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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

Seau's family sues NFL

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau is suing the NFL, claiming his suicide is linked to brain disease caused by football, court documents show.

The lawsuit alleges the NFL hid the dangers to players of repeated blows to the head, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Riddell Inc., the manufacture of helmets for the NFL, is also being sued for "negligent" design.

The action was filed Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Diego. The family is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, the Times said.

The lawsuit, the report said, alleged the NFL "propagated the myth" that repeated collisions between players, some of whom suffered neurological injuries, "are an acceptable, desired and natural consequence of the game."

The NFL issued a statement that its attorneys would respond "appropriately through the court."

Seau, 43, died last May is a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. Tests on Seau's brain determined he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition usually found in post-mortem examinations of people who suffered multiple concussions or other head injuries.

More than 4,000 retired NFL players or their families have filed suit against the NFL related to long-term problems related to head injuries. The NFL has generally requested the cases be consolidated in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, the Times said.


Miami runs over No. 1 Duke

CORAL GABLES, Fla., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Durand Scott led a stunning first half surge and scored 25 points Wednesday, sending Miami to a 90-63 smashing of No. 1 Duke.

The Blue Devils returned to the top of the national rankings this week and were promptly embarrassed by the Hurricanes, who shot 55 percent from the field and put together a 25-1 run in the opening period that turned the game into a rout.

Duke went almost 10 minutes without making a field goal.

It was the first time in school history Miami had defeated a No. 1-ranked team. The Hurricanes limited Duke to 29 percent shooting and the Blue Devils went just 3-of-21 from 3-point range.

Duke slipped to 16-2 for the season and is 3-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Miami is the only unbeaten team in ACC action at 5-0 and improved to 14-3 overall.

Kenny Kadji added 22 points for Miami while Shane Larkin had 18 points and nine rebounds.

Mason Plumlee scored 15 points for Duke, but made only 5-of-15 from the field. Seth Curry did not convert a field goal in 10 attempts while playing 35 minutes.


NCAA conducts probe of own investigators

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The NCAA is conducting an internal probe of its own enforcement staff's actions while investigating Miami-Florida, President Mark Emmert said Wednesday.

Emmert said he's hired former White House Homeland Security Adviser Kenneth Wainstein to look into alleged "improper conduct" on the part of NCAA staffers who have been probing the Hurricanes football and basketball programs for 22 months, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

The NCAA chief said the concerns center on how staffers obtained testimony about alleged improper benefits given to athletes by one-time Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for operating a high-stakes Ponzi scheme.

NCAA enforcement staffers allegedly worked alongside an attorney for Shapiro during his bankruptcy proceedings, which if true would would mean they had obtained testimony that otherwise would require a subpoena to garner, the newspaper said.

"That is obviously improper conduct completely contrary to our policies and procedures," Emmert told reporters. "It's something for me, and for everyone, [that] is deeply disturbing."

Emmert said the internal probe would take two weeks to complete.

The investigation will delay the release of the long-anticipated notice of allegations in the Hurricanes case, he said.


Report: Dodgers, TWC in big TV deal

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Time Warner Cable has agreed to pay the Los Angeles Dodgers $7 billion to $8 billion for 20 years of exclusive TV rights, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The deal -- calling for creation of a Dodgers-dedicated cable channel that would televise the team's games beginning in 2014 -- would help the Dodgers cover the cost of a recent spending splurge that has brought several high-dollar free agents to the team. It could also alienate Time Warner customers if the company passes the cost along to subscribers, as it is expected to do, the newspaper said Wednesday.

The price tag could also help Guggenheim Partners justify the $2.15 billion it paid to buy the Dodgers in 2012, the Times said.

The deal could prove unpopular among cable subscribers, since their monthly fees will likely increase whether they watch baseball or not, but it might prove to be a catalyzing event in a long-running debate about whether cable TV sports programming should be available a la carte, instead of as a standard part of basic channel lineups.

The deal is similar to one in which Time Warner agreed in 2011 to pay $3.6 billion over 20 years for TV rights to the NBA Los Angeles Lakers.

Citing people it said were familiar with the deal, the newspaper said it could be publicly announced this week.

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