Federal Judge Approves NFL Concussion Settlement

A federal court recently approved the settlement of a case filed by over 5,000 former NFL players, who accused the league of not making them aware of concussion dangers.

According to the settlement, the league has to pay $5 million to former players who suffer from serious neurological issues. In addition, the league has to invest $10 million to enhance awareness of concussion. All former NFL players will be medically monitored to find out if they qualify to receive a payment.

nfl concussionsIn August 2013, Judge Anita B. Brody asked both parties to revise their settlement with the intention of removing the cap imposed on damages that can be paid for neurological conditions and on the amount that needs to be spent for medical monitoring. The NFL urged that all its former players, and not just the 5,000 who had sued it, should be covered to prevent future lawsuits. But 200 players decided not to receive any settlement because they wanted to continue their legal battle against the league.

Payments can be made only after exhausting all the appeals, and if there are no more appeals, former players can start filing claims at the earliest. As Kevin Turner, a former running back who is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disorder, says, time of great importance and many retired players just do not have a lot of time left. He said: “I hope this settlement is implemented without delay so that we can finally start helping those in need.”

The settlement, however, still has a number of critics.

Former NFL Player Will Allen Runs a Ponzi Scheme?

A former NFL player has been charged for organizing a Ponzi scheme worth $31 million. He stands accused of cheating over 40 people who invested funds into this scheme from 2012 to early 2015.

According to a report by Aruna Viswanatha in The Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Will Allen, ex NFL cornerback, of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. The New York Giants had picked the 36-year-old former NFL player in the 2001 NFL draft from Syracuse.

Will Allen as a Miami DolphinAllen is now accused of collaborating with Susan Daub to create a number of companies that supplied loans to professional athletes. The duo offered an interest of up to 18% on funds invested by investors to provide loans to athletes. SEC Head Paul Levenson says: “As in any Ponzi scheme, the appearance of a successful investment was only an illusion sustained by lies.”

According to a report in The Associated Press, Allen gave away loans worth $18 million and used $7 million on himself.

Viswanatha reports that Capital Financial Partners, one of the companies launched by Daub and Allen, loaned $3.4 million to an athlete. However, they informed investors that they had loaned him $5.65 million.

The complaint against the duo accuses them of using “money from some investors to pay other investors, while … funneling millions of dollars of investor money to themselves – the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme.”

Allen’s NFL career lasted 11 years, during which he played with the Miami Dolphins, the New York Giants, and the New England Patriots.

NBA Player Anthony Mason Passes Away

NBA player Anthony Mason died at the age of 48. His death has been confirmed by Jonathan Supranowitz, the spokesman for the New York Knicks although the New York Daily News reported it on Saturday. Early in February, Mason had a heart attack.

His family has issued a press statement thanking everybody “for their heartfelt thoughts and strong prayers.” The statement says: “Anthony felt each and every one. He fought like a warrior to the very end. Please keep your prayers and thoughts with us through this very hard time—it is a great loss for us. We ask for our privacy during this time.”

Along with Charles Oakley, Mason was a tough player. He was not only the winner of the Sixth Man Award, but also the member of an All-Star team. Mason has averaged 8.3 rebounds and 10.9 points in the course of his career. He played with New York between the years 1991 and 1996 and with the Hornets till 2000.

Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, says that he “exemplified perseverance for all players fighting for their chance in the NBA,” whose players and fans “admired his tenacity on defense and playmaking on offense.”

He was overseas for a short time before playing around 21 games for the Nets of New Jersey and the Nuggets of Denver before joining Riley’s team in 1991. He proved to be a formidable force, helping them reach the NBA finals of 1994 and playing against tough teams of the Eastern Conference, such as the Bulls.

Blood Clots in Lung Force Bosh to Stop Playing

Chris Bosh, the all-star forward, will not be able to play this season. The Miami Heat has announced that one of Bosh’s lungs has blood clots in it. If not detected in time, he would have died as he had been complaining of pain for many days.

Dwayne Wade, the guard of the Miami Heat, said: “He was able to get in front of it early. That’s the good thing that helps all of us sleep at night.” Currently Bosh is in hospital, taking treatment from the team’s doctors. According to the Heat, “his prognosis is good.”

Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of the Miami Heat, said that Bosh is now recovering fast. He visited Bosh in hospital with Wade recently.

