Judge skeptical ex-ref can make restitution

A federal judge in New York cast doubt Wednesday on the NBA’s demand that disgraced referee Tim Donaghy pay nearly $1.4 million in restitution, saying he might not have to foot the bill for an internal review of refereeing done in the wake of the league’s gambling scandal.

“Is it even recoverable?” U.S. District Judge Carol Amon asked of the $516,971 tab for a law firm that interviewed 57 NBA referees as part of the internal investigation.

The judge, at a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, ordered the NBA to produce more documents to support the claim before she makes a final decision on whether Donaghy must pay the $1.4 million as part of his punishment when he’s sentenced July 14.

Also: Shaquille O’Neal’s raunchy rap in which he mocked former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant is costing him another of his lawman badges.

Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown said he has asked the Phoenix Suns center to return a badge he was given for his work with the southwest Virginia county’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Brown also said O’Neal’s likeness no longer will be used to promote Operation Blue Ridge Thunder, a unit of the department that O’Neal worked with in investigating Internet predators.

Duquesne coach Ron Everhart was rewarded for turning around one of the nation’s worst Division I programs in two seasons, signing a three-year contract extension that runs through 2013-14.

Duquesne hadn’t had a winning season since 1993-94 before it went 17-13 last season, two seasons after the Dukes were 3-24 under former coach Danny Nee.

Geno Auriemma signed a deal that will keep the Hall of Fame women’s coach on Connecticut’s sideline through 2013.

University officials said the five-year, $8 million contract extension includes a base salary of $300,000 the first year. That amount will increase by $25,000 annually throughout the contract.


Super Bowl champions sign Snee to extension

The New York Giants signed guard Chris Snee to a six-year, $43.5 million contract extension.

Snee, 26, will make nearly $24 million in the first three years of the deal, agent Tony Agnone said.

The extension will keep the right guard under contract with the Super Bowl champions through 2014.

Also: The NFL is looking into the March 6 arrest of Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall on a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly hitting his girlfriend.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed the inquiry but declined to comment further.

Fulton County, Ga., authorities said no formal charges have been filed.

The arrest was reported in Wednesday’s editions of The Denver Post. Marshall’s girlfriend filed an affidavit in Fulton County claiming Marshall hit her in the mouth and eye on March 4.

The Oakland Raiders signed former Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller to a contract and waived quarterback Erik Meyer.

Keller was not drafted despite setting a school record last season by completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,422 yards and 14 touchdowns in nine games. But his season ended prematurely when he suffered a shoulder injury against Texas in October.

Offensive lineman Brad Butler signed a contract extension with the Buffalo Bills, following a season in which he took over the starting right guard spot.

Terms of the extension were not immediately available, but Butler’s new deal is expected to provide a significant raise over the $445,000 base salary he was scheduled to make this season.

The Kansas City Chiefs signed offensive tackle Barry Richardson to a three-year contract.

The Chiefs selected Richardson with the first of two sixth-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft.


Big Brown trainer hit with 15-day suspension

Rick Dutrow, the outspoken trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, is facing a 15-day suspension by Kentucky racing officials after another horse he trains exceeded the allowable limit for a drug that enables horses to breathe easier while exercising.

Two separate drug tests on 8-year-old gelding Salute the Count revealed the horse had twice the allowable limit of Clenbuterol in his system after finishing second in the Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 2, said John Veitch, chief state steward of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

Clenbuterol, considered a Class B drug by the KHRA, is often used by humans who suffer from asthma.

Also: Banned sprinter Justin Gatlin took his doping appeal to the next level, hoping he can beat the clock and make it to the starting blocks in time to compete at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials this weekend.

Gatlin’s attorneys sent a motion by e-mail to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, asking that he be allowed to compete in the 100-meter races that begin Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

A similar motion also was filed with U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier in Pensacola, Fla. Collier ruled Tuesday that he did not have jurisdiction in a case stemming from Gatlin’s doping suspension.

Officials in the Atlanta court said a decision would be expedited.

France’s anti-doping agency has conducted tests on 30 Tour de France cyclists and plans more targeted checks before the race starts next month.

The tests were not carried out at random, as cyclists “were targeted based on information from federations, teams or newspapers,” said Pierre Bordry, head of the French Anti-Doping Agency.

Jean-Pierre Verdy, the agency’s director of testing, said another 20 to 30 riders will be checked before the Tour starts July 5.

The San Jose Sharks got off to a head start on their offseason moves, re-signing forwards Joe Pavelski and Jeremy Roenick and backup goaltender Brian Boucher, six days before the start of the free-agency period.

Roenick and Boucher, who each received a one-year contract, would have become unrestricted free agents Tuesday. Pavelski, who would have been a restricted free agent, got a two-year deal from the Sharks.

Donny Robinson, the world’s top-ranked BMX racer, has been told by USA Cycling that he’ll fill the third spot on the men’s team headed to the Beijing Games.

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