Issel suspended for ethnic slur
DENVER, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Denver Nuggets coach Dan Issel was suspended four games without pay today for shouting an ethnic slur at a fan after Tuesday night's loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe announced the suspension, saying the approximately $112,000 in lost salary would be put back into the team's community fund.
KUSA-TV in Denver aired the footage in which the Hall of Famer confronted a heckling fan as he left the court after a 99-96 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
Issel is heard yelling on the tape, "Hey, go buy another beer! Go drink another beer, you (expletive) Mexican piece of (expletive)!"
A day later, Issel was unable to hold back back tears while expressing regret for the incident.
"I apologize to the fans of the Denver Nuggets, the organization and the city of Denver for that uncaring and unchristian-like comment," Issel said. "I take full responsibility for my action. I'm sorry for the embarrassment it has caused my team and my family."
While admitting that the severity of the issue would be open to debate, Vandeweghe, cited his former teammate's long tenure in the Denver community before enforcing the penalty.
"If you look at his 25-year career, given his entire career to the city of Denver, this is not something that you throw away," Vandeweghe said. "Dan is very sorry and apologetic. We apologize to that fan in particular and to the city of Denver."
Vandeweghe said he contacted the NBA office and that a decision was made to handle the matter on the team rather than league level.
The general manager noted that former New Jersey Nets coach John Calipari drew a $25,000 fine and was not suspended for a slur directed at a Mexican-American reporter.
"We thought this was more severe and we took it extremely seriously," Vandeweghe said. "We took it many steps beyond what happened to John Calipari."
Erstad reportedly headed for White Sox
CHICAGO, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Anaheim Angels outfielder Darin Erstad, one year removed from a Most Valuable Player-caliber season, reportedly was traded Wednesday to the Chicago White Sox.
A radio report in Chicago said Anaheim general manager Bill Stoneman and White Sox general manager Ken Williams have agreed on a deal that would send outfielder Ken Singleton, righthanded starter Jon Garland and two minor leaguers to the Angels in exchange for Erstad.
The deal is apparently contingent upon the approval of Anaheim president Tony Tavares. The White Sox initially asked for a window of opportunity to negotiate a long-term deal with Erstad, but have relented and said they would make the trade regardless.
Erstad appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough season in 2000 when he hit .355 with 25 homers, 100 RBI and 121 runs scored. But he slumped to .258 with just nine homers and 63 RBI last season.
Erstad earned $3.45 million last season and could easily double that through arbitration in February.
In other transactions as the baseball meetings in Boston continue:
* The Arizona Diamondbacks, who won the World Series with a veteran-laden club, got a little younger with the signing of free agent right fielder Jose Guillen to a one-year contract.
* The New York Yankees reportedly have agreed on a two-year, $10 million deal with free agent outfielder Rondell White.
* Seattle re-signed lefthanded reliever Norm Charlton to a one-year contract.
California hires new football coach
BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Jeff Tedford, the offensive coordinator at Oregon who earned a reputation as a developer of quarterbacks, was hired Wednesday as the new football coach at California.
Tedford, who served as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Ducks since 1998, takes over for Tom Holmoe, who announced his resignation in November before completing a 1-10 season.
Terms of Tedford's contract were not disclosed.
While the 40-year-old Tedford has never been a head coach, he was a respected tutor for Heisman Trophy finalist Joey Harrington as well as Akiki Smith, who was selected as the third overall choice in the 1999 NFL draft. As an assistant with at Fresno State, he coached Trent Dilfer, now with the Seattle Seahawks.
Tedford will remain with the Ducks through the Fiesta Bowl against Colorado on Jan. 1. Oregon was 10-1 this year.
NBA player, coach Larry Costello dies
MILWAUKEE, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Larry Costello, who won championships with Wilt Chamberlain as a player and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a coach, died Tuesday. He was 70.
According to a release from the Milwaukee Bucks, Costello died near Fort Myers, Fla. after battling cancer for more than a year. He coached the Bucks to their only championship in 1971.
Costello was a six-time All-Star during his 12-year career as a player with the Philadelphia Warriors and Syracuse Nationals, who later became the Philadelphia 76ers.
He averaged 12.2 points and 3.8 assists and twice led the NBA in free-throw percentage. He was a reserve guard on the 1966-67 76ers, who featured Chamberlain, won 68 games and ended Boston's eight-year hold on the league title.
Costello retired after the following season and was named the first coach of the Bucks in April 1968, a position he held for nine seasons.
In the 1970-71 season, Costello guided a team with Abdul-Jabbar and fellow Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson to a 66-16 record and the NBA championship.
The Bucks won their first title in their third year. They reached the NBA Finals again in 1974, losing to Boston in seven games.
Rangers acquire Barnaby
NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The New York Rangers Wednesday acquired veteran enforcer Matthew Barnaby from the Tampa Bay Lightning for left wing Zdeno Ciger.
Barnaby, the NHL penalty-minutes leader last season who accumulated 112 in 30 career games against the Rangers, adds toughness to a team that is winless in four games (0-3
1) since Dec. 2, when New York blanked Tampa Bay.
Acquired by the Lightning from the Pittsburgh Penguins in February, Barnaby was without a point in 29 games with Tampa Bay this season. He has recorded 70 penalty minutes and a minus-7 plus-minus ratio.
Barnaby signed a multi-year contract with the Lightning during the offseason after tallying five goals, eight assists and 265 penalty minutes in 76 games last season. In 504 career games, the right wing has 66 goals, 101 assists and 1,814 penalty minutes.
Barnaby, who began his career in Buffalo, set career highs with 19 goals and 43 assists for the Sabres in 1996-97.
Ciger had six goals and 13 points in 29 games for the Rangers this season, increasing his NHL career marks to 88 goals and 216 points in 325 games.