Dave Duerson, above, played in 160 NFL games for the Bears, Giants and Cardinals. In his final months, Duerson knew something was wrong. He told his family immediately before his death that “there’s something going on” in his brain. He then shot himself in the chest, leaving a note requesting post-mortem examination.
By Lester Munson | ESPN.com
The words and phrases of the NFL’s concussion crisis are dramatic enough — depression, diminished brain function, dementia, wrongful death, and allegations against the league of conspiracy and fraudulent concealment.
But the numbers are more dramatic. At least 3,000 former players or their families are filing lawsuits, and there may be many more. They seek money damages for lives altered or ended by concussions. If the suits succeed in pinning the blame for the troubles on the NFL, they will yield damage awards, small amounts for those with minor injuries and enormous amounts for those who are disabled or dead. If the average award is $500,000, the NFL faces a loss of $1.5 billion.
During a four-day period last week, 1,847 former players filed their paperwork in Philadelphia. Among them: Tony Dorsett, Scott Dierking, Keith Byars, Leroy Kelly, Garo Yepremian, Marcus Dupree, Don Beebe, Roger Brown, Jim Grabowski, Donny Anderson, Eric Dickerson, John David Crow, Mark Rypien, Tony Mandarich, Todd Marinovich, Curt Warner, Kyle Turley, Chris Doleman, Tommy McDonald, Terry Metcalf, Tommy Nobis, Joe Kapp, Steve Bartkowski and Joe DeLamielleure. The list, which includes Hall of Fame players, marginal players and even a kicker, shows how difficult the process will become.
The numbers are reaching the point where the litigation now qualifies as “mass tort,” a legal term that has been used to describe litigation on tobacco, asbestos and toxic medications…Continue reading at ESPN
David Stern would have you believe the Brooklyn-bound franchise embodies everything wrong with the league’s finances. It’s not true.
Ten years ago, a New York real estate developer named Bruce Ratner fell in love with a building site at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn. It was 22 acres, big by New York standards, and within walking distance of four of the most charming, recently gentrified neighborhoods in Brooklyn — Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill, and Fort Greene. A third of the site was above a railway yard, where the commuter trains from Long Island empty into Brooklyn, and that corner also happened to be where the 2, 3, 4, 5, D, N, R, B, Q, A, and C subway lines all magically converge. From Atlantic Yards — as it came to be known — almost all of midtown and downtown Manhattan, not to mention a huge swath of Long Island, was no more than a 20-minute train ride away. Ratner had found one of the choicest pieces of undeveloped real estate in the Northeast.
But there was a problem. Only the portion of the site above the rail yard was vacant. The rest was occupied by an assortment of tenements, warehouses, and brownstones. To buy out each of those landlords and evict every one of their tenants would take years and millions of dollars, if it were possible at all. Ratner needed New York State to use its powers of “eminent domain” to condemn the existing buildings for him. But how could he do that? The most generous reading of what is possible under eminent domain came from the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Kelo v. New London case. There the court held that it was permissible to seize private property in the name of economic development. But Keloinvolved a chronically depressed city clearing out a few houses so that Pfizer could expand a research and development facility. Brooklyn wasn’t New London. And Ratner wasn’t Pfizer: All he wanted was to build luxury apartment buildings. In any case, the Court’s opinion in Kelo was treacherous ground. Think about it: What the Court said was that the government can take your property from you and give it to someone else simply if it believes that someone else will make better use of it. The backlash to Kelo was such that many state legislatures passed laws making their condemnation procedures tougher, not easier. Ratner wanted no part of that controversy. He wanted an airtight condemnation, and for that it was far safer to rely on the traditional definition of eminent domain, which said that the state could only seize private property for a “public use.” And what does that mean? Continue at Grantland
AP -Nearly two dozen former NFL players are suing the league over severe and permanent brain damage they say is linked to concussions suffered on the job.
