Fujita: NFL probe a 'smear campaign'
June 25, 2012
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FootballFormer Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, a union leader with a record of criticizing the NFL’s player-safety record, said Sunday he sees elements of a “smear campaign’’ in a bounty investigation that has sullied his reputation. “I’m not saying the NFL is intentionally lying,’’ Fujita said. “I’ve been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they may have just been working with the information they’ve been given, even though much of that information was inaccurate and lacked credibility. It’s their cavalier interpretation of everything that’s been way off. They clearly proceeded with a public smear campaign with very little regard for the truth.’’ NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL stands by its finding that Fujita gave “more than token amounts’’ of money to a pool that also rewarded injury-producing hits called “cart-offs’’ and “knockouts.’’ Fujita, who now plays for Cleveland, was one of four current or former Saints suspended in the bounty probe. Two of them, Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith, still play for New Orleans. The other, Green Bay defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, left New Orleans after 2010, while Fujita left after 2009, the first season covered by the investigation . . . A California county surprised both the San Francisco 49ers and city of Santa Clara leaders by pulling $30 million in tax funds from the new 49ers stadium. Santa Clara County officials told the Mercury News that they would rather spend the money on teachers.
Presti wants Brooks back as OKC coach
BasketballGeneral manager Sam Presti said he considers reports that Phil Jackson or Jeff Van Gundy could be the next coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder to be “rubbish.’’ Presti said that discussing a new contract with coach Scott Brooks is at the top of the Thunder’s list of priorities. Brooks led Oklahoma City to the NBA Finals, but his current contract runs out at the end of the month. Jackson is retired but has left the door open to returning in the right circumstances. Van Gundy is a commentator for ESPN and ABC . . . Atlanta is in talks with Danny Ferry and could be close to reaching an agreement to hire the San Antonio executive and former Cleveland general manager as GM of the Hawks . . . In WNBA action, league-leading scorer Angel McCoughtry scored 23 points to lead Atlanta to a 74-64 victory over host New York . . . Ann Wauters and Sue Bird had 14 points apiece to help host Seattle beat Washington, 72-55 . . . Sophia Young scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as San Antonio handed Los Angeles its first defeat at home, 91-71.
Wade, Arizona win CWS finals opener
BaseballKonner Wade threw his third straight complete game, Robert Refsnyder homered for the second game in a row, and Arizona beat two-time defending national champion South Carolina, 5-1, in the opener of the College World Series finals in Omaha. Wade (11-3) limited the Gamecocks to six hits to help the Wildcats move within a win of their first national championship since 1986 and fourth overall . . . Manager Tony La Russa, who retired after leading St. Louis to the World Series title last year, mentioned Cardinals pitchers Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn when asked if Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey or Giants ace Matt Cain would start for the NL in the July 10 All-Star Game in Kansas City, Mo. . . . Mets closer Frank Francisco was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle on his left side. The righthander has converted 18 of 21 save chances . . . Arizona agreed to terms with setup man David Hernandez on a two-year contract. The 27-year-old righthander would have been arbitration-eligible after this season . . . San Diego bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues, died of pancreatic cancer. He was 50.
Kenseth mum on future with Roush
MiscellanyDaytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth declined to discuss his future with Roush Fenway Racing before Sunday’s race at Sonoma, where there was rampant speculation he’s talking to other teams. The NASCAR points leader acts as his own agent, and has been with Roush his entire career. But his No. 17 Ford has limited sponsorship, and team owner Jack Roush has been paying out of his own pocket to ensure Kenseth runs a full season . . . Alistair Brownlee made a winning return to the world series triathlon circuit. Brownlee, who recovered from tearing his Achilles’ tendon four months ago, took the lead during the 10-kilometer run to finish the Kitzbuehel event in 1 hour, 50 minutes, 13 seconds. Jonathan Brownlee trailed his brother by 49 seconds for second place.
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