Davide Astori found dead, Fiorentina 'shocked'

Italy international footballer Davide Astori has died after suffering a sudden ‘cardiac circulatory collapse’.

    Italy international defender Davide Astori has died in his hotel room during the night of Saturday, his club Fiorentina said on Sunday.

    “Fiorentina are profoundly shocked to have to announce the death of captain Davide Astori after a sudden illness,” the Serie A club said on Twitter. The 31-year-old, who leaves behind a two-year-old daughter, was in Udine to prepare for Sunday’s match against Udinese.

    Astori died of “natural causes” after a “cardiac circulatory collapse” – a type of heart attack – Antonio de Nicolo, an Udine magistrate, was quoted in Italian media as saying.

    The magistrate added that it was “strange that such a thing happened without any warning symptoms in a profession which is so closely monitored”.

    Astori’s body was taken to a hospital in Udine for an autopsy.

    Fiorentina’s game was called off in the morning. The early kick-off between Genoa and Cagliari, one of Astori’s former clubs, was abandoned when players learned the news while warming up on the pitch.

    The Italian league then postponed the other five Serie A matches scheduled for Sunday, including the Milan derby.

    Astori began his career at AC Milan, also playing for Cagliari and Roma before joining Fiorentina in 2015. He played 14 times for Italy.

    Former teammates, coaches and teams were among those taking to social media to express their grief.

    Gianluigi Buffon, the Juventus captain, called Astori “a great man”.

    ‘Tragic death’

    Buffon said he did not usually make a habit of expressing his feelings about others.

    “I want to make an exception to my rule because you have a young wife and others close to you who are suffering, but mostly because your little girl deserves to know that her dad was a good man … a great man,” Buffon wrote.

    Meanwhile, former Italy manager Antonio Conte, now in charge of Chelsea, was visibly upset as he paid tribute to Astori, before the Blues’ match with Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday.

    “This is a tragedy and it really hurts me. It’s very difficult at this moment to find the right words for the family,” Conte told Sky Sports.

    “I had him with the national team. He was a great player but especially a fantastic guy. I stay close to his wife, parents and daughter. He was only 31 and it’s very difficult to explain this situation.”

    Radja Nainggolan, a Belgian international who played with Astori at two clubs, posted a photo of the two of them joyously celebrating a goal at Cagliari.

    “A great player, but an even bigger man, so many battles fought together in Cagliari before coming to Rome, I cannot believe it,” he wrote.

    Astori’s formative club Milan also expressed their condolences.

    “A man who loved football and who grew up with us. AC Milan is shocked by the tragic death of Davide Astori,” the club’s official account tweeted in English.

    Matteo Renzi, a former mayor of Florence and now leader of the Democrat Party in Sunday’s Italian election, tweeted: “This seems to me impossible. I don’t believe it and I cry with the family and everyone at Fiorentina. Ciao capitano.”

    Paying our respects to Quini and Davide Astori. pic.twitter.com/KfTnTSetZV

    Inside Story

    Football racism row splits opinion in Australia

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    PFA boss Taylor warns football players not to incite fans with celebrations

    He is not blaming the game’s stars after the latest outbreaks of fan violence saw Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish punched and Manchester United’s Chris Smalling shoved by pitch invaders.

    But Taylor says provoking the game’s lunatic fringe will not help. He feels ground closures and points deductions must be put on the agenda.

    And while the game’s ruling bodies were ordered to sort out the problems by the government, Taylor said: “What we
    saw was disgraceful, cowardly and criminal. There must be severe action.

    “The eyes of the world are on us and there’s a responsibility on young players in the way they play the game.

    “We have to be careful and not incite the crowd in the way goals are celebrated, to try to keep a lid on it and make sure things don’t boil over.”

    St Andrew's thug Paul Mitchell was jailed for 14 weeks, banned for life by Birmingham and from all grounds by a judge for ten years after attacking Grealish.

    Sports minister Mims Davies had already called in the leagues, FA, PFA and anti-racism groups for a summit last month.

    She said: “The incidents were a disgrace.

