Today in sports: NBA owners fight one another as the lockout drags on, the former heavyweight champ dies of liver cancer, and nobody wants to buy a piece of the New York Mets.
- Disputes between the players' negotiating team have been a theme throughout the NBA lockout, but now some owners are apparently mad at commissioner David Stern for giving the union a Wednesday deadline to accept a proposed 50-50 split of basketball revenues. That's too generous for some owners, and one source indicates that even if the players take Stern up on the 50-50 offer, "it will not be easy for Stern to get it approved by his owners." They may not have to worry, since the union's executive committee is apparently "staunchly against voting to approve the deal" and the opinion of team player representatives is only mixed. [ESPN.com]
- The University of Mississippi rang in college football's firing season with the dismissals of football coach Houston Nutt and athletic director Pete Boone. When the school poached Nutt from SEC rival Arkansas four years ago, it was seen as a coup, but the team hasn't won a conference game in more than a year. Nutt at least won't be going away empty-handed: the buyout on his contract is worth $6 million, and if the next coach doesn't keep anyone from his coaching staff, the number reportedly jumps up to the $8 million neighborhood. [AP]
- Former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier lost his battle with liver cancer last night. He was 67. Frazier's rivalry with Muhammad Ali has dominated much of the coverage of his death, which is perhaps as it should be: Frazier handed Ali his first defeat in 1971 when he knocked him down in 15th round of the so-called "Fight of the Century," and in time the grudge he held against Ali would become almost as famous as their three fights. But Frazier was also a Gold Medal winner, Golden Gloves champion and guest star on The Simpsons. And yes, he beat Ali in his prime. [Sports Illustrated]
- Over at Capital New York, Howard Megdal breaks down why exactly New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon can't get anyone to buy a minority interest in the club, noting that ownership "is trying to sell minority shares of the team based upon a valuation of $950 million," even though the franchise was only worth $747 million last March, according to Forbes. To entice buyers, the team is offering "a sweetener that's the equivalent of a CD—three percent a year annually" on a share in the team. But Mets ownership is also being sued by the trustee for the victims of Bernie Madoff for $386 million. If they settle or a court rules against them, they'll likely have to pay off that number before they can reward investors in the team. There is seemingly no incentive for investors to buy into the team at the current asking price. [Capital New York]
- The New England Patriots cut defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth today, less than four months after acquiring him from the Washington Redskins. Haynesworth became the highest paid defensive lineman in NFL history when the Redskins gave him $100 million as a free agent in 2009, but fell out of favor with coach Mike Shanahan last year, who made him participate in a fitness test, which he repeatedly and spectacularly failed. (It should be noted that The Atlantic's James Fallows passed the same test in his first attempt.) [The Boston Herald]