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Three Pacers Are Sentenced for Brawl

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Indiana Pacer players Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson were sentenced to a year’s probation Friday in Rochester Hills, Mich., plus 60 hours of community service and were assessed $250 fines for their roles in one of the worst brawls in U.S. sports history.

The three -- all of whom entered pleas of no contest -- were also ordered to undergo anger-management counseling, although Oakland County assistant prosecutor John Pietrofesa said Artest had already completed the counseling as part of his NBA suspension.

“We’re very satisfied with the resolution today,” Pietrofesa said. “They decided to take responsibility and to move forward, and that’s probably the best thing for everyone involved.”

The brawl occurred Nov. 19, during a game against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

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A no-contest plea in Michigan is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

A fourth player charged in the brawl, David Harrison, faces an Oct. 3 hearing. A fifth, Anthony Johnson, pleaded no contest last week to a count of misdemeanor assault and battery and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 7.

Motor Racing

Dodge driver Ryan Newman swept the poles for weekend NASCAR races on the mile track at Dover International Speedway.

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Newman, the winner last week at Loudon, N.H., was the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series MBNA 400 with a lap of 158.02 mph.

Earlier in the day, Newman knocked Busch Series leader Martin Truex Jr. off the pole for today’s Dover 200, posting a speed of 156.419 mph. Truex had driven 155.682 in a Chevrolet.

Defending champion Sebastien Bourdais, driving a Ford-powered Cosworth, won the pole for tonight’s Champ Car World Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a fast lap of 204.693 mph.

Tennis

Top-ranked Maria Sharapova defeated Shinobu Asagoe, 6-4, 6-1, in the quarterfinals of the China Open at Beijing. Sharapova’s semifinal opponent is Maria Kirilenko, who defeated Sun Tiantian, 6-1, 6-3.

Third-seeded Venus Williams withdrew before her quarterfinal match against Marta Domachowska, citing an injury to her left knee.

Domachowska advanced and will play ninth-seeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who beat Peng Shuai, 7-5, 6-1.

Hockey

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Martha Burk, who led an unsuccessful effort to allow female members at Augusta National Golf Club three years ago, called the NHL’s newest television advertisement “gratuitous” because it shows a scantily clad woman dressing a hockey player before he heads onto the ice.

Burk plans to send letters of protest to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. NBC is scheduled to run the commercial next week.

Jurisprudence

Former Oakland Raider center Barret Robbins will be held without bond until his trial sometime next year on attempted murder and other charges stemming from a January brawl with police.

Robbins had been free on $51,000 bond and was undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder at a hospital in Texas. But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Kevin Emas revoked that bond after Robbins was arrested Aug. 13 on suspicion of possessing marijuana in San Antonio.

Emas ordered Robbins held in a special psychiatric wing of the Miami-Dade County Jail “until the case is resolved.” No trial date has been set.

Miscellany

Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points to lead Germany past Slovenia, 76-62, and into the semifinals of the European Basketball Championships against Spain at Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro.

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Spain advanced by beating Croatia, 100-85, in overtime, with Juan Carlos Navarro scoring the last 12 points of the game. Fran Vasquez scored with three seconds left to tie the score, at 73-73, at the end of regulation.

Tony Bennett, Washington State associate basketball coach, will replace his father, Dick Bennett, as head coach of the Cougars, whenever the senior Bennett steps down.

Athletic Director Jim Sterk said he’d told the Bennetts over the summer that he intended to formalize the succession plan, which has the support of school President V. Lane Rawlins. Sterk also said that Dick Bennett, 62, who had committed to coaching this season, could remain coach as long as he wants.


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