Vashti Cunningham poses with the flag after winning the women’s high jump during the 2016 IAAF World Championships. Photo by Kirby Lee, USA TODAY SportsSupreme athleticism run in the Cunningham family.Just a month after graduating high school, 18-year-old Vashti Cunningham is set to compete in the Rio Summer Olympics after placing second in high jump at the Olympic track trials, People reports. Cunningham is the daughter of retired NFL superstar Randall Cunningham, known for his unconventional and often improvised football technique.The retired football star serves as his daughter’s coach and mentor alongside her mother Felicity de Jager, a former Dance Theatre of Harlem ballerina.According to People, Cunningham is the world-reigning indoor champion, as she finished second behind three-time Olympian and American record-holder Chaunte Lowe at the Eugene, Oregon Olympic trials on Sunday.As she heads to the Olympic Games this summer, Cunningham will be the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to represent America since 1976, Sports Illustrated reports. And if she’s lucky enough to snag a medal in Rio, she’ll be the first to do so since 1972.Her father sees no reason why she couldn’t win a gold medal at the upcoming games.“There’s no other way to train people,” Randall Cunningham told The New York Times. “You give them a vision, and they have to keep it in sight.”The child prodigy trains four times a week with a workout regimen complete with leg lifts and weight training. Cunningham avoids squats, however, to reduce the chance of knee and ankle injuries, The New York Times reports.She often compares her athletic drive and desire to win to that of her dad’s.“Me and my dad are similar athletes,” Cunningham explained to the publication. “I want to win everything I do. I’ll be thankful if I go and don’t win, but there’s always that fire in me that needs to win and wants to win.”She also described clearing the high jump as a “confrontation between me and the bar.”“…I’m going to look at it and realize I can conquer it and I can destroy it basically,” the track star said. “I go up and stare it down and realize that if my head can go over it, my body can go over it.”According to Sports Illustrated, Cunningham and Lowe, who is headed to the Olympics as well, are the United States’ best chance at winning gold in Rio for the high jump. Not a single American female athlete has snagged a gold medal in the event since Louise Ritter at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.Unsurprisingly, Cunningham isn’t the first in her family to qualify for the Olympic trials. Her brother, Randall Cunningham II, won the 2016 NCAA outdoor championship his sophomore year at Southern California and earned a spot in the U.S. Olympic trials, The New York Times reports.Cunningham is set to compete alongside big name athletes like gymnast Gabby Douglas, basketball star Kevin Durant, and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. read more

Rachel Robinson, left, widow of Jackie Robinson, and daughter Sharon pose for a photograph with a plaque honoring Jackie on Jackie Robinson Day, Sunday, April 15, 2018, in New York, before a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK (AP) — Jackie Robinson’s daughter thinks black baseball players are more reluctant to speak publicly about racial issues than their NFL and NBA colleagues because they constitute a lower percentage of rosters.She spoke at Citi Field on Sunday to mark Jackie Robinson Day, the 71st anniversary of her father breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.While more than 200 NFL players protested racial inequality last season by kneeling or sitting during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell was the only baseball player to take a knee.“I don’t think they have much choice,” Sharon Robinson said. “They are in the minority and where in football and basketball you have a group and therefore you can take a group action. So players if they speak out individually, they could be the only African-American player on their team and it could be a difficult spot for them to be in.”The percentage of black players from the United States and Canada on opening-day active rosters rose to 8.4 percent, up from 7.7 last year and its highest level since at least 2012.The percentage peaked at 19 in 1986, MLB said last week, citing Mark Armour of the Society of American Baseball Research.“It’s definitely a small representation at this level,” Pittsburgh All-Star second baseman Josh Harrison said. “For younger guys coming up, if guys with 10 years or so in this league haven’t really done much, you lean on those guys for advice. If you don’t have anybody telling you one way or the other, you’ll keep your mouth shut. You don’t want to ruffle any feathers. If you don’t have anybody to help you in that regard, you’ll see a lot of guys be quiet.”“Guys feel it’s a lose-lose situation for them,” Harrison said. “It sucks because you want to have a voice, but some people feel they can’t.”Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 throughout the major leagues in 1997, made Jackie Robinson Day an annual event in 2004 and five years later started asking all players to wear No. 42 each April 15.An educational consultant to Major League Baseball, Sharon Robinson attended the first-pitch ceremony before the Mets-Milwaukee game with her mom, 95-year-old Rachel Robinson, and brother David. On a chilly afternoon, the game time temperature was 42.Sharon Robinson said action among African-American players is more an individual undertaking.“They do it around their involvement in community themselves, and talk about why that’s important,” she said.“Part of the protest with the NFL or the NBA is how do we funnel some of these proceeds from the games, where we’re helping to bring these proceeds, and funnel them into the African-American community? So some of the baseball players do that through their own charities or their own work within communities that they’re playing (in).”Edward Robinson, a son of Jackie’s brother Mack, attended the Los Angeles Dodgers’ game against Arizona and wouldn’t address Sharon Robinson’s comments.“However, I will tell you that Jackie stood for strength and education. I’ve seen some progress,” he said. “It comes and goes. What we need to do is maintain the high levels of progress and continue to show unity.” read more

By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On this week’s show (March 29, 2018), Neil, Chris and Kyle talk about the news that Kyrie Irving recently had knee surgery and won’t be back for three to six weeks. How will the surgery affect the Boston Celtics’ playoff seeding? How would losing Kyrie for the first round of the playoffs affect the team?Next, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is expected to miss the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs because of his own knee injury. The crew breaks down what that means for the Warriors and what their chances of winning the NBA title are.Plus, a significant digit on an oddly important member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.Here are links to what the podcast discussed this week:Keep an eye on FiveThirtyEight’s 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor took a look at how Irving’s injury may affect the Celtics.Chris wrote about how the Warriors should adjust their offense without Curry.Significant Digit: .700, the winning percentage of the Cavaliers when Jose Calderon is in the starting line-up. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code read more

