drive off Aaron Civale (7-5) during a four-run second that put the Angels ahead 6-0. He made it 8-1 on his 23rd homer, a two-run drive in the sixth against Erasmo Ramírez.

Continue reading here

Angels box score

All MLB box scores


Houston, 85-68
Texas, 84-68, 0.5 GB
Seattle, 84-68, 0.5 GB
Angels, 69-83, 15.5 GB
Oakland, 46-106, 38.5 GB


top three teams qualify

y-Tampa Bay, 93-60
Toronto, 85-67
Texas, 84-68

Seattle, 84-68
New York, 76-76, 8 GB

y-clinched wild-card berth

Note: The Angels have been eliminated from postseason contention.

For full standings, go here


From Gary Klein: Cam Akers’ time with the Rams is over.

The Rams on Wednesday traded the running back and a conditional seventh round draft pick in the 2026 NFL draft to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2026.

Akers, a second-round draft pick in 2020, was inactive for the Rams’ 30-23 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday because of what coach Sean McVay described as a “coach’s decision.”

It was only the latest incident in a saga that dated to 2022 training camp. McVay called out Akers publicly early in the 2022 season, saying he needed to play with more urgency. McVay later exiled him for a few games. The Rams were unsuccessful in their attempt to trade Akers, and he returned and rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the final three games.

Continue reading here


Running back Austin Ekeler was unable to practice again Wednesday as the Chargers began their on-field preparation to play Minnesota this weekend.

Ekeler has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury in the team’s season-opening loss to Miami. In his absence Sunday at Tennessee, the Chargers (0-2) were limited to 61 yards in 21 carries.

Starting linebacker Eric Kendricks (hamstring) also didn’t practice Wednesday. He, too, has been out since being injured in Week 1.


Maxime Crépeau saved four shots in his second start of the season and LAFC played St. Louis City to a scoreless draw on Wednesday night.

LAFC (12-9-7) is 7-0-1 against expansion teams in the regular season since joining league in 2018, including a 3-0 win over St. Louis in Los Angeles earlier this season. LAFC has gone 0-4-2 in its last six road matches. St. Louis (15-10-4) had its four-game home winning streak snapped.

Roman Bürki finished with two saves for St. Louis.

LAFC travels to play the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. St. Louis travels to play Minnesota United on Saturday.

Continue reading here


Billy Sharp had his first career hat trick and Diego Fagundez scored the winner as the Galaxy rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Minnesota United 4-3.

The Galaxy (8-11-9) took a 1-0 lead on Sharp’s first goal, unassisted in the 16th minute. Teemu Pukki scored the equalizer unassisted three minutes later for Minnesota United (9-10-10). It was his fourth goal in nine appearances this season. Bongokuhle Hlongwane gave Minnesota United a 2-1 lead in the 41st minute when he took a pass from Hassani Dotson and scored.

Hlongwane made it a two-goal lead at halftime, using an assist from Pukki in the fifth minute of stoppage time to find the net for an eighth time this season.

Sharp scored again, pulling the Galaxy within a goal in the 63rd minute with an assist from defender Maya Yoshida. Sharp scored the equalizer eight minutes later and doubled his goal total for the season in the process. Sharp, a 37-year-old rookie, was making his second start and sixth appearance. He last played in the English Football League in 2021.


1955 — Rocky Marciano knocks out Archie Moore in the ninth round at Yankee Stadium in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.

1980 — Richard Todd of the New York Jets completes an NFL record 42 passes and throws for 447 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-27 loss to San Francisco.

1982 — NFL players begin a 57-day strike.

1985 — Michael Spinks wins a 15-round unanimous decision over Larry Holmes Las Vegas to win the world heavyweight title.

1986 — Ken O’Brien’s 43-yard touchdown pass to Wesley Walker at 2:35 in overtime ends one of the highest scoring games in NFL history as the New York Jets defeat the Miami Dolphins 51-45. O’Brien passes for 479 yards and four touchdowns, all to Walker. Miami’s Dan Marino passes for 448 yards and three touchdowns as both quarterbacks set a record with 884 combined yards passing.

1991 — U.S. Basketball announces “Dream Team” for the 1992 Olympics.

1994 — The North Carolina women’s soccer team wins its 89th straight game, setting the unofficial record for the longest winning streak in college sports. The 5-1 victory over rival N.C. State broke the mark of 88 in a row set by the UCLA men’s basketball team during the early 1970s.

1997 — The Buffalo Bills stage the third-biggest comeback in NFL history, overcoming a 26-0 deficit to beat the Indianapolis Colts 37-35. The Bills made the greatest comeback in the 1992 AFC playoffs, wiping out a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in overtime.

2003 — Sam Hornish Jr. wins the fastest open-wheel race in history at California Speedway. Hornish’s Chevrolet-powered Dallara averages 207.151 mph in the Toyota Indy 400 — breaking the previous closed course race record of 197.995, set here last year by Jimmy Vasser in a CART Champ Car event.

2008 — The United States take back the Ryder Cup with a 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory over Europe. It’s the largest margin of victory for the Americans since 1981.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.