FOOTBALL: Scores of lawsuits involving thousands of former players touched by concussions and brain injuries have been consolidated into one master complaint, setting up a massive and potentially costly case for the NFL.
Lawyers for the players filed the complaint Thursday in Philadelphia, accusing the NFL of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries. Among the illnesses cited were dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The plaintiffs hope to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players suffering from those health problems.
“The NFL must open its eyes to the consequences of its actions,” said Kevin Turner, a former running back with the Patriots and Eagles who has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). “The NFL has the power not only to give former players the care they deserve, but also to ensure that future generations of football players do not suffer the way that many in my generation have.”
Also named in the suit was helmet-maker Riddell, Inc.
The suit accuses the NFL of “mythologizing” and glorifying violence through the media, including its NFL Films division.
“The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result,” the complaint charges.
• Saints players’ appeals to be heard June 18: The NFL tentatively has scheduled June 18 for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the appeals of four players suspended for their roles in the Saints’ bounty program.
A person with knowledge of the planned hearing, speaking on condition of anonymity because no date officially has been announced, said the date is not firm. The league and the players’ union are awaiting an arbitrator’s decision on who should hear the appeals by Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita.
That decision could determine if the June 18 hearing is held.
• Patriots release WR Ochocinco: The New England Patriots released wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
The former Chad Johnson spent one unproductive season with the team, even though the Patriots went to the Super Bowl. He had 15 receptions for an 18.4-yard average and one touchdown, but rarely was a key part of the offense.
Ochocinco played 10 seasons for Cincinnati before joining the Patriots. He had seven 1,000-yard receiving seasons and a high of 97 catches.
Bolt recovers to win 100 at Bislett Games
TRACK AND FIELD: Usain Bolt recovered from a poor start to win the 100 meters in 9.79 seconds in the Bislett Games, beating Asafa Powell by 0.06 seconds in the Diamond League meet at Oslo.
Forsman, Glasson lead way at Tradition
GOLF: Dan Forsman and Bill Glasson shared the first-round lead in the Regions Tradition, shooting 6-under-par 66 at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala., in the second of the Champions Tour’s five major championships.
Glasson was in the first group teeing off and had sole possession of the lead for about four hours until Forsman capped a run of four straight birdies on No. 14 to catch up.
Former Pullman resident Kirk Triplett was four shots back.
• Maggert, Merrick share St. Jude lead: Jeff Maggert and John Merrick shot 4-under 66 to share the first-round lead in the PGA’s St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., leaving U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy two strokes back.
Maggert took advantage of teeing off in the first group with calm conditions for the first seven holes, and finished with four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
Merrick matched his best round of the year with six birdies and two bogeys, the last on No. 18 when his tee shot went into the water to drop him back into a tie for the lead.
• Three share LPGA Championship lead: Beatriz Recari, Giulia Sergas and Ryann O’Toole each shot 3-under 69s to tie for the lead after the opening round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship in Pittsford, N.Y.
Jeong Jang reached 5 under but bogeyed four of her final five holes to finish in a tie at 70 with Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Na Yeon Choi, Mika Miyazato, and Ai Miyazato.
Edwall, Wash., resident Wendy Ward shot a 79.
Montana rejects relationships class
Colleges: As the University of Montana investigated reports of sexual assaults involving students, the assistant athletic director rejected a suggestion that student-athletes be required to take a course on relationships.
Emails released to the Missoulian on Wednesday indicate then-football coach Robin Pflugrad agreed with a suggestion from the university’s Counselor Education Department that athletes take its “Intimate and Family Relationships” course.
Jean Gee, however, wrote: “I just feel strongly that this is a bad idea.”
Gee, now the interim athletic director, argued in February that athletes have little time in their schedules for another elective and suggested the $6,000 cost of adding another section of the class could be better spent elsewhere. She suggested student-athletes could be encouraged to take the course as an elective.
Wiggins pads lead in Tour warm-up
CYCLING: British rider Bradley Wiggins consolidated his lead in the Criterium du Dauphine by winning the fourth stage, retaining the yellow jersey for a fourth day in the warm-up race for the Tour de France later this month.
Wiggins completed the 33-mile time trial from Villie-Morgon to Bourg-en-Bresse in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 12 seconds.
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