Hall of Famer Joe Montana advocates cannabis for pain relief, healing

© Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports Count the legendary Montana among the former and current pro athletes advocating for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

As the NFL and NFLPA move toward potentially removing cannabis as a banned substance in the coming years, yet another high-profile former NFL star — four-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana — has come out in favor of utilizing this medicine.

Montana was one of eight former NFL players interviewed by Playboy magazine on this topic.

“Legalization is picking up steam on a global level and I feel like now is the time to spread information about the curing capabilities of this plant,” Montana said. “As with any medicine, increased accessibility comes with the need for education. Cannabis eased my pain. It also put me in a state of healing and relief.”

Eugene Monroe was also interviewed by the magazine. As he did when he spoke with Sportsnaut about this topic, he continues to spread the message that cannabis is so much more beneficial than opiates. It’s a message that is gaining steam, especially in light of the research that shows cannabis can be extremely helpful for players dealing with concussions.

At this time, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug in the United States of America, though many states have legalized it for medicinal and recreational use. There is political pressure being applied from both sides of the issue, and it remains to be seen what will happen in the coming years in regard to its legality.


Texans deny report that they will not sign players who protest national anthem

The Houston Texans issued a statement on Monday to deny a report that they will not sign players who protest during the national anthem.
Texans public relations staffer Amy Palcic posted a statement on her Twitter account that calls the report “categorically false and without merit.”

Over the weekend, Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon reported that a few agents told him they got the sense the Texans are not interested in free agents who have participated in protests or are likely to do so in the future.

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The Texans are owned by Bob McNair, who made highly-publicized controversial comments about players protesting during the anthem.


Dodgers send more than 20 players home due to flu outbreak

PHOENIX – An outbreak of illness in a major league clubhouse looks something like this:

Dodgers pitcher Brock Stewart wore a surgical mask as he walked to his locker at Camelback Ranch. A quartet of air filtration devices designed to prevent the spread of germs lined the room. Strength and conditioning coach Brandon McDaniel administered vitamins to the healthy. Matt Kemp exaggerated a cough as he staggered to his locker.

“If you’re sick, go home!” closer Kenley Jansen said. There wasn’t much of an audience for his message. The clubhouse was mostly empty. The Dodgers were either eating breakfast or lifting weights or huddling in a quarantine or not even in the building.

A virus causing chills, fatigue and other flulike symptoms overtook the Dodgers on Wednesday. The number of affected totaled 24 or 25, manager Dave Roberts said. The team sent the ill home. The medical staff hoped the symptoms would subside in one to three days, Roberts said.

“I haven’t seen anything like this,” Roberts said.

The illness caused widespread changes to Roberts’ lineup for Wednesday’s game against San Diego. Hyun-Jin Ryu was scratched from his start and replaced by Wilmer Font. The list of affected position players was extensive: Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Austin Barnes, Logan Forsythe, Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Farmer and Trayce Thompson were all listed on the initial travel roster, but weren’t included in the lineup.

Josh Fields was slated to pitch a session of live batting practice with Rich Hill. Instead, the Dodgers sent Fields home. Hill reported no symptoms – although the team did place a filtration system next to his locker. Alex Wood joked the device was necessary to protect Hill, who at 38 is the second-oldest player on the roster.


Entire USA Gymnastics Board Will Resign

A day after the U.S. Olympic Committee gave them an ultimatum to resign within six days or have the entire governing body decertified, the 16 remaining USA Gymnastics board members agreed to step down in the wake of the organization enabling Larry Nassar to sexually abuse dozens of girls and women while he was a doctor for them and Michigan State University. A USA Gymnastics spokesperson told Reuters today that “USA Gymnastics will comply with the USOC requirements.”

After failing to send a single representative to Nassar’s sentencing earlier this month, the USOC has used the threat of decertification (which would remove USAG’s ability to pick national teams for the Olympics, and much more) to effectively clean house at the governing body. Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis also resigned this week over their complicity in Nassar’s abuse.


College tennis player suspended after telling black opponent ‘at least I know my dad’ during match

BOONE, N.C. — A white men’s college tennis player has been suspended after a black opponent tweeted that his on-court rival told him “at least I know my dad” during their weekend match.

Appalachian State University in North Carolina issued a statement Monday saying Spencer Brown, who’s white, was suspended indefinitely after Sunday’s match with North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black college. Appalachian State apologized in its statement, calling the conduct “derogatory and offensive.”

John Wilson, the black player who is also A&T’s senior class president, said Brown made other offensive comments during Sunday’s NCAA Division I match. The tweet included a photo of Brown.

A school spokeswoman says there’ll be no additional comment. A recording heard on a call to Appalachian State’s men’s tennis coach said his number was disconnected.

Papa John Loses Dough: Pizza Chain Founder Loses $70 Million In Hours, Blames NFL

Papa John is having a bad day.

The net worth of John Schnatter, founder and CEO of pizza chain Papa John’s, fell $70 million in less than 24 hours after the company released its third-quarter financial report on Tuesday afternoon. The business beat estimates on earnings and revenue, but it lowered guidance on same-store sales for the coming period.

