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For the Record
June 12, 2006
Retained By Nikolai Valuev, 32, his WBA heavyweight belt, with a third-round knockout of Owen Beck. The 7-foot, 321-pound Russian (44--0) floored the smaller Jamaican (Beck was giving up 101/2 inches and 80 pounds) with a right uppercut. "My family wanted me to knock him out today; that's why I did it," said Valuev (above, and with promoter Don King in inset). Beck (25--3) was able to find a silver lining. "I wanted to go home with the WBA title, but at least I came out still walking," he said. "I didn't go into the ambulance."
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June 12, 2006

For The Record

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Retained
By Nikolai Valuev, 32, his WBA heavyweight belt, with a third-round knockout of Owen Beck. The 7-foot, 321-pound Russian (44--0) floored the smaller Jamaican (Beck was giving up 101/2 inches and 80 pounds) with a right uppercut. "My family wanted me to knock him out today; that's why I did it," said Valuev (above, and with promoter Don King in inset). Beck (25--3) was able to find a silver lining. "I wanted to go home with the WBA title, but at least I came out still walking," he said. "I didn't go into the ambulance."

Died
At age 30 of unknown causes, Brad Martin, a former BYU football captain. Martin, a linebacker, injured his neck in a car accident during his senior season. He used painkillers to continue playing, but after his career ended he became addicted to them. In 2004 he sued the school for providing the painkillers and allowing him to play through his pain. (The suit was settled out of court.) An autopsy was inconclusive, and toxicology results are pending. "We don't really know what happened," his father, Robert Martin, said. "It just came so unexpectedly to us."

Died
At age 55 after suffering a massive stroke, Eric Gregg, a former major league umpire. Gregg was one of baseball's most recognizable men in blue for two decades. He fought a weight problem for much of his career, and his wide strike zone helped Florida's Livan Hernandez controversially strike out 15 Braves in the 1997 NLCS. Gregg lost his job in 1999 when he and 21 other umpires resigned in a failed labor negotiation ploy, but he was still something of a celebrity in his hometown of Philadelphia. He owned a stake in a restaurant at Citizens Bank Ballpark, where he poured beer--and often playfully ejected customers--before Phillies games.

Reinstated
By Duke, its embattled men's lacrosse team. The school canceled the remainder of its season on March 28, two weeks after a stripper accused several players of raping her at an off-campus party. (Three players have been indicted; all have pleaded not guilty.) At the time, the Blue Devils, who went to the 2005 NCAA finals, were ranked No. 1 in the nation. School president Richard D. Brodhead said the program would operate under scrutiny. "I am, I know, taking a risk in reinstating men's lacrosse," Brodhead said in a statement. "The reinstatement is inevitably probationary."

S-P-E-L-L-E-D
By 13-year-old Kerry Close (above), the word ursprache to win the 79th Scripps National Spelling Bee. Kerry, an eighth-grader from Spring Lake, N.J., was making her fifth straight appearance at the tournament. After runner-up Finola Hackett, a 14-year-old from Edmonton, stumbled on weltschmerz (which means sentimental pessimism), Kerry correctly spelled kundalini (a yogic life force) and ursprache (a parent language). Kerry, who won $42,500 in cash and prizes, began competitive spelling in the fourth grade, when she won her class bee. "My teacher gave me a list for the school spelling bee, and I won that too," she says. "I was like, Wow, I'm pretty good at this."

Pleaded
No contest to two misdemeanor charges of assault and battery, Sean Taylor. The Redskins' linebacker was sentenced to 18 months' probation for his part in an incident last summer in which he allegedly waved a gun at a group of people he thought stole two ATVs from him in Miami. He had been charged with three felonies and faced 46 years in prison before agreeing to the plea deal. Last Thursday circuit judge Leonard Glick warned Taylor, "If you get caught spitting on the sidewalk ... you violate your probation." ( Taylor was thrown out of a game in January for spitting on a Buccaneers player.) His plea could lead to a fine or suspension from the NFL under the league's personal conduct policy.

Suspended
For six games for going into the stands during a game, Mavericks center D.J. Mbenga. During Game 4 of the Western Conference finals in Phoenix, Mbenga, who was on the bench in street clothes after being inactivated for the game, noticed Dallas coach Avery Johnson's wife arguing with some Suns fans. He tried to defuse the situation, which led to lenience from the league. "We ended up at six [games] because D.J. certainly went up there very calmly and there was not an altercation of any kind," NBA VP Stu Jackson said.

Filed
By Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker (below), a restraining order against a woman he says has been harassing him for years. Uecker, 71, the voice of the Brewers for 35 years, obtained an injunction against Ann E. Ladd, a 45-year-old woman from Prospect Heights, Ill., whom he accused of sending unsolicited gifts, driving around his home and harassing him on the road. "Ladd's pattern of harassment has escalated in frequency and intensity and has resulted in repeated and serious invasions of my personal privacy," Uecker's injunction request said.

Postponed
An effort by a Russian astronaut on the International Space Station to hit the longest drive in history. Pavel Vinogradov planned to hit a ball into orbit during a space walk last week as part of a promotion with a Canadian golf company to mark the 35th anniversary of Alan Shepard's lunar golfing foray. But the stunt, which would have seen a ball knocked into a three-year orbit, was called off, possibly over fears that the ball could damage the station. The drive is expected to be attempted on a later mission.

Announced
That it will convene a focus group to come up with a new mascot, George Mason University. That's bad news for Gunston, the generic furry green beast who became a star during the Patriots' run to the Final Four. "We need to develop a mascot with a strong image, more of an immediate connection with George Mason, something our community would be proud to have," associate AD Andy Ruge told The Washington Post. "It would be nice if a freshman could see him and go, 'Hey, that's our mascot' instead of going, 'What's that?'" Gunston, who had been the mascot for 10 years, will still represent the school, primarily at youth events.

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