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Names In The Game

August 7, 1995

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Steffi Graf’s main corporate sponsor says he has the right to suspend her contract, but will stand by her as long as it’s clear she didn’t intentionally cheat on her taxes.

``We’d have to know that she intentionally dodged taxes,″ said Hans Wilhelm Gaeb, vice president of General Motors Europe, in an interview with Sudwestfunk radio. ``That would be the limit we couldn’t cross.″

Gaeb said, however, he had no reason to believe Graf cheated on her German income tax.

Graf’s promotional contract with Opel, GM’s European subsidiary, is worth an estimated $3.5 million a year. Gaeb is said to be one of the tennis star’s top advisers, and he is a family friend.

Gaeb said he spoke with the 26-year-old Graf and her father, Peter, before Peter Graf’s arrest last week and urged him to step aside as his daughter’s manager and to make clear she wasn’t aware of her finances.

``We’ve suggested to Steffi Graf that she take more control over her own fate,″ Gaeb said. ``She’s shown now that that’s what she plans to do. I think it will personally strengthen her.″

Steffi Graf is under investigation for tax evasion, but authorities have said they will not arrest her because there is no danger of her fleeing. Her father is in a prison hospital.


CLEVELAND (AP) _ Bill Belichick is doing double duty.

In addition to being the Cleveland Browns head coach, Belichick is running the team’s defense.

Coaching defense is how Belichick made his reputation, as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants.

He’s doing it now because Browns defensive coordinator Rick Venturi is out indefinitely with exhaustion.

Heading the defensive coaching is a fulltime job. Venturi’s predecessor, Nick Saban, now the coach at Michigan State, said he usually spent 16 1/2 hours a day on the job with the Browns.

``I am spending a lot of time with the defense right now to get some things ironed out,″ Belichick said.

``I think gradually I’ll be able to move away from that. I am going to spend a lot of detail time with the defense this week to make sure we have a good foundation going into the season.″


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Tracy Caulkins Stockwell, three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, has given birth to twins.

Caulkins Stockwell, who set five world records and 42 American records from 1977 to 1984, gave birth to the twins Sunday in Australia. The Nashville native gained Australian citizenship last year.

She and husband Mark Stockwell, also an Olympic swimmer, named the 5 1/2-pound girl Maddison Rose and the 6-pound boy William Thomas.

``They’re all doing just fine,″ said Caulkins’ father, Tom, who lives in Nashville.

Caulkins Stockwell won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, but missed the 1980 Moscow Olympics due to the American boycott.


NEW YORK (AP) _ Tom Seaver, Lawrence Taylor and Phil Esposito will be among 11 sports figures honored at the ``Great Sports Legends″ dinner benefitting the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis on Sept. 19.

The three established their reputations in New York _ Seaver with the Mets, Taylor with the Giants and Esposito with the Rangers.

Also being honored will be Rick Barry in basketball, Bill Walsh as an NFL coach, Johnny Miller in golf, Stan Smith in tennis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee in track and field, Bonnie Blair in speed skating, Johnny Rutherford in auto racing and Randy Snow, a wheelchair athlete who won medals in tennis, track and basketball.

The dinners have raised mor than $11 million to support the Miami Project’s research into paralysis.

Former NFL star Nick Buoniconti helped start the Buoniconti Fund after his son, Marc, suffered an injury in a college football game that left him a quadriplegic.

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