    Protecting players’ safety is of paramount importance and every possible step must be taken to ensure that they are not put at risk.”

    Taylor added: “There is a combination of potential sanctions. You can consider fines, ground closures, playing behind closed doors, even points deductions.

    “But when we met the Sports Minister the issue of stewarding and policing together with education and stricter sanctions was discussed.

    “It now needs a multi-faceted approach involving all relevant bodies, as was the case in the 1980s.”

    Next month’s scheduled meeting of the “stakeholder” group including the leagues, clubs, PFA, LMA and referees will now be dominated by action plans.

    LMA chief Richard Bevan said: “The game has a duty of care to protect individuals including coaches and other people in the technical area from physical or verbal assaults.

    “It is vital that safety standards are met, upheld and strengthened.”

    EFL chiefs have pressed clubs to ensure security staff are prepared to deal with incursions as soon as any fans get near the playing surface with specific stewarding teams given orders to protect players and officials from attack.

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    Robert Kraft Pleads Not Guilty to Prostitution Charges

    Robert K. Kraft, the owner of the N.F.L.’s New England Patriots, has pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting prostitution in Florida.

    The plea, on two first-degree misdemeanor charges, were submitted in writing to the Florida state attorney’s office, not in person. Mr. Kraft requested a nonjury trial. The plea was filed Monday and made public on Thursday.

    Mr. Kraft was charged with two first-degree misdemeanors for soliciting prostitution. He was one of 25 people charged by the state attorney of Palm Beach County. If convicted, Mr. Kraft would face up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. However, at a news conference on Monday, the state attorney, Dave Aronberg, said that first-time offenders rarely spend time in jail.

    Mr. Kraft has a scheduled court date of March 27 in Florida. He is not required to be present, and most likely will be represented by his lawyer, Jack Goldberger.

    The plea was not a surprise. When news of the charges against Mr. Kraft broke last week, a Patriots spokesman said, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”

    Mr. Kraft could also face discipline from N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell has broad powers to penalize not only players but also league executives and owners. Mr. Kraft can be fined up to $500,000 and suspended for several games, which would mean he would have to stay away from the team’s facility and stadium. If Mr. Goodell seeks a harsher penalty, he would need the approval of the other owners.

    A few owners have been penalized in prior years, but those punishments were for felony convictions. While Mr. Kraft’s legal case is less severe, and the charges could be reduced or dropped, the league could still punish him for “conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.”

    The league has tried to address criticism that it has been too lenient with players accused of domestic abuse. Teams, too, have been criticized for mistreating their cheerleaders. The N.F.L. has also supported efforts by law enforcement agencies to combat human sex trafficking.

    Mr. Kraft has also donated heavily to My Life, My Choice, a nonprofit organization in Boston that supports women who were exploited by the commercial sex industry.

    The police said they captured Mr. Kraft on video during two visits to a storefront massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla., a 30-minute drive from Palm Beach, where Mr. Kraft stays when he is in Florida.

    According to the affidavit, he visited the parlor on Jan. 19, arriving in a Bentley driven by a chauffer. Hidden-camera recordings showed Mr. Kraft entering the massage parlor, and a woman massaging his genitals.

    The next day, Mr. Kraft returned in a different chauffer-driven Bentley for a 14-minute visit that included another sex act, according to the affidavit. Later that day, he flew to Kansas City, where the Patriots beat the Chiefs in the A.F.C. championship game to earn a berth in the Super Bowl.

    Two weeks later, the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, to win their sixth Super Bowl title under Mr. Kraft’s ownership, which began in 1994.

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    Opinion: High school boys had better learn to compete with girls

    History was made over the weekend in Denver when not one but two girls stood proudly on the podium at the Colorado state high school wrestling tournament for the first time ever. Angel Rios, a junior from Valley High, finished fourth, while senior Jaslynn Gallegos of Skyview High was fifth in the Class 3A 106-pound weight class.

    They were there in part because a boy forfeited to them rather than compete against them. Senior Brendan Johnston of The Classical Academy declined to wrestle Gallegos in the tournament’s first round, then did the same when he faced Rios in the third round of consolation matches.

