Sports

Players to be ejected for helmet hits

NEW YORK -- The NFL has told its officiating crews to start ejecting players for flagrant helmet-to-helmet hits.

The new policy was outlined Saturday in a memo from supervisor of officials Mike Pereira, which was obtained by The Associated Press. It followed two fines last weekend for what the officiating department had determined were hits against players in defenseless positions.

One fine was against Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry, who will forfeit a game check of $16,764 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New York Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens. The other was against Philadelphia defensive tackle LeJuan Ramsey, who was fined his game check of $21,176 for spearing Dallas' Julius Jones.

Two weeks ago, San Diego cornerback Drayton Florence was fined $15,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit that gave Houston quarterback Matt Schaub a concussion.

In the memo fining Landry and Ramsey, NFL director of football operations Gene Washington said emphasis would be on hits against players in defenseless positions.

• A paternity test shows college football hero George Gipp wasn't the father of a girlfriend's child born shortly after his death, a family member said Saturday, but bitterness persisted over the exhumation of the body.

The remains of Notre Dame's first All-American, who inspired the rallying cry "win one for the Gipper" and was portrayed on screen by Ronald Reagan, were taken last month from a grave in Michigan's Upper Peninsula -- 87 years after he died from pneumonia and a strep infection.

His right femur was removed and DNA samples compared with skin tissue from Bette Bright Weeks of Crown Point, Ind., who died last January at age 86. Weeks had been told Gipp was her father, said Mike Bynum, a sports author planning a book on the football legend.

• TENNIS -- Justin Henin wants a perfect post-Wimbledon season.

With a win over Maria Sharapova in the final at the Sony Ericsson Championships, Henin can become the first player to go unbeaten after Wimbledon since Steffi Graf in 1989.

Henin defeated fourth-ranked Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-4, and Sharapova stopped No. 7 Anna Chakvetadze 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals of the round-robin tournament that features the top eight players.

A win would equal Graf's 25-match run and make Henin the first player to capture 10 or more titles in a season since Martina Hingis in 1997. Henin won the French Open and U.S. Open en route to a 62-4 record this season.

• Alessio Di Mauro was suspended for nine months Saturday for betting on tennis matches, becoming the first player to be sanctioned under the ATP's new anti-corruption rules.

The 124th-ranked Italian was also fined $60,000 after being found guilty of making 120 bets with an online bookmaker from Nov. 2, 2006 to June 12 this year.

Di Mauro, who faced a maximum penalty of three years, is banned until Aug. 12, 2008.

  Comments