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DETROIT (AP) - Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has one year left on his contract. Babcock insists getting a new deal this offseason is not a priority, adding he would be comfortable signing one-year contracts in the future with the franchise. He finished his ninth season as Detroit's coach on Saturday at Boston, where the Bruins eliminated the Red Wings in Game 5 of their first-round series. He has won a franchise-record 415 games, a Stanley Cup and a pair of conference championships. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says Babcock is on the "short list" of the NHL's best coaches. Holland says he has not begun talking to Babcock about negotiating a long-term deal. The Red Wings have Holland under contract for one more year with a team option for another year. 

CHICAGO (AP) - Bryan Holaday bunted home Austin Jackson with two out in the ninth to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. Jackson lined a long drive to right off Ronald Belisario and reached third when the ball was misplayed for an error by Dayan Viciedo. Jackson scored on Holaday's surprise bunt down the first base line. Right-hander Joba Chamberlain worked one inning of relief and Joe Nathan earned his fifth save. Belisario pitched two innings, allowing one hit and striking out three. Holaday, a late lineup addition, went 2 for 4 with an RBI. White Sox starter Jose Quintana struck out a season-high 10, but had no decision for the third time this season, departing after six innings with the game tied 3-all. Justin Verlander worked seven innings in his 176th quality start since 2006. 

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - It was fitting that the Michigan State spring game began with an interception on the first play from scrimmage. Yes, the Spartans have lost a few big names off their sensational defense from a season ago, but coach Mark Dantonio isn't planning on a major drop-off. Michigan State won the Rose Bowl last season behind one of the best defenses in the country, but the Spartans must now move on without linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen and defensive backs Darqueze Dennard and Isaiah Lewis. Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is back, and it will be up to him to build around lineman Shilique Calhoun and safety Kurtis Drummond. Michigan State finished second in the nation in total defense and against the run in 2013. 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 15:57

Sterling banned for life by the NBA

NEW YORK (AP) - Issuing about the strongest rebuke that he could, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life Tuesday for making racist comments in a recorded conversation, the first step toward forcing a sale of the club and permanently removing Sterling from the league.
 
     Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million, and again expressed outrage.
 
     "I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him," Silver said.
 
     Several owners immediately chimed in with support of Silver's decision. Sterling, the league's longest-tenured owner and someone with an estimated net worth of about $2 billion, did not offer any immediate comment.
 
     The penalties, which were announced only three days after the scandal broke, are the harshest ever issued by the league and among the stiffest punishments ever given to an owner in professional sports. Silver said a league investigation found that Sterling was in fact the person on the audiotapes that were released over the weekend and immediately sent shock waves throughout the game.
 
     "We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views," Silver said. "They simply have no place in the NBA."
 
     Sterling acknowledged he was the man on the tape, Silver said.
 
     Sterling still owns the team, but going forward he is immediately barred from attending any NBA games or practices, being present at any Clippers office or facility, participating in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team, or being part of any league business.
 
     It's unclear how Sterling will respond.
 
     "This league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach and any one player," said Silver, who as commissioner has broad powers under what's typically called the "best interest of the game" clause of the NBA constitution.
 
     But Silver works for the owners, and he will need 75 percent of them - if all 30 teams vote, he'll need 23 on his side - to force Sterling out of the league completely.
 
     The fine will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association, Silver said.
 
     "This has all happened in three days, and so I am hopeful there will be no long-term damage to the league and to the Clippers organization," Silver said. "But as I said earlier, I'm outraged so I certainly understand other people's outrage. This will take some time and appropriate healing will be necessary."
 
     After the announcement, the Clippers' website had a simple message: "We are one," it read.
 
     "We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins," the Clippers added in a statement.
 
     Sterling's comments were released over the weekend by TMZ and Deadspin, and numerous NBA owners and players have condemned them. Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the crisis, the first of Silver's brief tenure as commissioner.
 
     "Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!!," Miami Heat star LeBron James wrote on Twitter.
 
     The league's investigation started Saturday and players immediately began expressing intense displeasure with the situation, even going so far as to ask Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to get involved on behalf of the players' union.
 
     "When one rotten apple does something, or if you see cancer, you've got to cut it out really quickly," Kevin Johnson said at a news conference in Los Angeles, flanked by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and players like Steve Nash, Tyson Chandler, Luke Walton and Roger Mason Jr., among others. "And Commissioner Silver did that in real time. We're so proud and thankful for him."
 
     The sanctions came a few hours before the Clippers were to play Golden State in Game 5 of a tied-up Western Conference first-round playoff series.
 
