Wednesday's Sports in Brief

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The NFL's sudden acknowledgement of a link between football and brain disease comes as a U.S. appeals court prepares to rule on the fairness of a likely $1 billion settlement of concussion-related claims.

Critics who appealed complain that the NFL settlement excludes ex-players diagnosed with CTE in the future.

They have asked the court to consider the new statement from Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety.

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He told Congress this week that that research on deceased players ''certainly'' shows a link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Some believe that means more cases down the road.

NFL lawyer Paul Clement says the remarks are nothing new and should not affect the settlement.

The federal appeals court in Philadelphia heard arguments in November and is expected to issue a ruling soon.


GENEVA (AP) - FIFA acknowledged that past World Cups were awarded based on bribes, and the organization wants U.S. prosecutors to give it ''tens of millions of dollars'' seized from the former FIFA officials who took the cash.

FIFA submitted a 22-page claim to the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York on Tuesday that seeks a big share in restitution from more than $190 million already forfeited by soccer and marketing officials who pleaded guilty in the sprawling corruption case.

Tens of millions of dollars more is likely to be collected by U.S. authorities when sentences are handed down, and from dozens of officials currently indicted but who have denied bribery charges or are fighting extradition.

FIFA claims it is the victim of corrupt individuals, despite widespread criticism that bribe-taking was embedded in its culture in the presidencies of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter, who was forced from office after 17 years by the current scandal.


NEW YORK (AP) - Major League Baseball says it will not discipline Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig for his involvement in an incident in a Miami area club last November.

MLB said it investigated and did not find any witnesses who supported an assault allegation. MLB said video evidence did not support the allegation, and Puig and his sister denied there was an assault. MLB concluded ''barring the receipt of any new information or evidence, no discipline will be imposed.''

Puig was among three players investigated under the sport's new domestic violence policy. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman agreed to a 30-game suspension without pay, and Colorado shortstop Jose Reyes was suspended with pay pending an April 4 trial on a charge of abusing his wife.

PHOENIX (AP) - Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche said he planned to retire and walk away from a $13 million salary after being told by the team president to cut down the time his son spent in the clubhouse.

Team president Kenny Williams confirmed that he twice asked LaRoche in the last week to ''dial it back'' with 14-year-old son Drake.

LaRoche abruptly said Tuesday at spring training that he planned to leave the game. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said at the time it was a ''personal decision'' and that LaRoche was asked to reconsider.

Williams said LaRoche's son was a ''quality young kid'' and wasn't a distraction. But Williams indicated he didn't want anything to deter the team's focus.

The 36-year-old LaRoche hit only .207 with 12 home runs last year.


BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - While the NHL decides whether to add any teams, league has already come up with a framework for a potential expansion draft.

The plan with the intent of having more competitive teams from the outset was distributed to general managers at their meeting Wednesday.

The idea for the expansion draft would have teams possibly lose one player if one team was added, and two players if two teams are added. The rules for protection of players would be tighter than during the last round of expansion in 2000 when Minnesota and Columbus joined the league.

Teams would be allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and a goaltender. Players in their first two years in any league and unsigned draft picks are all exempt.


FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves has been arraigned on sexual assault charges.

Cleaves appeared at a Flint courthouse a day after he was charged with assaulting a woman at a motel last summer following a charity golf event.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy is criticizing Judge M. Cathy Dowd, saying Cleaves' arraignment was handled ''clandestinely.'' No cameras were allowed. The prosecutor's office had asked for a Thursday hearing.

A message seeking comment from the judge wasn't immediately returned.

The 38-year-old Cleaves is charged with criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration and unlawful imprisonment. His attorney says the allegations are false and ''outrageous.''

Cleaves led Michigan State to the NCAA basketball championship in 2000. He appeared in 167 games for four NBA teams.