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Concern grows over long-term effects of football head injuries

 

(Originally published July 5, 2012 in MSR)

Thomas Darden is among more than 2,000 former players who are suing the National Football League, arguing that the league concealed information from them about football-related injuries and long-term brain damage. We are slowly learning that playing football can be dangerous to one’s health. At least three former pro players’ deaths, all ruled suicides, may actually be attributable to brain damage suffered from years of playing the sport. “I forget things,” says Darden, who played defensive back for nine seasons for Cleveland (1972-81). “I may have a thought and lose that thought. Continue Reading →

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Concussions: a knock-out blow to football?

 

Head injuries or concussions — it’s been called “getting your bell rung” — have been around since Fred Flintstone strapped it up for old Bedrock U. Too bad that in recent years it took pending lawsuits against the NCAA and the NFL to finally get the issue the rightful attention it deserves, including any long-term and short-term effects from head injuries. Some even have suggested doing away with such sports as football among youngsters, which frankly is a knee-jerk reaction, since anyone is susceptible to concussions by simply falling down while walking. Instead, what’s probably needed is better teaching at the youth level. Mike Pettis, a longtime North Commons youth football coach, strongly disagrees with those critics who advocate the end of youth football, calling them members of “a scared society.”

“I’ve been coaching [youth] football for about 35 years,” continues Pettis. “The first time I’ve heard of a concussion with one of our kids was last year. Continue Reading →

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Tensions divide stadium partners

Vikings and MSFA at odds
 
Is there a future for reconciliation between two partners who thought they had the world at their fingertips just a year ago, when in August of 2012 it was like a love fest, as the Vikings (Wilfs) and the state of Minnesota (Minnesota Sports Facility Authority) both declared their love, trust, and respect for each other? What difference a year can make. The New Jersey court ruling against the Wilfs led Minnesota (State, Sports commission, City) to question the integrity of the Vikes owners, the Wilfs, by ordering a forensic audit and an analysis of the Vikings’ owners ability to pay their portion of the $975 million so-called “Peoples” stadium. People tend to forget that just a year ago, as required by the legislation of 2012, the Vikings delivered $50 million to the Sports Facility Authority, when the MSFA was extremely cash flush ($50 million from the Vikings, $24 million transferred from the now defunct ballpark authority). Everyone expected that by now the State of Minnesota would be reaping the millions of dollars in revenue expected to be coming in from electronic pull tabs (and later electronic bingo), isn’t happening. Continue Reading →

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“We didn’t know!” Really?

Everybody pretends ignorance or amnesia on Zygi’s dealings
 

Many intelligent, knowledgeable people purposefully said they were surprised by the 21-year-old court ruling against the Wilfs, owners of the Minnesota Vikings. Really? Why do they think we believe them (Star Tribune wrote of it in 2011)? They quietly believed the Wilfs would win. What they “won” is loss of credibility. Continue Reading →

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Do NFL owners get free racketeering passes?

 

 

Having grown up in Chicago, I think I know a thing or two about racketeering and fraud. Have you heard of Al Capone? The National Football League, the game we love, has two franchise owners, one in each conference, who are in deep trouble with the feds. Cleveland Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslem has since April been under investigation by the FBI for his involvement and ownership in Pilot Flying J. Several of his employees have already been arrested, and lawsuits are piling up. The Vikings shared ownership of Zygi, Mark and Leonard Wilf was recently slammed by a New Jersey Judge for violating state racketeering laws and using fraudulent bookkeeping practices. Continue Reading →

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The ins and outs of player trades

 

 

The MSR is happy to introduce a new voice on our sports page, that of Julia Toles. Julia describes herself as “a writer, future producer, and driven young lady who is trying to be the voice of the unheard. I am a firm believer that so much can be learned through stories and listening. My passion for telling stories through the written word is what drives me daily. I hope that you enjoy the ride as I report the truth, delve into the ugly, and stay persistent in honesty!”

 
Introducing a new MSR sports columnist:
 
 

Welcome to the world of “Julia Says.”

 

Have you ever wondered why in the world of sports there is such a thing called trades? Continue Reading →

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People’s Stadium in trouble! — Can the funding really be found?

 

 

How does “the People’s Stadium” stand at this hour? Answer: wobbly, as we see from the fierce and personal debates within the Minnesota legislature regarding how to pay for the “People’s Stadium.”

Why the silence from the state’s two major newspapers? Their silence raises serious questions regarding their journalistic integrity. Fear of transparency? As I have stated unequivocally before, the financial plan to fund the People’s Stadium was ill conceived, rushed without fully vetting the details. Continue Reading →

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Legislature caught whistling in the dark — Financial problems for Viking stadium construction project

 

 

For years I have defined as ill-conceived any planning that mostly serves the planners and their agency/bosses and not those they plan for, that too often leave African Americans out of their equations, purposefully failing or refusing to meet both diversity and equity hiring requirements and appropriate funding or financing best practices regarding construction, education, housing, jobs and public safety. I have long written about the perils of such ill-conceived planning regarding the Vikings stadium. The Star Tribune reminded us of these perils in articles last week, April 8 and 9, perils that could lead to a failed stadium project and loss of the Vikings to another city. There is anxiety in the Minnesota legislature. Read from my over 25 columns on this gathered together in a solutions paper for the Vikings stadium situation, at www.theminneapolisstory.com/solutionpapers/47SaveVikings.htm. Continue Reading →

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White unions get $1 million to train workers of color to build stadiums? — It’s time for the B.S. to end

 

 

Which legacy for the Vikings Stadium? Only qualified White workers or qualified workers regardless of color? Employment apartheid or inclusiveness? Employment inclusiveness and fairness, or employment apartheid and unfairness? The 100 qualified Gentlemen of the Roundtable of Kansas City, Missouri, journeymen construction workers introduced in a previous column, have since talked with the Vikings. Continue Reading →

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Gentlemen of the Round Table ready to work on People’s Stadium

 

 

Sometime in late March of 2013, an African American construction trade association, Gentlemen of the Round Table, will be looking forward to its meeting with the Sports Facilities Authority to present its members’ credentials qualifying them to work on the Viking’s People’s Stadium. What a difference a plan makes to enable meeting a dream and vision of minority inclusion. This group of 100 Black men in the construction trades, based in Kansas City, Missouri, was formed seven years ago. All are journeymen. Over half own their own businesses. Continue Reading →

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