Phelps apologizes to Chinese fans

Sports Digest

February 12, 2009


Olympic champion Michael Phelps apologized to Chinese fans for what he called his "regrettable behavior" after he was photographed with a marijuana pipe. The Rodgers Forge native spoke via the Internet on a video that appeared widely today on Chinese-language Web sites. The Chinese-language newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily said the Web sites had received the statement from automaker Mazda, which is reported to be paying Phelps more than $1million to endorse the car brand in China. Last month Phelps was back in Beijing - where he won a record-breaking eight gold medals - to do commercials for automaker Mazda.

Horse racing: Seventh Street, a filly with three consecutive wins, is the early favorite in an eight-horse field for the Barbara Fritchie GradeII Handicap at Laurel Park on Saturday. The $150,000 Barbara Fritchie is limited to horses 3years and older. In addition to the Barbara Fritchie, Saturday's card will feature the John B. Campbell Handicap with a purse of $50,000. On Monday, Presidents Day, Laurel will hold another GradeII, the $150,000 General George Handicap for horses 3years and older. The draw for the General George, also a seven-furlong race, is today. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Seventh Street - listed at 5-2 and in the No.3 post position - will be trying to extend her victory run, all accomplished at Aqueduct in New York, in the seven-furlong Fritchie Handicap. The local contender, Access Fee (9-2), has four wins in six starts, and all her victories have been at Laurel. BILL ORDINE

NBA: Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) had 29points and eight rebounds, and the Nuggets (36-17) ended a 15-game losing streak in Orlando with an 82-73 win over the Magic (38-13). ... Deron Williams had 31points and 11assists, and the host Jazz (30-23) ended a seven-game winning streak for the Lakers (42-10) with a 113-109 victory. Kobe Bryant scored 37 for Los Angeles. ... Mo Williams scored a career-high 44points in his first home game since being named an All-Star as the Cavaliers (40-11) reached the break with a 109-92 victory over the Suns (28-23). ... Paul Pierce scored 30points and the visiting Celtics (43-11) spoiled guard Chris Paul's return from injury with an 89-77 win over the Hornets (30-20). Paul had missed four games with a right groin strain. Boston guard Ray Allen hyperextended his right thumb in the first half and didn't return. ... Elgin Baylor, the former Clippers general manager who was dismissed in the fall after 22 years, sued the team, the NBA and team owner Donald Sterling in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging employment discrimination.

Golf: Champions Tour pro Jim Thorpe ( Morgan State) has been charged with failing to pay $1.6million in federal taxes. The charges filed in federal court in Orlando, Fla., accuse Thorpe of failing to pay taxes on income he earned in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The golfer's attorney told the Associated Press that his client plans to plead not guilty.

Soccer: Crystal Palace Baltimore announced its schedule for the 2009 USL2 regular season. Palace's season will kick off at 7:30p.m. April 17 against Pittsburgh. For the second consecutive year, Palace's home matches are set to take place at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville. Tickets are available on the club's Web site - www.crystalpalaceusa.com - or by telephone at 410-933-8326. For the complete schedule, see For the Record below on this page.

More soccer: Michael Bradley scored twice to lead the U.S. to a 2-0 win over Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio. ... The U.S. men will play World Cup qualifiers in Chicago, Utah and Washington, D.C., later this year. The U.S. will face Costa Rica at RFK Stadium on Oct.14.

College football: Georgia Tech cornerback Jerrard Tarrant was reinstated to the team after being suspended for more than seven months. Tarrant had been accused of rape. The charges were eventually dropped. ... Virginia defensive coordinator and former Marshall head coach Bob Pruett, 65, announced his retirement.

From Sun staff and news services

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