NFL, players again get together
for confidential labor meeting
The NFL and its players held talks Tuesday in New York, seeking a resolution to the labor impasse.
Three people familiar with the meetings confirmed to The Associated Press that the two groups met. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the meetings were supposed to be confidential.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league has no comment on the meeting, first reported by the NFL Network.
This is the second time in the last week the two sides have met, including a three-day session outside Chicago that included commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith. The idea is simple: face-to-face negotiations are more likely to lead to a new collective bargaining agreement than court actions.
On Friday, both sides appeared before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, arguing whether the owners’ lockout of the players is legal. The lockout is approaching its third month, with the first preseason game two months away.
Also: The Washington Redskins are turning the upper deck into a party place, ripping out thousands of seats in the end zone nosebleed sections of FedEx Field to construct “Party Decks” that will reduce the capacity of one of the NFL’s largest stadiums.
The team said it will sell standing-room-only tickets to the decks, which are expected to be ready in time for the 2012 season.
NBC far outbids Fox, ESPN
to keep U.S. television rights
Bob Costas made the pitch and NBC met the price. The peacock network outbid Fox and ESPN by almost a billion dollars to win U.S. television rights to four more Olympics and keep the games through 2020.
The result: a $4.38 billion knockout for NBC.
Despite a recent change in ownership, the sudden departure of longtime Olympic chief Dick Ebersol and an uncertain economy, NBC and its parent company, Comcast, defied speculation that its grip on the Olympics was coming to an end.
“I can say the Olympics are really in their DNA,” International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said. “We’ve been together with them for so many games with great success.”
Executives with direct knowledge of the proposals told The Associated Press that Fox bid $3.4 billion for four games and $1.5 billion for two, while ESPN offered $1.4 billion for two. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the IOC declined to say how much the other networks offered.
NBC has broadcast every Summer Olympics since 1988 and every Winter Games since 2002, and it was the network’s experience and familiarity with the IOC — as well as its money — that won over the Olympic body again.
Arizona State sweeps Florida
to claim NCAA softball crown
Katelyn Boyd and Alix Johnson each drove in three runs, Annie Lockwood homered, and Arizona State beat Florida 7-2 to sweep the Gators in the best-of-3 Women’s College World Series at Oklahoma City.
The top-ranked Sun Devils (60-6) won their second NCAA softball championship in four years, while Florida (56-13) was swept in the finals for the second time in three years.
Also: Jozy Altidore scored in the first half and set up Clint Dempsey’s goal in the second half, and the United States men’s soccer team opened the Gold Cup with a 2-0 victory over Canada at Detroit’s Ford Field.
Altidore’s goal in the 15th minute put the U.S. ahead, and Dempsey added one in the 62nd minute off a cross from Altidore. The tournament serves as the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean
Ronaldo’s career with Brazil’s national team came to an emotional end as he was given a send-off during a 1-0 exhibition win over Romania in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The striker made a cameo appearance in the game from the 30th minute until halftime, when he was honored in a ceremony that recognized his contributions to the national team.
The 34-year-old Ronaldo retired in February after an 18-year career. The three-time FIFA Player of the Year represented Brazil in four World Cups — winning two of them — and remains the competition’s all-time leading scorer with 15 goals.
Andy Roddick began his bid for a record fifth title at Queen’s Club by defeating 2010 semifinalist Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 6-4 in London.
Defending champion Sam Querrey also advanced with a 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-3 win over Rainer Schuettler in the tuneup for Wimbledon, which begins June 20.
Olympic champion gymnast Paul Hamm might be at the U.S. championships, after all. Hamm said he’s pushing to be ready to do pommel horse and floor exercise at nationals in August, just seven months after shoulder surgery.