Ruling means retired playerscan vote on whether to settle
A federal judge has approved a preliminary settlement between the NFL and lawyers for the more than 4,500 retired players who sued the league, accusing it of hiding the dangers of concussions and repeated head hits.
The judge’s consent means the more than 20,000 retired players and their beneficiaries can vote on the deal, which includes a promise from the league to pay an unlimited amount of awards to players with certain severe neurological conditions.
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Legal experts anticipate it will be approved because the new settlement addressed the main concern U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania had with the original plan.
That deal included $675 million for cash awards, medical testing and education. Brody rejected it in January because, like some retired players, she was concerned there would not be enough money to cover the 65-year life of the settlement.
Last month, the league and the plaintiffs’ lawyers announced a revised settlement that removed the cap on damages.
“The revised proposed settlement is a significant improvement over the proposed settlement presented in January … The parties have satisfied my concern on this fundamental issue,” Brody wrote.
Hernandez can transfer to a jail closer to Boston
Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots tight end, can transfer to a jail closer to Boston for easier access to his lawyers while he awaits trial on a murder charge, a judge ruled.
Hernandez, 24, was in court for the hearing. His mother and brother were among those in court, as were family members of Odin Lloyd, the 27-year-old semipro player Hernandez is accused of killing in June 2013.
Hernandez is also charged in Boston in the 2012 killings of two men. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.
Prosecutors did not object to moving Hernandez from the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, Mass., which is about an hour and 20 minutes’ drive from Boston. It is not clear when he will be moved or where he will be going.
NCAA releases new safety guidelines limiting contact
The NCAA released new safety guidelines that limit full-contact practices.
In preseason, 12 live-contact practices are allowed, with no more than one per day. Three scrimmages are allowed.
In the spring, eight live-contact practices and three scrimmages are allowed.
During the season, two live-contact practices per week are allowed.
Last year, the Pac-12 became the second conference to limit full-contact practices to two per week during the regular season.
“With input from Pac-12 coaches, these practice-contact policies have worked well in the Pac-12,” said USC coach Steve Sarkisian, previously coach of the Washington Huskies. “As coaches, it is important we maintain our ability to prepare our teams to compete each week while also looking at ways to ensure their safety.”
Defense team for Pistorius plans to close its case
The defense team for Oscar Pistorius plans to close its case Tuesday. Its last witness, Wayne Derman, a physician who has treated the double-amputee runner, completed his testimony at the murder trial in South Africa.
Pistorius killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year in what he has described as a mistaken shooting.
Djokovic rises to the top
Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia replaced Rafael Nadal of Spain at No. 1 in the ATP rankings, and Wimbledon runner-up Roger Federer of Switzerland rose one spot to No. 3.
Djokovic, who was ranked No. 1 for the first time in 2011, has led the rankings for 102 weeks in his career. He is 27.
• Nine of NASCAR’s most influential teams have formed “The Race Team Alliance.” The group is headed by Rob Kauffman, a co-owner with Michael Waltrip Racing. Calling the group a business alliance, Kauffman said, “The RTA is pooling together to look at things we can be doing better.”
• Three cities remain in the running to host the 2022 Winter Olympics: Beijing; Oslo, Norway; and Almaty, Kazakhstan, International Olympic Committee officials said.
• Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher, who scored 20 goals last season, has a ruptured Achilles tendon that likely will cause him to miss at least the start of the upcoming NHL season.
Fisher, who was injured in a training session, had surgery Thursday and recovery time is estimated at four to six months. Fisher, 34, is singer Carrie Underwood’s husband.
• American Tyson Gay, in his second race since returning from a one-year doping ban, won the 100 meters in 10.04 seconds at the Montreuil meet in pouring rain in Paris. Gay won the 100 and 200 at the 2007 world championships.
Seattle Times news services