In 1964, Ron Hunt was a young second baseman just starting to make his bones in the big leagues. He played for the Mets, a terrible team still years away from transforming into Amazin’ glory. On May 9 of that year, they were playing the mighty Cardinals, a loaded team that would go on to win the World Series. The man on the mound that day was Bob Gibson, one of the best and most terrifying fireballers in baseball history.Gibson had staked the Cards to a big lead, and he now needed just two more outs to bag a complete-game win. Hunt was due up next, and he knew all about Gibson’s blazing fastball, his tendency to come inside with it, and his neverending quest to intimidate batters into submission.“I started messing with my shoelaces,” said Hunt 51 years later, speaking in short, hard-edged bursts from his farm in Wentzville, Missouri.At the time, he figured that fiddling with his laces and stalling for time would do one of two things: Break Gibson’s concentration, piss the big right-hander off, or both. A warning rang out from the dugout: “ ‘Gibson is gonna drill you!’ Sure enough, he hits me.”Shaking off the impact of the pitch, Hunt spotted the ball coming to rest near his feet. He picked it up, turned toward Gibson … and flipped it back to him. Trotting down to first base, Hunt was greeted by first baseman Bill White, who wanted to know if Hunt was OK after getting drilled by the one fastball that caused more nightmares than any other of his generation.“Yeah, I’m all right,” Hunt replied indignantly. “Now tell that fucker to go warm up!” 5Jason Kendall199831 2Don Baylor198635 1Ron Hunt197150 6Steve Evans191031 Flipping balls back to pitchers wasn’t something Hunt reserved for titans of the game like Gibson. He did it nearly every time after getting plunked by a pitch. And nobody in baseball’s modern era has been hit more times in one season than Hunt. He retired in 1974 with 243 hit-by-pitches (HBPs)1Don Baylor broke that post-Dead Ball Era record in 1987, and Craig Biggio subsequently passed Baylor in 2005. Hughie Jennings remains the all-time leader with 287, but he played most of his career in the 19th century., but his record-breaking season came when he was playing for the Montreal Expos in 1971. That year, he got plunked 50 times, still the highest total for anyone after 1900.2Jennings did get hit 51 times in 1896. But when you consider that spitballs were legal (and incredibly hard to control) in the 19th century (thus causing more wayward balls to hit batters), and that the overall level of play in those days was much more uneven due to a lack of talent, Hunt’s total of 50 is more impressive.It’s one thing to be a record-holder. It’s quite another to absolutely obliterate the field in one statistical category. Check out how far ahead of the pack Hunt’s 50 HBPs look compared to all other post-1900 totals. PLAYERYEARHBP 3Craig Biggio199734 7Craig Wilson200430 9Craig Biggio200128 8Fernando Vina200028 4Jason Kendall199731 That’s a 43 percent spread between Hunt’s 50 and Baylor’s runner-up effort. Pick your most unbreakable record, and Hunt’s dominance dwarfs it. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak? Pete Rose came closer to Joe D at 44 than Baylor did to Hunt.3We’re not counting Willie Keeler’s 45-game hitting streak, from 1896 to 1897, to stay consistent on post-1900 numbers. Cy Young’s 511 wins? Walter Johnson’s 417 Ws came closer. Barry Bonds’s 73 homers in 2001? Nope. Hack Wilson’s 191 RBIs in 1930? Nope. You could argue that in modern baseball history, no player ever crushed all others in any one facet of the game the way Hunt did with his plunk-fest in 1971.When we assemble every player since 1900 who’s ever logged 502 or more plate appearances in a season,4The minimum required to qualify for a batting title. Hunt’s lonely spot way over on the right side of that chart is 13 standard deviations above average for hit-by-pitches in a season. If you’re not a math expert, think about that number this way: There’s ostensibly nothing in our everyday lives that could ever be anywhere close to 13 standard deviations above the norm — not a man who’s 8 feet tall, or 700 pounds, or blessed with a 200 IQ.When you’re 13 standard deviations ahead of any other season, it suggests somebody didn’t just get lucky — he got really, really good.“His hitting style was that he crowded the plate,” said Bill Stoneman, Hunt’s teammate for three seasons in Montreal, including his record-breaking campaign. “Back when we played, pitchers pitched inside a little more than they do now. When that pitch came inside, he didn’t budge. He just let the thing hit him.”“First I would blouse the uniform — this big, wool uniform, I would make sure it was nice and loose,” Hunt said. “Then I’d choke way up on the bat, and stand right on top of the plate. That way, I could still reach the outside pitch. That was the Gil Hodges philosophy on hitting: The two inches on the outside corner were the pitcher’s, the rest was his. I thought, ‘If I can take away those two inches, and he’s not perfect, I can put the ball in play and get some hits. And if he comes inside, I can get on base that way, too.’ ”This, to Hunt, was gamesmanship, a way for a power-deficient hitter to gain an edge on the pitcher both physically and mentally. It was also, if we’re applying the letter of baseball law, illegal. A right-handed batter, Hunt would set up with his left arm hanging over the plate. Major League Baseball’s Rule 6.08(b) stipulates that the batter must make an “attempt to avoid being touched by the ball” to be awarded first base after getting hit by a pitch. Hunt made no such attempt.“The ball would be headed toward his elbow or his ribcage,” said Dave Van Horne, who called Expos games on TV and radio for the first 32 years of the franchise’s existence. “He would turn his back away from the pitcher and deflect the ball with that spin move, so that he avoided those direct hits. To the average person, it would look like he was trying to get out of the way of the pitch, when, in fact, he just wanted to stand in there and take it.”“Did the umpires know what he was doing?” Van Horne asked rhetorically. “Sure. But I don’t think they wanted to get into many arguments with him!”At 6 feet tall, 186 pounds, Hunt wasn’t the biggest guy, even if he was strong for his size. But it was his fearlessness, as well as his quick and nasty temper, that earned him respect within the game. No other player, then or now, had the courage to flip baseballs back to pitchers after getting hit. Most players don’t want to piss off the guy who could hold your life in his hands, and really don’t want to do it when that guy is Bob Gibson.Never was Hunt’s win-at-all costs approach better on display than in 1971. His HBP pace started relatively slowly that season, with Hunt getting hit seven times in his first 33 games. Then on May 26, he put on a clinic, reaching base four times in five trips to the plate, via a walk, a trademark slap single, and two plunks in an 11-1 over the Braves. On June 6, Padres lefty Dave Roberts fired a nine-hit shutout against the Expos … and Hunt still found a way to get hit twice. On June 25, he absorbed three blows in a single day, with one HBP in the first game of a doubleheader, and two more in the nightcap; that first one came against Nolan Ryan, whose fastball could bore a hole into Fort Knox. Finally, on Aug. 7, Hunt led off the game against Reds right-hander Jim McGlothlin … and got nailed for the 32nd time that season, breaking the 20th-century record held by long-ago Cardinals outfielder Bobby Evans.But he still had 18 bruises and one major brawl to go. Ten days later, Hunt led off the top of the third against Padres righty Steve Arlin. He took a fastball in the ribs, winced, then watched the ball come to a dead stop right next to him. Keeping with tradition, Hunt picked the ball up and gently tossed it back to Arlin. His next at-bat came in the fifth, with a runner on first and nobody out. Again Arlin tried to come inside with a fastball. Again he whacked Hunt with the pitch, this time on the arm. The ball bounded a few feet up the first-base line. Hunt walked toward it, ready to scoop the ball up and lob it back. Padres catcher Bob Barton, widely regarded as a nice guy, had had enough of Hunt’s act. Barton scurried to the ball, and grabbed it before Hunt could get it. Hunt turned toward Barton, ripped his mask off with two hands, and punched him right in the jaw. A fight ensued, the benches emptied, and in the end Hunt was the only player ejected. He returned to the lineup the next day and got drilled by Padres lefty Fred Norman.Hunt took all of that beating with pride. He was keenly aware of his limited talent and reveled in beating his opponents with guile, and a mean streak.All that abuse took its toll over the years. Now 73 years old, Hunt can reel off his 15 surgeries, 12 of them from baseball: one on the left shoulder, four on the right, both knees, a steel rod in his back, you name it. And none of that counts the injuries he’d shake off to play the next day.5Hunt’s manager in Montreal, the equally scrappy Gene Mauch, knew that his second baseman frequently played hurt, so he’d occasionally lead off with Hunt on the road, then pull him in for a pinch-runner if he reached base to start the game. Don Drysdale once threw a fastball so hard, it left a baseball-shaped imprint on Hunt’s shoulder blade for weeks.Hunt eventually gave in, donning a protective rubber sleeve around his ribs that was so tight, it was painful to watch him pull it on. That one provision aside, Hunt’s body was fair game, with none of the modern armor that helped next-generation HBP leaders like Biggio trot to first base again and again.Jacques Doucet, a sportswriter for La Presse in Montreal for the Expos’ first three seasons and the French-language TV voice of the team for their final 33 years, was one of Hunt’s closest friends. They’d go on fishing trips together, with Hunt airing his grievances against half the league and Doucet sitting and listening. They remain close to this day, with Hunt offering little nuggets of baseball wisdom that never fail to make Doucet smile.“Ronnie always used to say one thing to me in jest,” Doucet said. “ ‘A lot of people give their body to science. I gave mine to baseball.’ ” read more

