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BC-Sports Briefs

Associated Press Updated: September 17, 2014 at 2:45 am

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — NFL

The Minnesota Vikings placed star running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list, a move that will require him to stay away from the team while he addresses child abuse charges.

The Vikings made the announcement early Wednesday morning after initially deciding that Peterson could play with the team while the legal process played out. Peterson is charged with a felony for using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son.

The Vikings came under heavy criticism for their initial stance. Several sponsors responded by either suspending their deals with the Vikings or severing ties with Peterson.

The stunning reverse course came after a harrowing day on Tuesday that included the Radisson hotel chains suspending its sponsorship with the Vikings.

Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. all severed ties with Peterson, and Twin Cities Nike stores pulled Peterson's jerseys from its shelves.

BALTIMORE (AP) — The NFL players' union appealed Ray Rice's indefinite suspension Tuesday night.

Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL's personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault following a Feb. 15 altercation with his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

The Baltimore running back had already served the first game of that suspension when, on Sept. 8, a video surfaced showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in that elevator.

Within hours, the Ravens released Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to indefinite based on the "new evidence."

Goodell and the Ravens say they never saw the video before Sept. 8.

The NFLPA said that the collective bargaining agreement requires a hearing date be set within 10 days of the appeal notice. It also said the hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.

The union, which had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to file the appeal, added that under governing labor law, an employee can't be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment.

The NFL didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A prosecutor says Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon will receive probation and undergo a substance-abuse assessment after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge in North Carolina.

Acting Wake County district attorney Ned Mangum says Gordon received a 60-day suspended jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation Tuesday.

He must also comply with any treatment recommended through the substance-abuse assessment, pay a $100 fine along with court costs and perform community service. Mangum says the court has also suspended Gordon's driver's license.

Gordon's attorney, Trey Fitzhugh, entered a guilty plea on Gordon's behalf on a charge of driving while impaired from a July arrest in Raleigh.

Gordon was pulled for going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone and charged with speeding, though Mangum said that charge was dismissed.

AUTO RACING

A grand jury will decide whether NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will be charged in the August death of a fellow driver at a sprint car race in upstate New York, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said he made the decision to present the case to a grand jury after reviewing evidence collected by county sheriff's investigators.

Tantillo could have determined there wasn't enough evidence to support charges and dropped the case, but instead announced his decision more than a month after Stewart's car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. at a dirt-track race on Aug. 9.

In a statement, Stewart said he respects the time and effort authorities have spent "investigating this tragic accident."

"I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation," he said.

Stewart spent three weeks in seclusion before returning for the final two races of the Sprint Cup season. He did not make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field, and finished 18th in the first Chase race Sunday at Chicagoland.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero spent weeks investigating the accident at the small track in Canandaigua, several times saying investigators did not have any evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart. Ward had spun while racing alongside Stewart and then the 20-year-old climbed out of his car and walked down the track, waving his arms in an apparent attempt to confront the 43-year-old NASCAR veteran.

NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes said the series was closely following the case.

BASKETBALL

ATLANTA (AP) — Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he has already talked with six potential buyers of the Atlanta Hawks and expects a sale of the team to move quickly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.

Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Reed said the crisis engulfing the NBA team would be solved "the Atlanta way" and predicted the franchise would come out stronger in the end.

The Hawks have been under fire since it was revealed Levenson sent an email two years ago theorizing that many suburban whites would not attend NBA games because of the team's African-American fans. He agreed to sale his share of the team, but it also emerged that Ferry had disparaged then-free agent Luol Deng on a conference call with team owners this past summer, saying he "has a little African in him."

Reed, who did not identify the prospective buyers, said whoever buys the team would have majority ownership. While Levenson owns 24 percent of the team, his Washington partner Ed Peskowitz has also agreed to sale his share, meaning that 50.1 percent of the team is available, according to the mayor.

For now, the Atlanta-based owners — including Michael Gearon Jr. and Rutherford Seydel (the son-in-law of former owner Ted Turner) — want to keep their shares of the team.

BASEBALL

ATLANTA (AP) — The Washington Nationals are again champions of the NL East, wrapping up their second division title in three years against the team that knocked them out of the top spot last season.

Tanner Roark pitched five-hit ball over seven innings, Ian Desmond's two-run homer broke a scoreless tie and the Nationals celebrated another trip to the playoffs with a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

The clinching victory was especially sweet coming against the Braves, who finished 10 games ahead of the Nationals in 2013. The roles were reserved this season as Washington steadily pulled away down the stretch.

Atlanta lost for the 11th time in 14 games, further damaging its hopes of making a third straight playoff appearance as a wild card. The Braves dropped to 75-76 with their fifth straight loss, the first time they have been under .500 since losing on opening day.

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles won their first AL East crown since 1997, using home runs by Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 Tuesday night.

With their ninth win in 10 games, the Orioles clinched their second playoff appearance in three years following a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons.

Afterward, the Orioles converged behind second base, fireworks soared in the outfield and streamers sprayed throughout the crowd.

It was Baltimore's ninth AL East title and only its second since 1983, when the Orioles last won the World Series.

The franchise has enjoyed a rebirth under the guidance of manager Buck Showalter, whose 1,254th victory thrust him past mentor Billy Martin into sole possession of 36th place on the career list.

Baltimore is 42-23 in a division that includes the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the free-spending New York Yankees and pitching-rich Tampa Bay. The Orioles led by only four games on Aug. 6 before going on a 27-11 run.

GOLF

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Rick Cloninger advanced to the U.S. Senior Amateur quarterfinals Tuesday, beating qualifying medalist Alan Fadel and David Szewczul at Big Canyon.

The 57-year-old Cloninger, from Fort Mill, South Carolina, routed Fadel, from Toledo, Ohio, 7 and 6 in the second round, and edged Szewczul, from Farmington, Connecticut, with a birdie on the 19th hole.

Cloninger is a construction equipment consultant. He played baseball and football at Wofford College.

On Friday morning in the event for players 55 and older, Cloninger will face Frank Dial of Auburn, Alabama. Dial beat James Gallagher of Yorktown, Virginia, 2 and 1.

DEAL, N.J. (AP) — Former Alabama tennis player Susan West won two matches Tuesday in the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur to advance to the quarterfinals at Hollywood Golf Club.

The 50-year-old West, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, beat Susan Cohn of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, 2 and 1 in the second round, and topped Martha Leach of Hebron, Kentucky, 1 up in the third round. Leach upset two-time defending champion Ellen Port of St. Louis 3 and 2 in the second round.

West will face Kareen Markle of Meridian, Idaho, a 2-up winner over South Africa's Louella Kanew.

In the other upper-bracket quarterfinal, Joan Higgins of Glendora, California, will play Canada's Helene Chartrand. Higgins beat Andrea Kraus of Baltimore 3 and 1, and Chartrand edged Noreen Mohler of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1 up.

In the lower bracket, Terri Frohnmayer of Salem, Oregon, will face Kim Eaton of Tempe, Arizona; and Canada's Judith Kyrinis will play Mexico's Mina Hardin. Frohnmayer beat Patricia Brogden of Garner, North Carolina, 1 up; Eaton edged Corey Weworski of Carlsbad, California, in 19 holes; Kyrinis routed Laura Algiero of White Plains, New York, 8 and 6; and Hardin topped Sherry Herman of Jackson, New Jersey, 4 and 3.

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