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Dec. 11, 2012 at 5:46 PM
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Player bounty suspensions vacated

NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Suspensions slapped on four New Orleans Saints players in the team's bounty scandal have been vacated, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Tuesday.

In his statement, Tagliabue affirmed the league's findings in the case, but decided team management deserved more blame than the players.

Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita were penalized by current league Commissioner Roger Goodell in May for their roles in the bounty episode, which paid players bonuses for inflicting injuries on key opposing players from 2009 to 2011.

Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season, Hargrove for eight games, Smith for four games and Fujita for three games.

The penalties were first overturned on appeal in September, but Goodell came right back and reinstated them the next month. A second appeal led to Tagliabue being appointed to look into the matter and he decided to overturn the suspensions.

The NFL players' union had sought to have Tagliabue who was commissioner from 1989 to 2006, removed from any involvement in the bounty case.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis, head Coach Sean Payton and then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams also were suspended.

NHL talks to resume Wednesday

NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A day after wiping out two more weeks of games amidst their three-month lockout of players, NHL officials said contract talks will resume Wednesday.

The location of the talks is a secret, but National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said they won't take place in New York City, NHL.com reported.

Daly said federal mediators will be on hand in an attempt to help the two sides break out of their stalemate.

The last meeting between the NHL and NHL Players Association representatives, held Nov. 28-29 in New York with mediators on hand, ended in failure. More negotiations last week brought some progress, participants said afterward, but no deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Since the lockout began Sept. 16, games have been canceled through Dec. 30, along with the Winter Classic game and the 2013 All-Star Game.

Djokovic, Williams are ITF world champions

LONDON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were honored Tuesday as the 2012 International Tennis Federation world champions.

Djokovic finished the year as the No. 1 ranked men's player. During the year, he defended his Australian Open title and was in the finals at both the French Open and U.S. Open. He won six tournaments in 2012.

Williams had a sterling second half of the year, that included a run that started at Wimbledon and covered 31 wins in 32 matches. She won Wimbledon, the Olympics gold, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships. Williams was third in the final women's rankings.

Twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan were selected the men's doubles world champions for the ninth time in 10 years. Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci took the honor as women's doubles champions.

Canada's Filip Peliwo and U.S. player Taylor Townsend were the junior world champions for 2012.

Ravens' Jackson suspended 4 games

BALTIMORE, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The NFl said Baltimore Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson has been suspended four games for violating its policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The rookie will miss the final three games of the regular season and the fourth game would be Baltimore's first playoff game if the Ravens make the playoffs.

The Ravens have a two-game lead in the AFC North Division.

Jackson has seen action on special teams in the past three games, registering one tackle.

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