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  • July 26, 2018 10:31 AM +05

    PHILADELPHIA -- A federal judge is slowing down the proposed US$765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, questioning if theres enough money to cover 20,000 retired players. Troy Apke Redskins Jersey . U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody denied preliminary approval of the plan on Tuesday because shes worried the money could run out sooner than expected. She also raised concerns that anyone who gets concussion damages from the NFL would be barred from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues. "I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) ... will be paid," the judge wrote. The proposed settlement, negotiated over several months, is designed to last at least 65 years. The awards would vary based on an ex-players age and diagnosis. A younger retiree with Lou Gehrigs disease would get $5 million, those with serious dementia cases would get $3 million and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000. Retirees without symptoms would get baseline screening and follow-up care if needed. "Even if only 10 per cent of retired NFL football players eventually receive a qualifying diagnosis," the judge wrote, "it is difficult to see how the Monetary Award Fund would have the funds available over its lifespan to pay all claimants at these significant award levels." She asked for more raw financial data before scheduling a fairness hearing this year, when objectors can question the plan. The objectors could later decide to opt out of it. Law professor Gabe Feldman, who directs the sports law program at the Tulane University Law School, called the ruling a setback but said "theres no reason to panic." "The question remains whether this gives pause to some of the retired players and makes them question whether this is a settlement they want to be a part of," he said. Some critics said the NFL, with more than $9 billion in annual revenue, was getting away lightly. But the players lawyers said they would face huge challenges just to get the case to trial. They would have to prove the injuries were linked to the players NFL service and should not be handled through league arbitration. They could end up with nothing. Sol Weiss, a lead lawyer for the ex-players, remained confident the class action settlement will ultimately be approved. He said he was confident "that there will be enough money to cover these claims for 65 years." NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said league officials were "confident that the settlement is fair and adequate and look forward to demonstrating that to the court." More than 4,500 former players have filed suit, some accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia. The judges hand-picked mediator, former federal judge Layn R. Phillips, led several months of negotiations last year and has called the deal fair to both sides. The settlement would include $675 million for compensatory claims for players with neurological symptoms, $75 million for baseline testing for asymptomatic men and $10 million for medical research and education. The NFL also would pay an additional $112 million to the players lawyers for their fees and expenses, for a total payout of nearly $900 million. The NCAA clause is apparently designed to prevent plaintiffs from double dipping. Feldman said he was unsure why the NFL would insist on that. Given the judges ruling, the two sides could offer more evidence the fund would be stable, change the payout formula or perhaps have the NFL add more money to the pot. Otherwise, they may be left to start over. "I think its a pretty efficient way of doing things, rather than bring it up for the first time at the fairness hearing," Matt Mitten, who directs the National Sports Law Institute at the Marquette University Law School, said of the judges opinion. "Some of these guys need the money right now." DaRon Payne Jersey . -- Kenneth Faried made a turnaround hook shot over Draymond Green with a half-second remaining, and the Denver Nuggets made Golden State wait at least one more game to secure a playoff berth with a stunning 100-99 win over the Warriors on Thursday night. Custom Washington Redskins Jerseys . Toronto FC hosts the three-time Italian league champions in a friendly Aug. 7 at BMO Field, a game that Roma CEO Italo Zanzi said falls within a key part of their pre-season.TORONTO - The clock continues to tick and there are only minutes now before the current collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and the Players Association expires - but still theres no deal. After almost two days of talks at a Toronto airport hotel, the CFL eventually did increase its financial offer and the union removed any revenue-sharing percentages from its own proposal, but talks between both sides broke down Thursday afternoon. The current CBA expired Thursday at midnight ET. Neither side knows when theyll meet again at the bargaining table, but the union wont stop players from reporting when training camps open Sunday and the league, too, wont stop any player from stepping onto the field. "No we wont [keep players away from the field]," commissioner Mark Cohon told TSN after both sides parted. "We want football to be played. We want them to vote on this best offer that we have for them." "Weve come to the table many times