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Stern blasts agents for lack of deal

November 13, 2011

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NBA

Commissioner David Stern blamed “greedy’’ NBA agents yesterday for trying to scuttle a labor deal and believes they are trying to push their clients into a “losing strategy’’ of decertification. And Stern says neither the threat of that process nor any request from the union will change the league’s negotiating position, repeating there would be no further discussions about the revised proposal it offered Thursday. If players don’t accept it, Stern reiterated that he would move to the harsher proposal that is waiting. Stern is aware of the numerous comments from players criticizing the proposal, and fears they aren’t getting the proper information about its contents because agents worry it will cost themselves money. “By some combination of mendacity and greed, the agents who are looking out for themselves rather than their clients are trying to scuttle the deal,’’ Stern said in a phone interview with the Associated Press. “They’re engaged in what appears to be an orchestrated Twitter campaign and a series of interviews that are designed to deny the economic realities of the proposal.’’ Player representatives will meet tomorrow and decide if they should put it to a vote. The indication Thursday from union leaders was that they weren’t impressed with it, and a number of players have since been quoted saying they would shoot down the deal.

MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Dos Santos claims heavyweight crown

Junior Dos Santos stopped Cain Velasquez just 1:04 into their UFC heavyweight title bout at Anaheim, Calif., claiming Velasquez’s belt and bringing a swift end to the mixed martial arts promotion’s prime-time network debut. Dos Santos (14-1) hit Velasquez (9-1) with an overhand right early in the first round, dropping the previously unbeaten champion to the canvas. The Brazilian challenger jumped onto Velasquez, who defended himself briefly before finally succumbing to Dos Santos’s relentless ground-and-pound blows. The brief fight was the only event on a one-hour broadcast on Fox, which signed the UFC to a seven-year broadcast deal this year.

TENNIS

Federer, Tsonga to meet for Paris title

Roger Federer played a brilliant match against Tomas Berdych yesterday to set up a Paris Masters final today against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who saved three match points against American John Isner. Federer used his strong serve and did not face a break point in cruising past Berdych, 6-4, 6-3. Tsonga edged the unseeded Isner, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-3), in a gritty contest lasting nearly three hours, a contrast to Federer’s 80-minute victory. Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, broke Berdych’s serve at the start of each set to take control. Tsonga and Federer will meet for the sixth time this year, and first since the US Open quarterfinals when Federer prevailed.

NHL

Broken finger KO’s Ducks’ Visnovsky

Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will be out for about four weeks but will not need surgery after breaking a finger on his right hand. Visnovsky was hurt when a shot hit his hand in the final minute of Anaheim’s 4-3 victory over the Canucks Friday night. Visnovsky was the NHL’s top-scoring defenseman last season with 68 points, and he played through a serious shoulder injury into the postseason in his first full season with Anaheim.

MISCELLANY

Mroz is first to land a quadruple lutz

Brandon Mroz of the United States made skating history in Sapporo, Japan, by becoming the first to land a quadruple lutz in international competition. Mroz, 20, hit the quadruple lutz on his opening jump in the men’s short program at the Grand Prix series NHK Trophy, where he placed third behind Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi and Takahiko Kozuka. Mroz previously made the quadruple lutz Sept. 16 at the Colorado Spring Invitational, a US Figure Skating sanctioned event . . . Charlie Lea, 54, the first French-born pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the major leagues, died Friday at his home in Collierville, Tenn. The cause of death was not known. Lea threw a no-hitter for the Expos against the Giants in 1981. Obituary, B9 . . . Michael Phelps won two more races (200-meter butterfly, 100 backstroke) at the Minneapolis Grand Prix and 44-year-old Dara Torres finished third in her only event of the weekend as she attempts to qualify for her sixth Olympics. Six-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte finished fourth in the 100 backstroke . . . Jamaican runner Usain Bolt won a record-tying third Athlete of the Year award . . . Frank Lampard scored on a header four minutes into the second half in Wembley to lead England past Spain, 1-0, the fourth loss for the Spaniards since they won the 2010 World Cup. Spain has also lost to Argentina, Portugal, and Italy . . . Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel tied Nigel Mansell’s record of 14 poles in a season at the Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) Grand Prix on the final lap of qualifying in United Arab Emirates . . . Joey Gratton, of Sarasota, Fla., died at a trauma center in Miami, one day after he and teammate Stephen Page rolled over on the final lap of Friday’s powerboat race in Miami. Page, of Fort Myers, Fla., was admitted to a hospital in good condition and released.

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