Players association sues NFL, calls Goodell 'incurably biased'
The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of three players suspended in connection with the bounty investigation, calling Commissioner Roger Goodell "incurably and evidently biased."
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove on Thursday in federal court in New Orleans, highlighted a flurry of legal activity surrounding the punishment of four players for what the NFL says was their roles in a program that paid improper cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.
Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is suing separately in the same court, asked a judge to overturn his suspension while also requesting a temporary restraining order and injunction that would allow the linebacker to quickly return to work and keep working while his case is pending.
Goodell, meanwhile, filed a motion to dismiss defamation claims that Vilma made in his initial lawsuit against the commissioner.
Source: Lin, Rockets agree to contract
A person with knowledge of the deal said Thursday that New York Knicks restricted free-agent guard Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets have agreed to terms on a four-year contract offer. The person told The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the team hadn't officially announced the deal. Lin can sign the offer sheet with Houston on Wednesday, and the Knicks will then have three days to match the offer. The Knicks have said repeatedly that they plan to keep Lin. The contract is worth $10.2 million over the first two seasons and $9.3 million in each of the last two years. The fourth season is a team option. The person also told the AP that the Rockets traded Kyle Lowry to Toronto on Thursday for a future first-round draft pick with lottery protection and forward Gary Forbes. Lowry averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 assists in 47 games for Houston last season. Lin was claimed by the Knicks after the Rockets let him go and soon became New York's starting point guard, and "Linsanity" ensued.
■ The Celtics and former Mavericks guard Jason Terry reportedly have agreed to a three-year deal for $15 million that is only waiting for the NBA's moratorium on free agent signings to be lifted Wednesday for the deal to be finalized. Brandon Bass also reportedly agreed to a three-year deal to stay in Boston.
■ The Orlando Magic are making some progress on solidifying their roster for next season, agreeing in principle to a new deal with Jameer Nelson. Orlando's 30-year-old point guard announced the news on his Twitter account Thursday.
■ Hasheem Thabeet is getting another chance to prove himself, this time with Western Conference champion Oklahoma City. Thabeet's agent, Bill Duffy, confirmed Thursday that the 7-foot-3 center has agreed to a two-year contract with the Thunder. Thabeet was the No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft by Memphis but has averaged only 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in limited playing time during the past three seasons with the Grizzlies, Houston and Portland.
■ Two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash said children and championships trumped everything else in his mind when he agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. "The idea to be close to my son, my daughters, who will be in Phoenix, was the No. 1 priority," Nash said Thursday.
FIFA approves goal-line technology
Soccer gave its stamp of approval Thursday to goal-line technology and headscarves for female Muslim players. Also adopted was a proposal for a five-referee system to officiate matches — placing an additional assistant beside each goal. The three decisions will be "long-lasting and resonate throughout the world," said Patrick Nelson, chief executive of the Northern Ireland association. FIFA said it would introduce the goal-line mechanism at the seven-team Club World Cup in Japan in December, with plans to use it in Brazil at the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup. FIFA will use Hawk-Eye and GoalRef systems in Japan. The English Premier League is expected to adopt one of the systems — which are likely will cost up to $250,000 per stadium — next season.
Mississippi St.'s Hood transfers to Duke
Rodney Hood is transferring from Mississippi State to Duke. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Thursday that Hood will sit out this season, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2013-14 and "will have a huge positive impact on our program." Hood, a 6-foot-8 left-handed wing, averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and two assists last season as one of the Southeastern Conference's top freshmen. Coach Rick Stansbury said in March that he was retiring, and a month later Hood announced his decision to leave the Bulldogs.
Ali to receive Liberty Medal
Boxing great Muhammad Ali, known for his unabashed self-confidence inside and outside the ring as well as his outspokenness on social and humanitarian causes, is the recipient of the 2012 Liberty Medal. Ali, 70, will receive the medal in a ceremony Sept. 13 in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall.
Former heavyweight Bivins dies at 92
Jimmy Bivins, a heavyweight boxer in the 1940s and 1950s who defeated some of the greatest fighters of his time, has died. He was 92. Mr. Bivins died of complications from pneumonia Wednesday at an East Cleveland nursing home, according to his family. The Georgia-born Mr. Bivins retired from boxing in 1955 after more than 100 fights.
Googoo Gaagaa top choice at Yonkers
Googoo Gaagaa tops a five-horse field for Saturday's Yonkers Trot, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown. The 3-year-old colt has won 11 of 12 races and is coming off a world record 1:504⁄5 effort in last weekend's Earl Beal Jr. Memorial final at Pocono. The time is the fastest over a 5⁄8-mile oval. Richard Hans is the breeder, owner and trainer of Googoo Gaagaa. The driver is Corey Callahan. The other races in the trotting Triple Crown are the Hambletonian at East Rutherford, N.J., and the Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile in Lexington.
Australian horse So You Think retired
So You Think, an international star from Australia, was retired because of a pulled muscle in his hindquarters. The announcement Thursday came two days before the 6-year-old horse was to run his final race in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park outside of London. So You Think will stand at Coolmore Australia for a stud fee of $68,000. So You Think won 10 Group 1 races.
The last word
Comedy writer Alan Ray, on why Magic center Dwight Howard is a five-tool player:
"He can not only score, pass, and rebound, but also whine and complain."