- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 24, 2015

NASCAR

Confederate flags are as easy to find at NASCAR races as cutoff jeans, cowboy hats and beer.

They fly over motorhomes. They adorn clothing. They are regular fixtures, just like Ford and Chevrolet, and that is unlikely to change any time soon.

NASCAR probably would like to see them go away.

The sanctioning body for the motorsports series backed South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in the wake of the Charleston church massacre. NASCAR issued its statement Tuesday, the same day South Carolina lawmakers agreed to discuss removing the flag and one day after Haley said “the time has come” to take it down. And that is as far as NASCAR appears willing to go for now.

“As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity,” NASCAR said. “While NASCAR recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events.”

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NFL

NEW YORK (AP) - Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension lasted more than 10 hours Tuesday, ending in the early evening.

The sight of Commissioner Roger Goodell leaving the league offices after he heard Brady and representatives from the players’ union during the lengthy meeting, confirmed its conclusion.

No details were immediately available.

Brady was suspended by the league for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game win over Indianapolis. He arrived at the NFL’s Park Avenue offices Tuesday morning, as did attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who is leading Brady’s defense.

The hearing was expected to adjourn in late afternoon, but carried well beyond that.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week on license plates and the Confederate flag could be bad news for the Washington Redskins.

Lawyers for Native Americans who object to the Redskins’ name and trademark say their case has been strengthened by the decision, which found that Texas was not required to issue specialty license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag.

A judge Tuesday heard arguments in U.S. District Court on a lawsuit filed by the team seeking to preserve its trademark registration for the Redskins name. Last year the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that the team’s trademark registration should be canceled on the grounds that it may be offensive to Native Americans.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, who will decide the case, asked lawyers at the start of the hearing to focus on how that Supreme Court case affects the Redskins’ case.

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COLLEGE

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sean “Diddy” Combs was defending himself in an incident at the University of California, Los Angeles, that led to his arrest, a representative the hip-hop mogul’s company said Tuesday.

“The various accounts of the event and charges that are being reported are wholly inaccurate,” Nathalie Moar, a rep for Combs Enterprises, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “What we can say now is that any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son.”

Combs was arrested Monday for an alleged assault involving a weight-room kettlebell at the athletic facilities of UCLA, where his son plays football, a university statement said.

Combs, 45, was freed late Monday after posting bail, several hours after his afternoon arrest, jail records showed.

University police allege three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making terrorist threats and one count of battery, according to a UCLA statement.

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NHL

LAS VEGAS (AP) - If the NHL decides to gamble on an expansion franchise in the Nevada desert, most of the world’s top hockey players are cautiously optimistic that the ice wouldn’t melt.

The growing possibility of NHL expansion to Las Vegas is a popular topic among players and executives this week with the league in town for its postseason awards show and executive meetings. The league could even announce the opening of a formal expansion process Wednesday.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews is among several players who believe the league must make sure a team would work financially to avoid the problems of other Sun Belt franchises.

But many players believe Sin City’s glamour and growing population would make for a hit in the rink and off the ice.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The NHL plans to play three-on-three overtime next season.

The league’s general managers and the NHL Players’ Association agreed Tuesday to change its regular-season overtime period from four-on-four hockey to three-on-three.

The Board of Governors still must approve the change Wednesday when it meets in Las Vegas.

A shootout will still take place if games remain tied after five minutes of three-on-three play, but the change is expected to reduce the number of shootouts.

The players’ union apparently was opposed to the AHL format, which begins with four minutes of four-on-four hockey and three minutes of three-on-three.

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BASEBALL

ATLANTA (AP) - Hank Aaron can appreciate someone with the ability and fortitude to overcome challenges.

The Braves’ slugger met Little League sensation Mo’ne Davis Tuesday and her youth league teammates, who got a tour of Turner Field.

Davis and the Anderson Monarchs, a Philadelphia youth baseball club, stopped in Atlanta as part of team’s three-week, 3,500-mile barnstorming tour to learn about the Civil Rights movement.

At 13, Davis was the first African-American girl to play in the Little League World series. She is the first girl to earn a win and pitch a shutout in the LLWS last summer.

Aaron shared what it was like to grow up in Alabama and some of the lessons he learned early in life.

The team also visited the Martin Luther King Jr. center earlier Tuesday.

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Bob Uecker is returning to the Milwaukee Brewers broadcast booth a week after getting hit in the head by a ball during batting practice.

A team spokesman said Uecker was returning to the radio booth at Miller Park for Tuesday night’s game against the New York Mets.

The 81-year-old Uecker, 2003 winner of the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence, was hit during batting practice before a home game on June 15 against the Royals. He worked the first six innings and started feeling dizzy.

Team doctors checked him and sent him to the hospital as a precaution. Uecker was diagnosed with a mild concussion.

Uecker missed a home game June 16 against the Royals. He was not scheduled to call games during a five-game trip to Kansas City and Colorado.

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