    “I’m not really comfortable with a couple of things with wrestling a girl,” Johnston told Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. “The physical contact, there’s a lot of it in wrestling. And I guess the physical aggression, too. I don’t want to treat a young lady like that on the mat. Or off the mat. And not to disrespect the heart or the effort that she’s put in. That’s not what I want to do, either.”

    High school sports news:Get the latest, plus polls and recruiting

    While Johnston avoided competing against both girls, Weld Central freshman Robert Estrada took on each one, winning tough matches both times to finish third overall.

    Angel Rios holds back tears after winning a consolation semifinal match in the Colorado State Wrestling Championships last weekend. (Photo11: Michael Ciaglo, Denver Post)

    “It’s really cool to have the first girls place at state in my bracket,” Estrada told The Post. “Really cool. … (Rios) is really tough. She’s one of the best in the nation among girls. Same with Jaslynn.

    “She never stops. She’s strong. She’s quick. She’s really good. I’m pretty happy for her to get this far. She deserves it. As does Jaslynn.”

    Johnston isn’t the first boy to stubbornly refuse to compete against a girl, and Estrada isn’t the first boy to enthusiastically welcome it. About 300 girls participated in the sport this winter in Colorado, according to The Post, and it’s believed most matches went off without a hitch.

    It is 2019 after all. These kids were born in the 21st century. If a girl decides she wants to wrestle, as thousands have across the nation, most boys respect that, treat her as she wants to be treated – like just another wrestler – and do their best to defeat her.

    For those who are still having trouble with that concept, it might be time to figure out why. Is it really because these young gentlemen are worried about how they are treating a “young lady?” Or is it something else?

    On a flight a year ago, I happened to sit next to the father of two male high school wrestlers who told me over the course of a conversation about high school sports that his sons had both forfeited matches rather than wrestle against a girl.

    I asked why. He mentioned religion and treating girls and women the right way, and then he said this:

    “Can you imagine what it would be like for a boy to lose to a girl?”

    Ah-ha. Now we were getting somewhere.

    “Have you ever thought about what it’s like for a girl to lose to a boy?” I replied.

    We ended up agreeing that no one likes to lose.

    The hands-on nature of the sport of wrestling and the inherent proximity of the competitors to one another make this conversation all the more interesting. If athletes like Johnston are worried about competing against a girl in such a manner, what would they think about competing against a boy who is gay – which they might already have done? Or a transgender athlete?

    The sooner the families of these reluctant boys figure this out, the better they will be, because these are young men who will be competing against and working with women the rest of their lives. They might as well get used to it.

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    N.F.L. Says Kraft Will Not Get Special Treatment

    The N.F.L. said Monday that the New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft, who is facing charges of soliciting sex in Florida, would not receive special treatment as the league decides how, or if, to punish him.

    Mr. Kraft, 77, faces two misdemeanor counts in Florida. He was recorded on hidden camera engaging in sexual acts for money, the police said, as part of a wide-ranging investigation into prostitution and human trafficking that has resulted in charges for hundreds of men.

    In a statement released Monday morning, the N.F.L. said: “Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the N.F.L. We will handle this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the policy. We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while ensuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”

    Through the Patriots, Mr. Kraft has denied engaging in illegal activity.

    Mr. Kraft is among the the highest-profile owners of an N.F.L. team. His Patriots have played in 10 Super Bowls since he bought the franchise, winning six times. He is a member of the league’s powerful broadcast committee, as well as the compensation committee that sets Commissioner Roger Goodell’s salary, and he is a friend and political benefactor of President Trump.

    It is Mr. Goodell who now could be in a position to fine or suspend Mr. Kraft for his conduct.

    The N.F.L. gives Mr. Goodell broad authority to hold players and owners accountable for conduct he deems detrimental to the league. Previous punishments have included fines and suspensions, but also prohibitions that have barred owners from being at their team facilities or attending games.

    Most recently, the league has drawn attention for its discipline against several players accused — but not necessarily convicted — of domestic abuse.

