National Sports Briefs
NEW YORK ó ESPN agreed with the NFL on an eight-year contract extension that keeps “Monday Night Football” on the sports network through 2021, boosts the amount of programming shown on the already football-saturated family of networks, and brings it to phones and tablets.
The contract also includes expanded international rights, 3D distribution rights and the right to show “Monday Night Football” and NFL studio shows on mobile devices.
The NFL draws huge numbers for ESPN ó and all of its network partners. According to the network, visits to the ESPN website spike on Sundays and Mondays. The network also says it gets heavy traffic from mobile devices and through apps that let fans monitor scores.
RICHMOND, Va. ó Danica Patrick said it would be nice if she got to start her NASCAR Sprint Cup career at the Daytona 500.
The Indy Racing League star, who is moving to NASCAR fulltime next season, will run a limited Cup schedule in a car owned by Tony Stewart next year. She also will race fulltime in the Nationwide series in a car owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Stewart plans to have Patrick drive in eight to 10 Cup races next season, mostly at tracks that figure to be difficult for her.
Patrick plans to move to the Cup series fulltime in 2013.
MOSCOW ó The Russian ice hockey team decimated by a plane crash will be rebuilt in time to take part in this year’s Kontinental Hockey League season, according to the league leader.
All but one of the 28 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl players traveling to Belarus for their first game of the season were killed when their Yak-42 jet crashed on Wednesday.
KHL chief Alexander Medvedev said that each team in the league should volunteer up to three players each toward building a new Lokomotiv squad. He says it will free up between 40 and 45 players for Lokomotiv to pick.
Along with help from other clubs, Lokomotiv will promote five players from its youth team.
SAO PAULO (AP) ó Brazilian prosecutors are again examining the death of boxer Arturo Gatti.
Brazilian investigators had ruled Gatti’s 2009 death a suicide, but a spokesman with the Pernambuco state prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press the case is being analyzed again. That comes after private investigators in the U.S. presented evidence challenging whether the Italian-born, Canadian-raised boxer had killed himself.
Spokesman Jaques Cerqueira said prosecutor Paula Ismail may ask for the U.S. investigators’ findings, which indicated Gatti was killed. She could bring murder charges or decide to uphold the original investigation’s findings that Gatti killed himself.
ANKARA, Turkey ó New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams arrived in Istanbul to start his stint with Turkish basketball team Besiktas.
The Istanbul-based club said the All-Star guard arrived with his family and will play for Besiktas until the end of the NBA lockout. Williams averaged 20.1 points and 10.3 assists for the Nets and the Utah Jazz last season.
Besiktas signed Allen Iverson last season, but he played only 10 games due to injury.
Other NBA players that have signed to play in the Turkish league include Nets guard Sasha Vujacic, Darius Songaila of the Philadelphia 76ers and Nets draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic.
TORVAIANICA, Italy ó Italian swimmer Filippo Magnini once ruled the pool in the 100 meter freestyle, but he has met his match ó dolphin-style.
The captain of the national swimming team raced a pair of dolphins ó King, 19 years old, and Leah, nine-years old ó at a specially arranged event in a swimming pool in Torvaianica, about 30 miles south of Rome. The dolphins had to swim about twice as many lengths as Magnini, but they overtook him to win in the last few yards.
Magnini won gold in the 100 meter freestyle at the 2005 world swimming championships in Montreal and at the 2007 event in Melbourne.
SPORTS & DOPING
MEXICO CITY ó Some Mexican athletes competing in next month’s Pan American Games are shying away from beef because they fear it may contain the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol.
Five Mexican soccer players tested positive for clenbuterol earlier this year, but the Mexico Football Federation cleared them, saying contaminated meat caused the positive tests. The World Anti-Doping Agency is appealing the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Mexico case is WADA’s second high-profile challenge to a legal defense of eating tainted meat. WADA and the International Cycling Union appealed to CAS after 2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador blamed contaminated steak for his positive clenbuterol test and was exonerated by the Spanish cycling federation. That case is scheduled to be heard later this year.