NFL

Judge Blocks NFL Concussion Settlement

Jan 15, 2014

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, some corners of the Internet are melting down because of a reported shortage of Velveeta. And don't try to act like you don't know what that is. We'll talk about the history of the ooey, gooey stuff and why, in a buffalo mozzarella world, we still like it. But first, to football. This is golden time for pro-football lovers. Two teams will book their tickets to the Super Bowl this weekend after a long season of hard hits.

Just before a big playoff weekend, the sports website Deadspin published an open letter by former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe, titled "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot." Kluwe, a straight man, says his outspoken support of same-sex marriage cost him his job.

"In my mind, there's no logical conclusion that can be drawn, other than that I was fired for my activism," Kluwe tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More.

Are NFL Kickers Getting Better?

Dec 22, 2013

Monday's game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions came down to the kicker. NPR's Rachel Martin and sports reporter Mike Pesca discuss the role of the NFL kicker and whether that job is getting more respect from fans and players.

They're louder than a jet on takeoff and they make the earth tremble.

We're talking about fans of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

During the team's home game Monday night against the New Orleans Saints, "Seahawks fans jumping up and down during" a fumble return for a touchdown "registered about a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake," The Seattle Times' The Today File blog reports.

During pro football season, New Orleans becomes " 'Who Dat' Nation." Fans open New Orleans Saints games with the signature chant and use it to rattle the eardrums of opponents during play.

Since the Saints' Super Bowl win in 2010, the phrase has popped up everywhere, from T-shirts to business names. Even people who don't watch football call themselves "Who Dats." But a messy legal question keeps rearing its head here: Who owns "Who Dat"?

Sports marketing and management firm Fantex has reached a deal with San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis for an initial public stock offering. Fantex is paying Davis $4 million for the rights to 10 percent of his earnings, and the company is also creating a tracking stock linked specifically to the football player's economic performance. Davis is the second player to try this arrangement with Fantex. Sportswriter Fatsis joins Robert Siegel to explain how this is all supposed to work — and why he's dubious.

The NFL season is in high gear — a fact that pleases the roughly 64 percent of Americans who watch football. The season rolls on despite the now constant news about concussions in the sport.

The recent TV documentary League of Denial and the book by the same name claim that for years the NFL had denied and covered up evidence linking football and brain damage. Is the concussion conversation challenging this country's deep love for the game?

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, you could argue that no one played a bigger role than Mike Webster. Webster was the Steelers' center, snapping the ball to the quarterback, then waging war in the trenches, slamming his body and helmet into defensive players to halt their rush.

He was a local hero, which is why the city was stunned when his life fell apart. He lost all his money, and his marriage, and ended up spending nights in the bus terminal in Pittsburgh. Webster died of a heart attack, and on Sept. 28, 2002, came the autopsy.

Football is unique in that most players participate in only half the game — offense or defense.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

A dark cloud hanging over the National Football League is a bit lighter today. There is a proposed settlement in a huge concussion lawsuit, brought by over 4,000 former players. The agreement was reached and announced yesterday, a week before the start of the new NFL season. If approved, the league will pay out $765 million to as many as 18,000 former players. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

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