    The N.F.L. maintains a “Reserve/Commissioner Exempt List” for players who are being investigated by the league for their conduct. This is the list that Kareem Hunt, the former Kansas City Chiefs running back, landed on after video emerged of him pushing and kicking a woman. (The Chiefs cut him shortly after the video became public; Hunt signed with the Cleveland Browns earlier this month, though he has not yet been cleared to play.)

    Players on the exempt list cannot practice or attend games but continue to be paid. It is not clear whether Mr. Goodell would place an owner on such a list pending the outcome of an investigation.

    Mr. Goodell is, ultimately, hired and paid by the owners, making his decision on potential discipline for a powerful one like Mr. Kraft a tricky one.

    Mr. Kraft and Mr. Goodell had been considered to be longtime allies. Their relationship was strained, however, by two earlier punishments for the Patriots: first when Mr. Goodell disciplined the team over spying on other teams in 2007, and later when he penalized the team and quarterback Tom Brady in the ball deflation case of 2015.

    Mr. Kraft is accused of patronizing a spa called Orchids of Asia, a small storefront business in a strip mall in Jupiter, Fla. The police said Mr. Kraft had visited twice, dropped off by a driver.

    While Mr. Kraft lives in Massachusetts, he has owned property in Palm Beach, Fla., for a number of years.

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    Solicitation charges could just be the start of Robert Kraft’s problems

    Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution by police in Jupiter, Florida, on Friday and he might not simply face legal challenges — he could also be in trouble with the NFL.

    The league has a personal conduct policy that team owners — like players and coaches — must abide by.

    And since the 77-year-old Kraft is an owner, he may face harsher consequences than a player might in similar circumstances.

    According to the policy, “ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when violations of the Personal Conduct Policy occur.”

    Perhaps the most notable example of what might be in store for Kraft came in 2014, when Jim Irsay, the owner of the Colts, was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 following his arrest on drug charges.

    Kraft has denied any wrongdoing and Jupiter police said he has not been arrested. A warrant will be issued.

    In a statement, a spokesperson for Kraft said they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

    The NFL also released a statement Friday saying it “is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”

    Other NFL owners have faced punishments previously, including Eddie DeBartolo, who was suspended for the 1999 season and fined $1 million following his guilty plea in a gambling scandal in Louisiana.

    In 2009, Bud Adams, who owned the Titans, was fined $250,000 for making an obscene gesture at Bills fans.

    Jerry Richardson sold the Panthers in 2017 after it was revealed that former team employees had received settlements because of inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by the owner, who still pocketed over $2 billion in the sale of the team.

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    Patriots owner Robert Kraft busted for soliciting prostitution

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    Get ready for a Jets team that will look very different next year

    The 2019 Jets are going to look drastically different than their 2018 counterparts. Adam Gase and a nearly entire new coaching staff is in place, but the roster also will be much different.

    The Jets have 23 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 13, or 43 percent of their 53-man roster. It is a big number, and it will be interesting to see how many of them re-sign with the Jets.

    Gang Green already took care of locking up their priority on the free-agent list with a four-year, $36 million extension for wide receiver Quincy Enunwa in December. Now, general manager Mike Maccagnan must comb through his other free agents and get evaluations from Gase and his staff to see who is worth keeping and to whom they should wave goodbye.

    They have one notable restricted free agent — wide receiver Robby Anderson, who should be in line for a second-round tender.

    Here is a look at the Jets set to become free agents in order of how likely I think they are to return:

    Henry Anderson, DE
    This guy was a revelation last season. He tied for the team-lead in sacks with seven and was a disruptive force along the defensive line. At 27, he is in his prime, and the Jets should try to bring him back. There has been talk of whether he fits new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ scheme, but people I have spoken to say Williams will tailor his defense to the players he has, and Anderson can be an important piece up front.

    Morris Claiborne, CB
    The Jets have been treading water for two years with Claiborne, but none of the team’s young cornerbacks have emerged to take his starting job. Do the Jets bring him back for another season? He had some really good moments in 2018 then some terrible penalties at some terrible times. If the Jets feel they can upgrade at cornerback, Claiborne might be allowed to walk. But I could see him being a fallback option.

