Other Sports

Sports briefs: Oct. 25

HORSE RACING

Dutrow's bid to overturn banrejected by N.Y. appeals court

New York's top court has rejected an appeal from Kentucky Derby-winning Thoroughbred trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. to overturn his 10-year ban by state regulators.

Dutrow's attorney Michael Koenig had asked the Court of Appeals to decide whether the appearance of bias by a state racing official cost Dutrow his right to a fair proceeding over drug violations.

Koenig argues that the official, Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini, had a conflicting role as an officer of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. That organization had advocated revoking Dutrow's license.

The court's dismissal of the appeal Tuesday says there is "no substantial constitutional question involved."

The ban remains in place pending appeals.

Koenig says he will next seek permission to appeal Dutrow's ban for a "variety of reasons."


GOLF

Harrington ends drought in Grand Slam

Padraig Harrington is a winner for the first time in two years, even if the PGA Grand Slam of Golf was only an exhibition.

Four days after Harrington agreed to fill in for British Open champion Ernie Els, he ran off three straight birdies early on the back nine and closed with a 4-under 67 Wednesday for a one-shot win over U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson at Port Royal, Bermuda.

Harrington, a three-time major champion, lost in playoffs at the PGA Grand Slam in 2007 and 2008. He wound up winning on his third try as an alternate in the 36-hole event for the season's major champions.

His last official win was the Johor Open on the Asian Tour in late 2010. "I've got to tell you, they don't come around anywhere near as often as you believe they come around," said Harrington, who finished 9-under 133 and earned $600,000.


NFL

Cowboys' top tackler Lee out for year

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is out for the rest of the season with ligament damage in his right big toe, an injury that will require surgery. Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday an MRI showed the extent of the damage and the team's leading tackler and on-the-field defensive coordinator was placed on injured reserve. He will have surgery in about a week.

Browns starting linebacker Scott Fujita will be placed on injured reserve with a neck injury, ending his stormy season — and perhaps his football career. Fujita, one of four players suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal, was inactive the past two games. Browns Coach Pat Shurmur does not know if Fujita, an 11-year veteran and one of the league's most informed players, will retire.

The 33-year-old Fujita had neck surgery in college.

The NFL announced Wednesday that officials will be using pink penalty flags for Sunday's Dolphins-Jets game after an 11-year-old wrote Commissioner Roger Goodell with the suggestion.

In support of breast cancer awareness, pink has been highly visible this month, from coaches' caps to players' wristbands and cleats, and even officials' whistles. Dante Cano, a fifth-grader from Marlboro, N.J., then offered the idea of pink penalty flags.


NHL

Islanders moving to Brooklyn in 2015

The New York Islanders will move from Long Island to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, starting in the 2015-16 NHL season, the team announced. The Islanders' lease with Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., runs through the 2014-15 season. The name and logo will remain the same. It is a 25-year agreement between the Islanders and Barclays Center, subject to NHL approval.

With labor negotiations stalled as the lockout nears its seventh week, there does not appear to be any hope of preserving a full 82-game season by Thursday's deadline. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said as much Wednesday. "Unfortunately, it looks like an 82-game season is not going to be a reality," Bettman said.


NBA

League takes 'center' off All-Star ballot

For some time, the traditional center position has been disappearing from NBA lineups. Teams now go small with increasing regularity, moving athletic power forwards to what used to be the center position to sacrifice bulk for quickness. The definition of the position no longer applies. So, the NBA has decided to change how it designates players on its All-Star ballots. Centers are no longer recognized — they'll be combined with all forwards to create a new category, the frontcourt. "It makes sense," said Stu Jackson, VP of Basketball Operations. "Having a center is the only specific position that was singled out on the ballot. It just seemed a little outdated and didn't represent the way our game has evolved."

76ers center Andrew Bynum remains sidelined with right knee pain and is a long shot to play in the Oct. 31 opener. He will continue to be held out of all basketball activity until he is pain free from a bone bruise he suffered during an off-season workout.


ETC.

Son of Scott County's Hicks hurt in crash

Tyler Hicks, the son of the Scott County basketball coach Billy Hicks, is hospitalized in critical condition after a single-vehicle car crash on the Bluegrass Parkway in Mercer County, WKYT reports. Tyler Hicks, who played for Scott County when the team reached the Final Four in the 2004 Sweet Sixteen Tournament, is now a soldier in the U.S. Army and was traveling back to Fort Knox.

Murray State has suspended sophomore guard Zay Jackson for the 2012-13 season. Jackson had been suspended indefinitely last month after being charged with striking two people with his car in a Wal-Mart parking lot following an altercation. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 12 to wanton endangerment and was to be sentenced Monday. However, the case was delayed when the judge recused himself, and then a surveillance video was released showing Jackson driving around the parking lot with one of the victims on the hood of his Chevy Monte Carlo. Athletics director Allen Ward referenced the video when announcing that the suspension had been extended.

Jeff Blatnick, who overcame cancer to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, died Wednesday in Schenectady, N.Y. He was 55. Blatnick died of complications from heart surgery, USA Wrestling said. Blatnick was a high school state champion in Albany, N.Y., in the mid-1970s and a two-time Division II national champ and three-time Division II All-American at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

Scott Torgerson, a Columbus, Ohio, sports talk-show host who was suspended after he tweeted he wished ESPN's Desmond Howard would get fired or die, has been dismissed by his station. WBNS 97.1 The Fan is an ESPN affiliate and the flagship station for Ohio State athletics. Howard played for Ohio State rival Michigan.


The last word

Geno Auriemma, who turned Connecticut into a national power in women's basketball, wants the game to lower its rims. Fresh off coaching a gold-medal team in the Summer Olympics, Auriemma thinks fans want to see more offensive output and lowering the rim "about seven inches" from its present 10-foot height would do it.

"What makes fans not want to watch women's basketball is that some of the players can't shoot and they miss layups and that forces the game to slow down. How do you help improve that? Lower the rim. Do you think the average fan knows that the net is lower in women's volleyball than men's volleyball. ... Now there would be few missed layups because the players are actually at the rim. Shooting percentages go up. There would be more tip-ins."

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