3 Stories You Should Know: NFL Studies, Buscaglia, Retirement Tours

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David Ortiz will be the latest athlete to embark on a season-long retirement tour, as he has said that the 2016 MLB season will be his last.  (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
David Ortiz will be the latest athlete to embark on a season-long retirement tour, as he has said that the 2016 MLB season will be his last. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The NFL is under fire yet again after the New York Times reported on Thursday that the league has stood by flawed concussion research. Also this week, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones and Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made controversial comments about the safety of the game. The league has certainly never been known for its proper handling of player safety, but Karen Given thinks these instances might represent a bigger problem. That's just one of the topics in this week’s edition of “3 Stories You Should Know.”

Sports writer Erik Malinowski and Only A Game's Karen Given join Bill Littlefield.

1. NFL's Lack Of Control  

According to the Times, the NFL failed to take into account more than 100 diagnosed concussions from 1996 to 2001 when it calculated concussion rates. Also this week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said it is "absurd" to link football and the degenerative brain disease CTE, and Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told MMQB that people who won't let their kids play football are "fools." Karen Given chalks these up as more examples of Roger Goodell's failed leadership. 

KG: What I'm worried about is that [Roger Goodell is] not in charge of the script. He's not making sure that the people in his organization are armed with actual facts. And so, I ask, how much incompetence does this guy have to show before owners say, "It's not only about all the money that he's making for us. It's also about the integrity of this game?"

 2. Buscaglia's Parting Message 

Sal Buscaglia, longtime women's basketball coach at Robert Morris, ended his career with a loss. His 16-seed Colonials suffered a 52-point loss to perennial powerhouse UConn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. After the game, Buscaglia told the assembled reporters that female players “deserve recognition” — and not just at special events. He told them not to treat his players or other women playing basketball and other sports as “second class.” Bill Littlefield hopes that Buscaglia's message is heard. 

BL: Women's sports don't generate nearly as much money as the men's sports do, of course, and we live in a land where it's money that matters, to quote Randy Newman. I hadn't meant to do that. But anyway, I wish Sal Buscaglia wasn't retiring quite yet. I hope he keeps speaking out or somebody else takes up the cause.

3. Farewell Tours

Athlete retirement tours are all the rage these days. Yankees star Derek Jeter said his long goodbye throughout the 2014 season and Kobe Bryant is spending his final campaign collecting endless amounts of tributes. Now, MLB appears to have two retirement tours on the horizon as David Ortiz will call it a career after this upcoming season and Alex Rodriguez is expected to hang up his cleats at the end of 2017. Erik Malinowski sees these season-long farewell tours as elaborate promotional campaigns.

EM: You could kind of look at this as maybe something designed to maximize ticket sales, maybe sell a few more jerseys in the team store on the player's way out of town. I'm curious, do we think that these fêtes really benefit the game in some way? I mean, did Mariano Rivera really need a rocking chair made out of busted up baseball bats?

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This segment aired on March 26, 2016.


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