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Tagliabue’s Missteps on Concussions Don’t Impede Entry to Hall of Fame


The N.F.L.’s concussion crisis has also engulfed the N.C.A.A., high schools and youth leagues, which are spending more to train coaches, to employ doctors to patrol the sideline and to buy liability insurance to protect themselves from lawsuits. With youth participation in football in decline, the N.F.L. has funneled tens of millions of dollars to U.S.A. Football, which has tried to reassure parents, mothers in particular, that it is safe to let their sons play football.

Tagliabue, of course, wasn’t alone in dismissing concerns about the impact of concussions. On most big issues, he (and other commissioners) take direction from team owners, who no doubt want to keep growing their businesses.

“The N.F.L. has a lot to answer for on concussions, and they are paying the price for it,” said Warren Zola, a sports lawyer who teaches at the Boston College Carroll School of Management. “Is there enough to pin that on one person? You had all these owners who were printing money and didn’t want to do anything to slow that train down.”

At a basic level, all Halls of Fame often take an amoral stance to off-field behavior. But some sports like baseball have drawn a line on some issues. Pete Rose, the sport’s career hits leader, remains a pariah in Cooperstown for betting on baseball games. The career home run king, Barry Bonds, is among the many stars tainted by steroids who have been snubbed by writers who elect Baseball Hall of Famers.

Still, the N.F.L. appears particularly adept at skipping over lines in the sand.

Some of the league’s first owners were bootleggers and gamblers who owned racetracks and betting syndicates, so perhaps it was not entirely surprising that Alex Karras, the Detroit Lions defensive tackle, was also among the 15 new entrants. Karras was suspended for the 1963 season because he bet on N.F.L. games and associated with gamblers and “known hoodlums.” Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung was suspended along with Karras, and he entered the Hall of Fame in 1986.

In 2018, the Hall of Fame elected Ray Lewis, who was indicted on two murder charges in connection with stabbing deaths outside an Atlanta nightclub in 2000. The murder and assault charges were dropped after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice and agreed to testify against two co-defendants.

Two years ago, Tagliabue, a longtime lawyer for the league before he became commissioner, admitted that he would like to take back his “pack journalism issue” comment. His mea culpa, though, was far from an admission that he should have taken the issue of brain health more sincerely.



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Basketball

Don’t Be Mad at Alex ‘Bald Eagle’ Caruso


STEIN: I wish I saw one, Dan. I really don’t.

Although Denver is the closest to that level, skepticism persists about the Nuggets’ playoff ceiling. Utah has been scorching hot since the Jordan Clarkson trade, but the Jazz have also benefited from a favorable schedule recently — and have yet to successfully integrate their marquee newcomer Mike Conley, who has been injured. To get to the conference finals, as one ambitious Times scribe (hello!) predicted in October, that has to happen.

There are only two forces that can deny us a Western Conference finals contested exclusively at Staples Center:

1. Catastrophic injury incurred by either the Lakers or the Clippers.

2. If the Clippers’ recent sluggishness against weaker teams and their injury management programs for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George spiral into something bigger that prevents them from reclaiming the West’s No. 2 or No. 3 seed. The Clippers awoke Tuesday at No. 5 in the West.

The Lakers and the Clippers share at least one goal beyond winning a championship: avoiding the other in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Clippers have been sensational every time I’ve seen them live so far, but there have been many nights that they have fallen short of those top gears they hit in winning Kawhi’s return to Toronto on Dec. 11 and their Christmas Day defeat of the Lakers.

Q: I mentioned LeBron James playing through flulike symptoms Friday night against Dallas and sitting out Saturday against Oklahoma City to my wife over dinner. She rightly asked me whether players get an annual flu shot. Since the internet couldn’t provide the answer, can you? — Neil Koffler (Forest Hills, N.Y.)

STEIN: I’m told flu shots are not mandatory for N.B.A. players, but they are offered by teams and strongly encouraged by both the N.B.A. players association and the N.B.A. physicians association.

At the start of every season, players are advised on the potential benefits of receiving vaccines for afflictions such as measles and chickenpox as well as the flu. But it is ultimately up to each player.

Q: I still miss the Daily Dime. — @Topher_Jones from Twitter

STEIN: Appreciate the kind sentiment. It feels like another lifetime ago that ESPN’s Daily Dime was, well, daily. But I’d like to think this newsletter is reminiscent of it in some way — albeit with three items instead of the old-school Dime overload of 10.



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Politics

Dan Bongino vs. Geraldo Rivera: “Is This The New Normal, That We Assassinate The People We Don’t Like?” | Video



“Hannity” regulars Dan Bongino and Geraldo Rivera clashed Thursday evening over President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, with host SeanHannity struggling to keep up and eventually laughing “ding, ding, ding” at the end of the segment.

“He picked an unnecessary fight,” Rivera said about Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani. “I don’t know what we are doing there. We don’t need their oil anymore. Let them fight each other and eat each other alive. The Shiites and Sunnis and their multi-thousands of year battle.”

