published Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

5-at-10: Big name added to lawsuit, NBA defining an era, owners smiling and

Hop you have enjoyed the start to summer. We have.

We need mailbag questions as soon as possible this week — we're headed out of town Thursday night, so we'd like to ace that ASAP.

From the "Talks too much" studios, laces out Dan.

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    In this Sept. 21, 2012, file photo, former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino appears at the AARP convention in New Orleans.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Marino files lawsuit

And then that happened.

Dan Marino joined the concussion class-action lawsuit against the NFL.

Our feeling on this is mixed.

First, we hate how litigious our society has become. Something's wrong? Let's sue.

And we also have a hard time grasping the claim that NFL players were unaware of the dangers or possible after-career fallout from a violent game.

That said, the NFL is making tens of billions of dollars and is the monolith in today's pop culture. Forget sports, the NFL is the biggest thing on TV, in social media, in gambling circles, you name it.

And it owes a huge debt to the players that helped create this enterprise. Guys that sacrificed and played through pain and were part of the building.

Guys like Dan Marino, who still is one of the most popular Dolphins ever.

The suit was settled last year for more than $700 million but a federal judge ruled that was not enough money.

Here's an idea — let's create a full and complete post-career package for these players that ranges depending on longevity and need. The NFL is the closest thing in sports to a modern-day ATM and taking care of those that help craft is smart business.

This is not about hand-outs or charity or Obama care or any other neo-political, class debate out there. This is about taking care of the people that helped create the Utopia of sorts in which the NFL lives.

And it's the right thing to do, whether the courts are involved or not.

Of course, since there is a real NFL issue to discuss, this will be the time Roger Goodell throws out "Let's move an NFL team to London" or "Should we change the penalty flags from yellow to red and white polka dots?"

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Define a generation

The NBA got the NBA Finals it wanted — a rematch of last year's thrilling Heat win over San Antonio.

It's a match-up of teams and settings that are striking in their contrast. It's part of the charm. In fact, we had a great call on Press Row on Monday wondering why the sporting public romanticizes the Spurs, and it's a fair question. (In part, because they are non-offensive and likable and have built a championship team that has stayed together in the time of free agency and money grabs.)

So it's the glitz and glamour of Miami against the slow-and-steady Spurs. It's the fallout from The Decision against The Big Fundamental. It's dazzle and the Big Three against diligent and The Three Amigos. Daleysports.com ran a poll on who are you rooting for in the NBA Finals and after almost 187,000 votes Florida was the only state in the union pulling for the Heat.

We'll breakdown the rosters and the series later this week, but here's our NBA question of the day: Does this series get to determine the generation? Seriously, a three-peat would be historic for the Heat and cement LeBron's place. The Spurs could win a fifth title under the Pop-Duncan regime, which would be rarified air.

Stakes are high. Steaks are tasty.

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Changing scope of franchise value

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    Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife, Rochelle, during a Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles in this 2010 file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Today is scheduled to be the day the NBA owners vote on whether to punt Donald Sterling from their billionaire club.

That vote may not be needed since the reported $2 billion bid from Steve Ballmer to purchase the Clippers.

Certainly there are a slew of legal hurdles still left to clear, but this scenario is a dream sequence for all the owners, including Sterling, who will stand to turn a $12 million purchase in 1981 into a $2 billion payday.

It also means the owners may not have to vote, because as we have debated here, the owners assuredly do not want to navigate this slippery slope as Mark Cuban called it.

The owners know the league has been placed in a corner by Sterling and circumstance and even the appearance of tolerating racism and hatred such as Sterling's will not play in the stands or the locker rooms around the league. The owners also know they do not want a precedent set where some recordings can jump start a blackball process that could cost any one of them their favorite possession.

So avoiding any vote on this matter is good news for all of the owners.

Still, the news gets better. Here's a Business Insider look at how the $2 billion bid affects the potential bid of all the teams in the league.

Good times.

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This and that

— This is hardly surprising, but Oliver Stone — the queen mother of all conspiracy theorists — will do a movie on the Edward Snowden saga. Egad. Imagine the government bashing in that one. Back and to the left.

— The Mets ate 103 Philly cheesesteaks in 10 hours. Discuss. And there were a couple of bullpen catchers for the Mets who ate a combined 31. Are they feeding the help in NYC?

— See this to believe it. It's an Auburn grooms cake shaped like Jordan-Hare with 0:01 on the clock.

— Tim Tebow is strill training and waiting for a comeback shot in the NFL. Here's hoping he's not holding his breath.

— According to ESPN, a Packers fan honored the Green Bay's first-round pick by naming the family cat, Ha Ha Kitten-Dix.

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  • photo
    Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) checks the scoreboard in a game against the Brooklyn Nets in this May 10, 2014, file photo in New York.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Today's question

In honor of Dan Marino, we'll go with three different Rushmores in which he will contend:

Rushmore of Dolphins?

Rushmore of best movie cameos by athletes playing themselves?

Rushmore of best pro athletes to never win a title?

Go and go.

It's go time.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
MocTastic said...

Best pros never to win a title? Some quick hits on that: Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Chuck Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton.

Movies...Kareem Abdul Jabbar in Airplane!

Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in Safe at Home

June 3, 2014 at 10:19 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, Act I of the Snowden movie pretty much a caper movie in monologue, since Snowden had a significant other to participate or even bounce ideas off of. Yeah, Act I will reveal two dialogue sequences, opening with the typical day at the office, and the meeting where Snowden's ideas are rejected. Stone's going jack this material up several notches.

ACT II, CIA killers are on my path.

June 3, 2014 at 10:50 a.m.
Stewwie said...

The NBA canceled today's owners' meeting after Shelly Sterling agreed to a sale price with Steve Ballmer. ("What ya'll wanna do, you wanna be a Ballmer, shot caller, brawler...") Sorry, I couldn't resist. Lol.

Agreed that there is a lot riding on this Finals. It'd be nice to see Duncan win another one. No surprise to me that so many across the country are cheering for the Spurs in this one. But it might have less to do with liking the Spurs than cheering against LeBron. And if LeBron loses this Finals and leaves to go elsewhere again, he might not have any fans left in the NBA after that. Well, other than his mom and the other 4 Horsemen. And Worldwide Wes.

I disagree that the NFL owes former players anything other than what is specified in the labor agreements. A lot of these lawsuits are frivolous. What were teams supposed to do when a guy got banged up? Make him not play and take away his chance to perform and earn his money? Maybe they should have benched or cut an injured guy in order to protect themselves from a future lawsuit caused from playing through injuries? Not buying it at all. If the players want to include more benefits for retired players in the next labor deal, so be it. But the NFL should feel no obligation to throw money at former players simply because it's become a very popular game.

June 3, 2014 at 11:35 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

You are thinking of a different lawsuit. The one that Jim McMahon and those folks filed about pain pills and hiding injuries — unless they can prove malpractice and teams' being complicit in that process — is different.

This is about concussions and the first judge found that the NFL did try to conceal the long-term information about concussions, why else would they look to be settling for 3/4 of a billion (a number the court said was not high enough).

And you're right, the NFL is under no obligation to offer top help former players, and if the players want to strike for better benefits that is there prerogative, but what's wrong with being forward thinking in the process, especially when we know the court is going to make the NFL come off a 10-figure check anyway.

Think of the positive PR move that would be to offer to do it rather than be forced to do it.

And you're right, the NFL does not have to share its riches. And maybe it's just our view of BID-ness, but for an industry that is making money faster than it can count it, we see giving back to former players not as an obligation as much as it's good business. Especially for a business whose work force could decide to play other sports because of the long-term affects or fall-outs from injuries.

MT —

Jabbar is a great call. And that exchange is great — if for no other reason than the Lanier shoutout.

FE to the C —

Exactly. Heck, if we could get Matt Damon back as Jason Bourne and let Bourne chase Snowden, then we really got something.

June 3, 2014 at 11:56 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay,

Thanks for adhering to my request for a Mocs follow-up. I do have a mailbag question (NO comments from the Peanut Gallary this time):

I have never heard of the Lindy's and Athlon's FCS ranking (nor do I think anyone else has). I know the folks at ESPN or various talk radio hosts across the country could really care less because it's not the Big 5 or something they sell on Walgreen's magazine rack but are those the top ranking systems in the nation regarding FCS schools?

June 3, 2014 at 12:04 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[This is about concussions and the first judge found that the NFL did try to conceal the long-term information about concussions, why else would they look to be settling for 3/4 of a billion (a number the court said was not high enough).]

Great point. But I wonder that even if the NFL had not withheld any of that info, would the players have acted any differently? Would they be any less inclined to "be tough" and get back on the field to chase their dreams? Suffering the effects of past play, of course they'll tell a judge today that they would have acted differently. But for the most part, I don't think so. Hence the need for the NFL to implement a concussion policy to ensure that the guys playing today make better health-conscious decisions (and lessen the chance that they'll sue the league later in life).

[...but for an industry that is making money faster than it can count it, we see giving back to former players not as an obligation as much as it's good business.]

I do agree with that statement. But you said earlier that the NFL owed a huge debt to its former players (which implies an obligation to pony up to those guys). That I do not agree with.

JMC,

I had never heard of Lindy's or Athlon either until a couple of years ago. I was at the grocery store with Mrs. Stewwie and while she was going up and down every aisle shopping, I decided to peruse the magazine rack. This was when the college football preview issues were out and I went through every one on the rack. Lindy's and Athlon were in there with some others.

June 3, 2014 at 1:46 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

Fair point about our diction. We used owed — and owe in a definition sense is right. In truth, we wrote that as more of "owe a huge debt" and left off gratitude, so we see your point.

In truth, the NFL could pony up $1 billion and get out cheaper (minus lawyer fees) and look like they are extending the olive branch rather than being forced to settle up.

JMC —

You are in.

June 3, 2014 at 2:10 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Wow. I was reading Lindy's and Athlons 30 years ago and did so every year for quite a while. Don Whathisname used to do a preseason FCS poll.

And 5, I still think the NBA really, really wanted the Thunder and Heat, to have its best two younger stars going head to head, mano a mano. Slim Reaper against The King would have been a ratings bonanza. A rematch of last year? I'm not so sure.

Best athlete cameos? Um, Brett Fav-ruh, anybody? And Xavier McDaniel in "Singles"?

June 4, 2014 at 12:52 a.m.
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