Armstrong coach chooses arbitration in doping case
AUSTIN, Texas — The coach of Lance Armstrong’s teams during his seven Tour de France victories will go to arbitration to fight charges that he led a complex doping program for Armstrong and other riders.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency confirmed Friday that Johan Bruyneel elected to go contest his case before a panel of three arbitrators rather than accept sanctions that likely would have included a lifetime ban from sports. Bruyneel, who has said he is innocent, faced a Saturday deadline to decide.
USADA officials have said a hearing, where witness testimony and other evidence can be presented by both sides, could be held by fall. Bruyneel can choose to keep the hearing private or open it to the public.
Armstrong, who retired in 2011, also has been charged and says he is innocent. He filed a lawsuit this week in federal court in Austin in an attempt to block the case.
Seattle releases WR Mike Williams
RENTON, Wash. — Mike Williams’ career that was reignited with the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 came to an end Friday when he was suddenly cut by the Seahawks two weeks before the start of training camp.
Williams was a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year in 2010 after seeing his career rejuvenated by getting a second chance with Pete Carroll and the Seahawks following flops in Detroit and Oakland. But Williams could never develop a connection with new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in 2011 and his season was cut short by a broken left ankle.
Appel spurns Pirates and will stay at Stanford
NEW YORK — Mark Appel spurned the Pittsburgh Pirates and decided to remain at Stanford for his senior season, one of the first big casualties of baseball’s new restrictions on amateur signing bonuses.
Appel is the only one not to sign out of 31 first-round picks.
Projected by some to be the top pick, the right-hander was selected eighth by the Pirates. That pick has a signing slot of $2.9 million in baseball’s new labor contract, and the team could have signed him for about $3.5 million to $3.9 million without incurring any penalties, such as a tax and the loss of future draft picks.
Pittsburgh’s final offer was $3.8 million.
Under the labor deal, the deadline for draft picks to sign was 5 p.m. Friday, a month earlier than under the previous deal.
Baseball great pleads guilty to fraud
LOS ANGELES — Former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty Friday and could face 20 years in prison for hiding and selling sports memorabilia and other items that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing.
Dykstra, 49, entered his plea in U.S. District Court to one count each of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering.
It was the latest legal problem for Dykstra, who earned the nickname “Nails” because of his gritty style of play, and spent his 12-year career with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. He previously pleaded no contest to grand theft auto and exposing himself to women he met through Craigslist.
Dykstra, who bought a mansion once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky, filed for bankruptcy three years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.
US Open champ Simpson withdraws from British Open
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson withdrew from the British Open on Friday as he awaits the birth of his second child.
It will be the second time in the last five years that the British Open is missing the U.S. Open champion. Tiger Woods did not play in 2008 because of season-ending knee surgery the day after he won the U.S. Open.
Simpson has said all along it was doubtful he would travel to Royal Lytham & St. Annes because his wife, Dowd, was expecting their second child.
By wire sources