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Officer suspended after delaying NFL player from seeing dying relative

Houston running back Ryan Moats was kept in a hospital parking lot after a traffic stop and threatened with arrest while his mother-in-law died inside the building.

March 27, 2009|Staff and Wire Reports

A police officer was put on administrative leave Thursday over a traffic stop involving an NFL player whom he kept in a hospital parking lot and threatened to arrest while his mother-in-law died inside the building.

Officer Robert Powell also drew his gun during the March 18 incident involving Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats in the Dallas suburb of Plano, police said.

"I can screw you over," he said at one point in the videotaped incident. When another officer came with word that Moats' mother-in-law was indeed dying, Powell's response was: "All right. I'm almost done."

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle apologized to the family and announced that Powell would be on paid leave pending an internal investigation.

"When we at the command staff reviewed the tape, we were embarrassed, disappointed," Kunkle said. "It's hard to find the right word and still be professional in my role as the police chief. But the behavior was not appropriate."

Powell, 25, a three-year member of the force, stopped Moats' SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano after Moats rolled through a red light.

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With an apology to Congress, baseball fans and the kids who looked up to him, All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada received a sentence of one year of probation for misleading Congress about the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

TENNIS

Clijsters to make comeback

Kim Clijsters will return to professional tennis after two years in retirement, saying she has regained the competitive hunger that led to the No. 1 ranking.

Clijsters, who retired in May 2007 to get married and start a family, announced her comeback at the tennis facility in Belgium where she has been practicing. She plans to enter the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 31 -- her first competition at Flushing Meadows since winning her only Grand Slam singles championship there in 2005.

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Serena Williams has been voted the 2008 WTA Tour player of the year for the second time. Williams also received the award for 2002. She won the U.S. Open in September and ended last year ranked No. 1.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Oregon hires Westhead

Paul Westhead, who has won titles in the NBA and WNBA, was hired as the women's head coach at Oregon.

The 70-year-old Westhead, who led the Lakers to the 1980 NBA title and Phoenix Mercury to the 2007 WNBA championship, replaces Bev Smith, who was let go last week after the Ducks went 9-21 last season.

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Indiana freshman guard Malik Story will transfer at the end of the semester to a school closer to his home in Southern California. Story, who had committed to USC at one point during his recruitment from Lakewood Artesia High, averaged 5.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 31 games this season.

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Ohio State 7-foot freshman B.J. Mullens announced he would make himself available for the NBA draft, the fifth Buckeyes player in the last three seasons to leave after playing one year. The Columbus-area native averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds.

BASEBALL

Boone has heart surgery

Houston Astros third baseman Aaron Boone had open heart surgery to replace a bicuspid aortic valve. The 36-year-old Boone was diagnosed with a congenital defect in his heart where the valve has two -- not the normal three -- cusps to manage blood flow. The surgery took place at Stanford University Medical Center.

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All-Star pitcher Justin Duchscherer is likely to begin the season on the disabled list after the Oakland Athletics right-hander left a minor league game with elbow pain.

ETC.

Torch relays to be curbed

Olympic officials have called for an end to international torch relays in the aftermath of a year that spawned protests around the globe before the Beijing Games.

Gilbert Felli, executive director of the International Olympic Committee, said that relays would be limited to within the Olympic country beginning next year in Vancouver. IOC officials decided there was too much risk in taking them worldwide.

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Golfer Seve Ballesteros will undergo a fourth round of chemotherapy as he continues treatment of a cancerous brain tumor. . . . Taylor Phinney of the United States won the individual pursuit and Morgan Kneisky of France captured the scratch title at the track world championships for cycling at Pruszkow, Poland. . . . The Sparks traded point guard Temeka Johnson to Phoenix in exchange for the Mercury's 2010 first-round draft pick.

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