Sports violence: NFL hands out latest punishments

Associated Press Published: May 2, 2012
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Later, in his autobiography, Keane admitted he wanted to get back at Haaland for accusing him of feigning the injury. Payback came in April 2001, with Keane launching a two-footed, knee-high challenge on Haaland, who was by then playing for Manchester City.

Penalty: Initially, Keane was banned for three matches. But the English Football Association charged Keane with bringing the game into disrepute in September 2002 when Keane later admitted to deliberately setting out to injure Haaland. "I'd waited almost 180 minutes for Alfie, three years if you looked at it another way," Keane said in his ghostwritten book. "I'd waited long enough. I hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that." Under a ruling that the vicious tackle was "improperly motivated," in October 2002 Keane was banned for a further five games and fined a record 150,000 pounds (then $234,000).

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Feb. 21, 2000: Marty McSorley hits Donald Brashear in the head with his stick:

With 3 seconds left in a game in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Bruins' McSorley, a notorious enforcer, swung his stick using both hands and hit Brashear in the head. The player fell backward and hit his head on the ice, was unconscious for a brief time, and had a concussion and memory lapses. He returned to play several weeks later.

Penalty: McSorley was suspended indefinitely by the NHL, missing the final 23 games of the season. On Oct. 4, 2000, a Canadian court found him guilty of assault and placed him on probation with no jail time. After the conviction, the suspension was extended to a full year, and McSorley never played in another NHL game.

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Nov. 19, 2004: Pacers-Pistons fight spills into stands:

The most infamous brawl in NBA history — Malice in the Palace — started when Indiana's Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) fouled Detroit's Ben Wallace late in the game. Wallace shoved back, other players got involved and Artest wound up lying on the scorer's table. He put on a pair of headphones at one point, while others on the court continued a battle of mostly words for over a minute. Then a fan threw a drink on Artest, prompting him and teammate Stephen Jackson to head into the stands. "Someone started trouble," Artest said years later, "but I ended it."

Results: Nine players were suspended for 140 games. Pacers: Artest, 73 games; Jackson, 30 games; Jermaine O'Neal, 25 games; Anthony Johnson, 5 games; Reggie Miller, 1 game. Pistons: Wallace, 6 games; Chauncey Billups, Elden Campbell and Derrick Coleman, 1 game each.

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July 9, 2006: Zinedine Zidane's head butt:

Zidane had already ended his international career once in inglorious circumstances, but that was nothing compared to how he finally left the game. Persuaded to rescind the retirement he announced after France was eliminated from the 2004 European Championship, Zidane helped carry his country to the 2006 World Cup final and a meeting with Italy at Berlin's Olimpiastadion. Zidane had already said the game would be his last in professional soccer and he put France ahead with a seventh-minute penalty kick. A tense game was headed toward a penalty shootout after Italy had tied the game when, seemingly without provocation, Zidane turned toward Italy defender Marco Materazzi and planted a head butt on his chest. Zidane was sent from the field in disgrace, passing within touching distance of the World Cup trophy he was now unable to play for. With Zidane unavailable, France lost the shootout 5-3.

Penalty: FIFA banned Zidane for three matches but the punishment was meaningless since he had retired. Zidane instead agreed to spend three days working with children as part of a FIFA humanitarian project. Zidane said he knocked Materazzi to the ground because the Italian had insulted his sister. His opponent later confirmed Zidane's version of events.

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July 11, 2010: Nigel de Jong kicks Xabi Alonso:

Nigel de Jong chose the highest-profile match in world soccer for a blatant foul.

In a 2010 World Cup final criticized for the rough play of the Netherlands players, the tough Dutch midfielder delivered a kick with his right foot straight into the chest of his Spanish counterpart, Xabi Alonso.

Penalty: English referee Howard Webb handed out only a yellow card to De Jong, to the amazement of Alonso, Spain's team and a global audience of billions. "One of the things I would change is the color of the card for De Jong's tackle," Webb said days later. "Having seen it again from my armchair several times in slow motion and from different angles, I can see that it was a red-card offense." In the end, Alonso had the last laugh as Spain won the title.