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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Dec. 20, 2012 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

NHL cancels games through Jan. 14

NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League announced Thursday it has canceled all regular-season games through Jan. 14.

The decision brings the number of games canceled because of the lockout to 625 -- more than half of all games the league had initially scheduled for the 2012-13 season.

The NHL, which has locked out players for three months, filed a class action complaint in federal court Dec. 14, accusing the NHL Players Association of "bad faith bargaining," after league officials learned the union intended to ask its executive board to proceed with a vote that would send it on a path toward decertification and, ultimately, class action and antitrust lawsuits against the league.

"Simultaneously with the filing of its complaint, the NHL also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that by threatening to 'disclaim interest,' the NHLPA has engaged in an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act."

The move into the courts came one day after the two sides failed to reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement despite the assistance of federal mediators.

The league had previously canceled its Winter Classic game on New Year's Day and its All-Star Game in January.


Griffin practicing, may play Sunday

ASHBURN, Va., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III hasn't been cleared to play in games but has been participating in workouts, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said.

Griffin, the No. 2 overall selection in last spring's NFL draft, missed last week's game after suffering a ligament strain in his right knee. Shanahan said Thursday Griffin took part in regular workouts Thursday for a second consecutive day.

Before Wednesday, his practice participation was limited.

Shanahan indicated that if doctors clear Griffin to play, he would start at quarterback against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

"If there's no setbacks, he should be ready to go," Shanahan said.

Kirk Cousins, also a Washington choice in the 2012 draft, passed for 329 yards and two touchdowns in helping the Redskins to a 38-21 win over Cleveland last week.

It was the fifth consecutive win for Washington and pulled the Redskins into a tie for first with Dallas and the New York Giants.

Dallas closes the regular season Dec. 30 at Washington.


ESPN suspends Parker for Griffin remarks

BRISTOL, Conn., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- ESPN said Thursday it has suspended commentator Rob Parker for 30 days for "clearly inappropriate" remarks about Washington Redskins quarter Robert Griffin III.

Parker mentioned during a Dec. 13 broadcast of the ESPN show "First Take" that Griffin -- who is black -- has a white fiancee and brought up rumors Griffin is a Republican.

"Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?" Parker said. "He's not real. He's black, he kind of does the thing. But he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kinda black, but he's not really like the guy you really want to hang out with because he's off into something else."

Parker subsequently sent out a tweet apologizing to Griffin.

"I regrettably introduced some points that I never should have and I completely understand the strong response to them, including ESPN's reaction," Parker said. "Perhaps most importantly, the attention my words have brought to one of the best and brightest stars in all of sports is an unintended and troubling result."

In a statement Thursday, ESPN said it has suspended Parker for 30 days and said it has determined "that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made" in preparing the Dec. 13 broadcast and re-airing it later.

"As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part," the statement said.

"To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures," ESPN said.


Coach suspended for alleged hazing

DES PLAINES, Ill., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A coach at a suburban Chicago high school has been suspended without pay for failing to end hazing on athletic teams, officials said.

Michael Divincenzo, a physical education teacher at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, former freshman baseball coach and current head boys and girls varsity soccer coach, was suspended without pay Wednesday night after a 3-hour meeting with Maine Township High School District 207, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"The board believes Mr. Divincenzo violated District 207 Board of Education policy and professional expectations by failing to adequately prevent, recognize, report and punish student hazing," school board President Sean Sullivan said in a statement.

The board is now pursuing Divincenzo's dismissal, officials said.

Divincenzo and freshman boys and girls soccer coach Emilio Rodriguez were both initially put on paid leave as authorities investigated allegations of hazing on the school's soccer and baseball teams.

At the meeting Wednesday, more than 60 people, including many former students and athletes, showed up to speak on behalf of the coaches.

"These two individuals that we're talking about today, they meant a lot to each and every one of us that's in this room today," said Alex Esquivel, a 2009 Maine West graduate and former soccer player. "[Divincenzo] always stressed nothing but respect on and off the field. As a whole, I think he strived to make each and every one of us better men."


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