Hines Ward retired from the Steelers Tuesday, and Bengals safety Chris Crocker won't miss him. Crocker acknowledged that Ward belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he said the receiver was dirty as well. "He tried to end people's careers, and that's not the way the game is supposed to be played," Crocker said.

The Warriors retired Chris Mullin's number Monday night, but the halftime ceremony was marred by the fans' booing of second-year owner Joe Lacob (a New Bedford native and former Celtics minority owner). The ceremony came just days after the team traded leading scorer Monta Ellis, and the fans were relentless in voicing their displeasure, despite pleas from Mullin and Warriors legend Rick Barry to show more respect.

Bryce Harper, the controversial 19-year-old many are predicting to be the next major league star, was sent to Triple-A Syracuse Sunday by the Nationals.

Harper, who missed six spring training games with a calf strain, went 1-for-5 with four strikeouts Sunday against the Tigers. Manager Davey Johnson reportedly had been pushing for Harper to stay in the majors.

"He's a special player," Johnson said. "He needs to go down there and do what he's doing. He doesn't need to change [anything] for me. He just needs to go play."

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez lashed out at the unnamed teammates who criticized him following the team's disappointing finish to the 2011 season, calling the comments "a gutless thing to do."

"If you're not going to put your name on something, why waste anybody's time?" said Sanchez, who last week signed a three-year, $40 million extension. "Obviously, they had strong opinions about it, but not strong enough to say who they are."

Bill Belichick has it a lot better than Danny Ainge -- a lot better.



Shaquille O'Neal responded to Jose Canseco's challenge to fight in a mixed martial arts bout by saying he's ready to rumble.
"I challenged him a long time ago," said O'Neal, who retired from the Celtics last year. "If he wants it done he knows where to find me."

Canseco, 47, had attempted to start a comeback to baseball, but he was banned from his Mexican League team after declining to take a doping test.

Said the 40-year-old O'Neal: "He can be high off whatever, and I'll be high off Frosted Flakes."

On the same day Brandon Marshall was traded from the Dolphins to the Bears, news broke that the wide receiver allegedly punched a woman in the face during a weekend incident outside a New York City nightclub.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minster David Cameron will attend Tuesday night's NCAA play-in game in Dayton, Ohio, between Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. The two leaders will take part in a live halftime interview with analyst Clark Kellogg.

The White House said the trip will showcase the tight relationship between the two allies. Ohio also is considered a swing state for the upcoming election.

Republicans criticized the trip.

It appears that the era of good feeling in New York that arrived with Jeremy Lin has given way to frustration. Knicks fans called for coach Mike D'Antoni's head Sunday, chanting "Fire D'Antoni" during a 106-94 loss to the 76ers, New York's fifth straight setback.

Forward Carmelo Anthony heard boos during pregame introductions, and he and Amar'e Stoudemire were left on the bench during the fourth quarter.

There were a number of bizarre injuries in baseball last year, and we're off to a strong start in 2012. Rays pitcher David Price injured himself during Thursday's spring training game against the Tigers while using a towel to wipe sweat off his neck. Price said he "felt a little pop," and left the game after two innings (he was scheduled to pitch three) with minor neck spasms.