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Names In The Game

February 12, 1997

WEMBLEY, England (AP) _ Alessandro Bernardi had been scheduled to sing the Italian national anthem before Wednesday’s World Cup soccer game against England at Wembley stadium. But he was dropped after the Italian embassy protested because of his previous nightclub performances.

Embassy officials reportedly were embarrassed at seeing photos of Bernardi, a cabaret artist and former dishwasher, singing Nessun Dorma (``None Shall Sleep″) from Puccini’s opera``Turandot″ while standing naked on a table top.

He was replaced at the last minute by English-born opera singer Ida-Maria Turri, whose parents are Italian.

``I was going to do this for the honor,″ Bernardi was quoted as saying about his expected performance before 78,000 fans at the stadium and millions on television. ``It is a terrible disappointment. I intended to do my best and I am sure my appearance would have been a success.

``I would have been fully dressed for the occasion.″

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TORONTO (AP) _ Three weeks ago, Allen Joseph was promised a pair Shaquille O’Neal’s size 22 basketball shoes.

Three weeks ago, and still no shoes from the Los Angeles Lakers star.

Joseph, a 6-foot-8 high school player in Brampton, Ontario, has had trouble finding an adequate pair of basketball shoes in Canada. He had been wearing a worn-out pair that caused him to slip and slide on the court, but recently athletic apparel manufacturer Reebok sent Joseph a pair of size 22 sneakers to use until O’Neal’s shoes arrived.

``I made a few calls to Shaq’s agent last week to ask why Allen had not received them yet,″ said Dario Pretto, Joseph’s coach at Notre Dame Catholic High School.

Pretto said an official from O’Neal’s agency in Los Angeles said they were having trouble finding a pair of O’Neal’s shoes, but they would try to send a pair this week.

``Just look in his locker for a pair,″ Pretto said. ``If they don’t want to send Allen the shoes, that’s fine.

``But it would be nice if he could get them.″

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Nick Lowery of the New York Jets is the winner of the Casual Exc Award, and it has nothing to with his approach to place kicking.

The clothing manufacturer who gives the award, Lee Sport Casualwear, said one reason Lowery was picked was his accomplishments on the field _ he is the NFL’s all-time leading field goal kicker with 383, and second only to George Blanda in point scoring. But, that’s not the only reason the 17-year veteran was selected.

Lowery also was recognized for his charitable works.

He established the Return to Harmony NFL Clinic for Native America and Eskimo youngsters last year. Lowery will give another clinic in June on a Navajo reservation in Arizona that is expected to attract 200 youths from nine tribes from California to Wyoming.

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Rodeo superstar Ty Murray’s bid for a record-setting seventh world all-around title has been sidetracked by a major injury for the third straight year.

Murray has a dislocated right shoulder. An operation scheduled for next month likely will keep him out at least six months, Dr. Tandy Freeman said.

``I think the reality of this injury is that Ty will be out for the rest of the year,″ Freeman said. ``The odds of him re-injuring the shoulder would be very great since rodeo is so physically demanding.″

Murray, 27, was hurt Saturday when he hit the ground after being thrown off a bull while competing in St. Louis. It was just the second cup event of the season.

Murray is tied for the most all-around titles with Larry Mahan (1966-70 and ’73) and Tom Ferguson (1974-79). He’s won more than $1.5 million in Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events since turning pro in 1988.

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MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) _ New England Patriots kick return specialist David Meggett was ordered to pay $22,500 a year as well as other expenses for the support of his 21-month-old daughter.

Vanessa Barone, 24, had sought $60,000 a year for her daughter, Gabrielle Angelica Meggett-Barone.

``We are very pleased with the ruling,″ said Meggett’s attorney, Deborah Nelson. ``David was very gratified the judge recognized his sincerity about becoming a father to Gabrielle. He truly loves her.″

Superior Court Judge Bernard Conway on Tuesday ordered Meggett to make monthly support payments of $1,875 and to establish a $60,000 education trust fund. He also said she must be made the beneficiary of a $200,000 life insurance policy.

Meggett and Barone had a ``non-exclusive relationship″ while she was a student at the University of Maryland in 1994. Their daughter was born in May 1995.

Both declined comment as they left the courtroom.

Barone’s attorney, Edward O’Donnell, said he was ``generally satisfied″ with the outcome.

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SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) _ Heidi Ueberroth, the daughter of former baseball commissioner Pete Ueberroth, was promoted Wednesday to vice president, international television, by NBA Entertainment.

Ueberroth joined the NBA in 1994 after spending seven years with Ohlmeyer Communications in Paris and New York. With the NBA, she has been director of international media programs and director of international programming.

Her father was head of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and baseball commissioner from 1984-1989.

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