Comcast said yesterday it is not discriminating against a regional sports network owned by the Baltimore Orioles, saying it will not carry the Baltimore club's network because the team is in violation of a television contract with Comcast.
Orioles owner Peter Angelos "has created a network that is built on a breach of contract with Comcast," the company said in a news release accompanying a document filed with the Federal Communications Commission. "In playing this game, Mr. Angelos has knowingly and consciously created a circumstance that would limit the television distribution of Washington Nationals games."
The Orioles filed a complaint with the FCC last month, asking the agency to require Comcast to carry Washington Nationals games on its network. In a complicated arrangement with baseball, the Orioles pay the Nationals $20 million a year for the rights to televise their games on an Orioles-owned network. Comcast will not carry the network on its cable channels.
"Comcast is a monopolist seeking to demonize and to crush a rival regional sports network that had the temerity to outnegotiate it for the rights to televise the Nationals' games," said David Frederick, an attorney for the Orioles.
* OLYMPICS: The 60 members of the full-time staff for New York's unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Summer Games are seeking other jobs and the group's Manhattan office is being packed up, inventoried and shut down, bid founder Dan Doctoroff said, all but assuring there will be no bid for the 2016 Summer Games from New York.
"We took our chance and it didn't work out," he said. "It's time to move on. . . . We really haven't been thinking about 2016 at all."
Doctoroff, however, declined to declare New York officially out of the hunt for 2016, saying more time and reflection were necessary before a final decision was rendered.
Meantime, U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Jim Scherr is assembling a six- to eight-person team from different operating areas of the organization that by next week is expected to begin drawing up a plan for choosing another U.S. city to bid for the 2016 Games, USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said.
* COURTS: BALCO Laboratories founder Victor Conte Jr. struck a deal with federal prosecutors that includes a four-month prison term and four months of house detention in a case that sparked the biggest sports drug scandal in history, the San Jose Mercury News has learned.
The case against Conte -- the centerpiece of the government's criminal investigation into steroids -- looks to be resolved with pleas to two felonies and a short stay in a minimum-security prison.
Conte, 54, plans to sign an agreement today, but it must be approved by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston before it is official.
The deal does not require Conte to cooperate with federal agents in their investigation, his attorneys said.
* BASKETBALL: With only the slightest of hedges, Larry Brown said he's "confident" the Detroit Pistons will bring him back as their head coach for the 2005-06 season. . . .
The New York Knicks and free agent center Jerome James agreed to a five-year deal, according to media reports. Marc Fleisher, James'sagent, confirmed the approximately $29 million deal Wednesday. . . .
Ticha Penicheiro scored 13 points and the Sacramento Monarchs held on for a 72-61 WNBA home win over the San Antonio Silver Stars.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports