Legal - Football Wiretap

DeMaurice Smith Accuses Roger Goodell Of Lying About Collaboration

Aug 20, 2017 2:00 PM

DeMaurice Smith has accused Roger Goodell of lying about wanting to work with the union prior to drafting the league's revised conduct policy in 2014.

Smith, in an interview with HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," was asked about Goodell's comments prior to drafting a revised personal conduct policy in 2014 in which the commissioner said he would "ask the NFL Players Association to help us develop and deliver these programs in the most effective way."

"That says he lied," Smith told Gumbel.

Smith followed by telling Gumbel that he doesn't "spend time thinking about Roger Goodell's thoughts" and that he doesn't "have the luxury of trust" when it comes to his relationship with the commissioner.

Bryant Gumbel/HBO (via ESPN)

Tags: Legal

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Tom Brady Declines To Confirm Whether He Suffered Concussion In 2016

Aug 4, 2017 6:59 PM

Tom Brady declined to confirm whether or not he had a concussion in 2016.

Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, had said in May that Brady was concussed last season.

"I don't want to get into things that happened in my past, certainly medical history and so forth. I really don't think that's anybody's business," Brady said after the team's practice at Gillette Stadium. "What happened last year; I'm focused on this year and improving and working on things I need to get better at.

"So that's how I approach everything. I'm not sitting here worried about last year or five years ago. There are other people that do worry about that -- my wife, or my parents, or my sisters, people that love me and care about me. But I do the best I can do to be prepared to play -- mentally and physically -- and I give the game everything I can."

Brady turned 40 this week and was asked whether he's paid attention to recent studies on CTE.

"You're not blind to it as a player. That's why I believe in so much of being proactive with your health," Brady said. "I think when you're a player, and you see other players before you that did things a certain way and what's transpired with their health or well-being, and then you learn from it. I think that's the things I've really tried to incorporate in my own life.

"So I'm confident in what I do. I'm confident in the things I do and the ways I train, you know. But it's a contact sport, and I think we all understand that. There are a lot of great benefits that football brings you, [but] certainly you can be put in harm's way. So you just do the best you can do as a player, and obviously it's great that there is more awareness for those types of things. That's been a very important topic, certainly. But you just try to be proactive and take care of your body the best way you can."

Mike Reiss/ESPN

Tags: New England Patriots, Injury, Legal

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Roger Goodell Needs More Information On CTE

Aug 4, 2017 10:11 AM

Roger Goodell spoke at length about recent CTE studies on Thursday.

"We appreciate the studies and we actually not only appreciate them, we funded a lot of these studies," said Goodell. "What we all need is more information. There is one thing that is clear among this medical community is that we have a lot more questions than we have answers. We need more research and I think we have led the way on that front. We've not only led with research, but we've led with rule changes to our game, we've led on awareness to the injuries, we've led on how we can develop new equipment that will make our game safer for our players.

"There's a new helmet coming out this year that came out of what we call the GE NFL Head Health Initiative. We put it out that - how do we use new materials, how do we use new technology to create a better helmet that's going to absorb the impact? And we have one that's hitting the market this year. It was developed by somebody in Seattle. It was funded with that money.

"I think that because of that leadership, because we've taken responsibility to really manage the health and safety of our players that is going to be seen as 'Hey, they're doing the right things. Sure they have challenges, but so does every active sport.' What we're learning in our sport is helping every other sport."

Nicki Jhabvala/Denver Post (via The Score)

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NFL May Be Willing To Work With Players On Marijuana Use

Aug 1, 2017 12:06 PM

The NFL may be willing to work with the NFL Players Association to study the use of marijuana as pain management.

Marijuana is currently banned by the NFL.

The NFLPA is conducting its own study and, according to those familiar with the deliberations, is yet to respond to the NFL’s offer to cooperate on marijuana-related research.

“We look forward to working with the Players Association on all issues involving the health and safety of our players,” said Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications.

Mark Maske/Washington Post

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Ben Roethlisberger Will Factor CTE Into Retirement Decision

Jul 28, 2017 7:16 PM

Ben Roethlisberger will factor the growing knowledge of CTE into his decision on whether to extend his career beyond the 2017 season.

Roethlisberger also considered retiring after the 2016 season.

