Today in sports: Some Miami Marlins worry the team's new $2.5 million center-field statue will blind left-handed hitters, the NFL is expanding the investigation into the New Orleans Saints bounty pool, and another legal setback for New York Mets ownership.
U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff ruled Monday that the lawsuit against New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz by Irving Picard, the trustee for the victims of Bernie Madoff, will indeed go to a jury trial starting March 19. Rakoff also ruled Picard can reclaim $83.3 million in "fictitious profits" from the club without the trial, effectively putting a floor on what Wilpon and Katz will have to pay. Picard can pursue as much $386 million at trial, but Rakoff -- who will decide the final amount Picard receives, not the jury -- noted that will only happen if Picard can prove Wilpon and Katz "willfully blinded" themselves to Madoff's Ponzi scheme in order to continue reaping its benefits. For the already cash-strapped, debt-ridden Mets, this is another $83.3 million albatross. [AP]
St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been summoned to New York today for another round of interviews with NFL security officials about the bounty pool (aka, a "cheap shot fund") he admitted running over the past three seasons as an assistant with the New Orleans Saints. According to Fox Sports NFL reporter Jay Glazer, the league will begin handing out punishments stemming from the Saints investigation by March 25, the day before the NFL owners' meetings begin. Meanwhile, an NFL official confirmed to The Washington Post over the weekend that an investigation into allegations Williams had a similar program in place from 2004 to 2007 when he coached the Washington Redskins defense. [ESPN]