Sports briefs, Nov. 15

Posted Nov. 15, 2011, at 6:59 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 15, 2011, at 10:58 p.m.
NBA players file antitrust lawsuits against league

NEW YORK — Locked-out NBA players including Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant filed class-action antitrust lawsuits against the league on Tuesday in at least two states, saying David Stern’s ultimatums left them no other choice.

Attorney David Boies, who represented the NFL during that sport’s work stoppage and now has been brought aboard by basketball’s players, said the NBA lockout violates antitrust laws by refusing to allow players to work.

Boies added that Stern’s ultimatum to the now-disbanded union to accept the owners’ last economic model or face a harsher proposal “turned out to be a mistake” that strengthens the players’ case because it proves that the collective bargaining process had ended.

The players are seeking “treble damages” — meaning triple the amount of the more than $2 billion they would have made under a full 2011-12 season — for what they argue is irreparable harm by preventing them from playing in their “very short” NBA careers.

He insisted the players have shown their willingness to negotiate throughout.

“You can’t negotiate by yourself,” he said. “You can only negotiate if you’ve got somebody who’s willing to sit down and negotiate with you.”

The NBA already has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit in New York seeking to prove the lockout is legal and likely would push for cases to be moved there to gain the legal home court.

 

Judge dismisses bar-fight lawsuit against Iverson

DETROIT — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking $2.5 million from former NBA star and Detroit Piston Allen Iverson over a 2009 bar fight.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds found no evidence that Iverson punched an Ohio man or that the man who struck him was linked to the player, The Detroit News reported.

Guy Walker, who claims he was assaulted by an Iverson security guard, plans to appeal, said his lawyer Gregory Lattimer.

Iverson’s lawyer Michael Cafferty said the man accused of striking Walker was not working for Iverson that night.

“He is very gratified and feels very vindicated,” Cafferty said.

In a deposition in August, Iverson answered questions from Lattimer, who won a $260,000 judgment against him a few years ago in a federal case in Washington, D.C.

In the deposition, he denied playing any role in a 2009 bar fight at the South Beach Pizza Bar nightclub in Detroit.

“I die before I let you get me this time,” Iverson said in the transcript, details of which were published by The News (http://bit.ly/vyhuQO ). “I’m as clean as the Board of Health man.”

Iverson was hustled out of the bar by another bodyguard, Ralph Godbee Jr., who now is Detroit’s police chief. At the time, Godbee was retired from the police department, running his own consulting firm, and working on a private security detail.

Iverson said he hired bodyguards to stay out of trouble.

“I get sued for stuff I don’t got nothing to do with. I ain’t involved with. Ain’t nobody never said … I touched them,” Iverson, 36, said. “I don’t do nothing to nobody, buddy.”

Lattimer said he reached a confidential settlement with Iverson in a third case.

“It was quite something,” Lattimer said of the nearly two-hour deposition. “I don’t know why he was so outraged. It’s not like I sue him every day.”

Cafferty said the deposition was entertaining.

“I think Allen just really let his hair down,” Cafferty said. “He wanted to express himself because the same group of attorneys had sued him in several other cases. He was a little angry.”

Kings hire Smart, Jackson as assistant coaches

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings have hired former Golden State Warriors head coach Keith Smart and ex-player Bobby Jackson as assistants under Paul Westphal.

Smart was dismissed after going 36-46 in his lone season running the Warriors despite making a 10-game improvement from the previous season. He took over last minute in September 2010 for the NBA’s career wins leader, Don Nelson.

Jackson, who played 12 NBA seasons, becomes an assistant after two years as the Kings’ basketball operations special assistant working in scouting, player evaluations and NBA Draft preparation.

Orioles bring back cartoon bird for 2012 caps

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles are going retro in 2012, bringing back the cartoon bird for their caps as part of a uniform change for the upcoming season.

The new cartoon bird head utilizes elements from the 1970 and 1983 versions. The home cap will feature the bird head on a white front panel with a black back and orange bill and button. The road caps will feature the bird on black with an orange bill and button.

