A new partnership announced today could be good news for preventing head injuries in the NFL.
The league is partnering with General Electric to develop new technologies to prevent and detect concussions.
This morning on "Starting Point," CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports on how this partnership could improve concussion treatment.
FROM CNN'S THIS JUST IN BLOG:
The National Football League is investigating whether draft prospect Nick Kasa was questioned about his sexual orientation during a recent skills audition for NFL scouts and coaches, a spokesman said Wednesday.
League policy states that teams "neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process," Aiello said. "In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation."
Regardless, the story has raised eyebrows about the NFL selection process.
This morning on "Starting Point," fmr. NFL player Wade Davis, who revealed he was gay after leaving the league, and sports agent Drew Rosenhaus weigh in on the story and whether a player's sexual orientation should be taken into consideration during tryouts.
READ MORE: NFL checking 'do you like girls' allegation
In the new cover story for Time Magazine, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell opens up about some of the ways he hopes to reform the sport so it takes less of a toll on its athletes. One of the ideas on the table is doing away with kickoffs, which are seen by many to be one of the most dangerous elements of the game. Right now it's only a suggestion, but it has fans and professionals alike debating the idea and wondering what's in store for the future of football.
The league's already tinkered with kickoffs, moving them up five yards which has limited kick returns. By all accounts, those typically frantic plays present the most risk to players, and studies have shown a correlation to that change with fewer concussions.
Former NFL Linebacker and Sports Analyst Coy Wire supports the decision to eliminate kickoffs from football in order to make the game safer. He views the change as another stage in the evolution of the sport as players get stronger and faster. “It’s necessary to change when change is necessary. Not to change is disruptive,” he says. “The game from its beginnings has always been in a state of evolution to make it better.”
With replacement referees making the calls on the field and hockey players and coaches calling quits on the ice, labor disputes have come to control the NHL and NFL. Sports Illustrated reporter Sarah Kwak weighs in on the disputes and how they harm the game, causing fans to look elsewhere.
“This time it's about revenue sharing. It's about money. Let's be honest here, it's always about money,” Kwak says of the NHL stand-off. “Right now, as it stands, the players and the owners split hockey-related revenue, 57 percent going to the players and 43 going to the owners. The owners think that's way too much to be giving to their players. They want it to come down to under 50 percent.”
Like the NHL, labor disputes have left football fans frustrated as well while replacement referees patrol the game and the standard refs remain locked out.
“You're supposed to have arbiters or policemen on the game that say this is allowable and this is not. When they're not able to - if the players are not going to respect the authority of these people who are supposed to be there for their safety and for just the general enjoyment of the game, then I think that's when the NFL is really going to have an issue,” Kwak says.
A Maryland state politician, Delegate Emmett Burns, Jr., has drawn national attention for attempting to silence Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo for supporting same-sex marriage. The straight and current NFL player, Ayanbadejo, joins the openly gay and former Tennessee Titans NFL player, Wade Davis, in a discussion on how Americans and NFL players are becoming more open to same-sex marriage.
“I think the problem most players have is the tie between religion and equal rights,” Ayanbadejo says. “Once you get over that barrier, guys say ‘love is love’ and you should be able to marry who you love. It’s really a changing of the guard in the football community, because even 12 months ago when I was doing Op/Eds for marriage equality I would still hear certain snickering in the background, so I think we’ve changed the tide and we’ve come a long way in a short period of time.”
The NFL Players Association is suing the NFL on behalf of three players suspended in connection with the pay-for-play bounty scandal under the bounty program. In the program, certain players were allegedly paid money to hurt their opponents on the field.
The lawsuit is the latest development in a fight that originated with the New Orleans Saints. The suit claims NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was biased in making decisions about the suspensions of the accused players - Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove - and say that he didn't give them a proper chance to defend themselves.
NFL Players Association's Domonique Foxworth, a free agent NFL quarterback, explains that the suit is an effort to give players a fair chance at defending themselves against the bounty allegations.
Sports related concussions are in the national spotlight more than ever. There are as many as 3.8 million concussions that occur every year in professional, college, and youth sports. Approximately 85% of them will go undiagnosed, and that, of course, could lead to even more serious injuries.
Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl champion, wants to make a difference. He's teaming up with Dick's Sporting Goods to provide free testing to try to determine whether a kid has suffered a concussion.
This morning on "Starting Point," Brees talks with Soledad on the PACE program, which stands for Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education. He explains why he felt it was important to get involved in educating young athletes on the dangers of concussions.
Congress is cancelling planned hearings into the NFL bounty scandal after league commissioner Roger Goodell promised to handle the problem internally. Fmr. New York Giants player Tiki Barber weighs in on what this could mean for the sport, from the NFL down to high school teams.
The New York Giants may not have been able to afford Brandon Jacobs. But one six-year-old boy was willing to spend his life savings of $3.36 to change that.
When Joe Armento found out that his favorite running back, who had been part of two Super Bowl Championship teams, had signed with the San Francisco 49ers, Joe sent Brandon the cash from his piggy bank along with a letter reading:
"Dear Brandon Jacobs, So you could go to the Giants, here is my money. Love, Joe."
Brandon tweeted out a picture of the note after he received the letter, and one typed up by Joe's mom Julie.
Brandon later tweeted: "I almost cried, I am still trying to hold it in. I may have to pay him a surprise visit."
This morning on "Starting Point," Joe and Julie talk with Soledad about their amazement that Brandon received their letters, and Brandon Jacobs calls in to the show to express his gratitude to Joe.
A massive new class action suit is being filed today against the NFL, which claims that the league knew for years that hits could cause long-term brain injuries and that the league tried to hide the problem from both players and fans.
The suit combines more than 80 lawsuits from more than 2,000 former players and their families, including Mary Ann Easterling, who is the widow of Falcons star safety Ray Easterling. You might remember he took his own life in April after he suffered from the symptoms of brain damage for more than 20 years. Mary Ann Easterling joins us this morning. What would you like to see come out of this lawsuit?
Mary Ann Easterling talks to Soledad this morning about what she'd like to see come out of the suit.
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