Around the Nation (July 15): Pilot Flying J agreement good for company, says Gov. Haslam

Associated Press Published:

FOOTBALL
Gov. Haslam: Truck stop agreement good for company

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says the truck stop company he co-owns can start putting the fraud investigation behind it after it struck a deal with prosecutors to pay a $92 million fine and acknowledge that employees cheated customers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced the company has agreed to pay the fine in an agreement signed Friday.

Haslam is not involved in Pilot Flying J’s day-to-day operations of the company that is co-owned by his brother, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

Ten employees of the truck-stop company have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme to cheat customers out of promised fuel rebates and discounts.

The agreement does not protect anyone at Pilot from prosecution and requires the company to cooperate with an ongoing investigation.

Saints confirm multiyear deal with Jimmy Graham
NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints have confirmed a multiyear contract with star tight end Jimmy Graham.

Details have not been released in the deal that ends a protracted holdout. Graham skipped all of the Saints’ voluntary and mandatory practices and workouts — and challenged the NFL’s franchise tag process through arbitration.

The odds of Graham leaving the Saints were slim since the club in late February placed its franchise tag on the player.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance, contending Graham was used as a wide receiver often enough to qualify for the more lucrative receiver tag, worth about $5 million a year more than the $7 million tag for a tight end.

BASEBALL
Selig: MLB didn’t know A-Rod had drug exemption
 
MINNEAPOLIS — Bud Selig maintains Major League Baseball had no idea Alex Rodriguez received a medical exemption from the sport’s drug administrator to use a testosterone-boosting substance in 2007.

Rodriguez received a therapeutic use exemption for the otherwise-banned substance clomid, according to the book “Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroid Era,” which was published last week.

Clomid is prescribed for ovulation induction and has been used by men to restore the production of testosterone following a steroids cycle. The book said the exemption was granted by Bryan W. Smith, then the independent administrator of baseball’s drug program.

Selig said Tuesday before the All-Star game that MLB didn’t know about the decision.

BASKETBALL
Hawks get Sefolosha in trade with Thunder

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks have acquired guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha in a sign-and-trade deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Atlanta also received the rights to Giorgos Printezis and cash considerations from Oklahoma City for the rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis and a trade exception. The Thunder say they have one year from Tuesday to use the trade exception.

The Hawks announced on Thursday that they had reached a $12 million, three-year contract with the 6-foot-7 Sefolosha, who averaged 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 61 games for Oklahoma City last season, all starts. He has spent eight seasons in the NBA with Chicago and the Thunder.

Wizards send Ariza to Houston in three-team trade
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Trevor Ariza will join the Rockets as part of a three-team trade also involving the Pelicans and Wizards.

Houston will send center Omer Asik, forward Omri Casspi and cash considerations to New Orleans.

Washington will receive center Melvin Ely and a trade exception as part of Tuesday’s trade, in which the Wizards will sign Ariza before sending him to Houston. The Rockets also get former Cavaliers forward Alonzo Gee, guard Scotty Hopson and a 2015 first-round draft pick from New Orleans.

Ariza averaged 14.4 points last season for Washington. Asik averaged 5.8 points for Houston, a year after averaging a career-best 10.1 points.

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