Investors were not pleased with that news and sent shares down 11% through 12:30 pm Eastern Time on Wednesday. The stock is now trading at just over $60 per share.

One casualty of the slide was Schnatter’s personal fortune. The 55-year-old—who owns roughly 25% of Papa John’s—is now worth $801 million, Forbes estimates.

Schnatter blames part of the downturn on the National Football League, which has faced turbulence amid widespread national anthem protests in the past year. “The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle,” he said on a conference call on Wednesday. Papa John’s is the league’s official pizza sponsor.

So far 2017 has been a challenging year for the restaurant chain. It has lost a quarter of its market capitalization since the start of January. Its future looked significantly brighter earlier this year. Shares hit an all-time high in December 2016, and Schnatter made Forbes’ list of the World’s Billionaires for the first time in March. He has since fallen off the ranks.

Schnatter, a native of Indiana, built his business from scratch. After graduating from college in 1983, he started working at his father’s tavern, then on the brink of bankruptcy. He sold his car, a 1971 Camaro Z28, to pay off debts and to buy used pizza equipment, which he installed in a broom closet at his father’s bar.

After righting the finances at the bar, Schnatter opened his first Papa John’s in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1985. Growth came quickly; within six years he had 100 locations. The company now boasts more than 5,000 restaurants in 45 countries and territories.


Jemele Hill offers heartfelt thank you to co-host Michael Smith after ESPN suspension

ESPN colleagues rushed to defend Jemele Hill after Donald Trump posted a scathing tweet on Tuesday morning, and now, Hill has voiced her own appreciation.In her first tweet since ESPN announced a two-week suspension for violating the company’s social media guidelines, Hill offered a sincere thanks to co-host Michael Smith.

Smith has co-hosted SportsCenter‘s “SC6” alongside Hill since February in a format that focuses sports and popular culture.Smith did not appear on the evening’s SC6 broadcast following ESPN’s announcement of Hill’s suspension. After the White House called Hill’s September tweets about Trump a “fireable offense,” a ThinkProgress report said that the network tried to replace Hill for a night, but Smith refused to go on. Both co-hosts ended up working that Sept. 13 broadcast, and ESPN denied the report.

On Monday, Matt Berrie filled in for Smith, and he is expected to return for Tuesday’s show.


ESPN suspends anchor for breaking social media rules

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) ESPN anchor Jemele Hill has been suspended by the network for two weeks for making political statements on social media.

Hill, who is African-American, received criticism from the network last month after referring to President Donald Trump as a ”white supremacist.”

Hill targeted Jerry Jones after the Dallas Cowboys owner stated that players who disrespect the flag would not play for his team.

Hill tweeted Sunday that fans who disagree with Jones should target the team’s advertisers and not buy the team’s merchandise. She clarified Monday she was not calling for an NFL boycott.

ESPN said in a statement Monday that Hill and all employees were reminded in the aftermath of the Trump tweet that posts that may reflect negatively on the company would have consequences.


Official: OJ Simpson freed from Nevada prison after 9 years

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former football legend O.J. Simpson became a free man again Sunday after serving nine years for a botched hotel-room heist in Las Vegas that brought the conviction and prison time he avoided in the killings of his wife and her friend after his 1995 acquittal.

Nevada state prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast told The Associated Press that Simpson was released at 12:08 a.m. PDT from Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada. She said she did not know who met Simpson upon his release and didn’t know where Simpson was immediately headed in his first hours of freedom.

“I don’t have any information on where he’s going,” said Keast, adding she had no indication where he was immediately Sunday.

Keast said, the dead-of-night release from the prison located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Reno, Nevada, was conducted to avoid media attention.
“We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident,” Keast added, speaking by telephone.

The 70-year-old Simpson gains his freedom after being granted parole earlier this year. Unlike the last time he went free 22 years ago, he will face restrictions — five years of parole supervision — and he’s unlikely to escape public scrutiny as the man who morphed from charismatic football hero, movie star and TV personality into suspected killer and convicted armed robber.

Simpson is looking forward to reuniting with his family, eating a steak and some seafood and moving back to Florida, his lawyer said recently.

Simpson also plans to get an iPhone and get reacquainted with technology that was in its infancy when he was sent to prison in 2008.

The Florida Department of Corrections, however, said officials had not received a transfer request or required documents, and the attorney general said the state didn’t want him.

“The specter of his residing in comfort in Florida should not be an option,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said. “Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal.”

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Yankees 6, Rays 1: Yankees Keep Pace With Red Sox, Preserving a Host of Season-Ending Scenarios

Starlin Castro, right, was congratulated in the dugout after leading off the sixth inning with a home run.

Yankees Manager Joe Girardi is a man who seeks out certainty. He does not like hypotheticals, waving away what-ifs as though they were a child with too many questions.

But on Wednesday, an unexpected possibility loomed, one so tantalizing that even Girardi could not help but consider it: a chance to catch the Boston Red Sox at the top of the American League East.

After seemingly cementing the division title last weekend, the Red Sox lost consecutive games at home to the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing the Yankees to creep within three games with just five to play.