The complaint filed Thursday in Miami follows a similar one in Atlanta earlier this week. It is the latest in a series of recent lawsuits against the NFL by ex-players.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of ex-Miami Dolphins teammates Patrick Surtain, Oronde Gadsden and 19 other players. It accuses the NFL of deliberately omitting or concealing years of evidence linking concussions to long-term neurological problems.
The NFL denies the charges and says player safety has long been a priority.
The players claim the NFL made misrepresentations about the seriousness of their injuries “with the intent of inducing NFL players, including plaintiffs, to return to play as soon as physically possible after having suffered a football-related concussion and to promote an aggressive style of football that would attract viewers.”
According to the lawsuit, following numerous studies on the risks of concussions, the NFL created a committee of researchers and doctors in 1994 to study concussions.
The committee was supposed to be independent, but members were affiliated with the NFL, the lawsuit said, and the group did not include a doctor specializing in neurology or other brain research. When the committee published its findings in 2003, it stated “there was no long-term negative health consequence associated with concussions,” according to the complaint.
The former players are seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.
The lawsuit notes that in 2010, the NFL replaced the leaders of its research committee, and that the new leadership described the data used in the past by the NFL to counter the long-term effects of concussions as “infected” and lacking in science.
In twenty-five years of playing organized and disorganized basketball, I probably was involved in a dozen fights on the court. Call it a natural side effect of playing under the hoop, banging bodies, taking (or giving) a stray elbow and then having tempers flare. In none of those dust-ups did I ever face felony charges, mandatory jail sentences, and the prospect of a ruined life for my ill-temper.
But now players from the University of Cincinnati and Xavier, storied cross-town rivals, are staring at the prospect of criminal charges after an ugly brawl took place at the end of Saturday’s game. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters released a statement that his office is considering a series of charges that could include assault and battery or disorderly conduct. No one condones fighting on the court, but the idea that college basketball players could go to prison speaks to the worst kind of hypocrisy and the most twisted traditions of the city of Cincinnati, a place with a history of institutional racism that would make Mississippi blush. [NEWS FLASH: JUST ANNOUNCED THAT NO CHARGES ARE BEING FILED AGAINST THE PLAYERS.]
Cincinnati has spent the last decade trying to heal after the police shot and killed an unarmed African-American 19-year-old named Timothy Thomas in 2001 which led to the largest urban riots in the United States since Rodney King and the LAPD crossed paths in 1992. The Cincinnati riots were an expression of bottled rage against a police department that saw, between 1996 and 2001, fifteen African-Americans died at the hands of Cincinnati police.
Given this history, and given Deters own history, we should look at this threatened prosecution, with a very suspect eye.
Let’s start with the obvious fact that hockey brawls, no matter how brutal and no matter how many teeth end up on the ice, don’t end with participants behind bars. There is a different reaction by the press, by a school’s administration and clearly by law enforcement when it’s young black men throwing the punches. This is a racist double standard that has the potential now to ruin the lives of the young men involved…Continue reading at The Nation
By Dave Zirin
In a decision that speaks to the worst impulses of a proud magazine, Sports Illustrated has chosen the two active legends of College Basketball coaching, Mike Krzyzewski and Pat Summitt, as their Sportspersons of the Year. It’s impossible to quibble with the choice of Tennessee’s Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA hoops history, after 38 seasons and eight championships leading the Lady Vols. The tough-as-leather coach who insists her players refer to her as “Pat” was diagnosed earlier this year with Alzheimer’s disease. She has insisted on coaching as long as her body will allow while also starting a foundation to fight the crippling illness. Coach Summitt is without question an absolute inspiration in how one can use sports to leverage the greater good.
The choice of Krzyzewski speaks to a far different impulse. Certainly his accomplishments speak for themselves. He recently set the all time record for men’s coaching wins but that is only part of the majesty of Coach K’s recent history. As Sports Illustrated’s Alexander Wolff put it succinctly, “No other coach has ever won the Olympics, the NCAAs and the Worlds — and Coach K did so in a span of 26 months.”
