In letter, Sue Paterno defends late husband
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Breaking more than a year of silence, Sue Paterno is defending her late husband as a “moral, disciplined” man who never twisted the truth to avoid bad publicity.
The wife of the former Penn State coach is fighting back against the accusations against Joe Paterno that followed the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Her campaign started with a letter sent Friday to former Penn State players.
She wrote that the family’s exhaustive response to former FBI director Louis Freeh’s report for the university on the Sandusky child sex abuse case will officially be released to the public at 9 a.m. Sunday on paterno.com.
Freeh in July accused Joe Paterno and three university officials of covering up allegations against Sandusky, a retired defensive coordinator. Less than two weeks later, the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions on the program that Joe Paterno built into one of the most well-known in college football.
“When the Freeh report was released last July, I was as shocked as anyone by the findings and by Mr. Freeh’s extraordinary attack on Joe’s character and integrity. I did not recognize the man Mr. Freeh described,” Sue Paterno wrote. “I am here to tell you as definitively and forcefully as I know how that Mr. Freeh could not have been more wrong in his assessment of Joe.”
The family directed its attorney, Washington lawyer Wick Sollers, to assemble experts to review Freeh’s findings and Joe Paterno’s actions, Sue Paterno wrote.
She did not offer details on findings in the letter, “except to say that they unreservedly and forcefully confirm my beliefs about Joe’s conduct.
Super Bowl blackout was caused by electrical relay
NEW ORLEANS — The company that supplied electricity to the Super Bowl says the blackout that halted the big game was caused by a device it installed specially to prevent a power failure.
But the utility stopped short of taking all the blame and said Friday that it was looking into whether the electrical relay at fault had a design flaw or a manufacturing defect.
The relay had been installed as part of a project begun in 2011 to upgrade the electrical system serving the Superdome in anticipation of the championship game. The equipment was supposed to guard against problems in the cable that links the power grid with lines that go into the stadium.
“The purpose of it was to provide a newer, more advanced type of protection for the Superdome,” Dennis Dawsey, an executive with Entergy Corp., told members of the City Council. Entergy is the parent company of Entergy New Orleans, the city’s main electric utility.
Entergy officials said the relay functioned with no problems during January’s Sugar Bowl and other earlier events. It has been removed and will be replaced.
Pistons C Drummond expected to miss 4-6 weeks
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Detroit Pistons rookie Andre Drummond is expected to miss four to six weeks because of a stress fracture in his back.
The Pistons announced the injury before Friday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, who are banged up themselves. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili missed the game.
The 6-foot-11 Drummond is averaging 7.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He was selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge as part of All-Star Weekend later this month, but now his promising season is on hold.
“He should get better. He’ll heal. He should have no residual,” team physician Ben Paolucci said. “He’s not going to have anything lasting.”
The Pistons discovered the fracture of the fifth lumbar vertebra after Drummond was examined Thursday. He played only 8 minutes against New York on Monday and 5 against Brooklyn two nights later.
Drummond does not need surgery, and team doctors anticipate a full recovery with rest and rehabilitation.
Drummond was taken with the ninth pick in last year’s NBA draft out of Connecticut. He has eight double-doubles and 84 blocked shots.
Saints interview Rob Ryan for coordinator role
NEW ORLEANS — Former Dallas Cowboys assistant Rob Ryan has interviewed with the New Orleans Saints for their vacant defensive coordinator job.
The team said Ryan met with coach Sean Payton on Friday.
Payton interviewed University of Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Thursday. But Grantham announced on Friday he had withdrawn from consideration for the job.
Payton fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and announced he wanted to switch to a 3-4 defense two days after returning from a yearlong suspension. The Saints allowed more total yards in a single season than any team in NFL history.
D-backs, Hill agree to 3-year, $35 million deal
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks and Aaron Hill have reached a deal that will keep him under contract through the 2016 season.
The deal adds three years and $35 million to his existing deal, which pays him $5.5 million this year. That means the overall contract is worth $40.5 million over the next four years.
General manager Kevin Towers said Hill has become “one of the premier second basemen in the game, not only in the National League but in all of baseball.”
The 30-year-old infielder — Toronto’s first-round draft pick and the 13th selection overall out of LSU a decade ago — hit a career-high .302 with 26 home runs, 44 doubles and 85 RBIs last season, earning him a Silver Slugger award, the first for a Diamondbacks infielder. He came to Arizona as part of a trade with Toronto in August 2011 and was a big part of the team’s stretch run to the NL West title that year.
Sixers G Richardson out for year with knee injury
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia 76ers guard Jason Richardson will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Richardson will soon undergo surgery on his left knee. It will be performed by Dr. Jonathan Glashow of Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York.
Richardson started 33 games for the Sixers this season, averaging 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.21 steals across 28.4 minutes per game. He had 40 steals, but missed the past eight games with the injury before the team ultimately decided on the surgery.
Cardinals sign David Freese to one-year deal
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals and 2011 World Series hero David Freese have reached agreement on a one-year contract that avoids salary arbitration.
Terms of the deal announced Friday were not disclosed. The Cardinals have now come to terms with all arbitration-eligible players.
Freese is a St. Louis County native who was 2011 World Series most valuable player. The third baseman hit .283 with 20 home runs and 79 RBIs last season and earned his first All-Star Game appearance.
Cilic, Youzhny reach Zagreb Indoors semis
ZAGREB, Croatia — Top-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia ousted Blaz Kavcic 6-3, 7-6 (5) on Friday to set up a Zagreb Indoors semifinal against defending champion Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.
Earlier, fourth-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria earned the 300th tour win of his career and will play Robin Haase of the Netherlands in the other semifinal.
Youzhny, seeded third, reached the semifinals of the event for the third time by defeating Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2 after never facing a break point. Melzer defeated Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Haase ousted Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.
Llodra, Nieminen reach semifinals in France
MONTPELLIER, France — Michael Llodra of France and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland advanced Friday to the semifinals of the Open Sud de France.
Llodra had 11 aces in a 7-6 (3), 6-1 win against Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic, clinching it with a volley at the net. Nieminen rallied to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), with both players dropping serve three times.
Llodra’s semifinal opponent will be the winner of the all-French quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Gilles Simon and eighth-seeded Benoit Paire. Nieminen takes on either third-seeded Richard Gasquet or No. 6 Julien Benneteau.
Wallace calls induction biggest day of career
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rusty Wallace touched on his early days trying to make it as a professional race car driver, the lessons he learned from NASCAR’s pioneers and his relentless push to drive for Roger Penske in an energetic acceptance into the Hall of Fame.
Then Wallace, winner of 55 races and the 1989 championship, called Friday night’s induction “the biggest day of my driving career.”
Wallace was the headliner of the fourth Hall of Fame class, which included innovative mechanic and crew chief Leonard Wood, former series champions Buck Baker and Herb Thomas and former car owner Cotton Owens.
Wallace and Wood are the only two living members of this year’s class.
By wire sources