and theyve pushed away," union president Scott Flory told TSN before leaving the hotel to catch a flight. With so much on the line so late, its a frustrating and compelling moment in the immediate future of Canadian football. The sides met for over a 12-hour period Wednesday in the company of a third-party mediator and on the surface, everyone agreed those discussions were beneficial. "We thought we had good talks in the [Wednesday morning]," Flory, a former Montreal Alouettes offensive lineman said. "We had some [talks] without prejudice. We talked freely and we were allowed to discuss issues." "Great conversations [Wednesday] - some important issues that were important to the players - and we came back with some creative ideas," Cohon said. Cohon and his team - chief operating officer Michael Copeland, vice president of football operations Kevin McDonald, Calgary Stampeders president Ken King, Roughriders president Jim Hopson and CFL legal counsel Steve Shamie - presented the union with a base salary cap of $5 million in 2014, along with a clause that stipulated if in the third year of a new CBA (potentially 2016) the leagues aggregate revenues grew by $27 million compared to the previous year, the CFL would be open to renegotiating and possibly raising the salary cap. Cohon later called it the leagues "final offer." "In the discussions the players said to us Were really worried if you have some break-out revenues, some extraordinary opportunities - new TV deal, major, major sponsorship, all of a sudden all your stadiums are full - we want to participate," Cohon said. "We thought that was a major step forward for us." The players representatives at the table - union president Scott Flory, vice presidents Marwan Hage and Jeff Keeping, treasurer Brian Ramsay and CFLPA legal counsel Ed Molstad - tabled a counter proposal before 11:30am ET. It included a $5.8 million cap and $4.8 million minimum cap floor. The players also banished the revenue-sharing percentages from their previous offer, and in its place created a "Revenue Protection Clause." The clause offered the potential for a "fixed cap for a minimum of two years," and if league revenues in the third year - excluding money made from the Grey Cup - increased "more thhan $12 million," the league and union would reopen talks on the salary cap limit or the existing CBA would be void at the end of that season. Derrius Guice Redskins Jersey. "A system where the cap is tied to revenue," Flory said. "They are fixed on fixing the cost of the players. We came up with a system that we thought was incredibly reasonable, where there is a protection for guys. If revenues grow by a certain amount, we are just going to recalibrate the cap." The league met the players after 2pm ET, saying the unions proposal was unacceptable and walked out. "You get to a point in negotiations where you have to look holistically at whats important to our league - we have to protect and continue to try and thrive and build this league," Cohon said. "The reason [talks] broke down is the proposal from the players would set us back. We cant do that." "We tried to accommodate and make a deal because we want to be on the field," Flory said. "We want to play football. It is just clear to the other side that they are going to try and dictate terms to us. We arent willing to accept that." Cohon said the league couldnt accept the players math. "When we put our best offer on the table, which was a significant offer - and by the way we walked in and placed down all of our financials - we broke down each teams P&L (profit and loss) and based upon their proposal over two-thirds of our teams would be losing money," the commissioner said. The players offer also includes non-financial points - including one padded practice per week and the desire to have an independent neurologist on the sideline for every game - and a proposal to reduce contract option years. But differing methods to constructing, setting and growing the salary cap appears a wide gulf right now. The one thing both sides apparently agree on, however, is its up to the players to decide their next move. Union sources told TSN the players are awaiting all strike ballots and reviewing particular provincial labour laws before declaring to the league they have the will and right to strike at any time. Flory told TSN hes encouraging players to report to training camp. Ramsay (Edmonton Eskimos) and Keeping (Toronto Argonauts) are active players and both confirmed to TSN they will report to training camp Sunday. "We hear, we listen - you can see our proposal and the movement weve made...Were telling players to report to training camp. We want to play football," Flory said. Cohon wants the players to vote on the leagues offer. "Its really our final offer. Its what weve mentioned to the players; that is what weve said to the players," he said. "We want them to take this to a vote. We want to hear from the players. "Players are all coming to camp is what we hear - theyre reporting, the rookies are there, and the quarterbacks are there. Guys are flying in. We want them to take this to a vote and let the players speak." As members of both sides left the hotel, the third party mediator - who didnt offer his name or want to comment extensively on negotiations - smiled when asked if he could see some kind of conclusion. 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