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NORMAN AREY COLUMN: Color next year Orange in SEC East

Norman Arey predicts the Tennessee Volunteers to the win the SEC East in Thursday's print edition of the Rome News-Tribune.

  • icon Posted: November 19

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Wednesday 11/19/2014
Volleyball: Lady Hawks ready for first-ever NCAA tourney appearance
Posted: November 19, 2014

The eight previous teams he coached at Shorter University were careful about setting goals, opting to instead to simply improve on a daily basis as the season progressed.

Hawks land 6 on All-GSC Team; Shaw named Defensive Player of the Year
Updated: November 19, 2014 - 11:48 pm

On Wednesday, six Shorter players received All-Gulf South Conference Honors, and junior safety Jordan Shaw was named the GSC Defensive Player of the Year.

Berry’s Conor Monaghan named SAA Swimmer of the Week
Posted: November 19, 2014

Conor Monaghan of Berry College has been named the Southern Athletic Association Male Swimmer of the Week.

Judge to weigh fairness of NFL concussion deal
Updated: November 19, 2014 - 10:54 am

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The NFL's potential $1 billion plan to compensate retired players for brain trauma could soon close the chapter on a troubled era of league concussion management.

However, critics lined up to speak Wednesday at a court hearing in Philadelphia believe the NFL is getting off lightly, especially given league revenues topping $10 billion a year.

"The NFL unquestionably can afford to pay more for the harm it has caused," lawyer Steven Molo wrote recently in an objection filed by seven former players.

The NFL expects about 6,000 former players, or 28 percent, to develop Alzheimer's disease or moderate dementia. Their awards could reach $3 million, but they likely would average $190,000, given reductions for advanced age and years in the league.

"What matters now is time, and many retired players do not have much left," former Philadelphia Eagle Kevin Turner said in a statement Tuesday urging the plan's passage.

Turner, at 45, is battling Lou Gehrig's disease and can't make the hearing.

The settlement would resolve thousands of lawsuits that accuse the NFL of hiding known concussion risks to rush players back on to the field.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody rejected the initial $765 million plan over concerns it wouldn't last 65 years as promised. The revised plan removes the cap, so the NFL would kick in more money if the fund runs out.

With inflation, and the proposed $112 million for lawyer fees, the NFL could pay out $1 billion or more.

"We expect people to get sick that aren't sick today, and this fund will be there for them," co-lead counsel Christopher Seeger said last month. "The guys I was concerned about were the guys sitting in wheelchairs, or hospitals, or who are homeless."

One chief concern, though, is that the plan leaves out future payments for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which some consider the signature disease of football. The estates of players who died and were diagnosed with CTE from 2006 to 2014 can seek up to $4 million.

The families of former NFL stars Junior Seau and Dave Duerson — both of whom had CTE and committed suicide —both fault the award scheme.

Others complain their awards would be slashed 20 to 80 percent based on their ages, years in the league or other medical conditions.

Still others point out that behavioral problems some researchers link to CTE, including mood swings and erratic behavior, are not covered.

The settlement, if approved, would mean the NFL may never have to disclose what it knew.

"It will take a whistleblower at some point to give us those details. ... But it's going to be a long time coming," said NFL widow Eleanor Perfetto of Annapolis, Maryland, who hopes to speak Wednesday.

Her husband, Ralph Wenzel, suffered from dementia for more than a decade before he died in 2012. Tests showed he had both CTE and Alzheimer's disease.

"An earlier diagnosis was prevented thanks to the NFL's actions — exactly the actions the plaintiffs are suing for," Perfetto wrote to the judge.

Outlaws named midseason champions
Updated: November 19, 2014 - 12:23 am

The Outlaws won the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority 10-and-younger midseason championship. 

BASKETBALL: Shorter's Mitchell earns 400th victory
Posted: November 19, 2014

The 2014-2015 version of the Shorter University women’s basketball team got their first taste of victory Tuesday night by defeating Clark Atlanta University 80-67, and in doing so, head coach Vic Mitchell earned his 400th win in his 25th year with the program.

BASKETBALL: Lady Chargers win on road
Posted: November 19, 2014

The Georgia Highlands Lady Chargers went on the road Tuesday and won, 53-47, over the Lady Tigers of Andrew College.

SOCCER: Berry men have 7 players honored by SAA
Posted: November 19, 2014

The Berry College men’s soccer team earned seven Southern Athletic Association all conference awards.

Local team competes in championship
Updated: November 19, 2014 - 12:24 am

The local taekwondo team from Roman Martial Arts had 16 members competing in poomsae (forms) and board breaking in the Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Atlanta Taekwondo Championships in Norcross.

Tuesday 11/18/2014
Arsenal teams finish regular season
Posted: November 18, 2014

The YMCA’s Arsenal Rome Soccer Club’s Select teams finished the regular season with four wins and six losses this last weekend, bringing the season record to 43-48-15. They are now preparing for the postseason tournaments.

SOCCER: Seven Berry women’s soccer players earn SAA honors
Updated: November 19, 2014 - 12:10 am

The Berry College women's soccer team earned seven Southern Athletic Association all conference awards, the conference office announced today.

NFL suspends Peterson for at least rest of season
Updated: November 18, 2014 - 11:29 am

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The NFL has suspended Adrian Peterson without pay for at least the rest of the season.

The league said Tuesday it informed the Minnesota Vikings running back he will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15 for violating the NFL personal conduct policy.

The NFL Players Association quickly announced its plan to appeal the punishment.

Peterson pleaded no contest Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault in Texas for injuries to his 4-year-old son he was disciplining. He had been on paid leave from the team since Sept. 17.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Aug. 28 an enhanced crackdown on players involved with domestic violence.


