Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001

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April 25, 2001

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XFL

NBC ready to pull plug

New York Dick Ebersol thought he had a winning idea partner with pal Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Federation fame to start the first big sports league with a network owner.

The NBC Sports chairman was way off the mark.

The venture lost tens of millions of dollars as XFL telecasts set record lows for prime-time ratings, and NBC burdened by disappointed affiliates probably will announce within the next week that it will stop airing games.

Early games had lascivious cheerleader shots, anti-NFL bluster from WWF types, sophomoric double entendres and screaming announcers, who sounded more like shills than analysts.

By the end, most of that nonsense was gone.

On the other hand, at least nine XFL players have signed NFL contracts and dozens could follow as NFL teams acquire free agents to fill training camp rosters.

Barkley to join Jordan?

If Michael Jordan, above right, returns to the NBA, he'll almost certainly have Charles Barkley with him.

Working as a broadcaster on the NBA playoffs for Turner Sports, Barkley sounded excited Tuesday by the prospect of a joint comeback with Jordan.

Barkley said he would return to the court if he could get back in shape and had some company.

"I wouldn't come back if Michael didn't come back. I would only come back for him," he said on a conference call.

WNBA

Swoopes will miss season

Houston Sheryl Swoopes sat out most of her rookie year in the WNBA to have a baby. She'll miss this season with a damaged knee.

Swoopes, the league's MVP and leading scorer last year, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during a preseason workout Monday night. A teammate said Swoopes was driving to the basket when she collapsed to the floor, screaming in pain.

The team said Tuesday that Swoopes will require reconstructive surgery that will sideline her for the season, which begins May 28. The Comets, who have won all four WNBA titles, earlier lost former MVP Cynthia Cooper, who retired to coach the Phoenix Mercury.

ArenaFootball2

Porn plug costly for PA man

Fort Myers, Fla. The public address announcer for the Florida Firecats, an ArenaFootball2 League team, has been fired for doing a promo for an adult Web site during a game.

Ted Fitzgeorge was fired Monday by Firecats' vice president Kimberlee Vallozzi-Eckel. He plugged an adult Web site during a break in play at the April 21 game between the Firecats and the Carolina Rhinos.

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