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Australian Open doubles match was fixed?

A sports betting website suspended action on the Australian Open after suspecting that a mixed doubles match was fixed.  The New York Times reported that the website Pinnacle Sports stopped taking bets on the match between Lara Arruabarrena/David Marrero against Andrea Hlavackova/Lukasz Kubot when almost all the early action was on the side of Hlavackova/Kubot.  The latter pair won 6-0, 6-3.  A total of $25,000 was wagered on the match, more than ten times what was anticipated.  This came just a week after the BBC reported that in the past as many as 16 players, including Grand Slam winners, have engaged in predetermining the outcomes of doubles matches.    


Griffin breaks hand in scuffle with equipment worker

Loa Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin is nearly recovered from a quadriceps injury that has caused him to miss 14 games.  But he will miss more time than that because of a second injury: a broken right hand incurred in a scuffle with an equipment staffer.  ESPN and other media outlets reported that on a recent trip to Toronto, Griffin and the equipment man began arguing in a restaurant.  Griffin hit the man, who then went outside.  Griffin followed him and hit him again, bruising his face.  Both men were sent home.  Griffin is expected to be out several more weeks because of this latest injury.


LeBron draws hate for Blatt firing with his team in first

David Blatt became the first NBA coach to be fired with his team in first place.  The Cleveland Cavaliers, leading the Eastern Conference, replaced Blatt with his top assistant, Tyronn Lue, as interim coach.  There had been rampant media speculation that Blatt would be fired at the behest of the team’s star player, LeBron James.  Although James denied he had anything to do with the firing, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Bill Livingston insisted, “Everything that happens in that franchise is cleared with LeBron.”  The move was not widely criticized in Cleveland but drew ire in Israel, where Blatt had won championships.  According to a Jerusalem newspaper, Agence France-Presse, “LeBron is now the most hated person in Israel.” 


Temple fans storm court after upsetting SMU

Larry Brown, coach of the previously unbeaten SMU Mustangs, was shocked when Temple fans stormed the court after their tradition-rich team won the game 89-80 at Temple.  Brown: “Can you believe Temple stormed the court after beating SMU?  Oh my God, the fifth-winningest program in America is beating this elitist school?”  The Mustangs, 18-1, are having the best season in their history, but they’re ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA infractions.  Brown was suspended for the first nine games for lack of oversight.


Mizzou QB suspended in alleged cocaine scandal

Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended indefinitely when video surfaced online of him appearing to snort a suspicious white powder.  “Mauk missing the line just like he misses receivers,” tweeted Ray King @Ray56King.   Mizzou’s Athletics Department issued this statement:  “We are currently gathering information regarding the video in question.  This is an issue we take very seriously within our program.”  This is the third time Mauk has been suspended, once for violating team policies and once for participating in an altercation in a bar.


Patriots linebacker rescues woman from burning car

Darius Fleming, backup linebacker for the New England Patriots, rescued a woman by punching out a window in her smoke-filled car.  Fleming said that after leaving Gillette Stadium he saw a semi-truck make a sudden stop, causing a pileup of cars behind it.  “I tried to open the doors but they wouldn’t work,” he said.  “I tried kicking the window and eventually it broke.  I pulled her out and made sure she was OK.  My leg was bleeding.”  He received stitches in his leg and played two days later in a playoff game against Kansas City.


Antwaan Randle El regrets playing football

We’re seeing a procession of football players retiring early or expressing regret that they played a game that causes permanent brain damage.  Latest to denounce the sport is Antwaan Randle El, who played wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.  Now only 36, Randle El said he’s suffering severe memory loss.  He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that.’”  He’s also lost motor skills, which he attributes to brain damage.  He has difficulty descending a staircase.  “I have to come own sideways, sometimes,” he said.  Randle El, who was drafted on baseball’s 14th round, wishes now that he had chosen that sport over football.  “It’s a physically violent game,” he said.  “Football players are in a car wreck every week.  I would not be surprised if football is not around in 20, 25 years.”


Gostkowski says his first missed PAT ‘lost the game’

Stephen Gostkowski is the most accurate placekicker in the NFL.  He had succeeded on a league-record 523 straight extra-point attempts before missing.  But he was distraught when the miss came at the worst possible time: the AFC championship game.  When the reigning champions, the New England Patriots, scored a touchdown in the first quarter, Gostkowski failed to convert the kick, which meant that when they pulled to 20-18 in the closing seconds, they had to try a 2-point conversion, which failed.  “It’s a nightmare scenario,” Gostkowski said.  “I lost the game.”  In fairness to Gostkowski, two interceptions by Tom Brady and some questionable decisions by coach Bill Belichick to gamble on fourth downs also were part of the nightmare.


2 weeks after broken arm, Davis to play in Super Bowl 

Thomas Davis, Pro Bowl linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, left the field during the NFC Championship Game with a broken right firearm.  Nonetheless, he intends to play in the Super Bowl a week from this Sunday.  “I ain’t missing the Super Bowl,” Davis said.  “You better believe that.”  Indeed, doctors have said Davis probably can play, wearing a splint and light cast on the injured forearm.  Panthers coach Ron Rivera said receiver Steve Smith played with a similar injury in the 2009 season.

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