Sports briefs | 8-31-12


Favre attorneys take aim at racy claims

NEW YORK — Brett Favre’s lawyers say he shouldn’t have to respond to some embarrassing claims about his personal life that two massage therapists are making in a New York lawsuit.

Among other things, the massage therapists want the former NFL quarterback to admit or deny he solicited women for sex trysts and sent explicit photos to a former Jets game hostess.

Favre’s attorneys filed papers this week asking a court to say he doesn’t have to respond. They say some of the assertions are irrelevant and meant “only to harass and embarrass” him.

The massage therapists’ lawyer calls the filing a bid to keep Favre from having to answer questions about his conduct.

The suit says the Jets blacklisted the massage therapists after they objected to suggestive messages Favre sent another woman.

NFL teams with Army for concussion program

WEST POINT, N.Y. — The NFL and U.S. Army have teamed on a long-term program to care for and prevent concussions and head trauma, as well as other health issues.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and General Raymond T. Odierno, the Army chief of staff, announced the initiative at the U.S. Military Academy on Thursday.

Goodell and Odierno cited the common traits between soldiers and football players, particularly when dealing with stressful situations that can lead to injury. Goodell believes the program will “bring greater awareness not just to our two organizations, but to the general public.”

Nearly 200 cadets attended a panel discussion on safety. Also on hand were former players Troy Vincent, now the NFL’s vice president of player engagement, and Bart Oates.

Titans WR Britt to be suspended 1 game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NFL has suspended Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt one game after a driving under the influence arrest, his eighth run-in with police since he was drafted in 2009.

Britt said after Tennessee’s 10-6 win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night that he would “just take it on the chin” and won’t appeal the decision.

A first-round draft pick in 2009 out of Rutgers, Britt was arrested July 20 for driving under the influence at the Fort Campbell Army post on the Tennessee-Kentucky border. Britt met with NFL officials in New York on Aug. 6, his second visit to the league office in a year.

He was activated from the physically unable to perform list Tuesday after recovering from a left knee injury.

Panel hears NFLPA bounty appeal, but no ruling yet

NEW YORK — A three-member panel has finished hearing an NFL Players Association appeal challenging Commissioner Roger Goodell’s authority over four players punished in the league’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

The panel consists of retired federal Judge Fern Smith of San Francisco, retired federal Judge Richard Howell of New York, and Georgetown professor James Oldham. The players union wants the panel to overturn a ruling by NFL system arbitrator Stephen Burbank, who concluded Goodell had the authority to hear and rule on the players’ appeals of their suspensions.

NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who argued before the panel Thursday, said Burbank’s ruling was flawed and that Goodell overstepped his authority. Attorney Gregg Levy offered counter arguments for the NFL.

Panel members say they’ll try to issue an opinion next week.

Union approves IR rule change and new trade deadline

NEW YORK — The players’ union has approved a rule change that will allow one designated player to return from injured reserve and play this season.

The NFL Players Association also agreed to move the league’s trading deadline back two weeks to after games in Week 8.

NFL owners voted for both changes in May. But the union had to sign off on them and did so Thursday, six days before the regular season kicks off.

One “marquee” player placed on injured reserve will be able to return to practice after the sixth week of the schedule and to the lineup after the eighth week. That player must be on the 53-man roster after the final preseason cut, which comes Friday.

Moving the trade deadline could create more action than in the past, when teams rarely moved players at the deadline.

Lakers will honor Kareem with statue

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers will unveil a statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and retire the jerseys of Shaquille O’Neal and Jamaal Wilkes during the upcoming season.

The Lakers confirmed the long-planned honors Thursday.

The statue of Abdul-Jabbar will be unveiled in Staples Center’s Star Plaza on Nov. 16, joining statues of Magic Johnson, Jerry West and broadcaster Chick Hearn. The NBA’s career scoring leader won five of his six championship rings during 14 seasons in Los Angeles.

Wilkes’ No. 52 jersey will be retired on Dec. 28, and O’Neal’s No. 34 jersey will be retired on April 2.

Wilkes spent seven seasons with the Lakers and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year.

O’Neal spent eight seasons in Los Angeles from 1996-2004, winning three NBA titles.

Dolphins plane wingtip strikes other jet

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A Miami Dolphins charter plane preparing to leave Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport clipped the tail of a parked jet while being pushed back for takeoff.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said both American Airlines jets were damaged early Thursday. Lunsford says nobody was hurt and the incident is under investigation.

American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely says the winglet of a Boeing 767 clipped the tail of an empty MD-80. The incident happened in a non-operational area where American provides charter service.

Both jets were taken out of service for inspection. Huguely had no further details on damage.

She said a replacement American jet carrying the Dolphins arrived in Miami Thursday morning.

Miami lost to the Cowboys 30-13 in the preseason finale for both teams Wednesday night.

Review says Sandusky fits sex predator status

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is being recommended for “sexually violent predator” status that would require lifetime registration with authorities.

The recommendation from the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board was disclosed to The Associated Press on Thursday by someone who has read the board’s report to a judge. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The 68-year-old Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. He is jailed awaiting sentencing and maintains his innocence.

Under Pennsylvania law, sexually violent predators are considered those with mental abnormalities or personality disorders that make them likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses. Judges make final decisions regarding sexually violent predator status.

Prosecutors have declined to comment. Defense attorney Joe Amendola hasn’t returned messages.

Big East looking to add 14th football member

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — New Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco says the conference wants to add a 14th member for football, and is planning to have a championship game after next season.

Aresco spoke with reporters Thursday night before Connecticut’s football game with Massachusetts.

Aresco declined to say which teams the Big East is pursuing. He also said he’s confident the teams currently committed to the Big East, including Connecticut, will stay.

The Big East, which lost West Virginia to the Big 12, and will lose Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC next season, will span four time zones starting next season with the addition of programs such as Boise State.

Aresco says his two top priorities when he starts work next week are negotiating a lucrative television deal, and making sure the league is recognized as one of the nation’s top six football conferences.

By wire sources