This may sound odd, but I’m starting to get bored with Buckeye football. I know that there are still big games on the schedule, especially the Michigan game. But after getting beat by Purdue, playing a fluky game against Wisconsin and predictably blowing out New Mexico State, the whole thing is just starting to feel tired. I just haven’t been able to get behind this team. I still root for them, but watching the Buckeyes this year just isn’t the same.Luckily there’s another team starting their season, and it is one that I think is going to be a lot more entertaining. The men’s basketball team doesn’t have problems with unproven freshman or sophomores. Instead they have returning juniors Evan Turner, Jon Diebler and Dallas Lauderdale who are genuine, battle-hardened veterans of a couple long seasons. Add to that a return of National Championship-run team member David Lighty, super sophomore William Buford, and hard-working junior college transfers Jeremie Simmons and P.J. Hill. There are other guys that casual fans won’t recognize from their playing time, (including another Greek seven-footer, Zisis Sarikopoulos) but the starters have seen it all in the Big Ten, and are ready for another title.I even like the basketball coach more. Thad Matta had back surgery a little bit ago, but it hasn’t slowed him down at all. He looks like he runs as much as the players on some nights. Where football fans see a stuffed sweater vest standing on the sidelines whispering into a headset about the next punt, basketball fans see a guy in a suit yelling, screaming, sweating, and cheering his team to victory with every other fan. You can tell that he lives for basketball; he was born in a town called “Hoopeston.” I can’t see gum flying out of Tressel’s mouth, much less him picking it up and putting it back in after it hits the ground.From my seats in C Deck, I can just barely make out some of the numbers on the field as I try to remember what my fingers felt like. From my seats in Value City Arena, I can high five the players after they go on a 12-0 run to finish out the half. The chants are louder and clearer, the game is faster and the team is better. What better cure for the gridiron doldrums? Not to mention that when basketball season ends, there’s usually a 65-team tournament to savor. By contrast, football enjoys a month and a half of waiting before a bowl game that won’t matter unless some journalists and computers say it does. I won’t be tuning out the rest of the football games, but I am relieved that the better fan experience finally starts their season next week. Go Bucks! read more