“I’ve got to tell you, Geraldo, I’ve been pretty furious with some of your comments on the network,” Bongino roared. “I haven’t knocked you until I faced you live. But I’ve got to tell you, your comments have been absolutely atrocious.”

“I did 11 [journalistic] assignments in the war in Iraq. I’ve attended more memorial services than you ever did, Dan. I deeply feel every loss,” Rivera fired back.

“Geraldo, he sent 600 Americans hold home in body bags!” Bongino growled, referring to Soleimani. “It’s not like he showed up late for a birthday party! Get your head out of your butt! Are you kidding me?”

“I never insult you personally buddy,” Rivera replied. “But you feel that you can go gutter surfing, I’m telling you right now that I disagree with this action.”

Transcript:

SEAN HANNITY: Donald Trump didn’t fire after drones were shot down and didn’t fire when tanks were taken hostage, didn’t fire when they hit the Saudi oil fields impacting oil prices. Killed Americans, that’s his redline. And then he gave the Iranians an out. An off-ramp. I would say he is keeping his campaign promise. Would you agree, Geraldo, before I go to Dan?

GERALDO RIVERA: I like the president to be firm. I just think in this case he picked an unnecessary fight.

DAN BONGINO: Oh my God.

GERALDO RIVERA: We had already retaliated against the Iranians. We killed 25 of them after they killed the American contractor.

SEAN HANNITY: Geraldo, I would have kicked the crap out of them when they shot the drones down. Good thing I’m not the president.

GERALDO RIVERA: I don’t know what we are doing there. We don’t need their oil anymore.

SEAN HANNITY: He killed Americans, Geraldo.

GERALDO RIVERA: Let them fight each other and eat each other alive. The Shi’ites and sunnies and their thousands of year battle.

SEAN HANNITY: What do you think he was doing in Baghdad? He was there to help Hezbollah kill Americans at the embassy. That’s what they were up to.

DAN BONGINO: Geraldo, he wasn’t there, Soleimani, picking up cheesecakes. He was in Iraq. I have been keeping my powder dry for a couple of days. I have got to tell you, Geraldo, I have been pretty furious with some of your comments on the network including on “The Five” today. I have not knocked you until I faced you live. Your comments have been absolutely atrocious. Number one, the argument that this somehow was inappropriate or unjustified or that there wasn’t an imminent.

GERALDO RIVERA: Unnecessary.

DAN BONGINO: Unnecessary? Geraldo, let me ask you a very serious question. How many bodies — do you have an exact body count? Was Soleimani’s 600 dead Americans not enough? Is it like do we have to reach 1,000 first? I mean, what did you think this guy did? He was guilty of ethnic cleansing.

GERALDO RIVERA: I did 11 assignments in the war in Iraq. I have attended more memorial services than you ever did, Dan. I feel deeply.

DAN BONGINO: Geraldo, listen to me for a minute. This doesn’t give you the right to be wrong.

GERALDO RIVERA: They have lost over 600,000.

DAN BONGINO: Geraldo, you know what? I don’t sit here on the network and tell everyone about my time in the Secret Service running around the world with the president of the United States in some of the world’s dangerous hot zones. I’m glad you did. Congratulations. Nice work. That doesn’t give you the right to be wrong. And that doesn’t give you special insight to say things that are ridiculous. Soleimani was one of the world’s leading terrorists. This was an unabashedly good thing not just for the United States but for the world.

GERALDO RIVERA: Is that going to be the new normal, Dan? Is this the new normal that we assassinate the people we don’t like?

DAN BONGINO: It doesn’t mean you are right.

GERALDO RIVERA: He is the number two guy in the Iranian government.

DAN BONGINO: People we don’t like? Geraldo, he sent 600 Americans home in body bags. It’s not like he showed up late for a birthday party. I mean, get your head out of your butt. Are you kidding me? People we don’t like? You act like this guy sent you a $50 instead of $100 in a birthday card.

GERALDO RIVERA: I never insult you personally, buddy. But you feel that you can go gutter surfing, I’m telling you right now that I disagree with this action.

DAN BONGINO: Geraldo, this is nonsense what you are saying.

GERALDO RIVERA: That doesn’t mean I am unpatriotic, it doesn’t mean official insight.

DAN BONGINO: Don’t make a straw man out of this.

GERALDO RIVERA: We picked a fight we didn’t have to pick.

DAN BONGINO: A terrorist who killed Americans?

GERALDO RIVERA: What is the trump doctrine? Isn’t the Trump doctrine to bring the troops home?

SEAN HANNITY: Ding ding ding.

GERALDO RIVERA: Isn’t the trump doctrine to bring the troops home?

SEAN HANNITY: Whoa. But he is not going to bribe dictators like Biden and Obama did, Geraldo. Soleimani killed Americans when he was in Baghdad and leading the Hezbollah effort against our embassy. That’s American souls at risk and that is our territory and that’s our sovereignty. And we are going to disagree.

GERALDO RIVERA: I love you. I even like Bongino.

