Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Mulder still hoping to return for playoffs

OAKLAND, Calif. Mark Mulder won't be back in uniform for the Oakland Athletics any time soon. That isn't stopping him from being part of the playoff chase, though.

Mulder was in the A's clubhouse on Tuesday night as they opened a six-game homestand. He was on crutches the result of a broken leg bone near his hip, which probably ended another outstanding season for the left-hander.

''It doesn't hurt. I just have to keep the pressure off it,'' Mulder said. ''I feel kind of funny walking around on crutches, and I don't have something big around my leg. I look completely normal. The only time I feel anything is when I put pressure on my right leg, so I try not to do that.''

After the injury was diagnosed while the team was on the road last week, Mulder was sent home to Scottsdale, Ariz., to rest. After a few days of unspeakable dullness, he was back in California.

Clarett won't even dress for opener

COLUMBUS, Ohio Maurice Clarett took a handoff and ran through a hole usually a good sight for Ohio State fans.

But instead of his usual No. 13 Buckeyes uniform, Clarett had a purple No. 24 on his jersey so he could mimic Washington tailback Rich Alexis later in the scout-team workout against Ohio State's defense.

Clarett can practice with the second-ranked Buckeyes even though he's serving a ''multigame'' suspension for his role in an exaggerated car theft report.

While Clarett practiced, university officials worked on a response to the NCAA's allegations of financial misdeeds by the star running back.

Clarett will not be in uniform for the defending national champion Buckeyes' opener Saturday night against No. 17 Washington.

''The only people who will dress for the game are the ones who will be eligible to play in it,'' coach Jim Tressel said.

Oakland Raiders win partial court victory

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Al Davis and his Oakland Raiders were awarded $34.2 million Tuesday by a jury that found Oakland coliseum officials failed to deliver on promises of sold-out stadiums in luring the team back from Los Angeles.

The verdict in the lawsuit was far less than the $570 million to $833 million the Raiders sought to compensate for weak ticket sales and the declining value of the franchise.

Jurors said they calculated the award based on the team's losses on ticket sales, interest on that money and local TV rights.

Both sides promised to appeal the verdict reached after more than 10 days of deliberations. The jury heard nearly four months of testimony from 45 witnesses and had more than 600 pieces of evidence to consider.

After the verdict was read, Raiders lawyer Roger Dreyer said he was disappointed with the award, but hours later he said the decision was a vindication for the team.

''The jury has determined that the Raiders were lied to, that the public was lied to, and that they were deceived,'' Dreyer said.

It was not immediately clear where the coliseum would get the money to pay the award because the coliseum commission, a nonprofit corporation, has no assets, said defense lawyer James Brosnahan.

''The Raiders have known that all along,'' Brosnahan said. ''It's really a hollow victory.''

The case dates to 1995 when Davis, the legendary Raiders owner, maneuvered to get his team out of Southern California after revenues waned, the team's stadium was shaken by an earthquake and a deal collapsed to build a new stadium.

The deal gave the Raiders a $53 million loan, $10 million for a training complex and $100 million to renovate the coliseum, which is shared with the Oakland Athletics.

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, its chief negotiator Ed DeSilva and the now-defunct Arthur Andersen accounting firm were accused of intentionally misleading the team with its promises of sold-out games.

The jury ruled the coliseum acted negligently, but said none of the defendants intentionally misrepresented ticket sales.

The coliseum's lawyer said any box office flop should be partly blamed on high ticket prices and the Raiders' poor performance on the field upon their return to Oakland.

The Raiders are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, from their days as an AFL power in the 1960s to their return to dominance in the last three years.

During that time, Davis' lengthy career has been marked by a bruising style of play on the field and an aggressive business approach that has made the organization the most litigious in the NFL.

The coliseum suit was similar to one the Raiders lost two years ago in Los Angeles. Davis claimed the NFL owed him $1.2 billion for spiking the deal to build a new stadium at the Hollywood Park race track. A judge ordered a new trial because of juror misconduct, but the NFL is appealing.

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