"I've been blessed to do this a long time," Roethlisberger, 35, told the Post-Gazette. He starts each training camp with a series of interviews with long-standing local media. "I think it's just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time. Even when you get home, I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that, but it still consumes you in a way.

"Just all those things combined -- being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids. I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent [of NFL] players' brains who were studied had CTE.

"There's a lot of scary things, and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too. But I still love the guys, I still love the game, so it was right for me to come back and give it everything I have this year."

Jeremy Fowler/ESPN

Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers, Legal, Misc Rumor

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Lucky Whitehead Was Victim Of Mistaken Identity

Jul 25, 2017 12:38 PM

Prince William County (Virginia) Police Department has announced they mistakenly charged Lucky Whitehead with shoplifting on June 22nd.

Whitehead and his agent, David Rich, said Monday that this was a case of mistaken identity. Rich cited flight records to prove that Whitehead wasn't in Virginia at the time of the incident.

The Dallas Cowboys released Whitehead on Monday following the erroneous report.

ESPN

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Free Agent Rumor, Legal, Misc Rumor

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CTE Found In 110 Of 111 Brains Of Former NFL Players

Jul 25, 2017 11:27 AM

An updated study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association on football players and the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) reveals a striking result among NFL players.

The study examined the brains of deceased former football players (CTE can only be diagnosed after death) and found that 110 out of 111 brains of those who played in the NFL had CTE.

In the study, researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players at all levels. Nearly 88 percent of all the brains, 177, had CTE. Three of 14 who'd played only in high school had CTE; 48 of 53 college players; 9 of 14 semiprofessional players; 7 of 8 Canadian Football League players.

The problems can arise years after the blows to the head have stopped.

The NFL's top health and safety official has acknowledged a link between football and CTE, and the league has begun to steer children away from playing the sport in its regular form.

Tom Goldman/NPR

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Lucky Whitehead Charged, Skips Arraignment

Jul 24, 2017 3:58 PM

Lucky Whitehead had a warant out for his arrest after a shoplifting arrest June 22 in Virginia and his failure to appear in court July 6.

Whitehead, 25, was arrested in Prince William County, Virginia, on June 22 for shoplifting/petit larceny under $200.

Whitehead is the third Dallas Cowboys player to be arrested since the end of last season. 

Clarence Hill/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Legal

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Ravens Partner With Tech Firm To Practice Against Holographic Players

Jul 19, 2017 8:56 PM

The Baltimore Ravens have partnered with a tech company to practice against holographic players.

“Right now, what you are seeing is a holographic football team coming at you and getting into their formation,” says Jim Pietila, CEO of Mixed River.

Founded late last year, Mixed River offers not virtual reality but “mixed reality,” which means the real world intersects with images or data.

Virtual reality also could help reduce head trauma injuries, which are under increasing scrutiny by former players and the league.

“One of the attractions to the technology is the ability to get those mental reps that don’t involve contact,” said Damani Leech, the NFL’s vice president for football strategy and business development. “I think you see it with other technology — with the robotic tackling dummies to allow you to improve your tackling form without hitting another person.”

Jeff Barker/Baltimore Sun

Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Legal

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Out-Of-Home TV Ratings Could Reverse Signs Of NFL's Decline

Jul 17, 2017 1:42 PM

ESPN and Fox Sports have signed up for Nielsen's out-of-home viewership ratings that tracks what people watch when they're watching television outside of their homes. 

People in the Nielsen sample carry a device the size of a pager that picks up audio encoding from a nearby television and that tracks when they're watching at a bar, restaurant, hotel, work or a second home.

Fox Sports averaged 35.1 million viewers for last Thanksgiving's game between Dallas and Washington but the out-of-home viewership elevated the total to 48.7 million viewers. That represents a 40 percent increase from its traditional number.

According to ESPN execs, they have seen similar increases when out-of-home audiences were added to its Christmas Day schedule for the NBA.

CBS and NBC are also in discussions for adding the service.

“We are currently working with Nielsen to ensure that its out-of-home methodology accurately reflects the full audience picture,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson said via email.

NFL Network likely will participate in Nielsen’s out-of-home measurement, according to an NFL source.