Chris Bosh NBA

The absence of Bosh is the worst thing that could have happened to the Heat, which is currently hanging on to the seventh rank in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Spoelstra says that it is too early to talk about when Bosh can play again. He says that “the most important thing is he’ll be healthy again.”

Bosh, along with LeBron James, joined the Miami Heat in 2010. He averaged 7 rebounds and 21.1 points for the team this season. Bosh, James, and Wade played together for four seasons, the most glorious for the Heat. Last summer, James quit the Heat to join Cleveland.

This year has been very tough for the Heat, fraught with illness and injuries. Spoelstra said: “What you’re seeing now is a group that’s becoming more resilient every single day because of all these adversities.”

NBA Commissioner Eager to Redesign Playoff Formats

Adam SilverSpeaking on the occasion of the Golden State Warriors’ broadcast after the Warriors won their Wednesday game against the Dallas Mavericks, Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA), revealed his position on an idea that the basketball world is very much interested in.

Silver is planning to redesign the playoffs format for the NBA to increase the number of best teams postseason. Currently, only the top eight teams from each conference are identified.

No Changes will be made until 2016-2017 AT THE EARLIEST

East – West imbalance has been bothering basketball players for more than 10 years, making it difficult for good teams from the West to get into the playoffs.

Silver said that ultimately one wants to see the best teams possible in the playoffs and the imbalance leads to unfairness. He said that a broadcaster has proposed that the winners of a division would be automatically entered into the playoffs and then the 10 best teams could be seeded.  Expressing interest in this proposal, Silver said that one should consider it, adding that the need of the hour is to make changes.

nba playoff logo

He also said that, as per this proposal, the playoffs this season would include Toronto, Atlanta, Cleveland, Golden State, Memphis, and Portland as they are the division winners. That would make the next best teams Clippers, Houston, Dallas, Washington, Phoenix, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Chicago, and Milwaukee, leaving Miami and Charlotte from the current playoffs.

Selling this idea to East Conference owners, however, would be difficult as they would be losing a good deal of playoff revenue.

Basketball Community Remembers Late Coach Dean Smith

Coach Dean Smith

Dean Smith passes away at age of 83.

On the day Dean Smith died, the basketball community mourned and remembered the way he served the NBA for long years. The Charlotte Hornets owned by one of his most famous players, Michael Jordon, maintained silence in his honor for a few minutes before the Indiana Pacers vs. Charlotte Hornets match. They also presented videos highlighting his career as a coach during the game as well as at break.

Marvin Williams, the forward of the Hornets, said that “it’s a tough day,” adding that they will all miss the deceased coach. Williams had first met Smith at a North Casino season in 2004 – 5.

At a TWCsportsnet.com interview on Sunday, James Worthy of Gastonia spoke about Smith. He said that the late coach “never allowed the players to feel pressure,” adding that he would applaud if his team won and just say that they need to work more if they lost.

Marveling at how Smith did not attach importance to losing and winning, Worthy said that he was more interested in his players, “extremely conscious of life and where you came from and where you needed to go.” He treated people equally.

Steve Clifford, head coach of the Hornets, said that he will never forget how Smith said that “the most important thing that a coach can do is give the players confidence.”

Nate McMillan, associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers, referred to Smith as “an icon” and said that Smith “set the standard for coaches systems,” which are still used by most basketball coaches.

Larry Sanders to Quit Using Marijuana

According to reliable sources in the NBA, Larry Sanders, the center of the Milwaukee Bucks, who has been suspended for 10 games for violating the anti-drug program of the league, will try to quit marijuana and deal with personal issues that force him to use drugs.

Larry Sanders loves marijuana

Larry Sanders (photo. Instagram.com)

Reportedly, Sanders is serious about basketball and has finally realized that the league cannot allow him to play basketball as long as he tests positive. However, one cannot say if the Milwaukee Bucks will take Sanders back as they have learned to live without him. The Bucks not only have new owners at present, but also a new coach. They could consider a buying out Sanders’ contract, but have not yet discussed the issue with his lawyers.

In his best days, Sanders has shown that he is excellent at defense and could be good at offense too. His productivity has been marginal ever since he signed a $44 million deal in 2013, which extended his contract by 4 years. But in the last two seasons, his career has been fraught with injuries and suspensions. In 2013-14, he tested positive for marijuana and was suspended for five games. According to NBA rules, he would be suspended for 10 games without pay if he tested positive again.

