Wednesday's Sports In Brief


NEW YORK (AP) Barry Bonds has been cleared legally after 11 1/2 years in court. His reputation remains tainted in the mind of many baseball fans.

A federal court of appeals threw out the career home run leader's obstruction of justice conviction, ruling 10-1 that his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was not material to the government's investigation into illegal steroids distribution.

Now 50, Bonds said ''I am excited about what the future holds for me as I embark on the next chapter.''

Bonds broke Hank Aaron's long-standing career record of 755 homers in 2007, finished that season with 762 and was indicted that December for his testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, when he answered a question about injections by saying he was ''a celebrity child.''

He was convicted of the obstruction charge in 2011, and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the conviction in 2013.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal judge has approved a settlement agreement that is expected to cost the NFL $1 billion over 65 years to resolve thousands of concussion lawsuits.

NFL actuaries project about 6,000 of the league's nearly 20,000 retired players could someday develop Alzheimer's disease or moderate dementia over the life of the deal approved by a federal judge in Philadelphia. The average individual award would be about $190,000.

Awards could reach $1 million to $5 million for those diagnosed in their 30s and 40s with Parkinson's disease or Lou Gehrig's disease, or for deaths involving chronic brain trauma.

The benefits process could start this summer, but any appeal would delay all payments indefinitely.

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL suspended defensive end Greg Hardy for 10 games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league after concluding there was ''credible evidence'' he roughed up his former girlfriend nearly a year ago when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers.

Hardy, who joined the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent on a one-year, incentive-laden deal, was notified of the decision in a letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell. Hardy plans to appeal.

The 26-year-old Hardy was on the commissioner's Exempt List last season and did not play for Carolina, although he was paid his $13.1 million salary. He was suspended under a policy that was revised after the league was widely criticized for its handling of a domestic violence case involving former Baltimore running back Ray Rice.


ATLANTA (AP) - Seven months after a racially charged email put the Atlanta Hawks on the market, there's an agreement to sell the NBA team for $850 million.

A group headed by billionaire Antony Ressler, which also includes former NBA star Grant Hill and Spanx founder Sara Blakely, signed off on a deal to purchase the team that made a surprising run to the top of the Eastern Conference this season.

The Hawks announced the sale, which also includes the operating rights to Philips Arena, during the first half of their playoff game against the Brooklyn Nets. Atlanta held on for a 96-91 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.

The deal still must be approved by three-fourths of the NBA's other 29 owners. That shouldn't be a problem, given that Ressler is a minority owner of baseball's Milwaukee Brewers and is familiar to the NBA after he attempted to buy the Los Angeles Clippers last year.


WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) - The Anaheim Ducks wiped out the Winnipeg Jets in front of another raucous whiteout crowd.

Ryan Kesler scored twice in the third period and Anaheim beat Winnipeg 5-2 on Wednesday night to sweep the Western Conference first-round series.

Andrew Cogliano, Emerson Etem and Sam Vatanen - into an empty net - also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves. The Ducks are the first team to advance to the second round.

Anaheim will face Calgary or Vancouver in the second round. Calgary leads that series 3-1.


LAS VEGAS (AP) - Floyd Mayweather Jr. refused to back off earlier comments declaring himself a better fighter than Muhammad Ali.

Mayweather said he respects Ali's great career and the things he did outside the ring. But he said he believes he has done as much in boxing as the legendary former heavyweight champion ever did, without the losses that Ali suffered in his career.

Mayweather had earlier said that he was better than both Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson, pointing to his 47-0 record as proof. He also said he would never have lost to a fighter like Leon Spinks, who beat an aging Ali in 1978 after having just seven pro fights.

A little more than a week before his megafight with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather seemed relaxed on a conference call where he talked about his career and the man he will face in the ring May 2. He refused to say anything bad about Pacquiao, and said he was treating the richest fight ever as just another fight.

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