    Jason Myers, K
    He was claimed off waivers in August and ended up going to the Pro Bowl. He missed just three field goals last year and made six from 50 yards or more. The question here will come down to the cost. Maccagnan has shown he is willing to bargain hunt for his kickers. Will Myers look for a big payday after his Pro Bowl season?

    Andre Roberts, KR/PR/WR
    Another special teams star, Roberts breathed life into a return game that had been dormant for years. Roberts returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown. Like Myers, you wonder if Roberts’ asking price will be too high after his All-Pro season. The Jets have searched for a returner for years. They found one and should hold onto him.

    Jonotthan Harrison, C
    He stared the final eight of nine games at center last season, replacing Spencer Long. I thought Harrison played pretty well and is a cheap alternative if the centers in free agency look too costly. Harrison’s contract would be reasonable, and he might be a cost-effective alternative if the Jets don’t want to spend big on a center.

    Neville Hewitt, LB
    This flew under the radar a bit, but Hewitt played well over the final four games, when he filled in for the suspended Darron Lee. I would keep him around as a special teams player and reserve linebacker.

    Josh McCown, QB
    The veteran will be 40 and has not said whether he wants to keep playing. This will be an interesting decision: Do the Jets keep him around for another year as Sam Darnold’s mentor? McCown struggled in his three starts, and the Jets might be better off with another veteran backup.

    Jermaine Kearse, WR
    After a strong 2017 season, Kearse had a disappointing 2018. He and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates did not mesh, and Kearse was not used as much as the year before. The Jets likely will move on.

    Brandon Copeland, OLB
    He was a pleasant surprise last year, registering five sacks. However, I think the team will be looking to upgrade through free agency or the draft at this position.

    Darryl Roberts, CB
    He had some good moments as a starter last year when Trumaine Johnson was injured. Roberts also showed some versatility by playing safety. He had a tardiness issue, though, and did not play defense in the final game.

    RB Bilal Powell, NT Steve McLendon, CB Buster Skrine and G James Carpenter: All of these players have been mainstays but it seems unlikely they will return. The Jets have Elijah McGuire, Mike Pennel and Parry Nickerson ready to replace Powell, McLendon and Skrine, respectively. They will be looking for an upgrade at left guard to replace Carpenter.

    Other free agents: OL Ben Ijalana, OL Brent Qvale, OL Dakota Dozier, TE Neal Sterling, S Rontez Miles, OLB Josh Martin, OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, LB Emmanuel Lamur and WR Rishard Matthews.

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    In Colin Kaepernick Case, N.F.L. Makes a Familiar, Safe Call

    The N.F.L. owners worried about a protracted legal fight. They fretted over potentially embarrassing disclosures. They were concerned about further alienating fans and sponsors. So they took the unusual step of reaching a settlement rather than continue to battle an adversary who was viewed in some circles as a victim of the league’s sharp elbows.

    All of this happened nearly six years ago, when the league found it more expedient to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to retired players who contended the N.F.L. had concealed the dangers of repeated hits to the head. Among other things, the 2013 concussion settlement enabled the league to avoid the acute discomfort of battling in court with former players who had sustained neurological damage.

    In many ways, the N.F.L. followed this same road map on Friday when it announced that it had reached another settlement, this time with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his former teammate Eric Reid. They had accused the owners of colluding to keep them out of the league because they had knelt during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at games, an action that prompted other players to do so as well.

    The N.F.L. has a reputation for using a scorched-earth legal strategy, and its decisions to settle in both cases have been viewed by some as admissions of guilt. In fact, the league did not acknowledge wrongdoing in the concussion settlement, and it is not clear what it may have admitted to in Friday’s settlement because of a confidentiality agreement between the two sides.

    Still, by settling each time, the owners may have calculated that they and many fans could then try to move past the contentious issues at the heart of the two cases — the long-term effects of repeated head trauma in the first instance, and the right of players to protest in the second instance.

