Here are some of the big sports stories making headlines today, Friday, Dec. 19.
HARBAUGH MUM ON MICHIGAN REPORTS
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is declining to respond to reports that he is weighing an offer from Michigan to become the new football coach at his alma mater.
Harbaugh has one season remaining on the $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011. Several media outlets, including ESPN and the NFL Network, have reported Harbaugh has a six-year offer on the table from the Wolverines.
San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke said this week that a decision on Harbaugh’s future would come after the season. The 7-7 Niners have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Jay Cutler has been benched as quarterback of the Chicago after only managing a 5-9 record this season. Coach Marc Trestman says Jimmy Clausen will start Sunday’s game against the Lions in Soldier Field. Cutler leads the league in interceptions with 18 and turnovers with 24.
FCC: REDSKINS NAME NOT OBSCENE
The Federal Communications Commission has dismissed a petition that called for one of the Washington Redskins’ flagship radio stations not to have its license renewed. The petition claimed repeated use of the word “Redskins” violates rules against indecent content.
But the FCC said that the law defines profanity as sexual or excretory in nature — meanings that don’t relate to the name of the football team.
Many Native American and other groups consider “Redskins” to be a racial slur and have demanded that owner Dan Snyder change the name. Snyder has vowed to keep it, despite mounting pressure over the past two years.
BLUE JACKETS STREAK ENDS AT 7
Eric Fehr scored 42 seconds into overtime to lead Washington to a 5-4 victory over Columbus. That ends the Blue Jackets’ seven-game winning streak and extends the Capitals’ point streak to seven games.
Joel Ward, Jason Chimera, Karl Alzner and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Capitals, who are 5-0-2 in their last seven games.
In other hockey:
THE BUTLER DOES IT FOR BULLS
Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 103-97 in a game that was missing All-Stars Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony.
Playing without Rose, who sat out with an illness, the Bulls got another strong game from Butler. He was 11 of 21 from the floor with four 3-pointers, five rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
The Knicks were led by Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 23 points and five 3-pointers. The Knicks have lost 13 of 14. Anthony sat out with a sore left knee.
In other NBA action:
CAVS PASS FIRST TEST AFTER EXAMS
An 11-day layoff for exams didn’t both the sixth-ranked Virginia Cavaliers, who cruised to a 70-54 victory over Cleveland State to improve to 10-0. That’s the Cavaliers’ best start since the 2000-01 season.
Trey Lewis had 18 to lead Virginia. Justin Anderson scored 14 of his 16 in the second half. Cleveland State scored just four points in the first 13 1/2 minutes against the Cavaliers’ top-ranked scoring defense and No. 3-rated field goal percentage defense.
In the only other AP Top-25 game of the night, second-ranked Duke trimmed defending national champion UConn 66-56. The Blue Devils are 10-0. Freshman point guard Tyus Jones scored 21 points to lead the Blue Devils.
ALL-STAR CATCHER NORRIS TRADED TO PADRES
Two people with knowledge of the deal say the Oakland Athletics have traded All-Star catcher Derek Norris and minor league right-hander Seth Streich to the San Diego Padres for righties Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez along with an international signing bonus slot. The 25-year-old Norris batted .270 with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs in 127 games for the Athletics.
In other baseball news: