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LA Kings' Voynov charged with domestic violence

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was charged with felony domestic violence on Thursday by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Voynov faces one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury. In a statement providing the first public details of the incident, the district attorney's office said Voynov "caused his wife to suffer injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck" during an argument at their home, several hours after the Kings won an afternoon game.

The 24-year-old Russian Olympian has been suspended since his arrest early Oct. 20 at a hospital in Torrance, California. He had taken his wife to the hospital for treatment of injuries from their home in nearby Redondo Beach.

Craig Renetzky, Voynov's attorney, has repeatedly said his client didn't hit his wife. Renetzky also said Voynov shouldn't have been arrested, blaming a misunderstanding between police and Voynov's wife, who speaks even less English than her husband.

"Mr. Voynov is extremely disappointed that the district attorney's office elected to file charges," Renetzky said in a statement. "Mr. Voynov maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name in court. We remain confident."

Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the NHL before he even posted bail on the morning of his arrest. The Kings have wholeheartedly supported the league's disciplinary actions, and they affirmed that position in a statement issued by the team after Voynov was charged.

"We are aware of the actions taken today in California, which we will review and evaluate before making any decisions," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "Until further notice, the current terms of Mr. Voynov's suspension remain in place."

The NHL's position means the Kings will not receive salary cap relief in the absence of Voynov, who is still being paid his $3 million salary during his suspension. With Voynov still counting against the cap, Los Angeles was forced to play with five defensemen earlier this month while unable to recall anyone from the minors to fill in for an injured player.

"As an organization we will continue to closely monitor the developments of the legal proceedings and work in partnership with the NHL to determine the proper course of action in the future," the Kings said in their statement.

Voynov isn't allowed to practice or play for the team, but he has been skating at the Kings' training complex after their practices, sometimes under the supervision of an assistant coach.

Voynov will be arraigned Dec. 1 in Torrance. The charge carries a maximum penalty of nine years in prison, and Voynov also could face deportation.

Voynov is a two-time Stanley Cup champion who also played for Russia at the Sochi Olympics. He will miss his 14th straight game Thursday night when the Kings host Carolina.

Through her own attorney, Voynov's wife previously said she didn't want charges filed against the defenseman, but California authorities aren't required to consider such wishes when deciding to file charges.

Voynov and his wife got married during the summer. They are still living together and raising her child from a prior relationship.

Voynov earned a spot in the Kings' lineup as a rookie during their run to their first Stanley Cup title in 2011-12. He scored a career-best 34 points last season, and he has two assists in six games this year.

The Kings signed Voynov to a six-year, $25 million contract extension in June 2013.

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:54:00 +0000
NBA union head: Taylor suspension violates CBA

NEW YORK (AP) The executive director of the NBA Players Association said Thursday the suspension given to Charlotte's Jeffery Taylor by Commissioner Adam Silver is "excessive, without precedent and a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement."

Michele Roberts adds that the union is ready to file an immediate appeal, but that the choice is Taylor's.

Silver suspended Taylor for 24 games without pay on Wednesday after the forward pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property. Taylor will lose nearly $200,000 of his $915,000 salary this season.

Taylor will get credit for the 11 games he has missed, and will sit out an additional 13 for a total which is slightly more than one-fourth of the league's 82-game schedule.

"The CBA contemplates a minimum 10-game suspension in any case involving a conviction for a violent felony, including domestic violence. In contrast, Jeff Taylor was charged with a misdemeanor that is likely to be dismissed at the end of a probationary period," Roberts said in a statement.

Taylor was sentenced to 18 months of probation. As part of his probation, he must complete 26 weeks in a domestic violence intervention program.

Silver issued a statement Wednesday in which he said: "This suspension is necessary to protect the interests of the NBA and the public's confidence in it. Mr. Taylor's conduct violates applicable law and, in my opinion, does not conform to standards of morality and is prejudicial and detrimental to the NBA."

