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POSTED October 19, 2012 9:26 p.m.

FOOTBALL

GOODELL APPOINTS TAGLIABUE TO HEAR PLAYER APPEALS: NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed predecessor Paul Tagliabue to hear the appeals of four players suspended in the Saints' bounty scandal.

Goodell said Friday he notified Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, as well as the players' union, that Tagliabue would be the hearing officer to "decide the appeals and bring the matter to a prompt and fair conclusion."

The union and the four players had asked Goodell to recuse himself, contending he could not fairly rule. Their second set of appeals will be heard Oct. 30.

"Any time we move towards a fair evaluation of the evidence it is a positive development," said Peter Ginsberg, Vilma's attorney. "Commissioner Goodell's belated recognition that he cannot possibly serve as an impartial and unbiased arbitrator is certainly a positive development. And we have enormous respect for Paul Tagliabue.

HOCKEY

NHL CANCELS GAMES THROUGH NOV. 1: NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL wiped out the third week of the regular season Friday as the lockout dragged on, leaving no more wiggle room if the league hopes to play a full 82-game schedule.

A day after the NHL turned down three counterproposals from players, the league canceled 53 more games. A total of 135 games through Nov. 1 have been scratched, which amounts to 11 percent of the season.

"As expected," New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron told The Associated Press in a text message. "We continue to work hard to find an agreement and get back to playing hockey."

In its third lockout since 1994, the NHL is sticking to its most recent proposal that stated a full 82-game-per-team schedule could be played if the season begins by Nov. 2. The league says a deal must be reached with the union by next Thursday for that to happen.

Two weeks ago, the league called off 82 games from Oct. 11-24.

CYCLING

ARMSTRONG SAYS LAST FEW WEEKS 'DIFFICULT': AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong said he has been through a "difficult couple of weeks" and urged supporters of his cancer-fighting charity to stand behind its mission.

"The mission is bigger than me. It's bigger than any individual," Armstrong said Friday night in his opening remarks at Livestrong's 15th anniversary celebration.

Armstrong has been turned into an outcast in professional cycling and most of his personal sponsors dropped him this week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a massive report detailing performance-enhancing drug use by the seven-time Tour de France winner. USADA has ordered him banned from cycling for life and stripped of his Tour de France victories.

Armstrong, who denies doping, didn't address the USADA report or the doping charges in his remarks. Instead, he focused on the mission of the foundation he started in 1997. Armstrong was diagnosed in 1996 with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain.

 

BASEBALL

GEORGE STEINBRENNER WOULD'VE ISSUED PUBLIC APOLOGY: NEW YORK (AP) — George Steinbrenner would have issued a public apology.

After leading the league in wins this year, the New York Yankees didn't just lose to Detroit in the AL championship series. They got swept in one of the more humiliating moments in the team's history.

The four-game wipeout made headlines — A-Rod's benching, Derek Jeter's injury, Robinson Cano's slump. But it also revealed serious cracks in the foundation, showing a team full of aging All-Stars at the plate, in the field and on the mound that suddenly seems a long, long way from championship caliber.

"Obviously, we're all getting older," Andy Pettitte said Thursday night after the season-ending 8-1 loss to the Tigers.

Jeter broke an ankle near the end. Mariano Rivera busted a knee back in the spring. The Yankees transformed baseball's bruisers into the Bashed Bombers, closer to AARP years than MVP seasons.

Alex Rodriguez was so bad, the $275 million man was benched in three of nine postseason games and pinch hit for in three others, a possible prelude to a forced departure from pinstripes.

TENNIS
DEL POTRO, TIPSAREVIC REACH SEMIFINALS IN VIENNA: VIENNA (AP) — Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and Janko Tipsarevic scored straight-sets victories Friday to reach the semifinals of the Erste Bank Open.

Del Potro defeated Marinko Matosevic of Australia 6-2, 6-2 to line up a match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Second-seeded Tipsarevic was leading 6-2, 4-2 when Aljaz Bedene retired with a left thigh injury.

 

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