More Money For Former NFLers

A federal judge threw a wrench into the gears of the NFL settlement between the league and former players when she put the process on hold last week to get more financial information from both sides.

The $765 million settlement figure was agreed to last August, but when attorneys for the players gave figures on projected payouts to qualifying players, it became obvious to the judge that the fund would be very short of sufficient to cover 20,000 players.

As you might expect, the NFL quickly announced that it would provide the additional information and that the “settlement is fair and adequate.”

From the day the $765 million settlement was first announced, a number of interested parties have denounced the settlement as inadequate. While some criticized those detractors, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody is apparently seeing it that way as well.

While it seems like a lot of money, when the discussion calls for a young, retired player suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) to receive $5 million and players with Parkinson’s or advanced dementia $3 million, the total figure does not look like an endless supply.

And critics of the NFL say that teams paying out less than $30 million each to make the problem disappear pales next to the $330 million that each team receives annually from television alone.

Still, most analysts, including Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the players, and former federal judge Layn Phillips, who was hired by Brody to lead settlement negotiations, believe that a settlement eventually will be approved. The question is whether or not it will cost the league significantly more money. A settlement will allow the NFL to stay silent on what it knew and when it knew the extent of serious brain injures resulting from football. * This week’s road trip for the Rainbow Warrior basketball team is a critical one. After dropping both ends of the first trip, games at UC-Davis and UC-Irvine will need to result in at least one victory if Hawaii is to avoid falling far back from the leaders in the Big West.

We are seeing many teams around the country struggle on the road, leading one to think that college basketball may enjoy one of the best home-court advantages in all of sport.

Last week alone, nationally ranked teams including Duke, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Baylor and Kentucky all fell to lesser-ranked opponents on the road.

A long-held formula for contention is to win your conference games at home and split on the road. It won’t always win a conference, but it should see a team in third place or better heading to conference tournaments. * The first two PGA events of the year exhibited the kind of anomalies we so often see in golf. The Hyundai champions event at the Plantation course has wide-open fairways that would seem to favor golfers who are big hitters.

So who wins?

The short but precise Zach Johnson takes home the prize. In the first full-field event, the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club, with narrow fairways seeming to favor the straight driver of the ball, the player walking away with the winner’s check was big-hitting Jimmy Walker, who led the field at more than 319 yards average off the tee.

Go figure!