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Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:15 PM
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NFL to probe scouts' asking if player gay

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The NFL Players Association said it asked the league to investigate whether scouts at the recent scouting combine asked players about their sexual orientation.

In requesting the investigation the players union said asking such questions violates the law and player rights, USA Today reported Wednesday.

"I know that the NFL agrees that these types of questions violate the law, our CBA [collective bargaining agreement] and player rights," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement. "I hope that they will seek out information as to what teams have engaged in this type of discrimination and we should then discuss appropriate discipline."

The NFL expects its teams to follow applicable laws and its policy is to "neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process," league spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today Sports in an email. "In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation.

Djokovic, top seeds cruise in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Novak Djokovic dropped just three games Thursday in a quarterfinal match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Djokovic was joined by the tournament's other top seeds in posting decisive straight-sets wins. Djokovic will go against fourth-seeded Juan Marin del Potro in the semifinals while second-seeded Roger Federer, the tournament defending champion, meets No. 3-seeded Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic's 65-minute outing was the longest match of the quarterfinals.

Djokovic won the first seven games en route to a 6-0, 6-3 defeat of Andreas Seppi. He won 62 percent of the points in the match and lost only 16 points in eight games serving.

Federer's 6-2, 6-2 win over Nikolay Davydenko capped the quarterfinals. Federer bettered Davydenko in that he lost eight points in eight service games in the 54-minute match. He is 19-2 lifetime versus Davydenko.

Berdych handled Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 6-2 and won 79 percent of the points on serve while del Potro eliminated Daniel Brands 6-4, 6-2, taking 78 percent of the points when serving.

Fichardt leads Euro Tour's Tshwane Open

CENTURION, South Africa, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Darren Fichardt shot a 7-under-par 65 Thursday for the lead after the first round of the European Tour's Tshwane Open in South Africa.

Fichardt was 5-under on his first nine and slipped with a bogey at the seventh hole in taking a one-stroke lead.

Bjorn Akesson was even with Fichardt after an eagle at the par-5 15th but dropped back with a bogey at 17. Keith Horne is tied with Akesson at 6-under 66.

Six players, including David Howell and Mark Tullo, who were bogey-free Thursday, are tied for fourth at 5-under.

The tournament is being played at the Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate, which features the longest hole in European Tour history -- the 685-yard, par-5 fourth hole. It played at an average of 5.09 Thursday.

Lawmaker urges wrestler to keep gold medal

MAKHACHKALA, Russia, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The speaker of a Russian legislature Thursday asked an Olympic wrestling champion not to return his gold medal in protest over the Games cutting the sport.

Sagid Murtazaliev, winner of the heavyweight freestyle wrestling medal for Russia at the 2000 games in Sydney, said he would return his medal after the International Olympic Committee voted last month to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympics, R-Sport reported.

"Do not return the medal," requested Khizri Shikhsaidov, the speaker of the Dagestan regional parliament.

"Don't give it to anyone. That medal belongs to the people of Dagestan, including to me and to all those who passionately followed and supported you," the speaker said.

Murtazaliev said in a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge "the decision to return my Olympic medal was not easy for me."

Wrestling has been included in the Olympics since 1904, but in recent years has had little spectator interest.

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