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O'Neal
 (The Spokesman-Review)
O'Neal (The Spokesman-Review)
Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Indiana Pacers players Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson were sentenced to a year’s probation Friday, plus 60 hours of community service and $250 fines for their roles in one of the worst brawls in U.S. sports history.

The three – all of whom entered pleas of no contest – were also ordered to undergo anger management counseling, although Oakland County assistant prosecutor John Pietrofesa said Artest had already completed the counseling as part of his NBA suspension.

“We’re very satisfied with the resolution today,” Pietrofesa said. “They decided to take responsibility and to move forward, and that’s probably the best thing for everyone involved.”

The brawl took place Nov. 19, during a game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Before sentencing, Judge Julie Nicholson reminded the players that whether they like it or not, they are seen as role models and owe it to their fans to behave appropriately.

O’Neal said he was looking forward to putting the brawl behind him and moving on, and that the community service would not be difficult because he already enjoys volunteering.

Jackson did not respond to questions from reporters as he left the court. Artest said only, “I just want to go home.”

“The Chicago Bulls signed free agent Darius Songaila to a two-year contract that will reportedly pay him $2.2 million next season.

Songaila spent two seasons with the Sacramento Kings, averaging 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds last season.

“Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points despite poor shooting to lead Germany past Slovenia 76-62 and into the semifinals of the European Championship against Spain.

Spain advanced by beating Croatia 100-85 in overtime, with Juan Carlos Navarro scoring the final 12 points of the game.

France and Greece will meet in the other semifinal.

Hockey

Burk turns attention to NHL advertisements

Martha Burk is taking aim at the NHL’s newest television advertisement.

Burk, who led an unsuccessful effort to allow female members at Augusta National three years ago, called the ad “gratuitous” because it shows a scantily clad woman dressing a hockey player before he heads onto the ice.

Burk plans to send letters of protest to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. NBC is scheduled to run the ad next week.

The ad, shown Wednesday at The Museum of Television & Radio to the NHL’s corporate sponsors, is part of the “More Entertainment! More Passion! More Hockey!” campaign to launch the season that begins Oct. 5.

“Peter Forsberg skated for the first time since having surgery on his right ankle, and the Philadelphia Flyers forward might return to practice early next week.

Forsberg, who had an infected bursa sac removed from his ankle on Sept. 12, felt some discomfort during the 10-minute skating session.

Tennis

Roddick evens Davis Cup

Andy Roddick flopped at the U.S. Open. He just might be discovering his mojo at the Davis Cup.

With the U.S. team trying to stay alive in the event’s elite group, Roddick delivered an overpowering 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Christophe Rochus to leave the Americans tied at 1 with Belgium after James Blake lost the opening match of the playoff.

Earlier, brother Olivier Rochus opened the best-of-5 series with a 6-4, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Blake on the indoor red clay at the Sportplaza in Leuven, Belgium.

The winner of the series remains in the 16-nation World Group while the loser drops to zonal play next year.

“Argentina, trying to reach its first Davis Cup final since 1981, got a victory by David Nalbandian over Dominik Hrbaty in Bratislava, Slovakia, to even its semifinal series with Slovakia at 1 on the first day of the best-of-5 series.

The other semifinal between Croatia and Russia also was tied at 1.

“Venus Williams withdrew from the China Open in Beijing before her quarterfinal matchup with Poland’s Marta Domachowska because of an injured left knee.

Miscellany

Nevada officials looking into boxer’s death

Nevada boxing officials have formed a panel to look into the death this week of Leavander Johnson, as well as other ring injuries within the past three years.

The head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission said the panel – composed of three former commission chairmen, a state assemblyman and a doctor – will study recent injuries in the ring and try to come up with ways to make the sport safer.

“Midfielder Jeremy Hall scored on an 8-yard header in the fourth minute, and the United States tied Ivory Coast 1-all to win Group C in the first round of the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Lima, Peru.

The Americans will play Monday against the Netherlands, which beat Gambia 2-0 to finish second in Group D.

“The NCAA awarded the 2006 men’s soccer tournament to St. Louis, a day after the city was awarded the 2008 and 2009 NCAA wrestling championships.

“Pat McQuaid of Ireland was elected president of cycling’s governing body and promised to crack down on doping in the sport.

McQuaid defeated Gregorio Moreno of Spain by a 31-11 vote in Madrid, Spain, during a meeting of the International Cycling Union. He succeeds Hein Verbruggen of the Netherlands, who had served since 1991.

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