But Wolff and company could not have picked a worse time in our sports history to burnish the legend of Coach K. I don’t object to the choice of Krzysewski because I dislike, as so many do, the elitist trappings of Duke University. I don’t object because, for all his pretensions of sportsmanship, Coach K swears at players and refs in a manner that would make his mentor, Bob Knight blush. I don’t even object because I’m a proud fan of the University of Maryland. I object because of the unspoken reason he is receiving this honor. It’s because at no time in the history of amateur sports, has the NCAA been so mired in crisis, crippled under the weight of its own culture of corruption. Sports Illustrated is not merely honoring Coach K, but giving reassurance to a rotten system…Continue reading
Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno had business ties with board members of The Second Mile, the charity founded by alleged child molester and former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, The Daily is reporting.
The Daily reported Monday that Paterno and three fellow investors, including longtime Second Mile board chairman Robert Poole, secured financing to build a $125 million luxury retirement community around 2002, according to public records.
The publication also reported that Paterno was partnered with the same team of investors in developing a golf resort and nearby restaurant and inn. Paterno also joined with other current and former Second Mile board members on a bottled water company, a coaching website and a chain of convenience stores….Continue at ESPN
NBA player’s union representative Derek Fisher addresses the media
Written by Chris Wilder, Special to InsideAthletics.com - Thursday December 1, 2011
The National Basketball Association’s labor lockout ended over the Thanksgiving weekend after the player’s union de-certified and sued the owners in a series of lawsuits in several states. This dispute was essentially a battle between three parties; the players, the big market owners and the small market owners. The small market owners were losing money and wanted to rectify that. The big market owners were fine and if left up to them, there would have been no lockout. The players didn’t want to change anything either as they felt as though they gave up a lot after the last labor dispute in 1998, so they weren’t trying to give up anything else.
The small market owners wanted a new system and they didn’t care at who’s expense. In other words, they would have been satisfied with a revenue-sharing system like Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. In such a system, the teams that make the most money, give some back to the others. The smaller market owners also would have been happy with a kickback from the players. Either, or.
That is why Michael Jordan was portrayed as such an asshole during the lockout. He owns the Charlotte Bobcats — a team that has never made money in its’ history.
So, the small market owners basically stood by with their arms folded, refusing to budge an inch, while the big market owners battled it out with the players over who was going to give up a big chunk of their income to Jordan’s Bobcats and Donald Sterling’s Clippers (even though LA is a big market) and the TimberWolves and the Grizzlies, etc…
By Charles P. Pierce POSTED NOVEMBER 28, 2011
And so, on the day after Thanksgiving, when most of America was coming out of a tryptophan-and-Tony Romo-induced coma, and when hardly anyone at all was looking, they came up with a deal. There will be a 2012 NBA season, after all — a perfectly logical 66-game package beginning with a Christmas Day multimedia extravaganza that will be what ancient Rome would have organized, if Nero had invented the T-Cannon and Charles Barkley. This undoubtedly will include several of the league’s marquee, big-market teams, whose baleful influence over the game’s economics was supposed to have been management’s casus belli for the lockout in the first place. And it might have been, if the whole absurd kabuki ever had been about money in the first place.
“Lockouts are not devices of economic correction. That’s just a byproduct. Lockouts are attempts by management to exercise control over their workers. Period.”
The NBA lockout was as exclusively about money as it was exclusively about astrophysics. One way you know this is that the settlement that finally was reached was one that could have been reached last June. Like Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in 1972, the league and its players struck a deal they could have had much earlier, and without the extended bloodletting in the meantime. The players took a reduction in the amount of basketball-related income — and can we find a rocket and fire that little bit of business-school jargon off to Pluto, please? — while winning some concessions as regards the league’s salary structure and in the rules regarding free agency. And that was pretty much it after five or six months of loud public wrangling — a brief outburst of authentic MBA gibberish and (poof!) back to work, gentlemen…