Thursday's Sports in Brief

SOCCER


U.S. women’s national team players say attorney Rich Nichols will no longer serve as the union’s counsel in contract negotiations with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The players’ current contract runs through Saturday. Nichols had represented U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, which had become more frequent this month as the deadline approached.

Nichols became executive director of the USWNTPA in late 2014.

The players said they could not comment further on the matter. Neither the USWNTPA nor U.S. Soccer have filed a 60-day notice of termination that is necessary for a work stoppage, meaning talks will continue into the new year.

There were no talks scheduled this weekend.

“We remain committed to working together with the players to continue negotiating a new CBA,” U.S. Soccer Director of Communications Neil Buethe said.

PRO FOOTBALL

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances and said he’s entering a treatment facility rather than appeal the ban.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection, slowed by a hamstring injury this season after rushing for 1,402 yards in 2015, will miss Sunday’s regular-season finale against Carolina.

He also sat out last week’s 31-24 loss at New Orleans after being declared inactive against the Saints, though that game won’t count against the penalty.

Martin said in a statement that he learned of the suspension last week and…

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