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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league's recent settlement with retired players over head trauma was "good for our players," but stressed it was not an admission of guilt. Fox' John Lynch said to Goodell, "Whenever there's a settlement, the cynic would say it's associated with some form of guilt." Goodell replied, "It’s exactly the opposite. I think very strongly there is no presumption of guilt. There's no assurance that if this had been litigated that there would have been any kind of award in any way. So again, rather than spending all the money and the time and the emotional strain of litigating these issues, we said, 'Let's do what's right for our players.'" Goodell said players because of the settlement are now "able to get help, if they need it, and all ... retired players will have the opportunity to have a baseline test." Lynch noted there have been "some detractors amongst the former players" in the concussion lawsuit who claim with the settlement, the NFL "doesn't have to give information that they might have had" about the cause-and-effect of playing football and head injuries. Goodell: "There's no guarantee that there's any information here that would be inconsistent with what we've claimed all along, and we believe that we've done what's right for our players all along. As the medical community has advanced, we have shared that and so we have not misled our players." Lynch asked if the $765M is enough to take care of all the former players, and Goodell said the amount is a "lot of money to anybody, it's a tremendous amount of money." Goodell: "For us, we're continuing our work. We're investing millions in research, well beyond the settlement" ("Fox Sports 1 On 1," FS1, 9/24).
PRYOR SYMPTOMS: FOXSPORTS.com's Mike Garafalo reports the NFLPA is looking into why Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor "wasn't examined for a concussion immediately after getting hit hard" by Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard Monday night. Raiders coach Dennis Allen indicated that he talked to Pryor after the play and he "showed no signs of a concussion." But Garafalo notes Pryor during a replay delay following the play "was pacing around the field, away from the rest of his offensive teammates." Team trainers and doctors "didn't come out to examine Pryor" (FOXSPORTS.com, 9/25).
Former NFLer Sean Gilbert is "embarking on a campaign to take over" the NFLPA, according to Kevin Clark of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Gilbert has written "a 23,000-word e-book outlining his plan and announcing his candidacy for executive director of the union" to replace DeMaurice Smith. Gilbert's announcement "will represent the first challenge to Smith's tenure." Smith's three-year contract "expires about a year and a half from now." Gilbert in the e-book said that the NFLPA has been "losing in labor negotiations" with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Gilbert "criticizes Smith for allowing Goodell too much power over player discipline and for agreeing to salary-cap penalties" for the Redskins and Cowboys, who "spent freely when there was no salary cap the previous year." Gilbert's campaign "will begin with the e-book, which is titled 'The $29 Million Tip' -- a reference to Goodell's salary" in '11. It will be "distributed to each player with a personalized note from Gilbert." Gilbert since retiring has "remained involved in football, working as an adviser to his nephew," Buccaneers CB Darrelle Revis (WSJ.com, 9/25).
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem appeared on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" yesterday, saying after seven years of the FedExCup Playoffs, the "overriding thing is the way, slowly at first maybe then with increasing speed, people are getting into what this competition is all about." Finchem said the players have been "into it for a while but the fans now are really into all the elements of it." The "fans like all the additional stuff happening to follow, that's just the way we are as a culture and a society today, you want all this to follow and keep track of and that's helped propel the competition." Finchem added the "major parts of the schedule are done" for the Tour during the '16 Rio Games and that "was done like three or four years ago" to ensure tournaments are not being played during the Games. Finchem said the Tour was "leading the charge for golf in the Olympics and we were very involved in that, but for 10 or 15 years prior to that, we were opposed," because "it causes havoc with our schedule and makes it difficult from a player movement standpoint." Finchem: "We finally decided, though, that there are so many countries … around the globe where the government of those countries invests money in sports but only in sports that are on the Olympic program. After we did this study, we came to the conclusion that the upside of growing the game globally outweighed the difficulties we have with our schedule." Meanwhile, Finchem said he "couldn't be more excited" about the Tour's young players. Finchem: "I couldn't be more bullish about what the next 20 years are going to mean to the PGA Tour" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 9/24).
BOYS OF FALL: GOLFWEEK's Adam Schupak notes six tournaments formerly part of the Tour's Fall Series "have been promoted to the FedEx Cup regular season and will award FedEx Cup points for the first time." No one is "happier than the six tournament directors, who said they finally can compete to attract the best in the game." But the six events "still face challenges in drawing an elite field." This time of year "traditionally is when top Tour talent chase guaranteed money overseas." Other players are "ready to put their feet up, burned out from a busy run through the FedEx Cup playoffs." The four "domestic events at the start of the season will face stiff competition" from the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China. Asia is a "long way to travel, but if you're going to play, it's hard to ignore a no-cut event for official money" (GOLFWEEK, 9/27 issue).
WTA Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster "hailed Li Na's rise as a key factor behind the growth of women's tennis in Asia as the next generation of Chinese players follow in the Grand Slam winner's footsteps and make their mark on the game," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. Li's '11 French Open victory made her the "first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title and spiked interest" in China. Allaster yesterday praised Li "for her continued efforts in building the sport." She said Li is "the athlete that will make the greatest impact on the growth of women's tennis in this decade." Allaster added, "You can have a strategy with multi-thronged pillars but you need the stars and Li is obviously our star here in Asia." Johnston wrote China's appetite for tennis "seems only growing." Allaster said that a "huge chunk of their fans were coming from the country where the WTA will have eight events next year, up from two in 2008, as other sports continue to struggle to make an impact." Johnston noted the WTA based on the success in China now has its "eyes on Singapore and Southeast Asia as the next market for growth as their tournament portfolio in Asia-Pacific continues to increase." Singapore will host the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships for five years beginning in '14, and the WTA is "in the process of setting up an office in the wealthy citystate to help with their plans." Allaster was "cautious about predicting a repeat success of their China venture in a market known for corruption in sports." But she said that Li's success "had meant anything was possible" (REUTERS, 9/24).
THE BEST IS YET TO COME: ESPN.com's Kamakshi Tendon wrote under the header, "Asia New Hotspot For WTA Tour." The post-US Open season, "once dominated by European indoor events, has become a full-fledged Asian swing." Next year, "six of the seven tournament weeks after the US Open will contain events in South East Asia, including all but one (Moscow) of the high-level Premier tournaments." Asian events "now outnumber North American ones," as the Asia-Pacific region "as a whole will account for 23 of the tour's events" in '14. Allaster said, "We just made a strategic decision to nurture our mature markets and make them successful, (plus) look at where an opportunity is -- one market. And we chose Asia in 2008. And we're only starting. We haven't even begun to realize the opportunity of China and Southeast Asia" (ESPN.com, 9/24).