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Thursday's Sports in Brief

Friday - 1/18/2013, 7:28am  ET

The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- He did it. He finally admitted it. Lance Armstrong doped.

He was light on the details and didn't name names. He mused that he might not have been caught if not for his comeback in 2009. And he was certain his "fate was sealed" when longtime friend, training partner and trusted lieutenant George Hincapie, who was along for the ride on all seven of Armstrong's Tour de France wins from 1999-2005, was forced to give him up to anti-doping authorities.

But right from the start and more than two dozen times during the first of a two-part interview Thursday night with Oprah Winfrey on her OWN network, the disgraced former cycling champion acknowledged what he had lied about repeatedly for years, and what had been one of the worst-kept secrets for the better part of a week: He was the ringleader of an elaborate doping scheme on a U.S. Postal Service team that swept him to the top of the podium at the Tour de France time after time.

Wearing a blue blazer and open-neck shirt, Armstrong was direct and matter-of-fact, neither pained nor defensive. He looked straight ahead. There were no tears and few laughs.

He dodged few questions and refused to implicate anyone else, even as he said it was humanly impossible to win seven straight Tours without doping.

"I'm not comfortable talking about other people," Armstrong said. "I don't want to accuse anybody."

Whether his televised confession will help or hurt Armstrong's bruised reputation and his already-tenuous defense in at least two pending lawsuits, and possibly a third, remains to be seen. Either way, a story that seemed too good to be true -- cancer survivor returns to win one of sport's most grueling events seven times in a row -- was revealed to be just that.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Not once but twice after he supposedly discovered his online girlfriend of three years never even existed, Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o perpetuated the heartbreaking story about her death.

An Associated Press review of news coverage found that the Heisman Trophy runner-up talked about his doomed love in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10. He and the university said Wednesday that he learned on Dec. 6 that it was all a hoax, that not only wasn't she dead, she wasn't real.

On Thursday, a day after Te'o's inspiring, playing-through-heartache story was exposed as a bizarre lie, Te'o and Notre Dame faced questions from sports writers and fans about whether he really was duped, as he claimed, or whether he and the university were complicit in the hoax and misled the public, perhaps to improve his chances of winning the Heisman.

HOUSTON (AP) -- Penn State coach Bill O'Brien won the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year Award.

O'Brien led the Nittany Lions through an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions to an 8-4 finish in his first season at Penn State.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach.

Producer Edward R. Pressman confirmed Brian De Palma will direct "Happy Valley," the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski's best-seller "Paterno."

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The NCAA said it has no immediate plans to spend the $12 million already paid to it as part of the sanctions against Penn State over its handling of child sex abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The fate of that money -- and the rest of the $60 million Penn State owes the NCAA -- is the subject of two legal challenges, one from a state lawmaker and the other from Pennsylvania's governor.

PRO FOOTBALL

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the bounty case was dismissed by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan in New Orleans ruled in favor of Goodell's motion to dismiss Vilma's complaint, which was filed in May and set out 11 claims. Vilma had argued that Goodell made false statements, tarnishing the player's reputation, in connection with the league's investigation of what it determined was a system that offered cash bonuses to Saints players for big hits from 2009-11.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Cardinals filled the NFL's final head coaching vacancy by hiring Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

The team confirmed the hiring in a release, saying Arians received a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year.

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