Former Fiesta Bowl official sentenced to probation
PHOENIX — The Fiesta Bowl’s former chief operating officer was sentenced Monday to two years of probation for her role in an illegal campaign-finance scheme that tarnished the bowl’s image.
Natalie Wisneski avoided jail time because she helped prosecutors in multiple cases against current and former Fiesta Bowl employees who were allegedly engaged in the scheme, The Arizona Republic reported.
During her sentencing, the 48-year-old former executive apologized to the Fiesta Bowl and to the court for her mistakes.
Wisneski is among six current or former Fiesta Bowl employees, including ex-CEO John Junker, who have pleaded guilty to state or federal crimes stemming from bowl investigations.
Wisneski and Junker told authorities they conspired with each other and a bowl lobbyist to ask bowl employees to make campaign contributions. The employees were then illegally reimbursed by the bowl, authorities said.
The scheme, first reported by The Arizona Republic in 2009, could have cost the Fiesta Bowl a place in the coveted Bowl Championship Series, worth millions of tourist dollars annually to the Valley.
Blake beats Olivetti in 1st round in Metz
METZ, France — American James Blake beat French wild-card Albano Olivetti 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Monday despite giving up 19 aces in the first round of the Moselle Open.
Blake won 86 percent of points on first serve and broke Olivetti three times. Blake will face fourth-seeded Florian Mayer of Germany in the second round.
The American lost his first six matches of the ATP World Tour season, but has improved to 8-12 overall.
The 20-year-old Olivetti, ranked 213th, was playing in only his fourth match on tour.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez advances at St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain rallied to beat Russian wild card Evgeny Donskoy 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 Monday in the first round of the St. Petersburg Open.
In other first-round action, Italy’s Flavio Cipolla advanced with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6) win over qualifier Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus, and Rajeev Ram of the United States beat Matthias Bachinger of Germany 6-4, 6-4.
Ram broke Bachinger early in the first set but fell 4-1 down in the second before winning five consecutive games.
Scheepers wins easily in 1st round at Guangzhou
GUANGZHOU, China — Defending champion Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa cruised to a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Chinese wild-card entry Wang Qiang on Monday in the first round of the Guangzhou Open.
The 27-year-old Scheepers, who last year became the first South African woman in eight years to win a WTA title, needed 72 minutes to dispose of her opponent and set up a next-round meeting against 58th-ranked Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia.
Jovanovski also had an easy first-round win, beating Timea Babos of Hungary 6-1, 6-3. Mandy Minella of Luxembourg had a tougher time in defeating Pauline Parmentier of France 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
Affidavit says Vilma offered $10,000 to hurt Favre
NEW YORK —The NFL presented Jonathan Vilma and his attorney with a sworn statement from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams saying the linebacker placed a $10,000 bounty on Brett Favre.
Vilma met with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday in New York about his suspension, which has been temporarily lifted. Attorney Peter Ginsberg said they were given an affidavit at the meeting.
“What Gregg Williams said in his most recent affidavit is the same falsity he has previously provided,” Ginsberg said.
Vilma tweeted on Monday night that Williams was “bullied to sign the affidavit,” saying Williams signed it on Friday.
Williams is now with St. Louis, though he has been suspended indefinitely. An associate said Williams did not want to talk to the media.
Redskins’ LB Orakpo, DE Carriker out for season
ASHBURN, Va. — The early glow from Robert Griffin III’s fast start faded quickly for the Washington Redskins on Monday when defensive starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker were declared out for the season.
Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Orakpo tore the pectoral muscle near his left shoulder, and defensive end Carriker tore the quad tendon in his right knee in the first quarter of Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
The injuries rob two players from a team that has allowed 63 points and more than 800 yards in its first two games, tempering the early promise the Redskins (1-1) have shown with rookie quarterback Griffin.
By wire sources