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NHL decries throwing of banana on ice

The NHL said Friday that the throwing of a banana from the stands during an exhibition hockey game involving a black player was “stupid and ignorant.”

The banana was thrown from the crowd in London, Ontario, on Thursday as Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, who is black, was skating toward the Detroit goal during a shootout.

“We have millions of great fans who show tremendous respect for our players and for the game,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “The obviously stupid and ignorant action by one individual is in no way representative of our fans or the people of London, Ontario.”

Simmonds scored in the shootout of the Red Wings’ 4-3 victory. He also scored with less than a minute left in the third period to make the score 3-3.

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The 23-year-old Simmonds was acquired from the Kings in a June trade. He is eager to move on from Thursday’s incident.

Black soccer players have had to contend with bananas being thrown at them and other racist taunts for years, particularly in Eastern Europe and Russia.

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Europe overcame a spirited rally by the United States in the fourballs to lead 4 1/2 -3 1/2 Friday after the opening day of the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle, Dunsany, Ireland.

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With the sides even at 2-2 following the morning foursomes, rookie Caroline Hedwall and fellow Swede Sophie Gustafson put Europe 3-2 ahead with a 5 and 4 win over Vicky Hurst and Brittany Lincicome.

Europe was up in the other three matches at that stage but Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer came back from one down with two to play to beat Europe’s Laura Davies and Melissa Reid by one hole.

Creamer birdied the 17th from 18 feet to even the match and Pressel then holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th for the win. It left Davies still needing one point to overtake Annika Sorenstam and become the Solheim Cup record points scorer.

Catriona Matthew and Sandra Gal were two up with three to play against Christina Kim and Ryann O’Toole. But the Americans salvaged a half point when Kim birdied the 16th and O’Toole birdied the 17th to level before the 18th was shared at par.

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“It’s not over until it’s over,” U.S. captain Rosie Jones said. “That’s why they put all 18 holes up in there. That’s why I give this team so much credit is because they don’t give up, they don’t like to lose.”

Europe held on to win the fourball session 2 1/2 -1 1/2 when Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist, who where three up at the turn, won the 18th to beat Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie by two holes.

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John Daly walked off the course during the second round of the Austrian Open at Atzenbrugg after a dispute with officials over a ball drop and two-shot penalty.

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After completing the 15th hole, Daly was told by referee Andy McFee he had dropped his ball in the wrong place after it landed in an unplayable position under a TV tower. Instead of accepting the two-shot penalty, Daly decided to quit. He was four-over before the penalty.

The 45-year-old Daly, a two-time major champion nicknamed ‘Wild Thing,’ had thrown a club into the water after a mis-hit on the same hole.

Robert Coles of England shot a seven-under 65 for the best round of the day to share the lead with Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, Thomas Norret of Denmark and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied past Nicolas Mahut, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to move into the semifinals of the Moselle Open at Metz, France.

He’ll face third-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, who was leading 6-3, 1-0 when Xavier Malisse of Belgium retired.

Gilles Muller of Luxembourg upset second-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-4. Muller will play 2005 champion Ivan Ljubicic, who beat Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling, 6-4, 6-3. … Top-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela advanced to the semifinals of the Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest, Romania, by beating seventh-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy, 7-5, 6-3.

Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez reached the semifinals of the Korea Open in Seoul by beating third-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany, 7-6 (6), 6-1.

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The sixth-seeded Spaniard will next meet Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic on Saturday in the semifinals at the Olympic Park. Zakopalova defeated Vania King of the United States, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

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Australia defeated a second-string U.S. team, 67-5, in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. The U.S., with one win and two losses, is in fourth place in it’s five-nation pool with one game remaining, against Italy on Tuesday. The top two teams in each of he four divisions advance.

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Denying corruption claims in the “strongest possible terms,” amateur boxing’s governing body set up a special committee Friday to investigate allegations of attempts to fix results at the 2012 London Olympics.

The International Amateur Boxing Assn. said a five-man panel will look into claims made in a BBC television program that $9 million has been paid by Azerbaijan to ensure the former Soviet republic wins two gold medals at the games. Bribes were allegedly paid to the World Series of Boxing, a subsidiary of AIBA.

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Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain was arrested at the Michigan border with Canada on a fugitive fraud warrant issued in Louisiana.

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The warrant was issued by the St. Charles Sheriff’s Department in Louisiana. The alleged fraud involved more than $1,500, St. Charles Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange said.


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