Goldson, Matthews fined
Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson and Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews were fined by the NFL on Friday as a result of hits over the weekend. Goldson drew a US$30,000 fine for “unnecessarily striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area” during Sunday’s 18-17 loss to the New York Jets. Goldson was penalized for committing a personal foul after hitting Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland. Matthews was fined US$15,000 for his late hit against San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Matthews was penalized 15 yards for hitting Kaepernick after the quarterback ran out of bounds with about 9:30 left in the first half.
Bonds conviction upheld
A US appeals court on Friday upheld the felony conviction of home run king Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice over his testimony to a grand jury probing the sale of steroids. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the former San Francisco Giants slugger had been “evasive and misleading” when he told grand jurors in 2003 about his childhood in response to a question about whether his former trainer, Greg Anderson, had given him self-injectable substances. Bonds had been testifying under a grant of immunity, and denied knowingly using steroids or any performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) provided by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative or by Anderson. While Bonds eventually said he had not received self-injectable substances, Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder wrote for a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel that his response could have influenced the grand jury into minimizing Anderson’s role in the distribution of illegal steroids and PEDs. In upholding Bonds’ April 2011 conviction, the 9th Circuit also rejected his contentions that the statute under which he was convicted did not apply to grand jury testimony and was unconstitutionally vague. His sentence of two years of probation and 30 days of home confinement had been put on hold pending the appeal of his conviction. Bonds’ jury had deadlocked on three perjury counts. In a statement posted on his Web site on Friday, Bonds said he had instructed his attorneys to ask the court and probation officials to allow him to begin serving his “full sentence and probation immediately.” “Meanwhile, I also intend to seek further judicial review of the important legal issues presented by the appeal that was decided today,” he said.
Saints dig deep to win
Northampton Saints were forced to dig deep as James Wilson got the decisive try in a 13-6 win at Harlequins in the English Premiership on Friday. Torrential rain meant the clash deteriorated into a war of attrition at Twickenham Stoop and it took a moment of inspiration to break the deadlock with the score tied at 6-6. Northampton’s George North rode two tackles as Saints thrust deep into Harlequins’ half and Luther Burrell then spun the ball wide to Jamie Elliot, who combined with Wilson to send the outside center storming over in the 63rd minute. Stephen Myler converted and kicked two penalties for Northampton. Meanwhile, Phil Godman kicked four penalties as Newcastle won 15-4 at Sale. The home side led 11-3 at the 30-minute mark before the Falcons hit back just before the break with two Godman penalties. Sale’s two-point half-time lead was wiped out by Godman’s fourth successful penalty, but Nick MacLeod responded to put the hosts ahead again. Rory Clegg’s penalty proved decisive as Falcons edged to a memorable victory.