SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Favre's sister arrested during Mississippi meth raid
The 34-year-old sister of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre faces drug charges after she was arrested Wednesday in a raid on a Mississippi condo where people were making crystal methamphetamine, authorities said. Brandi Favre was among five people arrested in the Diamondhead bust and was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and generating hazardous waste, said Hancock County Sheriff's Maj. Matt Karl.
"She happened to be there, and she was arrested along with the others," Karl said.
Two of the other suspects face the same charges as Favre. The other two were charged with sale of a controlled substance. And one of them also faces a charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The four other suspects ranged in age from 25 to 53. About nine grams of the drug — worth about $1,000 — was recovered, and hazardous-materials teams had to clear the condo, Karl said. Brandi Favre was in custody and has an initial court appearance scheduled Thursday morning. A message left for Brett Favre's agent James "Bus" Cook wasn't immediately returned.
Branch Rickey Award to Rachel Robinson
The widow of Major League Baseball's Jackie Robinson is being honored with Ohio Wesleyan University's Branch Rickey Award for commitment to equality, the second time the school has given the award. Rachel Robinson founded The Jackie Robinson Foundation that provides college scholarships to disadvantaged minority students. Her daughter will accept the award on her behalf at a Jan. 27 ceremony during the campus' Branch Rickey-Jackie Robinson Week.
The late Rickey is most famous as the Brooklyn Dodgers executive who broke baseball's color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson in the 1940s. He was a 1904 Ohio Wesleyan graduate.
The award was first given in 1988 to tennis player Arthur Ashe. It is being renamed the Branch Rickey-Jackie Robinson Award.
Hamilton improves but stays in hospital
AL MVP Josh Hamilton remained hospitalized Wednesday while showing signs of getting better in a bout with pneumonia. In a statement, the Rangers said Hamilton "is showing significant improvement" but remained at the hospital for treatment "in order to accelerate his full recovery." The team said Hamilton is expected to be released by the weekend and should be able to resume his conditioning and baseball activities within a few days after his release. Hamilton was diagnosed Monday with an early case of pneumonia. The Rangers disclosed his condition Tuesday. Hamilton hit a majors-leading .359 with 32 homers and 100 RBI last season for the AL champion Rangers.
■ Diamondbacks outfielder Alfredo Marte has been suspended for 50 games for a positive test under baseball's minor-league drug program. Marte tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, the commissioner's office said Wednesday. On the roster of Triple-A Reno, Marte will serve the suspension at the start of the season. He hit .260 with nine homers and 61 RBI last year at Visalia of the Class A California League. Marte was the first player suspended this year under baseball's drug programs. There were 86 suspensions last year under the minor-league drug program, and two players were suspended under the major-league plan: Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez and Florida catcher Ronny Paulino.
■ Catcher Koyie Hill and the Cubs agreed Wednesday to an $850,000, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration. The 31-year-old signed with the Cubs in 2007 and is entering his fifth season with them. He made 60 starts behind the plate and appeared in 77 games last season, batting .214 with one home run and 17 RBI. Five Cubs remain eligible for arbitration: pitchers Matt Garza, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall, and catcher Geovany Soto.
■ Outfielder Ryan Raburn and the Tigers agreed Wednesday to a $3.4 million, two-year contract. The 29-year-old hit .280 last season with 15 homers and 62 RBI. He played all three outfield positions, starting 55 games in left field. He also started 15 games at second base and one at first base. Raburn hit .315 after the All-Star break, with 13 homers and 46 RBI.
Richmond bans smoking in stands
Richmond International Raceway announced Wednesday a smoking ban in its grandstands. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the ban will go into effect the first race weekend in April. It also applies to portals leading into the 94,000-seat grandstands. But smoking will still be permitted in the parking lots, campground, midway and most other outdoor areas. Raceway President Doug Fritz said the move is based on comments received from fans.
■ American troops will witness a racing first over the next 10 days. Mario Andretti, Larry Foyt and Al Unser Jr. headline a list of former IndyCar drivers making a goodwill tour of overseas military installations as part of the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour. It is the first time an Andretti, a Foyt and an Unser have worn the same team colors and shirts. The nine-person crew will land Thursday at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and will entertain troops in the Middle East and on an aircraft carrier, too. Three-time Indy winner Johnny Rutherford, Sarah Fisher and Davey Hamilton also will be on the trip.
Iverson to have lesion removed from leg
Former NBA star Allen Iverson plans to have a lesion removed from his right leg in the United States and intends to rejoin his Turkish team in time for the playoffs. Gary Moore, Iverson's longtime manager, said Iverson told him Wednesday that he doesn't plan to retire because of the painful condition. Moore said Iverson has a lesion that is pressing against the bones of his leg and requires surgery in the U.S.
"It has to be removed and tested to see if it's benign or not," Moore said by phone. "Once that's removed, Allen is going to look to rehabilitate his leg because the doctors tell him he'll be out four to six weeks. He's hoping to be able to play in the playoffs."
■ About 20,000 fans showed up for Ronaldinho's official introduction with Brazilian club Flamengo. Fans wearing Ronaldinho masks and sporting No. 10 jerseys packed the team's training stadium in Rio de Janeiro to see the two-time world player of the year on Wednesday. Samba groups led the party for Ronaldinho, who greeted the chanting fans and thanked them, saying: "I'll pay you back on the field." The former Brazil star came from AC Milan on Monday, ending a 10-year stint in European football. The buyout clause in Ronaldinho's contract is reportedly worth $235 million.
■ Two-time Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza and several teammates will not play for the U.S. national softball team this year, opting to play professionally in hopes of growing the sport. Mendoza said Wednesday she and others informed USA Softball this month that they would not attend the U.S. team's June camp so they can play in the National Pro Fastpitch league. Mendoza says it's difficult to play professionally and for the U.S. team. Fellow Olympians Natasha Watley, Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott, Caitlin Lowe, Lauren Lappin, Andrea Duran and Vicky Galindo also will not play for the U.S. The national team lost funding from the U.S. Olympic Committee after being dropped from the Olympic program after the 2008 Beijing Games.
■ Former Iowa football player Abe Satterfield says a woman who claims she was raped "was the aggressor" and it was her idea to have sex. Satterfield testified Wednesday at the second-degree sexual-abuse trial of his former teammate, Cedric Everson. Prosecutors say Satterfield had sex with the woman against her will and then Everson assaulted her while she was passed out. The woman testified Tuesday she told Satterfield to stop but he did not.
The last word
Some Jets players weren't too happy with teammate Antonio Cromartie after he called Patriots quarterback Tom Brady an SOB on Tuesday, possibly giving their upcoming opponent extra motivation. But linebacker Bart Scott had a strict Constitutionalist defense for the comment:
"If that's what he felt he wanted to say, he can go ahead and say it. This is a Fifth Amendment type of locker room."