Mangini, Browns stay vagueon details of GM's ouster
Browns Coach Eric Mangini offered no details about Monday's convoluted ouster of George Kokinis, his longtime friend and hand-picked general manager.
"Anytime a decision like this is made it is difficult personally and professionally," Mangini said. "George is a friend of mine, and I respect him, and I wish his family well. I can tell you that for a variety of reasons, things didn't work out. You never go into a situation like this with the intention of it not working out."
That was about as deep as Mangini would venture into the Kokinis matter. Mangini spent most of his news conference politely deflecting questions about why the decision was made. He was asked whether there were legal reasons why he couldn't address Kokinis' exit.
"There's really a variety of reasons," he said, "and I'll just leave it at that."
Browns owner Randy Lerner, who said following Sunday's loss in Chicago that he planned to hire a "serious, credible" football authority to help run his fumbling franchise, was not available for comment. Lerner did spend two hours meeting with two disgruntled season-ticket holders, who have been urging Cleveland fans to stay out of their seats for the Nov. 16 kickoff against Baltimore in protest of the team's futility. "Dawg Pound Mike" Randall said Lerner was open to their ideas and gave them a few of his own.
"He's trying to get the Browns on the right track," Randall said. "He wants it to happen now. He cares deeply."
It's still not known whether Kokinis was fired or forced out by the Browns, who are 1-7 and have been overmatched in most of their games. The Browns denied reports that Kokinis was escorted from team headquarters on Monday. As for a possible replacement for Kokinis, Mangini would not comment when asked whether former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar might handle some of the GM's responsibilities. Kosar recently was brought in by Lerner in an unspecified consulting role that could expand.
■ New Orleans overcame four turnovers for a second straight week to stay perfect with a 35-27 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, matching the best start in franchise history. Drew Brees, responsible for two turnovers, passed for 308 yards and two scores. Pierre Thomas, who fumbled, also scored two touchdowns. Jabari Greer, who got burned for a deep touchdown, also returned an interception for a 48-yard score, helping the Saints improve to 7-0. Only the 1991 Saints began a season with as many wins.
■ The Edgerrin James experiment in Seattle is over. The struggling Seahawks cut ties with James on Tuesday, releasing the backup running back who never provided the pop Seattle hoped to get when it signed the 31-year-old in late August.
■ The Chiefs have announced they were awarded wide receiver Chris Chambers, who was waived by San Diego, via a waiver claim. The Chargers waived Chambers on Monday. Originally a second-round pick by Miami in 2001, Chambers has made 111 starts with the Dolphins and Chargers and caught 482 passes for 6,827 yards and 53 touchdowns.
Bush throws first pitch at Japan Series
Former President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the Japan Series between the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters. Bush, wearing a Yomiuri warmup jacket, took the mound Tuesday at Tokyo Dome and threw a pitch to Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe that bounced once in the dirt before being caught. Bush chatted briefly with several players after walking off the field and watched the game in a private box with former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Also in the box were Japanese home-run king Sadaharu Oh and U.S. Ambassador John Roos. The Giants won the game 7-4 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, Japan's version of the World Series.
Sports in the courts
Nantz owes nearly $1M a year in alimony
CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz must pay $916,000 yearly in alimony and child support to his ex-wife and give up their Connecticut home under terms of a newly issued divorce decree. The ruling, made Monday in Bridgeport Superior Court (Conn.), dissolves the 26-year marriage of Nantz and Ann-Lorraine "Lorrie" Carlsen Nantz. It comes after both testified about the breakdown of their marriage; Judge Howard Owens concluded that neither was at fault.
Nantz, described by Owens as "our nation's most prominent sportscaster," filed for divorce last year from his wife after years of marriage counseling, according to the decree. Although Nantz, 50, acknowledged he started dating a 29-year-old woman before the divorce was final, the judge concluded that the marriage deteriorated years earlier.
Clippers owner settles discrimination suit
Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling has agreed to pay a record $2.73 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics, blacks and to families with children, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. The Justice Department sued Sterling in August 2006 for allegations of housing discrimination in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. Other defendants were Sterling's wife, Rochelle, and the Sterling Family Trust. The defendants allegedly made statements to employees indicating that African-Americans and Hispanics were not desirable tenants. In settling the lawsuit, however, the defendants denied any liability.
WKU soccer player named Sun Belt's best
Western Kentucky women's soccer player Kellie Walker was named the coaches' Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year on Tuesday. The senior midfielder leads WKU in points and assists and leads the conference in assists and assists per game. Walker made the first team with three other Lady Toppers — Mallory Outerbridge, Rachel Friedman and Manual graduate Libby Stout. Third-seeded WKU plays sixth-seeded Arkansas State in the first round of the league tournament Wednesday at Florida Atlantic.
Transy soccer men make HCAC finals
Transylvania advanced to the Heartland Conference men's soccer finals for the ninth straight season Tuesday with a 5-0 semifinal win over Anderson at Thomas Field. With top seed Rose-Hulman falling 1-0 to Hanover in the other semifinal match, Transy won the right to host the finals Saturday. The Hanover-Transy match for the HCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships will begin at 1 p.m. The women's team plays at Rose-Hulman on Wednesday for a chance at the finals on Saturday.
■ Kentucky's women's golf team finished 11th out of 21 teams with a 4-over 873 in the Challenge at Onion Creek in Austin, Texas. Sophomore Ashlee Rose led the Cats with a 5-over 215 total and finished in a tie for 18th. Texas A&M overtook San Fransisco to win with a 1-under 839.
■ Three missing North Dakota college softball players were found dead Tuesday in a Jeep pulled from a pond, and police said they believed the women were in the vehicle when they made two desperate calls to friends for help. "At this time, foul play is not suspected," Police Lt. Rod Banyai said Tuesday night. Authorities had been searching since late Sunday night for Kyrstin Gemar, 22, of San Diego; Afton Williamson, 20, of Lake Elsinore, Calif.; and Ashley Neufeld, 21, of Brandon, Manitoba.
The last word
PGA Tour veteran Paul Goydos weighed in on the issue of drug-testing in golf:
"There's no such thing as a performance-enhancing drug. It might make you strong, but I'm not sure it makes you a better golfer. If there's a drug out there that helps you make a 3-footer, I'd like to know what it is."