CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — This past NFL season was a busy one: the year saw 160 players go down with head injuries, breakthroughs in brain research, a wrongful death lawsuit and none other than President Barack Obama making a commentary on violence in football.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been heavily addressing the topic of player safety over the last few years, and discussed it again this Wednesday in a Q & A session at the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina.
Goodell said to AP Sports that “science can be a game-changer in making sports safer” and that he wants to “take the head out of the game.” Goodell is calling for safety across all major professional sports, especially football. (Sources: AP Sports, PBS)
NEW YORK, N.Y. —Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was fined $25,000 for striking Blake Griffin in the groin during their Sunday game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Ibaka’s fine was upgraded this Tuesday from a flagrant one foul to a flagrant two foul; were this enforced during the game, Ibaka would have been ejected. There was no suspension for Ibaka.
Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said in an interview with ESPN that, “I’m excited he’s playing tonight. He’s a big part of what we do. I respect the league’s decision and the review process they go through. I respect it and move on. It’s nothing that we worry about. We just focus on tonight’s game. That’s all we worry about.” (Source: ESPN)
NEW ENGLAND —Wes Welker has no intention to sign with the New England Patriots without first testing what other teams have to offer. While Welker received a franchise tag from the Patriots last year, New England issued no franchise tenders to any player for the 2013 season, the first time since 2008 they have failed to do so.
Welker finished with the most receptions and yardage of the Patriots last year, with 118 and 1,354, respectively. He also added six touchdowns. If the Patriots had decided to apply their franchise tag to Welker, his salary would have taken a 20 percent jump to $11.4 million. Welker was the first player in NFL history with five 110-catch seasons, averaging 112 receptions over his six years in the New England. (Source: ESPN)
DORAL, Fla. —Last week, Rory McIlroy abruptly walked off the course after a poor second round performance in the Honda Classic. He cited a sore tooth as his initial reasoning for departing the course, and this week, McIlroy faced the media for the first time since his departure.
This time, McIlroy decided to change his story: “It was a buildup of everything,” he said to AP Sports. “I’ve been putting pressure on myself to perform, and I’ve been working so hard and not getting anything out of it.”
McIlroy flatly promised there would never be another breakdown to his game like this for the rest of his career, offering a humble apology for his actions.
Despite pressure from reporters, McIlroy denied that his new $20 million deal with Nike or his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki as adding to the pressures to his game. (Source: AP Sports)