Once you are recognized as the best, it becomes that much harder to stay there.Sometimes there are external factors, like the target that you wear on your back once the accolades start coming your way.But far more often, the struggle to stay on top is internal.There are many terms for this phenomenon: resting on your laurels, self-satisfaction or just plain laziness.Ohio State women’s basketball player Jantel Lavender will never fall into that trap.Lavender has been unanimously selected as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, and the Buckeyes she leads have been picked to finish first in the Big Ten by both the media and coaches poll.Do such lofty expectations make her soft?“I think it’s motivation to continue to be at the level of a top team,” Lavender said.Saying it is motivating and actually displaying motivation are two very different things.When someone has to go to class, hit the weight room and then go to practice and impress a task-master like coach Jim Foster, words won’t cut it. Only action will.“If it means coming in and shooting 500 [3-pointers] a day or running extremely hard, whatever it takes is what I’ll do,” Lavender said.Statistics like the ones Lavender has racked up can be telling.In her freshman campaign, she averaged 17.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Those tallies increased to 20.8 and 10.7 respectively in her sophomore season.Is it an upward trend or has she reached the pinnacle?“I just come in every day with the attitude that I’m getting better every single day,” Lavender said. “There’s not a plateau for me. You can always add to your game.”Foster isn’t ready to call his star player a finished product just yet.“She needs to continue to work on her face-up game, shoot the [3-pointer] with a little more consistency and to continue to improve her left [hand],” Foster said.With goals, expectations and four new freshmen faces in the lineup, it is extremely important that team leaders set the tone.“If you have to motivate your best players to play hard every day, you’re stuck in the mud,” Foster said.“When your best players are your hardest workers, then you’re on the autobahn.”Lavender is a hard worker, and a self-avowed basketball junkie. A lot of players will say they model their game after a certain star player.Usually, it is a name that even the most casual of fans have heard of, such as LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.But Lavender looks for ways to improve her game in the most unlikely of places.“I love the game so much and constantly want to learn something new,” she said.  “I’m a sponge. It can be a kid on the playground I’m watching that does something out of the ordinary.”Last year’s run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament and subsequent ouster has fueled the fire for the team to surpass the last two seasons’ accomplishments. That can only mean one thing: a national title.Will Lavender have what it takes to lead this year’s Buckeyes to another Big Ten title and beyond? She sounds ready.“There are no excuses,” she said of this season. “I know what needs to be done.” read more

Heading into the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament as the top seed, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team could easily grow complacent.The No. 10 Buckeyes have won 10 consecutive matches, including a 3-0 win against tonight’s opponent, No. 13 Ball State. “We ended up beating three rivals to end the season,” said middle hitter Kevin Heine, “so the team is feeling pretty confident.” By winning the regular-season conference title for the fourth consecutive season, OSU earned a first-round bye in the quarterfinals and will host the semifinal match. Many players agreed that this was a big advantage, as they will get to play in front of their home crowd and won’t have to travel.The Buckeyes may also have the most talent in the conference. Redshirt junior Steven Kehoe was named the MIVA Player of the Year. He and three other Buckeyes are also members of the all-conference team, tied for the most from one school. Additionally, coach Pete Hanson was named the MIVA Co-Coach of the Year.While all the signs point to success in the tournament, the team knows it can’t take anything for granted.“We have a pretty healthy respect for our opponents,” Kehoe said. From here on out, any mistakes could result in the end of the season. “We know that every game is a must win,” Heine said. In order to advance to the NCAA championship in May, the Buckeyes basically must win the MIVA tournament. The NCAA championship features the three conference winners and one at-large bid, but should they lose, the Buckeyes likely would not receive the at-large bid. The Buckeyes did not let the extra time off due to the bye go to waste. “We had a really good focus at practice,” Heine said. The team spent last week working on its own skills and going back to the basics, sophomore Shawn Sangrey said.This week, practices shifted focus to preparing specifically for their next opponent Ball State, redshirt junior John Klanac said. The Buckeyes also understand that the entire team needs to play well for it to succeed. “Everyone understood their roles on the team,” Kehoe said. Especially at the end of the long season, the rest of the team is there to pick each other up when someone isn’t playing to their potential, Klanac said. “We don’t let anyone slack off,” Sangrey said. The Buckeyes face Ball State tonight at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena. read more

Ohio State redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) hands the ball off to redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber (25) in the third quarter against Rutgers on Sep. 30. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorFor the first time all season, Ohio State was able to effectively use both redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber and freshman running back J.K. Dobbins in the same game for multiple drives in Saturday’s 56-0 win over Rutgers.Moving forward, head coach Urban Meyer said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference he would like to use both of them in the backfield at the same time.“They’re that quality of players when you put your best 11 up on the board, those two names surface,” Meyer said. “Our obligation is to play the best players and you know, last week we really didn’t get the repetition we wanted with either one of them.”Weber finished the game with 44 rushing yards on 10 carries and three rushing touchdowns, while Dobbins had only six carries, but totaled 53 yards on the ground. The team will not always be able to use both running backs at once. When Meyer is forced to choose one over the other, he said the indicator of who is performing the best would be to see what kind of energy level the two backs have and who is displaying the best ball security.“That’s one position that’s fairly easy to find out a guy’s in a rhythm. Just the demeanor, the way [the running back] handles himself and obviously the production,” he said. “You can tell, like, it’s not much different than if the fan when you’re watching the game and you can feel every time that guy touches the ball, or even you just feel them on the field.”Here are some additional notes from the teleconference:On Dante Booker’s improvement: “I do believe he struggled a little bit. Wasn’t so much from the injury, just getting back in the flow of things. The injury was fine, it’s just when you miss that much time and Book is one of those guys that we’ve never had to worry about him going hard or worry about him. He’s a pleaser, he wants to do everything right and sometimes you paralyze yourself because you over-analyze everything instead of just playing four to six [seconds], a to b.”On Booker being named defensive player of the week: “Oh everybody loves him, including myself and the players respect him because they know how hard he works and how much Ohio State football means to him, so it was a big cheer for him and you know, just the way you want it.”On Dwayne Haskins: “He went to a smaller, very good high school, but a smaller high school. And I think the competition was not like it was [here]. Sort of took him some time to adjust to the speed and aggressiveness, et cetera. He’s growing up, he’s still growing as a player, a quarterback. Game experience is priceless for a guy like that and he’s really handled it very well.”On Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager against Minnesota: “I think he was extremely efficient with the quick passing game, getting the ball out and then obviously he had some big runs. You know Minnesota going into that was one of the top defenses in America and I thought he did excellent. But he was also, now he’s established himself as a starter and you see that, with a talented guy, you see that development work. Our … defense staff has got a lot of respect for him.”On impressive Maryland players: “I think the skillset of the offensive players, the six-out and their returner [D.J. Moore], he’s obviously very involved in the kicking game. So the skill positions on the receiver and the running back is very patient and great acceleration. And on defense, just another year in the system of coach [D.J.] Durkin and the understanding of that 3-4 style defense they play and the activity of the defensive front. That’s what catches my eye.” read more

