ESPN Begins Laying Off Around 100 Personalities Where Does NASCAR Go With Dale Jr. Leaving? Manfred: Bush-Jeter Deal For Marlins Not Done David Abrutyn's Career Intertwined With Caps History FedEx Signs Multiyear NFL Extension Learfield Brings On Gil Beverly, Jack Patterson Officials Break Ground On Pro Football HOF Village Hotel Woods' Endorsement Deals Suffer From Layoff Minding My Business: Williams Martini Racing's Richard Berry ESPN Cuts Drive Discussion On Twitter
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In Chicago, George Lazarus reports that the city could host back-to-back '99 WTA and Nuveen Tour tennis events. The WTA Tour has dropped its '98 Chicago stop, but IMG Senior VP Gary Swain has asked the Tour to "secure a summer date, preferably in July or August, beginning in 1999," and hold a senior Nuveen Tour event the week after. The event would be held downtown, with the city putting up grandstand seating holding 4,000 to 5,000 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/1). NFL: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick reports the NFL won a cease and desist agreement from NY-based handicapper Stu Feiner over an ad campaign in which Feiner claimed that former NFL coach Bum Phillips would offer inside gambling information that he received from his son Wade, then an NFL assistant coach with the Bills. Feiner must pay a $50,000 settlement fee to the NFL and take out ads in 30 publications saying he never had any inside information from former or current NFL personnel (N.Y. POST, 5/1)....Despite being the defending champion, Ravens QB Vinny Testaverde will not participate in the Foot Locker NFL QB Challenge this weekend in FL. He will be replaced by new Ravens QB Jim Harbaugh. Testaverde's agent, Michael Azzarelli, said that CBS, which will air the event in August, made the decision on Testaverde because "his future is in doubt." But NFLP Dir of Corporate Communications Chris Widmaier said that Harbaugh "is projected as the starter and we only take the starting quarterback" (Baltimore SUN, 5/1). OTHER NOTES: In Canada, Reform Party Leader Preston Manning has called for "tax cuts" for NHL teams (CALGARY SUN, 5/1)....The Women's Pro Fastpitch softball league unveiled a new logo, opting for a "bolder, cleaner" look though keeping its red and blue color schemes. The CO-based league will begin its second season on May 29 with games in Hampton, VA, Tampa Bay, FL, and Charlotte, NC. The league will play a 66-game season in six cities (WPF).
In an "unsightly scene" near the conclusion of last night's Heat-Knicks game, Heat C Alonzo Mourning and Knicks F Larry Johnson were "taking swings at each other like prizefighters," with Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy "hanging onto Mourning's leg beneath the fray," according to Selena Roberts of the N.Y. TIMES. The league will review films of the melee today before making a determination on whether any players will be suspended for the fifth and final game on Sunday in Miami. But Johnson said that he was "already anticipating a suspension by the league." Van Gundy: "I am embarrassed for both organizations and for the league" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/1). One NBA official told Kevin Kernan of the N.Y. POST that "both players will be suspended for Sunday's game" (N.Y. POST, 5/1). In N.Y., George Willis writes that while the players are at fault, the game officials allowed "play to get so rough that emotions finally exploded." Willis: "The NBA should be embarrassed" (N.Y. POST, 5/1). After the game, MSG President Dave Checketts said, "I'm so sick of this. We're supposed to be celebrating an incredible win. ... And now all we have is a circus" (DAILY NEWS, 5/1). More Checketts: "We talk about sportsmanship and role models and all that stuff, I think sometimes I've given up hope about that" (N.Y. POST, 5/1).