The latest news from the bounty scandal

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The latest news from the bounty scandal

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL presented Jonathan Vilma and his attorney with a sworn statement from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams saying the linebacker placed a 10,000 bounty on Brett Favre.Vilma met with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday in New York about his suspension, which has been temporarily lifted. Attorney Peter Ginsberg said they were given an affidavit at the meeting."What Gregg Williams said in his most recent affidavit is the same falsity he has previously provided," Ginsberg said."I don't know what Gregg Williams' motives are, but I do know that any suggestion by Williams that Jonathan put up 10,000 as an incentive for his teammates to injure another player is absolutely false."Vilma tweeted on Monday night that Williams was "bullied to sign the affidavit," saying Williams signed it on Friday.Williams is now with St. Louis, though he has been suspended indefinitely. An associate of his said Williams did not want to talk to the media.Vilma, who denied in court that he offered money in exchange for injuring the former Vikings quarterback, was one of four players suspended by Goodell in the bounty scandal."Today everyone was afforded an opportunity to start over," Vilma said outside the NFL's Park Avenue offices more than three hours after he went in. "It was in our best interest to meet today. We spoke truthfully, honestly, bluntly."An appeals panel earlier this month said Goodell must clarify his rulings to ensure no part of his decisions was based on salary cap violations. That would be the jurisdiction of special master Stephen Burbank.Goodell must show that the basis for the discipline was inappropriate conduct -- such as intent to injure -- rather than any secret monetary compensation. In that case, he has full authority to impose the suspensions.Players and coaches implicated in the bounty pool have testified under oath in a related federal court case they never intended to injure opposing players.New Orleans defensive end Will Smith (four games), Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (three) and free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove (eight) are expected to have their meeting Tuesday."We appreciate Jonathan Vilma taking the time to meet today and look forward to seeing the other players tomorrow," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.Smith played in each of the Saints' first two games and Vilma is on the physically unable to perform list. Fujita made his season debut in Cleveland's loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. Hargrove was cut by Green Bay during the preseason.Vilma, initially suspended for the entire season, requested a separate meeting. He hasn't played because he is on the physically unable to perform list as he rehabilitates following offseason surgery on his left knee.

Reliable on the mound, Melancon seeks thrills off of it

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Reliable on the mound, Melancon seeks thrills off of it

SAN FRANCISCO — At his introductory press conference Friday, new Giant Mark Melancon was asked about the fearlessness it takes to be a big league closer. He looked down at the first row of seats, where his wife Mary Catherine was sitting in a brand new No. 41 jersey, smiling. 

“You should probably ask my wife that,” Melancon joked.

When the Melancons got married, Mary Catherine had a calligrapher write up an actual bucket list of things the two could do together and presented it to Mark as a wedding gift. 

“It’s framed and it’s in our bathroom,” Mark said during an interview with CSN Bay Area on Friday. “It’s literally in our bathroom and we look at it all the time and try to plan out what we’re going to get done. Because it is on paper and it’s a goal and all that, we’ve checked off probably 40 or 50 percent of it in six years.”

The check marks include biking down the world’s “most dangerous road” in Bolivia and diving with great white sharks near New Zealand. The Melancons have visited Dubai and gone on a safari and stayed in countless cities off the beaten path. They have gone underwater with manta rays and high in the air in a blimp. Some of the items are simple ones, like attending a Nascar race. 

“There are a few items we’ll have to wait for until after baseball,” Melancon said. “We try to keep it safe of course, but it’s just a lot of fun. It’s a way to kind of bring creativity and allow ourselves to do things you could easily say no to.”

The standard MLB contract prohibits quite a few “dangerous” activities, and with a four-year, $62 million deal that is currently the second-biggest ever for a reliever, Melancon will hold off on certain trips, like skiing the Swiss Alps. “Attend the Kentucky Derby” is on the bucket list, but because the Derby is in May, that one is saved for retirement. In his first year with the Giants, Melancon hopes to put a check mark next to “sit backstage at a concert.”

Melancon said the thrill-seeking has slowed down a bit because the couple now has three young children, two daughters and a son. The Giants are hoping the more relaxed vibe carries over into their ninth innings. Team officials have been told by past Melancon employers that they signed a closer who is “boring” on the mound, in a good way. With a cutter-heavy approach, Melancon tends to get his ninth-inning work done quickly and without drama. That’s a welcome change of pace for an organization that has grown accustomed to “torture” late in games. 

“He was our target and we’ve gotten to know him, and the more we’ve gotten to know him the better we’ve felt about the fact that he was really meant to be a Giant,” team president and CEO Larry Baer said. 

The Giants had Melancon as their top offseason choice — and only big offseason expenditure — all along. Team officials feel even better about that approach after watching Melancon tour the ballpark Friday morning and meet with season-ticket holders and team employees. The fit was an easy one, with one member of the front office saying Melancon is “practically straight out of Giants central casting.”

Melancon’s new teammates feel the same way. He said eight to 10 of them have reached out since the deal was announced Monday. The group includes the types of players who are on any free agent’s bucket list of potential teammates. A ground ball pitcher, Melancon is looking forward to working with a Gold Glove infield. 

“That’s kind of an attractive thing to have a couple of Gold Glovers (up the middle) and then being able to throw to Buster is icing on the cake,” he said. “When you put things together on paper and go ‘who do you want to throw to and back you up,’ this team stands out.”

NBA denies Raptors protest over November loss to Kings

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NBA denies Raptors protest over November loss to Kings

NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association announced today that it has denied the Toronto Raptors’ protest of their 102-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 20, 2016. 

The Raptors’ protest asserted that the game officials incorrectly called for an instant replay review of whether the Raptors’ Terrence Ross released a three-point shot prior to the expiration of actual time remaining in the game.  The Replay Center official reviewed video of the play using a digital timer and determined that the actual time remaining in the game expired before Ross released his shot, and the shot therefore did not count.  

The league found that calling for an instant replay review in this case was consistent with the playing rules because the game officials determined that there was a clock malfunction on the play. 

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