Ohio State redshirt junior midfielder Brady Blackwell (4) protects the ball from a Falcon during the Ohio State-BGSU game on Sep. 22. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorEighteen minutes into the first period of the Ohio State men’s soccer game on Sept. 26 against Detroit Mercy, redshirt junior midfielder Brady Blackwell flicked in a shot four yards out from the net and scored his first career goal as a Buckeye.Blackwell’s collegiate soccer story doesn’t begin in Columbus, Ohio, however, and it wasn’t always easy. He spent two seasons playing soccer at San Diego State University before he made the decision to transfer 2,263 miles back home and attend Ohio State.Growing up in Dublin, Ohio, 10 minutes away from Ohio State’s campus, it was always a dream for Blackwell to don a scarlet and gray jersey and play soccer for the Buckeyes.“When the opportunity presented itself to come home, I couldn’t pass it up,” Blackwell said.A little over a year ago, Blackwell was working hard during the preseason prior to his junior year at a new school with a new team.That preparation came to a halt when he was injured. It forced him to take a medical redshirt and stand on the sidelines while he watched his teammates play the 2016 season without him.“It was just tough having to watch my teammates work and not being able to help out,” Blackwell said. “I tried to encourage them and do all I could, but there’s nothing like competing and practicing with your teammates.”Blackwell said it was frustrating not being on the field with his team, but ultimately, he took his injury as a learning experience.“I was very upset I couldn’t help contribute in my first season here at OSU,” Blackwell said. “But that’s part of the sport, and I think the injury helped me learn some important lessons.”Fast forward to the 2017 season and Blackwell is healed from his injury and trying to make every second of this year count.So far this season, Blackwell has played in 13 games for Ohio State, started 11 matches and added one goal to his list of accomplishments.Being injured can be detrimental to a player’s future career and success, but Blackwell said being injured made him appreciate the game even more and motivated him to work harder.“It’s important to play and train hard everyday, because you have no idea when something like an injury might happen,” Blackwell said. “Overall, it just made me respect the opportunity I’ve been given.”Blackwell’s return to play has been a huge boost to the Buckeyes success in the season so far, his teammates said. In the midfield, Blackwell’s ability to dictate the flow and tempo of the game has made a large impact on Ohio State’s game, said senior defender Niall Logue.“Last year we knew he was going to be a big player for us,” Logue said. “In the preseason he got the news that he was going to have to medical redshirt, and that was a huge blow for us, especially in the midfield.”For the Buckeyes, having a roster filled with 15 freshmen requires plenty of leadership from the few upperclassmen. Blackwell delivers that much-needed command both on and off the field, Logue said.“Having him back this year is a big influence in a leadership way as well,” Logue said. “He’s a big personality in the locker room.”After experiencing different trials and tribulations throughout his collegiate soccer career, Blackwell brings a lot of wisdom to the team. “I’ve played at two different universities and have gained experience along the way. My injury humbled me and allowed me to take a step back and observe the opportunity we have as Ohio State athletes,” Blackwell said. “I hope that I can encourage younger players to take nothing for granted, and to train and play everyday like it’s your last.” read more

first_imgOscar looks like a different dog Oscar the King Charles Spaniel has won a “slimmer of the year” award after managing to shed over a stone.The porky pooch weighed in at 3st 6lb (22kg), which is 80 per cent more than his ideal weight, and was at risk of serious health problems and a shortened life span.He ate too many leftovers, and joined his owner in eating Sunday roasts.After walking left him out of breath, his Wolverhampton owner, June Lawrence, decided to put him on a diet. Oscar looks like a different dogCredit:PA/PDSA PDSA vet Paul Manktelow said on Good Morning Britain that the biggest weight-risks for dogs are over-eating and leftovers.This leaves many dangerously overweight. For a dog, he explained, a packet of crisps is the equivalent of two steak pies.A tin of tuna is the same as 35 chicken nuggets; a slice of toast is the same of a bag of chips, and three pieces of cheese is equivalent to two cheese burgers. “People don’t recognise him because he’s changed so much, in looks and personality.”Mrs Lawrence admitted she spoiled the spaniel and gave him too much food after her husband’s death last year.She is also disabled, so unable to give him much exercise.”As he piled on the pounds, he wanted to exercise even less and it became a vicious cycle,” Ms Allen said.”He couldn’t even jump on the sofa, he was that big.”center_img Because of this diet and hydrotherapy lessons, he has become PDSA vets’ slimmer of the year at a healthy 2st 1lb.Mrs Lawrence’s daughter, Karen Allen, said: “He is a completely different dog now – like a puppy again. Tune in now to see Oscar the spaniel’s remarkable weight loss story! Oscar was morbidly obese, but is now @PDSA_HQ Pet Fit Club Champ 2016!— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) November 24, 2016 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

first_img“And if it is a few thousand officers, obviously it will cost quite a bit of money. “I would think it is going to be the odd million, but I can’t be too precise.”Sir Bernard said he thought the plan was for Mr Trump to visit around June, but he was not sure of exact dates. He said: “At the moment, of course, people are concerned that there might be lots of protests – there have been already.”So no doubt as the days pass we will make assessments for what is going to happen.”He added: “We cannot definitely say there’s going to be huge amounts of problems. I think we have got some concerns already; no doubt we will put a lot of officers out there and keep people safe to make sure that everything goes well. Donald Trump with his executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim countriesCredit:Bloomberg/ Olivier Douliery Donald Trump with his executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim countries “We are just waiting to hear all the details be fleshed out.”State visits, usually there are two a year, and usually we get about six months’ notice, but occasionally it has been far shorter notice than that, and we have just got to get on and do it.” Scotland Yard boss Bernard Hogan-Howe has said he has concerns about Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK, which could take place in June, and the event is likely to cost millions of pounds to police.Speaking on LBC, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said there were already “some concerns” about potential protests, but that assessments were continuing. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