While NFL ratings fell by 10 percent last season, the increase from out-of-home ratings could change the trajectory of their numbers.

John Ourand/Sports Business Journal

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Jerry Jones Led Insurrection In 1990s To Grow NFL's TV Revenues
The NFL agreed to keep their television deals flat in 1991, which led Jerry Jones to revolt.

Barry Horn/Dallas Morning News

Richard Sherman: NFL Players Need To Be Willing To Go On Strike
Richard Sherman suggests NFL players need to be prepared to strike in order to receive the same type of guaranteed salaries NBA players routinely agree upon.

ESPN

Marketers Attempting To Keep Super Bowl Ads From Climbing Over $5M
The cost of an average 30-second spot for the Super Bowl has rocketed more than 100% between 2007 and 2016.

Brian Steinberg/Variety

ESPN's NFL Deal Were Modeled On Subscribers Staying Flat
ESPN viewed the pay-TV business as mature and did not expect growth, but they also saw no signs of cord cutting or subscriber losses.

John Ourand/Sports Business Journal

NFL Shortens Regular Season Overtime To 10 Minutes
The NFL claims the proposal was made with player safety in mind.

Adam Schefter/ESPN

Owners Discuss Allowing Teams To Hire Coaches Still In Playoffs
The 49ers waited until after the Super Bowl to agree upon a deal with Kyle Shanahan.

Adam Schefter/ESPN

O.J. Simpson To Receive Parole Hearing In July
O.J. Simpson could be released from prison this year after nearly a decade behind bars.

NBC News

Former Lions All-Pro Wayne Walker Dies At Age 80
Wayne Walker played 15 seasons with the Detroit Lions and worked as the Sports Director for KPIX in San Francisco.

ESPN.com

Court Releases Hernandez's Letter To Fiancee
Aaron Hernandez's suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a 2012 double slaying.

ESPN.com

Stephen Jones Supports Reexamination Of NFL's Marijuana Policy
Jerry Jones recently said the NFL should "drop its prohibition" on marijuana.

Cindy Boren/Washington Post

Roger Goodell: NFL Sees No Benefits Of Medical Marijuana
Roger Goodell's comments came amid a federal lawsuit filed from former players who say they suffered long-term health problems because of improper and deceptive prescription drug-distribution practic

Kevin Seifert/ESPN

Joe Thomas Suffering From Memory Loss
Joe Thomas is entering his 11th season with the Browns.

Pat McManamon/ESPN

Netflix Not Interested In Broadcasting Live Sports
Revenues increased by 35% for Netflix, while the service added 5 million new members.

Rimma Kats/eMarketer

Jury Acquits Aaron Hernandez In Double-Murder Trial
Aaron Hernandez, who is already serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder, was acquitted Friday in a 2012 double slaying prosecutors said was fueled by his anger over a spilled drink.

ESPN

Robert Kraft Declined Adelson's Offer Of Killing Raiders' Vegas Move
Robert Kraft and Sheldon Adelson have been friends for decades and are members of the same synagogue.

Seth Wickersham, Don Van Natta Jr./ESPN

Sheldon Adelson Doesn't Care About NFL, Thought Goodell's 'An Idiot'
Mark Davis wanted to partner with Sheldon Adelson as both a financier and a fixer as he attempted to relocate the Raiders to Las Vegas.

Seth Wickersham, Don Van Natta Jr./ESPN

St. Louis Sues Rams, All 31 Other Teams Over Relocation
The suit says the Rams made intentional false claims that only enriched themselves and damaged the plaintiffs.

Kevin Spain/USA Today

NFL Relocation Fees Won't Be Shared With Players
The Raiders, Rams and Chargers will spend anywhere from $1.43 billion to $1.68 billion, or a distribution of approximately $46 million to $54 million per team.

Dom Cosentino/Deadspin

Amazon Buys Thursday Night Football Live Stream Rights For $50M
Amazon paid $50 million for the rights, substantially more than the $10 million that Twitter paid for "TNF" streaming rights last season.

John Ourand/Sports Business Journal

Seth Godin Uses NFL, Raiders As Way 'Capitalism Corrupts Our Culture'
Seth Godin writes that the NFL's approval of the Raiders' move "ignores the long-term in exchange for a relentless focus on today."

Seth Godin