Bird Admits Being in Bar, Site of Altercation


Larry Bird conceded he was in a Boston bar where a bartender says the Celtics’ star slugged him during the National Basketball Assn. playoffs in May, Bird’s attorney said Tuesday.

The fight allegedly occurred before Bird disclosed a right index-finger injury that damaged his effectiveness in the NBA finals, which the Celtics lost to the Lakers.

“I spoke to Larry, and Larry says he was there and gives a completely different account of what happened,” said attorney Bob Woolf, who also has served as Bird’s agent.


He declined to disclose Bird’s version and said that he has received no demand for money damages.

“It’s kind of interesting,” Woolf said. “I don’t know what they’re looking for.”

Woolf said he spoke by telephone with Bird before making plans to meet later this week with attorneys for the bartender and a woman friend who claim they were involved in a May 16 altercation with Bird.

Police in suburban Virginia last week arrested Washington Redskin running back John Riggins on a charge of being drunk in public, authorities said.

Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Carol Kitzerow said police picked up the 35-year-old Riggins at 1:50 a.m. last Thursday while he was riding in a car driven by Stuart Miller in Reston, Va. Miller, 40, of Arlington, Va., was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Both men were released after appearing before a magistrate early Thursday and spent no time in jail, Chief Deputy Sheriff Carl Peed said.

Riggins is set to appear in the county’s General District Court on Oct. 24, and the maximum penalty in Virginia for a drunk-in-public charge is a $100 fine.

In an interview with Washington television station WJLA, Riggins said: “I categorically deny the charges. Stuart Miller and I will be exonerated when the case will be heard. I feel badly that it causes embarrassment to my family and the Redskins but I am innocent and it only could happen to me.”

Gerry Cooney, the 27-year-old heavyweight whose only loss was in a title bid against Larry Holmes, has announced his retirement from boxing.

“Gerry couldn’t get up for these other guys,” manager Dennis Rappaport said of Cooney, who has fought only twice since being stopped by Holmes in the 13th round in a bid for the World Boxing Council title June 11, 1982, at Las Vegas.

“He always wanted another shot at Larry, but it has become abundantly clear that Holmes has no intention of giving Gerry a rematch. That being the case, Gerry felt he couldn’t deceive the public by giving anything less than his best against other opponents.”

Cooney (27-1, with 24 knockouts) had no immediate comment.

Ken Stabler has agreed to a settlement of a $20 million libel suit in which the remaining defendants were the National Broadcasting Co. and RCA Corp., his lawyer said.

Craig Ball said terms called for Stabler, now living in Gulf Shores, Ala., to receive money but that all details, including who will make the payments, were confidential.

The suit was filed in 1982 against NBC; RCA, the network’s parent company, and the New York Times, citing reports alleging that Stabler had ties to organized gambling and had thrown games or shaved points when he was quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.

The Times was dismissed from the suit Monday by U.S. District Judge Gabrielle McDonald. Times attorney John G. Koeltl said Stabler decided not to pursue the case against the newspaper, which he said did not agree to pay Stabler or print a retraction of an Aug. 30, 1981, article cited in the suit.

A group of local investors came to the rescue of the Tampa Bay Bandits, putting up the money for the United States Football League team’s payroll just minutes before the players would have become free agents.

Ralph Campbell, the club’s general manager, said the group, led by architect Lee Scarfone, enabled the club to beat a 4 p.m. deadline to pay most of the roster for the final game of the 1985 regular season.

In other USFL news, the financially ailing Portland Breakers were given another 17 hours to convince the players’ association to extend the deadline for paying their 50 players. Breaker Vice President Jack Galmiche said talks were planned through Tuesday night in an attempt to resolve the problem and prevent the entire squad from being placed on waivers.

A North Korean official proposed that Seoul, South Korea, and Pyongyang, North Korea, co-host the 1988 Olympics and that the two countries take part as a single, unified team, the North Korean Central News Agency reported.

Chong Jun Gi claims that countries which are considering boycotting the Olympics in West-supported South Korea would take part if the Games were staged in both sites.