first_imgBridges should be built between tower blocks and residents should be able to use lifts in the event of a fire, leading fire safety experts have said following the Grenfell Tower disaster.Safety testing of exterior cladding will also have to be strengthened in the light of the disastrous fire, while assembly points for those evacuated from burning buildings need to be urgently revised.Experts at a conference, held as part of the international Firex fire and security exhibition at London’s ExCel Centre, issued the series of dire warnings as they discussed the dangers posed by the rapid spread of tall buildings around the world. The conference also heard that steps had to be taken to redesign buildings so that lifts could be used to evacuate residents, in contrast to current advice not to use them in the event of a fire.Many of those who managed to escape Grenfell Tower spoke of the chaos as firefighters climbed up the building while residents tried to flee down the same single smoke filled stairwell.Peter Summer, a lift design engineer from WSP-Parsons Brinckerhoff consultants, said: “We all know with tall buildings that we have to use lifts to evacuate. The whole strategy of how we get people out of a building has to be considered at the stage of designing that building.” But he warned many officials with responsibility for fire safety, particularly in council run residential blocks such as Grenfell Tower, did not have the information or training required to handle an emergency. There have been a series of tall building fires in the region, including one at the five-star Address Hotel, in Dubai, on New Year’s Eve 2015.Mr Evans questioned whether existing tests to measure the safety of external cladding were tough enough, since they usually failed to take into account the impact of high winds around tall buildings. Mr Summer said the time it takes to evacuate a tall building could be cut from two hours to around 30 minutes through the use of lifts, as long as they were adequately designed to withstand smoke and were contained within a fireproof core of a building.Meanwhile, Douglas Evans, a former fire safety engineer responsible for coordinating fire protection in Las Vegas, described the Grenfell Tower blaze as “the worst exterior facade fire that’s ever occurred”.But he warned there was a growing risk of a similar tragedy being repeated, pointing out that 70 per cent of tall buildings in Dubai alone are clad in non-fire resistant panels, including most of those built before 2012. Grenfell Tower after the fire  Mr Timpson, a former firefighter and head of safety for Virgin Atlantic Airways, said: “These buildings require a high level of fire safety management and in my experience the capacity of those people is woefully inadequate.“We are not keeping up as a fire community with the tall buildings that are being built and it’s not an issue until something dreadful happens like last week.”He added that the ability of architects and engineers to build ever higher was outpacing the ability of firefighters to tackle potentially catastrophic blazes which took hold in tall buildings.“There are no more tools in the box of a firefighter faced with a full height facade fire,” said Mr Timpson.He recommended that more tall buildings should be linked by walkways, such as the one between the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, allowing occupants to escape more quickly.Mr Timpson also urged the scrapping of emergency assembly points near tall buildings because of the danger of falling debris, as happened when chunks of burning cladding fell from Grenfell Tower onto residents and firefighters.center_img “An assembly point close to the building is a very bad idea as debris will fall and plane outwards in an area one and a half times the height of the buildings,” he said. Fire engineers said they fear that preparations for devastating fires similar to the one that claimed at least 79 lives last week are “woefully inadequate”.They also told the Tall Building Fire Safety Conference in London that hundreds of other tall buildings around the world are fitted with “inferior”, non-fire resistant cladding, such as the type thought to have spread the flames which engulfed Grenfell Tower.Delegates to the conference heard that the ability of firefighters to tackle such catastrophic blazes was lagging behind the growing demand for tall buildings.Russ Timpson, founder of the Tall Buildings Fire Safety Network, said that in London alone 400 new tall buildings are under construction or planned over the next few years. Grenfell Tower after the fire Credit:Eddie Mulholland We all know with tall buildings that we have to use lifts to evacuatePeter Summer, a lift design engineer from WSP-Parsons Brinckerhoff consultants Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

first_imgBritain has woken up to yet another scorching day as the country is set to experience the longest heatwave in 20 years.The country is baking in temperatures exceeding those in Sicily and Crete as it enjoys Mediterranean weather.If the blazing heat continues today and tomorrow, it will be the first five-day heatwave since 1995.On Monday, it was the third consecutive day the heat reached 30C – the first time since 2005. NHS advice includes urging people to: “Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest, between 11am and 3pm.” On Monday the temperature reached 32C (91F) at RAF Northolt, west London.The amber warning is issued when “there is a 90% probability of heatwave conditions” according to the Met Office website. The Met Office has issued the second highest heatwave alert for all of Britain as the country endures some extreme heat.The level three amber heatwave warning is one behind a national emergency and has been issued from 9am Monday to 9am Thursday, as forecasters anticipate highs of 36C. It also said: “Keep rooms cool by using shades, have cool baths or showers and stay hydrated.”There has also been one incident of a road surface melting near Guildford, where spilt oil had “melted into the tarmac due to the heat”, according to Surrey Police. It means social and healthcare workers should ensure high-risk groups including the elderly, children and those with medical conditions, are kept cool and hydrated.The NHS has issued advice and guidelines on their website website to help people deal with the blazing sunshine. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img People enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Brighton, East SussexCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA Wire Britain lazes in the sunCredit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire Britain lazes in the sun It is so hot the Trades Union Congress urged employers to relax staff dress codes and provide cool drinks as well as providing regular breaks.Eurocrats in Brussels have also been advised to sit in the shade or a dark room and to avoid alcohol. People enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Brighton, East Sussexlast_img read more

first_imgOfficers searching Kos last yearCredit:Gareth Fuller /PA Human blood has reportedly been found on a toy car and sandal believed to have belonged to toddler Ben Needham, who disappeared on Kos 26 years ago.Kerry Needham said the discovery is evidence of a cover-up in the disappearance of her son, who was staying at his grandparents’ farmhouse on the Greek island.She fears the 21-month-old was killed and his body moved before British police began searching the site last year.South Yorkshire Police formally ended a search on the Greek island last October, saying they believe Ben died as a result of an accident involving a digger on July 24 1991. She added: “It shows more of a conspiracy because they didn’t find Ben’s body.”That proves it to me without doubt they -obviously moved him and buried him and for -whatever reason dug him up.”There’s no other -explanation. It’s all been a massive cover-up.” Mr Barkas is believed to have died from stomach cancer in 2015.The sandal and car will now be tested for Ben’s DNA.Professor Lorna Dawson, of the James Hutton institute in Aberdeen, has been working with South Yorkshire Police.She told the Daily Mirror a specialist police dog used in the hunt for bodies had reacted to the sandal and biologists were trying to extract DNA from both items to compare with Ben’s profile. Officers searching Kos last year Ben Needham was 21 months old when he went missingCredit:Mark St George /Rex Show more The sandal was reportedly found in 2012 at the site where Konstantinos “Dino” Barkas was -operating a digger, while the car was -discovered last year at another spot. Ben Needham  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Despite extensive searches of two sites his body was not found.Ms Needham, 43, begged for anyone with information about what happened to her little boy to come forward.”This confirms everything the police have suspected. It makes it all a little too real. We believe what they believe,” she told the Daily Mirror.last_img read more