The 26-year-old player was not allowed to play against the Toronto Raptors and will not be allowed to play till “he is in full compliance with his treatment program.” When he was suspended last time, he claimed that he used marijuana (from cannabis seeds) only for its medical benefits.

Family Emergency Prevents Trent Richardson from Playing

Colts Player is Out

Trent Richardson (photo. wikipedia.com)

Trent Richardson of the Colts did not play the AFC Championship game against the Patriots. Kevin Bowen, who manages the official website for the Colts, said that Richardson had personal reasons for failing to travel to New England to play the Colts vs. Patriots game.

On Sunday, the player told ESPN that “a very serious family emergency” prevented him from attending his team’s walk through. He said: “I’m still at the hospital. I wouldn’t purposely just miss walk through.”

The running back has performed poorly during this season. Although he played the Wild Card round, he remained inactive most of last week. Rumors flew around that weight issues were responsible for his reduced duties and poor performance. But this week, Richardson clarified that weight issues had nothing to do with his inactivity.

Missing Sunday’s game, however, is just the latest in a series of setbacks Richardson has been going through although he had stubbornly stated that he will make up for it. Once again, the Colts have to rely on Daniel Herron and Zurlon Tipton, who will be the team’s backup.

Recently, Herron has shown that he fits better in the team’s offense. He has achieved 119 yards at the rate of 3.4 per carry, 35 carries, and a couple of touchdowns in the two playoff matches he has taken part in. This includes 18 receptions too. A great runner with big burst abilities, Herron’s ability at catching as well as blocking has had Andrew Luck breathing a sigh of relief during the past weeks.

NFL Panel Suggests Names of Prospective Coaches and GMs

new nfl coachesThe Monday after the NFL season comes to an end is generally referred to as the Black Monday because several general managers and head coaches are fired on that day.

Last year, the NFL put together a panel of eight people to help teams decide who could be their next best coach. The panel comprises Tony Bungy, John Madden, and Wolf. NFL teams only have to call the NFL office to get a list of less than 20 NFL coaches and GMs.

According to NFL Executive VP Robert Gulliver, NFL teams are finding it very difficult to hire coaches, especially as they have to hire a new coach within one week of firing the previous one.

The panel, called the Career Development Advisory Panel, focuses on giving team owners the correct information regarding potential GMs and head coaches. Gulliver said: “We realized there was an opportunity to do more digging, more analysis and get more names beyond what were mentioned in the media.”

Last year, NFL teams had hired six coaches from the list that the panel had suggested. This year’s list includes names such as Dan Quinn and Todd Bowles. However, this does not mean that the coaches in the list have expressed an interest in working for an NFL team. This year’s list for general managers includes Marc Ross, the vice president of the New York Giants, and Lake Dawson, the vice president (player personnel) of the Tennessee Titans.

According to the panel, the focus was on identifying as many prospective GMs and coaches as possible.

NFL Policy Prevents Players from Wearing Beats Headphones

NFL players can no longer wear the insanely popular “Beats by Dre” headphones during the games because of a long-term agreement the NFL signed with Bose in March.

According to the terms of this deal, only the Bose logo can appear on headsets that the coaches wear. The agreement also permits Bose to request the NFL to prevent its coaches and players from wearing headphones from any other company.

Beats by Dre Banned in NFL

NFL Players have been ignoring the “beats by Dre” headphone ban.

The NFL has stated to the press that it has “longstanding policies” that prevent “branded exposure” either at interviews or on the field unless it has authorized such exposure. Drafted early in the nineties, these are NFL polices and not policies created by any of the sponsors of the league. The league has confirmed that Bose has nothing to do with the enforcement of NFL policies.

NFL players, therefore, cannot wear their Beats headphones either during the matches or at NFL events that get media coverage. They have to refrain from wearing their Beats headphones for ninety minutes after the conclusion of a match. They are also not allowed to wear Beats headphones at workout sessions or training camps, at which they may have to face an interview.

Richard Sherman, a top Beats fan, may have enjoyed the freedom to wear his Beats headphones while getting off a plane just before the Super Bowl XLVIII. But he will no longer be able to do so in a similar situation when this season comes to an end.

Nobody knows how much the NFL is paying Bose to be its exclusive headset provider.  Most players have ignored the ban or put a piece of tape of the “B” logo.