NFL petitions Supreme Court

Posted: June 28, 2009

In the legal equivalent of running up the score, the NFL is going to the Supreme Court in search of a bigger victory in an antitrust tussle over team merchandise than it already won from a lower court.

The Supreme Court could decide as early as tomorrow whether it will hear the case, which involves American Needle Inc.'s challenge to the league's exclusive contract for selling headwear such as caps and hats with team logos on them. American Needle of Buffalo Grove, Ill., also is urging the high court to review. Football team owners hope the high court will issue a broader decision that would insulate the NFL against what it contends are costly, frivolous antitrust lawsuits.

At the heart of the matter is whether the NFL's teams constitute 32 distinct businesses or a single entity that can act collectively without violating antitrust law.

The NBA and the NHL both filed friend-of-the-court briefs siding with the NFL. Notably absent is Major League Baseball, which has an antitrust exemption thanks to a 1922 Supreme Court ruling.

Auto racing

Scott Dixon grabbed the lead from teammate Dario Franchitti on pit road midway through the SunTrust Indy Challenge race at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia and went on to earn his 19th career IndyCar Series victory. Dixon is now tied with Sam Hornish Jr.'s series record. Danica Patrick fifth, her fifth top five in eight races.

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Kyle Busch passed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano near the end of the Camping World 200 yesterday and held off the precocious 19-year-old to get the NASCAR's Nationwide Series victory at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.

Ron Hornaday dominated his second consecutive race and won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' MemphisTravel.com 200 at the Memphis Motorsports Park last night in Tennessee.

Colleges

Ex-Duke basketball player Elliot Williams said he will transfer to Memphis. Williams, a sophomore guard, was granted his release Wednesday from Duke because his mother is ill.

Track and field

LaShawn Merritt and Sanya Richards made their 400-meter races look like strolls around the track, each cruising to titles at the U.S. championships in Eugene, Ore.

With no Jeremy Wariner in the field, Merritt, who turned 23 yesterday, was missing his only rival and quickly pulled away from the field. The Olympic gold medalist, who beat Wariner in Beijing, won in 44.50 seconds, tying his world-best time for 2009.

With no one to really push Merritt, the battle was for second, where Gil Roberts held off Kerron Clement.

In the women's 400 hurdles, UCLA's Nicole Leach of West Catholic finished fourth behind winner Lashinda Demus.

North Carolina's Erin Donohue of Haddonfield finished fifth behind Shannon Rowbury in the women's 1,500 meters.

Boxing

Marcos Maidana (26-1, 25 knockouts stopped Victor Ortiz (24-2-1) early in the sixth round of an action-packed fight, using a punishing right hand to upset one of boxing's top prospects in a 140-pound interim title fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Pro softball

Clare Burnum's sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth snapped a 3-3 tie to propel the Force to an 8-4 win over Akron in the first game of a National Pro Fastpitch doubleheader in Ohio. The Racers won the nightcap, 5-3.

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