TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN, NESN)
NHL: Red Wings at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Pacers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Clippers at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Florida Gulf Coast vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, 6:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Vanderbilt vs. Wichita State, 9:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT, Akron at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Davidson at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, High Point at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Alabama at Creighton, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Florida at North Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Long Beach State at Washington, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, New Mexico State at Saint Mary’s, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB preseason: Yankees at Red Sox, 6:05 p.m. (MLB Network, NESN)
MLB preseason: Nationals at Astros, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Dynamo Kyiv at Manchester City, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)
After referencing the work of Boston University neuropathologist Dr. Anne McKee, whose staff has found CTE in the brains of 90 former players, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) asked NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller point-blank if there is a link.
“Well, certainly, Dr. McKee’s research shows that a number of retired NFL players were diagnosed with CTE, so the answer to that question is certainly ‘yes,’ but there are also a number of questions that come with that,” Miller said.
It marked the first time the league acknowledged football can lead to CTE. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league representatives have long sidestepped the issue, deferring to the medical community. Prior to the Super Bowl, San Francisco neurosurgeon Dr. Mitch Berger, who heads the league’s subcommittee on long-term brain injury, recognized the studies but noted that CTE has been found “in all spectrums of life” and said, “It remains to be seen” what the cause is.
Miller said he was “not going to speak for Dr. Berger,” saying it’s more important to examine the entire issue.
“You asked the question whether I thought there was a link,” he said. “Certainly based on Dr. McKee’s research, there’s a link, because she’s found CTE in a number of retired football players. I think that the broader point, and the one that your question gets to, is what that necessarily means and where do we go from here with that information.”
“The NFL is peddling a false sense of security,” Schakowsky said. “Football is a high-risk sport because of the routine hits, not just diagnosable concussions. What the American public need now is honesty about the health risks and clearly more research.”
Miller’s comments might impact a settlement of the concussion lawsuit against the NFL by former players. A lawyer representing seven ex-players who are objecting to the settlement sent a letter to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals later Monday, arguing that Miller’s statements are a “stark turn” from the league’s previous position, as they “directly contradict” the NFL’s position in the case.
The seven-year veteran, a product of Boston College, is a free agent after a bounce-back 2015 campaign in which he recorded 22 tackles in 15 regular-season games. He missed the 2014 season with a biceps injury.
“This decision was made after hours of conversation with close family members and mentors and considerable self-introspection and is one in which I am absolutely certain,” Raji said in a statement. “I cannot rule out a return to the NFL in the future, but I will definitely not be playing during the 2016 season.”
Raji quoted Packers coaching legend Vince Lombardi in his explanation.
“Coach Lombardi once said that ‘Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it — his mind, his body, his heart – what’s life worth to him?’ That is the approach I have taken with football since I was a two-star high school recruit,” Raji said. “I knew that I would not be able to live up to coach Lombardi’s ‘total commitment’ standard and made this decision out of respect to this great organization.”
“My time to exonerate myself of a fruitless claim by a reporter will come,” the posts read.
Huffnagel, 33, was accused of harassing the woman — apparently a female reporter who covered the team — last season.
“I’m crushed,” he told ESPN. “I can’t believe it. I’m blindsided. I never imagined this would be the outcome. Cal has been incredible slow-moving in the process. I’m in the process of hiring a legal team to exonerate my name.”
Head coach Cuonzo Martin addressed the issue on a conference call, after the school announced that Hufnagel had been “relieved of his duties pending the outcome of the termination process.”
“You’re talking about a guy who’s part of your staff and a family member,” said Martin, whose team is preparing for the NCAA Tournament. “We continue to push forward. It’s not an easy thing, but we’ll find our way.”
Hufnagel was an assistant at Harvard for four seasons before leaving for a season at Vanderbilt in 2013-14 and then Cal.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 15, 1928, which player became the first Bruins goalie to win 20 games in a season, with a 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks in Chicago?
Christian Arcand is in studio for Mut. Listen as Christian discusses breaking news concerning the NFL and NFLPA moving towards a deal that would strip Roger Goodell of disciplinary power when it comes to off-the-field infractions by players.
This is by no means new, but for me, it will never get old. It’s impossible not to admire the time, effort, money and commitment that went into what is pretty much a one-off joke. Or to respect the risks to pull off an enterprise like this. It’s like a mini-Sasha Baron Cohen movie in that Gandalf here faced danger and possible arrest for his art. And it worked on simpleton like me.
We close out the Dale and Holley show with some of the best soundbites from this past weekend and today.
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