Arguments in NFL concussion suits slated for April
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge will hear oral argument in about two months on requests to throw out lawsuits by thousands of former NFL players regarding concussions suffered while playing for the league.
U.S. Eastern District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia on Tuesday scheduled an April 9 hearing on motions to dismiss filed by the NFL Inc., NFL Properties Inc. and All American Sports Corp.
Players say they’ve developed dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, or are worried about developing them.
Rams opt not to hire Ryan, name Bush LB coach
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams have decided not to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator and stepped in a new direction by hiring Frank Bush as linebackers coach.
Bush replaces Blake Williams, son of Gregg Williams, who was briefly defensive coordinator with the Rams last winter before being suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints bounty scandal.
Bush was with the Titans the last two seasons and prior to that was defensive coordinator for four seasons with the Texans. He has also been a player, scout, position coach and assistant head coach.
Hunter fires family members from NBA players union
NEW YORK — Executive director Billy Hunter has fired his daughter and daughter-in-law from the NBA players association, less than two weeks after a review criticized his hiring practices.
In a letter to the union’s special committee of players, dated Jan. 23, Hunter informed them that Robyn Hunter was to be let go as of Jan. 25. Megan Inaba will stay on through the All-Star break to help coordinate activities in Houston before leaving her job on Feb. 17.
“Hopefully this decision will alleviate any concerns raised by their employment,” Hunter wrote. “These measures are being taken although the report noted that both of them were highly qualified, not overpaid, and were contributing members of the NBPA staff.”
Racist chants hurled at Jozy Altidore in cup game
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch football fans hurled a barrage of racist abuse at AZ Alkmaar and United States striker Jozy Altidore on Tuesday during a Dutch cup quarterfinal against second-tier FC Den Bosch.
Altidore, who is black, said he had never faced such serious abuse from the stands, but shrugged it off after the match, which his team won 5-0.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” he told Dutch television’s Eredivisie Live. “All I can do is pray for them and hope they can become better people.”
The racism was all the more shocking as it came just weeks after Dutch football authorities pleaded for more respect at all levels of the game following the death of a linesman after he was attacked by players after a match between two youth teams near Amsterdam in December.
“It’s a bit disappointing that these things still happen in this time that we’re in,” Altidore said. “But what you going to do? You just hope these people can find a way to improve themselves. You can only pray for them.”
Rebuilding Bills will continue to play in Toronto
TORONTO — The Buffalo Bills and Rogers Media announced a new agreement Tuesday that will keep Rogers Centre as the team’s second home.
Buffalo will play one regular-season game at the home of the Toronto Blue Jays for the next five years, and the new contract also includes one preseason game in 2015.
The existing five-year deal — which was worth $78 million — expired when Seattle posted a 50-17 win over Buffalo Dec. 16. But an extension had long been expected despite lingering attendance problems. Only 40,770 fans attended the Seahawks’ win, far short of a sellout. Some 53,000 fans had been expected.
Buffalo, which finished 6-10 and underwent a coaching change this month, is just 1-4 in regular-season games in Toronto.
Angels’ Pujols hopes to join Dominicans for WBC
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols said he hopes to play for the Dominican Republic after the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
The first baseman and three-time NL MVP had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October. He would need special permission from the Angels to take part in the Classic.
Pujols told a Dominican radio show that the Angels support him in his goal to play for his Caribbean homeland during the international competition.
Pujols said he’s working to strengthen his right leg and expects to be in good condition for the start of spring training.
Pujols hit .285 with 30 homers in his first season with the Angels.
From wire sources