Friday's Sports In Brief

Friday's Sports In Brief
February 9, 2013, 3:12 am
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SUPER BOWL OUTAGE

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The company that supplied electricity to the Super Bowl said the blackout that halted the big game was caused by a device it installed specially to prevent a power failure.

But the utility stopped short of taking all the blame and said Friday that it was looking into whether the electrical relay at fault had a design flaw or a manufacturing defect.

The relay had been installed as part of a project begun in 2011 to upgrade the electrical system serving the Superdome in anticipation of the championship game. The equipment was supposed to guard against problems in the cable that links the power grid with lines that go into the stadium.

Entergy officials said the relay functioned with no problems during January's Sugar Bowl and other earlier events. It has been removed and will be replaced.

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PATERNO

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Breaking more than a year of silence, Sue Paterno defended her late husband as a ``moral, disciplined'' man who never twisted the truth to avoid bad publicity.

The wife of the former Penn State coach is fighting back against the accusations against Joe Paterno that followed the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Her campaign started with a letter sent Friday to former Penn State players.

She wrote that the family's exhaustive response to former FBI director Louis Freeh's report for the university on the Sandusky child sex abuse case will officially be released to the public at 9 a.m. Sunday on paterno.com. Freeh in July accused Joe Paterno and three university officials of covering up allegations against Sandusky, a retired defensive coordinator.

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BASEBALL

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Felix Hernandez won't pitch for Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

The Seattle Mariners ace said in an interview with the Venezuelan sports newspaper Lider that it was a difficult decision to sit out. But he says he should think of his future and denied being influenced by any type of pressure from the Mariners.

Hernandez and the Mariners are working on a $175 million, seven-year contract that would make him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner is concerned about the latest drug allegations swirling around third baseman Alex Rodriguez, but that the matter is being looked at by Major League Baseball.

The Miami New Times reported late last month that the three-time AL MVP bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances in recent years from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed clinic in Coral Cables, near Rodriguez's offseason home.

Speaking at the Yankees' minor league complex, Steinbrenner said the situation is ``a concern, but it's out of our hands.'' Rodriguez has denied the allegations. He admitted four years ago that he used PEDs from 2001-03.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks and second baseman Aaron Hill reached a deal that will keep him under contract through the 2016 season.

The deal adds three years and $35 million to his existing deal, which pays him $5.5 million this year. That means the overall contract is worth $40.5 million over the next four years.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates completed a one-year contract with Francisco Liriano that was delayed after the left-hander injured his non-pitching arm over the holidays.

The Pirates announced the deal and said it also includes a vesting option for the 2014 season. Pittsburgh had agreed to a $14 million, two-year contract with Liriano in December, pending a physical. But then Liriano got hurt, putting his status with the Pirates in jeopardy.

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PRO FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - NFL greats Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk are appearing in a public service announcement in favor of gun law reforms.

The spot released Friday is paid for by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which was founded by New York City's Michael Bloomberg and Boston's Thomas Menino. A solemn Smith speaks into the camera: ``For the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.'' Then Tomlinson adds, ``Demand a plan.'' Faulk says later: ``It's time for our leaders to do something.''

Mayors Against Illegal Guns says on its website that it ``advocates for common-sense measures that will close deadly gaps in our gun laws and make sure law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to detect and deter gun trafficking.''

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Charlotte's City Council agreed to a plan that would give the Carolina Panthers nearly $144 million from a food-and-beverage tax hike to pay for upgrades to its downtown stadium, Mayor Anthony Foxx said.

Foxx said North Carolina General Assembly approval would be needed for the city to increase its prepared food-and-beverage tax by one cent. That part of the deal hasn't been settled. The money would be paid over 15 years and requires the team to stay in Charlotte for that period of time.

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SOCCER

JERUSALEM (AP) - An apparent arson attack on the offices of leading Israeli soccer club Beitar Jerusalem has put a spotlight on longstanding concerns over growing anti-Arab racism among the nation's soccer fans.

The fire, which destroyed historic trophies and mementos, comes after the team broke with its unofficial tradition and signed two Muslim players from Chechnya, enraging its most xenophobic fan-base that has a history of chanting anti-Islam slurs at games.

The incident drew immediate rebukes and promises of a crackdown by authorities ahead of a charged home game against an Arab team that will likely be the debut match for one of the new Muslim players.

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TENNIS

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AP) - Rafael Nadal said testing for performance-enhancing drugs in sports should strike a balance between catching the cheats and respecting the athletes.

``Not everyone has to pay for some sinners,'' Nadal said Friday at the VTR Open in Chile.

Nadal said earlier this week that he had passed six blood and urine tests since losing June 28 at Wimbledon. He took seven months off to recover from a left knee injury before returning in Chile.

An 11-time Grand Slam winner, Nadal said it should be made public who is being tested and how frequently.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is in talks with LSU coach Les Miles to run the Tigers' offense, said a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete. The person says LSU hopes to have an official announcement next week.

The 52-year-old Cameron was fired by Ravens coach John Harbaugh after a Week 14 loss to the Washington Redskins. Following some late-season struggles, Baltimore went on to win the Super Bowl with former Colts coach Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - More than 150 potential jurors packed a hotel ballroom for the rape trial of a former University of Montana quarterback, as attorneys attempted to seat an impartial panel in a town where Griz football is king.

Jury selection in the trial of Jordan Johnson took place at the Holiday Inn after District Judge Karen Townsend said no courtroom was large enough to hold the massive jury pool. The high-profile case is set against a backdrop of NCAA and federal investigations of how the school and the city of Missoula respond to rape allegations on campus.

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AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Rusty Wallace touched on his early days trying to make it as a professional race car driver, the lessons he learned from NASCAR's pioneers and his relentless push to drive for Roger Penske in an energetic acceptance into the Hall of Fame.

Then Wallace, winner of 55 races and the 1989 championship, called his induction ``the biggest day of my driving career.''

Wallace was the headliner of the fourth Hall of Fame class, which included innovative mechanic and crew chief Leonard Wood, former series champions Buck Baker and Herb Thomas and former car owner Cotton Owens. Wallace and Wood are the only two living members of this year's class.

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MIAMI AD

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Blake James was hired as Miami's athletic director after serving in the job in an interim capacity for the past four months.

Miami officials made the announcement, confirming it after a meeting of the university's board of trustees. It was widely expected that James would get the job, which he first assumed on a temporary basis when Shawn Eichorst left for the same role at Nebraska in early October.