Players hit with suspensions for bounties
NEW YORK, May 2 (UPI) -- New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for one year and three players were banned for parts of next season for roles in the Saints' bounty scheme.
Vilma was ordered to sit out the 2012 season by the NFL for allegedly offering $10,000 to a player for knocking Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner out of a 2009 playoff game.
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, who now plays for Green Bay; defensive end Will Smith and Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, were suspended for part of the season, the league said Wednesday.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he decided on the penalties after focusing on "players who were in leadership positions at the Saints; contributed a particularly large sum of money toward the program; specifically contributed to a bounty on an opposing player; demonstrated a clear intent to participate in a program that potentially injured opposing players; sought rewards for doing so; and/or obstructed the 2010 investigation."
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely for his lead role in the 2009-11 program in which players were allegedly offered cash to injure or force opposing players from games against New Orleans.
New Orleans Coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season and General Manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight regular-season games.
Vilma's suspension takes effect immediately, the NFL said. Hargrove is to miss the first eight games of the 2012 season while Smith was ordered to sit for four games and Fujita three.
Roof leaking at Marlins new ballpark
MIAMI, May 2 (UPI) -- The president of the Miami Marlins estimated it would take all year to fix the problems with the organization's new ballpark.
David Samson said the Marlins are still trying to figure out how to plug the leaks in the park's 8,000-ton retractable roof and stop the grass in the outfield from dying, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
Samson blamed showers in April for making it necessary to close the retractable roof more often than they expected and said the grass decay was due to a lack of sun.
The Marlins have already replaced the turf in right field and there's a chance they might have to redo all the park's sod.
The team hits the road on Tuesday for nine games in San Francisco, San Diego and Houston.
Haas tops Tsonga in Munich
MUNICH, Germany, May 2 (UPI) -- German player Tommy Haas stunned top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a second-round match Wednesday at the BMW Open tennis tournament in Germany.
Haas needed barely an hour to eliminate Tsonga 6-1, 6-4. Haas cashed in three of his four break-point chances and lost just 13 points in nine service games.
Haas had lost just two games in a first-round match and was just as sharp in the second against Tsonga. He had a lot of success against Tsonga's second serve, winning 71 percent (10-of-14) of the points in that situation.
He'll go against eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis in the quarterfinals. Baghdatis rallied for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Dustin Brown. Baghdatis dropped his serve three times in the opening set but didn't see a break point the rest of the way.
No. 3-seeded Marin Cilic handled Matthias Bachinger 6-3, 6-2, dropping only 13 points on serve and not allowing Bachinger a break-point opportunity.
Sixth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny outlasted Santiago Giraldo for a 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-4 win. Youzhny had 13 aces and saved all five of the break points he saw on the day.
Funding loss imperils Ontario racehorses
TORONTO, May 2 (UPI) -- The coming loss of $345 million in annual provincial funding to Ontario's horse racing industry is threatening thousands of horses, industry officials say.
The Liberal provincial government announced it was cutting off racing's share of proceeds from slot machine revenues collected at the province's 17 racetracks beginning March 31, 2013, the QMI Agency reported.
The government cut in racetracks in 1996 as a bid to expand casino gambling at racetracks, and by 2009, the extra funding allowed tracks to more than double purses. That attracted better horses, trainers and jockeys, the National Post said.
With the loss of funding less than a year away, the Ontario Horse Racing and Breeding Association told QMI some horse owners are considering euthanizing their animals that won't be economically viable to race.
Association President Sue Leslie said it costs about $10,000 a year to keep a mare or foal, but that quadruples when a horse starts racing.
"People are absolutely frightened to death right now," Leslie told QMI.
The government's recent budget is redirecting the horse racing funds into general revenue to address its deficit.
|Additional Sports News Stories|
LOS ANGELES, May 23 (UPI) --Hollywood's Brad Pitt says he may suffer from prosopagnosia, a face-perception disorder that prevents him from recognizing people after he meets them.
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KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 23 (UPI) --Yuichiro Miura, 80, scaled Mount Everest Thursday, becoming the oldest person to reach the summit of the world's tallest peak, his office said.