SEAN HANNITY: Peace and love.





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Music

Uncle Murda Drops ‘Don’t Come Outside Vol. 2’


Back in 2017, before getting into a little back-and-forth with Skillz over their annual rap ups, Uncle Murda released his Don’t Come Outside mixtape. And now, after providing us with another hilarious year-end recap, the Brooklyn rapper is back in action with a second helping.

Locked in at 12 tracks, including “Who the Boss Is” and “62” with Tory Lanez, the project comes equipped with features from Benny the Butcher, Jadakiss, Conway, Styles P, Dave East, and a few more.

Press play below and be sure to add Uncle Murda’s Don’t Come Outside 2 on your preferred streaming platform.

Uncle Murda Drops ‘Don’t Come Outside Vol. 2’ was last modified: January 10th, 2020 by Shake





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Basketball

‘I Don’t Regret Anything That I Did’ in OKC


Fans and the Thunder organization had nothing but love Thursday night for Russell Westbrook, in his first game back in OKC since being traded last summer.

Westbrook scored a game-high 34 points, but his Houston Rockets fell 113-92.

“I felt like I was home,” Russ told reporters, adding that he has zero regrets about his 11 memorable years in OKC.

Per The Oklahoman and AP:

“I felt like I was home,” Westbrook said. “Plain and smile. I didn’t get this feeling like it was weird. It’s just I felt like I was playing, back at Chesapeake. Like a normal game for me, honestly. Not a normal night, but me personally, once I got on the floor, that’s how I feel.”

The final was 113-92. Everyone was reminded that Westbrook will forever be loved — although a Thunder-Rockets playoff series could test the resolve of even the most ardent Russ fan — and this Thunder squad is winning fans of its own.

“Obviously, we got smacked,” [James] Harden said. “But it was a dope environment. Oklahoma City, as usual, showed mad love to Russell and everything he’s done for those 11 years he was here. Obviously, an unbelievable fan base, and it was just a beautiful thing to see.”

Westbrook was the last remaining player from the team that began playing in Oklahoma City in 2008 after the franchise left Seattle.

“I don’t regret one thing being here in Oklahoma City,” he said. “I don’t regret signing back, I don’t regret staying here. I don’t regret anything that I did here. I feel like I left everything out on the floor every single night and did what I could for the city.”

Related Post Up: Russell Westbrook Scores 34 Points in First Return to OKC





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Baseball

Dodgers president: ‘To say we don’t spend enough is ludicrous’


It’s been a quiet offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose lack of spending and inability to sign a big-ticket free agent is causing frustration among their fan base.

With fans wondering if ownership is satisfied with collecting division titles rather than trying to win the franchise’s first World Series since 1988, team president and part-owner Stan Kasten responded to those concerns.

“Some people may think that. I think that is silly and contrary to the facts,” Kasten told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. “I think there were three teams in all of baseball that spent more than us last year. … Two of them didn’t make the postseason. So, to say we don’t spend enough, it is ludicrous.”

The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Chicago Cubs were the three teams with higher payrolls than the Dodgers in 2019, according to Spotrac.

“It’s obviously not about what you spend,” Kasten continued. “It is about the moves you make, the decisions you make. I think questioning those things, criticizing those things, that’s absolutely fair. But just to say there’s a (payroll) number you need to hit and if you don’t hit it you’re not trying, that’s just silly.”

The Dodgers, who’ve won seven straight division titles, have only had a payroll below $200 million once since 2013. This offseason, they’ve spent just $10 million in free agency, inking veteran reliever Blake Treinen to a one-year deal.

Kasten said the Dodgers have been willing to spend and made runs at Gerrit Cole, among other prized free agents.

“There are guys that we think could be difference makers and we have pursued them. We are continuing to pursue them,” Kasten said. “When there is an opportunity we will certainly jump at it. I like stars too. … It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s fun for the team, it’s fun for the fans. But what’s most important is winning. And for the Dodgers, it’s winning year in and year out; that’s what I’m trying to build.”

Kasten said he expects the Dodgers to go “well over … or somewhat over” the competitive balance tax threshold of $208 million at some point this year. It was reported last offseason that the Dodgers were telling investors they planned to stay below the threshold for four years.

Trade rumors have linked the Dodgers to Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts.



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Trending News

The Why Don’t We Guys Pen Heartfelt Goodbyes to 2019


Real talk: 2019 was the year of Why Don’t We!

After playing nearly 100 headlining shows across the world, dropping a brand-new bop every single month from January to December, and closing out the year with their chart-topping single “Chills,” Zach Herron, Daniel Seavey, Jack Avery, Jonah Marais and Corbyn Besson have a whole lot to be thankful for, and they’re not being shy about it!

Each of the talented five took to their shared Instagram account to pen individual messages, thanking fans for the amazing year they’ve had. We’re not crying, you’re crying! Read each of their heartfelt posts:

QUIZ: Do you know the lyrics to “Mad At You” by Why Don’t We?





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