The Yankees did their best to further close the gap, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-1, on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. But the Red Sox steadied themselves, rallying from a three-run deficit to beat back the Blue Jays, 10-7, to narrow their magic number for clinching the division to any combination of two wins or Yankees losses.

Even if the Yankees are unable to chase down the Red Sox, there will at least be a consolation that they pressured their rivals to the end. Since they last played the Red Sox, on Labor Day weekend, the Yankees have won 16 of 22 games but have only narrowed their deficit behind Boston by a half-game.

“I probably don’t even think about it sometimes,” first baseman Greg Bird said of the division standings. “I was looking today, though. Someone when I was on deck was saying the Sox are losing 3- or 4-1, and then I looked up and it was 9-4. So, I missed a lot there.”

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N.F.L. Live: Trump Blasts Players Again for Anthem Protests

Owner Shahid Khan, center, links arms with Jacksonville Jaguars players today.
Paul Childs/Reuters

“Lots of people don’t have a voice and I wanted to tell those folks that they’re not alone. I used my position to try to empower everybody who seeks equality.”

LeSean McCoy, a running back for the Buffalo Bills, also addressed the issue following his game against the Broncos.

“I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this county is just acting like a jerk, you know, angry and upset about N.F.L. players protesting in a peaceful manner,” said McCoy.

Seahawks and Titans Stay in Locker Rooms

Neither the Seattle Seahawks nor the Tennessee Titans took the field for Meghan Linsey’s singing of the national anthem in Nashville.

While the Titans not participating was somewhat of a surprise, the Seahawks had announced in advance that they would not be on the field by issuing a statement. It said:

“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.

Respectfully, The Players of the Seattle Seahawks.”

The complete lack of players made for a bizarre scene where team mascots and game officials were the only things the television cameras had to focus on besides the flag and Linsey. Unlike some other stadiums, where fans booed at the protests, the fans in Nashville were eerily quiet during the anthem, and after the song’s conclusion Linsey took a knee on the field.

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Advanced stages of CTE found in Aaron Hernandez’s brain

BOSTON — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez had a severe case of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, researchers said on Thursday. His lawyer announced a lawsuit against the NFL and the team, accusing them of hiding the true dangers of the sport.

Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, said Hernandez had stage 3 (out of 4) of the disease, which can cause violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive disorders.

“We’re told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron’s age,” attorney Jose Baez said.

Hernandez was 27 when he killed himself in April in the prison cell where he was serving a life-without-parole sentence for murder. Baez said Hernandez had shown signs of memory loss, impulsivity and aggression that could be attributed to CTE.

“When hindsight is 20-20, you look back and there are things you might have noticed,” he said. “But you don’t know.”

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The Lonely Road Back From a Very Public Injury

Michael Steele/Getty Images.

“I thought something was wrong,” he said. “I knew I had to come out.”

A few minutes later, in the treatment area that sits on the other side of the wall from the first-team changing room at City’s Etihad Stadium, Sala’s on-field suspicion — a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament — was confirmed with a few cursory tests.

Gundogan injured his right knee when he and Watford’s Nordin Amrabat collided during a match in December. He returned to the field briefly, but soon realized he could not continue.

Many athletes fear a torn A.C.L. more than any other injury. It is not as visibly painful, or as gruesome, as a broken bone, but it is much more menacing. Not so long ago, it was more often than not the end of a career; even now, many who suffer it find they are never quite the same.

Deep down, as Gundogan watched the second half of that December game against Watford on a laptop in silence, his knee packed in ice, he knew what was coming. He tried to be optimistic.

“People know what to do now,” he thought. “They know how to operate, how to do rehab, how long you are out.”

He had steeled himself for the worst. Now he just had to face it.

What he was facing, though, was intimidating. There would be the delicate hours of surgery, the endless days of rest, the long, slow weeks and months that would teach him first to walk, then to run, and finally to play again.

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Playing Football before 12 is tied to brain problem later


“The brain is going through this incredible time of growth between the years of 10 and 12, and if you subject that developing brain to repetitive head impacts, it may cause problems later in life,” Robert Stern, one of the authors of the study, said of the findings.

111 N.F.L. Brains. All But One Had C.T.E.

A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players — and 110 were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

The study is consistent with earlier findings by Stern and others that looked specifically at N.F.L. retirees. That research found that retirees who started playing before 12 years old had diminished mental flexibility compared to those who began playing tackle football at 12 or older.

A growing number of scientists argue that because the human brain develops rapidly at young ages, especially between 10 and 12, children should not play tackle football until their teenage years.

Last year, doctors at Wake Forest School of Medicine used advanced magnetic resonance imaging technology to find that boys between the ages of 8 and 13 who played just one season of tackle football had diminished brain function in parts of their brains.

The N.F.L., which long denied that there was any link between the game and brain damage, has in recent years been promoting what it considers safer tackling techniques aimed at reducing head-to-head collisions.

More recently, the league has been promoting flag football as an even safer alternative, an implicit acknowledgment that parents are worried about the dangers of the sport and turning away from it.

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