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Bam Morris Pleads Guilty to Drug Possession Charge

June 27, 1996|From Staff and Wire Reports

Pittsburgh Steeler running back Bam Morris pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Rockwall, Texas, hearing to a charge of marijuana possession in exchange for a prosecutors' recommendation that he not be imprisoned.

Ray Sumrow, Rockwall County district attorney, said Morris agreed to the plea in exchange for Sumrow's recommendation. Also, a felony cocaine possession charge was dropped.

Sentencing was scheduled for July 11. Morris, 24, could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000 for the third-degree felony. Sumrow said he would recommend six months' probation, a $7,000 fine and 200 hours of community service, along with other restrictions that include random drug testing.

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Several potential jurors were excused for the drug trial of Dallas Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin when they admitted that they could not be impartial after reading and listening to news accounts of the case.

The Dallas jury pool started with 67 members, but was cut to 65 when one person failed to show up and another was excused because of a scheduling conflict. It was trimmed to 57 when eight prospective panelists said they had formed opinions as to Irvin's guilt or innocence because of media coverage.

That dropped the number of potential African American jurors to 10 a day after Irvin's lawyers complained there weren't enough blacks in the jury pool.

Irvin, who is black, faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence if he is convicted of the second-degree felony cocaine possession charge. He is also charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

His lawyers have filed a motion asking that if Irvin is found guilty, his sentence should be set by state District Judge Manny Alvarez, not the jury. They also filed a motion asking that Irvin receive probation if convicted.

Cycling

The Tour de France is facing threats from the Basque separatist group ETA regarding the route of the world's most famous cycling race through the Basque country, according to tour director Jean-Marie Le Blanc.

It was not known what additional security measures, if any, will be taken to protect the riders and public during the Basque stages of the race. ETA, an acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom in the Basque language, has assassinated more than 760 people since taking up arms in 1968 to create an independent country in seven Basque provinces that straddle the Pyrenees in France and Spain.

The 83rd Tour de France begins Saturday in Den Bosch, Netherlands, and finishes on the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 21. The 2,385-mile race is scheduled to be in Pamplona, the capital of Navarre area in the Spanish Basque region, July 17-18.

The race has been won the last five years by Miguel Indurain, a native of Navarre.

Hockey

Mighty Duck Coach Ron Wilson will be named coach of Team USA for hockey's upcoming World Cup during a news conference today.

Wilson's appointment has been expected since midseason, and he solidified his position by guiding the U.S. to a bronze medal at the world championships in May. It was the first medal for the U.S. at that tournament in 34 years.

Brett Hull, Pat LaFontaine, Chris Chelios and John Vanbiesbrouck are among the NHL stars who will play for the U.S. in the inaugural World Cup, an eight-nation tournament Aug. 26-Sept. 14 that replaces the former Canada Cup.

Names in the News

Dennis Swanson, president of ABC Sports for the last decade, was hired as the president and general manager of NBC's flagship station in New York.

Swanson, 58, takes over at WNBC-TV, the top-rated television station in the city, the station announced. Swanson left ABC after this year's Kentucky Derby, ending a 10-year run as head of network sports. He was replaced by Steve Bornstein, who remains president and CEO of ESPN as well.

Swanson takes over from Bill Bolster, who was named president of CNBC in January. Bolster has been doing double duty at the two stations for the last five months.

Defensive end John McLaughlin, a 6-foot-4 junior from Valencia, has transferred from Notre Dame to California.

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