Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday’s Mashup: Congress blasts NFL for owing millions to concussion research

Lucy Burdge
July 27, 2017 - 7:39 am
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB:
Milwaukee at Washington, 12 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Tampa Bay at NY Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: NY Mets at San Diego, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

-- Congress is making sure the NFL doesn’t skimp out on the millions the league previously pledged to the National Institutes of Health for the Sports Health and Research Program.

In a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell dated July 26, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce told the league to pay the $18 million it owes to the NIH. The committee also asked the NFL whether the league plans to come up with additional funding beyond its $30 million commitment, $12 million of which has already been paid.

“With little more than a month remaining in the initial five-year agreement establishing SHRP, the NFL has yet to contribute the remaining $18 million pledged to support research into health issues affecting athletes through NIH,” the letter reads. “Since this research is critical to improving our understanding of the increased health risks that athletes face from their sport as well as ways to prevent and mitigate such risks for the future, we would hope that the NFL would follow through on its commitment to provide the balance of its $30 million donation.”

The committee said it expects a response from the NFL by Aug. 11. 

A Congressional report last year accused the NFL of taking back $16 million of that $30 million commitment to NIH. It was thought the league did this because it disagreed with the institute's choice of a researcher to lead the testing for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in living patients. Goodell sent a letter to team owners and presidents days after that to clarify the $30 million would be paid. 

The NFL said recently it is “currently engaged in constructive discussions” with the NIH on this issue. 

-- Virginia Tech is planning to induct Michael Vick into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame and outcry over the decision is growing.

It was reported Tuesday two online petitions at change.org to stop the September induction have racked up a combined 90,000 signatures. The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, whose parents schools are Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland, has also condemned the move.

In 2007, Vick was convicted on dogfighting charges and served 19 months in prison.

"The College unequivocally opposes honoring an individual whose past actions contradict our values and the cornerstone of our mission," Dr. Cyril R. Clarke, dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, wrote in a statement on the school’s Facebook page. "Over the course of several days, I have communicated with President [Timothy] Sands and other campus administrators to express our disappointment and opposition to this decision. I continue to be in conversations with the president regarding this issue."

Virginia Tech is defending its decision, saying many believe Vick is the greatest athlete in the history of the school.

"Mr. Vick's induction into the university's sports Hall of Fame acknowledges his tremendous achievements as a student athlete -- who some will say was the greatest in the history of the university," the university said in a statement. "We understand that there are those who do not and will never agree with this decision.”

Vick is one of five Virginia Tech alums who will be inducted on Sept. 22. He was a top candidate for the 1999 Heisman trophy and went on to play for the Falcons, Eagles, Jets and Steelers. He is now a coaching intern for the Chiefs.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I mean right now it’s all about training camp. We’re here. We’re getting ready to go." -- Matt Patricia, when asked about wearing the Roger Goodell clown t-shirt after Super Bowl LI

 

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