AP NFL websites: and

COLLEGE SIGNING: Pepperell’s Erin Wilder
Updated: November 18, 2014 - 12:10 am

Erin Wilder signed to play basketball for Columbus State on Monday at Pepperell. 

Wrestling earns three wins in Orlando
Posted: November 18, 2014

The Hawks travelled to Orlando over the weekend, and came home with three wins. Topping both Central Florida (44-0) and North Florida (53-0) at the Knight's Brawl Duals hosted by UCF on Friday, and the turned in a team championship at the UCF Open Saturday.

JOSH BROWN COLUMN: Gattis needs to stay behind the plate
Posted: November 18, 2014

When I read last week that John Hart is planning on moving Evan Gattis to left field and making Christian Bethancourt the Braves starting catcher, I about had a heart attack.

BASKETBALL: Hawks roll past Clark Atlanta
Posted: November 18, 2014

The Hawks stayed perfect Monday topping Clark Atlanta, 103-87, at the Winthrop-King Centre on Monday night.

Monday 11/17/2014
Stanton agrees to record $325M deal with Marlins
Posted: November 17, 2014

MIAMI — Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has agreed to terms with the team on a $325 million, 13-year contract. Team owner Jeffrey Loria has confirmed the deal, the most lucrative for an American athlete.

Jason Heyward traded from Braves to Cardinals in exchange for Shelby Miller
Updated: November 18, 2014 - 12:15 am

ATLANTA — Jason Heyward stirred up enormous expectations when he joined the Atlanta Braves at age 20. He homered in his first big league at-bat. He was voted to the All-Star Game as a rookie. He was hailed as the future of the game by Hank Aaron.

Tackling Jackson Hill: TRED’s six-hour race brings visiting runners to Rome
Posted: November 17, 2014

Blue skies and the musty smell of fall leaves awaited runners on a cool, sunny November morning at the start of Trails for Recreation and Economic Development’s Jackson Hill Challenge.

DEA agents raid NFL medical staffs after games
Posted: November 17, 2014

Federal drug enforcement agents showed up unannounced Sunday to check at least three visiting NFL teams' medical staffs as part of an investigation into former players' claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs.

There were no arrests, Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne said Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers' staff was checked at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, after they played the New York Giants. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff was checked at Baltimore-Washington International airport after playing the Redskins. The Seattle Seahawks, who played at Kansas City, confirmed via the team's Twitter account that they were spot-checked as well.

The operation was still ongoing, and other teams may be checked later Sunday, Payne said.

"DEA agents are currently interviewing NFL team doctors in several locations as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of the (Controlled Substances Act)," Payne said.

The spot checks were done by investigators from the federal DEA. They did not target specific teams, but were done to measure whether visiting NFL clubs were generally in compliance with federal law. Agents requested documentation from visiting teams' medical staffs for any controlled substances in their possession, and for proof that doctors could practice medicine in the home team's state.

"Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

The nationwide probe is being directed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York — where the NFL is headquartered — but involves several U.S. attorney's offices.

The investigation was sparked by a lawsuit filed in May on behalf of former NFL players going back to 1968. The number of plaintiffs has grown to more than 1,200, including dozens who played as recently as 2012. Any violations of federal drug laws from 2009 forward could also become the subject of a criminal investigation because they would not be subject to the five-year statute of limitations.

"This is an unprecedented raid on a professional sports league," said Steve Silverman, one of the attorneys for the former players. "I trust the evidence reviewed and validated leading up to this action was substantial and compelling."

Federal prosecutors have conducted interviews in at least three cities over the past three weeks, spending two days in Los Angeles in late October meeting with a half-dozen former players — including at least two who were named plaintiffs in the painkillers lawsuit, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the meetings who spoke on the condition of anonymity because prosecutors told them not to comment on the meetings.

The lawsuit alleges the NFL and its teams, physicians and trainers acted without regard for players' health, withholding information about injuries while at the same time handing out prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, and anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, to mask pain and minimize lost playing time. The players contend some teams filled out prescriptions in players' names without their knowledge or consent, then dispensed those drugs — according to one plaintiff's lawyer — "like candy at Halloween," along with combining them in "cocktails."

Several former players interviewed by The Associated Press described the line of teammates waiting to get injections on game day often spilling out from the training room. Others recounted flights home from games where trainers walked down the aisle and players held up a number of fingers to indicate how many pills they wanted.

The controlled substance act says only doctors and nurse practitioners can dispense prescription drugs, and only in states where they are licensed. The act also lays out stringent requirements for acquiring, labeling, storing and transporting drugs. Trainers who are not licensed would be in violation of the law simply by carrying a controlled substance.

The former players have reported a range of debilitating effects, from chronic muscle and bone ailments to permanent nerve and organ damage to addiction. They contend those health problems came from drug use, but many of the conditions haven't been definitively linked to painkillers.

The lawsuit is currently being heard in the northern district of California, where presiding judge William Alsup said he wants to hear the NFL Players Association's position on the case before deciding on the league's motion to dismiss. The NFL maintained that it's not responsible for the medical decisions of its 32 teams. League attorneys also argued the issue should be addressed by the union, which negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that covers player health.

The DEA investigation comes during a turbulent time for the NFL.

The league is still weathering criticism over its treatment of several players accused of domestic violence and just wrapped up an arbitration hearing involving Ravens running back Ray Rice, who is contesting the length of his suspension. The league has hired former FBI director Robert Mueller III to investigate its handling of the Rice case.

The NFL is also trying to finalize a $765 million class-action settlement reached in August 2013 over complaints by thousands of former players that the NFL concealed the risk of concussions.