But Roberts notes that the penalty is one of the longest in NBA history.

"We have a scheme of discipline that was the result of collective bargaining between the parties that has been applied consistently over the years," she said. "While we appreciate the sensitivity of this societal issue, the Commissioner is not entitled to rewrite the rules or otherwise ignore precedent in disciplinary matters."

Taylor can appeal the suspension to an independent arbitrator.

"While ultimately this is Jeff's decision, we stand ready to file an immediate appeal on his behalf," Roberts said.

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:11:00 +0000
Manfred given 5-year term as baseball commissioner

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Praising the transition as quick and orderly, Bud Selig announced Thursday that baseball owners unanimously approved a five-year term for Rob Manfred, who will succeed the longtime commissioner early next year.

Selig spoke at the conclusion of two days of meetings in Kansas City, where owners discussed a variety of issues that included pace of play, instant replay and domestic violence initiatives.

Selig will chair his final owners' meeting in January in Arizona.

"I've been so busy and every day is so frenetic that the last month or two, I'm sure I'll spend a lot of time thinking about it," Selig said, "but you know, we are where we want to be. We're having a wonderful transition, orderly transition, good transition. That's very important."

Manfred, who has worked for MLB since 1998, was chosen to replace the 80-year-old Selig in August over Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. He will assume office Jan. 25.

"It hits me every day when I go to work," Manfred said. "I agree with Commissioner Selig, we've had a really productive and smooth transition."

One of Manfred's mandates will be to attract young fans back to baseball, and many believe that will involve speeding up the game. The average time of a nine-inning game increased from 2 hours, 33 minutes, in 1981 to a record 3:02 this year, with postseason games stretching nearly 4 hours.

Selig appointed a committee chaired by Braves President John Schuerholz to discuss ways to improve the pace of play. Among the ideas experimented during the Arizona Fall League were pitch clocks and requiring hitters to remain in the batter's box between pitches.

MLB can't alter the rules for 2015 without agreement from the players' association, though it can implement changes unilaterally with one year advance notice. Selig said union head Tony Clark and other representatives from the players' association provided their input.

"I want the committee to continue to do its work," Selig said. "This was very productive in terms of ideas. The experience in the Arizona Fall League made quite an impact on a lot of people."

When changes may be implemented at the major league level remains to be seen. Selig said he wants to "push them" and will have more to say on the subject in the next couple months.

Owners also spent time discussing the first season of expanded instant replay, largely considered a success after several calls were overturned during the postseason.

The system also slowed games. Given the opportunity to challenge everything from force and tag plays to fan interference and home runs, managers often stalled in the middle of the diamond while awaiting word from their dugout whether to contest a call.

"I think the core of replay will be similar," Manfred said. "I think the changes we're contemplating - without getting into them - are largely technology improvements. ... I think there are also some issues related to exactly how long it takes to get replay going."

MLB Executive Vice President Joe Torre said during a recent meeting of general managers in Phoenix that putting a stop to all the lingering would be a priority.

"That's one area we'll do something differently," Torre said. "I'm not sure what that is, but certainly we will eliminate some of that standing around because 10 seconds is a long time."

Selig also applauded the record-breaking $325 million. 13-year deal reached by the Miami Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton, calling it the "objective of everything we did" in changes to the game's economic model, which included revenue sharing and luxury taxes.

"What I like is individual franchises making decisions to make themselves better, Selig said. "I've been reading all the clips, and I do think they're happy in South Florida, and they should be. It's a good sign, a very good sign for them, and that's how you have to look at it."

MLB Executive Vice President Dan Halem provided owners with an update on a comprehensive domestic violence program that is being developed for players and non-players alike. Domestic violence has become an issue of increased importance across professional sports.

To underscore that point, Selig announced the Seattle Mariners had received the Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence for their "Refuse to Abuse" program. The state-wide educational initiative is designed to promote healthy relationships in Washington state.