    “There are broader issues than just money that the league considers,” said Matthew J. Mitten, the director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University. “They need to take into account social issues and public perception.”

    The two cases, in some ways, are very different. One was a class action involving 20,000 retired players who sued in federal court, the other a grievance filed under the collective bargaining agreement. The league stood a chance of winning both cases, had it persisted, but each case generated years of negative publicity. So the league, which earns $14 billion a year, was in a position to spend money to make both cases go away.

    Significantly, the two settlements provide the league with a measure of protection, Mitten said. The concussion settlement precludes players in the future from suing the league for concussion-related damages, and the settlement with Kaepernick and Reid avoided any adverse precedent being set.

    Kaepernick had not played a down since the end of 2016, yet he continued to hover over the league. Every time a backup quarterback was signed, Kaepernick’s name was invoked, if only to ask why he remained unsigned.

    Before the 2018 season began, Kaepernick persuaded the arbitrator in his case to dismiss the league’s attempts to throw out his grievance. Then he announced a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike, which provides uniforms to all 32 N.F.L. teams. To add to the owners’ discomfort, Nike also made Kaepernick a face of its “Just Do It” campaign, putting out a commercial narrated by him during the opening game of the season.

    “This has been a P.R. nightmare for the league, and in some sense, it’s remarkable that Kaepernick proved himself to be a larger public figure than the N.F.L. with his Nike deal,” said Michael Leroy, who teaches sports law classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “He outshined the league in a very significant way.”

    The presence of Kaepernick, who rarely speaks in public, also hung over the Super Bowl this month. The basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant were photographed wearing Kaepernick jerseys on Super Bowl weekend; the rapper Common tweeted a photograph of himself alongside the longtime activist Angela Davis, who was wearing a Kaepernick jersey; and the filmmaker Ava DuVernay said on Twitter that she was boycotting the Super Bowl in support of Kaepernick.

    Days before the game, the N.F.L. canceled its traditional news conference for the performers of the halftime show after reports emerged that several prominent musicians, in gestures of support for Kaepernick, had turned down a chance to take part in the show.

    The league also had to consider the arbitrator in Kaepernick’s case. Players file dozens of grievances every season, but most are resolved without becoming public. Kaepernick’s case, though, was being heard by Stephen Burbank, the arbitrator who ruled last August that Kaepernick’s lawyers had gathered enough evidence for the case to proceed.

    A University of Pennsylvania law professor and an expert in contract law, Burbank has worked as an arbitrator for the league since 2002 and has a reputation for independence. He began his law career as a clerk for Warren Burger, then the chief justice of the United States.

    One of his first tasks for Burger was to proofread the monumental United States v. Nixon ruling in 1974 in which President Nixon was ordered to turn over tape recordings and other materials in connection with the Watergate case. More than 40 years later, Burbank is wrestling with cases that may not be as historic but still carry plenty of significance.

    “He told me once the main qualification of the job is not having any skin in the game,” said Stephen Walters, a friend of Burbank’s who clerked with him on the Supreme Court. “He isn’t an N.F.L. fan of any sort, but he is the perfect guy for the job.”

    Kaepernick and the league could have been encouraged and worried by Burbank’s previous rulings as an arbitrator. Over the years, he has at times ruled for the players, as he did in a case involving miscategorized ticket revenue. He has also ruled for the league, as he did in a case involving the circumvention of the salary cap. And in a case involving revenue sharing, he ruled in part for the league and in part for the players.

    As for Reid, who is now playing for the Carolina Panthers, he settled his collusion grievance with the N.F.L. under circumstances different from those involving Kaepernick.

    Reid filed his case last May, while he was a free agent and was drawing limited interest despite having just finished his best season statistically. The Panthers ultimately signed Reid to a one-year, $1.39 million contract after the third week of the 2018 season, and this week they gave him a more lucrative, three-year extension.

    Reid missed only three games before joining the Panthers, and Kaepernick has been out of the league for two seasons. In that sense, the potential monetary damages Reid could have won with a favorable ruling from the arbitrator were probably much less than Kaepernick could have won. In any case, he has settled, too, and the N.F.L. can try to move on.