     "When you get this many Lakers to stand up for the Clippers, you know something big is happening in L.A.," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "We are a single team here today, a team not only speaking out for what we're against - racism, hatred, bigotry, intolerance - but what we're for. We're for great basketball."
 
     Before Silver took the podium, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted out a photo of the NBA Constitution, saying "It exists for a reason."
 
     Several sponsors either terminated or suspended their business dealings with the team on Monday, though individual deals that some of those companies have with Clippers stars like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will continue and were not affected. Still, it was a clear statement that companies, like just about everyone inside the league, were outraged.
 
     "Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life," Magic Johnson, who was referenced on the taped conversation involving Sterling, tweeted shortly after the league's decision was announced.
 
     Johnson's role on the tape stemmed from Sterling's female companion apparently posting a photo of her and the Hall of Fame player on her Instagram account. That photo has since been deleted, but raised Sterling's ire nonetheless.
 
     "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" Sterling asks the woman on the tape.
 
     The issues raised when the tapes were released over the weekend represent just another chapter in Sterling's long history of being at the center of controversy.
 
     In the past, he's faced extensive federal charges of civil rights violations and racial discrimination in his business dealings, and some of his race-related statements would be described as shocking.
 
     He has also been sued in the past for sexual harassment by former employees, and even the woman who goes by the name "V. Stiviano" - purportedly the female voice on the tapes at the center of this scandal - describes Sterling in court documents as a man "with a big toothy grin brandishing his sexual prowess in the faces of the Paparazzi and caring less what anyone else thought, the least of which, his own wife."
 
     Stiviano is being sued by Rochelle Sterling, who is seeking to reclaim at least $1.8 million in cash and gifts that her husband allegedly provided the woman.
 
     Silver said when he first heard the audio, he hoped it had been altered or was fake - but also said that from his 20-year relationship with Sterling, he suspected the voice was his.
 
     "This has been a painful moment," Silver said, "for all members of the NBA family."

UNDATED (AP) - The Boston Bruins have earned the right to face the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL's Eastern Conference semifinals. Tuukka Rask turned back 31 shots and the Bruins advanced with a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5. Milan Lucic scored the eventual game-winning goal 4:27 into the third period before setting up Jarome Iginla's empty-netter. Loui Ericksson and Zdeno Chara scored power-play goals, who won four straight after dropping the series opener at home. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored and Jonas Gustavsson stopped 29 shots for Detroit.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Joey Logano took advantage of a three-car duel by sneaking below the trio to take the lead Saturday night, outrunning former champions Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keslowski to win at Richmond International Raceway. Logano's first career victory on the 0.75-mile oval came seemingly from nowhere after a restart with nine laps to go. He sat fourth and on the outside with Kenseth leading, Dale Earnhardt Jr. alongside in second and Gordon on the inside in third, in prime position to sneak underneath the leader and grab the victory. Instead, when Gordon, Kenseth and Keselowski raced in a triangle jockeying for position, Logano went underneath all three with three laps to go and then held off Gordon for his fifth career victory. 

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Detroit Tigers have put pitcher Anibal Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list because of a blister problem. The Tigers recalled right-hander Justin Miller from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday. Sanchez left in the third inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Twins with a blister on his right middle finger. He is 0-2 with a 3.13 ERA in five starts this season. Miller got two outs in Friday night's game against Minnesota and then was sent to Toledo.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The game between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins on Sunday has been postponed because of rain. No makeup date has been set. Detroit leads the AL Central, with Minnesota a game back. Justin Verlander had been scheduled to start for the Tigers in the series finale. Kyle Gibson was to have pitched for the Twins.

DETROIT (AP) - Jarome Iginla scored with 6:28 left in overtime, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in Game 4 of their first-round series. The Presidents' Trophy-winning and defending Eastern Conference champions can advance with a win against Detroit on Saturday afternoon at home. Detroit took a 2-0 lead early in the second period after Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and an assist. Torey Krug scored midway through the second period to pull the Bruins within a goal. Milan Lucic tied it at 2 early in the third period. Boston's Tuukka Rask stopped 35 shots. Detroit's Jonas Gustavsson made 37 saves in a surprise start Thursday night, filling in for Jimmy Howard, who was out with the flu.

DETROIT (AP) - Miguel Cabrera drove in three runs, Max Scherzer struck out 10 and the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 Thursday. Cabrera hit a pair of two-out singles for his RBIs. Scherzer allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings. The reigning AL Cy Young winner was pulled with a high pitch count. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his fourth save in six tries. He got the final two outs on a strikeout where Jose Abreu was called for interfering with catcher Bryan Holaday's throw to second base on a stolen-base attempt. Jose Quintana allowed three runs in six innings.

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