"It was really great competition. We had three or four clubs, tough decisions to make," Selig said. "It's a program that goes around the state of Washington on domestic abuse, and they've been doing it a long time. This isn't something that just happened."

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:24:00 +0000
Former UNLV coach Tarkanian hospitalized in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) Naismith Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian is hospitalized in Las Vegas, where his son says he's being treated for pneumonia.

Danny Tarkanian said Thursday that the 84-year-old former Runnin' Rebels coach was stabilized and undergoing medical tests after being taken by ambulance Wednesday to Valley Hospital Medical Center.

Danny Tarkanian says his father has a heart condition and is susceptible to chest and lung illness.

The coach dubbed "Tark the Shark" was hospitalized for 10 days in April after a heart attack, his second. He had just returned home from a trip to the NCAA Final Four in North Texas.

Tarkanian led three schools to the NCAA tournament, including the 1990 UNLV team that won a national title.

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:40:00 +0000
NFL fines Lynch $100K for not speaking to media

RENTON, Wash. (AP) For all the noise he creates on the field, Marshawn Lynch's silence with the media has now cost him six figures in fines.

The NFL fined Seattle's star $50,000 on Wednesday for violations of the league's media policy. League spokesman Michael Signora confirmed the fine.

Along with the $50,000 for violating the NFL Media Policy this year, the league is collecting the $50,000 fine that was imposed against Lynch for violations last season. The fine from 2013 was held in anticipation of future cooperation from Lynch.

The league's media policy mandates that players must be available during the week and in the locker room following all games. Lynch has only spoken to reporters postgame after Seattle's Week 9 victory over Oakland and did not talk the past two weeks after games against the Giants and Kansas City.

This is Lynch's third fine for violations of the league's media policy.

"I'm aware of it," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It's the rules and all of that."

Lynch spoke at his locker on Wednesday for nearly 10 minutes, but almost every question was answered by talking about music or his shoes.

When asked if he had any input in designing his shoes, Lynch said, "In this league you really don't have a lot of input in nothing. Just your play. That's about it."

The news of Lynch's fine came after he helped light up social media along with teammate Ricardo Lockette. The duo went out of their way to return a lost wallet on their way back from an appearance at the site of a recent school shooting.

Lynch and Lockette appeared at Marysville-Pilchuck High on Tuesday along with other Seahawks players. While stopping at a gas station on their way back, the pair noticed that Jason Lynch had dropped his wallet. The pair found that Jason Lynch lived about 20 minutes away and drove to his neighborhood, eventually leaving the wallet with a neighbor because Lynch was not at home.

Jason Lynch later posted about the events on social media.

"It was all (Marshawn's) idea pretty much, though. He was like `We should take it back,"' Lockette said.

Lynch's reclusiveness with the media became a major story at this year's Super Bowl media day. Lynch appeared for 6 1/2 minutes, left the Newark, New Jersey, arena, then returned to a `'mixed zone" the NFL created for players not on podiums or in microphone-equipped speaking areas at the Prudential Center. With the exception of briefly speaking with the NFL Network, to the Seahawks' website, and to Armed Forces Network, he did not deal with reporters that day.

`'Players are required to participate and he participated. We will continue to monitor the situation," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said back in January.

Lynch appeared at league-mandated media sessions the next two days, again briefly.

The NFL has meted out fines to players and coaches before for not adhering to media policies.

Buffalo coach Marv Levy was hit for $5,000 for missing the `91 Super Bowl media day. Bills running back Thurman Thomas, like Levy a future Hall of Famer, was docked $5,000 for failing to participate in a mandatory interview session, though not on media day, in `92.

Three players have been fined $20,000 for missing media availabilities at the Super Bowl: Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora in 2012; Patriots left tackle Matt Light and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for refusing to speak to the media following that Super Bowl.

The Oakland Raiders were fined $50,000 as a team for not making all coaches and players available for a required media session in 2003.

Two star receivers, Randy Moss and Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson, also drew league fines for ignoring media requirements.

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:59:00 +0000

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