For the first time since the 1992 season, the Orioles will wear an orange jersey for select home games. The Orioles will continue to wear black jerseys for Friday home games and will wear the orange jerseys on Saturdays.

Also, each jersey will feature a patch to mark the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards.

Ex-UNC coach Davis posts video to defend record

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Former North Carolina coach Butch Davis has posted a video on YouTube defending himself from allegations following an NCAA investigation into the UNC football program, saying he is “absolutely committed to a clean program.”

In the 9½-minute clip, Davis says his philosophy has always been to succeed academically and on the field.

“Those who have implied my ethics were different at the University of North Carolina couldn’t be more wrong,” Davis said.

He said he didn’t know about ex-assistant John Blake’s close friendship with an NFL agent, a focus of the NCAA probe into improper benefits and academic misconduct.

“Did I know he had such a close relationship with a sports agent? No,” Davis said. “”Should I have known? I wish I had known. As the head coach, you want to know every single thing. … But logically, you know you simply can’t know everything.”

Davis said he submitted Blake’s name to the university for school officials to run a background check. He said there were no red flags, though the NCAA has charged Blake with trying to steer players to late agent Gary Wichard and accepting loans from Wichard.

Davis, who pointed out he hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing, said his family wanted to make UNC “our last coaching stop and home forever.”

Davis had kept a low profile since being fired just before training camp. He said he decided to comment publicly because the school’s appearance before the NCAA infractions committee has passed and that he has received “thousands” of messages of support. He also sent an editorial to The News & Observer of Raleigh with similar comments.

Jonathan D. Sasser, a Raleigh attorney representing Davis, didn’t return a call for comment Tuesday.

Nancy Davis, a UNC spokeswoman, declined to comment on the video.

Las Vegas DA won’t seek jail for ‘Pacman’ Jones

LAS VEGAS — NFL football player Adam “Pacman” Jones won’t face jail time in Nevada based on his conduct in a Cincinnati bar scuffle last summer, the district attorney in Las Vegas said Tuesday.

Instead, the 28-year-old Cincinnati Bengals cornerback will be expected to perform 75 more hours of community service on top of the 200 hours he was ordered to perform following his no contest plea in a 2007 Las Vegas strip club melee that left three people wounded, Clark County District Attorney David Roger said.

Roger said he conferred with prosecutors in Cincinnati and reviewed allegations that Jones tried to pull away from police after he was accused of shouting profanities in a Cincinnati bar in July.

Jones was already under a judge’s order to stay out of trouble as part of his February sentencing in Las Vegas.

He now faces trial in Ohio on misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges.

“Even if there were a conviction in that case, I don’t think we could convince a judge here to revoke probation,” Roger said Tuesday.

Defense attorney Robert Langford said Jones completed his initial 200 hours of community service working with Special Olympics of Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati. His probation is due to end Feb. 23.

The agreement was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Las Vegas case stems from a shooting during a strip club brawl on NBA All-Star weekend in February 2007 that left a club employee paralyzed and two other people wounded.

Police alleged Jones incited the melee by throwing wads of dollar bills from a large plastic bag toward a stage, then becoming angry when the dancers picked up the money.

Jones and his entourage were ejected from the club, and police say Jones met briefly with the accused shooter, Arvin Kenti Edwards, before Edwards opened fire with a handgun outside the club.

Jones denied having a role in the shooting. He pleaded an equivalent of no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct. Two felony coercion charges were dropped.

Edwards, 33, is serving four to 10 years in prison for his so-called Alford plea to attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon. The plea avoided trial and spared Edwards an admission of guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors could prove the case against him.

Danica Patrick’s crew chief fined after Phoenix

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR has penalized Danica Patrick’s crew chief for a rules violation last weekend at Phoenix.

Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. was fined $10,000 on Tuesday and placed on probation through March.

The penalty was for an improperly attached weight on Patrick’s car in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday. Patrick was involved in an early accident and finished 21st.

Patrick is moving to NASCAR full time next season and will run the Nationwide schedule for JR Motorsports with Eury as her crew chief. She’ll also run 10 Sprint Cup Series races for Stewart-Haas Racing.

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