Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Penn State abuse claim settled

A man who was sexually abused by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has become the first to settle a civil claim against the university, the man's attorney said Saturday.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that the young man known as "Victim 5," who testified at Sandusky's criminal trial last year, settled for several million dollars.

Attorney Tom Kline confirmed the deal in an email to The Associated Press but did not immediately provide any other details.

The paper reported the deal is the first of 26 settlements expected soon among 31 young men who have pressed claims over the actions of Sandusky.

The Inquirer said it had interviewed Kline on Friday along with Michael Rozen, one of the lawyers brought in by Penn State to resolve the civil claims.

Rozen told the paper that Victim 5's case was considered to be more serious than others because his abuse occurred in August 2001, months after top school officials were informed by a graduate assistant that he saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in a team shower.

"The pivotal issue from the university's perspective in dealing with the victims is where the incident occurred and when it occurred proximate to the 2001 shower incident," Rozen told the paper.

A spokesman for the university declined comment on the deal Saturday, saying the school "continues to make progress on multiple settlements."

Penn State announced a year ago -- the day Sandusky was convicted of 45 criminal counts -- that it hoped to compensate his victims fairly and quickly.

Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence for child molestation and related offenses.

Penn State's trustees authorized some $60 million in settlements last month.

Victim 5 was among eight young men testified at Sandusky's trial last year about abuse that included grooming, fondling, oral sex and anal rape, including incidents on school property.

Sandusky spent three decades at Penn State under former head coach Joe Paterno. He met some of his victims through The Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth he founded in 1977 and continued to operate after he retired from Penn State in 1999.

A 1998 complaint about Sandusky showering with a boy -- one of those who testified against him -- was investigated by university police but no charges were filed. A graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, witnessed a different incident in the team shower in 2001 and notified Paterno and other high-ranking school officials, but police were not called.

The response of university leaders, including Paterno, was heavily criticized in a report commissioned by the school last year. Paterno died in January 2012, but criminal charges for an alleged cover-up are pending against three others: former president Graham Spanier, retired vice president Gary Schultz and retired athletic director Tim Curley. All three deny the allegations.

Penn State had fostered an image of a model football program under Paterno, whose statue outside the football stadium was taken down after the scandal broke.

The school has spent nearly $50 million on the Sandusky scandal, not including any payments to the victims and accusers.


MLB to suspend Miguel Tejada 105 games

Kansas City Royals infielder and former American League MVP award winner Miguel Tejada will reportedly be handed a lengthy suspension by Major League Baseball, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Three Major College Conferences Will Stop Licensing EA Sports Games

The Pac-12, the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference—cornerstones of major college football—will no longer license their league's symbols or trademarks to EA Sports. While the 40 members they represent may still appear in future video games, the departure of these leagues is a painful blow to the series.

The Southeastern Conference is home to college football's last seven national champions and three of the past four Heisman Trophy winners. The Big Ten is the oldest of the major conferences, going back to 1896 and it sends its champion to meet the Pac-12's in the Rose Bowl each year.

The Big XII, the conference of Texas and Oklahoma, is said to be examining its participation. in the game. No word yet from the ACC. These five conferences are considered the backbone of major college football, whose champions automatically qualify for one of the top four bowl games every year.

Last month the NCAA ended the licensing of its logo and trademark in EA Sports' college football series, an arrangement that had gone back 15 years, in light of litigation brought by former players who allege—among other things—that their likenesses are used in the video game without their permission or compensation.

Like the NCAA, the SEC in an announcement noted that its members were free to license their names, symbols and appearances in the game, so the news itself does not mean that any of the SEC's schools—such as Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida—have left future editions of the game. It does mean that the SEC's logo and references to the conference in the game's dialogue library must be stripped from future editions. The conference's official championship game also will no longer appear.

"Each school makes its own individual decision regarding whether or not to license their trademarks for use in the EA Sports game(s)," the SEC said in a statement. "The Southeastern Conference has chosen not to do so moving forward."

That would appear to be the case for the membership of the Pac-12: Oregon, Southern California and Stanford among its membership; and the Big Ten, home of Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin. ESPN reported today that the Big Ten ended its arrangement; CBS Sports then reported that the Pac-12 was out, too.

The NCAA, the separate licensing clearance house that handles many of its member schools' business, and EA Sports are all beset by multiple lawsuits alleging, among other things, that the NCAA Football series uses current amateur players' likenesses without their permission or compensating them. The largest of these cases, a potential class action lawsuit brought by the former UCLA standout Ed O'Bannon, involves the sale of memorabilia as well as television contracts.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pirates Promote Minor League Power Hitter

The Pittsburgh Pirates will call up outfielder Andrew Lambo on Tuesday, hoping the outfielder can give the team's beleaguered bench a boost heading into a pivotal series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 25-year-old Lambo hit a combined .284 with 31 home runs and 97 RBI in 117 games between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis this season. The Pirates, who lead the NL Central by three games over the Cardinals, will make a corresponding move to the 25-man roster before Tuesday night's series opener.
The left-handed hitting Lambo gives the Pirates more options off the bench. Pittsburgh's offense is averaging just 3.86 runs per game, which ranks 23rd among the 30 major league teams.
Pittsburgh acquired Lambo in a 2010 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Dave Parker Battling Parkinson's Disease

Former Pirates slugger and long-time big leaguer Dave Parker confirmed to Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in February 2012. He had previously only disclosed the news to family and a few friends.

"There's no fear," said Parker. "I've had a great life. I always dreamt of playing baseball, and I played. I'm 62 years old and fortunate to make it to this point. I have some beautiful kids that I got to watch grow up and become adults. My fingerprints are on the baseball industry. I feel good about that. I have nothing to feel bad about."

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder with no cure that affects 2 to 4 percent of people over the age of 60. It has not progressed rapidly for Parker, who has tremors in his right hand and sounds sluggish while speaking, according to Starkey. His older sister has a more advanced case of the disease.

To date, Parker has declined to take medication because he is concerned it would worsen his symptoms. He's hoping for what he calls "natural remedies."

"If push comes to shove, I'll take the medicine," he said. "For now, I'm taking it day by day."

Parker, who lives in Ohio with his wife, has six grown children and plans to move to Florida as soon as they can sell their house. He says he plays golf regularly and rides his bike "a minimum of an hour a day" to help maintain a "good weight."

"He looked good," said Pirates director of alumni affairs Joe Billetdeaux, who saw Parker at the team's Heritage Day in May. "He said he has good days and bad days. For the most part, he's dealing with it."

In parts of 19 big-league seasons from 1973-91, Parker hit .290/.339/.471 (121 OPS+) with 339 home runs and seven All-Star Game appearances. He hit .321/.377/.532 (147 OPS+) with an average of 23 homers per year during his heyday with the Pirates from 1975-79. Parker was named the 1978 NL MVP and finished in the top three of the voting on three other occasions.

"Once a Buc, always a Buc," said Parker, who was once the highest-paid athlete in team sports and previously admitted to using cocaine during his final years in Pittsburgh. He follows the current first place Pirates team on a daily basis. "And I'll always be a Buc."