Archive for May, 2010

NFL statement on today’s American Needle decision:

“In today’s decision, the Supreme Court recognized that ‘special characteristics’ of professional sports leagues, including the need for competitive balance, ‘may well justify’ business decisions that among independent competitors would otherwise be unlawful. The court noted that the NFL teams’ shared interest in making the league successful and cooperating to produce NFL football provide ‘a perfectly sensible justification for making a host of collective decisions.’ The decision will simply result in American Needle’s claim being sent back to the federal district court in Chicago, where the case will resume in its early stages. We remain confident we will ultimately prevail because the league decision about how best to promote the NFL was reasonable, pro-competitive, and entirely lawful. The Supreme Court’s decision has no bearing on collective bargaining, which is governed by labor law.”

Report: Chargers RFAs “prepared to sit out” rather than take $3 million offers

Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee discussed a group of the team’s restricted free agents in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Chargers’ “Big Four” — receivers Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson, left tackle Marcus McNeill and outside linebacker Shawne Merriman (left) – Acee writes, “have stayed away from Chargers Park this offseason in protest over their contract status.”

“All four are expected to miss minicamp,” Acee notes. “There are rumblings from people close to the situation that as many as three of the four are prepared to sit out at least a portion of the 2010 season.”

The players, Acee continues, are dealing with “a side effect of the uncapped year arising from the pending expiration of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. They were scheduled to be unrestricted after last season, which would have brought all four long-term deals and many more millions.”

“The Chargers players who are staying away,” Acee adds, “were given the highest tender, which means they would make more than $3 million in 2010.”

For the complete story, click here.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urges governors to adopt youth concussion law

Commissioner Roger Goodell (right) recently sent a letter to the governors of 44 states that do not have a law similar to the Lystedt Law in the state of Washington. This letter and the initiative it promotes is part of Dr. Richard Ellenbogen’s testimony Monday at Congressman John Conyers’ forum in New York City on concussions in sports.

Dr. Ellenbogen, who was Zack Lystedt’s surgeon, and his office in the state of Washington were part of the coalition that was instrumental in getting the Lystedt bill signed into law there in 2009 after the 13-year old boy was permitted to play in a game following a concussion and then suffered life-threatening injuries.

The NFL’s leadership and support of extending the Lystedt Law to all states is part of an ongoing education and advocacy initiative about concussion in youth sports that the league has been engaged in with USA Football for the past year. It is a key priority of the new NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee chaired by Dr. Ellenbogen and Dr. Hunt Batjer.

For the complete story from the Associated Press including excerpts from the Commissioner’s letter, click here.

Retired NFL players receive free health screenings

Today in Charlotte, 30 retired NFL players will receive a comprehensive health screening as part of a three-year, nationwide effort to identify risk factors for heart attack, stroke and sleep apnea. 

The screenings are sponsored by the Living Heart Foundation which  was founded by former NFL quarterback and heart surgeon Arthur “Archie” Roberts, MD, to draw attention to the cardiovascular risks found among professional athletes.

NFL statement on today’s StarCaps decision:

“Today’s decision does not change the fact that every court has rejected the players’ claims and upheld the operation of the policy.  We are confident the state appellate court will do the same. The alleged ‘public policy’ and ‘failure to warn’ issues identified in today’s decision were fully litigated and resolved in the league’s favor by two federal courts last year. There is no basis in our view for now re-introducing those issues of federal law at this stage of the case.”

NFL offers new career transition program for recently retired players

The NFL and its 32 clubs are launching the inaugural “NFL Career Transition Program” to help former players transition from the gridiron to the business world, the Associated Press reports.

This program – the first of several that the NFL Player Development department in New York will introduce to help players prepare for life after football – will take place from June 7-10 on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta. 

“The Career Transition Program offers us an opportunity to broaden our relationship with the NFL to provide more services to players as they transition into their post-playing careers,” said George Martin, President of NFL Alumni.

“I’m looking forward to learning new things and meeting new people to help in my transition from the game, said former Vikings and Eagles player Thomas Tapeh, who is already enrolled to take part in the program.  “Once football is over, life goes on.”

The four-day course will cover a mix of academic topics, success stories from guest speakers, and practical applications.

For the complete story, click here.

Sporting News examines NFL Spring holdouts

In a recent Sporting News column, national NFL writer Mike Florio takes a look at players who are not participating in offseason practices.

Florio describes the holdouts of Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (left) and Tennessee Titans tight end Bo Scaife as “head-scratching.”

“Haynesworth left the Titans in 2009 to sign a four-year, $48 million contract with Washington,” Florio notes. “He’s staying away [from OTAs] because he doesn’t want to play nose tackle in the team’s new 3-4 defense. It’s likely he thinks he can force a trade.”

“Scaife signed a restricted free-agent tender that, under current rules, guarantees him $4.9 million in 2010,” Florio writes. “Scaife is, in fact, under contract, but he’s staying away from voluntary workouts. Again, he has the right to do that. But there’s no reason for it. Plus, Scaife will earn nearly $5 million this year after catching 45 passes for 440 yards and one touchdown last year.

“We should all be so underpaid,” Florio adds.

For the complete story, click here.

NFL field grants total $28 million

Commissioner Roger Goodell (right) recently announced 16 new grants totaling more than $2.5 million from the National Football League Grassroots Program which will support the development and renovation of community fields at schools, parks and facilities across the country. 

These 2010 field grants now raise the total to $28 million for the overall program to assist local non-profits focused on the health and welfare of their communities. The NFL team in each of the 16 cities will hold an event at the soon to be refurbished fields to present the grants.

“These fields are a tangible sign of our Youth Football Fund in action,” Commissioner Goodell said. “They help us make an impact where assistance is most needed. We are proud to support projects that bring neighborhoods together and give children a safe place to play and be active.”

“Our focus at LISC is on building sustainable communities – good places to live, work, do business and raise families,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. “Developing recreational opportunities is a key part of that, and the NFL has been a committed partner in making it happen.”

For more information and the complete list of 16 grant locations, click here.

NFL comment on criminal complaint filed against Canadian doctor

The complaint by U.S. authorities charges Dr. Anthony Galea of unlawfully treating three professional football players with unapproved drugs, including human growth hormone. The players were not named in the complaint.

NFL comment:

“This is an ongoing federal investigation and we have not been informed of the identity of these players.  We obviously have a very strong interest in learning who these players are and about their involvement with any prohibited substances so that we can enforce our policies. When we have had evidence of illegal purchase, possession, or use of HGH, we have imposed discipline and are fully prepared to do so again if the facts support it. We have been in touch with law enforcement and will continue to cooperate with the federal authorities as the case moves forward. This case highlights the need for enhanced testing and in our discussions about a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, we have proposed expanding our current testing program to include growth hormone.”

Weaver Training Center to be dedicated by Jacksonville Habitat for Humanity

Jacksonville Jaguars owners Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver (left) will be honored today with the dedication of the Weaver Training Center at the Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville (HabiJax). 

The HabiJax center is the latest community outreach by the Weavers, who have donated more than $44 million to Jacksonville organizations since 1995.

“Without the help of the Jaguars, there would be several hundred less families without homes because they have helped us build homes and introduced our work to hundreds of supporters across the city,” said Mary Kay O’Rourke, president and CEO of HabiJax. “The entire urban area of Jacksonville would be very different without the help of the team.”

A 2,245-square-foot addition to the HabiJax office, the Weaver Training Center includes conference facilities to be used to hold workshops for potential homebuyers.