NBA, players will go to mediation next week

The NBA and its locked-out players are going to use the same federal mediator who tried to resolve the NFL’s labor dispute months before it eventually ended.

George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said Wednesday that he will oversee negotiations between the NBA and the NBA Players Assn. Those meetings are scheduled to begin Tuesday in New York.

Cohen said he has been in contact with representatives of both sides “for a number of months.”

“I have participated in separate, informal, off-the-record discussions with the principals representing the NBA and the NBPA concerning the status of their collective bargaining negotiations,” Cohen said in a statement issued by FMCS.


“It is evident that the ongoing dispute will result in a serious impact, not only upon the parties directly involved, but also, of major concern, on interstate commerce — i.e., the employers and working men and women who provide services related to the basketball games, and, more generally, on the economy of every city in which those games are scheduled to be played.”

Cohen was present for talks between NFL owners and players for 16 days in February and March but couldn’t bring them to agreement.

The NBA’s labor talks stalled Monday, and the league announced it was calling off the first two weeks of its regular season, which was supposed to begin Nov. 1.

Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin will play on opposing teams in an exhibition game next week at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul among the other NBA superstars expected to fill out the rosters.


Commissioner David Stern has said Oklahoma City, one of the league’s smaller markets, does not have the hotel rooms and other infrastructure to host all that goes along with the NBA’s All-Star game. But the USFleetTracking Basketball Invitational, to be played Oct. 23, will be a rare chance for the community to see many of the league’s stars playing together.

“Obviously, we get to see these players on a one-on-one basis over a [regular-season] schedule, but to get possibly half the All-Star team here on one night, it just doesn’t happen in markets this size,” said organizer Brad Lund of Sold Out Strategies.

Organizers said Durant and Griffin will choose nonprofit organizations, and some proceeds from ticket sales will go to the charities. Lund said some of the players’ expenses will be covered, but “the nonprofit will make more money than the players ever thought of making off of this game.”


Runner took bus to finish line in marathon

Rob Sloan boasted that he had completed an “unbelievably tough” marathon near Newcastle, England, after crossing the finish line in third place with a personal-best time.

Apparently, he didn’t count the bus ride.

Twenty miles into the race, Sloan, 31, hitched a ride on a spectator shuttle bus, and he emerged from the woods near the finish line to make the podium in the Kielder Marathon on Sunday.


Sloan initially described as “laughable” claims that he cheated, but the former army mechanic admitted his transgression after an investigation by organizers.

Sloan was stripped of his third-place medal. His time was listed as 2 hours 51 minutes — 21 minutes faster than his previous best in the race.

Two doctors were negligent in their treatment of U.S. basketball player Chauncey Hardy after he suffered fatal injuries, Romania’s health ministry said.

Hardy, 23, died Sunday after he was punched in a bar in Giurgiu, where he played for a Romanian club. Hardy, who played at Sacred Heart in Connecticut from 2006 to 2010, sustained severe head injuries and died after surgery in a Bucharest hospital.

Health ministry official Raed Arafat said Hardy should have been transferred to Bucharest immediately, instead of 41/2 hours after he arrived in a coma at the Giurgiu hospital.

Arafat said the Giurgiu hospital lacked the equipment needed to determine whether Hardy had a serious skull injury — which meant the doctors on duty should have immediately requested his transfer to Bucharest. Arafat also said Hardy was not properly monitored while in Giurgiu.

University of Florida basketball Coach Billy Donovan is close to signing a five-year contract that would keep him in Gainesville through the 2015-2016 season.

The new deal would include the three years he has remaining on his current deal, which pays him $3.5 million annually, and add two more years. Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said the school will announce financial terms once the deal has been signed.


Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray advanced to the third round of the Shanghai Masters, although only the Spaniard had to step onto the court.

Nadal, the tournament’s top-seeded player, beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-3, 6-2, and Murray moved on when Dmitry Tursunov pulled out because of a thigh injury.

Fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was knocked out by Kei Nishikori, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-4.

Fifth-seeded Sabine Lisicki lost to Alberta Brianti at the Generali Ladies at Linz, Austria, falling 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round.

Five Mexican soccer players who tested positive for clenbuterol before the Gold Cup will not face sanctions after FIFA determined the tests were caused by contaminated meat.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it had dropped its appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where it planned to challenge the Mexico Football Federation’s decision clearing the players of doping.

WADA said it accepted FIFA’s “compelling evidence” from the recent Under-17 World Cup in Mexico that the country has a “serious health problem” with meat contaminated with clenbuterol.

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board revoked the license of Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. and barred him from New York racetracks for 10 years.

The board cited Dutrow’s long history of rules violations, including numerous medication violations. Dutrow won the Derby and the Preakness with Big Brown in 2008.

A Senate committee plans a hearing next week in Washington on “questionable marketing” of sports equipment that is promoted as helping reduce the risk of concussions. Football helmet manufacturers such as Riddell have been criticized for claiming that their helmets reduce concussions.

The IndyCar Series will run at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park on June 3, 2012, marking the first open-wheel championship race in the city since 2008.

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