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Lord Bramall was awarded compensation Credit:Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph Lord Bramall  An alleged fantasist, known only as Nick, who claimed he had been raped and abused by a powerful VIP paedophile ring, could face charges after police referred the case to prosecutors.Detectives from Northumbria Police have spent ten months investigating the man on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, after his claims led to a huge Scotland Yard investigation known as Operation Midland.They have also been investigating Nick, who cannot be properly identified for legal reasons, on suspicion of making a fraudulent claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.But it is understood police have now concluded their inquiries and have sent a file on the case to prosecutors, who will now decide whether to press charges.A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Last year Northumbria Police launched an investigation at the request of the Metropolitan Police Service.”We can confirm that on 4th September a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for them to make a decision on whether or not there will be any charges in relation to the investigation. To date nobody has been arrested in connection with the investigation.”A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: “On 4 September we received a file of evidence from Northumbria Police into allegations against one person of perverting the course of justice and fraud.center_img Among those to have their reputation traduced during the inquiry was the late former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, former Home Secretary Lord Brittan and the former head of the army Lord Bramall.Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, who spent more than a year under investigation, lost his home and his job and his now seeking substantial damages from the Metropolitan Police.Last week, Scotland Yard confirmed that it had paid £100,000 compensation to Lord Bramall and Lord’s Brittan’s widow after raiding their homes during the probe. “Our prosecutors will consider the evidence with a view to making a charging decision in line with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.”The maximum sentence for perverting the course of justice is life imprisonment.Operation Midland, which cost £2.5 million, saw a number leading politicians and other high profile figures falsely accused of appalling child abuse and even murder.last_img read more

first_imgA strike by university staff will continue after union members thwarted a deal between employers and lecturers’ leaders over pensions.The University and College Union (UCU) has been locked in a battle with Universities UK (UUK) over proposed pension reforms to address a reported deficit and rising benefit costs.An agreement was reached between the parties on Monday under which employers and employees would both temporarily pay higher contributions to plug the funding gap.It would also have seen the estimated deficit of the scheme – currently said to be £6.1 billion – re-evaluated by an independent body.The proposals were considered by UCU’s higher education committee and branch representatives on Tuesday, but rejected, the union said.Lectures and classes have been disrupted at more than 60 universities by 14 days of strikes across four weeks, due to end with a five-day walkout until Friday. UCU said “detailed preparations” will be made for strikes “over the assessment and exam period”Credit:Getty Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. UCU said "detailed preparations" will be made for strikes "over the assessment and exam period" “We want urgent talks with the universities’ representatives to try and find a way to get this dispute resolved.”Staff have been striking in protest at changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).The row centres on proposals that would change the USS from a “defined benefit” scheme, which gives workers a guaranteed income in their retirement, to a purely “defined contribution” scheme, in which pensions are subject to fluctuations in the stock market. Students during a protest in Cambridge in support of striking lecturerscenter_img UCU said “detailed preparations” will be made for strikes “over the assessment and exam period”.The union’s general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Branches made it clear today that they wanted to reject the proposal.”UCU’s greatest strength is that we are run by and for our members and it is right that members always have the final say.”The strike action for this week remains on and we will now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period. UCU had argued that the reforms, which UUK maintained were necessary, would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement.Talks had been mediated by the conciliation service Acas.UUK said it was now consulting with USS employers about a “revised mandate” ahead of a scheduled joint negotiating committee meeting which will be attended by UUK and UCU representatives on Wednesday.The committee, which decided upon the benefit changes in January, has an independent chair who can choose to cast a deciding vote if agreement between both parties cannot be reached, according to UUK.A UUK spokesman said: “It is hugely disappointing that students’ education will be further disrupted through continued strike action.”We have engaged extensively with UCU negotiators to find a mutually acceptable way forward. “The jointly developed proposal on the table, agreed at Acas, addresses the priorities that UCU set out.”We have listened to the concerns of university staff and offered to increase employer contributions to ensure that all members would receive meaningful defined benefits.”We recognised concerns raised about the valuation and have agreed to convene an independent expert valuation group.”Our hope is that UCU can find a way to continue to engage constructively, in the interests of students and those staff who are keen to return to work.” Students during a protest in Cambridge in support of striking lecturersCredit:Joe Giddenslast_img read more

