The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved separate bills yesterday that would set minimum steroid-testing rules and penalties for professional sports, and create a U.S. Boxing Commission.

The Drug Free Sports Act, introduced in the wake of allegations of widespread steroid use in baseball, would set drug-testing policy for the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. It calls for an athlete to be suspended half the season for the first offense, a full season for the second and a lifetime ban for a third offense.

The boxing bill would license boxers, managers, promoters and sanctioning organizations, and impose uniform health and safety standards, establish a centralized medical registry and provide uniform ranking criteria and contractual guidelines.

* AUTO RACING: Formula One's governing body ruled the seven teams that boycotted the United States Grand Prix were guilty of failing to provide suitable tires and wrongfully refusing to run in the race.

BMW-Williams, Mercedes-McLaren, BAR-Honda, Toyota, Sauber, Red Bull and Renault declined to race June 19 after their tire manufacturer, Michelin, said its tires were unsafe for the Indianapolis circuit.

The FIA will announce their punishments -- which could range from a reprimand to a lifetime ban -- Sept. 14.

* PRO FOOTBALL: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was acquitted of an assault charge stemming from a playground altercation in Phoenix.

The Maricopa County (Ariz.) Superior Court jury acquitted Suggs of one count of aggravated assault. Another felony assault count was filed after the incident March 29, 2003, but Judge Michael Wilkinson dismissed it last week.

The jury also exonerated Suggs's younger brother, Donald, of two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly using a baseball bat in the brawl. . . . Former Washington Redskins punt return specialist Brian Mitchell and linebacker Ken Harvey where among seven NFL alumni who gathered yesterday to announce the Flag Football Legends Showdown.

The Showdown is a charity fundraiser that will consist of two games: the first on July 24 at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover and the second Aug. 13 at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pa.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports