October 18, 2012

Associated Press

 

Connecticut’s Tina Charles was the leading vote-getter for the All-WNBA team, and Indiana’s Tamika Catchings earned her seventh first-team selection.

Catchings, a first-team pick for the fourth straight season, tied Seattle's Lauren Jackson and Phoenix's Diana Taurasi for second place on the career list with seven selections to the first team. Former Los Angeles star Lisa Leslie is the leader with eight.

Charles, who won her first MVP award, received 196 points from a national panel of writers and broadcasters. Joining Charles and Catchings on the first team were the Sparks’ Candace Parker, New York's Cappie Pondexter and Minnesota's Seimone Augustus.

The Lynx’s Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen were selected to the second team, along with Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles, Los Angeles’ Kristi Toliver and San Antonio’s Sophia Young.

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October 18, 2012

By DAVID GINSBURG Associated Press

 

Ray Lewis has been placed on injured reserve with the “designated to return” tag, which provides him the chance to play again this season.

Lewis tore his right triceps in Sunday’s game against Dallas. He was scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday.

His return this season is unlikely, but by being designated to return, the 37-year-old is eligible to come back in six weeks.

Coach John Harbaugh says, “We have no idea whether that time frame has anything to do with the injury, but there’s an opportunity and we’re going to keep the door open.”

The loss of Lewis was balanced somewhat by the return of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who practiced Wednesday for the first time this season. Suggs has been out with a torn right Achillies tendon.

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October 18, 2012

By GARY GRAVES

AP Sports Writer

 

Kentucky freshman forward Nerlens Noel has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season for the Wildcats.

NCAA spokesman Cameron Schuh said the 6-foot-10, 228-pound Noel was “cleared to practice and play” following a probe into the funding of unofficial visits to Kentucky.

Schuh did not provide any details or findings of the NCAA’s investigation.

Before the recent decision, Noel, considered the nation’s top recruit, could only practice after finishing summer classes to meet reclassification requirements.

Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy said via text that the school does not confirm eligibility until competition begins.

The defending national champion Wildcats open Nov. 9 against Maryland at the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Kentucky coach John Calipari first revealed Noel’s status during an appearance on ESPN promoting the debut of the network’s all-access program about the Wildcats.

However, Calipari seemed confident during last week’s media day that Noel would be eligible, saying, “he will practice, and if we played tomorrow, he would play.”

Noel is part of Kentucky’s highly touted freshmen class including 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, guard Archie Goodwin and forward Alex Poythress.

His game has been compared to Anthony Davis, last year’s Final Four most outstanding player after leading the Wildcats to their eighth title. Davis went on to become the NBA’s top overall draft pick and win an Olympic gold medal with Team USA in London this summer.

Noel, who talked with Davis after arriving on campus, didn’t seem concerned about his eligibility last week.

“I’m not worrying about it at all,” he said. “I’m just focusing on getting better every day.”

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October 18, 2012

BRETT MARTEL

Associated Press

 

The NFL is again urging a federal judge to avoid interfering in Commissioner Roger Goodell’s efforts to discipline four players for the Saints’ cash-for-hits bounty pool.

In a response to papers the players filed earlier this week, the NFL says its collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union gives Goodell the power to handle discipline involving conduct detrimental to football “at his discretion.”

U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan is considering the players’ request to overturn varying suspensions to Saints linebacker Jon Vilma (full season), Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games), free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (seven games) and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita (one game).

The players also want Berrigan to appoint a “neutral arbitrator” to handle any discipline in the matter.

The NFL argues that the players’ request “turns the CBA (and the law) on its head.”

“The parties agreed to trust in (the Commissioner’s) personal judgment,” the papers filed by the NFL said.

The players have argued Goodell’s public comments about the matter, dating to before he had even disciplined to the players, prove he cannot be impartial, and therefore has violated the players’ industrial due process rights, which are also an inherent part the league’s labor deal.

The NFL responded that the standard to prove partiality for an arbitrator within the framework of a labor agreement is much higher than for a judge in a court case. The league cited case law stating, “Nothing in the parties’ contract requires arbitrators to arrive with empty heads.”

The NFL also argued its evidence in the bounty matter is strong enough to justify the commissioner’s actions, whether he was partial to one side or not.

“When all of the circumstances are considered, it is clear that the reasonable observer would not have to conclude that ... the outcome is due to ‘bias,’” the NFL said. “The circumstances here include the fact that Plaintiffs do not dispute that the Saints program offered incentives for cart-offs and knockouts, and that cart-offs and knockouts were plays in which an opposing player was disabled or injured, at least temporarily.

“Not disputing that this program existed, Plaintiffs should not be heard to complain that an adverse appeal decision would have to be due to bias.”

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October 11, 2012

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI

AP Basketball Writer

 

Minnesota Lynx star Seimone Augustus didn't hide her displeasure with police in suburban Minneapolis earlier this week when she took to Twitter to criticize what she felt was an unfair traffic stop.

After talking with the police chief for Roseville, Augustus said Wednesday that she is ready to move on and focus on preparing for the WNBA Finals.

“We had a great conversation on the phone and went over the incident,” Augustus said after practice. “It’s just something that happens. It’s a mishap that happened. Both parties were angry about what happened and it's a move on. We’re settled and we’re moving on from here.”

Augustus was pulled over on Monday October 8 near the Rosedale Shopping Center for having an air freshener hanging from her mirror. That violates a state statute. Augustus, who is black and was driving a car with license plates from her home state of Louisiana, appeared upset because she thought it was a case of racial profiling.

A Roseville police spokesman says the stop had nothing to do with race and added that Augustus was only issued a warning.

“She had a conversation with the chief in the late afternoon hours about the event, with Seimone giving her side and chief explaining why we do what we do,” Roseville Lt. Loren Rosand said. “Seimone learned why we do what we do and chief also gleaned some info from her that we’re going to pass on to the department.”

The Lynx are going for their second straight WNBA title, with Game 1 scheduled for Sunday night against either Indiana or Connecticut. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said she supported her leading scorer speaking out when she thought she was wronged.

“It shines light on a bigger problem, which is racial profiling,” Reeve said.

Rosand said the department takes allegations of racial profiling “very seriously.”

“It wasn’t racially motivated,” he said. “There was a violation of a state statute. We stopped the vehicle, spoke with the driver, explained the situation and issued a warning.”

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