first_imgZain Ali Kazmi/MEN Media Mr Kamzi said that the issue was not over hand-over time, and argued the doctor should not have parked in that space in the first place.He explained: “There are some spaces there to park in but normally the police park there. It’s not a staff car park. It’s outside A&E.”He was going round taking pictures at first and then he left the note. But he didn’t leave a note on the other consultant’s car that was there. You don’t just leave a note on an ambulance. It’s not the way to deal with it.”There has been a spate of notes left by motorists and homeowners on ambulances parked in the street or in car parks.Recently, a 26-year-old woman has been charged with a public order offence in connection with an incident where a foul-mouthed note was left on an ambulance windscreen.Kirsty Sharman, from Tunstall, Staffs, was arrested on Monday following a plea by West Midlands Ambulance Service staff. Credit:Zain Ali Kazmi/MEN Media She said: “It was therefore disappointing to see this post on social media today. We have spoken to the doctor in question.” A hospital consultant slapped an angry note on an ambulance after his car was blocked in by the emergency vehicle.The paramedic who parked the ambulance at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was disgusted by the note, which read: “Think about others before you block others’ car,” and was signed “A&E Consultant”.Zain Ali Kazmi posted pictures of the note on Facebook, writing: “Came out of ED to find this! Another note on an ambulance this time from an A&E consultant outside A&E because he was blocked in a bay where he shouldn’t have parked himself!”The 23-year-old said he was shocked to see that behaviour from a doctor, and continued: “We get enough of this stuff from the public. It’s not nice seeing it from another health care professional.”The hospital confirmed a doctor had written the note. Dr Sarah Robertshaw, Head of Clinical Service for Emergency Medicine at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said it had been working alongside the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service over recent months to improve ambulance hand-over times, and subsequently has often found itself among the top in the region.center_img Paramedic mentor Katie Tudor posted a picture of the note on Twitter, copying in the police.The note read: “If this van is for anyone but Number 14 then you have no right to be parked here. “I couldn’t give a s— if the whole street collasped (sic). Now move your van from outside my house.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. So upset to be sent this by one of our crews this morning! Along with this note left on their 🚑 they received a load of verbal abuse!😡😔@OFFICIALWMAS @StaffsPolice— Katie Tudor (@wmaskatietudor) February 18, 2018last_img read more

first_imgMallak said that when she and her sister had originally been attacked last August the perpetrators said it was because they had been staring at them.”They’re all younger than us, I think they aged between 15 and 17, I don’t know who they are, and they go to a different school,” she said.”No one did anything, something could’ve been done, and if the police did then she would still be here.”The girls’ father, Muhammad Moustafa, who lives in Nottingham, said he believed the attack was racially-motivated.”I just don’t know why they would attack her, when she did nothing wrong,” he said.Detectives said yesterday (THURS) there was no information to suggest the attack was motivated by hate but that they were “keeping an open mind”. They have been handed CCTV footage from the bus and have viewed the mobile phone footage.The results of a post-mortem examination are expected today (FRI).One 17-year-old girl arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm before Miss Moustafa died was bailed pending further investigation following the incident.Police said several other juveniles had been interviewed. The hashtag “Mariam’s rights will not be lost” has also been trending in Egypt. We’re aware of social media posts and discussions with regard to the recent tragic death of Mariam Moustafa. We want to make it clear at this time there’s no information to suggest the assault was motivated by hate but we continue to keep an open mind.— Notts Police (@nottspolice) March 15, 2018 The death of an engineering student who has died after a brutal assault by a girl gang has sparked a diplomatic row with Egypt.Mariam Moustafa, 18, was punched several times and dragged 20 metres by the group as she waited for a bus in Nottingham city centre.The girls followed her on board and continued the attack until she lost consciousness, her family said.She was initially discharged from The Queen’s Medical Centre and had to be rushed to Nottingham City Hospital the following day, February 21, where she spent 12 days in a coma.Miss Moustafa’s devastated family believe the attack was racially motivated and revealed that she and her younger sister, Mallak, had been attacked before but the police had failed to act.They branded the perpetrators “animals” for filming the fatal attack on mobile phones.The incident has sparked outrage in Egypt, where the prosecutor-general has requested information about the probe into her death by British officials, according to the BBC.The country is also planning to send a delegation of parliamentarians to the UK in the wake of the death, while the embassy called for those responsible for her death to be “brought to justice swiftly”.center_img Emad Abu Hussein, a lawyer from the Egyptian embassy in London, questioned why she was initially discharged from hospital “despite a severe cerebral haemorrhage”.Mallak, 16, criticised Nottinghamshire Police for “missing vital warning signs” that she believes could have saved her life.She said she had seen some of those involved “laughing about my sister’s coma” on Instagram.Miss Moustafa’s uncle, Amr ElHariry, 46, said two girls had attacked Marian and Mallak, breaking Mallak’s leg, four months prior to the assault which left her dead.The businessman claimed her parents Nisreen, 41 and Mohamed Moustafa, 49, had reported the incident to police but that nothing was done.He said of the second attack: “Whilst Mariam was lying in that hospital bed after nine operations, the girls who did it were taking selfies on Instagram and enjoying life.”He said his niece had been walking down the street when a group of girls shouted at her, calling her “black rose”.  Mr ElHariry said his niece was admitted to hospital at around 9pm but discharged at 2am, even though she was still in pain.”We are angry that the hospital discharged her in the first place and weren’t able to spot she had a bleed on the brain,” he said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

She told the Radio Times: “Actors are just the face of a project. On this job, there were a lot of gay, lesbian and straight people giving their input, and I think people forget that when they point the finger at actors and say that only straight actors should play straight parts.”No-one ever points the finger at directors and writers, which I find odd. I think that’s because we’re the face.”If people thought about it a little more intelligently, the question wouldn’t come up so much.”Jones has said that her character is a fascinating subject, who just happens to be a lesbian. The sex scenes in the show, she says, avoided being gratuitous.Writer Sally Wainwright added: “The thing I probably love most of all about Anne Lister is that she never felt sorry for herself.“In a world that could easily have had no place for her because she was conspicuously a “masculine oddity” (the word lesbian wasn’t used then), she refused to be invisible, she refused to conform and she refused to be down-hearted.”The full interviews can be read in Radio Times magazine, out today.   Suranne Jones in Gentleman Jack Straight actors are singled out for criticism when playing LGBT roles despite being “just the face of the project”, the actress Suranne Jones has said.Jones, who plays lesbian diarist Anne Lister in new BBC drama Gentleman Jack, said the controversy about portraying a different sexuality on screen would not be as great if people thought “more intelligently”.Saying actors are the target of complaints about LGBT representation, with directors, writers and other staff not being taken into account, she argued that, if the entire staff on a project were considered, controversy would fade away.The actress plays the 18th century figure Lister, who wore male dress created a coded diary of her life, including her conquests of women.Jones has said that as the figurehead of a show tackling LGBT issues, she is the one who would be the target of criticism over on-screen sexuality. Suranne Jones in Gentleman Jack Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more