    “The N.F.L. has so many other issues around player health and well-being, they need to remove all the other static,” said Jodi Balsam, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who worked as a lawyer for the N.F.L.

    It is worth recalling that during the recent Super Bowl in Atlanta, which took place less than two weeks before the league settled with Kaepernick and Reid, the N.F.L. invited civil rights leaders to take part in the pregame coin toss. In doing so, the league was embracing pioneers who helped bring social change to the country, and particularly to the South. But some wondered whether the N.F.L. was also trying to counter the effect of Kaepernick, whose principled protest continued to resonate.

    Now the league has settled with Kaepernick and with Reid. Still, if the concussion case is any indicator, merely settling will not make the issues that Kaepernick raised simply go away. After all, nearly six years after the concussion settlement, the N.F.L. is still dogged by stories of former players in dire mental and physical health, and fears that football can cause brain damage have now reduced participation in youth football.

    In the end, settlements, no matter what is at stake, can go only so far.

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    Colin Kaepernick and the N.F.L. Settle Collusion Case

    The N.F.L. and Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who ignited a protest movement against racism and police brutality by kneeling on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem at games, have settled a case that accused the league of colluding to keep him off a team.

    The league also settled a similar claim lodged by another player, Eric Reid, who knelt alongside Kaepernick and went unsigned for a period before playing last season for the Carolina Panthers. The statement by the N.F.L. said that “the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances” and that “there will be no further comment” because the players and the league reached a confidentiality agreement.

    The terms of the settlements were not disclosed. Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, issued a similar statement.


    Kaepernick has not played in the N.F.L. since the 2016 season. He filed his grievance under the league’s collective bargaining agreement in October 2017, and his lawyers have been busy gathering evidence and testimony from N.F.L. owners.

    Kaepernick began his protests in August 2016 after several African-American men were shot by police officers.

    A number of players across the N.F.L. joined him in kneeling during the anthem, generating a debate over race and player activism, drawing angry tweets from President Trump and flummoxing the league over how to respond.

    This movement, however, seemed to lose momentum, and few players knelt during this past season. Kaepernick has said little, reserving most of his comments to his social media accounts. During the Super Bowl, he posted on his Instagram account pictures of athletes and celebrities wearing jerseys supporting his cause.

    Legal experts said that Kaepernick could have faced an uphill battle to prove collusion. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union, the N.F.L. Players Association, the burden is on the player to prove that owners actively conspired against him.

    “That is often difficult to do because parties typically don’t leave a written record of their illegal maneuvering,” said William Gould, who was chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and oversaw the Major League Baseball strike in 1994.

    But Kaepernick received a favorable ruling in August when the arbitrator overseeing the case, Stephen B. Burbank, said that the case could proceed.

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    Mohamed Salah sets Premier League scoring record

    Salah leads the English Premier League with 28 goals.

      Liverpool star Mohammed Salah set records when he struck four goals (a super hat-trick) on Saturday, thrashing Watford, in a Premier League game.

      He had begun the day level on 24 goals with Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot but ended it four clear.

      And his 36 goals in all competitions is a new record for a Liverpool player in a debut season — eclipsing the 33 scored by Fernando Torres in 2007-08.


      • Salah leads the English Premier League with 28 goals, four goals ahead of Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
      • His 36 goals in all competitions is a new record for a Liverpool player in a debut season.
      • The first Egyptian player to score a triple or super hat-trick in the Premier League.

      • The first player to score a four-time for Liverpool in one match in Premier League since Luis Suarez did so in front of Norwich City in December 2009.
      • Salah set a record scoring 22 goals with his left foot in this season. That’s the most by a player in a single season in the competition’s history.

      Left foot

      • On February 24, Salah scored for the sixth successive game in all competitions and his goal took him level with Harry Kane at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with 23 goals in the 2018 season.
      • In the same match, Salah set a record scoring 20 goals with his left foot in this season. “That’s the most by a player in a single season in the competition’s history,” the Premiere League tweeted.

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